Baxter - BV4831 84 F3 1830

82 MISERY OF THOSE WHO [Chap. 6. their hope of escaping it bore up their hearts. We can now scarce speak with the vilest drunkard, or swearer, or scoffer, but he hopes to be saved, for all this. O happy world, if salvation were as common as this hope ! Nay, so strong are men's hopes, that they will dispute the cause with Christ himself at judgment, and plead their "having ate and drank in his presence, and prophesied in his name, and in his name cast out devils ;" they will stiffly deny that ever they neglected Christ in hunger, nakedness, or in prison, till he confutes themwith the sentence of their condemnation. 0 the sad state of those men, when they must bid farewell to all their hopes! "When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish; and the hope of un- just men perisheth. The eyes of the wicked shall fail, and they shall not escape, and their hope shall be as the giv- ing up of the ghost." The giving up the ghost is a fit, but terrible resemblance of a wicked man giving up his hopes. As the soul departeth not from the body without the great- est pain, so doth the hope of the wicked depart. The soul departs from the body suddenly, in a moment, which hath there delightfully continued so many years; just so doth the hope of the wicked depart. The soul will never more return to live with the body in this world; and the hope of the wicked takes an everlasting farewell of his soul. A miracle of resurrection shall again unite soul and body, but there shall be no such miraculous resurrection of the damned's hope. Methinks it is the most pitiable sight this world affords, to see such an ungodly person dying, and to think of his soul and his hopes departing together. With what a sad change he appears in another world ! Then if a man could but ask that hopeless soul, " Are you as confident of salvation as you were wont to be ?" what a sad answer would be returned ! O that careless sinners would be awakened to think of this in time ! Reader, rest not till thou canst give a reason of all thy hopes grounded upon Scripture promises : that they purify thy heart; that they quicken thy endeavors in godliness; that the more thou hopest the less thou sinnest, and the more exact is thy obedience. If thy hopes be such as these, go on in the strength of the Lord, hold fast thy hope, and "never shall it make thee ashamed." But if thou hast not one sound evidence of a work of grace on thy soul, cast away