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represent all believing souls, and they are set down in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. In 2 Tim. ii. 12, we read, If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him; and in John xiv. 2, 3. I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also; so in Rev. iii, 21 ; To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set done with my Father in his throne. Now what would you have more, weak soulsl Christ shares with you, and you share with Christ. You are apt to be discouraged, because you do not share with Christ in such measures of grace, comfort, and holiness, as such and such strong saints do. Oh, but remember in how many weighty things Christ and you are sharers, and be dejected if you can. Ah, Christians, what, though you do not share in the honours, profits, pleasures, and advantages of the world? yet this should be your joy and crown, that Christ and your souls are sharers in those things that are most eminent and excellent, most precious and glorious; and the serious remembrance hereof, should bear up your heads, hopes, and hearts, above all the troubles, temptations, and afflictions that come upon you in this world.
III. The third thing propounded, was, to shew you the duty of weak saints. Who these weak saints are, you have heard; and what their supports and comforts are, you have heard: and now I shall shew you their duty in the following particulars.
1. And the first duty that I shall press upon weak saints, is this—to be thankful for that little grace they have.
Wilt thou be thankful, O Christian, for the least courtesy shewed thee by men? And wilt thou not be thankful for that little measure of grace that is bestowed upon thee by God? Dost thou remember, O weak Christian, that the least measure of grace is worth more than a thousand worlds? that it is worth more than heaven itself? Dost thou remember, O weak Christian, that the greatest number of men have not the least measure or dram of saving grace? Does free grace knock at thy door, when it passes by the doors of thousands? And does it cast a pearl of price into thy bosom, when others are left to wallow in their blood for ever? And wilt thou not be thankful? O do but consider, weak souls, how notoriously wicked you would have been, if the Lord had not bestowed a little grace upon you. Thou lookest, O soul, one way, and there thou hearest some cursing, banning, and blaspheming God to his very face. Had not the Lord given thee a little grace, ten thousand to one but thou hadst been one in wickedness among the monsters of mankind. And thou lookest another way, and there thou seest persons dicing, carding, and drunkening. Why had not the Lord vouchsafed to thee some tastes and sips of grace, thou mightest have been as vile as the vilest among them. Ah weak saints, you do not think what an awakened conscience would give for a little of that little grace that the Lord has given you. Were all the world a lump of gold, and in their hand to give, they would give it for the least spark of grace, for the least drop of mercy.
I have read of a man who, being in a burning fever, professed that if he had all the world at his disposal, he would give it all for one draught of water. So would an awakened conscience for one dram of grace. 'O,' says such a soul, 'when I look up, and see God frowning; when I look inward, and feel conscience gnawing and accusing; when I look downward, and see hell open to receive me; and when I look on my right and left hand, and see devils standing ready to accuse me, O had I a thousand worlds, I would give them all for a little drop of that grace that such and such souls have, whom I have formerly slighted and despised.' O what would not a damned soul that hath been but an hour in hell, give for a drop of that grace that thou hast in thy heart? Think seriously of this, and be thankful.
Well, remember one thing more and that is this, that there is no such way to get much grace, as to be thankful for a little grace. He who opens his mouth wide in praises, shall have his heart filled with graces. Ingratitude stops the ear of God, and shuts the hand of God, and turns away the heart of the God of grace; and therefore you had need be thankful for a little grace. Unthankfulness is the greatest injustice that 'may be; it is a withholding from the great landlord of heaven and earth his due, his debt. Philip branded his soldier that begged the land of one that had relieved him and kindly entertained him, with '. The 'ungrateful guest.' O weak saints, give hot God an occasion by your ingratitude to brand you, and to write upon your foreheads, 'ungrateful children.' Had it not been for unthankfulness, Adam had been in paradise, the lapsed angels in heaven, and the Jews in their own land of promise. The Jews have a saying, that the world stands upon three things, the law, holy worship, and retribution, and if these things fall, the world will fall. You know how to apply it.
But that I may in good earnest stir up your souls to thankfulness, will, you take home with you these things, that happily have never or seldom been thought of by you.
First; consider, that there is more need of praises, than there is of prayers. Two things do with open mouth proclaim this truth. And the first is this—our mercies outweigh our wants. God's favours and mercies seldom or never come single; there is a series or concatenation of them, and every former draws on a future. This is true in temporals, but infinitely more in spirituals and eternals. Thou wantest this and that outward mercy, and what is thy want, O soul, of this and that single mercy, to the multitudes of mercies that thou dost enjoy? And as for spirituals, there is nothing more clear than this, that thy spiritual mercies do infinitely outweigh thy spiritual wants. Thou wantest this and that spiritual mercy, but what are those wants to that God, that Christ, and all those spiritual blessings in heavenly places with which thou art blessed in Christ Jesus.
Consider this also, that all your wants and miseries are deserved and procured by your sins. Thy ways and thy doings have procured these things unto thee; this is thy wickedness, because it is bitter, because it reacheth unto thy heart. Jer. iv. 18. Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you, Jer. v. 25. But now all your mercies are unmerited, and undeserved; they all flow in upon you from the free love and favour of God; and therefore there is more need of praises, than of prayers. And O that the high praises of God were more in your mouths, upon this very account! And O that with David, you would summon all the faculties of your soul to praise the Lord, who hath freely filled you, and followed you with the riches of mercy all your days!
Secondly; Consider this—thankfulness is a safer and a better evidence of our sincerity, and spiritual ingenuousnesS, than praying, or hearing, or such like services are.— Thanksgiving is a self-denying grace; it is an uncrowning ourselves and the creatures, to set the crown upon the head of our Creator; it is the making ourselves a footstool, that God may be lifted up upon his throne, and ride in a holy triumph over all. It is a grace that gives God the supremacy in all our hearts, thoughts, desires, words, and works. Self-love, flesh and blood, and many low and carnal considerations, may carry men to pray, and hear, and talk; the whip may work a shame to beg; but thankfulness is the free-will-offering of a child. There is nothing that so clearly and so fully speaks out your sincerity and spiritual ingenuousness, as thankfulness does. Therefore weak saints, if you would have a substantial evidence of your sincerity and spiritual ingenuousness, be thankful for a little grace. The little birds do not sip. one drop of water, but they look up as if they meant to give thanks; to shew us what we should do for every drop of grace.
The third and last consideration to set this home is this —a thankful soul holds consort with the music of heaven. By thankfulness thou holdest a correspondency with the angels, who are still singing Hallelujahs to him that sits upon the throne, and is blessed for ever. In heaven there are no prayers, but all praises. I am apt to think, that there cannot be a clearer nor a greater argument of a man's right to heaven and ripeness for heaven, than this— being much in the work of heaven here on earth. There is no grace but love, and no duty but thankfulness, that goes with us to heaven.
But weak saints may say, ' We judge that there is weight in what you say, to provoke us to thankfulness; but did we know that we had true grace, though it were never so little, though it were but as a grain of mustardseed, we would be thankful. But this is our condition; we live between fears and hopes; one day hoping we shall go to heaven, and be happy for ever; another day we are fearing that we shall go to hell, and miscarry for ever. And thus we are up and down, backward and forward. Sometimes we believe we have grace, and at other times we doubt we have none. Sometimes we have a little light, and suddenly our sun is clouded. One day we are ready to say with David, The Lord is our portion, and the next day we are ready to complain with Jonah, that we are cast out from the presence of the Lord.' Methinks I hear a weak saint saying thus to me; 'I would fain have an end put to this controversy that has been long in my soul, whether I have grace or not, and, if you please, I will tell you what I find, and so humbly desire your judgment and opinion upon the whole.
'Well, speak, poor soul, and let me hear what thou hast found in thine own soul.
'Why then, I find first a holy restlessness in my soul, till, with old Simeon, I have gotten Christ in my arms, yea, till I have gotten Christ in my heart. I go from duty to duty, and from ordinance to ordinance, and yet I cannot rest, because I cannot find him whom my soulloveth. I am like Noah's dove, that could not rest until he had gotten into the ark. O I cannot be quiet till I know that I am housed in Christ. My soul is like a ship in a storm, that is tossed hither and thither, O where shall I find him?
O how shall I obtain him who is the chiefest of ten thousand? What Absalom said in another case, I can say in this: in his banishment he could say, What is all this to me, so long as I cannot see the king's face? And truly the language of my soul is this, What is honour to me, and riches to me, and the favour of creatures to me, so long as
I go mourning without Christ, so long as I see not my interest in Christ?
'Well have you any thing else to say, O weak Christian?
'Yes, I have one thing more to say. I can truly say, that the poorest, the most distressed, and afflicted man in the world, is not fuller of desires, nor stronger in his desires, than I am. The poor man desires bread to feed him, and the wounded man desires a plaisterto heal him, and the sick man desires cordials to strengthen him; but these are not fuller of desires after those things that are suitable to them, than I am of holy and heavenly desires,