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though we cannot do all ourselves, yet since we can do so much as will certainly oblige God to empower us to do the rest, it is already in our power to do all, if we will. He that is strong enough to carry a burden of an hundred weight, but is required to carry two, may carry both; supposing that by bearing as much as he can, he shall certainly be enabled to carry the whole. Now God hath promised us, by the assistances of his grace, whatsoever is wanting in the power of our nature; and therefore, if we fall short of our duty, and consequently of the rewards of it, we can reasonably blame no one but ourselves. For though we cannot do all in our own strength, yet that we do not do all is as much our fault as if we could; since we may do all through Christ, who would strengthen us, would we but do what we can. Let us therefore no longer cry out of the impossibility of God's commands, nor charge our disobedience to them upon the unavoidable weakness of our own natures; since it is so plain, that our sin is resolvable into no other principle but our own wretched wilfulness and obstinacy. But let us betake ourselves to a serious and hearty endeavour of doing our Master's will; and if when we have done all that we can, we should then fall short of our duty, and miss the reward of it, we may then with good reason call him an austere Master, for imposing tyrannical and impossible commands, and expecting to reap where he hath not sown.
Seventhly and lastly, We may perceive from hence the inexcusableness of sinners, if they go on in their wickedness. For God, you see, doth vouchsafe to us such plentiful measures of his grace and assistance, that in the strength of it we may mortify our lusts if we will, and work out our own eternal salvation : but if we will be negligent, and rather choose to perish in our sin, than take the pains to subdue it by the grace of God, our folly is inexcusable; and no one can be charged with our ruin bat ourselves. For what could God have done more for us, than he hath already done? He hath solicited us to forsake our sin with the most important arguments and motives, tempted our hopes with a heaven of immortal joys, and alarmed our fears with the horrors of an endless and intolerable damnation; so that we cannot go on in our sin without leaping over heaven into hell, and wading through an infinite ocean of happiness into the lake of fire and brimstone. He hath plainly, told us, what the event and issue of our folly will be, and warned us beforehand, that if we will be wicked, we must be miserable; so that if after this we do go on in our sin, we run ourselves upon a foreseen damnation, and leap into hell with our eyes open. He hath promised, that if we will seriously attempt our own recovery, his grace shall be sufficient for us to back our endeavours, and crown them with success; so that if after this we do persist in our folly, we choose destruction, and rush headlong into a ruin which we might easily avoid. In a word, he hath again and again suggested good thoughts to our minds, and by an importunate iteration of thém hath frequently courted us to repent, and live: so that if still we persevere in our impenitence, we stop our ears to the addresses of Heaven, and do in effect tell God, that we will not hearken to him, though our souls are at stake, and it is no less than an everlasting ruin that he dissuades us from. And what remedy or excuse is there for such intolerable obstinacy? So that it is a plain case, God hath done so much for us, that there is not any thing wanting to our everlasting salvation but only our own wills; and if we will not comply with his grace
and assistance, he will not save us whether we will or no. So that when inquisition shall be made for the blood of our souls, the utmost we can charge God with is this, that he did not tie up our hands to keep us from murdering ourselves with the cords of an irresistible fate, and by his invincible power drag us to heaven, whether we would or no. But if we have so little regard of ourselves, as to spurn at our own happiness, it is not fit that God should force it upon us; and it would be a mean and unreasonable condescension in him to prostitute the rèwards of virtue to those that wilfully refuse them. Wherefore, if we perish in our sin, after God hath done so much for us, he may fairly wash his hands in innocency over us, and charge our blood upon our own heads : and how deplorable soever our condition proves in the future state, God's justice will triumph for ever in our ruin; and our own consciences, in consort with all the rational world, will pronounce him to be most just and righteous in all
Of the eternal reward of mortification and holiness. THE apostle having declared for our encouragement, Rom. viii. 13. that if we mortify the deeds of the body, we shall live; I shall now insist upon these two propositions :
First, That there is a state of everlasting life and happiness prepared for good men.
Secondly, That this their everlasting happiness depends upon their mortifying their lusts.
I. That there is a state of everlasting life and happiness prepared for good men: the truth of which I shall endeavour to prove by some plain and easy
1. Because the law of our natures hath not a sufficient sanction without it. That there is in us such a law of nature, by which things and actions are distinguished into good and evil, is every whit as evident, as that we have within us a principle of reason. For no man using his reason can ever think it indifferent in itself, whether we obey our parents or contemn them; whether we lie, or speak truth; whether we be grateful or disingenuous to our benefactors : for between these things there is such an essential difference, that they can never be equal competitors to a rational approbation. And accordingly among all mankind we may observe, that there are some vices which have as much the universal judgment of reason against them, as any false conclusion in the mathematics; and some virtues, whose goodness has been as universally acknowledged, as the truth of any principle in philosophy. Wherefore since God hath created us with such a faculty as doth necessarily make such a judgment of good and evil, this judgment must be God's, as well as the faculties which made it: and that which is God's judgment in us must necessarily be a law to us. God therefore having put such a law into our natures, we cannot but suppose that he hath taken care to enforce the observation of it, by rewarding and punishing us, according as we obey or violate it: for without the sanctions of rewards and punishments to induce men to observe them, laws are insignificant; and that lawgiver doth but petition his subjects to obey, that doth not promise such rewards, nor denounce such penalties, as are sufficient to oblige them to it. And no reward can be sufficient to oblige us to obey, that doth not abundantly compensate any loss or evil we may sustain by our obedience; no punishment sufficient to deter us from disobeying, that doth not far surmount all that benefit or pleasure we can hope to reap from our disobedience. Since therefore God hath implanted a law in our natures, we must either suppose that he hath not sufficiently secured it by rewards and punish: ments; which is to blaspheme his wisdom and conduct: or else we must acknowledge that he hath established it with such rewards and punishments, as do make it far more advisable to obey, than to transgress it; which that he hath done in all instances can never be proved, without granting the rewards and punishments of another world. For if there be no such thing as future rewards and punishments, it is a folly for any man to concern himself about any thing but his present interest; and in reason we ought to judge things to be good or evil, only as they promote or obstruct our temporal happiness and welfare. Now though it is certain, that in the general there is a natural good accruing to us from all virtuous actions, as on the contrary a natural evil from all vicious ones ; and it is ordinarily more conducive for our temporal interests to obey than to disobey the great law of our natures: yet there are a world of instances, wherein vice may be more advan