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he now solaces himself in his separation from God, what will they do for him ? they will not be able to stay his fleeting and fainting foul. We must rise again. Will the gods ye now serve help you then? Will the sea, the rocks, or mountains, fall on him, will the earth cover him, who to enjoy it incurred a separation from God? No, no! O ungrateful earth, that the man consumed time, heart, and strength upon, while his days lafted, that will not take part with him, now when he is not able to do for himfelf. We must stand before his tribunal, and come near before his throne for judgement, whose presence we now forfeit for the satisfying of our lusts. What will comfort us then, when we see we have passed this partial state of separation from God, as a fhort preface to an eternal separation from him.
III. I am now to inquire, How fin makes this feparation betwixt God and a foul ?
1. There is the guilt of sin, whereby the finner is bound over to misery for his fin. God, from vindicative justice, acts against the wicked ; and this justice of his naturally requires punifhment to be inflicted on the finner, according to the law. Hence, when Adam sinned, a flaming sword was fet to keep him off from the tree of life. The enjoyment of God is the greatest good; now, justice will not permit this, while guilt remains untaken away; and therefore, feparation from God necefsarily follows. As to the godly, by their guilt they are bound over to fatherly anger and chastisements, whereof that partial separation from God is the
2. There is the stain and defilement of fin. Now, God is of purer eyes than to behold evil. An unholy finner cannot have communion with a holy God; and in regard that some are altogether polluted, they are therefore altogether separated from
God. Others are only in part polluted, by reason of some one or more fins regarded in their hearts; therefore are under that partial separation, Psal. Ixvi. 18. “ If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." The leper, for his uncleanness, was put without the camp; so is the finner. They only are admitted to stand in the holy place, who have clean hands and a pure heart, Pfal. xxiv. 4. Hence says James, chap. iv. 8. . “ Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you: cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded."--It remains,
IV. That I make some practical improvement from this subject. We have,
1. An use of information. We may hence see,(1.) That it is fin which makes a land weak, mean, and contemptible, and is the cause of all national calamity; for sin separates between them and their God. Then their strength is departed from them; and therefore, though the people should unite with one another, there is little good to be expected so long as such abominations abound in the land, setting God against us. O that we might see the day, when, uniting with Heaven, we might be zealoully affected in reformation, and the heaven-daring abominations that abound, in principle and practice, be zealously suppressed. But every one minds their own things, few the things that are Christ's. (2.) Why so few have communion with God in ordinances, public, private, and secret. Are there not many at public ordinances dead and lifeless, fitting like idols that have eyes and fee not, hands but handle not? Why, fin has separated between God and them. Hence they go as they came; no intercourse with God. The Lord goes by them, and comes by them, speaks to the hearts of others, but not to them. They cannot walk together; for
they are not agreed. (3.) Why so many flight religious duties? Some will not bow a knee to God; they will not commune with their hearts, nor converse with God. Sin hath separated them; and what pleasure can they take to converse with an enemy, or one that has turned his back to them? Hence some are not afraid of any company fo much as themselves; and therefore, if their consciences begin to speak, they labour some way or other to divert it. (4.) Whence is the root or cause of all the misery professors are lying under at this day? Security, barrenness, withering, desertion, and the like. What wonder that it be fo? They may thank themselves for the whole. It is their dallying with some bosom-idol, their grieving the Spirit, and flighting his motions and convictions, their worldliness and unwatchfulness : these are the root, the cause of all their misery.
2. An use of exhortation. (1.) To those who enjoy nearness to God. Obeware of fin! If ye give way to it, it will soon turn your wine into water, and overcloud your enjoyments. Live at a distance from it; for it is the very thing from which you are in such great hazard. (2.) To those who are by their fins separated from God. Break off your course of fin, continue not in it. Is not the separation-wall high enough, and thick enough already? what needs more be added ? What shall you do to get the separation taken away !--Lay hold on the Lord Jesus by faith, Ifa. xxvii. 5.“ Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace
with me; and he shall make peace with me." Jesus is the ladder that knits heaven and earth together. It is by him that God reconciles the world to himself. His blood takes away both guilt and pollution. It purges the conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Though God VOL. I. E
hears not finners, yet in Christ he is well pleased; and through him they
may find access to, and acceptance with him. He is our peace : He is the Mediator between God and man.-Repent, and turn from your sins. There is no concord between Christ and belial. To enjoy both God and your lufts is impossible; ye shall as soon bring together the two poles. However fome make a mock of fin now, yet it has separated, and will feparate them from God eternally, if they feparate not from it.
THE FOLLY OF RESISTING, THE WISDOM OF COMPLYING WITH THE
Matth. xxi. 29.--He answered and said, I will not ;
but afterwards he repented, and went.
THE scope of this parable is to shew, that
pent, and go to heaven, when others, who, though they have a profession of religion, never go farther than a mere profession, and so fall short; partly, also, to shew that many who had been publicans and harlots are now in a better case than the Chief Priests and Scribes. To convince of this, Chrift spoke the parable before us.--For understanding of which, I would notice, that the man in the parable represents God; the two sons, two different sorts of people among the Jews. Both had the gospel-call by John the baptist. The first of the fons points out the publicans and harlots, who,
though Delivered on Saturday, 31st July 1714.