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mons, prayers, and discourses of Christ which he heard ? And
But as the faints have real communion with God in duties, so they do make improvements answerable thereunto : There is more certainly a ripening of their graces that way; a changing or gradual transformation from glory to glory; a springing up to that full ftature of the man in Chrift. « They that « are planted in the house of the Lord, shall flourish in the « courts of our God,” Pfal. xcii. 13, 14. There is pure and sincere milk in the breasts of ordinances ; a believer fucks the very breasts of Christ in his duties, and doth grow thereby, 1 Pet. ii. 2. they do grow more and more judicioủs, experienced, humble, mortified, and heavenly, by converfing with the Lord so frequently in his appointments."
There is, I confess, a more discernable growth and ripening in some Chriftians, than in others : The faith of some groweth exceedingly, 2 Theff. i. 3. others more slowly, Heb. v. 12. but yet there are improvements of grace in all upright ones : habits are more deeply radicated, or fruits of obedience more increased. · Object. If any upright pul be stumbled at this, as not being able to discern the incrense of his graces, after all his dreties.
Sol. Let such consider the growth of grace is discerned as the growth of plants is, which we perceive rather creville, quam crescere s to have grown, than to grow : Compare time paft and present, and you may see it, but usually our eager defires after more, make us overlook what we have as nothing. ,
9. Ninthly, The assistances and influences of the Spirit in duties, shews us what we are ; no vital sanctifying influences can fall upon carnal hearts in duties : The Spirit helps not their
infarmities, nor makes intercession for them with groanings which cannot be uttered, as he doth for his own people, Rom. ' viii. 26, 27. They have his assistances in the way of common gifts, but not in the way of special grace: He may enable them to preach judiciously, not experimentally'; to pray orderly and neatly, not feelingly, believingly, and broken-heartedly ; « For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the fons " of God,” Rom. viii. 14. He never so assists, but where he hath furft sanctified. Carnal men furnish the materials of their duties out of the strength of their parts ; a strong memory, a good invention are the fountains whence they draw.
But it is otherwise with souls truly gracious; they have ordinarily a threefold assistance from the Spirit in reference to their duties. •
First, Before duties, exciting them to it, making them feel their need of it, like the call of an empty stomach ; Psalm Xxvii. 8, « Thou saidft, Seck my face; my heart answered, « Thy face, Lord, will I feek.”
Secondly, In their duties. furnishing both matter and affecz tion, as in that text lately cited, Rom. viii. 26. guiding them not only what to ask, but how to alk.
Thirdly, After their duties, helping them not only to suppress the pride and vanity of their spirits, but also to wait on God for , che accomplishment of their desires.
Now, though all these things, wherein the fincerity of our hearts is tried in duties, be found in great variety (as to degrees) among faints, yet they are mysteries unknown by experience to other men.
. CH A P. VIII. Opening the trials of fincerity and hypocrisy, by sufferings upon
the account of religion,
Thousands of hypocrites embark themselves in the profeflion of religion in a calm ; but if the wind riseth, and the sea ragech, and they see religion will not transport them safely to the cape of their earthly hopes and expectations, they defire to be landed
but needs disco
again as foon as may be ; for they never intended to ride out a storm for Chrift: So you find, Matth. xiii. 20, 21. " He en “ durech for à while; but when tribulation or persecution « arisech because of the word, by and by he is offended.”
But yet it is not every trial by sufferings that separates gold from drøss ; and therefore my business will be to fhew,
1. First, When the fire of sufferings and perfecution is hot and vehement enough to separate them.
2. Secondly, Why it must needs discover hypocrisy when it is at that height.
3. Thirdly, What advantages Gacere gracę hach to endure that severe and sharp trial.
SECT. II. Tow the fire of persecution, or fùfferings for religie Iyon, may be judged intense, and high enough to feparate gold and drofs;
First, When religion exposes us to imminent hazard of our deepett and dearest interests in this world: Such are our liberties, estates and lives : Then it is a fierce and fiery trial indeed. Sometimes it exposes the liberties.of its professors, Rev. ii. jo. « The devil shall caftfame of you into prison.” Sometimes their estates, Heb. X. 34. “ Yę took joyfully the spoiling of « your goods;" and sometimes their lives, Heb. xi. 37. « They were stoned, they were fawn asunder, they were slain “ with the sword.” Whilft it goes no higher than come small inconveniencies of life, reputation and sense of honour qwill hold a false heart, but when it comes to this, few will be found able to endure it, but those that expect to save no more by religion but their souls, and account themselves in good sale, if they can but lave them with the loss of all that is dear to them in this world.
Here the false heart boggles; here it ufually jades and faulters.
Secondly, The fiery trial is chen high, when there remaiijs no visible hopes of deliverance, or outward encouragements to sense, that the scene will alter. When “we see not our signs, “ there is no more any prophet, nor any that can tell us how “ lang,” as the case with the church was, Pfal. xxiv. 9. Then their hands hang down, and their hearts faint : Nor is it to be wondred at, when the length of troubles prove so fore a temp. tation even to the upright, to put forth their hands to iniquisy; as it is Pfal..cxxv. 3. If such a temptation thake such-men
as build on the rock, it must quite overturn those whose founidation is but sand.
Thirdly, When a false professor is engaged alone in füfferings, and is fingled out from the herd, as a deer, to be run down, now it is a thoiifand to one but he quits religion to fave himself : Good company will encourage a faint-hearted traveller to jog on a great way; but if he be forsaken by all, as Paul was, no man to stand by him ; if left alone, as Elijah was, what can encourage him to hold out?
Indeed, if they had the same invisible supports those good men had, rhat the Lord was with them, that would keep them steady; but wanting that encouragement from within, and all shrinking away from without, they quickly tire downright.
Fourthly, When near relations and intimates ofpole and "tempt us. The prophet speaks of a time when a man's ené. -“ mies shall be the men of his own house ;" it may be the wife of his bosom, Micah vii. 5, 6. O what a trial is that which Christ mentions in Luke xiv. 26. when we muft hare father and mother, wife and children, or quit claim to Chrift and heaven! This is hard work indeed.
How hard did that truly noble and renowned Galeacius Carracciolus find this ! 0 what a conflict found he in his bowels ! Now Christ and our dearest intereft come to meer like two men upon a narrow bridge ;, if one go forward, the other must go back, and now the predominate interest can no longer be concealed.
Fifthly, When powerful temptations are mixed with cruel sufferings; when we are strongly tempted, as well as cruelly persecuted: This blows up the fire co a vehement height. This was the trial of those precious primitive believers, Heb. xi. 35, 37. « They were ftoned, they were fawn afunder, they were “ tempted.” Here was life, liberty, and preferment set up. 'on one hand, and death, in the moft formidable shape, upon the other. This cannot but be a great trial to any, but especially when a cruel death, and tender temper meet, then the trial goes high indeed.
. SECT. III. 2. A N D that such sufferings as these will discover the
A fallenefs and rottenness of mens hearts, cannot be "doubted: If you consider that this is the fire designed by God, for this very use and purpose, to separate the gold from the dross; fo you will find it, 1 Pet. iv. 12. « Beloved, think it not 6 strange concerning the frery trial which is to cry you,”. 1. có
the very design and aim of providence in permitting and or-,
1. First, In that day the predominant interest must appear,
Thus the two interests come in full oppofition : and now have but patience to wait a little, and you thall discern which is predominant. A dog follows two men, while they both walk one way, and you know nat which of the two is his mas ster; stay but a little till their path parts, and then you thall quickly see who is his master: So is it in this case. .
2. Secondly, In that day sensible supports fail, and all a man's relief comes in by the pure and immediate actings of faith; and were it not for those reliefs, his heart would soon faint and die away under discouragements, 2 Cor. iv, 17, 18. “We faint
not whilst we look not at the things which are seen, for they 6 are temporal, but at the things which are not seen, for they are • cternal,” q. d. If we keep not our eye intently fixed upon the invisible and eternal things in the coming world; we shall feel qurselves fainting and dying away under the many troubles and afflictions of this world. “ I had sainted (saith holy David) “ if I had not believed." How then fuppofe ye shall the hypocrite live at such a time, who hath no faith to support him?" No relief but what comes in through the senses ?
2. Thirdly, in that day all mere notions and speculations about - - Husará. A a 2