« ElőzőTovább »
ness, his conscience began to be awakened, and he began to roar out of his ill-spent life, insomuch that the town began to ring of him. Now, when it was noised about, many of the neighbours came to sce him, and to read by him, as 'is the common way with some ; but all that they could do, could not abate his terror, but he would lie in his bead gnashing of his teethi, and wringing of his wrists, concluding upon the damination of his soul, and in that horror and despair he died; not calling upon God, but distrusting in his mercy, and blaspheming of his name.
Atten. This brings to my mind a man that a friend of mine told me of. He had been a wicked liver ; so when he came to die, he fell into despair; and having concluded that God had no mercy for him, he addressed himself to the devil for favour, saying, Good devil, be good unto me.
Wise. This is almost like Saul, who being forsaken of God, went to the witch of Endor, and so to the devil, for help. But alas, should I set myself to collect these dreadful stories, it would be easy in a little time to present you with hundreds of them. But I will conclude as I began ; they that are their own murderers, or that die in despair, after they have lived a life of wickedness, do surely go to hell.
And here I will put in a caution: Every one that dieth under consternation of spirit, that is, under amaze ment and great fear, do not therefore die in despair : for a good man may have bands in his death, and yet go to heaven and glory. For, as I said before, he that is a good man, a man that hath faith and holiness, a lover and worshipper of God by Christ, according to his word, may die in consternation of spirit; for Satan will not be wanting to assault good men upon their death bed, but they are secured by the word and power of God; yea, and also helped, though with much agony of spirit, to exercise theniselves in faith and prayer, the which he that dieth in despair can by no
means do. But let us return to Mr. Badman and enter into further discourse of the manner of his death.
Alten. I think you and me are both of a mind; for just now I was thinking to call you back to him also. And pray, now, since it is your own motion to return again to him, let us discourse a Wittle more of bis quiet and still death,
Wise. With all my heart : You know we were speaking before of the manner of Mr. Badman's death; how that he died still and quietly ; upon which you made observation, that the common people conclude, that if a man dies quietly, and as they call it like a Jamb, he is certainly gone to heaven; when, alas ! if a wicked man dies quiiely, if a man that has all his days lived in notorious sin, dieth quietly, his quiet dying is is so far off from being a sign of his being saved, that it is an uncontroulable proof of his damnation. This was Mr. Badman's case ; he lived wickedly even to the last
, and then went quietly out of the world; therefore Mi. Badman is gone to hell.
Atten. Well, but since you are upon it, and also so confident in it, to wit, that a man that lives a wicked life till he dies, and then dies quietly, is gone to bell, let me see what shew of proof you have for this your opinion.
Wise. My first argument is drawn from the necessity of repentance. No man can be saved except he repents, nor can he repent that sees not, that knows not that he is a sinner; and he that knows himself to be a sinner, will, I warrant him, be molested for the time by that knowledge. This, as it is testified by all the scriptures, so it is testified by Christian experience. He that knows himself to be a sinner, is inolested, especially if that knowledge comes not to him until he is cast upon his death-bed; molested, I say, before he can die quietly ; yea, he is molested, dejected, and cast down; he is also made to cry out, to hunger and thirst after mercy by Christ; and if at all he shall indeed come to die quietly, I mean with that quietness that is begotten by faith and hope in God's mercy, (to the which Mr. Badman and his brethern were utter strangers,) his quietness is distinguished, by all judicious observers, by what went before it, by what it flows from, and also by what is the fruit thereof.
* To form an opnion of a person's future state by manifestations in his dying moments, is ridiculous in the extreme; though there are gloomy enthusiasts hardy enough to deside upon the fate of spirits, by the signs of bodily pain that mortals may exhibit, when they are taking their departure from this terrestrial sphere.
I must confess I am no admirer of sickbed-repentance, for I think verily it is seldom good for any thing; but I say, he that hath lived in sin and profaneness all his days, as Mr. Badman did, and yet shall die quietly, that is, without repentance steps in betwixt his life and death, he is assuredly gone to hell, and is damned.
· Atten. This does look like an argument indeed; for repentance must come, or else we must go to hell-fire ; and if a lewd liver shall ( I mean that so continues until the day of his death ) yet go out of the world quietly, it is a sign that he died without repentance, and so a sign that he is damned.
Wise. I am satisfied of it, for my part, and that from the necessity and nature of repentance. It is necessary, because God calls for it, and will not pardon sin without it: “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” This is that which God hath said, and he will prove but a fool-hardy man that shall yet think to go to heaven and glory without it. Repent, for the axe is laid to the root of the tree; every tree therefore that bringeth not forth good fruit (but no good fruit can be where there is no sound repentance ) shall be hewu down and cast into the fire." This was Mr. Badman's case ; he had attending of him a sinful life, and that to the very last, and yet died quitely, that is, without re-, pentance; he is gone to hell, and is damned. For the nature of repentance, I have touched upon that already, and shewed, that it never was, where a quiet death is
the immediate companion of a sinful life ; and therefore Mr. Badman iş gone to hell.
2. My second argument is drawn from that blessed word of Christ, “While the strong man armed keeps the house, his goods are in peace, till a stronger than he comes :" But the strong man armed kept Mr. Badman's house, that is, his heart, and soul, and body, for he went form a sinful life quietly out of this world. I'he stronger, did not disturb by intercepting with sound repentance betwixt his sinful life and is quiet death : therefore Mr. Badman is gone to hell.
1 The strong man arnied is the devil, and quietness is his security. The devil never fears losing of the sinner, if he can but keep him quiet, Can be but keep him quiet in a sinful life, and quiet in his death, he is his own. Therefore he saith, his goods are in
peace; is, out of danger. There is no fear of the devil's losing such a soul, I say, because Christ, who is the best judge in this matter, saith, his goods are at peace, in quiet, and out of danger.
Alten. This is a good one too; for doubtless, peace and quiet with sin, is one of the greatest signs of a damnable state.
Wise. So it is: Therefore, when God would shew the greatness of his anger against sin and sinners in one word, he saith, “They are joined to idols, let them alone.”.. Let them alone, that is, disturb them not; let them go on without controul ; let the devil enjoy them peaceably; let him carry them out of the world uncon-, verted quietly
This is one of the sorest of judgments, and bespeaketh the burning anger of God against sinful men. See also when you come home, Hosea iv. 14. “ I will not punish your daughters when they commit whoredom.” I will let them alone, they shall live and die in their sins. But,
3. My third argument is drawn from that saying of Christ, “ He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their hearts; that they should not see with their eyes, nor
understand with their hearts, and be. converted, and I should heal them."
There are three things that I will take notice of from these words,
(1.) The first is, That there can be no conversion, to God where the eye is darkened, and the heart hardened. The eye must first be made to see, and the heart to break and relent under and for sin, or else their can be no conversion. “He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their hearts, lest they should see, and understand, and (so) be converted.” And this was clearly Mr. Badman's case, he lived a wicked life, and also died with his eyes shut, and heart hardened, as is manifest, in that a sinful life was joined with a quiet death; and all for that he should not be converted, but partake of the fruit of his sioful life in hell-fire.
(2.) The second thing that I take notice of from these words is, That this is a dispensation and manifestation of God's anger against á man for his sin, When God is
angry with men, I mean, when he is . so angry with them, this among many is one of the judgments that he giveth them up unto, to wi', to blindness of mind, and hardness of heart, which he also suffereth to accompany then till they enter in at the gates of death. And then, and there, and not short of then and there, their
eyes come to be opened. Hence it is said of the : rich man mentioned in Luke, “He died, and in hell
he lift up his eyes ;” implying, that he did not lift them
up before : He neither saw what he "had done, nor - whither he was going, till he came to the place of execution, even into
hell, He died a sleep in his soul ; he died besoited, stupified, and so consequently for quietness like a child or lamb, even as Mr. Badman did ;This was a sign of God's anger; he had a mind to damn him for his sins, and therefore would not let him see nor have an heart to repent for them, lest he should convert; and his. damnation which God had appointed, should be frastrated: Lest they should be converted, and I should
heal them in