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ness? The nearer the relation is, in which you stand to him, the more piercing is your neglect of him. Psal. Iv. 12. And the grieving of his Spirit will, sooner or later, bring a fearful confusion to your case.
9. There is a necessity for suiting yourselves to his pleasure. The rejecting of his commandments doth but lay up matter for repentance for you, and it will be bitterness in the end, go as it will, here or hereafter. Your struggle with the will of his providence is a vain struggle, "for his counsel shall stand," and what he will have crooked, thou shalt not make straight. It makes it more heavy than it would be. For fight against God who will, he will always be the conqueror.
7. The honour of your Lord and husband requires it, so shall you be a crown to him, but otherwise a dishonour to him. Oh! how is the name of God blasphemed by the undutiful conduct of those espoused to Christ.
8. While you suit not yourself to his will, you suit yourself to the will of his enemies. There is no midst. And what can you ex
pect, but the fire of his jealousy to burn against you.
ADVICE. Put that will of yours into the Lord's hand, that he may mould it into a conformity to his own. And believe that he will do it, and in the faith of the promise use the means. Endeavour to get the firm faith of this, that what is his will is best for you, and apply that to particulars and your own spirit.
ADVICE 1. Put that will of yours in the Lord's own hand, that he may mould it into a conformity to his own. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power." The will of man is a refractory piece, which we can no more master of ourselves, than a child can master a giant. There is no forcing of it, and we cannot bow it of ourselves. Lay it then before the Lord often, with that, "Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn thou me, and I shall be turned: for thou art the Lord my God." He is a husband that can cure the wilfulness of his spouse, can give her heart a set that it shall be according to his own. He is the only physician for the stone of the heart; and though you cannot break it, put it in his hand that he may do it. You may tell him where you are pained, as the child cried to his mother, my head, you may cry to him, my heart. You may tell him it is your burden, and you would fain be freed of it, but you cannot. You may lay it over on him, that he may do that for you, which you cannot do for yourselves.
ADVICE 2. Believe, in order to the getting of your will suited to your Lord's will. Would you have this mountain removed, it must
be done in the way of believing. There are three things I would have you to believe, 1. That you are not fit to be your own choosers. All the saints, in one voice, have given this verdict of themselves. "He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob, whom he loved." God from heaven has witnessed it, in his giving Christ to be a leader, a head and husband to them; thereby not trusting them, but him, with bringing the children to glory. Christ himself has put this lesson into our hands teaching us to deny ourselves, and to be jealous of ourselves The event has proved it often, in that people getting their own will, has been their ruin. Psalm 1xxviii. 29; and the best of the saints getting the reins in their own hand, have set all on fire.
Again, Believe that whatever is the Lord's will is always best for you. All our wilfulness proceeds on a mistake. We think sinful liberty best for us, ease, plenty, and the like. God knows it is otherwise, and therefore he will have us hear him for our good. To help you to believe this,
1. Consider God's will is the product of infinite wisdom, and may we not trust that infinite wisdom that contrived the world with the guiding of it? Will we hold up our taper to the sun shining in its brightness, or sball our weakness pretend to tell him what is best for his creatures? Why do we not then sink down into our seats and say, good is the will of the Lord, and let him do what seemeth him good.
2. Christ loves his spouse more dearly, and cares more for their good than they do themselves, and so whatever is his will for them is best for them. He loved them so as to lay down his life for them, and may not that evidence his will to be best for them. "As the Father," saith he, "hath loved me, so have I loved you." Why doth the Father hedge up his unruly child, why does he refuse him his will, but because he loves him?
3. By virtue of the covenant of grace, God's glory and his people's good are both in one bottom, and cannot be separated. Is his will then always most for his own glory, consequently it is most for his people's good.
will is wrong, and There is no flaw
4. His will is ever right; it is seldom but our never right when opposite to his, Deut. xxxii. 4. in the way and will of God; and whatever hardships those espoused to Christ, may now seem to see in it, when they come to the other world, they will make their recantation, and say, he has done all things well.
Lastly, Consider your experience: Have you not seen many times, how God has done you good against your wills, good which you would never have got, had he given you your will.
Moreover, consider that God will make out his promise of suiting your will to his, who have put it into his hands, Ezek. xxxvi. 26, 27. How shall we get the good of the promises, but by believing them. Have you given up your will to him, to be rectified by him, believe that he will do it, and it shall be done.
promise, use the means. Stretch Labour to drag your hearts to a "For to him that hath shall
ADVICE 3. In the faith of the out the withered hand to Christ. compliance with his will in all things.
be given." Study also to be heavenly, and much in converse with your husband. While the heart grows cold, it grows stiff also; but warmed with love, it becomes pliable. Consider also the relations in which he stands to you, as a Father, Husband, your King, and your God. Finally, consider the vows of God are upon you, for that effect.
[Same subject continued.]
PSALM XlV. 10,
Forget also thine own people, and thy father's house.
THIS is the second advice given to the spouse of Christ, in order to the pleasing of her husband, namely, that for him, she renounce all that formerly was dearer to her than he was. The advice is delivered in figurative terms, and in it there is a plain allusion to that law of marriage, Gen. ii. 24, by which married persons are obliged to prefer their relatives to their natural parents, in point of affection and interest. When a woman is single, and at home in her father's house, her affection runs strongest to her father's family. Her interest is joined with theirs, and she conforms herself to them. But being married, her husband and his family takes the place with her; her affection must run strongest towards her husband and his family.
The advice, I think, is equivalent to that, "That ye put off, concerning the former conversation, the old man, which is corrupt, according to the deceitful lusts." Or that, as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance." As if he had said, seeing ye are now espoused to Christ,
bring not your old manners and ways into your new state, but forsake and forget them, and behave no more as your father's daughter, but as Christ's spouse. In the words there is,
1. The natural relations of Christ's spouse pointed at, in contradistinction to those of her husband. She wants not relations, indeed, but they are such as she can have no credit nor good from them, but will be the worse of them, and therefore her husband has taken her out from among them, and would have her to forget them.
She has some that are her natural country people, her own people. Who are these, but the world that lieth in wickedness; and before she was espoused to Christ, she was one of their own, but he hath chosen her out of the world. Every country hath its own fashions, and in former times she followed the fashions of the country as well as the rest.
She has also a father's house in that country. Who is her father naturally but the devil? John viii. 44, and though she has left the house, yet he keeps house there still, with his children and servants; Luke xv. 15. It denotes the state of unregeneracy, which men are in while in the black state of nature, out of which, when they are brought to Christ, they are brought as it were out of their father's house. Every house has its own fashions, and Christ's spouse followed the fashion of the house as well as others, while she was in it.
2. There is the duty of Christ's spouse with respect to these. She must forget them, both of them. And here there is something supposed, that is, that Christ's spouse is apt to have a hankering after her own people and father's house, even after she has left them, as Laban alleged that Jacob sore longed after his father's house. There may be eager looks back again, while the soul minds them, and that with too much affection, not sufficiently weaned from them.
There is something also expressed, that Christ's spouse ought to forget them. Not absolutely, for she not only may, but ought to mind them for her own humiliation and thankfulness. "For we ourselves also, were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another." But in respect of affection, her heart must be weaned from them, she must not desire to return to them; and in respect of practice, she must no more conform herself to them. She must forget also her people, must not conform herself to the world. Rom, xii. 2. She must forget also her father's house, her former lusts in her ignorance. A man's country is dear to him, but his father's house is dearer. So what is dearest to us in the world, must be forsaken for Christ.
DOCTRINE 1. The hearts of those espoused to Christ, are often found much unweaned from their father's house and former lusts, therefore is she taught to forget them. As it is with a childish new married woman, they have a foolish hankering after the house from which they came.
I. I shall show in what this unweanedness appears.
II. Whence it is that those who are espoused to Christ are so much unweaned from, and cannot forget their father's house and former lusts. We are then,
I. To show in what this unweanedness from their father's house and former lusts appears.
1. In the cooling of our zeal against our father's house, and the fashions thereof. Our husband's house and our father's are at war with each other; and this war is zealously prosecuted on both sides, by Michael and the dragon. When Christ's spouse then remits her zeal against sin, she appears partial in favour of her father's house. Christ finds fault with her, because "she hath left her first love." And so far as she is not with Christ, in prosecuting the quarrel vigorously, she is so far against him. So far as she is not gathering with him, she is scattering abroad. But O! how quickly does the heart harden, and how soon does sin turn from being such a frightful spectacle, as it was before, and at the espousals.
2. In kindly reflections on the entertainment in our father's house, remembering with any delight or pleasure our former ways. The Israelites were not sufficiently weaned from the house of their bondage in Egypt, and they gave evidence of this by weeping, and saying, "who shall give us flesh to eat." We should never reflect on our former evil ways, but with shame and sorrow; but often, by kindly reflecting on these things, we as it were return to our vomit. And the looking back on them stirs up love, not loathing.
3. In uneasiness under the restraints of our husband's house, saying, with the Israelites, "here there is nothing at all besides this manna, before our eyes." A heart used to sinful liberty, cannot easily take up with the restraint. The soul used to gadding abroad, will not easily become a keeper at home. But were the soul duly weaned, it would be very easy under all the holy restraints of the house of heaven, and would find a free walk within the inclosure of the divine law. The soul will say with David, "I will walk at liberty, for I seek thy precepts."
4. In hankering after our father's house, and former lusts, in our hearts turning back to Egypt. Nothing can be more plain evidence, than these rueful looks to our old lusts. This was the fault of Lot's wife, for which she was turned into a pillar of salt, yet it VOL. IV.