Imágenes de páginas
[ocr errors]

we should be angry, Eph iv. 26. but so as to avoid Tini Eccl vii. 9, This satan tempted me to provoke God, by aiming at things which were neither given of God, nor had I any reason to expect them, and thus to tempt God, by seeking stones to be made bread, Matth iv. 3. or things not meet to be done ; like the Stoicks, I was not content to have the pallions kept in their own order, but swould have them eradicated. Thus the devil drives to extremes, and when we fail of success, he takes thenice occasion to discourage us, Again, 4. I still neglected some means of God's apo pointment, under pretence of inconveniencies and difficulties, and sometimes because irksome to the flesh whereas these were oft-times the only proper means that were omitted, or at least the principal in that case. The omission of one thing ruins much, and our apologies and excuses will not do. 1 Sam xiii. 13, 15, 20, 22. Some particular fins require parti. cular remedies : When God has appointed the use of these, and this is omitted, no wonder all others fail. When the disciples ask'd, wherefore they could not cast the devil out, our Lord told them, there were rome kinds that went not out, but by fasting and prayer, Mark ix. 28, 29. Whenever any mean is appointed by God when the case occurs, wherein it is requisite, the remedy of God's appointment must be us'd, as we would reach the end. If there are suppored, or real difficulties, yet while these difficulties are not our sin, we have reason to trust him as to these, and try the means. 5. I was often nothful, and by drowsiness a man is clothed with rags, Prov xxiii, 21. and enemies may easily fow tares when men are asleep. Matth xiii. 25. 6. Above ail, I was little acquaint with the way of faith's improvement of Christ for fanctification, and a trade with the throne of grace for Supplies to help in time of need, John V.40. 7. I was fumetimes not single in my aims ; I designed to have a victory that would ease me of the trouble of

watch: 1


watchfulness. I was weary of a fighting life, and he would have been at ease, and had too much of an eye en unto this, and such like aims; and, belike, if I had got

leave to rest, I would have been too proud of my fuccefs: Thus we ask and receive not, because we alk amiss, to consume it on our lufts. James iv. 3. 8. When I was not presently heard, I did not perfevere in prayer for the supplies of grace that I fought. Luke xviii. 1. Thus I found oft, that so long as I was with the Lord, he was with me. 2 Chron. xv. 2. They that wait on the Lord Mall renew their strength. Ifa. xl. 31. But I was too soon over with it. And from these,

and the like causes did my want of success proceed. 1 5. Yet notwithstanding all these dreadful miscar

riages on my part, the Lord in the heat of this conAict, and even while I was many way faulty, was very kind; 1. He kept me from giving quite over, though I fell, yet I was not quite cast down Pfalnı Xxxvii. 24. 2. When I had many times gone furthest with temptations, yet he came in with seasonable help; and passing all my miscarriages, he helped me up, let me see that he kept me from being quite overcome, and gave me some assurances for the future. Psalm Ixxii. 24. Thus' foolish was I and ignorant, I was

as a beast before thee. Nevertheless I am continual<ly with thee: Thou hast holden me by my right hand, Thou wilt guide me by thy counsel and re

ceive me to glory.' 3. I had gracious experiences of the Lord's helping in the time of need, and hearing cries. The Lord sometimes steppd in when I was overcome, and sent as it were an Abigail to keep me from executing my wicked purposes ; I Sam xxv. 32. sometimes he gave me a cleanly victory, and strengthned me to repel temptations : And many other ways did he help and deliver. Plalm cvi. 43. 4. He sometimes, and even very frequently, when I was hard put to it, clear'd up my sincerity, and gave me such views of it, as emboldened me to appeal to

[ocr errors]

him, which freed me of that temptation, and left at, liberty under this advantage of this new encouragement, to oppose more vigorously : Pfalm cxxxix; 21,22, 'Do not I hate all them that hate thee? I hate

them with a perfet hatred, I count them mine ene. mies.' And hereby I was not emboldened to fin, I durft not take incouragement to fin, because grace a. bounded, though motions were made this way by my naughty heart; but I was made more afraid of offend ing. These, and many other ways was the Lord kind in the conflict ; He frequently said to me, fear not ;

Surely there is an end, and thine expectation shall not be cut off, Prov. xxiii. 18, xxiv, 14.

6. The Lord has since let me fee what gracious designs he carried on by this trial, and what need there was of it in order both to his glory and my good; 1. Hereby he taught me the nature of that state we are here in, that it is a wilderness,Cant: viii, 5. a warfare, 1 Cor ix. 7. 2 Cor x 4. and that we must all be fol. diers, if we inean to be christians. 2. He taught me hereby, that the grace that is sufficient for us, 2 Cor: xii.y. is not in our own hand, but in the Lord's; and that therefor our security with respect to future temptations, is not in grace already received, but in this, that there is enough in the promise, and the way patent to the throne of grace for it. Heb. iv. 16. 3. He taught me that God is the sovereign disposer, and gives out as he sees meet in time of need, ibid. his own grace, Eph iv.7. and he is the only judge of the proper season of giving it out. 4. He led me hereby to discern somewhat more of the covenant of grace, that in it there are no promises made of abfolute free. dom from sin while we are here; 1 John i. 8. If « any man fay he has no fin he is a liar:' And that we have no promile of freedom from gross fins, and these sins wherein we have been formerly entangled, but in the use and diligent use of the means of the Lord's appointment. Peter i. 8. “If these things be

[ocr errors]

« in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall

neither be barren, nor unfruitful in the knowlege of

our Lord Jesus Christ. 5. Hereby he taught me that great lesson, that when I am weak (in myself)

than I am strong in the Lord, and in the power of

his might. 2 Cor. xii. 10. Whenever I was diffident of myself, I was then always victorious, or at least came off without hazard : Which is very far different from what men generally think : That when à man is diffident and distrusts himself, that then he is not meet for managing any undertaking; and this is indeed true when he is carnally diffident. But where there is a distrust of felf, with an eye to the Lord, it is very far otherwise. 6. He hereby taught me the use and neceffity, and glory of that provision that is made by the covenant of grace for guilt; it writes all to us to dissuade from, and enable us against sin ; ' But if o any man fin,' thro'the power of temptation, it let us see an advocate with the father, and blood that clean

seth from all sin.' 1 Jobn iii. 3. 7. He let me see his holy jealousy, and how displeas’d he was with me for my cleaving to sin so long, and sinful forbearance. Because I would not say them as the Lord appointed me, and when he required it; therefor he left them like the nations of Canaan, Judges ii. 3. to temptand try me. The fins that now molested me, and fre

quently cast me down, were those that I sought to · fpare before ; God cried often to me to part with

them, and I would not hear, and now God would not hear when I cried to be rid of them: « Thou wast a

God that forgavest their iniquities, but thou took• est vengeance of their inventions. Psalm xcix. 8. 8. The Lord by this did humble, Deut viii. 2. and prove, and let me see what was in my heart, even å great deal more wickedness than I suspected. 9. The Lord hereby instructed me that this is not my relt; Micah. ii. 10, &c. and made me value heaven more than otherwise I would have done. 10. Hereby he

H 2


them when for gay of their id humos in maceted,

discovered the riches and extent of that forgiveness that is with him, Pfalm. cxxx. 4, 7. that it reaches to iniquity, transgression and fin; Exod. xxxiv.7. That is, sins of all sorts, multiplied relapses not excepted. He that requires us to forgive to seventy times seven in a day, will not do less; Matth. xviii. 22. Yea he tells us, that in this respect, his thoughts are as far above ours as the heavens are above the earth. Ifa. lv. 9. And finally the Lord hereby fitted me to compaffionate others who are tempted, and comfort them. 2 Cor. i. 4. Heb. ii. 18. Thus I was made a gainer by my losses and falls, to the praise of his grace. Det

7. After some years struggling, the Lord made me lay by all prejudices against proper means, and wait on him in the use of them all, with some eye to him, and then he gave me in some measure å victory, 1. to God who giveth us the victory." I * Cor.xv. 57,

.. CH A P. V. Cintaining an account of my exercise about the guilt

of sin, the means of obtaining pardon, and the inti: mations thereof.

i, T He power of indwelling fin being still great,

1 and through its own activity, occasional temptations, more fix'd advantages, and my own mistakes and negligence, frequently prevalent, I was cast into frequen't perplexities about its guilt: Pfalm Xxxviii. 3. There was no foundness in my lones, no rest in my conscience for fins that I had done.

2. Besides fins of infirmity, sometimes my corrup. tions, did through my sloth, neglect of proper means, and the advantages they otherwise had from temptations, and from their being rooted in my nature, bear me down, and carry me captive, prevail against me, and carry me not only into commission of grosser

". evils

« AnteriorContinuar »