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and been more loth to come out of a prison, than they were to go in! If you did but see your supports, and the comforts that fouls ordinarily meet with in their troubles for Christ, you would not look on them as such formidable things.
0. Rule. View the issue and reward of sufferings by an eye of faith : this also will strongly abate the horror and dread of them, Heb. x. 34. Upon this account it is the saints have fo flighted and contemned them, Rom. viji. 18. 2 Cor iv. 16, 17. But then see that you act your faith, (1.) Upon the certainty of it: look at it as a most real and substanţial thing, Heb. xi. 1. (2.) Viewit as a great and glorious reward: And, (3.) As near at hand : And then say to thy soul, come on my soul, come on ; seeft thou the joy set before thee! the crown of glory ready to be set on thy head by the hand of a righteous God. 'Oh, what compare is there betwixt thosc sufferings, and that glory!
10. Rule. Propound to yourselves the best patterns and ex. amples. Keep your eye upon the cloud of witnesses ; these are of special use to beget holy courage, Heb. xii. 1. James v. 10. Who would be afraid to enter the lists, and grapple with that enemy that he hath seen so often foiled, and that by a poor weak Christian ? See how the enemy, with whom you are to grapple, hath been beaten hand to hand, and triumphed over by poor women and children; they had as great infirmities, and you have as gracious assistances as those that are gone be
c H A P. X. Discovering the necessity of an heart mortified to all earthly and
temporal enjoyments, in order to the right managing of a fuffering condition : with several directions for the attaining thereof.
HE next thing wherein your actual readiness for bonds,
or death conlisteth, is in the mortification of your af. fections to all earthly interests and enjoyments ; even the best and sweetest of them : Till this be done, in some measure, you are not fit to be used in any such service for the Lord, 2 Tim. i. 21. The living world is the very life of temptations : the travailing rains of death are stronger and sharper upon none, than those that are full of sense and self. As you see
in nature, what conflicts and agonies strong and lively perfons suffer when they die; when others, in whom nature is decayed and spent before-hand, die away without half that pain, even as a bird in a fnell.
Corruption in the saints, is like the fap in green wood, which refifteth the fire, and will not burn well, till it be dried up. Prepared Paul had an heart mortified in a very high degree, to all the honour and riches of the world, accounting them all but trifles, Gal. vi. 14. 1 Cor. iv. 3, 4.
The need of this will be evinced by thefe five confiderations. 1. Unless the heart be mortified to all earthly enjoyments
, they will appear great and glorious things in your eye and eftimation ; and if so, judge what a talk you will have, to deny and leave them all in a suffering hour. It is corruption with in, that puts the lustre and glory upon things without : it is the carnal eye only that gazes admiringly after them, 2 Cor. 1. 16. and hence the luft is put to express the affection, 1 John ji. 16. because all that inordinate affection we have to them, arises from our high estimation of them, and that estimation from our lufts, that represent them as great and glorious
. Therefore, certainly, it will be difficult (if not impossible) to deny them, till they have lost their glory in your eye; and that They will never do, till those lufts within you, that put that beauty and necessity upon them, be firft crucified. As for inftance, what a glory and necessity doth the pride of men pur upon the honour and credit of the world, fo that they will rather choose to die, than survive it? But to a mortified soul it is a small matter, 1 Cor. iv. 3. So for riches, how much are they adored, till our lusts be mortified ? and then they are esteemed but dung and dross, Phil. iii. 8. It is our corruptions that paint and gild over these things : when these are crucified, those will be lightly esteemed.
2. Mortification of corruptions is that which recovers an healthful state of foul : fin is to the foul, what a disease is to the body; and mortification is to fin, what physic is to a dilease. Hence those that are but a little mortified, are in a comparative sense called carnal, 1 Cor. iii. 3. and babes, ver. 2. in respect of weakness. Now, suffering work being some of the Christian's hardest labour and exercise, he cannot be fitted for it, until his foul be in an healthful state: a lickly man can. not carry heary burdens, or endure hard labours and exercises ; the sick soldier is left behind in his quarters, or put into the hospital, whilst his fellows are dividing the spoils, and obtaining glorious victories in the field. To this fenfe fome espound
Rom. viii. 13. “If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if
ye, through the Spirit, mortify the deeds of the body, ye * shall live." Whereas death is put to note a languishing state of soul, whilst mortification is neglected ; so life is put to express an healthful and comfortable state ; vivère pro valere; so that upon this account also the necessity of it appears.
3. Your corruptions must be mortified, else they will be rage ing and violent in the time of temptation, and, like a torrent, fweep away all your convictions and resolutions. It is fin un. 3 mortified within, that makes the heart like gun-powder ; so that when the sparks of temptation fly about it, and they fall thick in a fuffering hour) they do but touch and take. Hence the corruptions of the world are said to be through luft, 2 Pet. i. 4. With these internal unmortified lufts, the tempter holds correo spondence ; and these be the traitors that deliver up our fouls into his hands.
4. Unless you be diligent and successful in this work, though you should suffer, yet not like Christians, you will but difgrace religion, and the cause for which you suffer; for it is not fimple suffering, but suffering as a Christian, that reflects crediton religion, and finds acceptation with God. If you be envious, fretful, difcontented, and revengeful, under your fufferings, what honour will this bring to Chrift? Is not this altogether unlike the example of your Lord ? Isa. liii. 7. and the behaviour of suffering faints ?' i Cor. iv. 13. Yet thus ir will be, if your pride, passion, and revenge, be not first subdued: for what are the breakings forth of such distempers of spirit, but as the flushes of heat in the face from an ill-affected liver ? Most certain it is, that all these evils are in your naturés, and as certain it is, they will rise like mude and filth from the bottom of a lake, when some eminent trials fhall take you to the bottom; Natura vexata prodit feipfam.
5. Lastly, Mortification must be Itudied and plied with diligence ; else you will find many longings and hankerings after earthly enjoyments and comforts, which will prove a snare to you: what is fin, but the corrupt and vitiated appetite of the creature, to things that are earthly and sensual, relishing more sweetness and delight in them, than in the blessed God? And what is fanctification, but the rectifying of the fe inordinate affections, and placing them on their proper object? A regenerate and mortified Christian tastes not half that sweetness in forbidden fruits that another doth : fet but money before Judas, and fee kow eagerly he catches at it-" What will ye give me,
" and I will betray him ?” Set but life, liberty, or any fuch bait before an unmortified heart, and how impotent is he to withstand them, as offered in a temptation? Oh those unmattified lufts! how do they make men hanker, long, and then lips water (as we use to say) after these things ? This makes them break prison, decline sufferings, though upon the bafet si terms: whereas a mortified Christian can see all these things
the set before him, yea, offered to him, and refuse them, Heb. I.
Goo 35. It is with them much as it was with old Brazillai, 2 Sam. put xix. 35. When nature is decayed, they find but little pleasure in natural actions, Ecclef. xii. 1. And look as the body of hon 10 decays and languishes, so do these longings also : It weans the foul from them all, and enables it to live very comfortable without them, Psal. cxxxi. 1. Phil. iv. 12. There needs no more to be said to evince the necessity of nortification, and dis cover what influence it hath into a Christian's readipess for sufferings.
It remains therefore, that I open to you some of the prin cipal corruptions, about which it mostly concerns you to be stow pains ere sufferings come. Now look as there are four principal enjoyments, in which you are like to be tried, vis. Eftate, name, liberty, life; so the Christian work in suffering times lies in mortifying these four special corruptions, vis First, The love of the world. Secandly, Ambition. Thirdly
, leordinate affectation of freedom and pleasure. Fourthly, Exca five love of life.
1. For the love of this world, away with it, crucify it, cru cify it : down with this idol, and let it be dethroned in all that intend to abide with Christ in the hour of temptation : hor else will you take the spoiling of your goods ? How will you be able to part with all for Christ, as these blessed fouls did ? It grieves my heart to see how many profeffors of religion art carried captive at the chariot-wheels of a bewitching world. Oh! good had it been for many profeffors, if they had nerea tasted fo much of the sweetness of it. Sirs, I beg you, Lord's sake, down with it in your estimations, down with it in your affections, else temptations will down with you ere long I shall offer five or fix helps for the crucifying of it.
First, Consider your espousals to Christ, and how you have chosen and professed him for your Lord and husband : there. fore your doating upon the world is no less than adultery ?: gaint Christ, James iv. 4. If Christ be your husband, he mult be a covering to your eyes; an unchafte glance upon wounds him.
Secondly, The more you prize it, the more you will be tormented by it; did you prize and love it less, it would disquiet and vex you lefs : it is our doating on it, that makes it draw blood at parting.
Thirdly, Get true fcripture-notions of the world, and rectify your judgments and affections by them. If you will have the true picture and representation of it drawn by the hand of God himself, see 1 John ii. 16. it is nothing else but luft that puts that lustre upon it: It hath but a phantastic glory, and that also pafseth away. What is become of them that ruffled it out in the world but one hundred years ago? What could the world do for them? Are they not all gone down to the sides of the pit? “ But he that doth the will of God abideth " for ever,”
Fourthly, Study and contemplate Christ, and the things above more : this would veili all its glory, and kill it at the root, Phil. iii. 18, 19. Just as a
man that hath been gazing upon the sun, when he takes off his eye from that bright and glorious creatiire, and looks to the earth, there is a veil of darkness overspreading the face of it, that he can see nothing. I wonder how such as pretend to live above, and enjoy communion with God, can ever relish such sweetness in the world, or have their hearts enticed and captivated
and tempt you
Fifthly, Remember always, that by your love and delight in worldly things, you furnish the devil with the chiefest bait he hath to catch and destroy your souls. Alas! were your
hearts but dead to these things, he would want an handle to catch What hath he more to offer
off from Christ with, but a little money, or some such poral rewards ? and how little would that foul be moved by such a temptation, that looks on it all but as dirt ?
Sixthly, Lastly, Take notice of the approaches of eternity : remember you are almost at the end of time: and when you come to launch out into that endless ocean, how will these things look then? It seems glorious, whilst you are in the chace and pursuit of it; but upon a death-bed, you will overtake and come up with it, and then you will see what a deceitful and vain thing it is : stand by the beds of dying men, and hear how they speak of it.
Oh! the difference betwixt our ap. prehensions then, and now! Thus labour to wean off your affections, and crucify them to the world.
2. Mortify your ambition and vain affectation of the re. pute and credit of the world: Oh stand not on so vain a