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righteousness. Thou art the giver of every grace. I acknowledge thee to be the author of my spiritual life: I was dead in trespasses and sins, and thou hast quickened me. It is of thy mere gift that I have any faith, and that upon the trial it was found to be true faith : I bless thee for this grace, and humbly pray for the continuance and for the increase of it. Meet me in the use of all means, and enable me to grow in faith, rooted and grounded in Christ Jesus, that I may also grow in love to his father and to my Father. 0 thou divine revealer of his heavenly love, shed it abroad more abundantly in my heart, that I may learn more resignation to his will, more subjection to his authority, and more submission to his rod. I acknowledge thee, O holy making Spirit to be the teacher of patience, and what I have learnt was thy revelation. It was in thy strength that I was enabled to go on with any quietness bearing my cross. Thy grace made me willing, and nothing else can keep me willing, to have the flesh crucified with its affections and lusts. O God put forth thine almighty power, and enable me to part with every thing, which would hinder my fellowship with the Father and the Son. I desire so to walk this day, as to have growing fellowship with the eternal Three, and I desire it through thine influence. O God the Holy Ghost, carry on thy work. Exalt and purify my faith and patience, and every grace: if it be thy will to do this under the cross, o make me willing and able to bear it. Let every cross bring forth richer and riper fruit, until thou give me an exceeding great and eternal harvest of glory. I ask this in the name of Jesus, and I expect an answer of grace through the Father's love in him, to whom with thee, O blessed Spirit, three persons in one Godhead be equal glory, worship, and praise, now, and for ever. Amen.
Meditate, O my soul, with seriousness upon this great subject. Study the scripture account of the
The knowledge of it enters into the very essence of the peace and comfort of thy walk. Thou canst not run away from the cross : thou canst not cast it off: remember, if thou wilt be Christ's disciple, thou must take it up daily and follow him. If it be very heavy and very grievous, yet it will not hinder thee from following him. He carried the heaviest part for thee—he endured the curse and punishment due to thy sinshe left no wrath for thee to sufferBlessed be his love, the cross has no curse in it nowthy sufferings are all sent from love and his love will help thee to bear them and to profit by them: for he has promised to bless and sanctify them to his people. And he makes them a blessing indeed. Never on this side of heaven does he give them such near and happy communion with himself as under the cross. O read then, and study what is revealed in scripture concerning it. Go over it again and again. Learn well, and inwardly digest the doctrine of the cross of Christ—the necessity—the benefit—the blessings of it. Meditate and feed upon the sweet promises relating to it: mix faith with them, that they may nourish and strengthen thee in time of need. But never forget, that thy cross, be it what it will, is appointed for thee in covenant love. It is the portion allotted thee by thy heavenly Father-decreed in weight and measure to an atom-thou shalt not bear it one moment longer, than he has determined and many precious fruits it shall produce. Thou wilt find suffering times growing times-growth in faith and patience, in mortification to sin, and in fellowship with the ever blessed Trinity. The author of thy faith puts it to the trial: it comes out of the lion's den unhurt: it comes out of the fiery furnace refined. God is glorified hereby, and thou art strengthened. He sends the cross to teach thee patience, and he continues it for the exercise and for the improvement of the same grace. He intends by his chastening to crucify the flesh, and to mortify thy members which are upon the earth. In love he takes away sensual, that he may give thee spiritual joys. He does not hate thee, but love guides every stroke of his chastening. He is only weakening thine attachment to earthly things, that he may increase thy communion with Father, Son, and Spirit. ( what blessings are these! Meditate, O my soul, much and often upon them. Pray for the experience of them in time of need: and be assured with all these helps, the cross will be exercise hard enough for thy patience. Thou canst carry it only in the strength of almighty grace. May the Lord strengthen thee from day to day to run the race set before thee, till thou win the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
The believer exercised with the inward cross learns to
walk more humbly with his God. The outward cross is not always a burden alike heavy. God gives his children a little respite. After they have been long tried he sometimes removes their trouble, and gives them ease and outward prosperity. Their sun arises as it doth in nature. cold and dark days a fine season comes-finer for coming after them. The sky grows clear and serene, the air is soft and refreshing, the sun shines with warm and enlivening rays. Every thing looks pleasant, and smiles around you. So it is in the kingdom of grace.
The believer may not be always in heaviness through manifold afflictions. He has his times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord. He prospers and is in health. The blessing of God is upon his substance. Every thing that he takes in hand succeeds. He is happy in his circumstances, and happy in his family. He sees the goodness of God in these mercies, and he is thankful. But if the heavenly Father sometimes indulge his children with the removal of the outward cross, yet he never does with the inward. They carry it all their days, and an heavy burden it is. So long as they are in the body, while they are in this tabernacle, they do groan being burdened : for
The INWARD Cross is the fault and corruption of sinful nature, which doth remain in the regenerate, and is their continual grief and plague: because it is always opposing their holy and happy walk with God. It is called in scripture
THE FLESH, the whole man being carnal, and full of lusting against the Spirit.
THE OLD MAN, being the first in us, before the new man is created by the Spirit of regeneration.
A BODY OF sin, made up completely of members and appetites, in which there is not only an absence of all good, but also a propensity to all evil, insomuch that nothing can move or stir in this body, but what is sinful.
THE LAW OF SIN, because sin rules and governs the natural man.
INDWELLING SIN, because it dwells in the whole man, both in soul and body.
CONCUPISCENCE, or lust, which the apostle says, he should not have known to be sin, unless the law had said-Thou shalt not covet or lust.
This fallen nature is also said to be corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, to be contrary to the Spirit, to rebel against the law of God and not to be subject to it, neither indeed can be. “ This corruption of nature “ doth remain, according to our reformers, Art. 9. “ Yea in them that are regenerated, whereby the lust “ of the flesh called in Greek, froncema sarkos, which “some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some 6 the affection, some the desire of the flesh, is not sub“ject to the law of God: and although there is no con“demnation for them, that believe and are baptized, yet the apostle doth confess that concupiscence and
« lust hath of itself the nature of sin. And in the 15th “ Art of Christ alone without sin, they say, that all we “ the rest, although baptized and born again in Christ,
yet offend in many things, and if we say, we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.”
The compilers of our articles were holy men, and taught of God. They spake his mind and will according to the oracles of truth. And it will be a great comfort to a poor soldier, wearied with fighting against those lusts, which war against the soul, to find that the best Christians in every age have been engaged in the same holy war.
This will mightily encourage him to take to him the whole armour of God, that he may
be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand.
Attend then, O my soul, to the law and to the testimony. Pray for the spirit of wisdom and revelation. Desire grace to submit to the truth of God, that whatever he teaches plainly and expressly in his word, thou mayest believe it, and abide by it. Read and thou art satisfied, and the conviction of mind influence thy heart and walk. Art thou to carry
the inward cross all the way to heaven? Is there no discharge in this war ?-No truce to be made, not even a cessation of arms? But art thou to be fighting on the good fight of faith, till the captain of thy salvation take thee out of the field of battle? O hard service! To be night and day-at home and abroad in the closet and in the church--at hearing the word and meditating upon itfasting and praying-at the shop and at the exchange every
where and at all times forced to be in arms against the assaults of indwelling sin; this is a warfare terrible indced to flesh and blood. The length of itnever ended so long as breath is in the body. The painfulness of it-consisting in being at war with a man's self; and in resisting his bosom sins and strongest appetites-What discouragements are these, from entering into, and from continuing in this battle? Why should it be wondered then, that some persons, who
Read and pray, till