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The ear that was once open to satan's call, and that (like a vitiated palate) did relish nothing so much as filthy, at least frothy talk, and the fool's laughter, is now bored to the door of Christ's house, and open to his discipline it saith, Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth it cries with him, Veniat verbum domini, and waits for his word as the rain, and relisheth them more than the appointed food, Job xxii. 12, than the honey and the honey-comb, Psa. xix. 10.
The head, that was the shop of worldly designs, is now filled with other matters, and set on the study of God's will, Psa. i. 2, and cxix. 97, and the man beats his head, not so much about his gain, but about his duty The thoughts and cares that now fill his head are principally how he may please God and fly
His heart, that was a sty of filthy lusts, is become an altar of incense, where the fire of divine love is ever kept in, and whence the daily sacrifice of prayer and praises, and sweet incense of holy desires, ejaculations and anhelations are continually ascending. Psa. cviii. 1, cxix. 20, and exxxix. 17, 18
The mouth is become a well of life, his tongue as choice silver, and his lips feed mány. Now the salt of grace hath seasoned his speech, and eaten out the corruption, Col. iv. 6, and cleansed the mouth from his filthy communication, flattery, boasting, railing, lying, swearing, backbiting, that once came like the flashes proceeding from the hell that was in the heart, James iii. 6, 7. The throat,
that was once an open sepulchre, Rom. iii. 13, now sends forth the sweet breath of prayer and holy discourse; and the man speaks another tongue, in the language of Canaan, and is never so well as when talking of God and Christ, and the matters of another world. His mouth bringeth forth wisdom, his tongue is become the silver trumpet of his Maker's praise, his glory, and the best member that he hath.
Now, here you shall have the hypocrite halting. He speaks, it may be, like an angel, but he hath a covetous eye, or the gain of unrighteousness in his hand or the hand is white, but his heart is full of rottenness, Matt. xxiii. 27, full of unmortified cares, a very oven of lust, a shop of pride, the seat of malice. It may be, with Nebuchadnezzar's image, he hath a golden head, a great deal of knowledge; but he hath feet of clay, his affections are worldly, he minds earthly things, and his way and walk are sensual and carnal; you may trace him in his secret haunts, and his footsteps will be found in some by-paths of sin. The work is not throughout with him.
3. Throughout the motions, or the life and practice. The new man takes a new course, Eph. ii. 2, 3. His conversation is in heaven, Phil. iii. 20. No sooner doth Christ call by effectual grace, but he straightway becomes a follower of him, Matt. iv. 20. When God hath given the new heart, and writ his law in his mind, he forthwith walks in his statutes, and keeps his judgments, Ezek. xxxvi. 26, 27.
Though sin may dwell (God knows a wearisome and unwelcome guest) in him, yet it hath no more dominion over him, Rom. vi. 7, 14. He hath his fruit unto holiness, Rom. vi. 22, and though he makes many a blot, yet the law and life of Jesus is that he eyes as his copy, Psa. cxix. 33, Heb. xii, 2, and hath an unfeigned respect to all God's commandments, Psa. cxix. 6. He makes conscience even of little sins and little duties, Psa. cxix. 113.His very infirmities, which he cannot help though he would, are his soul's burden, and are like the dust in a man's eye, which, though but little, yet is not a little troublesome. [O man! dost thou read this, and never turn in upon thy soul by self-examination The sincere convert is not one man at church, and another at home; he is not a saint on his knees, and a cheat in his shop; he will not tythe mint and cummin, and neglect mercy and judgment, and the weighty matters of the law; he doth not pretend piety, and neglect morality, Matt. xxiii. 14. But he turns from all his sins, and keeps all God's statutes, Ezek. xviii. 21, though not perfectly, (except in desire and endeavour) yet sincerely not allowing himself in the breach of any, Rom. vii. 15. Now he delights in the word, and sets himself to prayer, and opens his hand, (if able) and draws out his soul to the hungry, Rom. vii. 22, Psa. cix. 4, Isa. Iviii. 10. He breaketh off his sins by righteousness, and his iniquities by shewing mercy, to the poor, Dan. iv. 27, and hath a good conscience, willing in all things to live honestly, Heb. xiii.
18, and to keep without offence towards God and men.
Here again you shall find the unsoundness of many professors, that take themselves for good Christians. They are partial in the law, Mal. ii. 9, and take up with the cheap and easy duties of religion, but they go not through with the work. They are as a cake not turned, half toasted and half raw. It may be you shall have them exact in their words, punctual in their dealings; but then they do not exercise themselves unto godliness; and for examining themselves, and governing their hearts, to this they are strangers. You may have them duly at the church; but follow them to their families, and there you shall see little but the world minded; or if they have a road of family-duties, follow them to their closets, and there you shall find their souls are little looked after. It may be they seem otherwise religious, but bridle not their tongues, and so all their religion is in vain, James i. 26. It may be they come up to closet and family prayer; but follow them to their shops, and there you shall find them in a trade of lying, or some covert and cleanly way of deceit. Thus the hypocrite goes not throughout in the course of his obedience.
And thus much for the subject of conver
6. The terms are either from which or to which.
1. The terms from which we turn in this motion of conversion, are sin, satan, the world, and our own righteousness.
First, Sin. When a man is converted, he is forever out with sin, yea, with all sin, Psa. cxix. 128, but most of all with his own sins, and especially with his bosom sin, Psa. xviii. 23. Sin is now the butt of his indignation, 2 Cor. vii. 11. He thirsts to bathe his hands in the blood of his sins. His sins set abroach his sorrows: it is sin that pierceth him and wounds him; he feels it like a thorn in his side, like a prick in his eyes; he groans and struggles under it, and not formally, but feelingly cries out, O wretched man! He is not impatient of any burden so much as of his sin, Psa. xl. 12, If God should give him his choice, he would choose any affliction, so he might be rid of sin; he feels it like the cutting gravel in his shoes, pricking and paining him as he goes. ⠀
Before conversion, he had light thoughts of sin: he cherished it in his bosom, as Uriah his lamb: he nourished it up, and it grew up together with him; it did eat, as it were, of his own meat, and drunk of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was to him as a daughter: but when God opens his eyes by conver sion, he throws it away with abhorrence, Isa. XXX. 22, as a mau would a loathsome, toad, which in the dark he had hugged fast in his bosom, and thought it had been some pretty and harmless bird. When a man is savingly changed, he is not only deeply convinced of the danger, but defilement of sin; and Oh, how earnest is he with God to be purified!He loathes himself for his sins, Ezek. xxxvi. 31. He runs to Christ, and casts himself into