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man, cannot always lie still, like them, without blameworthiness.
It is said that whenever we neglect any duty, we will the neglect of it, or are doing something which is sinful: that whenever we are wanting in any good exercise of heart, we have an evil exercise in opposition to it; and that it is only for these opposite exercises, volitions and actions, that either God or our own heart condemns us. But I know of no evidence, that the first part of this assertion is true; and the last part of it, I think, is evidently false.
I am not certain, that whenever we neglect any duty, we will the neglect. It used to be thoughtthere were careless neglects, as well as wilful neglects. And I am persuaded that persons are often very faulty in omitting duties, without designing to omit them. For instance; one ought to have visited a sick or bereaved neighbor; and intended it at a certain time, and never determined the contrary: but when the time came, he wholly forgot it; and the only blameable cause of such forgetfulness, was his not having a duly benevolent concern for the person in distress or affliction. I am not certain, that when a man neglects what he ought to do, he is always doing what he ought not. He may be taken up about some business which is lawful, and which would have been his duty, were it not for his neglecting another duty to which, at present, he has a more pressing call, I am not certain, that whenever one is deficient in any virtuous affection, he has just so much of that vicious affection which is its reverse. It is very possible that the priest and Levite, in our Saviour's parable, might have had no enmity to the man who lay wounded by the way-side. The only fault, represented, and the only one which need be supposed, was their want of charity.
If, however, it were the case, that a man always hates, those whom he does not perfectly love; that whenever a man omits what he ought to do, he wills
the omission of it; or that one is always wickedly' employed, when he neglects any duty; still these are different faults, and he is doubly guilty. Ceasing to worship the true God, is one thing; worshipping false gods, is another: hence the Holy One of Israel says, Jer. ii. 13, "My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water."
The arguments now mentioned, are the only ones worthy of notice, which I recollect to have heard or seen, in support of the strange tenet, that not loving God, or our neighbor, or not doing any good, is no sin. Whether these have any real weight, every one must judge.
There is one particular more, which I designed briefly to have illustrated under the present head: namely, that the mere want of a good disposition, in one who has the natural capacities of mankind, is a moral evil.
For the truth of this, as well as the foregoing particulars, I think, we have the concurring full testimony of our best witnesses and guides, on all moral and religious subjects-scripture and common sense. Paul resolves all the darkness of understanding in the heathen Gentiles, all the ignorance that was in them, and all their alienation from the life of God, into the blindness of their heart. In the Old Testament, God's chosen people are often spoken of as being criminally stupid, in not having eyes to see, and ears to hear, and a heart to understand. And our blessed Saviour, who was never angry without a cause, looked round upon men with anger, we are told, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts. By hardness of heart is meant, insensibility—an unfeeling disposition-a temper of mind incapable of the love of God, of Godly sorrow for sin, or of any true benevolence. And who is there that has never had his indignation excited, at seeing such hard
heartedness? Is it not a failing, which may well provoke something more than pity, for a man to be unfeeling, or totally unapt to feel, for any besides himself? Certainly, an unprincipled man-a man of no generosity or integrity-one altogether destitute of an honest and good heart, is considered universally as a blameable character.
But it is time to close the present discourse. May we all learn not to flatter ourselves, until, too late, our iniquity is found to be hateful. "He that covereth his sins shall not prosper; but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy."
ON THE UNIVERSAL SINFULNESS OF MANKIND.
1 JOHN I. 8.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
IN order to the more full illustration of what
is here asserted, I undertook to show-What things in us are sinful-That it is a gross self-deception in any of us to say, We have no sin-and, How it is to be understood that the truth is not in us, if we say this.
We have hitherto attended only to the first of these heads; or to the important and disputed question, What is sin?
In general, it was said, agreeably to the answer in our shorter catechism, that sin is justly imputable to us, whenever we transgress any of the commandments of God: and also, whenever we are not pcrfectly conformed to the whole moral law, in our lives, and in our hearts.
More particularly, on the one hand, it was obseryed, that every forbidden action we do; every wicked word we speak; and every evil thought we indulge, or affection we feel, and every propensity of nature in us to any thing not perfectly right, is sin. On the