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3. What wouldest thou ask? Go into the gardens of pleasure, and gather all fragrant fowers from · thence, would these content thee? Go to the trea. sures of Mammon, suppose thou mightest lade thyself as heavy as thou wouldest from thence : Go to the towers, to the trophies of honour ; what thinkest thou of being a man of renown, and having a name like the name of the great men of the earth? Would any of these, would all these suffice thee, and make thee count thyself a happy man? If so, then certainly thou art carnal and unconverted. If not, go farther; wade into the divine excellencies, the store of his mercies, the hiding of his power, the depths unfathomable of his allfufficiency; doth this suit thee best and please thee most; Dost thou say, “It is good to be here?” Mat. xvii. 4. “ Here will I pitch, here will I “ live and die.” Wilt thou let all the world go rather than this? Then it is well between God and thee. Happy art thou, O man, happy art thou that ever thou wast born ; if a God can make thee happy, thou must needs be happy; for thou haft vouched the Lord to be thy God, Deut. xxvi. 18. Dost thou say to Christ, as he to us, Thy father “ shall be my father, and thy God be my God?” John xv. 16. Here is the turning point. An unfound protessor never takes up his reft in God, but converting grace does the work, and so cures the fatal misery of the fall, by turning the heart from its idol 'to the living God, i Thell. i. 9. Now, says the soul, “ Lord, whither shall I go? “ Thou hast the words of eternal life,” John vi. 68. Here he centres, here he settles : 0, it is the entrance of heaven to him to see his interest in
God. When he discovers this, he faith,
«Return unto thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath « dealt bountifully with thec," Pjalm cxvi. 7. And is even ready to breathe out Simeon's song, “ Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in
peace,” Luke ii, 29.; and faith with Jacob, when his old heart revived at the welcome tidings, “
It is enough," Gen. xlv. 28. When he seeth he hath a God in covenant to go to, “ this is all his “ salvation, and all his defire,” 2 Sam. xxiii. 5.
Man, is this thy cafe? haft thou experienced this ? why then “ biessed art thou of the Lord;"> God hath been at work with thee, he hath laid hold on thy heart by the power of converting grace, or else thou couldest never have done this.
The true convert turns to Jesus Christ, the only mediator between God and man, 1 Tim. ii. 5. His work is to bring us to God, 1 Pet. iii. 18. He is the way to the Father, John xiv. 6. the only plank on which we may escape, the only door by which we may enter, John X. 9. as the only means of life, as the only way, the only name given under heaven, Atsiv. 12. He looks not for salvation in any other but him, nor in ary other with him; but throws himself on Christ alone, as one that should cast himself with arms spread out upon the sea.
“ Here, faith the convinced finner, I will ven« ture; and if I perish, I perish; if I die, I will « die here. But, Lord, suffer me not to perish “ under the pitiful eye of thy mercy.--Intreat me “ not to leave thee, or to turn away from follow“ ing after thee.” Ruth i. 16. Here I will throw myself: if thou kick me, if thou kill me, I will not go from thy door, Job xiii. 15.
Thus the poor soul doth venture on Chrift, and resolvedly adheres to him. Before conversion the man made light of Chrift; minded his farm, friends, merchandise, more than Christ, Mat. xxii. 5: ; now Christ is to him as his necessary food, his daily bread, the life of his heart, the staff of his life, Gal. ii. zo. His great design is, that Christ may be magnified in him, Phil. 1. 20. His heart once said, as they to the spouse, « What is thy beloved more " than another?” Cant. v. 9. He found more sweetness in his merry company, wicked games, and earthly delights, than in Chrift. He took religion for a fancy, and the talk of great enjoyments for an idle dream; but now “ to him to live is “ Chrift.” He sets light by all that he accounted precious, “ for the excellency of the knowledge of “ Chrift," Phil. iii. 8.
All of Christ is accepted by the sincere convert : He loves not only the wages, but the work of Christ, Rom. vii. 12.; not only the benefits, but the burden of Chrift: He is willing not only to tread out the corn, but to draw under the yoke : He takes up the commands of Christ, yea, and the cross of Christ, Mat. xi. 9. and xvi. 24.
The unsound convert closeth only by halves with Chrift: He is all for the salvation of Christ, but he is not for fanctification; he is for the privileges, but values not the person of Chrift: He divides the offices and benefits of Christ. This is an in the foundation: Who loveth life, let him beware here; it is an undoing iniftake, of which you have been often warned, and yet none more common. Jesus is a sweet name, but men “ love not the Lord Jesus in fincerity," Eph. vi, 24. They
will not have him as God offers, “ to be a prince “ and a Saviour,” Ads V. 31. They divide what God hath joined, the king and the priest : Yea, they will not accept the salvation of Christ as he intends it; they divide it here. Every man's vote, is for salvation from fuffering; but they defire not to be saved from finning: They would have their lives saved, but withal would have their lufts. Yea, many divide here again; they would be content to have some of their fins destroyed, but they cannot leave the lap of Delilah, or divorce the beloved Herodias, They cannot be cruel to the right eye or right hand; the “ Lord must pardon them in this
thing," 2 Kings v. 18.
O be infinitely tender here, your souls lie upon it. The sound convert takes a whole Christ, and takes him for all intents and purposes, without exceptions, without limitations, without referves. He is willing to have Christ
, upon his own terms, upon any terms. He is willing to have the dominion of Christ, as well as deliverance by Christ. He faith with Paul, “ Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?”? Aets ix. 6. any thing, Lord: He sends a blank to Chrift, to set down his conditions, Aas ii. 37. and
zdly, He turns to the laws, ordinances, and ways of Christ. The heart that was once fet against these, and could not endure the strictness of these bonds, the severity of these ways, now falls in love with them, and chooses them as its rule and guide for ever, Psalm cxix. 111, 112.
Four things, I observe, God doth work in every sound convert, with reference to the laws and ways of Christ, by which you come to know your Atate,
if you will be faithful to your own souls; and there. fore keep your eyes upon your hearts as you go along.
itt, « The judgment is brought to approve of " them, and subscribe to them as most righteous • and most reasonable.” Psalm cxix. 112, 128, 137, 138. The mind is brought to like the ways of God; and the corrupt prejudices that were once against them, as unreasonable and intolerable, are now removed: The underltanding afsents to them all, as “ holy, juli, and good," Rom. vii. 12. How is. David taken up with the «xcellencies of God's laws! How doth he expatiate in their praise, both from their inherent qualities and admirable effects! Pfalm xix. 8.-10, &c.
2dly, « The desire of the heart is to know the “ whole mind of Christ,” Psalm cxix. 124, 125. 169. and xxv. 4; 5; He would not have one fin undiscovered, nor be ignorant of one duty required. It is the natural and earnest breathing of a fanctified heart, “ Lord, if there be any way of wicked: . “ ness in me, do thou discover it.--What I know « not, teach thou me, and if I have done iniquity, “ I will do it no more.”—The unfound convert is willingly ignorant, 2 Pit. iii. 5.; loves not to come to the light, John iii. 20. He is willing to keep such or such a sin, and therefore is loch to know it to be a fin, and will not let in the light at that window. Now the gracious heart is willing to know. the whole latitude and compass of his Maker's law, Psalm cxix. 18, 19, 27. 33.64.68. 178. 124. He receives with all acception the word that convinceth him of any duty that he knew not, or minded not before, or discovereth any sin chat lay hid be. fore, Pfalm cxix. 11.