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all is embarked, in Chrift, for eternity, and the soul fully refol. ved to lean upon him, and to trust to him, now it feels the very initials of eternal rest in itself: It finds ao heavy burthen unload. ed from its shoulders; it is come, as it were, into a new world ; the case is (trangely altered. The word reji, in this place, notes t, (and is so rendered by fome) a recreation ; it is restored, renewed, and recreated, as it were, by that sweet repose it hath upon Christ. Believers, know, that faith is the sweetest recreation you can take. Others feek 'to divert and lose their troubles, by finful recreations, vain company, and the like; but they little know what the recreation, and sweet restoring relt, that faith gives the soul, is. You find, in Chrift, what they seek, in vaia, among the creatures. Believing is the highest recreation known in this world. But to prevent mistakes, three Cautions deed to be premised, left we do, in ipfo limine impingere, Numble at the threshold, and fo lose our way all along afterward.
Caution 1. You are not to conceive, that all the foul's fears, troubles, and forrows, are presently over, and at an end, as soon as it is come to Christ, by faith. They will have many troubles in the world, after that, it may be, more than ever they had in their lives : “ Our flesh (faith Paul) had no rest,” 2 Cor. vii. 5. They will be infested with many temptations, after that; that, it may be, the affaults of fatan may be more violent, upon their souls, than ever. Horribilia de Deo, terribilia de fide : injections that make the very bones to quake, and the belly to tremble ; They will not be freed from fin: that reft remains for the people of God; por from inward trouble, and grief of foul, about sip; These things are not to be expected presently.
Caution 2. We may not think all believers do immediately enter into the full, actual sense of rest and comfort, but they presently enter into the ftate of reft. " Being justified by faith, we have peace with God," Rom. v. 1. i. e. we enter into the state of peace immediately. “ Peace is fown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright " in heart,” Pfal. cxvii. ii. And he is a rich man, that hath a thousand acres of corn in the ground, as well as he that hath fo much in his barn, or the money in his purse. They have rest and peace in the feed of it, when they have it not in the fruit;
t I will give you recreation from weariness, troubles, and burdens. Vatab. et Erasm.
| Luther, upon his conversion, was so buffeted by Satan, that meither heat, blood, sensation, or fpeech remained.,
they have rest in the promise, when they have it not in possesfion : and he is a rich man that hath good bonds, and bilis, for a great suin of money, if he have not twelvepence in his pocket. All belicvers have the promise, have rest, and peace, granted them, under God's own hand, in many promises, which faith brings them under; and we know that the truth and faithfulness of God stands engaged to make good every line, and word, of the promise, to them. So that though they have not a full, and clear actual sense and feeling of rest, they are, nevertheless, by faith, come into the state of relt.
Caution 3. We may not conceive, that faith itself is the soul's rest, but the means and instrument of it only. We cannot find rest in any work, or duty of our own, but we may find it in Christ, whom faith apprehends for justification and falvation.
Having thus regarded the point against misapprehensions, by thefe needful cautions, I shall next thew you, how our coming to Christ, by faith, brings us to rest in him. And here let it be considered, what those things are, that burden, grieve and difquiet the foul, before its coming to Chrift; and how it is relieved and eafed in all those respects, by its coming to the Lord Jefus : And you shall find,
First, That one principal ground of trouble, is the guilt of fin upon the conscience, of which I spake in the former point. The curse of the law lies heavy upon the foul, so heavy, that nothing is found, in all the world, able to relieve it, under that burden; as you see in a condemned man, spread a table in prifon, with the greatest dainties, and send for the rarest musicians, all will not charm bis forrow : but if you can produce an au. thentic pardon, you ease him presently. Just foie is here; faith plucks the thorn out of the conscience, which fo grieved it, unites the foul with Christ, and then that ground of trouble is removed : for " there is no condemnation to them that are in « Christ Jesus,” Rom. viii. 1. The fame moment the soul comes to Christ, it is passed from death to life, is no more upder the law, but grace. If a man's debt be paid by this surety, he need not fear to thew his face boldly abroad; he may freely meet the ferjeant at the prison-door.
Secondly, The foul of a convinced finner is exceedingly burdened with the uncleanness and filthiness, wherwith sio hath defiled and polluted it. Conviction discovers the universal pollution of heart and life, so that a man loaths and abhors himself, by reason thereof: if he do not look into his owo corruptions, he cannot be fafe; and if he do, he cannot bear the fight of
thern ; he hath no quiet; nothing can give rest, but what gives relief against this evil : And this, only, is done by faith, uniting the foul with Jesus Christ. For though it be true, that the pollution of lip be not presently, and perfectly taken away, by coming to Christ; yet the burden thereof is exceedingly eased: for, upon our believing, there is an heart-purifying principle: planted in the soul, which doth, by degrees, cleanse that foun. tain of corruption, and will, at last, perfectly free the soul from it. Acts xv. 9. “Purifying their hearts by faith ;” and being once in Christ, he is concerned for the soul, as a member, now, of his own mystical body, to purify and cleanse it, that, at lalt, he may present it perfect to the Father, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, Eph. v. 26. The reigning power of it is gone, immediately, upon believing, and the very existence and being of it shall at last be destroyed. O! what reft must this give, under those troubles for sin ?
Thirdly, It was an intolerable burden to the soul, to be under the continual fears, alarms, and frights of death, and damnation ; its life hath been a life of bondage, upon this account, co ver since the Lord opened his eyes to see his condition. Poor fouls lie down with tremblings, for fear what a night may bring forth. It is a fad life, indeed, to live in continual bondage to such fears; but faith sweetly relieves the trembling conscience, by removing the guilt which breeds its fears. The sting of death is fin. When guilt is removed, fears vanish. " Lord, smite, said Luther, for my fins are forgiven." Now, if sickness come, it is another thing than it was wont to be. Ifa. xxxiii. 24.
“ The inhabitant shall not fay, I am sick, the people that dwell thereio (hall be forgiven their iniquities.” A man scarce feels his fickness, in comparison to what he did, whilft he was without Christ and hope of pardon.
Fourthly, A convinced sinner, out of Christ, fees every thing against him; nothing yields any comfort, yea, every thing increases and aggravates his burden, when he looks to things past, present, or to come. If he reflects upon things past, his soul is filled with anguilh, to remember the fins committed, and the seasons neglected, and the precious mercies that have been abused ; if he looks upon things present, the case is doleful and miserable; nothing but trouble and danger, Chriftless and comfortless; and if he looks forward, to things to come, that gives him a deeper cut, to the heart, than any thing else; for though
| Feri, Domine, feri, nam a peccatis meis abfolutus fum. Luth, VOL. II.
it be fad and miserable, for the present, yet he fears it will be much worse hereafter ; all thele are but the beginning of forrows. And thus the poor, awakened fioner, becomes a Magor Mifabib; fear round about.
But, upon his coming to Christ, all things are marvellously altered ; a quite contrary face of things appear to him; every thing gives him hope and comfort, which way foever he looks. So speaks the apostle, 1 Cor. iii. 22, 23. “All things are yours, “ (Iaith he) whether life or death, or things present, or things “ to come ; all is yours, and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's :" They are ours, i. e, for our advantage, benefit, and comfort. More particularly upon our coming to Chrift,
Fir), Things past are ours, they conduce to our advantage and comfort. Now the foul can begin to read the gracious end and design of God, in all its preservations and deliverances; whereby it hath been reserved for such a day as this. O! it melts his heart to consider, his companions in fin and vanity are cut off, and be fpared ; and that for a day of such mercy, as the day of his espoufals with Christ, is, Now all his paft forrows, and deep troubles of spirit, which God hath exercised him with, begin to appear the greatest mercies that ever he received; being all necessary and introductive to this blessed union with Christ. Secondly, Things prefent are ours, though it be not yet
with us as we would have it ; Christ is not fure enough, the heart is not pure enough; sin is too ftrong, and grace is too weak; ma. ny things are yet out of order ; yet can the soul blefs God, for this, with tears of joy and praise, being full of admiration and holy aftopilhment, that it is as it is; and that he is where he is, though he be not yet where he would be. O! it is a blessed life to live as a poor recumbent, by acts of trust and affiance, though, as yet, it have but little evidence ; that it is resolved to trust all with Christ, though it be not yet certain of the issue. O this is a comfortable station, a sweet condition, to what it was, either when it wallowed in fin, in the days before conviction, or was fwallowed
in fears and troubles for sin, after conviction : now it hath hope, though it want assurance ; and hope is sweet, to a foul coming out of such deep diftreffes. Now it fees the remedy, and is applying it; whereas, before, the wound feemed desperate. Now all hefitations, and debates, are at an end in the foul; it is no longer unresolved what to do; all things have been deeply considered, and, after confideration, iffued into this resolve, or decree of the will. I will go to Christ; I will venture all, upon his command and call; I will embark iny
eternal interests in that bottom; here I fix, and here I resolve to live and die. O! how much better, is this, than that floating life it lived before, rolling upon the billows of inward fears, and troubles, not able to drop anchor any where, nor knowing where to find an harbour ?
Thirdly, Things to come are ours; and this is the best, and fweetest of all: Man is a prospecting creature, his eye is much upon things to come, and it will not satisfy him, that it is well at present, except he have a prospect that it shall be fo hereafter. But now the soul hath committed itself, and all its concernments, to Christ, for eternity, and this being done, it is greatly relieved against evils to come.
I cannot (faith the believer) think all my troubles over, and that I shall never meet any more afflictions ; it were a fond vanity to dream of that; but I leave all these things where I have left my soul : he that hath supported me under inward, will carry me through outward troubles, also. I cannot think all my temptations, to fin, pait ; ! I may yet meet with fore af. faults from Satan, yet it is infinitely better to be watching, praying, and striving against sin, than it was when I was obeying it in the lusts of it. God, that hath delivered me from the love of sin, will, I trust, preserve me from ruin by fin. i know, also, death is to come; I must feel the pangs and agonies of it: but yet the aspect of death is much more pleasant than it was. I come, Lord Jesus, to thee, who art the death of death, whose death hath disarmed death of its sting; for I fear not its dart, if I feel oot its sting. And thus you lee, briefly, how by faith, believers enter into relt ; how Chrift gives rest, even at present, to them that come to him, and all this but as a beginning of their everlasting reft.
Infer. 1. Is there rest in Christ for weary souls that come unto him? Then, certainly, it is a design of Satan against the peace and welfare of men's fouls, to discourage them from coming to Christ in the way of faith.
He is a restless spirit himself, and would make us so too; it is an excellent note of † Minutius Felix, “ Those desperate and “ restless spirits (faith he) have no other pleasure, but in bring“ ing us to the fame misery themselves are in :" He goeth about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. It frets and grates his proud and envious mind, to fee others find relt,
+ Al folamen calamitatis fuae, non definunt perditi perdere. Minut. Felix.