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himsek as his servant, that must work and win heaven as his wages. Hence, when conscience is awakened, he thinks that, to the end he may be saved, he must answer the demands of the law ; serve God as well as he can, and pray for mercy wherein he comes short. And thus many come to duties, that never come out of them to Jesus Christ.
Evid. 2. As men, naturally, think highly of their duties, that seem to them, to be well done.; so they look for acceptance with God according as their work is done, not according to the share they huve in the blood of Christ. Wherefore have we fafted, say they, and thou ferft not? They'll value themselves on their performances and attainments: yea, their very opinions in religion, (Philip. iii. 4, 5, 6, 7.) taking to themselves, what they rob from Christ the great High-priett.
Evid. 3. The natural man going to God, in duties, will always be found, either to go without a mediator, or with more than the only Mediator Jesus Christ. Nature is blind, and therefore venturous: it sets a man a-going immediately to God without Chrift; to rush into his presence, and put their petitionsån his hand, without being introduced by the Secretary of heaven, or putting their requests into his hand. So fixed is this disposition in the unrenewed heart, that when many hearers of the gospel are conversed with upon the point of their hopes of salvation, the name of Christ will scarcely be heard from their mouths. Ask them how they think to obtain the pardon of sin? they will tell you, they beg and look for mercy, because God is a merciful God; and that is all they have to confide in. Others look for mercy for Christ's sake; but how do they know that Christ will take their plea in hand. Why, as the Papists have their mediators with the Mediator, so have they. They know he cannot but do it; for they pray, confess, mourn, and have great desires, and the like; and so have something of their own to commend them unto him : they were neyer made poor in spirit, and brought empty-handed to Christ, to lay the stress of all on his atoning blood.
3. The natural man is an eneiny' to Christ in his kingly office. The Father has appointed the Mediator King in Zion, Psal. ii. 6. And all to whom the gospel comes, are commanded, on their highest peril, to kiss the Son, and submit themselves unto him, ver. 12. But the natural voice of mankind is, Away with him; as you may fee, ver. 2, 3. They will not have him to reign over them, Luke xix. 14.
Evidence 1. The workings of corrupt nature to wrest the govern. ment out of his hands. No sooner was he born, but being born a King, Herod persecuted him, Matth. ii. And when he was crucified, they set up over his head his accusation written, This is Fesus, the king of the Jews, Matth. xxvii. 37. Though his kingdom be a spiritual kingdom, and not of this world; yet they cannot allow him a kingdom within a kingdom, which acknowledgeth no other head or supreme, but the royal Mediator. They make bold with his royal prerogatives, changing his laws, inftitutions and ordinances, modelling his worthip according to the devices of their own hearts; introducing new offices
and and officers into his kingdom, not to be found in the book of the manner of his kingdom, disposing of the external government thereof, as may best suit their carnal designs. Such is the enmity of the hearts of men against Zion's KING,
Evid 2. How unwilling are men, naturally to submit unto, and be hedged in by the laws and discipline of his kingdom! As a King, he is a Law-giver, (Isa. xxxiii 22.) and has appointed an external government, discipline and censors, to controul the unruly, and to keep his professed subjects in order, to be exercised by officers of his own appointment, Macth. xviii. 17, 18. 1 Cor. xii. 28. 1 Tim. V. 17. Heb. xiii. 17. But these are the great eye-fores of the carnal world, who love sinful liberty, and therefore cry out, Let us break their bands afunder, and caft away their cords from us, Psal. ii. 3. Hence this work is found to be, in a special manner, a striving against the stream of corrupt naturę, which, for the most part, puts such a face on the church, as if there were no King in Ifrael, every one doing that which is right in his own eyes.
Evid. 3. However natural meu may be brought to feign submission to the King of saints, yet lusts always retain the throne and dominion in their hearts, and they are serving divers lufts and pleasures, Tit. ü. 3. None but these in whom Christ is formed, do really put the erown on his head, and receive the kingdom of Christ within them. His crown is the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his elpoufals. Who are they, whom the power of grace has not subdued, that will allow him to set up, and to put down, in their souls, as he will ? Nay, as for others, any lord thall sooner get the rule over them, than the Lord of glory: they kindly entertain his enemies, and will never absolutely resign themselves to his government, till conquered in a day of power. Thus ye may see that the natural man is an enemy, to Jesus Christ in a'l his offices,
. But O! how hard is it to convince men in this point! They are very loth to take with it. And in a special manner, the enmity of
the heart against Christ in his priestly office, seems to be hid from the 1 view of most of the hearers of the gospel. Yet there appears to be a
peculiar malignity in corrupt nature against that office of his. It may be observed that the Socinians, these enemies of our blessed Lord, allow laim to be properly a Prophet and a King, but deny him to be properly a Pri ft. And this is agreeable enough to the corruption of our · nature; for under the covenant of works, the Lord was kyown as a Prophet or Teacher, and also as a King or Ruler ; but not at all as a Prielt: so man knows nothing of the mystery of Christ, as the way to the Father, till it be revealed to him. And when it is revealed, the will riseth up against it; for corrupt nature lies cross to the mystery of Christ, and the great contrivance of salvation, through a crucified Saviour, revealed in the gospel. For clearing of which weighty ruch, let these four things be considered. ,
berly a Primnians, there againa
First, The foul's falling in with the grand device of salvation by Jesus Christ, and setting the matters of salvation on that footing before the Lord, is declared by the scriptures of truth, to be an undoubt. ed mark of a real saint, who is happy here, and shall be happy here. after. Matth. xi. 6. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. 1 Cor. i 23, 24. But we preach Chrift crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness: bui unto them which are called, hoth Jews and Grueks, Christ, the power of God, and the wisdom of God Philip. üi. 3.' For we are the circumcision which worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Now how could this be, if nature could comply with that grand device.
Secondly, Corrupt nature is the very reverse of the gospel contriv. ance. In the gospel, God promiseth Jesus Christ as the great means of re-uniring man to himself: he has nained him as the Mediator, one in whom he is well pleafet, and will have none but him, Matth. xvii. 5. But nature will have none of him, Pfal lxxxi. II God appointed the place of meeting for the reconciliation, namely, the flesh of Christi accordingly, God was in Chrift, (2 Cor. v. 29.) as the tabernacle of meeting, to make up the peace with sinner ; but natural men, tho? they should die for ever, will not come thịther, John v. 40. And ye · will not come to me, that ye might have life. In the way of the gospel,
the inner must stand before the Lord in an imputed righteousness : but corrupt nature is for an inherent righteousness: and therefore, so far as natural men follow after righteousness, they follow after the law of righteousness, Rom. ix 31, 32 and not after the Lord our righteousness. Nature is always for building up itself, and to have fome grounds for boasting: but the great design of the gospel is to exalt grace, to depress nature, and exclude boasting, Rom. ili 27. The sum of our natural religion is, to do good from and for ourselves, John v. 44. The sum of the gospel religion is, to dený ourselves and to do good from and for Christ, Philip i. 21. 'Thirdly, Every thing in nature is against believing in Jesus Chrift. What beauty can the blind man discern in a crucified Saviour, for which he is to be desired? How can the will, naturally impotent, yea and averse to good, make choice of him? Well may the soul then fay to him in the day of the spiritual siege, as the Jehufites said to David in another case, Except thou take away the blind and the lame, thou Malt not come in hither, 2 Sam. v. 6. The way of nature is to go into one's self for all; according to the fundamental máxim of unfanctified Imorality, That a man should trust in himself; which according to the doctrine of faith, is mere foolishness; for so it is determined, Prov. 'xviii. 26. He that trufteth in his own heart is a fool. Now faith is the foul's going out of itself for all: and this nature, on the other hand, determines to be foolishness, 1 Cor. i. 18, 23. Wherefore there is 'need of the working of mighty power, to cause finners to believe, Eph. i. 19. Ila. liii. 1. We see promises of welcome to finners, in
doctrine of faithe t'frufteth in his econd this nature, Wherefore t
the gospel-covenant, are ample, large, and free, clogg'd with no conditions, Ifa. lv. I. Rev. xxii. 17. If they cannot believe his bare word, he has given them his oath upon it, Ezek. xxxiii. II. And for their greater ailurance, he has appended seals to his sworn covenant, namely, the holy facraments. So that no more could be demanded of the most faithless person in the world, to make us believe him, than the Lord hath condescended to give 11s, to make us believe himself. This plainly speaks nature to be against believing, and these who flee to Christ for refuge, to have need of strong consolation, (Heb. vi. 18.) to blame their strong doubts, and propensity to unbelief. Farther, also it may be observed, how, in the word sent to a secure, graceless generation, their objections are answered aforehand; and words of grace are heaped one upon another, as ye may read, Ifa. lv. 7, 8, 9.
Joel ii. 13.. Why? Because the Lord knows, that when these secure i Inners are throughly akned, doubts, fears, and carnal reasonings
against believing, will be going within their breasts, as thick as dukt in a house, raised by sweeping a dry floor.
Lastly, Corrupt nature is bent towards the way of the law, or covenant of works; and every natural man, fo far as he fets himself to seek after salvation, is engaged in that way; and will not quit it, uill beat from it by divine power. Now the way of salvation by works, and that of free grace in Jesus Christ, are inconsistent, Roni.
xi. 6. And if by grace, then it is no more of works; otherwise grace is i no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace; other.
wife work is no more work. Gal. iii. 13. And the law is not of FAITH; biet the man that DOTH them shall live in them. Wherefore, if the
will of man naturally incline to the way of salvation by the law; 'it i lies cross to the gospel-contrivance. And that such is the natural
bent of our hearts, will appear, if these following things be considered. * 1. The law was Adam's covenant; and he knew no other, as he
was the head and representative of all mankind, that were brought into it with him, and, left under it by him, tho’ without strength to
perform the condition thereof. Hence, this covenant is ingrained in į our nature : and tho' we have lost our father's strength, yet we still
incline to the way he was set upon as our head and representative in that covenant; that is, by doing to live. This is our natural religion, and the principle which men naturally take for granted, Matth.xix. 16. Il'hat good thing Mall I DO, that I may have eternal life?
2. Consider the opposition that has always been made in the world against the doctrine of free grace in Jesus Christ, by men setting up for the way of works; thereby discovering the natural tendency of the heart. It is manifeft, that the great design of the gospel.contriv. ance is to exalt the free grace of God in Jesus Christ; Rom. iv, 16. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by gracı. See Eph. i. 6. and chap. ii 7,9. All gospel truths center in Chrift; so that to learn the truth is to learn Christ, Eph. iv. 20. And to be truly taught, is to be taught as the truth is in Jesus, ver. 21. All dispensations of
grace and favour from heaven, whether to nations or particular per. fons, have still had something about them proclaiming a freedom of grace; as in the very first separation made by the divine favour, Cain the elder brother is rejected, and Abel the younger' accepted. This fhines through the whole history of the Bible: but as true as it is, this has been the point principally opposed by corrupt nature. One may well say, that of all errors in religion, since Christ, the Seed of the woman was preached, this of works, in opposition to free grace in him, was the first that lived; and it is likely to be the last that dies. There have been vast yunbers of errors, which sprung up one after another, whereof, at length, the world became ashamed and weary ; so that * they died out. But this has continued, from Cain the first author of this heresy, unto this day ; and never wanted some that clave to it, even in the times of greatest light. I do not without ground, call Cain the author of it; when Abeltrought the sacrifice of atonement, a bloody offering of the firstlings of his Hock, (like the Publican, smita ing on his breast, and saying, God be merciful to me a finner) Cain advanced with his thank-offering of the first fruit of the ground, (Gen. iv. 3, 4.) like the proud Pharisee, with his God I thank thee. For what was the cause of Cain's wrath, and of his murdering of Abel? Was it'. not that he was accepted of God for his work? Gen. iv. 4, 5. And wherefore new he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous, (1 John iii. 22.) that is, done in faith and accepted, when his were done' without faith, and therefore rejected, as the Apostle teacheth, Heb. xi. 4. And so he wrote his indignation against justi. fication and acceptance with God, through faith, in oppofition to works, in the blood of his brother, to convey it down to pesterity. And since that time, the unbloody sacrifice has often swimmed in the blood of those that rejected it. The promise made to Abraham of the Seed in' which all 'nations should be blessed, was so overclouded among his posterity in Egypt, that the generality of them saw no need of that way of obtaining the blessing, till God himself confuted their error, by a fiery law from Mount Sinai, which was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come, Gal iii. 19.“ I need not infin to tell you, how Moses and the prophets had still much ado, to lead the people off the conceit of their own righteousness. The 9th chapter of Deuteronomy is entirely spent on that purpose. They were very gross in that point in our Saviour's tive; in the time of the Apostle's, when the doctrine of free grace was most clearly preached, that error lifted up its head in face of clearest light; witness the epistle to the Romans and Galatians: And since that time it has not been wanting; Popery being the common sink of foriner heresies, and this the heart and life of that delusion. And finally, it may be observed, that always as the church dieclined from her purity otherwise, the doctrine of free grace was obscured proportionably.
3. Such is the natural propensity of man's heart to the way of the law, in opposition to Christ; that, as the tainted vessel turns the taste