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only follow the camp, and are not of it, should repent, when they see this war and return to Egypt? Or that others, pretending to be on Christ's side, but never one with him, should dream of shaking off this cross, and of sitting down here in a land of perfect peace? This is the coward's paradise. They want to rest quiet on this side of Jordan, and would not go over with Jesus to fight for the promised land. O dear Saviour, keep thy noble army from this delusion of Satan: So long as they are in the body of sin and death, make them good soldiers of Christ Jesus, resisting unto blood striving against sin. For so long must we be in this hot battle. It is decreed by the sovereign will of God -and he is always of one mind. He has revealed it in his word of truth, that the corruption of nature doth remain in his regenerate children, they have an old man and a new, they have flesh and spirit, they have nature and grace, and he has described the combat, which is to last through life between these two. The beloved apostle bears a clear testimony. He is speaking of those whom the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin, and who had fellowship with the Father and with the Son, and who proved the truth of this by their walking in the light: He puts himself among them; and declares-"If we say, that we have no sin now', we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us"
-If we say-He saith not, If thou say, as if he spake of some particular person-Nor if ye say, as if he intended ordinary Christians alone-But if we apostles, or whatever we be say so, if of us, any if I, for instance, should think I had no sin now, who am a saint of an hundred years old: 'Because I was a great favourite of the Lord Christ, and have been a great sufferer for him: Or because I have lived blameless before men, and have been a witness for the truth in my writings, and am ready to seal it with my blood: If upon account of any thing done by me, or in me, of any real excellency or attainment, I should fancy myself in a state of sinless perfection, the Holy Ghost charges me
with self-deceit. A dreadful delusion! arising from the pride of my heart, and its rebellion against God, and discovering the most gross ignorance of God's righteousness in the holy law, and of Christ's righte ousness in the glorious gospel: but if I was to say, as well as to think it; If I should tell any body-now I have no sin-I am perfect-Now, at this time, I have received perfect purity of heart: For ever since I have received it, I have had nothing stirring in me for one year, for two, twenty, forty years, but love, pure love to God-God is in all my thoughts, and nothing but God-I do his will on earth, as it is done in heaven: If I should say so, I should tell a great lie: For I should deceive myself, and the truth would not be in me.
Are these indeed the very words of the apostle? "If we say, that we have no sin now, we deceive our"selves, and the truth is not in us." Can no other sense be fairly put upon them, but that the holy John had sin in him at every given moment of his life! Is this the plain literal meaning of the passage! As it certainly is, observe then, O my soul, the decisive evidence given here by the Holy Ghost concerning the inward cross. Pray for his teaching that thou mayest understand, and pray for his grace that thou mayest profit from, this scripture. Here is his infallible record concerning St. John and all highly favoured believersHe asserts, that there was no time of their lives, in which they were free from indwelling sin: God forbid then, that I should think I had no sin. He avers, that if they should say they had none, they were deceived, and that if they should stand to it, as popish mystics, and protestant perfectionists do, the searcher of hearts declares that they lie, and do not the truth-the truth is not in them: For the father of lies has flattered them and drawn them into self-idolatry, with a wicked design to corrupt their minds from the simplicity that is in Christ. Beware, O my soul, of this deceit: The holy Ghost has warned thee of it. He foresaw how the first
sin would break out in after times, and pride would persuade men that they were perfect in the flesh, he therefore so guarded this scripture that none can mistake it, but such as turn away their ears from the truth. He put all the words in the present tense, lest any should think he was speaking of time past, or of what men were before the blood of Christ had cleansed them. If WE NOW SAY-WE, who now have fellowship with the blessed Trinity, and are walking in the light of their countenance- -say that WE HAVE NO SIN, nor had none formerly, he is not speaking of that: If he was, the Holy Ghost understands grammar; and can make no mistake in expressing himself, he would certainly have used the past tense, but he uses the present, NOW HAVE NO SIN, So as not to want the cleansing blood of Jesus this moment as much as ever- -If we have any such thoughts WE NOW DECEIVE OURSELVES, AND THE TRUTH IS NOT NOW IN US. How forcible and strong is this testimony from the mouth of John? And the sense as well as the grammar shews, that he is speaking of believers, and that there is sin in them: for throughout the chapter he treats of the very same persons, and describes not what they were before, but what they are since they received the grace of God. They were cleansed from all sin by the blood of the Lamb, were admitted into communion with the Father and the Sou by the Spirit, and they enjoyed this communion, walking in the light, as God is in the light-these are the persons here mentioned-of whom God says, they had sin still in them, indwelling sin, the fault and corruption of nature still remained in them, and if they fancied it did not, they would be sadly deceived--they would entirely mistake the covenant of grace, which was to bring sinners sensible of their wants and miseries to live out of themselves upon the fulness of the God-manthey would forget their own character, under which alone they can be saved, salvation being only for sinners -they would fall into the crime of the devil, by pride
incarnate God-and they would quite pervert the law and the gospel: For in order to maintain their inherent perfection, they are forced to legalize the gospel, and to make it consist of certain terms and conditions, upon the performance of which sinners shall be saved, and then in order to comfort themselves with their having performed these terms and conditions, they are forced to turn rank Antimonians: They lessen the evil of sin, they excuse it in themselves, and make just nothing of it. They call it by several pretty soft names, such as infirmity, frailty, excrescence, and at last they get quite rid of it, by laying it upon the devil, and by terming it an injection of old Satan. And thus they deceive themselves into perfection, and insist upon it that they have no sin, although they have enough in them to damn the whole world. O God, open the eyes of these self-deceivers and bring them into the way of truth.
Such is the clear evidence of the holy Spirit: He asserts that the greatest believers, while in the body, have sin in them. Dost thou yield, O my soul, to his testimony? Art thou fully convinced of it from the work of his grace, as well as from the word of his truth? Dost thou feel indwelling sin? Is it the plague of thy heart, and the burden of thy life? When thou art willing to walk humbly with thy God, is it continually in thy way, raising objections, putting difficulties, and suggesting hindrances? Is it like a heavy weight pressing thee down in thy race, that thou canst not run so long, or so fast, as thou couldst wish? Since this is indeed thy daily cross, and the bearing of it the hardest part of thy warfare, O read with diligence the scripture account of it. Take notice of the Lord's champions, how they felt under this burden, from whence they derived strength to bear it, and had comfort under it. Hear the man after God's own heart crying out"Mine iniquities are gone over my head, as a heavy "burden, they are too heavy for me"-David had a heavy load: He was ready to sink, and he could not
cast it off. He could not go into his closet or to the house of God: He could not sit upon his throne, or go in and out before his family, but this grievous cross so bowed him down greatly, that he went mourning all the day long. The burden of it was intolerable, and would have crushed him under it; if he had not learned, how to cast it on the Lord-" Make haste, says he, "to help me, O Lord God of my salvation." Here he found relief. The prayer of faith was heard, and God was the strength of his salvation.
Under the same burden a New Testament saint went groaning all his days. He had a hard conflict between the flesh and the spirit, and he has left the account of it upon record. Blessed be God for the seventh chapter of the Romans. We there read of the inward cross, with which all the children of God are exercised. In the very same Paul there was delight in the law of God after the inward man, but he found another law in his members, rebelling against the law of God-the flesh, in which dwelleth no good thing, never ceased to assault the spirit with its vile thoughts, legal workings and rebellious inclinations-when he had a will to do good, he could not do it so perfectly, as he desired-his best moments were never free from the inroads of indwelling sin therefore in the bitterness of his soul he cried out,-"O wretched man that I am"-O! that sigh came from the bottom of his heart-I know what he felt he groaned being burdened-weary and tired with this continual conflict he looked out for deliverance. “Who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?” He saw by faith his almighty Saviour, and in him expecting everlasting victory-"I thank God through "Jesus Christ our Lord." He rested upon Christ in the battle, and through him waited for deliverance, knowing that one day he should be made more than
Well then, O my soul here is eomfort. If the corruption of nature be thy cross; so it was to David, and