« AnteriorContinuar »
their strength against that sin which most enrageth their consciences, and most increaseth their fears; that is, the actual eruption of it; for, for the most part, while they are freed from that they are safe, though in the mean time sin lies tumultuating in and defiling of the heart continually. As with running sores, outward repelling medicines may skin them over, and hinder their corruption from coming forth; but the issue of them is, that they cause them to fester inwardly, and so prove, though it may not be so noisome and offensive as they were before, yet far more dangerous. So it is with this repelling of the power of corruption by men's vows and promises against it: external eruptions are, it may be, restrained for a season, but the inward root and principle is not weakened in the least.
And most commonly this is the issue of this way; that sin, having got more strength, and being enraged by its restraint, breaks all its bounds, and captivates the soul to all - filthy abominations; which is the principle, as was before observed, of most of the visible apostacies which we have in the world.
" While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption : for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world, through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning."
The Holy Ghost compares sinners, because of the odious, fierce, poisonous nature of this indwelling sin, unto lions, bears, and asps. Now this is the excellency of gospel grace, that it changes the nature and inward principles of these otherwise pas. sionate, untamed beasts; making the wolf as the kid, the lion as the lamb, and the bear as the cow. When this is effected they may safely be trusted in, a little child may lead them; but these self-endeavours do not all change the nature, but restrain their outward violence: he that takes a lion or a wolf, and shuts him up from ravening, whilst yet his inward violence remains, may well expect that at one time or other they will break their bonds, and fall to their former ways of rapine and violence.
However, .shutting them up doth not, as we see, change their natures, but only restrains their rage from doing oopen spoil
. So it is in this case; it is grace alone that changeth the heart, and takes away that poison and fierceness that is in them by nature; men's self-endeavours do but coerce them as to some outward eruptions.
Secondly, Beyond bare vows and promises, with some watchfulness to observe them in a rational use of ordinary means, men have put, and some do yet put themselves on extraordinary ways of mortifying sin. This is the foundation of all that hath a show of wisdom and religion in the papacy; their hours of prayer, fastings, their immuring and cloistering themselves, their pilgrimages, penances, and self-torturing discipline, spring all from this root.
I shall not speak of the innumerable evils that have attended these selfinvented ways of mortification, and how they all of them have been turned into means, occasions, and advantages of sinning, nor of the horrible hypocrisy which evidently cleaves to the most of their observers; nor of that superstition which gives life to them all, being a thing rivetted in the natures of some, and
their constitutions, fixed on others by inveterate prejudices; and the same by others taken up for secular advantages; but I will suppose the best that can be made of it, and it will be found to be a self-invented design of men ignorant of the righteousness of God, to give a check to this power of indwelling sin whereof we speak. And it is almost incredible, to what fearful self-macerations and horrible sufferings this design hath carried men to. And undoubtedly their blind zeal and superstition will rise in judgment, and condemn the horrible sloth and negligence
of the most of them to whom the Lord hath granted the saving light of the gospel. But what is the end of these things? The apostle in brief gives us an account:“ They attain not the righteousness aimed at,” they come not up to a conformity to the law; sin is not mortified: no, nor the power of it weakened; but what it loseth in sensual, in carnal pleasures, it takes up, with great advantage, in blindness, darkness, superstition, self-righteousness, and soul-pride, contempt of the gospel and the righteousness of it, and reigns no less than in the most profligate sinners in the world.
Lastly, The strength, efficacy, and power of this law of sin, may be farther evidenced from its life and in-being in the soul, notwithstanding the wound that is given to it in the first conversion of the soul to God; and the continual opposition that is made to it by grace. But this is the subject and design of another treatise.
It may now be expected, that we should here add the special uses of all this discovery that hath been made of the power, deceit, prevalency, and success of this great adversary of our souls. But as for what concerns that humility, self-abasement, watchfulness, diligence, and application to the Lord Christ for relief, which will become those who find in themselves by experience the power of this law of sin, have been occasionally mentioned and inculcated through the whole preceding discourse; so for what concerns the actual mortification of it, I shall only recommend to the reader for his direction another small Treatise, written long since for that purpose, which I suppose he may do well to consider together with this, if he find these things to be his concern.
To the only wise God our Saviour be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
Printed by W. Collins & Co.
SELECT CHRISTIAN AUTHORS,
With Introductory Essays.
1. A KEMPIS' IMITATION of CHRIST, in Three Books. Essay by THOMAS CHALMERS, D. D. 3s. 6d. boards.
2. GAMBOLD'S WORKS. Essay by Thomas, ERSKINE, Esq. Advocate, Author of “ Remarks on the Internal Evidence for the Truth of Revealed Religion.” 3s. 6d. boards.
3. HOWE’S REDEEMER’S TEARS Wept Over LOST SOULS, and TWO DISCOURSES, on Self-Dedication and on Yielding Ourselves to God. Essay by ROBERT GORDON, D. D. Edinburgh. 12mo. 3s. boards.
4. ROMAINE'S TREATISES on the LIFE, WALK, and TRIUMPH of FAITH. Essay by THOMAS CHALMERS, D. D. In Two Vols. 12mo. 7s. bds.
5. WITHERSPOON'S TREATISES on JUSTIFICATION and REGENERATION. Essay by WiLLIAM WILBERFORCE, Esq. 12mo. 3s. 6d. boards.
6. ALLEINE'S ALARM to UNCONVERTED SINNERS. Essay by ANDREW THOMSON, D.D. 12mo. 4s. bds.
7. ADAM'S PRIVATE THOUGHTS on RELIGION. Essay by the Rev. DANIEL Wilson, A. M. 3s. bds.
8. LIFE of BERNARD GILPIN. Essay by the Rev. EDWARD IRVING, A.M. Minister of the Caledonian Church, London. 12mo. 3s. boards.
9. SERLE'S CHRISTIAN REMEMBRANCER. Essay by THOMAS CHALMERS, D. D. 12mo. 3s. 6d. boards.