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How a work of grace discovers itself.
Faith. Well, if you will not, will you give me leave to do it ?
Faith. A work of grace in the soul discovereth itself either to him that hath it, or to standers by. (John xvi. 8. Rom. vii. 24. Mark xvi. 16. Psalm xxxviii. 18. Jer. xxxi. 19. Gal. i. 15. Rev. i. 6. &c.) To him that hath it, thus: It gives him conviction of sin, especially the defilement of his nature, and the sin of unbelief (for the sake of which he is sure to be damned, if he findeth not mercy at God's hand, by faith in Jesus Christ). This sight and sense of things worketh in him sorrow and shame for sin. He findeth, moreover, revealed in him the Saviour of the world, and the absolute necessity of closing with him for life; at the which he findeth hungerings, and thirstings after him; to which hungerings, &c. the promise is made. Now, according to the strength or weakness of his faith in his Saviour, so is his joy and peace, so is his love to holiness, so are his desires to know him more, and also to serve him in this world. But, though I say it discovereth itself thus unto him, yet it is but seldom he is able to conclude that this is a work of grace, because his corruptions now, and his abused reason, make his mind to misjudge in this matter. Therefore, in him that hath this work, there is required a very sound judgment, before he can with steadiness conclude that this is a work
To others it is thus discovered: 1. By an experimental confession of faith in Christ. (Rom. x. 10.) 2. By a life answerable to that confession (Phil. i. 27.); to wit, a life of holiness, heart-holiness; family-holiness, if he hath a family; and by conversation-holiness in the world; which, in the general, teacheth bim inwardly to abhor his sin, and himself for that, in secret; to suppress it in his family, and to promote holiness in the world, not by talk only, as an hypocrite or talkative person may do, but by a practical subjection in faith and love to the power of the word. (Matt. v. 8. Psalm 1. 23. Talkative very plainly dealt with.
1 The expression revealed in him is taken from St. Paul, Gal. i. 16. Our author, however, evidently meant no more, than the illumination of the Holy Spirit enabling a man to understand, believe, admire and love the truths of the Bible respecting Christ; and not any new revelation. These enthusiastic expectations and experiences have deceived many and stumbled more: and have done greater harm to the cause of evangelical religion, than can be conceived or expressed.
John xiv. 15.) And now, Sir, as to this brief description of the work of grace, and also the discovery of it, if you have ought to object, object; if not, then give me leave to propound to you a second question.
Talk. Nay, my part is not now to object, but to hear. Let me therefore have your second question.
Faith. It is this: Do you experience this first part of the description of it, and doth your life and conversation testify the same? Or standeth your religion in word or tongue, and not in deed and truth? Pray, if you incline to answer me in this, say no more than you
know the God above will say Amen to, and also nothing but what your conscience can justify you in: “For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.” Besides, to say I am thus and thus, when my conversation and all my neighbours tell me I lie, is great wickedness.
Then Talkative at first began to blush; but, recovering himself, he thus replied: You come now to experience, to conscience, and God; and to appeal to him for justification of what is spoken. This kind of discourse I did not expect; nor am I disposed to give an answer to such questions, because I count not myself bound thereto, unless
take upon you to be a catechiser: and though you should so do, yet I may refuse to make you my judge. But, I pray, will you tell me why you ask me such questions ?
Faith. Because I saw you forward to talk, and because I knew not that you had ought else but notion. Besides to tell you the truth, I have heard of you, that you are a man whose religion lies in talk, and that your conversation gives this your mouth-profession the lie. They say you are a spot among Christians, and that religion fareth the worse for your ungodly conversation; that some have already stumbled at your wicked ways; and that more are in danger of being destroyed thereby. Your religion, and an alehouse, and covetousness, and uncleanness, and swearing, and lying, and vain company-keeping, &c. will stand together. The proverb is true of you which is said of a whore, viz. “That she is a shame to all women!" so are you a shame to all professors."
1 It is not enough to state practical and experimental subjects in the plainest and most
Talkative fretfully bids faithful adieu.
Talk. Since you are so ready to take up reports, and to judge 80 rashly as you do, I cannot but conclude you are some peevish or melancholic man, not fit to be discoursed with; and so Adieu !
Then came up Christian, and said to his brother, I told you how it would happen; your words and his lusts could not agree. He had rather leave your company than reform his life. But he is gone, as I said; let him go; the loss is no man's but his own; he has saved us the trouble of going from him; for he continuing, (as I suppose he will do,) as he is, he would have been but a blot in our company; besides, the apostle says, “ From such withdraw thyself."
Faith. But I am glad we had this little discourse with him; it may happen that he will think of it again: however, I have dealt plainly with him, and so am clear of his blood, if he perisheth.
Chr. You did well to talk so plainly as you did. There is but little of this faithful dealing with men now-a-days, and that makes religion to stink in the nostrils of so many as it doth; for they are these talkative fools whose religion is only in word, and are debauched and vain in their conversation, that (being so much admitted into the fellowship of the godly,) do puzzle the world, blemish Christianity, and grieve the sincere. I wish that all men would deal with such as you have done; then should they either be made more conformable to religion, or the company of saints would be too hot for them.
Then did Faithful say,
How Talkative at first lifts up his plumes !
And so will all but he that heart-work knows.
distinguishing manner: we ought also to apply them to men's consciences, by the most solemn and particular interrogations.
I This apostolical rule is of the greatest importance. While conscientious Christians, from a mistaken candour, tolerate scandalous professors and associate with them, they seem to allow that they belong to the same family; and the world will charge their immoralities on the doctrines of the gospel, saying of those who profess them, “They are all alike, if we could find them out.' But did all, “ who adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour," withdraw from such men, the world would be compelled to see the difference between hypocrites and real Christians.
and so made that way easy, which would otherwise, no doubt, have been tedious to them; for now they went through a Wilderness.
Now, when they were almost quite out of this Wilderness, Faithful chanced to cast his eye back, and espied one coming after them: and he knew him. Oh! said Faithful to his brother, who comes yonder! Then Christian looked, and said, It is my good friend Evangelist. Ay, and my good friend too, said Faithful; for it was he that set me on the way to the Gate. Now was Evangelist come up unto them, and thus saluted them:
Evan. Peace be to you, dearly beloved, and peace be to your helpers.
Chr. Welcome, welcome, my good Evangelist; the sight of thy countenance brings to my remembrance thy ancient kindness, and unwearied labours for my eternal good.
And a thousand times welcome, said good Faithful; thy company, O sweet Evangelist, how desirable is it to us poor pilgrims!
Then said Evangelist, How hath it fared with you, my friends, since the time of our last parting? What have you met with, and how have you behaved yourselves?
Then Christian and Faithful told him of all things that had happened to them in the way, and how, and with what difficulty, they had arrived to that place.
Right glad am I, said Evangelist, not that you have met with trials, but that you have been victors; and for that you have, notwithstanding many weaknesses, continued in the way to this very day.
I say, right glad am I of this thing, and that for mine own sake and yours. I have sowed, and you have reaped; and the day is coming, when both he that sowed and they that reaped shall rejoice together; that is, if you hold out: for in due time
reap, if ye faint not. The crown is before you, and it is an incorruptible one: so run, that you may obtain it. Some there be that set out for this crown, and after they have gone far for it, another comes in and takes it from them. Hold fast, therefore, that you have; let no man take your
1 The author, intending in the next place to represent his pilgrims as exposed to severe persecution, and to exhibit in one view what Christians should expect, and may be exposed to, from the enmity of the world, very judiciously introduces that interesting scene by Evangelist's meeting them, with suitable cautions, exhortations, and encouragements.
You are not yet out of the gunshot of the devil: you have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. Let the kingdom be always before you, and believe steadfastly concerning things that are invisible. Let nothing that is on this side the other world get within you; and above all, look well to your own hearts, and to the lusts thereof; for they are deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Set
your faces like a flint; you have all power in heaven and earth on your side. (John iv. 36. Gal. vi. 9. 1 Cor. ix. 24—27. Rev. iii. 11.)
Then Christian thanked him for his exhortation; but told him withal, that they would have him speak farther to them for their help the rest of the way; and the rather, for that they well knew that he was a prophet, and could tell them of things that might happen unto them, and also how they might resist and overcome them: to which request Faithful also consented. So Evangelist began as followeth:
My sons, you have heard in the words of the truth of the that you must, through many tribulations, enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again, that, in every city, bonds and afflictions abide you; and therefore you cannot expect that you should long go on your pilgrimage without them, in some sort or other. You have found something of the truth of these testimonies upon you already, and more will immediately follow; for now, as you see, you are almost out of this wilderness, and therefore you will soon come into a town that you will by and by see before you; and in that town you will be hardly beset with enemies, who will strain hard but they will kill you; and be you sure that one or both of you must seal the testimony which you hold, with blood; but be you faithful unto death, and the King will give you a crown of life. He that shall die there, although his death will be unnatural, and his pain perhaps great, will yet have the better of his fellow; not only because he will be arrived at the Celestial City soonest, but because he will escape many miseries that the other will meet with in the rest of his journey. But when you are come to the town, and shall find fulfilled what I have here related, then remember your friend, and quit yourselves like men, and commit the keeping of your souls to God in well-doing, as unto a faithful Creator. 1
The able and faithful minister can foretell many things, from his knowledge of the scriptures, and enlarged experience and observation, of which his people are not aware. He knows