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lent and glorious being. Our parents were indeed instrumental in the production of our bodies; but the variety and union, the beauty and usefulness, of the several parts, was the high design of his wisdom, and the excellent work of his hands. Man's body is composed of as many miracles as members, and is full of wonders. The lively idea and perfect exemplar of that regular fabric was modelled in the divine mind. This affected David with a holy admiration, Psal. cxxxix. 14, 15, 16. The soul, or principal part, is of a celestial original, inspired by the Father of Lights. The faculties of understanding and election are the .indelible characters of our honour and dignity above the brutes, and make us capable to please God and enjoy our Maker. Now, God's design in giving us our being was to communicate of his own fulness to, and to be actively glorified by intelligent creatures, Rev. iv. 11. None are so void of rational sentiments, as not to own, that it is our indispensable duty and reasonable service to offer up ourselves an entire living sacrifice to the glory of God. What is more natural, according to the laws of uncorrupted reason, than that love should correspond with love? As the one descends in benefits, the other should ascend in praise and thankfulness. Now, sin breaks all these sacred bonds of grace and gratitude, which engage us to love and obey our Maker. He is the just Lord of all our faculties, intellectual and sensitive; and the sinner employs them all as weapons of unrighteousness to fight against God. Again, it is he that upholds and preserves us by the powerful influence of his providence, which is a renewed creation every moment, daily surrounding us with many mercies. All the goodness which God thus bestows upon men, the sinner abuses against him. This is the most unworthy, shameful, and monstrous ingratitude imaginable. This makes forgetful and unthankful men more brutish than the dull ox or stupid ass, who serve and obey those that feed and keep them. Yea it sinks them below the insensible part of the creation, which invariably observes the law and order Prescribed by the Creator. This is astonishing degeneracy. It was the complaint of God himself, Isa. i. 2. ‘Hear, O heavens, and give ear O earth: I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.” . (4.) The sinner disparages the divine justice, in promising himself peace and safety, notwithstanding of the wrath and vengeance that is denounced against him by the Lord. He labours to dissolve the inseparable connexion that God hath placed betwixt sin and punishment, which is not a mere ar. bitrary constitution, but founded upon the desert of sin, and the infinite rectitude of the divine nature, which unchange. ably hates it. The sinner sets the divine attributes a contend. ing as it were with one another, presuming that mercy will disarm justice, and suspend its power by restraining it from taking vengeance upon impenitent sinners. And thus sinmers become bold and resolute in their impious courses, like him mentioned, Deut. xxix. 19. who said, ‘I shall have peace though I walk in the imagination of my heart, to add drunkenness to thirst.’ This casts such an aspersion on the justice of God, that he solemnly threatens the severest vengeance for it; as you may see in ver. 20. “The Lord will not spare him, but the anger of the Lord, and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven.” (5.) Sin strikes against the omniscience of God, and at least denies it implicitly. There is such a turpitude adher. ing to sin, that it cannot endure the light of the sun, nor the light of conscience, but seeks to be concealed under a mask of virtue or a vail of darkness. What is said of the adulterer and the thief, is true in proportion of every sinner, “If a man sees them, they are in the terrors of the shadow of death.’ And hence it is, that many who would blush and tremble if they were surprised in their sinful actings by a child or a stranger, are not at all afraid of the eye of God, though he narrowly notices all their sins, in order to judge them, and will judge them in order to punish them. (6.) Lastly, Sin bids a defiance to the divine power. This is one of the essential attributes of God that makes him so terrible to devils and wicked men. He hath both a right to punish and power enough to revenge every transgression of his law that sinners are guilty of. Now, his judicial power is supreme and his executive power is irresistible. He can with one stroke dispatch the body to the grave, and the soul to the pit of hell, and make men as miserable as they are sinful: and yet sinners as boldly provoke him as if there were no danger. We read of the infatuated Syrians, how they foolishly thought that God the protector of Israel had
only power on the hills but not in the valleys, and therefore renewed the war to their own destruction. Thus proud sinners enter the lists with God, and range an army of lusts against the armies of heaven, and, being blindly bold, run on headlong upon their own ruin. They neither believe God’s all-seeing eye, nor fear his almighty hand. You see then what an evil sin is in its nature. It is high rebellion against God, and strikes at the root of all his attributes. I shall conclude with a few inferences. - 1. If ye would see your sins, look to the law of God. That is the glass wherein we may see our ugly face. Hence the apostle says, Rom. vii. 7. “I had not known sin but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.” Look to it for what is past and present, in order to your being humbled in the sight of a holy God. Look to it for your direction, if you would shun the fatal rocks of sin for the time to come. It is not what this or that man says, but what the word of God says, that is to be the rule of your duty. 2. See here what presumption it is in men to make that duty which God has not made so, and that sin which God has not made so in religion. This is for men to set themselves in God's room, and their will for the divine will. This is true superstition, however far the guilty seem to themselves and others to be from it. And in this our dissenters and the Church of England agree, making that duty and sin which God never made so. In this general they agree, however they differ in particulars. This is expressly forbidden, Deut. iv. 2. ‘Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it.” . Remarkable is the reason of this prohibition, “that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” For to both agrees what our Lord said, Matth. xv. 3. “Why do ye transgress the commandment of God by your traditions?' Witness the deep ignorance of matters of salvation and the power of godliness, wherein many are kept by reason of these principles, which have no footing in the word of God. 3. Flee to Jesus Christ for the pardon of sin, for his blood and Spirit to remove the same. All the waters of the sea will not wash it out, but that blood alone. And repent and forsake your sin, or it will be your ruin. Consider it is the greatest evil. For,
(1.) It is most contrary to the nature of God, who is the greatest good; and that which is most contrary to the greatest good, must needs be the greatest evil. It may be looked on as the nadir to zenith. The devil is not so contrary to God: for God gave the devil a being, but not sin, It is sin that makes the devil opposite to God; it is the mas. ter, he the scholar. The fire is hotter than the water which it heats. Sin fights against God; it is a deicide; and, as one says, the sinner so far as in him lies, destroys the nature of God. Sin is a dethroniug of God, yea it strikes at his being, It musters up its forces in the open field against God; and when it is beaten from thence, it has its strong holds to go to ; yea, like the thief on the cross, when it is crucified, it spits its venom against him. It is a walking contrary to him; and it rises against him even to the last gasp.
(2.) Sin is the mother of all evils that ever were or shall be. It is the big-bellied monster that is delivered daily of all other evils as its births. It is that which has brought forth all the fire-brands that ever were. What cast the angels out, of heaven, or Adam out of paradise : Sin draws the sword against nations, makes women husbandless, mothers child. less, and brings on wars, famine and pestilence. Personal evils, whether on soul or body, temporal, spiritual, and eter. nal, are all from sin. It must needs then be the greatest evil,
(3.) Sin is the concluding stroke of wrath on the soul. It is that to which people are entirely given up. And what is it that makes hell in the world, that God gives as the last stroke after all the rest ? Why, it is to give up the soul to sin; Ezek. xxiv. 13. ‘Because I have purged thee, and Lou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy filthi. ness any more, till I have caused my fury to rest upon thee.' That is the doom, ‘Let him that is filthy be filthy still.' He that was delivered up to Satan, was restored again: but we never hear of any being restored who were given up to them. selves. Better be given up to the devil than to sin.
OF THE FIRST SIN IN PARTICULAR.
GEN. iii. 6, 7–And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed jigleaves together, and made themselves aprons,
T these words we are distinctly informed how the covenant of works was broken, and our first parents stript of their primitive innocence and integrity. Eve seduced by the devil, first ate of the forbidden fruit, and Adam followed her example. The act being completed by both, they immediately discovered, to their shame and dishonour, the miserable state they were reduced to, The words sufficiently found the following doctrine. Doct. “Our first parents fell from the estate wherein they were created, by eating the forbidden fruit.” I have already shewn why the forbidden tree was called the tree of knowledge of good and evil, as also of what use it was in the covenant of works. It remains that we shew, I. How the eating of the forbidden fruit was the first sin of our first parents, by which they fell. II. Why this fruit was forbidden. III. The aggravations of it. IV. Deduce some inferences, I. I am to shew how the eating of the forbidden fruit was the first sin of our first parents, by which they fell. It is not to be thought, that they were wholly innocent till they had the forbidden fruit in their mouths; for their coveting of it in their hearts behoved of necessity to go before that; but the eating of it was that whereby their sin and apostacy from their Creator was completed. The first step of their sin seeins then to be doubting and unbelief of the threatening, Gen. iii. 4, 6. Their faith as to the truth of the threatening being first foundered, their heart plied to the temptation; and then succeeded a lust after the forbidden fruit; and then the sin was completed by their actual eating of it, as in the words of the text. Vol. I. P p