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ment of security, i befeech you remember this trnth, that no place can hide you from the eye of God. He lees all your ways, yea, he fees them with abhorrence; tl e fight of them is the greatest exercise of his patience. His fight of them is not å trapiient glance, but he sees and records your evils; they are fenled up among his treasures: He fees, and will make you fee them too with borror, when he fhall set them in order before you : he fees them, and will make angels and men see them in the great day. O then, never let fecrecy any more encourage you to fin!!
2. Inferences: What prodigious finners muft they be, that feek no covert for their fin in darkness, but with an impudent face declare, yea, glory in their shame; who are not ashamed to sin openly with a bare face, and a whore's forehead? These are finners of the first magnitude. « They declare their fin as Sodem, and hide it pot," Ifa. iii. 9. It is as natural to man to endeavour to hide his sin, as Adam, and you see from the text, guilty finners fain would, if it were poffible, fly to any obscure corner from the observation of God and men; and it is a mercy God hath planted such an affection as thame is, in the soul of man, to be a bridle to restrain his exorbitant. lufts. But yet there is a generation of montirous Ginners, who have so far unmanned themfelves, “ That they are not at all aflamed when " they commit abominations, neither can they blush," jer: vi. 15. If there be any' remains of shame left in them, they exercise it upon a wrong object : they are athamed of that which would be to their glory, and glory in that which is their fhame; they add impudence to their fin, and blulh not to proclaim that which cihers fi'udy to conceal.
Such a vile temper as this thews a man even ripe for wrath ; i he hath even filled up his measure, and is come to the very culininating point and top of wickedness. There be fome men arrived to tuch a degree of holiness, that all that converse with them judge them even ripe for heaven: they speak the dialect, and have the very favour of heaven upon them. Others are come to fuch a prodigious height of impiety, that understanding men cannot but conclude they are nigh unto damnation; they speak the very language, and have the very. scent of hell upon them. Such are they that openly declare their fin as Sodom, and glory in their shame. . Thus we fee fome drunkards wilk glory in their ftrength, to pour down wine and strong drink, and.can boaft of ibe number of their cups : fome adulterers can glory in their acts of wickedness, 'not fufficing themselves to damn their own fouls, but labouring to infeét and corrupt as many as they can by their tilthy tongries, that they may draw them into the fame mifery.' We can hardly tell how to fcrew up fin one peg higher than this : first to practife fin, then de fend it, then boast of it. Sin is first a man's burden, next his custom, next bis delight, and then his excellency. Lord, wbither is man fallen! that holiness Hould ever be his difgrace; and fin, yea, the
vilest of tins, his glory! O the power of Divine patience !
3. Inference. If the eye of God searches every obscure corner in the world, to behold the evil that is committed there, then certainly the
eye of God cannot but look into every secret place in the world to see the good that is done there. « The eyes of the Lord are in “ every place, 'beholding the evil and the good,” Prov. xv. 3. The good as well as the evil; yea, he beholds with delight the good done in secret.
1 As some finners seek corners to act their wickedness in, and cannot fatisfy themselves to commit fin in the light, (for, as our Saviour faith, John iii. 20. “ He that doth evil hateth the light;") so, on the contrary, a truly godly man seeks corners to pray in, to meditate in, and to examine his own heart in, and thinks these duties of godliness can never be managed with too great a privacy, not that he is in the least alhamed of his duty; no, that is not the reason, but he is afraid of hypocrisy, when duties lie too open, and exposed to the eyes of nien. A finner takes his full liberty to vent his corruptions when he can do it in fecret ; and a faint takes his full liberty to vent and exercise his graces, when no eye but the eye of God fees him. « Thon, when thou prayest (saith our Saviour) enter into thy clofet, " and shut thy door, and pray to thy Father which is in secret, and " thy Father (which seeth in fecret) shall reward thee openly.” O how much better is it, both as to your present comfort and future account, to get into a corner to pray, than to whore and drink? To pour out your souls to God graciously, than to pour out your lufts against God so wickedly? How contrary are the principles of grace and corruption. The study of finners is to hide their evils from the eyes of men : the study of a faint is to hide his duties from the eyes of men: The finner would not have the world suspect what he hath been about ; nor would the saint have all the world know what he hath been about. The way of an adulterer is as the “ way “ eagle in the air, or as a serpent upon a rock;" i, e. a secret way, where they leave no prints or tracts behind them. « So is the way
of “ an adulterous woman; she eateth and wipeth her mouth, and “ faith, I have done no wickedness,” Prov. xxx, 19, 20. By wiping the mouth is there meant preventing all suspicion ; fuffering no fign of the action to remain upon them: So, contrarily, a gracious person that hath been with God in secret prayer, or fasting, when his duty is ended, he labours to avoid all oftentations. And therefore you have the caution from Christ, Matth. vi. 17, 18. “ But thou, when “ thou fastest, anoint thy head, and wash thy face! that thou appear s not unto men to faft, but unto thy father which is in secret." The meaning is, carry thy private duties fo close, that none may know what passeth between God and thee: When thou hatt been entertained in Secret with hidden manna, a feast of fat things, wipe thy mouth in a bols sense, i. e. wipe off all fufpicion of hypocrify and vanity by a
prudent and humble concealment. *« Religion doth not lay all open, as we say:" As sinners have their secret pleasures, their stolen waters which are sweet to them ; so the faints have their secret de lights in God, their bidden manna, which no man knows but he that cateth of it. And as the eye of God vindictively beholds the one, so it delightfully beholds the other ; and so you find it, Cant. ii. 14. « O my dove, (faith Christ to the church) that art in the clifts of the “ rocks, in the secret places of the stairs : Let me see thy counte« nance, let me hear thy voice ; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance comely." Let this encourage you to secret duties ; let not others find more pleasure in secret lufts, than you can do in God and secret duties.
4. Inference. Doth the eye of God see all the evil and wickedness that is committed in all the secret corners of the world! How admirable then is the patience of God towards the world! Who can ima gine how much wickedness is secretly practised in a town or city every day ? Or if all the villanies that are perpetrated in a small circumfesence in one day were known to us, we should admire that God doth not make us like Sodom, for judgment and defolation before the next day. What then are the innumerable swarms of fin, which are as the sands upon the sea-shore, from all the parts and corners of the earth! Alas, there is not the ten thousandth part of the groffer fort of wickedneffes committed in the world, that ever comes to our eye ór ear ; and if it did, we cannot estimate the evil of fin, as God doth; nor feel with that resentment the burden of it, as he doth : and yer the long-suffering Gud forbears it with infinite patience. Surely bis power was not more discovered in making the world, than it is in forbearing to destroy it again for the wickedness that is in it. But the world stands for the church's fake that is in it. “ And were it « not that the Lord of hosts had left us a small remnant, we had “ been as Sodom, we had been like unto Gomorrha,” Ifa. i. 9. There is also an elect remnant to be called and gathered by the gospel out of it in their several generations: and when that number fball be accomplished, God will set fire to the four quarters of it, and it shall lie in white ashes ; till then the long-suffering of God waiteth.
5. Inference If God fees all the secret wickedness that is committed in every corner of the world; how clear is it that there is a judgment to come, and that this judgment will be exact ?
That there is a judgment to come, is by this manifeft; and also that there is abundance of sin committed in the world, which never comes to light here, nor never will in this world. It is true, men's fins are open ; and the judgments of God upon them are as open ; but it is not so with all. The apostle faith, i Tim. v. 24. " Some “ men's fins are open before-band, going before-band to judgment, " and some men's they follow after." Some men's fins are written, as it were, in their foreheads, every one sees them ; but others follow after, are not discovered till the day of the revelation of the fecrets of all hearts, and then that which is now done in closets shall be proclaimed as upon house-tops : Though they were never put to shame for their fins, in the places where they committed them, yet God will fname them before men and angels. This is the day to judge fecrets, 1 Cor. iv. 5.
* Non eft religio «bi omnia patent.
And, as it is certain there will be such a judgment, so it is certain this judgment will be exact; for the judge of all hath seen all : Whatever he charges any man with, hath been acted before his face, Pfal. xc. 8. - Thou settest our secret fins in the light of thy coun* tenance.” Here can be no mistake, the omnipotent God will judge for what he hath icer; “ For his eyes are upon the ways of «s man, and he feeth all his goings, for he will not lay upon man “ more than right, that he should enter into judgment with God.” The meaning is, he cannot mistake in his judgment, being omniscient, and having feen all the ways of man; so that there can be no plea offered by any man for a reverse of his fentence.
O then let us be exact and careful, as well in our secret as in our public actions; for God Thall bring every work in judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil, Eccl. xii. ult.
6. Inference. Lastly, If the eye of God be in every place upon us, and all our actions; tben let those whose condition of life hath sent them out of the eyes and observations of their parents and masters, keep the sense of God's eye upon their hearts, as ever they would escape fin and ruin.
It is no small advantage to young unprincipled perfons, to live under the discipline of pious and careful governors ; but it often falls out, that they are early transplanted into another foil, sent into foreign countries in order to their education or employment; and as often are there corrupted and dubauched by the evil examples of the places where they reside; they learn another language, or drive another trade than what their parents or masters deligned them for. But if the sense of this great truth night accompany theni where-ever they are, O what a sovereign antidote might it prove against those deadly poisons of temptations! This alone would be a sufficient preservative. If our children and servants have but the awful sente of God's eye upon them, we may turn them loose into the wide world without fear.
If Providence shall direct this discourse to your hands, my heart's defire ar 1 prayer for you is, that the Spirit of the Lord would imprint this great truth upon your hearts. And I am the more moved to endeavour your prefervation, upon the confideration of the apparent danger you are in, and the manifold disappointments and mischiefs that must unavoidably follow the corrupting of your tender years. The danger you are in is great, whether you consider,
First, The infecting, catching nature of fin. No plague is more infectious and infinuating than lin is. Many are the wiles, devices, stratagems, and baits, Satan lays to draw you into fin, 2 Cor. ii. 11. Or,
Secondly, The proneness that is in your own nature, to close with the offers and temptations that you are tried with ; it is as great a wonder if you escape, as that one that lives in a peft-house Thould remain healthy; or that dry tinder should not catch, when thousands of sparks fly about, and light upon it. Or,
Thirdly, The absence of all those ineans by which you have formerly been preserved from fin. You are now without the ordinances of God, the family duties, the admonitions, counsels, examples, and observations of your parents, masters, and friends: All which have been of great use to keep you from fin, and repress the vanities of youth. Or, Lastly,
Fourthly, The manifold furtherance or temptations which your age afford; Childhood and youth are vanity. Inconfiderateness, ralhness
, injudiciousness, and the want of experience, do all cast you into the very fnare. See how the Holy Ghost hath signified the danger of persons at your age, in Prov. vii. 7. . All these things do greatly endanger you. And if any, or all of them together, prevail to the vitiating and corrupting of you, then what a train of fad consequences will follow upon it! For,
1. The great God will be dishonoured and reproached by you, even that God whose distinguishing mercies are now before your eyes, and fhould be admired by you; that caused you to spring up in a better foil
, and not from idolaters in a land of darkness.
2. Conscience will be wounded and polluted with guilt; and though, at present, you feel not the remorse and gnawings of it, yet now you are preparing for it. The sins of youth are complaints and forrows of old age, Job xiii. 26.
3. The hearts of your friends, if godly, will be grieved and greatHy troubled to find their expectations and hopes aisappointed ; and all those prayers
and counsels bestowed on you to come to nothing. If an unequal match by Efau was such a grief of heart to
nd Rebecca, what will profaneness and uncleanness be to your parents ? Gen. xxvi. 34. 4. The serviceableness and comfort of your whole life, will
, in all probability, be destroyed by the corruption of your youth. If bloffons be withered, and buds nipt, what fruit can be expected ? To conclude,
5. Your precious and immortal fouls are hazarded to all eternity. arid “what shall it profit a man to gain the whole world, and lote « his own soul? Or what Ihall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Matth. xvi. 26.
All this mitchief may be happily prevented by the serious confide