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us, is his church. As members, therefore, of the universal church, and in communion with his particular church where we live and have opportunity, we must wait on Christ for his teaching and benefits. For this is his school, where his disciples must diligently attend and learn.
Lay all this together, and this is the sum. The object of justifying, saving faith, is one only undivided Christ, one in person but of two natures, God and man; in office the Mediator between God and man, who hath already done the work of satisfaction, and merit, and is authorized further to bestow the benefits. By the Gospel grant he hath given himself as Head and Husband, Teacher, King, and Saviour, to all that will entirely and heartily accept him; and with himself he giveth justification by the promise ; sanctification by the word, ministry, and Spirit; and final absolution, and everlasting life. If ever then you will have Christ, and life, you must accept him in all these essentials of his person, and offices, and that to the ends which his redemption was intended for. You must be willing to be sanctified by him, as well as to be justified. You must at once unfeignedly become his disciples, his subjects, his members, if you would become his saved ones. You must consent, that as your Teacher, and your, Lord, he shall teach and rule your heart, and life, by his word, ministers, and Spirit, in communion with his church. No bar or exception must be put in, nor reservation made against any one of these parts of his office. If you yield not to these parts of his saving work, that tend but to the completive growth, you sin, and deprive yourselves of the benefit; but if you yield not to those that must make you truly sanctified, and justified men, you cannot be saved. The essentials of Christ's person, and office, do constitute him, the Christ, and if he be not received in all those essentials, he is not received as Christ.
And thus I have given you the sum of the Gospel, and the description of faith, and true Christianity in this Direction for a right closing with the Lord Jesus Christ. And experience of most that I discourse with, persuades me to think this Direction of great necessity, and to entreat you thoroughly to peruse and consider it. I find abundance of ignorant people, that talk much of Christ, but know very little of him ; that can scarce tell us whether he be God or man, or which person in the Trinity he is, nor to what end
he was incarnated, and died, nor what relation he stands in to us, or what use he is of, or what he now is, or what he is engaged to do for us. But if we ask them about their hopes of salvation, they almost overlook the redemption by Christ, and tell us of nothing but God's mercies, and their own good meanings and endeavours. And I am afraid too many professors of piety, (do look) almost all, at the natural part of religion, and the meaning of their own hearts, and lives, (and I would this were better done) while they forget the supernatural parts, and little are affected with the infinite love of God in Christ. I desire such to consider these things: 1. You overlook the sum of your religion, which is Christ crucified, besides whom Paul desired to know nothing. 2. You overlook the fountain of your own life, and the author of your supplies.; and you strive in vain for sanctification, or justification, if you seek them not from a crucified Christ. 3. You leave undone the principal part of your work, and live like moral heathens, while you have the name of Christians. Your daily work is to study God in the face of his Son; and to labour with all saints to comprehend the height, and breadth, and length, and depth, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge; Eph. iii. 18, 19. All your graces should be daily quickened, and set a work by the light of faith, in the contemplation of the Redeemer, and his blessed work. This is the weight that must set all the wheels a going. You do God no service, that he can accept, if you serve him not in this Gospel work, of loving, trusting, and admiring, and praising him in the Redeemer, and for his redemption. 4. And so you rob God of the principal part of his glory, which you are to give him ;, which is for his most glorious work of our redemption. I pray you read over again the ends of this work, which I laid down in the beginning of this Direction. 5. Moreover, you rob yourselves of your principal comfort, which must all come in by living upon Christ. 6. And you harden the Antinomians and Libertines, and tempt men to their extremes, that run from us as Legalists, and as men that savour not the doctrine of free grace, and are not of a Gospel spirit and conversation. I would our great neglect of Christ had not been a snare to these mistaken souls, and a stumbling-block in their way.
O sirs, if a thought of your hearts, if a word of your mouths have not some relation to Christ, suspect it, yea, reject it. Call it not a.sermon or a prayer, nor a duty, that hath nothing of Christ in it. Though the pure Godhead be your principal end, yet there is no way to this end but by Christ; and though love, which is exercised on that end, must animate all your graces and duties, as they are means to that end, yet faith hath love in it, or else it is not the Christian faith; and Christ is the object of your faith and love; and your perfect, everlasting love will be animated by Christ. For your love and praise will be to him that was slain, and redeemed us to God by his blood, out of every kindred, tongue, and nation, and made us kings and priests to God. So much for the fifth Direction.
Direct. VI. The next direction which I would give you for a thorough conversion, is this: See that the flesh be thoroughly mortified, and your hearts be thoroughly taken off the world, and all its pleasures, and profits, and honours, and that the root of your fleshly interest prevail not at the heart, and that you think not of reconciling God and the world, as if you might secure your interest in both.'
This is a very common cause of the deceit and destruction of such as verily think they are converted. It is the very nature and business of true conversion, to turn men's hearts from the flesh, and from the world to God, and from an earthly and seeming happiness, to a heavenly, real, everlasting happiness. And when men are affrighted into some kind of religiousness, and yet never learnt to deny themselves, and never mortified their fleshly mind, but the love of this world is still the chiefest principle at their hearts; and so go on in profession of godliness, with a secret reserve that they will look as well as they can to their outward prosperity, whatever become of their religion; and they will have no more to do with the matters of another world, than may stand with their bodily safety in this world ; these are the miserable, deluded hypocrites, whose hopes will prove as the giving up of the ghost; whom Christ will disown in their greatest extremities, after all their seeming religious
O sirs, look to this as ever you would be happy. It is an easy, it is a common, it is a most dangerous thing, to set upon a course of outward piety, and yet keep the world next your hearts, and take it still as a great part
a great part of your felicity, and secretly to love your former lusts, while you seem
to be converted. The heart is so deceitful, that you have great cause to watch it narrowly in this point: it will closely cherish the love of the world, and your fleshly pleasures, when it seems to renounce them, and when your tongue can speak contemptuously of them. It was not for nothing Christ would have the firstfruits of his Gospel church, (who were to be the example of their successors,) to sell all, and lay it down at the feet of his apostles : and it is his standing rule, that whoever he be that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be his disciple; Luke xiv. 33. In estimation, affection, and resolution, it must be forsaken by all that will be saved ; and also in practice, whenever God calls us to it. You can have but one happiness; if you will needs have it in this world, in the contenting of your flesh, there is no hope of having it also in another world, in the fruition of God. If you think not God and heaven enough for you, and cannot let go the prosperity of the flesh for them, you must let go all your hopes of them. God will not halve it with the world in your hearts, nor part stakes with the flesh; much less will be be below them, and take their leavings. Heaven will not be theirs, that set not by it more than earth. God will not call that love to him sincere, which is not a superlative love, and able to make you even to hate all those things that would draw away your affections and obedience from him ; Luke xiv. 26, 27. There is no talk of serving God and mammon, and compounding you a happiness of earth and heaven. Do therefore as Christ bids you, Luke xiv. 28–30.
Sit down and count what it must cost you, if you will be saved, and on what rates it is that you must follow Christ. Can you voluntarily, for the love of him, and the hope of glory take up your cross, and follow him in poverty, in losses, in reproaches, through scorns, and scourgings, and prisons, and death? Do you value his loving-kindness better than life? Psal. lxiii. 3. Can you deny your eyes and appetites their desire ? Can you consent to be vile in the eyes of men, and to tame your own flesh, and keep it in subjection, and live a flesh-displeasing life, that having suffered with Christ, you may also be glorified with him ? Rom. viii. 17. If you cannot consent to these terms, you cannot be Christians, and you cannot be saved. If you must needs
be rich, or must be honourable, yea, if you must needs save your estates, or liberties, or lives, it is past all question, you must needs let go Christ and glory; if you must needs have the world, you must needs lose your souls. If you must have your good things here, you must not have them hereafter too, but be tormented, when Christ's sufferers are comforted; Luke xvi. 25. These hopes of purveying for the flesh, as long as they can, and then of being saved, when they can stay here no longer, are they that have deceived many a thousand to their undoing. It is a strange thing to see how the world doth blind very knowing men, and how unacquainted these hypocrites are with their own hearts. What a confident profession of downright godliness many of them will make ; yea, of some extraordinary height in religion, when nothing is so dear to them as their present prosperity, and God hath not near so much interest in them as the flesh? What contrivances some of them make for riches, or rising in the world? And how tender others are of their honour with men ; and how tenacious they are of their mammon of unrighteousness; and how much money and great men can do with them. And most of them
their flesh, and serve it in a cleanlier way of religiousness, even as much, though not so disgracefully and grossly as drunkards and whoremongers do in a more discernible sensuality. If the times do but change and countenance any error, how small an argument will make their judgments bend with the times. If truth and duty must cost them dear, O how they will shift, and stretch, and wriggle, to prove truth to be no truth, and duty to be no duty; and no argument is strong enough to satisfy them, when the flesh doth but say, ' It is bitter, it is dangerous, it may be my undoing.'
It is none of my meaning, that any should needlessly run into suffering,or cross their governors and themselves, through a spirit of pride, singularity, and contradiction; but that men should think themselves truly religious, that keep such reserves for their fleshly interest, and shew by the very drift of their lives, that they are worldlings, and never felt what it was to be crucified to the world, and deny themselves, but are religious on this supposition only, that it may stand with worldly ends, or at least not undo them in the world; this is a lamentable hypocritical self-deceit. When God hath so plainly said, “ Love not the world, nor the things that are in the