« הקודםהמשך »
own accord to his people who are resolute to be through. Unbelief and carnality make difficulties where there are none. « A lion,” says the sluggard, “ is in the way.” They make real difficulties greater : Exod. xiv. 15. 16. « And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward. But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch *out thine hand over the sea, and divide it; and the children of Israel 'shall go on dry land through the midst of the sea." See David's experience, Psal. xviii. throughout.
You shall know that his goings forth are prepared as the morning. The manifestations of himself are certain. As the morning will certainly follow the darkest night, so the darkest time which a follower of the Lord has, will certainly iffue in a morning-light of refreshment at length. These manifestations are also gradual. There is always more and more of God to be known, to be given out, according to the soul's diligent waiting and following on.
Mot. 3. You will be great losers if yoie do not follow on ; you will lose what you
have facred fire in your hearts will go out, if you do not cherish it, and if this should take place, you will be a step farther from heaven than you were.
you lose it, who knows if ever you will recover it again ; if ever the wind will blow as fair for you to Immanuels land, remember that which is in Luke, xiv. 24. “ For I say unto you, that none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.” And if it should recover it, you will have to begin again, and it is a fad matter for people always to be but beginning ; ever learning, and never coming to the knowledge of the truth, because they forget as fast as they
learn. You will lose also all the pains you have been at to get what you have : Prov. xii. 27. 6. The flothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting : but the fubftance of a diligent man is precious.” What a fad matter is it to be at pains for something, and then when it is got, just to let it slip through our fingers ! We have work enough besides. There is no propriety in always doing and undoing again. In a word, you will lose your souls, if you do not follow on to know the Lord : Luke, ix. 62. “ And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of heaven.” Heb. x. 38. “ Now, the just shall live by faith; but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” And it will be a bitter ingredient of hell in your heart, that sometime you was not far from the kingdom of God, and yet mifred it.-To this may be proposed these OBJEC
1. I have met with so many disappointments, how can I follow on further? Ans. You are not the firft who have met with disappointments, Job, xxiii. Song, iii. And yet such have found him at length. Disappointments are useful to the people of God; they sharpen their appetite ; they are necessary to give us honourable thoughts of, and to learn us to stoop to divine sovereignty, for our time is always ready, while his time may be not yet come. They make the enjoyment more sweet, when we are favoured with it. And therefore follow on, and wait the Lord's time.
2. My cafe grows worse and worse. Ans. What then ? his goings-forth shall be as the morning, and the darkest
hour is usually before day-break. I shall, in conclusion, offer the following DiRECTIONS
1. Look 1. Look to God through Jesus Christ, from whence must come all your strength. Let your resolutions be taken up under a sense of weakness, and a persuasion of the supply to be had from the Lord himself,
2. Be much in prayer and meditation. These are suited to keep the impressions of God fresh
upon your souls.
3. Make conscience of self-examination, that ye may the better know how it is with you, whether you be going backward or forward.
4. Beware of looking back, much more turning back, to your old fin, especially the fin which has been the great make-bate betwixt God and your soul. Keep special watch against it.
5. Beware of evil company, and follow only such as are following the Lord.
6. Live above the world while ye live in it. It will not be possible to follow on, if we come not to an holy indifference about the world.
Lastly, Keep the prize in your eye, and remember how short a time it will be before you arrive at your journey's end. This consideration will animate you to follow vigorously, because the time will not last, and the work must be done. It will dispose you to recollect, that ere long you will be at the end of every difficulty, that the days of your sorrow and mourning shall be ended. Amen.
THE ACCEPTABLE MANNER OF DRAWING
NEAR TO GOD *.
HEB. X. 22.—Let us draw near with a true heart,
in the full assurance of faith, having our hearts Sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies wafbed with pure water.
HAVE been, in our last discourses, urging and
directing you to evidences for heaven ; and we are shortly to celebrate that ordinance which is a special evidence of the Lord's love to his people, and appointed to evidence it to them. That it may be so in effect to us, let us hearken to the advice in the text; which is an improvement of the doctrine as to the great privileges of Christians. They have freedom of access to God through Christ. They have Christ as an HighPriest set over the house of God; therefore, let us draw near, &c.—Here we have,
1. An exhortation and excitement to a duty corresponding to the privileges which are through Jesus Chrift: Let us draw near, that is, to God.
"Though Delivered May 1715.
Though he is great, and infinitely glorious, dwells in the highest heavens; yet, seeing he is upon a throne of grace, let us not stand at a distance from him, but draw near to him in the whole of our conversation, and particularly in acts of worship waiting on him. Let us do it, the weak together with the strong; let us prcís in at the door of grace together. We have,
2. The right way of managing this duty for God's honour and our own comfort. This is laid down in four particulars.
(1.) We skould draw near to God with a true heart, that is, a fincere heart; with the heart, and not with the lips only; not with a false hypocritical heart, but a heart true to God, true to our own real interest.--We are to draw near,
(2.) In full ofurance of faith. Let us come believingly, come in faith, leaning upon his Son, trusting in his blood. Let us not come doubtingly, doubting whether we will be welcome or not, whether there be access for us or not; but with full affurance, like a ship that is carried towards the port with full fail before the wind. We are to draw near,
(3.) Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience. An evil conscience is a guilty, accusing,
and condemning conscience. This vexes, disquiets, and torments the heart. Guilt is the mother and nurse of fears. The sting of guilt in the conscience is like a thorn in a man's foot; when he is called to meet a friend, alas ! he cannot go, he dare not fet a foot to the ground, or every step goes to his heart. The way to cure this is, by sprinkling with the blood of sprinkling, that is, by faith applying the blood of Christ for remiffion of sin. This makes the soul meet to draw near to God, and that with full afsurance, even as the un