Page images
PDF
EPUB

.

2dly, Hiding of fin, which is most contrary to the nature of sorrow, Prov. xxviii. 13. This is done, (1.) By denying of guilt, Prov. xxx. 20. (2.) By extenuating it ; whereas if sorrow for it were deep enough, it would aggravate it, Luke xv. 18. 19. (3.) By transferring the guilt on others, as did Adam his fin'on Eve. (4.) By palliating and excusing it, as did Saul in the affair of the expedition against the Amalekites.

Lastly, Thinking or speaking of our fins with plea. sure, whereby they are reacted, and the guilt doubled in the light of God: and much more laughing at them, and making a mock or jest of them, Proy.x. 23. & xiv. 9. So they glory in their shame, and make a mock of affronting God.

5. Whereas zeal for God is here commanded, there is forbidden,

ist, Lukewarmness and indifferency in the matters of God, Rey. iii. 16. Zeal is counted madness by the world; but no body wants zeal for something, but few have it for God. This holy fire is almoft worn out in our day, because few have God for their God, and they that have glorify him not as God. A child cold has benumbed our spiritual senses. : Since the Lord brought this church out of the fire, we have loft our fire-edge. We are fiery enough in our own matters, but very coldrife in God's matters. That coldness of affections binds men down in the concerns of Christ's kingdom as managed in their own breasts, and then binds them down in these as managed in the world.

2dly, Corrupt, blind, and indiscreet zeal, Rom. x. 2. such as the disciples had in their Master's cause, when they were for commanding fire to come down from heaven to consume the Samaritans, for not receiving him, Luke ix. 54. Zeal is such, (..) When it proceeds merely from a hotness or keenness of the natural temper, so that men are not in all hings in their own matters, as well as God's. (2.)

4:

When it is not proportioned to the weight of mat

ters, Matth. xxiii. 23. (3.) When the heat strikes : most outward against the fins of others, Matth. vii.

(4.) When it carries men to that unto which they are not called of God. (5.) When it swallows up all pity to the offenders, 2 Cor. xii. 21.

6. Whereas this command requires us to fear God, it forbids,

1st, All rashness and irreverence in the service of God, Pfal. Ixxxix. 7. His omnipresence should strike an awe on us at all times, and his special presence fliouid strike a special awe on us when we approach his presence in duties. But o how do we rush into it without fear, as the horse rufheth into the battle!

2dly, Unconcernedness of spirit at his threatening word and alarming dispensations, the general sin of the present time, Amos iii. 8. Who trembles at his word, though by terrible things he is answering us? Who is preparing to meet him in the way of his judgements ?

3dly, Presumptuous sinning over the belly of fair warning, both by the word and providences, Pfal. xxxvi. 1. How do men count the darts of the word and conscience as stubble, and laugh at the shaking of his fpear! We are incorrigible under judgements, as if we would bid a defance to heaven, and defire him to do his worst, Jer. viii. 6.

4thly, Bold and curious searching into God's secrets, which he hath thought mect to keep hid from us. Such is consulting with the devil, or those that have the black art, as Saul did with the witch of Endor, consulting with dumbies, palmifters, fortune tellers, uang any means whatsoever not appointed of God to know our fortune, as it is called, &c. Deut. xxix. ult. These things are but the taking of the devil's key to open God's cabinet.

5thly, A superstitious fear, a fear where no fear is by God's appointment, of which they have most that bave little of the fear of God, Such is that foolish

[ocr errors]

fear that ariseth from vain dreams, observing of freets, such and such times as unlucky, reckoning such and such things uncanny and unfonly, without any ground from the word of God, or from folid reason.

Lastly, A slavilh fervile fear of God, arising from hard thoughts of God, and banilhing the love of God out of the heart.

7. Whereas hope in God is required in this com: mand, it forbids,

ist, Presumption, which is an unwarrantable hope in God, not according to his word, which overlooks his justice, holiness, and greatness, Deut. xxix. 19. and over the belly of these promises mercy.

2dly, Despair, Gen, iv. 13. when people give up with all hope, as if their fins and misery were above God's mercy, power, and grace, and the efficacy of his Son's blood.

8. Lasily, Whereas trust and confidence in God is required in this command, it forbids,

ist, All distrust and diffidence, anxiety with respect to lis providence, when people cannot fix their hearts for provision, protection, 6c, in his way, on the promises, but distrust them.

2diy, All rashness and vain confidence, attempting any thing without a warrant from God, and promi£ng themselves success therein, without acknowledging God in it. A fin very frequent in our day.

Fourthly, There is a profaneness of the conscience here forbidden, Tit. i. 15. And there is condemned here,

1. The making men lords of our faith and conscience, which is in effect to make them our God, 2 Cor. i. 24. Matth. xxiii, 2. There use not to be wanting such as would inodel the consciences of all men to their humours, and will have their will taken for law; and they readily find those that walk willing. ly after the commandment, to whom the command. ment of men is the great rule. When therefore a man embraces any thing for religion on the mere

:

authority of men, he fets up another god before the Lord.

2. Blindness and misinformation of conscience, If. v. 20. This is a setting up of our consciences instead of God, whose deputy only it is, and wiicfe office it is only to declare the mind of God. So that declaring and urging its own mistakes instead of God's commands, it rises against this command. And this is matter of humiliation : For who can understand his ere rors, Pfal. xix. 12.

3. Unactiveness and unfaithfulness of the conscience, whereby it does not effectually check for fin, nor incite to daty. Thus God is rejected in so far as his work in the foul committed to the conscience is neglected. How many are there whose consciences give them all cafe in their finful courses, and that cannot speak but on the groffest faults ? and how remiss and flack is it in all ?

Fifthly, There is a profaneness of the memory here forbidden. For whereas it is a duty of this command to remember God, his word and works, that we may think on him, love, fear, and esteem him ; so,

1. Forgetting of God is here forbidden, Jer. ii. 32. This is one of the great fources of all the wickedness in mens hearts and lives. We do not remember with whom we have to do; therefore we do what our corrupt inclinations lead us to. We forget his word, his commands, his threatenings, his promises ; therefore we fin fearlessly, and serve him faintly, as working for nought. We forget his works, therefore his mercies engage us not, nor his judgements fright us. Our memories in fpiritual things are like a fieve in the water, leaking vessels that quickly let all flip. It is not only our misery, but our fin, which we have to be humbled for.

2. Remembering what we should forget. O how tenaciously does it hold those things that should be forgotten! An injury done to us will be fresh and green in our minds, when all the love of God in fending Christ to be Saviour of finners will be quite gone out of our heads. It will much fooner turn up old (ins with delight, than old mercies for thankfulness.

Lastly, There is a profaneness of the whole foul, wherein all the faculties thereof caft in fomething of their corruption to provoke the eyes of the Lord's jealousy. And,

1. Whereas prayer is required here, particularly that of the heart; this com inand forbids,

ist, The total neglect of prayer, when people do not so much as make a fashion of it in secret or in their families. That God is our God how shall it be known, if we do not pray to him? They that take idols for their gods, pray to them; and with what face will prayerless persons pretend that the living God is theirs ?

2dly, The neglect and infrequency of ejaculatory prayer, i Theff. v. 17. O but the fo great neglect of ihis speaks forth the unholiness of our hearts! Are we ever but we are needing something from heaven? are not new snares and temptations still coming in our way? why are we so unacquainted with this short way of communion with God? It needs mar no business, it needs no secret place.

3dly, Not praying in spirit, when we pray with our mouths; so that all our prayers are but outward worthip, lip.labour, not heart-work, John iv. 24. Thus we become guilty many ways. (1.) When all our prayers are but the exercise of a gift, not performed with faith, love, fear, &c. Such are all the prayers of hypocrites. (2.) When the heart goes not along with our words, but remains dead, stupid, and senseless in our addresses to God, as if we were speaking to a dead idol, or to a man who must judge by our words what we would have, because he fees not the heart. (3.) When the heart contradicts our words, as praying that God would take away lin which we have no wili to part with, that he would give us that grace which we have no defire after, or that he would kcep

« PreviousContinue »