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ers, and fulfilling of promises, and communion with Christ in the Spirit; and therefore he is the more open to the power of temptations, and a subtle disputer will easily corrupt him and carry him away to flat apostasy; for he wanteth the root and witness in himself; Matt. xiii. 21, 22. 1 John v. 10. Heb. vi. 6, 7, 8. Luke viii. 13.
LIX. 1. A Christian indeed, is one that highly valueth sanctified affections and passions, that all he doth may be done as lively as possibly he can; and also holy abilities for expression. But he much more valueth, the three great essential, constant parts of the new creature within him; that is, 1. A high estimation of God, and Christ, and heaven and holiness in his understanding, above all that can be set in any competition. 2. A resolved choice and adhesion of the will, by which he preferreth God, and Christ, and heaven, and holiness, ahove all that can be set against them, and is fixedly resolved here to place his happiness and his hopes. 3. The main drift and endeavours of his life, in which he "seeketh first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; Matt. vi. 33. ix. 20, 21. In these three (his highest estimation, his resolved choice and complacencies, and his chief endeavours) he taketh his standing constant evidences of his sincerity to consist; and by these he trieth himself as to his state, and not by the passionate feelings or affections of his heart; nor by his memory, or gifts, or orderly thinking, or expression. And it is these rational operations of his soul, in which he knoweth that holiness doth principally consist; and therefore he most laboureth to be strong in these. 1. To ground his judgment well. 2. And to resolve and fix his will. 3. And to order his conversation aright; Psal. 1. 23. Yet highly valuing sensible affections and gifts of utterance, but in subserviency to those which are the vital acts; 1 Cor. xiii. Rom. vii. 18, &c. vi. 16. 22. Rom. viii. 13. James ii. Col. i. 9. iii. 16.
2. But the weak Christian usually placeth most of his religion in the more affectionate and expressive part: he striveth more with his heart for passionate apprehensions, than for complacency and fixed resolution. He is often in doubt of his sincerity, when he wanteth the feeling affectionate workings which he desireth, &c. thinketh he hath no more grace than that he hath sensibility of expressive gifts ; and so as he buildeth his comfort upon these inconstant
signs, his comforts are accordingly inconstant. Sometimes he thinketh he hath grace, when his body or other advantages do help the excitation of his lively affections: and when the dulness of his body, or other impediments hinder this, he questioneth his grace again, because he undersandeth not aright the nature and chiefest acts of grace.
3. The hypocrite hath neither the rational nor the passionate part in sincerity but he may go much further in the latter than the former. A quick and passionate nature though unsanctified, may be brought to shed more tears, and express more fervour than many a holy person can: especially upon the excitation of some quickening sermons, or some sharp affliction, or great conviction, or at the approach of death. Few of the most holy persons can constantly retain so lively, fervent, passionate repentings, and desires and resolutions to amend, as some carnal persons have in sickness. The power of fear alone doth make them more earnest, than love maketh many a gracious soul; but when the fear is over, they are the same again. How oft have I heard a sick man most vehemently profess his resolutions for a holy life, which all have come to nothing afterward? How oft have I heard a common drunkard, with tears, cry out against himself for his sin, and yet go on in it? And how many gracious persons have I known whose judgments and wills have been groundedly resolved for God and holiness, and their lives have been holy, fruitful, and obedient, who yet could not shed a tear for sin, nor feel any very great sorrows or joys? If you judge of a man by his earnestness in some good moods, and not by the constant tenor of his life, you will think many a hypocrite to be better than most saints. Who would have thought, that had seen him only in that fit, but that Saul had been a penitent man, when he lift up his voice and wept, and said to David, "Thou art more righteous than I, for thou hast rewarded me good; whereas I have rewarded thee evil; 1 Sam. xxiv. 16-21. A smaller matter will raise some sudden passions, than will renew the soul, and give the preeminence to God, and holiness and heaven, in the judgment, will and conversation; Hosea vi. 4. xiii. 3. Isaiah lviii. 2. Matt. xiii. 20.
LX. A Christian indeed, confirmed in grace, is one that maketh it the business of his life to prepare for death; and
delayeth not his serious thoughts of it, and preparations for it till it surprise him; and therefore when it cometh it findeth him prepared, and he gladly entertaineth it as the messenger of his father, to call him to his everlasting home. It is not a strange unexpected thing to him, to hear he must die; he died daily in his daily sufferings, and mortified contempt of worldly things, and in his daily expectation of his change. He wondereth to see men at a dying time, surprised with astonishment and terror, who jovially or carelessly neglected it before, as if they had never known till then that they must die. Or as if a few years time were reason enough for so great a difference. For that which he certainly knoweth will be, he looketh at as if it were even at hand; and his preparation for it is more serious in his health, than other men's is on their deathbed. He useth more carefully to bethink himself what graces he shall need at a dying time, and in what case he shall then wish his soul to be; and accordingly he laboureth in his provisions now, even as if it were to be to-morrow. He verily believeth that it is incomparably "better for him to be with Christ," than to abide on earth; and therefore, though death of itself be an enemy, and terrible to nature, yet being the only passage into happiness, he gladly entertaineth it. Though he have not himself any clear apprehensions, of the place and state of the happiness of departed souls, yet it quieteth him to know that they "shall be with Christ," and that Christ knoweth all, and prepareth and secureth for him that promised rest; John xii. 26. 2 Cor. v. 1. 7, 8. Phil. i. 21. 23. Luke xxiii. 43. Though he is not free from all the natural fears of death, yet his belief and hope of endless happiness doth abate those fears by the joyful expectation of the gain which followeth. See my book, called "The Last Enemy, and the Last Work of a Believer;" and that of "Self-denial," against the fears of death.
But especially he loveth and longeth for the coming of Christ to judgment, as knowing that the marriage-day of the Lamb is come, and then the desires and hopes of all believers shall be satisfied; "then shall the righteous shine as stars in the kingdom of their Father:" and the hand of violence shall not reach them. Every enemy then is overcome, and all the Redeemer's work is consummated, and the kingdom delivered up unto the Father. Then shall the ungodly
and the unmerciful be confounded, and the righteous filled with everlasting joy, when the Lord shall throughly plead their cause, and justify them against the accusations of satan, and all the lies of his malicious instruments. O blessed, glorious, joyful day, when Christ shall come with thousands of his angels," to execute vengeance on the ungodly world, and to be glorified in his saints, and admired in all them, that believe;" 2 Thess. i. 8-10. When the patient followers of the Lamb shall behold him in glory, whom they have believed in, and shall see that they did not pray, or hope, or wait in vain! When Christ himself and his sacred truth, shall be justified and glorified in the presence of the world, and his enemies mouths for ever stopped. "When he shall convince all that are ungodly, of all their ungodly deeds, which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches, which ungodly sinners have spoken against him;" Jude 14, 15. Where then isthe mouth that pleadeth the cause of infidelity and impiety? and reproached the serious holiness of believers? and made a jest of the judgments of the Lord? Then what terrors and confusion, and shame, what fruitless repentings will seize upon that man, that set himself against the holy ones of the Lord, and knew not the day of his visitation, and embraced the image and form of godliness, while he abhorred the power. The joys which will then possess the hearts of the justified, will be such as now no heart can comprehend. When love shall come to be glorified in the highest expression, to those that lately were so low; when all their doubts, and fears, and sorrows, shall be turned into full contenting sight, and all tears shall be wiped away, and all reproaches turned into glory, and every enemy overcome, and sin destroyed, and holiness effected, and our" vile bodies changed, and made like the glorious body of Christ; Phil. iii. 20, 21. Col. iii. 3, 4. Then will the love and work of our redemption be fully understood. And then a saint will be a saint indeed, when with Christ they shall "judge the angels and the world:" 1 Cor. vi. 2, 3 : and shall hear from Christ," Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world ;" Matt. xxv. 34. "Enter ye into the joy of your Lord;" Matt. xxv. 21. Then "every knee shall bow to Christ, and every tongue shall confess that he is Lord, to the glory of God the Father;" Phil. ii.
2. 10, 11. Then sin will fully appear in its malignity, and holiness in its lustre unto all. The proud will then be abased, and the mouths of all the wicked stopped; when they shall see, to their confusion, the glory of that Christ whom they despised, and of those holy ones whom they made their scorn. In vain will they then" knock when the door is shut, and cry, Lord, Lord, open unto us;" Matt. xxv. 10-12. And in vain will they then wish, O that we had known the day of our visitation, that we might have died the death of the righteous, and our latter end might have been as his ;' Numb. xxii. 10. Rom. iii. 19. Job v. 16. Psal. cvii. 42. xxxi. 23. xiii. 6. 8.
The day of death is to true believers a day of happiness and joy; but it is much easier for them to think with joy on the coming of Christ, and the day of judgment, because it is a day of fuller joy, and soul and body shall be conjoined in the blessedness; and there is nothing in it to be so great a stop to our desires as death is, which naturally is an enemy. God hath put a love of life, and fear of death, into the nature of every sensible creature, as necessary for the preservation of themselves and others, and the orderly government of the world. But what is there in the blessed day of judgment, which a justified child of God should be averse to? O, if he were but sure that this would be the day, or week, or year of the coming of his Lord, how glad would the confirmed Christian be! And with what longings would he be looking up, to see that most desired sight.
2. And the weak Christian is so far of the same mind, that he had rather come to God by death and judgment, than not at all; (except when temptations make him fear that he shall be condemned.) He hath fixedly made choice of that felicity, which till then he cannot attain. He would not take all the pleasures of this world for his hopes of the happiness of that day but yet he thinketh not of it with so strong a faith and great consolation, nor with such boldness and desire, as the confirmed Christian doth; but either with much more dull security, or more perplexity and fear. His thoughts of God and of the world to come, are much more dark and doubtful, and his fears of that day are usually so great, as to make his desires and joys scarcely felt only he thinketh not of it with that contempt or stupidity as the