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defire, Heb. walking of the foul. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit. What satisfaction is fought in imagination-fins, lust, revenge, and the like? what restlessness there, 2 Pet. ii. 14. “ Having eyes full of adultery, that cannot ceafe from fin." How busy is the soul oftentimes in imagination, of wealth, and the like, 'as if, when it had tried all other means in vain, it would try, while awake, to dream itself happy! « The thoughts of my heart,” says Job, chap. xvii. 11. Heb. the pasions of my heart, "are broken off.”
3. The other thing in which natural men labour for reft, is the law; compare the text, Matth. xi. 28. with ver. 29. and 30. Emphatically is that labour described, Rom. x. 3. “ For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness." Go about ; the word signifies, a seeking, like a disputer in the schools, or a tormentor of one upon the rack; to establish, to make it stand itfelf alone. They seek to make it stand, as men that will have a stone to stand on end, which, at the same time, is ever coming down on them again. Why all this? because it is their own: “Have not submitted." Christ offers a righteousness; but to take it, is to them a point of submission, against which they labour, as the untoward bullock against the yoke. They will never let it on till God break the iron finew of the neck, Isa. xlviii. 4. · To confirm this, consider, - 1. All men desire to be happy, and no man can' get his conscience quite filenced, more than he can get the notion of a God quite erased from his mind: Rom. ii. 14. 15. « They are a law unto themselves, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or excusing one another.” Peace of mind is a natural desire, which VOL. I. B b
iv. 24. When the people were in Egypt, the generality of them knew nothing else. They had curtailed the law so very short, as all that labour in it do, that they thought they kept all very well : Rom. v. 13. “ For until the law, fm was in the world; but fin is not imputed, when there is no law." For that caufe God gave them the law, as in Exod. xx. Gal. iii. 29. “ The law was added because of tranfgressions; it prevailed in the days of the prophets, in Christ's days, and from the beginning of the Christian church to this day ;hence our swarms of Papists, &c.-Consider,
4. They turn the very gofpel into law, as unclean vessels four the sweetest liquor that is put in them. What a real gospel was the ceremonial law to the Jews, holding up blood, death, and translation of guilt, from them to the substitute, every day before their eyes in their sacrifices ! But, Rom. ix. 11. « Their very table (that is, their altar, so called, Mal. i. 12.) became a fnare ;” and they went about these things, as if by them they would have made up what was wanting in their observation of the moral law. Just so was it turned in Popery ; yea, and, alas ! among Protestants it is found thus soured, to whom the gospel is the law, and faith, repentance, and new obedience, the ful. filling of the law. But would to God it stood in principles only; but as sure, as every unrenewed man is out of Christ, as sure even these natural men, whose heads are set right in this point, in their hearts and practice the very gospel is turned into law, and their obedience, their very faith and repentance, such as it is, is put in the room of Christ. For practice, when fairly traced, will shew the principles from which it proceeds.
Lastly, "Consider, though all would be saved, yet natyral men are enemies to the gospel-way of
falva tion : salvation : 1 Cor. i. 23. « It is to the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks foolishness." 'They must then be in love with the law, for there is no mids; yea, so cleave they to it, that nothing but death can part Adam's fons and it, and this even a violent death in a day of God's power : Pfal. cx. 3. Rom. vii. 4. “ Ye also are become dead to the law ;' Greek, deadened, killed, or put to death. As long as a soul sees how to shift without Christ, it will never come to him ; add to this, that the godly find the remains of this principle in them to struggle against. Self-denial is the first lesson Chrift gives, but they are a-learning it all their days. If it is thus in the green tree, what fhall it be in the dry ?