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ness, presumption and false hopes; Luke xviii. 21, 22. 1 John ii. 15. 2 Tim. iii. 2. 4. John xii. 43.
v. 42. VII, 1. A Christian indeed doth practically take this love of God, and the holy expressions of it, to be the very life and top of his religion, and the very life, and beauty, and pleasure of his soul: he makes it his work in the world, and loveth himself (complacentially) but so far as he findeth in himself the love of God; and so far as he findeth himself without it, he loatheth himself as an unlovely carcase: and so far as his prayers and obedience are without it, he looks on them but as unacceptable, loathsome things; and therefore he is taken up in the study of redemption, because he can nowhere so clearly see the love and loveliness of God, as in the face of a Redeemer, even in the wonders of love revealed in Christ. And he studieth them, that love may kindle love; and therefore he delighteth in the contemplating of God's attributes and infinite perfections; and in the beholding of him in the frame of the creation, and reading his name in the book of his works, that his soul may by such steps, be raised in love and admiration of his Maker. And as it is a pleasant thing for the eyes to behold the sun or light, so it is to the mind of the Christian indeed, to be frequently and seriously contemplating the nature and glory of God: and the exercise of love in such contemplations is most of his daily walk with God. And therefore it is also, that he is more taken up in the exercises of thanksgiving, and the praises of the Almighty, than in the lower parts of godliness; so that though he neglect not confession of sin and humiliation, yet doth he use them but in subserviency to the love and praise of God: he doth but rid out the filth that is indecent in a heart that is to entertain its God. He placeth not the chief part of his religion in any outward duties, nor in any lower, preparatory acts; nor doth he stop in any of these, however he neglect them not. But he useth them all to advance his soul in the love of God; and useth them the more diligently, because the love of God, to which they conduce, as to their proper end, is so high and excellent a work. Therefore in David's psalms you find a heart delighting itself in the praises of God, and in love with his word and works, in order to his praises; Psal. cxvi. 1. &c. cvi. ciii. cxlv. cxlvi. &c. Rom. viii. 37.
2. The weak Christian is taken up but very little with the lively exercises of love and praise, nor with any studies: higher than his own distempered heart: the care of his poor soul, and the complaining of his manifold infirmities and corruptions, is the most of his religion and if he set himself to the praising of God, or to thanksgiving, he is as dull and short in it as if it were not his proper work; Psal. lxxvii. Mark ix. 24. xvi. 14.
3. The seeming Christian liveth to the flesh; and carnal self-love is the active principle of his life; and he is neither exercised in humiliation or in praise sincerely, being unacquainted both with holy joy and sorrow: but knowing that he is in the hands of God, to prosper or destroy him, he will humble himself to him to escape his judgments, and praise him with some gladness for the sunshine of prosperity; and he will seem to be piously thanking God, when he is but rejoicing in the accommodations of his flesh, or strengthening his presumption and false hopes of heaven Luke xviii. 11. xii. 19. Isa. lviii. 2.
VIII. 1. A Christian indeed is one that is so apprehensive of his lost condition, unworthiness, and utter insufficiency for himself, and of the office, perfection, and sufficiency of Christ, that he hath absolutely put his soul, and all his hopes into the hands of Christ, and now liveth in him and upon him; as having no life but what he hath from Christ, nor any other way of access to God, or acceptance of his person, or his service, but by him. In him he beholdeth and delightfully admireth the love and goodness of the Father; in him he hath access with boldness unto God; through him the most terrible, avenging judge is become a reconciled God, and he that we could not remember but with trembling, is become the most desirable object of our thoughts. He is delightfully employed in prying into the unsearchable mystery and Christ doth even dwell in his heart by faith; "and being rooted and grounded in love, he apprehendeth with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and knoweth the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge;" Ephes. iii. 17-19. He perceiveth that he is daily beholden to Christ that he is not in hell, that sin doth not make him like to devils, and that he is not utterly forsaken of God: he feeleth that he is beholden to Christ for every hour's time, and every mercy to
his soul or body, and for all his hope of mercy in this life, or in the life to come. He perceiveth that he is dead in him self, and that his "life is hid with Christ in God." And therefore he is as "buried and risen again with Christ;" even "dead to sin, but alive to God through Jesus Christ;" Rom. vi. 3, 4. 11. Col. iv. 4. He saith with Paul, Gal. ii. 20. "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." Thus doth he live as truly and constantly by the second Adam, who is a quickening spirit, as he doth by the first Adam, who was a living soul; 1 Cor. xv. 45. This is a confirmed Christian's life.
2. But the weak Christian, though he be also united unto Christ, and live by faith, yet how languid are the operations of that faith? How dark and dull are his thoughts of Christ? How little is his sense of the wonders of God's love revealed to the world, in the mystery of redemption? How little use doth he make of Christ? And how little life
receives he from him? And how little comfort findeth he in believing, in comparison of that which the confirmed find? He is to Christ as a sick person to his food: he only picketh here and there a little of the crumbs of the bread of life, to keep him from dying; but is wofully unacquainted with the most powerful works of faith. He is such a believer as is next to an unbeliever, and such a member of Christ, as is next to a mere stranger.
3. And for the seeming Christian, he may understand the letter of the Gospel, and number himself with Christ's disciples, and be baptized with water, and have such a faith as is a dead opinion; but he hath not an effectual, living faith, nor is baptized with the Holy Ghost; nor is his soul engaged absolutely and entirely in the covenant of Christianity to his Redeemer: he may have a handsome, wellmade image of Christianity, but it is the flesh and sense, and not Christ and faith, by which his life is actuated and ordered; John iii. 6. Rom. ii. 28.
IX. 1. A Christian indeed doth firmly believe that Christ is a "Teacher sent from God," (John iii. 2.) and that he came from heaven to reveal his Father's will, and to bring "life and immortality" more fully "to light by his Gospel ;" and that if an angel had been sent to tell us of the life to
come, and the way thereto, he had not been so credible and venerable a messenger as the Son of God; and therefore he taketh him alone for his chief Teacher, and knoweth no master on earth but him, and such as he appointeth under him his study in the world is to know a crucified and glorified Christ, and God by him, and he regardeth no other knowledge, nor useth any other studies but this, and such as are subservient to this. Even when he studieth the works of nature, it is as by the conduct of the Restorer of nature, and as one help appointed him by Christ, to lead him up to the knowledge of God. And therefore he perceiveth that Christ is made of God unto us, wisdom as well as righteousness: and that Christianity is the true philosophy; and that the wisdom of the world, which is only about worldly things, from worldly principles, to a worldly end, is foolishness with God: he taketh nothing for wisdom which tendeth not to acquaint him more with God, or lead him up to everlasting happiness. Christ is his Teacher (either by natural or supernatural revelation) and God is his ultimate end in all his studies, and all that he desireth to know in the world. He valueth knowledge according to its usefulness: and he knoweth that its chief use is to lead us to the love of God; Matt. xxiii. 8. 1 Cor. i. 30. ii. 2, &c. John. i. 18. Col. ii. 3. Ephes. iv. 13.
2. Though the weak Christian hath the same Master, yet alas, how little doth he learn! And how oft is he hearkening to the teaching of the flesh! And how carnal, and common is much of his knowledge! How little doth he depend on Christ, in his inquiries after the things of nature! And how apt is he to think almost as highly of the teaching of Aristotle, Plato, Seneca, or at least of some excellent preacher, as of Christ's! And to forget that these are but his messengers and instruments, to convey unto us several parcels of that truth, which is his, and not theirs, and which (naturally or supernaturally) they received from him; and all these candles were lighted by him, who is the sun! And how little doth this weak Christian refer his common knowledge to God; or use it for him; or to the furtherance of his own and others happiness! 1 Tim. ii. 4.
3. And the seeming Christian, though materially he may be eminent for knowledge, yet is so far from resigning himself to the teachings of Christ, that he maketh even his
knowledge of Christian verities to be to him but a common, carnal thing, while he knoweth it but in a common manner, and useth it to the service of the flesh, and never yet learned so much as to be a new creature, nor to love God as God above the world; 1 Cor. xiii. 2.
X. 1. A Christian indeed is one whose repentance hath been deep, and serious, and universal, and unchangeable: it hath gone to the very roots of sin, and to the bottom of the sore, and hath not left behind it any reigning, unmortified sin, nor any prevalent love to fleshly pleasures. His repentance did not only disgrace his sin, and cast some reproachful words against it, and use confessions to excuse him from mortification, and to save its life, and hide it from the mortal blow; nor doth he only repent of his open sins, and those that are most censured by the beholders of his life; but he specially perceives the dangerous poison of pride, and unbelief, and worldliness, and the want of the love of God; and all his outward and smaller sins, do serve to shew him the greater malignity of these, and these are the matter of his greatest lamentations. He taketh not up a profession of religion with strong corruptions, secretly covered in his heart; but his religion consisteth in the death of his corruptions, and the purifying of his heart; he doth not secretly cherish any sin as too sweet or too profitable to be utterly forsaken, nor overlook it as a small, inconsiderable matter. But he feeleth sin to be his enemy and his disease, and as he desireth not one enemy, one sickness, one wound, one broken bone, one serpent in his bed, so he desireth not any one sin to be spared in his soul; but saith with David; "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me: and lead me in the way everlasting;" Psal. cxxxix. 23. He liveth in no gross and scandalous sin: and his infirmities are comparatively few and small; so that if he were not a sharper accuser of himself, than the most observant spectators are (that are just) there would little be known by him that is culpable and matter of reproof. He "walketh in all the commandments and ordinances of God blameless ;" (as to any notable miscarriage,) Luke i. 6. He is "blameless and harmless, as the son of God, without rebuke in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation; among whom he shineth as a light in the world;" Phil. ii. 15. The fear,