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parts and it is a wonder that the souls of wicked men go quietly out of their bodies; it is strange they depart not as the devils out of the demoniacs rending, raging, tearing, foaming; but if conscience be asleep, death will awake it. Could you follow their departing souls a minute out of their bodies, you would hear the howlings of despair.
3. Heaven will not receive any souls but such as are made meet for it on earth. Rev. xxi. 27, “There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination-for without are dogs," Rev. xxii. 15. They say Ireland will not brook a toad, a snake, or venomous creature to live and like in it: I am sure heaven will not admit, but cast out an unsanctified heart. The legions of apostate angels knew this, who abode not one moment in that holy place after they left their innocency. It is said of the halcyon's nest, that it will hold nothing but its own bird; the same may be said of heaven: the serpent could wind himself into the earthly paradise, but none of the serpentine brood shall once peep into this heavenly paradise. For,
(1.) The text saith, " It is an inheritance;" now an inheritance is for none but children; it is true all God's children are heirs, Rom. viii. 17, and none shall inherit heaven except children: by nature we are children of wrath; by grace and adoption children of God. All God's children are begotten again, "to a lively hope for this incorruptible inheritance," 1 Pet. i. 3, 4.
(2.) It is "the inheritance of saints," that is, of holy, sanctified souls. Persons must not think that heaven is like Mahomet's paradise, where there is delicious fare, pleasant gardens, fair women, and all sensual delights, fit lettuce for an epicure's lips. No, no, heaven is a state of perfect, immediate, and perpetual enjoy
ment of God, suited to the matured faculties of a sanctified soul.
(3.) It is "the inheritance of saints in light." It is a bright and lightsome state, suited to illuminated souls; blind sinners can see no beauty there; such as are not changed from darkness to light are not fit for that state: see Acts xxvi. 18. Alas, a blind man can take no pleasure in beautiful objects, though the sun shine ever so gloriously. Heaven and light are synonymous; but light and darkness are directly contrary. "If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth," 1 John i. 6; and such dark sinners are far from a suitableness to this state and place of light. O therefore, poor sinners, consider this, the holy God hates all the workers of iniquity; the holy heaven is no sanctuary for rebels and traitors; God will not take such vipers into his bosom; thou must either be renewed, or never received into glory; it is an undefiled inheritance, 1 Pet. i. 4, a polluted sinner must not enter; this would be incompatible with all God's attributes,—as his justice, then God would give to the wicked according to the work of the righteous;-it would blemish his holiness, as though the unclean were his delight equally with the clean;—it would contradict his truth, as though God regarded not what he had said that no unclean thing shall enter there. Every attribute would have reproach cast upon it, if God should save the unsanctified soul. Nay, it would counteract the undertaking of Christ, who came to save his people from their sins, not in their sins: it would oppose the office and operations of the Holy Ghost, whose office it is to sanctify sinners, and prepare souls for heaven. That sinner must surely be in a desperate case that must undeify the infinite Jehovah, God blessed for ever, or else he cannot be saved.
4. The unsanctified sinner would not be in his element in heaven. Heaven would be a hell to him, except his nature were changed and renewed. Most men mistake the nature of heaven; they only look upon it as a place of happiness; it is so, but withal it is a state of perfect holiness. There are holy privileges, and the enjoyment of God, but what care wicked men for his company? They say unto God, depart from us; and their choice shall be their punishment. There are holy joys and delights; but how will they like that who were never pleased except with senseless laughter, which is madness? Above there is the holy company of saints, but they cannot abide to be near them on earth; how then can they like to be associated with them in heaven? There is holy employment above, but alas, they are not at all qualified for, nor can they be delighted with the work of loving, praising, or glorifying God. Augustine hath a saying, "That the new song and the old man agree not well together:*-no man could learn that new song, but the hundred, forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth," Rev. xiv. 3. Alas, they have not hearts nor harps tuned for it: suppose it were possible that our Lord should bring an unsanctified person to heaven, saith one, he could find no more felicity there, than an animal, should you bring him into a beautiful room, to the society of learned men, or a well furnished table; the poor thing would much rather be grazing with his fellow brutes: thus a poor graceless sinner would rather be with his cups or mistresses, at best in his markets, and counting his gold, but there are no such things in heaven; therefore if he were there, he would be quite out of his element, as a fish in the air, or a bird in the water, or fire. Can you charm an ox with music? or can you bring him to your melody, or make him keep time with your * Canticum novum et vetus homo male concordant.
skilful choir? So the anthems of heaven, saith one, are not adapted to a carnal man's mouth, suit not his ear. Sinners now think sermons long, sabbaths long, prayers and praises long, and cry, what a weariness is it; when will it be over? And are these, think you, fit for this heavenly employment to all eternity? where this noble company of celestial inhabitants, "serve God day and night in the temple," Rev. vii. 15. Alas, the poor unregenerate sinner hath no faculties suited to such a glorious state and exercise, as are above; the mind, will, memory and conscience, are like a full stomach that loaths the honey-comb; these old bottles cannot hold the new wine of glory. You may as well hew the marble without tools, or draw a picture without colours, or build without instruments or materials, as a soul not qualified with grace perform the work of God acceptably either on earth or in heaven. O sirs, think of this, you must be prepared, fitted, qualified for heaven here, or else heaven will be no heaven to you.
THE SUBJECT APPLIED FOR CONVICTION AND LAMENTATION OVER SOULS THAT ARE UNMEET
I NOW proceed to application, and all the use I shall make of this point shall be for lamentation and exhortation.
1. To produce conviction, humiliation, and lamentation. If men would think on such plain demonstrations as are oft laid before sinners in the ministry of the
word, they would at last reflect upon themselves, and say, am I thus or thus prepared? upon what terms stand I for another world? am I an adopted child of God? am I justified? am I converted to God, and brought through the passage of regeneration? have I made a covenant with God, and taken God for my God, and given myself to him? what saving change hath taken place upon my heart? If I should come to you one by one, and propose to you such solemn questions as these, Friends, whither bound? whither are you going? are you for heaven or hell? Oh no, you will say, God forbid, that we should not go to heaven! God is a merciful God; Christ died to save sinners; we do not doubt but through the merits of Christ, we shall be saved as well as others. Alas, sirs, these are too general grounds, to build your hopes of salvation upon. God is merciful, but he is also just; Christ died for sinners, but do you imagine all shall be saved by him? Let me ask you a few sober questions, and answer them not according to your fancies, but according to scripture rule: Do you believe that all men shall be saved? what is hell then for, which is so oft mentioned in the Bible? or do you think that the gates of heaven are as wide as the gates of hell, or that as many shall be saved as lost? dare you so directly contradict our blessed Saviour, and give him the lie? Matt. vii. 13, 14. Can you imagine that our Lord Jesus, who is the porter of heaven, will admit any but those whom he saith he will entertain? or do you think he will admit those whom he saith he will keep out? what think you, can any secretly steal in, unknown to him, or forcibly thrust in against his will? Is the infinite all-seeing God grown so weak or ignorant that you can deceive or conquer him? or can you bribe him to let you in with fair words