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norance. Whatsoever is contrary to knowledge, that fame is
for the eye to see, and the understanding to perceive, and for the beart to embrace.
Now this is it which keeps men off from beleeving, they are extreamly ignorabi.
Firft, ot cheir own finful condition, they do not know their nativity and concepcion; what sin is, nor what belongs to finners; how abominable and vile' their natures are, without all good, and like a fountaine full of all wickednesse; how diadin irefalles and fins; how totally defiled, from the crown of the bead to the fole of the foot; How perpecually rebellious against every precept of heaven and how flighting of the tenders of fals vation and mercy,
Secondly, of Godsjust disposition towards the finful person. They fee him not armed, and lecting car against them in all the threatnings and curses of bis Latt; as Balaam in his passage, he adventured on, for be law not the Angel of the Lord with a sword in bis hand ready to cleave him afunder. So men re& fecurely in their natural ftate ; talk what you will of Christ, and of God, and of linne, and of faith, they are not moved, they know not the fearful iffues of a natural and unbeleeviog condition, they know not that God will judge them and condemn them for ever.
Thirdly, of the excellencies of Chrift what he is , whither God, or man, or both, even as it pleaserb bim, buc favourly what he is in respe&t of his Natures, in refpc&t of bis Offices, in resped of his Actions, in respect of his Passion, in refpe&t of his Benefits, in respeở of bis Vertues, they understand not these things. How God hath manifested love in Christ ,how Chrift manifested love to them, to what end he was made man, why Ministers preach him so much, what is more in bim then in any other ; Alas they think not of these things, they know them not. Now brethren, how is it possible for the foul to believe, or to be perswaded to believe in Chrift, of to
Jabour for this precious fairl which is a stranger to it self, to
Didst chou indeed know thy condicion to be the condicion of dearb, wouldest thou not make out for the Lord of life? didlt thou indeed know thy condition to be the condition of en mily, wouldest thou not strive to get unto the Prince of peace?
So againe, as Chrilt spike to the woman, If thou knewest the gift of God, and abo it is that faieb uniorbee, give me to drink, sbon wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water', John 4. 10. O if men did know what a gift Chrift was; It heaven and earth, men and Angels had studyed the helps of a poore finner, they could never have imagined such a remedy as God found in giving his own Sonne; Now, if men did know him aright, what a Redeemer, what a Lord he is, what living water is in him. Thac in bim only chere is life for the dead, recovery for the finner, fatisfa&tion for guilt, Janet ficution for the soul, alonement for trespasses, comfort for diffreses, balme for wounds, salvation for their persons : Why? how could it be but thac they should ask of him for a drop (at least) of water, for fome faish to receive him who is che fountain of grace and life?
3. A third impediment to the endeavours for faith, is a vain confidence of natural righteousneffe : This was ic which kept off many of the Pharisees, the Text laith, T bat they trufted to their own righteow no fe. Yea, this is called the stumbling of tbe fewes, it cast them fat, that they dored so on legal abilities. Wben a bale heart bach proud-imagioacions of Christ, and peace, and safety from something within it self, why? It will never look after Christ. A proud person who hath mony in his house, he scornes to be beholding to his neighbour; the proud fianer, who conceives chaçali is well cwixt him and God, and that he hath done no man wrong, and none can fay black is his eye, he is neither whore nor thief, and bis heart is as good as the beit, and his meanings are alwayes honest, and none can tax him for injusties, and he hath kept all. Gods Commandments, as well as ever he could, and he bach had a good belief, (he thanks God) ever since he was borne. I tell you fuch a person will not be beholding co God for Christ,' for he (in his opinion, being so wole, needs not the
Physician neither shall you perswade him to mourn for his finnes, or to repent, and to part will all for Christ, ro deny bim. Jelf and all his own vaine confidences, and to put himself only upon Jesus Chrift; he trufts to be saved by his good deeds and by his good meanings.
Ah foolish and Scduced soul! Who hath bewitched thee te forsake aking own mercies? Thinkest chou that God would kave femt his onely Soane, and co poure out his own soule for finners, if that yet chere had been abilicy in sinful manio bave purchased his own safety and happinesse? And doest thou lee no finne in thy self, which may therefore for ever cbrust thee off from resting upon thy selfe ? and are chy works such absolute bottomes and foundacions, when the Heathens can match them and exceed them or cannot God crpy a flaw in thy ship, and much false conveyance in thy title, and much defect in tby, deeds, who can charge folly upon the Angels? And are thy meanings and works so good, while thy heart is yet so ignorant, thy lite yet so prophane 2 Can what tbou doeft finde acceptance or merit, when, yet thou trustest not on him who only is the merie fur a finner? Thinkest thou thy meanings can be good , whicho difhonour the Re. demprion by Christ, and che freenene of mercy. O no my brechren, the soul is the passenger, graces are che failes, the Spirit is the wind, but Christ, only Cbrift is the bottom which carries all fafc and fure to heaven.
Nay, ifchou canst see a Saviour in thy own good meanings; if a Saviour in thy own good works, a Saviour in any pare or degree of inherent righteousnesse, either inward, for the change of nature, or outward for the emprovement of life this, chis will keep thee and Christ asunder. No man will labour for faith in Chrift, who hath a faiih in himselfe already as his own Saviour. Therefore as they in the A&s of the Apoftles, burned their books when they came to believe in Chhift, re must we unboicom our - felves of our felves. Renounce QQE menstrous rags, abbor our felves in duft and appes, lay flac before the mercy-feat, cry out with the Leper, I am uncleane, unclean ; with Daniel, To as belongs nothing but confusion, far De bave firined; with David, enter not into judgement with iby fervant , for in thy fgbt fall no fleflo rightcoma be justified; with
che tbe Publican stand afar off and say, Lord be merciful to me a finner; with Paul, I count all chings but as dung and droflo.in comparison of Christ, and, 1.defore to be foundin hom, not having my close rigbroufne if , bus but wbicb is of faith, with thole Elders, caši (if we had chem) our very crowns to the carth before the Lamb,and say be only is Worsby. If ever thou wouldelt get to believe in Cbrift, labour to get in thy own
Do not stand the mountaines to be leveled, the high imaginations to be caff light. diton, to cast thy self out of by self: There is nothing that I bave been, or bave done, or do, or can do, which I can trust 80; 1 seek for the living among the dead, whiles I look for a Saviour in my self. He is farre enough from safety, who rests on the arme of his flesh, and we fhall never close with, or magrife Christs rigbicou[neffe, until we can (in matter of meric or justification) deny our own.
4. A fourth impediment to beleeving is the league of the beart with finne : Light is come into the world, but men love dark nelle raiber eben ligbi, John 3. 19 Sinne absolutely doch noc prejadice che contract of the foule with Christ, for Chrift doth not negotiate for any soul,but the sinful soul; He doch not come to a person, and say, if thou hast no lionę, I will bestow my self on chee, or if thou hast not committed finne, I will be a redeemer, a Saviour unto thee. O no, the offer of Christ is only to ebe finner, and it is none but the sinner who is to beleeve in Christ. But that which hinders the contrat ewigte men and Chrift, it is the love of for: Christ comes in the Ministry of the Gospel unco us, and reports unto us our oron exceeding forfulneffe, and then bis exceeding graciousnese, and invites the soul ( by many sweet and cender arguments) to ac cepr of him, co be Lord and Christ, and assures it of pardon,and righteousnesse and salvacion. Now saith Christ, that which I sequire of you is this, leave but your finnes, your finnes which will damine you, and I will be yours. Why? faith the soul this is but reason, and I will hearken to it, well, then faicba Christ, go and quit such a luft, thy uncleannesse, or thy Sabbach breaking, or thy drunkennelse, or chy. Jewd society, &c. Why, now the base and foolish heart falls off, I cannot live without, my nature, I must and will be allowed in such a course; The heart cisech up, 0, Benjamine hall not go,nay any thing.bar
this luft, I will never be divorced from it, if I may have Chrift and this finne too, well and good. Thus the love of finne fteales away the heart, it bestows the heart else where, nay it infames an oppoficion against the Lordly power of Christ; the foul will never seild to the domingon of Christ, which deligbes in the subjection 10 fin.
Bruchren, if we could buc rip op the secrets of mens bearis onto you, you should clearly discerpe, that it is the love of fome fin or other which mars all; men cfr.cimes) can make no exception against Christ, they fee reason enough to come in unto tim; they know they cannot be faved without him, buc then they will not leave their findes, it cuts their soules to think of such a divorce come on it what will they will take their pleasure, and hold fast their wickednelle.
5. A fifth impediment is che world: The bonours of it; borg can you believe #bo receive bonour one from another, and seek ros she honour that cometh from God only? John 5.44. T be profits of it; He went away forrowfal, for be had great poffeffions, Mac. 19.22. The Examples of ir, Have any of the rulers,or of the Pharifees bare leeved on him? Jøbn 7.48. The terrors of it, the feare of she Jews kept off many from coming to Christ. The loffes of it, and crosses, Herhat will be my Disciple muft deny himself, and take Bp bis crosse and follow me. The cares and thoughts of it, when a man mindes eartbly things, and will be rich, and devours all bis precious thoughts, to compasse that which will be but a fe. ther, a thorne, vanity or vexarion. Presse men to labour for Christ, why!we have boleasure: presse to frequent the wayes of getcing faith, why!we must not negle& our callings. Urge them to embrace Christ as Lord, to shape and fashion their hearts and ways according to bis rules, after his righteous Laws, and to deny themselves in some sinful compliances, then we (hall not be esteemed of, we shall be derided and scoffed at as vaine and singular.
O these scolible things, which we can fee with our eyes, and grasp with our hands, chey put us off from the great moments of our best and ecernal good.
And what are the honours of this world, but as the shade of the Sunne which every discontented cloud and frown removes?