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that word of his shall stand everlastingly, I will not suffer my faithfulness to fail : My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my mouth; Ps. Ixxxix. 33, 34.

Indeed, this is the temptation, wherewith thou hast formerly set some prime Saints of God, very bard.

How doth the holy Psalmist, hereupon, break out into a dangerous passion! Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more? Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious ? hath he shut

his tender mercies in displeasure? Ps. Ixxvii. 7–9. Lo, the man was even falling; yet happily recovers his feet : And I said, This is mine infirmity ; v. 10: thine infirmity, sure enough, O Asaph, to make question of the veracity and unfailableness of the sure mercies and promises of the God of Truth. Well was it for thee, that thy God, not taking advantage of thy weakness, puts forth his gracious hand, and stays thee with the seasonable consideration of the years of the right-hand of the Most High; with the remembrance of the works of the Lord, and of his wonders of old ; vv. 10. 11. These were enough to teach thee the omnipotent power, the never failing mercy, of thy Maker and Redeemer

In no other plight, through the impetuousness of this temptation, was the man afier God's own heart; while he cried out, I was greatly afflicted : I said, in my haste, all men are liars; Ps. cxvi. 10, 11. The men, that he inis-doubted, were surely no other, than God's prophets, which had foretold him his future prosperity, and peaceable settlement in the throne : these, upon the cross occurrences he met with, is he ready to censure as liars; and, through their sides, what doth he but strike at him, that sent them? But the word was not spoke in more haste, than it was retracted: I believed; therefore I spake; v. 10: and the sense of mercy doth so overtake the sense of his sufferings, that now he takes more care what to retribute to God for his bounty, than he did before how to receive it; and pitches himself upon that firm ground of all comfort, O Lord, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thy handmaid: thou hast loosed my bonds : v. 16. Here shall I stay my soul, against all thy suggestions of distrust, О thou malicious Enemy of Mankind; building myself upon that steady rock of Israel, whose word is, I am Jehovah: I change not,

Thou tellest me of deliverances promised, yet ending in utter miscarriages; of provisions vanished into want: why dost thou not tell me, that even good men die?

These promises of earthly favours to the godly declare to us the ordinary course, that God pleaseth to hold in the dispensation of his blessings; which he so ordereth, as that generally they are the lot of his faithful ones, for the encouragement and reward of their services : and, contrarily, his judgments befal his enemies, in part of payment. But yet, the great God, who is a most free agent, holds fit to leave himself at such liberty, as that, sometimes, for his own most holy purposes, he may change the scene : which yet

he never doth, but to the advantage of his own; so as the oppressions and wrongs, which are done to them, turn favours.

The Hermit in the Story could thank the thief that robbed him of his provision, for that he helped him so much the sooner to his journey's enl; and, indeed, if, being stripped of our earthly goods, we be stored with spiritual riches; if, while the outward man perisheth, the inward may be renewed in us; if, for a little bootless honour here, we be advanced to an immortal glory; if we have exchanged a short and miserable life, for a life eternally blessed; finally, it we lose earth, and win heaven; what cause have we to be other than thankful?

Whereto we have reason to add, that, in all these gracious promises of temporal mercies, there is ever to be understood the exception of expedient castigation, and the meet portage of the Cross; which were it not to be supplied, God's children should want one of the greatest proofs of his fatherly love towards them: which they can read even written in their own blood; and can bless God, in kisling them for a present blessedness.

So as, after all thy inalice, God's promises are holy, his pere formances certain, his judgments just, his servants happy.

Xth. TEMPTATION: Thou art more nice than needs: Your preachers are too strait.

laced in their opinions, and make the way to heaven narrower than God ever meant it. Tush, man, thou mayest be saved in any religion. Is it likely, that God will be so cruel, as to cast away all the world of men in the several varieties of their professions, and save only one poor handful of Reformed Christians? Away with these scruples: a general belief, and a good meaning, will serie to bring thee to heaven, without these busy disquisitions of the Ar

ticles of Faith.” Repelled. It is not for good, that thou makest such liberal tenders to my soul. Thou well knowest, how ready man's nature is, to lay hold on any just liberty, that may be allowed him; and how repiningly it stoops to a restraint.

But this, which thou craftily suggestest to me, Wicked Spirit, is not liberty; it is licentiousness. Thou tellest me the way to beaven is as wide as the world; but the Spirit of Truth hath taught me, that strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, that leadeth unto life; and few there be that find it; Matt. vii. 13.

I know there is but one truth, and one life, and one way to that life; and I know who it was that said, I am the Way, the Truth, anil the Life. He, who is one of these, is all. My Saviour, who is Life, the end of that way, is likewise the Way, that leads unto that end: neither is there any way to heaven, but he: all, that is besides bim, is by-paths and error. And, if any teacher shall enlarge or straiten this way to Christ, let hiin be accursed. And, if any teacher shall presume to chalk out any other way than Christ, let him be accursed.

Tell not me, therefore, of the multitudes of men, and varieties of religions, that there are in the world.

If there were as many worlds as men, and every of those men in those worlds were severed in religion; yet, I tell thee, there is but one heaven, and but one gate to that heaven, and but one way to that gate; and that one gate, and way, is Christ; without whom, therefore, there can be no entrance.

It is thy blasphemy, to charge cruelty upon God, if he do not (that, whereof thou wouldst most complain, as the greatest Joser) set heaven open on all sides to whatsoever comers. Even that God and Saviour, which possesseth and disposeth it, hath told us of a strait gate, and a narrow way, and few passengers. In vain dost thou move me to affect to be more charitable than my Redeemer. He best knows what he hath to do with that mankind, for whom he hath paid so dear a price.

Yet, to stop thy wicked mouth ; that way, which, in comparison of the broad world, is narrow, in itself hath a comfortable latitude. Christ extendeth himself largely to a world of believers. This way lies open to all: no nation, no person under heaven, is excluded from walking in it: yea, all are invited, by the voice of the Gospel, to tread in it; and whosoever walks in it, with a right foot, is accepted to salvation.

How far it may pléase my Saviour to communicate himself to men, in an implicit way of belief; and what place those general and involved apprehensions of the Redeemer may find for mercy, at the hands of God; he only knows, that shall judge: this I am sure of, that, without tiis Saviour, there can be no salvation: That, in every natin, he, that feareth God and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him ; Acts x. 35: That he, that hath the Son, hath life ; and lie, that hath not the Son, hath not life; 1 John v. 12.

As, therefore, we do justly abhor that wide scope of all religions, which thou suggestest; so we do willingly admit a large scope in one true religion: so large, as the author of it hath thought good to allow. For we have not to do with a God, that stands upon curiosities of belief; or that, upon paių of damnation, requires of every believer an exquisite perfection of judgment, concerning every capillary vein of theological truth: it is enough for him, if we be right for the main substance of the body: He doth not call rigorously for every stone in the battlements: it sufficeth, for the capacity of our salvation, if the foundation be held entire.

'It is thy slander therefore, that we confine truth and blessedness to a corner of Reformed Christians: no; we seek and find it every where, where God hath a Church ; and God's Church we know to be Uviversal. Let them be Abassines, Cophties, Armenians, Georgians, Jacobites, or whatever names either slander or distinction hath put upon them, if they hold the foundation firm, howsoever disgracefully built upon with wood, hay, stubble; we hold them Christ's, we hold them ours; i Cor. iii. 12. Hence it is, that the New Jerusalem is, for her beauty and uniformity, set forth with twelve precious gates; Rev. xxi. 12: though, for use and substance, one: for that, from all coasts of heaven, there is free access to the Church of Christ; and, in him, to life and glory.

He, who is the Truth and the Life, hath said, This is eternal life, to know thee, and him whom thou hast sent ; John xvii. 3. This knowledge, which is our way to life, is not alike attained of all : some have greater light and deeper insight into it, than others. That mercy, which accepts of the least degree of the true apprehension of Christ, hath not promised to dispense with the wilful neglect of those, who might know him more clearly, more exactly. Let those careless souls, therefore, which stand indifferent betwixt life and death, upon thy persuasion, content themselves with good meanings and generalities of belief: but, for me, I shall labour to furnish myself with all requisite truths; and, above all, shall aspire towards the excellency of the knowledge of my Lord Jesus Christ ; that I may know him, and the power of his "resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings; Phil. iji. 8, 10.




Ist. TEMPTATION: "Were it for some few sins of ignorance or infirmity, thou mightest

hope to find place for mercy: but thy sins are, as, for multitude, innumerable ; so, for quality, heinous, presumptuous, unpardonable: with what face canst thou look up to heaven, and expect re

mission from a Just God?Repelled. Even with the face of an humble penitent, justly confounded in himself, in the sense of his own vileness; but awfully confident, in a promised mercy.

Malicious Tempter, how like thou art to thyself! When thou wouldst draw me on to my sins; then, how small, slight, harmless, plausible they were ! now thou hast fetched me in, to the guilt of those foul offences, they are no less than deadly and irremissible.

May I but keep within the verge of mercy, thou canst not more aggravate my wickedness against me, than I do against myself: thou canst not be more ready to accuse, than I to judge and condemn myself. Oh me, the wretchedest of all creatures ! How do I hate myself for mine abominable sins, done with so high a hand, against such a Majesty, after such light of knowledge, such enforcements of warning, such endearments of mercy, such reluctations of spirit, such checks of conscience! what less than hell have I deserved from that Infinite Justice? Thou canst not write more bitter things against me, than I can plead against my own soul.

But, when thou hast cast up all thy venom, and when I have passed the heaviest sentence against myself, I, who am in myself utterly lost aud forfeited to eternal death, in despite of the gates of hell shall live; and am safe, in my Almighty and Ever-Blessed Saviour, who hath conquered death and hell for me.

Set thou me against myself; I shall set my Saviour against thee. Urge thou my debts; I show his full acquittance. Sue thou my bonds; I shall exhibit them cancelled, and nailed to his Cross. Press thou my horrible crimes; I plead a pardon sealed in heaven. Thou tellest me of the multitude and heinousness of my sins: I tell

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