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If you look to the two first verses of this chapter, you will find the reason of all this: God hath a controversy; plead he will and as he called for Adam when he hid himself, 'Adam, where art thou?' (Gen. iii. 9) so here he calleth forth the people to this controversy; "O! my people, what have I done unto thee?" ver. 3. and they who contended with one another were to 6 come near, and to stand together.' (Isa. 1. 8, Acts xxv. 16)

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Now then, "cum rex justus sederit in solio," when once God citeth the conscience to his tribunal, "prepare to meet thy God, O Israel." (Amos iv. 12) When the soul is once awakened and startled with this question, How wilt thou do to dwell with devouring fire, and with everlasting burning?' then the sinners in Sion are afraid; fearfulness doth surprise the hypocrite." (Isa. xxxiii. 14) When there is a noise of the Bridegroom's coming, then the foolish Virgins think of their lamps, and ask after oil as well as the wise. Wicked men themselves may be so convinced of their sins, and of God's greatness, of the guilt that is in them, and of the terror that is in God, that, out of the force and princi ples of a startled and awakened conscience, they shall be affected with notable fear of the wrath to come, and be constrained to bethink themselves of a treaty of peace, and of preventing that wrath, ere it overtake them. Even the Pharisees and Sadducees, a generation of vipers, had some warning to flee from the wrath to come. (Mat. iii. 7) A Felix, an unjust and sinful judge, cannot but tremble at the sermon of this at the bar. (Acts xxiv. 25) Thunder will make Pharaoh repent; (Exod. ix. 27) and terror will make Judas repent. (Mat. xxvii. 3)

The prophet Elias will drive Ahab into sackcloth; and John the Baptist, the second Elias, constrains Herod to do many things. The scullion that cares not for the foulness of the coat, will be afraid to handle it, when he sees it on fire. The most covetous man that is, will not dare to dive to the bottom of the sea to gather pearls, or put his hand into a burning furnace, to hug his gold whilst it is melting. The robber that threatens on the highway, bring him to the bar, and he will speak supplications. Next to mercy, there is no such orator to persuade guilty men, as terror. "We, having," saith the apostle," the terror of the Lord, do persuade men :"-he speaks of appearing before the judgement

seat. (2 Cor. v. 11) When Saul heard of restitution, then he cried out, I have sinned.' (1 Sam. xv. 24) When Esau perceived he had lost the blessing indeed, then he cried out with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and with many tears would have persuaded Isaac to repent, and change his resolution. (Heb. xii. 17) Even the worst of sinners, wilful apostates that have thrown away mercy, are yet amazed with judgement, and with a fearful looking for it, and fiery indignation. (Heb. x. 27)

The conscience thus awakened by God's controversy, and summoned to his tribunal, will then, from the pang and pinch of terror, be marvellous inquisitive after the ways of escape. As soon as ever John Baptist lays his axe to the root of the tree, the people, the publicans, and soldiers, are every one asking questions. (Luke v. 9, 14) When the plague of locusts was upon Pharaoh and his house, then he sent to Moses and Aaron in haste to ask pardon, and entreat the Lord. (Exod. x. 16) When God slew Israel, then they sought and enquired early, even when their heart was not right, and when they were not steadfast in his covenant. (Psalm lxxviii. 37) Fear is marvellous inquisitive. "Watchman! what of the night? what of the night, watchman?" It doubles question upon question, (Isa. xxi. 11, 12) as sorrow doth complaint upon complaint. And indeed this is an excellent enquiry, how we may do to stand before God; if men were not, in this case, like Pilate, who asked a question, but would not stay for an answer; (John xviii. 28) if they would not anticipate the 'indicavit' in the text, but stay for God's own resolution. But as nothing is more contrary to faith than fear, (Matth. viii. 26) so nothing hath a more contrary operation. "He that believeth, doth not make haste;" (Isa. xxviii. 16) whereas he that feareth, cannot stand still; insomuch that, in men's fears, they are said to 'fly seven ways at once.' (Deut. xxviii. 7) There is no passion either more solicitous in asking counsel, or less constant in following that which is given. Yea, many times so desperate is the hypocrisy of men's hearts, that fear or formality force them to ask the question; yet lust overrules them, to make their own answer. Johanan and the people came down to ask counsel what they should do, whether go into Egypt or stay in the land; (Jer. xli. 23) but receiving an answer con

trary to their expectation, they tell the prophet plainly, "That he speaks falsely." (Chap. Ixiii. 2) And, another time, the people came and sat before that prophet, and enquired of God; but God tells him, "They kept idols in their hearts," and resolved they should be counsellors that should regulate their behaviour, and God would not be enquired of. (Ezek. xiv. 17, 20, 30)

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The truth is, men would fain, if possible, reconcile God's service and their lust together: and therefore they take counsel of themselves, τοιοῦτον ποιοῦντες ἑαυτοῖς τὸν Θεὸν, making God such a God to themselves; as Pasquilius speaks, "as they had made themselves to be unto him, they would fain be unto themselves :"-" Arbitri religionis et præceptorum," even "datores," as Hilarius Pictaviensis elegantly speaketh. And the philosopher gives the reason of it in another case, πάνες μᾶλλον ἀγαπῶσι αὑτῶν ἔργα, that every man loves his own way best, as parents do their own children; and there betakes himself to many inventions of his own." So long as sin is loved, and lust retained, men will not go downright to the will of God, but to carnal reaWhen God called to St. Paul by his grace, and revealed Christ unto him, then only it was that he resolved not to confer with flesh and blood. (Gal. i. 16) If Ahaz be commanded to believe, and, for confirmation of his faith, have a sign offered him, he will not take God's way to trust in him, but his own way, an arm of flesh : "I will not ask, neither will I tempt the Lord." (Isa. vii. 12) Spiritual things are above the reach of carnal thoughts, principles, and not only above them, but against them. "The wisdom of the flesh is enmity to God;" (Rom. viii. 7) and "the natural man neither knoweth nor receiveth the things of God." (1 Cor. ii. 14) It is the voice of flesh and blood, Nolumus hunc,' we will not have him to rule over us; and therefore as water can move no higher than the fountain of it, so carnal principles can carry men no farther than carnal performances. And the truth is, carnal men have but gross and carnal notions of God and his kingdom. To be glorified, is to be like unto Christ. (Phil. iii.) As the eye, by seeing the sun, is made like unto the sun, so he who rejects his image here, hath no true desire of his glory there. (John iii. 3) Having therefore none but carnal notions of God, they

have none but carnal notions of his service too. And surely, to say truth, every man is so afraid of the wrath of God, when he begins to understand it, that though he consult with nothing but flesh and blood, yet he will go far to escape it.

1. All outward duties he will perform with all punctual observation, be they never so full of strictness, costliness, difficulty; never so numerous, never so sumptuous, he will willingly undertake them all. So 'rivers' are used to express abundance. (Job xx. 17) But here is his misery in that point, that then when he doth multiply them beyond number, yet he doth dimidiate them, by leaving out the sole duties of faith, and repentance, and reasonable service, which through the sacrifice should have led his soul to the substance: and therefore God objects it to them, "They sacrifice flesh;" (Hos. viii. 13) whereas the sacrifice of God is a broken spirit: (Psalm li. 19) and therefore he calleth multiplying of sacrifices, multiplying of transgressions.' (Amos iv. 4)

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2. He will add unto this, outward rigorous operations, scrupulositates negotiosas,' as Tertullian expresseth them; many venturous austerities, and supererogations of his own. One temple will not serve his turn, but he will build temples. (Hos. viii. 14) One altar at Jerusalem shall not serve his turn, but he will have altars. (Hos. x. 11) One holy city will not serve his turn; he will run to Bethel, and at Gilgal multiply transgressions. (Amos iv. 4) Nay, ordinary sacrifices shall not serve his turn; he will not go to the herd, and to the stall only, for the first-fruit of his cattle; but to his own bowels, for the first-born of his body. Ahaz, who would not be persuaded to take God's way, would take his own, (2 Sam. xxviii. 3) though God commanded it not. (Isa. iv. 32)

A wicked man will part with any thing for salvation but his sin; and he will sooner sacrifice his child, than sacrifice his lust: and if it be possible, with the blood of his son, will purchase to himself an annuity of sinning. "If Herod's child stand in the way of his timorous ambition, he had better have been his hog than his son," as Augustus spake.

And, without question, did the salvation of men hang upon this issue, the sacrificing a first-born, as it doth indeed upon faith, repentance, and new obedience; it would not be that they, who cast it away now by the contempt of these,

would be so merciful to the temporal life of their child, as to shipwreck upon the eternal life of their own.

If men, then, might have the deciding of this controversy in their own power, should we not, think you, hear multitudes now speaking like those in our prophet then, "Wherein shall I come and bow before the high God?" shall I offer up all my time in sacrifices? all my substance in devotion ? shall I change a palace for a cloister? and put on sackcloth instead of purple? shall I nail mine eyes up to heaven, and wear out my lungs with sighs? shall I bruise my breast with buffets, and torture my back with scourges? shall I wither and shrink up my body with discipline, and make it a House of Correction to the soul that is in it? will the Lord be pleased with thousands of sighs, or with rivers of tears? shall I lick up the dust of the temple, or kiss the stones of the sanctuary hollow "-Surely to do all these, and leave out ' graviora legis,' judgement, mercy; to abound in voluntary humility, and be puffed up with a fleshly mind; to be taken wholly up with bodily service, and to leave godliness quite out; to have a leavened countenance, and a pharisaical conscience; law in the phylacteries, and lust in the soul that is in it; is all but like him in Plutarch, whose lungs were putrefied, and he went to the physician for a whitlow on his finger. The best outward performances, though not founded in will-worship, but in God's own word, are all of them but dixaιúμaтa σagxòs, (Heb. ix. 10) carnal ordinances,' and

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bodily exercise.' And

σwμating youvacía, (1 Tim. iv. 8) such devotion St. Basil compares to Bel, the idol, that was brass without, but clay within. It is to do with religion, as men do with the ostrich, wear the fur or feathers, but throw away the body.

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We do then," saith Clemens Alexandrinus, " truly worship God, when we do imitate him." And, "The sacrifice does not sanctify the man, but the conscience doth sanctify the sacrifices," as old Irenæus speaketh.

Take away this, and you shall often find God vilifying his own institutions, not as ordained by him, but as depraved by us. Thus he calls their sacrifices, a shame; (Hos. iv. 19) their sermons, songs; (Ezek. xxvi. 13) their psalms, a confused noise; (Amos v. 23) their prayers and incense, an abomination; (Prov. xxviii. 9. Isa. i. 13) their temple, a

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