Изображения страниц

Evid. 2. How easily are men led aside to sin! The children, who are not persuaded to good, are otherways simple ones ; easily wrought upon ; those whom the word cannot draw to holiness, are led by Satan o his pleasure. Profane Esau, that cunning man, Gen, xxv. 27. was as easily cheated of the blessing, as if he had been a fool or an ideot. The more natural a thing is, it is the more easy: fo Christ's yoke is easy to the faints, in lo far as they are partakers of the divine nature: and fin is easy to the unrenewed man; but to learn to do good, as difficult as for the Ethiopian to change his skin; because the will naturally hangs towards evil; but is averse to good. A child can cause a round thing to run, while he cannot move a square thing of the fame weight; for the roundness makes it fit for motion, so that it goes with a touch. Even so, when men find the heart easily carried towards sin, while it is as a dead weight in the way of holiness; we must bring the reason of this from the natural set and dispolition of the heart, whereby it is prone and bent to evil. Were man's will naturally, but in an equal balance to good and evil, the one might be embraced with as little difficulty as the other ; but experience teftifics, it is not so In the sacred history of the Ifraelites, especially in the book of Judges, how often do we find them forsaking JEHOVAH, the mighty God, and doring upon the idols of the nations about them? But did ever one of these nations grow fond of Israel's God, and forsake their own idols? No, no; tho? man is naturally given to changes, it is but from evil to evil, not from evil to good, Jer. ii. 10,11. Hath a nation changed their gods, which yet are no gods? But my people have changed their glory, for that which doth not profit. Surely the will of man stands not in equal balance, but has a cast to the wrong side. Evid.

3. Consider how men.go on still in the way of sin, till they meet with a stop, and that from another hand than their own; Isa. lvii

. 17. I hid me, and he went on frowardíy in the way of his heart. If God withdraw his restraining hand, and lay the reins on the sinner's neck, he is in no doubt what way to choose ; for (observe it) the way of fin is the way of his heart; his heart naturally lies that way; it hath a natural propensity to sin: As long as God suffereth them, they walk in their own way, Acts xiv. 16. The natural man is so fixed in his woful choice, that there needs no more to thew he is oft from God's way, but to tell he is upon his own.

Evid. 4. Whatever good impressions are made upon him they do not last. Tho' his heart be firm as a stone, yea, harder than the necher mill-fione, in point of receiving of them; it is otherwise unstable as water, and cannot keep them. It works against the receiving of them; and, when they are made, it works them off, and returns to its natural bias ; Hof. vi. 4. Your goodness is as the morn. ing cloud, ant as the early dew, it goeth away. The morning cloud promiseth a hearty thower ; but, when the sun ariseth, it evanilheth : the fin beats lipon the early dew, and it evaporates ; so the husbandman's expectation is disappointed. Such is the goodness of the natu


[ocr errors]

ral man. Some sharp affliction, or piercing convi&tion obligeth hiin in some sort, to turn from his evil course : but his will not being renewed, religion is still against the grain' with hin, and therefore this goes off again, Pfal. lxxviii

. 34, 36, 37: Thu' a stone, thrown up into the air, may abide there a little while ; yet its natural heaviness will bring it down to the earth again: and fo do urrenewed men return to the wallowing in the mire ; because altho’ they were washed, yet their fwinith nature was not changed. It is hard to cause wet wood take fire, hard to inake it keep fire : but it is harder than 'either of these to make the unrenewed will retain attained goodness; which is a plain evidence of the natural bent of the will to evil.

Evid. last. Do the faints serve the Lord now, as they were wont to ferve sin in their unconverted state? Very far from it, Rom. vi. 20. When ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness: Sin got all, and admitted no partner; but now, when they are the fervants of Christ, are they free from fin? Nay, there are still with them fome deeds of the old man, lhewing that he is but dying in them. And hence their hearts often misgive them, and lip aside unto evil, tuhen they would do good, Rom. vii. 21. They need to watch, and keep their hearts with all diligence : and their fad experience teacheth them, that, He that trusteth in his own heart is a fol, Prov. xxviii. 26. If it be thus in the green tree, how muít it be in the dry?

Fourthly, There is a natural contrariety," direct opposition and enmity, in the will of man, to God himself, and his holy will, Rom. viii. 7. The carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. The will was once God's deputy in the foul, set to command there for him ;, but now it is set up against him. If you would have the picture of it, in its natural state, the very reverse of the will of God represents it. If the fruit hanging before one's eyes, be but forbidden, that is sufficient to draw the heart' after it. Let me instance in the lin of profane swearing and curfing, to which fome are fo abandoned, that they take a pride in them; belching out horrid oaths and curses, as if hell opened with the opening of their mouths, or larding their speeches with minced oaths, as faith, hath, fai’d.ye, haid ye, and such like : and all this without any manner of provocation, tho' even that would not excuse them. Pray tell me, (1.) What profit is there here? A thief gers so, nething in his hand for his pains ; a drunkard gets a belly-full; but what do ye get? Others serve the devil for pay ; but ye are volun: teers, that expect no reward, but your work itself, in affronting of heaven. And if you repent not, you will get your reward in full tale; when ye go to hell

, your work will follow you. The drunkard Thall not have a drop of water to cool bis tongue there. Nor will the covetous man's wealth follow him into the other world : but


ihall drive on your old trade there. And an eternity fhall be long enougli to give you your heart's fill of it. (2.) What pleasure is there here, but what flows from your trampling upon the holy law? Which of


your senses doth swearing or cursing gratify? If it gratify your ears, it can only be by the noise it makes against the heavens. Tho' you had a mind to give up yourselves to all manner of profanity and senf. uality, there is so little pleasure can be strained out of these, that we mult needs conclude, your love to them, in this case, is a love to them for themselves; a devilish unhired love, without any profpect of profit or pleasure from them otherwise. If any shåll say, these are monsters of men; be it so: yet alas! the world is fruitful of such monsters they are to be found almost every-where. And allow me to say They must be admitted as the niouth of the whole unregenerate world against-heaven, Rom. iii. 14. Whose mouth is full of curfing and bitterness. Ver. 19. Now we know, that what things foever the low faith, it faith to them who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. *

I have a charge against every unregenerate man and woman, young or old, to be verified by the testimonies of the scriptures of truth, and the testimony of their own consciences; namely, that whether they be profelfors or prophane, whether they be, seeing they are not born again, they are heart-enemies to God: to the Son of God; to the Spirit of God, and to the law of God. Hear this, ye careless fouls, that live at ease in your natural state. ist, Ye are enemies to God in your minds, Col. 1. 21,

Ye are not as yet reconciled to him, the natural enmity is not as yet sfain, thọ perhaps it lies hid, and ye do not perceive it." (1.) Ye are enemies to the very being of God, Pfal. xv. 1. The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. The proud man would that none were above himself:

the rebel, that there were no king; and the unrenewed man, who is | 2 mass of pride and rebellion, that there were no God. He faith it

in his heart, he wisheth it were fo, tho' he be afhamed and afraid to speak it out. And that all natural inen áre such fools, appears from the Apostle's quoting a part of this psalm, That every mouth may be Stopped, 'Rom. iii. 10, 11, 12, 19. I own indeed; that while the natural man looks on God as the Creator and Preserver of the world because he loves his own self, therefore his heart riseth not against the being of his Benefactor : but this enmity will quickly appear, when he looks on God, as the Rector and Judge of the world, bind ing him, under the pain of the curse, to exáết holiness, and girding him with the cords of death, because of his fin. Liften, in this case, to the voice of the heart, and thou will find it to be no Godis are enemies to the nature of God, Job-xxi. 14. They say unto God, Depart from us ; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways. - Men

up to themselves an idol of their own fancy, instead of God; and then fall down and worship it.' They love him no other way, than Jacob loved Leah, while he took her for Rachel. Every natural man is an enemy to God, as he is revealed in his word. An infinitely holy, juft, powerful and true Being, is not the God whom he loves, but the God whoin he loathes. In effect men naturally are haters of God,

(2.) Ye


Rom. i. 30. And if they could, they certainly would make him another than what he is. For, consider it is a certain truth, That whatsoever is in God, is God: and therefore his attributes or perfections are not any thing really distinct from himself. If God's attributes be not himself, he is a compound being, and so not the first being (which to say is blasphemous) for the parts compounding are before the compound itself; but he is Alpha and Omega, the first and the laft.

Now upon this, I would, for your conviction, propose to your consciences a few queries, (1.) How stand your hearts affected to the infinite purity and holiness of God? Conscience will give an answer to this, which the tongue will not speak out, If ye be not partakers of his holiness, ye cannot be reconciled to it. The Pagans finding they could not be like God in holiness, made their gods like themselves in filthiness: and thereby discovered what sort of a god the natural man would have. God is holy ; can an unholy creature love his unspottel holiness? Nay, it is the righteous only that can give thanks at the remombrance of his holiness, Pfal. Ixxxvii. 12. . God is light; can creatures of darkness rejoice therein? Nay, every one that doth evil kateth the light, John iii. 29. For, what communion hath light with darkness? 2 Cor. vi. 14. (2.) How ft and your hearts affected to the justice of God? There is not a man, who is wedded to his lusts, as all the unregenerate are, but would be content, with the blood of his body, to blot that letter out of the name of God. Can the male factor love his condemning judge? Or an unjustified sinner, a just God? No, he cannot, Luke vii. 47. To whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. Hence seeing men cannot get the doctrine of his Justice blotted out of the Bible; yet it is such an eye-fore to them, that they strive to blot it out of their minds. And they ruin themselves by presuming on his mercy; while they are not careful to get a righteousness, wherein they may stand before his Justice; but say in their heart, The Lord will nnt do good; neither will he do evil, Zeph. i. 12. (3.) How stand ye affected to the Omniscience and Omnipresence of God? Men naturally would rather have a blind idol, than an all.seeing God; and therefore do what they can, as Adam did, to hide themselves from the presence of the Lord. They no more love an all-feeing, every-where-present God, than the thief loves to have the judge witness to his evil deeds. If it could be carried by votes, God would be voted out of the world, and closed up in heaven: For the language of the carnal heart is, The Lord seeth us not; the Lord hath for fukin the carth, Ezek. viii. 12 (4.) How stand ye affected to the Truth and Veracity of God? There are but few in the world, that can heartily subscribe to that sentence of the apostle, Rom. iü. 4. Let God be true, but every man a liar. Nay truly, there are many, who, in effect do hope that God will not be true to his word. There are thousands who hear the gospel, that hope to be faved, and think all safe with them for eternity, who never had any experience of the new birth, por do at all concern themselves in that question, whether tþey are born again, or not? A question that is like to wear out from among us this day. Oar Lord's words are plain and peremptory, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. What are such hopes then, but real hopes that God (with profoundest reverence be it fpoken) will recal his word, and that Chrilt will prove a false prophet? What else means the finner, who, when he heareth the words of the curse, bhl tl him if in his heart, saying, I shall have peace, tho' I walk in the imagination of mine heart, Deut xxix 19.' Laftly, How stand ye affected to ihe Power of God? None but new creatures will love him for it, on a fair view thereof; tho' others may flavishly fear him, upon the account of it. There is not a natural man, but would contribute to the utmost of his power to the building of another tower of Babel, to hem it in. On these grounds, I declare every unrenewed man an enemy to God.

2dly, Ye are enemies to the Son of God That enmity to Christ is in your hearts, which would have niade you join the husbandmen, who killed the heir, and cast him out of the vineyard: If ye had been beset with their temptations, and no more restrained than they were. Am I a dog, you will say, to have so treated my sweet Saviour fo faid Hazael in another case; but when he had the temptation, he was a dog to do it. Many call Christ their sweet Saviour, whose consciences can bear witness, they never fucked so much sweetness from him, as from their sweet lufts, which are ten times sweeter to them than their Saviour. He is no other way sweet to them, than as they abuse his death and sufferings, for the peaceable enjoyment of their lusts; that they may live as they lift in the world; and when they die, may be kept out of hell. Alas! it is but a mistaken Christ that is sweet to you, whose souls lothe that Christ, who is the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his perfon. It is with you as it was in the carnal Jews, who delighted in him while they mistook his errand into the world, fancying that he would be a temporal deliverer to them, Mal,

But when he was come, and sut as a refiner and purifier of silver, verse 2, 3. and cast them as reprobate silver, who thought to have had no small honour in the kingdom of the Meffiah; his doctrine galled their consciences, and they rested not till they imbrued their hands in his blood. To open your eyes in this point, which ye are so loch to believe, I will lay before you, the enmity of your hearts against Christ and all his offices.

1. Every unregenerate man is an enemy to Christ in his Prophetical Office. He is appointed of the Father, the great Prophet and Teacher;

the world's call, who, in their natural state, would have unanimously voted against him: And therefore, when he came, he was condemned as a lęducer and blasphemer: For evidence of this enmity, I will instance in two things.. Evidence i. Consider the entertainment he ineets with, when he

each fouls inwardly by his Spirit. Men do what they can to stop their ears, like the deaf adder, that they may not hear his voice,


üi. I

but not upon

comes to

I a

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »