142 How TO DISCERN! OUR TITLE see them. As an infant bath life before he knoweth it, and many misapprehensions of himself and other things, yet will not follow that he bath no life. So when Christians find a flaw in their first comforts they are not to judge it a flaw in their safety. Many continue under doubting, through the exceeding weakness of their natural parts. Many honest hearts bave weak heads, and know not how to perform the work óf self - trial. They will acknowledge the pre- mises, and yet deny the apparent conclusion. If God do not some other way supply the defect of their reason, I see not how they should have clear and set- tled peace. One great and too common cause of dis- tress is, the secret maintaining some known sin. This abates the degree of our graces. It obscureth that which it destroyeth not ; for it beareth such sway, that grace is not in action, nor seems to stir, nor is scarce heard speak for the noise of this cor- ruption. It puts out, or dimmeth, the eye of the soul, and stupifies it, that it can neither see nor feel its own condition. But especially it provokes God to with- draw himself, his comforts, and the assistance of his Spirit, without which we may search long enough before we have assurance. God bath made a separa- tion between sin and peace. As long as thou dost cherish thy pride, thy love of the world, the desires of the flesh, or any unchristian practice, thou ex- pectest comfort in vain. If a man setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumbling block of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a minister, or to God, to inquire for comfort, instead of comfort- ing him, God will answer him that cometh according to the multitude' of his idols.( d)Another very great and common cause of the want of comfort is, when grace is not kept in constant and lively exercise. The way of painful duty, is the way of fullest comfort. Peace and comfort are Christ's great encouragements to faithfulness and obedience ; and therefore, though our obedience does not merit them, yet they usually (d) Ezek. xiv. 3-9.