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Secondly, The cafe fully refolved: ( Beleeve in the Lord Jefus Chrift, and thou shalt be faved, ) As if he faid, Chrift is the onely way to Heaven, and faith is the onely way to Chrift; God hath given fefus Christ to finners, and falvation.X in him; And whosoever believes in him, shall not perish,but bave eternall life. Now then,believe in him,and you shall be fala ved.
There are many conclufions emergent from these words, I will ouit most of them, and onely infift on the lat
Change of heart. breeds change of eftimation toward the Minifters of the Gospel. The Jayler a little before had a base and unworthy opinion of Paul and Silas, but now Lords Sirs, what shall I do?
As the Heart is, fo the Judgement is, and Newnesse of Nature; hath with it Newneffe of Light. We can now fee the men and their authority, and their office, and embaffage,and the end of all their reproofes, and instructions, and therefore the very feet of them who bring good tydings, and publish peace and (alvation,are beautiful.
It argues the heart to be bafe and fordid, which can flight and fcorne the Meffengers of Chrift; he hath no grace, who can contemne and vilifie a Minister of grace. But two things God ever works,when he confers grace, (viz.) A love of the word of Grace, and an Honouring of the Messengers of Peace.
Senfible finners are ever inquifitive.Sirs what shull I de? and so, they in Act. 2. 37. Even they were pricked in their hearts, they cry out,men and brethren what shall we do?
There are two forts of finners.
First, fome are hardned,unfenfible, wholly overgrown with fin, and are past feeling, Eph. 4: 18. Their finis in them, like the waters in the Ocean;under all which,if a man doth lye,yet he feeles no weight nor burden, because the Elements in their proper places are not fenfibly weighty: fo where fin is in its center, men are unfenfible of the burden of it. They feele it not, nor their misery, and thereforé neither complaine nor enquire.
Secondly, others are made fenfible, not onely by the ordinary
light of a naturall confcience, but by the contrary principle of new and infufed Grace: It is with them like as with a man recovering out of a deep fickneffe,his health comes in,and makes him now fenfible of his weakness, and complaining, and defiring help. So when God doth by his bleffed fpirit work the lively fenfe of finne in the heart of a perfon, the bafenesse of it, the danger and mifery of it. O he cannot now remaine thus live thus, he must have a guide, he goes to a Meffenger, one of a thousand,to inftru&t and direct him.
For firft,confcience truly awakned,cannot beare its own burden, its own divifions, feares, accufations, prefent condition, and therefore the perfon will enquire whether there be no balme in Gilead.
Secondly, againe, fenfibleneffe of fin is Opus refpectivum, it is a work for further work. God doth for this very end make us fenfible of our fin and mifery, that we might enquire after the meanes of grace and safety.
Thirdly, once more, scarfe one fenfible finner of many thoufands that is able to be his own Counsellor, or comforter, we are not able always to apply those sweet directions,thofe proper and heavenly comforts as God promifes,to our own neceffities, which yet we may diftribute with a full and tender heart to others in their exigencies: for there is a great difference betwixt the propofing of comfort and the applying of comfort. He who is to propofe it, hath a medicine to deliver; He who is to apply it, hath a medicine to take. There be many contrary arguments and rifings of anunbelieving and fearful nature,in the perfon who is to apply the truth,and goodness of Gods promife to himself,fo that he is not alwayes able to fee the reach, and compafle of them to himself; and therefore no marvel if he feeks out for direction,in the midft of his own confufions, and for a help to apply in the midst of his own feares and diftractions.
The maine and choife thing which the troubled foule lookes after, is how to fave it felfe. Sirs, what shall I do to be Javed?)
There be divers forts of troubles, and according to their grounds and qualities, doth every perfon lay out for help and remedy. Some are troubled with meer fickness, and health is the thing which they would have. Some with poverty; and riches
are the things which they would have. Some with ignominy;and favour,and good opinion is the thing which they would have.
Some with outward affliction and punishment; and exemption is the thing which they would have. Remove from me this Plague onely faid Pharaoh...
Some are troubled with meer terrors of confcience; and quiet and eafe is the thing which they would have.
Others are troubled in foule for their finnes, by which God is difhonoured, and their heart polluted; now how these may be faved; This is the thing which thefe would have. Come to a foul, fenfibly groaning under the weight of finne, and fay, why? Soul be of good cheer, thou haft goods laid up for ma ny yeares : Oh fayes that foul,miferable comforters are they to me, Lord be merciful to me a finner. Come againe and say, you have many good and kinde friends, Alas faith the foul, friend; are Phyficians of no value to my troubled and perplexed foul: Lord be merciful to me a finner. Come to that foul, and difcourfe to him of the defect of fin, of the richneffe of divine mercy, of the Grace that God hath promised to give, of that forrow, of that repentance, of that faith, of that blood of Chrift; O now fayes that foul,fay on, give not over,merey is that which I would have, and Grace, and Christ,and Salvation,this is it which I would have, how I may be brought out of this miferable and damnable condition. Suppose a man were very fick,and one should come and tell him many merry tales, to delude the fenfe of his fickneffe, this were nothing to a man fick indeed; for it is not a tale, but whelfome Phyfick which would help him; he had rather by much heare the Phyfician difcourfing and counfelling, and applying. So it is with the truly troubled foul, yea that is it which he defires and would have, to be fet in the right way how to fave his foul. Shew us the Father, faid Philip, and that is -fufficient, fo here, fhew me the way of falvation, and I defi eno
And the reafon of it is this, because,
There is nothing which fuits with the troubled foul,but the way of Jalvation: the helps and remedies of it are not to be found unless in thefe wayes.
If a man hath a burden on his back, take it off, and that is the way to eafe him; if a man hath a feavour, cure him of that,
and this is the way to help him; if a mans bone be out of joynt, fet it in his proper location, and this is the way to comfort him. In like manner is it here. The diftreffes of the foul are spiritual, and only fpiritual waies relieve fpiritual troubles; I now fee God at difference with me, how may I be reconciled to him? I fee the difhonour against him, how may I pacific him? I feel the guilt of fin, who fhall take that off for me? I would be a changed and new perfon, who will work this in me? what course muft I take to get God to look graciously on me, to get these fins pardoned, this heart to be fanctified?
I cannot paffe over this point without a word of applica
If falvation be the maine enquiry of a truly troubled foul, then verily many people have not yet been truly troubled for their finnes; why? Because they strive not how to save their foules.
The Pfalmift fpeaks of fome, that God was not in their thoughts; and we may fay of fome, that Salvation is not in their mindes. He who hath abundance, hath this question, who will fhew us any good? and he who is in want, hath this question, what shall I do? But, what fhall I do to be saved?few think of this,it is a marvelous thing that fo noble a creature as man, who carries in him the fingular stamp of heaven (a fpiritual and immortal foul) (hould 10 infinitely forget both himself and his errand into this world. I am a miferable finner (faid Saint Hierome) and born only to repent. We are born transgressors from the wombe, and with bell at our heeles; God is pleafed to draw out the threed of our life, and to vouchsafe to give us this hint,that we are finners, and must dye, and if we change not our condition we perish for ever. And befides that, he hath addreffed the wayes of Salvation to our hands, so plainely, that he who runnes may read. Yea, and there is fomething implanted in men, which fecretly inclines them to be affected with a generall defire of Salvation; nevertheless, to observe men how variously they flye off, how little they minde that, which moft of all concerns them; how infi. nitely one drudgeth for riches; how illimitedly another purfues pleasures; fo that when we come to dye,we have hardly thought wherefore we were borne. There is a Salvation, and a way tending thereunto, but we forget that all our dayes:
We have other employments, but let us foberly recall our felves,
Is there any thing better then Salvation?
Is there a nearer thing then the foul?
Is there not a neceffity to be working in the way,if ever we would attain unto the end.
O then let this take us up;let heaven take us np; let our fouls take us up; but let not our fins, let not the world take us up. Ubi pompa ( faid Saint Auguftine ) ubi exquifita convivła? ubi gentiorum ambitio? ubi argenti & auri pondus immensum? Tranfient omnia ab oculis ejus, putatur requiefere corpus ejus, & habitat in inferno anima ejùs, multiplicavit agros, plantavit vineas, implevit horrea, yet faith he. Stulte bac nocte. He enlargeth his Fields, plants his vines, fills his Barnes,lofeth his foul. The like faith Saint Bernard. Dic mihi ubi sunt amatores feculi, qui jam diu fuerint! Dic, quid eis profuit inanis gloria? Brevis lætitia? mundi potentia? Quid carnis voluptas?quidfalsa divitia?ubirisus?ubi jocus?ubi ja&tantia? Hic, caro eorum vermibus;illic,anima ignibus deputatur infernalibus.
I fay no more, but labour to fave that,which if it be loft, the world cannot procure it,and believe it,that the foul can never be faved by that which is not worth a foul.
Another conclufion from the words of the text may be this That perfons rightly fenfible, are as throughly refolved, for the meanes and wayes,as for the end and scope.
The Jayler doth not fay I defire Salvation barely, but what must I do to be faved? as if he faid, I defire Salvation, and I do conjecture that it is an end, and therefore means there are leadingto it:now whatsoever they are,point them out unto me,that I may apply my felf for the profecution of the end.
There are two things which deceive a mans heart. One is prefumption, which is a skipping over the leffon, and taking forth before we have learned our part; my meaning is this, that it is an opinion of our happineffe, without any ufe of meanes: As if a man went to heaven as the Ship moves in the Tyde, whether the Mafter wakes or fleeps.
Another is hypocrifie, which is an inquality of the heart to all the wayes of Salvation: No hypocrite will apply himself C