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lant with the harlot, “As an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks." But the converted soul sees his danger, and struggles hard to extricate himself, and when he is at liberty, the devil pursues him with rage sometimes, other whiles with subtlety he seeks to overreach him; he is aware of both and is not ignorant of his devices. * One while he fights with spiritual weapons, and so resists the devil, and he flees : another while the soul retires to his strong hold, by faith and prayer, and is secured. Thus the gracious soul is “warring a good warfare, fighting the fight of faith,” which is a good fight; he gets disentangled from the affairs of this life, and lays aside every weight, that he may militate more strenuously and more successfully: nor doth the good soul so fight as one that beats the air,t laying about him at adventures ; but he spies his enemies, takes a view of them in scripture light, lets fly at the faces of foreign and intestine adversaries, with spiritual, scriptural weapons, and never sounds a parley or makes a truce, but disputes every inch of his passage to heaven : thus this new creature is a christian champion.
7. The new creature finds out new company. Alas, his old companions grow tiresome with the convert, he cannot take delight in his former comrades, who would jest and be merry, and seek to drive him out of his melancholy humours (as they consider them) with pleasant stories, this is but as singing songs to a heavy heart; he is now sick of such vain company, and bids them begone, they are of no use to him. It is very observable, three times, upon such occasions, doth David require all wicked men to depart from him, Psal. vi. 8, “Depart from me, all ye workers of
Luke xi. 21. Prov. vii. 22. 2 Cor. ii. ll.
iniquity, for the Lord hath heard the voice of my weeping;" as if he had said, I have got better company and comfort than you are. Psal. cxix. 115, “ Depart from me, ye evil doers, for I will keep the commandments of my God;" as if he had said, I have taken up other resolutions, and must have other companions than you: the last is Psal. cxxxix. 19, “Surely thou shalt slay the wicked, O God; depart therefore from me, ye bloody men;" as if he had said, I am loth to fare as you fare, and will not be found in your company. This is christian policy as well as piety: it is impossible the new creature should take delight in his old companions; " for what communion hath light with darkness ? what concord hath Christ with Belial?” There are in the world, persons more suitable to his temper, even saints, not in heaven, but that are on the earth, “men excellent in whom is all his delight.” These, these are his companions,* the delight of his soul, he loves them dearly, because they are so like his father in heaven; these are they, he hopes to live with in the other world, and he must associate with them in this, he loves to discourse with them, join in prayer with them, no such content he hath on earth as in the communion of saints.
8. The new creature needs and requires new cordials, new food and physic; the world and all that it can afford, which were wont to be so pleasant, are all but dry meat, have no more “savour than the white of an egg;” the soul hath now a more delicate taste, than to be satisfied with such husks and trash; he sues for the tender mercies of God, Psal. cxix. 77, “Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live,” as if he had said, I know not how to live a natural life, and I cannot live a spiritual life without these tender mercies;
* 2 Cor. vi. 14, 15, 17. Psalm xvi. 3. cxix. 63.
the Lord knoweth my delicate appetite, “and crowns me with loving-kindness and tender mercies,” Psal. ciii. 4. Luther called the whole Turkish empire but a crumb cast to dogs, and often protested to God, that he would not be put off with these low things, even when he had a silver mine offered him; even a heathen Seneca could say, I am greater, and born to higher things, than terrene objects ;* and will not a Christian much more say so? The Christian hath meat to eat that men know not of; spiritual manna, angel's food, is the Christian's diet," the fatness of God's house ; yea, marrow and fatness :” God's word, which is as "honey and honey comb;" better “than necessary food ; yea, Jesus Christ himself, “the bread of life.”+ The new creature finds full contentment in Christ, through a promise. It is worth observing, that spiritual delights are suited to all the spiritual senses, music in the ear, wine to the taste; yea, “his love is better than wine, as ointment poured forth to the smell;" yea, as spikenard and myrrh;' his embraces to the touch and feeling, “his left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me;" as for the sight, “my beloved is white and ruddy,” Cant. v. 10–16, “he is altogether lovely,” and of proportion. You see the new creature hath its senses as well as the body, and spiritual good things gratify them, who by reason “of use, have their senses exercised to discern good and evil," Heb. v. 14.
9. The new creature hath a new home: our being upon earth in these houses of clay, is our short home; our being under the earth, in the grave, is our long home ; hell is the sinner's last and everlasting home;
Major sum et ad majora natus. + John iv. 32. Psal. xxxvi. 8. Ixiii. 5. xix. 10. John vi. 55. # Cant. v. 16. i. 2, 3. ii. 6, 8, 9.
heaven is the saint's best eternal home: “Knowing that whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord—but we are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord."* A poor graceless wretch is well where he is, like that impious cardinal that would not change his part in Paris for his part in paradise : such as “these are men of the world, whose portion is in this life; these are written in the earth,” possibly as recorded and renowned among the great ones of it. But there is a generation of the sons of men, that are not of this world, “whose names are written in heaven; and are travelling towards the new Jerusalem, thence they came, and thither they are bound; “Jerusalem which is above, is free, which is the mother of us all;"† it is thither the new creature tendeth, there it would gladly be: it is troubled at whạtsoever stops it in its motion homewards; Rom. viii. 23, “Not only they,” that is, the other creatures, “but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit the redemption of our body;" 0 blessed jubilee! when shall the dawning of that glorious day appear? “how long must I dwell in Meshech, or in the tents of Kedar?” how long shall I abide on this side Jordan? O that once at last I
O that once at last I might inhabit that goodly mount and Lebanon! Why is his chariot so long in coming ? why stay the wheels of his chariot ? Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly, break down the walls of this earthly tabernacle, and “clothe me with that house from heaven.” How long shall I be tost on this tumultuous sea ? when shall I reach the haven? I long to be with Christ, # among “the spirits
Job iv. 19. Eccl. xii. 5, 7. Rom. vi. 23. 2 Cor. v. 6, 8. + Psal. xvii. 14. Jer. xvii. 13. Luke x. 20. Gal. iv. 26. * Psal. cxx. 5. 2 Cor. v. 1, 2. Phil. i. 23.
of just men made perfect ;" here I am a stranger and pilgrim, and am seeking another country, thither I am hasting; there I would be, that this disguise may be plucked off, that “when he shall appear, I may be like him, and see him as he is:" my best life is yet hid, but when “ Christ who is my life, shall appear, then shall I also appear with him in glory;"* for this I hope and wait, and pray and long.
10. The new creature obtains new apprehensions of himself in all this; he was darkness, but “ now he is light in the Lord,” Eph. v. 8. The poor old creature thinks well of himself, and his doings ; he imagines he can pray, and perform duty, and when he hath by the strength of his gifts come off finely, then he applauds himself, as Bernard said of himself,f well done, now God is indebted to thee, and owes thee a kindness; so said the hypocritical Jews, Isa. lviii. 3; and the Pharisees, Luke xviii. 11. But this new creation will teach its possessor another lesson, " when he has done all,” alas, “he is an unprofitable servant.” My“ righteousnesses are but as filthy rags :” still I am an unclean thing : I deserve nothing but wrath, if I “justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me.” My spiritual duties need spiritualizing; my repentance needs repenting of; my exercise of grace needs a gracious pardon; my Lord Jesus must take away the iniquity of my holy things, perfume my poor services, and offer my“ prayers with his much incense, upon the golden altar, before the throne.” † I dare not stand before God in my best suit of inherent righte
If “thou, Lord, shouldst mark iniquity; O Lord, who can stand ?” “In thy sight shall no
* Heb. xii. 23. xi. 13-16. John iii. 1, 2.' Col. iii. 3, 4.
+ Bene fecisti, Bernarde. #Luke xvii. 10. Isa. lxiv. 6. Job ix. 20. Exod. xxviii. 38. Rev. viii. 3.