« PreviousContinue »
tree;" cut up sin by the roots. If a vain thought, à proud, sensual, worldly, passionate thought arise in your hearts, suppress it, militate against it, “ crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts,” Gal. v. 24. So will you evidence yourselves to be Christ's, 2 Cor. vii. l; be daily “perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” Observe wherein you missed it in such a duty, and be still improving, as Apelles, when he had drawn a picture, was ever and anon spying defects, and then altering with his pencil ; so do you. Observe when conscience speaks such language as the following: Oh my soul, in such a duty thou wast cold, distracted, unbelieving, hard, and vain; in such an affliction thou wast froward, peevish, and discontented; in such a company thou spakest idly, or wast guilty of sinful silence; in the enjoyment of such a mercy, or in thy prosperous state, how proud wast thou, secure, selfconceited, and slighting others ! Oh mourn for these faults, watch against them for the future; walk more
; closely with God, maintain daily intercourse with him and your own consciences; thereby you will be better acquainted with God and your own souls, and discern better how your principles operate; “for if you walk according to this rule, peace shall be upon you,” Gal. vi. 16. Hence the blessed apostle's words, 2 Cor. i. 12, “For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world.” Dying Hezekiah could plead this with God in his appeal, Isa. xxxviii. 3.
Oh sirs, learn to exercise every grace in every duty; the exercise of grace is the clearest evidence of grace, both to ourselves and others; as the man who.confuted his antagonist, that disputed against motion, by starting up and walking. So do you walk with
hereby do we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments,” i John ii. 3, 6. If you
6 walk as he walked, you evidence that you abide in him; as he “ which hath called you is holy,” so be “ye holy in all manner of conversation,” 1 Pet. i. 15. If you expect that God's Spirit will witness with your spirits, and so subscribe your certificate for heaven, you must be uniform and universal in your course of godliness, both in your worship and walking, walking before God, and with God, Gen. v. 24. xvii. 1. Then indeed will you be found upright or perfect; but if thou hast any close drawer in the cabinet of thy heart, wherein thou secretest any beloved sin, or if thou delayest in thy journey along heaven's road, by idleness, sleeping, or backsliding, and losing thy first love, then no wonder if thou canst not discern the impress of God's image upon thy soul, but callest thy very state into question.
Yet above all, I advise thee to shut the mouth of conscience, with that only which has satisfied the justice of God. Nothing can reconcile a man to himself, but that which reconciled God and man.
It was Dr. Sibbs' advice, When the water of sancti. fication runs muddy, betake yourselves to the blood of justification. There, there must lie your comfort, and confidence, by this only must you answer all the objections raised by Satan and conscience, from justice, law, or whatsoever opposeth your peace, arising from the defects and imperfections of grace or this new creation within you: and indeed, the best of us must anchor and centre here, as to our justification, acceptance with God, or composedness of conscience.
Come then, let us go, in this gospel-way, to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel, Heb. xii. 24. Amen, so be it.
PRESENT AND FUTURE, VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE;
WHEREIN IS REPRESENTED BRIEFLY
THE UNCOMFORTABLE STATE OF God's CHILDREN IN THIS WORLD, AND THEIR EARNEST EXPECTATION OF
FUTURE HAPPINESS WITH GOD.