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grace and favour from heaven, whether to nations or particular perfons, have ftill had fomething 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 fhines through the whole history of the Bible: but as true as it is, this has been the point principally oppofed by corrupt nature. One may well fay, that of all errors in religion, fince Chrift, the Seed of the woman was preached, this of works, in oppofition to free grace in him, was the first that lived; and it is likely to be the last that dies. There have been vaft numbers of errors, which fprung up one after another, whereof, at length, the world became afhamed and weary; so that they died out. But this has continued, from Cain the first author of this herefy, unto this day; and never wanted fome that clave to it, even in the times of greatest light. I do not without ground, call Cain the author of it; when Abel brought the facrifice of atonement, a bloody offering of the firftlings of his flock, (like the Publican, fmiting on his breaft, and faying, 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 Pharifee, with his God I thank thee. For what was the caufe 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 flew he him? Becaufe 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 fo he wrote his indignation against justification and acceptance with God, through faith, in oppofition to works, in the blood of his brother, to convey it down to pefterity. And fince that time, the unbloody facrifice has often fwimmed in the blood of thofe that rejected it. The promife made to Abraham of the Seed in which all nations fhould be bleffed, was fo overclouded among his pofterity in Egypt, that the generality of them faw no need of that way of obtaining the bleffing, till God himself confuted their error, by a fiery law from Mount Sinai, which was added because of tranfgreffions, till the Seed fhould come, Gal iii. 19. I need not infilt to tell you, how Mofes and the prophets had still much ado, to lead the people off the conceit of their own righteoufnefs. The 9th chapter of Deuteronomy is entirely spent on that purpose. They were very grofs in that point in our Saviour's time; in the time of the Apostle's, when the doctrine of free grace was moft clearly preached, that error lifted up its head in face of cleareft light; witnefs the epiftle to the Romans and Galatians: And fince that time it has not been wanting; Popery being the common fink of former herefies, and this the heart and life of that delufion. And finally, it may be observed, that always as the church declined from her purity otherwise, the doctrine of free grace was obfcured proportionably.

3. Such is the natural propensity of man's heart to the way of the law, in oppofition to Chrift; that, as the tainted veffel turns the tafte


of the pureft liquor put into it, fo the natural man turns the very gofpel into law; and transforms the covenant of grace into a covenant of works. The ceremonial law was to the Jews a real gospel; which held blood, death, and tranflation of guilt before their eyes continually, as the only way of falvation: yet their very table fi e. their altar, with the feveral ordinances pertaining thereto, Mal. i. 12.) was a fnare unto them, Rom. ii. 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 ferve, was by their father brought into her mistress's bed; not without a mystery in the purpose of God, for thefe are the two covenants, Gal. iv. 24. Thus is the doctrine of the gofpel corrupted by Papists, and other enemies to the doctrine of free grace. And indeed, however natural men's heads may be fet right in this point; as furely as they are out of Chrift, their faith, repentance and obedience, (fuch as they are) are placed by them in the room of Chrift and his righteoufnefs; and fo trufted to, as if by these they fulfilled a new law.

4. Great is the difficulty in Adam's fons their parting with the law, as a covenant of works. None part with it in that refpect, but these whom the power of the Spirit of grace feparates from it. The law is our first husband, and gets every one's virgin-love. When Chrift comes to the foul, he finds it married to the law; fo 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 fee what fort of a parting this is, confider,

(1) It is a death, Rom. vii. 4. Gal. iii. 19. Intreaties will not prevail with the foul here; it faith to the firft husband, as Ruth, to Naomi, The Lord do fo to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me. And here finners are true to their word; they die to the law, ere they be married to Christ. Death is hard to every body: but 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 fhe has brought forth to him: the law is that hufband; all the duties performed by the natural man, are thefe children. What a struggle, as for life, will be in the heart ere they be got parted? I may have occafion to touch upon this afterwards. In the mean time, take the Apoftle's fhort, but pithy defcription of it, Rom x. 3 For they being ignorant of God's righteoufnefs, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not fubmitted themfelves to the righteoufnfs of God. They go about to establish their own righteousness, like an eager difputant in fchools, feeking to establish the point in question; or like a tormentor, extorting a confeflion from one upon the rack. They go about to establish it to make it stand: their righ coufness is like a house built upon the fand; it cannot ftand, but they will have it to stand: it falls, they fet it up again: but ftill it tumbles down on them; yet they cease not to go about to make it ftand. But wherefore

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all this pains about a tottering righteoufnefs? Becaufe, fuch as it is, it is their own. What ails them at Chrift's righteoufnefs? Why, that, would make them free grace's debtors for all; and that is what the proud heart by no means can fubmit to. Here lies the stress of the matter, Pfal. x 4. The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not feek: (to read it without the fupplement) that is, in other terms, He cannot dig, and to beg he is afhamed: Such is the struggle, ere the foul die to the law: But what speaks yet inore of this woful difpofition of the heart, nature oft-times gets the maftery of the difcafe, infomuch that the foul, which was like to have died to the law, while convictions were fharp and piercing, fatally recovers of the happy and promifing fickness; and (what is very natural) cleaves more clofely than ever to the law, even as a wife brought back from the gates of death would cleave to her husband: This is the iffue of the exercise of many about their fouls cafe: they are indeed brought to follow duties more closely; but they are as far from Chrift as ever, if not farther.

(2.) It is a violent death, Rom. vii, 4. Ye are become dead to the law, being killed, flain, or put to death, as the word bears. The law itfelf has a great hand in this; the hufband gives the wound, Gal. ii. 19. I through the law am dead to the law. The foul that dies this, death, is like a loving wife matched with a rigorous hufband: fhe does what the can to please him, yet he is never pleafed; but toffeth, haraffeth, and beats her, till the break her heart, and death fets 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 gofpel contrivance: and the fecond article of the charge, against you that are unregenerate, is verified, namely, flat ye are enemies to the Son of God.

3dly, Ye are enemies to the Spirit of God. He is the Spirit of holinefs; the natural man is unholy, and loves to be fo, and therefore refifts the holy Ghoft, Ads vii. 51. The work of the Spirit is to convince the world of fin, righteousness and judgment, John xvi. 8. But O how do men ftrive to ward off thefe convictions, as ever they would ward off a blow, threatning their lofs of a right-eye, or a right hand! If the Spirit of the Lord art them in, fo as they cannot evite them; the heart fays, in effect, as Ahab to Elijah, whom he both hated and feared: Haft thou found me, O mine enemy? And indeed they treat him as an enemy, doing their utmost to stifle convictions, and to murder thefe harbingers, that come to prepare the Lord's way into the foul. Some fill their hands with bufinefs, to put their convictions out of their heads, as Cain, who fell a building of a city: fome put them off with delays and fair promifes, as Felix did: fome will fport them away in company, and fome fleep them away. The holy Spirit is the fpirit of fanétification: whofe work it is to fubdue lufts, and burn up corruption: how then can the natural man, whofe lufts are to him as his limbs, yea, as his life, fail of being an enemy to him. Laftly, Ye are enemies to the law of God. Tho' the natural man, defires to be under the law, as a covenant of works, chufing that way of


falvation in oppofition to the mystery of Chrift: yet as it is a rule of life, requiring univerfal holiness, and discharging all manner of impurity, he is an enemy to it: Is not fubject to the law of God, neither indeed can be, Rom. viii. 7. For, (1.) There is no unrenewed man, who is not wedded to fome one luft or other, which his heart can 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 against it. And therefore, to delight in the law of God, after the inward man, is proposed in the word as a mark of a gracious foul, Rom. vii. 22. Pfal. i. 2. It is from this natural enmity of the heart againft the law, that all the Pharifaical gloffes upon it have arifen whereby the commandment, which is in itfelf exceeding broad, has been made very narrow, to the intent it might be the more agreeable to the natural difpofition of the heart. (2.) The law laid home to the natural confcience, in its fpirituality, irritates corruption. The nearer it comes, nature rifeth the more against it. In that cafe, it is as oil to the fire, which inftead of quenching it, makes it flame the more; When the commandment came, fin revived, fays the Apostle, Rom. vii, 9. What reason can be affigned for this, but the natural enmity of the heart against the holy law? Unnicrtified corruption, the more it is oppofed, the more it rageth. Let us conclude then, that the unregenerate are heart-enemies to God, his Son, his Spirit, and his law; that there is a natural contrariety, oppofition, and enmity in the will man, to God himself, and his holy will.


Fifthly, There is, in the will of man, contumacy against the Lord. Man's will is naturally wilful in an evil courfe. He will have his will, though it fhould ruin him: it is with him, as with the leviathan, (Job xli. 29.) Darts are counted as flubble; he laugheth at the Shaking of a fpear. The Lord calls to him by his word, fays 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 courfe, as the horfe rusheth into the battle, Jer. viii. 6. We have a promise of life, in form of a command, Prov. iv. 4. Keep my commandments and live it fpeaks impenitent finners to be felf-deftroyers, wilful felf-murderers. They tranfgrefs the command of living; as if one's fervant'fhould wilfully ftarve himself to death, or greedily drink up a cup of poifon, which his matter commands him to forbear: even fo do they: they will not live, they will die, Prov. vii. 36. All they that hate me, love death. O what a heart is this! It is a a ftony heart, (Ezek. xxxvi. 26.) hard and inflexible, as a stone : mercies melt it not, judgments break it not; yet it will break ere it bow. It is an infenfible heart; tho' there be upon the finner a weight of fin, which makes the earth to flagger; aitiugh there is a weight of wrath on him, which makes the devils to temble; yet he goes lightly under the burden; he feels not the weight more than a ftone: till the Spirit of the Lord quicken him, fo far as to feel it.



Laftly, 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. fhould totally withdraw from him, he would dwindle into a mere nothing. Seeing then whatever man is, he is of him; furely in whatever he is, he fhould 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 himfelf; and like a traitor ufurping the throne, he gathers in the rents of the crown to himself: Now, this infers a total apoftafy, and univerfal corruption in man; for where the chief and laft end is changed, there can be no goodness there. This is the cafe of all men in their natural ftate, Pfal. xiv. 2, 3. The Lord looked down-to fee if there were any that did-feek God. They are all gone afide to wit, from God; they feek not God, but themfelves. And tho' many fair fhreds of morality are to be found amongst them, yet there is none that doth good, no not one; for tho' fome of them run well, they are still off the way; they never aim at the right mark. They are lovers of their ownfelves, (2 Tim. iii. 2.) more than God, verfe 4. Wherefore, Jefus Chrift 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 difpofition of the heart: they acknowledge it, and fet themselves against it, in its fubtile and dangerous infinuations. The unregenerate, tho' moft infenfible of it, are under the power thereof; and whither foever they turn themselves, they cannot move without the circle of felf: they feek themfelves, 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.

Most men are fo far from making God their chief end, in their natural and civil actions; that in these matters, God is not in all their thoughts. Their eating and drinking, and fuch like natural actions, are for themselves; their own pleasure or neceffity, without any higher end: Zech vii. 6. Did ye not eat for yourjelves? 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 fervice; they do them not, because God has faid, thou shalt not kill: neither do thefe drops of sweetness God has put into the creature, raife up their fouls 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 felf, and not God, that is fought in them by natural men. And what are the unrenewed man's civil actions, fuch as buying, felling, working, &c. but fruit to himself? Hof. x. 1. fo marrying and giving in


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