תמונות בעמוד

service, surely thou wouldest not deny it; how much less shouldest thou deny this to thyself in so great an affair! I pray thee to take from me this request, as if, in the name of Christ, I presented it to thee on my knees; and I will betake me on my knees to Christ again, to beg that he will persuade thy heart to the duty.

§ 12, (4) The directions how to examine thyself are such as these :-Empty thy mind of all other cares and thoughts, that they may not distract or divide thy mind. This work will be enough at once, without joining others with it. Then fall down before God in hearty prayer, desiring the assistance of his Spirit, to discover to thee the plain truth of thy condition, and to enlighten thee in the whole progress of this work. Make choice of the most convenient time and place. Let the place be the most private; and the time, when you have nothing to interrupt you; and, if possible, let it be the present time. Have in readiness, either in memory or writing, some scriptures, containing the descriptions of the saints, and the gospel terms of salvation; and convince thyself thoroughly of their infallible truth. Proceed then to put the question to thyself. Let it not be, whether there be any good in thee at all ? nor, whether thou hast such or such a degree and measure of grace? but, whether such or such a saving grace be in thee in sincerity, or not?-If thy heart draw back from the work, force it on. Lay thy command upon it. Let reason interpose, and use its authority. Yea, lay the command of God upon it, and charge it to obey upon pain of his displeasure. Let conscience also do its office, till thy heart be excited to the work. Nor let thy heart trifle away the time, when it should be diligently at the work. Do as the psalmist, My spirit made diligent search. He that can prevail with his own heart, shall also prevail with God.-If after all thy pains, thou art not resolved, then seek out for help. -Go to one that is godly, experienced, aole, and

faithful, and tell him thy case, and desire his best ad. vice. Use the judginent of such a onė, as that of a physician for thy body: though this can afford thee no full certainty, yet it inay be a great help to stay and direct thee. But do not make it a pretence to put off thy own self-examination. Only use it as one of the last remedies, when thy own endeavours will not serve. When thou hast discovered thy true state, pass sentence on thyself accordingly; either that thou art a true Christian, or that thou art not. Pass not this sentence rashly, nor with self-flattery, nor with melancholy terrors; but deliberately, truly, and according to thy conscience, convinced by scripture and reason. Labour to get thy heart affected with its condition, according to the sentence passed on it. If graceless, think of thy misery. If renewed and sanctified, think what a blessed state the Lord hath brought thee into. Pursue these thoughts till they have left their impression on thy heart. Write this sentence, at least in thy memory: “At such a time, upon thorough examination, I found my state to be thus or thus.” Such a record will be very useful to thee hereafter. Trust not to this one discovery, so as to try no more; nor let it hinder thee in the daily search of thy ways; neither be discouraged, if the trial must be often repeated. Espe cially take heed, if unregenerate, not to conclude of thy future state by the present. Don't say, “because I am ungodly, I shall die so; because I am a hypocrite, I shall continue so." Do not despair. Nothing but thy unwillingness can keep thee from Christ, though thou hast hitherto abused him, and dissembled with him.

13. (5) Now let me add some marks by which you may try your title to the saint's rest. I will only mention these two,-taking God for thy chief good --and heartily accepting Christ for thy only Saviour and Lord.

§ 14. Every soul that hath a title to this rest, doth place his chief happiness in God. This rest con

sisteth in the full and glorious enjoyment of God. He that maketh not God his chief good and ultimate end, is in heart a pagan and a vile idolater. Let me ask then, Dost thou truly account it thy chief happiness to enjoy the Lord in glory, or dost thou not? Canst thou say, The Lord is my portion? whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee? If thou be an heir of rest, it is thus with thee. Though the flesh will be pleading for its own delights, and the world will be creeping into thine affections; yet in thine ordinary, settled, prevailing judgment and affections, thou preferrest God before all things in the world.—Thou inakest him the very end of thy desires and endeavours. The very reason why thou hearest, and prayest, and desirest to live on earth, is chiefly this, that thou mayest seek the Lord, and make sure of tby rest. Though thou dost not seek it so zealously as thou shouldest; yet it hath the chief of thy desires and endeavours, so that nothing else is desired or preferred before it. Thou wilt think no labour or suffering too great to obtain it. And though the flesh may sometimes shrink, yet thou art resolved and contented to go through all. Thy esteem for it will also be so high, and thy affection to it so great, that thou wouldest not exchange thy title to it, and hopes of it, for any worldly good whatsoever. If God should set before thee an eternity of earthly pleasures on one hand, and the saint's rest on the other, and bid thee take thy choice; thou wouldest refuse the world, and choose this rest. But if thou art yet unsanctified, then thou dost in thy heart prefer thy worldly happiness before God; and though thy tongue may say, that God is thy chief good, yet thy heart doth not so esteem him. For the world is the chief end of thydesires and endeavours. Thy very heart is set upon it. Thy greatest care and labour is to maintain thy credit, or fleshly delights. But the life to come hath little of thy care or labour. Thou didst never pereeive so much excellency in that unseen glory of

and labour which and careless thoughtful thoughts..

another world, as to draw thy heart after it, and set thee a labouring heartily for it. The little pains thou bestowest that way, is but in the second place. God hath but the world's leavings, only that time and labour which thou canst spare from the world, or those few, cold, and careless Thoughts, which follow thy constant, earnest, and delightful thoughts of earthly things. Neither wouldest thou do any thing at all for heaven, if thou knewest how to keep the world. But lest thou shouldest be turned into hell, when thou canst keep the world no longer, therefore thou wilt do something. For the same reason, thou thinkest the way of God too strict, and wilt not be persuaded to the constant labour of walking according to the gospel rule; and when it comes to the trial, that thou must forsake Christ, or thy worldly happiness, then thou wilt venture heaven rather than earth, and so wilfully deny thy obedience to God. And certainly if God would but give thee leave to live in health and wealth for ever on earth, thou wouldest think it a better state than rest. Let them seek for heaven that would, thou wouldest think this thy chief happiness. This is thy case, if thou art yet an unregenerate person, and hast no title to the gaint's rest.

15. And as thou takest God for thy chief good, so thou dost heartily accept of Christ for thy only Saviour and Lord, to bring thee to this rest. The former mark was the sum of the first and great com. mand of the law, “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart.” The second mark is the sum of the command of the gospel, “ Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” And the perforinance of these two is the whole of godliness and Christianity. This mark is but the definition of faith. Dost thou heartily consent that Christ alone shall be thy Saviour? and no farther trust to thy duties and works, than as means appointed in subordination to him? and looking at them as not in the least mea. sure able to satisfy the curse of the law, or as a legal TO THE SAINT'S REST.

· SAINTS REST. , 151 righteousness, or any part of it; but consent to trust thy salvation on the redemption made by Christ? Art thou also content to take him for thy only Lord and King, to govern and guide thee by his laws and Spirit; and to obey him, even when he commandeth the hardest duties, and those which most cross the desires of the flesh? Is it thy sorrow when thou breakest thy resolution herein and thy joy when thou keepest closest in obedience to him? Wouldest thou not change thy Lord and Master for all the world? Thus is it with every true Christian. But if thou be a hypocrite, it is far otherwise. Thou mayest call Christ thy Lord and thy Saviour: but thou never foundest thyself so lost without him, as to drive thee to seek him, and trust him, and lay thy salvation on him alone. At least thou didst never heartily consent that he should govern thee as thy Lord, nor resign up thy soul and life to be ruled by him, nor take his word for the law of thy thoughts and actions. It is likely thou art content to be saved from hell by Christ when thou diest: but in the mean time he shall command thee no farther than will stand with thy credit, or pleasure, or other worldly ends. And if he would give thee leave, thou hadst far rather live after the world and flesh, than after the word and Spirit. And though thou mayest now and then have a motion or purpose to the contrary; yet this that I have mentioned is the ordinary desire and choice of thy heart. Thou art therefore no true believer in Christ; for though thou confess him in words, yet in works thou dost deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. This is the case of those that shall be shut out of the saint's rest.

16. Observe, it is the consent of your hearts, or wills, which I especially lay down to be inquired after. I do not ask, whether thou be assured of salvation? nor whether thou canst believe that thy sins are pardoned, and that thou art beloved of God in Christ? These are no parts of justifying faith, but

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