Imatges de pÓgina
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2. This is the Christian life, by which true believers are distinguished from hypocrites, even the life of faith, Gal. ii. 20. And what is that but the daily travelling betwixt their own emptiness and the fulness that is in Jesus Christ? Whereas the hypocrite lives upon his own stock, a stranger to communion with God, and drawing supplies from him in the way of believing. As ever ye would prove yourselves sincere Christians then, take this way.

3. The want of this is the cause that Christians lead such poor lives as they do; Matth. xiii. ult, "He did not many mighty works there, because of their unbelief." Many who have cordially embraced Christ in the gospel-offer, spend their time in complaining of their wants, more than applying to the treasure for supply; more in doubting of their interest in Christ, more than in improving it this way; in disputing their right to the treasure of favour in Christ, more than believing. And hence such,

(1.) Unfruitful lives, little progress in holiness, victory over corruption, usefulness for God in their stations, &c., Col. ii. 6, 7. Little faith will always make little holiness; forasmuch as faith purifies the heart, and is the blessed instrument of the soul's communion with God, by which influences from heaven are brought down, without which the soul must needs be in a withered case.

(2.) Uncomfortable lives. God is "the God of consolation," Rom. xv. 5, and the way to obtain it is in the way of believing, ver. 13. The truth is, it is no wonder the Christian, when he looks to himself, be discouraged, and drive heavily, since often he can see nothing there but weakness, darkness, and deadness; but faith looks to Christ, and sees a fulness in him, "Who of God is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption;" Col. ii. 9, 10.

4. This is a day when Christians have much need to keep up communion with God, and live by faith, Eph. v. 16. It is a day wherein religion is like to die out, and the little of it that is left is in hazard of dwindling away, in principle and practice, into mere morality; it is a day of many temptations and snares, and withdrawing of the Spirit, and wherein judgment seems to be hastening on apace, spiritual and temporal judgments too, for that men have not received the truth in the love thereof, and have walked in darkness while they had the light.

5. Lastly. They are most welcome to the Lord, who come with the most holy boldness, and oftenest unto him, for supply out of the treasure; Matth. xv. 28, "O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt." Those honour God most, who are most emptied of themselves, and have most business in heaven, for supply

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of their wants. It is a pleasure to have full breasts sucked; and there is a fulness in this treasure of favour lodged in Christ. His fulness is not the fulness of a vessel only to serve itself, but of a fountain to be communicated. O then bring forth daily out of it.

UNBELIEF THE SIN AGAINST CHRIST BY WAY OF EMINENCE, AND
THE WRONG DONE TO THE SOUL THEREBY.

PROVERBS Viii. 36,

But he that sinneth against me, wrongeth his own soul; all they that hate me love death.

THE preceding verse gave us the happiness of those who are interested in Christ; this verse gives us the misery of those who reject him. And in it we have two things.

1. A dreadful risk some sinners run; they sin against the wisdom of God, and wrong their own souls. In which consider,

(1.) The dangerous adventure they make they sin against Christ the Son of God. I told you, that Christ the personal wisdom of God is here meant. I must here inquire what is meant by sinning against him. Christ being true God, every sin men commit is against him, and wrongs their souls too. But it is not every sin that is here meant; it is some sin by way, of eminency against the second person of the Trinity; for it is such a one as is constructed to be a hating of him, and loving death, which cannot be said of every sin. You know that the Holy Ghost being true God also every sin is in some sort against him; yet there is a sin against the Holy Ghost so called by way of eminency; so here is a sin against Christ by way of eminency. Now those sins which have their denominations from the several persons of the Trinity, respect them not so much in their essence, as in their office, operation, and work. The Father is Creator, the original lawgiver, the Son Redeemer and Saviour, the Holy Ghost applier of Christ's purchase, Enlightener and Sanctifier. The first sin of Adam in him and us, and the sins of the Pagans still, are the sin against the Father, the transgressing of the law of the Creator. The sin of gospel-despisers is the sin against the Son, as a rejecting of the gospel of Christ. The sin of obstinate and malicious deliberate fighting against God, is the sin against the Holy Ghost, as against the inward working

of the Holy Ghost in them. All the world are by nature under the first, and so liable to wrath; but the Son of God is the anointed Saviour and Redeemer, by whom alone sinners may be recovered. John xiv. 6. He is the ordinance of God for sinners' salvation He is the remedy against sin provided by the Father; so the rejecting of this ordinance and remedy is the sin against Christ. That is, in a word, it is the sin opposite to the seeking and finding of Christ, vers. 34, 35, namely, not closing with, but rejecting Christ offered in the Gospel, called the sin of unbelief, John xvi. 8, 9.

(2.) The effect of this dangerous adventure; he wrongeth his own soul. The word properly imports violence, and might be read, "He doth violence to his own soul." So it is rendered, Zeph. iii. 4. He ruins himself, he is a self-destroyer, a self-murderer. The man is lying pining away in his sin; Christ the Physician comes to his bedside, saying, "Sinner, I offer you life and salvation with myself." But he turns away, he will have none of him, he cannot part with his disease. So he wrongs his own soul; he dies of it. But there is more than that in it. The man slights Christ; who loses by it! Not Christ, not his messengers, but the poor unbeliever himself, Prov. ix. 12.

2. The nature of this practice, which shews what a dreadful risk it must needs be. But of that more afterwards.

Two doctrines may be deduced from the words.

DOCTRINE I. Unbelief, or a sinner's not believing, accepting, embracing, closing with, and resting on Christ for salvation, is the sin against Christ by way of eminency.

DocT. II. The unbeliever sinning against Christ by unbelief, wrongs his own soul.

I shall illustrate each doctrine in order.

DocT. I. Unbelief, or a sinner's not believing, accepting, embracing, closing with, and resting on Christ for salvation, is the sin against Christ by way of eminency. That is, if a man designed an affront to the Son of God, if he were in a mind to pierce him to the heart, and put a signal affront on him, this is the way to do it, namely, to slight the offer he makes of himself in the gospel.

In handling this doctrine, I shall,

I. Shew what treatment of Christ it is, that is this sinning against him.

II. Confirm the doctrine, shewing you, that unbelief is the sin against Christ; that this treatment of Christ, in not believing in, accepting, embracing, closing with, and resting on him for salvation, is sinning against him in an eminent manner.

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III. Improve the subject, in an address both to saints and sin

ners.

I. I am to shew what treatment of Christ it is, that is this sinning against him. In the general, it is twofold.

First, There is a doctrinal treatment of him, that is this sinning against him. So Deists, Socinians, Arians, Papists, &c., sin against him. I insist not on this further than to warn you, that there is, at this day, in this island, appearing a greater disposition to depart from the faith, than there has been at least these thirty years past. Some in the neighbouring land, not papists, nor prelatists, but dissenters, are undermining the doctrine of the eternal Godhead of Christ; and some in this Church are making woful advances towards obscuring the doctrine of the free grace of God in Christ. All which are the native bitter fruits of the generation's practical slighting of, and sinning against Christ, under the light of the gospel.

Secondly, There is a practical treatment of him, that is this sinning against him. And of this kind is,

1. Living ignorant of Christ, and the fundamental truths of the gospel; John i. 10. Grossly ignorant persons are doubtless unbelievers. For how can they believe, who know not what to believe? how can they believe in Christ, who have no knowledge of him? Psalm ix. 10. They are slighters of Christ, who have means of knowledge, and yet know him not; they know him not, because they will not be acquainted with him; Job xxi. 14, "They say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways." And thus many proclaim their soul-ruining unbelief, by their slighting of ordinances and means of knowledge, and not profiting under them. Were there a physician in the country-side curing all freely, and if any should never use means to get acquainted with him, would not such persons be slighters of him, to their own ruin.

2. People's living insensible of their absolute need of Christ; Matth. ix. 12. He comes in the gospel, and offers himself with all his salvation to sinners, to every one that hears it. Why does he so, but because they must perish without him, and that they need him? But the most part find no pinching need of him, and therefore never come to him. This is slighting him with a witness; Rev. iii. 17, "Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." ed, and their misery without Christ is told them; so far convinced as to be pricked to the heart; Acts ii. 37. They have no more ado with him, than a hale and sound person with the physician.

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3. Their not believing the doctrine of the gospel, the record tha: God hath given concerning his Son; 1 John v. 10, 11. In the goipel it is testified to us from heaven, That Christ alone is the great ordinance of God for life and salvation to poor sinners; that God hath placed that life in him, and offers it in and with him to them. This is the doctrine of the gospel; but who believes it? Is. liii. 1. OBJECT. Who does not believe it? ANSW. Alas; that is the nature of the disease. Men may convince men who are hearers of the gopel of the sin of murder, adultery, &c.; but if the Spirit of God take it not in hand, they will not convince them of unbelief; John xvi. 8, 9. But for your conviction, (which may the Spirit carry home!) I will tell you, the treatment which Christ gets from most men, upon the back of the revelation of that record that God hath given of him to them, is such as that; 1 Sam. x. 24, 27, “ And Semuel said to all the people, See ye him whom the Lord hath chosen, that there is none like him among all the people?—But the children of Belial said, How shall this man save us? and they despised him ;" and as that, 2 Kings v. 10-12, " And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again unto thee, and thou shalt be clean. But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, he will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. Are not Abana, and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them and be clean! So he turned, and went away in a rage." Of this treatment of Christ take these two evidences.

EVID. 1. Their not seeking after him with the utmost diligence, till they find him. Compare Prov. viii. 34, 36, "Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. But he that sinneth against me, wrongeth his own soul; all they that hate me, love death." Paul believed the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus, and therefore pressed forward, Phil. iii. 14. If you were desperately wounded, and one told you of an infallible cure that one had, and which you might get; if after this notice given you, you did not with your utmost might and most laborious endeavours seek after it, would not all the world conclude you did not believe there was such a remedy to be got by you? But your souls are thus wounded, and we tell you day by day, that there is an infallible remedy for them in Christ; and yet ye do not diligently seek after him till ye find him. May we not then say, with the prophet, "Who hath believed our report?" Isa. liii. 1.

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