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e secure and cheerleep soundly after a vrience after an act of hath a heart insensible or hell. This is that,
Lord of Hosts call to and to girding with sack.
of oren, and killing of Laiah xxii. 12, 13. But riot be purged till ye die;
lure made a covenant with "; but it follows soon after;
annulled, and their agree+ 111, 15, 18. jat profess to love the Lord. i-natured children; whom I
uinquiet, till, with their con· have made their peace with
casure which is in this, grieving moes alone, but is attended by
Aversion and punishment. ? an unsavory breath, turn their "ood guests, who find themselves sih the Holy Spirit of God, upon away his face, and withdraw his - my face from thee; saith God, found, and complained of; Thou
ils troubled; Psalm xxx. 7. And sould be quite gone upon those his werder, he cries out passionately, 0
we; and take not thine Holy Spirit - call Spiritual Desertion; a course,
when he finds a kind of restiveness of passage given to some heinous sin ience; where he intends correction,
The Spouse in the Canticles, because ker Beloved, finds herself disappointed: 1,14 Beloved had withdraum himself, and Hid me; Cant. v. 6. This is no other, wilt of; and which, if we have any acwrselves, in our daily experience, we if we have given way to any willing sin. last, as doubtless they had done ere then, they come with humble prostrations and passionate supplications to their brother, H’e pray thee forgive the trespass of the servants of thy father's God; Gen. 1. 17.
What speak I of these? Even Absalom himself, though he soon after carried a traitor in his bosom, how earnestly he sued for his restoring to his father's long-denied preserce; and, out of his impatience, caused Joab to pay dear for the delay!
Oh, then, how should we be affected with the sense of the displeasure of the Holy Spirit of our good God; who, as he is our best friend, so he is a most powerful avenger of wickedness! Surely, we do so vex and sadden him with our grievous provocations, that he cries out; and makes moan of his insufferable wrong this way, Thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, and wearied ine with thine iniquities; Isaiah xliii. 24; and Amos ii. 13; Behold, I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed, that is full of sheaves; even so full, that the axletree creaks, and bends, and cracks again. It must needs be a great weight, that the Almighty complains of: and surely, so it is. Could our offences be terminated in men, and not strike God through them, we might well say, that all the outrages and affronts, that we could put upon a world of men, were nothing, to the least violation of the Infinite Majesty of God: and so doth the God, against whom they are committed, take thein. By how much more tender the part is, so much more painful is the blow: the least wipe of the eye troubles us more, than a bard stroke upon the back. It is easy to observe, that, the more holy the person is, the more he is afflicted with his own and with others' sin : Lot vexed his righteous soul with the unclean conversation of the Sodomites: David's eyes gushed out rivers of waters, because men kept not the Law: how much more, then, shall the Holy God, from whom these good men receive these touches of godly indig, nation, be vexed, to see and hear our profanations of his name and days, our contempt of his servants and ordinances, our debauched lives, our malicious and oppressive practices, our wilful disobediences, our shameful excesses and uncleannesses, our uncharitable censures of each other, and all that world of wickedness, that we are overborne withal!
Grief is never but an unpleasive passion: the rest have some life and contentment in them. Not only love, and joy (which useth to dilate and cheer the heart), but even hatred itself, to a rancorous stomach, hath a kind of wicked pleasure in it; but grief is ever harsh and tedious; one* of St. Augustin's two tormentors of mankind. And shall our hearts tell us, that we have grieved the Good Spirit of God, by our sins; and shall not we be grieved at ourselves, that we have grieved him? How can there be any true sense of heavenly love and gratitude in us, if we be not thoroughly humbled, and vexed within ourselves, to think that we have angered so good a God? How can we choose but roar out in the
* Dolor el Timor,
unquietness of our souls, with the holy Psalmist, There is no soundness in my flesh, because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones, because of my sin : for mine iniquities are gone over my head; as a heavy burden, they are too heavy for me to bear? Psalm xxxvjii. 3, 4.
Certainly, it is a sign of a graceless soul, to be secure and cheerful under a known sin. That man, that can sleep soundly after a murder, that can give merry checks to his conscience after an act of adultery or theft, or any such grievous crimes, hath a heart insensible of goodness, and may prove a fit brand for hell. This is that, whereof Isaiah speaks, In that day, did the Lord of Hosts call to weeping, and to mourning, and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth; and, behold, joy and gladness, slaying of oxen, and killing of sheep, eating flesh, and drinking wine ; Isaiah xxii. 12, 13. But it follows next; Surely this iniquity shall not be purged till ye verse 14. These are they, that say, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell we are at an agreement : but it follows soon after; Their covenant with death shall soon be disannulled, and their agreement with hell shall not stand; Isaiah xxviii. 15, 18.
Far, far be this disposition from us, that profess to love the Lord. Let it be with us, as with some good-natured children; whom I have seen, even after their whippings, unquiet, till, with their continued tears and importunities, they have made their peace with their offended parents.
(2.) And thus much for the displeasure which is in this, grieving of the Spirit of God, which never goes alone, but is attended by those two other consequent effects; Aversion and punishment.
As those, therefore, which scent an unsavory breath, turn their heads aside; and those great and good guests, who find themselves ill used, change their inn: so doth the Holy Spirit of God, upon occasion of our wilful sins, turn away his face, and withdraw his presence. In a little wrath, I hid my face from thee; saith God, Isaiah liv. 8. This, good David found, and complained of; Thou turnedst away thy face, and I was troubled; Psalm xxx. 7. And again, as if he feared lest God would be quite gone upon those his horrible sins of adultery and murder, he cries out passionately, 0 cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thine Holy Spirit from me; Psalm li. u.
This is that, which Divines call Spiritual Desertion; a course, which God takes, not seldom, when he finds a kind of restiveness and neglect in his servants, or passage given to some heinous sin against the checks of conscience; where he intends correction, quickening, and reclamation. The Spouse in the Canticles, because she opened not instantly to her Beloved, finds herself disappointed: I opened to my Beloved, but my Beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone ; and my soul failed me; Cant. v. 6. This is no other, than we must make account of; and which, if we have any acquaintance with God and ourselves, in our daily experience, we have found, and shall find, if we have given way to any willing sin.
In that very act, the Spirit is grieved; and, in that act of grief, subduced: neither can we ever expect comfort in the sense of his return, or hope to have his face shine upon us again, till we have won him to us, and recovered his favour, by an unfeigned repentance.
Is there any of us, therefore, that hath grieved and estranged the Holy Spirit from us, by any known offence? it must cost us warm water, ere we can recover him and the light of his countenance upon us.
Neither let us be sparing of our tears to this purpose. Let no Antinomian stop the floodgates of our eyes. Let no Popish Doctor prevail to the abatement of this holy sorrow. Those men, out of a profession of much outward rigour and austerity, do, underhand, by their doctrine slacken the reins of true penitence to their clients. Contritio una vel remissa, &c. “One easy contrition is able to blot out any sin, if never so heinous;” saith their learned Cardinal Toleth: and their Jesuit Maldonate, to the same effect, Ad perfectionem Pænitentia, &c. “ To the perfection of penitence is required only a slight kind of inward sorrow.” Wherein I cannot better resemble them, than to timorous or indulgent chirurgeons, that think to pleasure the patient, in not searching the wound to the bottom: for wbich kindness, they shall receive little thank at the last: for the wound hereupon festers within, and must cost double time and pain in the cure; whereas those solid Divines, that experimentally know what belongs to the healing of a sinning soul, go thorough-stitch to work. Insomuch as Cardinal Bel armin taxeth it as too much rigour in Luther, Calvin, and Chemnitius, that they require Magnum animi concussionem; “ A great concussion of soul," and a sharp and vehement contrition of the penitent. For us, let us not be niggardly of our sorrow; but, in these cases, go mourning all the day long. See how the Spirit of God expresses, Zech. xii. 10: They shall mourn, as ore that mourneih for his only son; and shall be in bitterness, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn. This is a repentance, never to be repented of: Blessed are they, that thus mourn ; for they shall be comforted.
(3.) This aversion is Punishment enough alone; and, if it should be total and final, as it is not to God's own children, it were the worst piece of hell: for the punishment of loss, is justly defined worse, than that of sense; but, withal, it is attended, as there is good cause, with sensible demonstrations of God's anger, and the smart of the offender. My wounds stink and are corrupted, because of my foolishness; saith the Psalmist, Psalm xxxviii. 5. I am ucary of my groaning ; Psalm vi. 6. And, if the most righteous cannot avoid this sore band of the Almighty, where shall wilful sinners appear? These eifects of God's displeasure, then, are such, as are worth trembling at.
It is true, as that wise Pagan said, a speech worthy to be written in letters of gold and that which I doubt riot shall be in the Day of Judgment laid in the dish of many millions of professed Christians, Si omnes Deos hominesque celare possimus, nihil ararè, nihil injustè, nihil libidinosè, nihil incontinenter faciendum ; “ That if we could hide our actions from God and men, yet we may do nothing covetously, nothing unjustly, nothing lustfully, nothing incontinently.
Who would not be ashamed, to hear this fail from a Heathen; when he sees how many Christians live? But it is most true. A good man dare not sin, though there were no hell: but, that holy and wise God, that knows how sturdy and headstrong natures he hath to do withal, finds it necessary to let men feel, ihat he hath store of thunderbolts for sinners; that he hath magazines of judgments, and, after all, a hell of torments for the rebellious: and, indeed, we cannot but yield it most just, that it should be so. If but an equal do grieve and vex us, we are ready to give him his own, with advantage; and if an inferior, we fail upon him with hand and tongue, and are apt to crush him to nothing; and even that worm, when he is trodden on, will be turning again: how can we, or why should we think, that the Great and Holy God will be vexed by us, and pocket up all our indignities? If a gnat or flea do but sting thee, thou wilt kill it, and thinkest it good justice; yet there is some proportion betwist these creatures and thee: but what art thou, Silly Nothing, to the Infinite?
We, men, have devised varieties of punishments for those that offend our laws.
Artaxerxes his decree mentions four sorts; Death, Banishment, Confiscalion, Imprisonment; Ezra vii. 26: and, which perhaps you will wonder at, commits the managing of justice in the execution of them all, to Ezra the priest.
The Romans, as Tully tells us, had eight several kinds of punishments for their delinquents; Forfeiture, Bonds, Stripes, Retaliation, Shame, Exile, Servitude, and Death. God hath all these double over; and a thousand others. For the first, which is Forfeiture, here is the forfeiture of no less than all; Take from him the pound, saith the master concerning the unfaithful servant; Luke xix. 24. For the second, Bonds, here are the most dreadful bonds that can be, even everlasting chains of darkness; Jude 6. For Stripes, here are many stripes for the knowing and not doing servant; Luke xii. 47. For Retaliation, it is here just and home, it is just with God to render tribulation to those that trouble you; 2 Thess. i. 6. For Shame, here is confusion of face; Dan. ix. 8. For Exile, here is an everlasting banishment from the presence of God; Matth. xxv. 41. For Servitude, here is the most odious bondage, sold under sin; Rom. vii
. 14. For Death, here is a double death, a temporal and eternal. These, and more than can be expressed are the consequents of God's displeasure.
If thou Icvest thyself therefore, take heed, above all things, of grieving thy God with thy sins; and, if thou hast done so, hasten thy reconciliation: agree with thine adversary in the way, else tribulation and anguish upon every soul that doth evil: thy grieving of him shall end in weeping, and wailing, and gnashing; for our God is a consuming fire.