صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

you be and do, but live to yourselves, and yet think yourselves in a state of life, you are mistaken, and do not know yourselves. What abundance might easily see their miserable condition in this discovery, who say in effect, "Our lips are our own who is Lord over us?" (Psal. xii. 4,) and rather hate and oppose the interest of God and holiness in the world, than devote themselves to the promoting of it! (Deut. xxxii. 6.) "Do ye thus requite the Lord, ye foolish people and unwise? Is not he thy Father that hath bought thee? Hath he not made thee, and established thee?"

2. All those are unregenerate and in a state of death, that are not sincerely subjected to the governing will of God, but are ruled by their carnal interest and desires; and the word of a man that can gratify or hurt them, can do more with them than the word of God: To shew them the command of a man that they think can undo them if they disobey, doth more prevail with them, than to shew them. the command of God, that can condemn them unto endless misery. They more fear men that can kill the body, than God, that can destroy both soul and body in hell fire. When the lust of the flesh, and the will of man do bear more sway than the will of God, it is certain that such a soul is unregenerate. (Rom. vi. 3, 4, 6.) "Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death, that like as Christ was raised from the dead, by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life-Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed; that henceforth we should not serve sin,- -(ver. 16.) Know ye not that to whom you yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey, whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind; for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin: that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh, to the lusts of men, but to the will of God." (1 Pet. iv. 1,2.)

3. All those are unregenerate, that depend not upon God as their chief benefactor; and do not most carefully apply themselves to him, as knowing that "in his favour is life," (Psal. xxx. 5,) and that "his loving-kindness is better than

'life," (Psal. lxiii. 3,) and that to his judgment we must finally stand or fall: but do ambitiously seek the favour of men, and call them their benefactors, (Luke xxii. 25; Matt. xxiii. 9,) whatever become of the favour of God. He is no child of God that preferreth not the love of God before the love of all the world. He is no heir of heaven, that preferreth not the fruition of God in heaven, before all worldly glory and felicity. "If ye bé risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God: Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth." (Col. iii. 1-3.) The love of God is the sum of holiness; the heart of the new creature; the perfecting of it is the perfection and felicity of man.

4. They are certainly unregenerate, that believe not the Gospel, and take not Christ for their only Saviour, and his promises of grace and glory, as purchased by his sacrifice and merits, for the foundation of their hopes, on which they resolve to trust their souls for pardon and for peace with God, and endless happiness. "Neither is there salvation in any other for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." (Acts iv. 12.) 'This is the record that God hath given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son: He that hath the Son, hath life; and he that hath not the Son, hath not life." (1 John v. 11, 12.)

[ocr errors]

66

When our happiness was in Adam's hands, he lost it: it is now put into safer hands, and Jesus Christ the second Adam is become our treasury. He is the head of the body, from whom each member hath quickening influence. (Eph. i. 22.) The life of saints is in him, as the life of the tree is in the root, unseen. (Col. iv. 3, 4.) Holiness is a living unto God in Christ; though we are dead with Christ, to the law, and to the world, and to the flesh, we are alive to God. So Paul describeth our case in his own, I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God: I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live: yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." (Gal. ii. 19, 20.) "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom. vi. 11.) Christ is the vine, and we are the branches; without him we can do nothing: If you abide not in him, and

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

his words in you, you are cast forth as a branch, and withered, which men gather and cast into the fire, and they are burned." (John xv. 1. 5-7.) In baptism you are married unto Christ, as to the external solemnization; and in spiritual regeneration your hearts do inwardly close with him, entertain him, and resign themselves unto him by faith and love; and by a resolved covenant become his own: and therefore baptism and the Lord's-supper are called Sacraments; because as soldiers were wont, by an oath, and listing their names, and other engaging ceremonies, to oblige themselves to their commanders, and their vow was called a Sacrament: so do we engage ourselves to Christ in the holy vow or covenant entered in baptism, and renewed in the Lord's-supper.

5. That person is certainly unregenerate, that never was convinced of a necessity of sanctification, or never perceived an excellency and amiableness in holiness of heart and life, and loved it in others, and desired it himself; and never gave up himself to the Holy Ghost, to be further sanctified in the use of his appointed means; desiring to be perfect, and willing to press forward towards the mark, and to abound in grace. Much less is that person renewed by the Holy Ghost, that hateth holiness, and had rather be without it, and would not walk in the fear and obedience of the Lord.

The spirit of holiness is that life by which Christ quickeneth all that are his members. He is no member of Christ that is without it. (Rom. viii. 9.) "According to his mercy, he saveth us by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." (Titus iii. 5.)

6. That person is unregenerate, that is under the dominion of his fleshly desires, and "mindeth the things of the flesh above the things of the Spirit ;" and hath not mortified it so far, as not to live according to it. A carnal mind, and a carnal life, are opposite to holiness, as sickness is to health, and darkness unto light. "There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh but they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be:

So then they that are in the flesh, cannot please GodFor if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if by the Spirit ye mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." (Rom. viii. 1-14.) "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts." (Gal. v. 18-25.)

7. Lastly, That person is certainly unregenerate, that so far valueth and loveth the world, or any of the carnal accommodations therein, as practically to prefer them before the love of God, and the hopes of everlasting glory: seeking it first, with highest estimation, and holding it fastest; so as that he will rather venture his soul upon the threatened wrath of God, than his body upon the wrath of man; and will be religious no further than may consist with his prosperity or safety in the world, and hath something that he cannot part with for Christ and heaven, because it is dearer to him than they: Let this man go never so far in religion, as long as he goeth further for the world, and setteth it nearest to his heart, and holds it fastest, and will do most for it, and consequently loveth it better than Christ, he is no true Christian, nor in a state of grace.

The Scriptures put this also out of doubt, as you may see Matt. x. 37, 38; Luke xiv. 25, 27.33; "He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me, &c. Whosoever doth not bear his cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple. Whoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple." "Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world, is the enemy of God." (James iv. 4.) No wonder then if the world must. be renounced in our baptism. "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world: if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1 John ii. 15.)

You see by this time, what it is to be regenerate, and to

be a Christian indeed, by what is contained even in our baptism and consequently how you may know yourselves, whether you are sanctified, and the heirs of heaven, or not.

Again therefore I summon you to appear before your consciences: And if indeed these evidences of regeneration are not in you, stop not the sentence, but confess your sinful, miserable state, and condemn yourselves, and say no longer, I hope yet that my present condition may serve turn, and that God will forgive me, though I should die without any further change: Those hopes that you may be saved without regeneration, or that you are regenerate when you are not, are the pillars of Satan's fortress in your hearts, and keep you from the saving hopes of the regenerate, that will never make you ashamed. Uphold not that which Christ is engaged against: down it must, either by grace or judgment: and therefore abuse not your souls by under-propping such an ill-grounded, false, deceitful hope. You have now time to take it down so orderly and safely, as that it fall not on your heads, and overwhelm you not for ever. But if you stay till death shall undermine it, the fall will be great, and your ruin irreparable. If you are wise, therefore know yourselves in time.

II. I have done with that part of my special exhortation which concerned the unregenerate: I am next to speak to those of you that by grace are brought into a better state: and to tell you, that it very much concerneth you also, even the best of you, to labour to be well acquainted with yourselves and that both in respect of, 1. Your sins and wants; and, 2. Your graces and your duties.

I. Be acquainted with the root and remnant of your sins: with your particular inclinations and corrupt affections; with their quality, their degree and strength: with the weaknesses of every grace: with your disability to duty; and with the omissions or sinful practices of your lives. Search diligently and deeply; frequently and accurately peruse your hearts and ways, till you certainly and thoroughly know yourselves.

And I beseech you, let it not suffice you that you know your states, and have found yourselves in the love of God, in the faith of Christ, and possessed by his Spirit. Though this be a mercy worth many worlds, yet this is not all con

« السابقةمتابعة »