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of Jerusalem, from the face of Absalom, and Shimei cursed him, and said, Come out, come out, thou bloody mun! broken-hearted David said, the Lord hath bidden him, let him alone. For he plainly saw he deserved it at the hands of God. And is it the native language of your heart, when God lays his hand heavy upon you-Righteous art thou, O Lord? Can you justify God in his dispensations towards you? God always in this world punishes us far less than our iniquities deserve": and a sight of the great evil of sin will effectually make it appear so to us.
3. Is it become natural to you, to look upon hell as your proper due, in such sort, as that every thing in your circumstances, wherein you are better off than the damned, appears as mere, pure mercy? Are you so vile, and hell-deserving, in your own account? Do you appear so in your own eyes as in the sight of God? And do you accordingly attribute all you have, that is better than hell, to mere pure mercy? And go up and down the world, wondering at the goodness and patience of God! These things naturally arise from a sight of the great evil of sin.
4. Do you deserve eternal damnation now, to your own sense and apprehension as much as ever you did? Be it so that you have been brought to true repentance for your past sins, and have been sincerely devoted to God for these many years, and that you live a life of penitency and godly sorrow from day to day, and enjoy sweet communion with God, and a sense of his favour; and have good hopes of eternal life; yet, considered merely as in yourself, in strict justice, what do you deserve at the hands of God? Do you deserve hell still? And do you deserve it as much as ever you did? Or does it seem as if you had made some amends for the sins of former years, by your repentance and piety since? Or does your daily repentance make any amends to God for your daily short-comings? If you see the great evil of sin, it will be a clear case to you, that you never did, nor even can, make the least satisfaction to God, for the least sin. And therefore, instead of imagining that you deserve better at the hands of God than once you did, you will naturally see, that
s 2 Sam. xvi. Jer. xii. 1,
t 2 Sam. xii.
u Ezra ix. 13.
you grow more unworthy and ill-deserving. For, besides former transgressions, there are your daily short-comings, whereby you are continually meriting hell, without doing any thing, in the least measure, to make amends for what is past.
5. Do all your hopes of finding mercy at last, take their rise, only and absolutely, from the free grace of God, through Christ, as revealed in the Gospel? St. Paul was doubtless one of the holiest men that ever lived: yet no man seems so sensible of his own vileness, and need of Christ and free grace. The law, says he, is spiritual; but I am carnal, sold under sin. Oh wretched man that I am *! I am less than the least of all saints. By the deeds of the law no flesh can be justified. And he ever looks to be justified by free grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. He is concerned, to be found, not in himself, having on his own rightcousness; but to be found in Christ, having on his righteousness b. In a word, it was his character, to worship God in the Spirit, to rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. And this, which was his character, will be your nature, if you really see the great evil of sin.
6. Is it become natural to you, to be afraid of SIN, of all sin as the greatest evil? Are you afraid of secret, as well as open sins? Of sinful thoughts, as well as sinful actions? Of an ungracious, unholy frame of heart, as well as an unholy life? Are you afraid of having your heart turn away from God, the fountain of all good? Of losing a relish for secret prayer? Of wandering thoughts on the sabbath, and at sacrament? And are you afraid of whatsoever tends thereto; such as vain company, a merry way of living, love to the world, neglecting to watch the heart? Do you make conscience of walking with God, and of maintaining communion with the most high, in your closets, and families, and in the house of God? Or does not a round of duties, and form of religion, content you? Do you make conscience of loving your neighbour as yourself, and doing as you would
x Rom. vii. 14. 24.
z Rom. iii. 20. a Rom. iii. 24.
b Phil. iii. 8, 9.
be done by; paying your debts, at the time agreed upon, and showing mercy to the poor? Do you make conscience of it, to bridle your tongue, to avoid tattling, and acting as busybodies in other men's matters? Do you make conscience of it, not to mispend your time in fruitless visits at taverns; in frolics, or in any other vain or unprofitable way: but to devote your time and all your talents, to the service of God? If you see your obligations, to God, you will make conscience of pleasing him in all things. If you see the great evil of sin, you will be afraid of it in every shape. If it appears to you as the greatest of evils, you will be most afraid of it. You will be more afraid of sin, than of any worldly loss, or of any reproach, or shame, or suffering, or even of death itself. However it may be with a good man, for a fit, this is his habitual temper d. Indeed, in general, men are but little afraid of sin they will go into the way of it: they will run into temptations, to taverns, to frolics, to vain company; and care but little or nothing about the love of God, and secret prayer: no, nor so much as whether they are honest in their dealings, and true to their promises: and yet, alas! are ready to imagine themselves to be the children of God.
However, an habitual sense of the great evil of sin, is SO essential to vital piety, that without it, men, (let their past experiences and their present pretences be what they will,) are but mere hypocrites. Their repentance is counterfeit their faith is false: their religion is all unsound. If you know not the great evil of sin, you know nothing, yet, as you ought to know. You are a stranger to God, ignorant of your own heart, and of the deplorable condition you are in, and to this day are unhumbled, impenitent, and unpardoned. Wherefore, consider these things, answer these questions; and see, and say, what is your state.
Oh! how doleful is the state of secure, Christless sinners! At enmity against God! Rebels against the majesty of heaven! Their frame of heart and manner of life, a continual despising the Lord! a grief to the Holy One of Israel! a constant provocation! And yet, alas! they know it not; nor does it once enter into their hearts: they go on at ease, ar
are merry, as though all were well. And little think what is just before them-The day of accounts drawing nigh; a day of darkness; of gloominess; and of thick darkness; and of great wrath!
Awake, O stupid sinner! Look round; see what you do; see where you are and consider what will be the end. Can your hands be strong, or your heart endure, O guilty rebel, when GOD ALMIGHTY shall come forth to deal with you, according to your crimes!
Behold, now is a day of grace: and God is ready to be reconciled: a door of mercy is opened, by the blood of the Son of GoD: pardon and peace are proclaimed to a rebellious guilty world. Repent, therefore, and be converted; that your sins may be blotted out. But if after your hardness and impenitent heart, you will venture to go on, treasuring up wrath against the day of wrath; you are like to know it, to your everlasting sorrow, that it is a fearful and horrible thing, to sin against the LORD.
Note.-The unit figures, i. ii. iii. designate the volume, the other figures desig?
Antinomians, errors of, respecting the
ABRAHAM, wisdom of God in his Antinomians, have no true ideas of the
how justified by works, ii. 113. iii. 48.
grace of the gospel, ii. 376. nor of
ner of for sinners, what, i. 428.
Antinomianism, gross and refined, dif-
confirmed in holiness, when, ii. 66.
their reflections on it, ii. 68, 69.
their reflections on the death of
their glory consists in, what, i. 522.
to the glory of God, and to the good
guilt of his first sin, what, i. 304.
his trial just, i. 303. and good, i. 305.
his representing his posterity, justice
Adoption, spirit of, what, i. 451.
of the Jews, what, i. 170-175. iii.
Affections, holy, excited by divine truth,
ii. 529. iii. 99.
Amusements, vain and fashionable, sin
his sin imputed to them, i. 300.
moral image of God in which he was
how lost by the fall, iii. 336.
made a free agent, i. 361.
his original obligation to love God,
wickedness of, ibid.
Antichrist, reign of, i. 418.
Antinomians, definition of, ii. 375.
- errors of, respecting humiliation, i.
respecting faith, i. 379. and justify-
respecting satisfaction for sin. i. 378.