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grace and favour from heaven, whether to nations or particular perfons, have still had something about them proclaiming a freedom of grace; as in the very first feparation made by the divine favour, Cain the elder brother is rejected, and Abel the younger' accepted. This shines through the whole hi tory of the Bible: but as true as it is, this has been the point principally opposed by corrupt nature. 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 ournbers of errors, which sprung up one after another, whereof, at length, the world became alhamed and weary ; so that they died out. But this has continued, from Cain the firit 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, fmiting on his breaf, 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 flere 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 juftification and acceptance with God, through faith, in opposition to works, in the blood of his brother, to convey it down to 'pesterity. And since that time, the unbloody facrifice 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 blesied, was so overclouded among his posterity in Egypt, that the generality of them faw 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 transgreffions, till the Seed should come, Gal iii. 19." I need not insist to tell you, how Moses and the prophets had still much ado, to lead the people off the conceit of their own righteousness. The oth chapter of Deuteronomy is entirely spent on that purpose. They were very gross in that point in our Saviour's time; 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 former heresies, and this the heart and life of that delusion. And finally, it may be observed, that always as the church declined 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

of

of the purest liquor put into it, so the natural man turns the very . gospel into law; and transforms the covenant of grace into a covenant of works. The ceremonial law was to the feus a real gospel ; which held blood, death, and translation of guilt before their eyes continually, as the only way of salvation : yet their very table fi e. their altar, with the several ordinances pertaining thereto, Mal i. 12.) was a snare unto them, Rom. ü. 9, while they use it to make up the defects in their obedience to the moral law, and clave to it so, as to reject him whom the altar and facrifices pointed them to, as the substance of all : even as Hagar, whose it was only to serve, was by their father brought into her mistress's bed; not without a mystery in the purpose of God, for these are the two couen ints, Gal. iv. 24. Thus is the doctrine of the gospel corrupted by Papifts, and other enemies to the doctrine of free grace. And indeed, however natural men's heads may be set tight in this point ; as surely, as they are out of Christ, their faith, repentance and obedience, (such as they are) are placed by them in the room of Christ and his righteousness; and to trusted to, as if by these they fulfilled a new law.

4. Great is the difficulty in Adam's sons their parting with the law, as a covenant of works. None part with it in that respect, but these whom the power of the Spirit of grace separates from it. The law is our first husband, and gets every one's virgin-love. When Christ comes to the soul, he finds it married to the law; so as it neither can, nor will be married to another, till it be obliged to part with the first husband, as the apostle teacheth, Rom. vii. 1,2,3,4. Now, that ye may see what sort of a parting this is, consider,

(1) It is a death, Rom. vii. 4. Gal. iii. 19. Intreaties will not prevail with the soul here; it faith to the first husband, as Ruth to Naomi, The Lord do fo to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee

And here sinners are true to their word ; ' they die to the law, ere they be married to Christ. Death is hard to every body : bilt what difficulty do ye imagine must a loving wife, on her death-bed, find in parting with her husband, the husband of her youth, and with the dear children she has brought forth to him : the law is that husband; all the duties performed by the natural man, are these children. What a struggle, as for life, will be in the heart ere they be got parted? I

may have occasion to touch upon this afterwards. In the mequ time, rake the Apostle's short, but pithy description of it, Rom x. 3 For being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteoufniss of God. They go about to establish their own righteousness, like an eager disputant in schools, seeking to establish the point in question ; or like a tormentor, extorting a confession from one upon the rack. They go about to establish it to make it stand : their righteousness is like a house built upon the fand; it cannot stand, but they will have it to stand : it falls, they set it up again : but still it tumbles down on them; yet they cease not to go about to make it stand. But wherefore

and me.

For they all this pains about a tottering righteousness? Because, such as it is, it is their own. What ails them at Christ's righteousness? Why, that, would make them free grace's debtors for all; and that is what the proud heart by no means can fybmit to. : Here lies the stress of the matter, Pfàl.x 4. The wicked, through' the pride of his countenance, will not feek: (to read it without the supplement) that is, in other terms He camot dig, and to beg he is afhamed: Such is the struggle, ere the soul die to the law: But what speaks yet inore of this woful disposition' of the leart, nature oft-times gets the mastery of the disease, infomuch that the fonl, which was like to have died to the law, while convictions were sharp and piercing, fatally recovers of the happy and promising sickness; and (what is very natural) cleaves more closely than ever to the law, even as a wife brought back from the gates of death would cleave to her husband: This is the issue of the exercise of many about their souls cafe: they are indeed brought to follow duties more closely; but they are as far from Christ as ever, if not farther.

(2.) It is a violent death, Rom. vii, 4. Ye are become dead to the law, being killed, slain, or put to death, as the word bears. The law it felf has a great hand in this; the husband gives the wound, Gal

. ii. 19. I through th: law om dead to the law. The soul that dies this death, is like a loving wife matched with a rigorous husband : she does what The can to please him, yet he is never pleased ; but tofseth, harasseth, and beats her, till flic break her heart, and death sets her free; as will afterwards more fully appear. Thus it is made evident, that men's hearts are naturally bent to the way of the law, and ly cross to the gospel contrivance: and the second article of the charge, against you that are unregenerate, is verified, namely, that ye are enemies to the Son of God.

3dly, Ye are enemies to the Spirit of God. He is the Spirit of holiness; the natural man is unholy, and loves to be fo, an therefore refifts the holy Ghost, Acis vii. 51. The work of the Spirit is to convince the world of fin, righteousness and judgment, John xvi. 8. But O bow do men strive to ward off these convictions, as ever they would ward off a blow, threatning their loss of a right-eye, or a right han!! If the Spirit of the Lord "rt them in, so as they cannot evite them; the heart lays, in effect, as Ahab to Elijah, whom he both hated aid feared: Hajt thou found me, O wine enemy? And indeed they treat him as an enemy, doing their utmost to stifle convictions, and to murder these harbingers, that come to prepare the Lord's way into the soul. Some fill their hands with business, to put their convictions cut of their heads, as Cuin, who fell a building of a city : fome put thein off with delays and fair .proinises, as Felix did : fome will sport them away in company, and some sleep them away. The holy Spirit is the spirit of sanctification : whose work it is to subdue lufts, and burn up corruption : how then can the natural man, whose lufts are to him as his limbs, yea, as his life, fail of being an enemy to him.

Lastly, Ye are enemies to the law of God. Tho'the natural man, defires to be under the law, as a covenant of works, chuling that way

of fal.

salvītion in opposition to the mystery of Chrift: yet as it is a rule of life, requiring universal holiness, and discharging all manner of impurity, he is an enemy to it : Is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be, Rom. viii. 7. For, (1.) There is no unrenewed man, who is not wedded to some one lust or other, which his heart cap by no means part with. Now, that he cannot bring up his inclinations to the holy law, he would fain have the law brought down to his inclinations : a plain evidence of the enmity of the heart againit it. And therefore, to delight in the law of God, after the inwari man, is proposed in the word as a mark of a gracious soul, Rom. vii. 22. Psal. i. 2. It is from this natural enmity of the heart against the law, that all the Pharisaical glosses upon it have arisen :. whereby the coinmandment, which is in itself exceeding broad, has been made very narrow, to the intent it might be the more agreeable to the natural disposition of the heart. (2.) The law laid home to the natural conscience, in its {pirituality, irritates corruption. The nearer it comes, nature riseth the more against it. In that case, it is as oil to the fire, which instead of quenching it, makes it flaine the more ; When the commandment came, sin revived, says the Apostle, Rom. vii, 9. What reason can be assigned for this, but the natural enunity of the heart against the holy law? Unnicrtified corruption, the more it is opposed, the more it rageth. Let us conclude then, that the moregenerate are heart-enemies to God, his Son, his Spirit, and his law; that there is a patural contrariety, opposition, and enmity in the will of man, to God himself, and his holy will. Manes will is naturally wilful in an evil course. He will have his will,

Fifthly, There is, is though it should ruin him: it is with hin, as with the leviathan, (Job xli. 29.) Darts are counted as flubble;, he laugheth at the shaking of a spear. The Lord calls to him by his word, says to him, (as Paul to the jaylor, when he was about to kill himself,) Do thyself no harm: finners, Why will ye die? Ezek. xviii.31. But they will not hearken, Every one turneth to his course, as the horse ruseth into the bettle, Jer. viii. 6. We have a promise of life, in form of a command, Prov. iv. Keep my commandments and livce it fpeaks impenitent sinners to be felf-destroyers, wilful self-murderers. They transgress the command of living; as if one's servant'fhould- wilfully starve himself to death, or greedily drink up a cup of poison, which his malter commands him to forbear: even fo do they : they will not live, they will die, Prov. väi. 36. All they that hate m.,, love death.

love death. O what a heart is this? It is a ftony heart, (Ezek. xxxvi. 26.) hard and inflexible, as a stone : mercies melt it not, judgments break it not; yer it will break ere it bow. It is an insensible heart; tho' there be upon the linner a weight of sin, which makes the earth to stagger ; aitivugh there is a weight of wrath on him, which makes the devils to tiemble ; yet he

goes lightly under the burdep ; he feels not the weight more than a stone: till the Spirit of the Lord quicken him, fo.far as to feel it.

Lastly,

Lastly, The unrenewed will is wholly perverse in reference to man's chief and highest end. The natural man's chief end is not his God, but his felf. Man is a mere relative, dependent, borrowed being : he has no being nor goodness originally from himself; but all he hath is from God, as the first cause and spring of all perfection, natural or moral : dependence is woven into his very nature ; fo that if God. should totally withdraw from him, he would dwindle into a mere nothing. Seeing then whatever man is, he is of him; surely in whatever he is, he should be to him; as the waters which come from the fea, do of course, return thither again. And thus man was created, directly looking to God, as his chief end: but falling into fin, he fell off from God, and turned into himself, and like a traitor ufurping the throne, he gathers in the rents of the crown to himself: Now, this infers a total apoftafy, and universal corruption in man; for where the chicf and last end is changed, there can be no goodness there. This is the case of all men in their natural state, Pfal. xiv. 2, 3. The Lord looked down to see if there were any that did seek God. The; are all gone afide : to wit, from God; they seek not God, but them. selves. And tho' many fair threds of morality are to be found amongst then, yet there is none that doth good, no not one; for tho' some of them run well, they are still off the way; they never aim at the right mark. They are lovers of their ownselves, (2 Tim. iii. 2.) more

than God, verse 4. Wherefore, Jesus Christ having come into the world, to bring men back to God again, came to bring them out of themselves in the first place, Matth. xvi. 25. The godly groen under the remains of this woful disposition of the heart: they acknowledge it, and set themselves against it, in its fubtile and dangerous insinuations. The unregenerate, tho' most insensible of it, are under the power thereof; and whitherfoever they turn themselves, they cannot move without the circle of self: they seek themselves, they act for themfelves; their natural, civil and religious actions, from whatever spring they come, do all run into, and meet in, the dead sea of self.

Molt men are so far from making God their chief end, in their natural and civil actions; that in thele matters, God is not in all their thoughts. Their eating and drinking, and such like natural actions, are for themselves; their own pleasure or necessity, without any higher end : Zech vii. 6. Did ye not eat for your;ilves? They have no eye to the glory of God in these things, as they ought to have, 1 Cor.x. 31. They do not eat and drink, to keep up their bodies for the Lord's

laid, thou malt not kill: neither do these drops of sweetness God has put into the creature, raise up their souls towards that ocean of delight that is in the Creator, tho' they are indeed a fign hung out at heaven's door, to tell men of the fulness of goodness that's in God himself, Acts xiv. 16. But it is self, and not God, that is sought in them by natural men. And what are the unrenewed man's civil actions, such as buying, selling, working. &c. but fruit to himself ? Hof. X. I. fo marrying and giving in

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