« PreviousContinue »
turn loose and licentious, and cast off duty more than before? I might say the like of some other sects among us that love not to be named. Though I said before, that every particular opinion is not to be tried by this rule, but the substance of religion ; yet those assemblies that God so forsakes, as not to convey his Spirit among them, have reason to suspect their way.
Use the last.
If all this be so, then, alas, what a case are those poor souls in among us that have none of the Spirit at all : yea, those that make a mock of the Spirit! Alas, that after so long preaching of the Gospel, there should yet be so many such found among us! If you be asked how you received the Spirit, would not some of you mock at it; and others say plainly you know not what it is to have the Spirit? The Lord open your eyes to see your misery, and let me tell you thus much of it at preseni, though I resolve to be short.
1. If any man of you have not the Spirit of Christ, that man is none of his; (Rom. viii. 9 ;) and what a case are you then in. If you be not Christ's, then Christ is not your's, and then what will you do against the accusation of the law, and of Satan, and of your own consciences? What will you do against
, the guilt of sin? What will you look to for comfort at your dying hour?
What will you set between God's anger and your naked, guilty souls ?. How will you stand before God in judgment, or make answer to all that will be brought in against you? Oh! the thousand bills that will be there brought in; the least whereof may condemn you for ever. Then you will say, 'Oh! if
, I had but part in Christ, then I would answer all; but nothing else will do it.' Is there any other name by which you can be saved? 2. Let me tell you, if you have not that Spirit you are stran
, gers to God. You cannot go to him sincerely, and call him Father. You cannot pray; for this is the spirit of prayer; no wonder, then, if you be neglecters or despisers of prayer, and disaffected to God.
3. If you have not God's Spirit, you are yet in your pollution; you are unclean; for it is the Spirit that must sanctify you.
1 You know not what holiness is, though without it you shall not see God. (Heb. xii. 14.) No wonder if you undervalue or deny holiness.
4. You will not be able to resist temptation ; for it is the Spirit that must strive against the flesh, and conquer it. No wonder if you yield to every temptation, and live as Satan's slaves.
5. You have no true consolations for the Spirit is the Com-forter : nor ever will have any sound comfort without him. The Lord teach you to beg for this Spirit, to seek and wait for it in the use of God's means, till the Lord Jesus shall be pleased to pour it upon you: for without the Spirit of Christ you are but the slaves of the devil, and animated by him in every evil work. And, as instead of a right guide and sanctifier you have a seducer and corrupter of your hearts and ways, so at last, without sound conversion, you will find that, instead of a conforter, you have å cruel tormenter.
A Demonstration of the Life to come, and Immortality of
There is an absolute necessity of the apprehensions of reward or punishment in the life to conne: for it is impossible that without it the world should be governed. No man's life, or goods, or good name, would have any considerable security, if no punishment or reward were expected but in this life; it being so easy å matter for a servant to rob his master secretly, or an envious man to kill or poison another secretly, and so all the world would be set on wickedness.
Now, I assume, if the apprehension of future rewards or punishments be so necessary, then certainly it is a truth that there are such future rewards and punishment. Else we should imagine that God cannot govern the world without deceit or a lie, as his engine; which, as it is highest blasphemy, so as clearly against the light of nature, as the denial of the Godhead: for to be so impotent, and so evil, is to be no God. Even among the Romans, when nature was as much rectified and elevated, as ever it was without the doctrine of faith and invisible blessedness, yet not only every tyrant did destroy men at pleasure, but the angry master must cast his servants into his fish ponds, or otherwise put them to death, whenever they displeased him, if it were but by the breaking of a glass : and the servants, perhaps, as commonly poison, or secretly kill the master; insomuch that, even in cruel Nero's days, Seneca saith,
Quisquam vitam suam contempsit, tua dominum est. Recognosce exemplum eorum qui domesticis insidiis perierunt, aut aperta vi, aut dolo; et intelliges non pauciores servorum ira cecidisse, quam regum.' (Ad Lucil., Epist. iv.) And yet, then there were common apprehensions of a life to come, and a belief of different estates there of the good and bad; so that we cannot say that the order which was maintained among them was without the special help of this belief: and this being still acknowledged in all, or almost all, the nations on earth to this day, is the chief means of that little order and restraint of sin that is found among even idolaters and pagans. This I am ready more fully to vindicate.