« PreviousContinue »
OR, A PRACTICAL
A RESOLUTION of several momen-
By the Learned, Laborious, Faithful Servant of JESUS
Thy Commandment is exceeding broad, Pfal. 119. 96.
The eighth Edition revised and corrected : To which are
prefixed the Commendatory Epiftles of two famous En-
M. DCC. XXXV.
To the Right Honourable, truly Noble, and rea
nownedly Religious LADY, My Lady Mar-
finitely Wife God, he might at the first moment of his peoples conversion have quite expelled all, even the very least remainders' of indwelling corruption, and perfectly conformed them to his own image in holiness; but he hath, in the depth of his unsearchable wisdom, otherwise disposed, for ends best known to himself: concerning which (whatever may be, even here, our strongly-probable, and in a good measure quieting conjectures as to some of them) it will be our wil dom to make a reference for full fatisfaction to the day of that great, folemnand celebrious general assembly of the first-born, wherein all such references thall be called and satisfyingly difcussed. And seeing he hath thought it fit that some relicks of fin (but exauctorated of its reign and dominion) should indwell; and that thereby the fpiritual constitution of sojourning faints should be a mixture of grace and corruption (each of these, notwithstanding, retaining still its own natural irreconcilable antipathy with the other, and lusting against the other; fo. that in all their actings, both gracious and finful, they are ftill divided ; and neither one, as they were before regenerating grace, nor as they shall be in glory) it is highly congruous and suitable to the same infinite" wisdom, that there should be a proportionable and correspondent mixture in the dispensations of his providence towards them while on this
fide heaven, some more smiling, and some more cross: the feth and unregenerate part requiring crosses to whip it O up, and drive it forward; and the spirit and regenerate part
calling for them also, to keep it awake, and on its guard against the surprising prejudice and hurt it may sustain from the reftless ill neighbour, and troublesom companion, a body of death, that cleaveth clofs to them, as a girdle doth to the Joins of a man, by reason of which they have not mapy hours, let be days, to dwell to an end. When their con- ftitution cometh to be purely grace, perfe&ly defecate and
refined from all the dreggy and droffy mixture of indwelling corruption, then will their lot be pure folace and joy, even perfe&tion and perpetuiry of joy, without any the leaft mixfure of forrow or trouble of whatever fort ; but till then, (and, blessed eternally be God, it is not long to that, even but a moment) trouble and forrow, less or more, will wait on them who through much tribulation must enter into the kingdom of God: Yet on a just reckoning there will be found no real nor well-grounded reason of dissatisfaction with this wife dif. posal of divine providence, fince he never afflicteth, nor are they in heaviness thro' one or more, or even manifold temptations, but when there is need, and such need that a few lerious reflections will constrain the patient to acknowledge it, and to say, This same particular cross, so and so circumstana tiated, could not well have been wanted without a greater prejudice: Nay, considering the inseparable connection that God in his eternal and unalterable decree hath established betwixt the end and all the means that lead to it, whenever such and such a cross is actually met with, there is ground to think that it is as necessary as the salvation of the christian is ; that cross being appointed, as one mean with others, to bring about the purposed end, to wit, the salvation of such a perfon : which one consideration (that they are appointed thereunto, as the apostle, writing to the Thessalonians, affertech) well pondered, would contribute not a little to reconcile the most fadly crossed and afflicted children of God, a great deal more to their respective crosses; and would make them to be taken up and born more patiently, pleasantly, and cheerfully; and would withal make them to look out on them with a less formidable and more amiable aspect than ordinarily they do. And since, in the second place, all their afiliations are afflictions only of this present time, for a season, and but for a moment, not protracted according to desert one minute beyond death, let be eternity's length;, since moreover the heaviest loads and greatest measures of them are
buc light and moderate afflictions, and his feverest corre&tings of them are it measure, with judgment and discretion ; he fayeth his rough wind in the day of bis eaft wind, and doth in great wisdom suit and proportion the trials of his people to their strength and standing ; in his faithfulness, not suffering them to be tempted above what they are able; but with the temptation making a way to escape, that they may be able to bear it : Tis not his manner to put new wine into old bottles, nor to sew a piece of new cloth unto an old garment. He that teachetb the husbandman discretion, about the fir time and season of plowing, sowing, harrowing, and reaping of every kind of seed and grain, according to its nature ; and how to thresh out these several sorts of seed and grain by fit means and instruments; can, being wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working, with infinitely more wisdom, skill, judgment, difcretion, and tenderness, pitch the fittest seasons, kinds, measures, and durations of his peoples afflictions, according to their several necessities, difpofitions, ftandings, capacities, and abilities. And since withal, our sovereign Lord the King, the King of saints, out of the absoluteness of his dominion, and the fuperabundance of his richest grace, hath imposed upon every cross that his people meet with, not excepting (to say so) vessels of the greatest burden of afiction that sail up and down the Sundt, as it were, of the troublesom sea of this world, the toll and custom of some spiritual good to be paid to them; allowing, warranting and commanding them, by his commission granted to them under his great Teal for that effect, to demand; require and exact it from every occurring cross and affliction; and if there shall be any demur or delay, let be seeming denial to pay this custom, to waic and search for it, and with a piece of holy peremptoriness to perlift in the exa&ing of it, as being most certainly, without a possibility of misgiving, to be got there, for which the commission (more and more endeavoured to be really believed and made use of according to the granter's mind) should be produced ; wherein he hath given the highest security thac all things having a special look at all their afflictions, as the context, in the confelsion of most, if not all judicious commentators, putteth beyond debate) fall work together for good to them that love God, and are the called according to his purpose; where he hath, to speak so with reverence to his Majesty, condescended someway to abridge his own sovereignty and absolute dominion, engaging himself by covenant, that 'tho' he may do what he will, yet he shall will to do nothing,
but what shall be for his peoples good ; so that, in all his dirpensations towards them, his absolute dominion and his goodwill shall be commensurable, and of equal extent, the one of them never" to be stretched one hair's-breadth beyond the other; and even in the most dark, involved, intricate, obstruse, and mysterious providences, wherein they can read and take up least of his mind, and wherein he (seeming to walk either in the greatest absoluteness of his dominion, or in