« AnteriorContinuar »
Whether a spendthrift is farther off ruin, because he does not think of it? Let us also consider what St. Paul saith to this purpose: “If we believe not, yet God abideth faithful, He 21im.2.18. cannot deny Himself;” that is, what God has appointed will come to pass, though all the world should resolve not to believe it. This was exactly the case of the old world. They were forewarned of the approaching flood, but not one would lay this to heart; and what was the consequence, but that they all perished in their iniquity? So that you see what will be the consequence of sin, though we should altogether hold our peace, though you should altogether refuse to hear us. If you have sinned against the Lord, your sin will surely find you out; that the world may be convinced, that God governs it in truth and justice, and that He sees all things that are done under the sun; that good men may be reclaimed by His fatherly corrections; that wicked men may be left without excuse; and that all may be awakened into a due care of their ways, that they avoid what will otherwise certainly come upon them. I will conclude the whole with these short observations: First ; That since God has, in all ages, and upon all sorts of people, given so many instances of His severe displeasure against sin, it is the greatest folly and presumption to sin, depending upon the goodness of God, or in hopes that our being called by His name will excuse us from punishment. Secondly; That we ought not to repine, if, when our sin has found us out, we receive the just reward of our iniquities; but, with an humble submission to God’s will, be well pleased that our punishment is not reserved to the next world. Thirdly; That since all afflictions are designed in mercy to better us, the best use we can make of them is, to search our ways, see whom we have offended, and, by a sincere repentance, endeavour to appease the anger of God; or, in our Saviour's words and advice, “to sin no more, lest a [John 5. worse evil cometh.” 14.] Fourthly, and above all things, let us consider, that however well we may escape, or bear afflictions here, yet, if we do
not sincerely repent us of our sins, our sins will one day find us out, and overtake us, when God shall judge the world in righteousness, and give to every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings, whether they have been good or bad.
Now, may God, of His infinite mercy, turn from us all those evils that we most righteously have deserved. May we ever acknowledge the hand, and the justice of God, in whatever His providence bringeth upon us; and whatever befalls us in this world, may we, by a timely repentance, prevent and escape the wrath to come, for Jesus Christ's sake.
To Whom, with the Father, &c.
FORNICATION FORBIDDEN BOTH IN THE LAW AND IN
But,fornication, and all uncleanness, or coretousness, let it not be see Deut. once named amongst you, as becometh saints : [that is, chris- #; s: tians:] neither fi/t/iness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which Foils. are not convenient; but rather giving of thanks. For this ye 23, 14." A now, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous #o. man. who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the Kingdom of #3. 7. 2; Christ and of God. #. 2.11; - - - - - 1 John 3.3. The things, good christians, I am going to warn you
against, are the sins of fornication, and other impurities, forbidden both in the law and in the Gospel; concerning which the Apostle saith, “that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, hath” nor can have “any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ, and of God.” But that is not all; for St. John adds, “that such shall Rev. 21.8. have their portion in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone.” These are frightful words; and I repeat them, that you may be prepared to hear what I am going to say upon this subject, with the greatest seriousness. Now there are three sorts of people, to whom I am going to speak. First ; To such as have not defiled themselves with these vile sins. Secondly ; To such as know themselves guilty, but have never laid it seriously to heart, what danger they are in, and
1 Thess. 4. 3.
what will be their portion, if they go on in their wicked-
from evil; and lastly, in the testimony of a good conscience, that they use their best endeavours to mortify their corrupt affections, as well as to preserve their reputation with the world. Secondly; But the happiness of those that lead a chaste life will better be seen when compared with the wretched condition of such as, being possessed with an unclean spirit, do commit all iniquity with greediness. The Apostle saith, “that fornication, and uncleanness, [Eph. 5. 3.) are sins which should not be named,” should not, if possible, be known “amongst christians;” for they are sins which defile the soul, as well as the body; they ruin the understanding; they sear the conscience; they destroy all good purposes; they are the occasion of infinite other sins. For instance: How many infants have been murdered? How many women have in effect murdered themselves, by taking medicines to hide their shame? How many have been perjured? How many have broke their own, and how many have broke their parents' hearts? And do not think to say within yourselves, I should hardly do what others have done; I would never forswear myself; I would never consent to murder a child; for, believe it for a certain truth, if you once become the devil's servant, you must then do what he will have you to do, as others have done before you, let what will follow. Then pray consider, that if once you get evil habits, and especially of these sins, you will find it exceeding hard to leave them. And yet you must leave them, or you must never think of going to heaven. Nay, suppose you do resolve, and do in good earnest repent of your sin, yet there is still a very melancholy consideration behind; you can but repent for one, you can but repent for yourself; and whether those that have been partners with you in iniquity, whether those will ever repent, you know not. Neither can you be sure that your own repentance will be accepted, or whether the blood of those that perish will not be required at your hands. After all, it is much to be feared, that these sins are too seldom truly repented of. They are very common, and people