Изображения страниц
[ocr errors]

times too little, but mostly too much of them : either they get not their due ; or, if they do, it is measure pressed down, and running over. Spiritual things have always too little of them. - In a word, they are always in, or over ; never right, only evil.

Now, here is a three-fold cord against heaven and holiness, not easily broken ; a blind mind, a perverse will, and disorderly difteinpered affections. The mind swelled with self-conceit, says the man should not stoop; the will opposite to the will of God, says he will not; and the corrupt affe&tions rising against the Lord, in defence of the corrupt will, say, he fhall not. Thus the poor creature stands out against God and goodness; till a day of power come, in which he is made a new creature.

IV. The Conscience is corrupt and defiled, Tit. i. 15. It is an evil eye, that fills one's conversation with much darkness and confusion; being naturally unable to do its office ; till the Lord, by letting in a new light to the soul, awaken the conscience; it remains sleepy and unactive. Conscience can never do its work, but according to the light it hath to work by: Wherefore seeing the natural man cannot spirit-' ; ually discern spiritual things, (1 Cor. ii. 14.) the conscience naturally is quite useless in tha: point; being cast into such a deep sleep, that nothing but a saving ilumination from the Lord, can set it on work in that matter. The light of the natural conscience in good and evil, fin and duty, is very defective; therefore tho’ it may check for groffer sins; yet as to the more subtile workings of Gin, it cannot check for them, because it discerns them not.. Thus confcience will fly in the face of many, if at any time they be drunk, swear, neglect prayer, or be guilty of any grofs sin; who, otherwise have a profound peace ; tho' they live in the fin of unbelief, are strangers to spiritual worship, and the life of faith. And natural light being but faint and languishing in in many things which it doth reach, conscience in that case thoots like , a stitch in one's side, which quickly goes off; its incirements to duty, and checks for and struggles against fin, are very remifs, which the natural man easily gets over. But because there is a false light in the dark mind, the natural conscience following the same will call evil good, and good evil, Isa. v, 20. And so it is often found like a blind and furious horse, which doth violezitly run down himself, his rider, and all that doth come in his way, John xvi. 2. Whosoever killeth you, will think that he doth God service: When the natural conscience is awakened by the Spirit of conviction, it will indeed rage and rore, and put the whole man in a dreadful consternation, awfully summon all the powers of the foul to help in a strait ; make the stiff heart to tremble, .. and the knees eto bow ; fet the eyes a-weeping, the tongue a copfeil. ing; and oblige the man to cast out the goods into the sea, which it apprehends are like to sink the ship of the soul, tho' the heart still gocs after them But yet it is an evil conscience, which natively leads to despair, and will do it effectually, as in Judas's case ; un!ef's either lults prevail over it, to lall it aflcep, as in the case of Felix, Acisxxiv.25.

In it is ta. As a fie v of the makes bue corrup

or the Blood of Christ prevail over it, sprinkling and purging it from dead works, as in the case of all true converts, Heb.ix. 14.&x. 23.

Lastly, Even the Memory bears evident marks of this corruption. What is good and worthy to be minded, as it makes but flender im. preslion, fo that impression easily wears off; the memory, as a leaking veilel, lets it slip, Heb. ii. 1. As a fieve that is full, when in the water, lets all go when it is taken out; so is the memory, with re. pes to spiritual things. But how does it retain what ought to be forgotten? Naughty things so bear in themfelves upon it, that though men would fain have them out of mind, yet they stick there like glue. However forgecful men be in in other things, it is hard to forget an injury. So the memory often furnishes new fuel to old lusts; inakes men in old age to re-act the fins of their youth, while it presents them again to the mind with delight, which thereupon licks up the former vomit. And thus it is like the riddle, that lets through the pure grain, and keeps the refuse. Thus far of the corruption of the soul.

The Body itself also is partaker of this corruption and defilement, so far as it is capable thereof. Wherefore the Scripture calls it sinful ! feb, Rom. viii. 3. We may take this up in two things. (1.) The

natural temper, or rather distemper of the bodies of Adam's children, as it is an effect of original sin; so it hath a native tendency to sin, incites to fin, leads the soul into snares, yea, is itself a snare to the foal. The body is a furious beast, of such metal, that if it be not beat down, kept under, and brought into subjection, it will cast the foul into much fin and misery, i Cor. ix. 27. There's a vileness in the body, (Phil.ij. 21.) which, as to the saints, will never be removed, until it be melted down in a grave, and cast into a new mould, at the resurrection to come forth a fp ritual body; and will never be carried off from the bodies of those, who are not partakers of the resurrection to life. (2.) It serves the foul in many sins. Its members are infruments or weapons of unrighteousness, whereby men fight against God, Rom. vi. 13. The eyes and ears are open doors, by which

impure motions and sinful desires enter the soul; the tongue is a world i of iniquity; James iii. 6. an unruly evil, full of deadly poison, ver. 8.

By it the impure heart vents a great deal of its filthiness. The throat is an open fepulchra, Rom. iii. 13. The feet run the devil's errands, ver. 1g. The belly is made a god, Philip. iii. 19. Not only by drunkards and riotous livers, but by every natural man, Zech. vii. 6. So the body naturally is an agent for the devil; and a magazine of armour against the Lord.

To conclude, man by nature is wholly corrupted : From the file of the foot, even unto the head, there is no foundness in him. And as in a dunghill, every part contributes to the corruption of the whole ; so the natural man, while in that state, grow's still worse and worse. The soul is made worse by the body, and the body by the soul : and every faculty of the leul ferves to corrupt ao her more and more: Thus much for the second general Head..



How Man's Nature was corrupted.

THIRDLY, I shall thew how man's nature conies to be thus cor. rupted. The heathens perceived that man's nature was corrupted : but how sin had entred, they could not tell. But the Scripture is very plain in that point, Rom. v. 12. By one man fin entered into the world. Ver. 19. By one man's disobedience, many were made finners.

Adam's fin corrupted man's nature, and leavened the whole lump of mankind. We putrified in Adam, as our root. The root was pois. oned, and so the branches were envenomed ; the vine turned the vine of Sodom, and so the grapes became grapes of gall. Adam, by his sin, became not only guilty, but corrupt; and so transmits guilt and cor. ruption to his posterity, Gen. v, 3. Job xiv. 4. By his fin he stript Himself of his original righteousnels, and corrupted himself: we were in him representatively, being represented by him, as our moral head, in the covenant of works; we were in him seminally, as our natural head; hence we fell in him, and by his disobedience, were made Tinners, as Levi, in the loins of Abraham paid tithes, Heb. vii. 9, 10. His first fin is imputed to us; therefore justly are we left under the want of his original righteousness, which, being given to him as a common person, he cast off, by his sin; and this is necessarily followed, in him and us, by the corruption of the whole nature ; righteousness and corruption being two contraries, one of which must needs always be in man, as a subject capable thereof. And Adam our common father being corrupt, we are so too; for who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?"

Although it is sufficient to evince the righteousness of this dispen. sation, that it was from the Lord, who doth all things well; yet to "Silence the murmurings of proud nature, let these few things further be considered, (1.) In the covenant wherein Adam represented us, eternal happiness was promised to him and his posterity upon condition of his, that is, Adam's perfect obedience, as the representative for all mankind : whereas, if there had been no covenant, they could not have pleaded eternal life, upon their most perfect obedience, but might have ben, after all, reduced to nothing, notwithstanding, by natural justice, they would have been liable to God's eternal wrath, in case of sin. Who in that case would not have consented to that represen. tation? (2.) Adam had a power to stand given him, being made up. right. He was as capable to stand for himself, and all his posterity, as any after him could be for themselves. This trial of mankind, in their head, would soon have been over, and the crown won to them all, had he stood; whereas, had his posterity been independent on hiin, and every one left to act for himself, the trial would have been continually a-carrying on, as men came into the world. (3.) He had natural affections the strongest to engage him, being our common failer. (4.) liis oxyn frock was in the thip, his all lay at stake as well


as ours. He had no separate interest from ours; but if he forgot ours, he behoved to have forgot ours, he behoved to have forgot his own. (5.) If he had stood, we should have had the light of his mind, the righteousness of his will, and holiness of his affections, with entire purity transmitted unto us; we could not have fallen; the crown of glory, by his obedience, would have been for ever secured to him and his. This is evident from the nature of a federal representation; and no reason can be given why, seeing we are lost by Adam's sin, we should not have been saved by his obedience. On the other hand, it is reasonable, that he falling, we should, with him, bear the loss.

Lastly, Such as quarrel this dispensation, must renounce their part in | Chrift; for we are no otherwise made finners by Adam, than we are

made righteous by Chrift; from whom we have both imputed and i inherent righteousness. We no more made choice of the second

Adam, for our head and representative in the second covenant ; than

we did of the first Adam in the first covenant. 1 Let none wonder that such an horrible change would be brought

on by one fin of our first parents, for thereby they turned away from God, as their chief end, which necessarily infers an universal deprava tion. Their sin was a complication of evils, a total apoftasy from God, a violation of the whole law. By it they broke all the ten commands at once. (1.) They chose new gods. They made their belly their god, by their sensuality: self their god, by their ambition; yea, and the devil their god, believing him, and disbelieving their Maker. (2.) Tho' they received, yet they observed not that ordinance of God, about the forbidden fruit. They contemned that ordinar e fo.

plainly enjoined them, and would needs carve out to themselves, how i to serve the Lord. (3.) They took the name of the Lord their God | in vain ; despising his attributes, his justice, truth, power, &c. They

grosly profaned that facramental tree ; abused his word, by not giving credit to it; abused that creature of his, which they ihould not have touched, and violently, misconstrued his providence ; as if God, by forbidding them that tree, had been standing in the way of their happiness; and therefore he suffered them not to escape his righteous judgment. (4.) They remembered not the Sabbath to keep it holy, but put themselves out of a condition to serve God aright on his own day. Neither kept they that state of holy rest, wherein God had put them. (5.). They cast off their relative duties: Eve forgets herself, and acts without advice of her husband, to the ruin of both; Adam instead of admonishing her to repent, yields to the temptation, and confirms her in her wickedness. They forgot all duty to their posterity. They honoured not their Father in heaven; and therefore their days were not long in the land which the Lord i their God gave them. (6.) They ruined themselves, and all their posterity. (7.) Gave up themselves to luxury and sensuality. (8.) Took away what was not their own, against the express will of the great Owner. (9.) They. bore falle witness, and lied against

dury to theire their days 6.) They Tuves to li

[ocr errors]

the Lord, before angels, devils, and one another; in effect giving out that they were hardly dealt by, and that heaven grudged their happiness. (10.) They were discont it with their lot, and covered an evil covetousness to their house; which ruined both them and theirs. Thus was the image of God on man defaced all at once.

The Doctrine of the Corruption of Nature applied. Use I. For Information. Is man's nature wholly corrupted ? Then,

1. No wonder the grave open it's devouring mouth for us, as soon as the womb hath cast us forth; and that the cradle be turned into a coffin, to receive the corrupt lump: for we are all, in a fpiritual sense, dead born; yea, and filthy, (Pfal. xiv. 3.) noisome, rank, and stinking as a corrupt thing, as the word imports. Let us not complain of the miseries we are exposed to, at our entrance, nor of the continuance of them, while we are in the world. Here is the venom that has poisoned all the springs of earthly enjoyınents we have to drink of. It is the corruption of man's nature, that brings forth all the miseries of human life in churches, states, families : in men's fouls and bodies."

2. Behold here, as in a glass, the spring of all the wickednefs, profanity, and formality in the world ; the source of all the disorders in thy own heart and life. Every thing acts like itself, agreeable to its own nature ; and so corrupt man a&ts corruptly. You need not wonder at the sinfulness of your own heart and life, nor at the sinfulness and perverseness of others : if a man be crooked, he cannot but halt; and if the clock be set wrong, how can it point the hour right.

3. See here, why sin is so pleasant, and religion such a burden to carnal spirits : fin is natural, holiness not fo. Oxen cannot feed in the sea, nor fishes in the fruitful fields. A swine brought into a palace, would get away again, to wallow in the mire. A corrupt nature tends ever to impurity.

4. Learn from this, the nature and necessity of regeneration. First, This discovers the nature of regeneration in these two things, (1.) It is not a partial, but a total change, tho' imperfect in this life.'. Thy whole nature is corrupted, and therefore the cure must go thro, erery part. Regeneration makes riot only a new head for knowledge, but a new heart, and new affecöions for holiness. All things beconie new, 2 Cor. v. 17. “If one who has received many wounds, thould be cured of them all, fave one only, he might bleed to death, by that one, as well as a thousand. So if the change go not through the whole man, it is naught. (2.) It is not a change made by human industry, but by the mighty power of the Spirit of God. A man must be born of the Spirit, John ji. 5 Accidental diseases may be cured by men, but these which are natural, not without a miracle, John ix. 22. The change wrought upon men, by good education, or forced upon them, by a natural conscience, tho' it may pass among men for a fav.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »