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And, ver. 8. "Sin taking occafion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupifcence." Sin, then, and natural corruption, is no idle thing; no, by no means it hath an affecting and working power, to bring forth evil notions. Hence, James i. 15. "When luft is conceived, it bringeth forth fin:" and the flesh is faid to luft against the Spirit, Gal. v. 17. By reafon of corruption, there is an inclination and a proneness of all the faculties of the foul to that which is evil.

5. Sin hath a conquering and captivating ftrength: the children of God themselves are many times brought into captivity to it; "I fee another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of fin, which is in my members," Rom. vii. 23. And if it fometimes carry all before it, in a manner, where there is grace, how muft it be where there is no grace, and where the man is under the law, and not under grace? Surely it carries them whitherfoever it pleafes, except in fo far as the man is under the reftraint of providence.

6. Sin hath a defiling and polluting ftrength; "To the pure all things are pure; but to them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure, but even their mind and confcience is defiled," Tit. i. 15. Sin defiles the mind, defiles the confcience, defiles the will, defiles the affections, defiles the memory, defiles the imagination, defiles the thoughts, defiles the words, defiles the actions, and defiles and ftains all the duties the man puts his hand to: it defiles his hearing, defiles his reading, defiles his praying, defiles his meditating, defiles his communicating, defiles his conferring with others; and, in a word, defiles foul and body, inward and outward man; yea, defiles and infects neighbours, friends, ftrangers, and all that come near to it.

7. Sin hath a dementing ftrength, to make people mad; They are mad upon idols, Jer. 1. 38. Sin makes men nothing but mad fools, and befide themfelves.We reckon him a fool that would drink a cup of poifon: that is what the finner does. Is he not a fool that would defpife his food? So do finners, that defpife Christ and the gofpel. Is he not a mad fool, that would prefer a

fhadow

fhadow to a fubftance? So are they, that prefer earth to heaven, and the things of time to thefe of eternity. Hence alfo,

you

8. Sin hath a transforming ftrength, infomuch, that when it comes to a height, it turns the foul to a devil. This must be a great strength, that can turn a man to a devil. What are wicked men, in whom fin reigns, and rages, and is come to a height, but like fo many devils? It can even turn difciples into devils; "I have chofen twelve, and one of you is a devil," John vi. 70. Yea, fuch is the ftrength of it, that it can, in fome refpect, turn a faint to a devil, at least to act the part of one: hence Chrift fays to Peter, a faint, Get thee bebind me, Satan. The godly man, out of a mistaken affection to his Mafter, fpoke the language of Satan: and therefore received this fharp reprimand from his Lord. Ye need not wonder at this, for fin turned angels to devils; the fin that the angels did commit, prefently turned them to devils: therefore you need not think ftrange, if fin hath fuch a transforming power, as to turn men and women into devils.

9. Sin hath a weakening and wounding ftrength; it weakens the hands even of faints, that they cannot do what they wuold, Rom. vii. 15. How much more is the Christlefs finner under an utter inability and incapacity to do any good thing? Nay, we are by nature without ftrength; for the ftrength of fin hath taken away the ftrength of man. So weak by reafon of remaining fin and corruption is the faint, that he is not fufficient of himself to think any thing as of himself, but his fufficiency is of God, 2 Cor. iii. 5. What then can a Chriftlefs finner do? Let Arminians, who magnify the power of nature, tell. Sin hath weakened our hands; yea, and wounded us to death. For,

10. Sin hath a killing and flaying ftrength; Sin, taking occafion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it flew me, Rom. vii. 11. Every fin wé commit, is a wound and a ftab to our fouls. And, Oh! my friends, we have wounded ourfelves with fin, and rendered ourfelves liable to eternal death. Let us not remain and die in our wounds, without fearching and feeking for recovery,

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To this we reply; It is, indeed, very dangerous to fight many years under Satan's banner, where you fhall get fear upon fear, and wound upon wound, to the hazarding of your foul's everlafting death. The danger is exceeding great, and it will be a wonder of mercy, if Chrift undertake the cure: but, fince wonders of mercy are many times performed by him, therefore, be your wounds old or new, it is all a matter to him, and to the Father's infinite, boundless, bottomlefs mercy in him; and therefore, in a way of looking to the mercyfeat, fprinkled with the blood of Chrift, there is yet hope in Ifrael concerning you.-If you fay, Such is the ftrength of fin that you have been speaking of, and the no ftrength of unbelief, that I cannot come, I cannot be-lieve, I cannot turn to God in Chrift. Why, Sirs, for d what end do we point out the ftrength of fin to you, but that you may fee your utter inability to fave yourfelves, and that you may look to him, in whom almighinty ftrength is, for working faith, and drawing you? les Therefore, O cry to him, and plead with him, that the nd right-hand of the Lord may do valiantly, in delivering we you but reft not fatisfied in faying you cannot come, while the matter is, you will not come; you have no nd ftrength, because you have no will. If you were willing,

11.

VOL. V.

† C

ftrength

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recovery, relief, and redrefs. As the fmart of a wound fends us to the furgeon, may the fmart of our fins fend us to the phyfician of fouls, to Jefus Chrift: his precious blood alone can cure that deadly wound. The Son of man is lifted up, like the brazen ferpent among the Ifraelites, that whofoever look to him may be healed of the deadly wound. If you fay, what warrant have I to look to him for healing? Why, you need no better than his own call and command, Look to me, and be faved.' But, will I come fpeed, and be fuccefsful? Yea, "Him that cometh to me, I will in no wife caft out;" even fo, him that looks to me, I will npt fail to fave.

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But, fay you, my wounds are old and feftered, and, I fear, incurable; I have had them now thefe many years: If I had come to Chrif in time, perhaps, he might have cured me; but now, I think, he will not.

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ftrength is at hand; the day of your willingness is the
day of his power; "Thy people fhall be willing in the
day of thy power." When the will is gained to Chrift,
the power
of Chrift hath been there, and will be more
and more.-But, that you may fee ftill the more need of
the strength of Christ, take a further view of the strength
of fin,

2dly, In the degrees of its ftrength. And here you may confider the strength of fin in a pofitive, comparative, and fuperlative manner.

[1] Pofitively, fin hath a manifold firength. If we look further into the fcriptural account thereof, you will find, that,

1. Sin hath the ftrength of a law; hence called the law of fin and death, Rom. viii. 2. What this law requires, that men do by their commiffions; and what this law forbids, that men forbear by their omiffions. And what is required by this law? Even all acts of enmity against God. And, what is forbidden by it? Even all acts of duty towards God.

2. Sin has the strength of a king. Where there is a law, there is a lawgiver, a legiflator; and fin is both law and lawgiver, for it reigns like a king: hence fin is faid to reign, Rom. vi. 12. "Let not fin reign in your mortal body."

3. Sin hath the ftrength of a conqueror. Some kings are weak and impotent, and cannot be ftiled conquerors; but fin is both a king and a conqueror, a victorious conqueror. All the myriads of fallen angels, that are now devils; and all the millions of fallen men that have been, and are in the world, are fo many black trophies of the conqueft thereof.

4. Sin hath the ftrength of a tower and strong hold: and hence the weapons of the gofpel-warfare are faid to be mighty thro' God, to the pulling down thefe ftrong holds, 2 Cor. x. 4, 5. And many a pull do they take before they be pulled wholly down, even though every pull that does any execution, muft be a pull of omnipo

tency.

5. Sin hath the ftrength of an army. Sin, even in believers, is compared to an army; they are faid to have

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in them a company of two armies, an army of lufts and an army of graces; and the former army fometimes. prevails against the latter. How ftrong muft the army of hell be in thefe that want grace, and have no army to oppofe it?

6. Sin hath the ftrength of a mountain, the advantage of the ground, even in the children of grace; their corruptions, like the Canaanites, have poffeffion, old poffeffion, and they keep the mountain: yea, fin and corruption themfelves, are compared to high and ftrong mountains, mountains of Bether, and hills of feparation. When Chrift comes, he is faid to come fkipping on the mountains, and leaping over the hills. "Who art thou, O great mountain? Before our Zerubbabel thou fhalt become a plain."

7. Sin hath the ftrength of a prifon; it is a dark prifon, a close prifon, a ftrong prifon and finners are called prifoners; and hence the work of a Saviour is called the opening of the prifon, Ifa. Ixi. 1.

8. Sin hath the strength of a chain. Of all men, flaves are in the worst circumftances; of all flaves, prifoners are worst; and of all prifoners, thefe that are in chains and fetters. Sinners are not only flaves, but prisoners; not only prifoners but in chains within their prifon, held in the bond of iniquity, fhut up in unbelief, as in a prison and chain and fo ftrait is the chain, that their hands are in chains, they cannot work; their feet in chains, they cannot walk; their head chained down, that, they cannot look up to God for mercy; their heart in chains, that they cannot fo much as defire the Lord Jefus to loofe, and fave, and deliver them. But then,

[2.] Confider the ftrength of fin comparatively, and you will find it stronger than many frong things.

1. Sin is ftronger than all the children of men; for it hath made them all its captives; yea and willing subjects. As it is faid of Chrift, "Thy people fhall be willing in the day of thy power;" fo, fuch is the ftrength of fin, that we may fay, it hath made millions of willing fubjects and flaves to it in the day of its power; and the day of its hellifh power is always till a day of divine power come to conquer it.

C 2

2. Sin

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