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"lackest go thy way, fell whatsoever thou hast,
"and give to the poor,
and thou shalt have trea
"fure in heaven; and come, take up the crofs, "and follow me. And he was fad at that fay"ing, and went away grieved, for he had great "poffeffions *.”
3. Sometimes a partial change is produced, in a great measure, even by the love and attachment which men have to fome one darling and governing fin. The lefs willing they are to cut off the right hand and to pluck out the right eye, the more zealous and diligent they will be in other things, to atone for the indulgence, or to cover it from their own obfervation. How careful is a Pharifee to tythe mint, anise, and cummin, while he neglects the weighter matters of the law? How does he "make broad his phy
lacteries, and enlarge the borders of his gar"ment," while he is defective in "judgment, "mercy, and faith?" How did the ancient Jews come with thousands of rams, and ten thousand rivers of oil, while living in the habitual neglect of fome of the most important branches of the divine law? We have an appofite example of this in the conduct of Saul, when fent against Amalek he spared of the spoil what was good, though he was commanded to deftroy it, and then pretended to make a free uncommanded offering
of facrifice unto God, for which he met with this just and severe reprimand: "Hath the Lord "as great delight in burnt-offerings and facrifi"ces, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Be"hold, to obey is better than facrifice, and to "hearken than the fat of rams *." We see every day innumerable inftances of the fame kind; when there is any fin which men are willing to fpare, which they defend with arguments, er palliate with excufes, they are fo much the more ready to overdo in fuch duties as are not fo contrary to the prefent current of unfanctified affection. From all this you will plainly fee, that no man ought to judge of himself by the greatness of the change in any particular, unless it is univerfal, and without exception.
From these words, EXCEPT A MAN BE BORN
AGAIN HE CANNOT SEE THE KINGDOM OF
GOD, and other fimilar expreffions in the holy feriptures, we may infer that the change here intended is not merely EXTERNAL and IMPERFECT, but INWARD, ESSENTIAL, and COMPLEAT.
I Might have divided this obfervation into
two parts, and treated of them separately, firft fhewing that it is not an outward and appa
rent only, but an internal and real change; fecondly, that it is not an imperfect change, or difference in degree only, but a compleat and effential change of the whole character. But as the illuftration of thefe two muft have neceffarily in a great meafure coincided, and they are very clofely connected, I have chofen to join them. together.
That what fhall be faid on this fubject may be the more useful and profitable, I will endeavour to explain, in as distinct and simple a manner as I am able, what you are to undersfand by the above remark. The first part of it will be most eafily comprehended, that it is not an external only, but an internal change; that the most apparently ftrict and regular converfation, the most faultlefs discharge of outward duties, will not be fufficient, while the heart continues enflaved to fin in general, or under the dominion of any par ticular luft. The other part of the remark is, that the change muft not only be imperfect, or in degree, but effential and compleat. That is to fay, it is not sufficient that a man be fomewhat lefs wicked than before, that he not only gives up fóme fins, but use moderation in others; nay, though he be under fome degree of restraint univerfally, if ftill there is not what may be called an effential change of character, if ftill fin has
the afcendancy upon the whole, though its dominion be not fo uncontrolled as before.
Sin may certainly have the chief feat in the affections, though it hath not altogether quiet and peaceable poffeffion. There must always be fome governing principle, which, properly fpeaking, conftitutes the character. As our Saviour tells us, "No man can serve two mafters; for either "he will hate the one and love the other, or "else he will hold to the one and despise the "other: ye cannot serve God and mammon' *. Grace and corruption are oppofite in their natures, and mutually deftructive of each other, fo far as they prevail: and therefore the great queftion is, not how far any of them is altered from what it was formerly in itself, but how far it prevails in oppofition to the other, and hath truly the government of the man. I find it extremely difficult to communicate this truth in a fimple and intelligible manner, fo as to be level to the meaneft capacities. And it is little wonder; for here lies the chief part of the deceitfulness of fin. It will, I hope, be better understood by what is now to be added, both for its proof and illuftration.
That what I have above afferted is agreeable to the analogy of faith, and a part of the will of God, may easily be made appear. It is the con ftant uniform doctrine of the holy, fcriptures.
There we find it is the peculiar prerogative of God, that he feeth and judgeth the heart. By this his knowledge is distinguished from, and excels all created understanding, and, therefore, as no appearance will deceive, fo no infincere profeffion will be accepted by him: "For the Lord "feeth not as man feeth, for man looketh on "the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh "on the heart." To this purpofe is the exhortation of David to his fon Solomon: "And "thou Solomon, my fon, know thou the God
of thy father, and ferve him with a perfect "heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord "fearcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the "imaginations of the thoughts +."
The ftrefs that is laid on this in fcripture, and the frequent repetition of the word "heart," can hardly have escaped the notice even of the most curfory reader, or the moft fuperficial obferver. We find the confent of the heart required as indifpenfibly and chiefly neceffary, and that as diftinguished from outward and apparent obedience, which, without it, will be of no value. "My fon, give me thine heart," fays Solomon, and let thine eyes obferve my ways §." We find an inward change of heart and difpofition promifed by God as the work of his Spirit and
1 Sam. xvi. 7. xxiii, 26.
Chron, xxviii, 9.