Page images
[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

tho’it cannot be proved from scripture in IX. It is very profitable and useful, for so many words and syllables; and it is a every one, to be often taking a lively view molt unreasonable thing, and unwarranted of their natural condition, and to be geting in the word of God, to accept of nothing it convincingly and undeniably born in upas fcripture truth, but what is so proved, on the conscience, lo as it may not be ea. and to cart at all truths, tho' confirmed by fily justled out, both as to the keeping of Dever so clear proofs drawn from scripture, them humble, under enjoyments and priby necessary consequence; as if the mean- vileges, and magnifying free grace in their ing and reason of the text were not a l eyes, thar hath any respect to the like of better evidence, than the bare words with them, and fitting them for welcoming Je. out the meaning; and as if we were not sus Christ, and justification through him, commanded to search into this inine, and to without the works of the law : hence it is itudy the scriptures, that we may find out that Paul, having in the foregoing verse the Lord's mind, by comparing one place said; We have proved both Jew arid Gene with another, i Cor. ii. 13. ----Comparing tile under sin, comes over it again in this: jpiritual things with spiritual : and as if tenth verse, and says, I none righ. Dothing at all could be proved from scrip- teous, no. not one. ture, nor do truth affirmed, or preached, X. Howbeit the pride of vain man be bue what were fer down, in as many cha- fuch, that he would still be at the way of raéters in the scriptures : for Paul, who wining to heaven by the covenant of knew the mind of the Spirit speaking in works; and is averse to the way of faith, the scriptures, and what was fcripture, and and trusting to another for justification and What not, better than we, makes use of ra. falvation, and therefore is still imagining tional consequences from scripture; and a righteousness in himself; yet it is and accounts it a scriptural truth, no less than immoveable and unquestionable truth, and if it were ser down in as many syllables | still will be in all ages, that there is none ad words: for here he is to prove, that righteous; no not one. However some may among the Jews there was none righteous, I have more moral honesty than others, and Es not one ; and among all the places brought not be altogether fo gross; yea, and some by him to confirm this, there is not one of thro' gracę may be helped to more confor.. Den that has it in as many syllables; on-| mity unto the law; yet as to a full conforl; they prove it by necessary consequence, mity, and such a conformity as the coveaid yet Paul in citeing them says, as it is nant of works requireth, for the attaining. eritten, or it is written there is none righ. of life by, this truth standeth unshaken, fecus, ng not one; to teach us, that we may There is none righteous, no not one : There to less say, that that is written, which is is none that dare plead the fulfilling of the caly drawn by consequence from what is law in their own person, no, not the howritten, than that which is set down in liest. express terms. Moreover, when Paul 1 XI. There is such a likeness betwixt pieth rather the sense than the words (for the godly and the wicked, in respect of te words run thus, The Lord looked down their naiures, all being pieces of one lump * see if there was any that did understand, and mass, that whatever is verified of the and Paul takes the meaning, and says, one, will hold true likewise of the other; I bere is none that doth understand he giv- 1 and where-ever, outbreakings and actual t:'103 to know, that the ineaning and sense transgressions are, they may abundantly ci scripture, and not the bare letter and lead us in to know what a foul fountain, is that which we thould take for nature is, that sends forth corrupt muddy'

water: and hence it is, that one man's



transgression will prove all unrighteous, in , themselves; and however they may take regard that one man's transgression will up a formal, superficial way of serving fufficiently prove that man's nature cor- | God; yet with quch God will not be mockrupt; for a corrupt tree hath corrupt fruit; | ed: but for all that, if they be pot setting and all men have one and the same nature, themselves to seek God diligently, assidufince Adam's breach of covenant: for thus ously, with all the heart, in the right argueth the apostle, from the iniquities of manner, and for the right end, he will the wicked, mentioned in the places cited pass this judgment on them, that they are afierward, that there is none righteous, no not seekers of God. And this negle&t of not one ; where also we see a necessity of right seeking after God, is a fruit and eviPaul's making use of many consequences dence of their ignorance of him : for let to prove this.

men profess what knowledge of God chey

please, if they be not taking pains to be From the text cited OBSERVE,

savingiy and heartily acquainted with God, I. As sin may so far prevail, as to cover their practice doch belye their profession : the face of a visible church, and become for with this, that there is none that under. universal, so as very few may be free of sandeth, is joined, and there is none that the contagion; so it should be matter of seeket h after God. mourning, and a great regret unto God's IV. Tho' the Lord, in his wisdom and own people, who have gotten grace to infinite goodness, hach carved out a way keep their garme its clean, when the gene- wherein a man ought to walk, and clearly rality have corrupted their ways; as it was delineared every step thereof; yet such is to godly David here, when he saw that the wickedness of man by nature, as that the generality were gone wrong, it was a he will not walk in that way, but stubbornmatter of heavy regret to him, and it ly and proudly will curn aside, and rebel went so near his heart, that he could not win against God and his laws, and prove conoff it, but came over it, and over it again, tumacious and refractory; and the constant as being much affected therewith; there course of wicked, unregenerate folks is cut fore does he set it down in two leveral of the right path, and still aside: therefore Psalms, viz. Psal. xiv. and liii. that there it is added, I hey are all gone out of tbe is none that understandeth, &c.

way. II. Howbeit carnal unregenerate men V, Folks rebellion, and swerving from may seeir to be prudent and provident e- the law of the Lord, and turning aside from nough, and wife in their own generation, the right ways of the Lord, is a necellary and active enough in going about their result and consequence of their want of worldly business; yet all their wit, how saving knowledge and spiritual understanddeep foever it be, in ploting and contriv- ing, and of their neglect of seeking after ing things of state, or touching their own God, as their end and happiness; wher particulars, is but black ignorance before folks propose not a right end, they can. God: and for all the wit they have in their not take the right means: and therefor: head, they are, in God's account, without followeth, they are all gone out of the roa: knowledge and understanding, seeing they upon their want of knowledge, and no know not God in a saving, practical man- seeking after God. ner: therefore says he, There is none that Vl. As it is a honour and credit to understandeth; they are void of that know- man to be a constant follower of the LO Iedge which is only worth the name. and to be walking in his ways; so, howev.

III. Whatever forms and out-side vi. | fools think, it is the high way to shame a zors wicked men may put on, to deceive i disgrace, to be following a course of



fection : for the same word which fignifiech, altogether so extravagant in their wicked to turn aside, or to rebel, fignifieh also, to courses, as others who take great delight grow four and tastlefs; to show, that such in finning, but, in point of morality, may as make defection from God, they lose be of a more tight, civil, polished life and their beauty, their taste and relish, and be conversation than the openly debauched; come four and unsavory.

yer, nothing they do is acceptable in God's VII. When once men cast off God and eyes, as long as they are out of Christ : his service, and follow ways of their own, therefore it is said, There is none that doth the Lord either blasts them, that they can good, no not one, among all the unrenewed. do no good, neither in kirk nor commonwealth, or whatever they do is in no esteem VERSE 13. Their throat is an open fepula with God, but altogether unproficable : cbre; with their tongues they have used and the high way to render men base, deceit; the poison of asps is under their Daughty, rotten, unsavory, and useless, is to turn their backs on God: for it is add. ed, they are become unprofitable, and useless, THE next testimony is taken froin as stinking froach.

Pfal. v. 9. where David is dealing VIII. As sin is a most bewitching thing, with God, that he would guide him by inticeing many; so were there never so his counsel, for he had to do with enemies many joining hand in fin, yea, even tho' that were watching for his halting, and the generality were going all one way, therefore he says, verse 8th, Lead me, O and following all one course of rebellion, Lord, in thy righteousness, because of mine their fin is no whit the less, nor will the enemies ; make thy way straight before my bitter fruits of sin be any thing impaired; face. And this his petition he backs with their numerousness will not prove a sconce arguments, taken from the nature and disto save them for the deserts of fio : for, as pofition of his enemies, which made his there was many of them together, so, for danger so much the greater ; and among all that, it is said, they were altogether other things which he defcribeth them become filthy, or unprofitable. There being from, this is one: 1. That their throat is many of them together in this guilt, did an open fepulchre: A metaphorical speech, not save them from being all unprofitable, but most significant, holding forth their and becoming rotten and unsavory. blood-thirstiness, like an open grave ready

IX. The unprofitableness of the wicked to devour all the dead laid into it; and their is proved and made out by this, that they insatiableness, that they can dever be farisneither do, nor can do any thing that is fied till they have him devoured; for the good, or acceptable, and all that which grave is never satisfied, Prov. xxx. 16. As they do is evil, and only evil, and con- also, hoiding forth their carnal threatentinually evit; for while a man is unregelings, their throar belching out nothing but nerate, and hath not fled in to Christ, slaughter and destruction, as Prov. i. 12. there is nothiog he doth, or can do, that is and their horrible blafphemous speeches, acceptable in God's eyes; for all his ac- ! which was like a filthy Itinking smell, fent tions, civil, natural, moral, or christian, our from an opened grave. Or allo, co not being done in faith, are but fin before hold forth their labouring to insnare him, God, Rom. xiv. 23. therefore says the and their fuares to entrap him, and so were Pfalmift, There is none that doth good. like an open grave, which, in the night

A. However God may restrain some time, is ready to ensnare folk, and to make wicked men, as he did Abimelech from thin stumble 2. He says, They flatter Wronging Sarah, so as they become not with their tongues; for so it is in the ori

« PreviousContinue »