Imatges de pÓgina

are but the lips of a man, but the least of God's mercies is the mercy of God.

3. The Lord calleth all, even those finners who are heavy laden with fios to come unto him, Come unto me all je that labour and are heavy laden, Matth. xi. 28. Is Bot this enough to rouze and raise up thy heart from sinkiog? Rememb r what was said to Bartimeus the blind man, fitting by the water fide at Jericho, Be of good comfort, arise, he calletb thee, Mark x. 49. So chear up thy heavy heart with this fweet balsam; lift up thy hands which hang down, and thy koees which are weak, and make straight steps with thy feet, even unto the throne of grace, behold he calleth, 9 d. Poor soul, thou that complainest thy fia is great come hither, and I will ease thee of it; let me bear thy cares, and thou shaft bear my comfort; give me thy fias, and I will give thee my righteousness. Heavy hearts whom this call of Christ cannot revive.

4. Thy sins indeed are great, and very great; and if ever the Holy Ghost do but open thine eyes, he will make thee see it: But yet they are not so great as that therefore they cannot be forgiven; that is not the voice of the Holy Spirit, but of him who is the father of lies: If thy fios were a thousand thousand times greater than they are, and if thou shouldst add to them the fins of Cain and Judas, and all the reproba es in the world, doubtless they would ke a great heap, yet lay this huge heap before infinite pardoning grace, and there will be no comparison; what fay. cft thou? that God either cannot, or will not pardon thee. or that never fuch a finger as thyself was pardoned? O do not limit the holy One of Israel! have no low thoughts of God's love, which, faith the apostle, palseth all under: ftanding, Eph. ii. 19. Suppose the like finner to thyself was never pardoned, Behold, saith the Lord, I will do a

new thing, now it shall spring forth, fhall ye not know it? I will make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in

the desart-10 give drink to my people, my chofen: this • people have I formed for myself, they hall flew forth

my praise.' It is the same with that promife, • He will abundantly pardon, or he will multiply to pardon,' lsa. 17.7. 9.d. I'll drop mercy with your lip, and spend all I

have rather than it should be faid, My good is overcome of

your evil.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

But how may I know the false accusations of Satan from - the convictions of God's own Spirit? for both tell me my : fios are great, and very great. I answer, When they a

fperse God, and to charge the foul, that withal they reflect on God's goodness, and mercy, and love, and the riches of his grace, then are they not of the holy Spirit, but of the evil spirit. Oh mark this sign! if thy fios are lo represented to thee, as exceeding the greatness of God's mer. cy, and thou crieft with Cain, My iniquity is greater than can be forgiven, here the devil opens himself. Mr. GurDal (weetly observes, The holy Spirit is Christ's spokesą

man to commend him ta fouls, and to wope fingers to em. e brace the grace of the gospel, and can such words drop

from his facred lips as thould break the match, and fink Chrift's esteem in the thoughts of the creature? You may easily know where this is miated, when you hear one commend another for a wife and a good man, but at last comes in with a but that dasheth all; you will think he is 'po fricod to the man, but some fly enemy, that by seem. Sing to commend, desire to disgrace the more. Thus

when you find God represented to you as merciful, graci. ous, but not to such great finners; to have power and Strength, but not able to save such as you are, you may say, Avaunt Satan, thy speech bewrayeth thee.

Of Satan's Affaults upon sense of Mifery.
HE holy Spirit that convinceth of fin, in the next

place works fear, or fenfe of misery. Thus Paul trembled, and the goaler trembled. As when a map fees danger near and imminent, he naturally fears; so when the Spirit presents a man's danger, death, and wrath even at the door, he begins then to fear, re have not received, feith the apostle, the spirit of bondage again to fear, Rom. viii. 15. this plainly intimates that once they had received it: The Spirit pursues fouls whom he purposes for heaven with strong fears, till proud man falls down before God crying, and saying, Oh I am undone! Oh that I had ne ver been born! Sr. Now in this case Satan, 'and


either allays thefe fears with worldly comforts, in fomo counterfeit claim, or else he works further and deeper fears than the Holy Ghoft himself alone intended.

For the first; fometimes he allays these fears with world. ly comforts, or fome counterfeit claim of this I shall speak when I come to that other step of seeking for comfort. Saran hath his comforters, tho' che Lord knows they are miserable comforters all.

For the second; fometimes he aggravates fears, and to that purpose he tells men of God's eternal wrath, and of God's eternal rejection, and that God will never be merçiful, and so he layeth them lower, and calls them into a further fear and bondage than the Holy Gholt is cause of Yea, devils now combine and say as David's enemies faid id his distress, What! would these souls escape our clutches? Come, let us now take them, for God hath forsaker them; let us now devour them, and swallow them up with fear and despair. As God says of those enemies of his church,

I was but a little displeased, and they belped forward the af. fliflion, Zech. i. 15. So when the Spirit works fear, in ore der to converfion, Satan watcheth his opportunity, and drives on that fear to utter despair.

It is a question how Satan can work this fear on the conscience, which is usually attributed to God's Spirit? but the answer is given by Dr. Goodwin in his Child of Light, thus,

1. That Satan cappot immediately wound the conscience; for as no creature can shed abroad God's love, and

soul to tafte of the sweetoefs of it, so do crea. ture can make impressions of God's wiath upon the copície ence, but only God himself, or the Spirit of God imme diately. But,

2. Satan can do it upon the conscience mediately, and that in these several respects.

1. When the Holy Ghost kad lah'd and whip'd the conscience, and made it tender, and fetch'd off the skin, then Satan can fret it more and more, and so be still rubu bing upon the loše by his horrid suggestions and falle fears cast in 2. From rcrewing the remembrance of these terror im


caufe a poor

preffed by the Spirit, he can amaze the foul afreth więta tear of worse.

3. He can bring home all the threatnings that are thundred forth ia the word against hypocrites, and men oprem generate, and discharge them all with inuch violence and noise upon the poor doubting foul.

4. He can stir up the passions of fear, and grief, and trembling of spirit; he is the prince of the airy part of the little world in man, as well as of that elementary region in the great world, and so can raise unnatural forms and vapours that shall darken reason, and cause such thunder and lightings, as fhall børn all into a black confusion, such as if hell and soul would presently come together. Aod this he doth more than simply morally, i. ę: by a bare propounding such objects as shall move them, (which mica only can do) but further also physically; by tirring such humours in the body which such paflions do act and Nir in; and when he hath thus diftempered and disordered all jo a map and put a man to such dispositions of fears, then he comes with his suggestions, and 1peaks gothing but of wrath and terrors; and then looks as when a man's choler is op, every small thing provokes him, so gow when bis fear is excited, every suggestion, every surmise doth lrike the soul thra'.and thro' with horrid fears. And thus tho' not immediately, yet thro' the means of these mists, and va. pours, and fogs raised, which environ and derken this fun, be works upon the conscience.

But what means Satan thus to fill the conscience with fears? I answer, His end is especially double,

1. To bring the soul to despair of eternal life. 2. To bring the body to some violent temporary death; in both which, if he can prevail, then he makes sure to hurry the whole man into the torments of hell. We may imagiqe him to bespeak the soul in his horrid hellish language, Wooldt thou now, vile wretch, turn unto God, boping to be res ceived to grace and mercy? why, assure thyself it is 100, late; are not thy fios in number numberless, and in their quality and nature most heinous and contagious ? and has thou not continued in this thy rebellion a long, a very long time? bath not Christ often called, and yet thou


wouldt oot come? hath he not graciou Ay offered and tendered himself to thee, but thou saidft he should not reigo over thee? and halt thou not ferved me and obeyed me all the days of thy life? now therefore the day of lalvation is gone, the acceptable time is past and never to be recalled; thou mayft with Efau seek repentance with tears, but thou shalt never find it no more than Elau did: Moreover, add the consideration of thy fias, the remem. brance of God's justice, the terrible curse of the law, the fearful torments of hell prepared for fingers, amongst which number thou art one of the chief. Come do not Aatter thyself with hope of mercy, but rather expect those feara ful judgments, and endlols torments which are due uoto thee for thy rebellions.

Thus Satan labours to bring a poor finner to deep despair, and to fill his conscience with horror and fear, which if he can accomplich, he rests not there, but like a cruel coward who cao never be quiet till he see the death of his enemy, he then persuades to seek some case of his present torments, by imbroiog his hands in his own blood, and putting himself to some violent death. This is fad, yet fome are brought to this, the Lord kpows, I will instance in Done but Caio and Judas, of whom the former desperate ly blasphemed the mercy of God, and the other desperately laid violent hands on himself, He hanged himself, and falling headlong, be burst afunder in the midit, and his bowels gufbed out, Matth. xxvii. 5. Acts i, 18.

SE C T. V.
Of the Duties that concern Souls in this case.

HE duties, or defeature, or soul's encounter in this T

cale must be suitable to Satan's alfaults: And there fore,

1. To that of despair: Consider, 1. As to fin. 2. As to God's justice. 3. As to the law. 4. As to hell.

1. As to lia, consider, that no fin, though never lo great, should be a cause to move thee to despair. Whack would Satan persuade thee, because thou hast been so great and prodigious a fioner, therefore to despair? Retort this argument upon himtelf, and tell him that every thing by which he would persuade thee to despair, doth much more


« AnteriorContinua »