Imatges de pÓgina

light in," the honour that cometh of men." A desire and love of praise, and, which is always joined with it, a proportionable fear of dispraise. Nearly allied to this is evil shame: the being ashamed of that wherein we ought to glory. And this is seldom divided from the fear of man, which brings a thousand snares upon the soul. Now where is he, even among those that seem strong in faith, who does not find in himself a degree of all these evil tempers? So that even these are but in part "crucified to the world:" for the evil root still remains in their heart.

8. And do we not feel other tempers, which are as contrary to the love of our neighbour as these are to the love of God? The love of our neighbour "thinketh no evil;" do we not find any thing of the kind? Do we never find any jealousies, any evil surmisings, any groundless or unreasonable suspicions? He that is clear in these respects, let him cast the first stone at his neighbour. Who does not sometimes feel other tempers or inward motions, which he knows are contrary to brotherly love? If nothing of malice, hatred, or bitterness, is there no touch of envy? Particularly toward those who enjoy some (real or supposed) good, which we desire but cannot attain? Do we never find any degree of resentment, when we are injured or affronted? Especially by those whom we peculiarly loved, and whom we had most laboured to help or oblige? Does injustice or ingratitude never excite us to any desire of revenge? Any desire of returning evil for evil, instead of "overcoming evil with good?" This also shews, how much is still in our heart, which is contrary to the love of our neighbour.

9. Covetousness, in every kind and degree, is certainly as contrary to this as to the love of God: Whether piλagyugia, the love of money, which is too frequently, "the root of all evil," or λoveža, literally, a desire of having more, or increasing in substance. And how few, even of the real children of God, are entirely free from both? Indeed one great man, Martin Luther, used to say, He "never had aný covetousness in him (not only in his converted state, but) ever since he was born." But, if so, I would not scruple to

say, He was the only man born of a woman, (except him that was God as well as man,) who had not, who was born without it. Nay, I believe, never was any born of God, that lived any considerable time after, who did not feel more or less of it many times, especially in the latter sense. We may therefore set it down as an undoubted truth, that covetousness, together with pride, self-will, and anger, remain in the hearts of them that are justified.

10. It is their experiencing this which has inclined so many serious persons, to understand the latter part of the seventh chapter to the Romans, not of them that are "under the law," that are convinced of sin, which is undoubtedly the meaning of the Apostle, but of them that are “under grace," that are "justified freely thro' the redemption that is in Christ." And it is most certain, they are thus far right: there does still remain even in them that are justified, a mind which is in some measure carnal; (so the Apostle tells even the believers at Corinth, "Ye are carnal:) an heart bent to backsliding, still ever ready to "depart from the living God: a propensity to pride, self-will, anger, revenge, love of the world, yea, and all evil; a root of bitterness, which, if the restraint were taken off for a moment, would instantly spring up: yea, such a depth of corruption, as, without clear light from God, we cannot possibly conceive. And a conviction of all this sin remaining in their hearts, is the repentance which belongs to them that are justified.

11. But we should likewise be convinced that as sin remains in our hearts, so it cleaves to all our words and actions. Indeed it is to be feared, that many of our words are more than mixed with sin; that they are all sinful altogether; for such undoubtedly is all uncharitable conversation: all which does not spring from brotherly love, all which does not agree with that golden rule, “What ye would that others should do to you, even so do unto them." Of this kind is all back-biting, all tale-bearing, all whispering, all evilspeaking; that is, repeating the faults of absent persons: for none would have others repeat his faults when he is ab

sent. Now how few are there, even among believers, who are in no degree guilty of this! Who steadily observe the good old rule, "Of the dead and the absent, speak nothing but good." And suppose they do, do they likewise abstain from unprofitable conversation? Yet all this is unquestion ably sinful, and grieves the Holy Spirit of God: yea, and ❝ for every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give an account in the day of judgment."


12. But let it be supposed, that they continually "watch and pray," and so do "not enter into this temptation ;" that they constantly set a watch before their mouth, and keep the door of their lips: suppose they exercise themselves herein, that all their "conversation may be in grace, seasoned with salt, and meet to minister grace to the hearers ;" yet do they not daily slide into useless discourse, notwithstanding all their caution? And even when they endeavour to speak for God, are their words pure, free from unholy mixtures? Do they find nothing wrong in their very Intention? Do they speak merely to please God, and not partly to please themselves? Is it wholly to do the will of God, and not to do their own will also?—Or, if they begin with a single eye, do they go on "looking unto Jesus," and talking with him all the time they are with their neighbour? When they are reproving sin, do they feel no anger or unkind temper to the sinner? When they are instructing the ignorant, do they not find any pride, any self-preference? When they are comforting the afflicted, or provoking one another to love and to good works, do they never perceive any inward self-commendation: "Now you have sp well ?" Or any vanity, a desire that others should think so, and esteem them on that account? In some or all of these respects, how much sin cleaves to the best conversation even of believers? The conviction of which is another branch of repentance, which belongs to them that are justified.

13. And how much sin, if their conscience is thoroughly awake, may they find cleaving to their actions also? Nay, are there not many of these, which, though they are such as VOL. VII.


the world would not condemn, yet cannot be commended, no, nor excused, if we judge by the word of God? Are there not many of their actions, which, they themselves know, are not to "the glory of God?" Many, wherein they did not even aim at this, which were not undertaken with an eye to God? And of those that were, are there not many, wherein their eye is not singly fixed on God? Wherein they are doing their own will, at least as much, as his, and seeking to please themselves as much, if not more than to please God?-And while they are endeavouring to do good to their neighbour, do they not feel wrong tempers of various kinds? Hence their good actions, so called, are far from being strictly such, being polluted with such a mixture of evil? Such are their works of mercy! And is not the same mixture in their works of piety? While they are hearing the word, which is able to save their souls, do they not frequently find such thoughts, as make them afraid, lest it should turn to their condemnation rather than their salvation? Is it not often the same case, while they are endeavouring to offer up their prayers to God, whether in public or private? Nay, while they are engaged in the most solemn service: even while they are at the table of the Lord, what manner of thoughts arise in them? Are not their hearts sometimes wandering to the ends of the earth; sometimes filled with such imaginations, as make them fear, lest all their sacrifice should be an abomination to the Lord? So that they are more ashamed of their best duties, than they were once of their worst sins.

14. Again. How many sins of omission are they charged with? We know the words of the Apostle, "To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." But do they not know a thousand instances, wherein they might have done good, to enemies, to strangers, to their brethren, either with regard to their bodies or their souls, and they did it not? How many omissions have they been guilty of, in their duty towards God! How many opportunities of communicating, of hearing his word, of public or private prayer, have they neglected? So great reason had even that

holy man, Archbishop Usher, after all his labours for God, to cry out, almost with his dying breath, "Lord, forgive sins of omission !"

me my

15. But, besides these outward omissions, may they not find in themselves inward defects without number? Defects of every kind: they have not the love, the fear, the confidence they ought to have toward God. They have not the love which is due to their neighbour, to every child of man: no, nor even. that which is due to their brethren, to every child of God; whether those that are at a distance from them, or those with whom they are immediately connected. They have no holy temper in the degree they ought: they are defective in every thing: in a deep consciousness of which they are ready to cry out with M. De Renty, "I am a ground, all over-run with thorns :" or with Job, "I am vile: I abhor myself, and repent as in dust and ashes."

16. A conviction of their guilliness is another branch of that repentance which belongs to the children of God. But this is cautiously to be understood, and in a peculiar sense. For it is certain, "there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus," that believe in him, and in the power of that faith, "walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.". Yet can they no more bear the strict justice of God now, than before they believed. This pronounces them to be still worthy of death, on all the preceding accounts. And it would absolutely condemn them thereto, were it not for the atoning blood. Therefore they are thoroughly convinced, that they still deserve punishment, altho' it is hereby turned aside from them. But here there are extremes on one hand and on the other, and few steer clear of them. Most men strike on one or the other, either thinking themselves condemned, when they are not, or thinking they deserve to be acquitted. Nay, the truth lies between: they still deserve, strictly speaking, only the damnation of hell. But what they deserve does not come upon them, because they "have an Advocate with the Father." His life, and death, and intercession still interpose between them and condemnation.

17. A conviction of their utter helplessness, is yet an

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