Sidor som bilder

their natural courage, and from fainting under his rebukes, as weak-hearted ones are liable to. . Lastly, They arm us on every hand against our adversary the devil : James, iv. 7. “ Submit yourselves therefore to God; resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” There are two things, one of which the devil drives at continually: Either, (1.) To go forward with all ease in the way of sin; for, says the liar, there is no hazard; and thus whole fhoals of finners go on to the pit. But the fear of God will repel this temptation. Or, (2.) Not to offer to return to God, or go to Christ ; for, says the murderer, there is no hope. But the kindly hope repels this. By this last he attacks the awakened Ginner, and by the former the secure one. Whatever be your case, then, get your souls poffefsed of this kindly hope and holy fear. Beware of quitting either hope or fear. Are you at ease, and your hope great? O balance it with fear, lest, having too much fail without ballast, ye suddenly be overcast and overwhelmed. Are you in trouble, and your fears great ? O buoy up your souls with hope, lest ye link altogether. For motives, consider,

1. The want of any of them makes you a prey to your grand enemy, i Peter, v. 8. « Be sober, be vigilant, for your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour ; whom resift stedfast in the faith.” Which ever of the avenues of the soul stand open, the enemy will enter by it; and once he get in, you know not what havock he may make there. Are you fearless ? he will have his snares fitted for that case. Are you hopeless? be sure he will take his advantage of it.

2. The safety of the foul in this finful and enInaring world depends on your entertaining both. The mariner may easier fail the ocean without VOL. I. . - K


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

2. He accepts of them; he is well pleased with the persons that do so. The exercise of thefe graces is a piece of very acceptable service to God, which he takes off sinners hands for Christ's fake, though it be attended with many imperfections. That unbelief which remains in the hearts of them that fear God, makes them suspect they will be very unwelcome to hope for good at the Lord's


hand; but it is a mistake, for such exercise is very pleasing to the Lord.

3. The Lord delights in them that do so. Their name may be Hephzibah, for the Lord delighteth in them, as a father does in his child, who both fears him, and hopes for good at his hand. ,

(1.) The Lord delights in their persons. Jer. xxxi. 20. “ Is Ephraim my dear fon ? is he a pleasant child ? for since I fpake against him, I do earnestly remember him still, therefore my bowels are troubled for him: I will surely have mercy upon him, faith the Lord.” They are accepted in the beloved ; their fear carrying them to Christ, and their hope fixing them upon him as the storehouse of all blessings. Being covered with imputed righteousness, they are all fair and lovely in the eyes of the Lord, there is no spot in them, Song, iv. 7.

(2.) He delights in their graces. Song, iv. 16. “ Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.” Holy fear and hope are the fruits of his own Spirit in the souls of his people, that grow up there as in a garden, being watered with the dew of heaven. They are leading graces, which bring along with them a train of others, all tending to promote holiness in heart and life.

(3.) In their duties. Prov: xv. 8. “ The prayer of the upright is his delight.” Where the fear of the Lord has place, the duties of religion will get room ; the soul will be afraid of neglecting to pay. its due homage unto the Lord; and hope being joined thereto, will bring them to the Lord with expectation of good at his hand; and this is the Lord's delight.

(4.) In their company. Song, v. 1. “ I have come into my garden, my sister, my spouse." He K 2 .


loves to have them near him, hanging about his hand, conversing with him, receiving his word from his mouth, and making their requests known to him : Song ii. 14. “ Let me see (says he) thy countenance, let me hear thy voice ; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.” The mighty God, who has his higher house in heaven, has the contrite spirit for his lower house. Thall now proceed,

[ocr errors]

glory of his free grace, mercy, love, and good-
ness: and the joining of these two together gives
him the glory of his infinite wisdom, that hath
found out the way to give vent to both in the fin-
ner's case.
- 3. It is agreeable to the Spirit's work of grace
on the soul, whereby the finner is first cast down,
and then lifted up. The Spirit of God coming to
the elect foul, finds it secure, careless, and pre-
sumptuous, thinking itself « rich and increased in
goods, and standing in need of nothing," Rev.
iii. 17. The spirit then discovers what a God, and
what a law, the finner has to do with, and so works
this holy fear in the heart. When the soul is
awakened, it is ready to despond; and the Spirit,
by the doctrines of the gospel, works this hope.
Thus the finner comes and cleaves to Christ.,

Lastly, The Lord is very gracious unto such. ... They are entertained with some off-fallings while they hang about his hand in the ordinances and duties of religion : Pfal. lxv. 4. “ We shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.” Yea, they are filled as with marrow and fatness ; God makes known his secrets to them, even the secrets of his covenant : Psal. xxv. 14. « The secret of the Lord is with : them that fear him, and he will shew them his covenant.” - He shews them also the secrets of liis word : Luke, xxiv, 32. “. And they faid one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures ?” Also the secrets of his works, and the dispensations of his providence. And at length they shall be admitted to the full fruition of him in a better world ; they shall enter into the joy of their Lord, and be for ever with him.


B 3

« FöregåendeFortsätt »