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1. Consider some things implied in it.
II. Shew who are the sinners, that we are to have a horror of our souls being gathered with in the other world.
III. What it is for one's soul to be gathered with finners in the other world.
IV. Consider this care and concern; or shew, what is implied in this earnest request, soul with finners."
V. Give the reasons, why we should be in such care and concern.
VI. Make application.
6 Gather not my
I. We shall consider some things implied in the doctrine. It implies,
1. The souls of men in their bodies in this world, are in a scattered and disorderly condition, faints and finners in one place, one outward condition, all mixed through other; the tares and the wheat are in one field; corn and chaff in one floor; fish good and bad in one net; sheep and goats in one flock; Ham in the ark, Judas in Christ's family, profane and hypocrites with fincere Chriftians, in one visible church. This mixture has a threefold effect.
(1.) It keeps both parties uneasy, Gen. iii. 15. The saints are uneasy with the conversation of finners, 2 Pet. ii. 7. and finners with that of saints, who are an eye sore to them, Gen. xix. 9. The one wearies to have the other out of their world, the other many a time to be away from among them. Their principles, aims, and manner of life are opposite; and they cannot unite more than the iron and clay.
(2.) They are an embargo upon one another, fo that this world is neither so good nor yet so bad, as otherwise it would be. It is with the world in this case, as with the believer in whom there is a mixture of flesh and spirit, Gal. v. 17. The conversation of finners often infects faints, leads them into fnares and temptations; handling of pitch they are defiled, and
are often made to come mourning out of her company, as Peter in the high priest's hall. Sometimes again saints win on finners, to turn them from the evil of their ways, 1 Cor. vii. 12, 13, 16. 1 Pet. ïïi. 1. And even where that is not gained, yet it does something to keep the world in external order, beyond what it would be if all were alike, no mixture of saints in the society, Matth. v. 13. like falt that keeps it from roting and stinking, as otherwise it would do.
(3.) There is a mixed dispensation of providence in the world; sometimes fair weather, sometimes foul; sometimes public mercies dispensed, sometimes public calamities; for God has his friends and his enemies both in one company; and the society meets with tokens of God's good-will for the sake of the one, and tokens of
for the sake of the other. 2. The souls of men in the other world will be orderly ranged into different congregations, according to their different natures and dispositions, saints and finners, who will make two unmixed societies. This implies two things.
(1.) A separation of the disagreeing parties now mixed, Matth. iii. 12. The good and bad mixed in this world will be separated there; they will not make but one society more, as they did here; and the separation will be a thorough one, not one goat left among the sheep, nor one sheep among the goats, Pfal. i. 5. Matth. xiii. 41. For all the mixture that is here, there will be a cleanly separation there, what ever were the ties of political, ecclefiaftical, or domef. tical relations among them.
Matth. xxiv. 40. 41. « Then shall two be in the field, the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two women shall be grinding at the mill, the one shall be taken, and the other left."
(2.) A gathering of their separate parties into their respective focieties they belonged to, whereby they will be ranged according to their kind and fort ; saints with saints, and finners with finners. For there will be two, and but two congregations in the
'other world, Christ's and the devil's. Psal. i. 5.; the bundle of life, 1 Sam. xxv. 29. and the bundle of death, Matth, xiii. 30. Many are misplaced here, and get wrong names; some of the devil's goats appear in sheep's cloathing, and are mistaken for such as belong to Chrift; some of Christ's sheep are busked up by the malicious world irr wolves skins, as if they be longed to the devil. But nothing of that will be there.
3. Death is the gathering time, which the Psalmist has in view in the text. Ye have a time here that ye call the gathering time, about the term; when the servants are going away, wherein ye gather your strayed sheep that every one may get their own again. Death is God's gathering time wherein he gets the souls belonging to him, and the devil those belonging to him. They did go long together, but then they are parted; and saints are taken home to the congregation of saints, and sinners to the congregation of finners. And it concerns us to say, Gather not my soul with finners.”. Whoever be our people here, God's people, or the devils, death will gather our souls to them.
Lastly, It is a horrible thing to be gathered with finners in the other world. To think of our souls being gathered with them there, may make the hair of one's head stand up. Many now like no gathering like the gathering with sinners; it is the very delight of their hearts, it makes a brave jovial life in their eyes. And it is a pain to them, to be gathered with saints, to be detained before the Lordon a sabbath day. But to be gathered with them in the other world, is a horror to all sorts.
(1.) The saints have a horror of it, as in the text. To think to be staked down in their company in the other world, would be a hell of itself to the godly. David never had such a horror of the society of the poor, the diseased, the perfecuted, c. as of finners. He is content to be gathered with saints of whatever
condition; but, Lord, says he, “ Gather nat my soul with sinners."
(2.) The wicked themselves have a horror of it, Numb. xxi. 10. “ Let me die the death of the righteous,"
" said the wicked Balaam," and let my laft end be like his." Though they would be content to live with them, or be with them in life, their consciences bear witness that they have a horror of being with them in death. They would live with finners, but they would die with faints. A poor unreasonable self-condemning thouglrt. I believe, that if drunkards, unclean persons, mockers of religion, embracing and rejoicing in one another, should as Bellbazzar see the form of a hand writing on the wall, that it is the purpose of God, their foul should be gathered with one another in the other world, they would be ftruck and ready to faint away with horror, thinking, “Ah! fhall my soul be gathered with drunkards, harlots, mookers?” &c.
Wherefore fince all have a horror of their souls being gathered with finners in the other world, have a horror of being gathered with them now in their way. For it is an absurd thing to think, that you Thall live with finners, and get die with saints. Balaam wished to reconcile these contradictions, but found it would not do, Numb. xxxi. 8.
II. I.COMÉ to fhew who are the finners, that we are to have a horror of our souls to be gathered with in the other world. All men in this world are finners absolutely confidered, and so was David himself; Eccl. vii. 22. • For there is not a just man upon earth, that doth good, and finneth not." But some are finners comparatively, in comparison with others that are rightcous; they are grievous finners, as the word properly signifies; hence they are claffed with publicans, a moft odious sort of people among the Jews, Matth. ix. 10.
Now finners, grievous finners, in the scripture use of the word, are all uprighteous persons, as appears from the opposition of these terms, Plal. i. 5.“ Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgement, nor finners in the congregation of the righteous.'' Prov. xiii. 21. “Evil pursueth finners; but to the righteous good shall be repaid.” Matth. ix. 13. He that is not righteous, is in the scripture-sense a linner, a grievous finner. Hence,
1. All unjustified persons are finners; for they are unrighteous before God, as being without an impu. ted righteousness on them, Rom. v. 29. And since all- unbelievers are unjustified, whatever is their mana ner of life, they are fuch finners; they walk naked before Gods, and their fhame is not covered.
All unconverted, unfanctified, unregenerate perfons are finners; for they are unrighteous as being without an implanted righteousness, Plal.li. 13. Rom. v. 8. They are not brought back to God, but are in a course of straying from him; their unholy set of spirit remains, their nature is not changed.
Thus all natural men are finners, whose state in the other world is horrible, whatever their appearance and way may be here. There are four forts of them.
1. The grossly ignorant, who neither know nor care for knowing the foundation points of religion.
These cannot be butsinners; for however harmless they may be among men, they are grievous finners before God, as being in darkness, John ii. 11. Matth. vi. 23. And. miferable will they be whose fouls are gathered with them in the other world, Ha. xxvii. II. “ bc is a people of no-understanding: therefore he that made thein will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will faew them no favour."
z. The profane, who give the loose to their lasts, in the pollutions of the outward man. fane sweaters, who set their mouths against the hear ven, whom God will not hold guiltless; unclean per
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