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The Great Duty Of Self-Resignation To The Divine Will, Part II, Chap I-VIII














 That in order to the Resigning of our Wills entirely to the Will of GOD, we should frequently consider such Principles as are most available to the effectual subduing of them thereunto.


 FIRST, Let us labor to be fully possessed with the truth and power of such Principles as are available to the subduing of our Wills to the Will of GOD. Let us fix deeply in our minds these following truths:


 1. That the Will we are to submit to is the Will of our great Creator, Preserver, and Benefactor. As GOD is our Creator, He has a right to be our absolute LORD; and being so, we must needs acknowledge that we ought to will nothing, nor do any thing, but what He allows.


 Again, it is the Will of our great Preserver and Benefactor, who has, ever since we had a being, laid new obligations upon us, in the continued care of his gracious Providence, and by his renewed mercies. He is always doing us good, and filling our hearts with food and gladness; being not at all niggardly in the comforts of this life, but bestowing them in such proportion as is able to content moderate desires, and being richly gracious in affording us suitable means for a better life. And there-fore if we have the least sense of what is worthy and ingenuous, we shall acknowledge it to be most reasonable that we should do all we can to please Him, who has done so infinitely much to please us. The Apostle well knew the power of this argument, when he said, " I beseech you, by the mercies of GOD, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto GOD, which is your reasonable service."


 Nor can there be a more powerful argument to persuade to patience, and to a quiet submission to Divine Providence; seeing that for one cross we have many hundred blessings. Ubi mall gutty est, ibi inzmensunz mare benefcciorum Dei: " Where there is one Drop of Evil, there is a large Sea of Divine Favors and Benefits." And this men would confess, if they were as curious and careful to consider the many mercies they enjoy, as they are to consider the few evils they suffer;—if they were duly sensible that they are less than the least of the many mercies they possess, and that, in all their sufferings, GOD punished' them less than their sins deserve. Holy Job thought it reasonable thus to argue, " Shall we receive good at the hand of GOD, and shall we not receive evil" What, is GOD bound to be always heaping favors upon us Must we be fed with nothing but marrow and fatness If GOD gives us sometimes to taste of the bitter, to drink of the waters of Marah, shall we murmur, and think much of it Far be it from us so to do.


 2. The Will we are to submit to is the Will of the infinitely perfect Being, who is most holy, good, wise, and powerful: and accordingly his Will is most holy, good, wise, and perfect, and therefore infinitely more worthy to be followed than our own, which is vain and perverse,, and has many foolish and hurtful desires


If a child be left to his own will, it would be his ruin 5 and it would be much more pernicious to us not to be guided, governed, and restrained by the Will of GOD.


And GOD is not only to be considered as the great Sovereign of the world, but also as the wise Physician of it, who hatlr the care of mankind, as of sick persons; this world being a great Hospital, a place for diseased and infected souls, and afflictions are his physic, which He prescribes and applies according to the several cases of his patients. The sick soul is not for this kind of physic, but would rather be pleased and gratified; but GOD’s thoughts are not as our thoughts, nor his will as ours. He will have his patients submit to his method of cure; herein He is vise and good also, for it is an act of great mercy in Him to do thus. It would be an act of cruelty in the Physician to comply with his patient's humor, and suffer his will to prevail. And there is no true Christian, however true it is that " chastening is not joyous but grievous" to him for a time, but finds afterwards that " it yields the peaceable fruits of righteousness," and that "it is good for him to have been afflicted."


I add, that it is the Will of GOD most powerful, as well as most holy and wise, that we are to submit to; and this teaches us how fruitless an attempt it is to resist his Will. " Wo unto him that striveth with his Maker; let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth." So that if we will not be persuaded to a compliance with the Will of GOD, either from the consideration of his holiness, wisdom, or goodness, let us dread the terrible effects of his Power. How many instances of Irresignaation and stubborn Self-Will are to be found in Scripture, whorri GOD made to know that it is impossible to oppose his Will and prosper.


 3. The Will to which we are to be resigned, commands such things as are in their own nature good, and carry their own reason in them. The goodness and reasonableness of all GOD’s primary commands, and our obligation to them, does not merely depend upon his sovereign authority. Though they are to be observed because GOD commands them, yet He does not command them only pro imperio, to show absolute sovereignty over us, but because they are essentially good, most agreeable to his holy nature, and greatly for our advantage.


 " This is the will of GOD, even our sanctification," I Thess. 4: 3. This is the sum of all He wills concerning us; and judge in yourselves, is not a life of chastity better than that of uncleanness Are not temperance and sobriety better than surfeiting and drunkenness Are not humility and meekness more lovely and commendable than pride and insolence Are not justice, uprightness, and truth, better than injustice, falsehood, and oppression Are not charity and pity better than hatred, cruelty, and hard-heartedness Is it not more reasonable to love GOD above all, than to prefer any thing before Him, He being the highest Good, our infinitely best Friend" and Father, from whom are ourselves and all we enjoy Nay, whose reason does not tell him, that as the former are most amiable, and most becoming human nature, so the latter are as hateful, and unworthy of us


 Is it not best, beyond all comparison, to love the soul which is spiritual and immortal, more than the body which is corruptible, and whose welfare depends upon the well-being of the soul Is it not most becoming us to repent, to be sensible of our unworthy behavior towards Gov, to be grieved that we have offended the Father of Mercies, and to amend our ways, as ever we would expect his favor, and those mercies which none but He can bestow upon us And is not this better than to continue in disobedience, and to harden our necks against GOD, and not to be affected with any ingenuous sense of our carriage towards Him So that we see repentance is most agreeable to the condition of our state here; and so is also patient submission to the Will of GOD in his disposals of us, both in respect of his goodness and power; nor can any thing more become us, for nothing is more manifestly unreasonable than to repine at any of the Divine Providences.


And as for the other things which GOD commands, those which' are our duty only by positive institution, as they are but very few under the Gospel, so are they only commanded, in order that they may better secure the weightier matters of the Law, the primary commands, and fit us for a mindful observance of them. And as He, who is infinitely wise and good, knows best what is fittest to be required of us, in order to so great an end, it cannot but be highly unreasonable and unworthy, not to comply cheerfully with his Will declared in these, as well as in the other commands.


 4. The Resignation of our Wills to the Will of GOD has the promise of a reward infinitely above the labor of any services He requires of us, and the pain of any sufferings He inflicts upon us. Our services are due to GOD, as we are his creatures; and therefore it would be our duty to yield ourselves to his Will, without the consideration of any future reward. And besides, we have more than our services are worth, and our sufferings amount unto. We are less than the least of the multitude of mercies we daily receive. And the very comforts which arise from the sense of doing our duty, are a great reward. But that GOD should confer such a reward upon such poor, mean services,—a reward so rich and glorious, beyond expression and apprehension, what a consideration is this! What we do or suffer, in compliance with the Will of GOD, is far from being above what the heart can conceive, or the tongue express: but the reward which GOD will bestow for this doing and suffering, is such as is "unspeakable and full of glory," and "passes all understanding."—" Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, the things which GOD has prepared for them that love Him."


 Again: our services and sufferings are but for this life, which is "but as a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away:" but GOD will reward them with an " exceeding great and eternal weight of glory." So that well might the Apostle "reckon the sufferings of this present time," (and consequently the services also,) "not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." You art not far from thy journey's end; you have but a little time to testify thy love to GOD here; and he has an eternity to reward thee in; which therefore should encourage our patience to persevere to the end. Especially when we consider, that though this reward be future, yet it is near; at least, part of it, and a considerable part too. Though there will be a further completion of it, at the "great day" of recompence, yet the souls of the faithful may-expect to receive a very considerable part of " the recompence of reward" before that day.


 And even in this life they have some earnests of that glorious reward, some foretastes of the pleasures of GOD’s right hand, some bunches of the grapes that grow in the heavenly Canaan. And the more Christians endeavor to live the life of Heaven, the more heavenly their affections and conversations are here, the more shall they have here of heavenly enjoyments. And in these respects the Scripture speaks of those that are truly religious, even whilst they are in this life, that they "have eternal life," and that they "sit with CHRIST in heavenly places.". Lastly, This Resignation to the Will of GOD is also highly conducive to our temporal good: and that, not only because " it has the promise of the life that now is, as well as of that to come," but because it tends in its own nature hereunto. I will briefly show that it makes for our advantage, as to our outward Estate, as to our Ease and Quiet, and as to our Health and Strength.


 (I.) As to outward Estate. This it doth, 1. As it engages men against Pride, and to Humility and Modesty. By this means are avoided vast and needless expenses about dressing, building, feastings, and a great number of pompous vanities; and also the great charges which men of ambitious spirits are at, for the procuring of dignities and high places, and the supporting of their grandeur, that they may be the more reverenced and admired. 2. As it engageth to Temperance and Sobriety, against all Sensuality, and a luxurious life; and so, expensive diversions and revellings, incontinence, and " making provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof," which consume men's estates, and bring not a few to a morsel of bread, are all avoided. The desires of temperance are cheap, easy, and soon satisfied. 3. As it engages to Meekness, in opposition to Wrath and Revenge: and by this means, quarrels and expensive law-suits are pre-vented. It commonly costs men more to revenge injuries than to bear them. 4. As it engages to Industry in lawful callings, in opposition to Sloth, which, (as SOLOMON says,) " shall clothe a man with rags; whereas the hand of the diligent maketh rich."


 (2.) It makes for our Ease and Quiet in the world. And this, 1. As it engageth to Meekness, which, as it is a grace most lovely in itself, so it makes those that are endued with it lovely and acceptable to others. 2. As it engageth to Mercifulness, both in giving and forgiving. None but a monster, and one prodigiously wicked, will put affronts upon, and procure trouble to, those that are merciful in these two respects. 3. As it engageth to Justice and Truth, in giving to every one his due, in not defrauding or defaming any; all which plainly tend to the procuring of Peace.


 (3.) It makes for the Health and Strength of our bodies, as well as our souls. This it doth, 1. As it engageth to Sobriety against Excess, which both begets and feeds diseases. Intemperance weakens both body and mind, shortens life, and makes it painful and uncomfortable while it lasts. 2. As it engageth against heart-tearing cares, and such anxious solicitudes as waste natural strength, and prey upon the spirits. 3. As it engages against all inordinate affections. These make men lean and sick, as Amnnon's towards Tamar made him. 4. As it begets Tranquility of spirit, which has a natural efficacy to the preservation of health. As "a broken spirit drieth the bones," so " a cheerful heart does good like a medicine," Prov. 17: 22. 5. As it engageth to honest Labor in opposition to a soft and delicate life. Exercise has a natural tendency to make men strong and healthful.


 Now, then, would we be in all things resigned to the Will of GOD, let us observe this first Direction; and labor after a due sense of the truth of the foregoing considerations, which are most powerful arguments to persuade to this duty.




That humble and fervent Prayer is a necessary and effectual means to the attaininment of SELF-RESIGNATION.


 II. IN the second place, being humbled in a deep sense of thy Irresignation and disobedience, beg of Go") this holy temper of soul.


Humble Prayer is one of the greatest helps to the obtaining of any good thing from Go"). Let us then carefully apply ourselves to Him for this great blessing, which none but Himself can give; and He who is our " Father in heaven," the "Father of mercies," will give this, and all good things, to them that ask Him.


" If any of you lack Wisdom (says St. JAMES,) let him ask it of Got), that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." Now this Resignation of our Wills to Con is the highest Wisdom, and that particularly meant in the Text, as appears by the foregoing verses.


But then our Prayers must be with Fervency and in Faith.


 First, They must be fervent. "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much; not cold and.languid desires, or faint wishes. But we are riot to judge of the true fervency of prayer by the heat of the fancy, but by the ardency of our affections. "My heart (says DAVID) with boils or bubbles forth a good matter." We are to judge thereof by the earnestness of our desires, not by any thing that is obvious to sense, not by the loudness or length of prayer, though it were as long as that prayer of Baal's Priests, "from morning to noon," or as that prayer, among the Papists, of Forty Hours, by which they amuse the weak.


 There may be as much, yea more, of the Spirit of Prayer, when there are no Words at all. There are times when the SPIRIT maketh intercession with groanings that cannot be uttered,—affections too quick and strong for expressions, and which would cool if put into words. Thus HANNAH spoke in her heart to God; her voice was not heard, but she poured out her soul before the LORD; and GOD heard, "who knows the secrets of the heart, and the mind of the SPIRIT." These inward breathings of the soul are ever very precious to GOD, and find favor with Him.


 When a soul prays out of a deep sense and feeling of its wants, and is full of affectionate breathings after GOD, and has the most inflamed desires after spiritual things, this is true praying with fervency, and "in the Holm GHOST." And the silence of the soul is louder, and much sooner reacheth the ears of the ALMIGHTY, than the greatest loudness and volubility of speech.


 If we would therefore obtain this best of all blessings, let us pray for it with the greatest ardour of affection. We may be assured that GOD will never cast away so rich a pearl as this upon those that declare themselves insensible of its worth, by asking it in a cold and formal manner.


And the more to excite and quicken our desires after it, let us know, that if GOD accepts our prayers, and gives us this holy temper, he does infinitely more for us than what HEROD promised to the daughter of HERODIAS. If he gives thee this empire over thine own will, He bestows that on thee which incomparably excels the greatest earthly kingdom. The Kingdom of GOD is then within us here, and we are thereby made meet for his Kingdom of Glory hereafter. And who that duly considers this, can be flat and heavy in his prayers for this grace


 Secondly, Our Prayers must be also in Faith. Thus, St. JAMES tells us, we must ask this spiritual Wisdom, in the following verse: " But let him ask in Faith, nothing wavering." That is, we must believe that as GOD is able, so He is as willing and ready, to give us what we ask, " if we ask according to his Will," as St. JOHN qualifies it, (1 John. 5: 14.) And it is according to his Will, and pleases Him highly, that we ask spiritual Wisdom.


This Faith is the ground of all address to GOD. " He that cometh to GOD must believe that He is, and that He is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." And this He will assuredly be in his own time, which is always the best. GOD may sometimes make as if He did not hear, that we may seek him more diligently, and pray more fervently, that he may prove our patience and just valuation of his blessings, and that we may be the more thankful for them when we have them, prize them the more, and improve them the better; but if we persevere in earnest and believing Prayer, we shall undoubtedly'in clue time obtain. And as for such spiritual good things as are necessary to salvation, we are to pray for them with such a Faith as to assure ourselves that GOD will give them, if we ask aright; his most gracious nature and promises assuring us, that He cannot deny them to such askers.




That in order to our being entirely resigned to the Divine Will, we must be willing, pati DeuM, " to suffer God," and abide the Power of his SPIRIT working in us.


 III. HAVING poured out thy soul before GOD ill humble and earnest Prayer, you must be willing, pati DEEM, " to suffer GOD," and abide the Power of his SPIRIT working in thee.


 To this purpose there is an observable passage in St. AUSTIN on Psal. cii. 3, Magni languores, sed major nzedicus, 4c. " Be the maladies of thy soul ever so great, yet there is a Physician that is greater, and who never fails to cure, for to an all-powerful Physician nothing is incurable; only you must patiently suffer thyself to be cured. Do not thrust back his hand, when he begins to touch thy sores, and search thy soul's wounds. He well knows what He is doing; do not hinder and resist, when it begins to pain; be not so delicate and tender to thine own hurt, but with a quiet patience bear for a while the anguish, when He cuts and lances, considering that the present pain makes way for thy future health and soundness."


 Let not CHRIST and his HOLY SPIRIT have cause to say of thee, (as it was said of Babylon,) " We would have healed him, but he would not be healed."


Ut corpus redimas, ferrum patieris et ignes. For the health and safety of the Body, (in case of a gangrene or other dangerous disease,) how do men endure a tedious course of physic and much torment


 Ut valeas animo, quicquam tolerare negabis And for the health of thy Soul, wilt you not endure the pain of being cured of its diseases, which, if let alone, will make thee eternally miserable


 Let us, therefore, as ever we would obtain this divine temper of Self-Resignation, take heed of quenching the SPIRIT, of resisting the HOLY GHOST, as the Jews did, and paid dear for it. Take we heed of stifling any of his convictions, and rejecting his motions. Let us not seek to shift off serious and awakening thoughts, as the usual practice of sinners is, by the vain entertainments and pleasures of the world, nor endeavor to drown the voiceof conscience, which is the voice of Gov, and ought to be heard with a reverent regard.


 If we would have CHRIST sit as a purifier and refiner in the midst of us, to purge us as gold and silver, that we may offer ourselves unto the LORD an offering in righteousness, we must " abide the day of his coming."


 But, alas there are but few of the Christian Profession who are thus patient, and will endure the refining and purifying work of the SPialT. Most men would, with SIMON MAGUS, have the HoLY GHOST in his Gifts, such as may procure them admiration; but few would have the " Renewing of the HOLY GHosr," and the " Sanctification of the SPIRIT unto obedience." Many would be glad to have the SPIRIT to sit as a Refiner upon their Lips, that they may be able to speak spiritually; but few are willing that He should sit as a Refiner in their Hearts, to melt and consume their self-will, and purge out all secret inclinations to sin. Many have learned, parrot-like, to talk of the SPIRIT, and pretend greatly to things spiritual, who yet declare by their lives that they are altogether sensual, " having not the SPIRIT."


 It has been a great and common fault, which has been the occasion of a world of mischief to souls, that men have been valued as spiritual by the Gifts of the SPIRIT, rather than by the Graces and Fruits of the SPIRIT. But to return: Would we have our wills fully resigned to the Will of Gov, let us above all things beware of grieving His HOLY SPIRIT. When CHRIST "stands at the door and knocks," and waits to be gracious, let us not refuse to open to him, nor seem not to hear him; but say with SAMUEL, " Speak, LORD, for thy servant heareth."




That we are not only to suffer the SPIRIT to work in us, but also to work with him in heartily opposing our own Desires.


 IV. We must not be merely passive, and only suffer the HOLY SPIRIT to work in us; but we must likewise work with Him in vigorously resisting our own Desires. We must put on heroical resolutions, stoutly to oppose the impetuous desires of our sensitive powers. " It is GOD that worketh in us both to will and to do;" but yet we must also " work out our own salvation with fear and trembling." We must " strive according to his working which worketh in us mightily." We must be faithful to that lesser light and strength which is in us, and we shall have more. And here take these following Directions.


 1. Resist the first motions of inordinate Appetites. " Quench sinful desire when it does begin to smoke," (as JUSTIN MARTYR phraseth it,) before it bursteth out into a flame; for then it will be too hard to master. Think not to ease thyself by giving some satisfaction to thy lusts; for by this means they will solicit thee the more; and the yielding to commit a sin leaves a greater propensity to sin again. You shall best silence the importunities of a temptation, by not listening in the least to them. As one act of mortification prepares us for, and enables us to do, another; so on the contrary, by once yielding to corrupt nature, you art made less able to resist another time.


 2. Those sins to which, either through Constitution or Custom, you have the strongest inclination, you must chew more than ordinary severity against. It is not safe to dispute or argue with temptations to such sins. It was a good observation of ARISTOTLE, that " some passions are not to be vanquished by Reason, but by Force;"—not so much by arguments, as by a holy violence and resolution.


 And there is not more need of taking this course against any temptations, than those that solicit to the sin of Uncleanness. Duriora sunt prcelia castitatis, says ST. CYPRIAN: " The battles of Chastity are more sharp than any other." The fore-mentioned Philosopher, observing that "Man is a creature very apt to be ensnared by Pleasures," adviseth, that for the attainment of virtue, (the Middle between two Extremes,) we should shun that Extreme most, which pretends to most Pleasure. This is good advice for the attainment of Chastity, and for overcoming temptations to Uncleanness, which of all other sins does promise the most pleasure, that we should not trust our-selves to enter into the least parley with them, but presently fly from them, by diverting ourselves to other thoughts, and forcing our minds to other objects.


 3. We ought to shun whatsoever may probably be an Occasion of our being tempted, especially to such sins as we are most inclined to. Art you prone to excess, either in meat or drink Art you apt suddenly to be inflamed with passion Art you of a sensual temper, or the like Avoid, as much as you can, such Places, Company, and Objects, as may be incentives to those appetites. Thus, in order to avoid uncleanness, the Wise Man adviseth, " not to come near the house of the whorish woman;" and, for the prevention of drunkenness, not so much as to " look upon wine when it is red, and giveth its colour in the glass."


 4. It is of good use in the spiritual warfare, with humble dependence on GOD for the aids of his grace, to engage ourselves in solemn Vows against those sins, especially, which have Gotten most dominion over us. I cannot commend the obliging of ourselves by Vows to certain tasks, (as the manner of some is,) which have not an immediate tendency to the mortifying of sin, and the advancement of holiness;—but to vow against things unquestionably evil, and to the use of certain means that are necessary to the destruction of the Body of Sin, and that, first, for a shorter space of time, and afterwards, for a longer; and so, that time being expired, to renew these Vows, till we be well grounded in holiness, till religion become the temper and constitution of our souls, the joy of our hearts, and our deliberate choice and settled practice, till we have Gotten the complete mastery over those sinful desires, by which we have been most carried away captive; I say, to vow, with such cautions, is found by experience to be of great advantage.


 And when we have thus vowed, we should frequently reflect upon what we have done; and especially when we are solicited by the Tempter within or without to sin, let us then say with holy DAVID, " Thy vows are upon me, O GOD: I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments."—Neither hopes nor fears, neither the terrors nor allurements of the world, shall dissuade me from a faithful obedience to them.


Vows prudently managed are of great use to secure us to Religion; and this is the only end of them. "To vow," says CAJETAN, " is nothing else but to fix the mind, and make it immoveable, that it may not start back from the practice of Religion."


 And as for those that are shy, thus to engage themselves to GOD, (which I fear in most proceeds from a too dear affection to some sin,) let them know that God’s Vows are already upon them; they are under the obligation of the Baptismal Vow, " to renounce the Devil and all his works, the vain pomp and glory of the world, the covetous desires of the same, and the carnal desires of the flesh, so as not to follow nor be led by them." So much is implied in being baptized in, or into, the Name of the FATHER, the Son, and the HOLY GHOST.


 And besides, those that have received the Lo1U)'s SUPPER, have thereby renewed their Vow in BAPTISM. In this other Sacrament we make a profession, that " we offer and present unto GOD ourselves, our souls and bodies, to be a holy and lively sacrifice to Him;" than which there is nothing more due or reasonable, considering the great love of GOD in giving his SON for us, the great love of our SAVIOR CHRIST in his death and sufferings, represented in this Sacrament, and the great blessings procured for us by the Blood of that spotless Lamb. So that all of us have already " bound our souls with a bond," (as to vow is described, Numb. 30:;) being under the engagement of either one or both of these Sacramental Vows; and therefore in exhorting you to oblige yourselves by solemn Vows to the duties of Religion, I do not advise you to a new thing, but only to repeat what you have already done; and if you intend to stand to the Vows you have made, what should deter you from reiterating them, whilst you have need of them.


 But always remember, when you vow to the LORD, to do it with a trust and faith in his all-sufficient Grace, and with a distrust of your own ability to perform your Vows. And when at any time you have failed in the performance of them, be deeply humbled before Gone; renew your engagements; be more watchful over yourselves; and let your falls make you more narrowly look to your feet for the time to come.


 5. FASTING is another means to be used for the mortification of the Body of Sin. It is of great consequence, and necessary to the health of the inward man, to keep under the body, to humble and bring it into due subjection. RELIGIOUS FASTING is of great use to the subduing of the body to the spirit, and to the starving of corruptions, by cutting off their provision; as the ungovernable beast is made tame by taking away his provender. And there are a sort of Devils that will not go out without Fasting and Prayer, and other means; but it is most especially of force for the casting out of the Unclean Devil: and according as we find that we stand in more or less need of this remedy, we should oftener or seldomer make use of it.




Of the great Efficacy of Faith in GOD’s Power and Goodness.


 V. The next Direction I shall give, in order to subdue our Wills to the Will of Gov, is that of our SAVIOR, " Have Faith in GOD:" Have faith in his Power and Goodness. This will acid life to our prayers; this will animate all our endeavors. Take heed of doubting whether the Lotto's hand be not shortened, that it cannot save; whether his ear be not heavy, that it cannot hear, or his bowels shut up, that He is not ready to help.’


 Take heed of questioning, whether thine own will and selfish desires be not stronger than can be subdued; of entertaining suspicious thoughts, that, after all thy endeavors to win the spiritual Canaan, there will be no arriving at that land of rest, but that at last you shall die in the wilderness; that there is no hope, or but little, of overcoming the giant-like mind, (as the expression is in Ecclesiasticus 23: 4,) and those sons of Analc, that you findest vigorous and strong in thee. For by this thine Unbelief, or Weakness of Faith, you greatly dishonorest GOD, who is able and willing to save the soul that trusteth in Him; and by this means will the chariot-wheels of thy soul be taken off; you wilt extremely discourage thyself, and blunt the edge of those weapons wherewith you art to encounter thy spiritual enemies.


 If you art sincere and hearty in imploring the aids of GOD’s SPIRIT, and have Faith to be healed, you shall undoubtedly " see the salvation of the LORD." He " will teach thine hands to war, and thy fingers to fight:" He " will gird thee with strength;" and you shall be " more than conqueror through GHRIST that loved thee."


 Though you have "no might against that great company that cometh against thee," "against flesh and blood, principalities and powers," yet, if you " waitest on the Lord," and art "of good courage, he will strengthen thine heart." He will" strengthen thee with strength in thy soul," and " through Him you shall do valiantly, and tread down thine enemies."—" He that is in thee" will be " greater than they that are in the world," namely, " the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life."


 Take heed, therefore, of all such reasonings and principles as tend to beget a despondency of spirit; but "lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees." To the soul that believes, all things are possible. Let Faith say unto any mountain of difficulty, " Be you removed," and it shall be done. " Who art You, O great Mountain" Before this blessed grace, and in the exercise of it, you shall become a plain. Thy self-will and lusts are therefore strong, because thy Faith is weak. But if you Wert " strong in the LORD, and in the power of his might," if you didst "resist, steadfast in the faith," you should see thine adversaries flee before thee. " This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith."—c' Above all, take the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the Wicked."


 Glorious things are spoken of thee, O Faith! Who can recount the mighty acts of those holy souls, who have strongly confided in the gracious Power of GOD in CHRIST JESUS for the subduing of sin, as well as in GOD’s Mercy and CHRIST'S Merits for the pardon of it. These, through this Faith, have "subdued kingdoms," even the kingdom of divers lusts and pleasures, and the kingdom of the Prince of this World, to which they were once subject. Through Faith they have " wrought righteousness," even the righteousness of GOD, far excelling that outward, slight, and partial righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees. Through Faith they have " stopped the mouths of lions," the impetuous and ravening solicitations of their own will. Through Faith they have " quenched the violence of fire," (or the lusts of passion, malice, and uncleanness, which burned like fire within them,) " out of weakness were made strong, and turned to flight the armies of the Aliens."


Now there are many exceeding great and precious Promises, scattered through the Scriptures, which are of sovereign force for the encouragement of our faith and hope in GOD, and for strengthening us against his and our enemies. But there is abundantly enough in that one passage, Luke 11: 13, " If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children; how much more shall your heavenly FATHER give the HOLY SPIRIT tO them that ask Him." What could our SAVIOR have spoken more plainly and fully for our encouragement to a dependence on GOD for grace and spiritual strength, and to a quiet expectation of assistance from Him


 This Promise concerned not only those that heard CHRIST preach to them from the Mount, but all his followers, all that shall believe on his name to the end of the world. It is said,—to them that ask Him,—without any limitation either to a certain age, people, or nation; and therefore we may be as much comforted from these words, as if we had been in the number of those who heard our SAVIOR preach that best of sermons: for, as there is the same need of the HOLY SPIRrr for us as there was for them, so there is now, and ever will be, the same benignity in GOD, the same good-will and love to men, that there was then and in former ages. He is " without variableness or shadow of turning; the same yesterday, pnd to-day, and for ever." 


 But this word of promise is so rich and precious, that it deserves a more particular consideration. If ye that are evil know how to give good gifts unto your Children—] Earthly Parents are too commonly envious, niggardly, and cruel to others, being all for them-selves, and not caring for the good of others; yet they cannot find in their hearts, when their Children ask, to withhold from them; they will be free and bountiful to them: And such is their affection to their children, that they will not give them any thing they know to be hurtful; they will not give them stones for bread, a serpent for a fish, or a scorpion for an egg.


 How much more shall your heavenly Father—] He who, being good, cannot but do good; He who is " the Father of Mercies," the GOD of Love and Goodness, and " Love" itself; He who best knows what is good, and is best able to bestow it; He who is as willing to do us good as He is able, and as able as willing, (which noearthly parent is,) He in whom is nothing of envy towards others, and who has in himself all fullness, and is infinite, almighty, and all-sufficient.


--Give the HOLY SPIRIT to them that ask Him, says one Evangelist, and give good things, says another.] The greatest good that Omnipotence itself, and infinite Goodness, can do for us, is the giving the HoLY SPIRIT, and with Him spiritual light to know, and spiritual strength to do his will, and to subdue our own wills, and whatsoever is contrary to Him in us. To be endowed with the HOLY SPIRIT does import an accession both of light and strength, knowledge and power.


So that our SAVIOR argues from the less to the greater, from the drop of goodness and benignity in creatures, and those sinful creatures too, to that fountain-fullness which is in GOD. What good soever children may expect from their parents, that, and infinitely more, may GOD’s children expect from Him. And it is impossible to conceive that the infinitely good GOD will be more wanting to his children's souls, than are evil men to their children's bodies.


 All those affections and tendernesses which GOD has implanted in all parents toward their offspring, are but a drop to that ocean of love and mercy that is in Himself; are but a representation of those inconceivable riches of goodness, and bowels of compassion, which are in Him. Nullus Pater tam Pater; " No Father is so fatherly, so much a Father, as GOD is," saidTERTULLIAN. CLEMENS ALEXANDRINUS Styles Him, out of ORPHEUS, thus, " The tendernesses of both a Father and Mother are in GOD."—" Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb yea, they may forget;" (it is possible, but very prodigious;) "yet will not I forget," says GOD.


 GOD does not take empty titles to himself, but fills up to the utmost whatsoever relation He is set forth by in the Holy Scriptures. Whatsoever the wisest, most careful, and most loving Parents, are to theirs, GOD is such, and incomparably more, to his children. If the affections of ten thousand Parents were in one Father or Mother, how secure would the child be of their tender care; but all these, in one person, would be far short of GOD’s affection, who is the spring of all the fatherly tenderness which is diffused in the hearts of so many millions of Fathers as are in the world.


 Let me add this, that the Promise of the SPIRIT is the Great Promise of the Gospel, the great Privilege of the Evangelical Dispensation or New Covenant. Greater aids and supplies of grace, for the subduing of our corruptions, we are encouraged to hope for under the Gospel. The Apostle says, (Tit. 3: 6,) that " the HOLY GHOST, is shed on us abundantly, through JESUS CHRIST our SAVIOR."


 If therefore we are not stronger, if we are not better, it is because we resist, or at least neglect, the HOLY SPIRIT. It is because we have not Faith in GOD, not because He is unwilling to assist us. For what says ST. JAMES; " The spirit that dwells in us lusteth to envy; but GOD giveth more grace:" He gives grace in such a measure as to overpower that spirit which lusteth in us. So that, for that "abundance of wickedness," (Jam. 1: 21,) there is " an abundance of grace," (Roan. 5: 15.) which the believing soul receiveth by JESUS CHRIST. " For it pleased the FATHER, that in Him should all fullness dwell; that " of his fullness" all might " receive even grace for grace." And this " grace shall reign through righteousness unto eternal life, by JESUS CHRIST our LORD."


 Thus you see what abundant encouragement there is to have Faith in GOD for the supplies of his. Grace and SPIRIT, and what reason we have to take heed of Unbelief, if ever we would master our sinful affections, and bring our wills into compliance with the Will of GOD.


 And there is a double Unbelief, of which we are to beware, as very hurtful to our souls. First, An Unbelief in relation to the Mercy of GOD for the Pardon of Sin. Secondly, An Unbelief in relation to the Power and Goodness of GOD, for the Subduing of Sin. Now it is much to be lamented, that whereas the former sort of Unbelief is much taken notice of, and condemned in sermons and books, the latter is but little mentioned. But if the evil of this were no less clearly and powerfully represented, than the evil of the other, and men were as effectually warned to beware of this as of that, it would, through the blessing of GOD, be an excellent means to make more sincere, strong, and healthy Christians: Whereas, alas! the spirits and lives of the generality of professors do now too plainly declare, that they had rather have sin pardoned than subdued;—that they had rather sin should not be imputed to them, than destroyed in them.


 But the complete Faith is this, in opposition to that twofold Unbelief: First, To believe that CHRIST came to make expiation for sin, so that it is pardoned to those that truly repent; —that is, to those that, being sensible of their sins, and affected with a Godly sorrow for them, and an holy hatred and abhorrence of them, desire and purpose to walk before GOD in newness of life. These conditions of Pardon are by too many either not at all, or but slightly, insisted on, while they press the duty of relying on CHRIST'S merits for justification and salvation.


 Secondly, To believe that as CHRIST came to make atonement for sin, so He was manifested also, that " He might destroy the Works of the Devil;" and that he might procure Grace for us, so that sin may have "no more dominion over us." But this part of Faith, I say, is little urged, in comparison of the other; whereas it is of as great concernment to our eternal happiness, to have Faith in the Power of CHRIST, as to have Faith in his Blood.


 Nay, to have sin mortified, and to he enabled to will after the Will of GOD, is far more than to be merely pardoned for willing otherwise than GOD does will. Now their defect in this matter part of Faith, is a great cause of Christians continuing so weak, lazy, and faint, in a sickly, and even bed-ridden condition,—and of their fancying that they honor and please GOD by complaining of their impotence and infirmities; whereas the true way to please and honor Him is, confiding in his omnipotent Grace, to get up and be doing.


 But I fear I may also add another reason, why most of those that will confess their sins, and pray for grace and strength against them, are still as impotent as if there were no grace or assistance promised, namely, their not being heartily desirous of grace, as well as their want of faith in the promises of it; their unwillingness to have some lust or other mortified, and to be throughly purified; their secret fear of the searching and purging work of the SPIRIT, and of that light and grace that would disquiet them, and not let them alone in some sins to which they are fondly devoted. It was one of ST. AusTIN's Confessions:—" I, when I was a young man, begged of Thee that you wouldest endow me with the grace of Chastity, and said, Give me Chastity, but not yet; for I feared lest You should presently hear me, and immediately heal me; and I had rather satisfy sinful desire, than have it extinguished."


 If this be the temper of thy soul, then in thy complaining of weakness, and that the Sons of Zeruiah are too hard for thee, and in thy praying for the assistance of GOD’s grace against them, you dost no better than add sin to sin, the sin of hypocrisy to that of unbelief; "thy heart is not right with GOD, and you lyest unto Him with thy tongue." To conclude this: Let us take heed lest there be in any of us an evil heart of unbelief, and so we fall short of the spiritual Canaan, as it befell the unbelieving Israelites, who perished in the Wilderness. None of all that came out of Egypt entered into Canaan but CALEB and JOSHUA, —men of another spirit, and that followed GOD fully, who were full of Faith, and encouraged the people to believe and prosper.


 And it is observable, that CALEB asked for the mountainous country where the 4nakims dwelt, and in which the cities were great and fenced, by the news of which the evil Spies dismayed Israel; but CALEB gave proof of the strength of his faith, in freely choosing to expose himself to the hard and seemingly impossible service of gaining this country, and was rewarded with success answerable to so great a Faith: For we read, that he drave out the three Sons of Anak, notwithstanding that it was commonly said, " Who can stand before the Sons of Anak" He made it manifest that Faith could stand before them and overcome them.


And if we have CALEB'S Faith in fighting with the spiritual Anakims, we may be undoubtedly assured of CALEB'S Success.


 Let the spiritual Israel, therefore, encourage themselves in the LORD their GOD, and they may be certain that it shall be unto them according to their Faith; his "grace shall be sufficient for them;" and " when the Enemy shall come in like a flood, the SPIRIT OF THE LORD shall lift up a standard against Him."




Of the wonderful Efficacy of Love to GOD, and to Divine Things.


 VI. LABOR to be affected as much as possible with the LovE of GOD, and of Divine Things. To Faith, add Love; they are joined together in Scripture, and should be conjoined in the hearts of Christians. In 1 Thessalonians, 5: 8, Love, as well as Faith, is called a Breast-plate, whereby we may be secured against the assaults of temptations.


 If the Love of GOD be perfected in us, we shall find Self-denial and Self-Resignation easy and pleasant. Love will make us think nothing precious that Got. will have us part with; it will make us with great cheerfulness, part with a right eye, a right hand, or our own will, if it offend us; it will make us without grudging, cross our own will, when it contradicts the Will of our Beloved; it will cause us to believe no suffering harsh that GOD inflicts, no duty difficult which he commands. "This is the Love of Go), that we keep his commandments; and his commandments are not grievous."


 " If you love me," is a familiar and potent form of speech with us, to persuade to the doing or forbearing of any thing; and what human Love works among men, that, and much more, will be effected by Divine Love. This is a far more powerful principle of action; and yet the effects of that love have been very wonderful.


 " It is love alone that is ashamed to mention Difficulty," says ST. AUSTIN. Nay, Love welcomes Difficulties, and pleases itself in hard instances of obedience, because by them it shows forth more of its reality and power; easy and ordinary performances being but mean and short significations of a hearty love. And the greatest achievements, such acts as are most heroic,. as denying ourselves in what is most dear to us, are the true and proper results and expressions of Divine Love; these are the worthy exploits of this holy affection.


 Love makes the noblest champions in the holy war against sin, the world, and SATAN; and animates a Christian to the greatest adventures. As for easy and common performances, and self-denial in small matters, viz. in such things as a man is but little inclined to, and as are less for his pleasure and advantage, Divine Love is less solicitous about them; but it chooseth rather to awaken and animate the soul to the harder services of Religion. It does not think it quitteth itself in engaging against the weaker lusts, but it sets itself against the most powerful corruption; it plants its batteries against the strong-holds, the inmost fort where self-will has in-'trenched herself. " The weapons of its warfare are not carnal; but mighty, through GOD, to the pulling down of strong-holds, casting down imaginations," or reasonings, " and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of GOD, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of CHRIST."


" There is a Lion in the way," is the voice of the lazy sluggard; but this is no discouragement to the Lover of GOD. Nay, so far is this Love from being cooled and disheartened by difficulties and oppositions, that it is rather kindled and improved; by these it heightens itself into an holy indignation against whatsoever would attempt to draw it from GOD. " Many waters cannot quench Love, neither can the floods drown it:" Nay, as Water cast into Lime, they increase, instead of lessening its heat.


 Love, though it be a soft and delicate affection, yet it is hardy and strong withal. " Love is strong as Death; " And it is as ingenuous and noble, as it is strong; for " if a man would give all the substance of his house for Love, it would utterly be contemned." Neither the hard and evil things which the world threatens, nor its most tempting allurements, can affright or corrupt that heart, where Divine Love rules; but to the several temptations it meets with, this is the constant and resolute answer of every holy lover, " How can I do this wickedness, and sin against God"


 Yea, Love enables a Christian to do his duty much sooner and better. That which is in others the effect of great severity to the body, long fastings, and other toilsome exercises, is done in a more compendious and effectual way, by the power of Love, in such as are indued with it. Now that this Divine Love may be enkindled and in-creased in us; First, Let us often lift up the eyes of our mind, and fix ahem upon those infinitely lovely Perfections and Excellencies in GOD, which the Scriptures so abundantly celebrate. Let us view these frequently in the Scriptures, and in the works of Creation and Providence. Let us often consider with ourselves, that all the loveliness and sweetness that are in creatures, are but so many drops from the fountain of them, that is GOD; and that every love-attracting excellency, every thing the world calls precious and desirable, is but a very weak resemblance of what is to be tasted and enjoyed in Him.


 Secondly, Let us frequently contemplate those invaluable Mercies, those numberless Kindnesses, for which we stand obliged to GOD; and above all, that Gift of Gifts, his Son, in whom He expressed a Love to us that passes knowledge. The contemplation of the infinite Perfections that are in GOD, will render all things contemptible, compared with Him, and consequently make them weak, untempting things. What PYTHAGORAS said he learned by his Philosophy—to admire nothing—we shall learn by this contemplation. When the soul has inured herself to view the Divine Glories, how near to nothing is this whole Universe in its eyes! What a little point! When she has been upon the Mount with GOD, and ravished herself with his astonishing beauty, she must needs be affected with such a magnanimity and generosity of spirit, as will courageously repel the strongest temptations to withdraw her from a close union of will and affection to Him.


And the consideration of the innumerable and transcendent blessings which we receive from GOD, will work in us such an ingenuous gratitude, as will excite us to give up our hearts, and our all, to Him.


 The excellencies of his nature, and the exceeding riches of his bounty, will represent Him as most worthy to be known with the Flower of our Mind, as ZOROASTHR expresscth it, and with our highest apprehensions; and to be loved with the Flower of our Hearts, so that our dearest affections will not be thought too precious for Him. 


 Let us briefly reflect upon the power of worldly and sensual Love, and see what this will do. First, The Love of Money.. How does this oblige and force the men of this world to hard labors, dangerous adventures, and anxious cares; to rise early, sit up late, eat the bread of sorrow, and deny themselves the comforts and contents of life; in a word, to "pierce themselves through with many sorrows."


 Secondly, The Love of Honor, Dignities, and Preferments. How does it put ambitious men upon restless labors, tedious attendances, servile offices, base flatteries and compliances! Such stick at nothing, for obtaining their ends; but devote themselves to the humor of their Patron, as if he were their GOD, and they his creatures more than GOD’S. They address themselves to him, by whose favor they hope to be raised, in such a form of respect and devotion as approacheth near to that regard and reverence which are only due to the MOST HIGH GOD. So full of zeal and observance is this civil kind of superstition.


Thirdly, The Love of Beauty. What a strange power has it upon the fond man! To him no services, no sufferings, seem grievous, which his mistress wills him to undertake. With all submission and devotion he admires and adores this his soul's idol, this deity of clay; and that in such strains as blasphemously resemble that most affectionate and humble devotion, which none but his Creator may challenge from him. He gives her his whole heart, and resigns his whole will to her will; complies with: all her humors; yields an entire obedience to all her commands, be they never so unreasonable. He patiently suffers tedious delays; and meekly bettrs her frowns, affronts, and disdains, her harsh language, and hard usage, and all the other arts she has of afflicting him, besides the troubles and hazards he sometimes meets with from his rivals. This Love-Bigot, such is his devotion, neglects himself, his rest, his food, and his health, renounces all his own contentments, and denies himself whatsoever is for either his delight or advantage, if he understands it to be the pleasure of his mistress. He mortifies himself, pines and consumes, and is lean from day to day for her, as AMNON was for TAMAR. Such are the severe mortifications and austerities this man is wont to undergo in this idolatrous Love-Service; yea, and sometimes he sacrificeth his very life, which the poor wretch calls Love's Martyrdom.


 Here is Self-Denial or Self-Resignation with a witness! With what pains and trouble does this poor creature purchase to himself misery With much more ease, had his love been placed upon the best of objects, he might have been happy to eternity: He might have lived with GOD, who is Love itself, holy and unspotted Love, and reigned with CHRIST, the faithful Lover of his Soul, in a kingdom of peace and joy for ever!


 By these instances we may discern the strange force of a degenerate and impure Love, and to what a degree of Self-Renunciation it forceth those in whom it reigns. And is the love of uncertain Riches, of a little white and yellow clay, so powerful with men, and shall not the Love of the true and durable Riches, the glorious inheritance in Heaven, which is, incorruptible and fades not away, be more forcible Hatt' the Love of airy Honor such power; and shall not the Love of that Honor which is from GOD, that Honor and Glory that He has promised to "every soul that worketh good," that Honor of " shining forth as the Sun in the Kingdom of the FATHER,"—shall not the Love, I say, of such inexpressible Honor as this, have as powerful effects upon us, and much more powerful Shall the Love of a fading Skin-Beauty, the love of a little red and white, the love of withering roses and lilies and violets, with which fond lovers adorn the cheeks and hands of their mistresses, shall this base kind of Love so potently command poor mortals, and shall not the Love of GOD do much more, who is the first fair and original Beauty, as well as the first Good, whom Angels, the flower and top of the{srnation, admire and adore with the greatest compla. eency, and ardour of affection


Shall not Love, fixed upon such an object as this, inflame us with a holy resolution to undertake or undergo any thing for the fulfilment of his Will—considcring withal, that his commands are in themselves most reasonable, most fit to be approved and observed by us, agreeable to the dignity of our souls, and in their own nature most lovely, excellent, and worthy; and that they have moreover a mighty recompence of reward, which cannot be said of the commands of sensual love, but the perfectly contrary,—they being most vain, unreasonable, and cruel, and obedience to them of most pernicious consequence.


 Nor is there any thing that GOD would have us part with, but what it is better for us to be without; better for our peace and pleasure, and more for our liberty to be freed from. I pass to that other branch of this Direction, namely, that we should labor to be affected with a strong and ardent Love, as of GOD, so of Divine Things, of Virtue and Holiness, which are the impressions of the Divine Image upon the soul.


 Had we worthy conceptions of spiritual excellencies, and a due sense of the beauty of Holiness, they would even ravish our hearts, and "excite in us strange and wonderful affections to them," (as TULLY speaks of Virtue,) and consequently secure us from the allurements of earthly vanity.


But till a man comes to admire and be enamored with the Divine Graces and Virtues, every thing which gratificth sensuality, will be ready to get his heart, and to carry him away captive.


 By one unacquainted with the loveliness of Holiness, the least twinkling of this world's glory will be admired; but there can be no better way to frustrate the temptations of the things below, than to be well acquainted and greatly affected with the things above, the things that are holy, heavenly, and divine.


That observation of PLUTARCH was most true and excellent; " It is impossible for men not to have a great affection and ambition for the things which the world admires and pursues, except there be a principle within them to admire Virtue, whose beauty and lustre alone would darken and put out all other glories and gaieties whatsoever."


 Be fully possessed, then, with the importance of this truth, that the most sovereign way for a man to take off his heart from the vanities of this world, and consequently to deny himself, is plainly this,—to turn his mind and affections to better objects, to admire the untreated and original beauty, and to have an high esteem of the participations and impressions thereof.


 The affections will not be pent in; they will run out upon something: Let them therefore issue forth, but let it be to the nobler objects; let them stream forth freely, but to better things. There is such a way approved by Physicians for the stopping of blood, namely, when it issueth out one way, to open a vein elsewhere, and so to stay it by diverting the course.


 Nor is that Fable of the Poet unfit to be applied here, as containing an excellent Moral, which tells us the best means of defeating the Syrens, the most dangerous temptations of the world. ULYSSES and his companions stopped their ears with wax, as they sailed by, that they might not hear them, and so avoided the danger: but ORPHEUS, by singing divine hymns, by celebrating the praises of GOD, and recounting his excellencies and favors, is said to have overcome them, which was the more noble way of conquest.


 But to prevent all mistake and scruple, I add, that what has been said does not imply that a Christian is to stop up his affections from issuing out to any thing in this world: but this we are to consider. There are undue and forbidden, and there are due and allowed objects of the affections. Now as for undue objects, the pleasures of sin, the things which GOD expressly forbids in Scripture, we are to have no affection at all for them, but the greatest antipathy against them. There must not be the least tasting of the forbidden Tree, though its fruit be never so fair and tempting.


 But as for due objects of the affections, and such as GOD allows, our care must be, that they be carried forth towards them in a due Order and Degree.


First, in a due Order. Our Love must first be placed upon GOD and CHRIST, his kingdom and his righteousness, and thence descend to inferior good things. Things Divine must have the precedency in our care and endeavors, according to the advice of our Savtourt in Matt. 6: 33.


Secondly, in a due Degree and Measure. GOD, and the things above, must be most desired and delighted in. " Whom," says the Psalmist, " have I in Heaven but Thee and there is none on Earth I desire in comparison of Thee" GOD alloweth us to give a lesser Love to the lesser goodness; but the highest affection is to be given to the highest and original goodness.


 I will conclude this Direction with the advice of TAULERUS, in his eighth epistle: "Account that day misspent and lost, wherein you have not subdued your own Will by the Love of GOD."


 This advice imports two things:


 First, That a Christian is to make this duty of Self-Resignation his daily business; that it is a lesson which he is to be every day learning, and an exercise in which he is to make continual progress.


 Secondly, That the Love of GOD is of most sovereign virtue to break and subdue a man's own Will.


CHAP. 7 That Humility is a powerful means for the attainment




 VII. ENDEAVOR after deep Humility, if you wouldest be truly resigned to the Will of GOD. Humility is a most powerful means for the attainment of Self-Resignation, both as it implies Obedience to GOD’s Commands, and Submission to his Disposals.


 First, As it implies Obedience to the Commands of GOD. The humble Christian cannot think much of doing any thing GOD requires, or forbearing any thing He forbids: For,


 I. He considers that there is an infinite distance between GOD and him: that GOD is infinite in all perfections: that He is the Lord of all things, the Sovereign of Men and Angels, and therefore it is most fit that He should have the pre-eminence in all things; and most unbecoming in him to oppose this will, even when He commands things ever so ungrateful to flesh and blood.


 He considers that himself is a dependent and indigent being; that he is nothing but what he is by Got), and can base nothing but what comes from Him; and consequently that it is most unreasonable that his will should ever take place of the Will of GOD. The infinite superiority of GOD’s Being most justly and plainly infers the precedency and superiority of his Will.


 He considers that GOD is the inexhaustible fountain of life, the great ocean of being, whence all the rivers of particular beings flow, and whither they return again; whereas Man is a poor, feeble creature, " altogether vanity," and that, "at his best estate;" even " all the nations of the earth are counted but as a drop of the bucket, or small dust of the balance," as ISAIAH speaks; nay, they are "all as nothing before GOD, and pure counted to hint less than nothing." What then shall we think of each particular man, he being so inconsiderable a part of that drop, that dust, that nothing, and less than nothing, The humble Christian, I say, has a due sense of his in-conceivable disproportion to GOD; and thence concludes, that nothing can be so unreasonable as to expect that his will should be humored, or to take it ill to have it crossed by the Will of GOD.


 He is deeply sensible, that nothing is so intolerable as for the will of any creature in any thing to control the LORD OF LIFE AND GLORY, the great Maker and Preserver of all things, and therefore that it is much more the greatest petulancy, and most horrible presumption, for such a creature as himself to dispute and quarrel with the divine commands.


 2. The humble Christian considers also, that GOD, being self-happy and self-sufficient, cannot design his own advantage in laying his commands upon us: that we are not able to gratify Him by any service,—but, being infinitely good, He aims at our benefit in so doing: that GOD, in the business of Religion, seeks not his own, but merely our interest and welfare; in that He needs not, nor is capable of receiving, any additions of happiness, much less from without Himself, and therefore means kindness to us in all his commands; and his Laws are to be numbered among his Favors, even his most endearing and obliging ones. And he who is thus assured must needs be strongly excited to perform a most hearty, ingenuous, and cheerful obedience to all the declarations of the Divine Will.


Secondly, Humility qualifies us for Resignation, as it imports patient Submission to all GOD’s Disposals: and that,


 1. Upon the same account that it disposeth to active Obedience; namely, because it makes us sensible of the infinite disproportion that is between GOD and us; the consideration of which will necessarily convince us, that it becomes such despicable creatures as we are to humble ourselves under his mighty hand, and to lay ourselves down in the dust before him, instead of repining at his Providence.


 2. Humility disposeth to patience, as it makes us sensible of our moral imperfections, our sins and transgressions, whereby we are become obnoxious to Gov's displeasure; the sense whereof will force us to acknowledge that He is most righteous whensoever he punisheth, and therefore we should accept of the punishment of our iniquity.


 Murmuring, and complaining thoughts, arise from pride, and a too good opinion of ourselves: it is self-conceit that makes us misconstrue any of GOD’s dealings as over-rigorous towards us; but to the humble man, who is sensible of his manifold miscarriages, they appear most just and equal, nay, very gentle too, in comparison of his deserts.


 He having a deep sense of the evil of sin, how unreasonable, unjust, and disingenuous, and therefore how unspeakably heinous it is, to oppose the will of the Most High GOD, the supreme Governor of the World, and Judge of all the Earth—to offend infinite Goodness, and to return evil to Him from whom we have always received good, and to whom our engagements are inexpressibly many and great;—1 say, the humble Christian having a great sense of this, and being conscious to himself that he has been this unreasonable, unrighteous, and disingenuous creature, will, under the sharpest afflictions he can suffer in this world, say with Ezna, " You have punished me less than mine iniquities do deserve."


 3. Humility disposeth to a’submissive bearing of afflictions, as it makes us sensible of the exceeding shortness of our understandings, and our utter inability to fathom GOD’s counsels, and the reasons of his Providences. The humble Christian will cry out with the blessed Apostle, " O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of Gov! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways are past finding out!" He knows that infinite and unsearchable wisdom must needs administer the affairs of the world in general, and of every person in particular, in the best and wisest way; and therefore that there is very great reason for whatsoever sufferings he undergoes, although they may seem to his shallow capacity to be ever so unreasonable. Murmuring at any of the Divine Providences is a tacit charging of GOD, as with unrighteousness, so with folly, and a setting up of our wisdom above GOD’s.


 4. The humble Christian is likewise sensible of the great need he has of afflictions; that he needs them as medicines to cure his spiritual maladies; that they are needful as they are preventions of sin, and secure him against many temptations; and as they are very instructive, much of GOD and himself being to be learned in the school of the cross.


 This man knows, that not to be corrected in order to his amendment, is the greatest of punishments; and that no judgment is so dreadful as sin itself, and to be given up to an hard heart; and therefore he accounts these troubles and difficulties he meets with as expressions of GOD’s unwillingness that he should undo himself.


 It is most certain, that the holy, wise, and good GOD does not directly and primarily will punishment, (as neither does any good and wise lawgiver,) for to do thus is not justice but cruelty: nor does He desire the occasions of inflicting punishments, viz. the transgression of his laws. Justice is wise and good; it has ever the best of ends, namely, the discountenancing and preventing of sin, the encouragement of goodness, and the securing of the authority of righteous laws. And the humble person, considering that GOD’S design in afflicting him is to cure the greater evil of sin, by the lesser of suffering, and that afflictions are so necessary as that he is seldom long well without them; by this means he is the better enabled quietly to submit when he suffers.


 Lastly, Humility qualifies a Christian both for Obedience and Patience, as it makes him capable of more Grace: And the more Grace, the more Power he has both to do and suffer the will of GOD. " Surely," says the Wise Man, " he scorneth the scorners, but he giveth grace unto the lowly." And St. PETER writes, " Con resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble." And again, St. JAMES says, " The spirit that dwells in us lusteth to envy, but he giveth more grace: Wherefore he says, Con resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble."


 The high mountains are barren, but the low valleys are covered with corn; and the showers of GOD’s Grace fall into lowly and humble souls. The more empty and poor in spirit men are, the more earnestly desirous arc they of spiritual things; and such shall be filled, according to CHRIST'S promise, " Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled."


 You know the story in 2 Kings, 4: So long as the Widow had an empty vessel, the oil flowed; but when there was not another to be Gotten, it immediately stayed. And so long as GOD sees an empty soul, that is ready to receive, and desirous of his grace, He is ready to communicate of hisfulness to it.


A soul that is poor in its own eyes, void of self-glorying, and acknowledging its own indigence, and withal its utter unworthiness to receive the least. favor from the Divine Bounty, is such a one as GOD looks for, to communicate more and more of his Grace and SPIRIT to.. " To this man will I look," says GOD, " even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit. Thus says the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy, I dwell in the high and holy place; with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the spirit of the contrite ones."


 Humility disposes to Gratitude, and Gratitude fits us to receive more from God; for a grateful soul will set a high value upon his blessings, and most gladly give Him the glory of his grace. The humble Christian thinks himself, with JACOB, less than the least of all God’s mercies, and consequently he will be heartily thankful for the least; and by being thus affected, the becomes meet for the greatest, and therefore cannot fail of it.


 It is to be observed, that when JACOB was in this humble and self-abasing temper, it was then that he " saw GOD face to face at Peniel:" then it was that he was honored with the name Israel, and " as a Prince had power with GOD and men, and prevailed." On the contrary, pride and self-sufficiency, which arc ever accompanied with unthankfulness, make men incapable of the Divine Grace: And therefore the PHARISEES, who "gloried in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others," who were not sick, but whole, in their own conceit, died of their diseases, notwithstanding that the great Physician of Souls was so long among them.


 Now there are two graces for which humility gives a peculiar fitness, two of the first magnitude and greatest influence in a Christian life, to wit, the Love of GOD, and Faith or Trust in Him. It is evident that Humility has a peculiar fitness to increase the grace of Love; for the more sensible any one is of his great unworthiness, the more he must needs love GOD for having so gracious a regard to him; the more will he admire and adore the riches of his grace.


 And it is as evident that Humility affords the like advantagefor Faith or Trust in Goo; for the more sensible a Christian is of his own impotence, the more will be rely upon the Divine Power and Goodness, having so many promises to encourage him. The sense of our own weakness will make us distrust ourselves; and the more we distrust ourselves, the more shall we stay our souls on GOD, and confide in his wisdom; power, and grace.




That the serious observation of the great Examples of


SELF-RRSIGNATION, which are recorded in the Scriptures, is of great use: and first, of ABRAHAM.


 VIII. LOOK to the lively Examples of Self-Resignation in the Holy Scriptures. These are of singular use to be seriously considered: for they plainly show this holy disposition to be attainable, and that GOD requires herein nothing that is impossible.


 Could they do thus, and cannot we, by the same divine help, which we have shown is attainable by us as well as them They were " subject to like passions with us;" they were flesh and blood as we are, and naturally as infirm as ourselves; and GOD is the same in power and goodness now as ever he was.


 And this may commend to us the fullness of the Scriptures, that besides the best Precepts, we have the best Examples recorded in them of every grace and virtue: so that, by the assistance of the Hour SPIRIT, the Christian " may be perfected, thoroughly furnished unto every good work."


 The best Rules of the best life are laid down in the Inspired Writings, and they are plain and intelligible, especially to those that have the" good and honest heart;" but Examples superadded to Rules, and Patterns to Precepts, make both more instructive, and as well encourage as direct our practice. And we having many worthy examples upon record of this Self-Resignation, the lesson becomes neither too high nor hard for us to understand or practice.


 Have we not, besides others, the Example of JOSEPH for Chastity, MOSES for Meekness, Jon for Patience, ABRAHAM for Faith, DORCAS and CORNELIUS for Charity, DANIEL for a holy Resolution of Spirit in owning GOD, St. PAUL for an unwearied Zeal; and above all, that Example of


all Examples for every thing that is holy, pure, and lovely, LORD JESUS CHRIST!


 Take we heed then, that we he not found ingentium errenlplorum parvi inaitatores, small Imitators of mighty Examnple,' as SALVIAN expresseth it. But let it be our serious care and holy ambition to transcribe their virtues, to write after those fair copies, to be followers of those blessed souls, as they were followers of GOD and CHRIST.


 But our present argument determining us to Self-Resignation, let us consider some Examples hereof. And, first, that of ABRAHAM, " faithful ABRAHAM," ITS he is styled by the Apostle PAUL. There were ten trials wherewith GOD was pleased to exercise this good man, as they are-collected by the Hebrew Writers; the first slid last of which ten were the sorest of all. 


 The first was his being comianded of Gob to leave his own country, his house and lands, his friends and kindred, and to' go to a place he knew not.


This command, as grievous as it must have been to flesh and blood, he did not in the least demur to: But " by Faith, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, he obeyed, and went out, not knowing whither he went."


 The last was his being commanded to take his only son, ISAAC, and to offer him for a burnt-offering; than which' there could not be a greater trial.


We have the command in Genesis 22: 2; every word of which has a singular emphasis, and deserves attention.


 " Take now thy Son, thine only Son ISAAC, whom you loves, and get thee into the Land of Moriah, and offer him there for A burnt-offering, upon one of the Mountains which I will tell thee of." "Take now thy Son:"—Not any of the best of his great store of cattle, but his Son. " Take him now;"—forthwith, without any delay.


 " Thy Son ISAAC:"—Not ISHMAEL, but ISAAC, his own and SARAH'S delight and jog, as the name signifies. " Thine only Son:"—He and SARAH had no other to solace themselves in, nor were they ever like to have any other. And besides, there is another observable thing mentioned, Heb. 11: 17, 1S: " He that had received the promises offered up his only-begotten. Son, of whom it, was said, that in ISAAC shall thy Seed be called.


 " Whom you lowest:"—That is, Whom they very dearly and passionately loved, as being the Son of their old age, their only Son, and a Son of the Promise. These two go together, " the only one," and " the choice one," Cant. 6: 9. To lose, the only Son is that which causes bitter lamentation; and the mourning for such a one; is used to express the most passionate and doleful mourning; Amos 8: 1O, Zech. 12: 1O.


 And get thee into the Land of Moriah, and offer him there."—ABRAHAM himself must offer him; he might not command his two servants to do it; they went no farther than till they came within sight of the place where he was to be offered.


 The tender Father must take his " only Son, whom he loved," and bind him with his own hands upon the altar, and take the knife to slay him. As his eyes must behold him bleeding, and gasping, and burning, so must he be himself the Executioner. " And offer him there for a burnt-offering, on one of the Mountains, which I will tell thee of."—This was the place where the Temple was to be built by SOLOMON, the place of offering Sacrifices.


 And it was three days' journey from ABRAHAM'S habitation, which might make the command ) et more grievous. As often as in that journey he looked upon the wood, or the fire, or the knife, or the place which he saw afar off, how could it be but that his eye must most deeply affect his heart.


 It follows, verse 6, " And ABRAHAM took the wood of the burnt-offering, and laid it upon ISAAC his Son, and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and they went both of them together."—What an affecting and heart-piercing sight was this! And herein was ISAAC a figure of our blessed SAVIOR, who bare the wood of the cross upon his shoulders, whereon He was to be offered up for a Sacrifice to God.


 And it is hence to be concluded, that ISAAC was now no child, in that he was able to travel with so great a burden; such a quantity of wood as was sufficient to burn his body to ashes could be no small weight. JOSEPHUS makes ISAAC to be now twenty-five years old; but an Hebrew Tradition, about thirty and three. If so, he was in this circumstance also a figure of our SAVIOR, who was offered up at about the same age.


 Now ISAAC being at this time grown up to a good age, it might make his Father the more unwilling to part with him, and considerably add to the greatness of his trial. And those words of ISAAC, which he spakc in a strain of sweet innocence and simplicity, ver. 7, " My Father, behold the Fire and the Wood, but where is the Lamb for a burnt-offering"—they must needs have caused a great conflict within him, and yearning of bowels. No doubt, ABRAHAM'S affections did strangely work now, and he was pained at the very heart.


 There is one thing more which we may take notice of in this command; it is said, " Offer him there for a burnt-offering;"—*—This kind of offering was an Holocaust, all of which was to be consumed by fire, so that there was not the least relic to remain of him. This was the command; and was it not a most difficult one Could there have been a sorer trial But behold the signal Resignation of ABRAHAM to the Will of God! He, without the least delay, betook himself to the performance of the divine pleasure. It is said, verse 3, that " ABRAHAM rose up early in the morning." It is likely that the command came secretly to him in a dream or vision of the night; and at or before the first peep of day he addressed himself to obey it. Thus he denied his natural and great affection to his Son, and gave a most illustrious proof that nothing was so dear to him, nothing so powerful with him, as the. Will of Gov. " Wisdom kept him strong against his tender compassion towards his Son," says the Author of the Book of Wisdom.


 The completion of his obedience is set forth in the ninth verse: And ABRAHAM built an altar in the place which GOD told hint of, and laid the wood in order, and bound ISAAC his Son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood." By the way, not only ABRAHAM, but ISAAC too, was herein a rare Example of Resignation. He was, doubtless, (as appears by what was said of his age and strength,) able to have resisted his Father, now stricken in years; but he expressed no reluctance; he quietly and meekly suffered himself to be bound, and laid upon the altar. And herein again, (as in several other particulars,) was he a figure of our SAVIOR, who, though He could have rescued himself from the power of the Jews and Romans, yet permitted them to take and bind him, to heap many vile indignities upon him, and at last to nail him to his Cross.


 And then it follows,—" And ABRAHAM stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his Son."--'Phis GOD accounted to him as if he had done it, because he was fully purposed to do it, and, had it not been for GOD’s inter-position, would have performed his purpose. Therefore the Scripture reports it as if he had actually offered up his Son, in Heb. 11: 17; " By Faith, ABRAHAM, when he was tried, offered up ISAAC; and he that had received the promises offered up his only-begotten Son;" and in James 2: 21; " Was not ABRAHAM our Father justified by works, when he had offered ISAAC his Son upon the altar" And hereupon " he was called the Friend of Gov." He eminently approved him as such, for this high act of obedience.


 I will conclude this great example of Resignation with that saying in Lai. xli. 2, " r Who raised up the righteousban from the East, and called him to his foot:"--ABRAHAM obeyed GOD in all things; he had him at his call, as the Falconer has a well-manned Hawk, and calls her to his hand.


And shall not the spiritual seed of ABRAHAM (for so Christians are) be observant of every call of Gov, though He call them to such trials as are very difficult and ungrateful " Let us walk in the steps" of the faith and obedience " of our Father ABRAHAM," in readily sacrificing our ISAAC, our delight and joy, that sin which is most beloved, " the sin of our souls," (as the phrase is, Micah 6: 7,) which seems to bring us most profit, most delight and pleasure. By thus doing, we shall be owned as the especial Friends of Gov, as ABRAHAM was, and receive the reward of such, as he did.