Imágenes de páginas

boast! Psalm cxviii. 19.“ Open to me the gates of

righteousness,—this is the door,' &c. feldom efcapes being preffed into the same fervice. If they happen upon sech occafions to drop a word about the righteousnels of Christ, you may expect to hear it upheld only as a pattern to your righteousness; that, as he entered into heaven by his own perfect obedience, even fo might you, by the highest perfection of obedience which you can attain to, to wit, your fincere, though imperfect obedience, or endeavours after it; which is, they say, your gospel-perfection, and which the new covenant, with many other things which the Holy Ghost gives as little allowance for, admits of, according to them; I say, according to them, if fo be you will allow the scope of a whole sermon to explain itself.

The texts commonly made to stand on the frone' of such destroying doctrines are such as these, all the words of the Lord Jesus speaking of himself; • I de- light to do thy will, O my God O how love I

thy law! Or, bearing witness to the righteousness of the law which he came to fulfil; As I live, faith

the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of him • that dieth,' &c. - The man that doeth these things • Thall live by them.'_ Verily, verily, I say unto

you, except your righteousness shall exceed the

righteousness of Scribes and Pharisees, &c. or fome such paffage of a like fpirit, where a righteoulness is recommended, by which a man may have entrance given him into the kingdom of heaven.

As they make this righteousness in their texts something else, and not the very righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, it is evident, that all their after-talk of Gincerity, virtue, repentance, faith, (for faith is a name they must deal in too, though they take away

the sense of it, and give you one more fuitable to their own ideas), goodness of disposition, and the like, can be nothing else but a round-about


way of bringing in an absolute juggle, (not designed, it may be, by them, but at least by the father of lies, who makes whom he may the venders of his abo ninations), a mere fhufiling, cuttings dealing, and playing, of a pack of unintelligible words.

The effect of those their doctrines of wanity, where they take place, may be compared to the admision of a multitude of swine into a garden full of precious roots and flowers. 'So have they used their cndeavours to root up every precious thing in the book of Psalms, and indeed in the whole word of God, as if they had received a commitsion to deal by the Scriptures as the Israelites did with regard to the land of Moab, To smite every fenced city, ' and every choice city, and to fell every good tree, ç and to stop all wells of water, and to mar every

piece of good land with stones. Thus they ucterly spoiled the. Moabites. And thus the end of, those who are possessed with such a false spirit of doc-, trine, , except they be again dispoffefied, may be represented by that herd who ran from the Gadarenes, mountains 'violently down a steep place, and were all choaked in the sea.

They who have conscience for it, may call such, ones Christians, if they please, and then, when they have done fo, endeavour to fanctify Satan by calling him Saint. But faints indeed will do well to conlider those words of their Lord, as they stand in their own connection, · Every plant which my heavenly • Father hath noc planted hall be rooted up.'

Theie are the men who are for ever filling your ears with something or other about philofophers, Tula ly, Seneca, Socrates, the, divinę Plato, as they call that other whom the devil at Delphos is said to have dcified, (honest heathens, the wonderful things the ligit of nature teaches you!), the moral fense, the beautiful, the fublime, the decent, the fair, the handfome, and fometimes the To xador and the To, FETO",


(for they love to speak plain!), with other 'ravings of the same stamp.

There is another, but in many respects very different kind of men, indeed, whom you will find allo at the head of their thousands and ten thousands, who do, verily, highly, as juftly, difapprove of those miĝinterpretations of the Psalms, and other scriptures concerning righteousness, &c. just now mentioned, yet are by no means free themselves of fome sort of corrupt leaven; which shews its malignity in them also, but in a different appearance from the former.

Observe them only expatiating and enlarging upon their darling heads of spiritual desertions, hidings of God's countenance, withdrawings of his favour, or a sense of it at times from his accepted dear children, doubts and fears about their estate, darkness concerning their interest in Chrift; which, with their other kindred topics of discourse, make up no small part of their doctrine and popularity.

To give a taste of this same leaven: after these, or the like words, of the Lord Jesus have come in their way, In my prosperity I said, I fhall never be moved : Lord, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong. Thou didft hide thy face,

and I was troubled,' Thefe expressions, the meaning whereof is not difficult to fee, when viewed in the light of the apostolic testimony, do they compare with, and illustrate by that testimony? No; but with the experiences of Job;' who, in the day of bis affli&ion, said, « that it were with me as

in months past, when the candle of the Lord shin' ed upon my head !? Is the cause of Job's complaint a secret? but whatever he feared, doubted, or complained of, it was not, certainly it was not, concerning his state with God, or his interest in Chrift; seeing in that he triumphs, and in that only; saying,

I know that my Redeemer liveth. Though he Nay

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

me, yet will I put my trust in him :-then shall I « be at rest.'

They proceed next to David's experiences as what frequently happen, say they, or may happen to all saints. How they trumpet forth that famous saying of his which he said in his heart, . One day I shall ( perish by the hand of Saul,' &c. If that of David had any relation to a believer's fears of falling into perdition, it is plain, that the reading of the sentence to the end, would have given the conclusion a quite contrary turn, being a proof, that, like David, they thought they should escape, and not fall. Why do you

trifle with us in the name of the Lord! Have we need of this ? or, if such a doctrine is to be main. rained, has it need to be maintained with such weapons ?

They are now come to the Psalms; and there, fee how they seize upon every strong figure of speech which the Holy Ghost hath used, expressive of the sufferings of Christ, and of the following glory! Lo, how heartily, blindly, and boldly they apply them all as expressive of the frames of the spirits of David, Heman, and Afaph, in the times of their foul-trouble and spiritual desertion; till at length, through their prayers, fupplications, fastings, and tears, they find a glorious outgate (as they speak) by a new and sen Gible manifestation! and these same risings and fallings in their spirits or frames, through the vain fuppolition that they were the experiences of mere mortals, are considered, upheld, and ascertained, as so many incontrovertible models or patterns of God's sovereign way of dealing with his children, whom the New Testament says, he fills with peace and joy in believing, so that they even glory in God (which is not an accidental coming and going thing, but an essential permanent part of their character) through their Lord Jesus Christ, by whom they have now received the atonement.



Tors, I

But those leaders, in diametrical opposition to the apostles, apply upon occasions to the faints and faithful in Christ Jesus, all such passages in the Psalms as the following: My soul is fore vexed-The sorrows

of death compaffed me-The pains of hell got hold upon me-Thine arrows stick fast in meme ( calleth unto deep at the noise of thy water-spouts,:

all thy waves and thy billows are gone.over

me-Horror hath overwhelmed me: I link in deep . mire, where there is no standing--I am come into

deep waters, where the floods overflow me I am • like a pelican of the wilderness I have eaten ashes • like bread, because thou haft listed me up, and caft sme down-The deep waters are come into my

foul-My soul refused to be comforted—I remem. bered the wormwood and the gall-I remembered God, and was troubled While I suffer thy ter

am distracted,' or torn alunder Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more? Is his mercy


ever? And • doth his promise fail for evermore? Hath God for. : gotten to be gracious ? hath he in anger shut up bis tender mercies? Selah. And I said, this is mine infirmity : but I will remember the years of

the right hand of the Most High, 6. What ideas have chose men of the power and operation of the Comforter upon the spirits of the saints, when they think that their state, even at any juncture, may be described in the very fame language which defcribes the power and operation of God's wrath upon the {pirit and body of their Redeemer, when standing in their room, and drinking up for them that cup of bitterness which the Father had put into his hand, that they, in place thereof, might have a cup of fal. vation, thanksgiving, and eternal consolation, put into theirs ?

vaiii men, how came ye to make fad the hearts of those whom the Lord by the fadness of his heart



clean gone

« AnteriorContinuar »