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THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED.
MATTH. xi. 28. Come unto me, all ye that labour,
and are heavy-laden, and I will give you reft.
TITE are now,
IJI. To inquire, What sort of a labour finners have in these things ? For the sake of plainness, it will be necessary to consider this labour, 1/, As it respects their lusts ; adly, As it respects the law. We are,
Ift, To consider this labour of finners, as it respects their lufts, their going up and down among the creatures, extracting from them a comfort and pleasures, which they take for happiness.--I shall here show the properties of this labour, and thus confirm the point, that they are engaged in a wearisome labour. .
1. It is hard labour, and fore toil : Jer. ix. 5. “ They weary themselves to commit iniquity.” None win the devil's wages for nought, they eat no idle bread where he is tak-master, and they must needs run, whom he drives. The devil's
yoke yoke is of all yokes the heaviest.--To clear this point, consider,
(1.) What the fcriptures compare this labour in lusts unto; whereby it will appear hard labour. It compares it,
[1.] To the labour of a man going to a city, and not knowing the way: Ecclef. x. 15. « The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city."
That is hard labour, as many know by experience. Many a weary foot fuch must go, many a hardfhip they must endure, and so must these in pursuit of happiness.-It compares it,
[2:] To a labouring in the fire : Hab. ii. 13: « Behold, is it not of the Lord of hosts, that the people shall labour in the very fire, and the people Thall weary themselves for very vanity ?" How hard is their labour that lieth about a fire! what sweat! what toil! Jer. vi. 29. “ The bellows are burnt, the lead is consumed of the fire, the founder melteth in vain, for the wicked are not plucked away." But how much more hard in the fire ! As when a house is on fire, and men in it, labouring to preserve that which the fire consumes even among their hands. These labour; 11, In the fire of lusts, that inflames the heart, and scorches the very foul, Prov. vi. 27. 28. “ For by means of a whorish woman, a man is brought to a piece of bread, and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life. Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his cloaths not be burned ?” adly, In the fire of divine wrath that is kindled by the former :- Isa. ix 18. “ For wickedness burneth as the fire, it shall devour the briers and thorns, and shall kindle in the thickets of the forest, and they shall mount up like the lifting up of smoke.” This consumeth what they are working for in the other; so that when, like the spider, they have spun out their own bowels for a covering, yet it is by far too narrow, and they have but wearied themielves for very vanity.-- It is compared,
[3.] To labouring under a burden, as in the text itself, which will not let the man get up his back. They are the devil's drudges, labouring under that load that will crush them at last, if they do not, as in Pfal. lv. 22. cast their burden on the Lord, that he may sustain them. They are laden with divers lusts, which lie on them as a burden on the weary beast, which weary them indeed, but they are bound on as with bands of iron and brass.--It is compared,
[4.] To the labour of a soldier in war ; they watch for iniquity as a centry at his poft: Ila. xxix. 20.
The natural man himfelf is the very field of battle : Jam. iv. i. “ From whence come wars and fightings among you ? come they not hence, even of your
lufts which war in your members ?” The war itself you may fee described in the three following verses. Who cannot but be well laboured with the feet of men and horse in that confufion? Though there be not grace and corruption to war in them, there are lufts, and lufts opposed to one another, lusts and light also. - It is compared,
[5.] To the labour of the husbandman in plowing: Hof. X. 13. “ Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity.” They devise wickedness, which the Hebrew calls plowing it : “ Devise not evil against thy neighbour,” Prov. ii. 29. “ An ungodly man diggeth up evil, and in his lips there is a burning fire,” Prov. xvi. 27.-It is compared,
[6.] Not to insist on more, to the labour of a woman in child-birth : Psal, vii. 4. “ Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mis
chief, and brought forth falsehood.” What pangs do raging lusts create to the soul? What cords of death does it ftraiten with ? No small toil at conceiving of fin, and bearing it in the heart, and bringing it forth ; but nothing in the abominable brat to satisfy the soul after all.
(2.) It is hard labour, if you consider that eminent emblem of our natural state, the Egyptian bondage. Their deliverance out of Egypt was typical of their fpiritual deliverance by Christ, and so that must needs signify man's natural state ; concerning which it may bé remarked, (1.) That as the children of Israel went down to Egypt in the loins of their parents, so we in Adam.-(2.) As the deliverance was wrought by the angel of the covenant, by the hands of Moses the Lawgiver, and Aaron the Priest, so this by the law and the gospel.—(3.) As Pharaoh opposed the children of Ifrael to the utmost, so the devil opposeth here. Pharaoh was “the great dragon which lieth in the midft of his rivers, which said, My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself,” Ezek. xxix. 3. and was a type of that great red dragon, mentioned Rev. xii. 3. &c. But for that which concerns this point, see Exod. v. There you will find persons labouring, and heavy.laden, ver. 4. 5. It is hard labour to satisfy lufts, the devil's task-mafters : Ephef. ii. 2. 3. “ He worketh in the children of disobedience : Among whom also we had our conversation in times past, in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the defires of the flesh, and of the mind.” The Israelites had their tasks doubled, to put religion out of their heads and hearts, Exod. v. 10. Lufts also muft be satisfied, but wherewith to do it is with-held, as straw was from the Israelites, ver. 11. They are scattered up and down among the creatures for it, but can never squeeze out a
fufficiency for them, even as the Ifraclites could not find stubble enough to prepare their bricks, ver. 12. 13. 14. If any appearance of del:erance, the labour is made the harder. Says Paul, Rom. vii. 9. “ I was alive without the law once ; but when the commandment came, fin revived, and I died."--It is hard labour,
(3.) If ye consider the effects this labour hath, 1/t, On thic fouls of men. The minds of men have a toilfome talk, where sin is on the throne : Ifa. v. 20. “ Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil, that put darkness for light, and light for darkness, that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.” That foul must needs be in a continual fever, while inordinate affections are in their strength, as in all out of Christ. A fermentation of lusts cannot but make a tossed mind. Anxiety and cares of the world stretch the mind, as on tenter-hooks. A conceived light, like that of Ahab, 1 Kings, xxi. 4. fets the proud man's heart in a fire of wrath and revenge, and squeezes the fap out of all their enjoyments, as in the instance of Haman, Ether, v. 9. 13. Envy slays the filly one, lust ítrikes as a dart through the liver; anger, malice, discontent, and the like, make a man his own executioner; they are tofled between hopes, fears, and vanity, tumbled hither and thither with every wind of temptation, as a ship without either pilot or ballast. 2dly
, Even the body is oftimes hard put to it in this labour. The covetous rises early, eats the bread of sorrow for what is not ; the drunkard uses his body worse than his beast. More bodies have fallen facrifices to lufts, one way or another, than ever fell by all the hardfhips either in or about religion.
2. It is bare, mean, and abject labour : See Jer. ii. 21. compared with ver. 23. and 24.