CHAP.  4.

Two Branches more of the Fifth Part of the former Argument,
and the several Particles which belong to the Second of them.


(2.) His sweet name (Exod. xxxiv, 6, 7), wherein is answered whatsoever may any ways be pretended for standing out in this case, as appears fully before, chap. iii, p. 240.

(3.) His glorious attributes.

1st. His truth. He that believeth hath set to his seal that God is true (John iii, 33). He that labours and is heavy laden with the burthen of sin, comes to Christ for ease when he is called, takes him for his Saviour and his Lord, and thereupon grounds a resolute, unshaken, and everlasting confidence, that lie is his for ever, puts to his seal that Christ is true, that his precious promise, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Mat. xi, 28), is inviolable. Whereby Christ Jesus, blessed for ever, is mightily honoured, his truth glorified, and thine own soul with extraordinary blessedness everlastingly enlivened. But he now that retires in this case and holds off, makes him who is truth itself a liar. “Ile that believeth not God, hath made him a liar” (1 John v, 10).

Now what a fearful indignity is this against the Lord God of truth! We see too often how miserable mortal men, worms of the earth, take such an affront at the hands one of another; for many times for the lie given them they throw themselves desperately upon the irrecoverable ruin of their lives, estates, souls, and posterity, by challenging and killing each other; which dishonour to the mighty Lord of heaven and earth is the greater, and is much aggravated by the infinite infallibility of the promises. For besides his word, which were more than immeasurably sufficient, he bath added a most solemn oath for our sakes, that we might have greater assurance and stronger consolation.

2d. His mercy, most directly and specially. And to say nothing of the freeness of his mercy, which springs only out of the riches of his infinite bounty, and “the good pleasure [[296]] of his will;” of his readiness to forgive, otherwise the death of Christ should be of none effect, his blood shed in vain, the greatest work lost that ever was done; of his “delight in mercy,” Micah vii, 18 (Mercy in man is a quality, in God it is his nature and essence. Now what we do naturally we do willingly, readily, unweariedly. As the eye is not weary of seeing, the ear with hearing, &c. A bee gives honey naturally, never stings but when provoked. When God is angry, it is but as it were by accident, upon occasion, drawn unto it by the violent importunity of our multiplied provocations; but he delights in mercy, &c.)—I say, to say nothing of these, this one consideration may convince us of extreme folly in refusing mercy in such a case, notwithstanding the heinousness or number of our sins; to wit, that no sins, either for number or notoriousness, in a truly broken heart, can make so much resistance to God's infinite mercies, as the least spark of fire could make to the whole sea, and that is little enough. Nay, as infinitely less as an infinite thing exceeds a finite; between which there is no proportion.

3d. his power. For thou art very likely thus or in the like manner to reason with thyself, and cavil cruelly against thine own soul. Alas! what talk you of taking Christ, the promises of life, and heavenly lightsomeness; my poor heart is as dark as the very middle of hell; much harder than a rock of adamant; as cold and dead as the senseless centre of the earth; as uncomfortable and restless almost as desperation itself. It is more than infinitely impossible that such a dark, hard, dead, comfortless thing should ever be enlightened, softened, quickened, and established with joy, &c.

But mark how herein thou unadvisedly undervaluest and unworthily settest bounds to the unlimited power of God. Whereas thou shouldest imitate Abraham, the father of all them that believe, who “staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that what he had promised he was able also to perform” (Rom. iv, 20, 21).

Be advised in this case:

[1.] To compare these two things together: “the making of the seven stars and Orion, and turning the shadow of death into the morning; “and the infusion of heavenly light into thy dark and heavy heart. And dost thou not think that the second is as easy as the first to the same omnipotent hand? Nay, it is easier in our own apprehension (to the Divine Majesty nothing is difficult or uneasy). For those glorious shining constellations were created of nothing; [[297]] and nothing hath no disposition to any being at all, much less to any particular existence; but a soul sensible and weary of its spiritual darkness is in the nearest and most immediate passive disposition, if I may so speak, to receive the whole sun of righteousness. Reach but out thy hand in this case to Jesus Christ offering himself freely unto thee as a Saviour and Lord, and thou shalt presently take possession of the kingdom of grace, and undoubted right to the everlasting kingdom of glory. The prophet (Amos v, 8) presseth this argument of power for some such purpose; and it may serve excellently against all pretences and counter-pleas, for a supposed impossibility of being enlightened and refreshed in the depth of spiritual darkness and distress. It may be thou mayest say unto me, You advise me indeed to seek God's face and favour; but, alas I mine is not an ordinary heart, it is so full of guilty sadness and horror for sin, that I have little hope. Yea, but consider, He that I counsel thee to seek, “I made the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning;” and will do far greater wonders for thy soul if thou wilt “believe the prophets that thou mayest prosper.” If thou wilt trust in him, he will quickly turn the tumultuous roarings of thy conscience into perfect peace. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in thee” (Isa. xxvi, 3). The prophet, therefore. to prevent all scruples and exceptions in this kind, calls upon them thus: “Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion,” &c.

[2.] Lay these two together: “To bring honey out of the rock and oil out of the flinty rock” (Deut. xxxii, 13); and to mollify thine heart, even to thine own heart's desire; in which there is already some softness, else thou couldst not sensibly and sincerely complain of its hardness. And thou must needs acknowledge that they are both equally easy to the same Almighty arm.

[3.] Thou mayest well consider that it is a far greater work “to make heaven and earth,” than to put spiritual life and lightsomeness into thy truly humbled and thirsty soul, to which so many precious promises are made. And He, with whom thou hast to do, and from whom thou expectest help, is He “that made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that therein is; which keepeth truth for ever” (Psalm cxlvi, 6); which openeth the eyes of the blind, and raiseth them that are bowed down; “which healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds; who taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy” (Psalm cxlvii, 3, 11).

[[298]] [4.] In such an extremity of helplessness and hopelessness, in this trembling and terror of thy heart, thou shouldst call to mind for thy comfort, that “he who establisheth all the ends of the earth” (Prov. xxx, 4) and bath “hung” that mighty and massive body “upon nothing” (Job xxvi, 7), can most easily stay and stablish the most forlorn and forsaken soul, even sinking into the mouth of despair. He that said at first to the earth, Stand still upon nothing, and it never stirred out of its place since the creation, can easily uphold, fortify, and refresh thine heart in the depth of the most grievous spiritual misery; even when in the bitterness of thy spirit thou criest, “My strength and my hope is perished from the Lord” (Lament. iii, 18).

4th. Even his justice. Christ's blood is already paid as a price for the pardon of the sins of thine humbled soul, and thou wilt needs pay it over again, or else thou wilt not enter upon the purchase: as though God did expect and exact the discharge of the same debt twice, which to imagine, were a monstrous intolerable indignity to the most just God. You know full well what we should think of that man, who having a debt fully discharged by the surety, should press upon the principal for the payment of the same again. We should indeed think him to be a very cruel, hard-hearted, and merciless man; we should call him a Turk, a cut-throat, a cannibal, far fitter to lodge in a den of tigers than to live in the society of men. What a fearful dishonour then is it to the merciful and mighty Lord of heaven and earth, to the righteous Judge of all the world, to conceive, that having received an exact and full satisfaction for all our sins, by the heart's blood of his own dear Son, he should ever require them again at our hands! Far be it then from every one, who would not offer extraordinary disparagement even to God's glorious justice, to entertain any such thought, especially since we have his word, his oath, and the seal of his Son's blood for security. And assuredly we may build upon it, as upon a rock of eternal truth; that when we come unto Christ, weary of all our sins, thirsting sincerely for him, and throwing ourselves upon him, as salvation itself, resolved to take upon us his sweet and easy yoke for the time to come, he doth presently, as he hath promised, take off the burthen, and free us everlastingly from the guilt and stain, condemnation and reign of all our sins.

But now if thou wilt cast thyself upon Jesus Christ, roll thyself upon the promises, being so humbled, spiritually thirsty, and resolved, as thou hast said and I supposed at [[299]] the first (for we who are God's messengers, comfort and assure of pardon in such cases, only upon supposition, that the heart and speeches, all the promises and protestations of the party and patient we deal with, be sincere every way); I say, if thou thus cast thyself upon the Lord Jesus and the promises of life, having a well-grounded, strong, and seasonable calling thereunto, being, as appears before, invited, entreated, commanded, &c. the case will be blessedly altered. Thou shalt now do as God would have thee; and mightily honour the invaluable and infinite dignity of his Son's passion and blood, the precious freeness of all the promises, his free love, sweet name, truth, mercy, power, justice, &c.; thou shalt also cut off and defeat the devil's present fiery darts and projects of further cruelty; disentangle and unwind thyself out of the irksome maze of restless terrors and trouble of mind; crown thine own soul in the meantime “with peace that passeth all understanding. with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (Philip. iv, 7; and 1 Pet. i, 8); with evangelical pleasures, such as “neither eye hath seen, ear heard, or have entered into the heart of man” (1 Cor. ii, 9); and hereafter be most certainly received by that sweetest Redeemer of thine into those glorious mansions above, where nothing but light and blessed immortality, no shadow for matter of tears, dis-contentments, griefs, and uncomfortable passions to work upon; but all joy, tranquillity, and peace, even for ever and ever, doth dwell.