Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

fion of fin, to cause quarrels betwixt God and man, and betwixt a man and himself. And this enmity, though it doth not continually shew itself, because the conscience is not always clamorous, but sometimes is filent, and at other times only murmurs a little, yet it works always secret unquiete ness to the heart. The guilty man may have a feeming truce, but a true peace he cannot have. Look upon him who hath a guilty heart, and you shall see his face pale and ghastly, his smiles and laughters faint and heartless; his speeches doubtful, and full of abrupt stops and unseasonable turnings; his purposes and motions unsteady, and favouring of much distraction ; arguing plainly, that fin is not so smooth at its first motions, as turbulent afterwards.

Hence are those vain wearyings of places and companies, together with ourselves ; that the galled soul doth, after the manner of fick persons, seek refreshing in variety ; and after many tossing and turned fices, complains of remediless and unabated tore ment. Alas, what avails it to seek for outward reliefs, when a man hath his own executioner within him? If he could shift from himself, he might have some hope of ease; but wherever he betakes himself, his conscience attends him.

outward

But there are some firm and obdurate finners, whose resolution can laugh their fins out of countenance. But can any man believe, that such a man's heart laughs with his face? Will not he dere to be an hypocrite, who durst be a villain ? Such a man can grieve when none sees it, though he puts on a chearful countenance when men's eyes are upon him. · The man's heart bleedeth, when his face counterfeits a sinile. He wears out many waking hours, when we think he is at rest: yea, as his thoughts afford him not sleep, so his very Neep affords him not rest; but while his lenses are tied up, his lin is loose, representing itself to him in horrible appearances. The fire of the conscience may lie smothered for a time, but it will break out at length with the greater fury.

Let no man therefore hope to stop the mouth of his conscience from exclaiming,

whilst

whilst his fin continues; for that endeavour is both vain and hurtful. Time, which remedies all other evils of the mind, increaseth this; which, like to bodily difeases, proves worse with continuance, and grows upon us with our age.

There can be therefore no peace without reconciliation. A man cannot be in friendship with himself, whilst he is at enmity with God. And there can be no reconciliation without remission. God can neither forget the injury of fin, nor dissemble hatred. And yet there can be no satisfaction by any recompence of ours. An infinite justice is offended, and an infinite punishment is deserved by every fin. When we have exerted our best endeavours, we are still but unprofitable servants. Where then shall we find a payment of infinite value, but in him only who is of infinite dignity? who took our nature upon him, and emptied himself of all his glory, that he might put on our shame and misery. Let us therefore, by faith and obedience, apply ourselves to our divine and eternal Peace-maker, the Saviour of mankind, the

E

Mediator

Mediator between God and man, whom heaven and earth obey, and the angels adore with perpetual praises and rejoicings. In short, there is no other way but this : Our conscience must have either satisfaction or torment. Therefore let us discharge our fin betimes, and be at peace.

Hitherto I have spoken concerning the most inward and dangerous enemy of our peace, namely, our sins; which if we have. once mastered, the conquest of the other enemy to our peace will be more easy, namely, our crosses, or afflictions. These disquiet us either in their present feeling, or their expectation. And when they meet with weak minds, they do fo extremely distemper them, that the patient for the time is not himself. How many have there been, that, pressed down by affliction, and weary of their lives, have made their own hands their executioners? How many, meeting with a headstrong grief, which they could not manage, have by the violence of it been carried quite from their wits? How many millions, either for in

curable

curable maladies, or for losses, or for defamations, or for fad accidents to their children, wear out their lives in perpetual discontent, therefore living, because they cannot yet die, and not because they like to live? If there could be any human receipt prescribed to avoid evils, it would be purchased at an high rate; but it is impossible that earth should redress what is fent from heaven; and if it could be done, even the want of miseries would prove miserable : for the mind, cloyed with continual felicity, would grow a burden to itself, loathing that at last, which intermission would have made pleasant. Summer is the most agreeable season of the year, wherein the earth is both most rich with increase, and most gorgeous for ornament; yet if it were not received with interchanges of cold frosts and piercing winds, it would lose much of its pleasantness: Summer would be no summer, if winter did not both lead it in, and follow it. We may not therefore either hope or strive to escape all crosses : fome we may: What we can, let us fly

E 2

from;

« FöregåendeFortsätt »