« PreviousContinue »
brought into firm ground, and would grow up into Chrift.--I now proceed to,
2dly, An use of comfort. This is comfortable to humble souls,
(1.) In the case of the church of God. This church is very weak at this day; she is weakened by mischiefs established by laws, by divisions, but, above all, by the provocations of her members a. gainst the Lord ; she is cast into a decay of true tenderness, and practical godliness; she is far gone on in it; she has many enemies powerful and subtile, and there are few to stand against them, a weak company, weak heads, hearts, and hands ; never fewer, perhaps, of the Nobles and gentry of Scotland to take her by the hand, than at this day. But it is very like she will be weaker yet, ere she recover strength, and many she trufts to now will leave her, that her army, like Gideon's, may be brought to a small remnant, ere the tents of Midian fall. But the farther the arm of flesh goes from the church of God, the nearer is the arm of God drawing to her. There is comfort,
(2.) In your own case. It is no doubt the perplexing question of serious fouls, How will I go cleanly through ? Religion is no easy work at any time, but it is like to be harder than ordinary in our time. How will we get the Lord's way kept ? Christ's cross born ? If we faint at little trials, what shall we do under greater ones ? But remember, when you are weak, then are you strong.-I fhall only add,
3dly, An use of exhortation. I exhort you to keep up a due sense of your own weakness, and trust for your through-bearing in the Lord.
(1) Keep up a sense of the weakness of your * Heads, and lean not to your own understanding in inn she point of sin and duty; but be much hanging
is within ; ou have innumerable tempters within you: Jam. i. 14. “ Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” There are many snares in the world, but none so dangerous as the corruption that is within each of our own hearts; this will ever be ready to break out, and embrace its friends whenever they come near.
(3.) Strength for the cross. Have you engaged with a crucified Christ?' You must take up your cross, and bear it; and this will require strength, (1.) To bear your every day's cross. Go times as they will, you will find every day will have the evil thereof. (2.) Your holiday's cross, in the church's troubles : « Thou hast (says Jeremiah) called, as in a folemn day, my terrors round about,” Lam. ii. 22. and how heavy that may be, we know, but if the devil's time be short, he will be sure to have great wrath. We have had a cheap religion of it for many years, and therefore
ing were come, which seems to be making haste; it is to be feared that many of us will throw it down again, and say, We never intended to have it at that rate.' .
2. You have no strength in yourselves answerable to that work, and therefore, without doubt, you will never be able of yourselves for the least of it: 2 Cor. iii. 5. “ Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourfelves; but our sufficiency is of God.” Two things evidence this.
(1.) Our stock of strength was spent ere ever it came to our hands. The first Adam got it, Eccles. vii. 29. God hath made man upright, and he by falling left us without strength, Rom. v. 6. And thus the unregenerate world lies in wicked