Page images
PDF
EPUB

men, if they believe that there is a God and a Saviour; and some of them will say, that they do believe that there is a God, and that he is merciful, and that there is a Saviour, and that he hath died for sinners: but my fellow sinners, if this faith do not lead you to repentance, it cannot save you; for St. James saith, That the devils also believe and tremble, and yet they are not saved. Now the next faith which I shall endeavour, by the assistance of God, to speak of, is the common or geteral faith. Now, my brethren, we must not despise this faith, for I think it is a faith connected with a spark, or a degree of God's grace, implanted as a talent in the soul of man, from the fall of Adam; and no doubt but what it will do him good, if he follow on to know the Lord; for I perceive that this faith is by the dawn of God's grace, put into the soul of a man, to testify that God will have mercy upon him, if he repenteth, and forsaketh his sins; for I believe that there is a measure of this faith, through grace, given to every man to profit thereby; but if he makes no good use of it and neglects to read and pray continually, then it is like hiding his talent in the earth, and will do him no more good than an historical faith, and he may die in his sins, and never feel the consolation, and the pardoning love and grace, which the people of God enjoy. But he that seeketh, shall find: but if the gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost. But, my dear friends, this need not be the case with any of us, for the Lord is not willing that any should perish, as St. Peter saith, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter iii. 9.) For still there is help in the Lord. For now behold the special grace and faith, and call of God, which God by his spirit operates in our souls, at some certain times, by the Son of his love. Now, my readers have you never found this excellent call of God { Now consider, it may be when thou was in the house of God, or it may be when thou was alone in the field, or it may be when thou was upon thy bed, in the night-season, or perhaps in deep sleep, where no eye saw thee, but God; now I say, hath not something troubled you in those seasons concerning the state of thy immortal soul? What have been the feelings of thy mind in those seasons ? Have thou never found thy miserable state and condition, by sinaing against God, in those seasons ? Oh what was thou afraid of? What did

appear in thy mind? Did not something appear like the burning fames ? Surely methinks that thou felt remorse of mind, or the 'stings of a guilty conscience, that thou had sinned against ko good a God; and perhaps felt something like this suggestion come into your mind, I must repent, and seek salvation, or else be lost for ever. So it appears to me that at this season the sinner hath some hope, that is, if he repents and seeks for salvation, there may be a possibility for him to be saved. But, on the other hand, it is plainly made known'unto him, that if he do not repent, and seek salvation, he must be for ever lost. Now, I believe this to be a special call of God, which convinceth the soul of sin, and causeth him to feel conviction. But in this state Almighty God doth not leave him, for he causeth his special grace and faith, and that through Christ, to come home to his soul; so that he hath sufficient grace and faith to believe, that if he repents, and prays for mercy, through Christ, he may be saved. But at the same time, he hath a guilty conscience that tells him that if he do not repent, and seek for mercy, he must be cast away, or be lost for ever. But again, on the other hand, if he take the right way, the Lord will bless him with higher degrees of grace and faith, sufficient, through Christ, to save his soul. Therefore, now let me show you, by the grace

of God, what saving grace, and saving faith is. Now, I believe, that saving grace, and saving faith are very closely connected; for how.can a man experience saving grace, without saving faith? or how can he experience saving faith, without saving grace? And it also appears, that there is a growth in grace and faith, and that by small degrees of God's grace, that the poor sınner is convinced of sin; and it also causeth him to feel conviction, and that of his guilt and misery. Now, if he take the right way, and humbleth himself before Almighty God, with a contrition of heart, that is, a great sorrow, by the account of his sins, so that it causeth him to cry out, saying, Lord have mercy upon me, or I perish; or, what must I do to be saved Now, if it be so with him, then God at his good time will surely impart saving grace, and saving faith to his mind; and they will come hand in hand so sweetly together, into the bosom of his soul; and above all, the poor sinner will see by the eye of faith, the bleeding Lamb of God, who hath suffered 80 much for the redemption of his soul, so that he can believe by faith, through grace, to the salvation of his soul--80 that he can cry out with joy unspeakable, and say, Thou art the Lord my God. Now, my dear friends, this important work may seem hard to some, to come up to this degree of faith

and grace, but the way to obtain it is by prayer, in the strength of the Lord thy God. But now for further satisfaction to some, I would direct your minds, to my little Book called Christ's Comfort to his people, and there you may find some excellent lines wrote down, which are adapted very suitable to this purpose. But now my brethren, we must not be discouraged, nor dismayed, no more than we can help, if we do not realize this blessed spirit of grace and faith always to such a high degree in our souls, after we first receive it; for we may expect very sharp trials after it: for this I know by experience. And again, I can see it very plain in the word of God; I do not wish to speak flattering words to any, neither do I wish to deceive any, by puffing them up with vain hopess and see my Book called The Trials of the Righteous. Now hear what the wise män saith, My son, saith he, if thou come to serve the Lord, prepare thy soul for temptation, for gold is tried in the fire and acceptable men in the furnace of adversity. (see the Apoc. to Eccl. 2.--see Matt. iv. 1-2 Tim. iii. 12.-1 Peter. iv 12.-Rev. iii. 10. and vii. 14.) But our blessed Lord will not suffer us to be tried or tempted more than we are able to bear, and if we look to him he will surely make a way for our escape. And again, my brethren, hear wisdom, it is said of her at the first, If a man commit himself unto her, he shall inherit her, and his generation shall hold her in possession, for at the first she will walk with him, by crooked

and bring fear and dread upon him, and torment him with her discipline, until she may trust his soul, and try him by her laws, then will she return the straight way unto him, and comfort him, and shew him her secrets; but if he go wrong, she will forsake him, and give him over to his own ruin. (Apoc. to Eccl. iv. 15.). So you see, my friends, we are as it were, in a state of probation on the earth; but my brethren, our blessed Lord will not leave us in those trying seasons, but if we look to him, he will surely come again, and comfort us. And hear again, brethren, what St. James saith, Blessed is the man that endureth temptation, for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. (see chap, i.) Therefore my beloved brethren, seeing these things are so, let us be careful so that we hold fast our first love. And now my readers, I will, by the grace of God, endeavour to show you some excellent

ways,

passages

of Scripture, concerning the faith of the children of God, or of the holy men of God.

Through grace, by faith and love, Abel offered up to God the life and the fat, of the firstling of his flock, and this was an excellent sacrifice, for he being a sinner by the fall. Now, this sacrifice sets forth his repentance and love, and through faith he implores God's mercy, which is by a mediator between God and man, and it also shows us, that he was willing to give unto God all his love, and the desire of his soul, and God accepted it, and by this acceptance, it is a token of God's love towards us, in giving, or in the offering up of his beloved Son, as a sacrifice for our sins. (Gen. iv. 4.-Heb. xi. 4.) And again, it also appears that Enoch was a good man, and that by faith, through grace, he walked with his God, three hundred years after he had begat Methuselah, and he was not: for God took him, and that by faith through the grace of Christ to everlasting glory. (Gen. v. 22.--see the Apoc. to Eccl. xliv, 16. and Heb. xi. 5.) Now the next thing is, which I shall endeavour, by the help of God, to direct your attention to, that is, of the trial of Abraham's faith: now Abraham was a man of much faith, and he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness. (Gen. xv. 6.) Now, Abraham had believed that the Lord would multiply his seed as the stars of heaven, yet at the same time, Sarah his wife had not bare him any seed, and there was a space of time whereby it seems that Abraham was somewhat tried concerning the promised seed, but at the set time in which God had spoken of, Sarah Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, and Abraham called his naine Isaac; therefore methinks that when Abraham beheld his son that he rejoiced in the word of the Lord, and praised the God of his salvation; but still Abraham's faith was to be tried methinks as much as this, Do thou love thy God best, or do thou love thy son best? No doubt but what Abraham loved his son much, but his love was stronger than death to his God, and he loved him in reference to all things. But now Abraham's love and faith must be proyed: Abel offered up to the Lord the firstling of his flock, but Abraham was commanded of his God, to offer up his only, beloved.son Isaac, for a burnt offering, he, even he, whom he had received as the promised seed. And now the word of God runs thus, and it is said that after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham, and he said, Behold here I am, and he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah, and offer him there for

a burnt offering, upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. (Gen. xx. 1.) But my brethren, I find that this passage, or subject of Scripture, is of such great importance, that it hath made me tremble, and put me to my straits, for fear that I should write any thing down, that would offend my God. O, I pray that thou will keep me from error O Lord, so that I may add nothing to thy word that is wrong, neither let me diminish nor take away from thy word any thing which is right, for to offend thee, O Lord, in this work, and that willingly and wilfully, I believe that it would be to the peril of my life, and everlasting destruction. Thou knowest, O Lord, my desire, and that is, that I may receive grace from thee, so that I may write down the truth according to thy word, and nothing but the truth, and that for thy glory, and the good of souls, and my everlasting happiness, through Jesus Christ our Lord. “And now speaking of Abraham, and the trial of his faith, it is said, that God did tempt Abraham. Now my friends, I must speak as I am taught by the spirit of God; whatsoever others believe, I believe this, that the temptation which God suffered to come upon Abraham, was never designed, nor intended by God for his hurt, but a great deal more on the other hand, and that was for the establishment of his faith, love, and affection, and for a vietory over sin and Satan; and for an example of obedience by faith, through grace to all generations. Therefore I believe that God's purpose in this, was for good, although it may appear unto us, somewhat like a temptation; but St. James saith, Let 'no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God, for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man to do evil. Therefore my friends, I believe that this temptation, which came upon Abraham, was no more than a trial of his faith, love, and obedience on God's part; and yet at the same time, it may be called a temptation; but according to my knowledge of the Old and New Testament, it appears to me, that Satan had some hand in it; so I really believe that God's pur. pose in this was for Abraham's profit and everlasting glory, and the good of souls; and on the other hand, I believe that the devil's purpose was for his fall, and everlasting destruction, and the ruin of souls, and the reason why I entertain such an opinion as this is because I see that the devil had a hand in the trials of the people of God, in almost all ages of the world; for we see that he had a hand in trying our first parent Adam, when he was in a pure state in the garden of Eden;

« PreviousContinue »