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when he hath taken so many hellish swallows, and hath filled up the measure of his lusts,-his marrow must then lie down in the dust : though the cup were at his mouth, yet from thence it shall be snatched away; and for everlasting he shall never taste a drop of sweetness, nor have the least desire of his wicked heart satisfied any more. A wicked man's sins will not follow him to Hell to please him, but only the memory of them to be an everlasting scourge and flame upon his conscience. O then take heed of ripening sin by custom, by security, by insensibility, by impudence and stoutness of heart, by making it a mock, a matter of glory and of boasting, by stopping the ear against the voice of the charmer, and turning the back upon the invitations unto mercy, by resisting the evidence of the Spirit in the word, and commiting sin in the light of the sun : for as the heat of the sun doth wither the fruit which falls off, and ripen that which hangs on the tree; so the word doth weaken those lusts, which a man is desirous to shake off, and doth ripen those which the heart holds fast and will not part with. When was Israel overthrown, but when they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his Word, and misused his prophets, and rejected the remedy of their sin? And when was Judah destroyed, but when they hardened themselves against the Word, and would not take notice of the day of their peace ? Alas, what haste do men make to promote their own damnation, and go quickly to Hell, when they will break through the very law of God, and through all his holy ordinances, that they may come thither the sooner, as if the gate would be shut against them, or as if it were a place of some great preferment; as if they had to do with a blind God which could not see, or with an impotent God which could not revenge their impieties ! Well, for all this the wise man's speech will prove true at the last, " Know, that God will bring thee into judgement.”
Thirdly, • Donec' notes the infallible accomplishment of Christ's victories and triumph over his enemies at the last, when the day is come wherein he will be patient towards them no longer. The prophet giveth three excellent reasons hereof in one verse. “ The Lord is our judge', the Lord is our law
c Isai. xxxii. 22.
giver, the Lord is our king, he will save us." He is “our judge ;” and therefore certainly, when the day of trial is come, he will plead our cause against our adversaries, and will condemn them.d. But a judge cannot do what pleaseth himself; but he is bound to his rule, and proceedeth according to established laws. Therefore he is “our lawgiver” likewise; and therefore he may appoint himself laws according to his own will : but when the will of the judge, and the rule of the law do both consent in the punishing of offenders, yet then still the king hath a liberty of mercy, and he may pardon those whom the law and the judge have condemned. But Christ, who shall judge the enemies of his church according to the law which himself hath made, is himself "the king;" and therefore when he revengeth, there is none besides nor above him to pardon. So at that day there shall be a full manifestation of the kingdom of Christ: none of his enemiese shall move the wing, or open the mouth, or peep against him.
The second thing, formerly proposed in this latter part of the verse, was the author of subduing Christ's enemies under his feet; I, the Lord. Wicked men will never submit themselves to Christ's kingdom, but stand out in opposition against him in his word and ways. When God's hand is lifted up in the dispensation of his word and threatenings against sin, men will not see'; and therefore he saith, “My Spirit shall not always strive with men,”-to note, that men would of themselves always strive with the Spirit, and never yield nor submit to Christ. Though "the patience and goodness of God should lead them to repentance, and forewarn them to fly from the wrath to come, yet they, after their hardness and impenitent heart, do hereby treasure up against themselves the more wrath $; and “because judgement is not speedily executed, their heart is wholly set in them to do mischief."h_“ Let favour,” saith the prophet', “ be showed unto a wicked man, yet will he not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord.” Certainly, if a wicked man could be rescued out of Hell itself,
d Micah vii. 9. e Oportet eum ad tantani evidentiam regnum suum perducere, donec inimici ejus nullo modo audeant negare quod regnat. August. f Isai. xxvi. 11. 8 Rom. ii. 4,5. h Eccles. viii. 11. i Isai. xxvi. 10.
and brought back into the possibilities of mercy again, yet would he, in a second life, fly out against God, and while he bad time, take his fill of lusts again. We see clay will but grow harder by the fire; and that metal which melted in the furnace, being taken thence, will return to its wonted solidity. When Pharaoh saw " the rain, and the hail, and the thunders were ceased,”—though, in the time of them, he was like melted metal, and did acknowledge the righteousness of God, and his own sin, and make strong promises that Israel should go,—"yet then he sinned more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants, and would not let the children of Israel go."-Do we not see men sometimes cast on a bed of sickness, brought to the very brink of Hell, and to the smell of that sulphury lake,-when, by God's wonderful patience, they are snatched like a brand out of the fire, and have recovered a little strength, to provoke the Lord again; when they should now set themselves to make good those hypocritical resolutions of amendment of life, wherewith in their extremity they flattered God, and deceived themselves,-suddenly break forth into more filthiness than before, as if they meant now to be revenged of God, and to fetch back that time which sickness took from them, by an extremity of sinning; as if they had made a covenant with Hell, to do it more service, if they might then be spared ? All the favours and methods which God useth, are not enough to bring wicked men home unto him of their own wills. “Though I redeemed them,” saith the Lord, “yet have they spoken lies against mel; they have not cried unto me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds. The people turned not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the Lord of Hosts.” So many judgements did the Lord send upon Israel in the neck of one another, and yet still the burden of the prophet is, “yet have you not returned unto me 9,” saith the Lord. Dam up
passage of a river, and use all the art that may be, to over-rule it; yet you can never carry it backward in its own channel : you may cut it out into other courses and diverticles, but no art can drive it into a contrary motion, and make it retire into its own fountain : so though wicked men may, haply, by divers reasons which their lusts will admit, be so far wrought upon, as to change their courses,-yet it is impossible to change themselves, or to turn them quite out of their own way into the way of Christ. There is but a bivium in the world, a way of life, and a way of death ; and the Lord, in the ministry of the Word, gives us our option, “ I have set before you this day, life and death, blessing and cursing ;” and “he that believeth shall be saved, and he that believeth not, shall be damned.” To the former, he inviteth, beseecheth, enticeth us with promises, with oaths, with engagements, with prevention of any just objection which might be made; “ We beseech you," saith the apostle, “in Christ's stead, that ye be reconciled unto God.” From the other, he deters us by forewarning ns of the wrath to come, and of the period which death will put to our lusts with our lives.-And as Tertullian once spake of the oath of God, so may I of his entreatings and threatenings; “O blessed men whom the Lord himself is pleased to solicit and entice unto happiness! but, O miserable men that will not believe nor accept of God's own entreaties!”-And yet thus miserable are we all by nature. There is in men so much atheism, infidelity, and distrust of God's word,-so close an adherency of lust unto the soul,--that it rather chooseth to run the hazard, and to go to Hell entire, than to go halt and maimed unto Heaven ;-yea, to make God a liar, to bless themselves in their sins, when he curseth,—and to judge of him by themselves, as if he took no notice of their ways. It is not therefore without just cause, that God so often threatenetho to remember all the sins of wicked men, and to do against them whatsoever he hath spoken.We see then, that men will never submit themselves unto the sceptre of Christ, nor prevent the wrath to come by a voluntary subjection. It remains therefore, that God take the work into his own hands, and put them perforce under Christ's feet. They will not submit to his kingdom of grace and mercy, they will not believe his kingdom of glory and salvation; but they shall be made subject to the sword of his wrath, and that without any hope of escape, or power of opposition ; for God himself doth it immediately by his own mighty power. He will interpose his own hand, and magnify the glory of his own strength in the just confusion of wicked men. So the apostle saith, that “The Lord will show his wrath, and make power known in the vessels fitted for destruction.”p Two means, the apostle showeth, shall be used in the destruction of the wicked, to effect it,—the presence or countenance, and the glorious power, of the Lord. The very terror of his face, and the dreadful majesty of his presence, shall slay the wicked. The kings of the earth, and the great men and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, those who all their lifetime were themselves terrible, and had been acquainted with terrors,-shall then beg of the mountains and rocks to fall upon them, and hide them “from the face of him that sitteth upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb." Whence that usual expression of God's resolution to destroy a people, "I will set my face against them.” O then, how sore shall the condemnation of the wicked men be, when therein the Lord purposeth to declare την δόξαν της ισχύος αυτού, the glorious strength of his own almighty arm. Here, when the Lord punisheth a people, he only showeth how much strength and edge he can put into the creatures to execute his displeasure, But the extreme terror of the last day shall be this, that men shall fall immediately into the hands of God himself, who hath said, “ Vengeance belongeth unto me, and I will recompense.” And therefore the apostle useth this expostulation against idolaters ; "Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he ?” Dare we meet the Lord in his fury, do we provoke him to put out all his wrath ?u He will at last stir up all his wrath against the vessels that are fitted for it. And for that cause he will punish them himself. For there is no creature able to bring all God's wrath unto another; there is no vessel able to hold all God's displeasure. The apostle telleth us that we have to do with God in his word w; but herein he useth the ministry of weak men; so that his majesty is covered, and wicked men have a veil upon
I Hos. vii. 13, 14.
n Isai. ix. 13,
* Exod. ix. 27, 28, 34, 35. > Amos iv. 6,8. 9, 10, 11.
o Deut. xxix. 16, Psal. I. 21. Hosea v. 2, 3. and vii. 2. 12. Amos viii. 7. Deut. xxxii. 34, 35. Psal. I. 21. Jer. xvii. I.