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though men are not thus and thus burdened and laden with their sins, and filled with horror and terror, they may come to Christ, they may receive and embrace the Lord Jesus Christ.
Rem. 4. Consider that all that trouble for sin, all that sorrow, shame, and mourning, which are acceptable to God, and delightful to God, and prevalent with God, flow from faith in Christ, as the stream does from the fountain, as the branch does from the root, as the effect from the cause. They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, Zech. xii. 10. All gospel mourning flows from believing; they shall first look, and then mourn. All who know any thing, know this, that whatever is not of faith, is sin. Till men have faith in Christ, their best services are but glorious sins.
Dev. 4. The fourth device that Satan has to keep poor sinners from closing with a Saviour, is, By suggesting to a sinner Christ's unwillingness to save. 'It is true,' says Satan, 'Christ is able to save thee; but is he willing? Surely though he is able, yet he is not willing to save such a wretch as thou art, that hast trampled his blood under thy feet, and that hast been in open rebellion against him all thy days.'
Rem. The remedy against this device of Satan, is briefly to consider these few things—
1. The great journey that Christ has taken from heaven to earth on purpose to save sinners, strongly demonstrates his willingness to save them. I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance, Matt. ix. 13. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief, 1 Tim. i. 15.
2. His divesting himself of his glory in order to sinners' salvation, speaks out his willingness to save them. He leaves his Father's bosom, he puts off his glorious robes, and lays aside his glorious crown, and bids adieu to his glittering courtiers, the angels; and all this he does, that he may accomplish sinners' salvation.
3. That sea of sin, that sea of wrath, that sea of trouble, that sea of blood which Jesus Christ waded through, that sinners might be pardoned, justified, reconciled, and saved, strongly evidence his willingness to save sinners.
4. His sending his embassadors early and late, to woo and entreat sinners to be reconciled to him, does with open mouth shew his readiness and willingness to save sinners.
5. His complaints against such as refuse him, and as turn their backs upon him, and as will not be saved by him, strongly declare his willingness to save them. He came unto his own, and his own received him not, John i. 11. Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life, John v. 40.
6. The joy and delight he takes at the conversion of sinners demonstrates his willingness that they should be saved. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons which need no repentance, Luke xv. 7. God the Father rejoices at the return of his prodigal son; Christ rejoices to see the travail of his soul; the spirit rejoices that he has another temple to dwell in; and the angels rejoice that they have another brother to delight in.
Dev. 5. The fifth device that Satan has to keep poor sinners from believing in a Saviour, is, by working them to mind more the secret decrees and counsels of God, than their own duty. 'What needest thou to busy thyself about receiving, embracing, and entertaining Christ ? * says Satan, 'If thou art elected, thou shalt be saved; if not, all that thou canst do will do thee no good.' Nay, he will work the sinner not only to doubt of his election, but to conclude that he is not elected; and therefore let him do what he can, he can never be saved.
Rem. 1. The first remedy against this device of Satan, is seriously to consider, that all the angels in heaven, all the men on earth, and all the devils in hell, cannot tell to the contrary, but that thou mayest be an elect person, a chosen vessel. Thou mayest be confident of this, that God
never made Satan one of his privy-council; God never acquainted him with the names or persons of such as he hath set his love upon to eternity.
Rem. 2. Meddle with that which thou hast to do. Secret things belong to the Lord, but revealed things belong to thee. Thy work, sinner, is to be peremptory in believing, and in returning to the Lord; thy work is to cast thyself upon Christ, to lie at his feet, to wait on him in his ways, and to give him no rest, till he shall say, " Sinner, I am thy portion, I am thy salvation; and nothing shall separate between thee and me."
THE DEVICES OF SATAN TO DECEIVE BY FALSE TEACHERS.
Satan labours might and main by false teachers, who are his messengers and embassadors, to deceive, delude, and for ever undo the precious souls of men. / have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria, they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err, Jer. xxiii. 13. The prophets that make my people to err, Mic. iii. 5. They seduce them, and carry them out of the right way into by-paths, and blind thickets of error, blasphemy, and wickedness, where they are lost for ever. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheeps' clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves, Matt. vii. 15. These lick and suck the blood of souls. Beware of dogs, beware of evil-workers, beware of the concision, Phil. iii. 2. These kiss and kill, these cry, " Peace, Peace," till souls fall into everlasting flames.
Rem. Now the best way to deliver poor souls from being deluded and destroyed by these messengers of Satan, is to discover them in their colours, that so being known, poor souls may shun them, and fly from them, as from hell itself. Now you may know them by these characters following—
1. False teachers are men-pleasers. They preach more to please the ear, than to profit the heart. Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things; speak unto us smooth things; prophesy deceits, Isa. xxx. 10. A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means, and my people love to have it so; and what will ye do in the end thereof? Jer. v. 30, 31. They handle holy things rather with wit and dalliance, than with fear and reverence. False teachers are soul-undoers; they are like evil-surgeons that skin over the wound, but never heal it. Flattery undid Ahab, and Herod, Nero, and Alexander. False teachers are hell's greatest enrichers. 'Not bitter, but flattering words do all the mischief,' saith Valerian, the Roman emperor. Such smooth preachers are sweet soul-poisoners.
2. False teachers are notable in casting dirt, scorn, and reproach upon the persons, names, and credit of Christ's most faithful embassadors. Thus Korah, Dathan, and Abiram charged Moses and Aaron, that they took too much upon them, seeing all the congregation was holy. 'You take too much state, too much power, too much honour, too much holiness upon you; for what are you more than others, that you take so much upon you?' And so Ahab's false prophets fell foul on good Micaiah, paying him with blows for want of better reasons. Yea, Paul, that great apostle of the gentiles, had his ministry undermined and his reputation blasted by false teachers. For his letters, say they, are weighty and powerful, but his bodily presence is weak; and his speech contemptible, 2 Cor. x. 10. They rather contemn him, than admire him; they look upon him as a dunce, rather than a doctor. And the same hard measure had our Lord Jesus from the scribes and pharisees who laboured as for life to build their own credit upon the ruins of his reputation. And never did the devil drive a more full trade this way, than he does in these days. O the dirt, the filth, the scorn, that is thrown upon those of whom the world is not worthy! I suppose false teachers mind not that saying of Austin, ' He that willingly takes from my good name, unwillingly adds to my reward.'
3. False teachers are centers of the devices and visions
of their own heads and hearts. Then the Lord said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name; I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision, and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart, Jer. xiv. 14. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you; they make you vain; they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord, Jer. xxiii. 16. Are there not multitudes in this nation, whose visions are but golden delusions, lying vanities, brain-sick fancies? These are Satan's great benefactors, and such as divine justice will hang up in hell as the greatest malefactors, if the physician of souls do not prevent it.
4, False teachers easily pass over the great and weighty things both of the law and gospel, and stand most upon those things that are of least moment and concernment to the souls of men. Now the end of the commandment is charity, out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned. From which some having swerved, have turned aside unto vain jangling; desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm, I Tim. i. 5—7. Woe unto you scribes and pharisees, hypocrites, for ye pay tythe of mint, and anise, and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith; these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone, Mat. xxiii. 23. False teachers are nice in the less things of the law, and negligent in the greater. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truih, supposing that gain is godliness; from such withdraw thyself, 1 Tim. vi. 3—5. If such teachers are not hypocrites in grain, I know nothing. The earth groans to bear them, and hell is fitted for them.
5. False teachers cover and colour their dangerous principles and foul impostures, with very fair speeches and
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