This question is not only a challenge to any man in the world to prove himself sinless, whatever he pretends, but a lamentation of the corruption of mankind, even that which remains in the best. Alas! Who can say, “I am sinless?” Observe, 1. Who the persons are that are excluded from these pretensions—all, one as well as another. Here, in this imperfect state, no person whatsoever can pretend to be without sin. Adam could say so in innocency, and saints can say so in heaven, but none in this life. Those that think themselves as good as they should be cannot, nay, and those that are really good will not, dare not, say this. 2. What the pretension is that is excluded. We cannot say, We have made our hearts clean. Though we can say, through grace, “We are cleaner than we have been,” yet we cannot say, “We are clean and pure from all remainders of sin.” Or, though we are clean from the gross acts of sin, yet we cannot say, “Our hearts are clean.” Or, though we are washed and cleansed, yet we cannot say, “We ourselves made our own hearts clean;” it was the work of the Spirit. Or, though we are pure from the sins of many others, yet we cannot say, “We are pure from our sin, the sin that easily besets us, the body of death which Paul complained of,” Rom. 7:24.
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