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Four things are implied in the point, and in the text:-
3. That this is a part and fruit of wisdom, I get understanding; there. fore I hate.
4. This wisdom and understanding is gotten by God's precepts.
First, That it is our duty to hate sin. It is not enough to reform our practice, or to abstain from the act, or to avoid the occasions that may lead to it; but it must be hated : “Ye that love the Lord, hate evil” (Psalm xcvii. 10). He doth not say forbear it, but “ hate” it. Love to the chiefest good, is fitly accompanied with hatred of the chiefest evil. God, he is our chiefest good; you love the Lord, and you must also hate evil; the one is as natural to grace as the other ; for the new nature hath its slight and aversion, as well as its choice and prosecution. As it inclines us to choose God for our portion, and to pursue after things that lead to God, so it hath a disposition to make us avoid that which is evil; there are things hurtful to the new nature, as well as any other being. Now, hatred is to arm us against it. In short, this hatred is required,
1st, Because this is the true principle of resistance against sin. Until a man hate sin, he is never truly set against it, as a man is never thoroughly gained to that which is good, until he loves holiness for holiness's sake. His affections may be bribed with other considerations; but then he is rooted in holiness, when he loves holiness for its own sake. So a man that is not resolved against sin, that will not hate it for its own sake, may be frighted out of sin for a fit, or by the interposings of conscience put out of humour; but his heart falls in again with his old lusts, until there be an envy and detestation of sin; but, when it comes to this hatred, then temptations cannot easily overcome; examples draw riot, nor difficulties compel us to that which is evil. Persuasions and allurements formerly were of great force, straightway they followed; but, when the bent is another way, they are not so easily drawn by force and examples, which seem to have such cogency. Before, men did easily swim with the stream ; but here is a counter-motion, when they hate that which is evil. This is the fence of the soul, and draws us to an indignation (Hos. xiv. 8).
2ndly, Partly, because this is a true distinctive evidence between those that are good and those that are evil. Many may forbear sin, that yet do not hate it: they forbear it out of restraint, out of fear of punishment, shame, worldly ends; yet they regard iniquity in their hearts (Psalm lxvi. 18), as a dog loves the bone, yet fears the blows. God judgeth not as man; man is blameless, he abstains from sin; but God hateth sin. Man judgeth according to the action; but God judgeth according to the frame of the heart (1 Sam. xvi. 7); for he is able to look to the inward springs, and poise our spirits. So on the other side, good men may slip into an evil action; but their hearts are against it; it is the evil which they hate (Rom. vii. 15). They may be foiled; but their hearts are bent another way.
But what is the hatred of sin ?
1. It implies a universal repugnancy in every part of a man against sin, not only in his reason and conscience, but will and affections. There is not a wicked man, but in many cases his conscience bids him do otherwise. Ay; but a renewed man, his heart inclines him to do otherwise ; his heart is set against sin, and taken up with the things of God: “I delight in the law of God after the inner man” (Rom. vii. 22). It is in the whole inward man, which consists of many parts and faculties. Briefly then, it notes the opposition, not from enlightened conscience only, but from the bent of the renewed heart. Reason and conscience will take God's part, and quarrel with sins, else wicked men could not be self-condemned.
2. Hatred, it is a fixed, rooted enmity. Many a man may fall out with sin, upon some occasion; but he hath not an irreconcileable enmity against it. The transient motions of the soul are things quite distinct from a permanent principle that abides in a renewed heart; he hath that same seed of God remaining in him (1 John iii. 9). A habit notes an habitual aversation. A brabble many times falls out between us and sin, upon several occasions, when it hath sensibly done us wrong, destroyed our peace, blasted our names, or brought temporal inconvenience upon us. In time of judgment and fears, and present troubles and dangers, men think of bewailing their sins, and returning to God; but they fall out, and fall in again. This is anger, not hatred; like the rising of the heart against a drawn sword, when it is flashed in our faces, whereas afterwards we can take it up without any such commotion of spirit.
3. Hatred, it is an active enmity, warring upon sin by serious and constant endeavours, manifested by watching, striving, groaning; watching before the temptation comes, resisting in the temptation, groaning under it, and bemoaning ourselves after the temptation hath prevailed over us.
(1.) There is a constant jealousy and watchfulness before the temptation comes. They that hate sin, will keep at a distance from whaterer is displeasing unto God: “ Happy is the man that feareth always" (Prov. xxviii. 14). A hard heart, that knowe not the evil of sin, rusheth on to things according to the present inclination. Ay ; but a man that hath a hatred against sin, that hath felt the evil of it in his conscience, that hath been scorched in the flames of a true conviction, will not come near the fire. A broken heart is shy and fearful; therefore he weighs his thoughts, words, and actions, and takes notice of the first appearance of any temptation : they know sin is always present, soon stirred, and therefore live in a holy jealousy. Certainly, they that walk up and down heedlessly in the midst of so many snares and temptations wherewith we are waylaid in our passage to Heaven, they have not this active enmity against sin; and therefore hatred is seen by watching.
(2.) It is seen by striving, or serious resistance in the temptation. A Christian is not always to be measured by the success, but by conflict; he fights it out: “What I hate, that do I” (Rom. vii. 15). Though they be foiled by sin, yet they hate it. An enemy may be overcome, yet he retains his spite and malice. Sin doth not freely carry it in the heart, neither is the act completely willing : “ Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh ; for (saith he) the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Gal. v. 16, 17): that is, you cannot sin with such proneness, and full consent, and bent of heart, as others; they have a principle of opposition, a rooted enmity in their souls against sin.
(3.) By a bitter grief after the temptation ; as Peter, when he had fallen foully,“ he went out and wept bitterly” (Matt. xxvi. 75). They do not Jie in sin, but recover themselves by a kindly remorse; it is the grief of their souls, that they have fallen into God's displeasure, grieved his Spirit, and hazarded their communion with him. Oh! sin is grievous to a gracious heart; and this makes them groan and complain to God, “Oh! wretched man," &c.
4. It is such an enmity against sin as aims at the utter extermination and expulsion of it, that endeavoureth to destroy it both root and branch. Hatred, it is all for mischief; annihilation, that is that which hatred aims at. Anger, it worketh trouble, but hatred mischief: it is an implacable affection that continues to the death, that will not be appeased till the thing which we hate be abolished. So where there is this hatred of sin, it follows sin close, till it hath gotten the life of it: as by the grace of justification they have obtained such favour with God, that ne damnat, it shall not damn; by the grace of sanctification, ne regnat, sin shall not reign; and still they are aspiring and looking after the grace of glorification, ne sit, that sin may no longer be; therefore they are longing and groaning under the relics of corruption : " Oh! wretched man,” &c. (Rom. vii. 24.) Many scratch the face of sin, but they do not seek to root it up, to destroy the body of death: it is their constant grief, that anything of sin is left in the heart; as enemies are not satisfied, till they have the blood of each other. Where there is hatred, it is not enough to stop the spreading, weaken the power of sin, but labouring to destroy the being of sin. As David said of his enemies, 'I pursued them till they were destroyed " (Psalm xviii. 37); so, when we set against sin, with an aim not to give over till we have the life of it, or as God said concerning the Canaanites, “ The Lord thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed ” (Deut. vii. 23). So doth a renewed heart war against sin, that he may leave neither root nor fruit within them.
USE.-If this be to hate sin, how few can say with David, “I hate every false way!" How few are of David's temper! Some love sin with all their heart, that hide it as a sweet morsel under their tongue (Job xx. 12). The love of sin, that is the life of it: it dies, when it begins to be hated; but, when you have a love to it, it lives in the soul, and prevails over us. And, as they testify their love of sin, so they misplace their hatred. What do they hate? Not sin, but the word that discovers it. They hale the light, because their deeds are evil (John iii. 20). They do not hate sin, but God's messengers that plead against it. “I hate him," saith Ahab concerning Micaiah," for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil” (1 Kings xxii. 8). They hate the faithful brother that reproves them; he is hated, because he will not hate his brother, to see sin upon him. They hate the magistrate that would reform, the faithful Christian that condemns them by his exact walking: “ I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you" (John xv. 10). They hate God's image in his people, and cannot endure to be condemned by the light that shines out froin their conversations. Godly men are objects reviving guilt ; therefore they hate them. Thus shamefully are a man's affections transposed; we love where we should hate, and hate where we should love. And then, if we come to the other sort of men, a degree above these, many are frigbted out of their sins by slavish fear; but yet their hearts are in league with them still; and, as they get out of the stocks of conscience, they enlarge themselves in all manner of carnal liberty. These are not changed, but awed; sin is not mortified, but only lurks to watch a sate opportunity when it may discover itself with more advantage.
SERMON CXI. VERSE 104.—Therefore I hate every false way. The second proposition is, the universality of this hatred, “Every false way." They that hale sin, must hate all sin.
i. This doth necessarily follow upon the former ; for, if we hate sin especially as sin, for the intrinsic evil that is in it, not upon foreign, accidental reasons, then we will hate all sin; for hatred is éig Tà yévn, to the kind; as Haman, when he hated the Jews, he thought scorn to lay his hand only on Mordecai, but would have destroyed all the Jews (Esther v. 6). It is but a casual dislike, and not a hatred ; certainly, if we hate sin as sin, we shall hate all sin. The same reasons that incline us to hate one sin, will incline us to hate all. Why, what is it to hate sin as sin ? As it is a violation of God's law, as it is a contempt of God's authority, a breach of spiritual friendship, it grieves the Spirit; these are the reasons to incline us to hate one as well as another. Well then, private reservation and indulgences, or setting up a toleration in our own hearts, will not stand with the hatred of all sin. Some sins may shame and trouble us more; but all are alike contrary to the will of God: therefore, if we hate them upon reasons of duty to God, we should hate them universally, “every false way.”
2. Every sin is hateful to God; therefore every sin should be bateful to lis. The reason of this is, we should hate what he hates, and love what he loves. There is a perfect friendship between God and those in covenant with him. Now, that is true friendship, to will and nill the same thing; it is built upon likeness and suitableness of disposition. This argument is urged by the Holy Ghost, “ The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate" (Proy, viii. 13). This is friendship with God, to hate what God hates; I hate it, therefore they hate it. Sins of thought are intended by pride and arrogancy; for that puts us upon vain musings and imaginations; and sins of word, by the froward mouth; and sins of action, by the evil way, outward practice: all this God hates, so should we: “ Thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate” (Rev. ii. 6). If we be in the same covenant with God, we will have the same love, the same hatred. Nay, as we have the same nature with God, the saints are made “partakers of the Divine nature” (2 Peter i. 4). The Divine nature shows itself by suitable dispositions.
3. From our covenant relation with God, which implies an entire surrender of soul, which is without any reservation. When you give up yourselves to God, he will have all. If you say, 'God be merciful to me, and spare me in this,' then you forfeit all the blessings of the covenant. God will have all or none; therefore all sin, without exception, must be hated by us; for, otherwise, God is not our chief good: if anything be loved besides him, or against his will, it is love above him. One man allowed besides the husband, is a violation of the marriage covenant; so one sin allowed in the heart, it breaks all the covenant between God and us: “Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all ” (James ï. 10). That sentence is not a legal sentence belonging to the covenant of works, that were a mistake of it; it is not only true in the sense of the covenant of works, one sin undoes us for
ever; but it is true in the evangelical covenant. Thus one sin allowed with full consent of heart, it makes void the Gospel covenant; as one article not consented to, disannuls the whole treaty and agreement between us and God. It is not consistent with sincerity, that we should bring down the Gospel covenant to allow any one sin.
4. From the damage and mischief that it doth to our souls. One sin keeps up the Devil's interest; it is like a nest egg left there, to draw a new temptation. You continue his empire in you; this is his great design, to keep a part. Conscience begins to work, they must have something: all then that he pleads for is but a part; and he knows that will bring the whole ; as Pharaoh would have a pawn, either their flocks, herds, or children, that this might bring them back again. One sin reserved, gives Satan an interest. One leak in the ship, though all the rest be stopped, if that be neglected, will sink it in time.
USE.—Let us lay this branch also to heart. There is something usually wherein we would be excused and expect favour. We all have a tender part of our soul, and are loth it should be touched; some vain fashions, customs, or ways, and outgoings of soul, which we are unwilling to leave, though we have often smarted for them. Consider, it is not consistent with your obedience and your love to God, nor with the power of grace in your hearts, to allow any false way. Herod did many things, yet perished for all that. A man may do many things that are good, upon sin's account. When you allow any one thing, it is only to hide and feed your lusts with greater pretence; so many religious things may be fuel of lusts, as well as carnal comforts. It is not for the interest of the flesh, or in-dwelling corruption, that men should have no religion : sin cannot be served in such a cleanly way, unless there be something done in compliance with God's will, under some disguise, or conformity to the will of God. Say then, ‘Shall I do and suffer so many things in vain. Bring your hearts thus to “ hate every false way.”
Thirdly, This is a part and fruit of true wisdom.
1st, That this is a chief part of wisdom and understanding, to “ hate every false way,” it appears from Job xxviii. 28, “ The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil, is understanding." So much as we hate sin, so much of spiritual wisdom and spiritual understanding. Certainly, to hate sin is wisdom, I prove it from the nature of sin. All disobedience is the greatest folly that can be in the world ; and therefore if to sin be to do foolishly, to hate sin is to be wise; and not to have understanding, certainly, is a fruit of folly, for a man to do that which will condemn himself, if ever he comes to himself. Now, when a man comes to himself, as when he dies or repents, oh! how will his heart condemn and reproach him for the vanity of his worldly course, when he is filled with his own ways! Especially repentance, that is a-coming to ourselves. As a man when he hath slept out his drunkenness and excess, and begins to look back upon his follies, committed under that distemper; such is repentance, it is an after-wisdom; and therefore it argues that there was an imprudence and inconsideration of the things we repent of, and therefore we condemn ourselves. That is folly which gratifies those that are our utter enemies. Now, sin gratifies the Devil, who seeks our ruin: “ Seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter v. 8). You please him that seeks your utter destruction; and will you grieve God and please the Devil ? That is folly, which brings no disadvantage upon him whom you