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when we are in the flesh, the motions of sins which were
and spawn of it is lurking in thy heart; and the only reason why you have kept free from it is, because God hath restrained and kept thee back, and hath not suffered the like temptations and occasions to come in thy way. It may be you never set cities on fire, dashed out childrens brains, ript up women with child, as Hazael did; yet all these sins are lurking in thy heart, though they were never acted by thine hands. Hazael was angry when the prophet told him so much, 2 Kings viii. 12. 13. but he acted all that afterwards and more, when he was advanced to his master’s throne. He could not think that ever he could be guilty of such atrocious and detestable crimes, unless he were transformed into a dog. He was little acquainted with the desperate wickedness of man's nature, which habitually inclines him to the most barbarous and bloody cruelty. 2. This corruption that lies in the heart is the woful cause, source, and spring of all the actual transgressions which stain mens lives. Every wicked and sinful action derives its descent from this. From whence come murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, &c Our Saviour tells us, Matt. xv. 19. They proceed out of the heart. If you will trace these streams to the true spring and fountain, you will find it to be the sin and wickedness of the heart. This is that seed and loathsome spawn to which all this detestable vermin owe their original. It is fruitful and productive of all manner of evils. It is that which fills people's mouths with cursing, swearing, lying, slandering, &c. makes their feet swift to shed blood, and puts the poison of asps under their tongue, Rom. iii. 14, 15. Yea, this defiles the whole man, and stains him with an universal pollution, Matth. xv. 18. As a lethargy in the head, or an indisposition in the stomach, diffuseth an universal malignity through the whole body, these being sovereign and principal parts in man; so this wickedness that dwells in the heart, poisons the whole life. Many a filthy and impure stream issues from this corrupt fountain. . (3.) Consider what a monstrous deformity it hath brought on the soul. The mind of man was the candle of the Lord. As it proceeded from God, it was a lightsome beam, shining with more lustre and splendour than a ray of the sun. But now it is dark and obscure, and is become Vol. I. S s
a stinking and hoisome dunghill. It was once one of the brightest and most excellent pieces of the creation, nextunto the angelical nature; but by sin it is transformed into an ugly monster. We justly reckon that birth monstrous,
where the members have not their due place; when the head is where the feet should be or the legs in place of the
arms, &c. Thus the noble powers and faculties of the soul ||
are monstrously misplaced. That which should be highest is now lowest; that which should rule and keep the throne, is brought into a miserable subjection and bondage: that which should serve and obey, does now tyrannise and command. Passion over-rules reason, and the will receives laws from the fancy and appetite. In man's primitive state; the will was sovereign lord, reason was its coun. sellor, and appetite subject to both ; but now it hath aspired and got above them, and oftimes carries both into a servile compliance with the dictates of sense. Any spot or blemish upon the face of a beautiful child, when it comes but accidentally, grieves and afflicts the parents: how much more cause have we to bemoan the natural, uni. versal, and monstrous deformity which has seized upon our souls 4. Consider the devilishness of this corruption. Then is nothing in all the world that hath so much of the devili it as sin. It is his first-born, the beginning of his strength; that which he hatched and brought into the world. It is his work and employment, his great master-piece, that wherein he applauds himself and glories, John viii. 44. This is his image that he hath drawn upon man. Those blad. characters which are drawn on the soul, are of Satan's im, pression. As face answers to face, so doth man's corrupt nature answer the nature of the devil. It hath all the es: sential parts of the diabolical nature. There is in it a strong aversion from all that is good, and so is there in him; and a mighty propensity to all evil, so is it in the devil. Its Satan's correspondent, that maintains secret and constant intercourse with our mortal enemy. It is a domestic eno my, ready on all occasions to betray the soul into the hanh of him, who is always going about as a roaring lion, so ing whom he may devour. O, should it not deeply humb" us before God, that we are so near a kin to hell, and ho" such a correspondence with the devil; that our corrupt”
makes us so like unto him, and daily affords him so great an advantage against us? (5) Consider the brutishness of this corruption. Sin hurries the soul on with a blind rage and fury to such acts and motions, as men in their right reason would highly condemn. It is on this account that men are compared to brute-beasts and irrational creatures; as to the horse and the mule, to a wild ass, an untamed heifer, &c. The brute-creatures, though they be not capable to know God, yet they will know and take some notice of their benefactor, and such as feed and keep them. But men kick against God, they wound Christ, and reject and expel the Holy Spirit in his motions and operations. They bellow out reproaches against his servants, whom he hath sent forth to feed and nourish their souls, Prov. xii. 1. The brutal creatures have a strong inclination to those things which tend to their health, and to the preservation and continuance of their life and strength; but
sin makes men averse to their own happiness, and all the spiritual means which have a tendency thereunto. The
beasts are afraid of that which is hurtful and destructive to their being; but sin pushes men on in the ways of death; and the paths which lead to eternal destruction. It is said, Job xi. 12. that “man is born like a wild ass’s colt.” He brings with him into the world a heart more wild, fierce, and untamed than any beast of the field.
6. Consider its vileness. There is nothing in the whole creation so detestable as sin. It is the abominable thing which the Lord hates. He cannot look upon it but with infinite abhorrence. There is nothing so base and so contemptible as sin. The scripture sets it forth under various notions, no single one being sufficient to express its vileness. It is called flesh, Gen. vi. 3. and Gal. v. 16, 17. This holds forth the vile degeneracy of man's soul since this corruption seized upon it. By creation it was pure and holy, heavenly and spiritual, near a-kin to the angels, yea, as like to the nature of God as a creature could be: but now it is transformed into flesh, made carnal, sensual, and devilish. It is vile both formally and effectively; filthy in itself, and hath made the whole man so. It is compared in scripture to those things which are most vile and detestable in the eyes of men, as filthy vomit, defiling mire, rotten members, putrifying sores, &c. - . . . .
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(7.) It excludes and debars from access to God and communion with him. There can be no friendship between light and darkness, between Christ and Belial, between an infinitely pure and holy God, and vile filthy polluted sinners. We have an important question proposed, Psal. xxiv. 3. * Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord 2 and who shall stand in his holy placc 3’ The answer is given, ver. 4. ‘He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart: who hath not lift up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.” And we are told, Psal. v. 4, 5. “Thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: Thou hatest all workers of iniquity.’ The heart is the temple of God, the chief place of his residence in man; and he will never dwell in it, unless it be made clean. There is no access to God here or hereafter without holiness, James iv. 8, Rev. xxi. ult.
8. Lastly, It exposeth to terrible wrath. It was sin that brought the deluge upon the old world: and it hath brought many fearful plagues and judgments upon the new one since. And it is this that lays men open to the wrath and vengeance of God in the life that is to come. Hence they are called
‘children of wrath, Eph. ii. 3. They are born to wrath by nature. This is their portion and inheritance. ‘The wrath of God is revealed from heaven (says the apostle) against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men.” The curses and threatenings of the law proclaim the divine displeasure, and give warnings and intimations to sinners of what they are to expect. There is a day of wrath coming, and of the revelation of the righteous judgment of God, when the wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. We are exposed to wrath on account of sin, in our conception, birth, life, and death, and through all eternity.
In the above three things, the guilt of Adam's first sin, the
want of original righteousness, and the corruption of the whole nature, consists in original sin. These three things make up this monstrous body. There lies our sinfulness which we are brought into by the fall.
How this corruption is conveyed to all the children of men, the scripture, even the text, makes it plain, that it is conveyed by natural generation, so as all that proceed from Adam