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Direct. xvi. “Settle your estates betimes, that worldly matters may not distract or discompose you.' And if God have endowed you with riches, dispose of a due proportion to such pious or charitable uses, in which they may be most serviceable to him that gave them you. Though we should give what we can in the time of life and health, yet many that have but so much as will serve to their necessary
maintenance, may well part with that to good uses at their death, which they could not spare in the time of their health : especially they that have no children, or such wicked children, as are like to do hurt with all that is given them above their daily bread.
Direct. xvii. ' If it may be, get some able, faithful guide and comforter to be with you in your sickness, to counsel you, and resolve your doubts, and pray with you, and discourse of heavenly things, when you are disabled by weakness for such exercises yourselves.' Let not carnal persons disturb you with their vain babblings. Though the difference between good company and bad, be very great in the time of health, yet now in sickness it will be more discernible. And though a faithful friend and spiritual pastor be always a great mercy, yet now especially in your last necessity. Therefore make use of them as far as your pain and weakness will permit.
Direct. xviii. ' Be fortified against all the temptations of satan by which he useth to assault men in their extremity: stand it out in the last conflict, and the crown is yours. I shall instance in particulars.
Directions for resisting the Temptations of Satan, in the time
Tempt. 1. The most ordinary temptation against the comfort of believers, (for I have already spoken of those that are against their safety) is to doubt of their own sincerity, and consequently of their part in Christ. Saith the tempter, • All that thou hast done, hath been but in hypocrisy; thou wast never a true believer, nor ever didst truly repent of sin, nor truly love God; and therefore thou art unjustified, and shalt speedily be condemned.'
Against this temptation a believer hath two remedies.
The first is, to confute the tempter by those evidences which will prove that he hath been sincere (such as I have often mentioned before). And by repelling those reasonings, by which the tempter would prove him to have been an hypocrite. As when it is objected, “Thou hast repented and been humbled but slightly and by the halves ;' Answ. Yet was it sincerely; and weak grace is not no grace. .. Obj. • Thou hast been a lover of the world, and a neglecter of thy soul, and cold in all that thou didst for thy salvation.' Answ. Yet did I set more by heaven than earth, and I first sought the kingdom of God and his righteousness, as esteeming it above all the riches of the world. Object. • Thou hast kept thy sins while thou wentest on in a profession of religion.' Answ. I had no sin but what in the habitual, ordinary temper of my soul, I hated more than I loved it, and had rather have been delivered from it, than have kept it, and none but what I unfeignedly repented of. Object. • Thou didst not truly believe the promises of God, and the life to come; or else thou wouldst never have doubted as thou hast done, nor sought such a kingdom with such weak desires. Answ. Though my faith was weak, it overcame the world: I so far believed the promise of another life, as that I preferred it before this life, and was resolved rather to forsake all the world, than to part with my hopes of that promised blessedness: and that faith is sincere (how weak soever) that can do this. Object. ' But thou hast done thy works to be seen of men, and been troubled when men have not approved thee, nor honoured thee; and what was this but mere hypocrisy ? Answ. Though I had some hypocrisy, yet was I not a hypocrite, because it was not in a reigning and prevalent degree; though I too much regarded the esteem of men, yet I did more regard the esteem of God. Thus if a Christian discern his evidences, the false reasonings of satan are to be refuted.
2. But ordinarily it is a readier way to take the second course, which is, at present, to believe, and repent, and so confute satan that saith you are not penitent believers. But then you must truly understand what believing and repenting are; or else you may think that you do not believe and repent when you do. Believing in Christ, is a believing that he is the Saviour of the world, and a consent of will
that he be your Saviour, to justify you by his blood, and sanctify you by his Spirit. To repent, is to be so sorry that you have sinned, that if it were to do again, you would not do it (as to gross sin and a state of sin); and the smallest infirmities, your will is so far set against, that you desire to be delivered from them. Believing to justification, is not the believing that you are already justified, and your sins forgiven you; and repenting consisteth not in such degrees of sorrow as some expect; but in the change of the mind and will, from a life of sensuality to a life of holiness. When you know this, then answer the tempter thus, . If I should suffer thee to deprive me of the comfort of all my former uprightness, yet shalt thou not so deprive me of the comfort of my present sincerity, and of my hopes; I am now too weak and distempered to try all that is past and gone. Past actions are now known but by rementbering them; and they are seldom judged of, as indeed they then were; but according to the temper and apprehension of the mind when it révieweth them: and I am now so changed and weakened myself, that I cannot tell whether I truly remember the just temper and thoughts of my heart in all that is past or not. Nor doth it most concerni me now, to know what I have been, but to know what I am. Christ will not judge according to what I was; but according to what he findeth me; never did he refuse a penitent, believing soul, because he repented and believed late : I do now unfeignedly repent of all my sins, and am heartily willing to be both pardoned, and cleansed, and sanctified by Christ, and here I give up myself to him as my Saviour, and to this covenant I will stand; and this is true repenting and believing. Thus a poor Christian in the time of sickness, may ofttimes much easier clear it up to himself, that he repenteth now, than that he repented formerly; and it is his surest way.
Tempt. 11. And yet sometimes he cometh with the quite contrary temptation, and must be resisted by the contrary way. When he findeth a Christian so perplexed, and distempered with sickness, that his understanding is disabled from any composed thoughts, then he asketh him, Now where is thy faith and repentance? If thou hast any, or ever hadst
In this case a Christian is to take up with the remembrance of his former sincerity,
and tell the tempter, “ I am sure that once I gave up myself unfeignedly to my Lord; and those that come to him he will in no wise cast out; and if now I be disabled from a composed exercise of grace, he will not impute my sickness to me as my
sin.' Tempt. 111. Another ordinary temptation is, that · It is now too late ; God will not now accept repentance; the day of grace is past and gone; or at least, a deathbed repentance is not sincere.' To this the tempted soul must reply, 1. That if faith and repentance were not accepted at any time in this life, then God's promise were not true, which saith, that “whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life b.” There is a time in this life, in which some resisters of the truth are given up to their own lusts, to the love of sin, and hatred of holiness, so that they will not repent; but there was never a time in this life, in which God refused to justify a true repenting sinner, upon his belief in Christ. 2. That if a deathbed repentance do truly turn the heart from the world to God, and from sin to holiness, so that the penitent person, if he should recover, would lead a new and holy life, then that repentance hath as sure a promise of pardon and salvation, as if it had been sooner; and yet delay must be confessed to be dangerous to all, and casteth men under very great difficulties, and their loss is exceeding great, though at last they repent and are forgiven.
Tempt. w. Sometimes the tempter saith, Thou art not elected to salvation; and God saveth none but his elect,' and so puzzleth the ignorant by setting them on doubting of their election. To this we must answer, that that is chosen to faith, and repentance, and perseverance, is certainly chosen to salvation : and I know that God hath chosen me to faith and repentance, because he hath given them me: and I have reason enough to trust on him for that upholding grace, which will cause me to persevere.
Tempt. v. · But, saith the tempter, Christ did not die for thee; and no one can be saved that Christ did not die for.' To this it must be answered, That Christ died for all men, so far as to be a sufficient sacrifice for their sins, and
b John jj. 16. So Luke xxiv. 47. 2 Tim. ïi25. 2 Pet. ii. 9.
Acts v. 31.
to make a promise of pardon and salvation to all that will accept him and his gift; and he entreateth all that hear the Gospel to accept it; and accordingly he will save all that consent unto his covenant. I am a sinful child of Adam, and therefore am one that Christ became a sacrifice for; and I consent unto his covenant, and therefore I am one that Christ by that covenant doth justify and will save.
Tempt. vi. Sometimes the tempter troubleth the soul with temptations to blasphemy and infidelity: and asketh him, . How knowest thou that there is a God, or a life to come, or that souls are immortal, or that the Scripture is true ?' Of this I spake before. To this we must then answer, ‘ I abhor thy suggestions : these things I have seen proved long ago ; and I will not so far gratify thee in my weakness and extremity, as to question and dispute these sealed fundamental truths, no more than I will dispute whether there be a sun or earth.
Tempt. vii. Sometimes the tempter will say, ' At best thou hast no assurance of salvation, and how canst thou choose but tremble to think of dying, when thou knowest not whether thou shalt go to heaven or hell ? To this, the soul that hath not assurance must answer, “It is my own mistake or weakness that keepeth me unassured :' and I will neither take part with my infirmities, nor increase them by their effects. My hopes are such as should draw up my desires, though I want full assurance. The child delighteth in the company of the mother, and every man of his friend; though he is not certain that the mother or friend will not hurt him, or take away his life. Why should I trouble myself with improbabilities ? or fear that which I have no sound reason to fear ? Rather I should be glad to die, that death may perfect my assurance, and put an end to all my doubts and fears.
Tempt. vin. But, saith the tempter, how strange art thou to God and the life to come? Thou never sawest it: is it not dreadful to enter upon an unchangeable life, in a world which thou art so great a stranger to ? Answ. But Christ is not a stranger to it; he seeth it for me, and I will implicitly trust him. Where should my eyes be, but in my head? I shall never see it till I come thither. When I have been there a while, this darkness, and fear, and strangeness