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touched. But if ye would repent indeed, let the streams fead you up to the fountain; and mourn over your corrupt nature, as the cause of all fin, in heart, lip, and life, Pfal. li. 4. 5. Against thee, thee only have I finned, and done this vil in thy fight-Behold, I was shapen in Iniquity, and in fin did my mother conceive me. (4.) Have a fpecial eye upon it, in your mortification, Gal. v. 24. And they that are Chrift's, have crucified the flesh. It is the root of bitterness, that must be ftruck at, which the ax of mortification must be laid to; else we labour in vain. In vain do men go about to purge the ftreams, while they are at no pains about the muddy fountain: It is vain religion to attempt to make the life truly good, while the corruption of nature retains its ancient vigour, and the power of it is not broken. Loftly, Ye are to eye it in your daily walk. He that would walk right, must have one eye upward to Jefus Chrift; and another inward to the corruption of his own nature. It is not enough that we look about us, we must alfo look withio There the wall is weakest; there our greatest enemy lies; and there are grounds for daily watching and mourniog.

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IIII fhall offer fome reafons, why we fhould efpecially notice the fin of our nature.

1. Because of all fins it is the most extenfive and diffufive. It goes through the whole man, and fpoils all. Other fins mar particular parts of the image of God; but this doth at once deface the whole. A difeafe affecting any particular member of the body is ill; but that which affects the whole is worse. The corruption of nature is the poison of the old ferpent, caft into the fountain of action: and so infects every action, every breathing of the foul.

1. It is the caufe of all particular lufts, and actual fins, in our hearts and lives. It is the fpawn which the great Leviathan has left in the fouls of men; from whence comes all the fry of actual fins and abominations. Mark vii. 21. Out of the heart of men proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, &c. It is the bitter fountain: particular tufts are but rivulets running from it; which bring forth into life, a part on. ly, and not the whole of what is within. Now the fountain is still above the streams: fo where the water is good, it is best in the fountain; where it is ill, it is the worft there.

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The corruption of nature being that which defiles all, itself mult needs be the most abominable thing.

3 It is virtually all fin: for it is the feed of all fins, which want but the occafion to set up their heads; being in the corruption of nature, as the effect in the virtue of its caufe. Hence it is called a body of death, (Rom. vii. 24.) • 、 as confifting of the feveral members, belonging to fuch a body of fins, (Col. ii. 11.) whose life lies in fpiritual death, It is the curfed ground, fit to bring forth all manner of noxious weeds. As the whole neft of venemous creatures must needs be more dreadful, than any few of them that come creeping forth; so the fin of thy nature, that mother of abominations must be worse than any particular luits, that appear stirring in thy heart and life. Never did every fin appear in the conversation of the vileft wretch that ever lived but look thou into thy corrupt nature, and, there, thou mayeft fee all and every fin in the feed and root thereof. There is a fulness of all unrighteousness there, Rom. i. 29. There is atheism, idolatry, blafphemy, murder, adultery, and whatsoever is vile, Poffibly, none of thefe appear to thee in thy heart: but there is more in that unfathomable depth of wickednefs, than thou knoweft. Thy corrupt heart is like an ant's neft, on which, while the ftone lieth, none of them appear: but take off the tone, stir them up, but with the point of a traw, you will fee what a fwarm is there, and how lively they be. Juft fuch a fight would thy heart afford thee, did the Lord but withdraw the restraint he has upon it, and fuffer Satan to stir it up by temptation.

4. The fin of our nature is, of all fins, the most fixed and abiding. Sinful actions, tho' the guilt and Aain of them may remain, yet in themselves they are paffing. The drunkard is not always at his cup, nor the unclean perfon always acting lewdnefs. But the corruption of nature is an abiding fin: it remains with men in its full power, by night and by day, at all times, fixed as with bands of iron and brass till their nature be changed by converting grace; and the remains of it continue with the godly, until the death of the body. Pride, envy, covetoufnefs, and the like are not always ftirring in thee. But the proud, enviOus, carnal nature is fill with thee: even as the clock that

is wrong, is not always ftriking wrong: but the wrong continues with it, without great intermiffion.

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5. It is the great reigning fin, Rem. vi. 21. Let not fin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lufts thereof There are three things you may obferve in the corrupt heart. (1.) There is the corrupt nature; the corrupt fet of the heart, whereby men are unapt for all good, and fitted for all evil. This the Apoftle, here calls fio which reigns. (2.) There are particular lufts, or po-fitions of that corrupt nature, which the Apostle calls the luffs thereof; fuch as pride, covetousness, &c. (3.) There is one amongst thefe, which is (like Saul amongst the people) higher by far than the reft, namely the fin which doth focafily befet us, Heb, xii. 1. This we ufually call the predo minant fin, because it doth, as it were, reign over other particular lufts; fo that other lufts muft yield to it. Thefe three are like a river which divides itself into many Atreams, whereof one is greater than the rest. The corruption of nature is the river head, which has many particular lufts, in which it runs but it mainly disburdens tfelf into what is commonly called one's predominant fin. Now all of these being fed by the fin of our nature; it is evident, that fin is the great reigning fin which never lofeth its fuperiority over particular lufts, that live and die with it, and by it. But as in fome rivers, the main ftream runs not always in one and the fame channel: fo particular predominants may be changed, as luft in youth may be fucceeded by covetoufnefs in old age. Now, what doth it avail to reform in other things, while the great reigning fin remains in its full power? What tho' fome particular luft be broken? If that fin, the fin of our nature, keep the throne, it will fet up another in its (tead; as when a water courfe is flopt in one place, while the fountain is not damned up, it will fream forth another way, And thus fome caft off their prodigality, but covetoufn's comes up in its flead: some cast away their profanity, and the corruption of nature fends not its main ftream that way as before, but it runs in another channel namely, in that of a legal difpofition, felf righteoufnefs, or the like, So that people are ruined by their not eyeing the fin of their

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Lefly, It is an hereditary evil, Pfal. li. 5, In fin did my

wother

mother conceive me. Particular lufts are not so, but in the virtue of their caufe. A prodigal father may have a frugal fon: but this difeafé is néceffarily propagated in nature, and therefore hardest to cure. Surely then the word fhould be given out against this fin, as again the King of Ifrael, i Kings xxii. 31 Fight neither with fmall nor great, fave only with this for this fin being broke, all other fins are broken with it; and while it stands entire, there is no victory.

IV. That ye may get a view of the corruption of your nature, I would recommend to you three things. (1.) Study to know the fpirituality and extent of the law of God, for that is the glafs wherein you may fee yourfelves. (2.) Obferve your hearts at all times, but efpecially under temptation. Temptation is a fire that brings up the fcum of the vile heart: do ye carefully mark the firft rifings of corrupti on. Laftly, Go to God through Jefus Chrift, for illumi nation, by his Spirit. Lay out your foul before the Lord, as willing to know the vileness of your nature: fay unto him, That which I know not, teach thou me, And be willing to take in light from the word. Believe, and you fhall fee. It is by the word the spirit teacheth, but without the Spirit's teaching all other teaching will be to little purpose. 'Tho' the gospel should fhine about you, like the fun at noon day; and this great truth be never fo plainly preached: you will never fee yourselves aright, until the Spirit of the Lord light his candle within your breast: the fulness and glory of Chrift, the corruption and vileness of our nature, are never rightly learned, but where the Spirit of Chrift is the teacher.

And now to fhut up this weighty point, let the confideration of what is faid, commend Chrift to you all. Ye that are brought out of your natural state of corruption unto Chrift, be humble; ftill coming to Chrift, and improving your union with him, to the further weakening of the re mains of this natural corruption. Is your nature changed? It is but in part so. The day was ye could not ftir: ye are cured; but remember the cure is not yet perfected, ftill go halting. And tho' it were better with you than it is; the remembrance of what you were by nature thould keep you low. Ye that are yet in your natural

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State II. ftate, take with it believe the corruption of your nature; and let Chrift and his grace be precious in your eyes. O that ye would at length be ferious about the state of your fouls! What mind ye to do? Ye muft die; ye must appear before the judgment feat of God. Will ye ly down, and fleep another night at cafe, in this cafe? Do it not for before another day you may be fifted before God's dreadful tribunal, in the grave cloaths of your corrupt ftate; and your vile fouls caft into the pit of deftruction, as a corrupt lump, to be for ever buried out of God's fight. For I teftify unto you all, there is no peace with God, no pardon, no heaven for you, in this state: there is but a step betwix you and eternal destruction from the prefence of the Lord: if the brittle thread of your life, weich may be broke with a touch, ere you are aware, be indeed broken while you are in this state; you are ruined for ever, and without remedy. But come fpeedily to Jefus Chrift; he has cleanfed as vile fouls as yours; and he will yet cleanse the blood that be hath cleanfed, Joel iii, 21. Thus far of the finfulness of

man's natural state.

HEAD II.

The MISERY of Man's NATURAL STATE.

EPHESIANS . 3.

We were by nature the children of wrath, even as

H

cthers.

AVING fhewed you the finfulness of man's natural ftate, I come now to lay before you the mifery of it. A finful ftate cannot be but a miferable state. If fo go before, wrath follows of courfe. Corruption and deftruction are fo kait together, that the Holy Ghost calls deftruction, even eternal dellruction, corruption, Gal. vi. 8. He that oweth to his fief, fhall of the flesh reap corruption, that is, ever

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