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brance whaterer has at any time offended the eyes of his glory. If the guilt of any unrepented sin remain on your soul, it cannot be but you will remain in darkness, till having been renewed by repentance, you are again washed by faith in the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness.

7. Entirely different will be the manner of the cure, if the cause of the disease be not sin, but ignorance. It. may be, ignorance of the meaning of scripture'; perhaps occasioned by ignorant commentators ; ignorant at least in this respect, however knowing or learned they may be in other particulars. And in this case, that ignorance must be removed, before we can remove the darkness arising from it.

We must shew the true meaning of those texts, which have been misunderstood, My design does not perinit me to consider all the passages of scripture which have been prest into this service. I shall just mention two or three, which are frequently brought to prove, that all believers must, sooner or later, walk in darkness.

8. One of these is Isaian l. 10, IVho is' among you that feareth ihe Lord, and obycih the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness and bath no light ? Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God. But how does it appear either from the text or context, that the person here spoke of ever had light? One who is convinced of sin, feareth the Lord and obeyeth the voice of his servant. And him we should advise, though he was still dark of soul, and had never seen the light of God's countenance, yet to trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God. This text therefore proves tothing less, than that a believer in Christ; "must sometimes walk in darkness."

9. Another text which has been supposed to speak the same doctrine, is Hosea, ii. 14. I will allure her and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. Hence it has been inferred, that God will bring every believer into the wilderness, into a state of deadness and darkness. But it is certain, the text speaks no such thing. For 1. It does not appear, that it speaks of particular believers at all. It manifestly refers to the Jewish nation ; and perhaps, to that only. But if it be applicable to particular persons, the plain meaning of

it is this, I will draw him by love: I will next convince him of sin, and then comfort him by my pardoning nercy:

10. A third scripture from whence the same inference has been drawn, is that abor e recited, re now have sorrow : but I will see you agam; and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. This has been supposed to imply, That God would, after a time withdraw himself from all believers : and that they could not, till after they had thus sorrowed, have the joy which no man could take from them. But the whole context shews, that our Lord is here speaking personally to the apostles, and no others; and that he is speaking concerning those particular events, his own death and resurrection. A little while, says he, and ye shall not see me, namely, whilst I am in the grave : And ag ain, a little while and ye shall see me, when I am risen from the dead. Ye will weep and lament, and the world will rejoice : but your sorrow shall be turned into jove-Ye now have sorrow, because I am about to be taken from your head. But I will see you again, after my resurrection, and your heart shall rejoice. And your joy which I will then give you, no man taketh from you. All this we know was literally fulfilled, in the particular case of the apostles. But no inference can be drawn from hence, with regard to God's dealings with believers in general.

11. A fourth text (to mention no more) which has been frequently cited, in proof of the same doctrine, is, 1 Pet. iv. 12. Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you. But this is full as foreign to the point as the preceding. The text, literally rendered, runs thus. Beloved, wonder not at the burning, wbich is among you, which is for your trial. Now however this may be accommodated io in ward trials, in a secondary sense, yet primarily it doubtless refers to martyrdon, and the sufferings connected with it. Neither therefore is this text any thing at all to the purpose for which it is cited. And we may challenge all men to bring one téxt either from the Old or New Testament, which is any more to the purpose than this.

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- 12." But is not darkness much more profitable for the soul than light? Is not the work of God in the heart, most swiftly and effectually carried on, during a state of inward suffering? Is not a believer more swilily and thoroughly purified, by sorrow than by joy? By anguishi and pain and distress and spiritual martyrdoms, than by continual peace?” So the Mystics teach : so it is written in their books.; but not in the oracles of God,

The scripture no where says, that the absence of God : best periects his work in the heart! Rather bis

sence, and a clear communion with the Faiber-and the Son. A strong consciousness of this will do more in an hour, than his absence in an age. Joy in the Holy Ghost, will far more effectually purify the soul, than the want of that joy. And the peace of God is the best means of refining the soul from the dross of eartbly afa fections. A way then with the idle conceit, that the king, dom of God is divided against itself: that, the peace of God and joy in the Holy Ghost are obstructive of righteousness: and that we are saved not by faith, 'but by uns belief; not by hope, but by despair !

13. So long as men dream thus, they may well walk in darkness : nor can the effect cease, till the cause is removed. But yet we must not imagine, it will immedia ately cease, even when the cause is no more. When either ignorance or sin has evused darkness, one or the other may be removed, and yet the light which was obstructed ihereby, may not immediately return. As it is the free gift of God, he may restore it, sooner or later, as it pleases him. In the case of sin, we cannot reasonably expect, that it should immediately return. The sin began before the punishment, which may therefore justly remain, after the sin is at an end. And even in the natural course of things, though a wound cannot be healed while the dart is sticking in the flesh, yet neither is it healed as soon as that is drawn out; but soreness and pain may remain long after.

14. Lastly, Il darkness be occasioned by manifold, heavy and unexpected temptations, the best way of removing and preventing this is, to teach believers always to expect temptation : seeing they dwell in an evil world, among wicked, subtle, malicious spirits, and No. XII.

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have an heart capable of all evil. Convince them that the whole work of sanctification, is not (as they imagined) wrought at once : that when they first believe, they are but as 'new-born babes, who are gradually to grow up, and may expect many storms, before they come to the full stature of Christ. Above all, let them be instructed, when the storm is upon them, not to reason with the devil, but to pray; to pour out their souls before God, and shew hin of their trouble. And these are the persons unto whom chiefly we are to apply the great and precious promises : (not to the ignorant, till the ignorance is removed ; much less to the impenitent sinner.) To these we may largely and affectionately declare the loving kindness of God our Saviour, and expatiate upon his tender mercies, which have been ever of old. Here we may dwell upon the faithfulness of God, whose word is tried to the uttermost, and upon the virtue of that blood which was shed for us, to cleanse us from all 'sin. And God will then bear witness to his word, and bring their souls out of trouble. He will say, Arise, shine ; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. Yea, and that light, if thou walk humbly and closely with God, will shine more and more unto the perfeet day.

SERMON XLVII.

I PETER i. 6.

Now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through mani

fold temptations.

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N the preceding discourse I have particularly

spoken of that darkness of mind, into which those are often observed to fall, who once walked in the light of God's countenance. Nearly related to this

is the heaviness of soul, which is still more common, even among believers : indeed almost all the children of God, experience this, in an higher or lower degree. And

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so great is the resemblance between one and the other, that they are frequently confounded together: and we are apt to say indifferently, such an one is in darkness, or such an one is in heaviness : as if they were equivalent terms, one of which implied no inore than the other. But they are sar, very far from it. Darkness is one thing; heaviness is another. There is a difference, yea a wide, an essential difference, between the former and the latter, And such a difference it is, as all the chil. dren of God are deeply concerned to understand: otherwise nothing will be more easy than for them to slide out of heaviness into darkness. In order to prevent this, I will endeavour to shew,

I. What manner of persons those were, to whom the apostle says, Ye are in heaviness.: II. What kind of heaviness they were in. III. What were the causes, and IV. What were the ends of it. I shall conclude with some inferences.

I. 1. I am in the first place, to shew what manner of persons those were, to whom the apostle says, Ye are in heaviness. And, first, It is beyond all dispute, that they were believers, at the time the apostle thus addrest them. For so he expresly says, ver. 5. Ye who are kept through the power of God by faith unto salvation : again, ver. 7. he mentions, the trial of their faith, much more precious than that of gold which perisheth. And yet again, verse, 9. he speaks of their receiving the end of their faith, tbe salvation of their souls. At the same time therefore that they were in heavinéss, they were possessed of living faith. Their heaviness did not destroy their faith : they still endured, seeing him that is invisible.

2. Neither did their heaviness destroy their peace, the peace that passeth all understanding, which is inseparable from rue, living faith; this we may easily gather from the second verse: wherein the apostle prays, Not that grace and peace may be given them, but only, that it may be rnultiplied unto them ; that the blessing which they already enjoyed, might be more abundantly i bestowed upon them.

3. The persons to whom the apostle here speaks were also full of a living hope. For thus he speaks, ver. 3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

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