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all manner of filthy streams. Mark vii. 21, 22. “From within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness." There is no one lust in the heart of the devil, that is not in the heart of man. Natural men are in the image of the devil. The image of God is rased out, and the image of the devil is stamped upon them. God is graciously pleased to restrain the wickedness of men, principally by fear and respect to their credit and reputation, and by education. And if it were not for such restraints as these, there is no kind of wickedness that men would not commit, whenever it came in their way. The commission of those things, at the mention of which men are now ready to start, and seem to be shocked when they hear them read, would be common and general; and earth would be a kind of hell. What would not natural men do if they were not afraid? Matthew x. 17. “ But beware of men.” Men have not only every kind of lust, and wicked and perverse dispositions in their hearts, but they have them to a dreadful degree. There is not only pride, but an amazing degree of it: pride, whereby a man is disposed to set himself even above the throne of God itself. The hearts of natural men are mere sinks of sensuality. Man is become like a beast in placing his happiness in sensual enjoyments. The heart is full of the most loathsome lusts. The souls of natural men are more vile and abominable than any reptile. If God should open a window in the heart, so that we might look into it, it would be the most loathsome spectacle that ever was set before our eyes. There is not only malice in the hearts of natural men, but a fountain of it. Men naturally therefore deserve the language applied to them by Christ, Matt. iii. 7. “O generation of vipers ;” and Matt. xxiii. 33. “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers.” Men, if it were not for fear and other such restraints, would not only commit all manner of sin, but to what degree, to what length would they not proceed? What has a natural man to keep him from openly blaspheming God, as much as any of the devils; yea, from dethroning him, if that were possible, and fear and other such restraints were out of the way? Yea, would it not be thus with many of those, who now appear with a fair face, and will speak most of God, and make many pretences of worshipping and serving him? The exceeding wickedness of natural men appears abundantly in the sins they commit, notwithstanding all these restraints. Every natural man, if he reflects, may see enough, to show him how exceedingly sinful he is. Sin flows from the heart as constantly as water flows from a fountain. Jeremiah vi. 7. “ As a fountain casteth out her waters, so she casteth out her wickedness." And this wickedness, that so abounds in their hearts, has dominion over them. They are slaves to it: Rom. vii. 14. “Sold under sin." They are so under the power of sin, that they are driven on by their lusts in a course against their own conscience, and against their own interest. They are hurried on to their own ruin, and that at the same time their reason tells them, it will probably be their ruin : 2 Peter ii. 14. “ Cannot cease from sin." On account of wicked men's being so under the power of sin, the heart of man is said to be desperately wicked. Jeremiah xvii. 9, and Ephesians ii. 1. “Dead in trespasses and sins."
3. The hearts of natural men are dreadfully hard and incorrigible. There is nothing but the mighty power of God will move them. They will cleave to sin, and go on in sin, let what will be done with them. Proverbs xxvii. 22. “ Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him.” There is nothing that will awe our hearts ; and there is nothing that will draw them to obedience: let there be mercies or afflictions, threatenings or gracious calls and invitations, frowning, or patience and long suffering, or fatherly counsels and exhortations. Isaiah xxvi. 10.“ Let favour be showed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not bebold the majesty of the Lord."
Secondly. The relative state of those who are in an unconverted condition is dreadful. This will appear if we consider,
1. Their relative state with respect to God; and that because,
1. They are without God in the world. They have no interest or part in God: He is not their God: He hath declared that he will not be their God. Hosea i. 9. God and believers bave a mutual covenant relation and right to each other. They are his people, and he is their God. But he is not the covenant God of those who are in an unconverted state. There is great alienation and estrangement between God and the wicked: he is not their Father and portion: they have nothing to challenge of God, they have no right to any one of his attributes. The believer can challenge a right in the power of God, in his wisdom and holiness, his grace and love. All are made over to him, to be for his benefit. But the unconverted can claim no right in any of God's perfections. They have no God to protect and defend them in this evil world: to defend them from sin, or from Satan, or any evil. They have no God to guide and direct them in any doubts or difficulties, to comfort and support their minds under afflictions. They are without God in all their affairs, in all the business they undertake, in their family affairs, and in their personal affairs, in their outward concerns, and in the concerns of their souls.
How can a creature be more miserable, than to be separated from the Creator, and to have no God, whom he can call his own God? He is wretched indeed, who goes up and down in the world, without a God to take care of him, to be his guide and protector, and to bless him in his affairs. The very light of nature teaches that a man's God is his all. Judges xviii. 24. “ Ye have taken away my Gods, and what have I more?" There is but one God, and in him they have no right. They are without that God, whose will must determine their whole well being, both here and for ever. That unconverted men are without God shows that they are liable to all manner of evil. They are liable to the power of the devil, to the power of all manner of temptation, for they are without God to protect them. They are liable to be deceived and seduced into erroneous opinions, and to embrace damnable doctrines. It is not possible to deceive the saints in this way. But the unconverted may be deceived. They may become papists, or heathens, or atheists. They have nothing to secure them from it. They are liable to be given up of God to judicial hardness of heart. They deserve it; and since God is not their God, they have no certainty that God will not inflict this awful judgment upon them. As they are without God in the world, they are liable to commit all manner of sin, and even the unpardonable sin itself. They cannot be sure they shall not commit that sin. They are liable to build up a false hope of heaven, and so to go hoping to hell. They are liable to die senseless and stupid, as many have died. They are liable to die in such a case as Saul and Judas did, searless of hell, They have no security from it. They are liable to all manner of mischief, since they are without God. They cannot tell what shall befal them, nor when they are secure from any thing. They are not safe one moment. Ten thousand fatal mischiefs may befal them, that may make them miserable for ever. They, who have God for their God, are safe from all such evils. It is not possible that they should befal them. God is their covenant God, and they have his faithful promise to be their refuge. But what mischief is there, which may not befal natural men? Whatever hopes they may have, may be disappointed. Whatever fair prospect there may seem to be of their conversion and salvation, it may vanish away. They may make great progress towards the kingdom of God, and yet come short at last. They may seem to be in a very hopeful way to be converted, and yet never be converted. A natural man is sure of nothing. He is sure of no good, nor is he sure of escaping any evil
. It is therefore a dreadful condition that a natural man is in. They, who are in a natural state, are lost. They have wandered from God, and they are like lost sheep, that have wandered from their shepherd. They are poor helpless creatures in a howling wilderness, and have no shepherd to protect or to guide them. They are desolate, and exposed to innumerable fatal mischiefs.
2. They are not only without God, but the wrath of God abides upon them. John iii. 36. “He that believeth not the Son, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." There is no peace between God and them, but God is angry with them every day. He is not only angry with them, but that to a dreadful degree. There is a fire kindled in God's anger; it burns like fire. Wrath abides upon them, which, if it should be executed, would plunge them into the lowest hell, and make them miserable there to all eternity. They have provoked the Holy One of Israel to anger. God has been angry with them ever since they began to sin: he has been provoked by them every day, ever since they exercised any reason; and he is provoked by them more and more every hour. The flame of his wrath is continually burning. There are many now in hell that never have provoked God more than they, nor so much as many of them. Wherever they go, they go about with the dreadful wrath of God abiding on them. They eat, and drink, and sleep under wrath. How dreadful a condition, therefore, are they in! It is the most awful thing for the creature to have the wrath of his Creator abiding on him. The wrath of God is a thing infinitely dreadful. The wrath of a king is as the roaring of a lion. But what is the wrath of a king, who is but a worm of the dust, to the wrath of the infinitely great and dreadful God? How dreadful is it to be under the wrath of the first being, the Being of beings, the great Creator and mighty possessor of heaven and earth! How dreadful is it for a person to go about under the wrath of the God, who gave him being, and in whom he lives and moves, who is every where present, and without whom he cannot move a step, nor draw a breath! Natural
inasmuch as they are under wrath, are under a curse. God's wrath and curse are continually upon them. They can have no reasonable comfort, therefore, in any of their enjoyments; for they do not know but that they are given them in wrath, and shall be curses to thein, and not blessings. As it is said in Job xviii. 15. “ Brimstone shall be scattered upon bis habitation.” How can they take any comfort in their food, or in their possessions, when they do not know but all are given them, to fit them for the slaughter.
II. Their relative state will appear dreadful, if we consider how they stand related to the devil.
1. They who are in a natural state are the children of the devil. As the saints are the children of God, so the ungodly are the children of the devil. 1 John iii. 10. “ In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil.” Mat. xii. 38, 39. The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom: but the tares are the children of the wicked one. The enemy that sowed them is the devil. John viii. 44. “Ye are of your father, the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.” They are, as it were, begotten of the devil; they proceed from him. 1 John iii. 8. “He, that committeth sin, is of the devil.” As Adam begat a son in his own likeness, so are wicked men in the likeness and image of the deYOL. VIII.
vil. They acknowledge this relation, and own themselves children of the devil, by consenting that he should be their father. They subject themselves to him, hearken to his counsels, as children hearken to the counsels of a father. They learn of him to imitate him, and do as he does, as children learn to imitate their parents. John viii. 38. “ I speak that which I have seen with my Father, and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.” How awful a state is this! How dreadsul is it to be a child of the devil, the spirit of darkness, the prince of hell, that wicked, malignant and cruel spirit! To have any thing to do with him is very dreadful. It would be accounted a dreadful frightful thing only to meet the devil, to have him appear to a person in a visible shape. How dreadful then must it be to be his child; how dreadful for any person to have the devil for his father!
2. They are the devil's captives and servants. Man before bis fall was in a state of liberty; but now he has fallen into Satau's hands. The devil has got the victory, and carried him captive. Natural men are in Satan's possession, and they are under his dominion. They are brought by him into subjection to his will to go at his bidding, and do what he commands. 2 Timothy ii. 26. “Taken captive by him at his will."
The devil rules over ungodly men. They are all his slaves, and do his drudging. This argues their state to be dreadful. Men account it an unhappy state of life to be slaves ; and especially to be slaves to a bad master, to one who is very hard, unreasonable and cruel. How miserable do we look upon those persons, who are taken captive by the Turks, or other such barbarous nations, and put by them to the meanest and most cruel slavery, and treated no better than they treat their cattle! But what is this to being taken captive by the devil, the prince of hell, and made a slave to him? Had not a man better be a slave to any one on earth than to the devil ? The devil is, of all masters, the most cruel, and treats bis servants the worst. them to the vilest service, to that which is the most dishonourable of any in the world. No work is so dishonourable as the practice of sin. The devil puts his servants to such work as debases them below the dignity of human nature. They must make themselves like beasts to do that work to serve their filthy lusts. And besides the meanness of the work, it is a very hard service. The devil causes them to serve him at the expense of the peace of their own conscience, and oftentimes at the expense of their reputation, at the expense of their estates, and shortening of their days. The devil is a cruel master; for the service upon which he puts his slaves, is to undo themselves. He keeps them hard at work day and night, to work their own ruin. He never intends give them any reward for their pains, but their pains are to work out their own everlasting destruction. It is to gather fuel and kindle the fire for themselves to be tormented in to all eternity.