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and wbat are the profits of it, but heapes of cbaff, which any winde from heaven may scaccer? and what are the friends ofie, but a gourd, which any worme may gnaw out and thris rel?
And why doclt thou fear man, wbose utmost power exceeds not aby body, and fearest not that God whose vengeance can lease on zby foxl? and why wilt thou bestow the strengele of thy time, co get no more then nothing, and in the mean time to lose eternity, a soul, a Christ, a heaven? yet thus it is, the poor creatures (at the best ) but our servants have got our hearts, whiles Christ complaints against us, we wichhold our souls from bim, our just Lord and belt Master.
Bur if there were not more glory in Christ, then honour in the world, if there were not more gaine in Christ, then profit in the world, if there were not more love ia Chrift,then friendfhip in the world; if there were not more comfort in Christ, then discouragemen's in the world; if there were not more saferies in Christ, then dangers in the world; nay, if the real and true exceedings of infinite betternesse, were not on Christs part, l duift not so co encline your hearts for faith in him, &c.
Sixthly, the cunnings of natural unbelief, are a great impedimede; I will not speak of al of them,only I wil discover a few, all which are hindrances
Imaginations of impossibility: it cannot be, that if I should la. bor for faith, chat ever I should gec it, the intentions of mercy lie not that way, nor do the streames of gra:iousness run towards such a deeply sinful and guilty soul; my fins are grown to lucha raftneffe of provocarion; as if all the Angels in heaven should be fent unto me, I could never credit their relation of hope or pei ca unto me.
Now when the heart is thus forestalled with a strength of conceie, that God never did, nor will bend the curement of the blood of Christ towards the foul; Why! che han.is sink, 00 man will be perlwaded to compasse impoflibilities
Apprebenfions of difficuley.. I'mbelief sets up a Lyon in energi parb, and so keeps off from all endeavour : First, I Mall never be able to spare time, I shall never be able to pray, I shall never. be able to keep on in such a course, I shall never be able to leave
such fociety, I shall nerer be able to deny the world, I cannot take such prines, I cannot waite, I cannot rell how to get off these finnes , to change this heart, to bring it to yield to Christ.
Discourse of carnall reasonings, which try all the promises of God at a humanc bar, disputings against just precepts by unjust practices, and the undertakings of a great and faithful God, by the hallownesse of a blind and proud and weak understanding, throwing up infinite exceptions.
instances of sense and feeling;Why !if a man will judge of God, by what he alwaics hears and feels within himself, he shall never believe.
Yea, if I were now sure, I should have mercy, that Christ were mine, chac my fios were pardoned, if I could see my heart changed, and fins dispersed and subdued, then I would put out for faich, and then I would look up to Chrift. And wouldit thou have thy cure before thy plaister, thy health before che Physick, thy life before thy soul, the portion before che persoa, thy nonefast before thy meal, the benefics of Christ, the vertues of Christ, before Christ himself.
Tbirdly the Meanes.
W I come to dire&t you unto the use of such meanes
by which God workes this faving faith in the hearts of men.
Where, premife with me some particulars.
1. There is no natural power in man to produce a cause within himself; This great grace of faith is no fruit of the wisdome of the flesh, nor is it the birth of a corrupt will, if it were possible for a natural heart to see all the excellencies of Christ, if it were poffible for him to draw out and behold all the arguments of Scripture, yet could he noc. by his own strength make his own heart co believe. 2. The immediate and sole camse of faith is obe Spirit of God: He
it is who is greater rhen the beart, and who can perswade, and draw the heart, and who can change and renew the spirit, which uillic be renewed by him, will never be moved to beleeve in Chrift.
3. There are meanes appointed by God, and which God doch ordinarily blesse, for the production of faith ; as he hath ordained meanes, for the revelation of Christ, so he hath likewile consccrated meanes, to lead the soul gato him,co implant faith,
4. Now the great and ordinary meanes by which God workes faith in the hearts of men ( I speak of such as are come co cipeaese of years ) is the preaching of the Word.
So A8s 13.48.wbex the Genciles beard this, they were glad, and glorified the Word of the Lord, and as many as Were orde ined to eter. nallife believed, Rom. 10. 17. Faith comes by hearing, and bearing by ibe Word of God, Eph. 1. 13. In whom he also trufted after that ge beard the Word of crush, she Gospel of your salva son.
That the Word is the Ministerial inftrument, which God usech to beget faith in Chrift,may thus appeare.
1. It is that which discovers-unto she foul its exitoame misery and great need of Clorif; nothing quickens the conscience to thac reflexive evidence, to the cleare and cruc light of the natural state, which pricks che soul, wbich in a sort compels the foul to look after the Redeemer of the world, as the Word doch. You fee ic bath been thus formerly, cbac when men bave heard ie, ir hath unfolded their state unto them, it hach broken all their proud imaginations, it hath driven them to cheir feet, it hach made them to cry out, men and breibren what fealt wc.do to be faded?
Yea,and we find it inexperience to be so, that the preaching of the Word, opens the eyes of Ganers, it frames in them the fense of fiofulnefle , and accursednessc , ic makes them indeed co feel the need of a Physician of such an one as Christ. 2.It is that which discovers a soare for a broken feip;which doch reveale,end proclaime to poor finners Articles of peace in Chrift; it makes known the great love of God and Christ, and how sbac Christ is the Sanne of God, and was seat by God, and
fatisfied facisfied for finners, and this was accepted.
3. It makes the soul to confeffe those things as most true and good in ebemselves: Ic convinceth a man, that of a truth God meanes graciously to men, that his Sonne was a Sacrifice, was a propitiation, that he did purchase pardon and falvation for Ginners.
4. It is that which casteth down all the reasoning', argements and difputes of the minde against the conditions of Christ, and renders all the termes of Christ upon which he will be taken, as most equal, and faire , and reafon. able.
s. It is that which clears the way for the soul against all its feares and unbeleeving doubts from the freeneffe of Gods mercy, from the fulnesse of Christs redemption, from the willingnesle on Christs part, and requestsunto us to accept of him.
6. It is that wbich doth powerfully renew che disposition of the understanding and will, and so incline them to esteeme of Christ, as the bigbest trmih, and to bend after him as the chietest good.
7. Ii is that which stirres up the heart with a choice of Christ, and resolucion to have him what ever may be fal it.
8. It is that which makes the heart to cry fervently to the Farber of our Lord Jesus Christ, to work bis blefled grace of faith: Yes, which draws out of us strong fupplications with many rcares and longings, and to implead all the promiles of making mercy good, and Chrift good, and faith good unto us.
9. It is that which establisherb the soul to a patient expects tion for ever to lie at the poole, for ever to attend the doors of the Sanctuary, till the soul can cake and close wich Christ by true beleeving
But then to opon unto you the way more diftin&tly, I would commend this course unto a person, that he may ac length get a believing heart.
1. Stady zby natural condition throug! 1;:The righe sense of this, though it doch not forma'ly cause faith; yet it may dav: g compelling force to make us look after Christ, and to Atrive for faith.
The Apostle calls the Law a Schoolmaster to Chrift, Gal. 3. why? because it doth reveal such a smart and strong evidenceof the finful condition, that it scourgeth a man out of bimself to look for a Saviour; yea, it helps much to cast the proud foul down, and to break and crush his natural bo com; which otherwise would stave off, and hinder a man from beleving. Therefore study thy natural condition : world believe, and I would have Chrift: yea, but why? what neru seest thou in thy self of him? I tell you, that the more diperate the soul sees its own natural condition, the more willingly may it be drawn to apprehend, adore, and embrace its remedies and safeties:
Now there are three things to convince our felves of, about our natural condition, I meane the fre without Chrift.
First, the ugly vilenesle of is. That it is finful and stark naught, it is no such ching as God doth like or approve , but his soul abbers and bates it. For it is compounded of nothing, but wart of good, and inclination to evil to all that is oppofice to God and holineffe: Thac chou art in it, poor, and blinde, and miserable ;) and naked, an ignorant, opposing, unconceiving creature ofany spiritual good, proud, and sensual, and vain, and eartbly,loachľom and dead.
Secondly, the sure and fearful mifery of it: Thou art without God, without Christ, wie bout the Covenant, not a drop of mercy for chee, whiles thou remain'st chus; but all the wrath of God is against chce, and thou art under che dominion of sinne, and terrible curse of the Law, all the threatnings in the book of God are ever ready to fease on thee, and how soon may they agreft thee, if God gives them commission?
Thirdly, the after insufficiency to deliver thy self out of this ftate : Thou art never able to merit the least mercy, nor to i answer the great justice of God; Though chou shouldest offer
sbousands of lambs, and ten thousand rivers of ople; chou art so totally broken in the strength,chat thou canst not pay a farching, and never canst thou be a Redeemer to thy self, from thy fins, or Gods justice.
Now drive and faften these things as real and experimental truths into thy heart, till thou art shut up under finne, as the
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