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not only as those that have mourned for sin, but as those that do mourn, whose manner it is still to mourn ; Matth. v. 4. Blesssd are they that mourn : for they shall be comforted.
Not only is there often in hypocrites, an essential deficiency, as to the various kinds of religious affections; but also a strange partiality and disproportion, in the same affections, with regard to different objects. Thus as to the affection of love, some make high pretences, and a great shew of love to God and Christ, and it may be have been greatly affected with what they have heard or thought concerning them: but they have not a spirit of love and benevolence towards men, but are disposed to contention, envy, revenge, and evil-speaking; and will, it may be, suffer an old grudge to rest in their bosoms towards a neighbour for seven years together, if not twice seven years; living in real ill-will and bitterness of spirit towards him. And it may be in their dealings with their neighbours, they are not very strict and conscientious in observing the rule of doing to others, as they would that they should do to them : 1 John iv. 20. If a man say, I love God, and haleth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? On the other hand, there are others who appear as if they had a great deal of benevolence to men, who are very good-natured and generous in their way ; but have no love to God.
And as to love to men, there are some who have flowing affections to some; but their love is far from being of so extensive and universal a nature, as a truly Christian love is.They are full of dear affections to some, and full of bitterness towards others. They are knit to their own party, those who approve, those who love, and admire them; but are fierce
Paul's couversion) by the continuance of it; it is constant : but worldly sorrow is but a passion of the mind; it changes, it lasts not. Though for the prescot it may be violent and strong, and work much outwardly; yet it comes but by fits, and continues not like a land-food, which violently, for the present, ove Rows the banks; but it will away again; it is not always thus. But godly sorrow is like a spring, that still keeps running both winter and summer, wet and dry, in heat and cold, early and late. So this godly sorrow is the same in a regenerate man still; take him when you will, he is still sorrowing for sin. This godly sorrow stands like the centre of the earth, which removes got, but still remains."
“I am persuadech many a man's beart is kept from breaking and mourning, because of ibis. He saith (it may be) that he is a vile sinner; but I trust in Christ, &c. If they do go to Cbrist to destroy their sin, this makes them more secure in their sin. For (say they) I cannot help it, and Christ must do all. Whereas faith makes the soul mourn after the Lord the more."-SHEPARD's Parable of the Tere Virgins, Part II. p. 168.
against those that oppose and dislike them. Matth. v. 45, 46. Be like your Father which is in heaven ; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? Some shew a great affection to their neighbours, and pretend to be ravished with the company of the children of God abroad : but at the same time are uncomfortable and churlish towards their near relations at home, and are very negligent of relative duties. And as to the great love to sinners and opposers of religion, and the great concern for their souls, that some express, even to extreme agony-singling out a particular person from among a multitude for its objectwhile at the same time there is no general compassion to sinners in equally miserable circumstances, but what is in a monstrous disproportion; this seems not to be of the nature of a gracious affection. Not that I suppose it to be at all strange, that pity to the perishing souls of sinners should be to a degree of agony, if other things are answerable; or that a truly gracious compassion to souls should be exercised much more to some persons than others who are equally miserable, especially on some particular occasions. Many things may happen to fix the mind, and affect the heart, with respect to a particular person, at such a juncture; and without doubt some saints have been in great distress for the souls of particular persons, so as to be, as it were, in travail for them. But when persons appear, at particular times, in agonies for the soul of some single person, far beyond what has been usual in eminent saints, but appear to be far inferior to them in a spirit of meek and fervent lore, charity, and compassion to mankind in general; I say, such agonies are greatly to be suspected, because the Spirit of God is wont to give graces and gracious affections in a beautiful symmetry and proportion.
And as there is a monstrous disproportion in the love of some, in its exercises towards different persons, so there is in their seeming exercises of love towards the same persons. Some men shew a love to others as to their outward man, they are liberal of their worldly substance, and often give to the poor ; but have no love to, or concern for the souls of men. Others pretend a great love to men's souls, but are not compassionate and charitable towards their bodies. To make a great shew of love, pity, and distress for souls, costs them nothing; but in order to shew mercy to men's bodies, they must part with money. But a true Christian love to our
brethren, extends both to their souls and bodies; and herein is like the love and compassion of Jesus Christ. He shewed mercy to men's souls, by laboriously preaching the gospel to them; and to their bodies, in going about doing good, healing all manner of sickness and diseases among the people. We have a remarkable instance of Christ's compassion at once both to men's souls and bodies, in Mark vi. 34, &c. And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd : and he began to teach them many things. Here was his compassion to their souls. And in the sequel, we have an account of his compassion to their bodies; be fed five thousand of them with five loaves and two fishes, because they had been a long while having nothing to eat. And if the compassion of professing Christians towards others does not work in the same ways, it is a sign that it is no true Christian compassion.
And furthermore, it is a sign that affections are not of the right sort, if persons seem to be much affected with the bad qualities of their fellow-Christians, (as the coldness and lifelessness of other saints,) but are in no proportion affected with their own defects and corruptions. A true Christian may be affected with the coldness and unsavouriness of other saints, and may mourn much over it; but at the same time, he is not so apt to be affected with the badness of any body's heart, as his own; this is most in his view; this he is most quick-sighted to discern; to see its aggravations, and to condemn. A lesser degree of virtue will bring him to pity himself, and be concerned at his own calamities, than is needful rightly to be affected with those of others; and if men have not attained to the less, we may determine they never attained to the greater.
And here by the way, I would observe, that it may be laid down as a general rule, That if persons pretend to high attainments in religion, who have never yet arrived to the lesser, it is a sign of a vain pretence. If persons pretend, that they have got beyond mere morality, to live a spiritual and divine life; but really have not come to be so much as moral persons: or pretend to be greatly affected with the wickedness of their hearts, and are not affected with the palpable violations of God's commands in their practice, which is a lesser attainment, their pretences are vain. If they pretend to be brought to be even willing to be damned for the glory of God, but have no forwardness to suffer a little in
their estates and names, and worldly convenience, for the sake of their duty: or finally pretend that they are not afraid to venture their souls upon Christ, and commit their all to God, trusting to his bare word, and the faithfulness of his promises, for their eternal welfare; but at the same time, have not confidence enough in God, to dare to trust him with a little of their estates, bestowed to pious and charitable uses : I say, when it is thus with persons, their pretences are manifestly vain. He that is on a journey, and imagines he has got far beyond such a place in his road, and never yet came to it, must be mistaken. He has not yet arrived at the top of the hill, who never yet got half-way thither. But this by the way.
What has been observed of the affections of love, is applicable also to other religious affections. Those that are true, extend in some proportion to their due and proper objects : but the false, are commonly strangely disproportionate. So. it is with religious desires and longings; these in the saints, are towards those things that are spiritual and excellent in general, and in some proportion to their excellency, importance or necessity, or the near concern they have in them: but in false longings, it is often far otherwise. They will strangely run, with impatient vehemence, after something of less in portance, when other things of greater importance are neglected. Thus for instance, some persons are attended with a vehement inclination, an accountably violent pressure, to declare to others what they experience, and to exhort them; when there is at the same time no inclination, in any proportionable measure, to other things, to which true Christianity bas as great, yea, a greater tendency; as pouring out the soul before God in secret, earnest prayer and praise to bim, more conformity to him, living more to his glory, &c. We read in scripture of groanings that cannot be uttered, and soul-breakings for the longing it hath ; and longings, thirstings, and pantings, much more frequently to these latter things, than the former.
And so as to hatred and zeal; when these are from right principles, they are against sin in general, in soine proportion to the degree of sinfulness; Psal. cxix. 107. I hate every false way. So ver. 128. But a false hatred and zeal against sin, is against some particular sin only. Thus some seem to be very zealous against profaneness, and pride in apparel, who themselves are notorious for covetousness, closeness, and it may be backbiting, envy towarıls superiors, turbulency of spirit towards rulers, and rooted ill-will to those who have injured
them. False zeal is against the sins of others; while he that has true zeal, exercises it chiefly against his own sins; though he shews also a proper zeal against prevailing and dangerous iniquity in others. Some pretend to have a great abhorrence of their own inward corruption; and yet make light of sins in practice, and seem to commit them without much restraint ør remorse; though these imply sin, both in heart and life.
As there is a much greater disproportion in the exercises of false affections, than of true, as to different objects; so there is also, as to different times. For although true Christians are not always alike-yea, there is very great difference, at different times, and the best have reason to be greatly ashamed of their unsteadiness yet there is in no wise the instability and inconstancy of the false-hearted, in those who are true virgins, that follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. The righteous man is truly said to be one whose heart is fired, trusting in God, (Psal. cxii. 7.) and whose heart is established with grace; (Heb. xiii. 9.) Job xvii. 9. The righteous shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall war stronger and stronger. It is spoken of as a note of the hypocrisy of the Jewish church, that they were as a swift dromedary, traversing her ways.
If therefore persons are religious only by fits and starts; if they now and then seem to be raised up to the clouds in their affections, and then suddenly fall down again, lose all, and become quite careless and carnal, and this is their manner of carrying on religion; if they appear greatly moved, and mightily engaged in religion, only in extraordinary seasonsas in the time of a remarkable out-pouring of the Spirit, or other uncommon dispensations of Providence, or upon the real or supposed receipt of some great mercy, &c —but quickly return to such a frame, that their hearts are chiefly upon other things, and the prevailing stream of their affections is ordinarily towards the things of this world, they clearly evince their unsoundness. When they are like the children of Israel in the wilderness, who had their affections highly raised by what God had done for them at the Red Sea, and sang his praise and soon fell a lusting after the flesh-pots of Egypt; but then again wben they came to Mount Sinai, and saw the great manifestations God made of himself there, seemed to be greatly engaged again, and mightily forward to enter into covenant with God, saying, All that the Lord hath spoken will we do, and be obedient, but then quickly made them a golden calf; I say, when it is thus with persons, it is a sign of the unsoundness