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and dies. So that the law which was ordained unto life, and by which life was originally to be obtained, he finds to be unto death; as it is written, Rom. vii. 8, 9. Sin taking occasion by the commandment raged the more, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once, and had a good opinion of myself: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. For it is not the design of God by legal conviction to make the heart better, or so much as to excite one holy thought, or holy desire in the unregenerate sinner; but rather to give such light to the conscience, as that all those thoughts and desires which used to be accounted holy, may appear to have no holiness in them, but to be of a nature contrary thereunto: to the end that the sinner who is in fact dead in sin, and at enmity against God, may come to know the truth; and so find himself condemned, lost, and undone by the very law by which he sought and expected life. Thus, as by the covenant of works, sinners have no title to any divine assistance; so while unregenerate, God doth in fact never assist them to one holy act. Nor under genuine conviction do they seem to themselves to grow better, but on the contrary to grow worse and worse, until they find themselves perfectly destitute of every good thought, and of every good desire, and in a state of mind 'wholly opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil,' in the language of our confession of faith or in the more accurate and expressive language of Scripture, until they find themselves dead in sin, and at enmity against God; i. e. until they see themselves to be as in fact they are, and as in fact they always were before they saw it. But to see themselves dead in sin, and enemies to God, and wholly inexcusable, and altogether criminal in being so, and on this foot justly condemned, is what, above all things, impenitent, self-justifying sinners are averse unto. And therefore their hearts, instead of concurring to promote this conviction, do resist the light, and twist and turn every possible way to evade it and often even rise and fight against it, with horrid blasphemous thoughts. And it is seldom that awakened sinners are brought to a thorough convic

tion b. More generally they have some partial conviction, and some short terrors, and then false humiliations, and then false light and joy, which lasts a while, and then all their inward religion is at an end. Or else, without receiving any comfort true or false, they gradually lose their convictions, and go to sleep again as secure as ever. For straight is the gate, and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it. But to return,


If self-righteous, Christless sinners, while under the curse of the law, have no title to divine assistance for any one holy act; and if, as was before proved, the divine law requires hoJiness and nothing but holiness; then they have no warrant to enter into covenant to obey the whole will of God by divine assistance. It is true, the Gospel offers pardon to impenitent, self-righteous sinners, for not continuing in all things written in the book of the law to do them: but impenitent, self-righteous sinners, plead NOT GUILTY, in manner and form, as set forth in the divine law and so reject the pardon offered. And it is true, the Gospel offers the sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit to impenitent, self-righteous sinners, to enable them to love that character of God which is exhibited in his law, and which is honoured on the cross of Christ; but they do not desire to love it, and therefore the assistance offered is rejected. Now when they have thus rejected the only assistance which God ever offered, to obey the very law which he hath given to be the rule of their lives for them, under these circumstances, to enter into covenant to obey the whole will of God by divine assistance,' is a piece of hypocrisy suited to the character of none, but such as are in fact totally depraved; and yet, at the same time, near, or quite totally blind, as to their true character and real state.

A woman, however poor and low in the world before marriage, and however insufficient to be trusted by any of her neighbours; yet no sooner is she married to a rich man who

b It is not enough for men to see that they can do nothing of themselves. Men may say that, when they only find need of assistance, and not of the infusion of a principle of grace into them.'

Stoddard's Safety. p. 183. Edit. 3.


loves her, and whom she takes delight to obey and honour, but with his approbation she may trade largely at any merchant's shop for any thing she needs, and may warrantably promise, by the assistance of her husband,' to make good pay; nor will the merchant, who knows her husband's riches, and his love to her, and his approbation of her conduct, be backward to trust her. And thus it is with the poor bankrupt sinner, who is in himself not sufficient for one good thought, as in him there dwelleth no good thing, as soon as he is married to Christ Jesus, in whom all fulness dwelleth, and of whose fulness he receives, and grace for grace, he may now enter into covenant with God, and warrantably promise, by the assistance of Christ Jesus,' to love God, and walk in all his ways with an upright heart. But should a woman of an adulterous heart enter into covenant with a man of honour and of a great estate before the priest, and as soon as the ceremony was over, even on the very same day, leave his bed and board, and run off, and prostitute herself to her former gallants, and refuse to return, and continue to refuse, although invited thereto by her hushand, yea, obstinately refuse, notwithstanding repeated invitations and repeated offers of pardon and forgiveness, until he being justly provoked should advertise her in all the public papers, and forbid all to trust her on his account, for that he would hold himself unobliged to pay any of her debts, or to afford her any assistance,' until her perverse heart should be humbled, and she should confess her iniquity, and justify him in this token of his displeasure, and ask forgiveness for her crimes, and return to her duty with true matrimonial affection and should she, on seeing what her husband had done, declare, that' to love such a husband is the same thing as to love to be advertised as a run-away in the public papers, which is to love disgrace itself, which is in its own nature impossible, and even contrary to the law of God, which requires us to love ourselves; in this view, therefore, I can never return, nor is it my duty to return; for I ought to have a regard to my own reputation; until, therefore, he will recall this advertisement, and assume a different character, I can no more love him than I can love my own misery; and in this temper should she go on, giving her heart to her lovers, and

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making herself common to all comers, until, being overtaken with extreme poverty, she is reduced to great distress; and then, instead of returning to her husband and humbling herself before him, as in duty she is bound, should she apply to her neighbours for relief, and put on a bold face, and promise, by the assistance of her husband' to make good pay→ would they regard her words? would they trust her on his account? Rather, would they not be filled with indignation at her impudence, and be ready to say, Woman, first of all make up matters with your husband, before you presume to be trusted on his account; for what warrant have you, in your present circumstances, to promise to make good pay, by his assistance, to which you have no title, and to which you know you have no title, and to which the public knows you have no title, by the advertisement in the public papers? No, no, thou wicked woman, thy word is not to be taken. Thou art not worth a penny in the world. The man whom thou callest thy husband, thou hast run away from, and he declares that he will hold himself unobliged to pay any of thy debts, or to grant thee the least assistance.' She cries, she laments bitterly, she says, I desire to love him, I wish I could love him, I long to love him, I try to love him, but I cannot. I do all I can to love him, but it is above my power. But this I can say, that I am willing to do my utmost, and I am come to a fixed resolution to try every day to love him, and I am willing to bind myself by the most solemn covenant to do so. And more than this, he cannot reasonably require at my hands, in my present circumstances.' Her husband happens to stand at the door, and hears all the talk, and goes off in high indignation, saying to himself, What! can she find a heart to love her gallants, but no heart to love me! am I so vile in her eyes! is it such an impossible task to love such an one as I am! is this more than she can do! is this more than I can justly require at her hands! am I to be pacified with her hypocritical tears, and deceitful vows! and an unreasonable man to demand more at present! shall other men thus have her whole heart, and shall I bear this contempt at her hands! far be this from me. I will assert my proper dignity; that woman shall no longer be call

ed my wife; I will get a bill; I will put her away for ever.* Common sense would approve and justify his conduct.

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Thus the most high God, whose character is perfect in beauty, without a blemish, might justly resolve, with respect to every impenitent, self-righteous, self-justifying sinner. And he might justly strike them dead, and send them to hell, in a moment. For every plea they make to justify themselves, in not loving God, casts the blame on him; even every argument they use for their justification, is to his condemnation. For if the fault is not in them, it is in him. If they are not to blame for not loving him, it is because he is not worthy of their love. For if God is in himself, and in all his conduct, absolutely perfect, even perfect in beauty, without a blemish, then we must be inexcusable, and wholly criminal in not loving him with all our hearts. And if there is the least blemish in the divine character, or in any part of his conduct, then he is not an absolutely perfect Being. That is, in other words, he is not God. The divinity of the only true and living God, is therefore denied in every self-justifying plea. Which is a crime aggravated beyond expression. A sinner, therefore, in such a temper, is an enemy to the true God, and justifies himself in it, and all his pretences to love and obedience are hypocritical; and he ought to be told it in the plainest manner. But to flatter sinners along in their self-justifying, God-condemning disposition, how much soever it may please them at present, directly tends to their eternal ruin.-But thus much is certain at least, that they have no title to any divine assistance ;' and so have no warrant to make promises as though they had. Nor is their promise, in this view of it, of any worth, or at all to be trusted. To conclude,

The professed design of Mr. M.'s first book was, as he declares, (p. 58.) to prove that there is an external covenant between God and his visible church, as such, distinct from the covenant of grace. And that those who are in it, (p. 59.) have a promise of the means of, and the strivings of God's holy Spirit, in order to render them effectual for salvation.' And agreeably hereunto, he has in this second book endeavoured to persuade us, that impenitent, self-righteous,

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