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in scabs, nor make the difference between them so wide, as it is now made on the contrary in their vast separation.
Sect. IV. Secondly: But the great loss of the damned, will be their loss of God; they shall have no comfortable relation to him, nor any of the saints' communion with him. As they did not like to retain God in their mind, but said to him, “ Depart from us, we desire not the knowledge of thy ways,” so God will abhor to retain them in his household, or to give them entertainment in his fellowship and glory. He will never admit them to the inheritance of his saints, nor endure them to stand amongst them in his presence; but bid them, “ Depart from me, ye workers of iniquity, I know you not.” Now, these men dare belie the Lord, if not blaspheme, in calling him by the title of their father. How boldly and confidently do they daily approach him with their lips, and indeed reproach him in their formal prayers, with that appellation, “ Our Father!" As if God would father the devil's children; or as if the slighters of Christ, the pleasers of the flesh, the friends of the world, the haters of godliness, or any that trade in sin, and delight in iniquity, were the offspring of heaven! They are ready now, in the height of their presumption, to lay as confident claims to Christ and heaven, as if they were sincere believing saints. The swearer, the drunkard, the whoremaster, the worldling, can scornfully say to the people of God, 'What! is not God our father, as well as yours? Doth he not love us as well as you? Will he save none but a few holy precisians ?' Oh! but when that time is come, when the case must be decided, and Christ will separate his followers from his foes, and his faithful friends from his deceived flatterers, where then will be their presumptuous claim to Christ? . Then they shall find that God is not their father, but their resolved foe, because they would not be his people, but were resolved in their negligence and wickedness. Then, though they had preached, or wrought miracles in his name, he will not know them: and though they were his brethren or sisters after the flesh, yet he
Decem mille qui ponat gehennas, nihil tale dicit quale est à beata gloria excidere, à Christo audire, non novi vos.---Chrysost. in Mat. Hom. 33. Multi gehennam abhorrent: ego autem casum illius gloriæ multo amariorem gehennæ par aio.-Greg. Nulla major et pejor est mors, quam ubi non moritur mors. Sed quod animæ natura per id quod immortalis creata est, sine qualicunque vita esse non potest; summa mors ejus est alienatio à vita Dei in æternitate supplicii.-Aug. de Civit. lib. vi.c. 12. Matt. vii. 22, and xxv. 41; Psal. i. 6, 7; xciv. 10, and cxxxii. 3 ; Rev, xxii. 25.
in them, so shoot consent that Gots prepared for themse
will not own them, but reject them as his enemies. And ever those that did eat and drink in his presence on earth, shall be cast out of his heavenly presence for ever; and those that in his name did cast out devils, shall yet at his command be cast out to those devils, and endure the torments prepared for them. And, as they would not consent that God should by lris Spirit dwell in them, so shall not these evil doers dwell with him. The tabernacles of wickedness shall have no fellowship with him ; nor the wicked inhabit the city of God : for without are the dogs, the sorcerers, whoremongers, 'murderers, idolaters, and whatsoever loveth and maketh a lie. For God knoweth the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to perishing. God is first enjoyed in part on earth, before he be fully enjoyed in heaven. It is only they that walked with him here, who shall live and be happy with him there. Oh, little doth the world now know what a loss that soul hath, who loseth God! What were the world but a dungeon, if it had lost the sun ? What were the body but a loathsome carrion, if it had lost the soul? Yet all these are nothing to the loss of God; even the little taste of the fruition of God, which the saints enjoy in this life, is dearer to them than all the world. As the world, when they feed upon their forbidden pleasures, may cry out with the sons of the prophet, “There's death in the pot!” (2 Kings iv.40;) so when the saints do but taste of the favour of God, they cry out with David, “ In his favour is life !” (Psal. xxx. 5.) Nay, though life be naturally most dear to all men, yet they that have tasted and tried, do say with David, “ His loving-kindness is better than life !” (Psalm lxiii. 3.) So that, as the enjoyment of God is the heaven of the saints,* so the loss of God is the hell of the ungodly. And, as the enjoying of God is the enjoying of all, so the loss of God is the loss of all.
Sect. V. Thirdly: Moreover, as they lose God, so they lose all those spiritual, delightful affections and actions, by which the blessed do feed on God : that transporting knowledge ; those ravishing views of his glorious face;e the inconceivable pleasure of loving God; the apprehensions of his infinite love to us; the constant joys which his saints are taken up with, and the
e Quicunque erga eum custodiunt dilectionem, solum his præstat communionem. Quicunque autem absistunt secundum sententiam suam ab eo, his eam quæ electa est ab ipsis separationem inducit. Separatio autem à Deo mors, et separatio lucis tenebræ ; et separatio à Deo amissio omnium quæ sunt apud Deum bonorum.- Irenæus adv. Heres, lib. v. c. 27.,
rivers of consolation wherewith he doth satisfy them. Is it nothing to lose all this? The employment of a king in ruling a kingdom doth not so far exceed the employment of the vilest scullion or slave, as this heavenly employment exceedeth his.
These wretches had no delight in praising God on earth, their recreations and pleasures were of another nature; and now, when the saints are singing his praises, and employed in magnifying the Lord of saints, then shall the ungodly be denied this happiness, and have an employment suitable to their natures and deserts. Their hearts were full of hell upon earth, instead of God, and his love, and fear, and graces; there was pride, and self-love, and lust, and unbelief: and, therefore, hell must now entertain those hearts which formerly entertained so much of it. Their houses on earth were the resemblance of hell; instead of worshipping God, and calling upon his name, there was scorning at his worship, and swearing by his name: and now hell must therefore be their habitation for ever, where they shall never be troubled with that worship and duty which they abhorred, but join with the rest of the damned in blaspheming that God who is avenging their former impieties and blasphemies. Can it probably be expected, that they who made themselves merry, while they lived on earth, in deriding the persons and families of the godly, for their frequent worshipping and praising God, should at last be admitted into the family of heaven, and join with those saints in those most perfect praises ? Surely, without a sound change upon their hearts before they go hence, it is utterly impossible. It is too late then to say, “ Give us of your oil, for our lamps are out; let us now enter with you to the marriage feast; let us now join with you in the joyful heavenly melodý.”. You should have joined in it on earth, if you would have joined in heaven. As your eyes must be taken up with other kind of sights, so must your hearts be taken up with other kind of thoughts, and your voices turned to another tune. As the doors of heaven will be shut against you, so will that joyous employment be denied to you. There is no singing the songs of Sion in the land of your thraldom. Those that go down to the pit do not praise him. Who can rejoice in the place of sorrows; and who can be glad in the land of confusion ? God suits men's employments to their natures. The bent of your spirits was another way; your hearts were never set upon God in your lives ; you were never admirers of his attributes and works, nor ever thoroughly warmed with his
love. You never longed after the enjoyment of him; you had no delight to speak or to hear of him; you were weary of a sermon or prayer an hour long; you had rather have continued on earth, if you had known how; you had rather yet have a place of earthly preferment, or lands and lordships, or a feast, or sports, or your cups, or whores, than to be interested in the glorious praises of God : and is it meet, then, that you should be members of the celestial quire ? A swine is fitter for a lecture of philosophy, or an ass to build a city or govern a kingdom, or a dead corpse to feast at thy table, than thou art for this work of heavenly praise.
Sect. VI. Fourthly : They shall also be deprived of the blessed society of angels and glorified saints. Instead of being companions of those happy spirits, and numbered with those joyful and triumphing kings, they must now be members of the corporation of hell, where they shall have companions of a far different nature and quality. While they lived on earth, they loathed the saints; they imprisoned, banished them, and cast them out of their societies, or at least they would not be their companions in labour, and in sufferings; and, therefore, they shall not now be their companions in their glory; scorning them and abusing them, hating them, and rejoicing in their calamities, was not the way to obtain their blessedness. If you would have shined with them as stars in the firmament of their Father, you should have joined with them in their holiness, and faith, and painfulness, and patience. You should have first been ingrafted with them into Christ, the common stock, and then incorporated into the fraternity of the members, and walked with them in singleness of heart, and watched with them with oil in your lamps, and joined with thein in mutual exhortation, in faithful admonitions, in conscionable reformation, in prayer, and in praise. You should have travelled with them out of the Egypt of your natural estate, through the red sea and wilderness of humiliation and affliction, and have cheerfully taken up the cross of Christ, as well as the name and profession of Christians, and rejoiced with them in suffering persecution and tribulation. All this, if you had faithfully done, you might now have been triumphing with them in glory, and have possessed with them their Master's joy. But this you could not, you would not endure; your souls loathed it, your flesh was against it, and that flesh must be pleased, though you were told plainly and frequently what would come of it; and now you partake of the fruit of your folly, and
endure but what you were foretold you must endure; and are shut out of that company, from which you first shut out yourselves; and are separated but from them whom you would not be joined with. You could not endure them in your houses, nor in your town, nor scarcely in the kingdom. You took them as Ahab did Elias, for the troublers of the land; (1 Kings xviii. 17;) and as the apostles were taken for men that turned the world upside down; (Acts xvii. 6;) if any thing fell out amiss, you thought all was long of them. When they were dead or banished, you were glad they were gone, and thought the country was well rid of them. They molested you with their faithful reproving your sin. Their holy conversation did trouble your consciences, to see them so far excel yourselves, and to condemn your looseness by their strictness, and your profaneness by their conscionable lives, and your negligence by their unwearied diligence. You scarcely ever heard them pray or sing praises in their families, but it was a vexation to you; and you envied their liberty in the worshipping of God. And is it, then, any wonder if you be separated from them hereafter? The day is near when they will trouble you no more: betwixt them and you will be a great gulf set, that those that would pass from thence to you (if any had a desire to ease you with a drop of water) cannot;, neither can they pass to them who would go from you, for if they could, there would none be left behind. (Luke xvi. 26.) Even in this life, while the saints were imperfect in their passions and infirmities, clothed with the same frail flesh as other men, and were mocked, destitute, afflicted, and tormented, yet, in the judgment of the Holy Ghost, they were such, of whom the world was not worthy. (Heb. xi. 36–38.) Much more unworthy are they of their fellowship in their glory.
CHAP. II. The Aggravation of the Loss of Heaven to the Ungodly. . Sect. I. I know many of the wicked will be ready to think, if this be all, they do not much care, they can bear it well enough : what care they for losing the perfections above ? What care they for losing God, his favour, or his presence ? They lived merrily without him on earth, and why should it be so grievous to be without him hereafter? And what care they for being deprived of that love, and joy, and praising of God ?