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“ Consolation, which you say God reserveth for “ suffering Times, I should suffer more contentedly; “ but I do not perceive any such Thing.” The more you suffer for Righteousness-Sake, the more of this Blessing you may expect; and the more you suffer for your own evil Doing, the longer it will be before that Sweetness comes. Are not the Comforts you desire, neglected or refifted? Have your Afflictions wrought kindly with you, and fitted you for Comfort? It is not mere Suffering that prepares you for Comfort, but the Success and Fruit of Sufferings upon
$ 10. (II) To hew the Unreasonableness of resting in present Enjoyments, consider, it is idolizing them;
-it contradikts God's End in giving them; it is the Way to have them refused, withdrawn, or imbittered;
to be suffered to take up our Reft here, is the greatest Curse; it is seeking Reft where it is not to be found;
-the Creatures, without God, would aggravate our Misery; and to confirm all this, we may confult our own and others Experience..
$11. (1) It is gross Idolatry to make any Creature, or Means, our Reft. To be the Rest of the Soul, is God's own Prerogative. As it is apparent Idolatry to place our Rest in Riches, or Honours; so it is but a more refined Idolatry to take up our Rest in excellent Means of Grace. How ill must our dear Lord take it, when we give him Cause. to complain, as he did of our Fellow. Idolaters, My People have been left Sheep, they have forgotten their resting Place (d)? And to say, “ My People can find Reft in any Thing, rai« iher than in me. They can delight in one another, 6 but not in me. They can rejoice in my Creatures ss and Ordinances, but not in me. : Yéa, in their
very Labours and Duties they seek for: Rett, but
(d) Jer, 1. 6.
“ not in me. They had rather be any where, than « be with me. Are these their Gods? Have these « redeemed them? Will there be better to them, « than I have been, or than I would be?” If yourselves have a Wife, a Husband, a Son, that had rather be any where than in your Company, and be never so merry as when furthest from you, would you not take it ill? So must our God needs do.
$ 12. (2) You contradict the End of God in giving these Enjoyments. He gave them to help thee to him, and doit thou take up with them in his stead? He gave them to be Refreshments in thy Journey, and wouldst thou dwell in thy Inn, and go no further? It may be said of all our Comforts and Ordinances, as it is said of the Israelites, The Ark of the Covenant of the Lord went before them, to search out a resting Place for them (e). So do all God's Mercies here. They are not that Reft; as John professed he was not the Chrift; but they are Voices crying in this Wilderness, to bid us prepare, for the Kingdom of God, our true Rest, is at Hand. Therefore to rest here, were to turn all Mercies contrary to their own Ends, and to our own Advantages, and to destroy ourselves with that which should help us.
$.13. (3) It is the Way to cause God, either to deny the Mercies we ask, or take from us those we enjoy, or at leaft imbitter them to us. God is no where so jealous as here. If you had a Servant, whom your Wife loved better than yourself, would you not take it ill of such a Wife, and rid your House of such a Servant? So, if the Lord see you begin to settle in the World, and say, “ Here I will rest;” no Wonder if He soon in his Jealousy unsettle you. If He love you, no Wonder if he take that from you, with which He
(e) Numb. X. 336
you are destroying yourselves. It hath been my Jong Observation of many, that when they have attempted great Works, and have just finished them; or have aimed at great Things in the World, and have just obtained them; or have lived in much Trouble, and have just overcome it; and begin to look on their Condition with Content, and rest in it; they are then usually near to Death or Ruin. When a Man is once at this Language, Soul, take thy Eaje; the next News usually is, Thou Fool, this Night, or this Month, or this Year, thy Soul mall be required, and then whose fhall these Things be? What House is there, where this Fool dwelleth not? Let you and I consider, whether it be not our own Care. Many a Servant of God hath been destroyed from the Earth, by being over valued, and over-loved. I am perfuaded, our Discontents and Murmurings are not so provoking to God, nor fo destructive to the Sinner, as our too sweet enjoying, and resting in, a pleasing State. If God hath crofled you in Wife, Children, Goods, Friends, either by taking them away, or the Comfort of them; try whether this be not the Cause: For wherefoever your Defires stop, and you say, “ Now I am well;" that Condition you make your God, and engage the Jealousy of God against it. Wheher you be Friends to God or Enemies, you can never expect that God should suffer you quietly to enjoy your idet.
$14. (4) Should Gol juffer you to take up your Rest here, it is one of the greatzji Cuiles that could befal you. Je were betier never to have a Day of Eafe in the Word; for thon Weariness miglit make you seek after the true Rest. But if you are suffered to fit down and rest here, a rellless Wretch you will be thro' all Eternity. To have their Portion in this life, is the Lot of the rooft miserable ferilhing Sinevs.
Doth it become Christians then to expect so much here? Our Rest is our Heaven; and where we take Our Reit, ihere we make our Heaven. And wouldīt thou have but such a Heaven as this?
§ 15. (5) It is seeking Reft where it is not to be found. Your Labour will be lost, and, if you pro: ceed, your Soul's eternal Rest too.Our Rest is only in the full obtaining of our ultimate End. But that is not to be expected in this Life; neither is Rest therefore to be expected here. Is God to be enjoyed in the beft Church here, as he is in Heaven? How little of God the Saints enjoy under the best Means, let their own Complainings testify. Poor Comforters are the best Ordinances, without God. Should a Traveller take up his Rest in the Way? No, because his Home is his Journey's End.' When you have all that Creatures and Means can afford, have you that you believed, prayed, suffered for? I think you dare not say so. We are like little Children Strayed from Home, and God is now fetching us Home, and we are ready to turn into any House, Itay and play with every Thing in our Way, and fit down on every green Bank, and much ado there is to get us Home. We are also in the Midst of our Labours and Dangers; and is there any resting here? What painful Work doth lie upon our Hands? Look to our Brethren, to our Souls, and to God; and what a deal of Work, in respect of each of these, doth lie before us? And can we reft in the Midst of all our Labours! Indeed we may rest on Earth, as the Ark is said to have rested in the Midf of Jordan ; ia short and small Reft. Or as Abraham delired the Angels to turn in, and reft themselves in his Tent, where they would have been loth to have taken up
their Dwelling. Should Ifrael have fixed their Rest in the Wilderness, among Serpents, and Enemies, and
Weariness, and Famine? Should Noah have made the Ark his Home, and have been loth to come forth when the Waters were assuaged? Should the Mariner chuse his Dwelling on the Sea, and settle his Rest in the Midst of Rocks, and Sands, and raging Tempests? Should a Soldier rest in the thickest of his Enemies? And are not Chriftians such Travellers, such Mariners, such Soldiers? Have you not Fears within, and Troubles without? · Are we not in continual Dangers ? We cannot eat, drink, sleep, labour, pray, hear, converse, but in the Midst of Snares; and shall we sit down and rest here? O Christian, follow thy Work, look to thy Dangers, hold on to the End, win the Field, and come off the Ground, before thou think of a settled Rest. Whenever thou talkest of Reft on Earth, it is like Peter on the Mount, thou knoweft not what thou sayeft. If, instead of telling the converted Thief, this Day shalt thou be with me in Paradise, Christ had said, he thould reft there on the Cross; would he not have took it for a Derision? Methinks it should be ill resting in the Midst of Sickness and Pains, Persecutions and Distresses. But if nothing else will convince us, yet sure the Remainders of Sin, which do so easily beset us, should quickly satisfy a Believer, that here is not his Rest.
I say therefore to every one that thinketh of Rest on Earth, Arise ye, and depart, for this is not your Relt, because it is polluted (f). These Things cannot in their ; Nature be a true Christian's Reft. They are too poor, to make us rich; too low, to raise us to Happiness; too empty, to fill our Souls; and of too short Continuance to be our eternal Content. If Prosperity, or whatsoever we here desire, be too bare to make Gods of, they are too base to be our Reit.---The Soul's Rejt must be sufficient to afford it perpetual Satis
faétion. (f) Micah ii, 10.