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necessary.. Labour for a full contentment with your condition. This is the way to make a virtue of necessity; for our discontent and uneasiness will not add a cubit to the sta. ture of our lot. And that which God will make crooked in it, we will not get made straight, however uneasy we be about it.
II. We are to consider the duty of this command, as it respects our neighbour. And that is a right and charitable or loving frame of spirit towards himself and all that is his. We may take up this in five things, which are here required.
1. Love to our neighbour's person, as to ourselves, Rom. xüi. 9. For seeing this command forbids us to wrong him so much as in thought, it plainly bịnds love to him upon us; not in word only, nor in deed only, by doing him good, but in heart, that our bowels move towards him, and love him for the sake of God. For whatever be unholy in him, yet he is one of God's creatures, of the fame nature with our felves, and capable of enjoying the fame God with us.
2. An upright respect to what is his, for his fake. As we are to love himself for God's sake, so what is his for his fake, Deut. xxii. 1. A careless disposition and unconcernedness about what is our neighbour's, can never be a right frame to what is his. So it is an argument of the world's corruption, that all men seek their own things, and are so little concerned for the things of others. That is not charitable walking, Phil. ii. 4.
3. An hearty desire of his welfare and prosperity in all things, as of our own, his honour, life, chastity, wealth, good name, and whatever is his. This we owe to our very enemies, so far as it may be consistent with the honour of God, and their own spiritual good, which is the main thing we are to desire for all. I add this, because sometimes the loss of these may be more to the honour of God, and our neighbour's advantage, than the having of them, to wit, when they are abused to fin, Rom. xii. 20. Matth. v, 44.
4. A real complacency in his welfare, and the welfare of what is his, Rom. xii. 15. If our hearts rejoice not in our neighbour's welfare, we covet what he has, and secretly in our hearts devour it. But as we are to be well content with our own condition, so we are to be well content with our neighbour's welfare. 5. Lastly, A cordial sympathy with him in any evil that
befals him, Rom. xii. 20. For we are members one of ano. ther; and as every member shares in the grief of any one, so should we in one another's afflictions. A hard heart unconcerned with the afflictions of others, especially where people talk to the grief of those whom God has wounded, is a sign of a wretched temper and uncharitable frame of spirit, Psal. lxix. 26. and xxxv. 13, 14, 15.
III. We must consider this command as it respects the root of sin. And so it requires original righteousness, a holy frame of the soul, whereby it is bent to all good, and averse to all evil; that holy frame of spirit that was in the first Adam when he was created, and all along in the second Adam. And thus this command carries the matter of holiness to the utmost point. That this is here required, will appear,
consider that this command forbids the very first risings of original cor. ruption, whose very nature it is to be ftill coveting; and therefore original corruption itself is forbidden, and conse. quently original righteousness required.
Not only good actions are required by the holy law, but a holy temper of the spirit, consisting in the light of the mind taking up duty, a bent of the will inclining ever to good, and averse to every evil, and the orderliness of the affections, keeping precisely within the holy boundaries set to them by the law, not to look over the hedge in the least point.
This is certainly required fomewhere in the law; for men are condemned for the want of it; and in none of the commands is it required, if it be not here. And thus ye may fee the utter impossibility of keeping perfectly these commands; for whatever men pretend as to the rest, who of Adam's children do not stick here as soon as they are born?
This command reaches us as soon as we are born; nay, as foon as we are living fouls in the womb, requiring of us what we have not to produce, and that is an holy nature. But, alas ! we are evil before we can do evil; and we want that holy nature naturally, and therefore have at length such unholy lives.
If it be inquired, How this command in this point is anfwered sincerely? Ans. It is by our being renewed in the spirit of our minds, our partaking of the new nature in regeneration, where old things being done away, and all things becoming new, we are made new creatures. This is that new nature which is the image of God repaired, with a perfection of parts, to be crowned in heaven with a perfection of degrees.
And it is worthy of our observation, that Jesus Christ be." ing to fulfil all righteousness, was born holy, and so fulfilled this command for us. In him the law has its due, he being a man, who from his birth had a holy pure nature, a holy frame of spirit, without the least irregularity or disorder.
To conclude, ye may see the command is pure, just, and holy, however impure we be; and requires of us the utmost purity of heart, life, and nature.
I now proceed to consider the fins forbidden.
Quest. “.What is forbidden in the tenth commandment ?" Ans. 6. The tenth commandment forbiddeth all discontentment with our own estate, envying or grieving at the good of our neighbour, and all inordinate motions and affections to any thing that is his."
This command is a curb and bridle to the distempered heart of man, which of all parts of the man is the hardest to be commanded and kept within bounds. Men may be of a courteous obliging behaviour, keep in their hands from killing, or what tendeth thereunto, their bodies from uncleanness, their hands from stealing, and their tongues from lying; while, in the mean time, the heart in all these respects may be going within the breast like a troubled sea, unto which this command by divine authority faith, Peace, and be still.
The heart distempered by original fins runs out in the irascible faculty in tormenting passions, bearing an aversion of the heart to what the Lord in his wisdom lays before men. This great stream of the corruption of our nature divides itself into two branches; one running against our own condition, namely, a torrent of discontent; the other against our neighbour, namely, envying and grudging at his good. In the concupiscible faculty, in lufting affections and inordinate motions towards something which God has put out of our way, at least with-held from our closest embraces. This also divides itself into two branches; one running towards what is our own, namely, a sinful eagerness, lust, or inordinate motion of the heart to what we poffess'; the other running towards what is our neighbour's, an inordinate affection to what is his. Thus the corrupt heart runs in a direct op
position to the will of God, refusing what he would have us to accept, and embracing closely what he would have us to stand at a distance from. The corrupt fountain with its se veral streams is all here forbidden. We shall speak to them all as laid before us, tracing the streams to the fountainhead.
FIRST, the streams in which the distemper of the heart runs are here forbidden expressly, because these are most ex. posed to our view. Let us view,
FIRST, The tormenting passions, in which the corruption of nature vents itself; for sin is in its own nature misery. We need but go in the paths of fin to make us miserable, and in the high road of duty to make us happy. We shall consider the tormenting passion,
First, Of discontent with our own estate or condition. This is plainly here forbidden; for discontentment is pre, fupposed to coveting; and there could be no coveting of what we want without discontentment with what we have.
The lufting gapings of the heart fay, there is an uneasiness within. It is only the plague of discontentment that makes the heart cry, Give, give.
I, I will shew the evil of discontentment, and paint out this sin in its black colours. It is the hue of hell all over.
1. Discontent is, in the nature of it, a compound of the blackest ingredients, the scum of the corrupt heart boiling up, and mixed to make up this hellish composition.
Ift, Unsubjection to and rebellion against the will of God, Hoř. iv. 16. “ Ifrael flideth back as a backfliding heifer;' backsliding, or refractory, that will not admit the yoke far. ther than it is forced on. The discontented heart cannot submit, but sets its foot a spar against the divine dispensation. Though God guides and governs the world, they are the malcontents, that are not pleased with the government, but mutiny against it. What pleases God, pleases not them; what is right in God's eyes, is evil in theirs. And nothing will please them, but to have the reins of government out of God's hands into their own; though, if their passion did not blind their judgment, they might see how they would quickly fire the little world of their own and others condition, if they had the reins in their own hand.
2dly, Sorrow of heart under the divine dispensation to wards them. It is not according to their mind, and so their heart sinks in forrow, 1 Kings xxi. 4. God crosses their will, and they pierce their own hearts with many forrows; as if a man, because he cannot stop the course of the sun in the firmament, would wrap up himself in darkness.
And this is a killing sorrow, a sword thrust into a man's heart by his own hands, 2 Cor. vii. 10. It melts a man's heart within him; like a vulture, preys upon his natural spirits, tending to shorten his days. It makes him dumpish and heavy like Ahab, and is a heavy load above the burden of affliction. That is the black smoke of discontentment, which yet often breaks out into a fiery flame, as in the same case of Ahab, where Naboth fell a facrifice to it.
3dly, Anger and wrath against their lot, Jude 16. Complainers. The word fignifies such as are angry at their lot, and in the distributions Providence makes of the world, still complain that the least or worst part of it falls to their share. Thus the discontented do in their hearts bark at the moun, tains ofbrass, Zech. vi. 1. as dogs do at the moon, and with the fame success. They are angry with God's dispensation, and their hearts rise against it, and snarl at it.
And this is a fretting anger, whereby men disquiet and vex themselves in vain, like men dashing their heads against the wall; the wall stands unmoved, but iheir heads are wounded. Like a wild bull in a net, the more he stirs, the faster is he held; so that still they return with the loss. Thus difcontent is in the heart like a ferpent gnawing the bowels, and makes a man as a moth to himself, confuming him, or a lion tearing himself, Job xviii. 4.
Lastly, There is a spice of heart-blasphemy in it; for it ftrikes very directly against God the Governor of the world, and accufes his administration; and for an evidence of this, it sometimes breaks out in words, Mal. iii. 13, 14, 15. “ Your words have been stout against me, faith the Lord : yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee? Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it, that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mourn. fully before the Lord of hosts? And now we call the proud happy: yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.” Discontent accuses him,
(1.) Of folly, as if he were not wise enough to govern the world. The peevish discontented person, in his false light,