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his hearty desire is, that he might feel it. He doth a hundred times weep in desire, when he doth it not in act.
(4.) A humble soul is truly willing to humble the flesh itself, by the use of those appointed means by which God would have him bring it in subjection; as by fasting, or abstinence, or mean attire, hard labour, and denying it unnecessary delights. It is a doubt worth the considering, whe
а. ther any such humbling act must be used, purposely in revenge on ourselves for sin. To which I answer, that we may do nothing in such revenge that God doth not allow, or that makes our body less fit for his service; for that were to be revenged of God, and our souls; but those humbling means which are needful to tame the body, may well be used with this double intention ; first and chiefly, as a means for our safety and duty for the time to come; that the flesh may not prevail, and then collaterally we should be the more content that the flesh is put to so much suffering, because it hath been and still is so great an enemy to God, and us, and the cause of all our sin, and misery; and this is the revenge that is warrantable in the penitent, and some think is meant, 2 Cor. vii. 11.
(5.) As the humbled soul hath base thoughts of himself, so he is willing that others should esteem and think of him accordingly, even as a vile, unworthy sinner, so far as his disgrace may be no wrong to the Gospel, or to others, or dishonour to God. His pride is so far taken down, that he can endure to be vilified with some consent; not approving of the sin of any men that doth it maliciously, but consenting to the judgment and rebukes of those that do it truly, and to the judgment of God, even by them that do it maliciously. The humbled soul does not stand defending and unjustly extenuating his sin, and excusing himself, and swelling against the reprover; whatever he may do in a temptation, if this temper were predominant, his pride, and not humility, must be predominant. But he judgeth himself as much as others can justly judge him, and humbly consenteth to be base in men's eyes, till God shall think it meet to raise him, and recover his esteem.
And the root of all this in the will, is, [1.] A love to God whom we have offended. [2.] A hatred of sin that hath offended him, and that hath made us vile. And [3.] A believAnd thus you
ing sense of the love, and sufferings of Christ, that in his flesh hath condemned sin ; Rom. viii. 2, 3. see what humiliation is in the will, which is the very life and soul of true humiliation.
3. Humiliation also consisteth in the affections; in an unfeigned sorrow for the sin which we have committed, and the corruption which is in sin ; and a shame for these sins; and a holy fear of God whom we have offended, and of his judgments which we have deserved; and the hatred of our sins by which we have deserved them. But, as I must fur
I ther shew you anon, it is not the measure, but the sincerity of these passions, by which you must make a judgment of your state ; and that will be hardly discerned by the passions themselves, but only by so much of the will as is in them, and therefore the will is the safest to judge by.
4. Humiliation also consisteth expressly in the outward action, when opportunity is offered ; and it is not true in the heart, if it refuse to appear without, when God requireth it in your ordinary course. The outward acts of humiliation are these: (1.) A voluntary confession of sin to God, and to men, when God requireth it, and that is, when it is necessary to his honour, to the healing of them that we have endangered, and satisfying the offended ; at least in the hearing of men, in such cases as these to confess them openly to God. An unhumbled soul will refuse this for the shame; but the humble will freely take shame to themselves, and warn their brethren, and justify God, and give him the glory; 1 John i.9.“ If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us." Read Mark iü. 6. Levit. v.5. xvi. 21. xxvi. 40 Numb. v.6, 7. James v. 16. “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.”
” Prov. xxviii. 13. “He that hideth his sins shall not prosper, but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” Not that any man is to confess his secret sins to others, except in case that he cannot otherwise find relief; nor that a man is to publish those offences of his own, by which he may further dishonour God, and hinder the Gospel. But when the sin is open already, and especially when the offence of others, the hardening of the wicked, the satisfaction of the church concerning our repentance, do require our confession and open lamentation, the humble soul both must and will submit to it; but the rotten-hearted, únhumbled hypocrite
will confess but in these cases : (1.) When the secrésy of the confession, or the smallness of the fault, or the customariness of such confession, doth make it to be a matter of no great disgrace. (2.) Or when it is so open, that it is in vain to attempt to hide it, and his confession will do nothing to increase the disgrace. (3.) Or when conscience is awakened, or they see they must die, or are forced by some terrible judgment of God. In all these cases the wicked may confess. And so Judas will confess “I have sinned in betraying the innocent blood ;” and Pharaoh will confess, “I and my people have sinned.” And a thief on the gallows will confess; and the vilest wretches on their death-bed will confess. But we have more death-bed confessions than voluntary confessions before the church. Nay, so far nath pride and hypocrisy prevailed, and the ancient discipline of the church been neglected, that I think in most countries in England, there are many more that make confessions on the gallows than personally in the congregations.
(2.) Humiliation must be also expressed by all those external means and signs which God,by Scripture or nature, calleth us to. As by tears and groans, so far as we can seasonably procure them. And by fasting, and laying by our worldly pomp and bravery, and using mean, though decent, attire, and by condescending to men of the lower sort, and stooping to the meanest. By humble language, and carriage; and by forgiving others on this account, that we are sensible of the greatness of our debts to God. And thus I have briefly shewed you the true nature of Humiliation, that you may know what it is that I am persuading you to, and which you must submit your hearts unto.
11. When I have told you the use and ends of Humiliation, you
will see more of the reason of its necessity to yourselves. And first, it is one use of humiliation, to help on the mortification of the flesh, or carnal-self, and to annihilate it as it is the idol of the soul. The nature of man's sinful and miserable estate, is, that he is fallen from God to himself; and liveth now to himself, studying, and loving, and pleasing himself, his natural self, above God. And a sinner will let go many outward sins, and be driven from the out-works before he will let go carnal-self, and be driven from the castle and strength of sin. There is no part of mortification so necessary, and so hard as self-denial ; in
deed this doth virtually comprehend all the rest, and if this be done, all is done. If it were but his friends, his superfluities, his house, his lands, perhaps a carnal heart might part with it. But to part with his life, his all, his self, this is a hard saying to him, and enough to make him go away sorrowful, as Luke xviii. 22–24. And, therefore, here appeareth the necessity of humiliation. This layeth all the load on self, and breaketh the heart of the old man, and maketh a man loathe himself, that formerly doted on himself. It layeth this tower of Babel in the dust, and maketh us abhor ourselves in dust and ashes. It setteth the house on fire about our ears, which we both trusted and delighted in. And makes us not only see, but feel, that it is time for us to be gone. Pride is the master-vice in the unsanctified, and it is the part of humiliation to cast it down. Self-seeking is the business of their lives, till humiliation help to turn the stream. And then if you did but see their thoughts, you should see them think most vilely of themselves. And if you do but overhear their prayers, or complaints, you shall hear them still cry out upon themselves, as their greatest enemies.
2. The next use of Humiliation, (and implied in this) is, to mortify those sins which carnal-self doth live
and is maintained by; and to stop all the avenues or passages of its provision. Sin is sweet and dear to all that are unsanctified; but humiliation makes it bitter and base As the Indians, cured the Spanish Captain of thirst after gold, by pouring melted gold down his throat; or as children are persuaded from playing with a beehive, when they are once or twice stung by them; or from playing with snappish dogs, when they are bitten by them: so God will teach his children to know what it is to play with sin when they are smarted by it. They will know a nettle from a harmless herb, when they feel the sting. We are so apt to live by sense, that God seeth it needful, that our faith have something of sense to help it. When the conscience doth accuse, and the heart is smarting, and groaning in pain, and we feel that no shifting or striving will deliver us, then we begin to be wiser than before, and to know what sin is, and what it will do for us. When that which was our delight, is become our burden, and a burden too heavy for us to bear, it careth our delighting in it. When David was watering his couch with
his tears, and made them his drink, his sin was not the same thing to him, as it was in the committing. Humiliation washeth away the painting of this harlot, and sheweth her in her deformity. It unmasketh sin, which had got the vizard of virtue, or of a small matter, or harmless thing. It unmasketh satan, who was transformed into a friend, or an angel of light, and sheweth him, as we say, with his cloven feet and horns. How hard is it to cure a worldling of the love of money! But when God hath laid such a load of it on his conscience, that makes him groan, and cry for help, he hath then enough of it. When he feels those words in James v. 1-4. and he begins to weep and howl for the miseries that are coming on him, and he sees the stink of his corrupted riches, and the canker of his gold and silver doth begin to eat his flesh as fire, and his idol is but a witness against him, then he is better able to judge of it, than he was before. The wanton thinks he hath a happy life, when the harlot's lips do drop as the honey-comb. But when he perceiveth her end is bitter as wormwood, and sharp as a two-edged sword, and that her feet go down to death, and her steps take hold on hell, and he lieth in sorrow, complaining of his folly ; (Prov. v. 2-5. 11, 12.) he is then of a more rectified judgment than he was.
Manasseh humbled in irons, is not the same as he was upon the throne. Though grace did more to it than his fetters, yet were they some way serviceable to that end. Humiliation openeth the door of the heart, and telleth you what sin is to the quick; and letteth in the words of life, which passed no further than the ear or brain. It is a tiring work to talk to dead men, that have lost their feeling ; especially when it is an effective and practical doctrine, which we must deliver to them, which is lost if it be not felt and practised. Till humiliation comes, we speak to dead men, or at least to men that are fast asleep. How many sermons have I heard that, one would think, should have turned men's hearts within them, and make them cry out against their sins, with sorrow and shame in the face of the congregation, and never meddle with them more! When yet the hearers have scarce been moved by them, but gone away as they came, as if they knew not what the preachers said, because their hearts were all the while asleep within them. But a humbled soul is an awakened soul. It will regard what is said to it; especially when they perceive that