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designs it, 1st, To imbitter sin to them, 132. 2d, To endear and enhance the value of returning mercy, 133.
V. The inferences to be drawn from the whole are,
1st, That no man presumé to pronounce any thing scoffingly of the present, or severely of the final estate of such as he finds exercised with the distracting troubles of a wounded spirit, 135.
2dly, Let no secure sinner applaud himself in the presumed safety of his spiritual estate, because he finds no such trouble upon his spirit for sin, 136.
3dly, Let no person exclude himself from the number of such as are sincere and truly regenerate, only because he never yet felt any of these amazing pangs of conscience for sin, 137.
Unto whom I sware in my wrath that they should not enter
my rest. P. 139. By this expression, I sware in my wrath, is meant God's peremptory declaring his resolution to destroy the murmuring and rebellious Jews, 139. The word swearing is very significant, and seems to import,
1. The certainty of the sentence here pronounced, 140.
2. The terror of it; if the children of Israel should say, Let not God speak to us, lest we die, 140. As for the word rest, we must admit in this scripture, as well as in many others of the like nature, a double interpretation ; 1st, A temporal rest in Canaan the promised land, 141. 2dly, An eternal rest in the heavenly Canaan, 141.
The words thus explained are drawn into one proposition, viz. That God sometimes in this life, upon extraordinary provocations, may and does inevitably design and seal up obstinate sinners to eternal destruction, 142. The prosecution is managed under these particulars :
I. Shewing how and by what means God seals up a sinner
to perdition. There are three ways by which God usually does this:
1. By withholding the virtue and power of his ordi
2. By restraining the convincing power of his providences, 144. And there are three sorts of providence instanced, in which God often speaks convincingly. Ist, In a general, common calamity, 145. 2dly, By particular, personal, and distinguishing judgments, 147. 3dly, By signal, unexpected deliverances, 149.
3. By delivering up a sinner to a stupidity or searedness of conscience, 151.
II. Shewing what sort of obstinate sinners those are that God deals with in this manner : which are, 1st, Such as sin against clear and notable warnings from God, 154. 2dly, Such as sin against special renewed vows and promises of obedience made to God, 156.
III. Answering and resolving two questions that may arise from the foregoing particulars:
1. Whether the purpose of God passed upon an obstinate sinner (here expressed by God's swearing against him) be absolutely irrevocable ? Concerning which it is affirmed that the scripture is full and clear for it, 158.
2. Whether a man may know such a purpose to have passed upon him antecedently to its execution ? In answer to which, from a consideration of the ordinary ways by which God imparts his will to men, namely, 1st, By his word, 160—162. 2dly, By men's collection of it from its effects, 162. It is affirmed, that no man in this life can pass any certain judgment concerning the will of God in reference to his own final estate, 162. But here is observed a wide difference between the purpose of God hitherto discoursed of, and that which the schools call God's decree of reprobation. 1st, Because that decree is said to commence upon God's good pleasure and sovereign will, but this purpose upon the provocation of the sinner. 2dly, Because that decree is said to be from all eternity; but this purpose
is taken up after some signal provocation, 163. from all which,
IV. We are exhorted to beware of sinning under sinaggravating circumstances, 164. and shewn the danger of dallying with and venturing upon the Almighty, by a daring continuance in a course of sin, 166.
PSALM xiv. 1.
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. In the words we have two particulars, wherein we may consider,
I. An assertion made, There is no God.
1. The thing asserted, which may be understood, 1st, Of an absolute removal of the divine being and existence, 169. or, 2dly, Of a removal of God's providence, by which he governs and takes account of all the particular affairs of the world, and more especially of the lives and actions of men, 169.
2. The manner of the assertion, The fool hath said in his heart, it wears the badge of guilt, privacy, and darkness, 169.
By the foots saying in his heart, There is no God, may be implied,
1. An inward wishing that there was no God, 171.
2. His seeking out arguments to persuade himself that there is none, 172.
3. Not only a seeking for reasons and arguments, but also a marvellous readiness to acquiesce in any seeming probability or appearance of reason, that may make for his opinion, 174. 4. Another
way, different from all the former : for a man to place his sole dependence, as to his chief good and happiness, on any thing besides God, is (as we may so speak) virtually and by consequence for him to say in his heart, There is no God, 176.
II. The second particular considered is, the person who made this assertion, the fool, whose folly will appear from these following reasons :
1. That in making and holding this assertion, he contradicts the general judgment and notion of mankind, 177, 178.
2. That he lays aside a principle easy and suitable to reason, and substitutes in the room of it one strange and harsh, and at the best highly improbable, 179.
3. His folly appears from the causes and motives inducing him to take up this opinion, which, amongst others, are, 1st, Great impiety, and disquiet of conscience consequent thereupon. 2dly, Great ignorance of nature and natural causes, 181, 182.
4. From those cases in which such persons begin to doubt and waver, and fly off from their opinion, instanced, 1st, In the time of some great and imminent danger, 182. 2dly, In the time of approaching death, 183.
The modern and more thoroughpaced sinners affect a superiority in villainy above their ancestors; therefore this discourse against atheism is supposed to be of some use; and if
SO, the most proper use is, to give every one of us a view and prospect into his own heart: and such as are willing to watch over that, so as to prevent this monstrous birth, are advised to beware,
1. Of great and crying sins, such as make the conscience raw and sick, 184.
2. Of discontents about the cross passages of God's providence towards them, 184.
3. Of devoting themselves to pleasure and sensuality ; there being nothing in the world that casts God out of the heart like it, 185.
PREACHED ON THE 29th OF MAY, AT WESTMINSTER-ABBEY.
PSALM ci. 7. Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt; they re
membered not the multitude of thy mercies ; but provoked him at the sea, even at the Red sea. · P. 187.
The resemblance between the transactions of Providence, with the children of Israel in their redemption from Egypt, and with ourselves in the restoration of the royal family, being briefly considered, 187. to shew how like we are to them for their miraculous ingratitude, we must observe three things in the text:
I. The unworthy and ungrateful deportment of the Israelites towards God upon a most signal mercy and deliverance; they provoked him; which expression seems to import an insolent, daring resolution to offend; and, as it relates to God, strikes at him in a threefold respect :
1. It rises up against his power and prerogative, 190.
3. It is an affront upon his longsuffering and his patience, 192.
II. The second thing to be observed is, the aggravation of this deportment from the nature and circumstance of the deliverance, They provoked him at the sea, even at the Red
The baseness and ingratitude of which God casts in their teeth, by confronting it with the glorious deliverance he vouchsafed them; a deliverance ennobled with these four qualifications : 1st, Its greatness, 193. Adly, Its unexpectedness, 195. 3dly, The eminent seasonableness of it, 199.
4thly, Its absolute undeservedness, 201. Our case is serverally shewn in the above particulars to be parallel to that
of the Israelites, and likewise in the return made to God for his goodness.
III. The third thing observable is, the cause of this misbehaviour, They understood not thy wonders in Egypt. Now in every wonderful passage of Providence two things are to be considered, 205.
1. The author by whom it is done, 205.
2. The end for which it is done: neither of these, in the cases before us, were understood by the Israelites, nor have been attended to by us as they ought to have been, 206.