« PreviousContinue »
" Strength (a).” Hear what it says. The Flesh is weak (b): The Flesh lufteth against the Spirit (c): The carnal Mind is Enmily against God, and is not subje&t to the Law of God, neither indeed can be (d): And they that are in the Flesh, cannot please God. So far from any such Power of turning to God, that we are not suficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves (C); and that, because the Imza ginations of Man's Thoughts are only evil continually (8). And what, will you imagine that you are able to subdue the Power which Sin hath in your Soul, and to put on a Purity of Heart which will make you every way fit to see God; when he tells you so expresly, that you are insufficient to the very least Part of it, so much as to desire or even think of it?
Or if God's Declarations do not convince: you, at least let your own Observations persuade you. Have you ever known or heard of so much as one in all Ages, that was returned to his Duty with a complete Victory over his evil Dispositions warring within him ? Hath there been one such righteousPerson; in the whole World so much as one? Where is that Man that liveth and finneth not (g)? Just the contrary; Sin hath been ever the Complaint of the Good, and
(a) Article x. *(6) Matt. xxvi. 41. (c) Gal. v.17. (d) Rom. viii. 7. e) 2 Cor. iii. 55 ( Gen. vi. 5 . (8) Eccles. vii. 26,
onerton; in thehere been one warring win
the Practice of the Bad. And have there been none think you at all Times; Do you not verily judge there are many, in the reach of your Knowledge, who would be rid of Sin and put on the Disposition of Creatures, if they could ? But none have been able.
Or finally, if you will obstinately contend that you are able ; that you can at your Pleasure extirpate the Pride, Worldliness and Lust that now dwell in you, leay. ing not any Traces of them in your Heart ; that you can raise your Soul to a perfect spi. ritual Purity, and stand in God's Sight clean and holy as the Angels of his Presence: If you'will needs cherish this fond Opinion of your Sufficiency; try your Strength, you have no other Concern which equals the Moment of this to you, to have a new Heart and a right Spirit. Go, root out of your Soul the Lusting you find there after Indulgence and Ease, that you may be no more affaulted with vicious Thoughts : Rid your. self of all worldly Respects that at present fway you ; even of all the undue Regard your Heart pays to Interest and Honor, to Mens Opinion and Favor. Take down the Pride and Desire of Self-pleasing, which have poffessed themselves of you, giving Direction to all your Conduct; and together with them, banish for ever the Troop of their
Attendants, Unbelief, Wilfulness, Impa· tience, Murmuring, Aversion towards GOD;
Boasting, Boasting, Malice, Envy, Hatred, Haughtiness, Stubbornness, Anger, Resentment, Peevishness towards Men. Let neither Pride nor any of these its ugly Issue and odious Train evermore appear in your Mind: And then put on Love of God in all your Heart, and of Man even as of yourself. To mention no more, essay your Strength upon these : Experience will soon tell you, if the very Sight of your difficult Undertaking hath not prevailed, that you are not sufficient for these Things. By and by, you will join the universal Cry of Man impotent to Good: Miserable Creature that I am! Wo.ball deliver me?
THUS you may be assured that you are unable to frame your Heart again to the Temper of a Creature. And yet, if this be not done, you must remain unfit for God, and incapable of Happiness. Miserable Creature indeed! Sorely beset with Evils! A Dishonorer of God, and incapable of rendering back his injured Glory! An Alien from him, in whose Presence is Life, through the Defilement of thy Soul ; and yet unable to recover that Purity which can alone make thee meet for his Presence, were he disposed to remit to thee all the Demands which his forfeited Honor hath upon thee! Miserable Man! What will the End of these
Things be? Almost I know not how to aggravate thy Misery any more. What will
the the End of these Things be? Thou Difhonorer of God, thou Slave of Sin, how wilt thou escape the Wrath to come ? How avert that Punishment which the Glory of the Heavenly Majesty is concerned to inflict; a
State which the perverse Wickedness of thy · Heart makes thee only fit for ? Both the one and the other, the Dishonor done of ihee to God, and the Unfitness of thy Soul for his Presence, alarm thee with Apprehensions of an everlasting Condition of Misery, under the divine Displeasure. And now. therefore I add,
Thirdly, If you will heal the Breach made by your Sins between God and you, you must satisfy the Demands of his infinite Justice: But this you cannot any other Way than by enduring his Vengeance. You know how express and absolute God's Jura tice is; it claims the last Mite, either ini Obedience or Punishment. Cursed be be that confirmelb not all the Words of this Law to do them (b). The irreversible Decree of God through the Universe is, The Wages of Sin is Death. In Consequence of this immoveable Purpose of the Almighty, Angels have been cast down to Hell and delivered into Chains of Darkness to be reserved unto Judgment (i). Sinners and Authors of Sin as they are, they are unable now for-ever to render ; (h) Deut. xxvii. 26. lij 2 Pet. ii. 4..
back to God the Glory they have despoiled him of, ever unable to regain the angelic Purity of Nature they have forfeited ; they remain for-ever the Objects of Vengeance, and are set forth for an Example of Justice. And tell me, my Brother, thou and I have stricken Hands with Sin; wherewithal shall we satisfy Justice, and avert a like Suffering of Vengeance? We have sinned, we have done wickedly, and we cannot undo what we have done. Our Sins that we have committed stand fast for-ever, and for-ever are the Oh. jects of that infinite Justice and Wrath,which doth not let Sin go unpunished. We cannot avoid Justice, because we cannot recal our, Days and undo the Sin that we have done. What thinkest thou, didst thou not forget God, and set up to please thyself? This thou ownest. But may not what is now said of thee, be equally alledged against thee ten thousand Ages hence, that thou didst fin against God by this very Forgetfulness and Apostasy from him ? That God created the Heavens and the Earth, is as true now, and will be so eternally, as it was on that glori, ous Moment when God fpake the Word and they were made, when he commanded and they were created. Just fo of thy Sins : Now and eternally they lie against thee, and ever, more call for Justice and Vengeance. One of these two Things remains, either to undo