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as the sons of men, that he should lie. Does he not declare, that heaven and earth shall pass away, but his word shall not pass away?'
3dly. From the respect that regeneration has to salvation. Regeneration is nothing but a degree and part of salvation. Grace is glory begun; holiness is the spring of true happiness; and he who is not saved from his sins here, shall never be saved into glory hereafter. He who is not so changed on earth as to find his happiness in God, will never be fit to delight in him in heaven. 6 The angelic hosts, says St. John, praise God day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God, who was, and is, and is to come.' Now what probability is there that the unregenerate, who delight in nothing but money, apparel, pleasure, eating, drinking, uncleanness, and the like; and who are such enemies to God, that they had rather be set to do any work than to spend an hour in private prayer to him every day;—what probability is there, I say, that they will be able to bear their part in those sacred concerts, unless their soul be so saved from sin here, and so changed in all its faculties, that God's service and worship, which is so tedious to them now, may become the joy of their hearts.
Let none then deceive himself. As sin is death and hell begun in the unregenerate, so are holiness, eternal life, and heaven, opened in the new creature. And as sure as there will be no hell for those that are saved from their sins here, so sure it is that there will be no heaven for those who are not made partakers of the Divine nature. We might as well look for the noon of a day which never dawned, as expect to see the meridian light of glory, without having ever known the morning of regenerating grace.
4thly. We may discover the necessity of regeneration in order to salvation, if we consider the entire corruption of our nature. Our first parents, having by their fall defaced that image of God in which they were created, and being thereupon wholly polluted in soul, body, and spirit, all that come from them must be partakers of
their corrupt nature. Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean ?' says Job. "I was born in sin,' says David, and in iniquity did my mother conceive me.'That which is born of the flesh is flesh,' that is to say, carnal and unclean. Now,' says St. John, no unclean person can enter into God's kingdom.' Believe it, sinners; God will not take you from the dunghill of sin, and covered with Satan's leprosy, to place you by him on his throne. The holy land shall not be filled with filth and rottenness; and in the heavenly Canaan there are no nests for serpents and vipers; no place for back-biting, lying, slandering, or cursing Christians; no den for angry lions to lurk in; and no mire for greedy and impure swine to wallow in; much less shall the vacant thrones of fallen angels, thrown down into hell for their pride, envy, and ambition, be given to proud, envious, illnatured, or covetous men. Rebellious aliens must not inherit the kingdom of heaven. They must first be made children, and have the Spirit of adoption, and then are they heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.
Again, that we must be new creatures to enter into heaven, appears from the enjoyments of saints and angels. They are wholly spiritual. Their felicity consists in the peace of God, the love of Christ, and the joy of angels; in an uninterrupted union and communion with the Lord; a continual admiration and fruition of all his perfections. But can carnal, worldly, unregenerate people taste pleasure in any of these things? Are not such delights for them, just what pearls and diamonds are to swine? Do not they even now trample them under their feet, and sometimes turn about and endeavour to rend those that hold out to them even that heavenly bread, that food of angels? Sinners, you must then lose your taste for earthly joys, and be made capable of relishing spiritual delights, or all the pleasures of heaven will prove to you just as much as the most melodious concert is to a deaf man, or the finest pictures to one that was born blind.
I shall conclude all these reasons with one drawn from the holiness of God's nature, which is such that no
unclean person can stand in his presence. His eyes are too pure,' says a prophet, to behold iniquity.' 'Evil shall not dwell with thee,' says David, neither shall the foolish stand in thy sight.' There is such a contrariety between the holy nature of God, and the unholy nature of unregenerate men, that they can no more agree together than light with darkness; for, what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness?' says St. Paul. A pure God with impure creatures? None at all; unless it be that which a devouring flame has with the stubble thrown therein. O sinners! learn then what the apostle means when he says, 'Without holiness none shall see the Lord,' lest you find him a consuming fire, as the unregenerate will most certainly do. And that you may be the more willing to get out of the state you are in by sin, let me shew you the many dangers that attend it.
You are not yet a new creature, and consequently you are yet without Christ in your heart, and nothing stands between God's justice and your unregenerate soul. And for what do you expose yourself to this dreadful peril ? That you may serve Satan? He that committeth sin is of the devil,' says St. John.
O that your eyes were open to see what master you have chosen, and what wages he will give you at last! Is it that you may take your chance with the rest of the world? Alas! do you not know the Word of God declares, that he who loves the world is the Lord's enemy? And that this world, and all that is therein, except the souls and bodies of the regenerate, are reserved unto fire against the day of judgment? Is it that you may indulge a little longer the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eye, and the pride of life? Oh! if you saw them in a true light, you would renounce them as you would the service of a base and cruel tyrant, that says to you, "Do this," though it will destroy thy body, and you do it: "Do not that," though your soul should live thereby, and you do it not. Thus, like the child who was possest by an evil spirit, you are possest by carnal desires and unruly passions, which tear you and cast you
sometimes into the fire, sometimes into the water, still waiting for the moment when they may plunge you into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone.'
Oh! do the pleasures of sin, and the smiles of the world, compensate you for the happiness of the children of God, which you renounce for them; and when the curses of God's law overtake you, will they screen from the stroke of his wrath? For though you may little think of it, if your sins are not forgiven you, a curse attends all your enjoyments. I will curse their blessings,' says God by one of his prophets. Nay, it follows you in your religious exercises. The word which you hear is cursed to you; because, you believe it not, or do it not, it proves to you the savour of death unto death; the prayers which you make, with so much indifference and contempt for God, draw no blessing upon you; and the Lord's table is made a snare to you by your presumption: For, instead of feeding on the body and blood of Christ, you trample it under foot, and refuse to let it have its due effect upon you.
And not only so, but you are liable to temporal and eternal judgments. In time, God may let loose upon you the most dreadful sicknesses and afflictions, and you have no God to stand by you, no grace to comfort you under them. And in eternity, what have you to expect but an eternal despair? and for whom is the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone' appointed, if not for the unregenerate? And who shall have the smoke of their torments ascending for ever and ever,' if not those who never strove to enter in at the strait gate of the new birth, but remained willing servants of the prince of this world, and their unruly passions, for ever and ever? Oh measure, if you can, the length and breadth, the depth and height of the meaning of that word, "for ever and ever;" and though all that Jesus says of that fire prepared for the devil and his angels, of that fire which never shall be quenched,' that worm which never dieth,' and that outer darkness where there will be weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth ;'-though all hese expressions should mean no more than an eternal
fever, or an eternal confinement in a dark dungeon, will you draw this upon you for the momentary pleasure of walking according to the sight of your eye, and the desire of your heart? And will not you repent of this your unhappy choice even in this life? Ah, when death shall appear to you, and tell you that he has a message from the Lord, a warrant from the King of heaven to take from you all your worldly comforts, all the carnal pleasures and delights, for which, Esau-like, you sell your birth-right, and the blessing of your heavenly Father; all your nearest and dearest relations; all your wealth and honour, all your schemes of building and planting, buying and selling; and all the hopes of en`joying any longer those conveniences and superfluities, for getting of which you forget, that your main business here is to be born again of the Spirit of God:-When death shall thus hurry you away from your earthly paradise; when it shall rouse your drowsy conscience, and lay before you the black catalogue of all your sins, your lies, your scoffings at virtue and religion, your goods ill-gotten and ill. spent; your profanation of the Lord's day; your speculative wantonness or actual filthiness; your vanity, pride, covetousness, sensuality; with the many years spent with so much eagerness in the devil's service; what will then your views and feelings be! And how will you lament your sin and folly, in disregarding the day of your merciful visitation! Oh! consider this, ere it be for ever too late.