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powerfully governed by God for our souls' profiting by them.-That, as the apostle, "I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel." (Phil. i. 12.) When Paul was first taken off from preaching, and cast into prison, who would not at first hearing be ready to cry?" O, many a poor soul will rue this day! This is the blackest cloud that ever darkened our gospel-day! The apostle doth as it were tell them, they are greatly mistaken: at present, the fame of his sufferings rung through court, city, and country; and persons were so far from forsaking the truth through discouragement, that they boldly own the gospel: and now was he more at leisure to write those epistles which would benefit the church in future ages. But, to bring this down to ordinary Christians: you know that groundless fears, and trembling misgivings of heart, are the ordinary diseases of a scrupulous conscience; these now dispirit us and hinder us from that cheerful behaviour that might render religion more amiable, and so hinder the spreading of it. And, beside this, Satan, that subtle angler for souls, strikes-in with our spiritual diseases, and plies the soul with next to overwhelming temptations; and he never fails of success through want of skill, or through want of industry. But, blessed be God for overruling all this! God, by but upholding the soul under (not delivering the soul from) its fears, keeps it humble, and makes it more useful, throughout the whole course of its regeneration: and, as for the advantage that Satan takes, God is pleased to give the poor, trembling soul those experiences, that it is our sin not to take notice of them. For instance: That Christian, that is in his own eyes the poorest, weakest, silliest sheep in Christ's fold, shall outwit Satan in all his stratagems, and overpower him in all his assaults, though he knows not how he does it. Thus the poor soul, when he is hard beset, retreats to Christ; and though he dare not call his carriage an acting faith upon Christ, Christ will own it as such, and reward it as such. For how is it that such a poor soul hath held out so many years under its own fears and Satan's temptations, but that Christ upheld both it and its faith? Here is faith not discerned, yet victorious.

4. Endeavour thankfully and impartially to take notice of the advantages of your condition.—Do not so much look at what you apprehend more desirable in another's condition, as to know and consider the circumstances of your own condition. Another's condition is better for them: God sees your condition to be better for you; it is the station wherein God sets you: "Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God." (1 Cor. vii. 24.) Your station in the world is not so high as others', and your distractions in the world are not so great as others'. God hath not set you in his church so high as others; God doth not require so much of you as he doth of But, alas! you have not the graces that others have; neither have you the temptations nor desertions that others have. Those who have the largest measure, and the highest degrees, of grace, have always exercises suitable to their receipts; they have sometimes the sorest trials, sometimes the greatest corruptions; and if not that, yet


you will find it is such as Job, and Asaph, and Heman, that make most doleful complaints of the hidings of God's face. Therefore take the apostle's counsel: "Art thou called, being a servant? care not for it." (1 Cor. vii. 21.) As though he had said, Be not troubled at it, as if thy mean condition in the world rendered thee less acceptable unto God. Poor Lazarus is in rich Abraham's bosom. "Hearken, my beloved brethren : as if he had said, This is a matter worthy your special notice: "Hath not God chosen (As if he had said, Dare ye deny it?) "the poor of this world," that is, in the things of this world, or in the esteem of this world, "rich in faith?" (James ii. 5 ;) that is, they have abundance of the grace of faith, and of the privileges of faith; they have no inheritance on earth, but they have at present a title to, and they shall soon have the possession of, the heavenly kingdom.

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But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of
Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.-Matthew xi. 24.

THE case [which] I am to discourse of this morning, is this: Wherein, and wherefore, the damnation of those that perish under the gospel will be more intolerable than the damnation of Sodom, or the worst of the Heathens, at the day of judgment.

We read, in the foregoing chapter, [of] our Saviour giving commission to his twelve disciples, whom he called "apostles; " where we have their commission asserted, instructions about it, and encouragements to the discharge of it.

But by his commission given to them, he did not thereby excuse himself; by his sending them forth to preach and work miracles, he did not forbear and indulge himself: others' labours did not excuse his own. For we read in the first verse of this chapter, "When Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities." And some of the cities are these, mentioned in this chapter,-Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum; three cities in Galilee. And he begins his speech to them in a way of exprobration: "Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done." (Verse 20.) Whence

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we may note, that this was not the first time of his coming to these cities he had been with them before, both teaching and working miracles; else how could he now upbraid them? And, also, that these were not the only cities where he had thus been present; but here, the text saith, "were wrought," ai whσtai duvaμeis autoU, "most of his mighty works."

And he begins with Chorazin and Bethsaida, and puts them both together, either because they were near one another,—about two miles distant; or because they both had equal privileges of his presence with them, and so [were] equally under guilt.

And in his upbraiding them, we may consider,

1. What he upbraids them for.-That "they repented not," notwithstanding the mighty works they had seen done before their eyes, and the heavenly doctrine they had heard preached in their ears.

2. Whom he upbraids them by.—It is Tyre and Sidon, the Tyrians and Sidonians; who were Phenicians inhabiting Syria, none of the Jewish nation, out of the pale of the church, brought up in the ignorance of God and true religion; yet if the works done in these cities had been done among them, they would have repented, and repented in dust and ashes, when these cities repented not at all whereupon, our Saviour denounceth a woe against them: "Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida!"


3. He upbraids them by name.—And not in general with other impenitent sinners; for particulars affect more than generals.

Next he proceeds to Capernaum; and because, it may be, this city was under greater guilt than the two former, or any other in Galilee, therefore Christ names it by itself, and doth not only name it, but notify it,

1. As being lifted up to heaven.-Not in outward grandeur, pomp, or power; but by signal favours and privileges, from Christ's presence, his preaching, and mighty works done in it.

2. As a city to be cast down to hell." Thou shalt be cast down to hell; or "hurled down by force and violence," as the Greek word, xаταbibασonon, imports; and "to hell," és adou, or, "as low as hell." καταβιβασθησῃ, έως άδου, A great fall indeed! What so high as heaven? and what so low as hell? Though, by "hell" some understand a temporal destruction, -some fatal calamity, that should carry it to the grave of oblivion, and bury it in ashes out of sight: which was executed upon it by the Assyrians, Chaldeans, and then by the Romans. But seeing Christ speaks in the text of "the day of judgment," I suppose he rather speaks of the eternal hell and damnation [which] it should be hurled then into.

3. He notifies it by the form of his speech, directed to it in a way of indignation." And thou, Capernaum." As if he held up his hand, shook his head, and contracted his brow against it: "Ah! Capernaum, Capernaum, of all cities, thou art likely to have the severest doom."

4. And, again, by comparing it with Sodom, and representing it as worse than Sodom." If the mighty works, which have been done in

thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.” Sodom would have repented; or had so many righteous persons in it, whereby not to be destroyed with fire and brimstone.

Now, as all these three cities were in Galilee, so they belonged to the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali; which are foretold by the prophet Isaiah, as such as would first fall into the dimness and darkness of affliction in the Assyrian captivities, and as such as should first have the gospel-light shining amongst them in Christ's public ministry : "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined;" (Isai. ix, 1, 2 ;) and therefore are first upbraided and rebuked by our Saviour, because they repented not.

But I pass from the context to the text; wherein we have our Saviour looking to the day of judgment, and the rewards of sinners to be then distributed: "But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for thee.” Which words he speaks to Capernaum, and are a prediction of its doom in the day of judgment. And we might take up several NOTES from them :

NOTE 1. There shall be a day of judgment.-Whether men will believe it or not, yet it shall be. Christ here saith it, and the righteousness of God makes it necessary. It hath a witness in every man's conscience: "Felix trembled," though a Heathen, when Paul discoursed of it. (Acts xxiv. 25.) It is one of the articles of the Creed, and one of "the principles " of the Christian religion, in Heb. vi. 2, called "eternal judgment." But I shall not insist on this.

NOTE II. In the day of judgment some sinners shall fare worse than others. Of those that shall be condemned, some will fall under sorer condemnation. Of those that go into everlasting fire, some, as in Nebuchadnezzar's furnace, shall be cast into hotter flames; and [of] those that are "cast into outer darkness," (Matt. viii. 12,) yet for some "is reserved the blackness of darkness." (Jude 13.) When our Saviour tells us of some that are made two times more the children of hell than others, (Matt. xxiii. 15,) and of some that shall be beaten with few stripes, and others with many stripes, (Luke xii. 47, 48,) it shows there are degrees of punishment in the state of damnation. Some have questioned whether there will be degrees of glory to the saints in heaven: but [there are] none but believe there will be degrees of torment in hell; some more, some less, tolerable. But neither this shall I insist upon.


NOTE III. In the day of judgment there will be a distribution of sinners' punishments according to the exact rules of justice.-Why else shall it be more tolerable for some sinners than others? grace and mercy will distribute the rewards to the saints, so justice [will distribute] punishment to the wicked. So that nothing will be added above what is due, and nothing abated of what is due; not one stripe inflicted [beyond], nor one diminished of, what justice shall determine. By him actions are weighed," saith Hannah in her song. (1 Sam. ii. 3.) Bad actions, as well as good; and the

sinfulness of them [is] known to a grain: and the heavier sin shall have the heavier judgment. Neither this do I insist upon.

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NOTE IV. Christ's saying is sufficient ground for our believing.— "But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable," &c. He adds no more by way of proof; his saying it, is enough. How often do we find in the gospel these words!" Verily I say unto you ;" and sometimes, "Verily, verily, I say unto you; or, "Amen, Amen :" and [he] is himself called "the Amen." (Rev. iii. 14.) We owe this deference to him, as to believe him upon his naked word. If an ipse dixit passed for a proof in Pythagoras's school, much more should it in Christ's. Neither will I insist on this.

NOTE V. In the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for Sodom than Capernaum.-And this will lead me to discourse of these two cities literally, and from thence to speak of the case proposed more at large and generally.

These two cities may be considered under a threefold distinction :— 1. Nominal. The one is called Sodom; in the Hebrew, Sedom, or Sedomah. Sometimes we read of "the land of Sodom," or "the Sodomites;" and then it comprehends Gomorrah, which is often mentioned with it; as, Isai. i. 9; Matt. x. 15, &c. And Admah and Zeboim and Bela, also, may be meant by "the land of Sodom," and "the cities of the plain." (Gen. xix. 25.) And the other city is called Capernaum; which signifies in Hebrew, "a field of consolation," or a pleasant field : as Sodom hath its name from a word that denotes "secrecy," or cœtus consultantium [“ a council"]. (Gen. xlix. 6.) But I shall not criticize upon names.

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2. Local.-Sodom was on the east of Canaan, in the plain of Jordan ;—which Lot chose at his parting from Abraham; and he is said to journey to the east; (Gen. xiii. 11 ;)—and was a pleasant and fruitful plain, and "as the garden of the Lord," till it was destroyed from heaven. (Verse 10.) But Capernaum was on the north or north-west of the land of Judah. ·

3. Moral. Both were sinful cities, but their sins of a distinct kind. The sins of Sodom were sins against the law more directly, and against the light of nature, and of the highest scandal; but Capernaum's sins were more against the new light of the gospel, breaking forth upon them from Christ's ministry, and the mighty works whereby his doctrine was confirmed among them.

Now Christ, considering both these cities, and the sin of both, gives the decision in the text: "That it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom, than for Capernaum, in the day of judgment."

And may not this seem strange and amazing? Sodom was a city that was wicked to a prodigy and to a proverb. It is said, that "the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the Lord exceedingly;" (Gen. xiii. 13;) and impudency in sin is called a "declaring their sin like Sodom." (Isai. iii. 9.) And, "They are all of them unto me as Sodom," saith God, speaking of the sin of the Jews; (Jer. xxiii. 14;) and wicked rulers are called "rulers of Sodom." (Isai. i. 10.) Whereupon Lot is said to "vex his righteous soul with their unlawful

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