Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

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, af. ter the inward man, is proposed in the word as a mark of a gracious soul, Rom. vii. 22. Psal. i. 22. It is from this natural enmity of the heart against the law, that all the Pharisaical gloss upon it have arisen ; whereby the commandment, which is in itself exceeding broad, has been made 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 spirituality, 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 flame the more : When the commandment came, sin revived, says the Apostle,Rom. vii. 9. , What reason can be assigned for this, but the natural enmity of the heart against the holy law Unmortified corruption, the more it is opposed, 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, opposition, and enmity in the will of 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 course. He will have his will, though it should ruin him; it is with him, as with the leviathan, Job xli. 29. “ Darts are counted as stubble; he laugheth at the shaking of a spear.” The Lord calls to him by his word, says to him, as Paul to the jailor, when he was about to kill himself, Do thyself no harm. Sinners, “Why will ye die ’’’ Ezek. xviii. 31. But they will not hearken: “Every one turneth to his course, as the horse 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 speaks impenitentsinners to be self-destroyers, wilful self-murderers. They transgress the command of living; as if one's servant should wilfully starve himself to death, or greedily drink up a cup of poison, which his master commands him to forbear; even so do they ; they will not live, they will die, Prov. viii. 36. “All they that hate me love death.” O what a heart is this It is a stony heart, (Ezek. xxxvi. 26.) hard and inflexible, as a stone : Mercies melt it not, judgment break it not; yet it will break ere it bow. It is an insensible heart; though there be upon the sinner a weight of sin, which makes the earth to stagger; although there is a weight of wrath on him, which makes the devils to tremble; yet he goes lightly under the burden; he feels not the weight more than a stone; till the Spirit of the Lord quicken him) so far as to feel it. 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 self. 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 er moral : Dependence is woven into his very nature; so 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 sea do, of course, return thither again. And thus man was created, directly looking to God, as his chief end ; but falling into sin, he fell off from God, and turned into himself; and like a traitor usurping the throne, he gathers in the rents of the crown to himself: Now, this infers a total apostacy, and universal corruption in man; for where the chief and last end is changed, there can be no goodness there. This is the case of all men in their natural state, Psal. xiv. 2, 3. “The Lord looked downy-to see if there were any that did—seek God. They are all gone aside,” tiz. from God; they seek not God, but themselves. And though many fair shrewds of morality are to be found amongst them, yet there is none that doeth good, no not one : for though 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 groan under the remains of this wofo disposition of the heart ; they acknowledge it, and set themselves against it, in its subtle and dangerous insinuations. The unregenerate,though most insensible of it, are under the power thereof; and whithersoever they turn themselves, they cannot move without the circle of self: They seek themselves, they act for themselves; 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 so 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 such like natural actions, are for themselves; their own pleasure or necessity, without any higher end, Zech. vii. 6. “Did ye not eat for yourselves * 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 service; they do them not, because God has said, Thou shalt 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, though they are indeed a sign hung out at heaven’s door, to tell men of the fulness of goodness that is 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? Hos. x. 1. So marrying, and giving in marriage, are reckoned amongst the sins of the old world, Mat. xxiv. 38. for they had no eye to God therein, to please him; but all they had in view was to please themselves, Gen. vi. 3.-Finally, Self is natural mens highest end, in their religious actions. They perform duties for a name, Matth. vi. 1, 2. or some other worldly interest, John vi. 26. Or, if they be more refined, it is their peace, and at most their salvation from hell and wrath, or their own eternal happiness, that is their chief and highest end, Matth. xix. 16–22. Their eyes are held, that they see not the glory of Göd. They

seek God, indeed, but not for himself, but for themselves. .

They seek him not at all, but for their own welfare ; so their whole life is woven into one web of practical blasphemy; making God the means, and self their end, yea, their chief end. And thus have I given you some rude draughts of man's will, in his natural state, drawn by Scripture and mens

[graphic][graphic][graphic]

own experience. Call it no more Naomi, but Marah; for bitter it is, and a root of bitterness. Call it no more free will, but slavish lust; free to evil, but free from good, till regenerating grace loose the bands of wickedness. Now, since all must be wrong, and nothing can be right, where the understanding and will are so corrupt; I shall briefly dispatch what remains, as following of course, on the corruption of those prime faculties of the soul.

The Corruption of the Affections, the Conscience, and the Memory. The Body fartaker of this Corruption.

III. The affections are corrupted. The unrenewed man's affections are wholly disordered and distempered; they are as the unruly horse, that either will not receive, or violently runs away with the rider. So man’s heart naturally is a mother of abominations, Mark vii. 21, 22. “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries,fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness” &c. The natural man's affections are wretchedly misplaced; i.e is a spiritual monster. His heart is there, where his feet should be, fixed on the earth; his heels are lifted up against heaven, which his heart should be set on, Acts iz. 5. His face is towards hell, his back towards heaven; and therefore God calls him to turn. He loves what he should hate, and hates what he should love; joys in what he ought to mourn for, and mourns for what he should rejoice in ; glorieth in his shame, and is ashamed of his glory; abhors what he should desire, and desires what he should abhor, Prov. ii. 13, 14, 15. They hit the point indeed, (as Caiaphus did in another case,) who cried out on the Apostles as men that turned the world upside-down, Acts xvii. 6. for that is the work the gospel has to do in the world, where sin has put all things so out of order, that heaven lies under, and earth a-top. If the unrenewed man’s affections be set on lawful objects, then they are either excessive, or defective. Lawful enjoyments of the world have sometimes too little, but mostly too much of mem ; either they get not their due, or, if they do, it is measure firessed down, and running over. Spiritual things have always too little of them. In a word, they are always in or over ; never right, only eyil. ‘I

Now here is a three-sold cord against heaven and holiness, not easily broken; a blind mind, a perverse will, and disorderly distempered affections. The mindswelled with self-conceit, says the man should not stoop; the will, opposite to the will of God, says he will not ; and the corrupt affections, rising against the Lord, in defence of the corrupt will, say, he shall not. Thus the poor creature stands out against God and goodness, till a day of power come, in which he is made a new creature. IV. The conscience is corrupt and defiled, Tit. i. 15. It is an evil eye, that fills one’s conversation with much darkness and confusion; being naturally unable to do its office; till the Lord, by letting in a new light to the soul, awaken the conscience; it remains sleepy and inactive. Conscience can never do its work, but according to the light it hath to work by. Wherefore, seeing the natural man cannot spiritually discern spiritual things, (1 Cor, ii. 14) the conscience naturally is quite useless in that point; being cast into such a deep sleep, that nothing but a saving illumination from the Lord can set it on work in that matter. The light of the natural conscience in good and evil, sin and duty, is very defective; therefore, though it may check for grosser sins, yet, as to the more subtile workings of sin, it cannot check them, because it discerns them not. Thus, conscience will fly in the face of many, if at any time they be drunk, swear, neglect so prayer, or be guilty of any gross sin; who otherwise have a [* profound peace; though they live in the sin of unbelief are strangers to spiritual worship, and the life of faith. And natural light being but faint and languishing in many things which it doth reach, conscience in that case shoots like a stitch in one’s side, which quickly goes off; its incitements to duty, and checks for and struggles against sin, are very remiss, which the natural man easily gets over. But, because there is a false light in the dark mind, the natural conscience following the same, will call evil good, H. and good evil, Isa. v. 20. And so it is often found like a blind and furious horse, which doth violently rundown him. self, his rider, and all that doth come in his way, John xvi. 2. “Whosoever killeth you, will think that he doth God service.” When the natural conscience is awakened by the Spirit of conviction, it will indeed rage and roar, and

[graphic]
« ForrigeFortsett »