صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

before him, fuing out the pardon of them by the blood of his Son.

Some of the saints have made this their daily practice, and so have maintained their peace for many years together; and when they have come to die, have gloriously triumphed over death ; and have gone off the ftage with much comfort ; and so should we.

Fourthly, Would you indeed have all right? all in order in your souls for a dying hour? Then be true and faithful to your own consciences, that you may have thein for you, and not against you, both while you live, and when you die. Conscience (my beloved) is Christ's deputy or vicegerent in the soul; it is both a judge and a witness for God within us; it either accuses or excuses, acquits or condemns, Rom. 2. 15. And according as conscience is either for us, or against us; so we are either ready or not ready; prepared or not prepared for death and judgment : if we have the witness and judgment of our consciences for us, then have we boldness and comfort both in life and death ; then we can welcome death's approach to us; but if the witness and judgment of conscience be against us, then death cannot but be terrible to us :—This is our rejoicing (faith the apostle) the testimony of our consciences, that in fimplicity and Godly (mcerity,

not in fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, ne have had our conversation in the world, 2 Cor. 1. 12. And again : if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts, and knoweth all things ; but if our hearts condemn us not, then have we confidence towards God, 1 John 3. 21.

Oh my beloved, as a peace with God, fo a found and holy peace with a man's own conscience (that is to say, to have the witness and judgment of a man's own conscience for him and not against him) is highly requisite for a right disposing and preparing of us for a dying hour. As ever, therefore, you would have all ready and in order against such an hour, mind this, and look after this ; be sure you carry it so to your own consciences, as that you may have them always for you, and not against you, when you come to die. In order to which, mind these two things.

First, Labour to get your consciences well enlightened and informed, and be much with God in prayer; in order thereto, beg and implore God for a true and faithful conscience, a conscience that will bear a true and faithful witness in your souls, and that will pass a right judgment upon things, both in your state and actions. In Heb. 10. 21. we read of a true heart or a true consciencce, that is, a conscience rightly informed, a conscience that bears a true and faithful witness, and that passeth a true and faithful judgment upon things: fuch a conscience should we beg of God, and labour by all means possible to attain unto.

Oh, my beloved, it is a dangerous thing to have an erroneous conscience, a mistaking conscience, a conscience not rightly informed: for pray mark, this is what leaves a man under a necessity of finning, and so of grieving the spirit of God on the one hand, and it endangereth his peace and comfort on the other hand, for having an erroneous conscience, whether we obey it, or obey it not, we fin; if we obey it we fin, beeause conscience commands what is not agreeable to the word of God; if we obey it not, we sin, because we rebel against the light and dictates of conscience, omitting that which conscience tells us is a duty, though it be not a duty; or do that which conscience tells us is a fin, though it be not a sin; labour therefore to get your consciences well informed and enlightened.

Secondly, be sure you do nothing against the light and di&tates of conscience, being rightly in'formed, but obey it in all things.

In Job 24. 13. We read of some that rebel against the light, that is, that do fin against their own consciences; which is a double fin, a fin cloathed with

[ocr errors]

great aggravations, and greatly discom poseth us for a dying hour: but we must take heed of this, and listen to the voice of conscience'; conscience regulated by the word of God: God speaks to us : by our consciences, he speaks to us through his word by our consciences, and he speaks to us thro' his providence by our consciences, and we should take heed of violating the dictates, or speaking of conscience in the least.

Doth not conscience many times tell us, such and such ways which we walk in are not good, and must be turned from, or we are undone for ever? And now we should be true and faithful to our own consciences, and speedily turn from those ways; we should have nothing to do with any thing that conscience condemns us in, or for.

Again, doth not conscience many times tell you, that such and such duties are totally neglected, or else seldom or flightly përformed by you, which yet you ought to be conversant and diligent in the performance of ? Now you should herein also be faithful and true to your own consciences; living up to the constant, diligent, and spiritual performance of those duties.,

Again, doth not conscience many times tell you, that things are not right with you? That it is an evil frame of spirit you live in? That you are too carnal, too light, too vain, too frothy, too eager in your pursuits of this world, and too remiss in your pursuits of heaven and eternity ?

Now as ever you would be ready for a dying hour, you should be faithful to your own conscience, setting that right which is amiss, and hastening out of that evil frame, into the contrary graci. qus frame.

O my beloved, if you be true and faithful to conscience, conscience will be true and faithful to you, witnessing for you, and not against you, both while you live, and when you die. In a word, in all things labour to keep a good conscience; this was Paul's great care and exercise, Acts 24. 16. Herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence towards God and towards men; ( this will be a sweet and blessed exercise, and the more we are found in it while we live, the more comfort will it afford us when we come to die.

.

Fifthly, would you indeed have all things right and in order, in the matters of your touls when a dying hour comes? Then labour for much purity

« السابقةمتابعة »