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A Practical Exposition Upon The Fifty-Third Chapter Of Isaiah.


by Thomas Manton


THE SIXTH VERSE.

All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way;
and the Lord hath laid upon him the iniquities of us all.

IN this verse we have two things which ought to be matter of continual
meditation to us all our days, to wit, our misery by sin, and our remedy by
Christ.

1. Our misery in the former clause; where

[1.] Our sin is charged upon us collectively in common: we have all gone astray.

[2.] Distributively: every one to his own way. We all agree in turning aside
from the right way of pleasing and enjoying of God; and we disagree, as each one
hath a by-path of his own, some running after this lust, some after that, and so
are not only divided from God, but divided from one another, while every one
maketh his will his law. Velle suum cuique est, nec voto vivitur uno: several
desires breed difference.

2. The remedy provided against this misery: and the Lord hath laid upon him the
iniquities of us all. The burden of sin, that would otherwise have ruined us, is
cast upon Christ. The sheep wander and the shepherd is slain. He is the good
shepherd that layeth down his life for the sheep. David saith, 2 Sam. 24:17,
'These sheep, what have they done?' David was more tender of his people than of
himself, yet David was guilty. But here it is otherwise, for our iniquities were
laid upon Christ. Here we may observe:

[1] The author of this benefit, or who it was that provided this remedy for us:
the Lord.

[2.] The nature of the benefit: he laid our iniquities on him; that is, on
Christ.

[3.] The persons concerned: the iniquities of us all; all those that are at
length gained to believe in him, and return to him, as the bishop and shepherd
of their souls.

First, I begin with the misery or the woeful case wherein all those for whom
Christ died were in before conversion.

1. They wandered in their ignorance and sinful ways to their own destruction,
set forth by the going astray of sheep: 'All we, like sheep, are gone astray.'
It is a usual similitude, which is not put here by way of extenuation, as in
some scriptures, as 'I send you forth as sheep among wolves;' but in a way of
aggravation, not to extenuate the sin, but to set it out the more. It is to show
the folly of man. Sheep, of all creatures, are most apt to stray without a
shepherd. They are apt either to be driven out of the fold as a dog or wolf
scattereth the sheep, or to wander of their own accord, a fit emblem of our
folly, who love to depart from God, and go astray from the way of life Rom.

3:12, 'They are all gone out of the way;' that is, the way to true happiness.

2. They were unable to bring themselves into the right way: Luke 15:18, 'I will
arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against
heaven, and before thee: St Austin saith, Domine, errare per me potui, redire
non potuiLord, I could go astray of my own accord, but could not return by
myself.

3. In hazard to be preyed upon by the roaring lion, and the dogs and wolves that
are abroad: 1 Peter 5:8, 'Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the
devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour.' Our misery
is mentioned to show the necessity of a Saviour; and this misery is made to
consist in sin or straying from God; the sense of which is our first motive to
make us look after Christ, that we by him may return again to our own happiness,
even to God, who is the refuge of our souls, and the centre of our rest. But let
us more nearly observe how our misery is described. And first of the universal
particle, all we; and then of the distributive particle, every one.

First, From the universal particle all, we may observe:

Doct. 1. That no son of Adam can exempt himself from the number of those that
are gone astray from God and the way of true happin

First, All are sinners by nature. There are three branches of original sin:

1. The communication of Adam's guilt.

2. The want of original righteousness.

3. The corruption or pollution of nature. These are derived from Adam to all his
children, and in respect of these they are all out of the way.

1. Because the guilt of Adam's sin is imputed to us; his guilt we receive as
children do the brand of their ancestors, that are tainted in blood and
forfeited in law. Look, as Reuben's act in defiling his father's bed was a stain
to all, his posterity, and they lost the sovereignty by it, Gen. 49:4, so all
mankind, being in Adam, as they descended from him, and were in him as in a
common person, they sinned in him, so that what Adam did we did. Thus it is
said, Heb. 7:9, 'Levi, who received tithes, paid tithes in Abraham.' There is
ground you see in nature for the imputation of the father's deed to those that
descend of him: and God may as justly impute to us Adam's sin as to Levi
Abraham's paying of tithes. When Abraham did it, it was as if Levi did it; and
when Adam sinned, it was as if you sinned. We were all in his loins at that
time; and, if it had been our personal case, we should have done so. Now this
answer may satisfy as to the angels, that do not beget one another, and,
therefore, sustain not the person of one another;their sins do not take hold of
one another; they, being all immediately begotten by God, are not guilty of each
others' sins, unless it be by consent and mutual agreement; therefore, those
only fell that combined to follow one as the ringleader of the faction. Hence it
is said, Mat. 25:41, 'The devil and his angels;' not as if begotten by him, but
adhering to him. But to return, in pursuance of the former matter, note, the
scripture looketh upon parents as sustaining a common person, and, therefore,
what injury is done to the father, is spoken of as done to his seed; and many
families suffer for the miscarriages of their progenitors: Gen. 4:10, 'Thy
brother's blood crieth unto me:' thou hast shed the blood of his offspring in
spilling his, and, therefore, it is bloods, in the plural number. And so for
Jacob and Esau, God elected them as sustaining the common persons of their
posterity, and so likewise in many places. Now this holdeth good in man's
justice, for treason in the father taints the blood of the son.

2. The want of original righteousness, which cometh upon us thus. As poor and
ignoble parents convey their poverty and want to their children, and none can
give what he hath not. A bankrupt father must needs leave his family poor; so
Adam, having lost his righteousness, he could not bequeath it as a legacy to his
children.

3. As to the corruption and pollution of nature, that is conveyed as a leprosy
is propagated to the children of lepers: 2 Kings 5:27, 'The leprosy of Naaman
shall cleave unto thee and to thy seed for ever;' so that every child born of
that line was born a leper. Thus men beget children like themselves, corrupt and
sinful; the copy answereth the originalthe blood resembleth the kind. Of vipers
there cometh nothing but vipers, and sinners produce sinners after their kind.
If the immediate parent be sanctified, yet, that being not natural, doth not
alter the case; from a circumcised father there doth not come a circumcised
child,threshed corn doth not produce threshed corn.

But let us consider these branches a little more particularly.

1. All men are sinners as they partake of Adam's guilt in being descended of
him. As they sprang from him, they were in him as in a common person, and sinned
in him; as Levi paid tithes in Abraham, as aforesaid, Heb. 7:9. To be sure, sin
and death came upon him and upon all: Rom. 5:12, 'Wherefore as by one man sin
entered into the world, and death by sin, so that death passed upon all men, for
that all have sinned.' If death, as is visible, then sin, even upon children:
ver. 14, 'Death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned
after the similitude of Adam's transgression.' Otherwise the apostle's reason
would not be good and cogent, and there would be a punishment without a guilt:
but ubi poena, ibi culpa (where there is punishment, there is guilt). Yea, Rom.,
5:19, 'For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the
obedience of one shall many be made righteous.' Made sinners is meant sense
forensi, in a law or court sense, by the imputation of Adam's guilt, as
appeareth by the opposition. In short, those things are said to be imputed to us
which are reckoned ours to all intents and purposes, as much as if they were our
own. As another man's debt, taken on upon my score and account, is really and
truly mine: so Adam's disobedience, and Christ's righteousness are imputed to
all those whom they represented.

2. They are sinners as they want original righteousness: Rom. 3:23, 'For all
have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.' By 'the glory of God' may be
meant his glorious recompenses, or his glorious image. The latter, questionless,
is meant: 1 Cor. 11:7, 'A man ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is
the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man.' See also 2 Cor.
3:18, 'But we all with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord,
are changed into the same image from glory to glory.' This necessarily maketh
them sinners: for the soul being destitute of a principle to incline it to God,
wholly accommodateth itself to the interests of the flesh, and is only employed
to cater for the body and the bodily life; for, though it be created by God, yet
being created destitute of grace and original righteousness, and put into the
body, it soon forgets its divine original, and that region of spirits from
whence it came, and conformeth itself to the body; as water put into a round or
square vessel, taketh form from the vessel into which it is put. The soul doth
only affect things present and known, having no other principle to guide it. Now
things present and known are the delights of the body and bodily life, such as
meat, drink, natural generation, sports, wealth, honour, and pomp of living. And
the soul is turned from the love and study of better things. That self-love that
carrieth us to these things is naturally good but morally evil, as it destroys
the love of God, and the care of pleasing and enjoying him. There is a
conversion from God to the creature, a falling off from our last end.
3. There is pollution or corruption of nature, the stock of sin which we have
inbred in us, consisting in a blind mind, perverse will, disorderly affections,
an unruly appetite, and evil inclinations to sensual things. This corruption is
often spoken of in scripture: Ps. 51:5, 'Behold I was shapen in iniquity, and in
sin did my mother conceive me;' John 3:6, 'That which is born of the flesh is
flesh.' We all partake of the same carnal nature, the dunghill of corruption,
which wreaketh out in the mind by vain thoughts, in the heart by carnal desires,
and constantly discovereth itself by a proneness to all evil: Gen. 6:5, the
imaginations and 'the thoughts of his heart are evil, and that continually.' An
aversion from and enmity to all that is good Rom. 8:7, 'The carnal mind is
enmity against God, and is not subject to the law, neither indeed can be.' Man,
in respect to that which is good, is described not only by terms that imply
weakness, but hostility and opposition, as unfit for every good work, and so
opposite to it Col. 1:21, 'Alienated and enemies in your minds by wicked works.'
If a man were indifferent to good and evil, a neuter and not a rebel, the case
were the less; but the bent of his heart is against it, as appeareth not only by
scripture but experience. There is a proneness, and a greater inclination to
evil than to good. Now, from whence should it come? Not by example, for then
this inclination would not discover itself so early, and children would be as
capable of good as evil. We catch a disease from the sick, but not health from
the sound. We find a manifest disproportion in all our faculties. In the
understanding, a sharpness of apprehension in carnal things, but a dulness and
slowness to conceive of what is spiritualthe will is backward and slow to what
is good, but there is a strong bent and urging in it to what is evil. We need a
bridle to curb and restrain us from evil, and a spur to excite and quicken us to
good. Evil things persevere and continue with us. Oh, but how fickle and
changeable are we in any holy matter! The memory is slippery in what is good,
firm and strong in what is evil, the affections quick, and easily stirred; like
fire in tinder, they catch presently what is evil, but are cold and dead, like
fire in wet or green wood, to anything that is good. The body is unwieldy for
any holy use, but ready to execute any carnal purpose. In short, there is the
seed of all actual transgressions before it break forth; so that we are gone
astray and out of the way indeed. This should be minded by us. Nothing inferreth
so much a contradiction to God as our being sinners by nature. This is a
standing enmity; actual sin is a blow and away, a fit of anger, this a state of
malice. Surely, we had need look to a redeemer and a change by regeneration,
that are so corrupt and fleshly in all the powers and faculties both of soul and
body. This secludeth us from any possibility of attaining heaven and true
happiness.

Secondly, All that come to the use of reason have actually sinned against God.
The bad: 1 Kings 8:46, 'For there is no man that sinneth not.' The good: Eccles.
7:20, 'For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not.'
Our nature, being unsubdued, discovereth itself in acts suitable: Gen. 8:21,
'For the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth, and that
continually.' Though there be mixtures and intermissions, and though this
corruption be in part broken, yet it is not wholly vanquished; as cloth dyed in
the wool doth not easily leave its first mixture. Principles in the best are
mixed, so are their operations, like fair water passing through a dirty sink.
Bonum non est nisi ex integro (the good are not so apart from their
innocence)not so purely good, as merely evil before. The best are either
overtaken, Gal. 6:1, or overborne, Rom. 7. The saints in heaven are called
'spirits made perfect,' Heb. 12:23. They sin no more; but here we come very
short of that exact obedience which the law requireth: Prov. 20:9, 'Who can say,
I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?' They have entered upon the
work of cleansing their hearts, but cannot get them quite clean, but still go on
with the work, and make use of the blood of Christ. Though none accuse them, yet
God and their own hearts may justly condemn them for many sinful swervings from
their duty.

Thirdly, This departing from God and his ways is fitly represented by the
straying of sheep: 'All we like sheep have gone astray.'

In the general it implieth:

1. That we are brutish in our sin and defection from God: it could not be
expressed but by a comparison fetched from the beasts; we were like sheep led
aside in a sensual way. Man aimed at being equal with God, and he was made
beneath himself: Ps. 49:12 'Nevertheless, man being in honour, abideth not; he
is like the beasts that perish.' He continued not in the honour of his creation,
and in that excellency and dignity wherein God had set him; but became like a
beast, governed by his senses and lower appetite. It is true of all men, they do
not continue in the excellency of their being, they have lost much of the
dignity of their reason, and are more led by sense, as the brute creatures are.

And therefore you have the saints often complaining: Ps. 73:22, 'So foolish was
I and ignorant, I was as a beast before thee.' I was as behemoth, a great beast.
Sometimes they have no command of their affections, but are merely led by the
unruliness of appetite or passions: so Prov. 30:2, 'I was more brutish than any
man;' that is, he was no more able to gain heavenly knowledge, whereby to be
wise for heaven and salvation, than brute creatures are able to wield man's
reason, whereby to apply themselves to the affairs of this life. Therefore man
is often compared to beasts for fierceness and cruelty, as the prophet calleth
the proud oppressors cows: Amos 4:3, 'And ye shall go out of the breaches, every
cow at that which is before her.' So for their rude wanton simplicity, they are
compared to 'a wild ass's colt,' Job 11:12. And here to a sheep in decay of
knowledge and government. In the general, then, it implieth something brutish in
us, and that through the fall we have slipped beneath the excellency of our rank
and being.

2. Proneness to err. No creature is more prone to wander and lose his way than a
sheep without a shepherd, which is easily seduced. So are we apt to transgress
the bounds whereby God hath hedged up our way: Jer. 14:10, 'Thus saith the Lord
unto this people, thus have they loved to wander.' They loved to try experiments
in a way of sin. Man indeed would fain transmit the fault from himself, as Adam
doth obliquely upon God: 'The woman which thou gavest me to be with me, she gave
me of the tree, and I did eat,' Gen. 3:12. It may not be the shepherd's fault if
the sheep wander, but their own nature, their aptness to wander. When we bring
ourselves into inconveniences, we are apt to murmur, and secretly to accuse God
in our thoughts, as if he did not sufficiently provide for us. Solomon saith,
Prov. 19:3, 'The foolishness of man perverteth his way, and his heart fretteth
against the Lord.' It is our own folly, and we blame our own fate, our evil
destiny, and those unlucky stars that shone at our birth; and in these things we
blame God himself. The saints themselves have been guilty of this evil, fretting
at God for what inconvenience comes to pass through their own sin and folly. 2
Sam. 6:8, it is said, 'David was displeased, because the Lord had made a breach
upon Uzzah.' He should have been displeased with himself and his own ignorance,
to order the ark to be carried upon a cart, when it should have been carried
upon the priests' shoulders. Thus, as sheep, it noteth to us self-abasement,
because of our own proneness we did it as sheep, and they are apt to wander.
3. Our inability to return, or to bring ourselves into the right way again. It
is like a sheep, not like a swine or a dog; these creatures will find the way
home again, but a sheep is irrecoverably lost without the shepherd's diligence
and care: Jer, 50:6, 'My people have been lost sheep, their shepherds have
caused them to go astray; they have turned them away on the mountains, they have
gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting-place.' The
farther they go the farther they will be from the flock, and in a very sad
condition. It holdeth good too here; for we do not know the way back again to
God. Austin saith, I could wander by myself, and could not return by myself. And
God saith as much, Hosea 13:9, 'O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me
is thy help.' That is done in a moment which we cannot help to all eternity. Our
destruction is from ourselves, but our reparation from God. The good shepherd
bringeth home the lost sheep upon his shoulders, Luke 15:5.

4. It noteth our readiness to follow evil example. A sheep is animal sequax,
they run one after another, and one straggler draweth away the whole flock: Eph.
2:2,3, 'Wherein in times past ye walked, according to the course of this world,
according to the prince of the power of the air, that now worketh in the
children of disobedience: among whom also we had our conversation in times past,
in the lust of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind,
and were by nature the children of wrath even as others.' There is Satan,
corrupt examples, and evil inclinations, the world and the flesh, all concurring
to ruin man. We easily swim with the stream and current of others' examples, and
do as they do; and even so men take and do a great deal of hurt by evil
examples. Thus sins are propagated, and we live by imitation; like sheep, we
draw others out of the pasture together with ourselves. Sheep go by troops, and
so do men follow the multitude to do evil; and what is common passeth into our
practice without observance.

5. The danger of straying sheep, which when out of the pasture, are often in
harm's way, and exposed to a thousand dangers: Jer. 50:6,7, 'My people have been
like lost sheep; all that have found them have devoured them.' So are we in
danger to be preyed upon by the roaring lion, and the dogs and wolves that are
abroad. In our sinful estate we are as sheep whom no man taketh up, being out of
God's protection, and so a ready prey for Satan. See how pathetically the
prophet describeth the misery of Israel: Hosea 4:16, 'Now the Lord will feed
them as a lamb in a large place.' Oh! consider what it is for a poor solitary
lamb to wander through the mountains, where, it may be, some hungry lion and
ravenous wolf looketh for such a prey. Even so it is with straying men, their
judgment sleepeth not; it may be the next hour they will be delivered over to
destruction Rom. 3:16, 'Destruction and misery is in their way, and the way of
peace they have not known.'

Use 1. Is to show us the necessity of a Redeemer. All are included under a
necessity of looking after a remedy; if all be sick, they must all seek to the
physician or perish. And therefore it concerneth every one to see what they have
done for the saving of their lost souls. 'All the world is become guilty before
God,' as the apostle saith Rom. 3:19. Guilty you are, but have you sued out your
discharge?' By nature you lost the glory of God, but are you changed into the
image and likeness of Christ from glory to glory? You were polluted in your
first birth, but are you born again of water and the Spirit? Are you saved by
being washed in the laver of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which
he hath shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour? You are sinners
by practice, but are you washed in the blood of the Lamb, and reconciled to God?
You have gone astray, but is the case altered with you? 1 Peter 2:25, 'For ye
were as sheep going astray, but are now returned unto the shepherd and bishop of
your souls.' Do you use Christ as a mediator to seek the favour of God by him?
Do you put yourselves into his hands as your Shepherd, and resign and give up
yourselves to be governed by him as your bishop and overseer? As the misery
involveth all, so doth the care and necessity of looking after a remedy concern
all. In the first Adam we contracted guilt, and became liable to the wrath of
God; in the second, we have righteousness, which is a pledge of God's favour. In
the first Adam we lost the image of God; by the second, we are made partakers of
the divine nature. In the first, we lost paradise; but by the second, are
restored to a better paradise, heaven itself.

But let us not reflect only upon this common necessity, but our own personal
necessity, what need we have to look after a Redeemer, and to get an interest in
him, and that his redeeming grace may become glorious in our eyes.
1. In your natural estate you were every one of you as lost sheep, fugitives,
and strangers, and enemies to him. Thy way was lost, thy God lost, thy happiness
lost, thy soul lost; so it was, for Christ 'came to seek and to save that which
was lost.' Then the devil was thy shepherd, then thou didst put thyself under
his conduct, and God was looked upon as thy enemy. Oh, think of it; at a day old
thou wert sinful, even to the death, and worthy of God's hatred: Col. 1:21, 'You
were sometimes alienated, and enemies in your minds by wicked works.' And his
wrath remaineth on you, till application be made of the blood of Christ upon
gospel terms: John 3:36, 'He that believeth not the Son, shall not see life, but
the wrath of God abideth on him.' These terms are repentance and turning to God.
Now dost thou believe that thou wert a child of wrath by nature, a fire-brand of
hell? and canst thou be secure, and desirest thou not to be freed from so great
a danger?

2. In practice. How didst thou wander and depart from God throughout the whole
course of thy life? The stragglings of thy youth, how canst thou look back upon
them without shame and blushing? Cry out then, Ps. 25:7, 'Remember not the sins
of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me, for
thy goodness' sake, O Lord.' And in thy riper years how shamefully didst thou
stray from God, even since thou begannest to have more of conscience, and a
greater use of reason? It were endless to trace us in all our by-paths: 'Who can
understand his errors?' Ps. 19:12. In every age, in every condition, in every
business, we have been wandering from God.

3. Since grace received we have had our deviations: Ps. 119:176, 'I have gone
astray like a lost sheep: seek thy servant, for I do not forget thy
commandments.' Though our hearts be set to walk with God in the main, yet we are
ever and anon swerving from the rule, either neglecting our duty to God, or
transgressing against the holy commandment. Oh, therefore eat your passover with
sour herbs, and bless the Lord for finding you out in your wanderings, and
following you with the tenders of his grace in Christ.

Use 2. If the Spirit of God sets forth our natural estate by the straying or
wandering of sheep, see if this disposition be still in you, yea or no. Are you
not apt to go astray from God and from his ways?

1. From God. Every sin is a departing from him, but especially unbelief: Heb.
3:12, 'Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of
unbelief, in departing from the living' God.' Adam thought to find much
happiness in forbidden fruit, to mend and better his condition, but was
miserably disappointed. So when we do not believe God in his word, we will be
trying our fortunes and taking our own swing and course. But I speak of a more
general disposition. There are some whose main care it is to be getting away
from God; as the prodigal went into a far country, Luke 15:11. They think to be
better anywhere than at home under God's eye and presence. This appeareth by the
care they take to keep God out of their thoughts: Ps. 10:4, 'God is not in all
his thoughts.' A thought of God rushing into their mind is very unwelcome and
unpleasant to them; they are backward and hang off from communion with God, and
the duties of religion are looked upon as a melancholy interruption.

2. From the ways of God. Though they are the only ways of peace and life, and
will surely make us happy in the end, yet naturally we are of a libertine and
yokeless spirit. Sinners looking upon all things through the spectacles of the
flesh, count them harsh and unequal, and a strict confinement: Mat. 7:14,
'Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and
few there' be that find it.' They cannot endure God's restraint: Prov. 14:12, '
There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways
of death.' The broad and easy ways of sin are pleasing to flesh and blood, but
destructive to the soul. Well, then, he that counteth the company of God or the
ways of God irksome, hath this wandering disposition still remaining with him;
and if it be not checked it will prove his eternal destruction. The sheep do not
fare the better for going out of the pasture. We leave all good in leaving the
chiefest pod; and in departing from God you turn' your back upon your own
happiness; as beasts put into a good pasture will yet seek out some gap that
they may range abroad.

I come now to observe from the distribution of this common error every man to
his own way:

Doct. 2. That there are many several ways of sinning; or thus, though there be
one path to heaven, yet there are several ways of sinning and going to hell.
Every man hath his several course. And as the channel is cut, so his corrupt
nature findeth an issue and passage: Eccles. 7:29, 'God hath made man upright,
but they have sought out many inventions.' One hath one invention, and another
another, wherein he imagineth to find contentment and happiness, but findeth
none. Man swerving from the state of happiness and sufficiency wherein God had
created him, thinketh to better his condition, and therefore hath many devices
and inventions, which indeed make it worse. So 1 John 2:16, 'For all that is in
the world is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life.'
Though no sin cometh amiss to a carnal heart, yet some are more kindly and
suitable to that particular humour. One's notorious blemish is the lust of the
eyes, worldliness; another, sensuality; another, pride; one this sin, another
that. Hence the psalmist saith, Ps. 18:23, 'I kept myself from mine iniquity.'
That which most urgeth us, and prevaileth with us, we should endeavour to
mortify.

The reasons how this cometh to pass are 1. Because of the activeness of man's
spirit. It is always a-devising wickedness, which as it is true most especially
of the malicious musing mind, so of all evil hearts: Ps. 64:6, 'They search out
iniquities, they accomplish a diligent search; both the inward thought of every
one of them, and the heart, is deep.' A wicked spirit is a searching spirit;
they contrive new ways; they are always finding out new inventions and devices;
they are not contented with the way God hath set them, and therefore will try
others.

2. It happeneth through diversity of constitutions. Amores animi sequuntur
humores corporisthe conditions of the mind follow the constitution of the body.
The matter of some men's bodies is more viciously disposed than others are. We
plainly see the body hath some indirect operation upon the soul; the affections,
in their work and exercise, depend upon the body; and these corrupt affections
meeting with a disposed body for them, by a violent sway carry the whole man
with them. And this reason is the stronger, because the devil joineth with our
tempers to help on those sins to which we are naturally disposed, as wantonness,
drunkenness, gluttony; or if of a better constitution, to pride and vainglory.
As when the devil observeth a lustful man, he helpeth forward the temptation,
and offereth occasions, stirring up raging and immoderate desires, until at
length, forgetting all shame and modesty, or the danger of punishments, he does
most foully pollute himself. So if to luxury and gluttony, he presents sweet
baits till the soul is drowned and drenched in meats and drinks, and there be no
sense of piety, and the heart is made unwieldy to prayer or any good duty. So
for contentious or furious persons; whatever the constitution be, he 'worketh
mightily in the children of disobedience,' Eph. 2:2. Godly men find least hurt
by him, as being led by the Spirit, and avoid the occasions and snares, and
strive against evil suggestions, and yet they smart too much under his malice
many times, through the advantage he hath over them by their constitutions.
3. It happeneth from their business and occasions in the world. Many men are
engaged to ways of sin because they suit best with their employments, the sin of
their calling, as vainglory in a minister. The apostle saith, 'Ordain not a
novice, lest he be lifted up of pride, and fall into the condemnation of the
devil,' 1 Tim. 3:6. So worldliness suits a man of business, or deceitfulness in
his trade; and corruption is common to a magistrate. Several callings and
businesses have their several corruptions. Men easily slide into the corruption
of their way, and every calling, through the wickedness of our hearts, is made
to serve this or that sin.

4. Custom and education. Aristotle saith, It is ill education that engageth men
to a way of wickedness, and it is not easy to break them off from it. Vessels
will not easily quit their first savour, and customs will not easily be left.
Teach a child the way of the Lord and it will stick by him: Prov. 22:6, 'Train
up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from
it.'

5. Company and example. Men learn from them with whom they converse, and thence
come national sins, partly as they run in the blood, but more by example. Of the
Germans we learn drunkenness and gluttony; of the French, wantonness. Men shape
their practices to the patterns that are before them, and learn their way; for
it easily taints the spirits. And thus you see why there are so many inventions
and ways of wickedness.

Use 1. Well, then, do not be too ready to bless yourselves, provided the sins of
others break not out upon you: do not flatter yourselves that you run not into
the same sins that others do. The devil may take you in another snare that
suiteth more with your temper and condition of life. Some are sensual and some
vainglorious, others worldly; many meet in hell that do not go thither the same
way. A man may not be as other men, and yet he may not be as he should be: Luke
18:11, 'The pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee that
I am not as other men;' yet 'the publican went down to his house justified
rather than the proud pharisee.' Those that slighted the invitation to the
marriage-feast had their several diversions and reasons of excuse: Mat. 22:5,
'But they all made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to
his merchandise.' One hath business to keep him from Christ, and another
pleasures and the pomps and vanities of the present world, and another has his
superstitious observances. But all obstruct the power of the truth, and the
receiving of Christ into their souls. Every man will have his way, saith Luther
upon this text. Some follow their hawks and hounds, and neglect their precious
and immortal souls. Others busy themselves in heaping up riches; others are for
plays and sports to fool away the day of grace. 'My way,' saith he, 'when I was
a monk, was to fast and pray till I had made myself sick; to observe the
statutes of my order strictly. I called upon the blessed Virgin, and St George,
and St Christopher; and this was my way. And so vile a creature as I was, for
all this, became the more sinful.' Others may hate this or that public and
visible blemish, but what are thy failings? John 8:7,' He that is without sin
among you, let him cast the first stone at her.' We may rashly censure others,
and descant on their faults, but it is better to look inward. Do not I offend
God as much another way as those whom I censure? There is a double madnessnot
only that which is idle and light, and breaketh out in strange freaks and
furious extravagances, but that which is more sober, solemn, and grave. A frenzy
betrayeth itself by deep musings and high conceits. So it is true of these
discoveries of sin. Some delight in vain pleasures, others go to hell in a
graver course. When a man perisheth, he 'eateth the fruit of his own way, and is
filled with his own devices,' Prov. 1:31.

2. Stop your way of sinning, pluck out thy right eye, cut off thy right hand,
Mat. 5:29,30. Your trial lieth there, as Abraham was tried in offering up his
Isaac; and David voucheth it as a mark of sincerity: Ps. 23:23, 'I was upright
before thee, and kept myself from mine iniquity.' It will prove a stumbling
block, and eat out all the heart and power of grace if let alone. It concerneth
us in our covenanting with God to set against the sin of this inbred and natural
inclination. Though original sin dispose us to all sin, yet our particular and
personal inclination may carry us more strongly to some one kind of sin: 'Heb.
12:1, 'Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset
us.' Thus childhood is wanton, and old age touchy and covetous. Sins take the
throne by turns, according to our vocation and course of life. Every calling
hath its temptations, and there is a snare which others meet not with. Every
condition of life hath a predominant sin; as the young man with his great
possessions. Oh! let us consider our tender parts, our Delilah, our Herodias,
that sin that hindereth us most in closing with Christ, that sin that most
engrosseth our thoughts; for they always follow the temper of our hearts. Some
sins we hide under the tongue, Job 20:12, which we cannot endure should be
touched; our private sore is a tender place. Thus Herod would not be crossed in
his Herodias, and Felix trembled when Paul 'reasoned of righteousness,
temperance, and judgment to come,' Acts 24:25, because he lived in intemperance
with Drusilla, his pretended wife. That which you reserve in turning to God,
that which you set up a toleration in your hearts for, even this sin must be
bewailed to God, and you must seek the blood of Christ to mortify it with all
the promising occasions of it. Act the contrary grace, and see how you can deny
yourselves in what you most affect.

Use 2. Is caution not to walk slightly. There is but one right path, there are
many evil ones. As one said, Evil is manifold, and the way of sin divideth
itself into divers paths; you may easily mistake. See that place, Prov. 4:26,27,
'Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established: turn not to
the right hand, nor to the left; remove thy foot from evil.' Walk with a great
deal of care and circumspection. When it is so easy to err, a man would be
solicitous.

The apostle blameth those that did not orJopodein, not 'walk uprightly according
to the truth of the gospel,' Gal. 2:14. They did not go with a right foot. The
world thinketh strictness to be folly and niceness. You see there is a great
deal of reason for it: there is error on both sides of truth, and you may easily
miscarry: there is an extreme on both hands. A little to direct you, mind that
place, Mat. 7:14, Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, and few there be
that find it.' There are some way-marks. I think, without wrong to that place,
that I may give you threea strait gate, a narrow way, and few company.
1. A strait gate. The entrance into it puts the soul shrewdly to it, whether
taken for the coming out of ourselves, or the getting into Christ. It is a
narrow way to carry the soul right. It is like the passages by which Jonathan
and his armour-bearer sought to get up to the Philistines: 1 Sam. 14:4, 'There
was a sharp rock on the one side, and a sharp rock on the other side; the name
of the one was Bozez, and the name of the other was Seneh.' So here, between
presumption and despair, it is hard to keep the soul right, sometimes the wind
bloweth in one corner, sometimes in another. How to keep ourselves from despair
in going out of ourselves, how to keep ourselves from presumption by getting
into Christ, is not so easy.

2. There is a narrow path, teJlimmenh h odoV, an afflicted, rough way, such as
will engage believers

[1.] To the exercise of care. A diffident, regardless soul is out of his way:

you have but a ridge to walk upon: Eph. 5:15, 'Walk circumspectly;' not even as
it hitteth; for it is a hard matter to keep a good conscience, Acts 24:16; and
Prov. 23:19, 'Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the right
way.' You had need look to it.

[2.] To a great deal of pains and sorrow. He was mistaken that said, Take thine
ease. Many can swallow sins, and pursue them, and yet have no sense of them that
they are wrong. It is a way that will put you upon much sorrow and affliction,
because you have such a distempered soul, and such a deal of pride and
intemperance and anger in it: Rom. 7:24, 'O wretched man that I am! who shall
deliver me from the body of this death?' Ps. 120:5, 'Woe is me that I sojourn in
Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar! 'The saints are apt to grieve that
they have such a worldly spirit in a heavenly journey.

[3] To a great deal of self-denial. It is a way that restraineth nature;
therefore we are called upon, Mat. 3:3, 'Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make
his paths straight;' Heb. 12:13, 'And make straight paths to your feet.' There
must be strictness in our course. It is not such a way as will leave you to the
sway of your own hearts. Nature would have a thing many times, but you must put
a knife to your throats, as if you were more ready to slay your appetite than to
satisfy it. The thoughts, the affections, the speeches, the actions, must be
reduced to the strict rules of the word. When men please nature to the full, it
is a sign they have mistaken their way.

[4.] It will engage you to much mortification, to much opposition Eph. 6:12,
'For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against
powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual
wickedness in high places.'. You have strong lusts to cope with, and those must
be mortified, which you cannot do without the Spirit of Christ, Rom. 8:13. It
will cost you many prayers and tears, and fighting with spiritual wickednesses.
3. The next way-mark is, that you have but little company: 'Narrow is the way
that leads to life, and few there be that find it.' Many walk as others do, and
so mistake. Others sever themselves from the world, but go in the ordinary track
of profession, not out of the common road. This is to be true to a sect and
company of men, not to the ways of God. As Paul, when he was a pharisee, he
lived by the eye, and did as others did; he lived after the strictest sect of
religion, Acts. 26:5. You must put a difference between the ordinary number of
professors and yourself. But if you be vain and sensual, what do you more than
they? Christians should look after the distinction and the difference between
them and others: Mat. 6:32, 'For after all these things do the Gentiles seek.'
Implying, a man should do more than they, more than the men of the world can
ever do: Ps. 4:6 'There be many that say, Who will show us any good?' That is
the fashion of the men of the brutish multitude. But the godly say, 'Lord, lift
up the light of thy countenance upon us.'

Use 3. Is to press you to look into the state of your hearts, and see what you
have by long experience observed, what is your sin, your way of wickedness, what
assaults you most frequently, most fiercely; observe the frequency of
temptations, and the strength of them, the law in the members, and a thorn in
the flesh; so, as it is conceived, he calleth the violent stirrings of lusts.
Now bend all your strength against these; as the king of Aram said, I Kings
22:31, 'Fight not against small nor great, save only with the king of Israel.'
So bend the strength of the soul against this way of wickedness.
I come now to the last point of the first part of the text, and that is drawn
from that possessive particle whereby every man's by-path is expressed: Every
man to his way.

Doct. 3. That this is the sin of men in their natural condition, that they turn
to their own way.

The phrase implieth these two things

First, A defect or want of divine guidance; Secondly, A rejection of the ways of
God when made known to us. We do not like them so well as some other, which we
fancy to be better to us, because more suitable to our carnal desires; and
therefore it is often charged upon the people of Israel, especially by Jeremiah,
that they would not regard the ways of God, but the way of their own
imaginations. See Jer. 7:24. God had told them that all that he required of them
was this, 'Obey my voice, and walk in the way that I have commanded you; but
they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsel and in the
imagination of their evil heart, and went backward and not forward.' So that you
see it argueth a refusal of God's ways when discovered to them, as not being for
their turns. So Jer. 9:13, 14, 'Because they have forsaken my law which I have
set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, neither walked therein, but have
walked after the imagination of their heart and after Baalim.' They think their
own path better, safer, or more comfortable, and therefore would not meddle with
God's. So Jer. 11:8, 'Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked
every one in the imagination of their evil heart.' This refusal is the more
sottishly perverse; as in Jer. 44:17, 'But will certainly do whatsoever thing
goeth out of our mouth.' So that here is a scorning to have their ways
prescribed, out of a presumption that they can better provide for themselves.
The drunkard, the adulterer, thinks God's way is either insipid or injurious.
Our first parents thought their conceit was better, and that God in envy had
denied it to them; and therefore they did not weigh God's restraint and
prohibition, Gen. 3:17; she would eat, the devil had fastened her fancy to it,
and she went on with the temptation.

1. There is a defect or want of divine guidance. God leaveth men to their own
sway, and taketh away all check and restraint from them; and then whatever a man
doth is purely from himself. So it is said, Ps. 81:12, 'I gave them up to their
own hearts' lust, and they walked in their own counsels.' When all divine
guidance or direction is taken away, you will be left to the impure dictates of
a corrupt mind, or at best to some poor remains of civility. As it is said, Gen.
20:6, 'I also withheld thee from sinning against me, therefore suffered thee not
to touch her.' Some restraints and chains God casteth upon men, that they are
not able to do the evil which naturally they would. Though they do not go God's
way, they cannot go their own. But when God pleaseth he letteth men alone, and
then they do what is right in their own eyes; as you shall see, Acts 14:16, 'Who
in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways;' that is, to live
according to their own pleasure, prescribing no restraint to them by discovering
himself in a law; or, to those that have the outward written word, by using no
inward motions of his Spirit. So that this is the first thing, the privative
part, a defect of divine guidance, either by such outward prescriptions as may
revive natural light, or such inward motions as may restore it.

2. That which is positive or more formally imported is a following of the
dictates of our own corrupt minds, and fulfilling the desires of our own corrupt
wills. For I conceive this turning to our own way is expressed by the apostle
upon the same occasion, Eph. 2:3; for he saith there, that natural men 'have
their conversations in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the
flesh and of the mind.' There is a natural inclination to obey his corrupt mind,
and to satisfy his corrupt will. It is but a pleasing of themselves. It is the
way they have devised, and the way they have desired. But to speak of these
things a little severally:

[1.] There is a following the dictates of a corrupt mind. This is the first and
chiefest, and therefore it is often expressed, 'According to their imaginations
and their counsels.' There are a great many prejudices in a natural
understanding against the ways of God. It is a way of their own contriving. Men
think their way is good: Prov. 14:12, 'There is a way which seemeth right unto a
man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.' Their blind hearts dictate to
them that their own way is the best, safest, most pleasant, and comfortable. The
mind chooseth, pauseth, and determineth upon what it conceives to be better for
it than the rule of obedience. Therefore it is called our own way, because it is
not of God's appointment, but our own choice. Men consult with their own hearts,
and think sin is better. You may go through all the commandments of God, and you
shall see a natural understanding dictates otherwise than God saith. As to the
first table, man hath some confused knowledge that there is a God, who is to be
worshipped, to be spoken of with reverence and observance; that there is some
time to be set apart for his worship. Now what this God is, what is his worship,
what time is to be set apart for it, and how it is to be spent, there reason
faileth. We have some ways that seem right to us for that; and we are guided
either by our own reason, or prescript of time, or education, or example, or
custom. It is our own ways that we turn to, and therefore do not give God the
glory that is due to his name: Rom. 1:21, 'Because that when they knew God, they
glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their
imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.' They do not glorify him as
God. We paint out worship by our own lazy thoughts, or overdo it by some fancies
of our own: this is our own way. Then, as to the second table, there natural
light is most clear. There we have some sparks and knowledge left of good and
evil, and yet even there our carnal understanding easily leadeth us into a way
that we think better to us than that which God hath set us; and so we think
liberty is better than obedience to superiors; revenge is sweet, and injury is
looked upon as profitable, and mere adultery as pleasant, some thinking nature
never planted such strong desires in a man but to have them satisfied. And as to
theft and oppression, why should a man be scrupulous and stand upon conscience
when he seeth a present benefit? So calumny and reproach of others pleaseth us
and serveth our ends, by making them odious to others whom we ourselves hate.
Thus, by a little use, all knowledge of good and evil is blotted out of the
mind, and a thing seemeth right to us, though condemned by God.

[2] There is a fulfilling of the desires of our corrupt wills. Men go the way of
their own affections; and though it be not according to the law of God, it is
according to their desires, lust being their law; as if it were. warrant enough
to do a thing because they desire it. The apostle saith, Titus 3:3, 'Serving
divers lusts and pleasures;' that is, their mind was to obey their vile
affections. They think the desire was planted in them that they might satisfy
it, and they are not bound to thwart it: it were a wrong to their natures, whose
bent and force they follow. It is said of Eve, Gen. 3:6, that 'when she saw that
the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to
be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat.' Men
think there is no harm as long as they do but please appetite, and only meddle
with what tempts the desire. But, brethren, do not deceive yourselves the mere
fulfilling of natural desires without thwarting is a walking in your own ways;
for even so you may wander beyond those bounds by which the word hath hedged up
your way, be it of pleasures, honour, or profit. One of the first lessons in
Christ's school is self-denial. You must reckon upon it to go against your
desires, and indeed it is a hard lesson. The way of natural men is their own
way, they do not love to be restrained in their desires, and therefore they have
ventured upon sin, notwithstanding great restraints, yea, the more for
restraints. Men fancy some exceeding goodness in forbidden fruit, and think the
prohibition cruel and envious, and therefore will venture and try their own way,
as being loth to lose their longing and to disappoint nature. See that place,
Rom. 7:5, 'For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sin which were by the
law did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death;' that is, when in
our natural condition, the restraints of the law revived sin, and we let it
work, though it were to our destruction. Men's voluptuous hearts will not let
them enter upon such a strict course as the law prescribes. Well, now, gather
all together, and you may see what it is to turn to our own way. It is to be
left to ourselves, and then to reject the ways of God, upon a supposition that
we have found something that is better for us, because it is more pleasing to
our fancies, and more suitable to our desires.

The reasons may be referred to two heads. Our own way can never be right,
either

1. To please God; or,

2. To do ourselves good.

1. Not to please God. This appears in that:

[1.] God will not stand to our appointment. Nothing pleaseth him but what he
hath required; all other things he looketh upon as mere invention or
imagination. Though man should be very zealous in his own way, with never so
devout an intention, it is not acceptable. There is naturally implanted in the
creature some desire to please God. Now, you will never do it in your duties, or
in your lives, if your carriage be not suitable to his rule: Micah 6:7,8, 'Will
the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of
oil? shall I give my first-born for my transgression, and the fruit of my body
for the sin of my soul?' Here is a very liberal proposal. But what doth the
prophet rejoin upon this? 'He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what
doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk
humbly with thy God?' There is the trial what God hath required of us. He will
not stand to the creatures' courtesy; it is his prerogative to appoint what
pleaseth him best. God hath been angry with things, though done with a good
intention, if not according to what he hath showed. Uzzah's breach sets forth
this: 2 Sam. 6:7, 'God smote him for his error;' it is said there, for 'doing
besides the rule.' So you may see in a case that concerneth conversation as well
as worship: Rom. 10:2, it is said of the Jews, that 'they have a zeal of God,
but not according to knowledge.' They were very furious in it; they had good
intentions, but they did not understand God's way. A man may seem to have much
zeal, and much scrupulous tenderness of doing good, and avoiding evil; but it is
such as is in his own fancy and apprehension, but not in God's law; he hateth
it. The false teachers had some seemingly strict ordinances: Col. 2:21,22,
'Touch not, taste not, handle not;' but they were the doctrines and commandments
of men. Thus you see God will not like our way, though it should be never so
strict, and accommodated with the advantage of many devout and pure intentions.
A popish spirit may be very devout, but God regardeth it not, because it is not
according to his appointment. A good intention cannot make the action good, but
the conformity of it to the rule; otherwise, those that slew the apostles and
crucified Christ pleased him; many of them did it with a devout heart to that
way which seemed right to them and they thought was pleasing to God: John 16:2,
'The time cometh, that whosoever killeth you, will think that he doeth God
service.' They think this is well, and will please God. Usually that hath been
the lot of the saints hitherto, to suffer under such rage as hath been rashly
and unadvisedly conceived for God's sake. Ecclesia nunquam magis passa est quam
sub nomine ecclesiae (the church has never suffered more than from those under
the name of the church). Therefore I say, God doth not look to the intention of
a thing, but the conformity of it to the rule, and to his appointment, that he
liketh; otherwise that which is odious to him would seem right in our eyes.
[2.] Suppose God should commit it to ourselves, yet we should never do that
which would please him. If God had left us no direction but the light of our own
reason, we would never reach the right way, but there would be divers
hindrances; as(1st.) Ignorance. Natural men know not which way to go about it
they are described, Rom. 1:21, to be such as 'became vain in their imaginations,
and their foolish heart was darkened.' A frivolous mind every man hath; the word
is dialogismoiV, they are vain in their discourses and reasonings: they have
very unsavoury apprehensions of the ways of God. It is spoken of the heathen
there. And the like you shall see of the Jews, and of natural men within the
church Jer. 4:22, 'For my people is foolish; they have not known me, they are
sottish children, and they have no understanding; they are wise to do evil, but
to do good they have no knowledge.' Men of parts are sometimes extremely
ignorant in point of duty towards God and man, and therefore certainly their own
path must needs be a wrong way. Brethren, it signifies not what men in a
notional way can discourse or argue concerning duty, for their foolish darkness
will be discovered when it cometh to practice.

(2dly.) Their antipathy against anything that concerneth the ways of God. Our
way must needs be seen, for our heart is exceeding averse to the will of God:
Rom. 8:7, 'The carnal mind is enmity against God.' Mark, it is not only an
enemy, but enmity. There is the spirit of malice in it against all the ways of
God. Therefore, God's appointments and carnal devices will never be brought
together; if you be wise to the flesh, you cannot be wise to duty. A carnal wise
heart must needs err in its choice then. There is a disallowing of all that is
good, and an approving of all that is naught: this is most suitable to us. See
Isa. 5:20, 'Woe unto them that call evil good and good evil; that put darkness
for light, and light for darkness, that put bitter for sweet and sweet for
bitter.' The prophet useth divers expressions to set out that wicked disvaluing
of the ways of God that is in all carnal hearts. They think all the comfort and
sweetness is in their own ways of jollity and excess, and for God's ways they
look upon them as bitter and dark, such as will banish mirth and eat out all
contentment, and fill the heart with sad fears and darkness. Oh, how are these
men mistaken!

(3dly.) We have a base, paltry heart, and are loth to serve him as far as we
know. It is said, Rom. 1:28, 'They did not like to retain God in their
knowledge.' They do not approve or make such precious account of the ways of God
as they should do. Carnal men are loth to go contrary to their desires. They
like the knowledge that they have, and are better content with ignorance,as it
is said, 2 Peter 3:5: the apostle Peter saith, 'They are willingly ignorant' of
what might make against them. This they are angry at, that they know so much,
and are willing to practise so little; and, therefore, what is chosen and
followed with full consent by such hearts must needs be a wrong way. You may
well suspect whatever nature deviseth so willingly, and practiseth so
cheerfully. This is the first reason: Our own way is not the right way, because
we can never please God in it.

2. Our own way is not the right way to do ourselves good. The more we please the
flesh, the more we wrong our own souls: passions and corrupt affections do but
blind the heart to its own destruction. As the fishes that play down the
pleasant streams of Jordan devolve themselves into the Dead Sea, so ways that
are altogether suitable to

our nature do but end in destruction: Prov. 16:25, There is a way that seemeth
right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.' Mark, it is the
plural, ways,it is multiplex. A man ruineth himself many ways, by one sin or
another; some their way is adultery, that wasteth the strength, blasteth the
beauty, bringeth infamy, poverty, reproach, horror of conscience, death, and
eternal destruction. Another drunkenness, which besots the brain, wasteth the
estate, betrayeth a man to reproach, brawneth the heart, and bringeth death and
destruction. I will not stand longer upon the reasons, but apply it.
Use 1. Is caution to you not to go in your own ways, neither in worship nor
conversation; that is the sin of men in their natural condition. Now, that you
may not do so1. I shall give you some cautionary propositions.

2. A few directions.

The cautionary propositions I shall spread before you for the greater quickening
and incitement of you.

[1.] God may not like what men like: Prov. 16:2, 'All the ways of a man are
clean in his own eyes, but the Lord weigheth the spirit.' A man that doth not
weigh his service in the balance of the sanctuary is not sensible of the defects
of it. God weigheth and can look beneath the veil of pretences: so Luke 16:15,
'For that which is highly esteemed amongst men is abomination in the sight of
God.' You may please yourselves in your ways, and yet you may very much
displease God. The rule holdeth in duties. You may pass it off as if it were a
seemly beast for an offering, whereas God looketh upon it as a poor, sick
sacrifice, a corrupt thing, Mal. 1:14. This rule likewise holds good in
conversation. Men please themselves in an easy moral way, but God can find a
great deal of evil in it. We look upon sins as they are odious abroad, but God
considereth inward guilt. Now, when men live in an easy, voluptuous, sensual
way, they do not check themselves for it because others do not, but God may hate
them for it.

[2.] Nay, the more thy way pleaseth thee, the more thou shouldest suspect it
doth not please God. Whence cometh all this vigilance? Either the thing is
carnal, or, if it be spiritual, thou art set on by the concernments of the
flesh. Certainly, thy carnal heart is set on by something that is suitable.
David did not dare touch the waters of Bethlehem, because he longed for them: 2
Sam. 23:15,16, 'Oh that one would give me of the water of Bethlehem! 'He would
not drink of it, because they went in jeopardy of their lives that fetched it,
but poured it out before the Lord. I say, in doubtful things, when thou art so
vehement, suspect thy heart; and the more thy life pleaseth thee, fear it is the
less acceptable to God. Consider not what thou art willing to do, but what God
alloweth. Nature would not be so strongly bent upon a thing, if there were not
corruption in it. These are the two quickening propositions. The rules or
directions are three:

[1.] Lead your life by a divine rule; have respect to the commandment. See how
heartily David prayeth, Pa. 119:10, 'With my whole heart have I sought thee; let
me not wander from thy commandments.' That is the rulethe law a man should go
by. Advise with the word. 'Bind it continually about thine heart, and tie it
about thy neck.' The commandment is a lamp, and the law is light. 'When thou
goest it shall lead thee, when thou steepest it shall keep thee, and when thou
wakest it shall talk with thee,' Prov. 6:21-23. He would not deviate into his
own path: Gal. 6:16, 'As many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them,
and mercy, and upon the Israel of God;'they that walk by this rule, that is,
according to the word of God. The law is the expression of God's will to us
creatures, therefore conform to that. If Christians had oftener recourse to the
rule, they would have a better sight of duty.

[2] Beg divine assistance. We cannot keep to God's rule without God's power; beg
it of God, then, as David in the psalm before mentioned. There are divers places
hint this in scripture. It is a sign we run beyond ourselves when we would not
be directed by God. When God leaveth us to ourselves, then we leave his law:
Acts 14:16, 'In times past God suffered the Gentiles to walk in their own ways.'
A man left to himself cannot but err; and, therefore, desire God that he would
guide you; for a blind mind and a wicked heart cannot guide you in his ways.
This is called a taking heed to the word, Ps. 119:9; and ver. 101, 'I have
refrained my feet from every evil way, that I may keep thy word;' and David
prayeth, ver. 133, 'Order my steps in thy word.' God must order every step, or
else we shall soon go astray.

[3.] Look up to divine encouragement. As you must take the word for your rule,
and the Spirit for your guide, so the promises for your encouragement: 2 Cor.
7:1, 'Having, therefore, these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse
ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in
the fear of God;' 2 Peter 1:4, 'Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and
precious promises; that by these you may be partakers of the divine nature,
having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust' Worldly wisdom
is seen otherwhere: Rom. 8:5, 'For they that are after the flesh do mind the
things of the flesh; and they that are after the Spirit, the things of the
Spirit.' Christians should fetch in a supply that way; it is a sign you are in
God's way when you eye God's encouragements. Some mind only to compass their
carnal ends, and sweeten all their endeavours by fleshly considerations; they
are in their own way: 'To be carnally minded is death.' To savour only fleshly
encouragements argueth a very naughty heart.

Use 2. Is examination, to try whether you be in the state of nature or no. Your
own way is a sinful way; and, therefore, what is the generality of your
conversations? Is it not a turning to your own way? But, you will say, how shall
I know that?

1. By the suitableness of it to nature. A life led in pleasures, without
self-denial and mortification, certainly is none of God's way; it is a way of
your own choosing: 1 Tim. 5:6, 'She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she
liveth.' Though she liveth a natural life, she dieth a spiritual death. This is
even just as nature would have it. Observe what compliance it hath with your
carnal desires and delights.

2. By the easiness of it to nature. It is your own way, for you can walk in it
by your own strength. It is often said of such as were in a natural state, 'He
did that which was right in his own eyes.' You have shaped out to yourselves
such an easy course; but what difficulty is it to be such a Christian? Solomon
saith, 'Lean not to thine understanding,' Prov. 3:5, 'but trust in the Lord with
all thine heart' That is necessary to true Christianity; but now here men keep
up themselves well enough, though no intercourse be between them.

3. The serviceableness of it to nature, and to natural ends and courses. Every
man naturally is for himself, to attain honour, pleasure, profit, or
satisfaction to his lusts. Our own way will serve for our own end. Though many
things that man may do be of divine appointment, yet it is but your own way
still; you borrow means of God to further your own purposes. The glory of God is
the great Christian end, but men value themselves by other things.
Use 3. Is their ; to press men in their natural condition to turn from their
sottishness and foolish ways by repentance. Now repentance first beginneth with
turning from our own ways, as the prophet Jeremiah calleth it: Jer. 26:13,
'Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the Lord
your God.'

To this end a few things must be spoken to.

There are two things that make this exhortation fruitless: 1. Carnal
prejudices. Do not believe what your own hearts suggest to you concerning the
folly and uncomfortableness of God's ways, for these prove the best and most
comfortable to the soul. Other pleasures are but for a season, Heb. 11:25.
Natural reason calleth sour sweet. The best way to know is to try them once,
then you will see how all was delusive; mistakes and prejudices will vanish
then. 2. Despairing stubbornness. Men have been in an ill way, and they are loth
to quit it: they think now they must try the worst of it: Jer. 18:12, 'And they
said there is no hope, but we will walk after our devices, and we will every one
do the imagination of his evil heart.'

But I would not tarry too long on these black lines and dark shadows of man's
sin and misery which are in the text; therefore I come now to the comfortable
part, viz., God's remedy: and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us
all. There I propounded three things:1. The author of our deliverance: the
Lord; that is, God the Father.

2. The nature or manner of our deliverance: he hath laid our iniquities on him.
3. The parties interested: the iniquities of us all.

1. The author: 'the Lord.' You may take it essentially for the whole Deity, or
personally for God the Father, who, in the mystery of redemption, is looked upon
as pars offensa, the wronged party against whom the offence is committed, and
the supreme Judge to whom the satisfaction is tendered. The point is
Doct. That God the Father laid our iniquities on Christ.

I shall a little open this point to you, and therein you shall see, that
whatever Christ did as Mediator, or whatever was done to Christ, is attributed
to God the Father, to his counsel and appointment.
1. He designed the person, and therefore it is said: Gal. 4:4, God sent forth
his Son;' Rom. 8:3, 'God sending his Son in the likeness of sinful flesh;' 1
John 4:14, 'God sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world.' It noteth the
decree and designation of God the Father concerning the second person: John
10:36, 'Whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world.' When a thing
or person is set aside for divine uses and purposes, it is said to be
sanctified. And so it is said, John 6:27, 'For him hath God the Father sealed.'
The Father cannot but accept of the obedience of Christin the name of those for
whom it is offered, and who do lay hold upon him by faith, seeing Christ did not
come of himself, but was sent of the Father to pay our ransom for us. Moses,
that interposed of his own accord, was denied: Exod. 32:32, 'If thou wilt not
forgive their sin, blot me out of thy book.' But God told him,' The soul that
sinneth, him will I blot out of my book.' But Christ interposed not of his own
accord. This sending his Son was a remedy of God's appointing. So in the place
forementioned, John 10:36,' Whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the
world;' that is, consecrated him from eternity unto the office of Mediator, and
then sent him into the world to assume human nature into the unity of his own
person. 'Him hath the Father sealed;' that is, the Father hath authorised him to
be the Saviour and Redeemer of lost sinners. He hath a commission under the
broad seal of heaven. Thus kings give commissions to their ministers of state,
who are employed in their affairs: Esther 8:8, 'For the writing which is written
in the king's name, and sealed with the king's ring, may no man reverse.' Christ
coming in God's name is fully authorised to do your souls good.

2. He qualified him for his office, and therefore he is said to be 'anointed
with the Spirit of the Lord to preach the gospel to the poor, and to heal the
broken-hearted,' Luke 4:18; and John 3:34, 'For he whom God hath sent speaketh
the words of God, for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.' As
Mediator he is endowed with the Spirit for the discharge of his office, that he
might be a full storehouse of all grace for his people: 1 Cor. 1:30, 'Who of God
is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.'
Surely we may use him for what he was made of God.

3. Whatever was done to Christ as Mediator, was from God the Father; either,
first, mediately by men; God ordered their cruelty with reference to his own
designs: Acts 4:28, 'For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined
before to be done.' God hath so laid the state of our redemption, that whatever
was done to Christ, he ordereth the whole business from first to last. Or,
secondly, immediately by God: Isa. 53:10, 'It pleased the Lord to bruise him, he
hath put him to grief;' Zech. 13:7, 'Awake, O sword, against my Shepherd, and
against the man that is my fellow: Our sin and punishment was not taken up by
Christ without the Father's privity and consent; it was not by our desire and
will, but by the counsel of the Father, that he laid our iniquities upon him.
4. Whatever was done by Christ, you shall find in the scripture; Christ always
going according to the appointment of the Father, the whole work being but a
testimony of his obedience: Heb. 10:7, 'Lo, I come to do thy will, O God: In the
whole transaction Christ would be ordered by the will of his Father; the Son is
become a servant in this business; therefore it is said, Phil. 2:7, 'He took
upon him the form of a servant.' So in that place, Heb. 10:5, 'A body hast thou
prepared me.' It is in Ps. 40:6, 'Mine ears hast thou opened,' or bored; that
is, made me a wise and faithful servant in the work of redemption. They were
wont, under the law, to bore the ears of their servants: Exod. 21:6, 'So that he
was to be a servant for ever.' And thus you have Christ always professing his
obedience to the Father. As if it were not his own business that he was set
about, and he could not do as he would in it, but he must be acted and guided by
another: John 10:37, 'If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not;' John
10:18, 'I have power to lay down my life, and I have power to take it again;
this commandment have I received of my Father.' All which is a testimony that
the Father was satisfied by his sufferings, and is a ground of strong
consolation to believers. The way was agreed upon between God and Christ long
before the accomplishment. It was not out of impotence, as if forced to give
place to the devil and the violence of wicked men, but obedience to God's
designed way.

Now in two things Christ showeth this:

[1.] As if he acted altogether by the Father's power: John 5:19, 'The Son can do
nothing of himself.' So ver. 30, 'I can of mine own self do nothing;' that is,
the Father and he were distinct persons in themselves, but not separate in
nature, power, and operation. The Son acts by the Father, and the Father in the
Son. The Son doth nothing of himself, that is, separate from the Father. Or
understand it of the manhood of Christ, that is guided by God the Father in its
operations, it doth not act at pleasure. Christ would will or act nothing
separate from the will and power of the Godhead. This Is spoken to remove such a
gross speculation, as if the union between God and Christ were no other than
that between a natural father and son.

[2.] As if he acted by the Father's appointment: for he would do nothing,
neither lay down his life, nor take it up, unless God the Father said Amen to
it; as where Christ speaketh of some power he had in himself, yet it was a power
limited by the Father: John 10:18, 'No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down
of myself: I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This
commandment have I received from my Father.' Christ would lay down his life for
his people, and take it up again, and all because of the Father's commandment.
The words are spoken to exclude any external power or violence that could be
offered to Christ; none could impose upon him, but at the Father's commandment
he would lay it down, and take it up again. Christ would leave a testimony of
his love and obedience: John 14:31, 'But that the world may know that I love the
Father, as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do.' No outward force can
impose upon him, but the Lord can impose. Jehovah 'laid on him the iniquities of
us all.'

The reasons of the point.

1. Because none else had any power to lay it on Christ but God alone. That God
could, it is clear by virtue of that interest he had in him. A loving son can
deny the father nothing. Now, it being the ordination and the will of God,
Christ would not gainsay it; and as long as the Father's commandment lasted, he
would obey; and therefore, when the burden of our sins lay sore upon him, to
whom doth he address himself but to the Father? He laid it on, and he alone
could take it off: Mat. 26:39, 'He fell on his face and prayed, O my Father, if
it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as
thou wilt.' Though it were a deadly cup, yet Christ would not have it any way to
pass from him, unless it were the Father's will. He had such an interest in him,
that he would stoop to that: no other could have gained Christ to such a service
but the Father.

2. Because if God should not lay iniquity upon Christ, it would be to no
purpose; for to him it belongeth, because against him was the offence committed.
Ps. 51:4, see what David saith there with eyes brimful of tears, 'Against thee,
thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight.' He had sinned
against Bathsheba and against Uriah, yet 'against thee only have I sinned.' His
sin was not known to many, for the plot was closely carried: 2 Sam. 12:12, 'Thou
didst it secretly,' as the prophet Nathan told him. But how should he do to get
it expiated by him against whom the offence was chiefly committed, and who knew
it well enough? Ps. 41:4, 'Lord, be merciful unto me, heal my soul, for I have
sinned against thee.' Against whomsoever else the offence be, the chiefest
aggravation is that it is against God, and therefore he must have all the
ordering how the iniquity must be forgiven: Isa. 43:25, 'I, even I, am he that
blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy
sins.' God would have you to look to him as one that only hath to do about the
guilt of his people's sin: 'I, even I, am he.'

Use. Is to inform us what abundant matter here is for your faith to work upon.
Jehovah laid the iniquities of us all on him. God, whom you most fear, God the
Father, he is first in the design, and he layeth the command upon the bowels of
Christ. Do but lay it abroad in some particular considerations before you pass
over this circumstance: the Lord. Certainly all the triumph of faith cometh from
it.

1. The Lord, to whom belongeth forgiveness. It is not the business of others to
lay it upon Christ, it is not their right, it is not what they say, but what the
Father saith; you must look to that. You see when Christ prayeth for pardon he
addresseth himself to his Father, as if it were not in his own single power:
Luke 23:34, 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.' The Son
prayeth, there is hope: 'Father, forgive them.' If it passeth with God the
Father, the matter is ended. So 1 John 2:1, Christ is said to be 'an advocate
with the Father.' And so you shall see frequent places, as John 14:16, 'I will
pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter.' Forgiveness and mercy
and comfort, they all proceed from the Father. It is true, we read Mat. 9:6,
that 'the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins,' but it is by
commission from the Father, and as having the mind of the Father in it; as it is
said, John 5:22, 'For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment
to the Son.' So the immediate dispensation of all censures is given to the Son
by the Father, whose will passeth for a law. God the Father, in all the work of
salvation is to be considered as a superior wronged. And what an encouragement
is it to a poor soul, in the matter of its faith, to understand that God has
laid its iniquities on Christ! Oh, then, as you would magnify the sufficiency of
the Son's merit, so magnify the largeness of the Father's mercy. Look upon
Christ as able to save you, and look upon God as willing to give Christ to you.
Christ hath fully satisfied for iniquities; the Lord hath laid on him the
iniquities of us all. Tell me then, where should the soul stick? Usually it
sticketh here: they doubt whether Christ be for them or no. No pardon is granted
but it first passeth the Father. Why? because the Father is first in the design.
God sent the Son. If men would reason thus out of the scriptures, how might they
shame their hearts in the sense of their unbelief! Oh, wait then for the Spirit
to fix this truth upon you. Though a man should frame never so many deductions
without the Spirit, it would not do. Therefore, I cease to wonder why men do not
believe, though they can object nothing against the free grace of God.
2. The God whom you have wronged. Sin is against all the persons of the Trinity,
but it is chiefly against the Father. You may despise the Son, and grieve the
Spirit, but the chiefest injury is against the Father, because he is the
fountain of all; nay, all that is done to the other persons redounds to the
Father's dishonour. Thus our Saviour often reasoneth with the Jews, 'He that
despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me.' And the injury to the Spirit, it is
called a vexing of his Spirit: Isa. 63:10, 'They rebelled and vexed his Holy
Spirit.' Therefore the prophet inquireth, Isa. 7:13, 'Is it a small thing for
you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?' Oh, what a grievous thing is
this, to do all this despite to God, that you have vexed and wearied God by your
stubborn resisting of the motions of his Spirit! Why, yet this God puts Christ
upon this task, the Lord hath laid on him our iniquities. He whom you have most
cause to fear is your greatest friend. A soul that is sensible of sin is
sensible of the wrong he hath done to God. Why, though you have wronged him, he
is chief in the design of mercy. You have not only the Son on your side, but you
have the Father. Jehovah laid our iniquities upon him. You shall see the apostle
maketh it a great advantage to mercy that we have the Son and Father too: 2 John
9, 'He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the
Son.' He hath one that is willing and one that is able to save him, and
therefore the wronged party is of his side and reconciled to him. O Christians!
triumph now in this great design of salvation, if you believe you have an
interest in the Father's affection, as well as the Son's merit. Nay, to invite
you to believe, consider what a remedy here is against all your doubts; it was
the Lord that put Christ upon all that he did for you. I use the more words that
I may bring you to weigh these things. Why should you stick at your sins? The
first motion to pardon cometh from him that should avenge them. You have sinned
against Jehovah, and Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquities of us all.
3. The Lord, whose will and word is alone to be looked to. It is no matter what
Satan saith, or what your hearts say, for it goeth altogether by what God saith,
who hath laid our sins upon Christ. See how the apostle rejoiceth that God's
hand was in the acquitting of poor sinners: Rom. 8:33, 34, 'Who shall lay
anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth: who is he that
condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen.' What a bold
challenge is there! Satan may say, I can, and our consciences may condemn us
too. The devil is an accuser of the brethren to God as well as men, and a poor
soul can go and indict itself at the throne of grace, and bring in many a sad
charge against itself, and find its own case liable to death and damnation. I
have sinned, and the wages of sin is death. Ay! but who will you believeGod, or
Satan and your own hearts? The Lord hath laid your sins upon Christ, and you
will believe Satan, and lay them upon yourselves. God would have Christ not only
to suffer the death, but to bear the sins; that, as he did take away the
condemnation, so he might take away the accusation too; for mark, the apostle
saith, 'Who shall charge?' and then, 'Who shall condemn?' Satan hath nothing to
do to bring in the sad charge, or to collect the doleful inferences. Brethren,
keep your ground still. It is God that justifieth, the whole business of your
acquitment is carried on by the Lord. Satan telleth you, you have been a
swearer,

a drunkard. It is a sad thing that you have been so, but has God
given you a sight of this? Here is your comfort, God hath ordered
all this to be laid upon the back of Christ. Ay! but Satan saith, the soul that
sinnneth shall die. But keep your faith on what God has done; he hath less
reason to condemn than he hath to accuse. 'It is Christ that died, yea, rather
that is risen again.' Thus you see what comfort there is in God's acquitment. It
is the Lord hath laid: now, nobody is to be believed before him. It is the great
policy of Satan to make you put this high affront upon God, that you should
believe him before the Lord: thus he did by our first parents in another case,
Gen. 3:4, 'Ye shall not surely die.' Here he telleth a poor distressed soul, Ye
shall surely die. The devil acts his part on every hand; but do not you believe
him, for it is God that justifieth. Satan saith it shall be laid on thyself; the
Lord saith, on Christ. Do not believe the father of lies before the Father of
lights.

4. The Lord hath laid, even God, that hath so great an interest in Christ that
he can deny him nothing. Look, as God denieth Christ nothing that he asketh him,
so Christ denieth God nothing that he commandeth him. Thus you shall see when
God commandeth Christ to die for souls, Ps. 40:8, 'I delight to do thy will, O
God; yea, thy law is within my heart.' It was a gladsome intimation to Christ to
be ordained to such a service. There is a law upon the bowels of Christ; he is
called to bear your sins; he will be accounted the sinner, and you shall go
free. Therefore see what rich matter there is for your faith to work upon, and
beg the Spirit to fix it upon you.

Use 2. Is exhortation to glorify God for his goodness. Here are two things I
would exhort you to:

1. To glorify God for his mercy and goodness; and,

2. To glorify him alone.

1. Glorify God. Though Christ effected your deliverance, yet he was sent by the
Father; the Lord laid our iniquities upon him. We have experience not only of
Christ's love, but of God's; every person of the Trinity hath a hand in it, and
every person must have his distinct glory. I will not speak now of what the Son
did, or what the Spirit doth, but of the love of the Father. He showed a great
deal of love:

[1] In deputing Christ to this office, and laying his command upon Christ for
it: John 17:23, 'That the world may know that thou bast sent me, and hast loved
them as thou hast loved me. It is a high expression of the love of God to lay
our sins upon his own Son, to send Christ to die for our sins. It is an
expression of the same love to you that God bare to Christ; it was the same kind
of love, though not the same degree, God's complacency in Christ being infinite
and incomprehensible, above all the creatures in the world.

[2] In fitting Christ to bear the sins that were laid upon him. God anointed him
with a compassionate spirit, so that the Spirit of the Godhead was always with
him in the greatest agonies, and also in giving him readiness and strength. Acts
10:38, it is said, 'God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with
power.' It is usual in scripture to express the powerful graces of God's Spirit
by anointing.

[3.] In loving him for it, for taking our sins upon him according to his will:
John 10:17, 'Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that
I may take it up again.' Though God's love to Christ were eternal, yet you see
how he expresseth it, as if he were loved the more for his kindness to us. The
like expression you have John 15:10, 'If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide
in my love even as I kept my Father's, and abide in his love;' that is, his
commandments about the office of his mediatorship. This is a great endearment to
God's affection.

[4.] God rewarded him for it: Heb. 2:9, 'But we see Jesus, who was made a little
lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and
honour;' so Phil. 2:9, 'Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given
him a name above every name.' God restored him to his glory with a great deal of
renown in the eyes of men. So Christ prayeth, John 17:5, 'And now, O Father,
glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before
the world was.'

2. Glorify God alone. Let not other things share with him in your thoughts; do
not think it is for your sakes. God can have no higher motive than his own will.
The Lord laid it upon Christ, but nothing moved him to lay it but his own
goodness. Now men usually fancy something without God to be the ground of his
love; but he expressly saith, Isa. 43:25, 'I, even I, am he that blotteth out
thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.' Mark, his
own sake. Therefore exalt God, in that, as you see, nothing else could lay it
upon Christ: Isa. 2:11, 'The Lord alone shall be exalted in that day;' that is,
so separately and so singly, that you may see it was his own mere will that put
him upon such a design of mercy. Dr Crisp disputeth at large that nothing else
could lay it upon Christ, and so excludeth faith and all holy means, out of a
mistake that we think faith layeth it on Christ, whereas faith only apprehendeth
it to be laid on Christ. But this we may safely say, Nothing did put God upon it
that could be found in us, no good disposition, faith or works foreseen. It is
merely his own sovereignty and goodness; and therefore, Rom. 3:24, we are said
to be 'justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ
Jesus.'

But a little more particularly let me show you how you do not exalt God alone
and separately for laying it upon Christ. It is inclusive two ways:

1. If you have such a secret thought in you that it is because you are less
sinners than others, therefore you are pardoned, and your sins are laid upon
Christ.

2. If because you are greater sinners than others, you therefore conclude you
shall not be pardoned, you do not give God the glory of his prerogative, that he
alone should lay your sins upon Christ, but you look for somewhat in the
creature.

1. When you think God laid your sins on Christ because you are not so vile as
others. Take heed, say not in your hearts it is for your righteousness. God acts
according to his own pleasure; he many times leaveth those that to outward
appearance are most righteous. You have heard of the heathens, and yet they were
passed by, as Cato and Aristides; nay, Fabricius and Socrates, though they did
excel in outward honesty of life, yet God did not regard them in his choice.
Whereas Paul, who was a persecutor, a blasphemer, and injurious, his sins were
laid upon the back of Christ, as were those of Mary Magdalen, and the thief upon
the cross, whose whole life was wasted in wickedness. And Christ telleth the
pharisees that 'publicans and harlots should enter into the kingdom of heaven
before them.' It doth not go by your works. The apostle Paul doth strive often
to remove this conceit out of our hearts: Titus 3:4,5, 'But after that the love
and kindness of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of
righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us.' All
that we could bring to God was disobedience, and lusts, and malice, and envy. So
2 Tim. 1:9, 'He called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but
according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ before the
world began.' God doth not look without himself, but only to his own purpose and
grace. It is good to improve natural light, and to live to the utmost of it; but
it is a vain thing to think that by any action of ours we should hope to move
God to lay our sins upon Christ. Luther hath a pretty expression to this purpose
upon this text: 'Take heed,' saith he, 'of bringing the servants or the ass to
God's mountain. They may accompany you thither: Abraham and the lad must go
yonder and worship; the servants and the ass must tarry at the foot of the hill.
Only go you with faith to deal with the mercy of God; do not any way admit your
works to the glory of a pardon.' Therefore, I say, look upon God as laying your
sins upon Christ, being moved thereunto merely by his own purpose and will. He
saw nothing in you to incline him to lay your sins on Christ more than others'.
This is the first way.

2. When you think God will not lay your sins upon Christ, because you are so
great sinners, and have committed so much wickedness. We are all apt to say, as
Peter, Luke 5:8, 'Lord, depart from me, for I am a sinful man.' Do not you make
God to eye something without himself now to incline him to this? Alas! it is all
one to God whether you are great or little sinners. The spring and rise of his
love in giving Christ to you is from his own bowels; and if there be any
difference in this kind it is in this, that the greater sins comply with God's
ends and designs. And therefore it is sometimes an argument used to God, that,
though they can bring him no other thing, they can bring him wickedness enough.
Thus David saith, 'Pardon my sin, for it is great,' Ps. 25:11; so Isa. 43:24,25,
'Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with
the fat of thy sacrifices, but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, and
hast wearied me with thine iniquities.' What followeth? A man would think
terrible, thundering words. No; it is a sweet and evangelical promise; 'I, even
I, am he that blotteth out your transgressions, for my own sake, and will not
remember thy sins' So Gen. 8:21, 'I will not again curse the ground any more for
man's sake, for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth' and Isa.
57:17,18, 'For the iniquity of his covetousness, I was wroth, and smote him; I
hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart. I have
seen his ways, and will heal him. I will lead him also, and restore comforts
unto him, and to his mourners.' God, you see, declares that it is according to
his own purpose, and not of our works. He doth quite contrary to the deserts of
man, not to debase strictness, but to exalt his own grace. Mark, that place
fully setteth forth the covenant of grace, Isa. 54:9, where God saith, 'For this
is as the waters of Noah unto me; for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah
should no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with
thee nor rebuke thee.'

I come now to the next part, the nature and way of our deliverance: 'The Lord
hath laid upon him the iniquities of us all.' Our sin and punishment is
transferred to Christ. The point is-

Doct. That the way that God taketh to acquit poor sinners is to lay the guilt
and punishment of sin on the back of his own Son. 'The Lord hath laid on him the
iniquities of us all.' What the phrase importeth I did in part discover in
giving you the different readings of it in several translations. Four especially
you may take to set it off to your thoughts.

1. That of the Septuagint, paredwken auton taiV amartiaiVhe delivered him over
to our sins. It is hard and sad with a man to be delivered over to be torn by
wild beasts, to be delivered to persecutors, to be burned in the flames, to be
stretched on a rack, to be broken on a wheel, and other tortures. But it is far
more hard and evil to be delivered over to sins. Especially for Christ, who was
inflamed with a desire to please God; there is nothing more abhorrent from his
nature than the filthiness of sin. And therefore, though you should suppose him
to be delivered over to the most exquisite punishments that the world or the wit
and malice of man can invent, yet it is nothing in respect of his being given
over to sins. So the spittings, scourgings, buffeting, his cross, and all, were
but as a flea-biting in respect of his being given over to our sins. God
delivered him to Pilate. The Jews could have done nothing if power had not been
given them from above. But to be delivered over to the power of our sins, what a
heavy thing was this for Christ! And therefore the expression doth in part reach
what is meant here by God's laying it upon Christ.

2. That of Junius and others, Fecit ut in eum incurrerent peccata nostra. Our
sins did rush upon Christ; they would fain destroy him, as an enemy pusheth sore
to destroy their enemy. We read of a company that came out to take Christ with
swords and staves, and a soldier that fiercely run him through. Ay! but
brethren, there is another company that came rushing, and would fain destroy
him, and that was your and my sins. We came forth with swords and lances, and,
as it were, run him through.

3. Another version has it, Traduxit in eum, or, as with us, he 'laid it on him.'
Do but consider what it is to have sin laid upon any. It is to be bound over to
death and destruction; it is to put that upon a man that will be his certain
ruin: 1 Kings 13:34, 'And this thing became sin to the house of Jeroboam, even
to cut it off, and to destroy it from off the face of the earth.' When sin is
laid upon a man, it will undo him.

4. Others take our marginal reading, Occurrere fecit in eum: he made our sins to
meet in him; that raiseth it a little higher. Though one sin be enough to ruin a
man, yet all the sins in the world were as it were concentred in Christ to
overwhelm his soul], and to fill it with a great deal of terror; and indeed he
stood in much danger of a great condemnation unless he could satisfy God's
wrath. Thus you see, from the several readings, what may be gathered out of this
expression. And I the rather note it, because the Spirit of God useth a word
here that hath so many significations. Out of all yon may gather a delivery of
Christ over to that which was most contrary to him, which seized upon his soul,
and settled there, and brought him to the death of the cross, and would not
leave him till he had fully expiated and satisfied for it, even our sins.
But I come more particularly to set out the thing that is intended here by the
Holy Ghost in this expression: but 'he hath laid on him the iniquities of us
all.'

There are two things in itone implied, which is a taking off sin from the
creature; and the other more formally expressed, which is a putting it upon
Christ.

First, therefore, I shall show you how far it is taken off from the creature.
But, for the understanding of both, you must know there are three things in
sin:

1. The fault or offence against God.

2. The guilt or obligation to punishment.

3. The blot or sinful inclination, or vicious disposition to sin.

1. I begin with the first. For the offence, it is as if it were never committed.
The creature, when justified and sanctified, is as free as if it had never
sinned, which is intimated in divers expressions of scripture. I will give you a
few places: Jer. 50:20, 'In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the
iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and shall not be found; and the sins of
Judah, and there shall be none, for I will pardon them whom I reserve;' Isa.
44:22, 'I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgressions, and as a cloud
thy sins.' They are exhaled and dried up by the beams of mercy. And Jer. 31:34,
'I will remember your sins no more.' It is quite gone from the creature: Num.
23:21, 'He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness
in Israel;' Ps. 51:9, David prayeth, 'Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out
all mine iniquities.' God doth so cover the sin as if it were not at all; his
carriage to the soul is as if there were no sin. As a holy and just God, he
cannot behold it with approbation; and therefore, as a merciful God, he doth as
it were cover it from his eyes. Whereas, on the contrary, when God punisheth
sin, he is said to set iniquity before him: Ps. 90:8, 'Thou hast set our
iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance;' Ps.
109:15, 'Let them be before the Lord continually.' God in love will not take
notice of the offence.

2. He taketh off all guilt and obligation to punishment Rom. 8:1, 'There is no
condemnation to them that are in Christ' Nothing is done in a vindictive and
punitive way, though many things be done in a corrective and chastising way. All
God's dispensations are as branches of the covenant.

3. For the blot or sinful inclination; that is more and more taken away by
virtue of Christ taking our sins upon him: 1 Peter 2:24, 'Who his own self bare
our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead unto sin, should live
unto righteousness; by whose stripes we are healed.' He took away vicious
inclinations, as well as the penal obligations.

Secondly, It is transacted on Christ, or laid upon him. We cannot safely say the
fault, for that is the guilt that groweth out of the sin inherent; but the guilt
was laid upon him, such as groweth out of sin imputed: therefore he is said to
'bear the sins of many,' Isa. 53:12, and to 'bear our sorrows and griefs,' ver.
4.

1. So much sin was laid upon Christ as obliged him to make satisfaction for it
to his Father's justice; for having once submitted to the taking of it, he could
not recede; there was a necessity that he should clear himself with his Father:
and therefore it is said, Luke 24:26, 'Ought not Christ to have suffered, and
then to enter into his glory?'

2. There was so much sin as put Christ in our stead. Therefore, 2 Cor. 5:21, it
is said, he was 'made sin for us.' And in this chapter he is said to be
'numbered among transgressors,' nay, the chief of transgressors.

3. So much sin as made him liable to the infinite wrath of God; therefore it is
said, Gal. 3:13, he was 'made a curse for us.' And in the Psalms it is said,
'The pains of hell gat hold of him;' insomuch that he needed justification as
well as we: Isa. 1. 8, 'He is near that justifieth me, who shall contend with
me?' It is spoken of Christ; this chapter is a chapter of Christ. He needed that
God should clear him.

4. So much sin as would have sunk him into eternal misery, had he not been God
to escape out of it: Acts 2:24, 'Having loosed the pains of death, because it
was impossible that he should be holden of it.' And therefore you shall find
faith's chiefest support cometh from Christ's resurrection: Rom. 8:34, 'It is
Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen again.' Mark that, mallon de; faith
looketh to that as the wonderfullest thing, that, having such a weight of sin
upon him, he should be able to rise up again. This was a great wonder.
But I come to the reasons of the point.

1. Therefore did God lay it upon Christ, because he was the fittest person to
bear it: he was most able. It best befitted the divine justice to choose such a
person as might not miscarry in the work and transaction, else we could have had
no assurance that satisfaction was given: Ps. 89:19, 'I have laid help upon one
that is mighty.' It is spoken of David, but chiefly means Christ in it. The help
is laid on one that is most able to go through with it, and Christ was most
willing to come to the utmost: Luke 12:50, 'I have a baptism to be baptized
with, and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!' Christ had not room
enough, his heart being enlarged with love, till he had given testimony of it to
the world: Luke 22:15, 'With desire have I desired to eat this passover.' Christ
knew the date of his days was then at an end.

2. This did suit best with God's design, which was to magnify justice and mercy
at the same time. The mercy-seat did but cover the tables of the law in the ark.
The law was satisfied by Christ, and yet God is merciful to us. David saith, Ps.
101:1, 'I will sing of mercy and judgment.' God would have his people triumph in
both now.

Use 1. To press us to bless the Lord for this wonderful deliverance by Christ.
1. That sin is taken off from our shoulders and laid upon Christ. How miserable
would it have been if every man had borne his own burden! Gal. 5:6. How light
soever men's sins seem when they are committed, yet they will not be found light
when they come to reckon with God, for then sin to an awakened conscience is one
of the heaviest burdens that ever was felt. Now Christ hath taken off this
burden from us. If God had laid sins upon us, as he laid them upon Christ, they
would have sunk us to hell. The little finger of sin is heavier than the loins
of any other sorrow. If God give you but a touch of it, or a spark of it light
into your consciences, you will groan sadly Ps. 38:4, 'Mine iniquities are gone
over mine head, as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me.' When we do but
taste of this cup, we cry out presently, 'My heart faileth: You may know it
[1] By what Christ felt. He lost his actual comforts, felt strange agonies,
insomuch that he sweat drops of blood. We are of weak spirits, and soon
dismayed, but his soul was exceeding sorrowful: 'If this be done in the green
tree, what shall be done to the dry?' Many times, a little before a shower,
falls a gloominess and sad blackness so it was in' Christ's spirit.

[2] The saints, when the little finger of God is upon them, how have they roared
all the day long 1 Ps. 40:12, 'Mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that
I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of my head, therefore my
heart faileth me.' All life and spirit is gone when God sets home but one sin
upon the conscience. Job saith, chap. 6:4, 'The arrows of the Almighty are
within me, the poison thereof drinks up my spirits.'

[3.) You may know it by your own experience. When conscience is a little opened,
what horrors and disquiets are there! Prov. 18:14, 'A wounded spirit who can
bear?' Then for thousands of rams, and ten thousand rivers of oil! Cain crieth
out, 'My iniquity is greater than I can bear.'

[4] Consider the life to come, and the threatenings of the word concerning those
that die in their sins: Heb. 10:31, 'It is a fearful thing to fall into the
hands of the living God.' Who can conceive what it is to remain in chains of
darkness? 2 Peter 2:4. Sins that now lie asleep like sleepy lions will be then
roused up: Mark 9:44, 'Their worm never dieth, and their fire is not quenched.'
This is the portion of them that bear their own burden and their own
transgressions.

2. When you begin to feel the burden of sin, make use of Christ for ease;
remember this burden. is laid upon him: Mat. 11:28, 'Come unto me, all you that
labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest' The weight lieth upon us,
not to press us down to hell and despair, but to go to Christ, as they were to
do under the law to the sacrifice, Lev. 1:4. They were to lay their hand upon
the head of the sacrificea rite expressing that the sacrifice did bear the
burden of their sins. This they were to do with brokenness of heart,
acknowledging their offencesacknowledging that they were worthy to die as the
beast diedowning the sacrifice of atonement, Christ Jesus Ps. 51:17, 'The
sacrifices of a broken heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.' So John 1:29,
'Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world;' 'Look on him
whom they. have pierced,' Zech. 12:10. This was done to renew the covenant: Ps.
50:5, 'Gather my saints together unto me, those that have made a covenant with
me by sacrifice.' And they were to promise to walk with God in all humble
obedience.

Use 2. Is exhortation, to beseech you to believe this truth, that your
iniquities are cast upon Christ. A man hath no benefit by it till he believeth.
There is as much need of your believing as of Christ's suffering. Believe in
'the Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world.'

1. As soon as you feel sin a burden, ease yourselves by considering it is laid
upon Christ. Free grace, as it doth not exclude the merits of Christ, so not the
application of faith: Rom. 3:25, 'Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation
through faith in his blood.' The business was transacted between God and Christ
before all worlds. Faith gets it copied out to the soul. You are weary and heavy
laden with sin, come then to him, Mat. 11:28, with a lively faith; not as if by
faith we did anew lay the burden of sin upon Christ, only then we apprehend it
to be done for our sakes.

2. After you have gotten an interest in him by faith, renew the sense of your
pardon. God seeth as a just God, and so our sins should be matter of humiliation
to us; but he covereth them as a merciful God, and so it is matter of comfort.
Sins, they were long since laid upon Christ; renew thy pardon again by faith,
and strive to get an actual sense of it. Remember, Christ's soul was heavy to
the death, that thou mightest go free.

But you say, I could take comfort in these things if I knew that my sins were
laid upon Christ; it is only the sins of the elect are laid upon Christ.
Ans. The text saith, 'The iniquities of us all.'

Doct. That Christ is set forth in the gospel, as having all men's sins laid upon
him. The word carrieth it in such a general way, that none is excepted, and
there are very many other places to confirm it, where Christ is said to
reconcile the world: 2 Cor. 5:19, 'God was in Christ, reconciling the world to
himself;' and to 'taste death for every man,' Heb. 2:9; and to 'die for all.' It
is good to mark that: 2 Cor. 5:14, 'If one died for all.' I shall come to the
reasons why Christ is proposed so generally.

1. Because all men in some sort have benefit by him. So far Christ suffered his
Father's wrath that was due to all men's sins, that in a large sense they have
benefit by him. All the common mercies we enjoy we have by virtue of Christ's
death. You know how the threatening ran, 'In the day thou eatest thereof, thou
shalt die,' Gen. 2:17; nay, it is 'surely die.' And all mankind might have been
lost; but yet you see the absolute accomplishment of the sentence, even to
wicked men, is referred to the day of judgment. The worst, at least, enjoy a
reprieve by Christ. In this sense it is said, 1 Tim. 4:10, 'We trust in the
living God, who is the Saviour of all men, especially of them that believe.'
Such as is spoken of, Ps. 36:6, 'O Lord, thou preservest man and beast;' by a
common salvation and preservation. And the word o swthr, which is usually
applied to Christ as Mediator, is used there to hint that it cometh by Christ;
though it be a common mercy, it is from him. Thus it is said, Eph. 1:10, 'That
in the dispensation of the fulness of time he might gather together in one all,
things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in
him.' Some understand it of collecting the scattered parts of the world, and
renewing the creature, which, had it not been for Christ, would have been lost.
As an orator collects the heads of a discourse, that nothing be lost, and
bringeth it into one sum. So the heathens, all their mercies come to them
swimming in the blood of Christ; so. the word, ordinances, covenant, and outward
graces to the church. Thus he suffered for the sins of the whole world, that the
whole should enjoy these common favours and blessings by him.
2. Because there is a sufficiency in the merits of Christ for all, so that if it
had pleased God to give Christ to all mankind, his justice had been sufficiently
satisfied. For there is no defect in the Redeemer, and therefore there are so
many general expressions in scripture to set out the value of Christ's
sacrifice; so that if there were ten thousand times more sins committed than
there are, here is enough to expiate them all, the person that suffered being so
eminent, and the sufferings so great and infinite. Those that perish do not
perish out of any defect or insufficiency in the merit of Christ, as if enough
were not done to save them; but out of their own fault, because they did not
believe it. Thus it is said, 1 Cor. 15:22, 'For as in Adam all die, so in Christ
shall all be made alive;' that is, as there was a sufficiency in Adam, the first
common person, to ruin all his posterity, so there was a sufficiency in Christ
to save all that Adam ruined; for it must needs be understood so, for take it
literally and it is against all common experience. Many know not Christ, many
hate him and will not come unto him: "Ye will not come unto me, that ye may have
life;' Rom. 5:18, 'Therefore, as by the offence of one judgment came upon all to
condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all
men to justification of life.' The text proveth nothing but that there was as
much sufficiency in Christ to justify, as there was in Adam to condemn. That we
may not have too low and undervaluing thoughts of Christ's sufferings, the
scripture speaks thus generally: there is enough for me and thee, and all the
world. It is a great injury done to Christ to lessen and extenuate him beneath
Adam, as if he were not as able to recover as the other to ruin us. 3. Therefore
it is expressed thus generally, that all conditions of men might be included.
God would not have any enclosure of his mercy within the bounds of any nation,
persons, and conditions of men, that he might take off all outward exceptions,
and comprise every believer, of what condition and rank soever; and therefore he
expresseth himself promiscuously to all of every state, every nation, every
order. It is the nature of man to confine privileges to their own nation and
order. We would be singular and shine alone, and have none share with us; envy,
I say, grudgeth at the commonest mercies. We see in. common things nothing is so
welcome to us as that which we enjoy alone. The Romans would be the only civil
nation, all else were barbarians. The Romish clergy would have all learning and
knowledge confined within their function; and the Jews could not endure to hear
of a general salvation for other nations. It was the harshest note that could be
sounded in their ears, that Christ died for all. It is much urged by the
apostle, because of the rage of the Jews, for the enlargement of the pale of
God's church. Therefore I conceive the apostle did inculcate, and so largely
insist upon it, to meet with this perverseness of the Jews, as that which they
would never hear of. In this sense it is said, Heb. 2:9, he 'tasted death for
every man;' and so 1 John 2:2, 'And he is the propitiation for our sins, and not
for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world;' that is, not only for
us Jews, but for all the world, even of all places, orders, and ranks. God would
not have the creatures envy it to any man, he proposeth it so generally to take
away that Jewish indignation against the Gentiles. Therefore the apostles do so
plentifully abound in these expressions.

4. That no man might accuse God as if he had not made sufficient provision for,
his soul. Men are apt to transfer their guilt; though they will not charge
Christ with it in a way of faith, they will charge God with it in a way of
censure; as Prov. 19:3, 'The foolishness of man perverteth his way, and his
heart fretteth against the Lord.' It is their own folly and unbelief, and we are
apt to impute it to God, as if he did not intend Christ to us. Now there would
be more occasion offered, if the Lord should have pointed out by name those to
whom he intended Christ. God keepeth it secret what he will do with men, that he
may provoke them to endeavours after duty, leaving themselves to his good
pleasure. No man can plead now, as an excuse for his. negligence, that God left
him out; it is we leave out ourselves; and therefore the proposal and offer of
Christ is general. God hath expressed enough of his will to show man his duty,
though not enough of his will to tell man his pleasure and secret intention. Now
the will of God concerning any particular person is hidden. Men would fain
excuse themselves of duty by prying into God's secrets. God giveth a check to
such curious impudence, by making the proposal and offer of Christ general,
though his intentions to give Christ may be particular; yet we must not meddle
with that. Foolish curiosity proceeds from an innate desire in the creature to
charge God with all its miscarriages: Deut. 29:29, 'Secret things belong unto
the Lord, but those things which are revealed belong to us, and our children for
ever.' The proposal of Christ in the gospel, that is a revealed thing, and it
belongeth to the creatures. God would have it carried so as rather typing out
duty to them than revealing his own purposes; he would not give the creature
such an occasion to murmur.

5. To denote the multitude that should come into Christ, especially in the
latter times; they are as good as a whole world: he 'so loved the world,' John
3:16. It is understood by many of mundus credentium; they were but a world when
Christ saved them. God's elect, compared with the wicked world, are but a little
flock by themselves, but they are accounted in the scripture as innumerable:
Rev. 7:9, 'I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of
all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and
before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.' Mark, it
is a multitude which none can number; the sheep of Christ's flock are so many
that it is innumerable: in a sort especially, there shall be a great increase in
the last times. And thus you may expound that place: Heb. 2:9, 'He tasted death
for every man.' In the next verse it is so intended, 'in bringing many sons unto
glory.' So Ps. 2:8, 'Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for an
inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.' The
gospel shall then be spread far and near. God hath given Christ to have and to
hold all the world: Heb. 1:3, 'Whom he hath appointed heir of all things.' And
it is said in the 10th verse of this Isa. 53, that 'the pleasure of the Lord
shall prosper in his hands.' Therefore the scripture speaketh this generally, to
comprise the vast multitude that should embrace the doctrine of Christ.
6. To denote the oneness, or the one way by which all are reconciled to God: all
that have it have it by Christ. I say, many times the expressions are general,
to show that God disposeth of the sins of all his people one way. Such
expressions are rather exclusive of other ways, than inclusive and comprising
all persons. God is said to lay the iniquities of us all upon Christ, because
all those whose iniquities are disposed in a merciful way, they are disposed
this way. Let me exemplify this a little: The philosophers define good thus
kalon estin ou panta epiJumeigood is that which all things desire. It is not to
be understood as if all things in the world did desire good; for stones and
timber, and many other things, have no appetite. The meaning is, all things that
desire, desire that which is good. But I will give you instances in scripture:
Col. 1:20, 'And having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to
reconcile all things unto himself.' Not that everything is reconciled, but
everything that is reconciled, is reconciled this way, by the blood of Christ's
cross. So Titus 2:11, 'The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to
all men;' that is, to all to whom salvation is brought, it is brought by the
grace of God; it rather noteth Christ's merits than the persons that enjoy it.
Divers such expressions there are in scripture. Thus, John 1:9, 'That was the
true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.' Not that every
man that cometh into the world is enlightened, there are many that perish and
die in their ignorance: the meaning is, every man that is enlightened, is
enlightened by him. As, for example, such a man cured all the city; not that
every particular man was cured, but all that were cured were cured by him: so
Christ is the Saviour of all men, that is, of all that are saved. These
expressions are exclusive of all other ways, not inclusive of every person. Thus
you have the reasons.

APPLICATION.

Use 1. This serveth to clear to us the mistake of the doctrine of universal
grace, and to explain those expressions in scripture that are brought to favour
this opinion: though you cannot conclude out of them universal grace, yet you
may a universal necessity of believing this benefit. Solomon saith, Prov. 24:26,
'Every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer;' that is, ingenuous
men will mightily prize and be taken with aright answer. Why, here now you have
an answer against the patrons of universal grace. You see the reasons why the
proposals of Christ are so general, and why there are so many expressions of it
to all men: it is because all enjoy benefit by him. He is sufficient for all:
God would not have any enclosure of his grace to any particular person; and it
is to show the multitude of believers; and that God would have all men look to
this, and to no other name, and to but one Christ.

Use 2. Is to inform us what little reason we have, to refuse to come to God at
his call, seeing he keeps open-house for all comers; yea, though you have no
money for heaven: Isa. 55:1, 'Ho, every one that thirsteth, come to the waters,
and he that hath no money: come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.' The publication of the gospel is general to
all mento all kinds of men: nothing hindereth now but unbelief, or the refusal
of Christ.

1. Not thy nation. Oh, how are we to praise God that he hath enlarged the bounds
of mercy to us Gentiles now, as well as to the Jews formerly! You may look upon
your iniquities as laid upon Christ Rom. 15:11, 'Praise the Lord, all ye
Gentiles.' It is quoted out of Ps. 117:1. All nations now share in this
privilege. You know, in traffic or otherwise, peculiar nations have peculiar
privileges, but here all alike.

2. Not thy condition. Art thou poor? Christ is as mindful of thee as of the
rich. God taketh a great deal of care and knowledge of a poor soul. In the
parable of Dives and Lazarus, the poor man hath a proper name, and the rich man
hath an appellative;. and it is a great favour, I can tell you, to be known to
God by name. It is spoken as a great privilege that God knew Moses by name:
Exod. 33:12, 'I have known thee by name, and thou hast found favour in my
sight;' Acts 17:34, 'Howbeit, certain men clave unto 'him, and believed, among
which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris.' God took notice
of the poor woman at Athens as well as the great scholars. So James 2:5, 'Hath
not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith?' Art thou a poor,
neglected manor woman, or a poor servant? Yet your souls may be as dear to him
as the richest man's alive, and he is as tender over you. You read in the 16th
verse of Philemon, that Onesimus, a servant, was above a servant in regard of
his spiritual condition. Oh, brethren, it is a great fault in men, they do not
look after the poor in the world, especially poor servants; if they mind the
good of the higher servants, yet they neglect the other. I speak a homely word,
and yet a true one; it may be the soul of the poor scullion-boy in the kitchen
may be as dear and precious to Christ as yours. So it may be said of one
deformed: Acts 13:1, and 'Simon that was called Niger' was a saint as well as
Moses the fair.

3. Not your sins. Make no exceptions where the word maketh none. Christ came to
die for the dissolute drunkard as well as for the devout hypocrite. Men in
despair look upon their sins as Cain did, and cry out, 'My sins are greater than
I can bear.' Why, did Christ upon the cross only except thy sins, thinkest thou?
Did he say he would not die for such a one as thou art? Mat. 11:28, 'Come unto
me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.' Those that
have committed so many sins that they are even sunk down to hell by them, Christ
calleth to himself; yea, the more unlikely it seemeth to you, God may have the
greater regard to you Luke 14:21, 'The master of the house being angry, said to
his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in
hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind!

A man would have thought a morsel at the door had been great preferment for
them, and of all persons they should never have been invited. There is nothing
exempted out of the call of the gospel but the sin against the Holy Ghost, and
that is never pardoned, because the forgiveness thereof is never asked. Take
heed of making exceptions where God hath made none; a feast may be intended for
thee, though thou hast a poor, blind, lame soul.

4. Not any thoughts that Christ was never intended for us. How do you know that?
Reprobation is God's sealed book. It is not for creatures to look into it; you
would fain justify your unbelief by God's decree against you, but it argueth an
ill spirit. If you can exempt yourself out of the number of them that go astray,
you may exempt yourself out of the number of those whose iniquities are laid
upon Christ. Let God alone with his secret judgments. Christians are to look to
the revealed will of Godto directions in the scriptures, not to the secret that
is in God's bosom.

But still the soul replieth, If I knew that I belonged to the election of grace,
then I would believe; otherwise, I know that I cannot change his purpose by any
faith of mine. Doth God promiscuously intend Christ to every one? I reserved the
discussion of this doubt, that I might answer it the more fully. I shall
endeavour it in these propositions, by which I shall lay open the whole matter:

1. Certain it is that there is enough in Christ's death to merit pardon for all
men in the world, though there were ten thousand times more men than ever there
were or shall be; and so they would find it if they did believe. It is good to
determine that first, for the defect is not on Christ's part; but this I spoke
to before in the reasons.

2. Though Christ's death be sufficient for all, yet the efficacy and benefit of
it is intended only to believersto those that enjoy it by faith,not only
applied, but intended only. Mark, I say, that not only the efficacy of it is to
believers, but the efficacy of it is intended to believers. See some proof of
this from scripture: John 10:15, 'I lay down my life for the sheep.' There was
the intent of God and Christ, that Christ should die only for those of his own
flock; and therefore many times, where you find the expressions of God's love
very general, you shall see the intention of it is restrained to those that
believe. As John 3:16, 'God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten
Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting
life.' God intended him to the world of believers: whoever amongst them do
believe, let him be whatever he will, or whatever he was, he should not perish.
So Rom. 3:22, 'Even the righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ,
unto all and upon all them that believe, for there is no difference.' Though it
be to all, it is with this restraint and limitation, 'to all that believe.' And
there is good reason for it; for if God intended it, he would effect it: Ps.
115:3, 'Our God is in heaven, and doth whatsoever he will.' If ever God willed
it, certainly he would accomplish itman cannot frustrate it. And if God
intended the giving Christ to the whole world, Christ would have prayed for it.
A man cannot know what was God's will or the Son's duty better than by taking
notice of his solemn prayer when he was about to offer up the sacrifice of
himself: John 17:9, 'I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast
given me out of the world.' Christ was given for none but for those that were
given to him; and for them he prayeth, ver. 20, 'Neither pray I for these alone,
but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.' Christ prayed
only for those for whom he died, and he died only for believers.
3. God no doubt intended him such a sufficient sacrifice to the world. Christ
did nothing but by the Father's will, as was largely confirmed in the beginning
of this discourse: John 5:30, 'I seek not mine own will, but the will of the
Father, which hath sent me.' It was the Father's intention as well as the Son's.
So far, then, we may safely say, God intended Christ as a sufficient sacrifice.
4. Though the efficacy and benefit be certainly intended to believers, yet God's
offer of Christ, and the publication of the gospel, is general Isa. 55:1, 'Ho,
every one that thirsteth, come to the waters;' Rev. 22:17, 'Whosoever will, let
him take of the water of life freely.' Such commands being rather an intimation
of what he would have us do than what he intendeth we shall do; of the
creature's duty rather than of God's will. It is the will of God's pleasure that
they ought to seek after an interest in Christ. So it is said, 1 Tim. 2:4, 'God
will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth;'
voluntate praecepti, by the will of his command: and by virtue of this we are
bidden to preach the gospel to every creature, Mark 16:16. To the making it
effectual, there is required not only God's will, but God's grace, still
reserving to God the power of his own secret judgment.

5. God is serious and in earnest in these offers and publications of Christ to
all. That he mocketh no man you shall see: do but try him, accept him, and he
will be as good as his word. It is not made to you fraudulently, and with an
intent to deceive, but God is serious. God is bound to no man, and wicked men
refuse him out of their owns perverseness. And indeed we should rather admire
his mercy that he giveth Christ to any, than quarrel at his justice that he doth
not give him to all.

That God is serious and in good earnest in these offers, appeareth

1. By his entreaties. He beseecheth you to take him as well as offereth him:
Ezek. 33:11, 'As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of
the wicked, but that the wicked turn from, his way and live. Turn ye, turn ye
from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?' 2 Cor. 5:20, 'Now
then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us.' So God
useth all these entreaties to show that he is sincere and in earnest with all
men.

2. Because it suiteth more with his delight that you should take hold of these
offers and not refuse them. God bindeth himself with a strong oath: Ezek. 33:11,
'As I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked.'
Merely as it is the destruction of the creature, so God doth not any way approve
of it, though, as a just punishment, he delighteth in it. If you look to God's
approbation or delight, your accepting grace more suiteth with it than your
refusal.

3. Because he is angry that you do refuse: John 5:40, 'Ye will not come to me
that you may have life.' He is grieved that men, through their own folly,
neglect that which should do them good: Mat. 23:37, 'O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,
thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee! how
often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her
chickens under her wings, and ye would not?' He meant by his outward ministry,
though not inward call. He was mighty solicitous and earnest in that. So though
God use all the means with us, and give us all the light that possibly can be
into his will, except saving light, we turn unto our own way.





 

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