Oldalképek
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

SINNERS IN ZION,

&c.*

ISAIAH xxxiii. 14.

The sinners in zion are afraid ; fearfulness hath surprised the

hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who amongst us shall dwell with everlasting barrings?

SECT. I.

Shewing who are sinners in Zion. THERE

HERE are two kinds of persons among God's professing people; the one, those who are truly godly, spoken of in the verse following the text; He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly, &c. The other kind consists of sinners in Zion, or hypocrites. It is to be observed, that the prophet in this chapter speaks interchangeably, first to the one, and then to the other of these characters of men; awfully threatening and denouncing the wrath of God against the one, and comforting the other with gracious promises.' Thus you may observe, in the 5th and 6th verses, there are comfortable promises to the godly; then in the eight following verses, awful judgments are threatened against the sinners in Zion. Again, in the two next verses are blessed promises to the sincerely godly, and in the former part of ver. 17.

And then in the latter part of ver. 17. and in ver. 18, and 19. are terrible threatenings to sinners in Zion: then in the verses that follow are gracious promises to the godly.

Our text is part of what is said in this chapter to sinners in Zion. In ver. 10. it is said, Now will I rise, saith the Lord: now will I be exalted, now will I lift up myself, i.e. Now will I

* The substance of two postbumous discourses, dated Dec. 1740, VOL. IV.

3 P

arise to execute wrath upon the ungodly; I will not let them alone any longer. They shall see that I am not asleep, and that I am not regardless of mine own honour. Now will I be exalted. Though they have cast contempt upon me, yet I will vindicate the honour of my own majesty: I will exalt myself, and show my greatness, and my awful majesty in their destruction. Now will I lift up myself ; now I will no longer have mine honour trampled in the dust by them: But my glory shall be manifested in their misery.

In ver. 11. the prophet proceeds, le shall conceive chaff, ye shall bring forth stubble : i.e. Ye shall pursue bappiness in ways of wickedness, but you shall not obtain it; you are as ground which brings forth no fruit, as if only chaff were sowed in it; it brings forth nothing but stubble, which is fit for nothing but to be burned.

It seems to have been the manner in that land where the corn grew very rank, when they had reaped the wheat, and gathered it off from the ground, to set fire to the stubble; which is alluded to here; and therefore it is added, Your breath, as fire, shall devour you : i. e. Your own wicked speeches, your wickedness that you commit with your breath, or with your tongues, shall set fire to the stubble and devour it.

Then it follows in ver. 12. And the people shall be as the burnings of lime. As they are wont to burn lime in a great and exceeding fierce fire, till stones, and bones, and other things are burnt to lime; so shall the wicked be burnt in the fire of God's wrath. As thorns cut up shall they be burnt in the fire: as briers and thorns are the incumbrance and curse of the ground where they grow, and are wont to be burnt; so shall it be with the wicked that are among God's people, and grow in God's field. Heb. vi. 7, 8. For the earth which drink. etk in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for thein by whom it is dressed, receiveih blessing from God: but that which beareth thorns and briers, is rejected, and is nigh unto cursings whose end is to be burned.

Then it follows in ver. 13. Hear ye that are far off, what I have done ; and ye that are near, acknowledge my might. This implies that God will, by the destruction of ungodly nien, manifest his glory very publicly, even in the sight of the whole world, both in the sight of those that are near, and of those that are far off. Acknowledge my might. Which implies that God will execute wrath upon angodly men, in such a manner as extraordinarily to show forth his great and mighty

[ocr errors]

power. The destruction and misery of the wicked will be so dreadful, that it will be a manifestation of the omnipotent power of God, that he can execute such misery; agreeably to Rom. ix. 22. What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction.

Next follow these words: The sinners in Zion are afraid ! fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites, who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire ? who amongst us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? The sense is, That the time will come, when fearfulness will surprise the sinners in Zion; because they will know, that they are about to be cast into a devouring fire, which they must suffer for ever and ever, and which pone can endure.

It may be inquired, who are the sinners in Zion ? I answer, That they are those who are in a natural condition among the visible people of God. Zion, or the city of David of old, was a type of the church; and the church of God in scripture is perhaps more frequently called by the name of Zion than by any other pame. And commonly by Zion iş meant the true church af Christ, or the invisible church of true saints. But sometimes by this name is meant the visible church, consisting of those who are outwardly, by profession and external privileges, the people of God. This is intended by Zion in this text.

The greater part of the world are sinners : Christ's Rock is, and ever hath been but a little hock. And the singers of the world are of two sorts : those who are visibly of Satan's kingdom, who are without the pale of the visible church; and those who do not profess the true religion, nor attend the external ordinances of it. Beside these there are the sinħers in Zion. Botb are the objects of the displeasure and wrath of God; but bis wrath is more especially manifested in scripture against the latter. Sinners in Zion will have by far the lowest place in hell. They are exalted nearest to heaven in this world, and they will be lowest in bell in another. The same is meant by hypocritesa Sioners in Zion pre all hypocrites ; for they make a profession of the true religion ; they attend God's ordinances, and make a show of being the worshippers of God; but all is in hypocrisy.

[ocr errors]

a

SECT. II.

Ilow fearfulness will hereafter surprise sinners in Zion.

1. They will hereafter be afraid. Now many of thema seem to have little or no fear. They are quiet and secure. Nothing will awaken them: the most awful threatenings and the loudest warnings do not much move them. They are not so much moved with them, but that they can eat, and drink, and sleep, and go about their worldly concerns without much disturbance. But the time will come, when the hardest and most stupid wretches will be awakened. Though now preaching will not awaken them, and the death of others will not make them afraid ; though seeing others awakened and converted will not much affect them; though they can stand all that is to be heard and seen in a time of general out-pouring of the Spirit of God, without being much moved; yet the time will come, when they will be awakened, and fear will take hold of them. They will be afraid of the wrath of God : however senseless they be now, they will bereafter be sensible of the awful greatness of God, and that it is a fearful thing to fall into his hands.

2. They will be surprised with fear. This seems to imply two things; viz. the greatness of their fear, and the suddendess of it.

(1.) The greatness of their fear. Surprise argues a high degree of fear. Their fears will be to the degree of astonishment. Some of the sinners in Zion are somewhat afraid now : They now and then have some degree of fear. They are not indeed convinced that there is such a place as hell ; but they are afraid there is. They are not thoroughly awakened; neither are they quite easy. They have at certain times inward molestations from their consciences; but they have no such degrees of fear, as to put them upon any thorough endeavours to escape future wratb.

However, hereafter they will have fear enough, as much, and a great deal more, than they will be able to stand under. Their fear will be to the degree of horror ; they will be horribly afraid ; and terrors will take hold on them as waters. Thus we read of their fear coming as a desolation, and of distress and an. guish coming upon them ; Prov. i. 27. It is also very emphatically said of the wicked, that trouble and anguish shall prevail against him, as a King ready to the battle. Job. xv. 24.

« ElőzőTovább »