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himself was tempted to cast himself down from a pinacle of the temple, and to worship the devil, Matth iv. 6,9. And many of the children of God have not only been attacked with, but have actually ytelded to very gross' temptations for a time. Peter denied CHRIST, and cursed and swore that he know him not, Mark xiv.71. Paul, when a perfecuter, compelled even faints to blafpheme, Acts xxvi. 10, U. Many of the faints can, from their fad experience, bear witness to very gross temptations, which have astonished their spirits, made their very fleh to tremble, and sickened their bodies. Satan's fiery darts make terrible work; and will cost pains to quench them, by a vigorous managing of the thield of faith, Ephes. vi. 16. Sometimes, he makes such desperate atticks, that never was one more put to it, in running to and fro, without intermission to quench the fore-balls incessantly thrown into his house by an enemy designing to burn the house about him ; than the poor tempted saint is, to repel satanical injections. But these injections, these horrid temptations, though they are a dreadful affliction, they are not the sins of the tempted, unless they make them theirs by consenting to them. They will be charged upon the tempter alone, if they be not consented to; and will no more be laid to the charge of the tempted party, than a bastard's being laid down at the chaste man's door, will fix guilt upon him. But, fuppose neither minister nor private Christian, to whom you go, can tell you of any who has been in your cale; yet you ought not thence tò infer, that your cafe certainly is fingular, far less to give over hopes: for it is not to be thought, that every godly minister, or private Christian, has had the experience of all the cases a child of God may be in. And we need not doubt but some have had distresses known only to God, and their own consciences; and, so, to others these distresses are as if they had never been. Yea, and though the scripture do contain suitable directions for every case a child of God can be in; and these illustrated with a sufficient number of examples: yet it is not to be imagined, that there are in the scriptures perfect instances of every particular case incident to the saints. Therefore, howbeit you cannot find an instance of your case in the scripture ; yet bring your case to it, and you shall find suitable remedies prescribed there for it. And fludy rather to make use of Christ for your case, who has salve for all sores; than to know is ever any was in your case.' Tho' one should shew you an instance of your case, in an undoubted saint; yet none could promise it would certainly give you ease : for a scrupulous conscience would readily find out some difference. And if nothing but a perfect conformity of another's case to yours, will satisfy, it will be hard, if not impossible to satisfy you. For it is with people's cases, as with their natural faces:, though faces of all men are of one make ; and some are so very like others, that, at first view we are ready to take thenr for the same : yet if you view them more accurately, you will
see something in every face, distinguilhing it from all others; though . poflibly you cannot tell what it is; wherefure I conclude, that if you
• can can find in yourselves the marks of regeneration, proposed to you from the word ; you ought to monclude, you are in the state of grace, though your case were lingular, which is indeed unlikely. ,
CASE lajt, « The afflictions I meet with are stranige and unusual. “ I doubt if ever a child of God was trysted with such dispeníations “ of providence as I am.” Ant. Much of what was said on the preceeding case; may be helped in this. Holy Fab was asianited with this temptation, Job v. 1. To which of the faints wilt thou turn? But he rejected it, and held fast his integrity. The Apostle supposeth Christians may be tempted to think trange concerning ihe ficty trial, 1 Pet. iv. 12. But they have need of larger experience than Solomon's who will venture to say, See this is new, Ecclef. i. 10. · And what though, in respect of the outward dispensations of providence, it happen to you according to the work of the wicked? You inay be just.. notwithstanding; according to Solomon's observe, Ecclef. viii. 14. Sometimes we travel in ways, wliere we cannot perceive the prints of the foot of man or beast; yet we cannot from thence conclude, that there was never any there before us : so, albeit thou canst not perceive the footiteps of the flock in the way of thine affliction ; thou muft not therefore conchide, thou art the first that ever travelled that road. But, what, if it were fo, that thou wert indeed the first? Some one faint or other behoved to be the first, in drinking of each bitter · eup the rest have drunk of. What warrant have you or I, to limit
the holy One of Israel to a trodden path, in his dispensations towards us? Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy, footsteps are not known, Pfal. lxxvii. 19. If the Lord: should carry you to heaven by some retired road, and let you in at á backdoor, (fo to speak) you would have no ground to complain. Learn to allow sovereignity a latitude ; be at your duty; and les no afiliation cast a vail over any evidences you otherwise have for your being in the state of grace : for no man knoweth either their love or hatred by all that is before them, Ecclef. ix. I. .
Use II. Ye that are strangers to this new birth, be convinced of the absolute necessity of it. Are all in the state of grace born again? Then ye have neither part nor lot in it, who are not born again. I must tell you in the words of our Lord and Saviour, (and that he would speak then to your hearts) ye must be horn again, John iii. 7. And for your conviction, consider these few things. .
First, Regeneration is absolutely necessary to qualify you to do any thing really good and acceptable to God. While you are not born
again, your best works are but glistering fins, for though the matter 1. of them is good, they are quite marred in the making. Consider,'
(1.) That without regeneration there is no faith, and without faith it is imposible to please God, Heb. xi. 6. Faith is a vital act of the newborn soul. "The Evangelist, thewing the different entertainment
our Lord Jesus had from different persons, fone receiving him, · some reje ting him, points at regenerating grace, as the true
without many as rece? Unrere is a A
rise of that difference, without which never one would have received him. He tells us, that as many as received him, were thelo which were born-of God, John i. 11, 12, 13: Unregenerate men may, presume ; but true faith they cannot have. Faich is a flower, , that grows not in the field of nature. As 'the tree cannot grow without a root, neither can a man believe without the new nature, whereof the principle of believing is a part. (2.) Without regeneration a man's works are dead works. As is the principle, so mult the effects be: if the lungs be rotten, the breath will be unfavoury; and he who ar belt is dead in sin, his works at best will be but dead. works. Unto them that are defiled and unbelieving, is nothing purema heing abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work, reprobate, Tit. i. 15, 16. Could we say of a man, that he is inore blameless in his life, than any other in the world ; thar he macerates his body with fasting; and has made his krees as horns with continual praying ; but he is not borá again : that exception would mar all. And if one 1hould say, there is a well-proportioned body, but the soul is gone, it is but a dead lump. This is a melting consideration Thou dost many things materially good, but God faith, All these things avail not, as long as I see the old nature reigning in the man,,Gal. vi. 15. For
in Jesus Christ ineither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircum-, , cision, but a new creature.
If thou art not born again, (1.) All thy reformation is naught in the sight of God. Thou hast ihut the door, but the thief is ftill in the house. It may be thou art not what once thou walt, yet thou art not what thou must be, if ever thou feeft heaven; for, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God, John iii. 3. (2.) Thy prayers are on abomination to the Lord, Prov xv. 8. It may be, others admire thy seriousness; thou criest as for thy life: but God accounts of the opening of thy mouth, as one would account of the opening of a grave full of rotteuness, Rom. iii. 13. Their throut is an open fepulchre. Oihers are affected with thy prayers; which seem to them, as if thy would rend the heavens: but God accounts them as the howling of a dog: They have not cried unto me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds, Hof. vii. 14. Others take thee for a wrestler and prevailer with God; but he can take no delight with thee, nor thy prayers neither, 16. lxvi. 3. He that killeth an ox, is as if he few a man: he that sacrificesh u lumb, is as if he cut off a dog's neck,-he that burneth incense, as if he bliffed an idol. Why not? Because thou art yet in the gall of bitterness, and bond of iniquity. (3.) All thou haft done for God and his cause in the world, though it may be followed with temporal rewards, yet is loft as to divine acceptance. This is clear from the case of Jehu; who was indeed rewarded with a kingdom, for his exccuting due vengeance upon the house of Ahab; as being a work good, for the matter of it, because it was cominanded of God, as you may see, 2 Kings x, 13. Yet he was punished for it in his posterity, becaule he did it not in a right manner, Hof. 1. 4. I will
dvenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu. God looks mainly to the heart: and if so, truly albeit thy outward appearance be fairer than that of many others, yet the hidden man of thy heart, is lothfome; thou lookeft well before men, but art thou, as Moses was, fair to God, as the margin hath it, Acts vii. 20. O what a difference is there betwixt the characters of Ala and Amaziah: The bigh places were not removed: nevertheless, Afa his heart was perf267 with the Lord all his day's, 1 Kings xv. 14. Amaziah did that which was right in the fight of the Lord, but not with a perfect heart, 2 Chron. xxv. 2. It may be, thou art zealous against íin in others, and doft admonish them to their duty, and 'reprove them for their fin; and they hate thee, because thou dost thy duty. But I must tell thee, God hates thee too, because thou dost it not in a right manner; and that thou canst never do, whilft thou art not born again. Lastly, All thy struggles against fin, in thine own heart and life, are naught. The proud Pharifte afflicted his body with fasting, and God ftruck his soul in the mean time with a sentence of condemnation, Luke xviii. Balaam struggled with his covetous temper tu that degree, that though he loved the wages of unrighteousness, yet he would not win them by cursing Ifrael, but he died the death of the wicked, Numb. xxxi 8. All thou doft while in an unregenerate state is for thy self: and therefore it will fare with thee, as with a subject, who having reduced the rebels, put the crown on his own head; and therefore loseth all his good service, and his head too.
Object. If it be thus with us, then we need never perform any religious duty at all. Ans. The conclusion is not just No inability of thine can loose thee from the duty God's law. lays on thee: and there is less evil in thy doing thy duty, than there is in the omitting of it. But there is a mids betwixt omitting of duty, and the doing of it as
thou dost it. A man ordereth masons to build a house: if they quite i neglect the work, that will not be accepted; if they fall on, and build
upon the old rotten foundation, neither will that please ; but they must raze the old foundation, and build on firm ground. Go thou and do likewise. In the mean time, it is not in vain for thee, even for thee, to seek the Lord: for tho' he regards thee not, yet he may have
respect to his own ordinance, and do thee good thereby, as was | laid before...
Secondly, Without regeneration there is no communion with God. There is a society on earth, whose fellowship is with the Father, and · with the Son Jesus Christ, 1 John i. 3. But out of that society all the
unregenerate are excluded; for they are all enemies to God, as ye heard before at large. Now, can two walk together, except they be agreed? Amos iii. 3. They are all unholy: and what communion hath light with darkness-Christ with Belial? 2 Cor. vi. 14, 15. They may have a shew and femblance of holiness, but they are ítr ugers to true holiness, and therefore without God in the world. How fad is this case, to be imployed in religious duties, but to have no fellow hip
with God in tliem! ye would not be content with your meat, unless it fed you ; nor with your clothes, unless they kept you warm : and and how can you satisfy yourselves with your duties, while they are not effectual to your communion with God? :
Thirudy, Regeneration is absolutely neceffary to qualify you for heaven. None go to heaven but they that are made meet for it, Coi. i. 12. As it was with Solomon's temple, 1 Kings vi. 7. so it is with the temple above': It is built of stone made ready before it is brought thither; namely, of lively stones, i Pet ii. 5. wrought for the
fame thing, 2 Cor. v 5. for they cannot be laid in that glorious build·ing, just as they came out of the quarry of depraved nature: Jewels • of gold are not meet for swine, and far less jewels of glory for unre.
newed sinners. Beggars in their sags are not meet for king's houses; nor finners to enter into the king's palace, without the raiment of needle work, Plal. xlv' 14,,15. What wise man would bring fishes out of the water to feed in his meadow? or send his/oxen to feed in the sca? Even as little are the wregenerate meet for heaven, or is heaven meer for then. It would never be liked of by them.
The unregenerare would find fault with heaven on seyeral accounts. As (1.) That it is a strange country. Heaven is the renewed man's native country: his Father is in heaven; his mother is Jerusalern, which is above, Gal. iv 26. He is born from above, John iii 3. Heaven is his home, 2 Cor. v. 1.' Therefore he looks on himself as a stranger on this earth, and his head is homeward, Heb. xi 16. They defire a better country, that is, an heavenly. But the unregenerate man is the man of the earth, Pfal. x. 18. written in the earth, Jer. xvii 13. Now, home is hume, be it never go home'y, therefore he minds earthly things, Philip. iii. 19. There is a peculiar sweetnefs in our native fóil; and hardly are men drawn to leave it, and dwell in a strange country. In no cafe does that prevail more, than in this; for unrenewed men would quit their pretensions to heaven, were it not that they see they cannot make a better of it. (2.) There is nothing thereof what they delight most in, as most agreeable to the carnal heyrt, Rev. xxi. 27. And there shall in no wise enter into it, any thing that difileth. When Mahomet gave out paradise to be a place of sensual delights, his religion was greedily embraced: for that is the heaven men naturally chule. If the covetous man could get bags full of gold there, and the voluptuous man can proinise himself his sensual delights there; they might be reconciled to heaven, and mcet for it too: but lince it is not so, tho' they may utter fair words about it, truly it has little of their hearts. (3.) Every corner there is filled with that, which of all things they have the least liking of: and that is holiness, true holincís, perfect holiness. Were one that abhors swine's flesh, bidden to a feast, where all the dihes were of that sort of meat, but variously prepared; he would find fault with every dishi at the table, notwithstanding all the art used to make them palatable. It is true, there in zona iu heayen, but it is holy joy: there are plea