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is sin : and there is a sin not unto death. We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; that is, not unto death.
Q. 9. Doth not God himself testify concerning Job, that he was a perfect man? Job i. 8, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him upon the earth, a perfect man? Doch not Hezekiah also plead his perfection with the Lord when he was sick? 2 King's xx. 3, Remember now how I have walked before thee with a perfect heart. And doth not Paul also assert himself, and other Christians, to be perfect ? Philip. iii. 15, Let us, therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded. And how then is perfection unattainable, by the saints in this life?:
A. 1. This perfection, which is ascribed unto the saints in the scripture, is not to be understood of absolute perfection and freedom from all sin, for the reasons already given, which prove the contrary; but it is to be understood of sincerity, which is evangelical perfection, or at the furthest of comparative perfection, not an absolute perfection. 2. Thus we are to understand the perfection which God testifieth of Job: Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect man? that is, so perfect as he is, a perfect and upright man. His perfection did consist in his uprightness and sincerity; and that Job was not absolutely per. fect doth appear from his sin a little after, in his cursing his birth-day. Job iii. 3, Let the day perish wherein I was born. And after he is charged with sin. - Job xxxiv. 37, He multiplieth his words against God. 3. So also Hezekiah's perfection, which he pleadeth, was no more than his sincerity. Remember I have walked before thee in truth, and with a perfect heart. And the scripture doth note his sin a little after, which is a clear evidence that he was not absolutely perfect. 2 Chron. xxxii. 25, But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the bene. fit done unto him ; for his heart was lifted up: therefore wrath was upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem. 4. In the same place where the apostle Paul doth assert himself, and other Christians, to be perfect he doth acknowledge that he was not perfect. Philip. iii, 12, 13, Not as though I had already attained, either were alrea. dy perfect; but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended, &c. Therefore the perfection which he had attained, which he speaketh of, verse 15, is to be understood of evangel. ical perfection ; the perfection which he had not attained, is to be understood of absolute perfection. It is evident therefore, that no saints do attain absolute perfection in this life; and such as do pretend unto it, it is through their ignorance of themselves and of God, and the extent of God's law.
Q. 10. Do all the children of men, and the saints them. selves, break the commandments of God in this life? · A. The saints themselves, and much more such as are no saints, do daily break the commandments of God in thought, word, and deed. Gen. viii. 21, Tie imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth. James iii, 8, The tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. John iii. 19, Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
Q. 11. Are all thoughts of sin breaches of God's com mandments, when they are without evil words or actions?
A. All thoughts of sin are breaches of God's commandments, without evil words or actions, when they are accompanied with evil inclinations, desires, and af. fections. Matth. v. 28, Whosoever looketh upon a woo, man to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. Matth. xv. 19, Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies,
Q. 12. May not the saints in this life be kept from sinful thoughts, words, and actions ?
A. 1. The saints in this life cannot be wholly free from all sinful thoughts, words, and actions, because all, even the best of saints, through remaining corruption, are subject to daily infirmities and defects. 2. The saints in this life may be kept from all gross sins of thoughts, words, and deeds, and they are kept from the reigning power of any sin.
Q. 1S. How are the saints kept from gross sins, and the reigning power of any sin ?
A. The saints are kept froin gross sins, and the reigning power of any sin, 1. By the reign of Christ in their hearts. 2. The mortification of sin in the root of it. through the Spirit. 3. By watchfulness against sin in the thoughts. 4. By avoiding occasion of sin, and resisting temptations unto it.
Q. 83. Are all transgressions of the law. equally heinous ?
A. Some sins in them „lves, and by reason of several aggravations, are more heinous in the sight of God than others.
Q. 1. What is it for sin to be heinous ? : A. Sins are heinous, as they are grievous and offensive unto God.
Q. %. Are not all sins heinous unto God? :.
A. All sins are heinous unto God, but all sins are not equally heinous ; for some sins are more heinous in the siglit of God than others. .Q. 3. How many ways are some sins more heinous in the sight of God than others ?
A. Two ways. 1. Some sins are more heinous in themselves. 2. Some sins are more heinous than others, in regard of their several aggravations.
Q. 4. What sins are more heinous in themselves than others?
A. 1. Sins against the first table of the law, are more heinous than sins against the second table of the law : thus idolatry is more heinous than adultery, sacrilege is more heinous than theft, blasphemy against God is more heinous than speaking evil of our neighbour; and so proportionably the highest sin committed against God more immediately, is more heinous than the highest sin commited more immediately against man; and the lowest sin commisted immediately against God, is more heinous than the lowest sin committed against man. 1 Sam. ii. 25, If one man sin against another, the judge
shall judge him : but if a man sin against the Lord, who . shall entreat for him? 2. Some sins against the second table of the law are more heinous in themselves, than others against the same second table; as murder is more heinous than adultery, adultery is more heinous than theft, theft is more heinous than coveting thy neighbour's house; and here now may be added, that the same sins of any kind, ripened into actions, are more heinous in themselves, than those sins in the thoughts only and inclinations. This is evident from the greater displeasure which God doth express in scripture for some sins than for others, against the second table of the law; and for sinful works than for sinful thought. 3. Sins against the gospel are more beinous of themselves than sins against the Jaw; sins against the gospel being committed against the greatest light that ever did shine upon men, and the greatest love and grace of God that ever was shown unto men, and therefore the punishment of gospel-sinners will be greater than the punishment of the most notoriously wicked heathens. Matth. xi. 20—24, Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty work. were done, because they repented not. Wo unto thee, Chorazin! wo unto thee, Bethsaida! it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judg. ment, than for you. And thou Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell : it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for thee.
Q. 5. What are the aggravations which render some sins more heinous than others ?
A. The aggravations which render some sins more heinous than others, are the circumstances which do at. tend them.
Q. 6. What is the first aggravation of sin ?
A. The first aggravation of sin is from the persons offending : thus the sins of magistrates, ministers, parents, the aged, and all governors, are more heinous in the same kind than the same sins of subjects, people, children, the younger, and those who are under government, because of the ill example and ill influence of the sins of the one beyond the other. 1 Kings xiv. 16, And
he shall give Israel up, because of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin, Micah iii. 5, The prophets make my people to err. Thus the sins also of professors, and God's people, are more heinous than the sins of the wicked and ungodly in the same kind, because the name of God is hereby more blasphemeủ, and the wicked are liereby more hardened in their sins. · Rom. ii. 23, 24, Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles, through you.,
Q.7. What is the second aggravation of sin ?
A. The second aggravation of sin, is from the place: thus sins committed in a land of light, are more heinous than the same sins committed in a place of darkness. Isaiah xxvi. 10, In the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord.
Thus sins committed in a place of great deliverance and mercies, are more heinous than the same sins committed in another place, Psalm cvi. 7, They remembered not the multitude of his mercies, but provoked him'at the sea, even the red sea. Thus also sins committed in a public place, whereby others may be enticed and defiled, are more heinous than the same sins committed in. secret places. 2 Sam. xvi. 22, They spread Absalom a tent upon the top of the house ; and Absalom went in unto his father's concubines, in the sight of all Israel.
Q. 8. What is the third aggravation of siu ?
A. The third aggrayation of sin is from the time : thus sins committed on the Sabbath-day, are more hei. nous than the same sins committed on the week day. Drunkenness or adultery is heinous and abominable on any day in the sight of God; but drunkenness or acultery, or any other such sins, are more heinous before God on the Sabbath-day. . Thus sins committed in, or after the time of trouble and affliction, are more heinous than the same sins committed at another time. 2 Chron. xxviii. 22, In the time of his distress did he trespass yet more against the Lord : this is that king Ahaz. Isaiah i. 5, Why should ye be stricken any more? ye will revolt more and more. Thus sins com initted after re