Jonathan Edwards Collection: Edwards, Jonathan - 15 Sermons Warning & Judgement: O. Wicked Men Inconsistent with Themselves - 2

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Jonathan Edwards Collection: Edwards, Jonathan - 15 Sermons Warning & Judgement: O. Wicked Men Inconsistent with Themselves - 2

TOPIC: Edwards, Jonathan - 15 Sermons Warning & Judgement (Other Topics in this Collection)
SUBJECT: O. Wicked Men Inconsistent with Themselves - 2

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Wicked Men Inconsistent with Themselves - 2

Jonathan Edwards


(Dated December 1738)

Second, you may hereby be convinced of your misery. A man cannot be happy, and cannot but be miserable, with whom it is thus. It shows a man to be undone. He, whose nature is brought into such violation, is evidently brought into a state of ruin. Where there is such self-inconsistency and self-opposition, a man is at war with himself, and therefore must be miserable. It is a calamity for a man not to be at peace with his neighbor, and to live in contention with those that are about him. But certainly it is a much greater calamity for him to be at war with himself, to have his judgment at war with his judgment, and his will at war with his reason and conscience, and his will at war with itself, and one lust thwarting another, and his outward man at war with his inward man, his mouth contradicting his heart, his practice contradicting his profession, and contradicting itself. It is impossible that such a man should enjoy any happiness as long as things are thus within him. Do what you will here, you cannot make him happy. If you take him and place him in a palace, and set him on a throne, and clothe him in the robes of princes, and put a crown of gold on his head, and set before him the richest dainties, feed him and feast him as much as you will, still he that so disagrees with himself, is a miserable wretch. Though he may be stupid, yet it is impossible he should enjoy any true peace or rest. How should he, in whom all things are in such utter confusion and uproar within, and in whom there is so much self-opposition.

This may convince us of the truth, and show us the reason, of Isa_57:20-21, “But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.”

How should he have any peace, who is his own enemy, who chooses and practices these things which his own conscience condemns, and which his own reason tells him tend to his own ruin? How should he have any peace, that hates his own soul and loves his own death, and that has one lust holding him one way, and another the contrary, so as in some respects to choose and refuse the same thing, to wish for a thing that at the same time he hates and refuses, and so goes on from day to day in warring against himself?

Third, this shows your inexcusableness. By this inconsistency with yourself, you are condemned out of your own mouth in that you act contrary to your own conscience. Your own conscience condemns you in your will and practice being contrary to your own reason. Your own reason condemns you in acting contrary to your profession. Your own profession condemns you in the sense in which the apostle speaks of a heretic as being condemned of himself. Tit_3:10-11, “A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject; knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself:” i.e. he in departing from his former profession is inconsistent with himself. His present heretical tenets are contrary to his former solemn profession, and therefore that former profession condemns him.

Consider how inexcusable you, who are thus inconsistent with yourself in your wickedness, will appear at the last day, when you come to stand before the judgment-seat of God, when you are by him called to an account for your wicked life, how will your mouth be stopped. When you are called to an account why you have preferred things of such short and uncertain continuance as the things of this vain world, to the great things of the eternal world, what will you have to say for yourself, when it shall appear that herein you acted in direct opposition to the plain dictates of your own reason, and that this choice is inconsistent with the judgment and choice you were wont to make in temporal things? And what will you say for yourself when you are called to give an account why you rejected God, and Christ, and heaven for their holiness; when it so plainly appears that you would not like them, and would not have accepted them, if they had been any other way than holy?

It will then appear that you have voluntarily rejected Christ and his great salvation, and refused to accept of heaven, and that you are condemned of yourself in it, in that at the same time you evinced the great necessity of those things in praying for them, and doing many things in order to the obtaining of them.

When it shall then appear how you had a mind to have impossibilities: as a sufficiently worthy Savior, and not a holy one; salvation from misery, and not salvation from sin, the source of all misery; and happiness without holiness. It shall from hence most plainly appear, that you did in effect utterly refuse to accept of any Savior or any salvation at all, and would not be saved from misery at all, and refused to accept of any happiness at all, because you would have no salvation, no happiness, but such as was impossible in the nature of things, such a salvation as was not and could not be. And then how just will it appear to your own conscience, and to the world, that you should e’en go without salvation!