« السابقةمتابعة »
secret duties? Sincere souls are uniform fouls, Psal. cxix. 6, the hypocrite is no clofet-mao, Matth. vi. 5.
2. Doth that which I call grace in me oppose and mortify, or doth it pot rather quietly consist with, and protect my lufts and corruptions ? True grace tolerates no luit, Gal. v. 17. No, not the bosom darling corruptions, Pfal. xviii. 23.
3. Doth that which I call my grace, humble, empty, and abate my soul ? Or rather, doth it not puff it up with self-conceitedness? All faving grace is humbling grace, i Cor. xv. le. “ But the foul which is lifted up, is not upright," Hab. ii. 4.
Lailly, Caott thou, my foul, rejoice and bless God for the grace imparted to others? And rejoice, if any design for Cbrift be carried on in the world by other hands? Or, raiber, doft thou not envy those that excel thee, and careft for no work in which thou art not seen?
But stay, my soul, it is enough: If these be the fubftantial differences betwixt special and common grace, I more than doubt, I shall not endure the day of his coming, Whole fan is in his hand. Do not those spots appear upon me, which are not the spots of his children? Woe is me, poor wretch ! the characters of death are upon my soul! Lord add power to the form, life to the name to live, practice to the knowledge, or I perish eternally ! O rather give me the faint's heart, than the angels tongue ; the poorest breathing of the Spirit, than the richest ornaments of common gifts! Let me never deceive myself, or others, in matters of fo deep and everlasting confequence.
The POE M.
Tares, in their springing up, appear to sight,
of faving grace, by its deep hellish art.
Upon the Dangers incident to the Corn from Seed-time to
Fowls, weeds, and blastings do your corn annoy ;
gerous periods between the feed time and harvest. The firit, when cora is newly committed to the earth, all that lies uncovered is quickly picked up by the birds ; and much of that which is but Nightly covered, is plucked up as soon as it begias to sprout, by rooks, and other devooring fowls, Mat. xiii. 4. But if it elcape the fowls, and gets root in the earth, yet then it is hazarded by noxious weeds, which purloin, and fuck away its pourishment, whilst it is yet in the tender blade. If by the care of the vigilant husbandman it be freed from choaking weeds ; yet, lastly, as great a danger as any of the
former till attends it ; for oftentimes, whilft it is blowing in the ear, blastings and mildews fmite it in the Italk, and cuts off the juice and fap that should ascend to nourish the ear, and to shrivels and dries up the grain whilft it is yet immaturate; whereby it becomes like thole ears of corn in Pharaoh's vision, which were thio and blasted with the ea ft-wind; or like the ears the Psalmist speaks of upon the house top, wherewith the reaper fillech pot his arms.
conflicts with far more greater dangers, amongst which it answerably meets with three dangerous periods, which marvellously hazard it: So that it is a much greater wonder that it ever arrives at its just perfection. For, (1.) No sooner hath the great Husbandman disseminated these holy feeds in the regeoerate heart, but multitudes of impetuous corruptions immediate ly assault, and would certainly devour them, like the fowls of the air, did not the same arm that fowed them, also protect them. It fares with grace, as with Christ, its Author, whom Herod fought to destroy in his very infancy. The new creature is scarce warm ia its feat, before it must fight to defend itself. This conflict is excellently set forth in that famous text, Gal. v. 17. “ The “ flesh lufteth against the spirit, aod the spirit against the flesh ; " aad thele are contrary the coc to the other, fo that ye can
not do the things that ye would."
By Beth here understand the corruption of nature by original fia, and the finful motions thereof; by Spirit, not the soul, or natural spirit of man, but the Spirit of God in man, viz. those graces ia man which are the workmanship of the Spirit, and therefore called by his name. The opposition betwixt these two is expressed by lusting, (i.e.) defiring the mutual ruin and destruction of each other ; fer evon when they are Rot actiog, yet then they are luftiog; there is an opposite dir. position againft each other? which oppoficion is both a formal and an effective opposition. There are two contrary forms ; two men in every faiot, Col. iii. 9, 10. From hence an effective opposition must needs follow ; for as things are in their natures and principles, so they are in their operations and effects; workings always follow beings; fire and water are of contrary qualities, and when they meet, they effectively oppose each o. ther. Sin and grace are so opposite, that if lio laould cease to oppose grace, it would cease to be fia; and if grace should cease to oppose fia, it would cease to be grace. And this doth much
more endanger the work of grace than any other enemy it hath; because it works against it more inwardly, constantly, and advantageously, than any thing else can do. (1.) More inwardly, for it hath its being and working in the fame foul where grace dwells; yea, in the self-fame faculties'; so that it not only fers one faculty against another, but the fame faculty against itfelt; the understanding against the understanding, and the will against the will ; fo that ye cannot do th: good, nor yet the evil that ye would; got the good that ye would, because when the spirit moveth to good, and beats upon the heart by Divine pulations, exciting it to duty, the Acth-crosses and oppoles it there; and if it cannot totally hinder the performance of a duty, yet it lames the foul upon the working hand, whereby the performance is not fo fpiritual, free and compofed, as it defires; nor yet the evil that you would commit, if grace were Dot there ; because when luft stirs, in its first motions, grace puts a rub in its way. “ How can I do this great wickedness, “ and lin against God?” Gen. xxxix. 9. And if it cannot (which for the most part it doth) hinder the acting of fin, yet it fo engages the will against it, that it is not committed with complacency and full consent, Rom. vii. 15. " What I do, I allow Dot.** (2.) It opposes it more constantly, it is like a continual dropping; a man can no more fly from this enemy than from him. felf. There is a time when the devil leaves tempting, Matth. iv. 11. but no time when corruption ceases from working. Aod, lastly, It oppofes grace more advantageously than any other coemy can do, for it is not only always in the fame foul with it, but it is there naturally; it hath the advantage of the soil which suits with it. And yet, oh the wonder of free grace! it is not swallowed up in victory, but it escapes this hazard.
But (2.) It foon meets with apotber, though it escapes this, even by temptatioos, which strike desperately at the very life of it; for thefe, like the weeds, with seemingly-loving embraces, clasp about it; and did not the faithful God Dow make a way to escape, instead of 20 harvest, we should have an heap? For, alas, what are we! to wrestle with principalities and powers and spiritual wickedneffes in high places?
Lastly, Sad relapses, like blasts and rustings, do often fade, and greatly endanger it, when it is even ready for the harvest. Thus it fell out with David, whofe last ways were not like his first; and yet by this these holy fruits were not utterly destroy ed, because it is the feed of God, and so is immortal, 1 Joha V. 4, 5. And also because the promises of perseverance and victory made to it, cannot be frustrated; amongłt which these
are excellent, Ifa. liv. 10. Jer. xxxiv. 40. i Cor. i. 8. Pfal. i. 3. Psal. cxxv. 1. John iv, 15. So that here is matter of unspeakable comfort ; though the flesh fay, Ego deficiam, I will fail thee ; though the world say, Ego decipiam, I will deceive thee; though the devil fay, Ego eripiam, I will snatch thee away; yet as long as Christ faith, I will never leave thee, nor forfake thee, thy graces are secure in the midst of all these ene. mics.
1. This foul of mine was once plowed up The apoftate's by conviction, and fowo (as I thought) with reflection.
the feed of God. In those days many pur
poses and good resolutions began to chiok and bud forth, promising a blessed harvest: but oh! (with what confternation and horror should I speak it) the cares and pleafures of this life, the lusts and corruptions of my base heart Springing up, have quite destroyed and choaked it; by which it appears it was not the seed of God, as I then imagined it to be; and now my expected harvest shall be an heap in the day of grief and desperate forrow, Ifa. xvii. u. I had convictions, but they are gone; troubles for fin, conscience of duties, but all is blasted, and my soul is now as a barren field, which God hath corsed.
Woe is me! I have revolted from God, and now that dread. føl word, Jer. xvii. 5, 6. is evidently fulfilled upon me;" for “ I am like the heath in the defart, that seeth Dot when good " cometh; my foul inhabits the parched places of the wilder$6 Defs.". Alas! all my formal and heartless duties were but as fo many scare-crows in the field, which could not defeod there flight workings from being devoured by the infernal fowls. Had these principles been the feed of God, no doubt they would have continued and overcome the world, 1 Joho ii, 19. Wretched foul! thy case is fad; it will be better with the uncultivated wilderness, than with such a miscarrying foul, unless the great Husbandman plow thee up the second time, and fow thy heart with better feed.
2. And are the corruptions of my heart The careless foul's to grace, what fowls, weeds, and mildews refle&tion.
are to the corn? O what Deed have I then
to watch my heart, and keep it with all di. ligence; for in the life of that grace is wrapt up the life of my soul. He that carries a candle in his hand, in a bluftring stormy night, had need to cover it close, left it be blown out, and he left in darkness, Olet me never fay, God hath pro