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not dip his foot, if he go not over head and ears in it?
Every one at home and abroad, in city and country, in · palaces and cottages, is groaning under some one thing or other, ungrateful to him. Some are oppressed with poverty, some chastened with sickness and pain, some are lamenting their losses; none wants a cross of one sort or another No man's condition is so soft, but there is some thorn of uneasiness in it. And at length death, the wages of sin, comes after these its harbingers, and sweeps all away.
Now, what but sin has opened the sluice? There is not a complaint nor sigh heard in the world, nor a tear that falls from our eye, but it is an evidence that man is fallen as a star from heaven; for « God distributeth sorrow in his anger,” Job xxi. 17. This is a plain proof of the corruption of nature, forasmuch as those that have not yet actually sinned have their share of these sorrows; yea, and draw their first breath in the world weeping, as if they knew this world, at first sight, to be a Bochim, the place of weepers
There are graves of the smallest, as well as of the largest size, in the church-yard ; and there are never wanting some in the world, who, like Rachel, are weeping for their children, because they are not, Mat. ii. 18.
Secondly, Observe how early this corruption of nature begins to appear in young ones: Solomon observes, that su even a child is known by his doings," Prov. xx. ll. It may soon be discerned, what way the bias of the heart lies: Do not the children of fallen Adam, before they can go alone, follow their father's footsteps? What a vast deal of little pride, ambition, curiosity, vanity, wilsulness, and averseness to good, appears in them? And when they creep out of infancy, there is a necessity of using the rod of correction, to drive away the foolishness that is bound up in their hearts, Prov. xxii. 15. Which shews, that if grace prevail not, the child will be as Ishmael, a wild asgman, as the word is, Gen. xvi. - 13.
Thirdly, Take a view of the manifold gross out-breakings of sin in the world': The wickedness of man is yet Kreat in the earth. - Behold the bitter fruits of the corruption of our nature, Hos. iv. 2. " By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they
break outs (like the breaking forth of water,) and blood toucheth blood.” The world is filled with fiithiness, and all manner of lewdness, wickedness, and profanity. Whence is this deluge of sin on the earth, but from the breaking up of the fountains of the great deen, the heart of man ; out of which proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, Sc. Mark vii. 21. 22. Ye will, it may be, thank God with a whole heart, that ye are not like these other men, and indeed, ye have better reason for it than, I fear, ye are aware of; for, “ As, in water, face answereth to façe, so the heart of man to man," Prov. xxvii. 19. As in look ing into clear water, ye see your own face; so in looking into your own heart; ye may see other mens there looking into other mens, in them ye may see your own. $o that the most vile and prof.ne wretches that are in the world should serve you for a looking-glass; in which you ought to discern the corruption of your own nature; and if you
do so, ye would with a heart truly touched, thank God, and not yourselves, indeed, that ye are not as other men, in your lives; seeing the corruption of pature is the şame in you as in them,
Fourthly, Cast your eye upon these terrible convulsions the world is thrown into by the lust of men. Lions make not a prey of lions, nor wolves of wolves; but men are turned wolves to one another, biting and devouring one another. Upon how slight occasions will men sheath their swords in one another's bowels! The world is a wilderness where the clearest fire men can carry about with them will not fright away the wild beasts that inhabit it, and that because they are men, and not brutes) but one way or other they will be wounded. Since Can shed the blood of Abel, the earth has been turned into a slaughter-house ; and the chaçe has been, continued since Nimrod began his hunting ; on thc earth, as in the sea, the greater still devouring the lesser. When we see the world in such a ferment, every one stabbing another with words or swords, we may conclude there is an evil spirit among them. These violent heats anong Adam's sons speak the whole body to be distenipered; the whole head to be sick, and the whole heart fint. They surely proceed from an inward cause, James vi. I.
Lusts that war in our members.
Fifthly, Consider the necessity of human laws, fenced with terrors and severities; to which we may apply what the apostle says, 1 Tim, i, 9. “That the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners,” &c.: Man was made for society; and God himself said of the first man, when he had created him, that it was not meet that he should be alone : Yet the case is such now, that, in society, he must be hedged in with thorns. And that, from hence we may the better see the corruption of man's nature, consider,(1.) Every man naturally loves to be at full liberty himself; to have his own will for his law; and, if he would follow his natural inclinations, would yote himselfout of the reach of all · laws, divine and human. s And hence some (the power of whose hands has been answerable to their natural inclination) have indeed made themselves absolute, and above laws; agreeable to man's monstrous design at first, to be as gods, Gen, iii. 5. Yet, (2.) There is no man that would willingly adventure to live in a lawless society: And, therefore, even piratcs and robbers have laws among themselves, though the whole society. cast off all respect to law and right. Thus men discover themselves to be conscious of the corruption of nature; not daring to trust one another, but upon security. (3.) How dangerous soever it is to break through the hedge; yet, the violence of lust makes many adventure daily to run the risk. They will not only sacrifice their credit and conscience, which last is highly esteemed in the world ; but, for the pleasure of a few moments, immediately succeeded with terror from within, they will lay themselves open to a violent death, by the laws of the land wherein they live. (4.) The laws are often made to yield to men's lusts. Sometimes whole societies run into such extravagancies, that, like a company of prisoners, they break off their fetters, and put their guards to flight; and the voice of laws cannot be heard for the noise of arms. And, seldom is there a time wherein there are not some persons so great and daring, that the laws daré not look their impetuous justs in the face ; which made David
say, in the case of Joab, who had murdered Abner, These men, the sons of Zeruiah, be too hard for me," 2 Sam. iii. 39. Lusts sometimes grow too strong for laws, so that the law is slacked, as the pulse of a dying man Hab. i. 3, 4, (5.) Consider what necessity often appears of amending old laws, and making new onesz which have their rise from new.crimes that man's nature is very fruitful of. There would be no need of mending the hedge, if men were not like unruly beasts, still breaking it down. It is astonishing to see what figure the Israelites, who were se parated unto God, from among all the nations of the earth, do make in their history, what horrible confusions were among them, when there was no king in Israel, as you may see, Judges xviii. xix. XX. xxii How hard it was to reform them, when they had the best of magistrates; and how quickly they turned aside again, when they got wicked rulers. I cannot but think, that one grand design of that sacred history was to discover the corruption of man's nature, the absolute need of the Messiah, and his grace ; And that we ought, in the reading of it, to improve it te that end. How cutting is that word the Lord has to Sao muel, concerning Saul, 1 Sam. ix. 17. The same shall reign over (or, as the word is, shall restrain) my people. 0 the corruption of man's nature ! the awe and dread of the God of heaven restrains them not; but they must have gods on the earth to do it, to put them to shame, Judges xviii. 7.
Sixthly, Consider the remains of that natural corruption in the saints. Though grace has entered, yet corruption is not quite expelled: Though they have got the new creature, yet much of the old corrupt nature remains: And these struggle together within them, as the twins in Res bekah's womb, Gal. y. 17. They find it present with them at all times, and in all places, even in the most retired corners. If a man have an ill neighbour, he may remove: If he have an ill servant, he may put him away at the term: If a bad yoke-fellow, he may sometimes leave the house, and be free of molestation that way.' But should the saint go into a wilderness, or set up his tent in some remote rock in the sea, where never foot of man, beasty or fowl, had touched, there will it be with him. Should he be, with Paul, caught up to the third heavens, it shall come back with him, 2 Cor. xii. 7. It follows him as the shadow doth the body: It makes a blot in the fairest line he can draw. It is like the fig tree in the wall, which, hown nearly soever it was cut, yet still grew till the wall was thrown down: For the roots of it are fixed in the heart while the saint is in the world, as with bands of iron and brass. It is espocially active when he would do good; Rom. xii. 21. then the fowls come down upon the carcase's. Hence, often, in holy duties the spirit even of a saint, as it were, evaporates, and he is left, ere he is aware, like Michal, with an image in the bed, instead of an husband. I need not stand to prove the remains of the corruption of nature in the godly, to themselves, for they groan under it; and to prove it to them, were to hold out a candle to let men-sce the sun: And as for the wicked they are ready to account mole-hills in the saint, as big as mountains ; if not to reckon them all hypocrites. But consider these few things on this head :-(1.) If it be thus in the green tree, how must it be in the dry? The saints are not born saints, but made so by the power of regenerating grace. Have they got a new naturezand yet so much of the old remains with them? How great niust that corruption be in others, where it is altogether usmixed with grace? (2.) The saints groan under the remains of it, as a heavy burden. : Hear the apostle, Rom. vii. 24. * O wretched man that I am! -Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?". What though the 'carnal man lives at lease and quiet, and the corruption of nature is not his buiten, is he therefore free from it? No, no: Only he is dead, and feels not the sink ing weight. Many a groan is heard from a sick-bed, but never one from a grave. In the saint, as in the sick man, there is a mighty struggle life and death striving for the mastery: But in the natural man, as in the dead corpse, there is no noise; because deatly bears full sway. (3.) The godly man resists the old corrupt nature; he strives tomortify its get it remains : He endeavours to starve it, and by that means toweaken (it, yet it is active : How must it spread then, and strengthen itself in that soul, where it is not starved butifed? And this is the case of all unregenerate, who make provision for the flesh; to fulfil the lust: thereof. If the garden of the diligent afford him new work daily, in cutting off and rooting up; surely that of the shuggard must needs be all grown cover with thorns. p. Lastly, I shall add but one observe more, and that is That in every man naturally the image of fallen Adam does rappear. Some children, by their features and linaments of their face, do, as it were, father themselves. And thus