Immagini della pagina
PDF
ePub

lufts, quite contrary to the very end of their being.

Tbirdly, Without this thy religion is vain," James i. 26. All thy religious performances will be but loft, for they can neither please God, Rom. viii. 8. nor fave thy soul, 1 Cor. xiii. 2, 3. which are the

very ends of religion. Be thy services never lo specious, yet God hath no pleasure in them, Ifa.i. 14. Mal. i. 10. Is not that man's cafe dreadful, whose sacrifices are as murders, and whose prayers are a breath of abomination? Ija. Ixvi. 3. Prov. xxviii. 9. Many under convictions think they will fet upon mending, and that a few prayers and alms will salve all again; but alas! Sirs, while your hearts remain unsanctified, your duties will not pass. How punctual was Jehu? and yet all was rejected, because his heart was not upright, 2 Kings X. with Hofea i. 4. How blameless was Paul? and yet being unconverted, all was but loss, Pbil. ii. 6. 7. Men think they do much in attending God's service, and are ready to twit him with it, 1/a. lviii. 3. Mat. vii. 22. and set him down fo much their debtor; whereas, their persons being unfanctified, their duties cannot be accepted.

O Soul! do not think when thy fins pursue thee, a little praying and reforming thy course will pacify God: Thou must begin with thy heart; if that be not renewed, thou canst not please Gud.

God threatens it as the greateft of temporal judgments, that they should build and not inhabit, plant and not gather; and that their labours should be eat up by strangers, Deut. xxviii. 30, 38, 39, 41. Is it so great a misery to lose our common labours, to fow in vain, and build in vain? how much more

to lose our pains in religion, to pray, and hear, and fast in vain? This is an undoing and eternal loss. Be not deceived; if thou goeft on in thy finful state, though thou shouldest spread forth thine hands, God will hide his eyes; though thou' make many prayers, he will not hear, Ija. i. 15. If a man without skill set about our work, and mar it in the doing, though he take much pains, we give him but little thanks, God will be worshipped after the due order, i Chron. xv. 13. If a fervant do our work, but contrary to our order, he will have rather stripes than praise. God's work muft be done according to God's mind, or he will not be pleased; and this cannot be, except it be done with a holy heart, 2 Chron. xxv. 2.

Fourtbls, “ Without this thy hopes are in vain." Job viii. 12, 13.

- The Lord hath rejected thy confidence," Jer. ii. 37.

First, The hope of comforts here are in vain." It is not only necessary to the safety, but comfort of your condition, that you be converted : With

you shall not know peace,Ifa. lix. 8.; without the fear of God, you cannot “ have the “ comfort of the Holy Gholt,”', Aits ix.

31.

God speaks peace only to his people, and to his faints, Psalm lxxxv. $. If you have a false peace, continuing in your fins, it is not of God's speaking, and then you may guess the author: Sin is a real fickness, Ija. i. 5. ; yea, the worst of sickness; it is a leprosy in the head, Lev. xii. 44.; the plague in the heart, 1 Kings viii. 38.; it is brokenness in the bones, Psal. li. 8.; it pierceth, it woundeth, at racketh, it tormenteth, 1 Tim. vi. 10.

A man may as well expect cafe when his distempers are in

out this as

their full strength, or his bones out of joint, as true comfort while in his fins.

O wretched man! that can have no ease in this cafe but what comes from the deadliness of thy disease. You shall have the poor fick man saying in his lightness, I am well; when you see death in his face, he will needs up and about his business, when the very next step is like to be in his grave. The unsanctified often see nothing amiss; they think themselves whole, and cry not out for a physician; but this shews the danger of their case. ·

Sin doth naturally breed distempers and disturbances in the foul. What a continual tempest and commotion is there in a discontented mind! What an eating evil is inordinate care! What is passion, but a fever in the mind ? What is lust, but a fire in the bones? What is pride but a deadly tympany? Or covetousness, but an insatiable and unsufferable thirft? Or malice and envy, but venom in the very heart? Spiritual sloth is but a scurvy in the mind; and carnal security a mortal lethargy: and how can that soul have true comfort that labours under so many diseases? But converting grace cures, and so eases the mind ! Prepares the soul for a settled, ftanding, immortal peace; “ great peace have they " that love thy commandments, and nothing shall « offend them," Pfalm cxix. 165, they are the ways of wisdom that afford pleasure and peace, Prov. iii. 17. David had infinitely more pleasure in the word, than in all the delights of his court, Psalm cxix. 103, 127. The conscience cannot be truly pacified till foundly purified, Heb. x. 22. Cursed is that peace that is maintained in way

of

sin, Deut. xxix. 19, 20.-Two sorts of peace are more to be dreaded than all the troubles in the world, peace with fin, and peace in fin.

Secondly, “ Thy hopes of salvation hereafter fr are in vain, yea worse than in vain;" they are most injurious to God, moft pernicious to thyself. There is death, separation, blasphemy in the bowels of this hope. 1. There is death in it: “ Thy “ confidence shall be rooted out of thy tabernacles." (God will up with it root and branch) « it shall

þring them to the King of terrors,Job xviii. 14. Though thou mayest lean upon this house, it will not stand, Job viii, 15. but will prove like a ruinous building, which, when a man trusts to, falls down about his ears. 2. There is desperation in it: “ Where is the hope of the hypocrite, when “ God takes away his foul ?” Job xxvii. 8.; then there is an end for ever of his hope. Indeed the hope of the righteous hath an end, but then it is not a destructive but a perfective end ; this hope ends in fruition, others in frustration, Prov. x. 28. The godly must say at death, “ It is finished;" but the wicked, “ it is perished;" and in too fad earneft bemoan himself, as Job, in a mistake; “ Where is now my hope? He hath destroyed me; I am gone, and my hope is removed like a tree,' Job xix. 10. The righteous hath hope in his

death,” Prov. xiv. 32. When nature is dying, his hopes are living; when his body is languishing, his hopes are flourishing; his hope is a living hope, 1 Pet. i. 3.; but the others' is a dying, a damning, foul-undoing hope. “When a wicked man dieth,

his expectation shall perish, and the hope of un

“ juft men perisheth,” Prov. xi. 7.. " It shall “ be cut off, and prove like the spider's web,”? Job viii. 14. which he spins out of his own bowels; but then comes death with the broom, and takes down all, and so there is an eternal end of his confidence wherein he cruited: “ For the eyes of the “ wicked shall fail, and their hope shall be as the “ giving up the ghoft,” Job xi. 20. Wicked men are fixed in their carnal hope, and will not be beaten out of it; they hold it fait, they will not let it go. Yea, but death will knock off their fingers; though we cannot undeceive them, death and judgment will : When death strikes his dart through thy liver, it will pierce thy foul and thy hopes together. The unfanctified have hope only in this life, i Cor. xv. 17.; and therefore " are of “ all men moft miserable.” When death comes, it lets them out into the amazing gulph of endless desperation.-2. “ There is blafphemy in it." To hope we shall be saved, though we continue unconverted, is to hope we shall prove God a liar. He hath told you, that so merciful and pitiful as he is, he will never save you notwithstanding, if you go on in ignorance, or a course of unrighteousness, lsa. xxvii. 11. I Cor. vi. 9. In a word, he hath told you, that whatever you be or do, nothing thall avail you to falvation, without you

you become “ new creatures,

,Gal. vi. 15. Now, to say God is merciful, and we hope will save us nevertheless, ís in effect to say, We hope God will not do as “ he says.We must not set God's attributes at variance; God is resolved to glorify his mercy, but not to the prejudice of his truth, as the pre

« IndietroContinua »