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partially, filling themselves before the tribunal of their own con. Sciences; they might have a timely discovery of their own naughti. nels: but the neglect of self-examination leaves moft men under fad delusions, as to their fate; and deprives many laines of the confortable sight of the grace of God in them.

But that I may afford fome further help to true Chriftians, in their inquiries into their face; I shall propose and briefly anfwer fome cases or doubts, which may possibly hinder fome perfons from the comfortable view of their happy {tate. The children's bread must not be with held ; thu' while it is reached to them, the dogs should foarch aiit.

Case I, “I doubt if I be regenerate, becanse I know not the į fi prec se time of my conversion; nor can I crace the particular

6 lieps, in the way in which it was brought to pass.Anf. Tho'

it is very delireable, to be able .co give an account of the beginning " and the gradual advances of the Lord's work upon our souls, as

ļome fain s can distinctly do, (howbeit the manner of the Spirit's working is fill a mystery) yet this is not necessary to evidence the truth of grace. Happy he that can say, in this case, as the blind man in the gospel, one thing I know, that whereas I was, blind, now 162. Likeas when we see flames, we know there is fire; tho' we know not how or when it began : fo the truth of grace in us may be discerned: tho' we know not how, or when, it was dropo into our hearts. If thou canst perceive che happy change, which is wrought on thy soul: if thou findest thy mind is enlightned, thy will inclined to comply with the will of God in all things; espe. cially to fall in with the divine plan of salvation thro' a crucified Redeemer: in vain dost thou trouble thyself, and refuse comfort,

because thou knoweft not how and what way it was brought about. 1 Case II. “ If I were a new creature, sin could not prevail

against me as it doth.” Anf. Tho' we must not lay pillows for hypocrites to reft their heads upon, who indulge themselves in their fins, and make the doctrine of God's grace fubfervient to their lutts, lying down contentedly in the bond of iniquity, like men that: are fond of golcien chains: yet it must be owned, the juift man falleth feven times a-day, and iniquity may prevail against the child. ren of God. But, if thou art groaning under the weight of the body of death, the corruption of thy nature; loathing thyself for the sins of thy heart and life; striving to mortify thy lusts; fleeing daily to the blood of Christ for pardon; and looking to his Spirit for sanctification; tho' thou may st be obliged to say with the Psalmist, Iniquities prevail against me? Yet thou mayest add with kim, As for our transgressions, thou shalt purge thein away, Psal. Ixv. 3. The new creature doth not yet possess the house alone: it dwells beide an ill neighbour; namely, remaining corruption, che reliques of depraved nature. These aruggle together for the mastery: The flesh lufteth against the Spirit, and the spirit againft the flesh, Gal. v. s. And sometimes corruption prevails, bringing the child


of God into captivity to the law of fin, Rom vii. 23. Let not there. fore the prevailing of corruption, make thee in this case conclude thou art none of God's children: but let it humble thee to be the more watchful, and to thirst the more intensely after Jesus Chrift, his blood and Spirit; and that very difpofition will evidence a principle of grace in thee, which seeks the destruction of lin, that prevails fo often against thee.

CASE III. “ I find the motions of fun in my heart more violent, “ since the Lord began his work on my foul, than they were be. 66 fore that cime. Can this conlist with a change of my nature?"

Anf Dreadful is the case of many, who, after God has had a remarkable dealing with their fouls, tending to their reformation, have thrown off all bonds; and have become grolly and openly immoral and profane; as if the devii had rerurned into obeir hearts, with seven Spirits worse than himself. All I shall say to such per. sons is, that their state is exceeding dangerous: they are in danger of linning against the Holy Ghost: therefore let them repent, before it be too late. But if it be not thus with you: cho' corruption is bestirring itself more violently than formerly, as if all the forces of hell were railed, to hold fast, to bring back a fugitive; I lay, these Itirrings inay conlist with a change of your nature. When che restraint of grace is newly laid upon corruption, it is no won)der if this last acts more vigorously than before, warring against the law of the mind, Rom. vii. 23. The motions of lin may really be most violent; when a new principle is brought in to cart it out. And, as the sun, sending its beams through the window, discovers the motes in the house, and their motions, which were not leen before: so the light of grace may discover the rising and actings of.corruption, in another manner than ever the man law them before; cho' they really do not rise nor act more vigorously. Sin is not quite dead in the regenerate foul, it is buc dying; and, dying a lingering death, being crucified, no wonder there be great fightings, when it is fick at the heart, and death is at the door. Belides cemptations may be more in number, and stronger, while Satan is Striving to bring you back who are escaped, than while he endeavoured only to retain you : Afier ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions, says the Apostle, to the Hebrews, chap. x. 32. But caft not away your confidence, ver. 34. Remember his grace is sufficient for you, and the God of peace will bruise Satan under your feet forily. Pharaoh and his Egyptians never made such a formidable appearance against the Israelites, as at the Red-lea, after they were brought out of Egypt: but then were the pursucrs nearest to a total overtbrow, Exod. xiv. Let not this case therefore make you raze your foundations: but be ye empried of yourselves, and strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might; and ye shall come off victorious.

Case IV. “ But when I compare my love to God, with my love " to some created enjoyments, I find the pulse of my affections 66 beat Stronger to the creature than the Creator. How then can

" I call bim father? Nay, alas! these turnings of heart, within "me, and glowings of affection to him, wbich fometimes I had, " are gone; fo that I fear, all the love I ever had to the LORD, " has been but a fit and flash of affection, fuch as hypocrites often " have.” Anf. It cannot be denied, that the predoininant love of the world, is a certain mark of an unregenerate ftare, 1 John ii. 15. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. Neverthele's, there are not always the Itrongest affections, which are most violent. A man's affection may be more moved on fome oc-. casions by an object that is little regarded, than by another, that is exceedingly beloved; even as a little brook sometimes makes a greater noise than a great river. The strenge of our affections is to' be measured by the firmness and fixeduels of the root : not by the violence of their actings. Suppose a period ineeting with a friend who has been long abroad, finds his affection more vehemently acting toward his friend on that 'occasion, than towards his own wife and children ; will he therefore say that he loves bis friend more than them? Surely no. Evea lo; although the Chriftian may find himself more moved in his love to che creature, than in his love to God; yet he is not iherefore to be laid to love the creature more than God; seeing love to God is always more firmly sooted in a gracious heari, than love to any crealed enjoyment whatsoever; as appears when competition arises in such a manner, that the one or the other is to be forgone. Would you chen know your case? Retire into your own hearts, and there lay the two in the balance, and try which of them weighs down the other. Afk chyself, as in the fight of God, whether thou wouldit part with Christ for the creature, or part with the creature for Christ, if thou were left to thy choice in the matter? If you find your heart disposed to part with what is dearest to you in the world for Chrift, at his call; you have no reason to conclude you love the creature more than God; but on the contrary, cbat you love God more than the creature; albeit you do not feel such violent motions in the love of God, as in the love of some created thing, Marth. x. 37. He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not quorthy of me. Luke xiv. 26. If any man come to me, and hate not his father and mother,-- he cannot be my disciple. From which texts compared, we may infer, that he who hates, i. e. is ready to part with father and mother for Christ, is, in our Lord's account, one that loves them less than bim; and not one who loves father and mother more than him. Moreover, ye are to consider there is a twofold love to Christ. (s.) There is a sensible love to him, which is felt as a dart in the heart, and makes a boly love-sickness in the Col, aris. ing either from want of enjoyment, as in the case of the spoufe, Cant. v. 8. I charge you, o daughters of Jerusalem, if ye And my baloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick of love : or else from the ful.

ness of it, as in that cafe, Cant. i. 5. Stay me with fagons, comfort 1 me with apples: for I am sick of lave. These glowings of affections



et; which, 'ng, and felf.ce; and thus

are usually wrought in young converts, who are ordinarily made to fing in the day of their youth, Hof. ii. 14. While the fire-edge is upon the young convert, he looks upon others, reputed to be godly, and not finding them in such a temper and disposition as himself, he is ready to censure them; and think there is far less religion in the world, than indeed there is. But when his own cup comes to settle below the brim, and he finds that in himself, which made him question the state of others, he is more humbled, and feels more and more the necessity of daily recourse to the blood of Christ for pardon, and to the Spirit of Christ for sanctification ; and thus grows downwards in humiliation; felf-loathing, and self-denial. (2.) There is a rational love to Christ, which, - without these sensible emotions felt in the former case, evidences itself by a dutiful regard to the divine authority and com:nand. When one bears such a love to Christ, tho' the vehement stirrings of affection be wanting, yet he is truly tender of offending a gracious God; endeavours to walk before him unto all pleasing; and grieved at the heart, for what is displeasing unto him, 1 John v. 3. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. Now, although that sensible love doth not always continue with you: yet ye have no reason to account it a hypocritical fit, while the rational love remains with you, more than a faithful and loving wife needs question her love to her husband, when her fondness is abated. · CASE V.« The attainments of hypocrites and apoftates are a terror « to me, and come like a fuking {torin on me, when I am about to “ conclude from the marks of grace which I seem to find in myself, “ that I am in the Itate of grace. Anf. These things should indeed Ntir us up to a most serious and impartial examination of ourselves; but ought not to keep us in a continued suspense as to our state. Sirs, ye Tee the outside of hypocrites, their duties, their gifts, their tears, &c. bit ye fèe not their inlide; ye do not discern their hearts, the bias of their spirits. Upon what ye fee of them, ye found a judgment of charity, as to their state ; and ye do well to judge charitably in such a case, because ye cannot know the secret springs of their actings : But ye are speaking, and ought to have a judgment of certainty, as to your own ftate ; and therefore are to look in to that part of religion, which none in the world but yourselves can discern in you; and which · ye can as little fee in others. An hypocrite's religion may appear far greater than that of a sincere soul: but, that which makes the greatest figure in the eyes of men, is often least worth before God. I would rather utter one of these groans the Apostle speaks of, Rom. viii. 26. than thed Ffau's tears, have Balaam's prophetic spirit, or the joy of the itony ground hearers. The fire that thall try every man's work, will try, not of what bulk it is, but of what fort it is, 1 Cor. iii, 13. Now, ye may know what bulk of religion another has : and what tho' it be more bulky than your own? God doth not regard that: Why then do you make such a matter of it? It is imposible for you, without divje revelation, certainly to know of what sort another man's


But id not disturb you in the attainments to calling and electiones

for theirer inhall not be God in the 192.) In a reception,

Of as one of the lawhen I look on thement persons

religion is: but ye may certainly know what sort your own is of, without extraordinary revelation; otherwise the Apostle would not exhort the saints to give diligence to make their calling and election sure, 2 Pet. i. 10." Therefore, the attainments of hypocrites and apoftates. hould not disturb you in your serious inquiry into your own state. But I'll tell you two things wherein the meanest saints go beyond the most refined hypocrites. (1.) In denying themselves, renouncing all confidence in themselves, and their own works, acquiescing in, being well-pleased with, and venturing their souls upon God's plan of falvation thro' Jesus Christ, Matth. v. 3. Blessed are the poor in fpirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. And chap. xi. 6. Bleffed is be whofoever shall not be offended in me. Philip. iii. 3. We are the circumcision which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. (2.) In a real hatred of all sin ; being willing to part with every luft, without exception, and comply with every duty the Lord makes, or shall make known to them: Pfal. çxix, 6. Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. Try yourselves by these.

CASE VI. “ I fee myself fall so far thort of the saints mentioned “ in the scriptures, and of several excellent persons of my own ac“ quaintance; that, when I look on them, I can hardly look on my“ self as one of the same family with them." Anf. It is indeed matter of humiliation, that we get not forward to that ineasure of grace and holiness, which we fee is attainable in this life. This should make us more vigorously press towards the mark: But surely it is from the devil, that weak Christians make a rack for themselves of the attain. ments of the strong. And to yield to this temptation, is as unreason. able, as for a child to dispute away his relation to his father, because he is not of the same stature with his elder brethren. There are saints of several sizes in Christ's family : fome fathers, fome young . men, and some little children, 1 John ii. 13, 14. ; CASE VII. “ I never read in the word of God, nor did I ever

"know of a child of God so tempted, and so left of God, as I am ; .." and therefore no faint's case being like mine, I cannot but conclude

I am none. of their number.Ans. This objection arises to fome froin their unacquaintedness with the scriptures, and with experienced Christians. It is profitable in this case, to impart the matter to fome experienced Christian friend, or to some godly minister. This has: been a blessed mean of peace to fome persons; while their case, which appeared to them to be firigular, has been evinced to have been the

cale of other saints. The scripture give instances of very horrid - temptations, wherewith the saints have been assaulted : Job was temp

ted to blafpheme ; this was the great thing the devil aimed at, in the cale of that great faint, Job i, 11. He will curse thee to thy face. Chap. ii. 9. Curse God and die. Afaph was tempted to think, it was in vain to be religious; which was in effect to throw off all religion, Psal. Ixxiii. 13. Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain. Yea, Christ



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