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Let no earthly treasure take off our spirits from one that is heavenly, lest we abate of the divine stock that our precious souls are furnished with.
3. Mortify the corruption of your hearts. Cast out those intestine enemies, carnal affections. Sin and grace are like two scales, as one goeth up, the other goeth down, or like two buckets, as the one mounts up full, so the other falls down empty; the more full the heart is of sin, the more empty it is of goodness. Sin is the thief in the candle that dims our light and comfort; it is as mire in the channel that stops the current of grace. Sin is a great prodigal that wastes a fair
Adam, by one fall, lost every thing. Sin is the canker and moth that mars all our enjoyments; it is a drawback to high attainments; it is the only makebait betwixt God and the soul, which hinders communion with God and communications from God. * The devil, the world, and the flesh, are the soul's mischievous and mortal enemies, but the flesh is nearest and worst; therefore, these fleshly lusts are said peculiarly to fight against the soul. † Divines distinguish three sorts of temptations, ascendant, objected, and injected. Ascendant temptations are such as spring up from some stirred humour or inferior faculty within us, that borders next upon the sense or affection. Objected, are such as reflect from some outward object, baited and suited to the organ. Injected, are such as the tempter immediately affects the faculty itself with. This last proceeds from Satan, the second from the world, but the first from our own hearts, which is of all others most dangerous. Except the wicked one find something in us he can have no advantage against us. I Our base hearts entertain little thieves within, which open the door to Satan without, who comes to spoil us * Isa. lix. 2.
+ 1 Pet. ii. 11. # John xiv. 30.
of our treasure; therefore, take heed of this wily, beguiling thing, touch not the forbidden fruit, admit no parley with lust, commit no sin, though ever so secretly, a secret way of spending hath exhausted large estates. Heart sins dallied with, and delighted in, will do your souls a deadly mischief. A privy stab may let out your heart's blood; an unsuspected leak may sink a well laden ship, and therefore let a Christian say as good Joseph, who though might have committed lewdness with his mistress secretly and safely as to man, yet cries out, “How shall I do this wickedness and sin against God ?” 0 sirs, consider how unsuitable and incongruous it is for a vessel of mercy to admit iniquity! it is as if a cup of gold were filled with the vilest filth. O let not your precious souls be filled with the loathsome impurities of sin. Remember your dignity and duty, and “ keep yourselves from an evil matter;" have not any “ fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness; mortify earthly members; possess your vessel in sanctification and honour; purge out filthiness of flesh and spirit, and thereby you will not only maintain, but increase your soul's treasure.
4. Observe the Spirit's impulses. Yield to the genuine motions of God's blessed Spirit; “grieve him not,”t lest he grieve or leave you; he is delicate, and will deal with you as you deal with him. Christ Jesus hath left the Holy Ghost to supply his place, and now the Spirit is God's great factor in the world; if he knock at your doors, he hath a good bargain for you. O slight not such a chapman lest you dally away your market. The Spirit never puts you upon duty, but he calls you to some profit. Now, it is good making hay when the sun shines, and sailing when you have wind
Eph.v.ll. Col.ij.5. 1 Thes.iv.4. 2 Cor. vii.l. + Eph. iv. 30.
and tide to help you. Take this advantage, lest if you miss it, you be left to your own strength, and then what can you do? The Spirit is that gentle nurse, and strengthening hand that helps the infirmities of the dead or daunted child of God in prayer.
O refuse not this assistance. The Spirit is that holy fire, that sets the soul in a flame for God. “ O do not quench it.” | This Holy Spirit is a queen, that comes attended with a goodly train of graces and comforts, called the fruits of the Spirit, and, therefore, labour you to be filled with the Spirit,f and then you have this blessed treasure. It is true, you cannot expect it as Christ had it, beyond measure, || yet your portion will be a treasure, and help you to maintain and increase that heavenly treasure in the heart. The incomes of the Spirit promote renewed acts of grace. As the sea ebbs and flows according to the influence of the heavenly bodies, so doth grace in the heart move, according to the operations of the Spirit. The more you yield up yourselves to the guidance of the Spirit, the more you will feel the assistance of the Spirit. This will be a preservative from sin, a preparative to duty, an evidence of your state, and an entrance into glory; yea, then the peace of God, as well as the God of peace, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus, Phil.iv.7. ppovpnoat, shall keep as with a guard in a garrison, that is, shall stand centinel for you to prevent the furious assaults of your spiritual enemies, and be a safe convoy to the ship of your souls, to preserve you from rocks and sands, storms and pirates, till you come to the port of heaven; therefore, 0 ye Christians, make much of the Spirit, maintain familiarity with him, and he will
Rom. viii. 26. συναντιλαμβάνεται. + 1 Thess. v. 9.
# Gal. v. 22. Eph. v. 18. ll John iii. 34.
§ See Gal. v. 5, 16, 18.
maintain your treasure, keep up intercourse with him, and he will keep his interest in you.
Allies and confederates have the same friends and foes, and if you have the Holy Ghost to take your part, you shall be kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation. If received faith cannot keep you, yet supporting power is able; never did any fall out of the hands of God; therefore, I beseech you, give up yourselves to the Spirit's guidance, and governance and he will be your guard and defence; that God who preserves his people's bones, will preserve their souls, and he that keepeth the feet of his saints, will also keep the fruits of his love in the souls of his servants, and if you thus do, "he that is able to keep you from falling, will present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.”—Jude 24.
5. Carefully watch your hearts; though God hath undertaken to guard you, yet you are bound to watch your own hearts. That is the command, Prov. iv. 23, “ Keep thy heart with all diligence;” in the Hebrew * it is very full and emphatical, in or above all keeping, take care of thy heart; thou mayest, and must look to other things, but above all, let thy eye be most intent upon, and thy study most about, the frame of thy heart. But why so? What great need of industry about the heart? Why, he tells us, out of it are the issues of life, that is, all our treasure is there, our greatest stock and store; if that be neglected, our wealth is exposed to apparent hazard, therefore, keep thy heart with all diligence, lock up thy treasure, and set a guard upon it; admit no strangers into this closet, let not other things make an inroad upon thee, or at least, a thoroughfare of thee. There is no keeping a treasure in a common
A man that fears his purse in a strange place,
.מכל משמר נצר לבן
hath always an eye upon it, he dare not let it go out of his sight; in a time of great robbing, a stranger suspects every one, and goeth not forth unarmed. Osirs, consider you are strangers on this earth; many thieves are abroad, they aim at you, they have plundered many of their treasures, and cast down many strong men wounded; therefore, look about you, keep strict watch, be not found asleep on guard, as the ten virgins, or Christ's own disciples, but gird up your loins, watch and be sober, and if drowsiness at any time seize on you, rub your eyes, shake off sloth, and awake out of sleep, and when there is any one knocks at your door, boldly ask, who is there? Whence comest thou? Art thou a messenger sent from God, or from Satan? Art thou for me, or against me? What is thy end or errand ? Make your thoughts stand still, and go no further till they have undergone an impartial trial, whether they have a pass and commission under the great seal of heaven, and be warranted by the word, and tend unto the glory of God, and the soul's eternal good; and though vain thoughts may step into thy heart, yet, suffer them not to lodge there, for thy heart is not thine own, thou dost but keep it for thy Lord and Master; there he hath laid up a treasure, and if any thing be wanting through thy fault, thou canst not give a good account, but must be exposed unto shame, and grief, and loss. Principally and particularly watch thy heart when thou art before God in duty ; beware of distractions, diversions, and excursions of spirit from God; these will waste and weaken thy treasure, by running out in a wrong channel, and diverting or spoiling the soul's activity; for the narrow, shallow spirit, cannot mind many things at once. Besides, wandering thoughts are as dead flies in the box of pre
Quando animus dividitur ad multa fit minor.