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heart shall rejoice; and your joy," which I will then give you, “no man taketh from you.” All this we know was literally fulfilled in the particular case of the Apostles. But no inference can be drawn from hence, with regard to God's dealings with believers in general.
11. A fourth text (to mention no more) which has been frequently cited in proof of the same doctrine, is, 1 Pet. iv. 12. “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you.” But this is full as foreign to the point as the preceding. The text, literally rendered, ruus thus: “Beloved, wonder not at the burning which is among you, which is for your trial.” Now, however this may be accommodated to inward trials in a secondary sense; yet, primarily, it doubtless refers to martyrdom, and the sufferings connected with it. Neither, therefore, is this text any thing at all to the purpose for which it is cited. And we may challenge all men to bring one text, either from the Old or New Testament, which is any more to the purpose than this.
12. “But is not darkness much more profitable for the soul than light? Is not the work of God in the heart most swiftly and effectually carried on, during a state of inward suffering? Is not a believer more swiftly and thoroughly purified by sorrow, than by joy?-by anguish, and pain, and distress, and spiritual martyrdoms, than by continual peacc?' So the Mystics teachi; so it is written in their books; but not in the Oracles of God. The Scri;ture no where says, that the absence of God best perfects his work in the heart! Rather, his presence, and a clear communion with the Father and the Son: a strong consciousness of this, will do more in an hour, than his absence in an age. Joy in the Holy Ghost will far more effectually purify the soul, than the want of that joy; and the peace of God is the best nicans of refining the soul from the dross of earthly affections. Away then with the idle conceit, that the kingdom of God is divided against itself; that the peace of God, and joy in the Holy Ghost, are obstructive of righteousness; and that we are saved, not by faith, but by uubelief, not by hope, but by despair!
13. So long as men dream thus, they may well “ walk in darkness :” nor can the effect cease, till the cause is removed. But yet we must not imagine it will immediately cease, even when the causc is no more. When either ignorance or sin has caused darkness, one or the other may be removed, and yet the light which was obstructed thereby, may not immediately return. As it is the free gift of God, he may restore it, sooner or later, as it pleases him. In the case of sin, he cannot reasonably expect that it should immediately return. The sin began before ihe punishment, which may, therefore, justly remain, after the sin is at an end. And even in the natural course of things, though a wound cannot be healed whilc the dart is sticking in the floslı; yet neither is it healed as soon as that is drawn out, but soreness and pain may remain long after,
14. Lastly: If darkness be occasioned by manifold, and bcary, and unexpected temptations; the best way of removing and preventing this, is, to teach believers always to expect temptation, seeing they dwell in an evil world, among wicked, subtle, malicious spirits, and liave an heart capable of all evil. Convince then, that the whole work of sanctification is not, as tirpimained, iTought at once; that when they first believe, il y are but as new-born babes, who are gradually to grow "'?', and may expect many storms, before they come to the lui stature of Christ. Above all, let them be instructed, when the storm is upon tbem, not to reason with the Devil, bat top; w puil out their souls before God, and show llim of their trouble. od these are the persons into whom, chietly, we are tu apply the great and precious promises; not to the intent, uililie istnorance is removed, much less to the indicat simer. To ihese ile may lurgrly and affectionatly didate the lovingkindness of Golour Saviour, and expatiate upon his tender mercies, which have been ever of old. Here we may dwell upon the faithfulness of God, whose “ word is tried to the uttermost; and upon the virtue of that blood, which was shed for 115, 10“ cleanse us from all sin :" and God will then bear witness to his word, and bring their souls out of tronble. Tie will say, “ Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.” Yea, and that light, is thou walli humbly and closely with God, will "shine more and more unto the perfect day.”
HEAVINESS THROUGII MANIFOLD
“Now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through
manifold temptations." 1 Peter i. 6.
1. In the preceding discourse, I have particularly spoken of that Darkness of mind, into which those are often observed to fall, who once walked in the light of God's countenance, Nearly related to this is the Heaviness of soul, which is still more common, even among believers. Indeed, almost all the children of God experience this, in an higher or lower degree. And so great is the resemblance between one and the other, that they are frequently confounded together; and we are apt to say, indiferently, Such an one is in darkness, or, Such an one is in heaviness ;-as if they were equivalent terms, one of which implied no more than the other. But they are far, very far from it. Darkness is one thing; Heaviuess is another. There is a difference, yea, a wide and essential difference, bctween the former and the latter. And such a difference it is, as all the chidren of God are deeply concerned to understand : otherwise, nothing will be more easy, than for them to slide out of heaviness into darkness. In order to prevent this, I will endeavour to show,
1. What Manner of Persons those were, to whom the Apostle says, “Ye are in Heaviness :" II. What kind of leaviness they were in : III. What were the Causes : and,
IV. What were the Ends of it. I shall conclude with some Inferences.
1. ). I am, in the First place, to show, What Manner of Persons those were, to whom the Apostle says, “Ye are in Heaviness.” And, first, It is beyond all dispute, that they
were Believers at the time the Apostle thus addressed them. For so he expressly say, rer. 5,) “Ye who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.” Again, (ver.7.) hc mentions “tlic trial of their faitli, much more precious than that of gold which perisheth.” And yet again, (ver. 9,) he speaks of their “receiving the cud of their laiili, the salvation of their souls.” At the same time, therefore, that they were “in hcariness,” they were possessed of living faith. Their heavinessclid not destroy ther Faith: they still “ endurei, as seeing him that is invisible."
2. Neither did their heaviness destroy their Peace; the speace which passeth all understanding;” which is inseparable from true, lisins faith. This le may casily gailer liom the second verse, wherein the systle pravs, not that grace and peace may be giren (!!!!!, but only, Vilt it may “be multiplied unto them; that the biossing, which they alreau; enjorai, pigut be more abundantly bestowed upon them.
3. The persons 10 whom the Apostle bere speaks, rere also fuli of a living llope. For thuslic speaks, (rer. 3,)
" Blessed be the God and Tather of our Lord jeslls Christ, who, according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again,'--me and you, all of us who are " sanctified by the Spirit," and enjoy tlic “sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ,”—“ unto a living hope, ito an inheritance,”-that is, unto a living hope of an inheritance', “incorruptible, undetileil, and that fadeth hot away.” So that, notwithstanding their heaviness, they still retained an lipe full of immortality.
1. And they suill “rejoiceed in hope of the glory of God.” They were filled with joy in the Holy Ghost. So, (ver. 8.) the Apostle duringjast mentioned the final“ revelation of Jesus Christ, "(amely, then he cometh to judge the world,) inimediaicly ailds, " In vlom. though now ye see him not, (not with your belily cres,] se't believing, je rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of giorn' Their heaviness, therefore, was not only consisteni with living hope, but also with joy unspeakiable: at tlie same time they were thus leary, they nevertheless rejoiced with jos full of glory.
5. In the midst of their heaviness, they likewise still enjoyed the Love of God, which had been shed abroad in their hearis; — vrhom,” says the Apostle', “having not seen, ye love." Though ye bare not yet seen him face to face; yet, knowing him by faitli, ye have obeyed his word, “My son, give me thy heart." lle is your God, and your love, the
desire of your eyes, and your “exceeding great reward.” Ye have sought and found happiness in Him; ye “delight in the Lord,” and he hath given you your "hearts' desire.”
6. Once more: Though they were heavy, yet were they holy; they retained the same power over sin. They were still “ kept” from this, “ by the power of God;" they were “obedient children, not fashioned according to their former desires ;" but “ as He that had called them is holy," so were they “ holy in all manner of conversation.” Knowing they were “redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, as a Lamb without spot and without blemish," they had, through the faith and hope which they had in God," purified their souls by the Spirit.” So that, upon the whole, their heaviness well consisted with faith, with hope, with love of God and man, with the peace of God, with joy in the Holy Ghost, with inward and outward holiness. It did no way impair, much less destroy, any part of the work of God in their hearts. It did not at all interfere with that “ sanctification of the Spirit,” which is the root of all true obedience; neither with the happiness, which must needs result from grace and peace reigning in the heart.
Il. 1. Hence we may easily learn what kind of Heaviness they were in; the Second thing which I shall endeavour to show. The word in the original is, huanBevtes, ---made sorry, grieved; from Luan,-grief, or sorrow. This is the constant, literal meaning of the word : and, this being observed, there is no ambiguity in the expression, nor any difficulty in understanding it. The persons spoken of here, were grieved: the heaviness they were in was neither more nor less than sorrow, or grief; a passion which every child of man is well acquainted with.
2. It is probable our translators rendered it heaviness, (though a less common word,) to denote two things : First, the degree, and next, the continuance, of it. It does indeed seem, that it is not a slight or inconsiderable degree of grief which is here spoken of, but such as makes a strong impression upon, and sinks deep into, the soul. Neither does this appear to be a transient sorrow, such as passes away in an hour ; but rather such as, having taken fast hold of the heart, is not presently shaken off, but continues for some time, as a settled temper, rather than a passion, even in them that have a living faith in Christ, and the genuine love of God in their hearts.
3. Even in these, this heaviness may sometimes be so deep, as to overshadow the whole soul; to give a colour, as it were, Vol. 1. No. 13.