Imatges de pÓgina
PDF
EPUB

angels out of heaven, Adam out of Paradise? What deluged the old world, and burned Sodom? It was sin. Of all the evils on soul and body to which man is liable, sin leads the van. Behold how death, in numberless shapes, has overflowed the world! What a flood of miseries is overflowing mankind, kingdoms, churches, families, persons, souls, bodies! What has opened the sluice of these? Rom. v. 12, affords the answer, "Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; so death passed upon ali men, for that all have sinned." There is never a sigh nor a groan in this world, under any hardship whatsoever, but it rises from the sting of this serpent; and it has filled hell with groans which will last for ever. Consider,

(6.) That where sin is removed in its guilt and power, the greatest evils cannot harm us; 2 Pet. iii. 13, "And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?" Diseases, crosses, death itself, without it, is like a serpent without a sting, 1 Cor. xv. 55, 56. The severe lashes of the just judge of heaven and earth, are turned into the rods of a loving father, Psalm lxxxix. 31, 32. Death is but the falling asleep, and dying only the shadow of death. Nay, they shall do us good; Rom. viii. 28, " And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Out of the most dark, troubled, and confounding case, God will raise a beautiful frame. Every stone cast at them shall be a precious stone, sanctified for their good. Consider,

(7.) That whatever sin is in force, it not only strengthens other evils, but blasts and poisons all that good which a person enjoys. It not only arms diseases, death, and hell, against a man, but turns his very blessings into curses; Mal. ii. 2, "If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the Lord of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curso your blessings; yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart." In all the enjoyments and comforts of a sinner out of Christ, there is death in the pot. One man's crosses ruin him, another man's prosperity ensnares him, and proves his ruin, Prov. xxx. 8, 9. Nay, the very means of grace are a savour of death unto death unto some, 2 Cor. ii. 16. What is the reason why sin poisons the fountain? Thus, be the waters sweet or bitter, they are killing. Consider,

(8.) That sin is the most painful and tormenting evil, when once the pain of it is raised, and the poison begins sensibly to operate; Prov. xviii. 14, "The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?" It is true, that it is so long in

working with some, that it may never thus work till in hell they lift up their eyes; but O how dreadful must it then be! Conscience is a tender part; and this, sin torments. What torment was Cain in, when his conscience got upon him! It made Felix tremble, Belshazzar's knees to smite one against another; it involved Judas in utter despair, so as to make away with himself. See Job xx. 12 -16. Consider,

(9.) That sin is a most deadly evil; Rom. vi. 23, "The wages of sin is death." It brought temporal death into the world; and the body of man, which by its creation was not liable to death, it made mortal. But more than this, it is the cause of spiritual death. It kills the soul, separating it from God and communion, with him, and makes many a man dead while he lives, so that his living body is but a coffin to a dead soul, Eph. ii. 1. And, finally, it brings on eternal death. Consider,

(10.) That sin is a most infectious evil. No plague nor pestilence is so dangerous. Many persons, in times of a raging plague, have been preserved. But as for the plague of sin, when once it seized Eve, she infected Adam, and he all his posterity. And now the world is a pest-house, where not one is quite free. Some are under the cure of grace, and in the way of recovery; but the most part are pining away in their iniquity, and every one of them infecting another more and more; Eccl. ix. 18, " One sinner destroys much good." This one sinner may have the blood of many at his door, whom he has ruined by his advice, carelessness, and evil example. Consider,

(11.) That the giving up of a sinner to sin, is the concluding stroke which God gives him, so that it is the worst thing a person can meet with. Here I would have you more particularly to consider, that when God in wrath gives a man over in this life, he leaves him, and gives him up to his sin. God deals with sinners to part with their sins, they will not; God's offers are slighted, then, as in Psalm lxxxi. 12, "He gives them up to their own hearts' lust; and they walk in their own counsels." He is at much pains with them by providences and ordinances, but nothing does with them; then in anger he gives them over: Ezek. xxiv. 13, "In thy filthiness is lewdness; because I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more, till I have caused my fury to rest on thee." Thus, "Ephraim is joined to his idols, let him alone," Hos. iv. 17. Of the heathen world it is said, "For this cause God gave them up to vile affections," Rom. i. 26. We read of one who was given up to the devil, that he was again recovered. But where find ye a man given up to himself, to his lusts, reclaimed? Wherefore better be given up to the devil,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

than to sin. Fearful sentence! "Let him that is filthy be filthy still." Consider, when at death the impenitent sinner is carried out of the world into the pit, there is no more endeavours to separate betwixt him and his sin. In life he would depart from God, and so his doom is, "Depart from me, ye cursed." Then his sins are left to prey upon his soul for ever; no more pardon, no more sanctification; Prov. xiv. 32, "The wicked is driven away in his wickedness." God strives with the man in life to part him and his sins, but he will not part from them; so the whirlwind of death rises, and carries both away together to the pit. Consider,

(12.) When God has brought in all his elect to himself, and the last man of them has left the tents of sin, then shall the world be at an end. The sheep shall be separated from the goats, the sinners driven away in their wickedness to hell; this world defiled by sin shall be burnt up; and they, and sin, with all its effects, shut up in hell for ever, Rev. xx. 14, 15. Then shall there be new heavens and a new earth, but no sin there, 2 Pet. iii. 13. It shall be settled in hell for ever, as on its own base. Sin must be an evil, a great evil: For,

4. If you will continue in sin, of all things Satan loves most to have it so. It gratifies the enemy of mankind most; and this in two things, on which he is most particularly set.

(1.) The dishonour of God. Satan is a rebel against God, who has not the smallest hopes of peace, and is utterly desperate, therefore rages and maliciously sets himself against God, sinning against God himself, and tempting men to sin and continue in it, that he may have the satisfaction of their dishonouring God, and despising his Son; thus grieving his Spirit, and trampling on his laws. Satan is set upon,

(2.) The ruin of souls; 1 Pet. v. 8, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour." He loves to keep them in subjection to himself, that he may reign freely in their hearts, which will be as long as they are under the dominion of sin; and to have them companions with him in eternal misery; which he is sure to accomplish if he can keep them in their sins. I come now to

MOT. 2. To prevail with you in departing from iniquity, observe this is necessary from your belonging to God, your departing from sin. Whoso are his, infallibly do depart from iniquity, whatever others do. This has been proved before.-Now, upon this consider, the weight that lies here, whether a person belongs to God or not. You need to have this cleared, whose you are, whether the Lord's people or not. For consider,

[merged small][ocr errors]

(1.) Your state for time turns upon this point. All the world is divided into two parties; one belonging to God by covenant and dedication, Heb. viii. 10; another to Satan, the god of this world, 2 Cor. iv. 4. See them distinguished, 1 John v. 19, " And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness." The one is the family of heaven, the other Satan's family. If you belong to the former, you are justified, adopted, all is yours, and ye are Christ's. If to the latter, ye are in a state of wrath and enmity against God. Consider,

(2.) Your state for eternity turns upon this point. If ye be the Lord's, ye shall be for ever happy with him. Your names will be found written in the book of life. If not, your names will not be found there; and see the doom of such; Rev. xx. 15, "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life, was cast into the lake of fire." You shall infallibly evidence, by your departing from iniquity, that you are the Lord's, Rev. xiv. 1-5. Sanctification is an infallible proof of election and justification, and an infallible pledge of glorification. It is a middle link of the indissoluble chain which begins with election and ends with glorification, Rom. viii. 29, 30; Thess. ii. 13. The spirit of holiness is God's seal upon them that are his, by which they come to be owned and discerned to be his; Eph. i. 13, "In whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise." But as long as you depart not from sin, it is a positive evidence that you belong not to God by accepting of the covenant, Jer. xxxii. 30. Your cleaving to sin is an evidence you are not united to Christ, and you can have no positive concluding evidence that you belong to God by election. It is but at best a peradventure it may be. And as always the longer that a person continues in sin, there are less the hopes of his recovery, so there is the less probability of his belonging to the election of grace. And if you die in your sin, it will be beyond dispute, that you do not belong to God at all.

Depart, then, from iniquity, as ever you would have any concern for shewing yourselves to be the Lord's. Upon this let me ask you, Is it a matter of indifference to you whether you be the Lord's or not? Truly this is the language of souls careless about their salvation, and particularly about their sanctification. It is declared to you, that all who are the Lord's depart from iniquity. Yet you are careless about your departing from it. This speaks your indifference. I would further ask you, can you ever be happy if you be not the Lord's? How can you live without his favour, living on his ground, and at his cost? Acts xvii. 25, "He giveth to all, life and breath, and all things." How can you think to look the king of terrors in

the face, without the favour of the King of heaven, which you can never have, while you do not depart from iniquity? Rom. i. 18, "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness." I would ask you, lastly, Is it not a miserable offence against your own souls, to dispute away any saving relation betwixt God and you? Every new disobedience to this heavenly charge, is a new argument against yourselves, that you are not his. This charge in the gospel is addressed to all to whom the gospel comes; it is like a fanning wind separating the wheat from the chaff. By it the grace of God brings away the elect out of the tents of sin, leaving others to perish there. What a dismal thought, then, is it to be left, time after time, in iniquity! I come now to urge the

3. And last motive, which is, that obligation which is lying on those who name the name of Christ to depart from iniquity. The Christian profession obliges all who make it to be holy, and to walk as Christians. And here I would consider,

1st, The obligation which lies on all to depart from sin who name the name of Christ, who are Christians by profession, as we all are. 2dly, The obligation which specially lies on communicants. would consider,

1st, The obligation which lies on all to depart from sin who name the name of Christ, who are Christians by profession, as we all are. Here consider,

1. That your baptism in the name of the Holy Trinity, by which you were to be engaged to renounce the devil, the world, and the flesh, and to obey the Lord Jesus, Matth. xxviii. 19, 20. This is a seal of God's covenant, to which you have thereby consented. And since you bear the badge of Christianity, you ought to live Christian and holy lives. And God will treat you as covenant-breakers if you do not. Consider,

2. The author of your profession, from whom you take your name; Acts xi. 26, "And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch." From Christ we are called Christians. And pity it is that ever those who profess Christ should be called by the names of sinful and wicked men. You know those who are named for men, are so named, because they are followers of them. And so the name Christian signifies a follower of Christ, one who follows that way which Christ taught. Now, consider him, the Apostle and HighPriest of our profession Jesus Christ, Heb. iii. 1. What was the author of your profession? He was holy, Heb. vii. 26. His name is a name of holiness: anointed of God, for a Prophet, Priest, and King. A Christian indeed partakes of the anointing of the Holy

« AnteriorContinua »