The Fourth SERMON. August the 23d, 1645.
I Shall speak to one or two particulars more about this, (and then we come to the last thing propounded in the opening of this point▪)
The behaviour of the heart of a Child of God toward this sin.
The sins of the Saints they drive them to Jesus Christ: If there be any truth of grace, though weak, thy sins will drive thee to Jesus Christ, not drive thee from him, but drive thee to him: And make thee prise Jesus Christ as the Immaculate Lamb of God that is come into the World to take away thy sin: It will make thee set a high price upon Christ, and cause Page 88 thy heart to follow him with all thy might: Wicked men when they sin, they turnaway from God and from Christ; and the things of Christ are less savoury to them: But the Saints when they sin, they are put upon the seeking af∣ter Christ, and prising of him so much the more.
Lastly, Their very sin makes them to long for Heaven: O wretched man that I am! saith Paul, who shall deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ, &c. O! he flies to Christ, and he desires to be present with Christ: & so the Saints they long for Heaven upon this ground above all other grounds and reasons, namely, because they know they shall never be delivered from the body of sin and death that they carry about with them, till they come to Heaven, and therefore they prise the state of Heaven as a glorious state, because they shall never sin more against God:—I put it now, in the name of God, to your consciences this day; you say you hope to go to Heaven, what's that for which you prise Heaven most? why, a gracious heart would say, O Lord, though I endure some sorrows and afflictions here, yet thou knowest that the great burden of all, it is the burden of my sin; and when I shall be taken out of this world, I know I shall never sin more, never sin more against thee. O that day! when shall that day come that my soul Page 89 shall never sin more against that God that I do love? Thou that knowest all things, know∣est, that this is my desire after Heaven upon this ground, above all other grounds whatsoe∣ver: Are you able to say so as in the pesence of God? this would be a good argument in∣deed, that though there be some spots, yet they may be the spots of Gods Children: And if it be so with thee, then attend to the next point, and that is—
The different dealings of God with his Children in regard of their sin, with his deal∣ings with the wicked and ungodly in regard of their sins—As the behaviour of thy soul in respect of thy sin, is different from the wick∣ed; so the behaviour of God towards thee will be very different from that of his towards the wicked and ungodly: They may not think to escape, so as thou mayest escape.
First, As in the first place: If a Child of God sins, yet he hath a pardon laid up for his sin, yea a pardon laid up before the sin is com∣mitted; I do not say, the pardon actually ap∣plyed, but laid up; for to say the thing is actually pardoned before committed, it's scarce English, much less Divinity: For whatever it be in Gods account, or what God will do, yet when we say the sinner is par∣doned, it notes some work of God upon the Creation actual in being: As when we say the Page 90 World was created, it was not created from eternity, why, it's a work of God upon the creation, therefore it has a Time: And so, what's a work of God in Himself? that is from eternity. But what's a work of God upon the creature, that's in time; without any change in Gods nature, any more-then the creating of the World did change his nature; there are for givnesses with thee that thou mayest be fear∣ed; they lie up with thee: there are Pardons that lie up with God, there is an Atonement made for the sins of Gods Children, for the sins that they have committed, and sins that they shall commit: I say, an Atonement is made even for them, and a ransom is paid: Jesus Christ did tender up himself to the Father for a ransom for all the sins of the elect, it's laid up there: So saith the Apostle 1 John 2, 2. I write unto you, little Children, that ye sin not, and if any man sin, (that I shall take notice of by and by) we have an Advocate with the Fa∣ther, and he is the propitiation for our sins: So that when an ungodly man sins, there the sen∣tence of death comes out against him; But the Lord saith concerning his Children. Let their souls be pardoned, for I have found a ransom: Thou sayest, the best have their sin; True, but one man hath a ransom, hath a price paid for his sin, and thou hast none, none for ought thou knowest: In that condi∣tion Page 91 wherein thou art, thou canst not know that thou hast any: Here's the difference between Gods dealing with his Children & others, one sins, and the Lord acknowledges a propitiation presently, a ransom, a price, a pardon that's laid in; but he acknowledges it not for thee.
Secondly, Yea, in the Second place, the Children of God when they sin, their condi∣tion is far different from the sin of the wick∣ed; they have not only a price paid, and a pardon laid up; But you will say, how in case they do not sue out their pardon? I con∣fess if they sue it not out, they have not the comfort of it: But yet the Scripture tells us, they have an Advocate with the Fathe—If they through ignorance do not know their sin, how can they sue out their pardon? yet they have an advocate with the Father continually, and it's the work of Jesus Christ at the right hand of the Father, to be an Advocate to plead for believers, with the Father; when ever they sin against the Father, there stands Christ their Advocate pleading, he watches if there come in any accusations against them; if the Law, or the Devil, or conscience shal send up an accusa∣tion, Christ stands as an Advocate to plead their cause: you know I suppose what an Advocate in Law doth mean; he stands to plead the cause of his Client; & whatsoever comes in against him, he is made acquainted withall, that he may Page 92 stand to plead: This is the case of the Chil∣dren of God; notwithstanding their sin, they have an Advocate with the Father: In 1 John 2. 1. My little Children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not; ye ought not to sin, take heed of sinning; But if ye do, you have an advoc te with he Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:—These things that I am speaking, I confess may prove dangerous to wicked carnal hearts, that are ready to turn the Grace of God into wantonness; but by that they may know, what I say belongs not to them, that their spots are not the spots of Gods Children: Those that shall hear of this, and be hardened, or emb•ldned in sin the more, there need no other Argument to prove that their spots a•• n•ne •f the spots of Gods Children, than that: And therefore that what I say doth not at all belong to such: but how ever, it doth belong to many of the Chil∣dren of God, and therefore they must have their portion, though such as it belongs not to will be •eady to snatch at it: And that's the second thing, in the different way of Gods deal∣ing with his Children when they sin, and with the ungodly: Thou sinnest as others do: Thy sin for the Act may be the same; but when thou hast sinned, who stands before the Father to plead thy cause? what hath Christ to do with thee? or thee to do with him? but ra∣ther Page 93 thy Conscience, and Law, and Devil stands pleading against thee, and none to an∣swer for thee.
But, Thirdly, When a godly Man sins, God deals with him not according to the Law of Justice, but according to the Law of Grace; We are not under the Law (saith the Apostle concerning believers) but under grace; when another sins, the Law passes presently upon him; but saith the Apostle in Rom. 8. 1. There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. The Law cannot pass upon them to condemn them: They are not to be dealt withall according to the Law, but ac∣cording to Grace: Now the ungodly when they sin, they are dealt withal according to the Law, God will do them no wrong, but the Law must pass upon them.
Yea, not onely so, but they are delivered from the Law, and from all the curse of the Law; I, the Lord hath promised that he will spare them as a Man doth his onely Son that serves him: In Mal. 3. last. If thou be'st a Child, this is thy portion; And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of Hosts, in that day when I make up my Jewels, and I will spare them as a Man spareth his onely Son that serves him: This is a Text that hath a treasury of comfort in it to those that are Gods Children, that can by those former notes of the difference of sin, Page 94 and their different behaviours towards their sin, approve themselves that they belong to God; here's the promise, That the Lord will spare them as a Father spareth his own Son that serves him: A Father will not cast cut his Son from his House, and disinherit him for every offence that he doth commit; neither will God deal so with his Children, though they have spots, though they have infimities: And hence we find that God takes advantage against some for a little sin, and spares another though he be guilty of a greater sin: Gods mercy is his own, he may deal with his mercy as he pleases; he will do justly with all, but he will be merciful to whom he pleases; and hence it is the Scripture holds forth this, that some men the Lord hath taken advantage a∣gainst for some smaller sin, and other men the Lord hath spa•'d when they have been guilty of some greater sin; As that notable example of Saul, comparing that with David: David was one of Gods Children, and had spots, I, foul ones; Saul he was none of Gods Child, and he had his spots, and some of them was not so foul in regard of the nature of them, as Davids were, and yet see the different dealing of God with Saul and David; for Saul, you shall find that God rejects him utterly, and what for? In 1 Sam. 13. 13. You may see wherefore God would reject Saul: And Page 95 Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly, thou hast not kept the commandment of the Lord thy God, which he commanded thee; for now would the Lord have established thy king∣dom upon Israel for ever; But now thy king∣dom shall not continue:—As if Samuel should have said, Well, this is the thing for which God will cut thee off, and cut off thy kingdom:—Why, what was it? if you examine the thing what it was, it was nothing but this, That there was an agreement be∣tween Saul and Samuel, that Samuel should come to him at such a time: Well, Samuel did not come just at the time, or staid, as Saul thought, somewhat too long: Saul was brought into great straits, the Philistines came up∣on him (his enemies:) Now upon this, be∣ing in such great straits, Saul had not sought to God for Gods presence with him in the battel; now thought Saul, I have staid for Samuel all this time, and he comes not, and rather then I will go out to battel without making supplication to God, and offering sa∣crifice, I will for this once venture upon it my self, for so he saith in the 12 ver. It was a burnt •ffering: It was to the Lord, it was in the time of my straits, and I forc't my self to it too: I was not so ready and forward to do it, it was in an absolute necessity, as I thought; and yet this is the sin for which Saul must be Page 96 cut off and rejected, and his kingdom not to continue—You will say now, what was this to the sin of David, of Murder, and A∣dulterry? Those were sins of another nature; well, what if they were, yet David was a Child, and Saul was not, and therefore he will par∣don one, and condemn the other; and who can say to God, what dost thou?
And again, another sin of Saul you shall find in 1 Sam. 15. God required of Saul to go against Amalek, & utterly to destroy him. Well, Saul did do according to Gods command, and made a great slaughter, but he kept one∣ly some of the Cattel and the fat ones; but he profest he kept them not for his own ad∣vantage. it was that he might offer for sacri∣fice to God: Now Samuel comes to him, though Saul had thought he had done nothing but that which God was pleased withal, for he stands to justifie himself in the 20 v. And Saul said unto Samuel, yea, I have obeyed the voice of the Lord, and have gone the way which the Lord sent me, and have brought A∣gag the King of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalakites: I have done what God sent me about. Now Samuel he comes and convinces him, that he had not done what God had sent him to do; why? because he had spar'd some of the Cattel—Now Saul excuses himself afterwards to Samuel in v. 12. Page 97The people took of the spoyle, Sheep and Oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the Lord thy God is Gilgal: But mark what Samuel saith in the 22 v. Hath the Lord as great de∣light in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? behold, to obey is better then sacrifice; and to hearken, then the fat of Rams; for Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubborness is as iniquity and idolatry; because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, the Lord hath also rejected thee from being King:—These Scriptures might make any mans heart to tremble, and not to dare to venture upon sins that he thinks to be smaller sins; one would think that upon the consideration of these Scriptures, that no man ever living should be heard to plead this, and say, Why, godly people commit as great sins as they do: Why, David committed as great sins as I, and so others. But what if they did? They may be pardoned for their greater, and thou mayest be damn'd eternally for thy less: God will deal as a Father with his Children, •o spare those that are his: And that's another particular in the different way of Gods deal∣ings with his people.
Fourthly, The Children of God when they •in, yet they have the robes of the righteous∣ness of the Son of God to cover them, even Page 98 from God himself; not to cover them so but God knows them; for that's either simplicity or blasphemy, one of the two, to say that God sees them not: But to cover, that is, that they shall be taken so far from the eye of God, that he shall never look upon them to charge them with them, but that they shall appear before him through the Robes of the righteousness of Christ as spotless, being justified through him. So in Psal. 32. Blessed is the Man whose sin is forgiven, and whose iniquity is covered; all their spots are covered and the Lord looks upon them as amiable and lovely in his eye: But now thou hast nothine to cover thy spots, but thy excuses. See the different condition of a believer, and another man. One man sins against God, and what hath he to cover his sins? Excuses, deny als, or lies, and there's all. I, but now the of ther he sins against God, and by Faith applye the precious robe of the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and so covers himself before God Which do you think is the better covering Her's the difference between a Child of God and you.
Fifthly, And then fastly: Gods Children though they sin, yet still they are in covenat with God; God hath taken them in to an 〈◊〉▪ verlasting covenant with himself, that shall 〈◊〉 ver be broken: Though they do offend, 〈◊〉Page 99 God will not charge it upon them as the breach of that great covenant of grace that God hath made with them in his Son, that's an everlasting covenant; God hath made a covenant to unire their hearts to fear his name, that he will never depart from them; and that he will put his fear into their hearts, and they shall never depart from him, not∣withstanding all their infirmities: This must be made good, this covenant that God hath made with them, must stand. Now, O what a different condition is one in, from the o∣ther—Now though there may be thoughts in wicked hearts to abuse these things, yet I name them to this end, that you may see the exceeding difference between the state of one, and the state of the other; and that so by this you may be restless in your own spirits, till you come to know that you are in the state of these men that are so happy, that is, that you are of the Number of Gods Children—I shall not need to stand to give further notes and evidences; for the very opening of the point about the defferent behaviour of one in respect of their sin, from the other, will be enough to shew who are in this con∣dition; and who not, whom God will deal with all in this gracious manner in respect of their sin, and whom not:—However, men of the World will deal so much the more Page 100 harshly with those that do offend; if they can take any one that makes profession of Re∣ligion tripping in any thing, they will be more severe against them, than against others, because of their profession. Well, God doth not do so, if there be uprightness in the heart—No, you will say, it's not because of that, but because of cloaking wickedness with their profession: Well, if you be sure your hearts be right in that, that profession your souls do love, and therefore it is the great grief of your souls that any one that makes profession of Religion should dishonour it by wicked cour∣ses; then (I say) can you approve your hearts before God, that your hearts are griev'd and troubled, and not rejoyce at it, that you can sind any advantage against pro∣fession, as some do?—Then I confess, if the thing be vile and foul, and such a thing as you cannot in charity see that it may stand with truth of grace, to be a meer infirmity, but a wickedness: then you may follow it to the very foot and bottom; and those that shall trouble the people of God with gross and vile sins, and think to colour them over with pro∣fession of Religion, it's just with God they should be troubled: But if we have time, we shall speak somewhat to that in the close of all▪ We come now to the Application of th• point, onely this caution about this thing.
Page 101Cau. Take heed that you deceive not your hearts about this thing: If a Man have two Children, one is godly, and the other is pro∣een; if they can have an advantage over one that is the more godly, they will be more bitter to him than the other; and if they have two Servants, one godly the other profane, why, the profane one shall fare better then the godly, if they can have but the least advan∣tage against them: Well, howsoever thou deal'st with Children or Servants when thou hast taken them in a fault, that the wicked find more favour from thee, yet God deals other∣wise, his Children shall find favour from him: Onely let them take heed that they do not turn their hands to wickedness, or their hearts to folly, because of this.
By way of Application.
In the first place, Hence then by all that hath been said in the opening of this differ∣ence, we may see full ground for the answer∣ing of the foolish carnal plea's of the men of the World for their sin; which was, I told you, the main reason I pitcht upon this Sub∣ject: This it is hardens men in their sin, why, Because all have their sins; methinks by what hath been said, one would think that Page 102 this plea should never be heard any more, a¦mong any that profess any knowledg in the Scripture, that it should never come out of your mouths, that do but understand any thing of Scripture:—What, wilt thou that art a wicked vile wretch, plead for thy wickedness, that the best have their sins? Thou that goest on in a constant way and course of ungodli∣ness, wilt thou plead that all have their sins? thou canst not be provok't, but thou swearest and flyest in the face of God; thou that hast a heart not savouring any thing of God, nor ne∣ver found any work of the Holy Ghost upon thy soul, dost thou say that all have their sins? God will find out a difference of sin. Rev. 1. 14. It's said of Christ, that his eyes were like a flame of fire: O! Christ hath fiery eyes that will pierce through and through thee, wil see a great deal of difference between the sin of one, and the sin of the other:—I hou thinkest it e∣nough to plead this, That the best have their faults, I beseech you let me reason it a little with you about this—The best, say you, have their faults; So say I too; but the worst have some good in them, materially good: Why may not this be as good a reason as thine?—There are some that are sav'd, and yet committed sin as well as I; so say I, there are some in Hell, and yet have done as much good perhaps as ever thou. Why is not the reasoning of one side as Page 103 good as the other?—Thou tellest me, that thou sinnest sometimes, and so did David and Pe∣ter—I'le tell thee of Saul, I'le tel thee of Ahab, I'le tell thee of Herod; thou thinkest that Da∣vid and Peter committed as great sins as thou-Why, Saul and Ahab, and Herod, and it may be Judas hath done as much good as ever thou, and yet they in Hell; as Saul that I spake be∣fore of, he sinn'd, yet it was not greater than thine; yet he did many good things, I have obeyed the Commandment of the Lord—And Ahab when the Prophet reproved him, he went and humbled himself in sackcloth for his sin: When hast thou ever done so for thy sin?—And Herod heard John Baptist gladly, and reformed many things: Surely the Argu∣ment wil hold as well, That such as are in Hell have done as much good as I have, as some that are in Heaven have committed as great sins as I have: O! it's not enough for thee that others do sin; they may be sav'd, and yet thou mayest eternally be destroyed: This will not be a plea to a mans Conscience, if it be inlighten∣ed, when he comes upon his sick-bed, & death-bed: Though now thou canst put off thy Con∣science with this, that every one hath their sin, but when thou comest upon thy sick-bed, and death-bed, if God inlighten thy Conscience, O, it will not be answer enough for thee, when thou feest thou art going before the great God, Page 104 to receive the sentence of thy eternal doom, then thou wilt have such miss-givings in thy Conscience; O! but what if it prove that my sins be of another nature different from the sins of the godly, if it prove so, I am undone, I am cut off for ever.
Wherefore, in the second place, what you have heard from this point, should teach you to be very careful in the examining of your sins, and in labouring to find out of what na∣ture your sins are: As we read in the Law, they were shut up when there was but a suspi∣tion that their disease was Lepotous: They were to be shut up for seven dayes upon meer suspi∣tion: O that God would but give thee a heart, even to shut up thy self, that is, to be thinking in thy reured Meditations, of what nature thy sin is: It is usual with those that are godly; with the Children of God, to be afraid (upon any sin they commit) that their sin is not the sin of Gods Children, you shall have them ready to say, Lord, did ever any of Gods Children do thus? is this such an evil as can belong to a Child of God? is it possible that one that hath so much ••ears as I, so many mercies as I, such enlightnings as I, such workings of the spirit as I; is it possible that there can be true grace, and yet that I should again fall into such and such a sin? One that is a Child of God; is afraid of every sin, lest it be of that nature as cannot Page 105 stand with the truth of grace—Thou art ready to think that any thing may stand with the truth of grace, and with the state of grace; but one that knows what sin is, will be afraid of every thing; but most people are so confident, that they give satisfaction to themselves in any way of wickedness: We have all our infirmities and there's an end; as if there were no differ∣ence between one and another. O that God would cause this point to ring in thine ears, when thy Conscience tells thee of thy sin, that there is a great deal of difference between tho one and the other; and the truth is, till thou hast upon examination found this out, that thou canst with comfort, as in the presence of God, say, that though I have infirmities and sins, yet upon the examination of my heart, and up∣on those rules that have been given out in thy word, I see hope that my sin is no other but the spot of Gods Children; and if it be so, then the
Third Use is a Use of consolation to all those that have many infirmities, and are burdened with them: Thou hast spots upon thee, and dost thou find the behaviour of thy soul towards them, as heretofore thou hast heard? be of good comfort in this, that there is no cause that thou should raze the foundation upon every failing that thou seest to be in thy self; this is a wrong to Jesus Christ; and to the Covenant of grace, Page 106 for one that hath approved himself to God upon examination, and hath found the work of grace, upon every failing to raze the very foundation, and think, Surely all that I have done is nought, it's all nothing, it's all but hypocrisie: It's fit indeed for thee upon thy sin, to examine, and to be humbled; let thy sin be matter for thy humilation, but not matter for thy discouragement, not for the razing of the Foundation; to say, Well, I shall at length one day perish by the hands of Saul; God will cast me off at length, such a wretched creature as I am; Take heed of that: Those that are ac∣quainted with the way of the Gospel, they know how to be deeply humbled for their sin, and yet not to be discouraged by their sin.
And further, As thou shouldest not raze the Foundation, so thou shouldest not be afraid to come into Gods presence. Thou hast failed in∣deed, thou must come into Gods presence, onely take heed of coming boldly, and impu∣dently, as many there are that abuse the Grace of God, and think because of Christ, they may come with impudence; no, the grace of Christ doth not at all hinder humiliation, but furthers humiliation, makes it Evangellical indeed; and so thou being humbled for thy sin, thou mayest then come with an holy boldness into Gods presence; do not think to fly the presence of God, because thou hast sinned and offended Page 107•im. As a loving Father, it were a dishonour •o him if upon every failing of his Child, his •hild should shake and tremble so, as not to •are to come into the room where he were; do •ou think this were a commendation for a Fa∣•her? If you inquire what this Child hath done, •t may be he hath fail'd in some petty thing; •e hath perhaps tarried half a quarter of an •our longer than his Father would have him •n such a business, or not managed such or such 〈◊〉 business to the full, as his Father required of •im; and upon this he dar'd not come into his •resence; surely we would conclude that this Man had not the bowels of a Father in him: Now if you would conclude so concerning men, then why wilt thou put this dishonour upon God himself, that hath the affections of 〈◊〉 Father in him? And if there be any compas∣sion in Fathers towards their Children, yet it •s not so much as one drop of that infinite ocean that is in God; and therefore let not e∣•ery failing of thine make the afraid to come •nto the presence of God, come to him yet as 〈◊〉 Father, being humbled before him, and ap∣•lying the righteousness of his Son.
And then further, Let the consideration of •his be of comfort to thee (when thou hast committed sin against God, if thou be'st such a oneas hath been spoken of) in remembring the Covenant that God hath made with thee, Page 108 and bless God for the Covenant that he hath made with thee in Christ, and the difference that God hath made between thee and others in this thing; magnifie his free grace in the Govenant of grace, for from thence is it that thy spot shall not be a deadly spot; and God will not deal with thee as with the wicked: certainly this is not from the nature of thy sin, for that may be as hainous as the sins of the o∣ther, but that that makes the difference is the free-grace of God in Christ. O blessed be God for the Covenant of grace that hath made the difference. I remember I have read of Luther, he indeed saith when he was a Monk, though he were Conscientious then, yet then when∣soever he committed any sin against God, his Conscience did so flye in his face, that he thought he was rejected utterly of God, til God made him know that Covenant of his grace in Christ; and then he thought he heard such a voice speaking to him, Oh Martin, do not de∣spair, for thou shalt, as long as thou livest here in the flesh, sin against God; onely do thou lustily oppose thy sin, and resist thy sin, and then know, that thou art not under the Law, but under grace: It is from hence that there is this difference, therefore bless God that ever he reveal'd this Covenant of grace to thy soul.
And then likewise, let this comfort thee; le•Page 109 it be a means to set thy heart so much the more against sin, to take heed of sin: O take heed of a∣busing this grace of God: Here will be the sign whether all this comfort belong to thee or no: If the more thou hearest it, the more thy heart doth lothe sin, and thou art the more afraid of sin be∣cause of this, thou dost the more labour to bleanse thy flesh and spirit from all the poluti∣ons of it. Canst thou say thus as in the presence of God: Lord, when I hear of these things, of that blessed grace of thine in the Gospel, what a dif∣ference thou art pleased to make between one and the other; why, Lord, it breaks my heart, and it makes me more afraid of sin than any thing in the World: Then thou mayest freely apply the comfort that is here, out of this Scripture.
And lastly, Let me speak to those to whom this Consolation doth belong, That thou hadst heed take heed to thy self, that thou preservest this thy consolation; for without great care it will hardly be preserved—I mean by that, this: Thou hadst need take heed that thou keepest thy Conscience as clean as may be, that thou mayest have a clear discerning of the difference of Gods dealing between one and the other.
And therefore, take, heed first of any sins a∣gainst light; hath ever God given thee that com∣fort to thy soul, that though thou hast many fail∣ings, yet that God looks upon thee with another eye than upon the wicked? I say take heed ever after of any sin against conscience: Take heed of repeating that same sin again and again—Take heed of lying in sin a long time: And take heed of being hardned in sin: For if ever thou shouldst fall to sin against Light, against thy Conscience, thou wilt hardly be able to discern any difference between thy sin and the sin of the wicked: And therefore look to thy self in this Page 110 thing: Oh let those that are godly, take heed that they bring not themselves, in regard of their own sense. in to as lamentable a condition as the wick∣ed are, to have as much horrors of Conscience in their own seeling, as thewicked and ungodly have O how great a pity is it that those between whom and the wicked, God hath made so great a difference, yet that through their negligence they shall bring themselves into as great a horror as the wicked and ungodly are in!
And lastly, That this may not be abused, let those that pretend unto God, and say they are his Children, and they are in the Covenant of grace, and speak much of fr•e-grace, and yet by their wicked scandalous lives do manifest that indeed they are not Gods Children; let them know, that their spots are the worst spots of all, they are not onely the spots of wicked men, but even have the spots of Devils upon them: If any spot be a loath∣some, an accursed, an abominable spot, it is the spot of a Man or Woman that makes much pro∣fession of the Gospel, and yet lives a scandalous, wicked, and ungodly life:—And especially, there are some whose spots are such as the heart of a man cannot but tremble at the very thoughts of them; Those that will put off their sin even to God himself: They take liberty to sin, and say they can do nothing without him: and so give way to wickedness, and think if God would give them more grace, then they should do bet∣ter; but till then they can not be better; and so what blame there is, they lay it upon God him∣self: O what a spot is this, that thou wilt cast thy sin upon the infinite pure God! It's very observ∣able in this Text: They have corrupted them∣selves, their spot is not the spot of Gods Children. Oh do not think to cast it upon God; as if Moses should have said, Do not you think to cast your Page 131 sin upon God, for you have corrupted your selves, and your spot is not the spot of Gods Children.
And then for others that take liberty in sin; they think that all their sin is done away by the blood of Jesus Christ, and therefore they may take liberty; and though they dare not say, That therefore they may, yet this is the language of their hearts and lives, many that in these latter dayes hath spoken much about the Covenant of free grace, yet they have made the blood of Christ that is appointed by God to cleanse us from our iniquities, they have made this blood an occasion of defiling their souls by their ini∣quity. O what an horrible spot is this, that thou shalt make the blood of Christ to be the cause of it, as far as thou canst! that must be an abominable defilement when thou contractest filthiness from the blood of Christ, and from the grace of God in the Gospel. O this is the most dreadful spot of all spots whatsoever! the Lord rebuke thy wicked and cursed heart that shalt contract wickedness from hearing the Doctrine of free grace: Is there not reason of speaking these things? for do not you see some that speak more of free grace then ever they did, and yet more loose then ever they were before? O these are spots in our Feasts in∣deed, and in our converse and communion; they are spots to a Christian profession, such men and women as these are: for thy spots do not onely defile the own soul, but the name of God, and pro∣fession of Jesus Christ. Thou dost what in the ly∣est, to defile the very blood of Christ, and to defile the Covenant of grace; in the Epistle of Jude 4. They were afore of old ordained to this condemnation, saith the Text: Ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into Lasciviousness; There are two black brands of a reprobate: We have indeed no Page 112 absolute notes and signs of a reprobate, but these are the two blackest. One is, God gives a man up to his hearts desire in wicked wayes—And the other, is to turn the grace of God into wantoness. How vile are those spots likewise, that men come now through the knowledg that they say they have of the Covenant of grace, to have no kind of work of conscience upon them fortheir sin? Now their Consciences do not at all trouble them for their sin, there's no kind of sense at all upon them upon that account, and all because of grace (as they say:) Well, that spot must needs be an irre¦coverable spot, that there's no sense at all of.—And if it come to that, now thou canst take liberty to sin freely, and hast no conscience at all of this thy sin, I say, thy spot is a most dreadful spot, and 'tis to be fear'd an irrecoverable spot; all the mercy of God that serves to help to ease o∣thers when they have committed their sins, doth but plead against thee, to aggravate thy sin—
I'le conclude all with that one Text that we have in Jer. 23. that shews the difference of the sins of those that are nearer to God in way of pro∣fession, is they be wicked and ungodly; v. 13. 14. 〈◊〉 have seen folly, saith the Prophet, in the Prophets of Samaria, they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to sin. In v. 14. I have seen also in the Prophets of Jerusalem, an horrible thing▪ That that is but folly in the Prophets of Samaria, in the Prophets of Je∣rusalem, is an horrible thing: The more near we are to God in the way of our profession, the more horrible are our sins if we make Religion to be a colour of our wickedness; if we seek to cover our wickedness by profession of Religion, that that is but folly in others, comes to be horrible in them▪ Consider what hath been said, and the Lord give you understanding.