Page images

pocrite may expressly and folemnly covenant with God, by word or by writ, and thus engage to be the Lord's. This is evident from the practice of the Israelites : Exod. xiv. 8. “And all the people answered and said, All that the Lord hath spoken, we will do. And Mofes returned the words of the people unto the Lord.”-Here we may observe, how full they are in their consent and engagement, “ All that the Lord hath spoken, we will do.” See also Exod. xx. 19. But mark the Lord's own verdia on this covenanting : Deut. v. 2y.“ () that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep my commandments always, that it might be well with them and their children for ever!”. Not only may all this be claffed among the externals of religion, but I shall add, for illustration, that persons may be morally ferious in their consent to the covenant, that is, thinking and resolving in the time to do as they fay. Moral furiousness is opposed to gross diffimulation, which there was no place for here, Deut. V. 24. Yet it may be where there is no fincerity, Pfal. Ixxviii. 37. Of the same people it is said, « For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfaft in his covenant.”. Hypocrites, in this case, are like those who, out of mere fimplicity, and ignorance of the worth of a thing, offer to buy it; but if they really knew what it could not be sold under, they would never once bid for it. They may also consent to the covenant out of a real sense of their fin and misery, and a conviction of their need of a Mediator, as in Exod. xx. 19. “ And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak iviti us,

leit we die There was the mountain on fire, for a tributal; the voice of a trumpet, fummoning the criminals ; tcrrible thunders, to this point.



pronounce the sentence of death against them. This filled them with horror and fear of death, and shewed them the need of a Mediator. But there are three things in which the Christian in spirit goes beyond the Christian in the letter, in

[1.] He engages freely and heartily to the Lord in his whole covenant. The hypocrite is but dragged and forced into it, when the matter is few riously considered. They are not a willing people : Psal. lxxviii..34. 36. & 37. “When he flew them, then they sought him; and they returned and inquired early after God. Nevertheless, they did Aatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues. For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his covenant.” I doubt not but a hypocrite may very hearty in his consent to receive the comforts of the covenant: Matth. xiü. 20. 21. 6 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it. Yet he hath not root in himself, but dureth for a while.” But if he consider the duties of the covenant, there he sticks, and can come no other way to the whole covenant, but as he is dragged : Rom. viii. 7. « Because the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.”

When the Spirit enters into a person's heart, he takes such hold of it, that the person is overcome by grace into willingness. Thus it is said," Jer. xxxi. 3. “ Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore, with loving kindness have I drawn thee.” Then the person pours out his heart like water: Pfal. lxii. 8. « Pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us." Terror may begin the work, but love crowns it :



Hof. ii. 14. “ Therefore, behold I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her."

[2.] While the person's heart consents to the covenant with the Lord, it is divorced from sin; but the hypocrite consents to the covenant, with a heart glewed to his lusts : Psal. xlv. 10. “ Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house.” It is an ill-made fecond marriage, where there is neither death nor divorce from the first husband; and this is the cause of apoftafy, men going back to their fufts, because they never freely parted with them. What makes a man and his lusts one, is, the greedy hold the heart takes of them; the heart cleaves to them: Jer. viii. 5. “Why, then, is the people of Jerusalem Alidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hol fast deceit, they refuse to return.” But the bond is loosed by divine grace, and their liking is turned to loathing; though sin cleaves to them, they cleave not to it: Rom. vii. 21. 22. “ I find then a law, that when I would do good, evil is present with me.

For I delight in the law of God after the inward man.” In which case, it is not only put out of the life, but out of the heart.

[3.] In covenanting with God, the person resigns himself absolutely to the Lord, the hypocrite never without reserves. The fincere foul absolutely gives up itself, (1:) To the yoke of his commandments, Psal. cxix. 128. “Therefore, I efteem all thy commandments concerning all things to be right, and I hate every false way." But there is some one duty or other the hypocrite's heart cannot digest, as in Mark x. 21. (2.). The foul gives. up itself to the providential will of God, Luke xiv. 26. He is content to bear his cross, as well.


as to wear his crown; but there is always something in the cross to which the hypocrite cannot fubmit.

(4.) And lastly, A person may be in the exercise of religious duties, may be much enlarged and affected, and yet only a Christian in the letter, Heb. vi. 4. Many get a taste of gospel-benefits, who never digest them, this taste arising only from cominon operations of the Spirit on an unrenewed heart; and a person may, at a time, get another heart, who never gets a new heart. Thus it was with Saul, 1 Sam. X. 9.-As to this, I would obferve,

1. In the general, that a hypocrite may have a mighty enlargement in duties, and be much affeded in them. That there may be a great flir and motion among the affections, while the stony heart does yet remain, is plain from the case of the stony-ground hearers, Matth. xiii. 20. and the many instances of joys and forrows raised in unrenewed hearts by the word. Many lay a great deal of weight on this, that they are not always alike in duties : Sometimes they are bound up, sometimes enlarged; fometimes they drive heavily in them, sometimes they have a great deal of comfort and pleasure in them. But, do not such swallow down this as an evidence of the grace of God without examination ? To understand this, consider, that there is an enlargement in the exercise of a gift, as well as in the exercise of a grace; and the one may be mistaken - for the other, 2 Cor. ii. 13-15 Thus also God both enlarged and Atraitened king Saul in gifts : And as the gifts of others, well exercised in holy things, may greatly delight a man, as in Ezek. xxxiii. 32. “ And.lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one


As a

that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument;" so much more may the exercise of one's own gift with ease and readiness, delight the person's self-Confider also, that the power of a deluded fancy may produce this, as in the ftony-ground hearers, Matth. xiii. 20. man may have a great deal of pleasure in a dream, or in a misconception, fo a deceived heart may make a person feed very sweetly upon ashes, and never suspect that there is a lie in his right hand, H. xliv. 20. Do we not read of a fire of men's own kindling, which, though it may mightily comfort them for a time, yet ends in sore row and darkness, If. 1. 10.-Confider, in a word, that there are common influences of the Spirit which are not sanctifying, which may produce a mighty commotion among the affections, Heb. vi. 4.5.6. Even signal providences will have this effect on unrenewed hearts, whether they be in mercy. or in judgement: Pfal. Ixxxiii. 34. When he flew them, then they fought him; and they returned and inquired early after God." These things come like a summer-shower, which wets the surface of the earth, and makes every channel run for a while, but is quickly again dried up.-Now, the difference between the Christian in the fpirit, in his gracious enlargement in duties, and the Christian in the letter in his delufive enlargements in duty, may be seen in these two particulars.

(1.) Gracious enlargements tend always to the killing and mortifying of self, that grand competitor with Christ: 1 Chron. xxix. 14. “ But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort ? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.” The hypocrite's enlargements feed and nourish it, swelling the heart with pride and


« PreviousContinue »