Page images
PDF
EPUB

fickness, how įnlightened, how penitent, how humble, how mortified and reformed ihey then seem to be, and how much they condemn all sin, and juftific a holy life: And observe your felves wherher you be not wiser and better, more penitent, and less worldly in an affiliated face: And will you think that intollerable, which so much bettereth almost all the world? Alas, were it not for affli&ion, there are some Nebuchadnezzars that would never be humbled, and fome Pbar aobs that would never confess their fins, and some Manaffels that would never be converted. Many in Heaven are thankful for amiction, and fo should we, Eccles. 7. 2,3,4,5,6. It is better to go to tbe bouse of mourning, Iban torbe bouse of feafting : For that is tbe end of all men, and ibe living wil lay it to beart. Sorrow is better than laugbter; for by tbe ladnefs of the countenance, ebe beart is made better. The beart of the wife is in the boxfe of mourning, but tbe beart of fools is in tbe bouse of mirtb. It is better to bear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to bear the song of fools : For as the crackling of tborns under a pos, fo in the laughter of a fool.

Do you not perceive that a merry prosperous state inclineth to folly, loviry, rathness, inconfiderateness, ftupidity, forgercing the latter end,&c? And that a fadder frame is more awakened, illuminated, fixed, fenfible considerate and fit for great employmenis? Quarrel not then with your Phyfician, becausc he dyetcth you as cendeth to your cure, and turncth you not over to the dyet of desperate patients, or of fools.

Dire&. 15. If God affli& you, add not caufless affli&tion to your felves. If he touch your friends, or body, or citate, do not you

Therefore couch and tcar your hearts. If you have not enougb, why do you complain of it? If you bave enough, why do you make your selves morc ? He that hath faid, Blefed are they that mourn, did never mean that those are blessed that mourn erroneously, for not bing, or for that which is their benefit, or that pievishly quarrel with God and man, or that wilsully by pride or impatiency torment themselves. Hc mcaot not to bless the sorrow of the covetous that grieveth because he is not risb, or because he is wronged, or is a loser in some commodity; nor to bless the sorrow of the proud, who is troubled because he is not observed, honoured or preferred : Nor the sorrow of

ths

the sensual, who grieve when their lufts and pleasures are restrained : Nor the forrows of the idle, who grieve if they are called to diligent labour ; nor the sorrow of the envious, who grievech to see another prosper ; nor the sorrows of the cruel, who gricve when they cannot be as hurtsul to Gods servants, and their neighbours or enemies, as they defirc. It is neither wicked sorrows, nor wilful self-vexation, which Chiih doth bless : But it is thc holy improving, and pacient enduring the sufferings laid upon us by God or min.

Dirca. 16. Let Patience bave its perfe& work. He that beliçvcih, will not make hafte, James 1. 3. 1/4. 28. 16. God's time is beft; and eternity is long enough for our calc and comfort. It is by patient continuance in well doing, that glory, honour and immortality must be fought

Rom. 2. We shall reap in duc scalon, if we faint not, Galat. 6. 9. James 5.7, 8, 9. Be patient therefore Breibren unto the coming of the Lord. Bebold i be bw bandmar waitetb for the precious fruit of tbe eartb, and bath long patience for it, until be receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also parient : Aablith your kearts; for becoming of the Lord draweb nigb. When others by impatience lofc themselves, do you in your patience pobless your souls, Luke 21. 19. Rom. 5.4. Patience worketl experience, and experience bape, wbicb maketb not ashamed. If me bope for that we fee noi, sbec do we will patience wait for it, Rom. 8.25. Tbrougb patience and comfort of tbe Scriptures it is ibat we bave bope, Rom. 15.4. Therefore we bave seed of pa tiexce, that when we bave done the will of God, we may inberit ibe promije, Heb. 10.36.11.

[ocr errors]

CHA P. XX

cians How to live by Faith, in troubles of Conscience, and doubts or teri

rours about our spiritual and everlafting State.

H

"Aving written a Treatifc called, The Rigbt Metbol for

Spiritual Prace and Comfort, doc. upon this fubjca already, I'muft refer the Reader thither,and here only add the lew Dirc Aions.

*'',

Dirce.

Dirca. 1. Distinguishy of the fez eral Causes of tbefe troubles ; and cake heed of thosc unskilful Mouncebanks, who have the fame cure for every such disease, and speak present comfort to all that they hear complain; and that think every trouble of mind is fome notable work of the Spirit of God; when it is ofron the fruit of the manifold weakness or willulness of the troubled complainers.

Direct. 2. When it is some beinous fin committed, or great cor. ruption indulged, whicb dorb cause tbe trouble, be sure ibat found Repentance be niver omitted in the cute; and tbat a real reformation prove the trutb of that Repentance. For Christ never died to justific and save the impenitent finner : And a deceitful Repeno tance is the common self-deceit and undoing of the world. And how can that be true Repentance, which changeth not the wil and life ? God will not give you peace and comfort, as long, as you indulge your wilfullin.

Note here the difference between 1. The grofly impenitent: 3. And the mock-repentance of the Hypocritc : 3. And the truc Repentance of sound Believers.

1. The grolly impenitent cannot bring his heart to a serious purpose to let go his lin, nor to a consent or willingness

, that God should cure bim, and cbange his mind: but he had rather have his pride, and covetousncls, and sensuality, to be fully pleased, than to be mortified. Like a fool in i Feaver or 1 Droprie, chat had rather have drink, than have the care of his thirst.

2. The mock repentance of the Hypocrite hath some purposes under an ex'raordinary conviction, to leave his fin; and for a time may fccm to do it. But when the temptation is as frong. again, he is the same, and returneth to his vomit; or else că changech his fin for a worse. And if you ask him wherher he had rather have the mortifying of all his lafs, or the pleafing of them, his understanding and conviction may cause him truly to fay at the present, that if God would prefently mortifie his fio, or fer bim this in choice, he would racher consent to it,

take the pleasing of them. But mark it, 1. That though he Poklone that Godfauld do

, ibis bimself; yet he will not conscac to use the means, and do bis duty to attain it. Ita cold with, or bare consent would change his soul, and take away all liful in

clinations

than

clinations at once, that he might' ncver more delire the pleafurc of fin, nor be put to any conflia to overcomnc it, nor any grcat difficulty to deny it, and all this might be dont without any labour of his own, I doubt not but the Hypocrite would consent to be so mortificd. But to watcb, and pray, and ready and meditate, and use tbe means which God appointech him, both to get mortification, and to use it for the conquering of every tcmptation ; this chc Hypocrite will not consent to.

2. And what he dorb consent to at the present, he consentech not to when his finful pleasure is scvived by the mext template tion.

3. But the true penitent Cbriftiax is bosh wiling to be changed and had rather have his lufts to be killed, than pleafed; and al. : so willing to use Gods means both to mortific the inward luft,

and to overcome the outward fin: And this in fincerity is his babitual ftate.

Dirca. 3. Never forget that 1. The gracious nature of God: 2. The sufficiency of Chrifts Sacrifice and Merit : And 3. Thotruth of tbe universal offer or promise of pardon to ai (if they will accept the offer) are tbe foundation of all our faith and comforts; and arc that universal grace which is before our special grace or faith, and is presupposed to it: On this foundation all our faith and peace is to be built.

Dirca. 4. The particular application of this co our felves, is, 1. By Believing, and then by knowing that we do believe; and then by difcerning our priviledges upon believing.

1. Our believing it fell is, 1. Our Afeext to the truch of the Gospel : 2. Our Acceptance of the good (even Chrift and life) which is offered in ir, and consent to the Baptismal Covenant with God the Fatber, Son, and Holy Spirit : And 3. Our Amance in Chrif and his Covenant.

2. To know that we do believe (somehow) is cafie, when we do it : But to be sure that this belief is fincere and saving, is more difficult, because of the deceitfulness of the beart of man, and the mixtures of unbelief, and other lins, and the weakness of grace where it is true, and the counterfeits of it, and the insufficient degrees which are in Hypocrites ; so that it is not calic to discern whether the faith which we have bc fincere, and predominant above our fenfe and our unbelief (asic muß br.) But src

yet

yet it may be known by lach mcans as these.

1. By labouring co Arengsben and increase our faütb and grace, that is may not by the fmalness be next to undiscernable, 2. By subduing and contrary inmard corruptions, which obfcurc it. 3. By frequent exercifing it ; fecing habits are discerned only in their aQs. 4. By relifting and conquering tempe tations, and doing al sbe good we can in the world, and living as wholly devoted to God, above all worldly Aeshly intereft ; that so 1. Faith may be evidenced by its fruits ; 2. And God may researd the faithful soul with his assuring seal, and light and comfort. 5. By escaping all those lapses into beinous and wilfulfin, which cause wounds, and fears, and - hinder assurance, peace and joy. 6. By a wise and constant examination of the heart, and obfervation of it, in the time of tryal, and finding thc habits and strength of faith, and of unbelief, in their leveral adings, and prevalencies in their conflias. 7. And withall, cscaping thosc ignorances and eryours, about the nature, means, caules and figns of grace and affuranee, which keep many from it, who have juftifying faith. These seven are the truc and necessary means to get ofurance of your own sincerity, and that indced you have the true seal, and carnet, and witnes of the Spirit of Christ.

3. When you have first truly believed (or consented to the Baptismal Covenant of Grace) and next got asurance that you doibio in fincerity, the last part is the easiest, which is to gether up the priviledges, or comfortable conclusions which follow hercupon : Which are your pardon and justification, your adoption and right to life eternal

, and to all the benefits promised by God, in thar Covenint to which you do consent; which are all comprehended in the three grcat Relations established by. the Covenant, viz. that God is your Reconciled God and Fatber' Cbrift is your Head and Seviour, and the Holy Spirit is your Life and Sandifier.

These three works which make up affurance, are contained in the three parts of this syllogifm. i. He that truly belicvcth, is judified, and adopted, and an heir of life. But I do truly believe : Therefore I am juftified, adopted, and am an heir of f. Os, thus.co the fans fonse.

Lray

« PreviousContinue »