Page images

. ligious towards God, they hoped this would juftify and fave them. And hence such persons are apt to complain of God himself, if he take not such notice of their religious duties as they expect' he should. Ifai. Iviii. 3. Wherefore bave we fafied, say they, and thou seelt not ! : 3. A righteousness consisting in the discharge of moral duties towards their neighbours and themselves. Some perfons, though they be not so strict in the observation of the first table of che law, yet are very careful co observe the duties of the second table. They carry ic dutifully toward their superiors, paying to them that outward' ho. nour and respect which is their due : they are merciful and charitable, relieving the poor and needy : they are just in their dealings, doing wrong to no man : they are chaste and modest in their speech and behaviour: they are sober and temperate in the use of God's creatures. Now, because they lead such moral lives, they hope, on the account'thereof, to be justified and saved. Such a one, the young man that came to Chrilt to know what he mighe do co inherit eternal life, seems to bave been. Mark x. 19, 20. Thou knowelt ihe commandments, Do noi commit adultery, do not kill, do not seal, do not bear falfe witness, do not defraud, bonour thy father and mother. And be answered and said unto him, Master, all these bave I observed from my youth.-Thus for the first thing. . 2. This personal righteousness, which self-righteous persons lay out their labour for, cannot afford life or fatisfaction to their souls. It is altogether insufficient thereunto. For,

1. It cannot remove the sentence of death from their souls. All men are guilty of sin ; and being so, they are condemned to die, by the righteous law of God. The wages due to fin is death, temporal and eternal. Rom. vi. 23. The least fin brings us under the curse of the law. Gal. iii. 10. Cur fed is every one that continuerb not, in all things written in ihe book of the law, to do them. Now, m personal righteousness of any man, can satisfy the law for his fins, and free him from the curse thereof. For


the best that men can do, is no more than present dusty, and so fannot answer for past sins. If God then enter into judgment with the best of men, and proceed with them upon their own righteousness, they cannot be justified in his sight. Pfal. cxli. 2. If God mark iniquity, none can stand before him. Pfal. cxxx. 3.. :. 2. It cannot entitle their souls to eternal life. The best righteousness of man's own, cannot give him a just claim to eternal life. It does not deserve it, is not worthy of it. Supposing a man could do all that is commanded, he would be but an unprofitable servant, who has done no more than his duty; and so could not challenge the reward of everlasting life. Luk. xvii. 10. * Thus for che first Proposition, shewing that some there be who lay out their labour on such things which cannou afford life and satisfaction to the soul. .. . .. .

PROP, II. They act most unreasonably, who do thus lay out their labour for that which cannot afford life and fa. Osfaction to their souls. This may be demonstrated with respect to the two sorts of persons before mentioned. Wherefore,

[1.] Worldly minded persons act unreasonably, in laying out their labour for the things of this world.--If we lay aside the consideration of the insufficiency of the good things of this world; to constitute an happiness for the foul ; yet'there are other considerations, which shew the unreasonablenefs of spending our labour for them. Ex. gr.

1. Men are not certain to obtain them, by all their fabour for them. Let men project, contrive, toil and labour as much as they will, to gain this world, yet they have no' certainty of gaining it. All their labour may, and oftentimes does, prove in vain. And is it not unreasonable, for men to spend their cime and strength in the pursuit of uncertain fruitions ? He is most unreasonable, that lays out all his labour for uncertainties, and carinot tell but that it may in the issue prove loft labour. But,

2. Men cannot hope long to enjoy them, if they do obwin them. Suppose a man gain ever fo much of this


SATISĖY: 61 world by his labour, this he may be sure of, that he shall not enjoy it long. In a little time, he must be parted from it, and that for ever.. Death, which is near at hand to every man, will carry him away frorn all his worldly enjoymenis. And is it not moft unreasonable, to lay out our pains for that which is of such fort and uncertain continuance? Where is the wisdom of spending our days in the pursuit of that, which it may be, as soon as we have gotten it, will be taken from us, or we from that ?

3. While men lay out their labour' for the world, they negle et better things, which they might obtain, and enjoy for ever. There are spiritual and eternal good things, for which if men would lay out their labour, they mighe certainly obtain. Their labour here would not be loft and in vain. But now, men neglect these better things, while they are so hot and eager in the pursuit of the world. And is it not most unreasonable, to labour for the meat that perishes, and co neglect that which endureth to eternal life ? What is this, but to run after shadows, and forsake substance ?

O then, let us take heed of acting thus unreasonably, in ferring our hearts upon this world ? left we at the last see our folly and mourn, when it is too late. On the other hand, let us be diligent in the pursuit of spiritual and heavenly good things. In thus doing, we shall (new ourselves wife for eternity and unto salvation.

[2.] Self righteous persons do act moft unreajonably, in laying out their labour for a personal righteousness, chac may justify them unto eternal life. To labour after righteousness and true holinefs, is indeed a most reasonable thing. But to labour after them with an eye to be jultified and saved on the account thercof, is noft unreasonable. For,

1. It is imposible for men, by all their labour, to attain to such a righteousness of their own. The Jews of old cndeavoured after such a righteousness, but they could not obtain it. Rom. ix. 31, 32. But Ifrael which follovi. cd after the law of righteousness, or the righteousness of the

law, i. e. of works, hath not attained to the law of righ.
teousness. Wherefore ? because they fought it not by faith,
but as it were by tbe works of the law. It is absolutely
impossible for a sinner, to work out a righteousness of his
own, which should justify him in the fight of the holy
God, and obrain for him eternal life. For being a sinner,
whatever righteousness he may arrive unto, it cannot
justify him from his iniquity, answer for his sin, and make
heaven his right and due.. Is is not then most unreason.
able, to lay out our labour for that which is not attainable?
. 2. While men labour afcer a righteousness of their own,
they do refuse a better righteousness offered to them, which
can justify and save them, even the righteousness of Je-
fus Christ. Self-righteous persons, that trust to a righte:
ousness of their own, do reject, the righteousness of Jesus
Christ. This was the case of che self-righteous Jews:
Rom. x. 3. For they being ignorant of the righteousness of
God, and going about to establish their own righteousness,
kave not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God,
i. e. that righteousness which God had provided in Je.
sus Chrift for our justification. They were conceited of
their own righteousness, and would not submit to the
way of justification by the righteousness which Jesus Chrift
wrought out for men. And is it not most unreasonable,
to refuse a righteousness which is every way sufficient, to
cover our sins, to save us from wrath, and to entitle us
to eternal life ? i

O then, let us take heed of trusting to any righteous, nels of our own, as that which may exempt us from condemnation, and commend us to the favour of God, and purchase for us eternal life. Let us indeed follow after holiness, and labour to be fruitful in every good · work : yet not trust hereto for pardon and salvation. But let us embrace the righteousness of Jesus Christ, accept of that for our justifying righteousness, present it to God, and in consideration thereof expect reconciliation to him and eternal salvation from him. This way of faith in Christ as the Lord our righteousness, is the way to everlasting

i and they are wise, that walk therein. Disc,

[ocr errors]

The great duty and benefit of diligently

hearkening to CHRIST.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

ISAIAH LV. 2. ---- Hearken diligently unto me ; eat ye

that which is good, and let your soul delight it self in fatness. i

[ocr errors]

concorso N the former part of this verse, our Lord

de Jesus Christ blames finners for spending

their money for that which is not bread, and their labour for that whicb satisfielb not. Sinners might hereupon demand,

if that which we lay out money and labour for, be not true bread, nor foul-fatisfying good, what must we do to obtain such good ? To this question the Lord gives an answer, in our text, by way of direction and encouragement.

1. The direction given chem, is in those words, Hearken diligently unto me ;-In bearkening, bearken unto me, as the Hebrew phrase is, which denotes intense diligence in hearkening. Many things are herein implied, as may presently be fhewn.

« PreviousContinue »