« EelmineJätka »
And we may observe withal, that even fins of omission bring grief, shame, and sorrow; and in the issue, through Christ's fanctifying them, these which they breed consume the parent, that is, sin brings forth forrow, shame and grief, which are a means to secure lin. Security breeds this moving of the bowels, which moving helps security. Would we therefore prevent sorrow, shame, and grief, take heed then of security, the cause that leads to them, yea, of sins of omission, wherein there is more danger than in sins of commission. The fins of carnal wicked men are usually fins of commission, most of which break out outrageously, and thereby taint themselves with open fins. But the fins of God's people, who are nearer to him, are for the most part sins of omission, that is, negligence, coldness, carelessness in duty, want of zeal, and of care they should have in stirring up the graces of God in them, as the church here, which did not give way to Chrift, nor shook off security.
Use Let us esteem as slightly as we will of sins of omission and carelessness, they are enough to bring men to hell, if God be not the more merciful. It is not required only that we do no harm, and keep ourselves from outward evils, but we must do good in a good manner, and have a care to be fruitful and watchful, which if we do not, this temper will bring grief, shame, and for. row afterwards; as here, even for fins of omission, deadness, and dulness, we see the church is left by Christ, and her bowels are turned in her ; for carelessness, neglect, and omission of duty to God is a prefage and fore-runner of fome downfall and des jection; and commonly it is true, when a man is in a secure and careless state, he may read his deftiny, though he has been never so good, nay, the rather, if he be good. Such a one is in danger of falling into some sharp punishment, or into some fin, for of all states and tempers God will not suffer a christian to be in a secure lazy dead state, when he cannot perform things comfortably to God, to himself, or to others; a dead secure state is so hateful to him (decay in our first love, this lukewarm temper) that he will not endure it; it either goes before some great fin, cross, affliction, or judgement.
My bowels were moved in me. And good reason, it was a suitable correction for the fin whertin she offended, for Christ's bowels were turned towards her in love and pity, “ My love, my dove, my undefiled,” in which case she neglecting him, it was fit she should find moving of bowels in another sense, out of love too, but in thame and mourning. Chrift here leaves her to seek after him, who had waited and attended her leisure before, as we shall fee after.
The next thing we may hence observe in that, That her bowels were turned in her from something left in the hole of the door by the spirit of Christ, is, That Chrift hath our affections in his government
He hath our bowels in his rule and government, more than we ourselves have. We cannot of ourselves rule our grief, shame, sorrow, or such affections as these. The wifest man in the world cannot put off grief and sorrow when God will turn it upon his bowels, and make a man ashamed and confounded in himself. All the wit and policy in the world cannot fuppress those affections, for Christ rules our hearts. " The hearts of kings are in his hand as the rivers of water," as well as the hearts of ordinary persons.
If he set any thing upon the soul to afflict it and cast it down, it shall afflict it, if it be but a conceit, if he will take away the reins from the soul and leave it to its own passion, removing away its guard, for he by his fpirit guards our souls with peace by commanding tranquillity : fo that let him but leave it to itself, and it will tear itself afunder, as Achitophel, who being left to himself, did tear himself in pieces; Cain also being thus left, was disquieted, tormented, and wracked himself; so Judas in this case being divided in himself, you see what became of him. Let Christ but leave us to our own passion of sorrow, what will become of us but misery? He hath more rule therefore of our passions than we ourselves have, because we cannot rule them graciously, nor can we stay them when we would.
Use-- Therefore this should strike an awe in us of God, with a care to please him, for there is not the wiseft man in the world but if he remove his guard from his soul, and leave him to himself, if there were no devil in hell, yet he would make him his own tormentor and executioner; therefore the Apostle makes this sweet promife, Phil. iv. 7. He bids them pray to God, and the peace of God which passeth all understanding should keep their fouls, &c. so the word is in the original.
It is a great matter for the keeping of God's people, to have their fouls guarded.
Her Her bowels avere turned in her.
Here again, as the conclusion of all this, we seeing this estate of the church, may wonder at Christ's carriage towards her in this world. Christ is wonderful in his faints, and in his good. ness towards them; sometimes alluring them, as we see Christ the church here; wondrous in patience, notwithstanding their provocation of him; wondrous in his defertions; wondrous in leaving something behind him in desertions. Those that are his, he will not leave without grace, whereby they shall seek him again. Nay, the falling out of lovers shall be the renewing of fresh and new love, more constant than the former was. Thus our blessed Saviour goes beyond us in our deserts, taking advantage even of our security, for our greater good, making all work for good in the issue, which shall end in a more near and close communion between Christ. and his church than ever before. Carnal men feel not these changes, ebbings, and flowings; they are not acquainted with God's forsakings; Indeed their whole life is nothing but a forsaking of God, and God's forsaking of them, who gives them outward comforts, peace and friends in the world, wherein they folace themselves; but for inward communion with him, any strength to holy duties, or against fin, or to be instruments for God's 'honour and service, to do any good, they are careless, for they live here to serve their own turns, leaving their state and inheritance behind them. The scripture faith, “ They have no changes, therefore they fear not God," and so they go down to hell quietly and securely. Oh but it is otherwise with God's children, they are toffed up and down, God will not suffer them to prosper, or live long in a fecure, drowsy, finful state, the continuance wherein is a fearful evidence that such a one has yet had no saving grace, nor that he yet belongs to God, seeing Christ hates such an estate, and will not suffer his to be long therein, but will shift and remove them from vessel to vefsel, from condition to condition, till he have wrought in them that disposition of soul that they shall regard and love him more and more, and have nearer and nearer communion with him.
CANTICLES v. 6. I opened to my Beloved, but my Beloved had withdrawn himself, and
was gone : My soul failed when be spake : I sought him, but could not find him; I called bim, but he gave no answer. THUS
HUS we see that the life of a christian is trouble upon trouble, as wave upon wave.
God will not fuffer us to rest in security, but one way or other he will fire us out of our lurking holes, and make us to run after him. How much better were it for us, then, to do our works chearfully and joyfully, so to run as we may obtain, than to be thus hurried up and down, and, through our own default, coming into desertions, and there receiving rebukes and blows, and delays, ere we have peace again, as it fell out with the church in the sequel ? for this text is but the beginning of her seeming misery. The watchmen, after this, found her and wounded her, &c. But heaven is more worth than all, now that her affections are set on fire; from thence she bestirs herself, is resolute to find out her beloved, whom the highly values above all this world. How her affections were stirred by Christ's putting in his finger at the hole of the door, we have heard. Now follows her action thereupon ; for here is rifing, opening, seeking, calling and enquiring after Christ.
Action follows affection. After her bowels are moved, she ariseth and openeth. From whence we may further obferve, that where truth of affection is, it will discover itself in the outward man, one way or other. If there be any affection of love and piety to God, there will be eyes lift up, knees bended down, and hands stretched forth to heaven. If there be any grief for fin, there will be the face dejected, the eyes looking down, some expression or other. If there be a defire, there will be a making forth to the thing defired; for the outward man is commanded by the inward, which hath a kind of sovereign commanding power over it, and fays, Do this, and it doth it ; speak this, and it speaks it. Therefore, those whose courses of life are not gracious, their affections and their hearts are not good; for where the affections are good, the actions will be suitable. Her bowels were moved in her, and presently the thews the truth of her af. fection, in that she maketh after him.
1. Her soul failed when he spake. & 2. She makes after him. " My soul failed when he spake, I fought him, but I could not find him.”_Of Christ's withdrawing himself we spake in general before, wherefore we will leave that and proceed.
My soul failed when be spake. That is, her soul failed when she remembered what he had spoke, when he stood at the door, and faid, “ Open to me, my fifter, my love, my dove, my undefiled, for my head is wet with the dew,' &c. Now when God's spirit had wrought upon her, then she remembered what Christ had said. All those tweet al. lurements were effectual now unto her, especially when she saw that after those sweet allurements Christ had withdrawn himself; for that is the meaning of these words, “My soul failed when he fpake unto me.” He did not speak now, but her soul failed after he spake ; (for so it should be read) that is, after she remembered his speech to her; for now when she opened, he was not there, therefore he could not speak to her.
Observ.-The word of Christ, howsoever for the present it be not effectual, yet afterwards it will be in the remembrance of it. To those that are gracious, it will be effectual, when the Holy Ghost comes to seal it further upon their heart. Christ (pake many things to his disciples which they forgot ; but when afterwards the Holy Ghoft, the comforter, was come, his office was, to bring all things to their remembrance that they had forgotten before. The Holy Ghost taught them not new things, but brought former things to their remembrance ; for God will make the word effectual at one time or other. Perhaps the word we hear is not effectual for the present; it may afterwards, many years after, when God awakes our consciences.
And as this is true of God's children, the feed now sown in them perhaps will not grow up till many years after: so it is true, also, of those that are not God's children, they think they shall never hear again of those things they hear. Perhaps they will take care, by sensuality, hardening of their hearts and thro' God's judgements withal concurring) that conscience shall not awake in this world; but it shall awake one day; for it is put into the heart to take God's part, and to witness against us for our sins. It shall have and perform its office hereafter, use it as you will now; and it will preach over those things again that you now hear. You shall hear again of them, but it shall be a