« PoprzedniaDalej »
rare grace so abundant in him.
Thus if we would plead and beg heartily, we should have it. So in the Lord's Supper, if I find deadness and dulness to oppress me, Christ is the life quickening all things; there I must beg more spiritual life, and a sense of a sweeter and nearer union and communion with him. And thus in other things we must do the like.
Secondly. Look on Christ in his death. There is no better means to bring one to detestation of sin, than to look upon him in his greatest agony. If thou canst not master a sin, arraign it before the passion of Christ, and there consider of him in a bloody sweat, with clods of blood about him, trickling down to the ground, with hands, feet, and side pierced, the ground imbrued with blood, and he crying out on the cross, “ my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" Imagine also, that thou seest for this, all the world hung with black hangings, in mourning weeds, and darkness; bring thy sin unto this sight, and it will go near to move and terrify thee. This is an excellent means. The prophet in effect foretelleth thus much ; “ And they shall look upon me, whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one is in bitterness for his first born.” This sight must make us mourn, and never rest till we crucify it. When thou hast brought thy sin hither, then say unto it: art thou that, that hast caused all this to fall on my blessed Saviour ? hast thou caused all this wo, all these deaths, which now we are subject unto ? Certainly thou shalt die the death. Now, as this will stir up hatred in us against the sin, so have I a promise that his death shall help me to subdue and mortify my corruptions, by virtue of his death. Knowingk this” (saith the apostle) " that our old man is crucified with him : that the body of sin might be destroyed ; that henceforth we should not serve sin.”
So thirdly, look at him in his resurrection, that we may rise with him to newness of life. The apostle joins both
i Zach. chap. 12. ver. 10.
k Rom. chap. 7. ver. 6.
together. “ Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death, that like as Christ was raised up from the dead, by the glory of the Father ; even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.” Whatsoever was in him, it was for me. There is no act of Christ, he did, or suffered, nor no virtue in him, but, being in him, thou hast a part of all. Is he dead? He died that thou mightest die unt sin. Is he buried ? It is, that thy sins might be buried with him in his grave. Or is he risen again ? It is, that thou mightest rise with him now unto newness of life, and at last unto eternal glory for ever. Thus a man must go along with him, in his life, his death, and unto his resurrection, rising with him, as the apostle speaks, “ Ifm ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.”
Then all this seen, thirdly, I would have a man spend a meditation, how foul a thing sin is, as Psal. 36. ver.1. See there what the degrees of sin are.
1. That there is no fear of God before a sinful man's eyes.
2. Then that he flattereth himself in his own eyes, till his iniquity be found worthy to be hated.
3. So next, he shows: the words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit ; he hath left off to be wise and to do good; he deviseth mischief upon his bed; he setteth himself in a way that is not good; he abhorreth not evil. A man will say, this and that sin is evil.
But if a man would abhor sin indeed, this is the way to get out of it, to aggravate all the circumstances of sin to the full. Even as at the King's Bench, or some other court of justice, the King's attorney aggravates to the utmost all the faults of the offender, for the King. So shouldest thou be in this case, for the King of heaven against thy self. And as he
| Rom, chap. 6. ver. 4.
m Col. chap. 3. ver. 1.
doth so to search all the records, that may make against thyself, justifying thy God so, as being thus humbled in his sight he may raise thee up again in due time.
I would have this to be the recreation of a Christian, to search out and aggravate his corruptions to humble him. There is no recreation like this, if we would use it; there is no gallant would delight so much in hunting, as we would in this. We are almost undone, for want of meditation and serious consideration of these things. Try thou out then all the secret corners of thy heart, even that secret sin thou affectest, and which would hide itself: that sin which thou either mincest or hidest in prayer ; bring that forth in his colours, repent, lay load, and make this as odious as may be. This is a special means to bring a man unto this liberty of sanctification, and to be assured that the son hath made him free.
Is, not immediately to strike against the branches, but against the root, and to fire sin out of his den. Look to the degrees. When a man is overtaken to commit the same sin again, it is because he looked upon the sin, but not upon the
Thus a man may pray long and never the better. As to instance in one for all. Imagine a man be troubled with covetousness, and this man sees it, and prays against it, but.prevails not in his suit, yea rather becomes more covetous and careful. Why hath he no help in prayer? He looks the sin, but not upon the cause.
He hath a upon great charge and many children, and he fears what may come; this makes him care, cark, scrape, and distrust God. What then is the root of his sin ? Infidelity. How should we cure such a man? Why thus : strike at the root, by applying and propounding the promises, and strengthening a man in them: show such a man hath not God promised, and entered into covenant to be our God, and the God of our seed? And thus helping a covetous man against infidelity, the sin falls down of itself. So again in passion, a man excuseth it and saith, God forgive me, it is my hasty nature.
But look to the root,
and you shall find it to be pride: as Solomon speaks, “Only by pride cometh contention." What is the cure? Labour to show such a person the excellency and glory of humility, to beat down his pride. Tell him that a great many far better than he are much worse used, and that he deserves a great deal of harder measure than he hath: in word, bring him to be humble. Look upon the cause, and not upon the sin only; and in sum, do as physicians, who, finding proud blood, open a vein, and turn the stream another way.
The last help is, to look into thy heart first of all. It is a quagmire, and a sink of sin. It is a pond, that will still gather moss and dirt. There will be a sink of filth in us still, so long as we live. What shall we do then ? Make a passage: pump out every day, cleanse and mortify thy sinful affections and lusts : let sin have no quiet possession: purge it away by little and little: now a leg and then an arm, and a hand must be cut off. This is the
Now this is not enough for a man to purge out the evil, to weed out the weeds : but he must also labour to plant it with good things: let no place of thy heart be untilled. Get faith, hope, love, humility, patience, temperance, sobriety, and put these in thy heart : fulness of these will hold out the other. Saith the apostle, “ Walk" in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” Yea, and further be sure to put Christ, yea to plant the fulness of him in thy heart. And, for upshot of all, when by praying, striving, and all holy desires, thou hast gotten these graces in thy heart, trust not to faith, or any other grace, but let thy relying and confidence be in Christ alone. You see what the prophet David's resolution is, “ I will not trust in my sword, nor in my bow. But my trust is in the Lord my God: he is my shield, buckler, and defence and strong tower.” Nay, we must not trust, not in our spiritual weapons, we have : for all graces are creatures, and we must not rely, but on the Creator, from whence those graces come. If a man do
n Gal. chap. 5. ver. 16.
these things, then he shall be free. So as in the evil day, when calamity comes upon others, he shall laugh at destruction, when their fears are great and many. God will make thee stand: but how? Perhaps he will never give thee that measure thou lookest for of this freedom in sanctification. But he will give thee so much as shall make thee stand fast, never to be removed. So much as neither all Satan's temptations, nor thy own frailties shall ever hinder thy everlasting salvation. This is our freedom. Now let us pray, O Lord our God, &c.