תמונות בעמוד

lift up their voices and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth, for it is not fit that he should live.' The priests and pharisees would have laid hands on Christ, when they perceived that he spake of them.' And Ahab hated Micaiah, because he did not prophesy good of him, but evil.' Deservedly do they perish in their sin and misery, who hate him that would deliver them, and refuse the remedy : Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge, but he that hateth reproof is brutish.' • He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.

XII. 1. A Christian indeed is one that unfeignedly desireth to attain to the highest degree of holiness, and to be perfectly freed from every thing that is sin. He desireth perfection, though not with a perfect desire. He sitteth not down contentedly in any low degree of grace. He looketh on the holiest (how poor soever) with much more reverence and esteem, than on the most rich and honourable in the world. And he had far rather be one of the most holy, than one of the most prosperous and great ;-he had rather be a Paul or Timothy, than a Cæsar or an Alexander. He complaineth of nothing with so much sorrow, as that he can know and love his God no more! How happy an exchange would he count it, if he had more of the knowledge and love of God, though he lost all his wealth and honour in the world. His smallest sins are a greater burden to him than his greatest corporeal wants and sufferings. As Paul, who, because he could not perfectly fulfil God's law, and be as good as he would be, crieth out, as in bondage, O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death ?'

2. And for the weak Christian, though he is habitually and resolvedly of the same mind, yet, alas, his desires after perfection are much more languid in him; and he hath too much patience and reconciledness to some of his sins; and sometimes taketh them to be sweet: so that his enmity to his pride, or covetousness, or passion, is much abated, and suffereth his sin to waste his grace and wound his conscience, and hinder much of his communion with God. He seeth not the odiousness of sin, nor the beauty of holiness, with so clear a sight as the confirmed Christian doth. He hateth sin more for the ill effects of it than for its malignant hateful nature. He seeth not clearly the intrinsic evil that is in sin, which maketh it deserve the pains of hell. Nor doth he discern the difference between a holy and an unholy soul, so clearly as the stronger Christian doth.

3. And as for the seeming Christian, though he may approve of perfect holiness in another, and may wish for it himself, when he thinketh of it but in the general, and not as it is exclusive and destructive of his beloved sin ; yet, when it cometh to particulars, he cannot away with it ;--he is so far from desiring it, that he will not endure it. The name of holiness he liketh; and that preservation from hell which is the consequent of it; but when he understandeth what it is, he hath no mind to it. That holiness which should cure his ambition and pride, and make him contented with a low condition, he doth not like: he loveth not that holiness which would deprive him of his covetousness, his intemperance in pleasant meats and drinks ; his fleshly lusts, and inordinate pleasures. Nor doth he desire that holiness should 'employ his soul in the love of God, and in daily prayer and meditating on his word, and raise him to a heavenly life on earth.

XIII. 1. A Christian indeed is one that maketh God and heaven the end, reward, and motive of his life; and liveth not in the world for any thing in the world, but for that endless happiness which the next world only can afford. The reasons which actuate his thoughts, and choice, and all his life, are fetched from heaven. The interest of God and his soul, as to eternity, is the ruling interest in him. As a traveller goeth all the way, and beareth all the difficulties of it, for the sake of the end or place that he is going to; (however he may talk of many other matters by the way ;) so is it with a Christian : he knoweth nothing worthy of his life and labours but that which he hopeth for hereafter. This world is too sinful, and too vile, and short, to be his felicity. His very trade and work in the world, is to lay up a treasure in heaven, and to · lay up a good foundation against the time to come, and to lay hold on eternal life.' And therefore his very heart is there ; and he is employed in seeking and setting his affections on the things above.' And his conversation and traffic is in heaven. He looketh


not at the things which are seen, which are temporal, but at the things which are not seen, which are eternal.' He is a stranger upon earth, and heaven is to him as his home.

2. The weak Christian also hath the same end, and hope, and motive; and preferreth his hopes of the life to come before all the wealth and pleasures of this life: but yet his thoughts of heaven are much more strange and dull;-he hath so much doubting and fear yet mixed with his faith and hope, that he looketh before him to his everlasting state, with backwardness and trouble, and with small desire and delight;-he hath so much hope of heaven as to abate his fears of hell, and make him think of eternity with more quietness than he could do if he found himself unregenerate; but not so much as to make his thoughts of heaven so free, and sweet, and frequent, nor his desires after it so strong, as the confirmed Christian's are. And therefore his duties, and his speech of heaven, and his endeavours to obtain it, are all more languid and inconstant; and he is much proner to fall in love with earth, and to entertain the motions of reconciliation to the world, and to have his heart too much set upon some place, or person, or thing below, and to be either delighted too much in the possession of it, or afflicted and troubled too much with the loss of it. Earthly things are too much the motives of his life, and the reasons of his joys and griefs : though he hath the true belief of a life to come, and it prevaileth in the main against the world, yet it is but little that he useth it to the commanding,

and raising, and comforting his soul, in comparison of what a strong believer doth.

3. But the seeming Christian would serve God and mammon, and placeth his chief and certainest happiness practically upon earth: though speculatively he know and say that heaven is better, yet doth he not practically judge it to be so to him ; and therefore he loveth the world above it, and he doth most carefully lay up a treasure on earth, and is resolved first to seek and secure his portion here below; and yet he taketh heaven for a reserve, as knowing that the world will cast him off at last, and die he must, there is no remedy; and therefore he taketh heaven as next unto the best; as his second hope; as better than hell; and will go in religion as far as he can, without the loss of his prosperity here: so that earth and flesh do govern and command the design and tenour of his life; but heaven and his soul shall have all that they can spare, which may be enough to make him pass with men for eminently religious.

XIV. 1. A Christian indeed is one that, having taken heaven for his felicity, doth account no labour or cost too great for the obtaining of it: he hath nothing so dear to him in this world which he cannot spare and part with for God and the world to come. He doth not only notionally know that nothing should seem too dear or hard for the securing of our salvation; but he knoweth this practically, and is resolved accordingly. Though difficulties may hinder him in particular acts, and his executions come not up to the height of his

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