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and ftrong luftings of flesh to hinder you from following Chrift in duty; and if fuch mountains have been made plains, and corruption borne down, even when you have found your heart fo full of darkness, deadness, hardness, unbelief, and all manner of diftempers, that you have even defpaired of acting in duty, or of accefs in prayer; yet thefe fpiritual enemies have been conquered, and your heart let out toward the Lord, more than at other times; here was the leading of the Spirit, Rom. viii. 13, 14. Gal. v. 16, 17, 18. Though you cannot do, what you would, cannot perform the duties you would; yet the will, in this cafe, does prevail against corruption, even when the duty is hindered, and fin acted in the foul; yet that corruption is not predominant there : why, your love to Chrift is predominant, and prevails over the love to other things; your joy in the Lord is predominant, and prevails againft carnal joy in the creature; your peace by the blood of Chrift helps to let you fee the falfe peace which you have had upon other grounds; and your faith is predominant against unbelief, which formerly discovered itself in caufing you to choose other objects befide Chrift.

3. Then hath a man the leading of the Spirit, when his heart is under powerful drawings toward Chrift; fuch as are fpoken of, Eph. i. 19. The lowest duty requires the heart, Eph. vi. 6. If in the improvement of praying or preaching gifts, our hearts be carried out Chrift-ward, though we fhould find more ftraitenedness of expreffion than at other times, yet we have enjoyed the leading of the Spirit, Jer. xxx. 21. If a man have had never fo much enlargednefs of expreffion in prayer; yet, if his heart hath not been drawn out toward Chrift, it is not witneffing. But if the duty hath been of advantage that way, then you have had the leading of the Spirit, however mean the duty hath feemed to be.

4. When the man is made to own the mediation of Chrift, and to embrace the gofpel-promife in his acting, then he hath the leading of the Spirit. Many, in words, do make ufe of Chrift for acceptance with God; but, unless your heart have been held up, and drawn to D 2


make use of the name of Chrift, and the fufferings and interceffion of Chrift, you have not the leading of the Spirit. Whereas these who attain to this, do find. acceptance with God, John xiv. 13, 14. XV. 16. 23.— Gospel-promises alfo are the chariot whereby the foul may ride towards the King of glory in triumph, 2 Peter i. 4. 2 Cor. i. 20. And when the foul is made heartily to make use of Chrift by thefe, then it enjoys the leading of the Spirit of promise.

5. Then is the man led by the Spirit, when he is helped in gospel duties, to act for fpiritual and gofpel. ends. When he defires to aim not at felf-advancement, or his own name and glory, as Matth. vi. 1. 4. But, when the great thing he would be at, is the mortification of corruption, communion with God, increase of faith, growth in grace, &c. When he feeks outward mercies in a fubordination to these, and in a way of fubferviency to the intereft and fervice of Chrift; and when, as the ultimate end of all, he feeks the glory of God, 1 Cor. x. 31.; then he enjoys the leading of the Spirit, and confequently the witnefs of water or fanctification. And thus you fee how the foul may know if he hath the witnefs in himfelf, viz. the Spirit, blood, and water, the three that bear witnefs on earth.

The Third Ufe is of Exhortation and Direction. And here I might addrefs myfelf both to finners and faints.

ift, We are to addrefs unbelievers. Is it fo, that He that believeth bath the witnefs in bimfelf? Then, you who are unbelievers, O be refilefs till you know what it is to believe on the Son of God, and fo to have the witness in yourfelves. Know that it is your duty to believe; and you perish for ever, if you get not faith. And yet know alfo, that you cannot believe of your-. felves and therefore, look to the Son of God for grace to believe in him; for he is the Author of faith: and in this way, feek to have the witness within you; for, you will otherwife deceive yourfelves, as you have been deceiving yourselves all along, while you have been taking the tellimony of an erring confcience, or the teftimony of men and minifters only, without having.


the teftimony of the Spirit, and the witnefs within you: yea, perhaps, you have been taking the tellimony of Satan, instead of the teftimony of the Spirit of God; for Satan can transform himfelf into an angel of light, while you may reckon that you have the teftimony of the word applied, not by the Spirit of God, but by your own spirit, or by an evil fpirit.

Queft. How fhall we know the witnefs of the Spirit, from Satan transforming himfelf into an angel of light?

Anfw. Much hath been faid for the discovery of this already; and therefore look back to what has been of fered. Satan's witnefling doth exalt felf; the Spirit's witneffing doth tend to felf-humiliation. Satan's witnelling encourages carnal liberty; the Spirit's witnes fing deftroys the liberty of the flesh. Satan's witnes fing confounds a man, and his natural darkness and ignorance continues; the Spirit's witneffing convinces, clears, and enlightens the man, by internal, gracious revelation. Satan's witneffing defiles and deforms the foul more and more in the iffue of it; the Spirit's wit neffing is of a heart-purifying, fin-mortifying nature. But the text being directed efpecially to believers, therefore I would addrefs myfelf,

2dly, To believers, who have the witnefs in themfelves. I would offer you thefe following directions, in order to the ttrengthening and maintaining of the witnefs within yourselves.

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1. O Sirs, wait for the Spirit, who is the principal witnels, by afking him of the Father; "If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more fhall your heavenly Father, give his holy Spirit to them that afk him?" Luke xi. 13. Neither the water nor the blood, neither promiles nor graces, will withefs without the irradiation of the Spirit; for,

The Spirit fearches all things; yea, the deep things of God, and reveals them to us, and makes us know the things that are freely given us of God," Cor. ii. 10.12. A true dial hath an aptitude and fitnefs to fhew us the hours of the day; but unless the fun fhine, you can know nothing by it; fo, it may be day-light with your foul, and you may have precious graces, that have a fitness and

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and aptitude to witnefs your being a child of God; but they cannot do it, without the fhining of the Spirit upon his own work. It is faid, that the Sabin ftone is of a dark, dufkifh colour, till it be fprinkled with oil, and then it will burn of a light fire; fo, graces and experiences are of a dufkifh colour, till the oil of the Spirit be poured upon them; then they will burn forth with brightnefs, fo as to witnefs to the foul its adoption and reconciliation with God.

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2. Mark the depofition of the witness, and take not the teftimony of any other witness, but in an agree ablenefs with this. It hath been fometimes an objec tion among serious fouls, "Oh! I have found my heart deceiving me, in paffing judgment about other matters; and I had as many symptoms of my being led by the Spirit of God to thefe conclufions, as I "have of his leading me in this, that concerns my "eternal ftate; and therefore I fear I be deceived in "all." Now, what fhall we fay to this? Why, in general, it is the work of the Spirit to discover both the fincerity and deceitfulness of the heart. Seeds of hypocrify are in the beft, as well as other fins: grace doth not totally deftroy the being of any one fin. Peter's heart did deceive him when he was upon high refolutions for Chrift; and yet he was a believer. But never does a foul fee more of the deceitfulnefs of his heart, than upon the difcovery of divine love, Job xlii. 5, 6. Ifa. vi. 5. Ezek. xvi. 63.-But further, upon this head, you would remember, that the believer may be de ceived about fome circumftances, and about the particular ends of fome difpenfations, and yet his judgment may be right in the main; and therefore, particular mistakes are not to be made general rules. Peter had a clear teftimony of his adoption, and that from the mouth of Chrift himself, Matth. xvi. 17.; yet this did not preferve him from a delufion of Satan, that came afterwards, verfes 22, 23.; the fame mouth that bles fed him, quickly called him Satan. Chrift's teftimony was enough to fecure him of divine love; and yet it did not fecure him against a falfe confidence, in a particular cafe; nor against a fad fall, Matth. xxvi.

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35. 70. 72. If your heart then has deceived you in fome particular thing, do not conclude, that you are deluded in all; but let your particular mistakes provoke you to mark the depofition of this witnefs, and to watch against the delufions of Satan, and your own fpirit, that you take not the teftimony thereof.

Perhaps you may fay, How fhall I know thefe delufions?

We have hinted at thefe already; take thefe parti culars, in fhort, as fymptoms of a delufion, and beware of them.

(1.) Whatever hath a natural tendency to promote fin and unrighteoufnefs, is a delufion: unholinefs cannot be from the holy Spirit. Beware of that which gives encouragement to corruption.

(2.) That which arifes from, and leads to fecurity, is a delufion, Rev. iii. 17. 22. The Laodiceans, there, thought they wanted nothing; but the Spirit of God thought otherwife and tells them, that they wanted all things.

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(3.) That which fprings from a fuppofed felf-fufficiency, or, in its own nature, leads to felf-advancement, is a delufion; In my profperity I faid, I fhall never be moved," Pfalm xxx. 6. David was confident, that he fhould not be moved, because of his outward accomodations for felf-defence; therefore he checks and corrects himself, verse 7. "By thy favour my mountain ftandeth ftrong." So, if you overcome this or that temptation, and thereupon conclude, that you are able to encounter with any; it is but the voice of your own fpirit: and, it may be, a fmall temptation will surprise you fhortly; yea, very quickly and fo, if it tend to make you afpiring, as Gen. iii. 5. fufpect it as a delufion.

(4.) That which begins not with, and ends not in Chrift, is a delufion. Peter engages for Chrift, but not in the ftrength of Chrift; and fo he fell.Therefore, we fay, mark the depofition of the witness, and take not the teftimony of any other.

3. Beware of grieving your principal witnefs that you have within you, either by rejecting his teftimony,

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