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brother, &c. Eccl. iv. 8. and yet he pincheth himfulf, and straitneth himself, and never asketh him, self the question for whose fake he doth it, and he concludes that it is the blessing of God upon a man when he can afford hiinself the free use of all, that he calls his own : And it is the judgment of God · upon bafe minds, that though they have, they have no enjoyment; they have no power to use that which they have ; neither can gratify themselves, nor do any good with it. They are slaves to their own estates ; they have and they have not. This I reckon God's plague upon a man's mind, that he hath no true enjoyment of that which is his own.
be done by Gods inhibiting, or sufpending the virtue of several creatures, which otherwise would be very proper to give a man diversion, or ease, or fitting supply. For, nothing is any thing any longer than God will have it. That God that stopped the mouth of the lions that they could not feed u. pon Daniel, Dan. vi. that God, that could forbid the fire from burning the three children, Dan. iii, that God can make every creature a comfort and in ftrumental for our good when he pleaseth. The hun, gry raven at his bidding will be a messenger to bring wholsome food to a prophet, 1 Kings xvii. 6. As God can refresh the earth by drops froin heaven so he can make the heaven over our head to be brass, and the earth to be iron, Deut. xxviii. 23. so that they shall not bring forth. Yea, he can make the rain that falls upon a mans ground, powder and duft, Deut. xxviii. 24. He can, not only give rain, which all the idols of the nations cannot do, Jer. xiv, 22. fo
Gob. v. 10. but also water the earth with the river of God, making it soft with showers, Ps. Ixix. 9, 10. and give us fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food, and gladness, Acts xiv. 17. We are to understand that all things whatsoever, act in the power and virtue of the principle that God planted in them in the first moment of the creation. Now it is in God, that gave them several virtues, to inhibit and suspend them. This is so great a truth, that I have testimony for it beyond all exception. It was acknowledged by a spirit, of which we can give no account ; the spirit that was conjured up to give Saul an anfwer ; faith this fpirit (which is supposed to be an infernal spirit) wherefore doft thou ask of me, seeing the Lord is departed from thee, and become thine enemy
? if God inhibit, all creatures are at a loss if God forsake a man, he is undone to eternity, and this is acknowledged from hell, as all suppose ; for this fpirit faith it.
4. God may do this by withdrawing his bleffing from mens endeavours ; so that they become unprosperous, and the happy issues of providence are intercepted. This we have experience of, that many times things politickly contrived, and carried on with power, fail and miscarry, and come to nothing, and this is because God is not there. Other times you have things weakly managed, and'unlikely instruments, and yet great success, and things fall out above expectation : no account to be given of this, but Gods blessing and aslistance. This is that which i the wise man hath observed, that the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, &c.
but as himself obseryes, Eccl. ii. 26. God gives to a man that is good in his fight; wisdom, and knowledge, and joy : but to the finner be giveth travel to gather and to beap up; to gather by hard labour, and much pains taking ; but he hath no joy in it; but he referves it to give to the man that is upright in his fight. And this is another way, God's withdrawing his bleffings from mens endeavours : and can any one be prosperous, when God's curse is upon him ? It is the blessing of God makes rich, Prov. X. 22. If there be a crofs providence, a man may endeavour, and to little purpofe.
5. God can do this by awakening the guilt of the finner upon his conscience ; making that to sting and gall him ; and then all the world is nothing. Many finners fin themselves into stupidity and senseleslness. Others relieve themselves by running into company, and other avocations : but if God do but quicken the guilt of fin upon mens consciences they are thrown out of all pofleffion. Now to do this, there needs no more, but to call men to advertency; no more but to hold men to thoughtfulness; there needs no more from God, but to fhut men up, and confine them, that they be not relieved by avocations and other employments. Where there is malignity, and guilt upon the conscience, unremoved by repentance, there God needs no more than to hold a man to converse with himself : and it is a marvel how this man stays in his wits. being at eafe, hath no better settlement, and fecurity than this, that he is in a hurry, and hath not yet leisure to bethink himfelfo
A great offender
6. This may be done when men through their own fear, suspicion and jealousy, have certain foretastes of Gods refusal and displeasure. We find by experience, that things are as we imagine. Now whether this be the truth of the case, or no, (defertion of God) yet it is all one to me, if I think so.
Thus God may give men up to their own melancholy conceits. There is no security to any mans peace or satisfaction in this life ; or substantial selfenjoyment, but two ways.
ift, That he hath always retained his innocence. The ad is, that he is restored and recovered to his innocence, by his repentance, and Gods pardon, in, and through the blood of Christ. And if a man hath not one of these two, he is unsecure, and no man knows the condition he
may be in, the next hour. In these fix particulars, I have given you an account of these secret rebukes of God, which the finner cannot bear up under; but when he feels them, if he be not upheld by the hand of God, and that he be brought into reconciliation with God, upon the terms of the covenant of grace, he will melt away, and come to nothing. This for the firft. The
Second, Is the case wherein there is imminent dans ger of such judgments as these ; and I will give you fix cases.
1. The case of havocking conscience, by finning against the light of our own proper judgment ; and in this case, a man doth himself inward hurt, he gives himself a wound at the heart : and the wounds of the mind are the torture of a man's foul ; and all the world will not secure that man, that is not in
reconciliation with the reason of his own mind. Tobe sensible of this, that a man hath contradicted his own proper light ; in this case a man doth an act of violence upon himself; a man cannot do himself greater wrong than by this voluntary consenting to known iniquity. And this I account the true notion of sin, voluntarily to consent to known iniquity, and this is that which feparates between us and our God. If a man once voluntarily consent to known fin, he parts with the truest friend (next to God) that he hath in the world, his conscience of right; that bosom friend, his only adviser and counsellor, which will keep a man company when he hath no company else; that will give him content, and satisfaction in all conditions, that will give testimony to him, though he be Nandred, calumniated, and though all the mischiefs in the world fall upon him. This friend is never put away, but by that by which God is put away, viz. voluntary consenting to known iniquity, and this puts God away, and puts away this home-friend, conscience of right. If å man have no internal guilt, know no fault within himself, he will be able to bear up against all the world, and he will have satisfaction in every condition ; but if he parts with this, he parts with his best friend, gives God offence, and causes him to , withdraw, 2 Cor. i. 12. Our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in fimplicity and godly fincerity, we have had our conversation in the world. This is the first case of eminent danger of these judgments these rebukes in secret.