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little, no fire appears there ; but when some drops of water fall on it, it makes a hissing noise.
But the objector ftill says, “ On the contrary, I find Providence very favourable to me.” Anf. Is it in fpiritual good things ? findest thou that because he -lives, thou livest also ? Is Providence kind to thee in influences of grace, communion with God? surely, then, Christ has taken away the separationwall. But is it in external things ? then know that these are no discriminating marks of nearness to God"; fee Job xxi. 7. God is kind to you as ye are to him, Levit. xxvi. 27. « And if
will mot for all this hearken unto me, but walk contrary unto me, then I will walk contrary unto you also in fury." He tells them they walked with him by accident, by the by, when they chanced to light on him; and he says he will walk with them so
What good the wicked does, is for another end than the glory of God; and what good he does to them, is oftentimes in wrath.
Now this separation is twofold: 1. Total, agreeing to the wicked only, to whom, in respect of their state, God is an enemy. This is that state of separation from God in which we are born, produced by Adam's fin, Rom. v. 12. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by fin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have finned." This, to fome, even to the elect, is only temporary, the separation-wall being pulled down, and they brought near by the blood of Christ applied byfaith at their conversion, Ephes. ii. 13. To others it is eternal, who living and dying in a state of distance from God, are separated from God, foul and body in hell for evermore ; according to that, « Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire.” This eternal separation is not meant in the text, but it is a certain consequent of the other, if it is
continued in, for none are brought near to God in glory, who are not, by grace, first brought near to him here.
2. There is a partial feparation, which agrees to the godly, who have the root of the matter in them. Sometimes the Lord is provoked to withdraw from his own people : “ I opened,” says the spouse, Song v. 6. á to my beloved, but my beloved had withdrawn himself; my foul failed when he spake; I fought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.” Sometimes Christ's garden is left, so that there is no blowing of the Spirit there, Song, iv. 16. Hence the saints are so often praying to God to return to them. Often may we see the King's children, having their white robes sullied with tears, and rolled in the duft, because of a departed God. What a mournful voice has the sweet singer of Israel often, under desertions and hidings of God's face ! Heman looks upon himself as a burgess of the land of darkness, not only forsaken, but forgotten, Pfal. viii. 8. This makes them, with Job, cry out, “O! that it were with me as in months past, when the candle of the Lord fhone on my head !"
II. I SHALL evince the greatness of the evil of feparation from God, which many go so light under. Alas! many reign like kings with God; they be like king Saul, when God departed from him; but how fad a thing this is, will appear, if we consider,
1. What God is. Every thing in God speaks terror to those that are separated from him. I shall only take notice of these following: (1.) God is the chief good; and therefore, to be separated from God is the chief evil.
Our native country we look on as good; and therefore, to be banished from it is a heavy trial. Relations are good, life and liberty are good; and therefore, to be depri
ved of them is very afflicting. But God is the chief good; all these petty good things disappear, and dwindle into nothing, when compared with God. How dreadful, then, must it be to be separated from him! If the enjoyment of him is the highest pinnacle of happiness, separation from him is the loweit step of mifery. It is often observed as an aggravation of the fufferings of the primitive Christians, that they suffered not only from the Emperors who were accounted monsters of men, but also from those who were admired by the people for their virtues. Surely, then, to be cast off by Goodness itself in infinite perfection, must be very distresling. (2.) God is all-sufficient in himself, and to the creatures. The enjoyment of him makes truly happy; and therefore, to be separated from him is a dreadful evil. While David thinks on God as his portion, his heart leaps for joy: “ The lines,” says he, “ are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage,” Psal. xvi. 6.-9. While Cain sees himself driven from his prefence, his punishment appears intolerable. The frowns of those we depend upon, and cannot live without, are very grievous. To forsake the “ fountain of living waters,” Jer. ii. 13. is held forth as a great evil of sin; and to be partially separated from it, must also be a great punishment. (3.) The omnipotence of God. Job takes notice, that the arrows. Thot against him were arrows of the Almighty," Job, vi. 4. Let all the men on earth, and devils in hell, let the angels come down and help to draw the bow, still it is but finite power against the man; but how terrible would it be, to be a mark to these arrows ! how much more, when the Omnipotent God pursues the quarrel! (4.) The abfoluteness of God. Let men and devils work against the fincer, let them do their utmost, there
is one that can stay their hands, and say to each of them, “ What doft thou ?” but God is a King against whom there is no rising up. There is none who can stay his hand, or say unto him, « What doft thou ?” Dan. iv. 35. Can the pots hinder the potter to dash them all in pieces? Or can worm man shake off the yoke of God's absolute dominion, and live in a separate state from him ? (5.) God is eternal. If a great man be our enemy, we know always death will end the quarrel; if we have such an one to be our friend, yet death will tie up his hands, that he can give us no more favours : but God endures for ever. Had a man not only the earth, but the heavens for his portion, yet “ the earth shall be burnt up, and the heavens wax old as a garment;" thieves may steal away the covetous man's treasures out of his barns and coffers ; moths may consumę what remains, the devil in wicked men may take away all he has in the world; only God is an everlasting friend and portion. It must, then, be very sad to be separated from such an one.
2. All created things are empty and unsatisfactory. They are a lie, alluring afar off; but when men come near, they answer not their expectations. The world, that bulky vanity, that great round nothing, can no more fill the heart, than a triangle a circle. All created things stand as two lame legs under vanity and insufficiency. He was a fool, indeed, that laid up for his soul in his barns, as if his swine and his foul could have fed at one trough. Cain had the broad world to find himself fopport, but all was fapless : His punishment from God's face was greater than he could bear. Where God is wanting, there is a void which a thousand worlds cannot fill ups and therefore, if you
know the truth, ye would say to your fins, to your lusts, “ Ye have taken away my God, and what have I more?”
3. To be separated from God is the faddest plague out of hell. When God departs, he leaves a burden on the soul behind him, which, when felt, will make the soul to roar: “ Yea, woe also to them when I depart from them,” Hol. ix. 12. Who can tell the ills the finner is exposed unto, when once fin separates between God and him. Saul felt a total separation; and what a desperate project did it fet him upon! Job felt a partial separation, which was so heavy, that his soul choosed
strangling and death, rather than life,” Job,
4. Nay, it is a very hell to be separated from God. Therefore David complains, “ that the forrows of death compaffed him, and that the pains of hell
hold upon him," Psal. cxvi. 3. Even coals of hell are cast upon the godly in this world, when their fins have made this feparation ; only they are softened with love, whereas those caft upon the wicked are dipped in the poison of the curse. Men by their fins now greedily sue out a feparation from God. What will hell be, but a giving them their will? For the torments of hell are summed up in that, “ Depart from me,
5. I shall only add, that those that continue in a ftate of feparation from God, have no quarter to which they can turn for comfort in an evil day. We know not what fad trials we may live to see. When men that are seeking great things for themfelves now, may think they are come well to, if they get Baruch's part, their life for a prey; but for a man to be in Sampson's case, the Philistines upon him, and God departed from him, must be heavy indeed. We muft all die : 'this we know. Let a man squeeze his cisterns, then, with which