Page images
PDF
EPUB

ged from the life of God. Ephef. 4. 18.

2. No less desolation is made in the Conscience: As the Mind, so the Conscience is defiled, Tit. 1. 15. This is very sad, if we consider either the Office the Conscience is designed for, or the particulars wherein the defilement of it, confifteth.

1. Its Office. It is the Candle of the Lord, by which a Man should be directed in the way wherein he ought to walk. Indeed, God having given it luch a power, and command over Man, that nothing but God is above it: therefore it is, that though a Man may do that sometimes, which is againft his will, and against his affections, and not fin; yet he ought not to go against his Conscience, though it be Erroneous, because Conscience witnesseth for God; so that to go against Conscience, though the thing be not materially finful, yet formally it is; because the autority of God is contemned: therefore it is said Rom. 14. 23, He that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of Faith for whatsoever is not of Faith, is fin.

2. For the defilement of Conscience, I Thall instance only in two branches.

1. It is defiled with ignorance : Such a thick vail of darkness is grown over it, as though it observes every thing that is done; yet it often most shamefully mistakes Evil

for

;

for Goodzand Good for Evil. I told you, that it should be to a Man's actions, as the Pilot to the Ship, to Guide and Steer it right; by a right Rule, to a right End. But having no light, it leads a Man down to Hell, when he thinks he is in the high way to Heaven. As a Pilot having toit his Compass, or the use of it, in a dark night, runs upon the Rocks, when he thinks he is enter ing into the Haven. Joh. 16. 2,- The time cometh, that whosoever killeth you, will think he doth God service. Act. 26. 9. I verily thought, with my self, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth:

2. It is defiled with stupidity, and unfenfibleness. I Tim. 4.2,----having their Conscience feared with an hot Iron. It is true, the Apo stle speaks there, of an habitual hardness, grown upon Men by long continued custom of finning; till they fin, and know not; till they fin and care not : Yet it is originally in the Conscience at first, and doth not fo much come into it, as grow out of it; as that sprigg of an Oak, which at Hent when it first appears ) is very tender, eafily turned this way, or that way; but grows and that by its inbred quality, into a hard and stubborn' bough; so it is here. It is worth our observing to this purpose, that what the Prophet David; Pjal. 14. 3. and

BE

at last

;

53. 3. speaks of some Men, that they are altogether become filthy, the Apostle Rom. 3. 10,12,13. applies to all, in their unregeneráte state. So what is spoken of the unsensibleness of some Mens Consciences, may be applied to all, in their unregenerate state: for the longer they continuo in that state, the sooner they grow to that degree of Itupidity, to be ( as they Eph. 4. 18.) past all feeling: Conscience in their Breasts, is; as it were, in a dead sleep; it suffers them to live in a state of sin, and go on in a way

of fin, without any check, or any, that is to any purpose regarded ; like a Serpent that is charmed, and neither itings, nor bites, Gen. 37.25. And they fate down to eat bread, after they had cast their Brother into a'pit. In this fad case is the Soul, in respect of the Understanding, and the Conscience.

3. But in some respects, the most woful desolation of all, is made in the Will. It is true that original corruption frets like a gangrene through the whole Soul, but the poison of it chiefly hath infected the Will. All that the Scripture speaks of the hardness of the heart, and of the stiff neck, and the Iron-linew, iş little or nothing else, but the obstinacy, and frowardness, and perverseness of the Will. Much might be said to this: But I shall instance only in this; that it is full of contrariety to the holy, and

on them, Levit. 26. 43. That their Souls

righteous will of God. I would, faith God, and ye would not, as he often complains in the Scripture, Matth. 23. 27. Pfal. 81. 11. This is the misery of an unregenerate Soul: for the will of God is not only absolutely good in it self, but it is also Relatively good to every Soul, that in godly sincerity submits to it. Mich. 6. 8, He hath shewed thee, O Man, what is good ( good for thee) Deut. 6. 24, The Lord commanded us to do all these Statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always. So that the Will of Man is absolutely cross to the happiness of the whole Man, in being so cross to the Will of God. It

may truly be said of every Man, That nothing stands so much in the way of his Salvation, as his own Will. Joh. 5.40, And ye will not come unto me, that ye might have life. I might farther exemplifie this, in Thewing how corrupt, and naught it is in alt its operations, in choosing what it ought to loath. Prov. 2 1. 10, The Soul of the wicked desireth evil. Ifa. 66. 3,---their Soul delighteth in their abominations. And in loathing what it ought to choose. It is charged up

abhorred the Word of God; would not suffer it to come near their hearts, but cast it behind their backs, Psal.50.17. Neither is this out of Diftemper only, as a Man when he is sick

may
loath the meat,

which he loves D 3

when

when he is well; but out of antipathy, and inbred enmity, which may be mortified, but can never be reconciled. Nay, it is farther charged, Zech. 11.8. That their Souls abhorred God himsell; though not as an uniyersal good, and the giver of every good thing but as a particular good, and cross to their lufts, and carnal interests : When it comes to that, then they fay, as fob. 2 1.14. Therefore, they say to the Almigbty, depart from us, for we defire not the knowledge of thy ways. Of such things, they are willingly ig norant 2 Pet. 3.5. I fhall shut

up

this fad dilo course with this : That the will of every unregenerate Soul, is called, The will of the Flesb, Epb.2. 3. And the will of the Flesh, is the very fame with that which is called, The will of the Devil, 2 Tim. 2. 26.

Thus ye have something spoken, to both the branches of the first thing that was proposed for the explication of the Point.

(1.) What the Soul is in respect of its original constitution. This is fit to be con sidered; otherwise it will be (I think) im, possible to convince a Man of the truth of the Doctrine. That of all prosperities, the prosperity of the Soul is the most defirable profperity.

(2.) In what case it is, in its unregenerate ftate, by reason of original corruption : Otherwise, it will be as hard to convince a

Man,

« PreviousContinue »