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: pain of eternal death and damnation. Now, the e commandment comes, Rom. vii. 9. and tho' the
man was alive without the law once, and reckoned me he was right enough, and bade fair for the heavenly 2 Canaan, as well as his neighbours; yet the com
mandment thus coming, fin revives, and he dies; his hope and expectation by the law, or by his legal endeavours, give up the ghost. Now, till a man be brought to this field of despair, he is not brought half-way to the field of battle against the nations of enemies in his way to Canaan; but when the Lord brings a man to this despair in himself, and to despair of relief from creatures and means, then there begins to be some hope in Ifrael concerning him. Therefore, 5. Another little advance, while the Lord is bringing the man by little and little to the gospel-camp, is this: He brings him from the field of despair to the field of hope, I mean, to a distant fight of the Cape of good bope, in the hearing of the glad news of the gospel concerning the captain of salvation, in whom alone poor inflaved finners may be made more than conquerors over fin, Satan, and the world, over death and hell, and all fpiritual enemies. The soul hears of this mighty captain, that he is able to save to the uttermost; and so conceives hope, that perhaps he will new mercy, and deliver a poor captive. "I speak not here of the new and lively hope, that is the fruit and effect of faith; for, on this field of hope that I speak of, the man is yet between hope and despair, as it were: This hope cannot be a helmet to him, while he yet wants the shield of faith; yet it is such a hope, wrought by the objective revelation of the gospel, as keeps him from linking into utter discouragement, and encourages him to go forward, because he sees a door of hópe open in the call of the gospel, wherein he hears Christ calling him to come to him freely, and receive his grace. O there is the door of a new covenant open, says the man within himself; I see it is open for the like of me, and I am particularly called to come in at this open door : And now, when the man is brought to this, he is truly not far from the kingdom of heaven, not far from the field of battle; he needs but to be holpen with a little help further, and then his course is compleat. Therefore, 6. Another little advance is, after the soul is brought over all these fields, by the good hand of God upon him, he is brought into the field of saving faith, getting such a discovery of Jesus Christ, the captain of salvation, by the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, as powerfully determines him to take on with him as a volunteer, being made willing in the day of power, and being charmed with the glory of his person, the freedom of his grace, the holinefs of the standard and ruddy ensign died with his own blood. Here the man sees him girding his sword upon his thigh, even his glory and majesty : By this sword of glorious grace, the finner is made a willing subject, a willing soldier to follow the glorious captain, and employ him to fight all his battles, and drive out all the nations of his lusts before him. And now the man is a BELIEVER, and is come indeed to the field of battle, being joined to the Lord Jesus, and disjoined from his old general: Now he is, by virtue of union to Christ, entitled to a compleat victory over all the nations of enemies in his way, and entitled to all these new recruits from heaven, that are necessary for the gradual subduing
of the nations before him, till he get to the pofsession of the heavenly Canaan. Thus you see how by little and little the Lord brings them forth to the field of battle; and by what various degrees they are brought from llaves to the devil and their lusts, to be soldiers of Christ. But now, as by little and little he brings them to the field of battle against the nations in a day of power: So,
2dly, By little and little he carries on the conquest, till the day of death, when the warfare is accomplished. The text leads me to speak of the captain's part; The Lord thy God will put out these nations before thee by little and little. And indeed his part is the leading part in the All of this conquest; for, without him we can do nothing. To engage with the enemy alone, and encounter the nations in our own strength, were madness; every, lust will laugh at the shaking of our spear. It is Christ alone, and his spirit that can destroy the nations before us. But now, the gradual conquest, till the day of death, by little and little, speaks out these iwo things: 1. That the Israel of God hath many fad experiences all their days, that their enemies the nations are not utterly destroyed, but are living and lively, strong and prevalent many times. 2. That they have also many sweet experiences, all their days, of little aid and auxiliaries from heaven, whereby the enemy is driven out and destroyed by little and little, from time to time.
(1.) I say, this gradual conquest taking place till death and the warfare, speaks out many fad experiences, that the nations of their lusts, and corruptions and spiritual enemies are not utterly destroyed; and that, notwithstanding their being got fairly un. der the colours of their glorious captain, yet they VOL. II.
will find all their days that their enemies are living, lively, strong, and prevalent: For, their destruction being but by little and little, the conquest may be many times undiscernable, while yet the power of the enemy appears great and formidable, notwithstanding any little advantage gained at a time, and while they find many dreadful fallies and excursions that the enemy makes upon them. Now, may I not ask the Israel of God here, if they have not too many fad experiences of the yet remaining life and strength of the enemy? Does not your sad experience say, that there is a law in your members, warring against the law of your mind, and bringing you into captivity to the law of sin that is in your members, Rom. vii. 23. and that you wrestle not against flesh and blood only, but against principalities and powers? Eph. vi. 12. Does not fad experience witness, how violent your corruptions are, and how impetuoully they break through every hedge, notwithstanding your being fure to be scratched with thorns; and how eagerly they follow the bait, even when the hook is most discernable? Does not fad experience witness, that it is within you that ails you most ? and that your greatest adversaries are men of your own house; and that, in the worst of times, there is always more cause to complain of an evil heart, than of an evil world; and that it is this carnal heart especially, that clogs and hampers you in your flight and motion towards God, and makes many times your choiceft duties to be like a grievous talk? Does not fad experience witness, even fince you was brought to the field of battle against your spiritual enemies, that there is more wickedness in your heart, fiding with the enemy, than you could have
believed, tho’ it had been told you ? When you formerly got your feet upon the necks of your enemies, you could never have thought they would ever so fearfully prevail again; or, if you had thought it, would it not have been a terror to you? Does not fad experience witness such a power of corruption, that no sooner did you ever begin to parly with a temptation at a distance, and adventure to sport therewith, but it quickly hath turned to earnest, and carried all before it? So much gun-powder for the enemy do you carry about with you, that you take fire upon the smallest touch, and are ready to be blown up with the flame? Does not fad experience witness, how soon the strongest resolution, even under the sweetest gales, will evanish; that you are not oft in the evening what you was in the morning, nor for many hours do you keep the ground you had attained; and how quickly you destroy that which grace hath built, insomuch that if grace · were not stronger to save and preserve, than you are to marr and destroy, you would be undone for ever? Is it not past reckoning, how oft your heart hath thus deceived you? And is it not plain that the word of God knows your heart better than you do, declaring it to be deceitful above all things ? &c. Does not fad experience show you, that the devil who heads and leads the nations of lusts and corruptions, hath the advantage of the ground, and knows how to correspond with your corruption, and fuits his temptation to your natural temper, to your calling and company, and predominant inclination, and even to your retirement and solitude ; and that he can even then most dangerously tempt, when the temptation is' least seen and discovered ; and that by his temptation he aims not only at the