« PrécédentContinuer »
of God in Secret, in the Family, and in the publick Assemblies on the Lord's Day.
He now makes Conscience of those, and all other Duties; and although formerly his chief Satisfaction was in vain Company, and in sensual Pleasures, yet now he has a greater Value for Persons truly pious, and has more efteem for the Saints, those excellent Ones of the Earth, as they are called. Psalm xvi. 3.
He now exercises himself to have always a Conscience void of Offence, both towards God, and towards all Men.
Every since Christian has experienced a Holy Change wrought in him, and it was wroughe by the Holy Spirit: But the Holy Spirit worketh differently in different Persons.
Some have been born of religious Parents, and have had a pious Education, have been brought up in the Nature and Admonition of the Lord, and been kept to a constant Attendance on the publick Worship of God, under the Preaching of the Gospel ; and on some of these the Holy Spirit, gradually and as it were by insensible Degrees produces the Holy Change ; so that they cannot tell the Month or Day, when they performed the first Act of true Faith, and became united to Christ; but on examining themselves, they may observe the Effects of the happy Change, and the Fruits and Evidences of the Holy Spirit dwelling in them.
Sometimes notorious Sinners, Persons, who have led profligate Lives, to the Scandal of the Christian Profession, have by the just Providence of God been brought into great Distress and Want ; like the Prodigal Son, or have been afAicted with some violent Distemper, or other great Calamity, and then the Holy Ghost has awakened their Consciences; and put their Sins in F 2
Order before their Eyes, brought them to see their present Misery and their Danger of greater ; then the Holy Spirit fills their Souls with Anguilh inexpressible, and influences them to cry out, What shall I do to be saved ? and then they fee their Want of a Refuge to which they may fly ; and then does the Holy Spirit open the Eyes of their Mind to fee the Mighty, and compassionate Saviour, and encourages the trembling Souls, to fly to Christ, both for Salvation and Comfort.
The Prophet spoke of the biessed Jesus when he said, (Isa. xxxii. 2.) A Man fa'l an biding Place from the Wind, and a Cover from the Tempest, as Rivers of Water in a dry Place, as the Shadow of a great Rock in a weary Land.
By this figurative, or metaphorical Description of our Redeemer, we may learn the Mifery of guilty Sinners, as obnoxious to the Storms and Tempests of Divine Wrath, and likewise the allfufficient Help, the Safety and Comfort, that are to be found in Christ.
And when the Holy Spirit reveals Christ to the amazed, and self abhoring, and self condemning Sinner, and thus suggests to him ; believe in the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved. How does the poor Heart begin to rejoice ? How is it agitated between Hope and Fear? How is it amazed with the glad Tidings that there is a Saviour, and a Saviour able and willing to save him ! O can such a Wretch as I have been, be saved ? Is the Holy God, against whom I have rebelled so many Years, willing to pardon me, and willing to be reconciled to me! And is the blessed Jelus whom I have fo often flighted, and difregarded, and so often resisted his Government, is he willing to save me after all the Indignities and Provocations which I have been guilty of ? Amazing Grace: Astonishing Mercy !
Blessed Jesus I beli-ve, thou art the Son of God, and the Saviour, and the only Saviour of Men: Lord help mine Unbelief! O save me, save me, or I perish! I fly to thee for Refuge, from all the Vengeance I am obnoxious to ! Q Jesus of Nazareth, thou Son of David, thou blessed Son of God have Mercy on me! Is not thy Name called Jesus, because thou savest thy People from their Sins ? O save me from all my Sins, and from all the Punishment and Miseries which
my Sins have deserved ;
Lord if thou wilt, thou can'st niake my filthy Saul clean ; my ignorant Soul wise unto Salvation! I renounce my Sins, and I give up myself to thee, to be thy Disciple and Servant :
Shew Pity, Lord, O Lord forgive,
Watt's Pfal. 51.
Thus the Holy Spirit sometimes makes Converts, among those who have lived diffolute Lives; and happy Fruits of it, soon appear : For they immediately discard their old Companions in Sin; they who seldom went to the House of God to join in the Worship of him, now are constantly there : Now many of their former Acquaintance deride them, and now all pious Persons, who know any thing of them rejoice in their Conversion. Such a Convert may say,
When God revealed his gracious Name,
And chang'd my sinful State,
'The Grace appear's so great.
And did his Hand confess,
And sung surprizing Grace.
And own'd the Power Divine ;
Watt's Psalms, Psal. 126.
And how thankful are such Converts, for the holy and happy Change of their Condition, and thankful even for the AMictions which were the Means of it: Such a Chriftian can say,
Father, I bless thy chaft'ning Hand;
Wati's Psalms, Pfal. 110:
L ET TER V.
On the Predictions, of the great Blefings, which in
this Life are bestowed on every Believer ; viz. Justification, Adoption, and SanEtification ; Bleffings absolutely necessary to the Safety, the Comfort, and Happiness of every Man; and which import a great Variety of Benefits; even Affli&tions are intended as a Means to promote the Holiness, and the future Happiness of Christians; and likewise of Predictions, encouraging Backsliders to return unto God.
Shall now proceed more particularly to consider those PREDICTIONS of the Blessings, which are given to sincere Christians in this Life; but must observe that there are
no Predictions of Immunity to them from Troubles in this World, but several of Amictions in this Life, which therefore they should expect.
It is said, Man that is born of a Woman's of few Days, and full of Trouble. Job xiv. 1.
And it is said, Pfal. xxxiv. 19. Many are the Amictions of the Righteous, but it is there foretold, that the Lord delivereth him out of them all.