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against so good a God? To offend, and wrong a good dispositioned person, one of a sweet nature and affection, it aggravates the fault, it is pity to wrong or hurt such a one, as injures nobody. Now such a one is God, a good God, infinite in goodness, rich in mercy, very goodness itself; and therefore it must needs aggravate the foulness of sin to sin against him: but now he is not only thus in himself, but
Secondly, he is good to thee: “Despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance?" &c. What hast thou that thou hast not received from his bountiful hand? Consider of this, and let this be a means to draw thee off from thy sinfulness. When David had greatly sinned against God, and when God brings his murder home to him, he pleads thus with him : “When" thou wert nothing in thine own eyes, I brought thee,” saith God, “ to the kingdom, I took thee from the sheepfold, and exalted thee, and brought thee to a plentiful house." And may not God say the like to us? and “ Dot you thus requite the Lord, O you foolish people and unwise," that the more his mercy and goodness is to you, the higher your sins should be against him.
5. Besides, consider more than all this, we have the examples of good men before our eyes. God commands us not, what we cannot do: if God had not set some before our eyes, that walk in his ways, and do his will, then we might say that these are precepts, that none can perform. But we have patterns, of whom we may say, such a man I never knew to lie, such a one never to swear, and this should be a means to preserve us from sinning. Noah was a good man, and being moved with fear, set not at nought the threatening of God, but "builty the ark, and thereby condemned the world." His example “ condemned the world," in that they followed it not, although it were so good, but continued in their great sins. So, art thou a wicked deboist person ? there is no good man but shall condemn thee by his example. It is a great crime “in” the land of uprightness to do wickedly,” to be profane, when the righteous by their blameless lives may teach thee otherwise.
* Rom. chap. 2.
" 2 Sam. chap. 12. ver. 7, 8.
6. And lastly, add to all the consideration of the multitude and weight of thy sins. Hadst thou but sinned once or twice, or in this or that, it were somewhat tolerable. But thy sins are great and many: they are heavy, and thou continually increasest their weight, and addest to their number. “ A lion out of the forest shall slay them, and a wolf of the evening shall spoil them, a leopard shall watch over their cities, and every one that goeth out thence shall be torn in pieces." Why?“ Because their transgressions are many, and their backslidings are increased.” If thou hadst committed but two, or three, or four sins, thou mightest have hope of pardon; but when thou shalt never have done with thy God, but wilt be still increasing, still multiplying thy sins, then mayest thou expect to hear from God's mouth that dreadful expostulation in the prophet : “How can I pardon thee?” Thus David sets out his own sins in their weight and number: “ Mine iniquities are gone over my head, as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.” The continual multiplying of them adds to their heap both in number and weight.
Thus I have shewed you what the law does in respect of sin, the benefit of being under the law, that it makes sin appear in its own colours, and sets it forth to be, as indeed it is, exceeding sinful. But the law does not yet leave sin, nor let it escape thus: but as the law discovers our sinfulness, and accursedness by sin, its wretchedness and man's misery by it, till his blessedness comes from the hand of his Jesus: so it lays down the miserable estate which befalls him for it. If he will not spare God with his sins, God will not spare him with his plagues. Let us consider of this accursedness sin brings on us :
z Isaiah, chap. 26. ver. 10. 6 Jer. chap. 5. ver. 7.
a Jer. chap. 5. ver. 6. c Psalm 38. ver. 4.
God will not let us go so, but as long as we are under the law, we are under the curse; and till we are in Christ, we can expect nothing, but that which should come from the hand of a provoked God. Assure thyself, thou that pleasest thyself in thy abominations, that God will not take this at thine hands, that by so base a creature as thou art, so vile a thing as sin is should be committed against him. But of the woful effects of sin, which is God's wrath, we will speak the next time.
LAM. CHAP. V. VER. 16.
“Woe unto us that we have sinned."
I DECLARED unto you heretofore, what we are to consider in the state of a natural man, a man that is not new fashioned, new moulded, a man that is not cut off from his own stock, a man that is not ingrafted into Christ; he is the son of sin, he is the son of death. First I shewed you his sinfulness, and now, secondly, I shall shew you his accursedness, that which follows necessarily upon sin unrepented of. I declared before what the nature of sin is : and now I come to shew what the dreadful effects of sin are; I mean the inevitable consequence that follows upon sin, and that is, woe and misery : “Woe unto us that we have sinned.” A woe is a short word, but there lieth much in it.
Doct. Woe and anguish must follow him that continueth sinning against God.
And when we hear this from the minister of God, it is as if we heard that angel, “ flyinga through the midst of heaven, denouncing, Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth.” The ministers of God are his angels; and the same that I now deliver to you, if an angel should now come from heaven, he would deliver no other thing. Therefore consider that it is a voice from heaven, that this woe, woe, woe, shall rest upon the heads, upon the bodies and souls of all them that will not yield unto God, that will not stoop to him, that will be their own masters,
a Rev. chap. 8. ver. 13.
and stand it out against him: woe, woe, woe unto them all. “Woe unto us.” It is the voice of the Church in general, not of one man; but “but woe unto us, that we have sinned.”
That I may now declare unto you, what these woes are, note by the way, that I speak not to any particular man, but to every man in general. It is not for me to make particular application, do you do that yourselves : are all children of wrath by nature :" in our natural condition we are all alike, we are all of one kind, and every kind generates its own kind: it is an hereditary condition, and “ till the Son makes us free, we are all subject to this woe. By nature we are all children of wrath, as well as others.” Now that I may not speak of these woes in general, I have shewed how “two woes are past and a third woe is coming." God proceeds punctually with us. And are not our proceedings in judiciary courts after this manner? The judge when he pronounceth sentence doth particularize the matter; “ Thou shalt return to the place from whence thou camest, thou shalt have thy bolts knocked off, thou shalt be drawn to the place of execution, thou shalt be hanged, thou shalt be cut down, and quartered;" and so he goes on.
And this is that which is the witness of justice. Thus it is here, the Spirit of God thinks it not enough to say barely, the state of a sinner is a woful state; but the woes are punctually numbered, and this shall be my practice. Now
1. The first thing that followeth after sin is this : after the committing of sin, there cometh such a condition into the soul that it is defiled, polluted, and becometh abominable. And this is the first woe.
2. The soul being thus defiled and abominable, God loaths it; for God cannot endure to dwell in a filthy and stinking carrion soul, he startles as it were, and seems afraid to come near it, he forsakes it, and cannot endure it. And that is the second woe: first sin defiles it, then God departs from it, there must be a divorce.