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bruised reed, and he would quench the smoaking flax. But then if he can't prevail here neither then in the third place, he would keep thee from sense of grace,in a sad and cloudy condition:be envie's thee one beam, one smile,one glance of his eye. But then if the riches of Gods goodness, do so run over, as that he will give thee a sense of his love; then fourthly, in the last place, he would have thee abuse his grace, and corn it into wantonness. But when God has planted thee in so happy a Paradise, don't thou liften to the whisperiogs of the Serpent. Thou that art sealed by the Holy Spirit, don't attend to a lying spirit. The devil that great plunderer of souls, would fain rob thee of thy Jewels, of thy joy, and peace, and happiness : but do thou hide them in a Chrift, in the wounds of a Saviour ; and take heed of blotting thine Evidences ; thou that art a Child of light, be nog reld by a Prince of darkness. If God give thee a sense of his love, walk more stedfastly, walk more accurately with thy God.
4. Times of Assurance they should be times of inviting and encouraging others in the wayes of grace. Thus the Pfalmift when his Cup overflowes, he calls others to taste of it, О taste and see bow gracious God is, that he may trust in him. Thou mayest now bring a good report upon the land of Canaan, thou mayet shew them the goodly fruits of the land, that were cut down at the brook Eleol. Men look upon Religion as a rigid and auftere thing, that comes to rob them of their joy,they must never have a smile' more, they must never have a Summers day after it; but chou canft tell them of the sweetness and deliciousness that is in the wayes of grace, thou canst assure them that all the wayes of wisdom are pleasantness; thou canst facisfie them, that grace does not mean to take away their joy, but only to refine it; that it does not mean to put out the light, but only to snuff it, that it may burn brighter and clearer. There's no such joy to be found in the wayes of sin, there's no such joy to be extraded from the Creature ; no,the sweetest and purest honey 'cis fuck'd from a flower of Paradise. Spiritual joy 'tis the moft clarifid joy ; 1, and 'cis folid and massy joy,beaten joy, like beaten gold, Aanovi naj opuchnetos.geogé. ), and 'uis lafting and durable
joy. All the Creatures make but a blaze. but the least fpark of this 'cis immortal; Can there be a sweeter Sabbatism of Spirits?
can there be a happiericomposedness of soul, chan to be provided for eternity; to be sure of heaven, of heppiness and glory;to have the revealiug of Gods love, the displaying of himself, the beaming out of his face? is not the least appearance of his love more worth than a world?are not the gleanings of spirituals better than the vintage of temporals ? Merhinks an afford Christian, like a Caleb or a Joshua, should be able & ready to confure all the false intelligence of the Spies, and to answer the weak obje&ions that they bring against the land of Promise. Awake 0 fluggard, and arise, there is no Lion in the way, or if it'be, it has honey in it: There are no sons of Anak, or if there be before Israel even these mountains (hall become a Plain.
5. Times of Aflurance they should be times of store, 'Ovx ain ries ewrecital Now treasure op beams,beap up light,ftore up hiddeo Manoa, To be sure, this Manna won't breed worms. Then thou mayest confidently applaud chyself, Soul, take thine ease, thou hast goods laid up for many years. Happy thou, if this night thy soul be taken from thee. Storing up of former evidences, is a good provision against a cloudy day.
6. Times of Afsurance should be times of breathing after full poffeffion. The espoused soul should long for the Nuptials, for the full consummation of its joy: and by a heavenly gradation it should ascend in its thoughts. Is there such sweetness in one cluster of Canaan, what shall there be in the full vintage ? is there such pleasapiness in a proípe&of the land upon the top of Mount Pisgah, what happiness shall there be in enjoyment of the land is there such glory in a beam of Gods face, what shall there be in an eternal Sun-Shine ? is there such a sparkling luftre in the white Stone, what then shall there be in all those pearls that garnish the foundations, and make up the gates of the New Jerusalem ? is there so much in the preface of glory, what shall there be in the inlargements and amplifications of it? is there so much in the Ænigma, what is there in the explicatien? can you see so much beauty in happiness, when her mask is on, how glorious then will she appear when she is unveila? does the soul Ging so sweetly in a Cage of clay, what melody think you, shall it then make when 'tis let loose to all Exeroicy
We now come to wind up all in a word of Application.
men of the world disrelish it: the more bright and shining it is, the more offensive to their eyes. The more orient the Pearl,the more do they trample upon it. Evangelical discoveries meet with the fiercelt oppositions.
The Serpent will be fare to wind into Paradise;and the feed of the Serpent ever knew how to fill ve. nemous and malignant consequences, out of sweet and flowery truche. 'Tis the devils work to imprison all truth, but the nobler and more precious truths moft be sure to be put in the lowe eft and darkeft dungeons. As here now, Afsurance of salvation Pris the very Crown and joy of a Chriftian; the Flos lactis the Cream of that 'Adner gaacs, that is to nourish souls; 'cis the budding and blossoming of happiness, the ancedating of het ven, the Prepoffeffion of glory; 'tis the very Pinacle of the Temple, the pledyror ; how fain would he throw Chriftians, from thence? how would he blaft glory in the bud ? how fain would be pull down the fububrs of the New Jerusalem? how would he top all the fresh springs that are in these how would he seal op the luscious influences of the Pleiades? how fain would ke Lycurgus like, cut up all the vines of Canaan, that no Spy might ever bring one Clufter of the Land of Promise? He him fell muft feed upon nothing bor duft, and how does he envy them their hidden Manna? That Son of the morning is now bound in chains of darknels, and how does he envy chem cheir light and liberty ? how fain would be clood and eclipse their Sun,and stop it in its race? nay, let it ten degrees backward?How does he envy them one beam of Gods face, a grape of Canaan One smile, one glance of Gods eye? Now he could find out no fitter inftrument to rob Chriftians of their joy, than Antichrift shat grand enemy of the Church, that spiritual Nero, that Ty. rant of souls, that vice. Beelzebub, that Prince of darkness chas rules in the children of disobedience. He rules chem, and yet they are children of disobedience for all that. This Befian Empire, (for so 'cis ftil'd in the Revelation, ) delights only in Cenlu. als,and Atrikes at spiricuals. It strikes at the virals of Religion, ad the power and essence of godliness. Here are the men chat must cry down Affurance under the names of presumption, security, an heap of Enthusiasmes, as if this hidden Manna would breed all these worms. If men do but dip in the honey-comb, and take some of these voluntary drops that sweat from it freely, of
their own accord, as Saul told Jonathan, they must certainly die for it.. O this were a way to open their eyes, as it did Jonathans. They are loth to let men taste and see how gracious God is, left they might trust in him.
There are therefore iwo things which I shall here endeavour by way of Application .
Firí, to give you a brief discovery of those grounds that neceflicate the adversaries of this truth to deny Assurance.
Secondly, to rake off that vain and frivolour cavil, that affua rance is a Principle of Libercinism, and that if men be once afa sur'd of their salvation, they may then do what they lift.
And frft for the grounds that make them deny Assurance, And though i mighc here shew at large, that all Poferý, the Quintessence of ic is extraded out of guesses and conje&ures their whole Religion is but a bundle of uncertainties,a rude heap of contingencies, built upon thoughts of others, upon the intenlions of a Priest; yet I shall let that pals now, and give you there four confiderations that prevail wich them to deny Alue rance.
1. They lay too much ftress upon good works. Now Affurance is too goodly a ftru&ure to be built upon such a foundati. on. They pari Atakes between grace and merit, and so leave the foulin a lottering condition. There is fo much pride bound up in the Spirits of men, as that they are Inchio depend upon anothe: for their happines, they would have an innate and domellick happiness within themselves. But alas, self-bottomings are weak and uncertain, and they that build upon their own good meanings, and their good wishes and good' refoluti ons, upon their good endeavours & good works, when they have done all, they have built bur the house of the spider. These that spin salvation out of their own bowels, their hope kris but as a Spiders web. And there are many chat neither thus (pin nor toile; and yet I say unto you, that a Pharisee in all his glory is nos clorhid like one of these. If men do but enquire, and look a little to she ebbings and flowings of their own spirits, to the waxing and waiting of their own performances: sure they will presently acknowledge, that they can't fetch a Plerophory out of these. Believe it, the soul can't anchor upon a wavc, or upon its own Au&uating motions. So that 'tis a peice of ingenui.
ty in them, to tell men, that whileft they build upon the fand, they can have no great security that their house will laft long: they may safely say of the Spider; that it can have no certainty that its house thall stand. Whileft they lean upon a reed wee'l al. low them to question whether it won't break or no; nay, if they please, they may very well question whether it won't pierce them through. They can be sure of nothing unless they be sure of ruine. Assurance cannot be founded in a bubble, in a creature, for the very essence of a creature is doubtful and wavering, it must be built upon an immutable Entity, upon the free love of God in Chrift, upon his royal word and oath, the sure "exprelfions of his mind and love, upon the witness of the Holy Ghoft , the seal of God himself
. Here the foul may reft,and lean, and quietit self, for with God there is no variablenela nor shadow of turning. The creature is all hadow and vanity, "tis filia noctis ; like Jonah's gourd, man may fit under its shadow for a while , but it soon decayes and dies. All its certainty is in dependance upon its God. A creature, if like a fingle drop left to it self it spends and wastes it self presently: but if like a drop in the fountain and Ocean of Being, it has abundance of security. No Pafery to the soul, but in the arms of Chrift, in the embraces of a Saviour. No reft to a Dove-like spirit, but in the “Ark of the Covenant, and there's the pot of hidden Marina. You know that dying Bellarmine was said to acknowledge, that the nearest way to Affurance," was only to rest upon the free Grace of God in Chrift. And they that cry down duties so much, if they would mean no more than this, that men must not trust in them, nor make Chrifts of them, nor Saviours of them, ( as they use to express it) wee'l easily grant them this if they'l be content with it.
2. They take away that clasping and closing power of faith ir felf, by which it should sweetly and frongly embrace its own obje&. They would have the soul embrace clouds and dwell in generals; they'resolve all the sweetness and preciousness of the Gospel; either into this Universal
, Whosoever believes thall be saved; or elle, which is all one, into this conditional, if thou believest, thou shalt be saved. Now this is so farre froni assurance, as that the Devils chemselves do thus believe and yet tremble. The thirfty soul may know that there is a founcáin , but it must not presume to know that ever it shall taft of it. ihe wounded