Burgess - Houston-Packer Collection BT715 .B85 1652

SE c T. I t I. Fafe Signs of 161 exT teotefneje that comeJhart ofa true ground: As fidi, this external' freedom from fin Wnalfreedom may arife only from the reoraining providenceof God,which as it bath put bounds 'arm fn cd and limits to the fea, that it overflownot theearth, fo alfo doth flint the corm- proceed. may ption ofman, that he doth not fin fo much as his corrupt nature would carry him to. That every man is not a Cain, a ynd.u, anm4bilam, comes from the mercy of God determining and ordering mens finnes. As on the other fide, it was from God that fo many Romanswere endowed with moral'vercues in a glorious man- ner. Abimetech was ready to fall into whoredome, not knowing any thing, and God by hisprovidence meetly prevented him. Do not therefore prefently build thy hopes, becaufe thy life is agood and an booth life. Thou haft not chore ble- mifhes and foots upon thee which others have, whence comes all this ? is it from grace reflraining or grace fanftifying ? Is it from the love ofGod checking thy corruptions, or changing thy heart ? Secondly, 1f thy righteoufneffe come not thus, then it may be from the foie z, power of naturall confcience and humane [trength t for although it be true that by the flrength of nature we are not able to do any thing iuperoaturálly good, but theremoth beantecedent to filch an aftion fpirituallillumination ofthe miede, and apowerfull alteration ofthe heart : yet thofe things that are good in a civili, or political) fenfe,and (o,good for the matter, may bedone by the naturall ddart s of confcience, fuch implantations are made in man, that he beleeveth There is a God,That parentsare to be honoured and fuecoured in neceflìty. Now according to that natural light we haveabout God and a confcience pertwading to it, there may alfa be a natural profecutionof the fame good ; But all this is wholly within the fphere of nature, not above it. Art thou then a man doing all theworks of moral righteoufneffe? Confider from what frock this groweth, from what foun- tain this liteameth, Doth it arife from any other principle, but meetly that of a naturall confcience? and if fo, this cannotbe a philter to any roar, or a balm to any wound. As good Saints as thefe grow of themfelves in theheathenifh parts of the world. Thirdly, This outward innocency and righteoufneflè may bemeetly for Want ofa temptation. The heart is ready enough toconceive filch monflers, . but thefe, want obje'rs to cuale this. We fee inScripture fuch finites latitant in our breafls, which will break forth by the midwifry of opportunities, that a man before would abhorre the very thoughts of them, as in Fíaaael and Peter. Hence the Difciples were warned by Chrift to take heedof drunkenneffe,a finnethat proba, bly the difcipleswere far remote from, yet for all that occafions might kindle fuch luflin their hearts; It is not therefore prefently to be concluded that all is well, becaufe our lives are unblameable, for it's norfrom any goodneffe within, but from defeftof matterwithout. We fee the hedges and fprings of wood-are free fromfnakes and venimous creatures in the winter time, but it is-not becaufe they arenot a fit bofome to nourifh them, but there wants the Sunbeams to warm and revive them, As godly men many times would dogood, but cannot becaufe theywant the objeds andopportunities thereof: fo alfo wicked men many times havehearts prepared todo a great deal ofevil, but theft madmen have not thole (words ready whereby they woulddelroy themfelves andothers. Laxly, Therefore may thy convey ation be fo laudable, becaufe the fear of hu- mane laws and punifhments, or elfe Gods judgements are like a fieryfword to 4 keep thee oft,Ram.a;. Magil.lraces area terrour to thofe that doevil', fo that ma- ny men arenot founclean, unjuo, as they would be, becaufe the Magiflrates fword affrights them: and truly it'sa great mercy, when in a kingdom men are neceffì- yated to do things that aregood and righteous ; The end ofall civili punifhments is,that others may fee and beafraid, and do no fach thing : fo that many a mans external' conformity to good things is from the laws of the kingdom, wherein he liveth : or ifthefe do not curbhim, fometimes the heavy judgements of God im- pending overhimmake him,todohis duty. Thus Ahab, whenhe feared no humane Y 3 laws