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senses and members are guarded agaiolt fio: but it is quite codtrary with the wicked; there is no principle of holiueis in them, to oppofe or expel corruption It lies in their hearts as mud in a lake or well, which settles and corrupts more 20d more. Hence Ezek. xlvii. 11. their hearts are compared to miry or marily places, which cannot be healed, but are given to talt: the meaning is, that the purest streams of the golpel, which cleanic o. thers, make them worse than before, as abundance of rain will a miry place. The reason is, because it meets with an obstacle in their fouls ; 10 that it cannot run through them aod be glorified, as it doth io gracious fouls. All the means and endeavours used to cleanse them are in vain; all the grace of God they receive in vaia, “they hold fast deccit, they refuse to let “ it go,” Jer. viii. 5. Sin is not in them as floating weeds upon the sea, which it ftrives to expel and purge out, but as spois in the leopard's skin, Jer. xii. 21. or letters falhioped and en graven io the very substance of marble or brass, with a pen of iron, and point of a diamond, Jer. xvii. 1. Or as ivy in an old wall, that hath gotten root joto its very entrails. “ Wicked“ nels is sweet to their mouths, they roll it under their tongues, Job xx, 12. No'threats por promises can divorce them from it.
REFLECTION. Lord ! this is the very frame of my heart, may the graceless soul say. My corruptions quictly fettle in me, my heare labours not against it: I am a stranger to that confliet which is daily maintained io all the faculties of the regenerate soul. Glorified fouls have no sach coofict, because grace is them lands alone, and is perfectly triumphant over all its oppofites; aod graceless fouls can have no fuch conflict, because io them corruption Itands alone, aod hath no other principle to make oppofilion to it. And this is my cafe, O Lord! I am full of vaio hopes iadeed, but had I a living and well grounded hope to duell for ever with fo holy a God, I could not but be daily purifying myself. But O! what will the end of this be? I have cause to tremble at that last and dreadfullest curse jo the book of God, Rev. xxii. 11. “Let him that is filthy be filthy ftill." Is it pot as much as if God should say, Let them alone, I will spend no more rods
upon them, no more means shall be used about them; but I will reckoo with them for all together in another world ? O my foul! what a dismal reckoning will that be! Ponder with thyfelf in the mean while, thole terrible and awakening texts, that, if possible, this fatal iffue may be prevcated. See ffa. i. 5. Hof. iv. 14. Jer. vi. 29, 30. Heb. vi. 8.
The PO E M.
Of putrid waters ; if therein 1 rake,
CH A P. V.
dangers ! if the wind die away, and then fresh up foutherly; or if they see the sky hazy, they provide for a storm : if by the prospective glass they koow a Pyrate at the greatest dif tance, they clear the guo-room, prepare for fight, and bear up, if able to deal with him; if not, they keep clefe by the wind, wake all the sail they cao, and bear away. If they suppose themselves, by their reckoning, near laod, how often do they found! And if upoo a coast with which they are unacquainted, how careful are they to get a pilot that koows, and is acquainted with it?
APPLICATION. Thus watchful and suspicious ought we to be in spiritual conceromests. We Nould study, and be acquaioted with Satao's wiles, and policy. The apostle takes it for granted, that Christians are not ignorant of his devices. 2 Cor. ii. 11. “The “ serpent's eye (as one faith) would do well in the dove's head." The devil is a cunning pyrate, he puts out false colours, and or dinarily comes up to the Christian in the disguise of a friend.
O the manifold depths and stratagems of Satan, to destrog fouls ! though he bare no wisdom to do himself good, yet he
hath policy edough to do us mischief. He lies in ambush behind our lawful comforts and employmeots; yet, for the geneFality of men, how supine and careless are they, suspectiog ne danger ? Their souls, like Laish, dwell carelessly, their fenses uoguarded : Q.what an easy prize, and conquest, doth the devil make of them!
Jodeed, if it were with us as with Adam in innocency, or as it was with Christ in the days of bis Acth (who by reafon of that overflowing fullness of grace that dwelt io him, the purity of his person, and the hypoftatical union, was fecured from the danger of all temptations) the cale thea were otherwise; but we have a traitor within, Jam. i. 14, 15. as well as a tempter without. Pet. v. 8. “Our adverfary the devil goes about as a
1 “ roaring lion, secking whom he may devour.” And, like the beasts of the forefts, poor souls lie dowo before him, and become his prey. All the fagacity, wit, policy, and forefight of some men, is summoned in to ferve their bodies, and secure their fteshly enjoyments.
EFLECTION. Lord! how doth the care, wisdom, and vigilance of men in temporal and external thiogs, condemn my carelessness in the deep, and dear conceraments of my precious soul ! what care and labour is there to secure a perishing life, liberty, or treasure! when was I thus solicitous for my foul, though its value be incftimable, and its danger far greater ? Sell-preservation is one of the deepest priociples in aature. There is not the poorest worm, or fty, but will thun danger, if it can: yet I am so far from fhuoping those dangers to which my foul lies continually exposed, that I often rup it upon temptations, and voluntarily expofe it to its enemies. I see, Lord, how watchful, jealous, and laborious thy people are; what prayers, tears, and groans, searching of heart, mortification of lufts, guarding of fenfes ; and all accounted too little by then. Have not I a soul to save or lose eternally, as well as they? Yet I cannot deoy one fleshly lust, aor withstand one temptaion. O how I am convinced and coodemoed, not only by other's care and vigilance, but my owo too, in leffer and lower matters ?
The PO E M.
To more thao man's or angel's art can sam,
My soul should watch, look out, and use its glass,
wiod, by which it is carried, as the clouds, with marvellous force and speed, yet to be commanded with eafe, by so small a thiag as the helm is. The scripture takes notice of it as a macter worthy of our confideration. Jam. iii. 4. " Behold also " the ships, which though they be great, and drives of fierce “ winds; yet they are turned about with a small helm, whi. “ chersoever the governor listeth.” Yea, * Aristotle ,himfelf, that eagle-eyed philosopher, could got give a reason of it, But looked upon it as a very marvellous and wonderful thing.
APPLICATION To the fame ufe and office has God designed conscience in man, which being rectified aod regulated by the word and spirit of God, is to steer and order his whole coo versation. Con. science is as the oracle of God, the judge and determiner of our actions, whether they be good or evil ? And it lays the strong. eft obligations upon the creature to obey its dictates, that is imaginable : for it biods under the reafon and confideration of the most absolute and lovereign will of the great God. So that as often as conscience from the word convinceth us of
GO or duty, it lays such a bond upon us to obey it, as do power under heaven can relax or disperse with. Angels cadoot do it, inuch less man; for that would be to exalt themelves above
* Aristot. Secund. MyxayınWY, C. 5.
God. Now therefore it is an high and dreadful way of lioning, to oppose and rebel against copscience, when it convinces of sin avd duey. Conscience fometimes reafous it out with men, and Thews them the neceflity of changing their way and course; arguing it from the clearest and most allowed maxims of right realon, as well as from the indifputable fovereigary of God.
As for ioftance: it conviaceth their very reason that things of eternal duration are iafinitely to be preferred to all momeatary and perishing things, Rom. viii, 18. Heb. xi. 26. and it is our duty to cbuse them, and make all secular and temporary conceroments to stand aside, aod give place to them. Yet though men be convinced of this, their stubborn will stands out; and will not yield up itself to the conviction.
Further, Ii argues from this acknowledged truth, that all the delight and pleasures in this world are but a miserable portion, and that it is the highelt folly to adventure an immortal foul for them, Lake ix. 15. Alas! what remembrance is there of
" them in hell?. They are as the waters that pass away. What have they left, of all their inirth and joliity, but a tormenting fting? li çoovinceth them clearly, also, that in matters of deep concerament it is an high poiat of wisdom, to apprehend and improve the righe feafoas and opportunities of them, Prov. X. S. “ He that gathers in summer is a wise fon." Ecclef. piii. 5. " A wise man's heart discerns both time and judgment. " There is a season to every purpose," Ecclef. iii. i. viz. a nick of time, an happy juncture, when, if á man strikes in, he doth his work effectually, and with much facility : fuch seafoos conscience convinceth the foul of, and often whispers thus in its ear: Now, foul, strike in, close with this motion of the Spirit, and be bappy for ever ; thou mayest dever have such a gale for beaven any more. Now, though these be allowed maxims of reason, and conscience enforce them strongly on the soul, yet cap dot it prevail; the prond, ftubborn will rebels, and will not be guided by it. See Eph. ii. 3. Job xxxiv. 37. Ilå. xlvi. 12. Ezek. ii. 4. Jer. xliv. 16.
R E F LECTION. Ah ! Lord, fuch an heart have I had before thee; thus obftiaate, thus rebellious, 10 uncontroulable by confcience? Many a time hath conscience thus whispered in mine ear, many a time hath it stood in my way, as the angel did in Balaam's, or the cherubims that kept the way of the tree of life with faming swords turning every way. Thus hath it stood to oppose me is the way of my lpsts. How often hath it calmly debated the VOL. VI.