Baxter - BV4831 84 F3 1830

120 OUR TITLE TO [Chap. 8. As an infant bath life before the knoweth it, and many mis- apprehensions of himself and other things, yet it 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 have weak heads, and know not how to perform the work of self-trial. They will acknowledge the premises, 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 settled peace. One great and too common cause of distress is, the secret maintaining of some known sin. This abates the degree of our graces, and so makes them more undiscernible. 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 corruption. 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 withdraw himself, his comforts, and the assistance of his Spirit, without which we may search long enough before we have assurance. God hath made a separation between sin and peace. As long as thou dost cherish thypride, thy love of the world, the desires of the flesh, or any unchris- tian practice, thou expectest comfort in vain. If a man " setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stum- bling-block of his iniquitybefore his face, and cometh" to a minister, or to God, " to inquire" for comfort, instead of comforting him, God " will answer him that cometh ac- cording to the multitude of his idols." 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 theway of fullest comfort. Peace and com- fort are Christ's great encouragements to faithfulness and obedience; and therefore, though our obedience does not merit them, yet they usually rise and fall with our diligence in duty. As prayer must have faith and fervency to pro- cure it success, besides the blood and intercession ofChrist, so must all other parts of our obedience. If thou grow seldom and customary, and cold in duty, especially in thy secret prayers to God, and yet findest no abatement in thy joys, I cannot but fear thy joys are either carnal or diabo-