« AnteriorContinuar »
life ; for then he is as fure of thee as a robber is of a traveller, whom he has fast bound, lying in a ditch, and his mouth stopt that he cannot cry for help.” 1:0 prayerless finner, confider satan has thee faft bound, and is just ready to murder thee; and wilt thou not cry to God for help? Moreover, think what a brutish thing it is to live prayerless, as alas many do ; they rise like the beasts in the morning, they work with the beasts all day, and ly down like beasts at night, and never mind to look up to God; till he lay them on their backs upon a death-bed, and then they begin to cry like the beasts, when the knife is at their throat. Consider, O man, why God hath given thee a countenance erected to. wards heaven, and bath not made thee to creep on allfour, 'as other creatures, with their backs to heaven and mouths to earth ; but to teach thee, that thou art made to converse with thy Maker, and have intercourse with heaven, and that the world's husks are not fit food for thy foul. We would pity a poor man that were all bowed together, and forced to go like a beaft opon hands and feet, with his eyes always to the earth: And is it not a more pitiful spectacle to see a sout that is a ipark of heaven, and created for communion with God, fo crippled with ignorance and earthly mindede ness, as still to be poring and grovelling upon the carth, without looking up to God its Maker and happiness owner's ? 17. Doi''
Of Sins of Commiffon on the Lord's day. : » II. IN the next place, I proceed to warn you against fins of commiffion, by which the Lord's day is too commonly profaned: And these are either ioward or outward. '.' ".
Lin. .. .
. . I. Of inwond Sins of Commission. His it?" Inward fins, or heart ans, should be carefully guards ed against this day, as being most provoking to God, polluring to his worship, and hurtful to our souls. Sin. ful thoughts are an abo nination to God every days
Prov. XV. 26. but mort efpecially this day. Thoughts are as loud in God's cars as words; and he commands evil thoughts to be førsaken, as well as evil ways, if we : would have pardon, Ifa Ir. 7 Wherefore let us get renewed and fanétified hearts, and overawe them with the thoughts of God's presence and omniscience : Let us imagine this day, that we hear the found of the last trumpet, and see the throne fet, and God calling for an account of hearts ; (for in that day he will judge hearts as well as lives) and, when any evil thought breaks in, say, “ What if God, who sees this, should prefeotly call me to account ?" Let us keep a constant watch ovet our hearts this day, ftriving to crush all Gnful thoughts in the bud, at their first riling, cry out for God's helpe Let us be fenfible what a mass of villany is in the heart, " It is desperately wicked," as Jeremiah faith, yea, 4 our inward part is very wickednefs," Plal. v. y. Hence it was that Luther profeft, that she feared his heart more than the pope or the cardinal;" And Augustine prayed, "Libcta me, Domine, a meipfo." The heart is like the Trojan horfe, out of whofe belly proceeded arhret enemies ; fo out of the heart proceed all evil words and actions, Mat tv. 19. It is the corrupt fountain, from whence all the impure streams of actual fin do Aow : Therefore we should look narrowly to it.
But, belides incident evil thoughts, we have many evil habits and plagues of heart, that we should guard against on the Sabbath, being such as profane the day, and hinder the fan&tification of it: Particularly, .
1. Atheism, and misbelief of God's truths. If this harbour of prevail in us, we can reap no profit by the word read or preached this day. Why do people delay or refuse to embrace Chrift, and leave their hos, but because they want a fixed and firm impreffion of the truths of the gospel upon their hearts? It is true, you will not say that you misbelieve any of them, but you give no heart-afsent to the truth of them, which is little better s you give no firm inward credit to the gospel, and to all its affertions, commands, threatenings and promifes, that they are come froni God, and are most true, certain and infallible. Were you once firmly
perfuaded of the certainty of eternal life, and eternal death, you would not stand so long hovering betwixt heaven and hell. If once you had the firm impressions of eternal death, you would presently, “ flee from the wrath to come ;" and if you had a due sense of eternal life, you would “ run to take hold of the hope set before you,” Heb. vi. 18. But alas ! nature is half blind, and cannot see afar off, 2 Pet. 1. 9. To carnal hearts and eyes, there seems to be a mist upon eternity; they . cannot see into another world, and they cannot believe
things not seen. But, О if you would be happy, you mutt stedfastly believe the “ immortality of the soul, and a future life; that the Bible is the true word of God, and that the blefled God, sent his eternal Son Jesus Christ into the world to affume man's nature, and die for to redeem him from an and hell.” Wich abhor. rence renounce all doubting or unbelieving thoughts of these great truths ; rather doubt of your own being than of these ; believe that what now you hear with your ears concerning a future life and judgment-seat, you will fhortly see with your eyes: If you do it not, you rub the highest affront on God that a creature is capable of; for you make your Creator a lyar, 1 John v. 10. This. is a fin that devils are not chargeable with, for “ they believe and tremble." O finner, what further confirma. tion of the truth wouldest thou have from God, than he hath already given thee? Thou haft his word, yea, his writ, ratified by his oath, confirmed by his miracles, and sealed by his Son's blood, which is far more, and far surer than either a voice from heaven, or a messenger from he!), according to 2 Pet. 1. 19. Luke xvi. 31.
Jl. Igncrance of ihe truths you hear this day, greatly hinders the sanctification of it. You cannot prize Christ, close with him, or follow him, till such time as yeu krow him. How can such hear the gospel, or embrace Chritt offered therein, that know not their ruined natural condition and their remedy through Chrift? Many they know not Christ's love and beauty, his abiliiv, fufficiency and fiencís, in his natures, offices, re. la:io:is, graces, Spirit and fulness: They know nat the delign of his coming into the world; the manner
of his thorowing our redemption by his obedience and sufferings, and the manner of applying it, and our getting an interest therein, and the neceffity and nature of faith in order thereto. For as oft as many have faith in their mouths, they know not what it is ; they are ignorant what it is to receive Christ as a Surety and Sa. viour, as a Prieft and King; and therefore many gospel sermons and Sabbath, are entirely lost to them.'
O finners, consider the danger of ignorance, it is a foul murdering fin, Hof. iv. 6. « My people are de. ftroyed for lack of knowledge." Do not think your ignorance will excufe you at a tribunal, or save you from hell: No, it will rather aggravate your fin and condemnation, to be found ignorant, in á land where the light shines fo plentifully about you. Ignorance will be fo far from keeping off wrath from you, that God tells you it is a fpecial procuring cause of wrath, and makes you more miferable than others, according to Isaiah xxvii. ii. « This is a people of no understanding, therefore he that made them will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will shew them no favour."
Again, as ignorance is a damning fin in itself, so it is the fruitful mother of many other fins and lusts, ac-: cording to i Pet. i. 14. What is the reafon why many fwear, lye, cheat, break the Sabbath, drink drunk, commit uncleannefs, flight ordinances, neglect prayer in their families and closets, and go on in their fins, without repenting or fleeing to Christ? It is because of their ignorance : They are ignorant of God, his infinite justice and holy nature, the evil of fin, and what Christ hath suffered for finners ; they know not what regeneration, repentance and faith áre, for all they speak of them; and how then can they practise them, or cry to God for them?
Object. “O (fay fome ignorant creatures) many have knowledge that make no good use of it; yea, they are more graceless and profane than we.”
Anf. All this is too true, and these will have a fad account to make one day for sinning againit so much light. But this will be no help to you, for profanity VOL. IV.
kills them, and ignorance kills you ; they die of one disease, and you die of antoher; and your disease is as sure to kill as theirs. For you to reject knowledge, because some who have it abuse it and perilh ; is as ridi. culous as for you to say, because many die who have both food and physic, and plenty of means for preferring life, I will use no means for preserving my life at all ; for, whoever die, you are sure to die : They that have both food and physic may die, but they that have none of them cannot live. So, whoever perish, ignorant persons are sure to perish; for they know not their remedy, they cannot make use of the means of life. O ignorant fouls, you are nearer hell than o:hers ; your ftate is darkness, and it borders upon utter darkness; lo that you are, as it were. lodging in the next room to hell, having but a weak partition betwixt you and it, which death may break down in a moment, and let you pass into it. When an ignorant Ginner dies, there goes not only dust to dust, but darkness to darkness; the darkness of ignorance to the darkness of hell : And is not this a fearíul ftate for you to continue in? What madness is it for you to do it, when Christ is daily inviting you to come to the light?
O ignorant finners, why should you continue in your ignorance, more than these of your rank in other places, who can discourie most sen Gibly of the principles of re. ligion, and the concerns cf their souls, and can pray to excellent purpose ? Have you not rational sonls as well as they? Have you not the same helps and advantages that they have, if you would but make use of them? Are you not as capable as they? You are as tharp and Knowing about worldly affairs as others : You know well enough the rent of a piece of ground, the value of corn or cati'e ; but, alas ! know no hing of the worth of your souls, of Christ and pardon to them: You are trell versed in the art of powing, sowing and reaping, and know the iglt sealins for them; but, alas! you know rot your leatons of mercy: You know your almanack, die fairs and charges of the moon, you krow rour fiory tocks and bal.ads; and why might you not kner your bib.es as Fell, if you would employ the lame