« ZurückWeiter »
would soon die away ; but, alas! when we see the train laid for us, and the fire put to it, yet we stand till it run along, and we be blown up with its force.
4thly, Do not the eyes in our head often blind the eyes of the mind? And was not this the very case of our first parents ? Gen. iii. 6. Man is never more blind than when he is looking on the objects that are most pleasant to sense. Since the eyes of our first parents were opened to the forbidden fruit, mens eyes have been the gates of destruction to their souls ; at which impure imaginations and sinful desires have entered the heart, to the wounding of the soul, wasting of the conscience, and bringing dismal effects sometimes on whole societies; as in Achan's case, Joshua vü. 21. Holy Job was aware of this danger, from these two- little rolling bodies, which a very small splinter of wood will make useless; so as (with that King who durst not, with his ten thousand, meet him that came with twenty thousand against hi Luke xiv. 31, 32.) he sendeth and desireth conditions of peace, Job xxxi. 1. “ I have made a covenant with mine eyes," sr. **: 5thly, Is it not natural for us, to care for the body, even at the expence of the soul ? This was one ingredient in the sin of our first parents, Gen. iii. 6.
O how happy might we be, if we were but at half the pains about our souls, that we bestow upon our bodies! If that question, " What must I do to be 'saved ?” (Acts xvi. 30.) did run but near as oft through our minds, as those other questions do, : 66 What shall we eat; what shall we drink; wherewithalshall we be cloathed?” Mat.vi. 21. manya(now) hopeless case would turn very hopeful. But the truth is, most men live as if they were nothing but a lump of flesh ; or as if their souls served for no other use, but like salt to keep the body from corrupting : « They are flesh," Jolin ii. 6.4:66 They mind the things of the Aesh," Rom. viii. 5. and they live-after the flesh," ver. 13. If the consent of the flesh be got to an action, the consent of the conscience is rarely waited for ; yea, the body is often served, when the conscience has entered a dissent.
6thly, Is not every one, by nature, discontent with his present tot in the world, or with some one thing or other in it? This also was Adam's case, Gen. iii, 5, 6. Some one thing is always missing, so that man is a creature given to changes. And if any doubt of this, let them look over all their enjoyments; and after a review of them, listen to their own hearts, and they will hear a secret. murmuring for want of something, though, perhaps, if they considered the matter right, they would see that it is better for them to want, than to have that something. Since the hearts of our first parents flew out at their eyes, on the fortidden fruit, and a night of darkness was thereby, brought on the world, their posterity have a natural disease, which Solomon calls, « The wandering of the desires," (or, as the word is, " The walking of the soul,") Eccl. vi. 9. This is a sort of diabolical trance, wherein the soul traverseth the world; feeds itself with a thousand airy nothings; snatcheth at this and the other created excellency, in imagination and desire ; goes here and there, and every where, except where it should go. And the soul is never cured of this disease, till overcoming grace bring it back, to take up its everlasting rest in God through Christ : But till this be, if man were set again in Paradise, the garden of the Lord; all the pleasures there would not keep him from looking, yea, and leaping over the hedge a second time.
7thly, Are we not far more easily impressed and influenced by evil counsels and examples, than by those that are good ? You will see this was the ruin of Adam, Gen. iii. 6. Evil example, to this day, is one of Satan's master-devices to ruin men. And though we have by nature more of the fox than of the lamb; yet that ill property some observe in this creature, viz. That if one lamb skip into a water, the rest that are near will suddenly follow, may be observed also in the disposition of the children of men ; to whom it is very natural to embrace an evil way, because they see others upon it before them. Ill example has frequently the force of a violent stream, to carry, us over plain duty ; but especially, if the example be given by those wę bear a great affection to; our affection, in that case, blinds our judgment; and what we would abhor in others, is complied with, to humour them. And nothing is more plain, than that generally men chuse rather to do what the most do, than what the best do.
Sthly, Who of all Adam's sons need be taught the art
of sewing fig-leaves together, to cover their nakedness? Gen. iii. 7. When we have ruined ourselves, and made ourselves naked, to our shame ; we naturally seek tu help ourselves by ourselves; and many poor shifts are fallen upon, as silly and insignificant as Adam's fig. leaves. What pains are men at, to cover their sin from their own consciences, and draw all the fair colours upon it that they can? And when once convictions are fastened upon them, so that they cannot but see themselves naked; it is as natural for them to attempt to spin a cover to it out of their own bowels, as for fishes to swim in the waters, or birds to fly in the air. Therefore, the first question of the convinced is, What shall we do ? Acts ii. 27. "How shall we qualify ourselves ? What shall we perform ? Not minding that the new creature is God's own workmanship (or deed, Eph. ii. 10.) more than Adam thought of being clothed with skins of sacrifices, Gen. iii. 21.
9thly, Do not Adam's children naturally follow his foot. steps, in hiding themselves from the presence of the Lord ? Gen. iii. 8. We are every whit as blind in this matter as he was, who thought to hide himself from the presence of God among the shady trees of the garden. We are very apt to promise ourselves more security in a secret sin, than in one that is openly committed. of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight, saying, No eye shall see me," Job xxiv. 15. And men will freely do that in secret, which they would be ashamed to do in the presence of a child ; as if darkness could hide from an allseeing God. Are we not naturally careless of communion with God; ay, and averse to it? Never was there any communion betwixt God and Adam's children, where the Lord himself had not the first word. If he would let them alone, they would never inquire after him. Isa. lvii. 18. I hide me
-Did he seek after a hiding God? Very far from it
He went on in the way of his heart. 10thly, How loath are men to confess sin, to take guilt and shame to themselves! And was it not thus in the case before uş? Gen. iii. 10. Adam confesseth his nakedness, which he could not get denied; but not one word he says of his sins ; Here was the reason of it, he would fain have
66 T'he eye hid it if he coald. It is as natural for us to hide sin as to commit it. Many sad instances thereof we have in this world; but a far clearer proof of it we shall get at the day of judgment, the day in which God will judge the secrets of men, Rom. ii. 16. Many a foul mouth will then be seen, which is now wiped and saith, I have done no wickedne88, Proverbs xxx. 20.
Lastly, Is it not natural for us to extenuate our sin, and transfer the guilt upon others? And when God examined our guilty first parents, did not Adam lay the blame on the serpent ? Gen. iii. 12, 13. Now Adam's children need not be taught this hellish policy ; before they can well speak (if they cannot get the fact denied) they will cunningly lisp out something to lessen their fault, and lay the blame upon another. Nay, so natural is this to men, that in the greatest of sins, they will lay the fault upon God himself; they will blaspheme his holy providence, under the mistaken name of misfortune, or ill-luck, and thereby Tay the blame of their sin at heaven's door. And was not this one of Adam's tricks after his fall? Gen. iii. 12.
" And the man said, the woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” Observe the order of the speech. He makes his apology in the first place; and then comes his confession : His apology is long ; but his confession very short; it is all comprehended in a word, And I did eat. How pointed and distinct is his apology, as if he was afraid his meaning would have been mistaken? The woman, says he, or that woman, as if he would have pointed the Judge to his own work, of which we read, Gen. ïi. 22. There was but one woman then in the world; so that one would think he needed not have been so nice and exact in pointing at her; yet she is as carefully marked out in his defence, as if there had been ten thousand. The woman whom thou gavest me: Here he speaks as if he had been ruined with God's gifts. And to make the shift look the blacker, it is added to all this, thou gavest to be with me, a constant companion, to stand by me as a helper. This looks as if Adam would have fathered an ill design upon the Lord, in giving him this gift. And after all, there is a new demonstrative here, before the sentence is complete ; he says not, The woman gave me, but the woman she gave me: emphatically, as if he had said, She, even She gave me of the tree. This much for his apology. But his confession is quickly over, in one word, (as he spoke it,) and I did eat. And there is nothing here to point to himself, and as little to shew what he had eaten. How natural is this black art to Adam's posterity! He that runs may read it. So universally does Solomon's observe hold true, Prov. xvii. 3. « The foolishness of man perverteth his ways, and his heart fretteth against the Lord.” Let us then call fallen Adam, father: let us not deny the relation, seeing we bear his image.
And now to shut up this point, sufficiently confirmed by concurring evidence from the Lord's word, our own experience and observation ; let us be persuaded to believe the doctrine of the corruption of our nature ; and to look to the second Adam, the blessed Jesus, for the application of his precious blood, to remove the guilt of this sin ; and for the efficacy of his holy Spirit, to make us new creatures, knowing that except we be born again, we cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
of the Corruption of the Understanding.
SECONDLY, I proceed to enquire into the corruption of nature, in the several parts thereof. But who can comprehend it? Who can take the exact dimension of it, in its breadth, length, height, and depth? The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked ; 'who can know it? Jer. xvi. 9. However, we may quickly perceive as much of it, as may be matter of deepest humiliation, and may discover to us the absolute necessity of regeneration. Man in his natural state is altogether corrupt. Both soul and body are polluted, as the apostle proves at large, Rom. iii. 10-18. As for the soul, this natural corruption has spread itself through all the faculties thereof; and is to be found in the understanding, the will, the affections, the conscience, and the memory.
1. The understanding, that leading faculty, is despoiled of its primitive glory, and covered
over with confusion. We have fallen into the hands of our grand adversary, as Samson into the hands of the Philistines, and are deprived