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Job xxxiv. 32. “That which I see not, teach thou me: If I have “ done iniquity I will do no more.” So Lam. iii. 39,40. “Let us “ fearch and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord.” In afflicting, God searches them, and under afićtion they search themselves: Willing they are to hear the voice of the rod, and glad of any discovery it makes in their hearts.
6. Sixthly, The upright heart chuseth to ly under affliction, rather than to be delivered from it by sin. I say, this is the choice and refolution of every upright heart, however it may be sometimes over. borne by the violence of teaptation, Heb. xi. 35. Not accepting de liverance, viz. upon sinful terms and conditions.
They are fersible bow the flesh smarts under the rod, but had rather it should smart, than conscience should smart under guilt. Affiction, faith an upright foul, grieves me, but fin will grieve God; affliction wounds ny flesh, but sin will wound my soul. Deliverance I long for, but I will not pay so dear for it, how much foever I Jefire it : Nolo tanti emere pænitentiam : Outward ease is sweet, but inward peace is sweeter.
7. Seventhly, He prizeth the spiritual good gotten by affliction, above deliverance from it, and can bless God from his heart for those mercies, how dear foever his flesh hath paid for them, Psalm cxix. 67, and 71. “ It is good for me that I have been afflicted.” Sucb is the value the people of God bave for spiritual graces, that they cannot think them dear, whatever their fein hath paid for them. The mortification of one lust, one discovery of fincerity, one manifeftation of God to their souls, doth much more than make amands for all that they have endured under the rod.
Is patience improved, self-acquaintance increased, the vanity of the creature more effectually taught, longings after heaven enflamed 0 blessed afflictions, that are attended with such blessed fruits? It was the faying of a holy man, under a sore trouble for the death of an only fon, when in that dark day God had graciously manifested him, felf to his soul; 0, (faita he) I would be contented, if it were poffi• ble, to lay an only son in the grave every day I have to live in the • world, for one such discovery of the love of God as I now enjoy.'
C H AP: VI. Shewing indwelling fin to be to grace, what fire is to gold; and how
the soununess and unfoundness of our hearts are discovered by our carriage towards it.
our ípirits more narrowly, or tells us what our state is more plain
ly, than our behaviour towards that corruption that dwells in us; the thorn is next neighbour to the rose: Sin and grace dwell not only in the same foul, but in the same faculties. The collier and fuller dwell in one room; what one cleanses the other blacks. Of all the evils God permits in this world, none is more grievous to his people than this: They sometimes wonder why the Lord will luffer it to be fo: why, surely, among other wife and holy ends of this permiffion, these are some.
They are left to try you, and to humble you: There is no intrinfic goodness in fin; but, however, in this it occasions good to us, that by our carrnge towards it, we discern our sincerity. The touchstone is a worthliss stone in itself, but it serves to try the gold ; ! John iii. « Whosoever is born of God, doth not commit « fin; for his fee I remaineth in him, and he cannot fin, because he “ is born of God: In this the children of God are manifest, and the “ children of the de'il :” q. d. In respect of their carriage towards fin, the one and the cher is plainly manifested: 'This is that which separates the drols fron the gold, and shews you what the true state of men's persons, and tenpers of their hearts are. By not finning, we are not to understand a bital freedom from it in this world, as if it implied any such perfection of the people of God in this world ; that is the Popish and Pelagian ense: Nor yet must we take it in the Arminian fense, who, to avoid the argument of the orthodox, will understand it of the sin against the holy Ghoit. What a strange thing would it be, to make that a chaacteristical note of distinction betwixt the godly and ungodly, which ta very few, even of the most ungodly, are ever guilty of?
But the manner of our behavnar towards fin, and our carriage towards it before, or under, or ater the commission of it, in that the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil.
Now, there are five things relatng to sin, that discriminate and mark the state of the perfons: The difference is discernible.
1. Abstinence from in.
THE grounds and motives of ourabstinence do very clear
ly manifest the state of our soul; what they are in the regenerate and unregenerate, is our next work: And let it be confidered,
1. First, That an unfound and unrenewed hart may abstain from one fin, because it is contrary to, and inconsistent with another fin: For, it is with the fins of our natures, as it is wit, the diseases of our bodies : Though all diseases be contrary to health, yet fome diseases,
as the fever and palsy, are contrary to each other. So are. prodiga lity and covetousness, hypocrisy and profaneness. These oppose each other, not for mutual destruction, as fin and grace do, but for superiority, each contending for the throne, and sometimes caking it
It is with such persons as with that pofleffed man, Matth. xvii. 15. whom the spirit cafts sometimes into the fire, fonetimes into the water : Or if one subdue the other, yet the heart is also subdued to the vaffaiage of that luft that is uppermost in the fou!.
2. Secondly, An unrenewed foul may be kept from the commis1
fion of some fin, not because there is a principle of grace within him, but because of some providential restraint without lim, or upon him: & For it often falls out, that when men have conceived fin, and are
ready to execute it, providence claps on the fetters of restraint, and hinders them from so doing.
This was the case with Abimelech, Gen. xx, 6. and 17. compared, '1 with-held thee: And though persons fo retrained, have not the good of such providences, yet others have ; br by it a world of mischief is prevented in the world, which otherwise would break out; and to this act of providence we owe our sives, liberties, estates, and comforts in this world.
3. Thirdly, An unfound heart may nc commit fome fins, not be cause he truly hates them, but because his constitution inclines him
not to them: These men are rather Jeholden to a good temper of body, than to a gracious temper of soul. Some men cannot be
drunkards if they would, others canot be covetous and base; they are made e meliori luto, of a morerefined metal than others; but chafte and liberal, just and fobr nature, is but nature ftill: The best nature, in all its endowmerts, is but nature at the best.
4. Fourthly, A graceless heat may be reftrained from sin by the force of education and principis of morality that were infiilled into it. Thus Jehoash was restrained rom fin, 2 Kings xii. 2. • And Je“ hoash did that which was right in the fight of the Lord, all the “ days wherein Jehoiadah tle priest instructed him.” The fear of a parent or master will do a great deal more with some in this case than the fear of God. The infiience of a strict education nips off the escrescencies of budding vice The way we are taught when young, we keep when old: This is the influence of man upon man, not the influence of the regeneraing Spirit upon men.
5. Fifthly, A gracelef heart may by kept from some fins by the fear of the events, both in this world, and that to come. Sin that n is followed with infamyand reproach among men, may on this ground
be forborne; not because God hath forbidden it, but because human laws will punish it, :nd the sober world will brand us for it: And fome look farther, to the punishment of sin in hell; they are not afraid to fin, but thry are afraid to burn,
Here fin is likea sweet rose in a brake of thorns; fain we would have it, but we re loth to tear our flesh to come by it. It is good
that fin is prevented any way ; but to be kept on this ground from fin, doth not argue the estate of the person to be good : And thus you see some of the grounds on which carnal men are restrained: and in this “the children of the devil are manifest."
UT there are grounds of abstinence from fin, by which “the
children of God are also manifested ;” and such are these that follow:
1. First, A sincere heart dares not sin because of the eye and fear of God, which is upon him : So you find it in Job xxxi. 1, and 4. he durst not allow his thoughts to lin, because he lived under the awe of God's eye. Nehemiah durst not do as former governors had done, though an opportunity presented to enrich himself, because of the fear of his God, Nehem. v. 15. The soul that lives under the awe of this eye, will be conscientious where no discovery can be made by creatures, as if all the world were looking on, Levit. xix. 14. « Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling-block before « the blind; but thalt fear thy God, I am the Lord.
What if a man do curse the deaf, the deaf cannot hear him, and what if he do put a stumbling-block before the blind, the blind cannot see him: True, but God sees him, God bears him; that is enough to a man that hath the fear of the Lord upon his heart.
2. Secondly, As the fear of God, to the love of God, is a principle of restraint from fin to the soul that is upright. This kept back jofeph from fin, Gen. xxxix. 9. “ How can I do this great wickeds ness, and fin against God?” How can I? He speaks as a man that feels himself bound up from sin by the goodness and love of God, that had been manifested to him, q. d. Hath he delivered me from the pit into which my envious brethren cast me? Hath he, in so miraculous a way, advanced me to all this honour and power in Egypt? and now, after all his kindness and love to me, shall I fin against him? O how can I do this against so good, so gracious a God? So Pfal. xcvii. 1o. “ Ye that love the Lord, hate evil.” Love will cry out in the hour of temptation, Is this thy kindnefs to thy friend ? Dort thou thus requite the Lord for all his kindnelles ?
3. Thirdly, As the love of God, so the intrinsical evil and filthiness that is in fin keeps back the gracious soul from it, Rom. xii. 9. " Abhor that which is evil,” atoSUYŠYTES TO Torngoy, hate it as hell itself: Or, as the French translation hath it, be in forror. As the appre. hensions of hell, fo the apprehensions of fin impress horror upon the mind that is fanctified : Nothing more loathsome to an holy toul; its aversations from it are with the highest indignation and loathing.
4. Fourthly, The renewed nature of a saint restrains him from fin; Gal. v. 17.
« The fpirit lusteth against the fleih, so that ye cannot w do the thing ye would.” Ye cannot, why cannot ye? because it is against your new nature.
Beloved, This is a very remarkable thing in the experience of all Tenewed men, That, upon the renovation of men's principles, their delights, and their avertations and loathings are laid quite cross and opposite to what they were before. In their carnal state, vain company and sinful exercises were their delight. To be separated from these, and tied to prayer, meditation, heavenly discourse and company; O what a bondage would that have been ! Now to be tie ed to such carnal society, and restrained from such duties of godlinefs, and the society of the godly, become a much forer bondage to the foul.
5. Fifthly, Experience of the bitterness of fin is a refraint to a gracious heart. They that have had so many fick days and sorrowful nights for fin as they have had, are loth to taite that wormwood and gall again, which their soul hath ftill in remembrance ; 2 Cor. vii. 11. “ In that “ ye forrowed after a godly fort, what carefulness it wrought !" He would not grapple with those inward troubles again, he would not have the cheerful light of God's countenance eclipsed again for all, and much more than all, the pleasures that are in fin.
6. Sixthly, The confideration of the sufferings of Christ for fin, powerfully with-holds a gracious soul from the commiffion of it; Rom. vj. 6. « Our old man is crucified with him, that the body of fin might « be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve fin.” Were there a knife or sword in the house that had been thrust through the heart of your father, would you ever endure the fight of it ? Sin was the sword that pierced Christ, and fo the death of Christ becomes the death of fin in his people. Thus the children of God and the children of the devil are manifeft, in the principles and reasons of their abstinence from fin.
(2.) ECONDLY, They are also manifested by their hatred of
sin. This puts a clear distinction betwixt them ; for no false or unregenerate heart can hate fin as-fin; he may indeed,
1. First, Kate fin in another, but not in himself: Thus one proud man bates another; Colca fuperbiam Platonis, said Diogenes, when he trampled Plato's fine clothes under foot; I fpurn the pride of Plato. Sed majori fuperbia, as Plato simartly replied, Thou trampleft upon my pride, but it is with greater pride. « Why (faith Chrift to " the hypocrite) beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, " but confiderest not the beam that is in thine own eye ?” Matth. vii. 3. How quick in espying, and rafh in censuring the smallest fault in another, is the hypocrite! it was but one fault, and that but a small one, but a mote that be could find in another; get this he quickly discerns : It may be there were many excellent graces in him, these he overlooks, but the more he plainly difcerns. It
may be that mote in his brother's eye, had drawn many tears from it, but these be takes ro notice of; and meanwhile there is a