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S E C'T. V. Use 2. IT Aving shewed you in the former section what ife
IT you ought not to make of this doctrine, I will next shew you what use you ought to make of it; and surely you cannot improve this point to a better purpose than from it to take warning, and look to yourselves, that you be not of that number who deceive themselves in their profession. If this be so, suffer me closely to press that great apoftolical caution, 1 Cor. X. 12. “ Let him that thinks he stands, take heed left “ he fall.” O professors ! look carefully to your foundation ; be not high-minded, but fear. You have, it may be, done and suffered many things in and for religion ; you have excellent gifts and sweet comforts ; a warm zeal for God, and high confidence of your integrity: All this may be right (for ought I, or, it may be, you know ;) but yet it is pollible it may be false also : You have sometimes judged yourselves, and pronounced yourselves upright; but remember your final sentence is not yet pronounced by your Judge. And what if God weigh you over again in his more equal balance, and should say, Mene Tekel, thou art weighed in the balance and art found wanting : What a confounded man wilt thou be under such a sentence ! Quae fplendent in confpeétu: hominis, fordent in confpeétu Judicis : Things that are highly esteemed of men, are an abomination in the ught of God; he seeth not as man Teeth.
Thy heart may be false, and thou not know it; yea, it may be false, and thou strongly confident of its integrity.
The faints may approve thee, and God condemn thee; Rev. iii. 1. “ Thou hast a name that thou livest, but thou art « dead." Men may fay, there is a true Nathaniel ; and God may fay, there is a self cozening Pharisee.
Reader, thou haft heard of Judas and Demas; of Ananias and Sapphira; of Hymeneus and Philetus; once renowned and fanious profeffors, and thou hast heard what they proved at laft.
Take heed their case be not thine own; do they not all, as it were, with one mouth cry to thee, O professor! if thou wilt not come where we are, do not cozen thyself as we did : : if thou expecteft a better place and lot, be sure thou get a fincerer heart: Had we been more felf-suspicious, we had been . more fafe.
I would not scare you with needless jealousies, but I would fain prevent fatal mistakes. Do not you find your hearts deceitful in many things? Do not you shuffle over secret du
fies? Do not you censure the same evils io others, which you scarce reprove in yourselves ? Are there not many by-ends la duties? Do not you fiod you are far less affected with a great deal of service and hodour done to God by others, than with a little by yourselves?
Is it not hard to look upon other meo's excellencies without envy, or upon your own without prid: ?
And ate you not troubled with a busy devil, as well as with
a bad heart? Hath not he that circuits the whole world, ob# ferved you ? Hath he bot studied your conftitution fios, and • fouad oót that fin which most easily belets you! Hath he lefs
malice against your souls than others ! Surely you are in the very thicket of temptations; thoufaods of foares are round a. bout you. O how difficultly are the righteous faved! How
hard to be upright! How few even of the professiog world, ' wid heaven at last !
Otherefore search your hearts, professors, and let this cau. tion go down to your very reios; ." Let him that thinks he " Itands, take heed left he fall.”
Away with rash uncharitable cenfares of ochers, and be more juft and severe io centuring yourlelves. Away with dry aod unprofitable controversies, and spend your thonghts upon this great question, Am I found, or am I rottep at heart? Am I a
dew creatore, or the old creature still in a new creature's dress a aud habit ? Beg the Lord that you be pot deceived in that
great poiot (your integrity) whatever you inay be mistaken in. Pray that you be not given up to an heedless, carelels, and vain fpirit, and then have religious duties for a ratile, to fill aod quiet your consciences.
Surely that ground work can never be laid too sure, upon which so great a stress as thy foul and eteroity must depeud. ic. will not repent thee, I dare promise, when thou comeft to die, that thou hart employed thy time and strength to this end: Whilst others are pantiog after the dust of the earth, and say. ing, Who will thew us any good ? be thou panting after the assurance of the love of God, and crying, Who will thew me how to make my calling and election sure?:
O deceive not yourselves with dames and notions ! Tbiok not, because you are for a fricter way of worship, or because you associate with, and are accordingly denominated, one of the more reformed professors, that therefore you are safe enough : Alas! how small an interest have titles, modes, and denominations in religion? Suppole a carious artist take a .. VOL. VII. . '
lump of lead and refine it, and cast it into the mould, whence it comes forth shining, and bearing fome doble figure, suppole of an eagle ; yet it is bue a leadeo cagle. Suppose the figure of a man, and that in the 'most exact lineaments aod propor. rjons; yet fill it is but a leadeo man : Nay, let it bear the figure of an aogel, it is but a leader angel : For the base and igpoble matter is the same it was, though the figure be not. Even so, take an unregenerate carnal man, let his life be res formed, and his tongue refined, and call him a zealous Conformill, or a strict Non-conformist ; call him a Presbyterian, an Independeat, or what you will; he is all the while but a carpal Conformist, or Non-conformilt; an upregenerate Presbyterian, a carpal lodcpendent; for the nature is still the same, though the lamp and figure his profession gives him be not the fame.
O my friends! believe it, fide dames and brave words are of little value with God: God will no more spare you for these, than Samuel did Agag for his delicate ornaments, and spruce ap. pearance: Either make sure the root of the matter, or the leaves of a vain profession will not long cover you.
To be deceived by another is bad enough; but to deceiva ourselves, is a thousand times, worse.
To deceive ourselves in truths of the superstructure, is bad; and they that do so, 'shall suffer loss, i Cor. iii. 12. But to deceive ourselves in the foundatioa, is a desperate deceit, and fhipwrecks all our hopes aod happiness at once.
If any man lofe his money by a cheat, ic troubles him ; bot to lose his fout by. a. cheat, will confound him. If a man lose an eye, ad ear, a band, a foot, get omnia Deus dedit duplicia, as Chrysostome speaks ; God hath given these members double, so that there is another left; animam vero unam: But the fuub is one, and only one; and if that be damned, you have not another to be saved.
O therefore be restless till it be, and till you koow it be, out of eternal danger 1
S E C.T. VI... ' Use 3: In conclusion: If fo: many professors of religion be
cheated in their profession, let all that are well fatisfied and assured of their integrity, bless the Lord whilst chey live tor that mercy. O it is a mercy that no unfanctified fouß can have : yea, and it is a mercy that many gracious souls cao, not obtaio, though they leck it with tears, and would part with all the pleasant things they have in the world to enjoy it.
"This is that mercy that gives fouls the highest pleasure this world is acquainted with, or the state of this mortality can bear; for let the well-assured soul but consider what it is assure ed of, Chrift, with the purchases of his blood. O what is this ! “ I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine,” Capt. ii. 16. What a vital, ravishing, over-powering efficacy is in that voice of faith! let it but look back a few years, and compare what it was with what it is now; it was afar off, it is now made nigh, Eph. ii. 12, 13. It was not beloved, but is now beloved, Rom. ix. 25, 26. It had not obtained mercy, but now bath obtained mercy, i Pet. ii. 10. Or let the assured foul look forward, and
compare what it now is, aod hath, with what it shortly Thall 3 be made, and put in possession of : " Beloved, (faith the a. ..
o postle) Dow are we the fons of God; but ii doth not yet
56 appear what we shall be : But we know that when he shall ET « appear, we dhall be like him, for we all fee him as he is," blo 1 John iii. 2.
I say, let the assured soul but feep its thoughts, by meditation, 3 in these subjects, and it will be impoflible to keep him from - the most agreeable transports of joy and delight.
O what a life have you in comparison of other men ? Some have two hells, one present, another coming; you have two heavens, one io hand, the other in hope. Some of your own brethren in Christ, that have been, it may be, many years papt. ing after assurance, are still denied it; but God hath indulged to peculiar a favour to you. Bless ye the Lord, and make his praise glorious.
en he shall
CH A P. III.
best thing, which the best things in nature can but imperfectly fnadow forth. What was the goldeo oil emplied through the two golden pipes, Zech. iv. 12. but the precivus graçes of God, flowing through Christ, in to all his members : Gold is preci: ous ; but oge drachm of saving grace is more precious than all the gold of Ophir : “ It caocor be gottep for gold, peither sball “ silver be weighed for a price thereof," Job xxviii. 15. Sure, ly gold and liver, fapphires, diamonds, and rubies, are got worth the mentioning, when saving grace is once mentioned, For consider it,
1. First, In its cause and fountain from whence it flows, and you shall find it to be the fruit of the Spirit, Gal. v. 22. who, upon that account, is called the Spirit of grace, Heb. X. 29. It derives its original from the Most High'; it is fpiriq born of Spirit John iii. 6 All the rules of morality, all human dilip gence and industry can never produce one gracious habit or ac alone ; 2 Cor. iii. 5.“ Not that we are sufficient of ourlelves,". &c.
Nay, we speak not becoming the incomparable worth of grace, when we lay, it is the fruit and birth of the Spirit; for lo arç common gifts allo. There are several emanations from this fun, divers streams from this fountain ; but of all his aperations and productions, this of saving grace is the most poble and excellent, Gifts are from the Spirit as well as grace, but grace iş more excellent than the best gifts, 1 Cor. xii 31. “Covet ear" gellly the best gifts, and yet thew I unto you a more excel. « leot way." Hence you read in Phil i. io. " Of things that " are excellent,” or as the original, ta doce o sporta, might be rendered, things that differ, namely, in relpect of excellency, not as good and evil, but as less good and more good differ. Gifts have their value and precioufnels, but the best gifts differ as much from grace, as brals from gold, though both be generated by the influence of the same fun. Gifts (as one faith) are dead graces but graces are living gifts; it is the most excellent pro: duction of the highest and molt excellent cause.
2. Secondly, Consider it in its nature, and you will find it divine, 2 Pet. i. 4. “ Parrakers of the divine nature," viz. in our fanctification ; not that it gives us the properties of the divine nature, they are incoinmunicable; but the similitude and resemblance of it is ftamped upon our fouls, in the work of grace.
" The new man is renewed in knowledge, after the image of
him that created him,”. Col. iii. 10. The schoolmen, and fome of the fathers, place this image or relemblance of God,