« ÖncekiDevam »
murders, adulteries,” &c. “ these are they which defile the man," because they come from his heart from within. If a man go by a house, and seeing great flakes of fire come out of the chimney, though he see not the fire within, yet he cannot know but there is fire within, because he seeth the flakes without. I am not able to see the heart of any man, and to declare to you what I have seen with mine eyes; but yet if I see such to come forth, as murder, thefts, blasphemies, lying, and the like, I may say there is hell-fire in the heart; thy heart is a little hell within thee, these manifestations from without make it appear to be so. The words of this man are rotten words and stinking words, and his heart is much more. So, this is the point, we are utterly indisposed, aliens to all good, and bent to all evil. “ I am carnal,” saith the apostle, “ we are sold under sin," slaves unto it; sin is our Lord, and we its slaves. We have generally forfeited our happy estate, and are servants to Satan, whom we obey. Therefore this is a thing not easily to be passed over; this is our condition, of which if we were once truly persuaded, we would never give ourselves any rest, till we were got out of it.
If the party that goes to the physician, could but know his disease and cause the physician to know it, and the causes of it, whether it came from a hot cause or a cold, it were easily cured, it were as good as half done: that is the chief reason why so many miscarry, because their disease is not perfectly known. That is the reason that we are no better, because we know not how bad we are. If we did once know our disease, and knew ourselves to be heart sick, and not like the Laodiceans, “which thought themselves rich and wanted nothing, when they were poor, blind and naked," then we would seek out, and were in the way to be cured. So much for this time, but we will have another lecture on this point.
GAL. CHAP. III. VER. 22.
“But the Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of
Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe."
You see in this excellent portion of Scripture, the two covenants of Almighty God: to wit the covenant of nature, and the covenant of grace. The first of nature,
“ written by God in man's heart," and this is the holy law of God, by virtue whereof a man was to continue in that integrity, holiness and uprightness, in which God had first created him, and to serve God according to that strength he first enabled him with, that so he might live thereby.
But now, when man had broken this covenant, and entered into a state of rebellion against God, he is shut up in misery, but not in misery for ever, as the angels that fell were, being “reserveda in chains till the judgment of the great day.” No, the Lord hath shut him up in prison, only for a while, that so he may the better make a way for their escape and deliverance, and for their entrance into the second covenant of grace : that so making him see his own misery, wherein by nature he is, and cutting him off from his own stock, he may be ingrafted in Christ, draw sap and sweetness from him, and bring forth fruits to everlasting life. And this is the method the Scripture useth : “Itconcludes all under sin, that so the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe." It is no new doctrine devised by us,
a Jude, ver. 6.
Gal. chap. 3. ver. 22.
but it is the course and method of the Scripture: for it begins in this great work with imprisoning and shutting
The law is as a justice of peace, by his mittimus commands us to prison. It is a serjeant that arrests a man, and carries him to the gaol. But why do the Scriptures do thus? It is not to destroy you with famine; the law sends you not hither to starve you, or to kill you with the stench of the prison, but thereby to save and preserve you alive, and that you may hunger and thirst after deliverance. So that we find the reason added in the text, “ The Scripture concludes all under sin," why? It is that “the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.” You are shut up as prisoners and rebels, that having found the smart of it, seen your misery, and learned what it is to be at enmity with God, and the folly to make yourselves wiser and stronger than God, you may submit yourselves, casting down your plumes, and desire after Christ with an hungry and thirsty appetite, for not only a priest to sacrifice himself for you, and a prophet to teach and instruct you, but a king to be swayed by him, earnestly craving from your soul to be his subjects, and to be admitted into the privilege of his subjects in the commonwealth of Israel, and esteem it your greatest shame that ye have been aliens so long, so long excluded. “The Scripture then concluded you under sin," and shut up by it, not to bring you to despair, but to bring you to salvation: as a physician, which gives his patient bitter pills, not to make him sick, but that so he may restore him to health : or as a chirurgeon, that lays sharp drawing plasters, and cuts the flesh, not with an intent to hurt, but to cure the wound.
This is the Scripture's method: “It concludes all under sin, ovvéK.ELOEV, hath shut up all.” The text saith not τους πάντας, but τα πάντα, not all men in the masculine gender, but all things in the neuter. And it is all one, as if the apostle hath said, “The Scripture arrests not only thy person but thine actions :" the Scripture lays hold not only of the man, but of every thing in him. This word all is a forcible word, and empties us clean of every thing, that we may truly confess with the apostle, “In me, that is, in my flesh dwells no good thing." It is impossible a man should by nature think thus of himself, that there is no good in him; or that he should by asking others find himself half so bad, as the law makes him to be, by shutting up a man under sin, and all things in a man, yea all good whatsoever is in thee.
And this it doth “ that thou mayest come to Christ:” as it is enlarged in the second verses following: “Before faith came," saith the apostle, “ we were kept up under the law, shut up unto the faith, which should afterwards be revealed: wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” Before the time then that thou hast faith, (which is “ the day wherein salvation comes to thine house) thou art kept under the law.” Thou art not assured of salvation, nor canst thou expect, till then, that God should shew thee mercy. We have a conceit, that though we are never transplanted, nor cut off from our own stock, yet God will shew us mercy: but we shall beguile ourselves to hell therein; for “we are kept under the law till faith comes,” that so we may know ourselves. “ We are kept," &c. kept, it is a metaphor drawn from military affairs, when men are kept by a garrison, and kept in order. Now the law is God's garrison, which keeps men in good awe, and order. The law doth this, not to terrify you too much, or to break your minds with despair, but to fit you for the faith: it is a “shutting up, till that faith comes, which should afterward be revealed." He is a miserable preacher which ends with preaching of the law; the law is for another, it is to fit us for faith. " It is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.” We thunder not the law, to make men run away from God, but to bring them home unto him. The schoolmaster by the smart of his rod makes the child weary of his bondage, and desire earnestly to be past his nonage, and this is his end, not that he delights to hear him cry. Thus are we beaten by the
• Rom, chap. 7. ver. 18.
law, not that God delights or loves to hear us sigh or sob, but that we may grow weary of our misery and cruel bondage, may desire to be justified by faith. The law then “is so a schoolmaster,” as that by making us smart, it might bring us home. We see then the course and method of the Scripture, it "hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe."
Now because men like not this kind of doctrine, to begin with preaching of the law, and therefore think there may be a shorter and nearer way to preach Christ first, I will therefore make known unto you this method of the Scripture, and I will justify it unto you.
There must be this preparative, else the Gospel will come unseasonably. If, before we are soured by the leaven of the law, Christ be preached, he will be but unsavoury and unpleasant to us.
1. Does God at the first preaching of the Gospel begin with Adam by preaching Christ, before he saw his sin and wickedness ? No, he said not to him presently, as soon as he had sinned, Well, Adam, thou hast sinned, and broken my covenant, yet there is another covenant, thou shalt be saved by one that comes out of thy loins : but God first summons him to appear, he brings him out of his shelters and hiding places, tells him of his sin, and saith, “ Hast thou eaten of the tree which I forbad thee to eat of?” But the man shifts it off, and the woman also to the serpent: “ The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” Yet all this will not excuse him, God's judgments are declared, his sin is made apparent, he sees it: then being thus humbled, comes in the promise of the Gospel, “ The seed of the woman shall break the serpent's head. Be ye open then ye everlasting doors, and the king of glory shall come in.”
2. John the Baptist, who was the harbinger to prepare the way for Christ, preaching to the Scribes and Pharisees, warned them, “O generation of vipers.” He came “ to throw down every high hill, and to beat down every