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ving of the Spirit cuts the throats of our comforts. (2.) Good men sometimes build their comforts on cutward blessings; hence, when these are gone, their comfort is gone. (3.) On grace within them, not on grace without them; the comfort of some streams from their obedience principally, therefore it is soon dried up; whereas the death and life of Christ are liable to no change, as is our obedience. (4.) Upon the coming in of words to their minds. Hence, when a promise comes in, they are comforted; when a threatening, all is gone. I do believe, that the Spirit comforts his people by the word, and that he makes words come in with an impression on the soul, John xiv. 26. " He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said." But then these words lead the soul direct to Christ, and to build our comfort on him; but it is not of God to build it on the bare impression of a comfortable word. The coming in of a word should guide us to Christ; and though the impression, the guide go, yet we may keep our hold of him.—Here we are presented' with an objection, " But I sear I have nothing to do with these consolations." Ans. Are you this day willing to take Christ? Then give your consent, and he is yours, and all is yours: "Whosoever will, let him take of the water of lise freely," Rev. xxii. 17. Obj. " But I sear I am not sincere, in that I am actuated from sear of hell, and hope of reward." Ans. If ye sear not God's wrath, so as to endeavour to escape it, ye are despisers of God; if ye desire not salvation, so as to labour for it, ye are monstrous murderers of your own souls. Let your self-love only be regular, and it is commendable; and then it is regular, when your desires of happiness are carried towards it through Christ and the way of holiness; so that
your your soul longs for Christ as well as salvation, and ye desire to be holy as well as happy. It is regular, when it is subordinate to the will of God; and that is, when the man justisies God, though he should cast him off, and yet, come what will, is resolved to cleave to the Lord and his way.
A word to other two sources of the saint's sears.
1. Weakness and spiritual inability for the duties of religion. The foul taking a view of the great work it has to do, what strong lusts are to be mortisied, temptations resisted, duties performed; and then, considering how weak and unable it is for any of these things, it is even ready to sink. But fear not: Christ died, &c. Heb. xii. 12. " Wherefore, lift up the hands which hang down, and the seeble knees:" Christ died, and therefore strength for duty is purchased. In the sirst Adam, the influences of the Spirit were forseited; in the second Adam, they are bought back again. The well-ordered covenant is sealed and consirmed. There is a sulness in the covenant for all your wants. There are promises in it that will answer all your needs. Now, the covenant is consirmed, for the testator is dead. Christ liveth: He arose from death, and lives evermore; therefore, he that has the believer's stock of strength is alive. Adam got our sirst stock, but he became insolvent; Christ got the next, he liveth in the court of heaven as a public person, and treasury of strength, " Of his sulness have all we received, and grace for grace," John i. 16.
The believer's Surety to the Father stands good; and what need they sear as long as their cautioner holds foot? Christ is the believer's cautioner for sanctisication and perseverance, John x. 28. and chap. xvii. 12. " While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost,
but but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be sulsilled." Therefore he is called " the surety of a better testament," Heb. vii. 22. Now, he will not see his people in want of what is necessary for their through-bearing. He lives for that end, to dispense the benesits of the covenant. He holds the keys, therefore they shall not want. The Spirit is given by virtue of his ascension, John xvi. 7. "Nevertheless, I tell you the truth, it is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you: but if I depart, I will send him unto you." For what purpose was Joseph lent to Egypt, and exalted there, but to provide for his father's family, being therein a notable type of Christ? 'Well, then, sear not; - wiles help weak folk. Though ye want strength, yet you have wisdom afforded you, even in betaking yourselves to Christ. I may allude to that, Prov. xxx. 24.-29. "There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise. The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer; the conies are but a seeble flock, yet make they their houses in the rocks; the locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands; the spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings palaces." Yc have the wisdom of the ants, to provide your meat in summer; of the conies, to build in the Rock Christ; of the locusts, not to set out alone; and of the spiders, to be in' the palace of the great King, holding by the promises. 2 Cor. xii. 9. "My grace is sufficientfor thee; for my strength is made persect in weakness."
2. The danger of an evil time is another source of sear. Psal. xlix. 5. "Wherefore should I sear in the days-of evil, when the iniquity of my heels shall compass me about? Two things there look
ghastly ghastly upon'them. (1.) The hazard of sinning. An evil time is a time of many snares. The foul is afraid that he will never stand out, but one day .will fall. Fear not:—Christ died, and it was an evil time, a time of many snares, yet he came sase off. This he did as a public person, and so it is a pledge that ye shall also be carried through; see Heb. iv 14.—16. Christ lives evermore, therefore ye may fay, as David, Psal. xviii. 46. 48. "The Ix>rd liveth, and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted. He delivereth me from mine enemies," &c. He lives to intercede, which was Peter's security: "I have," says he, "prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not." He is busy for his people, when they have most need. (2.) There is hazard of suffering, and that is frightsul to flesh and blood. Fear not:—Christ died, and therefore the bitter dreg8 of the cup are drunken off. He was forsaken in his sufferings, that you might be supported in your sufferings.— Your sufferings will but conform you to Christ your head. Christ liveth, and therefore ye shall be supported in suffering, that the world may know that he who was dead is alive. Remarkable is that word, 2 Cor. iv. 10. "Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the lise of Jesus also might be made manisest in our body." A suffering time is a special season in which Christ uses to appear. We read thrice of Christ's hour, John, xiii. 1. "Now, before the seast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come, that he mould depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in theworld, he loved them unto the end." Ch. xvii. 1. "These words spake Jesus,—Father, the hour is come," &c. That was an hour of darkness. John ii. 4. "Jesus faith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with
thee? thee? mine hour is not yet come." That was an hour wherein the wine was done, and the pots were silled with water; you know what followed. Here it may be objected, " But what if ordinances be taken away? Answ. If they be, the God of ordinances endures for ever. Christ liveth, "and he shall be for a sanctuary," Isa. viii. 14. And says God by Ezekiel, concerning his scattered people, "Yet will I be to them as a little sanctuary in the countries where they shall come," chap. xi. 16. When there was no ordinary food to be
sot in the wilderness, it was sent down from eaven. Though our kirk-doors should be shut, heaven's door shall be open as long as Christ liveth. —Obj. "But I think I am very unfruitsul under ordinances." Ans. It is the greater shame! But if this be thy trouble, know that Christ liveth; and therefore, if there be sap in the root, there is always hope of the branches. There is enough there, draw it out. But as Christ sirst died, then arose, so the believer grows downward as well as upward. If ye have a heart-memory, though ye want a head-memory, it is well.—Obj. "But what shall those do, when they are seized with sear and discouragement, and cannot tell wherefor?" Ans. The Lord may sometimes exercise his people so, to shew them their own weakness and nothingness. But possibly it may be the majesty of God that so affects thee, and the reason why it is not discerned to be so, may be an intimation of the Lord's love just going before it. See Dan. x. 10.—12. "And behold, a hand touched me, which set me upon my knees, and upon the palms of my hands. And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright; for unto thee am I now sent: and when he had spoken this word unto me,I stood