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are sin. Prov. xxi. 4, The ploughing of the wicked is sin.' Thy, religious actions are sin, “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord.' The thoughts and imaginations of thy heart are only evil continually. A deed may be soon done, a word soon spoken, a thought pass; but each of these is an item in thy accounts. Osad reckoning! As many thoughts, words, actions, so many more sins : and the longer thou livest, thy accounts swell the more. Should a tear be dropped for every sin, thine eyes must be 'fountains of tears. For nothing but sin comes from thee: thy heart frames nothing but evil imaginations: there is nothing in thy life, but what is framed by thy heart : therefore there is nothing in thy heart or life but evil.
“ And all thy religion, if thou hast any, is lost labour, if thou art not born again; truly then thy 'duties are sins. Would not the best iwine be: loathsome in a foul vessel ? So is the religion of an unregenerate man. Thy duties cannot make thy corrupt soul holy; but thy corrupt heart makes them unclean, Thou wast wont to divide thy works into two sorts; to count some good, and some evil. But thou must count again, and put all under one head; for: God writes on them all, Only evil.
i And thou canst not help thyself. What canst thou do to take away thy:sin,' who art wholly corrupt? Will mud and filth wash our filthiness? And wilt thou purge out sin by șinning? Job took à potsherd to scrape himself, because his hands were as full of boils as his body. This is the case of thy corrupt soul, so long as thou art in a state of nature. Thou art poor indeed, extremely miserable and poor: thou bast no shelter bút a refuge- of lies:ino garment for thy soul but filthy rags, nothing to nourish it, ibut husks that cannot satisfy. More than that, thou hast got such a bruise in the loins of Adam, that thou art without strength, unable to do any thing.. Nay, more than all this, i thou canst not so much as seek aright, but liest helpless, as an infant exposed in the
field. "O that ye would believe this sad truth.. How little is it believed in the world ! Few are conderned to have their
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evil lives reformed ; but fewer far, to have their evil nature changed. Most men know not what they are; as the eye, which seeing many things never sees itself. But until ye know every one the plague of his own heart, there is no hope of your recovery. Why will ye not believe the plain testimony of Scripture? Alas! That is the nature of your disease. • Thou knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." Lord, open their eyes, before they lift them up in hell, and see what they will not see now! :-“ Mean time let us have a special eye upon the corruption and sin of our nature. What avails it to take notice of other sins, while this mother sin is unnoticed 3 This is a weighty point; in speaking to which I shall,
« 1. Point at some evidences of men's overlooking the sin of their nature. As (1.) men's being so confident of themselves, as if they were in no danger of gross sins. Many would take heinously such a caution as Christ gave his apostles, "Take heed of surfeiting and drunkenness.? They would be ready to cry out, Am I a dog? It would raise the pride of their hearts, not their fear and trembling. And all this is a proof, that they know not the corruption of their own nature. (2.) Untenderness toward them that fall. Many in this case cast off all bowels of compassion : a plain proof that they do not know or consider themselves, lest they also be tempted.' Grace indeed does make men zealous against sin, in others as well as in themselves. But eyes turned inward to the corruption of nature, clothe them with pity and compassion, and fill them with thank. fulness, that they were not the persons left to be such speetacles of human frailty. (3.) Men's venturing so boldly on temptation, in confidence of their coming off fairly Were they sensible of the corruption of their nature they would beware of entering on the devil's ground; as one girt about with bags of gunpowder, would be i loth. to walk where sparks of fire were flying. ::"2. 1 shall mention a few things in which ye should have a special eye to the sin of your bature. (l.) In your application to Christ. When you are with the Physician, O forget not this disease. They never yet knew their errand to Christ, who went not to bim for the 'sin of their nature; for his blood to take away the guilt, and his Spirit to break the power of it. Though ye should lay before him a catalogue of sins, which might reach from earth to heaven, yet if you omit this, you have forgot the best part of the errand a poor sinner has to the Physician of souls. (2.) Have a special eye to it in your repentance. If you would repent indeed, let the streams lead you up to the fountain, and mourn over your corrupt nature, as the cause of all sin, in heart, word, and work. 6 Against thee, thee only have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight. Behold I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.' (3.) Have a special eye to it in your mortification. • Crucify the flesh with its affections and desires.' It is the root of bitterness which must be struck at; else we labour in vain. In vain do we go about to purge the streams, if we are at no pains about the muddy fountain. (4.) Ye are to eye this in your daily walk. He that would walk aprightly, must have one eye upward to Jesus Christ, another inward to the corruption of his own nature. :)
“ III. I shall offer some reasons, why we should espe. cially observe the sin of our nature. 1. Because of all sins it is the most extensive and diffusive. It goes through the whole man and spoils alt. Other sins mar particular parts of the image of God; but this defaces the whole. It is the poison of the old serpent cast into the fountain, and so infects every action, every breathing of the soul.
« 2. It is the cause of all particular sins, both in our hearts and lives. Out of the heart of man proceed evil
• thoughts, adulteries,' and all other abominations. It is the bitter fountain, and particular lusts are but rivulets running from it, which bring forth into the life a part only, not the whole of what is within.
16 9. It is virtually all sins; for it is the seed of all, which want but the occasion to set up their heads. Hence it is called 'a body of death,' as consisting of the several members which constitute that body of sins,' (Col. i. 11,)
whose life lies in spiritual death. It is the cursed ground, fit to bring forth all manner of noxious weeds. Never did every sin appear in the conversation of the vilest wretch that ever lived. But look into thy nature, and thou mayest see all and every sin in the root thereof. There is a fulness of all unrighteousness there: atheism, idolatry, adultery, murder. Perhaps none of these appear to thee in thy heart': but there is more in that unfathomable depth of wickedness than thou knowest.
“4. The sin of our nature is of all sins the most fixed and abiding Sinful actions are transient, though the guilt and stain of them may remain. But the corruption of nature passeš not away. It remains in its full power, by night and by day, at all times, till nature is changed by converting grace.
6 You may observe three things in the corrupt heart. (1.) There is the corrupt nature, the evil bent of the heart, whereby men are unapt for all good, and fitted for all evil. (2.) There are particular lusts or dispositions of that corrupt nature, such as pride, passion, covetousness. (3.) There is one of these stronger than all the rest, The sin which doth so easily beset us.? So that the river divides into many streams, whereof one is greater than the rest. The corruption of nature is the river-head, which has many particular lusts wherein it runs; but it mainly disburdens itself into that which we call the predominant sin, But as in some rivers the main stream rụns not always in the same channel, so the besetting siņ mạy change, as lust in youth may be succeeded by covetousness in old age. Now what does it avail, to reform in other things, while the reigning sin retains its full power? What if a particular sin be gone? If the sin of our nature keep the throne, it will set up another in its stead: as when a water-course is stopped in one place, it will break forth in another. Thus, some cast off their prodigality, but covętousness comes in its stead. Some quit, their profaneness; but the same stream runs in the other channel of self-righteousness,
“That you may have a full view of the sin of your na,
ture, I would recommend to you three things. (1.) Study
( to know the spirituality and extent of the law of God; for that is the glass wherein you may see yourselves. (25) Observe your hearts at all times; but especially under temp
' tation. Temptation is a fire that brings up the scum of the unregenerate heart. (3.) Go to Gødīthrough Jesus Christ, for illumination by his Spirit. Say unto him, "What I know not, teach thou me :' and be willing to take in light from the word. It is by the word the Spirit teacheth; but unless he teach, all other teaching is to little purpose. You will never see yourself aright, till he light his candle in your breast. Neither the fulness, and, glory of Christ, nor the corruption and vileness of our nature, ever were or can be rightly learned, but where the Spirit of Christ is the teacher.
" To conclude. Let the consideration of what has been said, commend Christ to you all. Ye that are brought out of your natural state, be humble; still coming to Christ, still cleaving to him, for the purging out what remains of your natural corruprion..' Yé that are yet in your hatural state, what will ye do? Ye must dietye 'must stand, at the judgmentseat' of God. !! Will you lie down and sleep another night at ease in this case? See, ye do it not. Beg fore another day you may be set. before his dreadful trí: bunal, in the grave-clothes of your corrupt state, and your vile souls cast into the pit of destruction to be for ever buried out of God's sight. For 1 testify unto you there is no peace with God, no pardon, no heaven for you in this state. There is but a step betwixt you and eternal idestruction from the presence of the Lord... If the-brittle thread of life, 'which may be broken with''a touch, in ai moment, or ever you are'aware, be broken 'while you are in this state, you are ruined for ever,' and without remedy, But come ye speedily to Jesus Christ. He háth cleansed
' as vile' souls as yours. Confess your sins; and he will
' both forgive your sins, and cleanse you from allı' unrighteousness." CLASpot
Bristol, Aug. 17, 1757. 3. Ibu teston's eise vos;