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A view of these lusts in the glass of this holy law must needs be very humbling, and stain the pride of all glory. Though the outside be never fo clean, they make a foul inside. For consider,
1. They are the members of the old man, Col. iii. 5. The corruption of nature is the old man, they are his members, which together make up the body of fin. Now, this old man being entire in all the unregenerate, these lusts are all in them; nay, even in the regenerate, so far as the corruption of nature still dwells in them, though the power of them be broken, yet they still remain, and afford work to them for daily mortification. So that there is none who may not proportionally take that character to themselves,
Being filled with all unrighteousness,” Rom. i. 29. ; that is to say, all manner of lusts whatsoever are in the heart of every man, though they do not all break forth in their lives. Confi. der,
(1.) The same corruption of nature is in all men whatso. ever; all are originally and universally corrupt, John iii. 6. There must then be a disposition in all to every evil thing habitually, though not actually. Dost thou see the most abaminable lusts breaking forth in the lives of the worst? smite on thy breast, and say, “ God be merciful to me a sinner," and read thy own heart in their profligate lives, Prov. xxvii. 19. “ As in water face answereth tò face, so the heart of man to man. When thou readest the law of God against these abominations which are not so much as to be named, conclude that these lusts are in thy heart, for God gives no laws in vain. (2.) What is it man will not do when grace
restrains not, and temptation draws forward ? Who would have thought the lust of adultery had been in David's heart, of idolatry in Solomon's after the Lord had appeared to him twice, blafphemy in the saints mentioned by Paul, Acts xxvi. 11.; or incest in Lot's daughters ? But in such a case they broke forth, which they had not done if they had not been within before.
(3.) They are the tinder answering the sparks of Satan's temptations in the world. It was the peculiar privilege of the man Christ since Adam fell, that the prince of this world had nothing in him, John xiv. 30. There is never a temptation goes abroad in the world, but there is a lust in the heart abe his temp
kin to it, so that no wonder they embrace one another as friends when they meet. Satan by this means, be his tation what it will, has always something to work upon, a fire to blow up. So that in every case whatsoever, that holds true, “ He that trusteth in his own heart, is a fool,” Prov. xxviii. 26.
(4.) They are the filthy matter ready to gather together in a boil in the heart, which being ripened, may break forth in the life, Jam. i. 14. They make way for gross fins, as the feed grows up into a tree that brings forth its natural fruit at length.
(5.) They are the fit opposers of every good motion, Gal. v. 17.
So that there is never a good impression made upon, nor motion in the heart, but among these lusts it finds a peculiar opposite to it, one fit to engage against it, by a peculiar malignity in it. And so it is found in the godly, that as they have grace for grace in Christ, so they have corruption for grace in the unrenewed part; still some one lineament of Satan's image to set against another of God's image.
And now thefe lusts have their lustings and stirrings, a view of which must be very humbling. For confider,
11t, The innumerable occasions of them ; at every blink of the eye, opening of the ear, or imagination of the heart, we are in hazard of them. The sparks of temptation are continually flying about us; how can we be safe, while we have these as gunpowder about us?
2dly, How suddenly they will flee through the heart, like a stitch in the side, or an arrow out of a bow ? A thought, a wish, is soon brought forth.
3dly, How frequent are they? when are we free of them? when is it that the crooked leg can move, and not halt?
Lastly, How little are these things noticed? That hellish steam arising from a corrupt nature, being so much within doors, is little regarded, but extremely blackens the soul.
Thus much of the bitter streams; we come now to the fountain and spring-head, from whence they have their rise; and that is, the corruption of nature. For as there is a poifonous nature in the serpent, besides its throwing out of its venom; so, besides the finful lustings of the heart, there is an habitual corruption of the nature, which is the root of these lustings, loathings, and inordinate motions. The reason why the clock or dial points the hour wrong is, because it is wrong set; and till that fet be altered, it will never point right. So man's nature has a wrong set, which we call the corruption of nature, whereby it comes to pass that he can never act right till that set be cured by regeneration. It is a corrupt disposition of the soul, whereby it is unapt
any thing truly good, and prone to evil.
The understanding is deprived of its primitive light and ability, unable to think a good thought, 2 Cor. iii
. 5.; yea, darkness is over all that region, Eph. v. 8. As for the will, it is free to evil, but not to good, utterly unable so much as rightly to will any thing truly good, Phil. ii. 13. Nay, it is aversé to it, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke.' It is prone and bent to evil, Hof. xi. 7.; but lies cross and contrary to God and goodness, Rom. vii. 7. The affections are quite disordered, misplaced as to their objects, loving what they should hate, and hating what they should love; or if right as to the objects, they can keep no bounds. But of this I have spoke largely elsewhere *.
This corruption of nature is here forbidden, for it is truly and properly sin, Rom. vi. 12. and vii. 17. It is the flesh that lusteth against the Spirit, Gal. v. 18., and if fin, it must be contrary to and forbidden by the law. And as finful anger is forbidden in the sixth commandment, as the immediate fountain of murder, Matth. v. 21, 22. ; so, by a parity of reason, the corruption of nature is forbidden here, as the immediate fountain of that coveting or lusting, ex. pressed therein.
And though it is impossible for us to prevent this fin, being born with it, it would be considered, that this law was originally given to Adam in innocency, requiring him to keep his nature pure and uncorrupted, and so discharging all corruption of it; which law, after his fin, remains in as full force
And that the second Adam might answer the demands of the law in this point, he was born without this cor, ruption, and continued ever free from it. And those that are his, being regenerated, are freed from the reigning power of it, and partake of a new nature.
If we look to this sin, we havea humbling view of ourselves, and must cry, Unclean, unclean.
1. It is the fountain of all actual transgressions, Mark vii.
* See Fourfold States
21. Look to all the disorders of thy heart and life; they flow natively from hence, as the poisonous streams from the impoisoned fountain. Look to the disorders appearing in the lives of others, the fountain from whence they proceed is in thee. And if the cause be there, and the effect follow not, thank God, and not thyself.
2. All particular lults are in it, as in the seed. It is the feed-plot of all particular fins. It is the cursed ground, where, let the gardener weed as he will, new ones will still spring up. It is the cage of unclean birds, the mystery of ini. quity, which we will never get to the ground of till the foundations be overturned at death.
3. We never were without it, Pfal. li. 5. It is a natural and hereditary disease, that cannot be cured without a miracle. We dread the serpent that is naturally poisonous, more than any thing that is accidentally fo. So may we dread this beyond all things else. When we were not capable of actually sinning, this made us guilty creatures.
4. We never are free of it, while awake or asleep. It is a permanent and abiding fin. Actual fins are transient, tho' not as to the guilt of them, yet as to the being of them; but whether the guilt of this be removed or not, it abides as fixed with bands of iron and brafs.
Lastly, We never will be free of it while we live. die out of Christ, it will never be cured. But even though we be in him, yet it abides till death, and will never be totally removed till then.
Thus I have now gone through the ten commands, labouring to lay before you the commandment in its exceeding breadth. And though I have been far from reaching all the particular duties commanded, and fins forbidden; yet, from the whole of what has been said, ye may see,
1. What a holy God we have to do with. We see his holiness in this law as in a glass. He can endure no evil thing; and there are many things which the world reckons not upon, which he abhors, and will punish.
2. What a holy law this law is, requiring all purity of nature, heart, lip, and life; a perfection both of parts and degrees; discharging all manner of impurity and moral imperfection, not only in the substance, but in the manner of action.
3. That by the works of the law no flesh can be justified.
Who can come up to the perfection this law requires ? what one line is there of this law that does not condemn us? where . is that one point to the perfection of which we attain.
4. The preciousness and excellency of Christ, who has fulfilled this law in all its parts, has brought in everlasting righteousness, and furnishes all that believe in him with an answer to all its demands.
5. The rule of righteousness, by which ye are to examine yourselves, to see your fins and shortcomings, the mark ye are to aim at if ye would be holy in all manner of converfa. tion, which is nothing the easier to be hit that it is so broad, and the evidence of your sincerity, in a perfection of those parts, though ye cannot attain to the degrees.
Lastly, Your absolute need of Christ, of his blood to sprinkle you from guilt, and of his Spirit to fanctify you, that ye may be complete in him. And therefore let this holy law be your schoolmaster to bring you to Christ for all.
OF MAN's INABILITY TO KEEP THE LAW PER.
Eccles. vii. 20.-For there is not a juft man upon earth, that
doth good, and finneth not. HA
AVING at considerable length endeavoured to open
up and explain the law of God, as abridged in the ten commandments, in some measure in its spirituality and extent, by describing the several duties required, and fins forbidden therein; and shewn the absolute impossibility of yielding a perfect obedience thereto, in order to give a title to eternal life; and directed you to come to Christ by faith, as the end of the law for righteousness, that your guilt may be removed by the application of his blood to your consciences, and that ye may be fanctified by his Spirit: I now proceed to the exposition of the remaining questions in the Catechism, which I shall mostly discuss in a very short dis