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off, as the Blood of CHRl will never ophor
ing change, it is not lo; for our nature is corrupt, and none but the | God of nature can change it. Tho' a gardiner, ingrafting a pear
branch into an apple-tree, may make the apple-tree bear pears; yet the art of inan cannot change the nature of the apple-tree : so ono may pin a new life to his old heart, but he can never change the heart. Secondly, This also ihews the necessity of regeneration. It is abso. lutely necessary in order to salvacion, John iii. 3. Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. No unclean thing can enter the new Jerufalem: but thou art wholly unclean, while in thy natural state. If every member of thy body were disjointed, each joint behoved to be loosed, ere the members could be set asight again, This is the case of thy soul, as thou hast heard : and therefore thou must be born again ; else thou shalt never fee heaven, unless it be far
off, as the rich man in hell did. Deceive not thyself; no Mercy of i God, no Blood of Christ will bring thee to heaven, in thy unre
generate state : for God will never open a fountain of mercy, to walh away his own holiness and truth : nor did Christ thed his precious blood, to blot out the truths of God, or to overturn God's measures about the salvation of finners. Heaven! What would you do there, that are not born again? Ye that are no ways fitting for Christ the head. That would be a strange sight, a holy head, and members whally corrupt! a head full of treasures of grace, members wherein are nothing but treasures of wickedness! a head obedient to death, and heels kicking against heaven! Ye are no ways adapted to the society above, more than beasts for converfe with men. Thou art a hater of true holiness : and at the first light of a saint there, would cry ous, Hast thou found me, O mine enemy! Nay, the unrenewed man, if it were possible he could go to heaven, in that state, he would no otherwise go to it, than now he comes to the duties of holiness, that is, leaving his heart behind him.
Use II. For Lamentction. Well may we lament thy case, Q na. tural man, for it is the saddest case one can be in, out of hell. It is time to lament for thee; for thou art dead already, dead whilst thou livelt; thou carrieft about with thee a dead soul in a living body :
and because thou art dead, thou canst not lament thy own case. Thou I art loathsome in the light of God; for thou art altogether corrupt.
Thou haft no good in thee; thy foul is a mass of darkness, rebellion, and vileness before the Lord. Thou thinkest, perhaps, that thou halt a good heart to God, good inclinations, and good desires : but God knows there is nothing good in thee, but every imagination of thine heart is only evil. Thou canst do no good; thou çardt do nothing but fin. For,
First, Thou art the servant of fin, Roin. vi. 17. and therefore free from righteoufnefs, ver. 20. Whatever righteousness be, (poor foul) thou art free of it; thou dort not, thou canst not meddle with it. Thou art under the dominion of sin, a dominion where righteousness can have no place. 1 hou art - child and servant of the devil, tha'
ou are deale of God out is a mat, perhap.ir
thou be neither wizzard nor witch: seeing thou art yet in the state of nature, John viii. 44. Ye are of your father the devil. And to prevent any mistake, consider, that sin and Satan have two sorts of servants, (1.) There are some employed, as it were, in coarfer work: those bear the devil's mark in their fore-heads, having no form of godliness; but are profane, grosly ignorant, mene moralists, not so much as performing the external duties of religion, but living to the view of the world; as sons of earth, only minding earthly things, Philip. iii. 19. (2.) There are some employed in a more refined sort of service to fin, who carry the devil's mark in their right hand ; which they can, and do hide from the view of the world. These are clofs hypocrites, who facrifice as much to the corrupt mind, as the other to the Aeth, Eph. ii. 3. These are ruined by a more undiscernable trade of sin : pride, unbelief, felf-seeking, and the like, swarm in, and prey upon their corrupted, wholly corrupted souls. Both are servants of the same house; the latter as far as the former from righteousness.
Secondly, How is it possible thou shouldst be able to do any good, thou whose nature is wholly corrupt? Can fruit grow where there is no root? Or, can there be an effect without a cause? Can the fig-trec bear olive berries? Either a vine figs? If thy nature be wholly corrupt, as indeed it is, all thou doft is certainly fo too; for no effect can exceed the virtue of its cause. Can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit? Matth. vii. 18.
Ah! What a miserable spectacle is he that can do nothing but sin? Thou art the man, whosoever thou art, that art yet in thy natural ftate. Hear, O sinner, what is thy case.
Firft, Innumerable fins compass thee about. Mountains of guilt are lying upon thee. Floods of impurities overwhelm thee. Living Justs of all sorts roll up and down in the dead sea of thy soul; where no good can breathe, because of the corruption there. Thy lips are uncleart: the opening of thy mouth is as the opening of an unripe grave, full of stench and rottenness, Rom. iji. 13. Their throat is an open fepulchre. Thy natural actions are fin, for when ye did eat, and when ye did drink, did not ye eat for yourselves, and drink for yourselves?? Zech. vii 6. Thy civil actions are fin, Prov. xxi. 4. The plowing of the wicked is fin. Thy religious actions are sin, Prov. xv. 8. The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord. The thoughts and imaginations of thy heart, are only evil. A deed may be soon done, a word soon fpoken, a thought swiftly passeth through the heart: but cach of these is an Item in thy accounts. Osad reckoning! as many thoughts, words, actions; as many sins. The longer thou livest, thy accounts fwell the more. Should a tear be dropt for every sin, thine head behoved to be waters, and thine eyes a fountain of tears; for nothing but sin comes from thee. Thy heart frame's nothing but evil imaginations ; there is nothing in thy life, but what is framed by shine heart; and therefore there is nothing in thy heart or life but evil.
1 thee. They as a fountain very fin, thing
Secondly, All thy religion, if thou hast any, is loft labour ; as to acceptance with God, or any saving effect to thy elf. Art thou yet in thy natural state? Truly then thy duties are fins, as was just now hinted. Would not the best wine be lothsome in a vessel' wherein there is no pleasure ?? So is the religion of an unregenerate man. Under the law; the garment which the flesh of the sacrifice was car. ried in, tho it touched other things, did not make them holy : but he that was unclean touching any thing, whether cominon or sacred, made it unclean. Even so thy duties cannot make thy corrupt soul holy, tho' they in themselves be good ; but thy corrupt heart defiles them, and makes them unclean, Hag. ii. 12, 13, 14. Thou walt wont to divide thy works into two forts; some good, fome evil; but thou must count again and put them all under one head; for God writes on them all, only evil. This is lamentable: It will be no wonder to see those beg in harvest, who fold their hands to sleep in seed-time: but to be labouring with others in the spring, and yet have nothing to reap when the harvest comes, is a very fad case; and will be the case of all professors living and dying in their natural state.
Lastly, Thou canst not help tilyself. What canst thou do to take away thy sin, who art wholly corrupt? Nothing truly but fin. If a natural man begin to relent, drop a tear for his sin and reform, pre. fently the corrupt heart apprehends, at least, a merit of congruity: he has done much himself, she thinks) and God cannot but do more for him on that account. In the mean time he does nothing but sin: so that the congruous merit is the leper that must be put out of the camp; the dead soul buried out of sight: and the corrupt lump cast into the pit. How canst thou think to recover thyself bysany thing thou canst do? Will mud and filth wash out filthiness? and wilt thou purge out fin by finning? Job took a potsherd to scrape himself, because his hands were as full of boilas his body. This is the case of thy corrupt soul: not to be recovered but by Jesus Christ, whose strength was dried up like a potsherd, Pfal. xxii. 15. Thou art poor indeed, extremely riserable and poor, Rev. č. 13. Thou hast no shelter but a refuge of lies; no garment for thy foul, but filthy rags; nothing to nourish it but husks that cannot satisfy. More than that, thou hast got such a bruise in the loins of Adam, which is not yet cured, that thou art without strength, Rom. v. 6. unable to do or work for thyself; nay, more than all this, thou canst not so much as seek aright, but lieft helpless, as an infant exposed in the open field, Ezek. xvi. 5.
USE III. I exhort you to believe this fad truth. Alas! it is evident, it is very little believed in the world. Few are concerned to get their corrupt conversation changed; but fewer, by far, to get their nature changed: Most men know not what they are, nor what fpirits they are of : they are as the eye, which seeing many things, never sees itself. But until ye know, every one the plague of his own heart, there is no hope of your recovery. Why will you not believe ic? Ye have plain scripture teftimony for it; but you are loth to entertain
such an ill opinion of yourselves. . Alas! that is the natiire of your disease, Rev. iji. 17. Thou-krowejt not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. Lord open their eyes to see it, before they die of it; and in hell lift up their eyes, and see what they will not see now. · I shall shut up this weighty point of the corruption of man's nature, with a few words to another doctrine from the text.
DOCTRINE. God takes special notice of our natural corruption, or the fin of our nature. This he testifies two ways, 1. By his word, as in the text, God faw-that everyj imagination of the thoughts of man's heart was enly evil continually. See Pral. xiv. 2, 3. 2. By his works. God writes his particular notice of it, and displeasure with it, as in many of his works, so especially in these two:;.
(i.) In the death of the infant children of men. Many niseries they have been exposed to : they were drowned in the deluge, confumed in Sodom by fire and brimstone; they have been slain with the sword, dashed against the stones, and are still dying ordinary deaths. What is the true cause of this? On what ground doth a holy God thus pursue them? Is it the sin of their parents? That may be the occasion of the Lord's raising the process against them: but it must be their own sin that is the ground of the sentence passing on them: for the foul that sinneth, it Mall die, faith God, Ezek. xvii. 4. Is it their own actual lin? They have none. But as men do with toads and serpents, which they kill at first sight, before they have done any hurt, because of their venomous nature, so is it in this cafe. . (2:) In the birth of the elect children of God. When the Lord is? about to change their nature, he makes the sin of their nature ly heavyon their spirits. When he minds to let out the corruption, the lance gets full depth in their souls, reaching to the root of sin, Rom. vii.7,8,9. The fleth, or corruption of nature is pierced, being crucified, as well as the affections and lusts, Gal. v. 24.
USE. Let us then liave a special eye upon the corruption and sin of our nature. God sees it : O that we saw it too, and that sin were ever before us! What avails it to notice other sins, while this mother. sin is not noticed? Turn your eyes inward to the lin of your nature. It is to be feared, many have this work to begin yet; that they have Thut the door, while the grand thief is yet in the house undiscovered. This is a weighty point; and in the handling of it,
I. I shall, for conviction, point at some evidences of men's over. looking the son of their nature, which yet the Lord takes particular 'notice of, (1.) Men's looking on themselves with such confidence, as if they were in no hazard of gross fins. Many would take it very hainously to get such a caution, as Christ gave his Apostles, Luke xxi.34. Take heed of surfeiting and drunkenness. If any should suppose their to break out in gross abominations, they would be ready to say, Am I a dog? It would raise the pride of their hearts, but not their fear and trembling; because they know not the corruption of their nature.
ets full de Por COFTIR Tufts, a Special eve law
mam under saws, andumites fo cruelly, as it was at the
(2.) Untenderness towards those that fall. Many in that case cast of all bowels of Christian compassion ; for they do not consider them. felves, left they also be tempted, Gal. vi. 1. Men's passions are often highest against the faults of others, when sin sleeps foundly in their own breasts. Even good David, when he was at his worst, was moit
violent against the faults of others. While his conscience was asleep | under his guilt, in the matter of Uriah; the Spirit of the Lord takes
notice, that his anger was greatly kindled against the man, in the parable, 2 Sam xii. 5. And on good grounds, it is thought, it was at the same time that he treated the Ammonites so cruelly, as is related, ver. 31. Putting them under saws, and under harrows of iron, and under axes of iron, and making them pass throw the brick kiln. Grace makes men zealous against sin in others, as well as in themselves: but eyes turned inward to the corruption of nature, clothe them with pity and com. passion; and fill them with thankfulness to the Lord, that they them.
felves were not the persons left to be such spectacles of human frailty. 1 (3.) There are not a few, who, if they be kept from affliction in worldly things, and from gross out-breakings in their conversation, know not what it is to have a sad heart. If they meet with a cross, which their proud hearts cannot stoop to bear, they will be ready to say, 0 to be gone: but the corruption of their nature never makes them long for heaven. Lusts scandalously breaking out at a time, will mar their peace : but the sin of their nature never makes them a heavy heart. (4.). Delaying of repentance, in hopes to set about it afterwards. Many have their own appointed time for repentance and reformation: as if they were such complete masters over their lufts, that they can allow them to gather more strength, and yet overcome them. They take up resolutions to amend, without an eye to Jesus Christ, union with him, and strength from him; a plain evidence they are strangers to themselves; and so they are left to themselves, and their flourishing resolutions wither; for as they see not the nè. cefsity, so they get not the benefit of the dew from heaven to water them (5.) Men's venturing frankly on temptations and promising liberally on their own heads. They cast themselves fearlesly into temptation, in confidence of their coming off fairly: but were they lenlīble of the corruption of their nature, they would beware of entering on the devil's ground: as one girt about with bags of gun. powder, would be loth to walk where sparks of fire are flying, lest ne should be blown up. Self-jealousing well becomes Christians. Lord, is it I ? They that know the deceit of their bow, will not be very confident that they shall hit the mark. (6.) Unacquaintednels with heart-plagues. The knowledge of the plagues of the heart, is a rare qualification. There are indeed some of them written in such great characters, that he who runs may read them ; but there are others, more subtile, which few do discern. How few are there to whoin the bias of the heart to unbelief, is a burden? - Nay, they perceive it not. Many have had sharp convictions of other sins, that were never