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are loth to lose their souls, yet loth also to lose their idols. Hence they must do something for each of them.--In this case there is this
REMEDY :-Mortify your lufts, that you may trample on them, and follow the light : Col. ïïi. « Mortify, therefore, your members which are upon the earth,” &c. Prune off these fuckers, that ye may have a thriving foul. Deny their cravings, that ye may
weaken and starve them. And that ye may be enabled to do this, let your conscience and your heart both together take up their rest in Christ by faith. Know, O sinner! there is enough in Chrift for the boundless desires of thy heart, as well as for the cravings of thy conscience : Cant. v. 16. “ His mouth is most sweet; yea, he is altogether lovely." Col. ii. 9. 10. « For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power."--Here some may reason,
(1.) How can that be ? for, alas ! there are many defires in my wretched heart, that are of such a carnal fort, that there can be nothing in Christ for them. Answ. Our Lord fatisfies the desires of poor finners, by enlarging such of them as are holy, fulfilling these, and extinguishing others of them that are unholy : Pfal. lxxxi. 10. “ I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt: Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.” Though thou canst not have in Christ the unworthy thing thy false heart defireth, thou shalt have in him what is a thousand times more desirable ; and then the desire of that thing will die away. None complains of the want of candles while the fun shines into the room, for that more than supplies the want of them all; and none will cry, « Who will shew us any good ?" when the Lord “ lifts up upon them the light of his countenance.” A child may be fond of his rattle, and will not part with it; but put a more pleasing thing in his hand, and he will immediately let it go : Matth. xiii. 44. “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hid in a field, the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.”-Another may inquire,
(2.) What way shall I take to get Christ to fill my
heart? The answer, in a word, is, BELIEVE. What shall we believe.?
[1.] Believe that there is a complete fulness in Chrift, sufficient to satisfy the boundless defires of your hearts : Col. ii. 19. “ Holding the head, from which all the body, by joints and bands, having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.” He is in. finite in perfections; and whatever is desirable all the creation, is eminently in him as the fountain of all.
[2.] Believe that he, with all his fulness, is offered to you, in the way of exchange with all your lufts and idols. Sincerely consent to the ex, change. There is a fuil Christ before you ; and the luft of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, are with you. Give up with these as expressly and solemnly as ye can, and take Christ in their room ; believing there shall be no missing of them, and looking for the heart-fatisfaction in him ye , used to seek in them. And believe it is a bargain unalterable for eternity: Matth. xiii. 45. 46. Pfal. lxxiii. 25, “ Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon carth that I desire befides thee. God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.”
[3.] When your lusts come back, offering to entertain you as formerly, believe ye have in Christ what is a thousand times better: Psal. lxxxiv. x. “ For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand.” Say in your souls, as the olive, Jud. ix. 1. Shall I come down from bread, and lie down to eat husks ? Shall I leave the milk and honey, and fill my mouth with gravel-stones ? If the luft of Vanity fay, There is gaiety and finery, the eyes of beholders are fixed on thee. Let the foul say, But I have in Christ a never-fading beauty, glorious robes of unspotted righteousness, Christ's love and his Father's, &c. that is folid and fubftantial, not to be exchanged for the airy nothings of the world's vanity. If the lust of Covetoufness say, There is a good prize to be had by a very little stretch, let the soul say, But I have riches in Christ, and that without any, sting, durable riches and righteousness.
[3.] Another course of this walking is, inen's touching but very lightly on religion in its turn, but digging deep in their lusts in their turn : Pfal. lxxviii. 18. And they tempted God in their heart, by asking meat for their lusts." Ver. 36. “ Nevertheless, they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues. They are as it were in jest in the former, but in deep earnest in the latter; they swim like feathers in the waters of the sanctuary, but sink as lead in the mighty waters of their corrupt affections.
In this case, I propose this remedy :-Labour to be experimental Christians : Píal. xxxiv. 8, “ O taste and see that the Lord is good.” A taste of the tranfcendent goodness of Cod, the hidden excellency of religion, would hold you fast to the right side : John, iv. 10. “ Jesus answered, and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and VOL. II.
who low me.
who it is that faith to thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water."
O then press eagerly into the inner court of religion; there are beauties there that will arrest your heart. Labour that you may have your hearts in every duty; break through the shell, till ye come to the kernel. Once make religion your business, it will soon fild your hands, as well as your hearts. I shall only mention,
4. Another cause of this walking. They would fain be at heaven, but have no heart for the rugged wayto.it: Mark, x. 21.“ Then Jesus beholding him, loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest; go thy way, sell whatsoever thou haft, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come,
up the cross, and folo And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved ; for he had great poffessions." The Nuggard loves the gold, but will not dig for it.
In this case the remedy is, to put on a resolution, a peremptory resolution for God, to cleave to him at any rate, and to pass through the wilderness to the heavenly Canaan, cost what it will : Numb. xiv. 24. “But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his feed shall poflefs it." There ye may be, there ye must be, else you are ruined. And there are two things, as to which I would caution you.
(1.) Have you not got that victory over your idols you were expecting? Do not give over, but resolutely continue the struggle, looking to the Lord for strength to accomplish that in which you
have engaged : Rom. xvi. 20. “ And the God of
peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly." Have you come to Christ's door, though you apprehend
will not go
you have got nothing yet? Be peremptorily refolved you back to the door of
lufts, but hang on at his, though you fhould die at it, and you shall find, as in Cant. iii. 4. “ It was but a little that I pafled from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth.”
(2.) Have you got your feet on the necks of your idols ? Pray, do not think the war is over, or that the Egyptian pursuers, who have been sometimes heavy on you,
will see them no more; No, no; the broken forces of corruption will rally again, and the newly-baffled idols will lift up their heads; therefore be on your watch, and prepare to renew the battle.
IV. I AM now to make some improvement, which for the present shall only be in an use of exhortation.
Beware of wavering, and study to be stable Christians.--To enforce this, consider,
1. That stability is the ground of fruitfulness : Psal. i. 3. “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away." A tree, after being lifted, and planted sometires here, sometimes there, cannot be fruitful : « The rolling-stone gathers no fog.' Unstable as water, can never prevail. Doubts, fears, and dryness in the soul's case, is a necessary consequence of unsettledness.--Confider,
2. That stability is the beginning of comfortable experiences in religion. We cannot think to thrive in a trade, till we settle to it.
A fool is always beginning, leaves off, begins again, and so on; he never brings any thing to perfection. Consider,