Imatges de pÓgina
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ture, hearing of the word, praying and meditating, and other duties, as if they were the causes that should bring thee unhappily to this fearful end? And is it a small matter to give occasion to wicked men to blafpheme God's truth, or to expose that religion which thou profeffeft, ta their flanders and calympiations? Oh far be it from thee! Now the good Lord preveot this! Let it pot be told in "Gath, nor published in the streets of Askelon, left the

daugisters of the Philistines rejoice, and of the uncir• canciled triumph,'

5. Agaioft thy owa felf, by making thee guilty of a molt horrible lio, and also obnoxious to moft grievous puoihmçats for lip: Self-murder is a milhapen mootter, compounded of many fias: As, 1. Of hellish pride, which luffers thee ogt to sloop under God's afflictiog hand. Of impatiency, whereby thou murmurest and repineft against God's provideuccs. 3. Of despair, whereby thou caftelt away all hopes of mercy, and miferably becomeft thy own butcher and haogmap: But oh the fearful plagues

follow after this on! not only a temporary death, but immediately after death thou sendest thy soul bleediog to the dreadful tribunal of the ever living God, the moft certain and sure revenger of all bloodshed; and what follows this but damnation ? A sad, business, to be so impatient of the heat of the (no, as for ease to leap into the fire: of hell: I will not, I dare not judge thus of them, who thro' the abundance of melancholy

are distracted of their wits, or who being terrified with Satan's temptations, do rup headłong into this sin, oot knowing what to do; but if thon art in thy right mind, and upon settled purpose, and willing choice, and serious deliberation, fhalt murder thyself, that thou mayst be freed from some miseries, los-. ses or disgraces which thou wilt oot outlive, I profess.co thee in the word of Christ, thy foal is in danger of heil fire; and therefore thou hadít need to pray, Lord, lead me oot into temptation, but deliver me from evil.

By this time we may difcern the difference betwixt the holy Spirit, add the evil spirit's workings; both bring into, and keep lovis under bondage, only the bondage of the holy Spirit is mitigated by the conjunction of hope,

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and works towards a deliverance, but the bondage of Sa. tan excludes all hope, or poffibility in the foul's apprehen. sion of ever being removed. Again, the bondage or fears of the holy Spirit are destinated for conversion, they are not penal only, but medicinal also; they are a fort of God's rods by which he brings men within the bonds of the covenant, and makes them to enquite what they shall do to be saved; but the bondage, fears and horrors which Satan fets home on fouls, are merely for destruction, they are not medicinal, but only penal.

Obje&t. Yea, but my fpirit of boodage is hellish and defa perate; sometimes I am apt to blaspheme the mercy of God as not able to pardon me, and out of desperate horror of fpirit to chufe trángling, or any thing, that I might be put out of my present terrors, and know the worst of my condition: - And is there, or can there be any thing of God's Spirit ia fuch a dismal bondage as mine is?

This is Mr. Ford's objection, and I have known it the real objection of many a fotl; but he answers, No doubt these fearful suggestions and injections proceed from the priace of darkness emanative, they are misted in hell, for they bear his image and superscription, but tlie Spirit of God hathi ao hatid ini them divers times, dispositive, by way of disposal and madagement; and that the poor soul may easily see, is that he hath not utterly left him to himself, but hath preserved him maný a time from executing those horrid temptations, and gratifying Satan by felf.deAraction. Come ther, and bear up poor soul, thiok with thyfelf, it the Spirit of God would have given thee over to Satan, why not sooner? And if he hath preserved thee hitherto, why may he not longer? Whilst thou livelt under the meanis of grace, there is hope; he that is above ground is in light of beaven: see and acknowlege the gracious conduct of the holy Spirit hitherto, and do not by too long adventuring to parley with Satan, drive the Holy Ghost from thee.

SECT. VI.
Of Satan's Assaults upon forrow for fin.
HE next work of the Spirit is forrow for fin; it is God's
promise, I will take away the ftony heart out of your

fles flella, and I will give you an heart of fielb, Ezek, xxxvi. 26. that is to say, a soft heart, a pliable heart; the Spirit of God works on the affections, and melts them into godly forrow for fin, which is all one with an heart of flesh here promised.

Now herein Satan counter-works, and either keeps the heart as long as he can from mourning for fin, or if that will not be, thep he labours might and main to keep the conscience continually on the rack: And I fall speak to both these.

1. Satan is exceedingly, industrious to keep the heart resolutely stubborn and hard. Well he kpows, chat if once a poor soul bruised with the burden of fia, into tears of godly sorrow, and peniteat softness, shall but dy into the borom of Christ Jesus bleeding upon the cross, it will de. prive him of all right and interest unto that soul for ever, and therefore he labours to keep it as long a he can from maurning for fin; yea, such a stirrer is he against true sorrow, that indeed most know not what it means; or if the heart begins to be wrought upon by the word, he raises all poffible opposition against its yielding: And oh the loathness of souls to leave Satan's service! Oh the with.. standiąg of the word, ministry, motions of the Spirit, and all other means to lead souls out of hell into the glorious liberty of the sons of God! But above all, oh the hardness of meas hearts! Oh the difficulty of a minister's duty to prick a Rony heart to the quick, to make a rock to weep: and tremble! either muft God bare his own arm, and

put to his own strength, power and efficacy, or it will never, be done.

2. And if indeed, God's merciful violence shall conquer souls, and they begin to melt kindly under fin, then Satan labours on the other side, that such may be swallowed up with over much forrow: Was-not this the case of the incestuous Corinthian? No question the sentence of excommunication, and his delivering up to Satan, wrought deeply upon him, so that Paul was faia to wrte in his second epille, that they should release him of his censure, receive him into the church, and minister a word of comfort to him, left he were swallowed up with over-much forrow,

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2 Cor. ii. 7. This is another of Satan's depths; when god16 forrow is once on foot in an afflicted soul, very prou it is to feed still on tears: When the flood-gates of the heart are but once opened, it is Satan's defire that they Should run for ever; aod in this case what ado is there, and what a hard måtter it is to be persuaded of God's mercy and to apply the promises : Oh how the devil interposes with all his crael policy, and curfed contradiction! He the objects, and urges to the utmost, heinoufaefs of our fios, the littlegess of our forrow, together with the great disproportion betwixt our heinous fins and fittle forrow, the nomber'of our fias, and fewness of our tears.

SEC1'. * VII.
Of the Duties that concern us in this Refpect.

HE duties of wrestling must fill be suitable to Satan's T

assaults. So then, 1. Tó that'assault of keeping the heart from mourning for fin. Consider, .

1. Thy heart hath been the fountain whence all the fil.. thy thoughts, raging passions, wicked purposes, rotten fpeeches, rebellious actions have sprong and issued out,

then great reason halt thou to make that heart of thine 3 · fountain of godly forrow, of penitent téars, of mourning

and lameating, of bleeding, and bewailing over all thy fas.

2. If Christ Jesus open a fountain of his own dear warm heart's blood for lins and for uncleanness; surely thou art a cursed wretch, and cruel enemy to thy soul's comfort, if thou dost not endeavour to keep open in thy heart a counter-wall, as it were, of weeping over him whom thou haft pierced, and for those fins which have put the son of God to death? What? Mall the precious heart of God's owo Són fall: arunder in his breast, like drops of water for thy fid's? And thall not thy sinful heart groan and figh as all? shall it not inourn and melt for the infinite abomioati. ons of thine own heart and life?

3If that heart of thine be not wounded, by the minikry of the word, while it is called to day, it will and must hereafter be filled with that horror which would built a thousand hearts to think upon it. This was Chrift's threat, F 3

WO,

Wo be unta you that laugh now, for ye fall wail and weep, Luke vi. 25. There is a weeping of despair in hell; There fəall be weeping and gnafoing of teeth, Mat. xxü. 13. Ei, ther therefore now make thy heart the subject of godly forrow, or as fure as thy heart is in thy body, it will hereafter become the object upon which the fierce wrath of God, and fiercelt torments in hell shall be exercised and executed with extremity and everlastingness.

4. In case of outward troubles, as loffes, crosses, dif graces, death of friends, or the like,' thou canst take on extremely; and is not fio noregrievous than any of these? If all outward misèries require one tear, the least fia of the foul may justly challenge a whole torrent, if the death of thy friend, or of thy fon deserve a figh, well may the death of thy foul challenge the lat drop of thy deareft beart blood.

5. A truly broken heart gets a title, right and interest to all the purchases of Christ's passion, all the promises of life, and all the pleasures in heaven; yea, in this way thou halt bring down the great majesty of heaven, to dwell in thy heart, as in a royal throne, chair of estate, and feat of eternity: Thus faith the high and lofty one, thar inha

bitèth eternity, whose name is holy, I dwell in the high and holy place, with him allo that is of an humble and

contrite {pirit, to revive the spirits of the humble, and to « revive the hearts of the codurite ones, Isa. lvii, 25.

6. God hath appointed especial fovereiga means for the softning of hearts: If thou sayest, what lovereigo means? I answer,

1. The word; . Is not my word like a fire, faith God, * and like to hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?' Jer. xxiii, 29. An hammer it is that breaks and thus doth the lew break our hearts, by shewing us the terrors thereof; a fire it is that melts, and thus doth the gospel melt our hearts, by revealing to us the mercy of God in Chrift; Oh, will a fool fay, Hath the great God in heaven and earth feat Chrilt into the world for ne? 'hath he left angels (now devils) and many thousands of men to chufe me? whose heart will not melt that is warmed with thì love of God?

2. Prager;

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