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1. They overcome its smiles, holdting fast by their God, religion, and duty, in the face of a smiling world, Job i. 1,—5. Many a man that sometimes seemed to be separated from the world, is brought by the warm fun of worldly prosperity to drop off his garments of religion and a tender walk, and plunge himself into the way of the world lying in wickedness. And there is no question but worldly prosperity is given to men for their trial, as well as adversity; and many come foul off in it, Prov. i. 32. But those who are once truly separate will overcome.
2. They overcome its frowns, holding fast by their God, religion, and duty, as sweet, though the world turn never so sour, Hab. iii. 17, 18. "Although the sig tree (hall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines, the labour of the olive shall fail, and the sields ihall yield no meat, the flock shall be cut off from .the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls; yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation." The sour world gets the day of many, by fucking the sap out of religion to them, rendering the word of promise and spiritual comforts tasteless to them; so that though when the world gave them comfort, they had some comfort in religion too; yet when, the world's comforts are dried up, the comforts of religion are gone too, Exod. vi. 9. That fays the world was the main pillar on which their comfort stood. But tho' the world may prevail to brangle thus with them that are of God, yet they will not be quite overcome, but will be overcomers in the case; shewing that they are in hope of something better than what they have lost, that there is something for which they can part with all to obtain it, and that there is a fountain running while the world's cisterns are dry.
I proceed now to consider the last doctrine, namely,
Doct. III. The whole unregenerate world Heth in vo'uhdness.
In handling this subject, we shall, I. Shew why the society of the unregenerate if called the world.
II. Offer some description of the unregenerate world.
III. Make improvement.
I. T am to shew why the society of the unregenerate is called the world. It is plain here, that though the regenerate really are in this world, as well as the unregenerate; yet the unregenerate are by the Spirit of God called the world, in contradistinction to the regenerate, as if they possessed the earth alone, and no other were mixed with them in it. The reasons are, 1. They are the main body of the world; and so sew of the other sort are mixed with them, that they alter not the denomination, John i. 10. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. The regenerate are but here one and there one, but the unregenerate appear in multitudes; the former are but as gleanings, the latter as the harvest. What sasety can men propose then in the way of the multitude, the course of the world?
The scripture is plain in this, Matth. vii. 13, 14. "Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, snd broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat; because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto lise, and sew there be that sind it." Luke xiii. 24. "Strive to enter in at the strait gate; for many, I fay unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able." Christ's flock is a very little flock, in comparison of the devil's herd, Luke xii. 32. -And it is, alas! demonstrable beyond contradiction. Dividing the world into thirty parts, nineteen of them are possessed by Pagan idolaters, who know not the true God; six by Jews, Turks, and Saracens ; so sive only remain which prosess Christianity. Thus Christians by prosession
are arc but sive to twenty-sive. Of these sive two are reckoned to be of the Greek church, much sunk in ignorance, and the other three idolatrous Papists and Protestants. And among Protestants, how many are openly profane, or grossly ignorant, having no tolerable shew of piety? how many are mere formalists, strangers to the work of grace, aud exercises of godliness?
2. They are the natives, others are but strangers among them, and such are not counted in a general denomination of a society. They are in the scripturestyle, the inhabitants of the world, Isa. xxvi. 18. of the earth and sea, Rev. xii. 12. as being the natives of it, having their birth and breeding only of the world. The regenerate are sojourners among them, pilgrims and strangers among them, Heb. xi. 13.
3. Their spirit, temper, and disposition, chief aims and designs, are all worldly, there is nothing heavenly in them, Psal. xvii. id. Their souls indeed are of heavenly original; but they are funk, like a pearl in a mire, in the prolits, pleasures, vanities, and cares of the world. Hence they are called flesh, as if they had no spirit in them, John iii. 6. and are said to be in the flesh, Rom. viii. 8. For they can relish nothing but what is flefloly or worldly; their views are consined within the compass of the present world ^ on these things they value thernselves; and in effect their souls have resigned themselves flaves to their bodies, and their conscience to their senses; being an effect in their bodies as salt only to keep them from rotting.
4. They are the lower part of the rational kind, the dreggy part of the creation. Therefore, whereas the church is called heaven, and the regenerate sons of God, heavenly men; they are called the earth, children of men, earthly men, Gen. xi. 1. and vi. a. 1 Cor. xv. 48. For as when the Spirit moved, and the divine word passed upon the shapeless mass at the beginning, the siner parts went tipward, or off from
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the dreggy gross part, which remaining lowest wascalled earth; so the word and Spirit passing on the mass of mankind, that part thereof which is thereby regenerate gets a new nature, ascends iii their designs and aims, and at length become equal with the angels, Luke xx. 36.; and the unregenerate part that is lest beldw, being earthly, sensual, devilish; for the time are like the beasts, following their fleshly appetite, as dogs and swine the grossest of them; and in the end are thrust down into the place of devils.
5. Lastly, Because all in the world without exception are originally of their kind, unregenerate, John iii. 6. Even the elect themselves are once unregenerate; they who are now of God, were sometime of the unregenerate world, Tit. iii. 3. So that irregeneracy is the state of all the world originally, in which state all lie in wickedness, Psal. xiv. 3. Only those that are of God, have heard Heaven's voice, as saying, Come up hither, and so have been separated from the world. But the society they came from, is still the world lying in wickedness.
A Description Of The Unregenerate World.
II. The second head proposed was, to offer some description of the unregenerate world. We have seen some of the characters of those that are of God, I shall now lay before you a view of the world lying in wickedness. That world is (as it were two hemispheres) twofold. »
1, The lower world lying in wickedness. That is the region of death, eternal death; the lake of sire ^ the pit, the abyss of hell. The inhabitants thereof are the devils, and the souls of the damned, who have lived and died in their unregenerate state, and will con. tinue for ever in it.
2. The upper world lying in wickedness. That is the land of the living, this present evil world, made
(tp of all those who are living in their unregenerate state, the black state of nature, strangers to Christ and the power of godliness. It is the upper unregenerate world we are to speak of, not the lower, when we have observed that they are but one world in different circumstances.
1st, The lower and upper unregenerate world are indeed one world, one kingdom ot' Satan, one family of his. As it is but one family of saints that is in heaven and earth, Eph. iii. 15.; so it is but one family of sinners that is in hell and on earth. Therefore those here are declared children of hell, as well as those that are there, Matth. xxiii. 15. of the devil, John viii. 44. So men dying unregenerate, go to their own place, Acts i. 25.; and though they change their place, they change not their society, being gathered with those in death, in society with whom they lived.
idly, But only they are in different circumstances.
(1.) The state of the one is alterable, • as of those who are upon a trial; of the other unalterable, as those on whom a desinitive sentence is passed; this is held forth in the case of the rich man and his sive brethren, Luke xvi. 25,— 28. Those of them here are upon their way in their travel, and may change' their route, and go heaven-ward; the other are at their journey's end, and can move no more from their place.
(2.) So the case of the one is not without hope, but that of the other absolutely hopeless. They are both prisoners; but the one are prisoners of hope, Zech. ix. 12.; but the earth with her bars is about the other for ever. There is a gulf sixed between heaven and them, impassable. Here they are in darkness indeed, but it is not outer darkness, as in the case of the damned. Here the voice of the turtle is heard, bat there nothing but yelling.
(3.) And lastly, Here they lie in wickedness with feme ease and pleasure; there they lie in it with none v all. Their pleasurable sins are there at an end,