|« Prev||Sermon VIII. With all deceivableness of…||Next »|
With all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.—2 Thes. II. 10.
WE have described unto you the head of the antichristian state; we come now to the subjects, especially the zealous abettors and promoters of this kingdom. They are described:—(1.) By the means how they are drawn into this apostasy and defection, ἐν πάσῃ ἀπάτῃ τῆς 76ἀδικίας. (2.) By their doom or misery; they are in a state of perdition: in them that perish. (3.) By their sin, which is the cause and reason of this doom: because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
1. The means: ‘With all deceivableness of unrighteousness.’ That Antichrist shall be a deceiver, and that he deceiveth by lying miracles, we have seen already, and is foretold: Rev. xiii. 14, ‘And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast,’ &c.; but the deceived are not altogether guiltless, for the fraud would soon be discovered by a holy and pure soul. His great engine is either the baits of lust and sin, which work on none but those that have pleasure in unrighteousness, ver. 12: the generality of wicked and carnal Christians are easily drawn from God’s pure worship, and true godliness; either by worldly means, as by the offers of preferment, riches, dignities, or else terrors of the flesh. Now, none catch at these worldly baits but whose eyes the god of this world hath blinded, 2 Cor. iv. 4.
2. Their misery: they are said to be ‘those that perish.’ That beareth three senses:—(1.) That they are worthy to perish, because they do not use care and diligence to understand their duty, being blinded by their worldly affections. That is the mildest sense we can put upon it; they deserve to perish. No man perisheth but for his own fault: Hosea xiii. 9, ‘O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me is thy help.’ Now, they that will yield to the deceivableness of unrighteousness, justly perish; though there be deceit in the case, yet there is unrighteousness in the case also. Fraudulent dealing should not so cozen us, as apparent unrighteousness or unfaithfulness to Christ should warn us. (2.) That they are in an actual state of perdition, and, unless they come out of it, are undone for ever. The apostles, when they propounded Christian doctrine, at first did use this term to distinguish impenitent unbelievers from those that received the gospel: as 1 Cor. i. 18, ‘The preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness, but unto us that are saved the power of God:’ so 2 Cor. ii. 15, ‘We are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that perish, and in them that are saved.’ So he distinguished them that receive the faith, and them that receive it not; penitent believers are those that are saved, but impenitent unbelievers are those that perish, that is, are for the present, during their infidelity and impenitency, in an actual state of perdition; so 2 Cor. iv. 3, ‘If our gospel be hid, it is hid to those that are lost;’ that is, who are for the present in a lost condition. We know not God’s secret decrees, but those that refuse and oppose the only remedy, to all appearance, are lost men. Now, this he applieth to those that yield to Antichrist, showing them that though they are Christians, yet they have no more benefit by the gospel than infidels; they receive not the truth—these revolt from the owning of it upon carnal reasons: and therefore it is foretold, Rev. xiv. 9, 10, ‘If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone, in the presence of the holy angels, and the presence of the 77Lamb;’ that is, all those that give up themselves as servants and soldiers to the antichristian estate, and obstinately adhere to and promote that profession, they shall taste of the Mediator’s vengeance, which will be very sore and severe: Luke xix. 27, ‘These mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring them forth, and slay them before me,’ Popery is the highway to damnation. (3.) It beareth this sense, that they are fore-appointed to perish who are left to these delusions; they are such as God hath passed by, and not chosen to life. This is to be considered also; for damnable errors take not effect on God’s elect: Mat. xxiv. 24, ‘If it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.’ The elect cannot altogether be seduced and drawn away from Christ, for God taketh them into his protection, and guardeth them against the delusions of false prophets, that, if they be for a time, they shall not always be deceived. So it is said, Rev. ix. 4, ‘The locusts shall hurt none of those that had the seal of God in their foreheads.’ The delusions of Antichrist have only their full effect on those who are not elected and sealed, upon the hypocritical professors that live in the visible church. So it is said again, Rev. xiii. 8, ‘All that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life;’ and again, Rev. xvii. 8, ‘And they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world.’ The elect are still excepted, which is much for the comfort of the godly, who belong to God’s election, that he shall not prevail over them totally, finally. God hath chosen you to life.
3. The reason of this doom: ‘Because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved.’ By the truth is meant the gospel, the chief truth revealed in God’s word, and the only means of salvation: Eph. i. 13, ‘In whom also ye trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.’ This is the truth most profitable to lost sinners; receiving is put for entertaining, or believing the word; as Acts viii. 14, ‘When they heard that Samaria had received the word of God;’ and Acts xi. 1, ‘That the Gentiles had received the word,’ and elsewhere. This reception must be with love: Acts ii. 41, ‘As many as received the word gladly;’ and Acts xvii. 11, ‘They received the word with readiness of mind.’ And this affection must produce its effect, so as to convert them unto God. Now, this is denied of them who are seduced by Antichrist, that they ever had any true love to the truth, or minded it in order to their salvation. Now, the business is, whether the clause concerned only the Jews, or can be applied to Christians? The Jews clearly received not the love of the truth, but did refuse Christ and his salvation. And herein the papists glory of an advantage of turning off this prophecy from themselves. But the apostle speaketh not of rejecting the truth, but of not receiving the love of the truth, which is not proper to the Jews but to false Christians. The Jews’ company rejected Christ, and Antichrist was not sent to them for a punishment, but wrath came upon them to the uttermost, to the excision and cutting off their nation. But here is rendered the reason not of other judgments, but why men are captives to Antichrist. Therefore it is not so to be confined.78
Doct. 1. The subjects of Antichrist’s power and seduction are those that perish.
2. The great reason why God sent this judgment on the Christian world, is because they received not the love of the truth.
Doct. 1. That the subjects of Antichrist’s power and seduction are those that perish.
It is a dreadful argument we are upon, yet necessary to be known for our caution, however to be handled warily. (1.) It is certainly more meet for us to have a regard of our own estate, than curiously to inquire what becometh of others. The apostle waiveth judging them that are without, 1 Cor. v. 12. I know he meaneth it of the censures of the church, which are not exercised upon infidels, but Christians; but so far we may apply it to this case, that we should not rashly judge of the eternal state of other persons, but rather of things wherein our selves are concerned. If the inquiry were only matter of curiosity, surely Christ’s rebuke would silence it, ‘What is that to thee?’ John xxi. 22; for Christ is ill pleased with curiosity about the state of other men; but it is fit we should know our own duty and danger, and to that end it must be discussed. (2.) That there is a great difficulty of the salvation of papists so living and dying, if not an utter impossibility. Partly because, though it should be supposed that they retain the foundation, yet they build such hay and stubble upon it, so many errors in doctrine, corruptions in worship, and tyranny in government, that if a man could be saved, he is saved but as by fire, 1 Cor. iii. 13; and no man that hath a care of his soul will either embrace Popery or continue in it. Where the way is plainest there are difficulties enough, and the righteous are scarcely saved; and, therefore, in a questionable way, none should venture. Worshipping of angels and saints departed, and images, are no light thing. Nor will a serious Christian choose that way where the doctrines of the gospel are so exceedingly corrupted, and there is such a manifest invasion of the authority of Christ, by challenging a universal headship over his church without his leave, and this maintained by errors and persecutions. (3.) We must distinguish of those that lived under Popery, rather as captives under this tyranny, than voluntary subjects of this kingdom of Antichrist; as many holy men did in former times, groaning and mourning under the abominations, rather than countenancing and promoting them. To these God speaketh when he saith, Rev. xviii. 4, ‘Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.’ They were his people while they were there. These were as those ‘seven thousand in Israel that had not bowed the knee to Baal.’ Rom. xi. 4. (4.) There is a difference to be put between those that err in the simplicity of their hearts, knowing no better, and those that withstand the light upon carnal reasons, and will not retract their errors, though convinced of the degeneration of Christianity; for simple ignorance is not so damning as obstinate error: Luke xii. 48, ‘But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes,’ &c.; and 1 Tim. i. 13, ‘But I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.’ The scriptures many times condemn a way as a way of ruin, but all in that way are not damned; as John iv, 22, ‘Salvation is of the Jews.’ There it is eminently dispensed, and 79yet therefore it followeth not that all the Samaritans were damned. Some among them, though tainted with the errors of their country, might have such knowledge of the law of God, and love to him, as might be effectual to salvation. (5.) We must distinguish between papists so living and so dying; many, by God’s grace, may have repentance conferred upon them at death; and though they lived papists, might die as reformed Christians, seeking salvation by Christ alone, in the way of true faith and repentance, and so the Lord may manifest his compassion to them, pardoning the errors of their lives. (6.) We must distinguish times. God might dispense with many in the times of universal darkness and captivity, more than he doth afterwards, when the light of the gospel breaketh forth, and his trumpet is sounded to call them forth. Whosoever shall compare John Fierus and John Calvin will find they were assisted by the same Holy Spirit of God, though the one lived and died a papist, and the other was an eminent instrument in reforming the church of God; but an ignorant fear of separation from the catholic church caused many to do as they did; but much more doth it hold good in the times before. Our fathers, if alive, would not have condemned us, nor should we condemn them, being dead, before they had these advantages which we now enjoy. Illi si reviviscerent, &c., saith Austin in a like case. (7.) We must distinguish between Popish errors: some are more capital, as adoration of images, invocation of saints, justification by the merit of works, inhibition of the scriptures, &c.; others not so deadly, as when too much reverence is given to ecclesiastical orders and constitutions, penance, auricular confession, fasting, &c. Now though the case of a real papist, who is complete in this mystery of iniquity, and refuseth, hateth, persecuteth the truth offered, be desperate, yet the Lord may in tender mercy accept of other devout souls who yet live in that way, if they hold the head and the foundation.
Use 1. Let us not think Popery a light thing, which the Lord so peremptorily threateneth. Surely it is no little mercy that we are freed from it. Therefore we should be thankful for the light we have, and improve it well while we have it, and hold it fast. What hope soever we may have of men living in former times, and foreign countries, where they know no better, but after such express warnings, what hope can we have of English papists, considering the time, when Rome is not grown better but worse, and what was common opinion is now made an article of faith, and when the truth is taught and so clearly manifested; so that for any, by their own voluntary choice, to run into Popery, is a plain defection from Christ to Antichrist, and wilfully to drink that poison which will be the bane and ruin of their souls!
Doct. 2. The great reason why God sent this judgment upon the Christian world, is to punish those that received not the love of the truth.
Here I shall inquire—(1.) How many ways men may be said not to receive the love of the truth. (2.) How just their punishment is for such a sin.
[1.] In stating this sin—(1.) It is supposed that the truth and doctrine of Christ is made known to a people; yea, cometh among them with great evidence, conviction, and authority. For it is not the want of means, but want of love, that it is charged on them; and the plenty of 80means aggravateth their fault, and maketh their condemnation the more just: John iii. 19, ‘This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness more than light.’ The truth was not for their turns, but was contrary to their lusts, and passions, and prejudices; and these they preferred before the light of the gospel shining to them.
(2.) That as in evidence of doctrine was not the cause of not receiving the truth, so not bare weakness of understanding. No; it is not weakness, but wilfulness which is here intimated; not a defect of their minds, but their hearts: John viii. 45, ‘Because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.’ It was not weakness but prejudice hindered their believing. They despised the grace of God; yea, hated it for their lust’s sake. Their lusts lie more in opposition to the truth than speculative doubts and errors: Luke xvi. 14, ‘And the pharisees, who were covetous, when they heard all these things, derided him;’ the words are, ‘blew their noses at him.’ The sensual, carnal, and ungodly world scorneth heavenly doctrine, and pure Christianity is distasted by false Christians. Err in mind, err in heart.
(3.) It is not enough to receive the truth in the light of it, but we must also receive it in the love of it, or it will do us no good. To make the truth operative:—(1.) Knowledge is necessary, and also faith, and then love. Knowledge, for ‘without knowledge the heart is not good,’ Prov. xix. 2. Nothing can come to the heart but by the mind; the will is ὄρεξις μετὰ λόγον—a choice or desire, guided by reason, and the gospel doth not work as a charm, whether it be or be not under stood. No; the purport or drift of it must be known, or how can it have any effect upon us? Next to knowledge, to make it work, there must be faith. When we apprehend a thing, we must judge of it, whether it be true or false; how else can it make any challenge, or lay claim to our respect? 1 Thes. ii. 13, ‘Ye received it not as the word of men, but (as it is in truth) the word of God, which worketh effectually in you, as it doth in all them that believe.’ Faith doth enliven our actions about religion; to hear of God, and Christ, and heaven, doth not stir us unless we believe these things. Well, next to faith there must be love, for apprehension and dijudication are acts of the understanding only, but love belongeth to the will, and we must believe with all the heart, Acts viii. 37. There may be knowledge without faith, as an heathen may understand the Christian religion, though he believe it not, profess it not. And there may be faith without love, for there is a ‘dead faith,’ James ii. 20, which rests in cold opinions, without any affection to the truth believed. Love pierceth deeper into the truth, and maketh it pierce deeper into us. As a red-hot iron, though never so blunt, will run farther into an inch board than a cold tool, though never so sharp. And love maketh it more operative; there is notitia per visum, et notitia per gustum—a knowledge by sight, and a knowledge by taste. A man may guess at the goodness of wine by the colour, but more by the taste; that is a more refreshing apprehension; and Augustine prayeth, Fac me, Domine, gustare per amorem quod gusto per cognitionem—Lord, make me taste that by love which I taste by knowledge. Surely we are never sound in Christianity till all the light that we receive be turned into love. These great things 81are revealed and represented to our faith, not to please our minds by knowing them, but to quicken our love. Faith alone is but as sight, and faith with love is as taste. Now, it is more easy to dispute a man out of his belief that only seeth, than it is him that tasteth, and knoweth the grace of God in truth. This is the true reason of the stedfastness of weak and unlearned Christians; though they have not such distinct conceptions and reasonings as many learned men have, yet their faith is turned into love, and a man is better held by the heart than by the head. And though they cannot dispute for Christ (as one of the martyrs said), they can die for Christ. But alas! many receive the truth in the light thereof, but few receive it in the love of it, and so lie open to deceit.
(4.) This love must not be a slight affection, for that will soon vanish; but we must be rooted and well grounded, and have a good strength.’ The stony ground had some love to the word: Mat. xiii. 20, 21, ‘But he that receiveth the seed in stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it: yet he hath not root in himself, but dureth but a while; for when tribulation or persecution riseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.’ So also of the thorny ground: ‘He heareth the word, and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful,’ ver. 22. Now what are the defects of this love? (1.) It is not radicated—a pang of love or flash of zeal; whereas we should be ‘rooted and grounded in love.’ Eph. iii. 17. Hypocrites had a taste: Heb. vi. 4, 5, ‘For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance.’ Tasted, but did but taste; did escape μιάσματα κόσμου, 2 Peter ii. 20; yet, not having a good conscience, may make shipwreck of faith, 1 Tim. i. 19. (2.) It is partial. The gospel offereth great privileges, and it is also a pure, holy rule of obedience, Acts ii. 41. The word of God is made up of precepts and promises. God offereth in the covenant excellent benefits, upon gracious terms and conditions: there must be a consent to the terms, as well as an acceptation of the privileges. The confidence of the privileges serveth to wean us from the false happiness, therefore that must be kept up: Heb. iii. 6, ‘But Christ, as a son over his own house, whose are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.’ And the consent to the terms bindeth our duty upon us, Isa. lvi. 4. Now as willingly as we yielded at first, we must keep up the same fervour still: Deut. v. 29, ‘Oh, that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me and keep all my commandments always; that it might be well with them and with their children for ever.’ But whole, pure Christianity is not loved by false Christians; therefore, when religion crosseth their interests and the bent of their lusts, they seek to bring religion to their hearts, not their hearts to religion. (3.) It is not strong, and in such a prevalent degree as to control other affections; it is but a passion, a pleasure, and a delight they take on for a time, not the effect of solid judgment and resolution a joy easily controlled and overcome with other delights; therefore Christ requireth a denial of all things, for a close 82adherence to him and his doctrine, and hath told us, Mat. x. 37, ‘He that loveth father and mother more than me, is not worthy of me,’ and Luke xiv. 26, ‘cannot be my disciple.’ This is a love to which all other loves must give way and be subordinate. Many love the truth a little, but love other things more, will be at no cost for it. Solomon giveth advice, Prov. xxiii. 23, ‘Buy the truth and sell it not.’ In lesser points we must do nothing against the truth, for though the matter contended for be never so small, yet sincerity is a great point; but in the greater truths we should purchase the knowledge of them at any rate, and be faithful to Christ whatever it costs us. (4.) This slight love may arise from worldly respects. Now in the text it is said, ‘They received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.’ It should arise upon eternal reasons and considerations of the other world, which only produce abiding affections: Heb. x. 39, ‘We are not of them that draw back to perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.’ In closing with Christianity, that must be fixed as our scope, not to spare the flesh, but to save the soul, and to save the soul with the loss of other things; and that will make us true to Christ. But there are many foreign reasons for which men may show some love to religion. As, first, policy; as Jehu took up Jehonadab into the chariot with him, 2 Kings x. 15 there is his compliment to him. Jehonadab was a good man, and this honoured him before the people, to see Jehu and Jehonadab so well acquainted. Sometimes respect to others upon whom we depend Many seem to be good because they dare not displease others that have authority over them, or an interest in them; as Joash was religious all the days of Jehoiada, for he stood in awe of him, 2 Chron. xxiv. 2. Now such sorry religion dependeth on foreign accidents, the life of others or presence of others, and therefore it cannot be durable; whereas, in presence or absence, we should ‘work out our salvation with fear and trembling,’ Phil. ii. 12; otherwise men only keep within compass for a while, but they have the root of sin within them still. Or it may be novelty, as our Lord telleth the Jews, ‘John was a burning and shining light, and ye were willing to rejoice in his light for a season,’ John was an eminent man for pureness of doctrine and vigour of zeal, and the more corrupt sort of Jews, pharisees as well as others, admired him for a while, but they soon grew weary of him—it was a fit of zeal for the present. Lastly, This love may be to the excellency of gifts bestowed upon some minister or instrument whom God raiseth up, or some countenance of great men given to their ministry may stir up some love and attendance on their ministry; and some respect is given for their sakes when men have no sound grace in their hearts. There is a receiving of the word as the word of man, and a receiving of the word as the word of God, as the apostle intimateth, 1 Thes. ii. 13. The receiving of the word as the word of man, so it worketh only a human passion, a delight in the gifts of the ministry used: Ezek. xxxiii. 32, ‘Thou art to them as a lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice.’ Then there is a receiving it as the word of God, and then we receive it with much assurance and joy in the Holy Ghost: 1 Thes. i. 5, ‘Our gospel came to you, not in word, but in power, and much assurance, and joy in the Holy Ghost.’ Now if we do not receive the truth upon God’s recommendation and confirmation, 83we do not love truth as truth; our contest is not who hath most wit and parts, but most grace. (5.) They do not receive the love of the truth, when it doth not produce its solid effects, which is a change of heart and life, and they are not brought by the gospel to a sincere repentance and conversion to God, or receive the truth so as to live by it; but whilst they have the names of Christians, have the lives and hearts of atheists and infidels. These were those that debauched Christianity, and meritoriè and effectivè, by their provocations and negligence, brought this degeneracy into the church and judgment on the Christian world. Certainly a man hateth that religion which he doth profess when he will not live by it. This perfidiousness and breach of covenant was that which provoked God to permit these delusions in the church; the worldly, sensual, carnal Christians, that hate that life which their religion calleth for. The godly Christian and the carnal Christian have the same Bible, the same creed, the same baptism, yet they hate one another as if they were of different religions, and confound the distinction between the world and the church, because the world is in the church. And of sensual and godless men we must speak as heathens, as if they were without God: they abhor that religion which they do profess; that is, they abhor not the name, but they abhor those that are faithful to it and serious in it, who desire to know God in Christ, and desire to love him, and live to him. It was that Christ taxed in the pharisees; they honoured the dead saints and abhorred the living: Mat. xxiii. 29-31, ‘Woe unto you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, and say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.’ Christ hath not worse enemies in the world than those that usurp his name, and pretend to be his officers, and yet eat and drink with the drunken, and beat their fellow-servants, Mat. xxiv. 49. Christ will disown such at the day of judgment: Mat. vii. 22, 23, ‘Many will say unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.’ And such do most dishonour him in the world. A righteous, sober, godly life is the best evidence of our love to the truth.
[2.] How just this punishment is:—(1.) Because God hath ever held this course on the pagan world, who kept not the natural knowledge of God: ‘He gave them up to vile affections,’ Rom. i. 28. The Jews who rejected Christ: John v. 43, ‘I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: another will come in his own name, and him will ye receive.’ When Christ cometh merely for our benefit, the unthankful world will not make him welcome, but they will take worse in his room. So towards Christians. At first men would not receive the gospel while it was pure and in its simplicity, as taught by Christ and his apostles, and sealed by the blood of the martyrs, till it was backed by a worldly interest, and corrupted into a worldly design; and then they had it and all manner of superstitions together, and with these strong delusions there came just damnation. So still the pure 84gospel is refused, and God sendeth popish seducers as a just judgment; men only prize the light as it may serve their turn. (2.) The neglect and contempt of the truth is so heinous a sin that it deserveth the greatest punishment: Heb. ii. 3, ‘How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?’ Now it is revenged by these errors as a just judgment on the perverseness and unthankfulness of the world. The duties of the gospel being so unquestionable, shows their perverseness. The privileges of the gospel being so excellent, their unthankfulness is more intolerable.
Use 1 is to show us what cause we have to fear a return of Popery. Alas! where is this love of the truth? (1.) Some are gospel-glutted, loathe manna: a full-fed people must expect a famine, Amos viii. 2. In differences between God and Baal, Christ and Antichrist, few are valiant for the truth: Jer. ix. 3, ‘And they bend their tongue like their bow for lies, but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the Lord.’ Contend earnestly: Jude 3, ‘It was needful for me to write unto you, and to exhort you, that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.’ Again (2.) There are many sensualists, unclean and carnal gospellers; to these God oweth a judgment. Usually the gospel is removed and given to a nation that will bring forth the fruits thereof. They that use the truth only or principally for their own turns, hate to be reformed; God will reckon with them: Ps. l. 16, 17, ‘But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes? or that thou shouldst take my covenant into thy mouth, seeing thou Latest instruction, and castest my words behind thee?’
Use 2 shows you indeed that you love the gospel.22 Apparently the sentences in this paragraph are elliptical.—ED. Carentia remedii is a grievous misery, or else Christ had not come as a great blessing. Neglectus remedii is a grievous sin, to be lazy in a matter of such moment: those that never set their hearts to obey the truth. Crassa negligentia dolus est: There should be constant purpose, endeavour, striving, and not cease striving, till we in some measure prevail. Rejectio or contemptio remedii, if we put away the word of God from us: Acts xiii. 46, ‘Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you; but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.’ God will be gone, if not from the land, from thy soul. This is the most heinous iniquity of all: Heb. x. 28, 29, ‘He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses; of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?’ So Esau’s despising his birth right: Heb. xii. 16, 17, ‘Lest there be any fornicator or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright; for ye know Low that afterwards, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected; for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.’85
|« Prev||Sermon VIII. With all deceivableness of…||Next »|