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or at the best, it is but some poor and erronevus holy estate before the fall. It is expressly said, employınent of the rational faculties which they that the new man which we put on, is renewed exercise, or some weak approaches towards that in knowledge after the image of him that created high and holy life, which is indeed the life which him. After God's image Adam was created. the rational nature was created for, and which 3. If it belong to the soundness and integrity is the right improvement of it.
of nature to be holy, that is, disposed and ad4. Moreover, nothing is more beseeming the dicted to live to God, then it is rash and foolish, nature of man, than to aspire after the highest for men out of their own imagination, to feign, and noblest improvement of itself; and to live that God first made nature defective, and ther the most excellent life that it is capable of. For mended it by superadded grace. But if it beevery nature tends to its own perfection. But long not to the soundness and integrity of human it is most evident, that to walk with God in ho- nature to be holy, then why did God give him liness, is a thing that human nature is capable of; grace to make him so ? Nay then, it would and that is the highest life that we are capable follow, that when God sanctified Adam, or any of on earth : therefore it is the life most suitable since, he made him specifically another thing, to our patures.
another creature, of another nature, and did not 5. What can be more rational and beseeming only cure the diseases of his nature. a created nature, than to live to those ends which 4. It is yet apparent in the very nature of our Creator intended in the very forming of our man's faculties, that their very usefulness and natures ? It is his ends that are principally tendency is to live to God, and to enjoy him: to be served. But the very composure of our that God should make a nature apt for such faculties plainly proves, that his end was that we a use, and give it no disposedness to its proper should be fitted for his service: he gave us no use, is an unnatural conceit. We see to this powers or capacity in vain : and therefore to day that it is but an unreasonable abuse of reaserve him and walk with him, is most suitable to son, when it is not used holily for God; and it our natures.
is a disease of nature to be otherwise disposed. Object. That is natural which is first, and Therefore primitive nature had such a holy inborn with us: but our enmity to holiness is clination. first, and not our holiness.
5. The contrary opinion tends to infidelity, Answ. It may be called natural indeed, be- and to brutify human nature.
For if no man cause it is first, and born with us : in that respect can believe that he must be holy, live to God, we confess that sin, and not holiness, is natural and enjoy him hereafter in heaven, but he that
But holiness is called natural to us, in also believes that primitive nature was a higher respect, because it was the primitive disposed or qualified for such a life ; and that natural constitution of man, was before sin, God must first make a man another creature of is the perfection or health of nature, the right another nature, and consequently not a man, employment and improvement of it, and tends to this is not only so improbable, but so contrary its happiness. A hereditary leprosy may be to scripture and reason, that few considerate called natural, as it is first, and before health, in persons would believe it. As if we must bethat person : but health and soundness is natural, lieve that God would turn brutes into men. as being the well being of nature, when the le- God heals, elevates, and perfects nature, but he prosy is unnatural, as being but its disease, and doth not specifically change it, at least in this tending to its destruction.
life. Object. But nature in its first constitution Object. But let it be granted that he gives was not holy, but innocent only, and it was by no man specifically another nature, yet he may a superadded gift of grace that it became holy, give him such higher gifts as may be like another as some schoolmen think: and as others think, nature. Adam had no holiness till his restoration.
Answ. No doubt he may and doth give him Answ. These are popish improved fancies, and such gifts as actuate and perfect nature : but contrary to nature and the word of God. some disposition to our ultimate end is essential
1. They are no where written, nor have any to our nature ; and therefore to assign man evidence in nature, and therefore are the ground- another ultimate end, and to give a disposition less dreams of men.
to it, of which he had no seed, or part, or prin2. The work of our recovery to God is called ciple before, is to make him another creature. I in scripture a redemption, renovation, restora. confess that in lapsed man, the holy disposition tion, which imply that nature was once in that is so far dead, as that the change makes a man
a new creature in a moral sense, as he is a new | theology informs reason about the matters of man that changes his mind and manners : but God and our salvation : and the Spirit of God still nature hath its aptitude, as rational, to be makes his doctrine and revelation effectual. Make employed for its Maker ; so that he is not a nature sound and reason clear, and then we will new creature in a natural sense.
consent that all men be persuaded to live accordAn actual or habitual willingness to his holy ing to their nature and their reason. But if a employment, a promptitude to it, and a due un- madman will rave and tear himself and others, derstanding of it, is the new creature, morally so and say, This is according to my nature or called, which is given in our regeneration : but my reason : it is fitter that chains and whips the natural aptitude that is in our faculties as ra- cure that nature and reason, than that he be tional, to this holy life, is essential to us as men, allowed to live according to his madness. If a or as rational ; even to have the natural power drunkard or whoremonger will say, My nature which must yet have further help or moral life and reason incline me to please my appetite and to actuate it. Adam had both these : the one lust: it is fit that the brutish nature be corrected, he retained, or else he had not continued a man; and the beast which rides and rules the man the other he lost, or else he had not had need of be taken down; and when indeed his nature is renovation.
the nature of man, and fitted to the use and If Adam's nature had not been disposed to ends it was made for, then let him live accordGod, as to his end and sovereign, then the law ing to it and spare not. If a maliciðus man will of nature, to adhere to God, and obey and serve abuse or kill his neighbours, and say, This is him, was not written in his heart: then it would according to my nature, let that nature be used not have been his duty to adhere to God, and as the nature of wolves and foxes, and other to obey and serve him : which is so false, that noxious creatures are. But let human nature even in lapsed, unrenewed nature, there is left be cured of its blindness, carnality and corrupso much aptitude hereto, as will prove him to be tion, and then it will need no external testimony still under the obligations of this law of nature, to convince it, that no employment is so natural even actually to adhere to God, and to obey and suitable to man, as to walk with God, in him, which a dead man, a madman, or an in- love and confidence, reverent worship, and cheerfant, is not immediately.
ful obedience to his will. A worldly, fleshly, By all this you see, that though the blindness sensual life, will then appear to be below the raand disease of reason is contrary to faith and tional nature of a man, as it is below us to go holiness, yet reason itself is so much for it, as to grass with horses, or to live as mere companthat faith itself is but the act of elevated, well ions of brutes. It will then appear to be as nainformed reason; and supernatural revelation tural for us to love and live to our Creator and is but the means to inform our reason, about Redeemer, and to walk with God, as for a child things which have not a natural evidence, dis- to love his parents, and to live with them and cernible by us. Sanctification, actively taken, serve them. When I say that this is natural, I is but the healing of our reason and rational ap- mean not that it is necessary by natural necespetite: and holiness is but the health or sound-sity, or that grace doth operate as their rational ness of them. The error of reason must be re- motion is so called. There is a brutish or inaninounced by believers, but not the use of reason: mate nature, and there is a rational, voluntary the sufficiency of reason and natural light, without nature : grace works not according to the way supernatural light and help, we must all deny: of inanimate nature, in free agents. I may well but to set reason, as reason, in opposition to faith say, that whatever is rational, is natural to a or holiness, or divine revelation, is as gross a rational creature as such, so far as he discerns piece of foolery, as to set the visive faculty in it. Yea, and habits, though they affect not neopposition to the light of the sun, or to its ob cessarily, but freely in a rational nature, yet they jects. It is the unreasonableness of sinners that incline necessarily, as by the order of nature. is to be cured by illuminating grace. • They are They contain in their being a natural aptitude wise to do evil, but to do good they have no and propensity to action. knowledge. Their reason is wounded, depraved Object. But thus you confound nature and and corrupted about the matters of God: they grace, natural and supernatural operations, while have reason to serve the flesh, but not to master
you make grace natural. it. God doth renew men by giving them wis- Answ. No such thing: though walking with dom, and bringing them to a sound mind : as God be called natural, as it is most agreeable to logic helps reason in discourse and arguing, so nature so far as it is found, and is the felicity
and best employment of the rational nature as their profane and filthy language! In their lies such : Yet, 1. Diseased nature doth abhor it, and slanders of the just! In their sneers and as a diseased stomach the most pleasant and scorns of those that walk with God! which exmost wholesome food, as I said before. 2. This pose at once their folly and misery to the pity disease of nature cannot be cured without divine, of all that are truly understanding. When they supernatural grace. So that as to the efficient are gravely speaking evil of the things which cause, our holiness is supernatural. But it is they understand not, or with a fleering confi. unsound doctrine of those that affirm that Adam dence deriding merrily the holy commands and in his pure natural state of innocency, had no ways of God, they are much more lamentably natural holiness, or aptitude and promptitude to expressing their infatuation than any that are walk with God in order to everlasting happiness; kept in chains in bedlam : though indeed, with but say
that all this was either wanting to him, the most, they escape the reputation which they and was a state specifically distinct, which he deserve, because they are attended with persons fell short of by his sin, or that it was given him of their own proportion of wisdom, that always by superadded grace, and was not in his entire reverence a silk coat, and judge them wise that nature.
wear gold lace, and have the greatest satisfaction Yet we deny not but, as to degrees, Adam's of their wills and lusts, and are able to do most nature was to grow up to more perfection: that mischief in the world : because good men have his natural holiness contained not a sufficient, learned to honour the worst of their superiors, immediate aptitude and prompitude to every and not to call them as they are. But God is duty, which might afterwards be required of bold to call them as they are, and give them in him: but this was to be obtained in the exercise his word such names and characters by which of that holiness which he had : even as a vine they might come to know themselves. Is it not or other fruit tree, though it be natural to it to a higher, nobler life to walk with God, than to bear its proper fruit, yet hath it not an imme- converse in bedlam or with intoxicated sensualdiate sufficient aptitude hereto, whilst it is but ists, that live in a constant delirium ? appearing out of the seed, before it be grown Yea, worse than so: ungodly men are children up to maturity. Or as it is natural to a man to of the devil, so called by Jesus Christ himself, discourse and reason; but yet his nature in in- | because they have much of the nature of the fancy, or untaught and unexercised, hath not a devil, and the lusts of their father they will do ;' sufficient immediate aptitude and promptitude yea, they are taken captive by him at bis will. hereunto. Or as grace inclines a renewed soul | They are the servants of sin, and do the drudg. to every holy truth and duty: yet such a soul inery that so vile a master sets them on. Certainly its infancy of grace, hath not a sufficient imme. as the spirits of the just are so like to angels, that diate aptitude or promptitude to the receiving Christ saith we shall be as they, and equal to of every holy truth, or the doing of every holy them; so the wicked are nearer kin to devils duty; but must grow up to it by degrees. But than they themselves will easily believe. They the addition of these degrees is no specific are as like him as children to their father: he is alteration of the nature of man, or of that grace a liar, and so are they : he is a hater of God, which was before received.
of godliness, and of godly men, and so are they: Having been so long upon this first conside- he is a murderer, and would devour the holy ration (that walking with God is most agreeable seed ; and such are they. He envies the progress to human nature), I shall be more brief in the rest of the gospel, the prosperity of the church, and the that follow.
increase of holiness, and so do they. He hath Sect. II. To walk with God, and live to him, a special malice against the most powerful and is incomparably the highest and noblest life. To successful preachers of the word of God, and converse with men only, is to converse with against the most zealous and eminent saints ; worms: whether they be princes or poor men, and so have they. He cares not by what lies they differ but as the larger from the lesser. If and fictions he disgraces them, nor how cruelly they be wise and good, their converse may be he uses them ; no more do they, (or some of profitable and delightful, because they have a them at least :) he cherisheth licentiousness, senbeam of excellency from the face of God. o suality and impiety: and so do they. If they how unspeakable is the distance between his wis- seem better in their adversity and restraint, yet dom and goodness, and theirs ! But if they be try them but with prosperity and power, and foolish, ungodly and dishonest, how lothsome is you shall see quickly how like they are to devils. their conversation! What impure breath is in Shall we delight more to converse with brutes
and incarnate devils, than with God. Is it not | Christ. They hear by faith the heavenly cona more high and excellent conversation to walk cert, the high and harmonious songs of praise, with God, and live to him, than to be compan- the joyful triumphs of crowned saints, the sweet ions of such degenerate men, that have almost commemorations of the things that were done forfeited the reputation of humanity ? Alas, and suffered on earth, with the praises of him they are companions so deluded and ignorant, that redeemed them by his blood, and made them and yet so wilful ; so miserable, and yet so con- kings and priests to God : herein he hath somefident and secure, that they are, to a believing times a sweet foretaste of the everlasting pleaeye, the most lamentable sight that the whole sures, which though it be but little, as Jonathan's world can show us out of hell. How sad a life honey on the end of his rod, or as the clusters of must it then needs be, to converse with such, grapes which were brought from Canaan into were it not for the hope that we have of further- the wilderness, yet are they more excellent than ing their recovery and salvation ?
all the delights of sinners. In the beholding of But to walk with God is a word so high, that this celestial glory, some beams penetrate his I should have feared the guilt of arrogance in breast, and so irradiate his longing soul, that he using it, if I had not found it in the holy scrip- is changed thereby into the same image, from
It is a word that imports so high and glory to glory; the spirit of glory and of God holy a frame of soul, and expresses such high doth rest upon him. O what an excellent holy and holy actions, that the naming of it strikes frame doth this converse with God possess his my heart with reverence, as if I had heard the soul of! How reverently doth he think of him! voice to Moses, “put off thy shoes from off thy What life is there in every name and attribute feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy of God which he hears or thinks on! The ground.' Methinks he that shall say to me, Come mention of his power, his wisdom, his goodness, see a man that walks with God, doth call me to his love, his holiness, his truth, how powerful see one that is next unto an angel, or glorified and how pleasant are they to him! when to soul! It is a far more reverend object in mine those that know him but by the hearing of the eye, than ten thousand lords or princes, con- ear, all these are but like common names and sidered only in their fleshly glory. It is a wiser notions; and even to the weaker sort of Chrisaction for people to run and crowd together, tians, whose walking with God is more uneven to see a man that walks with God, than to see and low, interrupted by their sins, doubts, and the pompous train of princes, their entertain- fears, this life and glory of a Christian course is ments, or their triumph. O happy man, that less perceived. walks with God, though neglected and contem- The sweet appropriating and applying works ned by all about him! What blessed sights of faith, by which the soul can own his God, doth he daily see! What ravishing tidings, and finds itself owned by him, are exercised most what pleasant melody doth he daily hear, unless easily and happily in these near approaches unto it be in his swoons or sickness! what delectable God. Our doubts are cherished by our darkness, food doth he daily taste! He sees by faith the and that is much caused by our distance: the God, the glory, which the blessed spirits see at nearer the soul approaches to God, the more dishand by nearest intuition : he sees that in a tinctly it hears the voice of mercy, the sweet glass and darkly, which they behold with open reconciling invitations of love ; and the more face: he sees the glorious majesty of his Crea- clearly it discerns that goodness and amiabletor, the eternal King, the cause of causes, the ness in God which makes it easier to us to becomposer, upholder, preserver, and governor of lieve that he loves us, or is ready to embrace all worlds : he beholds the wonderful methods us ; and banishes all those false and horrid
apof bis providence: what he cannot reach to see, prehensions of him, which before were our dishe admires, and waits for the time when that couragement, and made him seem to us more also shall be open to his view! He sees by terrible than amiable. As the ministers and faith the world of spirits, the hosts that attend faithful servants of Christ, are ordinarily so misthe throne of God; their perfect righteousness, represented by the malignant devil, to those that their full devotedness to God: their ardent knew them not, that they are ready to think love, their flaming zeal, their ready and cheerful them some silly fools, or false-hearted hypocrites, obedience, their dignity and shining glory, in and to shun them as strange persons; but when which the lowest of them exceeds that which the they come to thorough acquaintance with them disciples saw on Moses and Elias when they by a nearer and familiar converse, they see how appeared on the holy mount, and talked with much they were mistaken, and wronged by their prejudice and belief of slanderers' reports: even plex themselves by their error, doth it follow that so a weak believer, who is under troubles, in the therefore the truth is not comfortable? Is not apprehension of his sin and danger, is apt to a Father's presence consolatory, because some hearken to the enemy of God, that would show children are afraid of their fathers, who know him nothing but his wrath, and represent God as them not because of some disguise ? Some of an enemy to him: in this case it is exceedingly God's children walk so unevenly and carelessly hard for a poor sinner to believe that God is before him, that their sin's provoke him to hide reconciled to him, or loves him, or intends him his face, and to seem to reject thein and disown good, but he is ready to dread and shun him as them, and so to trouble them that he may bring an enemy, or as he would fly from a wild beast them home : but shall the comforts of our Father's or murderer, or from fire or water, that would love and family be judged of by the fears or destroy him: and all these injurious thoughts of smart of those whom he is scourging for their God are cherished by strangeness and disaffec- disobedience, or their trial ? Seek God with tion. But as the soul doth fall into an under- understanding, as knowing his essential properstanding and serious converse with God, and ties, and what he will be to them that sincerely having been often with him, doth find him more and diligently seek him; and then you
will quickly merciful than he was by Satan represented to have experience that nothing so much tends to him, his experience reconciles his mind to God, quiet, and settle a doubting, troubled, unstable and makes it much easier to him to believe that soul, as faithfully to walk with God. God is reconciled unto him, when he hath found But the soul that estranges itself from God, much better entertainment with God than he may indeed for a time have the quietness of seexpected, and hath observed his benignity, and curity ; but so far, it will be strange to the asthe treasures of his bounty laid up in Christ, and surance of his love, and to true consolation. by him distributed to believers, and hath found Expect not that God should follow you with his him ready to hear and help, and found him the comforts in your sinfulness and negligence, and only full and suitable felicitating good; this cast them into your hearts whilst you neither banishes his former horrid thoughts, and makes seek nor mind them: or that he will give you him ashamed that ever he should think so suspi- tne fruit of his ways in your own ways. Will ciously, injuriously, and dishonourably of his he be your joy when you forget him; will he dearest God and Father.
delight your souls with his goodness and amiaYet I must confess that there are many up. bleness, while you are taken up with other right, troubled souls, who are much in reading, matters, and think not of him? Can you es prayer, and meditation, that still find it hard to pect to find the comforts of his family among be persuaded of the love of God, and that have his enemies out of doors? The experience of much more disquietude and fear since they set all the world can tell you, that prodigals, while themselves to think of God, than they had be- they are straggling from their Father's house, do fore: but yet for all this, we may well conclude, never taste the comfort of his embraces. The that to walk with God is the way to consolation, strangers meddle not with his children's joys: and tends to acquaint us with his love. As for they grow not in the way of ambition, covetousthose troubled souls, whose experience is ob- ness, vain-glory, or sensuality; but in the way jected against, some of them are such as are yet of holy obedience, and of believing contemplabut in their return to God, from a life of former tions of the divine, everlasting objects of delight. sin and misery, and are yet but like the needle · For lo, they that are far from him shall perish: in the compass that is shaken, in a trembling he destroys them that go awhoring from him: motion towards their rest, and not in any settled but it is good for us to draw nigh to God.' apprehensions of it. Some of them by the Sect. III. Walking with God, is the only straying of their imaginations too high, and course that can prove and make men truly wise. putting themselves upon more than their heads It proves them wise that make so wise and good can bear, and by the violence of fears, or other a choice, and are disposed and skilled in any passions, make themselves incapable of those measure for so high a work. Practical wisdom sweet consolations which else they might find in is the solid, useful, profitable, wisdom: practheir converse with God; as a lute, when the tical wisdom is seen in our choice of good, and strings are broken with straining, is incapable refusal of evil, as its most immediate and excelof making any melody. All of them have false lent effect. No choosing or refusing doth show apprehensions of God, and therefore trouble the wisdom or folly of man so much as that themselves by their own mistakes. If some per- I which is about the greatest matters, and which