« AnteriorContinuar »
Matth. xiii. 41. At death, sinners that were mixed with the saints in this world, are gathered out from among them, like weeds from among the corn, and tares from among the wheat. And we should be concerned now, that that be not our lot. For it will be a most terrible excommunication, Psal. i.. 5. "The ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous."
Lastly, A placing of the foul in the society of sinners in the other world, putting them in the fame place with them, and in the fame state. This is to be deprecated, "Gather not my foul with sinners." To be gathered to sinners as our people, shut up with. them in the fame receptacle of spirits, to have our lot with them in the other world, and fare as they fare for eternity, is what we mould be in the greatest care and concern, that it be not our lot.
IV. I Shall consider this care and concern; or shew what is implied in this earnest request, " Gather not my foul with sinners." It implies,
1. A sure and certain expectation, that our fouls must be gathered into the other world by death. The Psalmist prays not against the gathering simply, for in that case neither prayers nor tears can prevail, force nor fraud, Psal. lxxxix. 48. "What man is he that liveth and (hall not see death?" But since they must be gathered, they pray that they be not gathered with sinners. There is no may be here, but it must be, as it is "appointed unto men once to die," Heb. ix. 27. We must lay our account with it, as an event inevitable.
a. A belief of the miserable state of sinners in the other world, and the happiness of saints. If one is not persuaded of these, he will be in no concern about the matter. But we must look beyond this world into the other, and in the glass of the word take a view of the state of sinners and saints there, to raise .:. . . . US us to due concern in it. Often do men look into the state of sinners here, and behold the easy lise they have of it, and they wish in essect to be among them; but if welook to them in theother world, we will wish to be far from them, to have nothing ado with them.
3. .A horror of the state of sinners there. The man looking to it shrinks back, saying, Save me from it! Their state there duly apprehended, is apt to breed such a horror, as not only cures the envy at their present prosperous state, but makes the man that he would not for a thousand worlds, his foul were in their fouls stead, Psal. lxxiii. 18,—20.
. 4. An earnest concern to be delivered from it. The man takes a view of it seriously, and he is not indifserent in the matter. He is not negligent as to the future state of his foul in the other world; but timely lays down measures for eternity, knowing that to miscarry in that point is a loss that can never be made up.
5. An acknowledgement that God may in justice gather one's foul with sinners. The best have as much sin as deserves it, and all are by nature liable to it, Rom. iii. 19. And every one that sees the ill of sin, and its just demerit, will see that if justice take place against them, they will be gathered with sinners in the other world.
Lastly, A betaking one's self to the mercy of the Judge, in his own way, for the pardon of sin, and the removal of the just punishment, Job ix. 15. And that is to consess sin, flee to lay hold on the altar Jesus Christ by faith, separating from the society and, way of sinners in time.
V. I Come now to give reasons, why we should be in such care and concern, that our souls be not gathered with sinners in the other world.
1. Because to be gathered with them is to be separated for ever from God, and the holy and happy so
ciety whereof Christ is the head;. Match, vii. a^ "" ISepaM! from me, ye that work iniquity." Th* whole herd of sinners in- the other world- will be in a state of excommunication,, banished from the comfortable presence of God;, the place of his glory, PsaL 'vt 4, 5. keept our of the society of Christ, the holy angels, and saints, Matth; xiii., 4D. And to be gathered with them must needs then be horrible.
2. They will be garherd into aimost doleful places Isa. xxiv. 2/%. "They stvall' be gathered together as prisoners are gathered in the pi*, and shall be slmt up in the prison," Ar death- sinners' ate gathered- into the prison of hell, shut up. there to the judgment of the great da-y; and froai'tfre tribunal they will ber driven away thither again all together, there to be shut up' for ever, Matth. x*v. 4a. The horror of the place they art gathered into, the eternal gloom there, the chains of darkness that will hold them there; the mistr of darkness that never clears there, may all move tossy, " Gather not my foul wkh sinners."
3. Because they will be gathered unto- the most frightful society there, with the devil and his angels^ Matth. xxv. 411. They will be cast into the lake of sire withi the devil that deceived tftem; and that will be more terrible than to be gathered with dragons^ serpents, and vipers here, which would quickly make: an= end of one. O that men would consider how the service of the devil in sin here,, will bring them intw the society of him and his angels hereaster, that they might haw a horror of being joined with: sinners!'
4. Because sinners will be in a state of punishment there, heavy beyond expression;. being:" punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power," 2 Tbess. i. 9. Now 13 the time whereim sinners take leave to commit their: crimes, trampling- on God's laws, despising his: Son, andgrieving his Spirt; then will be the time that they must suffer and pay for all to the satisfaction of injured
justice. And the view of that searful reckoning may .cause one fay, *' Gather not my soul with sinners.
5. Because .they willhe left in their sin,there, Prov.. ativ. 32. " The .wicked is driven away in his avickedness." Jakn viii. 0.4. ,K if ye helienre .not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." At the moment as .death, it is said of the sinner, "He ithat is -silthy, let him be silthy still;" and he is cast away as an unclean person into the lUnclean place, with all the guilt,.silth, and power of his sins upon him, never tobe removed. And here consider, (1.) The perverse frame of spirit, which is natural to man, being enmity against .-God, will remain with them there; for there is no soiidisication of the Spirit begun on the other side of death. And it will be undisguised there, the peace being .blocked up, and the (war for ,ever betwixt God and them proclaimed. It .will be irritated by their hopeless miserable state, Rev. xvi. ult.
.(o.) Their sin will betheir punishment there; a just 'revenge ofcleavingto it.over the belly of all reprooss, warnings, and entreaties! So they will 'be silled with their own ways. And,
[1.] They will be cut with tormenting passion;, •envy at the happiness of the faints, fretting under their •own misery,and despairingforeverof relief, Mat. xxii. 13. ' There ihall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
[2.] As for their pleasurable sins that their hearts 'were set on here, the desii:e of them will continue,but tthe satisfying of them in any measure will be impossible. So they will be for ever racked between the de'sipe and the denial of satisfaction to their lusts. Who *hen would not fay," Gather not my foul with sinners?"
Lajtly^ Because being once gathered .with them, they will never more be separated from among them. As «he tree falls it must lie. They that are gathered with sinners at death, must be gathered with them at the resurrection, and shut up with them ia the pit of der ftruction for ever.
I shall now make some application of this subject.
1. That the state and condition of sinners, whatever advantages of ease, wealth, %3c, it be attended with, is a miserable one, to be pitied, lamented and avoided, not to be envied or desired. For it is impossible that all the wealth of this world should counterbalance the wo in the other world that is abiding them. Who would desire his lot with a condemned malefactor, though he fared deliciousty every day; or quietly enjoy the best covered table, while a sword was hanging by a hair over his head?
2. That the great business of our life is to learn to die, and the great business which we have to do in this world is to prepare for the other, Job xiv. 14. "If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait till my change come." Here we do but sojourn, there we are to abide: here we are on our journey, there we come to our dwelling-place : and it is of the utmost consequence which part of that world we arrive in, Matth. xvi. 26. And they who do not see to that in the sirst and chief place, are fools with a witness.
3. That we are in hazard of miscarrying with reserence to our abode in the other world; and carelessness about it will have a fatal issue. If all were to be gathered there into the happy receptacle without distinction, we might be easy; but it is not so; there will be a gathering into the region of horror, as well as into the region of bless. And we will be sure to miscarry, if we do not in time secure our happy reception, in the way appointed.
Lastly, That the hazard of miscarrying in it should •quicken us to suitable endeavours for securing our happiness in the other world. Our eternal state is •our greatest concern, and every thing being to be plied according to its weight, it should be seen to