« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
thus to the first workings of God's blessed Spirit upon you ?
HOPE. The causes were-1. I was ignorant that this was the work of God upon me. I never reasons of his thought that by awakenings for sin, God LIGHT, at first begins the conversion of a sinner. 2. Sin was yet very sweet to my flesh, and I was loath to leave it. 3. I could not tell how to part with mine old companions, their presence and actions were so desirable unto me. 4. The hours in which convictions were upon me, were such troublesome and such heart-affrighting hours, that I could not bear, no, not so much as the remembrance of them upon my heart.*
Chr. Then, as it seems, sometimes you got rid of your trouble ?
Hope. Yes, verily; but it would come into my mind again, and then I should be as bad, nay, worse than I was before.
Chr. Why, what was it that brought your sins to mind again?
HOPE. Many things; as,
* Here you see, as our Lord says, “ It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing,” John vi. 63. The flesh, or our carnal nature, is so far from profiting in the work of conversion to Christ, that it is an enmity against him, and counteracts and opposes the Spirit's work in showing us our want of him, and bringing us to him. Man's nature and God's grace are two direct opposites. Nature opposes, but grace subdues nature, and brings it to submission and subjection. Are we truly convinced of sin, and converted to Christ ? This is a certain and sure evidence of it,—we shall say from our hearts, Not unto us, not unto any yieldings and compliances of our nature, free-will, and power, but unto thy name, O Lord, be all the glory; for it is by the free, sovereign, efficacious grace we are what we are. Hence, see the ignorance, folly, and pride of those who exalt free-will and nature's power, &c. Verily they do not know themselves even as they are known.
1. If I did but meet a good man in the
WIEN HE HAD LOST HIS SENSE OF SIN, WHAT BROUGHT IT AGAIN
what BROUGHT IT streets; or,
2. If I have heard any read in the Bible; or, 3. If mine head did begin to ache; or,
4. If I were told that some of my neighbours were sick; or,
5. If I heard the bell toll for some that were dead; or, 6. If I thought of dying myself; or, 7. If I heard that sudden death happened to others;
8. But especially when I thought of myself, that I must quickly come to judgment.
CHR. And could you at any time, with ease, get off the guilt of sin, when by any of these ways it came upon you ?
Hope. No, not I; for then they got faster hold of my conscience: and then, if I did but think of going back to sin, (though my mind was turned against it,) it would be double torment to me.
Chr. And how did you do then ? WHEN HE COULD Hope. I thought I must endeavour to
mend my life; or else, thought I, I am vours to MEND.*** sure to be damned.
Chr. And did you endeavour to mend ?
HOPE. Yes; and fled from not only my sins, but sinful company too, and betook me to religious duties, as praying, reading, weeping for sin, speaking truth to my neighbours, &c. These things did I, with many others, too much here to relate.
Chr. And did you think yourself well then ?
chovout came tumbling upon me again, and that HIMSELF WELL. over the neck of all my reformations.
Chr. How came that about, since you were now reformed ?
NO LONGER SHAKE
TO THE LAW TROU
Hope. There were several things brought it upon me, especially such sayings as these : “All REFORMATION AT our righteousnesses are as filthy rags ;"- HELP, AND WHY. “ By the works of the law. no man shall be justified;"— “ When ye have done all these things, say, We are unprofitable:" with many more such like. From whence I began to reason with myself thus : If all my righteousnesses are as filthy rags; if by the deeds of the law no man can be justified ; and if, when we have done all, we are yet unprofitable, then 'tis but a folly to think of heaven by the law. I farther thought thus : If a man runs a hundred pounds into the shop. HIS BEING A DEBTOR keeper's debt, and after that shall pay for BLED HIM. all that he shall fetch; yet, if his old debt stands still in the book uncrossed, the shopkeeper may sue him for it, and cast him into prison till he shall pay the debt.
CHR. Well, and how did you apply this to yourself?
HOPE. Why, I thought thus with myself: I have by my sins run a great way into God's book, and that my now reforming will not pay off that score; therefore I should think still, under all my present amendments, But how shall I be freed from that damnation that I brought myself in danger of by my former transgressions ?
Chr. A very good application : but pray go on.
Hope. Another thing that hath troubled me ever since my late amendments, is, that if I HIS Espring Bad look narrowly into the best of what I do TROUBLED HIM. now, I still see sin, new sin, mixing itself with the best of that I do : so that now I am forced to conclude, that, notwithstanding my former fond conceits of myself and
THINGS IN HIS BEST,
b Isa. Ixiv. 6. Gal. ii. 16. Luke xvii. 10
HIN THE WAY TO BE
duties, I have committed sin enough in one day to send me to hell, though my former life had been faultless.*
CHR. And what did you do then ?
Hope. Do! I could not tell what to do, until I broke my mind to Faithful; for he and I were well acquainted :
THIS MADE FTX and he told me, that unless I could obtain PAITETTL, "ROTOLD the righteousness of a man that never had
sinned, neither mine own, nor all the righteousness of the world, could save me.
Chr. And did you think he spake true?
Hope. Had he told me so when I was pleased and satisfied with mine own amendments, I had called him fool for his pains; but now, since I see mine own infirmity, and the sin which cleaves to my best performance, I have been forced to be of his opinion.
Chr. But did you think, when at first he suggested it to you, that there was such a man to be found, of
* Thus you see, in conversion, the Lord does not act upon us by force and compulsion, as though we were inanimate stocks or stones, or irrational animals, or mere machines. No. We have understanding: He enlightens it. Then we come to a sound mind; we think right, and reason justly. We bave wills: what the understanding judges best, the will approves, and then the affections follow after; and thus we chuse Christ for our Saviour, and glory only in his righteousness and salvation. When the heavenly light of truth makes manifest what we are, and the danger we are in, then we rationally fly from the wrath to come, to Christ the refuge set before us.
+ Here is the touchstone to try whether conviction and conversion are from the Spirit of truth, or not. Many talk of conviction and conversion-work, who are yet whole in heart, and strong in confidence of a righteousness of their own, or of being made righteous in themselves, instead of looking solely to, and trusting wholly in, the infinitely perfect and everlastingly glorious righteousness of the God-man Christ Jesus, and desiring to be clothed with that, and found in him. All conviction and conversion, short of this, leaves the soul short of Christ's righteousness, of hope, and of heaven.
STARTED AT PRE
whom it might justly be said, that he never committed sin ?
HOPE. I must confess the words at first sounded strangely; but, after a little more talk and at which he company with him, I had full conviction SENT. about it.
Chr. And did you ask him what man this was, and how you must be justified by him ?c
Hope. Yes, and he told me it was the Lord Jesus, that dwelleth on the right hand of the A. MOREPARTI: Most High: and thus, said he, you must SAVEDE be justified by him, even by trusting to what he hath done by himself in the days of his flesh, and suffered when he did hang on the tree. I asked him, further, how that man's righteousness could be of that efficacy, to justify another before God? And he told me he was the mighty God, and did what he did, and died the death also, not for himself, but for me, to whom his doings, and the worthiness of them, should be imputed, if I believed on him.
Chr. And what did you do then ?
HOPE. I made my objections against my believing, for that I thought he was not willing to HE Douers op save me.
Chr. And what said Faithful to you then ?
HOPE. He bid me go to him, and see. Then I said, it was presumption. He said, No, for I was invited to come. Then he gave me a book of Jesus's inditing, to encourage me the more freely to come: and he said, concerning that book, that every jot and tittle thereof stood firmer than heaven and earth. Then I asked him, what I must do when I came? And he told me, I must entreat upon my c Rom. iv. Col. i. Heb. x. 2 Pet. i. d Matt. xi. 28. e Matt. xxiv. 35.
HE IS BETTER INSTRUCTED