Imatges de pÓgina


parts of our walk; it reaches heart, lip, and life ; requires not only duty to be done, but done aright. And onless we have respect to all God's commandments, our obedience is not acceptable.

(2.) We have a full word for our light in our walk, by which we may take up what is sin, and what is duty, see how to steer our course in times of the greatest darkness : Psalm cxix. 105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” It is the star that is given to guide us through this world, and we should be much conversant with it.

(3.) We have a full covenant for provision in our way. It is an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure," 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. Whatever be our case, there is suitable provision in the covenant for it. There are in it precious promises to the saints in all conditions of life. Whatever storms and tempests may blow in the world, the saints may find something in the covenant to shelter them.

(4.) We have a full Christ to lean to. He is mighty to save. him there is both righteousness and strength.

(5.) There is a full weight of glory for reward; such as will fill soul and body even those of the most enlarged capacities. Shall wo not then follow him fully?

2. The Lord Christ, our leader, did not do the work of our salvation by halves, but fully. IIe obeyed the law fully, none of its commandments wanted their full duo of him. He suffered and paid tho debt fully, its threats and curses fell on him in full measure. And what would have become of us, if Christ had halved the work of our salvation ? Who would have done the rest ? Who would have satisfied for any of our sins, or made up for any deficiencies in our services ?

3. Our not following the Lord fully, makes the following him in any instance so difficult; and to follow him fully would be the high way to make religion easy. When tho Christian has one foot fised to the eartlı, it is no wonder than that he with dificulty mount upward. One lust unmortified is enough to mar all our duties, and make our progress in religion very irregular, and therefore difficult; whereas it would be a great ease if all came away together, Luko is. 59.

4. If we do not follow him fully, we will loso the reward of following him at all, in respect of eternal salvation, 2 John 8. Look to yourselves, that wo lose not these things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward : otherwise we will lose all the pains we have been at in religion. That in which we follow him not, will draw a black stroke throngh all in which we have followed him,

[merged small][ocr errors]

Lastly, Another motive is, if wo follow him not fally, we will share with them that have not followed him at all, in a fulness of wrath : Psalm cxxv. 5, “ As for such as turn aside unto their crooked ways, the Lord shall lead them forth with the workers of iniquity.” God will fill them with the wine of his wrath. He will “cut them in sunder, and appoint them their portion with unbelievers,” Luke xii. 46, as those who divided themselves betwixt tho Lord and their own lusts.



NUMB. xiv. 24, But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and

hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land wherсunto he went, and his sced shall possess it.

I now proceed to the consideration of

Doct. II. That they who would follow the Lord fully, must havo another spirit; another than the spirit of the world, another than their own spirit naturally is.

In attending to which, I shall,
I. Shortly point out, that it is another spirit.

II. Shew what that spirit is, which they who follow the Lord fully have, and must possess.-Illustrating, at tho same time, the nature and necessity of such a spirit.

III. Make some practical improvement.

I. I am shortly to point out, that it is another spirit which such possess.

This other spirit, which is so necessary to following the Lord fally, is understood, either of the Holy Spirit of God, who dwells in all the saints, Rom. viii. 9, or rather of a spirit sanctified by the IIoly Spirit, and raised above its natural spirit by the power of grace. Thus it seems here to be understood, though both amount to the same thing. Such a spirit may well be called another spirit. For,

1. It is another spirit than that which the world is possessed of, which is a mean and base spirit, influencing them to grovel on this earth. The world has what it calls a fine spirit. But even that does

Vol. IX.


but grasp at shadows, while the most excellent things are out of its view. But this is a spirit truly noble.

2. It is another spirit than the most refined hypocrites have. By the common operations of the Spirit, the spirit of hypocrites may be raised to act more nobly than before, but these change not the nature of a man's spirit, but only help it to act in a natural way to a better purpose; whereas this spirit raises it to gracious actings.

3. It is another spirit than what the saints had before they were sanctified. Another, not in substance, but in qualities. How does this other spirit make a man differ from himself? How doth it advance him to a higher sphere? It made a preaching Panl of a persecuting Saul. It endows a man with quite new principles, motions, ends, and aims, and elevates him to new measures for attaining the


II. I go on to show what that other spirit is which these who follow the Lord fully have and must possess.—Illustrating, at the same time, its nature and necessity. This spirit is,

1. A noble elevated spirit, aiming at high things, and is not satisfied with these with which the common herd of mankind are satisfied. Thus Caleb aimed at Canaan, Numb. xiii. 30, while the rest were for Egypt again, chap. xiv. 4. Such another spirit have the saints, Phil. iii. 14, “ They press forward toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Were a beggar's child adopted by a prince, he would change his spirit with his lot, and aim at things suitable to his new quality. Thus the children of God rise in their aims and desigos, will not be content with the creatures, but with God himself ; not with earth, but heaven, not the favour of men, but of God, not with gold, but grace; for they have another spirit, which can be content with nothing less. They have high projects, not bounded within the limits of this narrow world, but aiming at a greater conquest. Now, such a spirit they must have that would follow the Lord fully.--For, if less can satisfy, they will be content to take their portion on this side Jordan; they will exchange heaven for earth, and keep their grand prospect within the bounds of this world : Phil. iii. 19, “ Their God is their belly, and they mind earthly things;" and so will never follow the Lord fully, pay, they will leave him where they cannot get their carnal interest along with them, as Demas did.—Again, if they have not such a spirit, they will continue creeping on the earth, to get their food, as the beasts among their feet, and never follow the Lord in the way to true happiness. They will fall down before these three that are in the world : “ The last of the flesh, the last of the eye, and the pride of life," 1 John ii. 16. They will wrap themselves up in the world's profits, or drench themselves in its pleasures, and, like beggars, take care of their cottages, having no eye to a palace. Finally, if they have not such a spirit, they will never use means and endeavours suitable to such high aims. Noble spirits will proportion their endeavours to their high designs, while the mean spirit will go heartlessly about them. Gold is not got, like stones, beside every brook; nor is grace and glory got, but in the way of hearty exertions : Prov. ii. 3–5, “ Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding, if thou seekest for her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures, then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. 2. It is a spirit of faith, as the apostle speaks, 2 Cor. iv. 13,

“ We having the same spirit of faith.” Such a spirit liad Caleb, another than that of the rest, who could not enter because of unbelief. Such another spirit have the saints, while the rest of the world remain under the power of unbelief, and if they had it not, could never follow the Lord fully; for unbelief will soon trip up a man's heels in following the Lord : Heb. iii. 12, " Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of anbelief, in departing from the living God.” Now, Caleb's other spirit of faith thus discovered itself

(1.) It took part with the promise, and hung by it, while the unbelieving spirits of the rest sided with sense in opposition to it. Thus, while the unbelieving world, whatever they pretend, do never solidly venture their happiness on the promise, but seek it rather among those things which are the objects of sense--the saints havo another spirit, which rejects these, and by faith rolls the weight of its eternal happiness on the promise ; which spirit of faith realises to them the things which are not seen, Heb. xi. 1, affords a view of them, as matters of the greatest realities, and of the word of promise as sufficient security. Without this, none will ever follow the Lord fully ;-for, if that which is held out in the promise be not realised unto men, it will never make sensible things, the reality of which men certainly know, to yield and give place to it; for men will not quit certainty for hope. Were men as much persuaded of the reality of the things contained in the promise, as they are of gold, and other metals in the earth, think ye they would slight the promise and take up with the objects of their senses as their happiness? No. The truth is, all the glorious promises are to the world but fair words about fancies.--Again, if men cannot trust the promise as sufficient security, they will never venture their all upon it, but our all must be ventured upon it if we follow the Lord fully: 2 Sam. xxiii. 5, “ This is all my salvation, and all my desire.” We must glorify him by faith, hanging by his bare word. All for

another world inust be laid upon it, and often it comes to this, that all for this world must also be laid upon it.

(2.) This spirit of faith took up the land of promise, as a land well worth all the pains, toil, and hardships, which the conquering it would incur: Numb. xiv. 7, “It is an exceeding good land.” Thus, while unbelievers cannot see heaven worth the pains and toil that must be at the work, like the false spies, chap. xiii. 32," they bring up an evil report of it.” But the saints have another spirit of faith, which makes them see the glory of that land to be such as to deserve their utmost efforts and endeavours. “ Let us therefore labour,” say they, Heb. iv. 11, “ to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” Now, without such a spirit, men can never follow the Lord fully; because to work for nothing makes us extremely averse to engage. If the recompense of reward be not seen as sufficient to counterbalance all the pains, persons will never strive to enter into God's rest, nor take heaven by force, Heb. xi. 26. Whence do wo see, that men will strain every nerve for a little of the world, which they think worth the pains, who will not bow a knee to God for heaven? They will work eagerly, who pray very heavily and carelessly, because they think the one worth their pains, the other not.— Again, men are naturally very averse to spiritual endeavours, and if they see not something that will provoke the sluggard to run, they will not follow the Lord fully. There must be a glory seen by an eye of faith, to overcome this aversion. Thus Christ proposed the treasure to the man, Mark x. 21, but he saw it not, therefore he went away.-Farthier, no man can reach heaven with ease, the way to it lies up-hill. It will cost striving, wrestling, using violence, and the like. There are right eyes to be plucked out, that is bard; there are giant-like lusts to be mortified, who will adventure upon that? there is a combat, a fight to be maintained, in which the person must be a conqueror. Will ever men, then, follow the Lord fully, without such a spirit as by faith discerns heaven as worth all that pains ? Most men see it not: they think less may serye, for they want that other spirit, which accounts nothing too much here; and so, with Judas, they say, Why all this waste ?

(3.) This faith penetrates through all the difficulties which the unfaithful spies could not see through. Caleb's other spirit took the glass of the word of promise, and saw thereby how their numerous armies might be beaten, their high walls thrown down, the Anakims laid as low as ever they were high : Numb. xiv. 9, “ Only rebel ye not against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land, for they are bread for us; their defence is departed from them, and


« AnteriorContinua »