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Before I was aflicted, I went astray; but now have I kept thy Word. And ver. 71. It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn thy Statutes.
Q. 3. Is Contentment with God's Appointments attainable in this Life ?
A. Some Christians have attained to a very great Measure and eminent Degree of Contentment in the midst of changeable and affictive Providences, Phil. iv. 1.-I have learned in what foever State I am there with to be content, Pfal. xvi.
5, 6. The Lord is the Portion of mine Inheritance, and of my Cup: thou maintainest my Lot. Thy Lines are fallen unto me in pleasant Places : yea,
I have a goodly Heritage. Q. 4. Is there no Danger of the Sin of Discontent in a full and prosperous Condition ?
- A. Fulness of the World fecures no Man from the Sin of Discontentment with his own, or coveting that which is another's; because the Desires enlarge as the Eftate doth, Pfal. Ixii. 10.--If Riches increase, fet not your Hearts upon them. An Instance whereof we have in Ahab, 1 Kings 21. 4. Ard Ahab came into his House hervy and displeased, becaule of the Word, which Naboth the Jezreelite had spoken to him: for he had said, I will not give thee the Inheritance of my Fathers, and he laid him down upon his Bed, and turned away his Face, and would eat no Bread.
Q. 5. Whence doth Discontent with our Condition spring?
A. It springs partly from our Ignorance of God's Wisdom and Love in ordering all for our good, Rom. viii. 28. And we know that all Things work together for good to them that love God, &c. Partly from our inconsiderateness of the Vanity of the Creature, 1 Tim. vi. 7, 8. For we brought nothing into this World: and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having Food and Raiment, let us be therewith content. And partly from our Unbelief, Matth. vi. 31, 32. Therefore take no Thougat, saying, what shall we eat? or what shall we drink? or wherewithal jall we be cloathed? (for after all these Things do the Gentiles seek) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these Things.
Q. 6. Is Con entinent with our own. Estate all that this Cominandment requires ?
A. No, it requires a charitable Frame of Spirit towards our Neighbours also, Rom. xii. 10, 15. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly Love, in Honour preferring one another. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
Q. 7. What is the first Sin forbidden in this Commandment?
A. It direaly and especially forbids all sinful and inordinate Defres and Motions after other Mens Enjoyments, Col. 111. 5. Mortify therefore your Members which are upon the Earth, Fornication, Uncleanness, inordinale. Affeciion, evil Concupis. cence and Coveiousness, which is Idolatry:
Q. 8. What is the second Sin forbidden in this Cominandment?
A. It forbids all Cruelty and Incompassionateness to others in Necehty, and keeping back from them that Relief which is made theirs by God's Command, Prov. xi. 24. -- T'here is that with-holdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to Poverty, Lev. xix. 9, 10. And when ye reap the Harvest of pour Land, thou snalt not wholly reap the Corners of thy Field, neither shalt thou gather the Gleaning's of thy Harvest.
And thou fisalt not glean thy Vineyard, neiiber falt thou gather every Grape of thy Vineyard: thou fralt leave them for ibe poor and Stranger : I am the Lord your God.
Q. 9. What is the third Sin forbidden in this Command ?
A. It forbids the detaining of the Hirelings Wages, when it is due, Hab. ii. 9, 10, 11. Wo to him that coveteth an evil Covetoufness 10 bis House that he may fet his Neft on high, that he may be delivered from the Power of Evil. Thou haft confulted Shame to thy House, by cutting of many people, and haft fanned againfl thy soul. For the Stone fhall cry out of the Wall, and the Beam out of the Timber shall answer it.
Q. 10. What is the fourth Sin forbidden in this Commandment ?
A. It forbids all inward Grudgings at, and Envyings of the Enjoyments of others, whether they be inward Goods of the Mind, or outward belonging to the Body, 1 Cor. xiii. 4. Charity envieth not, &c. Q. 11. What is the Mischief of Covetousness?
A. It distracts, the Heart in Duties, Ezek. xxxiii. 31. And they come unto thee as the People cometh, and they fit before thee, as my People, and they hear thy Words, but they will not do them; for wiih their Mouth they show much Love, but their Heart goeth after their Coverousness. Provokes the Wrath of God, Ifa. lvii. 17. For the Iniquiry of his Covetoufness was I wroth, and smote him, &c. And where it reigns, it becomes Idolatry, Col. iii. 5.-And Covetoufness which is Idolatry.
Q. 12. What is the first Inference hence?
A. It calls all Men to Humiliation for the Inordinacy of their Affections towards the World, their Discontent with their own, and Envyings of others Conditions.
Q. 13. What is the second Inference hence ?
A. As ever we would keep clear from this Sin, let us make God our Portion, Pfal. xvi. 5,6. The Lord is the Portion of mine Inheritance, and of my Cup: thou maintainest any Lot. And labour to get the Soul-Satisfying Comforts of his Spisit, John iv. 14. But whosocver drinketh of the Water that I fvall give him, shall never thirft, &c. 2 Cor. vi. 10.-As having nothing, and yet poßeffing all Things.
Q. 14. What is the last Inference hence ?
A. If God have given us a Suficiency of the Things of this Life for our Neceflity, let us be satisfied, though we want other Things for our Delight, 1 Tim. vi. 8. And having Food and Raiment, let us be therewith content. lieve ourselves by an Expectation of those better Things laid up in Heaven for us, if we be Believers, Jam. ii. not God chosen the Poor of this World, rich in Faith, and Heirs' of the Kingdom, which he hath promised to them that love him.
Of keeping the Law.
Quest. 82. S any Man able perfectly to keep the Com
mandments of God?
perfectly to keep the Commandments of God, but doth daily break them in Thought, Word, and Deed.
Q. 1. Wherein doth the perfect keeping of God's Law confiit ?
A. It consists in the perfect and constant Conformity of the internal and external Actions of Heart and Life, to every Command of God, Gal. iii. 10. - Curjed is every one that continueth not in all Things which are written in the Book of the Law to do them, Matth. xxii. 37, 38, 39. Jesus said unto him, thou fmalt love the Lord thy God with all thy Heart, and with all thy Soul, and with all thy Mind. This is the first and great Commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou malt love thy Neighbour as thyself.
Q. 2. But if a Man commit no external Act against the Law, may he not be said perfectly to keep it, although in Mind or Thought he should transgress ?
A. No, for an inward Motion of Sin in the Heart, that never breaks forth into Act, is a Violation of the Law, and brings the Soul under the Curse of it, Matth. v. 21, 22. Ye have heard that it was said by them of old Time, Thou shalt not kill: and whosoever fall kill, fall be in Danger of the Judgment. But I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his Brother without a Caue, frall be in Danger of the Judgment, &c. And ver. 27, 28. Ye have heard that it was said by them of cld Time, Thou shalt not commit Adultery. But I jay unto jou, that whosouver looketh on a Woman to luft after hir, hath committed Adultery with her already in his Heart.
Q. 3. May not a Man keep th: Law, if he keep some of its Commands, though he cannot keep every one of them punctually?
A. No he cannot; for the Transgression of any one Command in the least Degree, is a Breach of all, and brings the Curse of the whole upon a Man's Soul, Jam. ii. 10. For whosoever shall keep the whole Law, and yet offend in one Point, he is guilty of all.
Q. 4. Was the Law never kept by any since it was made?
A. Yes, Adam in his innocent State kept it, for he was made upright, Eccles. vii. 29. God made Man upright, &c; And Christ perfectly kept it, Matth. v. 17. Think not that I am come to destroy the Law or the Prophets: I am not come to defiroy but to fulfil.
Q. 5. What is the first Reason why no meer Man in this. Life can fulfil and keep the Law of God perfectly?
A. It is because the Law of Cod is perfe?, and the beit of Men in this Life are imperfect, &c. Ec les. vii. 20. For there is not a jujt Man upon Earth, that doett: good ard jinaeth not.
Q. 6. But may not Men perfectly keep it, when regenerate, and born of God?
A. No, because even in the Regenerate there is a Law of Sin which wars against the Law of God, Gal. v. 17. For i he Flesh lufteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the F?:), &c. Rom. vii. 22, 23. For I delight in the Law of God after the inward Man. But I see anothir Law in my Mem'ers warn ing against the Law of my Mind, &c. And though they are said not to fin, 1 John iii. 9. (Whosoever is born of God, doth not commit Sin, &c.) that is not to be taken absolutely; but comparatively, as they once did, and others flill do.
Q. 7. But did not Christ command the young Man to keep the Law ? A. It is true that Christ did
this Task, Matth. xix. 17.-If thou wilt enter into Life, keep the Commandments: But it was not on a Supposition that he was able to do it, but to covince him of the Impoffibility of Juftification that Way.
Q. 8. But doth not the Apostle say that the Righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in Believers ?
A. It is true that the Apostle doth say fo, Rom. viii. but the Meaning is not, that we fulfil it in our own persons by our compleat Obedience to it, but it is fulfilled-in us by our Union with Christ, who perfectly kept it; and that Righteousness of the Law which is in Christ
, becomes ours by God's Imputation of it to us, Rom. iv. 23, 24. Now it was not written for his fake alone, that it was impuied to kim. But for us also to whom it Mall be imputed, if we believe on him, that raised up Jesus our Lord from the Dead.
Q. 9. What is the first Inference from hence ?
A. That Justification by our own Works is utterly impofsible to the holiest of Men, Gal. ii. 16.–Far by the Works of the Law small no Flesh be justified, Psal. cxxx. 3. If thou, Lord, should mark Iniquities : 0 Lord, who faltana? Q. 10. What is the fecond Inference from hence: