Imágenes de páginas

heart unto each of its precepts. Whatever influence education may have in moulding what is seen, yet surely the imaginations, of man's heart, are evil from his youth up,' Gen. viii. 21. . sin

6. True it is, through the influence of the means before mentioned, I did all this while abominate the more gross breaches of all the commands, and dislike open sin. But mean while my heart was set upon the less discernible violations of the same holy law. My quarrel was not with sin, but the consequences of it, and the main thing I regarded was the worlds oi pinion of it. Fear of punishment, pride that fears tó be ill thought of, or at best, a natural conscience enlightened by education, were the only springs of any performances of duty, or abstinence from fin. Prone I was all this while to fin, even of all sorts, which that age is carried unto, in secret when I could say, that no eye shall see me, Job xxiv. 15. They who for credit. or other such inducements, may seem averse to fin, yet will make bold in the dark with the worst fins;--Son of man haft thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his immagery? For they say, the Lord feeth us not, the Lord hath forsaken the earth, Ezek. viii. 12 :

7. Even those things, which, in my way seem'd good and promising, such as deteftation of gross fins, performance of duties, doc. were either purely the effects of a forcible cuítom, a bribe to a natural conscience to hold its peace, a sacrifice to felf, a Navish performance of what I took no delight in to avoid the whip, or sometimes a charm to keep me from danger, which I thought would befal me, and dreaded much, if I neglected prayer. Thus my best things dreaulfully increased my guilt, being like the apples of Sodum, fair to look at, promising while untried, but within full of aihes and noisome matter. When fafted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months,

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

part, l.
M . nayburtult 5 Lije.

IIJ Lie. '93 even these feventy years, did ye at all fast unto me ? And when ye did eat, and when ye did drink, did ye not eat for yourselves ? Zech, vij, 5. 6. Bring no more vain oblations, incense is an abomination to me, the new.moons and Sabbaths, the calling of affemblies, I cannot away with, it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Ifa. i, 13...

8. Thus the spring of corruption damm'd in on the one side, I mean as to open profanity, by the mounds of education, breaks out on the other side, in a form of religion, 2 Tim. iji, 5. without, nay plainly opposite to the power of it, which is no less hateful to the holy God : The prayer of the wicked is sin, his facrifice is an abomination, Prev. xxi. 27. 15, 8, 21, 4,. Sin in one case has a little varnish that hides its deformity somewhat from the eyes of men; in the other it is seen in its native hew and colours. In the one case it runs under ground in the other it openly follows its course, "Some mens sins are open before hand goingbefore them into judgment and others follow after, 1 Tim. V, 24. Whether the one or the other, the odds is not great. The tree is known by its fruit. Matth xii. 33. A corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit. Sometimes it may bring forth good-like fruit...!:

. 9. But yet, after all, I must confess that such was the strength of corruption, that it drove me to several of the more plain and gross fins incident to this age: Which though some account pardonable fol. lies in children, yet the Lord makes another reckon: ing of them, and fundry of them. bave been made bitter to me, such as, lying to avoid punishment, fabbath-breaking, revenge, hatred of my reprovers, and others of a-like nature. Some particular fins conimitted in child houd, which I had quite forgot, as being attended with no notable circumstances, that could make them ftick, rather than other things, and being of an older date than any thing else, I

,. can

can remember, were brought fresh to my remem- brance, when the Lord began clolly to convince of fin, and being presented in their native colours, in the light of the Lord, and in all the circumstances of time, place, partners in sin, &c, and were made the matter of my deep humiliation, loathing and felfabhorence, as not only full of wickedness in them, felves, but pregnant evidences of the deepest natur. al depravity. Which made me fee to whom it was owing, that I went not to all the heights in wicked. ness and the grosseft abominations that ever any were carried to, and which a haughty heart, if not restrained feasonably parted by secret power, and partly by ourward means, would inevitably have carried me to, Prov.xxii. 25. “ Folly is bound up in the heart of a child,deeply rooted and faftned there ” And no thanks to the best, that they are kept from the worst things. “ And David faid to Abigail, blessed be the Lord God of Israei, which sent thee this day to meet me, and blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself on mine own hand. 1 Sam xxv. 32. For in very deed, as the Lord God of lfrael liveth, which hath kept me back from hurting thee, except thou hadst hasted and come to meet me, surely there had not been left unto Nabal by the morning-light any that pisseth against the wall.” What a monster had I been, if left to myself, and not seasonably re. strained by outward means, and inward power! bles. sed be the invisible hand, and the outward inftru. ments of this, restraint, that kept me back from finning.

10. Thefe are but a yery few of the innumerable evils that cleaved to me in this finful period of my life, For who can understand his errors ? Psal. xix. 12. This period was altogether finful and vain : nay, sin and vanity in the abstract. Childhood is va. nity, Eccl. xi 10. And all this is deeply aggravated


by my stupid inconcernedness about them all the while. Notwithstanding of thein all, I was clean in mine own eyes, though not washed from my pollutions, Prov. xxx. 12. In the puddle whereof I had long wallowed. I was whole as to my own sense, though the plague fore run upon me. Rev, iii. 17, " While I thought I stood in need of nothing, I was poor, miserable, wretched, blind and naked. How canst thou say, I am not polluted, I have not gone after Baalim? see thy way in the valley, know what thou hast done, &c. I have not found it by secret search, but upon all these, Yet thou sayelt, because I am innocent, surely his anger fall turn from me. Behold I will plead with thee, because thou sayest,I have not sinned.Jer. ii, 23.24.

[ocr errors][merged small]

1. W Hen I consider, how many sins long since

VV done and forgotten, many of them of an older date than any thing else I remember, and in their commission attended with no such remarkable circumstances, as can rationally be supposed to have made any deep impression on the memory, and fo have any influence in thcir recovery, after so long oblivion, were now by the Lord brought to mind with anusual distinctness, I cannot' but herein ob. serve, i. What exact notice the holy God takes, and how deeply he resents those things, which men, generally, will scarce allow to be faults, or at most but mean ones, pardonable follies rather than fins. God carly observed, that man's imaginations are evil from his youth, and will have us mind, and be humbled for the fins that have cleaved to us from our youth. * This hath beep thy manner from thy youth, that thou obeyeft not my voice, Jer. xxii. 21. is an aggravation of other fins he charges on his people, and in it felf one ti ivy article, -2. How much reason is there for reckoning it up as one great part of the wickeds

misery, misery that they ly down in their graves with bones full af the fins of youth? Job xx. 11. How much reason is there for Daviil's prayer that God may not remember against him the sins of his youth? Prai. xxv. 7. How just reason have we oft; with Job, Job. xiii. 26. to fufpect that in the strokes that fall on us in riper years, God is making us to possess the iniquities of our youth ? How much reason have we with holy Augustin Aug. conf. Lib. li to confess and mourn over the sins of child-hood, and trace original corruption in its first out-breakings, even up to infancy ! 3. I here observe what an exact regiler conscience, God's deputy, keeps ; how early it begins to mark, how. accurate it is, even when it seem to take no notice and to what a length it will go in justifying God's severity against finners at the last day; how distinctly and clearly it will read it out, and how far op it will fetch its accounts of those evils which we' mind nothing of, when God shall open its eyes to read what is written, and discern those prints which as Job says, 'God sets upon the heels of our feet ;' Job: xiii: 27, and give it a commission to tell us of them, when the books shall be opened, and the dead fmall and great judged out of them," Rev. XX. 12.: .

2.: When I review this first period of my life, what reason do I fee to be ashamed and even confounded, to think that I have spent ten years of a short life, without almost a rational thought, and un. doubtedly any that was rot sinful.- After that I was inftruéted, I smote upon-my thigh : I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth; Jer. xxxi. 19,

3. The whole of what I have set down before, being matter of undoubted experience, of which I can no more doubt ihan of what I now fee and feel; I have herein a strong confirmation of my faith, as' to the guilt of Adam's sin, its imputation to his pos. terity, and of my concernment therein in particular.


« AnteriorContinuar »