Page images
PDF
EPUB

the fountain for sin and uncleanness, Zech. xiii. 1. If he fall, what a stir is there to get all clean again! He flies to the word, and washes, and rubs, and rinses, labouring to cleanse himself from all filthiness both of flesh and spirit: he abhors his once beloved sin, Psa. xviii. 23, as a cleanly nature doth the trough and mire, wherein he sees the swine delight.

The sound convert is heartily engaged against sin; he wrestles with it, he wars against it; he is too often foiled, but he never yields the cause, nor lays down the weapons, but he will up and to it again, while he hath breath in his body: he will never give quiet possession, he will make no peace, he will give no quarter ; he falls upon it, and fires upon it, and is still disquieting of it with continual alarms. He can forgive his other enemies, he can pity them, and pray for them, Acts vii. 60, but here he is implacable, here he is set upon revenge; he hunteth, as it were, for the precious life; his eye shall not pity, his hand shall not spare, though it be a righthand or a right-eye : be it a gainful sin, most delightful to his nature, or a support to his

, throw his gain down the kennel, see his credit fall, or the flower of pleasure wither in his hand, than he will allow himself in any known way of sin, Luke xix. 8. He will grant no indulgence, he will give no toleration ; but he draws upon sin wherever he meets it, and frowns upon it with this unwel.

come salute, Have I found thee, O mine enemy?

Reader, hath conscience been at work while thou hast been looking over these lines? Hast thou pondered these things in thine heart? Hast thou searched the book within, to see if these things be so? If not, read it again, and make thy conscience speak whether or no it be thus with thee.

Hast thoù crucified thy flesh with its affections and lusts ; and not only confessed, but forsaken thy sins; all sin in thy fervent desires, and the ordinary practice of every deliberate and wilful sin in thy life? If not, thou art yet unconverted. Doth not conscience fly in thy face as thou readest, and tell thee that thou livest in a way of lying for thy advantage, that thou usest deceit in thy calling, that there is some way of secret wantonness that thou livest in? Why then, do not deceive thyself; thou art in the gall of bitterness, and bond of iniquity.

Doth not thy unbridled tongue, thy brutish intemperance, thy wicked company, thy neg. lect of prayer, of hearing and reading the word, now witness against thee, and say, We are thy works, and we will follow thee Or if I have not hit thee right, doth not the bird within tell them, there is such or such a way, that thou knowest to be evil, that yet for some carnal respect thou dost tolerate thyself in, and art willing to spare ? If this be thy case, thou art to this day unregenerate, and must be changed or condemned.

Secondly, Satan. Conversion binds the strong man, spoils his armour, casts out his goods, turns men from the power of satan unto God, Acts xxvi. 18. Before, the devil could no sooner hold up his finger to the sinner, to call him to his wicked company, sinful games, filthy delights, but presently he followed, like an ox to the slaughter, and a fool to the correction of the stocks ; as the bird that hasteth to the prey, and knoweth not that it is for his life. No sooner could satan bid him lie, but presently he had it upon the top of his tongue, Acts v. B. No sooner could satan offer a wanton object, but he was stung with lust. The devil could do more with him than God could : if the devil say, Away with these family duties, be sure they shall be rarely enough performed in his house: if the devil say, Away with this strictness, this preciseness, he will keep far enough from it: if he tells him, There's no need of these closet duties, he shall go from day to day, and scarce perform them. But now he is converted, he serves another master, and takes quite another course, 1 Pet. iy. 4. He goes and comes at Christ's beck, Col. iii. 24. Satan may sometimes catch his foot in a trap, but he will no longer be a willing captive : he watches against the snares and baits of satan, and studies to be acquainted with his devi. ces : he is very suspicious of his plots, and is Very jealous in what comes athwart him, lest satan should have some design upon him : he wrestles against principalities and powers, Eph. yi. he entertains the messenger of satan, as men do the messenger of death : he keeps his eye upou his enemy, 1 Pet. v. 8, and watches in his duties, lest satan should put in his foot.

Thirdly, The World. Before a sound faith, a man is overcome of the world ; either he bows down to mammon, or idolizes his reputation, or is a lover of pleasure more than a Jover of God, 2 Tim. iii. 4. Here is the root of man's misery by the fall; he is turned aside to the creature, instead of God, and gives that esteem, confidence and affection to the creature, that is due to him alone, Rom. i. 25, Matt, x. 37, Prov. xviii. 11, Jer. xvii. 5.

O miserable man! what a deformed monster hath sin made thee! God made thee lit. tle lower than the angels ; sin little better than the devils, John vi. 70, and viii. 44. ster that hath his head and heart where his feet should be, and his feet kicking against heaven, and every thing out of place; the world, that was formed to serve thee, is come to rule thee, and the deceitful harlot hath bewitched thee with her enchantments, and made thee bow down and serve her.

But converting grace sets all in order again, and puts God in the throne, and the world at his footstool, Ps. lxxiii. 25, Christ in the heart, and the world under feet, Eph. iii. 17, Rev. xii. 1. So Paul, I am crucified to the world, and the world to me, Gal, vi. 14. Be. fore this change, all the cry was, Who 'will shew us uny (worldly) good? But now he sings another tune, Lord, lift thou up

the light of thy countenance upon me, and take

A mon

the corn and wine whoso will, Psa. iv. 6, 7. Before, his heart's delight and content was in the world; then the song was, Soul, take thine ease ; eat, drink, and be merry; thou hast much goods laid up for many years : but now all this is withered, and there is no comeliness that he should desire it; and he tunes up, with the sweet Psalmist of Israel, The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance, the lines are fallen to me in a fair place, I hare a goodly heritage. He blesseth himself, and boasts himself in God, Psa. xxxiv. 2, Lam. iii. 24, nothing else can give him content. He hath written vanity and vexation upon all his worldly enjoyments, Eccl. i. 2, and loss and dung upon all human excellen: cies, Phil. iii. 7, 8. He hath life and immortality now in chase, Rom. ii. 7. He trades for grace and glory, and hath a crown incorruptible in pursuit, 1 Cor. ix. 25. His heart is set in him to seek the Lord, 1 Chron. xxii. 19, and 2 Chron. xv. 15. He first seeks the kingdom of heaven and the righteousness thereof; and religion is no longer a matter by the by with him, but the main of his care, Matt. vi. 33, Psa. xxvii. 4. Now the gaudy idol is become Nehushtan, 2 Kings xviii. 4, and he gets up and treads upon it, as Diogenes trampling upon Plato's bangings, saying, Calco Plutonis fastum. Before, the world bad the swaying interest with him ; he would do more for gain than godliness, 1 Tim. vi. 6, more to please his friend or bis flesh, than to please the God that made him, and God must stand by till the world were first served; but

« PreviousContinue »