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peace, paths of joy, paths of refreshment and confolation, wherein all thefe things are daily met with by thofe that walk there; which they that know not the light (or rebel against the light) are not acquainted with. See Job xxiv. 13.
Secondly, They mifs of the lighting of their candle by it: for God lights his candle in the heart by this light, and by no other thing; fo that in this his light, they whofe candle is lighted by him, fee light.
David had experience of this, and from that experience fpake, Thou wilt light my candle; the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness, Pfal. xviii. 28. And Job had experience of this alfo, as those words of his plainly fignify, Job xxix. 2, &c. where he faith, Ob! that I were as in the days paft, when bis candle fbined upon my head, and by his light I walked through darkness. And all the children of God, who in this day wait for the fhinings of the light of his Spirit in their hearts, and are fubject to him therein, they experience the fame, and know the Word of life (which is nigh in the mouth and heart) to be a lanthorn to the feet, and a light to the paths, of the lowest and meaneft here.
Thirdly, They mifs of the fending forth, or revelation of that from God, which leads to his holy hill and to his tabernacles, which David experienced and defired more of, Pfal. xliii. 3. For, who fhall dwell in God's holy bill, or abide in his tabernacle? Pfal. xv. 1. He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart, &c. he shall never be moved, ver. 2. to the end, and Ifai. xxxiii. 15, &c. But how fhall any come thither? Surely by God's light and truth fent forth from his Spirit into their fpirits. This is the way of afcending thither in all ages and ge
Fourthly, They flight that measure of light given them, and defpife the day of fmall things, and therefore mifs of the pouring forth of God's Spirit upon them, which is plentifully poured forth upon the fons and daughters of the fpiritual and heavenly Jerufalem, in this day of God's vifiting the earth again after the apoftafy; bleffed be the name of the Lord! And how comes it to be poured forth upon them? How comes wisdom to pour out her fpirit unto them? Why; they hearken to her reproofs, turning thereat, and forfaking that which they are reproved for, and fo come into wifdom's fear; and then wisdom opens her fecrets, and pours out her fpirit, and makes known her words to those that are fubject to her reproofs and learn her fear, which is the fear of the New Covenant. See Prov. i. 23. He that receiveth the convincer of fin, and followeth his leadings, out of the fins he is convinced of (and into the paths of righteousness and holiness, into which he is the leader) cannot mifs of the Comforter, or of his comforts; for he is one and the fame with the convincer or reprover.
The Way to know one's Election, and to be fully affured of it; as alfo concerning Election itself.
iv. This God's
AVID faith, the Lord hath fet apart him that is godly for himself, Pfal. God is the great potter, who formeth veffels upon the wheel of his power; fome to honour, fome to dishonour; but not before they were. Some he melteth and tendereth for falvation, who hearken to his voice; others he hardeneth and giveth up for destruction, who rebel against his Spirit. Oh! how fhould all fear before him, who hath power over them, as the potter over the clay, that they should reverence and obey him, left his power break them to pieces!
Now this is most certain: the holy man, the righteous man, the godly man, he that is renewed in the fpirit of his mind, this is a veffel of honour, fitted and chofen by God unto honour: but he that is corrupt, dead, filthy, polluted, &c. this is the veffel which God rejects. For the righteous God loveth righteousness for ever, and the holy God loveth holiness for ever; and he that is holy and righteous, is of him, and chofen by him: but all that is unholy and unrighteous, is of another nature and fpirit, and fo rejected and caft out by his pure nature and Spirit.
Therefore every one that would be accepted of the Lord and witness his choice, is to mind that, and be fubject to that, whereby God fitteth veffels for himself; which is the Holy Spirit, nature, and life of his Son, wherein every man is accepted (as he is called thither, gathered thither, and found there) and none rejected: but out of this every man is rejected, but none accepted; for God is no respecter of perfons.
He carried himself equally to every Jew under the old covenant; and he carrieth himself equally towards all who obey the call of his Spirit into the new and living covenant; fo that the truth ftandeth for ever, that in every nation, tongue and people, he that feareth God and worketh righteousness, is accepted of him, and none elfe. And this is the great mercy and tender love of God to all men, that which bringeth into his fear, and teacheth and enableth to work righteoufnefs, is near every man, which is the word of faith, the word of life, the word of power, the word of reconciliation; fo that no man need go far to feek out falvation: for Chrift, the Saviour and falvation of God, is nigh to every man, in the light of that Holy Spirit of truth wherewith God vifiteth mankind, and wherein he fpeaketh peace and reconciliation, both to them that are nigh, and to them that are afar off, as they hear the voice of the Spirit of the Lord Jefus Chrift, and learn fubjection to it.
Give all diligence to make your calling and election fure, faid the apostle Peter,. 2 Pet. i. 10. How fhall we do that, may fome fay? Why, give all diligence
to add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly-kindness, and to brotherly-kindness love: for if these things be in you and abound, ye cannot be barren in the knowledge of Christ, but must needs be fruitful. Well, but what then? What if they be fruitful? Why, if they be fruitful, then (to be fure) they are chosen branches; for God cafts off none but that which is dry, barren, dead, and unfruitful. Feel life, which is active and bears fruit, thou feeleft the choice of God, thou answereft the end of thy call, &c. and herein as thou comeft to fettlement and establishment, thou wilt find thy calling and election made fure to thee, and an entrance ministered to thee abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jefus Chrift. For Chrift hath the key of the kingdom, and shutteth out no fuch as thefe, but giveth them further admittance day by day. And fo by this means thou wilt witness translation further and further, out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Son, and an inheritance and poffeffion of life and glory in measure; which will be an earnest to thee of the full inheritance in due time, and a feal upon thy heart unto the day of full redemption: yea, thou mayeft then alfo come to fee how thou waft loved and chofen in Chrift before the foundation of the world, through obedience unto, and fanctification of the Spirit, manifested in time, 2 Theff. ii. 13. (For known unto God are all his works from the beginning, before ever any of them were wrought.) If thou feel that which cometh forth from the Lord to call and gather to him, and to renew and fanctify, and make fit for him, and to make thee fruitful (from the holy root and power of life) in that which is good; this is enough for thee, and thy foul is fafe and bleffed here: for here thou knowest that, and art in that bleffed feed of promife, into which all that are gathered and abide, are blessed in and with it.
Now as concerning election itself, obferve this; that it is in Chrift, and not out of him. For it was the intent of God to honour his Son, even as his Son honoured him: and this was the honour which God gave him, That be should be his falvation to the ends of the earth; that whosoever believed on him, fhould not perish, but have everlasting life. That he fhould be the way for all mankind to come to the Father, through faith in him; that as in Adam all died, fo in Christ all might be made alive; and as in Adam all men were fhut up in death and condemnation, fo the free gift might come upon all, and the way of life and redemption be opened to all, in him.
Mind the figure, the brazen ferpent, which was not lifted up that a certain number might be healed, and no more; but that every one that was wounded, every one that was ftung with ferpents, might look up and be healed.
So was Chrift lifted up, that every finner that was stung with fin and the ferpent, might look up to the physician of fouls, and receive virtue and healing from him, according to that precious fcripture, Look unto me, and be
ye faved, all the ends of the earth. And whoever is a-thirst, let him come; and whoever will, let him come and drink of the water of life freely. Yea, God stands ready, by his Holy Spirit and quickening power, which is near men, to kindle the true thirst in them, and to make them truly willing. To open it yet further;
There is predestination, election, calling, juftifying, glorifying predeftination unto holinefs, election in that which is holy, calling out of darkness into light, justifying and glorifying in the light, through the renewing and fanctification of the Spirit. All these God ordereth and manageth according to his good will, and according as he hath purposed in himself; although he be not the decreer, nor author of fin or rebellion against himself, which is the cause of the creature's condemnation.
Thus all things are as prefent with God before they were: for God did foreknow Adam's fall (though he was not therefore the author of it) before it came to pass; and he foreknew how his power, and love, and mercy, fhould work towards men and for men, in and through Chrift; and how far he would vifit men therewith, and how far men would refift and strive against his Holy and good Spirit; and he determined how long his Spirit should strive with nations and perfons: for with fome he would long wait to be gracious; with others he would be quicker and more severe, according to their provocations.
Now his love, his mercy, his power, his good Spirit, are his own; and he may fhew forth the operations of them towards men according to his pleasure; and who may fay unto him, What doft thou? May he not do with his own what he pleaseth (who is good and righteous in all his ways)? and because he may fhew mercy as long as he will, and harden as foon as he will (as he fees caufe). May it not be truly faid, That he hath mercy on whom he will have mercy; and whom he will, he bardeneth? But that he hardeneth any, without firft giving them a day of mercy and vifitations of mercy, following them with mercy, and forbearing them in mercy, and fo by the riches of his goodness, forbearance, and long-fuffering, leading them to repentance, that they might escape his wrath, and the dread of his powerful vengeance, because of fin: I fay, that God hardens any before he hath dealt thus with them, from a meer will in himself, because he would. deftroy the moft and far greateft part of men; this the fcriptures no-where teftify to, but abundantly teftify againft. For how long did God ftrive with the old world, even to have faved them, whom afterwards he did deftroy? And how did he strive with that people of the Jews (yea, and with other nations alfo, though they might feem caft off)? As I live, faith the Lord (and he fpeaketh his heart), I defire not the death of the wicked, but rather that they might return and live. I am not the destroyer, I am the Saviour; and my delight is not to destroy, but to fave. O Ifrael! thy deftruction is of thyfelf; but in me is thy help. And no man's blood will lie at God's door
but at his own.
Therefore as God hath prepared a Saviour, fo there is no want of. love, or mercy, or power on his part, to draw men to the Saviour; but this is the condemnation, that men harden themselves against the drawings of his Spirit, and against the operation of his holy light and power, when it appeareth, and is willing to work in and upon their hearts. This is not the condemnation of men, that light doth not fhine in their hearts; but that they love the darkness more than the light, which appears and fhines in them, and is there witneffing against and drawing from the darkness. And fo when it fhall at laft be made manifeft, how light hath appeared to all men, and God's Spirit therein, and thereby ftriven with all men, and how they have refufed, and would not be turned from their darkness to the light of the Lord; every mouth will be stopped before him, and all men that perifh, justly condemned for refusing and neglecting fo great falvation: for the light of the fun of God's everlasting day, and the found of his Spirit of life, vifiting dark man, reacheth throughout all the earth, and his voice and words to the ends of the world.
Some Obfervations concerning the Priesthood of CHRIST, from feveral Paffages in the Epistle to the HEBREWS.
HO is the apostle and high-prieft of our profeffion? It is Jefus Chrift, the Son of God, whom God hath appointed heir of all things, by whom he made the worlds; and who is the express image of his Father's fubftance, &c. Heb. i. and chap. iii. 1.
Obferv. 2. Why this high-prieft was to fuffer death? which was, that he might tafte death for every man, and fo through fuffering become a perfect Saviour, or perfect captain of falvation, to all the fons that were to be brought by him to glory, chap. ii. 9, 10.
Obferv. 3. Why he partook of flesh and blood? one reafon whereof was, because the children (and that therein he might fhew them an example of righteousness, that he might condemn himself in the flesh), were partakers of flesh and blood; for that was the very ground or reason that he took part of the fame another reafon was that which was mentioned before; that he might tafte death, and through death destroy him who had the power of death, and fo break open the prifon-doors, and deliver those who were captives under him, chap. ii. 14, 15.
Obferv. 4. Why he was tempted; and why in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren? which was, that he might be a merciful and faithful high-prieft in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the fins of the people. For his own fuffering under temptations (even the fenfe thereof) renders him merciful, tender, faithful, and ready to help and fuccour his in all their temptations, chap. ii. 17, 18.