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thy heart; alas, poor soul, thou hast cause to bewail it, and be afraid of it; and if conviction open thee a window to look into it, thou shalt see a monstrous, dreadful sight, that will make thee out of love with thyself, and cause thy heart to ache, if it do not break, with godly sorrow. As for the children of God whom wicked men condemn, for making so great a show, I shall say but this, that it is the most unreasonable uncharitableness in the world, to judge contrary to what we see; yea, it is a blasphemous assuming to a man's self the property of God's omniscience, to pretend to search the heart, and to say, the thoughts of the heart are opposite to the professions of the lips, and practices of the life. The Lord rebuke such railing Rabshakehs, as condemn all the generation of God's children, and that because of their holy, world-condemning conversation. These moles cannot endure the light of saints' paths; hence they say, “ I warrant you, these precise walkers are no better than their neighbours; if the truth were known, they are a company of dissemblers, and are rotten at the heart; Pharisee-like, they make clean the outside of the cup, and condemn others as profane;" and then they bind it with an oath that they are as bad as themselves! And if a professor slip into an open sin, then they are confirmed in their censures, and conclude, “they are all alike-a pack of dissemblers !” And now the holiest saint (that hates sin, and mourns for it as his greatest burden) shall have his brother's miscarriage dashed in his teeth for ever. But if a man might argue with these sottish, yet censorious souls, in a rational way, what could they answer? Are not they themselves worse than the loosest professors, and how far short do they fall of closewalking Christians ? Should all be condemned for the sake of one ? and should we not judge according to what we see, or can attain to the knowledge of ? Is not the tree known to us by its fruits, and not by its roots, which are invisible to us? Lord, set these vain boasters a work in searching their own hearts, and examining their “ownselves, whether Christ be within them,” as Paul directs the Corinthians in this very case,* and this will cure their censorious spirits, and find them work enough to do at home; for as the eye that looks most abroad sees least within, so the most uncharitable censurers are the most empty, unprofitable professors : whereas a Christian that hath most grace himself, judgeth best of others; and observe it, they that groundlessly judge others to be worse than · they see apparent cause, will be judged by others in like manner in this world, and are in danger of a sad and just censure and sentence at the dreadful day of judgment. “What then is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul ?”
III. Another sort to be reproved are, impious offenders, impenitent sinners, that verify the latter part of the text, and run a course directly contrary to the good man:-“An evil man, out of the evil treasure of his heart, bringeth forth evil things.” How should it be otherwise ? Men must needs act as they are. It was a proverb of the ancients, “Wickedness proceedeth from the wicked," 1 Sam. xxiv. 13. Such as the fountain is, such must needs be the streams; the fruit is answerable to the nature of the root and tree: the working forge of men's wicked hearts doth sparkle forth suitable imaginations. || Why are men so wicked in their lives? It is because they have more naughty hearts; for the cause hath more in it than the effects.
* 2 Cor. xiii. 5. + Matt. vii. 1, 2.
Job xxvii. 8. || James iii. 10, 11. Gen vi. 5. VOL. II.
Oh, how many vassals of Satan and vessels of sin are replenishing and preparing for wrath! For as a good man's treasure prepares him to do the more good, so too many are filling their souls with guilt, and harden their hearts by custom in sin, that they may be vile with less remorse, and swallow down iniquity as the fish drinks in water ; they cauterize their consciences, and twist a strong cord of customary sinning, that they may draw iniquity with cart-ropes, and do evil with both hands earnestly, so that their hearts may not smite them with a sense of remorse. As the scholar that Dr. Preston speaks of, who had committed such a scandalous sin, that he could not rest by reason of terrors of conscience, the devil having instigated him to commit that sin again, in order to obtain quiet; he did so, and afterwards could sin without remorse: just so do many persons, who have imprinted an impudence on their foreheads by constant sinning, so that at last they are
past feeling, having given themselves over to all lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness," Eph.iv.19.* The word “past feeling,” imports remorselessness, senselessness, like that of a member benumbed, seared ; and this comes with custom in sinning, according to that—Consuetudo peccandi tollit sensum peccati : that is, the custom of sinning takes away the sense of sin. We are apt to wonder at the horrid abominations that break out, but if we do consider the prodigious wickedness of an atheistical heart, we may rather wonder that there is no more profaneness in the world. If the tongue be a world of iniquity,f how many worlds of wickedness are there in a wicked heart? The thousandth part of corruption breaks not out, of
Απηλγηκότες μηκέτι θέλοντες πονείν, qui non amplius laborare volunt aut possunt.--Vidc Hein. Excercit. in loc.
of James iii. 6.
that which is within. Surely, did not God set bounds to men's raging lusts, the world would not be habitable for the saints: God restrains that wrath which will not turn to his praise, and saints' advantage; and when wicked men have belched out as much rage as they can, there is a remnant yet behind. We are fallen into the dregs of time, and iniquity doth abound; there is a world of atheism, pride, uncleanness, swearing, drunkenness, gluttony, blasphemy, Sabbath-breaking, contempt and scorning of religion; men break out, and blood toucheth blood : but were there a casement or perspective whereby a man might look into a carnal heart, O what a filthy sink of unheard-of sin, and full nest of odious vipers, might he behold! certainly it would be the dreadfullest sight in the world, far worse than to see the devil in the ugliest hue. We may stand wondering at the fathomless, bottomless depth of wickedness in the heart of man; “it is," saith Luther, “the treasure of evils, the fountain of poison, the head and original of all iniquity.”+ Every man hath that in his heart which he cannot believe is in him, but yet may and will break out in its season, upon occasion, as in the known instance of Hazael. The truth is, the seed and spawn of all heresies, impieties, and blasphemies, are in our nature. The Rev. Mr. Greenham saith, “That if all errors and the memorials of them were annihilated, by the absolute power of God, so that there should not the least remembrance of them remain, yet there is enough in the heart of one man to revive them all again the next day;" and I may add also, as to profane practices : so that the wickedness that is in the world doth not proceed from
* Psalm lxxvi. 10. + Cor est thesaurus malorum, fons venenorum, caput et origo omnis iniquitatis.-Luth. tom. 4. fol. 335. # 2 Kings viii. 13.
imitation of Adam's first sin, (as Pelagians dream,) at least not from thence only, but also and chiefly from the propagation of original corruption to all his posterity; for there is an habitual pravity entailed upon us and transmitted to us from our first parents, which hath its regency in the heart, and activity in the life. The fifth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans will stand firm against all Pelagian and Socinian adversaries, proving that both Adam and Christ our second Adam, do communicate to their seed that which is their own, both by imputation and propagation; only the first Adam distributes impurity, guilt, and death; the second gives grace, righteousness, and eternal life.* It will remain as an undoubted maxim and sad experience, that there is an habitual depravation and deviation of our whole nature from the law of God; so that there is a universal corruption of the whole man-understanding, conscience, will, affections, and all the members of the body. Now this propagation, Divines commonly say, is two ways :
1. By divine appointment and designation, that whatsoever Adam received or lost should be not only for himself but for his posterity, being a public person; so God leaves the soul in respect of his image, and hence follows defect of original righteousness: this he doth not as author of sin, but as a righteous Judge.
2. By natural generation. As sweet oil poured into a fusty vessel loseth its pureness, being infected by the vessel, so the soul created good, and put into the corrupt body, receives contagion thence. This putting
Vide Calvin Instit. lib. 2. cap. 8. sect. 5, &c. See M. Perk. Exp. on Creed, fol. 162. Adamus fuit humanæ naturæ non modo progenitor, sed radix, ideo in illius corruptione merito vitiatum fuit hominum genus.—Calvin ubi supra. Conferas hac de re Baron. de orig. Anim. Excer. 2. Art. 6, 7, 8. p. 91–104.