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to me, crossing nie in all my ways, not giving me my will, so that it would seem he were not my father. To this I answer these things; (1.) That he causes grief, and shows wrath, yet not pure wrath; he "takes not his loving-kindnesses utterly away," but they are " renewed every morning." He shows much kindness in the midst of all his judgments. (2.) Our will, like children, is not our well; and it is a mercy to be crossed in this. God knows what is best for us. (3.) This is a time of wrath, a night; and what wonder if storms and darkness be? (4.) Ye sec, saints have complained of this: "Why art thou unto me as an enemy?" Job saith, " Thou art cruel unto me." (5.) Sense represents God falsely; it is to sense and fancy that God thus appears, not to faith. We should take other interpreters than sense. (6.) We should not look upon all things that may be trials as effects of wrath: "God hideth man from his purpose," that he may hide pride, that the soul may be patient and humble, and exercise faith. (7.) It is utterly wrong that anything without us should make us doubt our inward sincerity, seeing these are extrinsic to it: u No man knoweth love or hatred by anything under the sun."
Ninth Ground. That prayers are not directly and plainly answered. To this I answer, (1.) As in the former, that it is a thing without us, and so extrinsic to our sincerity. In this matter, regard is to be had rather to the manner of our prayers than to our answers. (2.) There is no fear, if ye pray in the name of Christ, in faith, in humility, and sincerity, though they should not be answered. (3.) I have ever been helped in my extremity, in the deep, Psal. cxxx. 1. (4.) It is an ordinary complaint of saints, Psal. xxii. 1, 2; Lam. in. 8, " He shutteth out my prayer." (5.) Prayers may be suspended when they are not rejected, Luke xviii. 4, 7. (6.) There is no fear while ye continue in well-doing; for "in due time ye shall reap, if ye faint not." Where God hath given a mouth and stomach, he will give meat. Your cause is in dependence, not overthrown; and it is good that ye get what will bear your expenses till a decision be given. (7.) I find myself better and worse as I increase or decay in prayer; a token they are not altogether in vain. (8.) Prayers may be heard, and ye not know it, Hos. xi. 3. (9.) The answer of prayers is not ordinarily direct and plain in the terms of our petition, but indirect; ye have not the same thing ye seek, but ye are answered equivalently in as good. (10.) I get promises renewed. (11.) It is like, when the Lord will build up Zion, there will be many answers dispatched. Now is a sowing time; hereafter is our harvest, and then all petitions shall be answered. (12.) After search, I found some petitions directly answered; and it is want of taking up and considering our returns, or our own sloth, that hinders us from discerning our returns. Sometimes the Lord hears, and we are so prejudiced that we will not believe it, as in Job's case.
Tenth Ground. Want of compassion to, and deep apprehension of, the lamentable soul's case of my unconverted relations and ignorant, profane, formal, neighbours: Oh it lies not heavy on my spirit! Do I believe therefore a hell or heaven, or that the ignorant or unconverted shall go to hell? I answer, 1. By confessing that there is great want of compassion, and faith, and seriousness in this, and that there is great deadness—Lord help it; for we believe, love, and prophesy but in part only. 2. I mourn for this, and this deadness is loathsome and hateful to me. 3. I am yet helped, upon occasional views of their condition, to have my sorrow stirred, and to be earnest for them with the Lord, yea, and to pour forth tears and sighs of grief for them, and to find my compassion sensibly stirred.
Eleventh Ground is a constant indisposition of spirit to all manner of duties, unwillingness to enter to them, wearied and heartless in them, and glad when they are done; so that I fear there is not a new nature which delights in the Law of God. To which I answer these things: 1. That as there is a regenerate and unregenerate part in every believer, which is continually opposite to that which is good; so this indisposition doth proceed from the unregenerate part, in which no good thing dwelleth, Eom. vii. 8; and this should make us question our state no more than the being of a body of death. 2. That I find something in me that mourns under this, which esteems, approves, and sees a glory and delight in the Law of the Lord, Bom. vii. 22. "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." 3. That therefore I am not so much wearied of the duty, (which I love,) but of my own ill heart in the duty: As a loving son, that hath a pained foot, is willing to run his father's errand, and glad to be employed, and yet the sore foot makes the journey a burden; there is a thorn in the flesh. An unsound heart's opposition is to the duty itself; hypocrites love not all duties.
Twelfth Ground. Because I found not a full resolution to obey some difficult commands, such as plain and free reproof, especially of great folk; plain dealing with my acquaintances as to their state: Which makes me think I am not universal as to my obedience; and that I am but partial in my obedience. To this I answer these things: 1. That though I exceedingly fail in the manner as being heartless, general, and having base ends, not altogether respecting the good of the party I deal with; yet, through grace, I win to do the duty as to the matter and substance of it. 2. That when I do it, I find I do it not only to ease my conscience, but out of respect to the command of God. 3. That I prize, love, esteem, and have respect to this duty, and my heart would be at it; and am straitened and in pain till I discharge it. I approve that "the Law is holy." 4. I pray, mourn, and loathe myself under my failings in this, and have fetched it to Christ; and it is strange to me that that sin, for which I groan to the Lord Jesus to be delivered from it, should or can damn me. It is the Lord's controversy: "Wilt thou not be made clean?" 5. It is through accident that those duties are omitted, through my natural bashful temper. A man would do a thing willingly, but is in bonds that he cannot get it done; I find that "when I would do good, evil is present." 6. There is not a full conviction of the duty, but especially of the way and manner how it should be performed; "How to do I know not."
Thirteenth Ground. That I am not so taken up in heart with heaven, in longing after it, delighting and rejoicing in the expecta•
tions thereof; and, therefore, my heart not being there, it is likely it is not my treasure. To which I answer, 1. Look, as when Philip said to Christ, " Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us;" Christ answers, "You have known him, because he that hath seen me hath seen the Father:" So I say, He that desires and mourns after Christ mourns for sin, and desires to be holy, loves the fellowship of God's people, doth really love and long for heaven; for what is heaven but the enjoyment of Christ and conformity to him, though in a more clear and distinct notion? 2. My unwillingness to go to heaven doth proceed from a desire to do some service for Christ ere I went: Much of my work I suspect is yet undone. 3. This proceeded from a want of a full assurance of my future happiness and some fears; for I love the thing. 4. I find myself of late more distinct and clear in my longings after, and joyful expectations of heaven, and my heart more heavenly-minded.
Fourteenth Ground. That I grow not, nor come not speed; nor am I throughing [advancing in] my work, but ever after one manner. I answer, 1. That though there may be growth in grace, yet it appears not always sensibly, but grows as a seed of corn, and a man knows not; it "comes not with observation." 2. Notwithstanding of remaining evils, yet do I find a remarkable growth, though not in the bulk of graces, yet as to the nature and purity; I have made better work, though not so much of it; I work more evangelically than I did before, with purer ends; I grow downward if not upward. 3. I have found a growth in faith, in love, in patience, in humility; dying to the world and myself and self-righteousness, and living unto God: Though in that which I propose to myself there is no growth. Yea, 4. There is an expediency, if not a necessity, of pulling down a certain kind of righteousness; and hence a man shall find himself worse than before, ere ever the righteousness of God be set up.
Fifteenth Ground. Because I find such an evil heart in me, such blindness, hardness of heart, carnality, pride, and other sins, and in such an high degree, that I say, Did ever the Lord renew this heart? I answer, 1. " In me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good •
thing;" and as to my unrenewed part, I am "carnal, and sold under sin." There is a " body of death" in all. 2. As I find this in my flesh, so do I find a new man, that knows, delights in the Lord and his ways, and continually hates and opposes the body of death. Sixteenth Ground. That I enjoy not tins Lord himself in ordinances, in public or private prayer, in hearing of the word, or reading thereof, or through meditation: There is not that special fellowship with the Lord himself, nor the glory or power of Christ found and seen; some light and strength, but little or none of God. To this I answer, 1. That I really desire and love the Lord Christ above any thing, and mourn for want of him, and come to ordinances for himself, and am unsatisfied with any thing, though never so glorious, if it fetch not nor reveal a Christ to me: Yea, I love every thing for his cause mostly; and it makes every mercy sweet to me, that it comes from the Lord. 2. Although through mine own sloth and unbelief, and because of an evil time and day of wrath, there are not such plain and full visions of God; yet have I found ordinances, and duties, and works of providence, reveal something of the Lord himself, and of his love and greatness, so as my soul hath been drawn to the Lord himself thereby, and to love, and admire, and adore, and delight in him the more. 3. I have found the ordinances and means (though not sensibly nor presently, yet) in process of time bringing forth real fruits of holiness, so as I had reason to bless the Lord for such occasions; even as my body is really (though not sensibly) nourished by meat and drink. However, this point deserves a more serious consideration.
Seventeenth Ground. That my thoughts of sin, of hell, and of heaven, do not beget such lively impressions upon my soul. I tremble not at sin, death, and hell; I am not rejoicing in hope of glory; and this makes me think my knowledge and faith is but dead and lifeless. To this I answer, 1. That though in my sensitive faculty I find not these impressions of joy and fear, yet do I find them in my estimative, appreciative faculty; so as I really judge sin to be the greatest evil, and am really most troubled with it; and I judge Christ, his grace and holiness, to be really the