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poor believer, and press himn through the very ground, David (though a man according to God's own heart) yet cries out, under this burden, Who can underRand his errors ? cleanse thou me from fecret faults, Pfal. xix. 12. And the apostle Paul never complained so much of any burden as of this, Rom. vii. 24. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of fin? To be rid of this burden, the poor believer many times would be content that this clay-tabernacle were broken into shivers.
3. He is burdened many times with a sense of much actual guilt, which he has contracted through the untenderness of his way and walk. Conscience, that deputy of the Lord of hosts (being supported by the authority of the law) frequently brings in a heavy indictment against the poor soul, and tells it, thus and thus thou hast finned, and trampled upon the authority of God the great lawgiver. In this case, the believer cannot but take with the charge, and own, with David, Mine iniquities are gone over mine head, they are as a burden too heavy for me to bear, Psal. xxxviii. 4. And Psal. xl. 12. Innumera able evils have compassed me about, mine iniquities bave taken bold on me, so that I am not able to look up : they are more than the bairs of my head, therefore my beart faileth me.
4. He is sometimes fadly burdened with the temptations of Satan. The devil, that cunning archer, Thoots at him, and fore wounds and grieves him; sometimes whole showers of fiery darts dipt in hell are made to fly about his ears.
oly and wise ends suffers the believer to be winnowed, fifted and buffeted by this enemy: And O but the believer is sore burdened in this case! Sometimes he is ready to conclude, with David, one
day or other I shall fall by this roaring lion, that goes about seeking to devour me. Sometimes he is brought to distraction, saying, with Jehofhaphat in great extremity, when surrounded by enemies, I know not what to do, but mine eyes are towards thee. But let not the believer think strange of this, seeing Christ himself was not exempted from the molesta tions of this enemy.
s. Sometimes the believer is burdened with the burden of ill company. The fociety of the wicked, which perhaps is unavoidable, is a great incumbrance to him, and tends mightily to marr and hinder him in his work and warfare. Hence David utters that mournful and melancholy complaint, Psal. cxx. 5, 6. Wo is me that I fojourn in Mefech, and dwell in the tents of Kedar. The believer is of Jacob's disposition, with reference to the wicked, Gen. xlix. 5, 6. O my soul, come not thou into their fecret ; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united. And truly, firs, if the company and society of the wicked be not your burden, it is a sign ye are of their society.
6. Sometimes the believer is fadly burdened, not only with his own sins, buc with the abounding fins and abominations of the day and place wherein he lives. I bebeld transgreffors, says David, and was grieved. Rivers of waters run down mine eyes, because of the wicked, who break thy law, Psal. cxix. 136, 158. O what a heart-breaking thing is it to the poor soul, to see finners dashing themselves to pieces upon the thick bosses of God's buckler ; and, as it were upon the rock of salvation, running headlong to their own everlasting ruin, without ever reflecting upon their ways! His very bowels yearn with pity towards them, who will not pity them
selves. Upon this account, believers are frequently called the mourners in Zion: They high and cry for the abominations that are done in the midst of Jerusalem, Ezek. ix. 4
7. The believer is many times, while in this tabernacle, burdened with the public concerns of Christ; he is a person of a very grateful and public spirit. Christ took a lift of them, while he was in a low state; and therefore he cannot but be concerned for the concerns of his kingdom and glory, especially when he fees them suffering in the world. When he beholds the boar out of the wood, or the wild beast of the forest, open and avowed enemies, wasting and devouring the Church of God; when he sees the foxes spoiling the tender vines, and the watchmen wounding, smiting, or taking away the vail of the spouse of Christ, Song v. 7. When he sees the privileges of the Church of Christ invaded, her doctrine and worship corrupted, her ordinary meals retrenched by the stewards of the house; these things, I say, are sinking and oppressing to his fpirit; he then hangs his harp upon the willows, when he remembers Žion. In this case, he is forrowful for the folemn assembly, and the reproach of it is bis burden, Zeph. iii. 18.
8. The poor believer has many times the burden of great croffes and afflictions lying upon him, and these both of a bodily and spiritual nature, and deep many times calleth unto deep; the deep af external trouble calls to the deep of inward distress ; and these, like two seas meeting together, do break upon him with such violence, that the waters are like to come in unto his very foul. Sometimes, I say, he has a burden of outward troubles upon him; perhaps a burden of fickness and pain upon his
i body, whereby the crazy tabernacle of clay is sore
fhattered: There is no foundness in my flesh, fays David, because of my fin, Pfal. xxxviii. 3. Sometimes he is burdened with poverty, and want of the external necessaries of life, which is no strange thing, considering that the Son of God, the heir of all things, became poor; and so poor, that, as he himself declares, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air bave nells, but the Son of man hath not where to lay bis head. Sometimes he is burdened with infamy and reproach ; malice and envy striking at his reputation, and wounding his name. False witnesses, says David, rose up against me, and laid to my charge things that I knew not, Psal. xxxv. II. Sometimes he is burdened in his relations, as by their miscarriages. It was a grief of heart to Rebecca, when Esau married the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, Gen. xxvi. 34, 35. And no doubt David had many a sad heart for the miscarriages of his children, particularly of Amnon and Abfalom. Sometimes he is burdened with the death of near relations: It is grievous to him when the Lord takes away the defire of his eyes with a stroke. I might here tell you also of many trials and distresses of a more spiritual nature, that the believer is exercised with, befides these already named. Sometimes he has the burden of much weighty work lying on his hand, and his heart is like to faint at the prospect of it, through the sense of his own utter inability to manage it, either to God's glory, or his own comfort, or the edification of others; such as the work of his station, relation, and generation, and the great work of his salvation : This lies heavy upon him, till the Lord say to him, as he said to Paul in another case, My grace is sufficient for thee. Some
times the believer in this tabernacle is under the bura den of much darkness. Sometimes he is in darkness as to his state; he walks in darkness, and has no light, infomuch that he is ready to raze the foundation, and to cry, I am cast out of thy fight; the Lord þath forsaken me, and my God bath forgotten me, Ifai. xlix. 14. Sometimes he is in darkness as to his duty, whether he should do or forbear. Many a perplexing thought rolls in his breast, till the Lord by his Word and Spirit say to him, This is the way, walk ye: in it, Ifai. xxx. 21. Sometimes he is burdened with distance from his God, who seems to have withdrawn froin him behind the mountains; and, in this case, he cries, with the church, For these things mine eye weeps, and runs down with wa. ter, because the Comforter which should relieve my foul is far from me, Lam. i. 16. And sometimes it is a burden to him to think that he is at such a distance from his own country and inheritance; and, in this case, he longs to be over Jordan, at the promised Jand, saying, I defire to be dissolved, and to be with Cbrisl, which is best of all, Pbil. i. 23. Sometimes again he is under the burden of fear, particularly the fear of death. Heb.ii. 15. we read of some who are held in bondage all their life, through fear of death; and yet, glory to God, such have had a safe landing at last.
Thus I have told you of some of these things wherewith the believer is burdened, while in the tabernacle of this body.
The third thing in the method was, To speak of the believer’s groaning under his burden :, For, says the apostle, We that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened. Upon this head I shall only suggest two or three considerations.