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pose you are chiefly solicitous and laborious to hcap up riches, or to indulge your sensual lusts and appetites ; supposing this to be the ruling passion of your souls, are you fit for heaven? In heaven there are none of these low and sordid enjoyments : And what pleasure would you have there, who have a taste only for these things? You are indeed fit to dig in the earth, like moles, and steal the serpent's food : You are fit to scrape up riches ; fit to wallow in the mire of guilty and debauched pleasures ; fit to live in this world could you always make your residence in it : This gross, impure, earthly element, suits your depraved constitations. But can you once imagine you are fit for heaven ; fit to breathe in that pure salubrious air ; fit to share in those refined and spiritual enjoyments; fit to join in the exalted employments of seraphs, while this is your prevailing temper? Surely, no. And what then will become of you ? The impure and gross region of this world, so agreeable to you, will not always last, and you will not probably live in it as long as it does last ; but death, ere long, will tear you away from all that is dear to you under the sun. And, alas! whither then shall you go? where then shall you take up your eternal residence ?-I leave you to pause and think
upon Suppose the service of God be a weariness to you, and the thoughts of Him unwelcome to your minds : suppose your hearts are full of angry malignant passions : in short, suppose you love sin more than holiness, can you fatter yourselves you are fit for heaven? Alas! it would be as unnatural an element to you as for a fish to live out of water, or you to live in it-But the farther illustration of this will fall under the next head ; therefore,
2. Inquire, Whether your temper and disposition be not infernal and diabolical, and such as render you fit for destruction, and for nothing else? Are your hearts destitute of the love of God? “ No, you answer ; we thank God we have never been so bad as that comes to." But if you love God, whence is it that you have so few affectionate thoughts of Him? that you do not study to please him in all things, and delight in his service? If you love God, how comes it that you do not keep his commandments which is the grand decisive test of love ? Alas! instead of loving him, are not your hearts disaffected to him? As evidences, of this, may I not produce your dislike to serious thoughts of him, your aversion to his service, your disregard to his will as the rule of your conduct, and your headlong propensity to follow
your own pleasure ? Do not the murmurings and insurrections of your hearts against him and his dispensations, your uneasy rebel. lious spirit under bis providences, your aversion to his service, do not these shew that you are really disaffected to him ? Now this is the very temper of hell ; this is the constituent of a devil; the very worst ingredient in that infernal composition; and there. fore, unless this temper be changed, you must dwell with devils forever : It is fit all the enemies of God should be shut up together in one vast prison. It is unfit that rebels and traitors should always run at large, or mingle with loyal subjects. Alas! Sirs, a soul without the love of God is devilized already, ripe for destruction, and fit for nothing else.
Again, Are there not some of you who have no pleasure in devotion, no delight in conversing with God in his ordinances? The posture of humble worshippers at the throne of grace is not easy and agreeable to you ; and hence that you have prayerless families and prayerless closets ; and if you join in public worship once a week, it is a mere customary formality. You cannot bear to wean your thoughts and tongues from temporal affairs in the few hours devoted to the service of God, though they make up but one day in seven ; you do not delight in religious conversation, but it strikes you dumb, like the man without the wedding garment. Well, in the infernal regions you will have as little of this exercise as you could wish. The patient will then be hopeless and incurable, and therefore no farther means will be used with him. Then you will no more be troubled with prayers, bibles, sermons, religious conversation, or the tedious hours of the Lord's day. And, since you have no taste for such exercises, is it not fit you should be sent into those ungodly regions, where you shall never be employed in them?
Again, Are not the minds of some of you defiled with all manner of sin and moral pollutions ? And do not these render you fit only for that region of corruption and impurity? Do you not indulge an angry, contentious, unforgiving, malicious tem. per ? Well, that is the very temper of hell, and renders you fit for it. Nay, these outrageous passions, when broke loose from restraint, will create a hell in your own breasts, and not only expose you to punishment, according to justice, but become the ingredients of your punishment, according to the course of nature. Do not some of you indulge yourselves in backbiting, and all the base malignant arts of defamation, and perhaps are firebrands in the neighbourhood where you live? Well, in hell you shall have enough of this work; and, while you indulge this spirit, you are preparing yourselves for that land of universal hostility and revenge. Is not cursing and swearing the familiar language of some of you? Well, this is the language of hell ; and you are now practising the infernal dialect, and preparing to converse with the ghosts below, in their own style, in the region of imprecation and blasphemy. Do not some of you live in the practice of the works of the devil ; that is, of those works to which he tempts you, and in which he has persisted, who was a sinner from the beginning ? Are you not then fit for that everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels ? Even the gentle lips of Jesus himself, would tell you, as he did the Jews, that you are of your father the devil, John viii. 44, since you habitually do his works. And is it not fit you should be doomed to the society of your infernal father ?
Do you not find your hearts are habitually hard and insensible ? Or if you have some kind of repentance, it is only a servile hor. ror, extorted remorse, and involuntary pangs of desperate agony. This is the very kind of repentance in hell, where they still love sin, and yet cannot but upbraid and torment themselves, because they have ruined themselves by indulging it. Conscience tortures them with the keenest reflections ; but they feel no kindly ingenuous relentings; no generous sorrows, proceeding from a sense of the intrinsic vileness and baseness of sin, and from a sincere disinterested love to God and holiness. Hence their repentance is only a punishment, but has no tendency to their reformation. And is not this the very nature of your repentance at present?
But I need not dwell long upon this inquiry. It is enough to tell you, in short, that if you are still in your natural state ; if you still retain that temper which is natural to you as the degenerate sons of Adam, without any supernatural change ; that estrangement from God ; that disaffection to him ; that carnality and earthly-mindedness; that blindness and insensibility about divine things ; that presumption, security, and love of lawless pleasure : I say, if this be still your prevailing temper, you are not meet for the heavenly inheritance ; for in order to be heirs of that, you must be born again of God. But you are fitted for destruction ; for by nature you are children of wrath, Eph. ii. 3. VOL. II.
entertainments, or persons infected with the plague from the society of the sound and healthy? Is it cruel to confine, madmen in bedlam, or criminals in prison ? Certainly no. Therefore God and his throne will be guiltless forever.
And now, my dear brethren, have any of you been convinced that tbis is really your case? That your temper and conduct is such as at once renders and proves you utterly unfit for heaven, and, as it were, naturalizes and seasons you for the infernal regions. Alas! this is a shocking and alarming discovery indeed : but, blessed be God, you have made it in time ; you have made it while in the land of hope, and in a state of trial ; and therefore there is reason to hope, that, if you now take the alarm, and earnestly use the means of grace, your condition, bad as it is, may be happily altered ; and you, who are now fit for nothing but destruction, may yet be made meet for the inheritance of the saints in-light. It is because there is some reason for this hope, that I have honestly exposed these alarming and unpopular things to your view. You must know them sooner or later : and if you should not know them until you fall into destruction, alas! it will then be too late. Believe me, my brethren, these things do not proceed from a morose malevolent heart, nor are they intended to drive you into despair. I speak to you with melting pity and affectionate benevolence ; and instead of driring you into despair, my design is to save you from it forever, and bring you to have a good hope through grace. And as the evidence of what I have offered is so plain to common sense, do not pretend you cannot understand me, and do not know what I would
I am only inculcating upon you this self-evident truth, that unless you are prepared for heaven, you shall not be admitted; and that, if you are fit for nothing but destruction, you must be destroyed. Can any mathematical demonstration be more plain than this? And are any of you so void of sense, reason and faith, as not to understand and believe it ?
I now presume, that such of you as have made this discovery with regard to yourselves, are also convinced, that you cannot possibly escape destruction, unless your present temper be changed, and quite a new frame of spirit given you.
And who do you think, can work this bappy change in your hearts ! If you are so vain and ignorant, as to flatter yourselves that you can effect it in your own strength, make the trial, and you will soon be undeceived. It is God alone that can work in you both to will and to do. My text tells you, it is He that prepares the vessels of mercy for glory : It is his Holy Spirit alone that is equal to the arduous work.
But in what way is this influence to be expected ? Is it in a course of impenitent sinning? of presumption and security ? of sloth and negligence ? No ; to expect it in that way, is to tempt the Lord your God. But such of you as would escape the damnation of hell ; such of you as have any desire to be forever happy, hear me, seriously hear me, and I will tell you in a few plain words what you must do, if you would expect the aids of divine grace to prepare you for glory.
You must immediately think seriously of your condition : you must labour impartially to know the truth of your case : pry into the dreadful secrets of wickedness in your hearts : review your -sinful lives : reflect upon the purity and justice of God and his law, and what you have deserved for a whole life of unnatural rebellion against him : read and hear the word of life with solemni. ty and attention, and use all proper means to furnish your minds with religious knowledge. It may pain you at first to confine your minds to such objects ; but it must be done ;-and there is no disputing against necessity : besides, the pain is medicinal ; it will contribute to the recovery of your dying souls.
Again, You must accustom yourselves to frequent importunate prayer. If ever you be saved, or prepared for salvation, it will be in answer to prayer : therefore engage in it, persevere in it, and never give over until you obtain your request.
Further, You must guard against every thing that tends to di. vert your minds from this grand concern ; as excessive hurries and cares about earthly things, vain and vicious company, and every avoidable temptation.
Finally, You must persevere in this course, if you hope to succeed ; and never rest until you feel the dispositions of heaven wrought in your souls. A pang of remorse, a serious fit, a transient prayer, will not suffice, but you must hold on your way to the last. You may expect difficulties in this new course, and you will probably meet with more than you can now foresee or expect. But you must break through all ; for your immortal interest, your all is at stake.
This is the course I would advise you to, if ever you hope to be prepared for glory. I cannot give you any the least encouragement in any other way. If any other can shew you a more easy,