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of religion, have the trade but from the second hand. The devil can satisfy his curiosity better than the most curious, reason more closely against religion than any atheist. Only obstinate despisers of reproof and mockers furpałs the devil, for the devils believe and tremble ; whereas for a time they do not. · [2.] The pleasure is but momentary, the pain follows hard at the heels, and is eternal. What pleasure can be devised, for which a man would hold his finger over a burning candle for a quarter of an hour ? how much more dreadful to endure eternal burnings !
[3.] The struggle that conscience makes against corruption, brings more torment than that which corruption makes against grace. Conscience is more dreadfully armed than corruption; there is here as much difference as there is betwixt the hand of God and the hand of the devil. Şee now what becomes of the pleasure !
(2.) The labour in religion is truly pleasant, It is truly holy labour; for of that we speak, and fcripture-testimony proves its pleasantness ; see Prov, iii. 17. “ Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.” Ask David, and he will tell you, in Psal. lxxxiv. Paul, in 2 Cor. xü. 10.
[1.] It is a labour suited to the nature of the soul, the better part, their divine supernatural nature, 2 Pet. i. 4. Believers are partakers of a divine nature. This must needs create ease and and delight; the stream easily flows from the fountain; birds with pleasure fly in the air. The reason of the difficulty in religion to many is, they are out of their element when engaged in
[2.] Therein the soul carries on a trade with heaven; entertains communion with God, through
is in some fort busy. Paul calls even them that work not at all, buly bodies, 2 Theff. iii. 11. Our life is nothing but a continual succession of actions, even as the fire is ever burning, and the rivers running. It is in some respect impossible to do more than we do, the watch runs as fast when wrong as when right. Why may we not then keep the highway while we are travelling.-Confider, . 10. That the same pains that men are at to ruin themselves, might possibly serve to save them. There are difficulties in the way of fin as well as of religion. 'Does not sin oftentimes bereave men of their nights rest ? Are they more disturbed when communing with theirown souls, and with God? Do not men draw sin as with cart-ropes? Ifa.v. 18. Why might not labour be employed in drawing the heart to God? If men would, but change, and fuck as greedily and incessantly at the breasts of God's confolations, as they do of the creature's, how happy would they be!
Lastly, Consider that the labour in religion is not greater, nay, it is less than in sin, for religion contracts our work to one thing : Luke, x. 41. 42. “ Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things, but one thing is needful.” Sinners have many lusts to please, the saints have but one God to please; the work of religion is all of a piece, fin not so. There is a sweet harmony betwixt all the graces and all the duties of religion. But lufts are quite contrary; and as they war againt grace, so against one another, James, iv. 1. “ From whence come wars, and fightings among you ? come they not from hence, even of your lufts that war in your members ?” So that the finner is dragged by one lust one way, by another, another. And how hard is it to serve contrary masters !
THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED.
MATTH, xi. 28. Come unto me, all ye that labour,
and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
T Now proceed to the consideration of 1 DOCTRINE II. That all who are out of Christ,
are under an heavy burden, which, by all their labour, they cannot shake off. .
In illustrating which, I fhall only, · I. Offer a few observations.
II. Make some practical improvement.
I. I AM to offer a few obfervations, such as,
. i That Satan has a load on all out of Christ ;. - it is a load of fin: Isa. i. 4. " Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity.” This load is twofold:
If, A load of guilt, Gen. iv. 13. « And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear," (Heb. fin.) Guilt is the heaviest load ever was on the shoulders of men or angels. The fcriptures hold it forth, Dd 3:
(1.) As debt. He that is in debt is under a burden. It is the worst of debts, we cannot pay it, nor escape the hands of our creditor ; yea, we deny the debt, care not for count and reckoning, we wave our creditor as much as we can ; so it stands uncancelled. But it is a debt that must be paid : 2 Theff. i. 9. « Who shall be punished with everlasting' destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” They shall pay what justice demands.-It is represented,
(2.) As a yoke tied fast on the finner's neck; hence pardon is called a loosing of it, guilt being, as it were, cords of wrath, whereby the finner is bound over to God's wrath. Pardon is also called remission or relaxation : Rom. iii. 25 « To declare his righteousness for the remission of fins that are past, through the forbearance of God.”—It is pointed out,
(3.) As a burden : Hof. xiv. 2. “ Take away all iniquity." Take away, namely, as a burden off a man's back. Hence Christ is said to have borne our sins, the burden of the elect's guilt being laid on his back. What a heavy load is it! (1.) It makes the whole creation groar, Rom. viii. 22. It caused them take their pains five thoufand years since, and they are not yet delivered of their burden. All the groans that ever 'men gave on earth and in hell were under this burden; it sunk the whole world into ruin : “Christ took our nature,” to prevent us going down to the pit, Heb. ii. 16. (Greek, caught hold), as of a drowning man, not of the whole seed of Adam, for great part of it fell to the ground, but of the feed of Abraham, the elect. (2.) This load sunk the fallen angels, made them fall as stars from heaven to the bottomlefs pit. And what a load was it to Christ, that made