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reconciled to him and loves him in his Son. When he is satisfied of this, he will see all things (the cross among the rest) well ordered for him in the covenant, and all working together for the best. The cross is mercifully sent to make a trial of these doctrines: by it God would manifest the truth and bring forth the power of them, that it may appear they were not learned, as notions, but experienced by his almighty grace. His end is answered. The trial of faith establishes the peace of God in the conscience, and confirms the love of God in the heart, and thereby keeps patience waiting for strength to hold out, and for a blessed issue. The believer, made strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, endures patiently. He knows from whom his cross comes. It is the appointment of his Father; who does not send it in hatred. He never afflicts his children, but in perfect love. He never put a heavy cross upon them to break the back of their patience, but to strengthen it; and to train them up to bear greater burdens. He would teach them their weakness, and his strength -their wants and their supplies--he would call forth their faith for the honour of his word—and their patience for the glory of his faithfulness. Lord, teach me these lessons. I want the experience of them every day. O my God, make me an humble disciple in the school of Christ. There only can I learn to suffer thy will: to thee I come for this grace. Assist me, O thou Spirit of wisdom and revelation, in reading thy word, that through patience and comfort of the scriptures I may have hope. Enable me to meditate night and day on the doctrines of grace revealed in them, and to mix faith with them, that I may be strong in the patience of hope. O merciful God and Father, I desire to be strengthened mightily by thy Spirit in the inner man to bear thy cross. I would live in a continual dependence upon thine arm to carry me through every trial. O thou God of patience and consolation, enable me to bear thy cross daily to the praise of the glory of thy grace, and to bear it patiently to the end, that I may
finish my course with joy. Be it unto thy servant according to thy word, wherein thou hast caused me to put my trust. Amen, so be it, Lord, Amen.
To receive benefit from afflictions is a great blessing, To suffer them with a resigned will, yea to rejoice in them, as if all the joy in the world was come to us, is contrary to sense and feeling; to carnal reason and to human philosophy; therefore our heavenly Father has graciously informed his children of his love in afflicting them: These informations are the ground of their faith, and were given to silence murmuring in their hearts, and to keep them waiting patiently for the promised fruits of suffering. Among which this is a
THIRD, and not the least, namely, the crucifying of the flesh, and the deadening of it in those affections and lusts, which, if not daily mortified, should stop the believer in his walk, and would hinder his holy communion with God. When faith has been tried, and is come out of the fire, proved to be the faith of God's elect, and when patience has gone through the fiery furnace and has found no harm, then it is the Father's will to advance and to improve his children in the doctrine of the cross. They have a carnal mind still, which is enmity against God-a body of sin-an old man of sin-the flesh in them lusting against the spirit. This their fleshly nature, which doth remain, yea in them that are regenerated, is the greatest enemy to their holy walk with God in constant peace and growing love: Because it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. The life of sense in them is always opposing the life of God. Hence the continual war between nature and grace, which if a man does not find in himself, he may depend upon it he either never was alive to God, or close at that time he is dead to God. If he be living by the faith of the Son of God, he will also be fighting the good fight of faith against all the enemies of his salvation. He will never think of putting off the whole armour of God until he put off the body of sin and of death: and until that day come, he will be striving for the mastery over his body, that he may keep it under and bring it into subjection. How absolutely necessary this striving is appears from the tender compassion of our God and Father, who has appointed and decreed in covenant love all the crosses, which were to be laid upon our rebel nature, and which were to be kept upon it, till death. It is his holy will hereby to restrain its affections, to mortify its lust, to hedge up its way by thorns and afflictions, and by these means he would weaken its power. Is not this mercy unspeakable? And what more likely method could he contrive thus to crucify the flesh, than to put it, and to keep it upon the cross ? For as the sinful nature is deadened the new man is renewed day by day. The one grows more alive by the mortification of the other. The subduing of unbelief, pride, and self-seeking is the strengthening of faith, humility, and glorifying God. This command therefore is frequently given to believers-Put off the old man-put on the new-mortify your members which are upon the earth-crucify the Hesh with its affections and lusts. And this is spoken to believers high in grace, as high as ever any went, or can go. The Spirit of God says to the SAINTS at Rome
Let not sin reign in your mortal body, that ye 6 should obey it in the lusts thereof, neither yield ye “ your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto “ sin.” The infallible Spirit speaks to the SAINTS at Ephesus—“ Put off concerning the former conversa" tion the old man, who is corrupt according to the de56 ceitful lusts; and put on the new man.” The same precept is given by the same Spirit to the saints at Coloss~" Mortify your members which are upon the “ earth.” This is an holy war; and all the saints of God are engaged in it. They are fighting against every thing sinful, but more particularly watching under arms against their own corrupt nature, which is their hardest warfare: because there is no release from it, and it is carried on by continual self denial, by resisting the affections and lusts of the old man, and by opposing his giving up the members of his body, as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin. But as good soldiers of Christ Jesus they resist unto blood, striving against sin, The Captain of their salvation is always on their side to encourage them with his promises, and to help them with his strength. He intends to lead them on conquering and to conquer, therefore he lays the cross upon their corruptions, as the most effectual means of subduing them, and to reconcile them to it, he speaks unto them, as unto children
My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord. I do not afflict thee in hatred, but in covenant love. My design is to mortify the body of sin, and therefore I give thee this wholesome physic. Thou hast many bad humours and corruptions, for which I have appointed this sovereign medicine. Trust my skill-believe my love-depend upon mine arm--and thou wilt infallibly find it profitable to the spirit however painful to the flesh. Wait, and the end shall be blessed.
To this truth the prophet Isaiah bears a clear testimony. He explains the Lord's design in afflicting his people, and tells them, it was to purge them from their iniquity, to keep them from the love of sin, and to restrain the practice of it. He afflicted them in mercy : But he afflicted their enemies in justice. Hath he smitten Israel, as he smote those that smote him? No, he has not. Or is he slain according to the slaughter of them that are slain by him? No, he chastises his in love; he has appointed the measure, the time, the degree of their correction. “In measure when it shoot« eth forth, thou wilt debate with it; he stayeth his “ rough wind in the day of his east wind; by this “ (moderate affliction) therefore shall the iniquity of “ Jacob be purged, and this is all the fruit to take « away his sin.” to keep him back from sin in general, and from the sin of idolatry in particular, as it follows in the prophet" When he maketh all the stones of “ the altar like chalk stones that are beaten in sunder, “ then the groves and images shall not stand up.” The
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WALK OF FAITH.
35 altar, at which they offered their idol-worship, shall be broken down, like stones burnt in pieces for lime, and the groves and images shall not stand up, but shall be broken down also. These happy effects shall be brought about by sanctified affliction--iniquity shall be purged -sin shall be restrained-idolatry shall be thrown down. And God says, this shall be all the fruit and end of his chastening. He tells his people of his design, that they might know their affliction would bring forth good fruit, and that they might wait patiently for the fulfilling of his promise. Blessed are all they that wait for him; they shall never be disappointed of their hope.
How gracious is God in his dealings with his children? He provides the best for them, informs them of it, and because they have a fallen nature opposite to his holy mind and will, an enemy to his glory and to their own peace, he acquaints them with his design in subduing it. He appoints affliction for this end. It is the chastening of the Lord. He promises them strength to bear it, and comfort under it. Nothing but good shall flow from it. Iniquity, their worst enemy, shall be crucified; Actual sin, springing from the iniquity of their nature, shall be mortified: the heart shall be deadness to its old idols, and as it dies to them it shall be happier in the love of God. O blessed cross! what mercies dost thou bring with thee? Is not that blessed indeed, which under God produces such unspeakable mercies? Take it up then, O my soul, bear it patiently, and expect the choicest blessings of the Father's love from it. Why dost thou refuse ? It is heavy. It is painful. True, but what makes it so ? The burden is from thy rebel will. The pain comes from thy corruption unwilling to be mortified. Take it up in faith, and thou wilt find strength enough to bear it, and blessings enough to make it a matter of all joy. Lord God, reconcile me to my daily cross. May thy will in it be done. Mortify sin, weaken its power, deaden its affections and lusts. Only Lord, whatever cross thou sendest, give grace with it, that I may bear it patiently,
y rebel wille mortified. To bear it, and God, re