Page images

pot ours. Every desire of what is our neighbour's is not finful, otherwise there could be no trading, buying, felling, exchanging, bargaining, ác. amongst men. There are holy boundaries set to these defires by the law of God; and as long as they abide within these, they are lawful; but when they exceed, they are inordinate, luftings, and coveting, and here forbidden. Now, they are inordinate,

1. When the very having of them is unlawful, the desire of them is a lust, and inordinate motion. Thou Malt not covet thy neighbour's wife; for as John laid to Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have ber, viz. his brother's wife, Matth. xiv. 4. What is absolutely forbidden us, we may no way desire, otherwise we do but react Adam's fin, in lufting after the forbidden fruit. The heart joins with those things which God has put out of its embrace, and requires it to stand at a distance from,

2. Though the having of them may be lawful, as of our neighbour's house, servant, ox, &'c. yet the desire of them inay be a luit, and is so in several

cases; as,

1/1, When they are desired for unlawful ends, to. feed some lust, as when a man desires his neighbour's drink, not for strength, but drunkennels, this is a finful coveting, an inordinate motion to what is his, though he pay for it. O how much fin is contracted this way, that is never noticed! How many things are degred and purchased too from others, even in a lawful way;

which are for no other end defired but to feed some luit? If our desires be not regulated by reason, neceflity, or expediency, they are but finfál luftings. This finful humour in the hearts of men and women, has produced many trades and inventions in the world, which had never been known if man's nature had not been corrupted. And these are maintained and encouraged, by people's care to gratity their lutts, their vanity, pride, sensuality, c. Whereas if they walked strictly by neceflity and expediency, according to religion and reason, there would be no more use for them than there is of a third wheel to a cart. From the beginning it was not so. Therefore surely the heart is diftempered, and these the disorderly motions.

2dly, When the desire fets people on unlawful means to procure them, it is a lust. Though it be lawful to have one's neighbour's servant, his ox, &c. they may be thine lawfully; yet if thy desire set thee on underhand dealing to rob him of his fervant, to cheat or wheedle him out of his ox, &c.

. it is coveting of them with a witness. And this luft of covetousness thus acting keeps the world in a continual ferment, so that no man is sure of another, For hardly is there a bargain made, but both buyer and seller labours to get something for this lust, as well as for his necessity and expediency. And what wonder is it, that one who has running fores in his hand, leave some marks of them on every thing he touches? Such is our case by natural corruption.

3dly, When the desire, though it sets not on unlawful means, yet is too eager after what is another's. This sinful eagerness discovers itself several ways, all here forbidden; as,

(1.) When people cannot wait with ease the time they are to get the thing ; but the feverish desire makes them uneasy, as Rachel was with the desire of children.

(2.) When they are overjoyed with the enjoy. ment of it, as Jonah was with his gourd. And indeed it is hard to joy, and not overjoy in any thing that is not God or grace.

(3.) When they are fretted and discontented at the milling of it, as Ahab was, who, for ought appears, had no mind to seek Naboth's vineyard but for money, till his wicked wife put it in his head; bụt he wa's fretted for the want of it.

(4.) When they cannot be satisfied without it, dut must have it, though not truly neceffary, coft

what it will, as Efau was set for the red pottage that his brother had. This makes a price that they call the price of affection, which often is nothing else but the price of unreasonable fancy, which must be

gra• tified at any rate.

4thly, When the desire singly goes out after something that Providence has put out of one's reach, though the man has no mind to seek it, nay would not have it, if it were offered him. This seems to have been David's sin, when he longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate! 2 Sam. xxiii. 15. Some think this was a gallant soldier's wish, as if he had said, O that we could drive the Philistines garrison out of Bethlehem! Some of the old Rabbi's think it was a pious wish, and that David longed for the Mefliah that was to break out there. But it seems to be a sinful wish, as both the word, which is used Prov. xxi. 26. He coveteth greedily all the day long, and the pointing in the original, seem to carry it. The weather was hot, and he was thirsty, and a violent fancy took hiin to have a drink out of the well of Bethlehem, where he had often drank in his young days. But I cannot think that ever he meant, that

any body should go fetch it at that tirne, ver. 17.; but his men seeing the humour he was in, ventured. Thus lust breaks out, and guilt is contracted, many ways. The eyes see something that is not ours, and the heart says, Othat it were mine! without any design about it. Something that God has locked up from us in providence, and the heart yearns after it, saying, that I had it! Something we hear others liave got, a good gift, bargain, or match, and the heart says, o that it had fallen to my share! and many such things, all without any design. They are inordinate desires and lustings, for they still imply a coveting, and a diffatisfaction in fome fort with our lot, which the holy law can never allow.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

In all these cases the desire of what is not ours is a lust, a finful, inordinate motion, to what is our neighbour's.

Further, to trace this lust and lufting of the heart forbidden in this command, though it is as impoflible for me to follow it in its several turnings and windings, as to tell the motes that appear where the beams of the fun are shining in a room. Be. sides the actual fulfilling of lusts (Eph. ii. 3.) in deeds which they drive to, which belongs to other commands, there are other things forbidden here, viz.

1. Luft in the fruit fully ripe, though not fallen off in the act. That is, when the lust is not only consented to and resolved upon, but all the measures are laid for bringing it forth into action. As Haman's luft of revenge, when he had got the king's sealed letters for the destruction of the Jews; Jofeph's mistress's lust, when she caught him, and faid, Lie with me. This sometimes Providence blasts when come to all this ripeness, as in those cases, against the person's will. That is before God much alike as the sinful action itself. Sometimes conscience blafts it, so that the person suddenly retires as from the brink of a precipice, which he was going to throw himself over. That is before God as wanting but a very little of the sin completed. And, according to the nature of the thing, it will be very bitter in penitent reflections on it.

2. Luft in the fruit unripe. That is, when it is consented to for action, but the means of fulfilling it are not deliberated upon. Thus people, in the hurry of a temptation, are carried so far, that, their hearts say within them, they will do it. Then luft hath conceived, Jam.i. 15. When it is brought this length, a little more will bring it to the birth. But though it never come farther, it leaves as much guilt on the foul, as will make a sick conscience. 3.

Luft in the blossom. That is, when though it


is not consented to for action, yet it is confented to in itself, and spreads in morose delectation as they call it, or abiding delight in the luft. That seems to be the luft especially meant Matth. v. 28. Whofoever looketh on a woman to lust after her, hath committed adultery already with her in his heart. O what guilt is contracted this way, even by the wandering of the desire (Eccl. vi. 9.), which the person has no mind to gratify by action! Thus the covetous man lusteth, and heaps up riches and wealth to himself in imagination ; the proud man lufts, and heaps up honour, &c. the revengeful, &c. And all that the luft feeds on here is but mere fancy, airy nothings, which perhaps never had nor does the man really expect will ever have a being. This is lutt dream. ing, for which a conscience will get a fearful a. wakening ; though stupid souls please themselves in it, that it does ill to no body, nor minds ill to them.

4. Luft in the bud. That is the first risings of luft

, even before the consent of the will to them ; the first openings of particular lusts, sometimes not regarded nor noticed, and fo neither approvei nor ditapproved ; and sometimes checked in their very tiling, Rom. vii. 15. But however it be, they are fins here forbidden, though the Papifts will not allow them to be fo, more than Paul in his unconverted ftate: I had not known luft, except that the law had said, Thou shalt not covet, Róm. vii. 7. number those that are still setting up their heads in the corrupt heart, as naturally rising from it as stench from a dunghill, or weeds and thistles from the cursed ground? These are luftings in embryo, xhereof fome are formed, others not. They are happieit in this world that cruih them in the bud; but happiest of all when they do not so much as bud; but it is so in heaven only.

Lastly, Lust in the feed. The feed itself is the corrupt nature, original fir, of which afterwards.

Who can

« PreviousContinue »