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religion tantih; and nothing relieves and satisfies the fufferit foul but what it really believes, and what it hach fatisfying proof and experience of in himself. There are a great many pretty and pleasing notions which out minds art entertained with ; fome delight in times of peace, which can do as to fervice at all in the day of trouble ! and for our speculativc, un practicable knowledge of the greatest truths in religion, as little service is to be expected from them: Except we have better evidence and security about them, we shall be loth to venture all upon the credit of them.
That is a very considerable passage to this purpose in Hebr. *. 34. “ Ye took joyfully the fpoiling of your goods, (knowing « in yourselves) that ye have in heaven a better and more ef! « during substance." ' This knowing in yourselves is by inward and sensible experience, taste and feeling, which is abundandy fatisfying to the foul; and stands opposed to all thát traditional knowledge we receive from others; which, as it leaves the mind fluctuating, so the heart also dead and comfortless.
4. Fourthly, In that day the root and fouádation of a man's faith and hope is tried, and then they that have built upon the sand mult needs fail; for every thing is as its foundation, principles are to us what a root is to a tree, or a foundation to a house ; a flaw or grand defect there most assuredly puitis all. This we find to be the very fcope of those two famous parables, Luke xiv. 25. and Matth xiii. 21. Leffer troubles shake but the branches, but these try the very foot: if nothing be found there but felf-ends, the force of education, and the influence of examples, surely when the winds rife high, and beat upon it, they will quickly lay the loftieft profeffor even with the ground.
and thus you see what a crisis an hout of temptation, the fuffering hour is, and what discoveries of hypocrisy it must needs make; for now the hypocrite, like Orpha, will forsake religion ; but fincerity will make the foul cleave to it, as Ruth did to Naomi.
SECT. IV. 3. T H AT advantages lincerity gives the foul for its e
W stablishment and perseveranče in suffering times, t Thall briefly account for in the following particulars. '
1. First, Sincere godliness dethrones that idol, the love of this world, in all true Chriftians; and this is it that makes men Thrink änd flinch from Chrift in a day of fuffering. I do not deny but even believers themselves love the world too
much; but they love it not as their chief good : it is not their portion or happiness; if any man so love the world, “ the love * of the Father is not in him," John ii. 15. How much foever a fincere Christian loves the world, yet still it is in fub. ordination to the love of God, John xxi. 15. Sincerity can confift with no other love of the world, it will not suffer such a cursed plant to grow under its shadow. .
Now, what is it, but this inordinate, supreme love of the çreature, that makes men forsake Christ in time of temptation ? This was the ruin of that young man, Matth. xix. 22. “ He
went away sorrowful, for he had great poffeffions." This -1 was the overthrow of Demas, 2 Tim. iy. 10. “ He hath for
« faken me (faith the apostle) having loved this present world." ming The love of this world, like sap in green wood, will not suffer s you to burn for Chrift; get but the heart mortified to the crea. + fure by a discovery of better things in heaven, and it will esta.
blish and fix your fpirits, that it shall not be in the power of creatures to shake you off from Christ your foundation.
2. Secondly, Sincerity knits the soul to Chrift, and union with him secures us in the greatest trials ; Munimur quatenus unimur. The hypocrite having no union with Christ, can have po communion with him, nor communications of grace from him ; and fo that little stock of his own being quickly spent
(I mean natural courage and resolution) and no incomes from + Christ, he must needs give up in a short time. But it is with
a believer in a day of trouble, as it is with a garrison besieged is by land, but free and open to the sea, whence fresh fupplies
are daily sent in to relieve it: See 2 Cor. i 5. “ As the suffer. * Hings of Christ abound in us, so our confolation also abound. meth by Chrift;" fresh aids and daily supplies proportionable to our expences and decays of strength : So Col. i. 11. 16 Strengthned with all might in the inner-man, according to « his glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with ► joyfulness." And this is the believers great advantage by his union with Christ in a day of trial.
3. Thirdly, As fincerity unites the soul with Christ, so it sets the heart upon heaven, and things eternal; Col, ji. 1. C. Surely nothing is more conducive to our stability than this, in the hour of temptation.
This is the most effectual preservative from temptations upon the right hand, and upon the left. Mofes could cast a king. dom at his heels; despife the riches, pleasures, and honours of Egypt, whilst his eye was fixed upon him that is invisible, and had respect to the recompence of reward, Heb. xi. 24, 25,
26. And it was a brave reply of the forty martyrs to Valence
4. Fourthly, Sincerity drives but one design, and that is to please and enjoy God: and what can more establish and fix the foul in the hour of temptation than this ? The reason why the hypocrite is unstable in all his ways, is given us by the apoAle James, i. 8. He is a double-minded man, dibuxos simp, á man of two souls in one body; as a profane wretch once boasted, 'that he had one foul for God, and another for any thing. But all the designs of a gracious heart are united in one ; and so the entire stream of his affections runs strong,
It is base by-ends and self-interests, that, like a great many ditches cut out of the bank of a river, draw away the stream out of its proper channel, and make its waters fail. But if the heart be united for God, as the expression is, Pfal. lxxxvi. 11. then, we may fay of fueh a Christian, as was said of a young Roman, Quicquid vult, valde vult ; What he doth, is done with all his might. And this was the ground of that saying, Liberet me Deus ab homine unius tantum negotii: A man of one only design, puts to all his strength to carry it ; nothing can Itand before him.
5. Fifthly, Sincerity brings a man's will imto subjection to the will of God; and this being done, the greatest danger and difficulty is over with such a man. This is that holy oil which makes the wheels of the foul run nimbly, even in difficult paths of obedience; Non tardat un&ta rota. Let but a man be once brought to that, “ The will of the Lord be done,” as it is Acts xxi. 13. to see the highest reason of chearful obedience in the holy, juit, and good will of God, and then all the difficulty is over; he can suffer quietly what men inflict unjustly.
6. Sixthly, Sincerity takes its measures of present things by the rules of faith and eternity, it goes not by the same reckoning and account that others do, .wiio judge of things by sense, and the respects they have to the present world, 2 Cor. iv. 18. “ We look not at the things that are seen, but at the things - that are not seen;" and this is there given as the reason of his not fainting under present difficulties: So, Rom. viii. 18
* I reckon that the sufferings of the prelent times are not wor« thy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed « in us." He will not allow himielf to undervalue eternal
glory, by oncc mentioning present sufferings, in a way of ben in moaning himself for them : A steady eye upon the other world . makes us more than conquerors over the troubles of this world. . . .
7. Seventhly, To conclude ; fincerity alone hath all the hea: venly aids and assistances to stability, and perfeverance in sufconfering times : upright ones (and such only) have Christ's intero cession in heaven for them, Rom. viii. 34. The Spirit's con
folation in all their troubles, 1 Pet. iv. 14. The Spirit of glo. t ry and of God resteth on them: the beneficial ministry of an
gels, who are sent forth upon their account, Heb. i. 14. A stock-of prayers, going for them all the world over, Eph. vi. 18. Multitudes of precious promises in the Scriptures ; for every line, word, and syllable of which the faithfulness of God ftands engaged : so that it is impossible such gold can perish in the fire. :
And thus of the several ways by which grace is here tried.
CH A P. IX.
fors of religion into such various trials of their graces in this
1 God brings his gold to the touchstone, and to the fire, even in this world, before the awful and folemn trial they must come to in the final judgment: and if we defire to be satisfied what the design and end of God in making such probations of his people is,
We must conclude, in the general, he certainly designs his own glory, and his peoples advantage and profit in them. If he suffer them to be tried by reproaches, happy are they, the Spirit of God and glory reseth on them ; there is their profit; and though his name be evil spoken of, yet in the meeknefs of their spirits he is glorified, as it is, 1 Pet. iv. 14. “ If the scourge « llay suddenly, he laugheth at the trial of the innocent,” Job ix. 23. Not it their afflictions, but at the effects and blessed issues and results of them : Not that it gives them pain, but that it gives them glory. Upon this account the apostle bids
us count it all joy when we fall into diverse temptations of trials : and fill the more trials the more joy; for thereby God will produce fuch effects as are more precious than gold that peritheth, 1 Pet. i.7. O who can value the comfort that is tasted by the soul, upon the trial and discovery of its fincerity, when after some sore temptation wherein God hath belped us to maintain our integrity, or after some close pinching affliction, wherein we have discovered in ourselves a sweet refignation to, and contentment in the will of God, an beart cleaving to the Lord, purged and made more fpiritual under the rod! we can turn to the Lord, and appeal to him, as the prophet did, Jer. xii. 3. “ But thou, O Lord, knoweft me, thou haft feen me, " and tried mine heart towards thee.”
I say, who can duy value such an advantage : who would exchange fach a comfort for all the gold and silver in the world? How many trials foever God brings bis people under, to be sure neither his own glory, nor their intereft, fhall fuffer any damage by them.
. SECT. y. D UT more particularly, let us bring our thoughts close to
D the matter before us, and we shall find many great ad. vantages and benefits rising out of these trials of sincerity : For,
1. Förft, Hereby hypocrisy is unmasked and discovered; the vizand is plucked off from the false profeffor, and his true natural face and complexion shewn to the world, and in this there is a great deal of good.
Object. Good, you will say, Where lies it? All the world sees the mischief and fad effects of its many are stumbled, many are hardened by it : “ Woe to the world because of offences !” Matth. xvi. 7.
Sol. True, some are prejudiced and hardened by it, so as never to have good thoughts of the ways and people of God more: That is fad indeed; however, therein God accomplishes his word, and executeth his decree; and though these perill, yet,
First, Others are warned, awakened, and set a searching their own hearts more narrowly than ever, and this is good, I Cor. x. 11, 12. Now these were our examples; “ wherefore 6 let him that thinketh he standerh, take heed left he fall."
Secondly, Hereby fin is afhamed; and it is good-when fin that hath exposed men to so much fhame, shall be itself expos. ed to shame: This is the just reward of lin, Jer. xiii. 25, 26.