Immagini della pagina

say you of your words ? If in word you have offended, know, that by your words you shall be condemned. Why, say you, Who are they that want their faults of that fort? But, whatever words escape me, yet, I hope, I have a good heart to God. Alas, man! will you examine that heart of yours with the good law of God, and see if it be a good heart or not; and if it be found a transgressor of the law, then the fountain is defiled, and never call it good again. If you be chargeable with any of these tranfgreflions of the law, that I have named, whether in your works or words, know, that the heart is the very fountain of these evil words and actions; for, out of the leart they proceed, Mat. xv. 19.; and if the fruit be evil, the root cannot be good : if the streams be bitter, the fountain cannot be sweet. The smoke of vain words and evil actions, that comes out at the chimney of your daily conversation, declares that there is a fire within doors, a furnace of corruption in the heart.

But more particularly, will you set your heart and the law together a little, and see what it is.-Compare your heart with the first command, and you will find it to be nothing but a throne of iniquity, a receptacle of false gods, where a thousand other gods are worshipped.

-Compare it with the second command, and then you will see it to be nothing but a chamber of imagery, filled with so many images, and misrepresentations of God.-Compare it with the third command, and you will find nothing else but a bench of blasphemy, issuing forth indignities and affronts to the name of God. Compare it with the fourth command, and you will find it to be nothing but a dunghill of profanity, a play-house of idleness, and a facrilegious waster of holy time.-Compare it with the fifth command, and you will see it to be nothing but a palace of pride, and a tower of selfexaltation, setting yourself above all others.-Compare it with the fixth command, and here it will be found to be nothing but the devil's shambles, and a slaughterhouse of malice and murder; for, He tbat bates bis, bro. ther in his heart, is a murderer.-Compare your heart with the seventh command, and you will find it nothing but a cage of unclean birds, unclean thoughts, vile af


[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

fections.- Compare it with the eighth command, and then you will see it to be nothing but a tabernacle of robbers, though your hand should be free of theft and robbery : but if you have flolen all that your heart went after, many a horse and cow hath it itolen ; yea, many a fine house and yard hath your heart rubbed your neiglibour of.-Compare it with the ninth command, and you will find it to be nothing but a fountain of calumny, either inventing ill tales of your neighbour, or exaggerating and magnifying any false report; or tickled with, and glad of any occafion to cast a blot upon his name.-Compare your hearts with the tenth command, and you will find it also to be nothing but a temple of idolatry: for, Covetoufness is idolatry, says the apoftie. As many objects as the covetous heart pursues after, so many idols does it fall down before, - And now, tell me, after all, Is that a good heart ? Nay, alas ! every imagination of it is evil, and evil continually; yea, it is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.

Thus fin is a tranfgreffion of the law, whether in heart, speech, or behaviour ; and thus we are all transgreslors : yea, though we could free ourselves of actual fins, which is imposible, and say that we are clean in thought, word, and action : yet as we have finned in Adam, Rom. v. 12; fo our very natures are sinful and corrupt, and deftitute of conformity to the law; as void of righteousness, as Christ was free of fin; and altogether filthy, as Christ is altogether lovely. The law requires holiness of nature, lieart and way, and curses every one that continues not in all things required therein, Gal. iii. 10. Why then, the meaning of that word to a finner, If ibor wilt enter into life, keep the commandments, is as much as to say, ( finner, you have forfeit eternal life by your not keeping the commandnient, and thou art doomed to eternal death, which, as fure as God lives, will be your everlasting lot, if the law get not a better keeper than you in your roun and stead : the reason then, why I declare you transgressors of the law, is, that I may recommend Chrilt the more to you as the end of the law for righteousness. " Sin is a transgression of the law.”

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

2. Consider it as it is an opposition to God, the Law.giver: it is called enmity against God. Some have a notion of fin, that it is a transgression of God's law, and yet not a due sense of fin in the intrinsical,evil of it, as it is an opposition to God's nature: as every actual fin, whether of omission or commission, is a walking contrary to God, Lev. xxvi. 27.; fo sin, in its nature, is a contrariety to God's nature, and a despising of him, as well as dilpleafing to him, 1 Sam. ii. 30.: yea, nothing is so opposite to God, as fin. God is wisdom, fin is folly ; God is. holiness, sin is filthiness; God is justice, fin is iniquity; God is goodness itself, fin is badness itself; God is faithfulness, fin is treachery; God is light, fin is darkness ; God is life, fin is death; God is beauty, fin is deformity; God is majesty, sin is baseness; God is love, fin is enmity. Sin is so opposite to God, that if the least drop of it should get into his nature, he would cease to be God. The wicked think, because God is patient and long-suffering, therefore he approves of their fin, and is of the same judgment with themselves ; “ Because I held my peace, thou thoughtest that I was altogether like thyself; but I will reprove thee, and set thine iniquities in order before thee," Psalm 1. 21. Know, when you have any such thoughts of God as this, you do blafpheme God; for, if God did approve of your fin, he would cease to be God, he would be God no longer: why fo, think you ? Even becaufe then God would not be infinitely holy: now, holiness is his being; therefore, if he Thould cease to be infinitely holy, he would cease to be God: so opposite is fin to God, that if he did not hate sin as much as he does, he would cease to be God. If his hatred of fin were less than it is, then he would not be infinitely holy; and infinite holiness must needs have infinite hatred against fin. This is the very thing that makes sin to be an infinite evil, objectively considered : and whatever fome may think of fin, surely we cannot speak enough of the evil of it. You that have but light thoughts of fin, you have light and slight thoughts of God: and you that have light thoughts of fin, have light thoughts of Christ; it cannot be a light matter, that the eternal God gave his eternal Son to be a sacri.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

fice for, otherwise we had been eternal facrifices to his incensed justice. The more dishonourably that we speak of fin, the more honourably must we speak of Christ, the Saviour that saves from it. Nothing exposes fin so much as the gospel of Christ, declaring him to be the sacrifice for fin; which says, that the infinite hatred that God bears to sin, is equal to the infinite love that he bears to his own Son; and that his hatred to fin is as deep, as liis love to Christ is high; and that the depth of the one, and the height of the other, are both equally infinite. As Christ's death is the great facrifice for fin, that we commemorate at this occasion; so the view of the infinite value thereof, relates to the infinite evil of sin. As there would be no need for Christ, as a Saviour, if there were no fin; fo there would be no need for such a Sa. viour as he is, if sin were not such an evil as it is: and as the guilt of it cannot be expiated without such an infi-' nite ransom as he gave ; fo the power of it cannot be destroyed but by such an almiglity arm as he liath, who alone is able to save to the uttermost. But this leads me, having thus far touched the nature, to speak next of the strength of sin.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]


[ocr errors]

11. The second thing propofed here is, to enquire a little into the strength of fin. The devil is called the strong man, yet he is without; but fin is the strong man within; or, as the apostle calls it, the old man, Eph. iv. 22.; where he exhorts even the faints to put off the old

Sin is no child, but a man: it is no young stripling, but an antient, strong, old man; one that is grown in years, and carries power, command, authority with it in the best of God's children : and if it many times powerfully prevails in and over them, how powerfully does it reign in the rest of the world? But, that the strength of fin may be farther opened, I shall lay before you, 1. Some of the qualities of the strength of fin. The degrees of its strength, positive, comparative, and superlative.

Ift, As to the quality of the strength of fin: what fort of a strength it hath, may appear in these ten qualities and bad properties of it.

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]


1. Sin hath a commanding strength, requiring obedience, and obliging its servants, to obey it in the lusis thereof, Rom. vi. 12. 16. Indeed, the commands of fin are very unlawful and unreasonable ; yet it commands men to go, and they go ; to come, and they come: and men obey the commands of fin, by disobeying the commands of God; for, when they do not what God injoins them, they do what sin requires them.

2. Sin hath a condemning strength : as sin is a great commander, so the coinmanding power of fin, when vielded to, delivers us over to the condemning power of fin. Now, what this condemning power of fin is, the apostle fhews plainly, Jam. i. 15. “Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” Sin is a faithless and fameless tyrant and tempter; for, at first it promises life and immunity from death, saying, like the devil that finned from the beginning, “ You shall not surely die:” yet, no sooner does a man obey the command of fin, than it condemns him to death ; " The wages of fin is death,” Rom. vi. 23. Hence,

3. Sin hath a deceiving strength. See Heb. iii. 13. Exbort one-another wbile it is called to-day, lest any of you be bardened through the deceitfulness of fin: hence the lufts of the flesh are called deceitful lufis, Eph. iv. 22. Sin powerfully deceives, by blinding the mind, corrupt. ing the judgment, hardening the heart, alluring the affections, and persuading the finner that there are some things forbidden in the law that are good and profitable, and may be done without any scruple of conscience. Sometimes it will persuade the greedy-minded worldly man, that is thinking how to enrich himself, that to do it by the subtilty of his pate, the forgery of his tongue, the villainy of his hand, and by violent means, is an eafier and sweeter way than to toil and labour to inrich him. felf by honest means. Sometimes it will persuade the finner, that there is no hell, no fear of punishment; or, if there be, yet he may afterwards repent, and prevent it; and so he is emboldened to fin, and deceived.

4. Sin hath a working strength ; Wben we were in tbe flesh, the motions of sin that were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death, Rom.vii.5.


« IndietroContinua »