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3. Improving, according to our neceffities, for time and eternity, the interest in God thus claimed. Ye have had two directions offered for the right managing of this: 1. That you fhould draw near with a true heart; 2. With full affurance of faith; which I explained to confift in, (1.) Taking God for your God in Chrift, without doubting of your welcome; (2.) Claiming God in Chrift as your God, without doubting of your title; (3.) Improving your intereft claimed, without doubting of fuccefs. I fpoke upon the first of these three largely, namely, the taking God for your God in Chrift, without doubting of your title. Upon the other two, little was faid. I fhall now speak to a cafe which I fhall propose, and fo proceed.
Cafe. How fhall I know that I have drawn near to God in Christ with a true heart, and fincerely taken him for my God in Chrift? Anfw. The difference between the true and false heart in this point, may be difcerned in the following particulars, viz.
1. The falfe heart draws near to God, as a neighbour only, as it were, to pay a visit, stays a little, and then goes its way again: Ifa. xxvi. 16. "Lord, in trouble have they vifited thee; they poured out a prayer when thy chaftening was upon them." The hypocrite never takes up his everlafting reft in God. Though he leaves his own house to come to the house of God, yet he leaves - his heart behind him; and fo he cannot stay. With the mixed multitude who came out of Egypt, Num. xi. 5. "They remember the fish which they did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, the melons, and the leeks, and the onions,. and the garlick ;" and they found the retreat to go back from whence they came.
2. The true heart draws near to God in heaven,
as the new-married wife comes home to her hufband's houfe to dwell there all her days, never to go back again to her father's house: Pfal. cxvi. 7. Return to thy reft, O my foul! for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee." It was a cuftom among the ancient Greeks, to burn, at the bridegroom's door, the axle-tree of the coach in which the bride came home, to fhew fhe was never again to go away; and if ye have drawn near to God with a true heart, taking him for your God in Chrift, I will not fay, that the axle-tree of the chariot in which you came to God is as yet burnt to ashes, but fure I am, there is a fire set to it; and if it is once fet in a flame at the door of the house of your new Hufband, it is fo because you had no mind to go again back. ther this be fo or not, you will know,
(1.) By the fmoke which will be rifing there. There will be a threefold smoke rifing at the door of the house you have come to, if the axle-tree be on fire, and you have determined not to go back again to your former house.
[1.] There will be the smoke of fear as to drawing back. I mean not a faithlefs fear, which feizes those who look to the duties to which they are bound, but not to the ftrong God, whofe ftrength is engaged by covenant to his people, for the performance of them. This is the fear which takes heart and hand from people, making the heart quaver, like a candle burnt to the focket, till at last it expires with a stench. This is the fmoke of a fire from hell, blown up with hard thoughts of God, and of the sweet yoke of Christ, Matth. xxv. 24. 25. Rev. xxi. 8. It is the forerunner of apoftafy; but there is a fear of circum> fpection in the true heart, in oppofition to that felf-confidence with which hypocrites are blown
up: Prov. xxviii. 14. Happy is the man that' feareth alway, but he that hardeneth his heart} fhall fall into mifchief." He trembles to think of going back from God, has a horror at the thought. He walks foftly and warily, as one afraid to be taken off his feet; and he holds the fafter, the more he fees his hazard.-There is,
[2.] The smoke of self-loathing, for former sins and departures from God: Ezek. xxxvi. 31. "Then fhall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and fhall loathe yourselves in your own fight for your iniquities, and for your abominations." They that are near will remember with felf-loathing what they were when they were far off: Pfal. lxxiii. 22. "So foolish was I and ignorant, I was as a beast before him." They who have not feen their wretched cafe while at a diftance from God, they go back again quickly; for the fore that is not fufficiently probed, though fcurfed over, will break out again.-There is,
[3.] The fmoke of diffatisfaction with the corrupt nature, in that there fhould be fo much as a principle of back-drawing, the least inclination in them to go away: Rom. vii. 24. "O wretched man that I am! who fhall deliver me from the body of this death ?" They will be looking with an evil eye on the corruption of nature, which makes them capable of departing, and will be longing to be beyond the reach of temptations to depart from the Lord.
(2.) You will know by the flame that will be rifing there. There being a live coal from the altar, there will be a threefold flame.
 A flame of love to the house they have come to for the Mafter's fake, Luke, xxiv. 29. 32. The glory of that house cast open by the blood of A a 2 Christ,
Christ, darkens all created excellency with them, fo that their hearts fay, "This is my reft." Pfal. lxxin. 25. "Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none on the earth that I defire beside thee." They are like the fervant, Exod. xxi. 5. who, from love to his master, would not go out free. They have made choice of God in Christ for their God; and when they reflect on the bargain, they do not repent their choice. If they had it to make a thousand times, they would not alter. -There is,
(2.) A flame of defires, defires to stay Pfal. cxix. 10. "With my whole heart have I fought thee; O let me not wander from thy commandments!" They fee Satan and a corrupt heart ftanding ready to yoke, to carry them back to their father's houfe again; but they are perfuaded in their hearts, while they are with God, they are where they are better, yea, where they are beft ; and they defire not to go back, they defire to stay, and therefore are denying the fuits of ungodliness and worldly lufts, which would carry them back, Tit. ii. 12.-There is,
(3.) A flame of hatred against the fashion of their father's houfe: Pfal. ci. 3. "I will fet no wicked thing before mine eyes; I hate the work of them that turn afide, it fhall not cleave to me." They loathed them, they therefore left them, and came away from them. They do not love them, and therefore hate to go back to them. They have abandoned the fweet morfel, and abhor to take it up again Pfal. xcvii. 1o. "Ye that love the Lord, hate evil; he preferveth the fouls of his faints, he delivereth them out of the hands of the wicked." Thofe fashions wounded their confciences, defiled their fouls, grieved the Holy Spirit, contradicted the law of righteousness; therefore they hate them.
Thus, you fee, those who have diawn near to God in heaven, have determined to abide there. They have taken God as their God, to abide by, and with him for ever. And hence we may conclude two things in regard to them.
1. That they are no more people of this world. Heaven was caft open to them by Jefus Chrift, a way was made for them into the holieft of all, and they have drawn near by this way to God in Christ, to abide there. It is indeed true, they are. yet in the world, but they are not any more of it, they are chofen out of the world, John, xv. 19. Though their bodies be still in this world, their fouls have by faith taken wing, have left this for that world, which is not feen, and have got in within the vail. Thus it is, for the god of this world is not their God. They have renounced the devil, no more to ferve and obey him to their ruin, but to refift him as their enemy, and the enemy of their God. They are to have an irreconcileable war with him, till he be bruifed under their feet. The world's portion is not their portion, 1 John, ii. 15. 16. They look beyond things that are seen, which may fill the hand, but can never fill the heart. They feek after profits more folid, pleafures more pure and fweet, than the world can afford. They will not, like the men of the world, cry, "Who will fhew us any good?"Pfal. iv. 6.; but as answering Chrift's call, Song, iv. 8. "Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse." What others take upon their back, yea, place in the chief room of the heart, they put under their feet, and are fighting with it, that they may overcome it. The way of the world is not their way Rom. xii. 2. "And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of: your mind." To be only neighbour-like, is not
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