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for a drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, that was in the midst of the Philistine's host; and when three valiant men brought it to him at the peril of their lives, he would not drink it, saying, "Is not this the blood of these men that went in jeopardy of their lives?" Hence we may learn, he that before shed innocent blood, is now troubled in conscience for hazarding the blood of these men in this rash enterprise; and he that before defiled another man's wife, does now repent for desiring to drink of the water of another man's well. But, passing other Inferences, I go to a Use of Examination.

Try, therefore, O man, woman, whether you be the subjects to whom this privilege belongs, of having all things working for your good. Try it, for it is no trivial affair, no matter of moonshine; it is no trifle that you have no concern with, and need not trouble your head about; no, it is a matter of the highest moment, and most important concern; an affair wherein your everlasting welfare is concerned. Whether all things work together for your good? Because, if they do not so, they will all work for your hurt and perdition; for the affirmative of the text strongly imports and includes a negative. Well, but say you, "I am persuaded this is one of the most glorious privileges that can be. How shall I know it, that ail things work together for good to me?" You may try it two ways. 1. By the marks the text offers you. 2. By the begun experience of the thing itself.

1st. Try it by the marks the text gives of those to whom all things work together for good; namely, that they are such as love God, and are the called according to his purpose. These are the persons to whom all things work for good. And here four things are offered to you for trial. If you would reach to the bottom of this question, whether you be a true lover, you are to try it. 1. By the object of your love, if it be God himself that you love, the true God. 2. By the qualities of the act, if it be true love to this God. 3. By the immediate spring of this love, if it be such as hath issued from effectual calling. 4. By the original root of it, if it be a love that results from the everlasting love of God to you, and his purpose of grace concerning you. I would therefore endeavour to help you a little into this search, wherein you and I both need to be sure what we are saying and doing; for, there is much false, pretended love to God in the world.

[1.] Then examine your love by the object of it, if it be GOD, and him indeed that you love. See that it be not a god of your

own imagination, and not the true God.

But here, perhaps, it may be enquired, "How shall I know if it is God himself that is the object of my love?" For answering this, I would ask you two questions.

1. What conviction have you ever got of your natural Atheism, and of your being without God, or Atheists, as all by nature are? (Eph. ii. 12.) If you never thought yourself an Atheist, nor saw you were without God, it seems that you are without God to this day, and without love to him; for, since all by nature are without

Let no carnal professor use this truth in the service of sin. This were, spider-like, to get poison where the bee gets honey.— ED.

God, and have lost God, how can they love him till they have found him out whom they have lost? And surely they never found him who never saw that they lost him. The true God is the God whom we have lost; whose knowledge we have lost, whose image we have lost, whose favour we have lost; and therefore, if the God whom you pretend to love, be a God you think you never lost, and so never saw yourself to be without him, it is not the true God that you love; you are but an Atheist still, having never seen yourself to be so, and to be without God.

2. What knowledge and apprehension have you got of God; for, love to God supposes knowledge of him, ignoti nulla cupido. There may be, indeed, a great deal of knowledge without love; but there can be no love without knowledge. Now, has God showed you his being and glorious excellencies, as infinitely above all creatures; and all the creatures to be insignificant nothings, compared with his all-sufficiency? And has he manifested himself to you, in Christ, in whom alone he is always well pleased; in whom alone he is reconciled; in whom alone his fulness dwells; and in whom alone his excellencies shine most brightly and savingly?

No sinner can love God who hath not seen him in Christ; "He that hath seen me," says Christ, "hath seen the Father." He that hath not seen Christ hath not seen God; and so hath not seen the true object of love. For a sinner to pretend he loves God, and yet hath not got a view of him in Christ, is the grossest ignorance imaginable; because, out of Christ, he is a consuming fire to sinners, a sin-revenging God. If you know the God whom you think you love, you would love him no otherwise, out of Christ, than as you do the fire that would consume you to ashes. But God in Christ is a God of love; for, in him his law is magnified, his justice satisfied, his wrath appeased; and therefore, if you truly love God, or love the true God, your mind has been enlightened to apprehend him in his glory in Christ. Has then the God that commanded light to shine out of darkness, shined in your heart, to give you the light of the knowledge of his glory, in the face of Jesus Christ? (2 Cor. iv. 6.) Have you discerned him in the light of the gospel, wherein Christ is held forth? Have you discerned him in the light of the Spirit, accompanying the word powerfully? For, it is a light of God's commanding and creating. Have you discerned him in a light that shined into your heart, and not into your head only? Have you discerned him in a light that gave you the knowledge of his glory, the glory of his wisdom and power, the glory of his holiness, and justice, and truth, as well as, at the same time, the glory of his mercy, love, and pity; the glory of all his excellencies? And have you discerned this glory in the face of Christ, or in the person of Christ, as the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person? (Heb. i. 3.) Have you discerned this glory of God, shining in him as a JESUS, and as a CHRIST; that is, as he is a Saviour, and anointed of God to be so, sent and sealed of God to save by his blood and righteousness, meritoriously; and by his spirit and grace, efficaciously? In this wonderful work of redemption and salvation through Christ, have you seen such marvellous devices, as become the infinite wisdom of God, and answer all the ends of the glory of God's perfections, as well as of the salvation of the sinner? In this case, your love is a true love, terminating in

the right object. If, at the same time, your view of God this way has been attended with so much application of faith, and persuasion of the love of God to you in particular, as at least to create in you kindly thoughts of God. Though you see him infinitely just and holy, and yourself a sinful, guilty creature; yet apprehending the atonement and propitiation in the blood of Jesus, all harsh thoughts of God, as an enemy, have been removed, and kindly thoughts of him, as a friend, declaring his good-will, through Christ in the word of grace. The persuasion of faith is here included, whether you have seen it or not.


[2.] Examine your love to God, by the nature and qualities of the act, if it be true love to this God. How shall I know this? Why, enquire how your love acts upon this glorious object. It is the nature of love, to make one desire fellowship with the object beloved; so, if you have true love to God, you will have a desire of more intimate union and communion with him. What then is thy great desire and request? Is it that: (Ps. xxvii. 4.) "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; that I may behold the beauty of the Lord, and enquire in his temple." It is the nature of love to make one impatient at the absence of the beloved object; so, if you have true love to God in Christ, his absence will be grievous to thee; and all other comforts will signify nothing to thee without him. "O that I knew where I might find him?" "O! how long, how long?" It is the nature of love to delight in the presence of the object beloved; even so, if you truly love God, his presence will be thy delight. "Welcome, O beloved! well's me! that now I have got thee in my arms, I will not let thee go. I held him," says the spouse, and would not let him go, till I had brought him into my mother's house, to the chambers of her that conceived me. O! stir him not up. I charge you, by the roes and hinds of the fields, that you stir not up nor awake my love till he please." It is the nature of love to bear affection to everything that is like unto the beloved object; even so, if you love God, you will love all that bear his image; you will be a companion of them that fear his name; and delight in the saints, the excellent ones of the earth. How can they love God, that care not for those that bear his image? It is of the nature of love to hate whatsoever is disagreeable to the beloved object; so, where there is true love to God, there will be true hatred of sin; the love of God, and the love of sin are contradictory things. A believer may be overcome by sin; but he has no love to the overcomer; and this appears, because his sin costs him many a prayer, and tear, and cry, and sigh, and watching, and application to the throne of grace, and to the blood of Christ for cleansing and healing. The love of God is contrary to the love of sin, and the love of the world. It is the nature of love to think much of the beloved object; so, where love to God takes place, it carries the thoughts towards him, and the meditation of him is sweet. Love may be known by our thoughts and meditations; many think they love God, and yet God is not in all their thoughts. They think of nothing but the world, and the things thereof; they cannot dwell upon this glorious object, nor are their wandering thoughts any grief to them. It is the nature of love to speak much of the beloved object. We may know by the speech of some, that

they have no love to God, never a word of God, from morning to evening in their mouths, unless it be to profane his name. True love will make you speak of him in conversation, and speak to him in prayer, and speak for him in defence of his truth and cause. In a word, it is the nature of love, to make a man serve where he loves. O! what service has God from you? Does the love of Christ constrain you to judge, "That if one died for all, then were all dead; and that he died, that henceforth they that live, should not live unto themselves, but unto him that died and rose again?

[3.] Examine your love by the immediate spring of it; or the means whereby it is wrought in the soul, namely, Effectual calling. None are lovers of God, till they be effectually called. Here it may be enquired, How shall I know if my love to God be such as is the fruit of effectual calling? To this it may be replied, If your love be the fruit of effectual calling, then you will be convinced that it never grew in your heart naturally; and that it is not the fruit of your natural power, or free will; and that, by nature, you are haters of God. (Rom. i. 30; viii. 7.) If you never saw your enmity against God, and never suspected your love to him, nor never had any love to him, but what you had naturally all your days, I must tell you, your love to him is nothing but enmity against him; for true love grows in the garden of grace, and not of nature. Again, if your fruit be the fruit of effectual calling, then your affections have been drawn to Christ sweetly and irresistibly, as with a cord of love; for this drawing power is put forth in effectual calling; "I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee." (Jer. xxxi. 3.) "We love him, because he first loved us." (1 John iv. 16.) Again, if your love be the fruit of effectual calling, then the gospel of free grace will be very precious to you; for, that is the outward means of effectual calling; and that which is the means of the new spiritual birth, (1 Pet. i. 23,) is still the means also of spiritual growth; and therefore, they that are effectually called and regenerated, have still an earnest desire after, and delight in it: "As new born babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that they may grow thereby." (1 Pet. ii. 2.) If your love to God be not attended with a love to the doctrine of the gospel, it is but a spurious brood, and not of the right kind. Further, if your love to God be the fruit of effectual calling, then the Spirit of God will be very precious to you; because it is by the power and efficacy of the Spirit that the call is made effectual; for then the gospel comes not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost. (1 Thess. i. 5.) You will desire more and more of that free Spirit for carrying on the work of faith with power, and for exciting any grace that ever He wrought; your prayer will be, "Awake, O north wind; and come thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow forth." You will always find the Spirit when he comes by his gracious motions, running only in the channel of gospel doctrine, that tends to lead men out to Christ and his righteousness; and not in the channel of legal doctrine, that has a tendency to lead men into themselves and their own works; for thus the Spirit came to you at first in effectual_calling: "Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" (Gal. iii. 2.) Surely your love is not the fruit of effectual calling, if the Spirit, that calls effectually, be not precious to you. If you can

hear sermons from day to day, and never care whether the Spirit powerfully accompany them or not, your love is to be suspected; but, if he hath begun the good work in you, then you will find a need of the same power to carry on the work that began it; and your cry will be, " O for more of the Spirit! O dead preaching and hearing without the Spirit! O to see the power and glory of God, as I have seen it in the sanctuary!"

[4.] Examine your love by the original root of it, the everlasting love of God and his purpose of grace; for it is a love that issues from a being called according to his purpose. Here an exercised person may say, "How shall I know if my love to God be the fruit of God's everlasting love and purpose, in Christ, from all eternity concerning me? Is it possible to know that my love to him in time is such as will evidence his love to me from eternity? O how shall I understand that?" Why, this may not only be known by the marks already delivered, but further, in these four particulars :

1. If your love to God be such as flows from, and evidences his everlasting love to you, and purpose of grace concerning you, then this loving purpose towards you has produced in you a loving purpose towards him. What for a purpose is it? It is a purpose of marriage with the Son of God. His purpose of marriage with you from eternity hath produced in you a purpose of marriage with him in time. Can you tell me if ever such a purpose was wrought in your heart? It is true there are purposes that come to no effect; but this is an effectual purpose that had taken effect; insomuch that you could find no rest till the match was made up, as Naomi said of Boaz, when purposing to match with Ruth: "The man will not rest till he hath finished the thing;" (Ruth iii. 18;) even so Christ Jesus, when betrothing a sinner to himself, as he will not rest till he hath finished this thing, so he works in the soul that purpose also, that he cannot rest till that thing be finished. Now, can you say there was a time when the Lord wrought such a purpose of marriage with him in your heart, that you could not rest till it was some way finished, by a joining hands with the Son of God? Insomuch that when he offered his heart and hand to you, you were made to offer your heart and hand to him, saying," Lord, take thou me to thyself, take thou me; for such is the deceitfulness of my heart, that I know not if I dare say, 'Even so, I take thee.' That is, indeed, what I would be at; but seeing it is thou, even thou only that canst make it sure work and a sure bargain; therefore I put the making of the marriage in thy own hand. O take me to be thine for ever; I offer myself, with a thousand good-wills; 0 take me, take me; take me and my blessings to eternity. I put my heart into thy hand, and leave it with thee." Tell me, man, woman, were you brought to such a purpose as this? O poor soul, it is a fruit of his purpose from eternity of marrying you; it is a fruit of your being given to Christ in the council of peace. For Christ says, "All that the Father hath given me shall come to me." (John vi. 37.) Again, if his loving purpose towards you has produced a loving purpose in you towards him, then it is not only a purpose of marriage with him, but also a purpose of cleaving unto him; a purpose never to leave him; a purpose to abide with him; as he purposes to abide with them for ever; (John xiv. 19 ;) so it produces a purpose in them to abide with him for ever; saying with

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