Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

might have been fixed on, but being it consists in enmity, all the relief the soul hath must lie in its ruin.

Secondly, It is not only said to be enmity, but it is said to be enmity against God.' It hath chosen a great enemy indeed. It is in sundry places proposed as our enemy: 1 Pet. ii. 11. 'Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul. They are enemies to the soul, that is, to ourselves. Sometimes as an enemy to the Spirit that is in us: The flesh lusteth' or fighteth against the Spirit ;' Gal. v. 17. It fights against the Spirit, or the spiritual principle that is in us, to conquer it; it fights against our souls to destroy them. It hath special ends and designs against our souls, and against the principle of grace that is in us; but its proper formal object is God; it is enmity against God. It is its work to oppose grace; it is a consequent of its work to oppose our souls, which follows upon what it doth, more than what it intends; but its nature and formal design is to oppose God; God as the lawgiver, God as holy, God as the author of the gospel, a way of salvation by grace, and not by works, is the direct object of the law of sin. Why doth it oppose duty, so that the good we would do, we do not, either as to matter or manner? Why doth it render the soul carnal, indisposed, unbelieving, unspiritual, weary, wandering? It is because of its enmity to God, whom the soul aims to have communion withal in duty. It hath, as it were, that command from Satan, which the Assyrians had from their king, ' Fight neither with small nor great, save only with the king of Israel;' 1 Kings xxii. 31. It is neither great nor small, but God himself, the King of Israel, that sin sets itself against. There lies the secret formal reason of all its opposition to good, even because it relates unto God. May a road, a trade, a way of duties be set up, where communion with God is not aimed at, but only the duty itself, as is the manner of men in most of their superstitious worship, the opposition that will lie against it from the law of sin will be very weak, easy, and gentle. Or, as the Assyrians, because of his shew of a king, assaulted Jehosaphat, but when they found that it was not Ahab, they turned back from pursuing of him. Because there is a shew and appearance of the worship of God, sin may make head against it at first, but when the duty cries out in the heart, that indeed God is not there; sin turns away to seek out its proper enemy, even God himself, elsewhere. And hence do many poor creatures spend their days in dismal tiring superstitions, without any great reluctancy from within, when others cannot be suffered freely to watch with Christ in a spiritual manner one hour. And it is no wonder that men fight with carnal weapons for their superstitious worship without, when they have no fighting against it within. For God is not in it; and the law of sin makes not opposition to any duty, but to God in every duty. This is our state and condition; all the opposition that ariseth in us unto any thing that is spiritually good, whether it be from darkness in the mind, or aversation in the will, or sloth in the affections, all the secret arguings and reasonings that are in the soul in pursuit of them, the direct object of them is God himself. The enmity lies against him, which consideration surely should influence us to a perpetual constant watchfulness over ourselves.

It is thus also in respect of all propensity unto sin, as well as aversation from God. It is God himself that is aimed at. It is true, the pleasures, the wages of sin, do greatly influence the sensual carnal affections of men ; but it is the holiness and authority of God that sin itself rises up against; it hates the yoke of the Lord ; Thou hast been weary of me,' saith God to sinners, and that during their performance of abundance of duties. Every act of sin is a fruit of being weary of God. Thus Job tells us what lies at the bottom in the heart of sinners, “They say to the Lord, Depart from us,' it is enmity against him and aversation from him. Here lies the formal nature of every sin, it is an opposition to God, a casting off his yoke, a breaking off the dependance which the creature ought to have on the Creator. And the apostle, Rom. viii. 7. gives the reason why he affirms the carnal mind to be enmity against God,' namely, because it is not subject to the will of God, nor indeed can be.' It never is, nor will, nor can be subject to God, its whole nature consisting in an opposition to him. The soul wherein it is may be subject to the law of God, but this law of sin sets up in . contrariety unto it, and will not be in subjection.

To manifest a little farther the power of this law of sin from this property of its nature, that it is enmity against God, one or two inseparable adjuncts of it may be considered, which will farther evince it.

1. It is universal. Some contentions are bounded unto

.

some particular concernments, this is about one thing, that about another. It is not so here; the enmity is absolute and universal, as are all enmities that are grounded in the nature of the things themselves. Such enmity is against the whole kind of that which is its object. Such is this enmity; for (1.) It is universal to all of God; and (2.) It is universal in all of the soul.

(1.) It is universal to all of God. If there were any thing of God, his nature, properties, his mind or will, his law or gospel, any duty of obedience to him, of communion with him, that sin had not an enmity against, the soul might have a constant shelter and retreat within itself, by applying itself to that of God, to that of duty towards him, to that of communion with him, that sin would make no opposition against. But the enmity lies against God, and all of God, and every thing wherein or whereby we have to do with him. It is not subject to the law, nor any part or parcel, word or tittle of the law. Whatever is opposite to any thing as such, is opposite unto all of it. Sin is enmity to God as God, and therefore to all of God. Not his goodness, not his holiness, . not his mercy, not his grace, not his promises, there is not any thing of him, which it doth not make head against, nor any duty, private, public, in the heart, in exterternal works, which it opposeth not. And the nearer (if I may so say) any thing is to God, the greater is its enmity unto it. The more of spirituality and holiness is in any thing, the greater is its enmity. That which hath most of God, hath most of its opposition. Concerning them in whom this law is most predominant, God says, ' Ye have set at nought all my counsel, and you would have none of my reproofs;' Prov. i. 25. Not this or that part of God's counsel, his mind or will is opposed, but all his counsel, whatever he calleth for or guideth unto, in every particular of it, all is set at nought, and nothing of his reproof attended unto. A man would think it not very strange that sin should maintain an enmity against God in his law, which comes to judge it, to condemn it; but it raiseth a greater enmity against him in his gospel, wherein he tenders mercy and pardon, as a deliverance from it, and that merely because more of the glorious properties of God's nature, more of his excellencies and condescension, is manifested therein, than in the other.

[blocks in formation]

sibly ha

(2.) It is universal in all of the soul. Would this law of sin have contented itself to have subdued any one faculty of the soul, would it have left any one at liberty, any one affection free from its yoke and bondage, it might pos

been with more ease opposed or subdued. But when Christ comes with his spiritual power upon the soul to conquer it to himself, he hath no quiet landing place. He can set foot on no ground but what he must fight for and conquer. Not the mind, not an affection, not the will, but all is secured against him. And when grace hath made its entrance; yet sin will dwell in all its coasts. Were any thing in the soul at perfect freedom and liberty, there a stand might be made to drive it from all the rest of its holds; but it is universal and wars in the whole soul. The mind hath its own darkness and vanity to wrestle with; the will its own stubbornness, obstinacy, and perverseness; every affection its own frowardness and aversation from God, and its sen., suality to deal withal; so that one cannot yield relief unto one another as they ought; they have, as it were, their hands full at home. Hence it is that our knowledge is imperfect, our obedience weak, love not unmixed, fear not pure, delight not free and noble. But I must not insist on these particulars, or I could abundantly shew how diffused this principle of enmity against God is through the whole soul.

2. Hereunto might be added its constancy; it is constant unto itself, it wavers not, it hath no thoughts of yielding or giving over, notwithstanding the powerful opposition that is made unto it both by the law and gospel, as afterward shall be shewed.

This then is a third evidence of the power of sin, taken from its nature and properties, wherein I have fixed but on one instance for its illustration, namely, that it is enmity against God, and that universal and constant. Should we enter upon a full description of it, it would require more space and time than we have allotted to this whole subject. What hath been delivered might give us a little sense of its if it be the will of God, and stir us up unto watchfulness. What can be of a more sad consideration than that we should carry about us constantly that which is enmity against God, and that not in this or that particular, but in all that he is, and in all wberein he hath revealed himself? I cannot

say

it is well with them who find it not: it is well with them indeed, in whom it is weakened, and the power of it abated. But yet for them who say it is not in them, they do but deceive themselves, and there is no truth in them.

CHAP. V.

Nature of sin farther discovered as it is enmity against God. Its aversa

tion from all good opened. Means to prevent the effects of it prescribed. We have considered somewhat of the nature of indwelling sin, not absolutely, but in reference unto the discovery of its power. But this more clearly evidenceth itself in its actings and operations. Power is an act of life, and operation is the only discoverer of life. We know not that any thing lives, but by the effects and works of life ; and great and strong operations discover a powerful and vigorous life. Such are the operations of this law of sin, which are all demonstrations of its power.

That which we have declared concerning its nature, is that it consists in enmity. Now there are two general heads of the working or operation of enmity: first, Aversation; secondly, Opposition.

First, Aversation. Our Saviour, describing the enmity that was between himself and the teachers of the Jews, by the effects of it, saith in the prophet, ‘My soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred me;' Zech. xi. 8. Where there is mutual enmity, there is mutual aversation, loathing, and abomination. So it was between the Jews and the Sama. ritans; they were enemies, and abhorred one another; as John iv.9.

Secondly, Opposition, or contending against one another, is the next product of enmity. Isa. Ixiii. 10. He was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them;' speaking of God towards the people. Where there is enmity there will be fighting; it is the proper and natural product of it. Now both these effects are found in this law of sin.

First, For aversation; there is an aversation in it unto God, and every thing of God, as we have in part discovered in handling the enmity itself, and so shall not need much to

« AnteriorContinuar »