Εικόνες σελίδας
PDF
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

whose life lies in spiritual death. . It is the cursed ground, fit to bring forth all manner of noxious weeds. Never did every sin appear in the conversation of the vilest wretch that ever lived. But look into thy nature, and thou mayest see all and every sin in the root thereof. There is a fulness of all unrighteousness there: atheism, idolatry, adultery, murder. Perhaps none of these appear to thee in thy heart': but there is more in that unfathomable depth of wickedness than thou knowest.

4. The sin of our nature is of all sins the most fixed and abiding. Sinful actions are transient, though the guilt and stain of them may remain. But the corruption of nature passes not away. It remains in its full power, by night and by day, at all times, till nature is changed by converting grace.

..) 7:6. You may observe three things in the corrupt heart. (1.) There is the corrupt nature, the evil bent of the heart, whereby men are unapt for all good, and fitted for all evil. (2.) There are particular lusts or dispositions of that corrupt naturė, such as pride, passion, covetousness. (3.) There is one of these stronger than all the rest; The sin which doth so easily beset us? So that the river divides into many streams, whereof one is greater than the rest. The corruption of nature is the river-head, which has many particular lusts wherein it runs; but it mainly disburdens itself into that which we call the predominant sin, But as in some rivers the main stream runs not always in the same channel, so the besetting sin may change, as lust in youth may be succeeded, by covetousness in old age. Now what does it avail, to reform, in other things, while the reigning sin tetains its full power? What if a particular sin be gone? If the sin of our nature keep the throne, it: will set up another in its stead; as when a water-course is; stopped in one place, it will break forth in another. Thus, some cast off their; prodigality, but covetousness comes in its stead. Some quit, their profaneness; but the same stream runs in the other channel of self-righteousness,

di 4. That you may have a full view of the sin of your n

na,

ture, I would recommend to you three things. (1.) Study to know the spirituality and extent of the law of God; for that is the glass wherein you may see yourselves. (2.) Observe your hearts at all times; but especially under temptation. Temptation is a fire that brings up the scum of the unregenerate heart.; (3.) Go to Gødīthrough Jesus Christ, for illumination by his Spirit. Say unto him, What I know not, teach thou me :' and be willing to take in light from the word. It is by the word the Spirit teacheth ; but unless he teach, all other teaching is to little purpose. You will never see yourself aright, till he light his candle in your

breast. Neither the fulness, and, glory of Christ, nor the corruption" and vileness of our nature, ever were or can be rightly learned, but where the Spirit of Christ is the teacher,

" To conclude. Let the consideration of what has been said, commend Christ to you all. Ye that are brought out of your natural state, be humble; still coming to Christ, still cleaving to him for the purging out'what remains of your natural corruption' Yé that are yet in your hatural state, what will ye do? Ye must die rye'ntust istand, at the judgmentseat of God. !!Will you lie down and sleep another night at ease in this caseSee, ye do it noti Bieg fore another day you may be set. beføre his dreadful trí: bunal, in the grave-clothes of your corrupt state, and your vile souls cast into the pit of destruction to be for ever buried out of God's sight." For I testify unto you, there is no peace with God, no pardon, -no heaven for you in this state. There is but a step betwixt you and i eternal idestruction from the presence of the Lord. If the-brittle thread of life, which may be broken with'a touch, in a moment, or ever you are'aware, be broken'while you are in this state, you are'ruined for ever, and without remedy, Buti come ye speedily to Jesus Christ. He háth cleansed as'vile souls as yours. Confess your''sins ;' and he will both forgive your sins, and cleanse you from all 'un righteousness.* TC 11'' 10" .

Bristol, Aug. 17, 1757. #con nubile vision's tinha

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

That to the height of this great Argument, :10 mayi essert Eternal Providence,

And justify the Ways of Gopita Men, :,:''10

Troll: Jud. CLISHTONI ::

[ocr errors]

uc 1. I AM inclined to believe, that many of those who enjoy the faith which worketh by love, may remember some fime when the power of the Highest wrought upon them in an eminent manper'; wben the voice of the Lord laid the mountains low, brake all the rocks in pieces, and mightily shed abroad his love in their hearts, by the Holy Ghost given unto them. And at that time, it is certain, they had no power to resist the grace of God. They were then no mare able to stop the course of that torrent, which earried all before it, than to stem the waves of the sea with their hand, or to stay the sun in the midst of heaven., -111 And the children of God may continually observe, how his love leads them on from faith to faith; with what tenderness he watches over their souls; with what care, he brings them back if they go astray, and then upholds their going, in bis path, that their foptsteps. may not slide. They cannot but observe how unwilling he is to let them go from serving him; and how, notwithstanding the stubbornness of their wills, and the wildness of their passions, he goes on in his work, conquering and to conquer, till he hath put all his enemies under his feet. 31. II *

111. The farther this work is carried on in their hearts, the more earnestly do they cry out, “ NotPunto us, O Lord, but unto thy name give the praise, for thy mercy and for thy truth's sake.” The more deeply are they'convinced that, by grace we are saved; not of works, lest any man should hóast; that we are not pardoned andiaccepted with God for the sake of any thing we have done, but wholly and solely for the sake of Christ, of what he hath done and suffered for us. . The more assuredly likewise do they know, that the condition of this acceptance is faith alóne; before which gift of God no good work can be done, none which hath not in it the nature of sin. - IV. How casily then may a believer infer, from what he hath experienced in his own soul, that the true grace of God always works irresistibly in every believer? That God will finish wherever he has begun this work, so that it is impossible for any believer to fall from grace. And, lastly, that the reason why God gives this, to some 'only, and not to others, is, because of his own will, without any previous regard either to their faith or works, he hath absolutely, unconditionally predestinated them to life, before the foundation of the world. - V, Agreeable hereto, in the Protestant Confession of Faith, drawn up at Paris, in the year 1559, we have these words: (Article 12.)

“ We believe, that out of the general corruption and condemnation, in wbich, all men are plunged, God draws those whom in his eternal and unalterable counsel, he has elected by his own goodness and mercy, through our Lord Jesus Christ, without considering their works, leaving the others in the same corruption and condemnation."

VI. To the same effect speak the Dutch Divines assem bled at Dort, in the year 1618. Their words are: (Art. 6. et seq;)

“ Whereas, in process of time, God bestowed faith on some, and not on others, this proceeds from his eternal Decree.--According to which, he softens the hearts of the

elect, and leaveth them that are not elect in their wickedness and hardness. ; 1, 166And herein is discovered the difference put between men equally lost; that is to say, the decree of election and reprobation

6. Election is the unchangeable decree of God, by which, before the foundation of the world, he hath chosen, in Christ unto salvation, a set number of men. This election is one and the same of all which are to be saved.

“Not all men are elected, but some not elected; whom God, in his unchangeable good pleasure,' hath decreed, to leave in the common misery, and not to bestow saving faith upon them; but leaving them in their own ways, at last to condemn and punish them everlastingly for their unbelief, and also for their other sins. And this is the Decree of Reprobation.”

VII. Likewise in the Confession of Faith, set forth by the Assembly of English and Scotch divines, in the year 1646, are these words: (chap. 3.)

“God from all eternity did unchangeably ordain what. soever comes to pass.

By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life, and others fore-ordained to everlasting death.

“ These angels and men, thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number: so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished...is

i “Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world, hath chosen in Christ utito everlasting glory, without any foresight of faith or good works...!!!

“ The rest of mankind God was pleased, for the glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by, and to ordain them, to dishonour and wrath." ? No less express, are Mr. Calvin's words in his Christian Institutions, (chap. 21, sect. 1.)...,

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »