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and not under the protection of the world. I will not say you shall be saved temporally, but you shall be saved eternally; I cannot say you shall have peace with men, but you shall have peace with God; I cannot say you shall not lose your lives, but I will say you shall not lose your souls; and these are our principal concernments. Make good your entrance. A door made into the ark will do you no good, unless you enter in and make good your entrance at the door. How shall we make good our entrance into the ark, that we may have safety therein? If we are not at this work, we have no faith. Why, stand to your engagements, stand to the performance of those duties God requires at your hands, not only as there is no one thing required but what is a special duty of the New covenant; but stand to them now as those that have been your entrance into the ark, where God will give you all that rest that in this world you can be partakers of. This is another work of faith in the approach of a calamitous time.
(3.) If we live by faith, in the approach of a calamitous season, this will put us upon the search and examination of our own hearts, what accession we have made to the sins that have procured these judgments. This is that which faith (where it is in any measure sincere) will assuredly put us upon; and it is that God doth now in an especial manner call for. Now the sins which do, and have procured these judgments, are of two sorts. [1.] The open and flagitious ins of the world. [2.] The sins of churches and professors.
[1.] The open and flagitious sins of the world. The apostle reckons them up together, 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10. Be not deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.' He doth it again in Eph. v. 5, 6. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ; for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.' He reckons them up also in Gal. v. 19, &c. 'The works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions,
heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, and such like.' There is a marvellous large copy written out of these texts in the nation at this day: every man may read an exposition of these things in the practice of multitudes. Some will say they bless God they are free from these things, and so they hope they have had no hand in procuring the judgments of God, that are coming upon the nation; let them fall upon them and their interest, who are guilty of these provoking abominations, such as for which the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against their ungodliness. Why, it is well if they are not guilty of any of these sins. But the seed and foundation, even of all these sins, lie in our nature, if not in our persons; and what irruptions they have made towards the provoking the eyes of God's glory, I know not. But suppose you have escaped these pollutions that are in the world through lust;
[2.] There are other sins, sins of churches, and of professors, that in reference to Christ's mediatory kingdom, have as great influence for the procuring of judgments, as the worst sins of the world have for the procuring of judgments in his providential kingdom. I know a time when there was a storm, wherein a whole vessel, and all that were in it, were like to have been cast away; but one Jonah, that was in the ship was the cause of the storm.
I shall just mention the judgment-procuring sins of churches and professors, which are reduced in Scripture to these four heads :
1st. Lukewarmness, which was the judgment-procuring sin of Laodicea.
2dly. Contenting ourselves in outward order and freedom from scandal, which was the judgment-procuring sin of Sardis, and will prove ruinous to the best churches in the world.
3dly. Want of love among ourselves, and division in churches.
4thly. Earthly mindedness, and love of the world, and conformity to it, that is found among the generality of professors.
THE USE OF FAITH UNDER REPROACHES AND
The just shall live by his faith.—Hab. ii. 4.
You may remember, I spake occasionally from that of the psalmist, Psal. xcvii. 2. Clouds and darkness are round about him; righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne;' and from thence took occasion to consider what is our especial duty, when clouds and darkness are round about us, as they are at this day. And some of you know I have had a great persuasion, that the clouds that are gathering, will at least, in their first storm, fall upon the people of God. I must repeat it again and again; I have been warning you for some years, and telling you it would The present frame wherewith I have to conflict in my own spirit, and that frame of spirit which I have observed in others, the state and condition of all churches and professors (so far as I know) is, they are gone into a dreadful security. I speak my heart, and what I know with reference unto our present state, and the cause of God; we are gone, I say, into a dismal security, which still confirms me, that the storm will come upon us, and that it will not be long ere we feel it. My design is, therefore, to shew you how we ought to behave ourselves under the perplexities and difficulties we are to conflict withal in this world. And I have not sat studying for things to speak, but only tell you the experience of my own heart, and what I am labouring after. I have already shewed you, what our duty is under the approach of these distressing calamitous times that are coming upon us; and what faith will do in such a season.
II. I am now in the second place to shew you, how faith will carry it under other perplexities, that either are present, or are coming upon us. And here I shall shew you,
This sermon was preached April 30, 1680.
1. How we may live by faith, under all the reproaches and persecutions that do or may befall us, upon the account of that order and fellowship of the gospel, of that way of God's worship which we do profess.
2. How we may live by faith with reference unto the returning upon us of antichristian darkness and cruelty, if God shall suffer it so to be.
3. How we may live by faith under an apprehension of great and woful decays in churches, in church members, in professors of all sorts, and in the gradual withdrawings of the glory of God from us upon that account.
1. How may we live by faith with reference unto those reproaches, that scorn and contempt which are cast upon the ways of God, which we profess; that worship of God wherein we are engaged, and that order of the gospel that we do observe; with the persecutions that will attend us upon the account thereof. Truly I may say of it as the Jews said to Paul about Christianity, Acts xxviii. 22. As for this way, we know that it is everywhere spoken against.' The whole world seems to be combined, that the name of Israel, in this way, may no more to be had in remembrance. There are few that are concerned about these things, while it is well with them, their families, their relations, estates, inheritances; let the ways of God be reproached, what is that to them? They are not concerned in it. They cannot say as the psalmist doth, when he speaks in the person of Christ, Psal. Ixix. 9. The reproaches of them that have reproached thee, are fallen upon me.' Perhaps some of us are more sensible than others (or at least have reason so to be), of these reproaches that are continually cast upon the ways of God, seeing they are more particularly upon us. But those that are not concerned in this scorn and contempt, I would say three things.
First, What evidence have you, that you have a concern in God's glory? for these things are those whereby God is glorified in this world; and if you are not concerned, when there are so many reflections thrown upon it, pray consider what evidence you have in yourselves, of any concernment in the glory of God.
Secondly, What evidence have you that you have a love
to these things, that can hear them reproached, scorned, contemned, and never be moved at it? An honest good man would find himself concerned, if his wife or children were reproached with lies, and shameful things, because of his interest in them. But for them that can hear the ways of God reproached every day, and so long as it is well with them and theirs, are not concerned thereat, they can have no evidence that they have a love unto them. Nehemiah cries out upon such an occasion, chap. iv. 4. ' Hear, O our God, for we are despised; and turn their reproach upon their own head, and give them for a prey in the land of captivity.' God hath made special promises to such as are thus concerned, Zeph. iii. 18. I will gather them,' saith he. Whom will he gather? Them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden.' The solemn assemblies were reproached and mocked; and there were some of them (not all) to whom this reproach was a burden; These,' saith God, 'I will gather;' gather them under my gracious protection.
Thirdly, To add one word more; if you are not concerned in the reproaches that are cast upon the ways of God, persecution shall awaken you, and either make you concerned, or put an end unto all your profession.
Now the inquiry is, how, under these difficulties that we have to conflict withal, we shall glorify God, and pass through them without loss, unto our spiritual advantage.
The apostle, in the tenth chapter to the Hebrews, where he describes this very condition I have been speaking of, doth fully direct us. Ye endured,' saith he, a great fight of afflictions, partly while ye were made a gazing-stock, both by reproaches and afflictions, and partly whilst ye became companions of them that were so used; for ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods,' &c. ver. 32-34. But how shall we carry ourselves under this condition here described? Now,' saith he, ver. 38. the just shall live by faith.'
What is the work of faith in this condition, that we may glorify God, and carry it through to a good and comfortable issue to ourselves? call your own hearts to an account, and see how faith will work to give you support and