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not sin, because he is born of God. See the sentence, Rom ii. 9, “ Tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doth evil.” (2.) The execution is oft-times delayed; it is not speedily execute. Though the word is gone out of the mouth of the Judge, he does not presently bring on the blow; he spares the criminal a while for holy ends. (3.) It supposeth, that though the execution be slow, yet it is sure, if the sentence be not got reversed, and a pardon obtained. Saying, that it is not speedily executed, he intimates that it will be executed at length.

2. The wretched abuse sinners make of this patience of God with them. “ Therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” Because sentence is not executed speedily, they think it will never be executed ; and so they give themselves the loose. “ Their heart is fully set in them to do evil.” They find providence gives them head, does not check and strike them down in their course : and so they even run away with themselves. Their impunity fills their heart for their sinful courses, that they drive on like a ship with a full sail before a brisk gale.

Three doctrines may be deduced from the words thus explained.

DOCTRINE I. There is a sentence passed in the court of heaven, and standing, against ungodly men, evil-workers, however easy they be under it for a time.

DOCTRINE II. The Lord oftentimes does not soon come to the execution of the sentence against ungodly men, evil-workers; but delays it for a time.

DOCTRINE III. God's delay of execution is often miserably abused by sinners, to the filling of their hearts to do evil, and sinning more and more.

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I shall handle each of these doctrines in order.

DOCTRINE I. There is a sentence passed in the court of heaven, and standing, against ungodly men, evil-workers, however easy they be under it for a time.

In prosecuting this doctrine, I shall,

I. Shew, that there is a sentence passed in the court of heaven, and standing, against ungodly men, evil-workers.

II. Explain the nature of this sentence.
III. Make some practical improvement of the subject

I. I shall shew, that there is a sentence passed in the court of heaven, and standing, against ungodly men, evil-workers.

1. They are already judged and condemned of God : John iii. 18, “ Ile that believeth not, is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” Ungodly

men, evil-workers, are unbelievers; and being unbelievers, they have not the benefit of absolution by Christ : so they are under condemnation of the law for their evil works. For whom the gospel doth not absolve, the law doth condemn.

2. Only those that are in Christ, are not under condemnation; and their freedom from it is of no older date than their believing : Rom. viii. 1, “ Their is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” But evil-workers are not in Christ, 1 John iii. 8, 9, forecited. If they were in Christ, they would be new creatures ; 2 Cor. v. 17, “ For if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” Therefore they are still under condemnation.

3. They are in a state of death, dead in sin, Eph. ii. 1. They who are morally dead in sin, being without a principle of spiritual life, Eph. iv. 18, are legally dead too; they are dead men in law, under a sentence of death, John v. 24. Hence they are called children of wrath, of hell, &c.

4. The power that Satan has over them, proves this. They are close prisoners, bound hand and foot, Is. lxi. 1. Satan is the keeper of the prison, Heb. ii. 14; and they are under his power, Acts xxvi. 18. What gives him the power over them, but that they are condemned in law? Let the sentence be reversed, and he has them no more under his power, 1 Cor. xv. 56.

5. Lastly, The spirit of bondage witnesseth the truth of this, convincing the sinner that he is a dead man, Rom. vii. 9, and that he stands in need of a remission, chap. iii. 19. This testimony is true; for it is the testimony of the Spirit of God, whereby he brings sinners to see their need of Christ.

II. To explain the nature of this sentence, consider,

1. Every evil work is a breach of God's law; and every sinful thought, word, or action is an evil work : 1 John iii. 4.“ Whosoever committeth sin, transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” No man is lord of himself but is answerable to God for every action of his life: and being guilty, if out of Christ, he is liable to vengeance, under the curse; if in Christ, he is liable to temporal strokes. So all ungodly ones, evil-workers, are liable to the curse for their sins.

2. The law is the accuser, that accuseth the sinner of rebellion against God, and demandeth vengeance on him, John v. 45. Every command broken by the sinner accuseth him before God; and as many breaches as he has made of it, as many articles there are of the libel against him. And though these be innumerable to men, and many of them unknown to them; they are not so unto an omniscient God.

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3. God is the judge that judgeth and passeth the sentence against the guilty, Psal. 1. 6. And he is a judge whom no artful concealment can beguile. He cannot be blinded, bribed, or biassed, 1 Pet. i. 17. His sentence, hower severe, is always righteous, Rev. xvi. 7. And there lies no appeal from his tribunal; for there is none above bim who is the Most High. Only, while the sinner is, in this world, there is access to a remission in Christ.

4. The sentence is a sentence of death, Gen. ii. 17; death in its full latitude, comprehending all miseries of soul and body; eternal death, in which the gnawing worm never dies, nor is the fire quenched. The sentences of men are at most the death of the body: but his sentence adjudgeth the soul to die eternally. The reason is, the infinite dignity of the divine Majesty offended by sin.

5. The grounds of this heavy sentence, are the transgressions of God's holy law: Gal. iii. 10. “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them." The holy law is a transcript of the purity of the divine nature; in it he hath set forth his own image. That image the sinner does what he can to deface, by violating the law : but God will magnify the law, and make it honourable, though in the destruction of the sinner.

The grounds of it more particularly are,

1st, The sin of nature, original sin imputed, Rom. v. 12; and original sin inherent, that corrupt frame of soul that is natural to us, whereby we are prone to evil and averse to good, Gen. vi. 5. By reason of this we come into the world under the sentence of death. And as serpents and vipers are objects whose destruction men seek on the first sight of them, because of their poisonous nature; so it fares with men, the very first sight of whom, in respect of their original sin, is loathsome unto a holy God, and thereby they become objects fit only for destruction.

2dly, The sins of the heart, Psal. xxiv. 4; Matt. v. 28, 29. Heartsins are not liable to man's judgment: but how can they escape the judgment of God, to whose all seeing eye our hearts are just as open as our lives?

He sees the rottenness that is within the whited sepnlchers, and passes his sentence against lusts of covetousness, uncleanness, malice, revenge, &c. burning within the heart, as well as against the same defiling the conversation.

3dly The sins of the tongue, Matt. xii. 37. It is a channel by which the beart vents much of its inbred corruption, contempt of God, &c. Jude 15, in his mocking, maligning, and running down seriousness, and agenting the cause of irreligion; and contempt of our neighbour, in railing, reproaching, obscenity, lying, &c.;

which may sbew why the rich man in hell is represented as seeking water to cool his tongue.

4thly, The sins of the life, wicked actions, whether of impiety against God, unrighteousness against men, or intemperance against ourselves, Jude 15. None of all these will escape the judgment of God, however craftily they be managed, wbatever fair colours be drawn over them: Eccl. 12, ult “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Sinners may forget them, and let them slip out of mind : but “the Lord hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, Surely I will never forget any of their works,” Amos viii. 7.

5thly, ()missions of duty, Matt. xxv. 41, &c. Men will find sentence passed on them by a just God, not only for the ill they have done, but for the good they were obliged to have done, but did it not. The man that hid his talent, and improved it not for his Lord, is doomed to outer darkness, Matt. xxv. 24, 30.

6. This sentence against the ungodly is openly pronounced in the word : Rom. ii. 8, 9, “But onto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness : indignation, and wrath ; tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that doth evil.” God speaks from heaven to men, Heb. xii. 25; not by a voice coming through the clouds, but by his voice in the written word, 2 Kings xxii. 19, compared with ver. 11. The Bible is God's word to us, whereby he is speaking to us, and will speak to men unto the end of the world, either absolution or condemnation according to their state.

7. It is registered there too; Gen. ii. 17, “In the day that thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.” Ezek. xviii. 4, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” The Scripture is the records of the court of heaven, where the ungodly may read their doom, and see the sentence standing against them. And that certainly is one of the causes of the neglect of the Scriptures in our day; for in it “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness, and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness,” Rom. i. 18. Ahab hated Micajah, because he never spake good of him. The Scripture never speaks good of a man that is wedded to his lusts, and has no will to part with his beloved liberty in the way of sin; and therefore he hates or neglects it.

8. It is secretly intimated by the conscience sometimes, 1 John jii. 20. Conscience is God's deputy within the man; and when his corruption drives him full to do an ill work, and when he has done it, to defend it; conscience will be condemning it, and him too, from the holy law, Rom. ii. 15. And when it is thoroughly awakened, it will so pronounce the sentence against the man as will fill him with the greatest terror.

9. It will be openly pronounced before all the world at the last day: Matt. xxv. 41, “ Then shall he say also onto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” Where it is observable, that they are declared cursed and condemned ones, before that solemn publishing of the sentence against them. For none will be condemned then, but such as are in this world before that in this life condemned already

10. Lastly, How beit, the time of the execution of the sentence, in particular, is not now intimated to the sinner. The Lord keeps that a secret, that sinners may not adventure to live a moment in the state of condemnation ; but not knowing but it may be executed next moment, they may not put off a moment the suing for a remission.

USE 1. Of Information. Hence learn,

1. The state of every ungodly person, worker of iniquity, and all unbelievers, is a miserable state, a state of condemnation. They are as really under a sentence of death, as ever any malefactor was: John iii. 18, “He that believeth not, is condemned already; because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” Think on this, ye young and old ungodly ones : though the sentence is not executed against you, it is passed on you; look into your Bible, and see it.

2. As silent as God sits on heaven, while sinners on earth are neglecting and affronting him, he is no idle spectator of their way and manner of life : Psal. 1. 21, “ These things hast thon done, and I kept silence : thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes." He has sentenced them, and "sees their day is coming," Psal. xxxvii. 13. They have their sinning day, and God sees their day of count and reckoning is coming on, wherein every item shall be distinctly charged on them : Eccl. xi. 9, “Know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.” They laugh at the evil day, because they do not see it come ; God laughs at them, because he sees it coming; and his will be when theirs is done, Prov. i. 26, when he will laugh at their calamity, and inock when their fear cometh.

3. It is not strange, that the world is filled with the noise of men's lusts and ungodly lives. If ye were gone into a prison filled with condemned men, ye would think it melancholy indeed, but not strange to hear the iron chains rattling in every part of the room.

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