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peace, paths of joy, paths of refreshment and confolation, wherein all these things are daily met with by those that walk there ; which they that know not the light (or rebel against the light) are not acquainted with. See Job xxiv. 13.
Secondly, They miss of the lighting of their candle by it: for God lights his candle in the heart by this light, and by no other thing; fo that in this his light, they whose candle is lighted by him, see light.
David had experience of this, and from that experience fpake, Thou wilt light my candle; the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness, Psal. xviii. 28. And Job had experience of this also, as those words of his plainly fignify, Job xxix. 2, &c. where he faith, Oh! that I were as in the days paft, when bis candle shined upon my head, and by bis light I walked through darkness
. And all the children of God, who in this day wait for the shinings of the light of his Spirit in their hearts, and are subject to him therein, they experience the fame, and know the Word of life (which is nigh in the mouth and heart) to be a lanthorn to the feet, and a light to the paths, of the lowest and meanest here.
Thirdly, They miss of the sending forth, or revelation of that from God, which leads to his holy hill and to his tabernacles, which David experienced and desired more of, Psal. xliii. 3. For, who shall dwell in God's boly bill, ar abide in his tabernacle? Psal. xv. I. He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart, &c. be shall never be moved, -ver. 2. to the end, and Isai. xxxiii. 15, &c. But how shall any come thither ? Surely by God's light and truth fent forth from his Spirit into their fpirits, This is the way of ascending thither in all ages and generations.
Fourthly, They light that measure of light given them, and despise the day of small things, and therefore miss of the pouring forth of God's Spirit upon them, which is plentifully poured forth upon the fons and daughters of the spiritual and heavenly Jerusalem, in this day of God's visiting the earth again after the apoftafy; blefred be the name of the Lord! And how comes it to be poured forth upon them? How comes wisdom to pour out her spirit unto them? Why; they hearken to her reproofs, turning thereat, and forfaking that which they are reproved for, and so come into wisdom's fear; and then wisdom opens her secrets, and pours out her spirit, and makes known her words to those that are subject to her reproofs and learn her fear, which is the fear of the New Covenant. See Prov. i. 23. He that receiveth the convincer of fin, and followeth his leadings, out of the fins he is convinced of (and into the paths of righteousness and holiness, into which he is the leader) cannot mifs of the Comforter, or of his comforts; for he is one and the same with the convincer or reprover.
XVI. The Way to know one's Election, and to be fully asured of it ; as also
concerning Election itself.
AVID faith, the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself, Pfal.
iv. This is God's choice, God is the vessels, upon the wheel of his power ; fome to honour, fome to dishonour; but not before they were. Some he melteth and tendereth for salvation, who hearken to his voice; others he hardeneth and giveth up for destruction, who rebel against his Spirit. Oh! how should all fear before him, who hath power over them, as the potter over the clay, that they should reverence and obey him, left his power break them to pieces !
Now this is most certain : the holy man, the righteous man, the godly man, he that is renewed in the spirit of his mind; this is a vessel of honour, fitced and chosen by God unto honour : but he that is corrupt, dead, filthy, polluted, &c. this is the vessel which God rejects. For the righteous God loveth righteousness for ever, and the holy God loveth holiness for ever ; and he that is holy and righteous, is of him, and chosen by him: but all that is unholy and unrighteous, is of another nature and spirit, and so rejected and caft out by his pure nature and Spirit.
Therefore every one that would be accepted of the Lord and witness his choice, is to mind that, and be subject to that, whereby God fitteth vesels for himself; which is the Holy Spirit, nature, and life of his Son, wherein every man is accepted (as he is called thither, gathered thither, and found there) and none rejected: but out of this every man is rejected, but none accepted; for God is no respecter of persons.
He carried himself equally to every Jew under the old covenant; and he carrieth himself equally towards all who obey the call of his Spirit into the new and living covenant; so that the truth standeth for ever, that in every nation, tongue and people, he that feareth God and worketh righteousness, is accepted of him, and none elfe. And this is the great mercy and tender love of God to all men, that which bringeth into his fear, and teacheth and enableth to work righteousness, is near every man, which is the word of faith, the word of life, the word of power, the word of reconciliation'; so that no man need go far to seek out salvation : for Christ, the Saviour and salvation of God, is nigh to every man, in the light of that Holy Spirit of truth wherewith God visiteth mankind, and wherein he speaketh peace and reconciliation, both to them that are nigh, and to them that are afar off, as they hear the voice of the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Chrift, and learn subjection to it.
Give all diligence to make your calling and ele£tion sure, said the apostle Peter, 2 Pet. i. 10. How shall we do that, may fome say? Why, give all diligence
to add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temper. ance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly-kindness
, and to brotherly-kindness love: for if these things be in you and abound, ye cannot be barren in the knowledge of Christ, but must needs be fruitful. Well, but what then ? What if they be fruitful ? Why, if they be fruitful, then (to be sure) they are chosen branches; for God cafts off none but that which is dry, barren, dead, and unfruitful. Feel life, which is active and bears fruit, thou feelest the choice of God, thou answerest the end of thy call, &c. and herein as thou comeft to settlement and establishment, thou wilt find thy calling and election made sure to thee, and an entrance ministered to thee abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. For Christ hath the key of the kingdom, and shutteth out no such as these, but giveth them further admittance day by day. And so by this means thou wilt witness translation further and further, out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Son, and an inheritance and possession of life and glory in measure; which will be an earnest to thee of the full inheritance in due time, and a seal upon thy heart unto the day of full redemption : yea, thou mayest then also come to see how thou wast loved and chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world, through obedience unto, and fanctification of the Spirit, manifested in time, 2 Tbell. ii. 13. (For known unto God are all his works from the beginning, before ever any of them were wrought.) If thou feel that which cometh forth from the Lord to call and gather to him, and to renew and fanctify, and make fit for him, and to make thee fruitful (from the holy root and power of life) in that which is good; this is enough for thee, and thy soul is safe and blessed here: for here thou knowest that, and art in that blessed feed of promise, into which all that are gathered and abide, are blessed in and with it.
Now as concerning election itself, observe this; that it is in Christ, and not out of him. For it was the intent of God to honour his Son, even as his Son honoured him: and this was the honour which God gave him, That be should be bis salvation to the ends of the earth; that whosoever believed on bim, Mould not perish, but have everlasting life. That he should be the way for all mankind to come to the Father, through faith in him; that as in Adam all died, so in Christ all might be made alive, and as in Adam all men were shut up in death and condemnation, so the free gift might come upon all, and the way of life and redemption be opened to all, in him.
Mind the figure, the brazen serpent, which was not lifted up that a certain number might be healed, and no more ; but that every one that was wounded, every one that was ftung with serpents, might look up and be healed.
So was Christ lifted up, that every sinner that was ftung with sin and the serpent, might look up to the physician of souls, and receive virtue and healing from him, according to that precious scripture, Look unto me, and be
ya faved, all the ends of the earth. And whoever is, a-thirst, let him come; and whoever will, let bim come and drink of the water of life freely. Yea, God stands ready, by his Holy Spirit and quickening power, which is near men, to kindle the true thirst in them, and to make them truly willing. To open it yet further ;
There is predestination, election, calling, justifying, glorifying: predeftination unto holiness, election in that which is holy, calling out of darkness into light, justifying and glorifying in the light, through the renewing and sanctification of the Spirit. All these God ordereth and manageth according to his good will, and according as he hath purposed in himself; although he be not the decreer, nor author of sin or rebellion against himself, which is the cause of the creature's condemnation.
Thus all things are as present with God before they were : for God did foreknow Adam's fall (though he was not therefore the author of it) before it came to pass; and he foreknew how his power, and love, and mercy, should work towards men and for men, in and through Christ; and how far he would visit men therewith, and how far men would resist and strive against his Holy and good Spirit ; and he determined how long his Spirit should strive with nations and persons : for with some he would long wait to be gracious ; with others he would be quicker and more severe, according to their provocations.
Now his love, his mercy, his power, his good Spirit, are his own; and he may shew forth the operations of them towards men according to his pleasure; and who may say unto him, What doft thou? May he not do with his own what he pleaseth (who is good and righteous in all his ways)? and because he may shew mercy as long as he will, and harden as soon as he will (as he fees cause). May it not be truly said, That be batb mercy on whom he will have mercy; and whom he will, he bardeneth? But that he hardenech any, without first giving them a day of mercy and visitations of mercy, following them with mercy, and forbearing them in mercy, and so by the riches of his goodness, forbearance, and long-suffering, leading them to repentance, that they might escape his wrath, and the dread of his powerful vengeance, because of lin: I say, that God hardens any before he hath dealt thus with them, from a meer will in himself, because he would destroy the moft and far greatest part of men ; this the scriptures no-where testify to, but abundantly testify against. For how long did God strive with the old world, even to have saved them, whom afterwards he did destroy? And how did he strive with that people of the Jews (yea, and with other nations also, though they might seem cast off) As I'live, faith the Lord (and he speaketh his heart), I defire not the death of the wicked, but rather that they might return and live. I am not the destroyer, I am the Saviour ; and my delight is not to destroy, but to save. O Israel! thy destruction is of thyself; but in me is thy help. And no man's blood will lie at God's door but at his own. VOL. II.
Therefore as God hath prepared a Saviour, so there is no wart' of love, or mercy, or power on his part, to draw men to the Saviour ; but this is the condemnation, that men harden themselves against the drawings of his Spirit, and against the operation of his holy light and power, when it appeareth, and is willing to work in and upon their hearts. This is not the condemnation of men, that light doth not shine in their hearts ; but that they love the darkness more than the light, which appears and shines in them, and is there witnessing against and drawing from the darkness. And so when it shall at last be made manifest, how light hath appeared to all men, and God's Spirit therein, and thereby striven with all men, and how they have refused, and would not be turned from their darkness to the light of the Lord; every mouth will be stopped before him, and all men that perish, justly condemned for refusing and neglecting fo great falvation: for the light of the fun of God's everlasting day, and the sound of his Spirit of life, visiting dark man, reacheth throughout all the earth, and his voice and words to the ends of the world.
XVII. Șome Obfervations concerning the Priesthood of Christ, from several
Pasages in the Epistle to the HEBREWS. Observ. 1.
HO is the apostle and high-priest of our profession? It is
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, whom God hath appointed heir of all things, by whom he made the worlds; and who is the express image of his Father's substance, &c. Heb. i. and chap. iii. 1.
Observ. 2. Why this high-priest was to fuffer death? which was, that he might taste death for every man, and so through suffering become a perfect Saviour, or perfect captain of salvation, to all the fons that were to be brought by him to glory, cbap. ii. 9, 10.
Observ. 3. Why he partook of Aesh and blood ? one reason whereof was, because the children (and that therein he might shew them an example of righteousness, that he might condemn himself in the fieth), were partakers of flesh and blood; for that was the very ground or reason that he took part of the fame: another reason was that which was mentioned before, that he might tafte death, and through death destroy him who had the power
of death, and so break open the prison-doors, and deliver those who were captives under him, chap. ii. 14, 15.
Observ. 4. Why he was tempted ; and why in all things lit behoved him to be made like unto his brethren? which was, that he might be a merciful and faithful high-priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the fins of the people. For his own fuffering under temptations (even the fenfe thereof)-renders him merciful, tender, faithful, and ready to help and fuccour his in all their temptations, chap. ii. 17, 18.