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regent titles, while your flesh hath so much of its will fulfilled. I know too many cheat themselves into comfort, with the false opinion, that because they have a party in them that striveth against their sins, it is a certain sign that they have the Spirit and are sanctified, though the flesh even in the main doth get the victory. And I know that many have sincerity indeed, who yet have many a foil by boisterous passions, and fleshly inclinations: but I am sure, till you know which party is predominant, and truly beareth the governing sway, you can never know whether you are sincere. As once a servant, when his master and mistress were fighting, answered one at the door, who desired to speak with the master of the house, 'You must stay till I see who gets the better before I can tell you who is the master of the house.' So truly I fear the conflict is so hard with many Christians, between the Spirit and the flesh, and holdeth so long in a doubtful state; and sense, and passion, and unbelief, and pride, and worldliness, and selfishness prevail so much, that they may stay themselves a great while before they can be well resolved which is master. For (to prosecute my similitude) in innocent man, spiritual reason was absolutely master, and fleshly sense was an obsequious servant, (though yet it had an appetite which needed government and restraint). In wicked men, the fleshly sense and appetite is master, and reason is a servant, though reason and the motions of the Spirit may make some resistance. In strong Christians spiritual reason is master, and the fleshly sense and appetite is a servant, but a boisterous and rebellious servant, tamed according to the degrees of grace and spiritual victory; like a horse that is broken and well ridden, but oft needeth the spur, and oft the reins. So that a Paul may cry out, "O wretched man," &c. In a weak Christian the Spirit is master, but the flesh is mistress, and is not kept in the servitude which it was made for, as it ought. And, therefore, his life is blemished with scandals, and his soul with many foul corruptions; he is a trouble to himself and others. The good which he doth, is done with much reluctancy, and weakness; and the evil which he forbeareth, is oftentimes very hardly forborne. His flesh hath so much power left, that he is usually uncertain of his own sincerity; and yet too patient both with his sin and his uncertainty. And he is many times a greater troubler of the

church, than many moderate unbelievers. The hypocrite, or almost-christian, hath the flesh for his master, as other wicked men, but reason and the commoner grace of the Spirit, may be as mistress with him; and may have so much power and respect, above a state of utter servitude, as may delude him into a confident conceit, that gracé hath the victory, and that he is truly spiritual; when yet the supremacy is exercised by the flesh. "He that hath an ear to hear let him hear. To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life.-He shall not be hurt of the second death. He shall eat of the hidden manna.-He shall have power over the nations.-I will give him the morning star. I will confess him before my Father and the angels.-He shall be a pillar in the temple of God, and go out no more. I will grant to him to sit with me in my throne;" Rev. ii. 7. 11. 17.26.28. iii. 5. 12. 21.









COLOSSIANS 11. 6, 7.

As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him, rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

As ministers are called in God's word the fathers of those that are converted by their ministry (1 Cor. iv. 14, 15.), so are they likened thus far to the mothers, that they travail as in birth of their people's souls, till Christ be formed in them; Gal. iv. 19. And as Christ saith, "A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come; but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world;" John xvi. 21. So while we are seeking and hoping for your conversion, and are as in travail of you till you are born again; not only our labour, but much more our fears of you, and cares for you, and compassion of you in your danger and misery, doth make the time seem very long to us; and O what happy men should we think ourselves, if all or the most part of our people were converted! And when we see but now and then one come home, we remember no more the anguish of our fears and sorrows, nor think all our la

bours ill bestowed, for joy that a Christian is new-born unto Christ. But yet for all the mother's joy, her work, her care, her sorrow, is not at an end as soon as she is delivered. Many a foul hand, and many a troublesome hour, and many a waking night, she must have with the child, whose birth she so rejoiced in; and after that, many a year of care and labour to bring it up, and provide for it in the world; and in her old age, when she expecteth from her children the love, and honour, and thanks, and comfort that was due to her as a mother, and for all her labour, and care, and pains, perhaps one child will prove kind, and of another she must take it well that he is not very unkind, and a third perhaps may break her heart; and yet she must still be a mother to them all. And so it befals us; when we have greatly rejoiced at the real and seeming conversion of now and then one of our hearers, our work with them is not at an end, nor may we lay aside our care and labour for them. We have for some years (usually) the nurse's work to do; and many a troublesome day and night, the weakness, the uncleanness, the peevish, childish exceptions, the querulous and quarrelsome disposition of our beloved converts, will put us to. And after all that, when they begin to go on their own legs, and think themselves sufficient for themselves without our help, many a fall and hurt they may catch, and many fallings out may they have with one another, to the great trouble of themselves and us. And when they are grown up to strength of parts and gifts, some that seem sincere may turn prodigals or apostates, and some fall a quarrelling about the inheritance, and make most woful divisions, in Christ's family; and some perhaps despise us that have thus spent our days and strength in studies, and prayers, and fears, and cares, and labours, for their salvation; yea, perhaps be ready to spit in our faces, and reproach our persons, yea, and our very office and calling itself, as the experience of these times of ours, seconding the experience of all ages of the church before us, doth, alas! too evidently and openly testify. And yet some will be faithful, and constant, and thankful to Christ and us. And that all might be so, for Christ's sake and their own, must still be our care, and desires, and endeavours. In these several cases, we find blessed Paul with his children in his Epistles, sometimes rejoicing with them in their steadfastness; sometimes defending himself and his

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