Imatges de pàgina
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manage bodily evils, which is called Fear; though even in these there may be an extreme, a fear where no fear is, Psal. liii. 5. which is there arcribed to the wicked, and elsewhere threatened as a judgment, Lev. xxvi. 36. The sound of a shaken leaf Jhall chase them, Deut. xxviii. 65. The Lord fall give thee a trembling heart. There is a pru dent man who foreseeth the evil, aud hideth himself, Prov. xxii. 3. But there are also many fools that hide themselves, though they see no evil. But I am not speaking of these, there is a vast difference between Care and Fear. By Fear, I mean thať trembling, Auctuating, tormenting passion, that doth not suffer the heart to be at relt, but doth, as it were, unhinge it, and loosen the joints of the soul, whether it break out into expressions or

It clouds the understanding, unsettles the will, disordereth the affections, confounds the memory, and is like an earthquake in the soul, taking it off from its own basis, destroying the consistency of it, and hurling all the faculties into confufion. This, whether it break out into any unseemly acts or no, (which commonly it doth) is itself an unseemly temper for a wise man, much more for a godly. I might speak as a philosopher, and shew how unbecoming a man, and how destructive to him this passion is; so much, that whilst it doth predominate, it almost robs him of that which is his greatest glory, even reason itself, But, to say no worse of it, it is very opposite, if not contrary to that noble grace of faith, whereby the steady loul resteth and lodgeth in the arms of God, as in its centre. But to speak to the thing in hand; what an unseemly passion is this ! We

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would have the world to believe that we have laid up our happiness in God, and that we are troubled that we are so far from him ; and yet we are afraid lest that thould be taken out of the way that keeps us at a distance from him : we flatter ourselves that we are in haste for heaven, and yet we are dreadfully afraid left our rubs should be taken out of the way. How do these things hang together? Are we persuaded, that if this earthly house of our tabernacle were taken down, we have a building not made with hands, eternal in the heavens? If not, why do we yet call ourselves Christians? But I think I may take it for granted we are all fo persuaded; and if so, why are we so afraid it should be taken down! I am loth to speak what I think ; yet methinks the entire and ardent love which we either do bear, or ought to bear to the blessed God, and union and communion with him, should cast out this fear. This is suitable to fcripture, 1 John iv. 8. I will not dispute how far sinful fear for the body may carry a godly soul; the further, the worse,' I am sure : but if any will needs be so indulgent to his own passions, and so much an enemy to his own peace, as to encourage himself to fear (which is a strange thing) from the example of Abraham, denying his wife; or Peter, denying his Lord; let him compare the issue, and then let me fee whether he dare go and do likewise : but if that will not fright you from fear, chew upon these two considerations.

1. I pray you seriously dispute the matter with yourselves, how far fear of fickness and death may consist with that ardent thirst after union

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and perfect communion with the blessed God, with which we ought to be poffeft.

2. Dispute seriously how far it can stand with the sincerity of a christian. God hath not left us in the dark, as to this matter. I will turn you to a text or two, which methinks, should strike cold to all slavish trembling professors, Prov. xxviii. 1. Job xv. 20. 21. The wicked travelleth with pain all his days, a dreadful found is in his ears: They are the words of Eliphaz indeed, but they agree with the words of God himself, Ija. xxxiii

. 14. The sinners in Sion are afraid, fearfulness bath surprized the hypocrites : when I read over these texts, I cannot but pray, and cry, O my soul, come not you into the number of the wicked, and be not united into the assembly of hypocrites !

2. Take heed of fondness of the body; of a double act of it, priding, pampering.

Take heed you pride not your felves in any excellencies of the body. Doth this mortal body keep us at a distance from our God? Do we well then to love that which keeps us from that which is most lovely? Why do we stand fondly gazing upon that which keeps us from the blessed fight of God? If you

ask
me,
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ever any man hate his own flesh? I will ask you again, did ever any wise man love his own Aesh above him that made it? Did ever any godly soul love his · body in opposition to his God? Oh, but it is a comely body! and what is a beautiful body, but a fair prison? A silver twist, or a clog of gold, can as really hinder the flight of a bird, and forestal her liberty, as a stone tied at her heels.

Nay,

1.

Nay, those very excellencies which you so much admire, are so much the greater hindrances. If we had learned that excellent lesson indeed, of enjoying all things only in God, then the several beauties and braveries of the body would be a help to our devotion; they would carry us up to an admiration and contemplation of that glorious and most excellent being, from whom they were communicated : Yo we might (in some fenfe) look into a glass, and behold the beauty of God. But alas! these coinmonly prove the greater snares : many

had been more beautiful within, had they been less beautiful without; more chaste, if less comely, many had been more peaceable, and more at peace too, if they had been less able to have quarrelled and fought. It was said of Galba, who was an ingenious man, but deformed, that his foul dwelt ill; but sure I am it might better have been so said of beautiful Abfalom, or Jezebel, whose bodies became a snare to their fouls. On the other hand, they that want a beauty in their bodies, will perhaps labour to find an excellency in their minds far beyond it; as the philosopher advised to look often into a glass, ut si deformis lis, corrigas formofitate morum, &c.

2. Take heed of pampering the body, of treating it too gently and delicately. Deny it nothing that may

fit it for the service of God and your souls, and allow it no more than may do that. Thy pampering is, 1. Unseemly : What, make a darling of that which keeps us from the Lord! Carry it gently, and delicately, and tenderly towards that, which, whilst we carry about with us, we cannot be happy! 2. Injurious: If you bring up this

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servant servant delicately from a child, you shall have him become your fon at length; yea, your master. If

you do by your bodies, as the fond 'king did by his son Adonijah, 1 Kings i. 6. never displease it, never reprove it, never deny it, it will do with you in time as he did, raise seditions in

your

soul. Go on and please, and pamper, and cocker your bodies, and it will come to this at length, that you must deny them nothing; you must give whatsoever a whining appetite will crave, go whither your gadding senses will carry you, and speak whatsoever wanton fancy will suggest. Doth not the body itself fet us at a sufficient distance from God? But we must estrange ourselves more from him by pleasuring it, spend the time that should be for God, in decking, trimming, adorning it! When

you cram this, you feed a bird that will pick out your eyes ; you nourish a traitor, when you gratify this Adonijah. In a word, is it not enough that we all carry fire in our bosoms, but we must also blow it up into a fame? Nay, my bretbren, do not fo foolishly.

methinks, by this time, I may venture upon an exhortation, by degrees at least.

1. Watch against the body. You have heard how the senses, appetite, and fancy become a snare to the soul's living unto, and conversing with God: now then, if you seriously design communion with heaven, if you place your happiness in the knowledge and enjoyment of that Supreme and Eternal Good, it becomes you to watch against all things that may distract or divert

you from it, or make you fall short of the glory of God. Men that live upon earthly designs, whose great

ambition

And now,

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