« AnteriorContinuar »
Let not men harden themselves in the case, because it feems to fare as ill with saints as finners. For, ;
1. It is God's ordinary way in his proceedings a. gainst a land, to begin with his own house and fami. Iy, Ezek. ix. 6. For though they are not of, yet they are in the world, and contract infection, so that with them also there are fins against the Lord. And bea cause the Lord has a kindness for them, they get the brim of the cup, Zech, i. II, 12.
2. But it is a sign for ill to the world lying in wick. edness. And of a long time we have had that figo, of particular strokes directed against thofe that are the most serious, 1 Pet. iv, 17, 18. For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God; and if it first begin at us, what fhall the end bie of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the finner appear? If God's own people drink of the cup of judgment, the world lying in wickedness fhall pledge them, and drink after, Jer. XXV: 28, 29. And the former getting the brim, the dregs will fall to the latter, Psal. lxxv. 8. And thus God's own prophets have been figns to a people with whom God had a controversy, Ezek. xxiv. Thus Ezekiel is unto you a sign ; according to all that he hath done, shall ye do ; and when this cometh, ye shall know that I am the Lord God.
3. Lastly, Though in the outward course of provi. dence all falls alike to all, yet the cross of the saint is better than the crown of the finner, Ifa. liii. 10, II. “Say ye'to the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. Wo unto the wicked, it shall be ill with him ; for the reward of his hands shall be given him.” Rom. viii. 28.“ And we know that all things work together for good, to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Prov. i. 320 “ The prosperi. ty of fools shall destroy them.”
Thirdly, It is not strange to find men of the world lying in the habitual practice of some abomination; for the whole world lieth in wickedness. Men will carry themselves agreeable to their state of regeneracy or irregeneracy; and to find unregenerate men lying in this and the other wickedness, is no more strange than to find fish [svimming in the water, and birds fying in the air ; it is their element.
1. Accordingly some lie in open wickedness, den claring their fin as Sodom, Ifa. liii. 9. For where men cannot restrain them, they are at liberty, because they have no fear of God before their eyes. Their luft is their law in these things, and they go as far in the road as their feet will carry them, doing evil as they may or can.
2. Some lie in fome secret wickedness, which they get kept secret from the open view of the world, and for the eye of a jealous God that mars them not, Ezek. viii. 12. “Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, The Lord feeth us not, the Lord hath forsaken the earth.” This evil world has a loathsome afpe&t as it is, for all the covering of abominations in it; but were the secret abominations in it brought out to men's knowledge, the fecret frauds and cheats, whoredoms, adulteries, and lasciviousness, murders, thefts, Ue. set in the light, how much more loathsome would the world appear? Eph. V. I2. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in fecret. But two things are certain,
(1.) Where the fountain of fin is not stopt by rea generating grace, it must needs have its main stream running in the practice of fomė one wickedness or other, Rom, yi. 12. An unregenerate man's predom minant fin may indeed be changed; but he fhall sooner cease to breathe, than to have fome one run, aing illue of other. And that will always be his
neckbreak here, that will part betwixt Christ and him, Mark x. 21, 22.; and that will be the most terrible gnawing worm in the conscience hereafter.
(2.) Whether it be an open or fecret wickedness, it will be called at length before a tribunal, where there will be no shifting of compearance, defeating of probation, nor stopping execution, Acts xvii. 31. “ He hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the
world in righteousness, by that man whom he hath or· dained.” Rom. xiv. 10. “We shall all stand before the
judgment-seat of Christ.” There the most secret pieces of wickedness shall be discovered before all the world, Eccl. xii.ult. “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. Prov.xxvi. 26. “Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be Thewed before the whole congregation.” And the most daring transgressor shall be made to stand trembling, Eccl. xi. 9. “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thy heart, and in the fight of thine eyes; but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment."
Fourthly, The world must be an infectious fociety; it must be a pestilential air that is breathed in it, and wickedness in it must be of a growing and spreading na. ture. For the whole world lieth in wickedness. Hence,
1. Unregenerate men, if they get not a cast of faving grace to change their nature, will undoubtedly grow worse and worse, 2 Tim. iii. 13. As that which lies in the dunghill, rots the more the longer it lies ; fo men lying in irregeneracy, in wickedness, the longer they live their case is the more hopeless. How evi. dently is this seen, in there being some hope of some while they are yet young, yet not being converted then, they grow at length to a pitch that there is no dealing with them?
2. Unregenerate men are fnares and neckbreaks
one to another, serving to advance the growth of wickedness in one another, Matth. xviii. 7. As in a dunghill one part serves to rot another, so is it in the world lying in wickedness. The ill example of some encourages others, and so the elder corrupt the younger, especially when they go about to train them up in the ways of wickedness.
3. They are snares even to the godly. It is hard to come near a mire or dunghill, and not be defiled. There was a fuffocating vapour arose from the high priest's hall, that made Peter to fall a denying his Master. This made the Psalmist say, “Wo is me, that I sojourn in Mefech, that I dwell in the tents of Kem dar,” Pfal. cxx. 5.
Hence we may learn,
(1.) They have a hard talk in hand, whose business it is to deal with the world lying in wickedness, in order to their reformation ; for the longer they lie in : their wickedness, they are the more strengthened in: it, their hearts are the more hardened, their consci. ences more feared, and the bands of wickedness grow stronger. And then one helps another in an ill course, they unite and combine 'to strengthen one another in wickedness. So that it is a heavy talk.
(2.) The danger of ill company, 1 Cor. xv. 32. « Evil communications corrupt good manners.” The. wicked world is a dangerous fociety, and has been. ruining to many.. How many have been ruined, by their being educated and living amongst those of the world lying in wickedness, never having an opportunity of good company, where they might see or get good? How many have been ruined by their falling into ill company, after hopeful beginnings ? The stream of our nature runs the wrong way, so the world dying in wickedness rows with the stream, and so is successo ful in working finners ruin, Prov. xiii. 20. “He that .walketh with wise men, shall be wise; but a compan nion of fools shall be destroyed."
Fiftbly, This accounts for the uneasy life that the ferious godly have in the world. The whole world lieth in wickedness. Our Lord Jesus had an uneasyling life in it, and so will all his followers have to the end. The church in the world is like a lily among thorns; however the world may carefs its own, the ferious godly will not get leave to forget that they are from home while in it, strangers and pilgrims; that they are in a wilderness. How can their life in it miss to be uneasy? For unto them,
1. It is a loathfome world, where their eyes muft hehold abominations that they cannot help, Hab. i. 3. " Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to be hold grievance ? for spoiling and violence are before me; and there are that raise up ftrife and contention." However the swine of this world may delight to wallow in their own mire, and to lie in their own dunga. hill; yet to heaven-born souls, the stench arising from that dunghill must needs be noisome. Hence says the prophet, Jer.ix. 2." Oh, that I had in the wilderness a lodging-place of way-faring men, that I might leave my people, and go from them ; for they be all adulterers, an afsembly of treacherous men."
2. It is a vexatious world; the temper of the parties is so different, so opposite, that they can never hit It, but must needs be heavy one to another. As the way of the godly is uneasy to the world, so the way of the world is uneasy to them, makes them many a forrowful day and heavy heart, and draws many a figh and groan from them, as in Lot's case, 2 Pet. 11.79 8. And the uneasiness arising from that quarter makes heaven more desirable, as to burdened men groaning...
3. It is an ensnaring world, wherein snares of all forts are going, and they are many times catched 10 the trap ere they are aware, 2 Tim. iii. 1, 2. This know also, that in the last days perilous times ihall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boalters, proud, blafphemers, disobedient to?