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of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly." (Prov. xx. 27.) It is the great treasure that ought to be kept, and used well; "for out of it are the issues of life." (Prov. iv. 23.) Its joys and bitternesses lie deep within itself; and they are not to be intermeddled with by strangers. (Prov. xiv. 10.) The countenance of a man is but the index of his spirit. It is in the soul that joys and sorrows centre and seat themselves: "A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken." (Prov. xv. 13.) Many infirmities or distresses may easily be undergone by a sound heart; but if the spirit itself be wounded, how dreadful are its wounds! (Prov. xviii. 14.) The spirit of man is God's vicegerent, and a great mirror of himself; and as it accuses and condemns when it well understands and minds itself, so it is the vail and representative of its God unto itself, in Rom. ii. 15, and 1 John iii. 19, 21. It can (you see) both summon-in, and search itself. It can both challenge and discourse itself. It can command, reprove, exhort, encourage, enlarge, restrain, itself; it can arraign its temper, principles, purposes, actions, sufferings, and designs; and make itself inquisitor, judge, jury, witness, and executioner, to itself. It can look every way; and make both heaven and earth, good things and bad, some way or other serviceable to its own concern; and turn all the memorials and notices of its God to self-improvements and relief. It is capable of moral government, and of full joys and sorrows, congenial with its contracted principles, temper, and behaviour, here. It is capable of converse and communion with its God; of grace and comfort, heaven or hell. It can perceive its own distresses and concerns, enjoy the best things, and improve the worst; and so consider all things as to accept, refuse, approve, condemn; and so resolve upon or wave a matter, as it sees to be most fit. Nor needs it to truckle under any thing but guilt and wrath, when plunged thereinto by its own folly and neglect. The text here shows you what the soul of man can do; and if it be replied, that "David's soul,-it was gracious; " and that "grace only brought it thus to be disciplined and tutored by itself;" it is answered, that grace can have no such effects on stones and brutes, which grace and diligent care might make good use of; and all souls might do thus with and by themselves, did they not by sin degrade themselves. For all souls have imperative, directive, and active powers.

INFER. II. Graceless sinners are under dreadful circumstances when troubles come upon them." But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile." (Rom. ii. 8, 9.) "Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks: walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow. ." (Isai. 1. 11.) "But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." (Isai. lvii. 20, 21.) "And

what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?” (Isai. x. 3.) "The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?" (Isai. xxxiii. 14.) For when their miseries surprise and overthrow them, should they then say, "Why so disquieted and cast down?" they have that within them which will rather say, "O, why disquieted no more," seeing there is so little ground of hope from God? "For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape." (1 Thess. v. 3.) All is so vile and foul within them, and all so frightful and amazing to them, whether they look within them, about them, or above them, as that the greatest wonder is, how they escape distractions. Souls so neglected and degraded, and every way devoted to the will and service of the devil! such manifold and mighty sins abounding in and from them! and such great wrath to be inflicted on them! such clear and numerous presages of fearful storms approaching toward them! such an inhabitant and tyrant as Satan, to make them do, be, lose, and slight even any thing but what they should! a God so much incensed against them, and every way so resolved and engaged to ensnare and ruin them! and their own spirits, amidst all this, so much estranged from, uneasy in, so frightful to, and so much at variance with themselves, so as that they never can be reconciled to themselves again! Why should not these souls be " disquieted and cast down," when troubles come upon them, like messengers with these heavy tidings from the God of heaven, that they shall see his face no more? What succour, hope, or refuge, hath the dejected soul, but God? What sanctuary is there for it, in its storms and chases, but the all-sufficient Jehovah? And how can mercy and redresses be expected from Him, whom they can no way comfortably call their God, whilst as yet unconverted persons? They have neither encouragement nor a heart to seek him acceptably and successfully. "Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: for that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: they would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices." (Prov. i. 24-31.) Their present troubles are but the harbingers and foretastes of eternal and unmixed wrath to come. Providence serves the writ, and gives the summons. Conscience confounds, and holds the prisoner fast, under the seizures of God's providence. Justice draws up the bill against them; and

vengeance fixes them to their racks; and they have nothing left them but their fearful expectations and reproaches. "For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Heb. x. 26, 31.) "And he shall say, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trusted, which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and drank the wine of their drink-offerings? let them rise up and help you, and be your protection." (Deut. xxxii. 37, 38.) Let these men read Job xviii. 7, 21; xxvii. 8, 9.


INFER. III. Excellent is the case and temper of gracious souls in 2 Cor. i. 12; Phil. i. 20; Isai. xli. 10, 17.-" For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to youward." According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death." "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousWhen the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them." A good heart within them, a clear way before them, a good God for them, a good understanding of their case and state, and such encouraging refreshments and supports, so ready for them at their call, when truly needful to them!-what greater requisites than these can we mention and propose unto ourselves, to render our condition easy, safe, and happy here? What need we more, to calm and cheer up our disturbed spirits with? (Rom. viii. 31-39; 2 Cor. xii. 7, 9.) The God! My God! "The health of my countenance!" and One that yet is to be praised by me! and therefore One that I must fully and may safely hope in! Why may not these things bear a gracious spirit up, and quicken and embolden it to bid defiance to all attempts which earth or hell can make to ruin and unhinge it? The gracious soul, as such, is fit for any thing; and it is entitled to the greatest blessings from its God, and in due season shall possess them. What God by grace hath made and brought it to, renders it fit for God's great blessings and supports; and what God promises, it may safely trust to, and confidently rely upon. The text here shows you what the gracious soul can do. It can restrain itself from its immoderate sorrows, by its faithful dealing with itself, and by making a right judgment upon whatever doth at any time befall it and as there is something in it apt to raise storms, and vexatious resentments of its pressures and afflictions, so are there certain principles, and a seed of God, within them; and that in God above them, and before them, which will not always suffer their sorrows and dejections to transgress their stated bounds and rules; because the composed and still soul is fittest for communion with God, hope in him, service to him, and consolation



from him. See here how narrowly David observed himself, how skilfully he discoursed himself, how powerfully he restrained himself, and how readily he could and did enlarge, encourage, and exalt himself! You may discern in him, that grace will not admit of nor countenance any unfit reflections upon God. It will not fall heavily with its censorious carpings upon his providence, nor in an angry pet of frowardness and impatience fall out with him. It threatens no revenge to evil men. It will not flee to sinful shifts and refuges : neither is any thing chidden, cited, or arraigned, but the "disquieted and disturbed spirit ;" and yet even here, it is not so much clamorous and impatient, as it is inquisitive after and resolved upon its regular self-redress. If any thing ail it or afflict it, it minds the grounds, the measures, and the effects thereof upon itself. Stupid, indeed, it is not; for it feels God's hand upon it. Immoderate or careless in its griefs it will not be; for it will call its sorrows and itself unto the test and bar, and there impartially examine all its pressures, its sense of them, and its behaviour under them. Nor will it sullenly be neglectful of itself in troubles; for it will urge itself to all just observations and improvements of its best helps and remedies; and when it finds that only "hope in God" must bear it up and succour it, O then how copiously and closely is the name of God considered by it! "I shall yet praise Him; the health of my countenance, and my God." If it be forced abroad (as holy David now was) to sorrowful wanderings, solitudes, and retirements, its very privacies shall be spent in pertinent soliloquies, and so be improved to its own best advantage, and consequently be made to turn to very good account at last. It is and will be provident for soul-good, wherever it is, and whatever it is called to undergo. And when, upon impartial search, it finds (as it will quickly do) that no relief can be expected but from and by "hope in God," how prevalent are its gracious principles and instincts, in carrying it to look much higher than itself for help! Nor will it ever look upon its case as desperate and lost remedilessly, whilst there is room and ground for hope in God to help it. Yet is it orderly and calm in its procedures; for it first talks with itself, and then looks up to God; and though it be difficult to disperse and quell its griefs and sorrows when they are gathered to a head, yet "duty is duty, hot or cold;" and it is not difficulty that can divorce the gracious soul therefrom. It can find work in storms and trials for all its faculties, principles, and graces; and they must vigorously perform their functions, to serve those weighty turns and purposes which so much concern the exercised soul. And it well knows, and doth consider it as wisely, that storms and tumults of this nature are never truly laid, nor the afflicted soul refreshed, either by transient and hasty or by hard thoughts of God; and it is its happiness and support, that it hath a God to flee to, a heart to hope in him and to praise him, and an interest in God, and a covenant of promises from God, to encourage hope in God.

INFER. IV. O what refreshments do a due sense and lovely thoughts of God afford to gracious souls under their troubles and disquiet


ments!—" And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen." (2 Tim. iv. 18.) O let those passages be read considerately, in Lam. iii. 21-36. It is in God's gracious name (so solemnly proclaimed in Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7) that gracious souls may act themselves, when all things shake and fail about them, and their hearts tremble in them: "The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel." (Joel iii. 16.) Here is that anchor which must stay the soul, and hold its hope, when all the seas of its concerns and thoughts are most severely pressed and broken by storms and tempests in it and about it. Good thoughts of God will make us cheerfully to endure afflictions, and to improve the worst condition. "Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts; all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me. Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the day-time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life." (Psalm xlii. 7, 8.) "Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man. For thou art the God of my strength." (Psalm xliii. 1, 2.) David here found relief "The sor

when all things else proved miserable comforters to him. rows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me I found trouble and sorrow. Then called I upon the name of the Lord; O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul." And what was his encouragement? "Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.” (Psalm cxvi. 3-5.) And they that would cherish "hope in God "should not so much resort to Sinai as to Sion; and rather go to Gerizim than to Ebal, if they would have such thoughts of God as shall and will encourage hope in him. God here was represented by David to himself as his God, as "the health of his countenance," and as that God whom he should surely praise, whatever other face and aspect were at present upon things; and by these things did he resolve upon, awaken, and refresh his "hope in God." If God be only set before our eyes, as clothed with vengeance, as an inexorable and severe Judge, and as upon the throne of judgment, our hopes will quickly turn to desperation: and who can possibly hope in Him, that takes Him for his enemy? But he that remembers and minds God, as Love itself, as ready to commiserate the cases of his afflicted servants, and as one waiting to be gracious, and ready to forgive, hear, heal, and save; this man gets presently upon the wing, and freely throws himself as at the feet of mercy, and can more easily part with his life, than with his hope in God. (Job xiii. 15.)


And now, to give no check to your patience by my prolixity, let me close all, and drive the matter home, if possibly I may, and exhort you to these things: :

EXHORTATION 1. Keep up all amiable and attracting thoughts of

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