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led godly, but ungodly, nor a lover of God, but a hater of him. I am easily persuaded, that many of you that are ungodly could be contented that God be glorified, if his glory. do not cross your carnal interest; and so you desire God's glory even for itself, as that which is absolutely good in itself: but if your fleshly interest be so dear to you, that you will sacrifice God's glory to it, and had rather God were dishonoured than your fleshly interest contradicted, it is your flesh then that is made your God, and your chief end. It is not every wish, or minding of Christ, no, not to save you from sin as sin, that will prove you true believers: nor is it every minding of God, or love to him, no, not as one apprehended by you to be the chiefest good, and desirable for himself, as your end, that will prove indeed that you savingly love him; as long as the contrary mind and will is habitually predominant in you. Such as the very habit and bent of a man's heart is, such indeed is the man. It is possible for a man, even a good man, to have two contrary ends and intentions, yea, ultimate ends; as that which is desired for itself, and referred to nothing else, is called ultimate; but it is not possible for him to have two principal, predominant ends. So far as we are carnal still, we make the pleasing of our flesh our ultimate end; for doubtless we do not sin only by pleasing the flesh, as a means to God's glory; nor only in the mischoosing of other means; but yet this is none of our principal end, so far as men are truly sanctified. And because that is called a man's mind, or will, which is the chiefest and highest in his mind and will; therefore we use to denominate men from that only which beareth rule in them: and thus we may say with Paul, "It is not I, but sin that dwelleth in me.' For a disowned act that proceedeth from us, against the bent and habit of our wills, and the course of our lives, from the remnants of a carnal, misguided will, is not it that must denominate the person, nor is so fully ours as the contrary act. And therefore though indeed we sinfully participate of it; yet when the question is, whether believing, or unbelief, sinning, or obeying be my work; it is not comparatively to be called mine, which I am much more against than for. So on the other side, if the unsanctified have some transient, superficial, uneffectual acts of desire, or faith, or love to God, which are contrary to the bent and habit of their hearts, this is not theirs, nor imputable to
them, so far as hence to give them their denomination. It is not they that do it, but the common workings of the Spirit upon them.
If ever then you would be assured that you are Christians, look to the habitual bent of your hearts, and see that you do not only talk of Scripture, and slightly believe it, and speak well of Christ, with some good wishes, and meanings, and purposes; but as you love your souls, see that Christ be received as your dearest Saviour, with thankfulness and greatest love, and as your sovereign Lord and true subjection; and that he hath your superlative estimation and affections, and all things in the world be put under him in your souls. This must be so, if you will have the portion of believers: no faith that is short of this will prove you Christ's disciples indeed, or heirs of the promises made to believers. The voice of Christ that calls to you in the Gospel, is, "My son give me thy heart;" Prov. xxiii. 26. Do what thou wilt in ways of duty, and think as highly as thou wilt of thyself, thou art no true believer in Christ's account till thou hast given him thy heart. If he have thy tongue, if he have thy good opinion, nay, if thy body were burnt in his cause, if he had not thy love, thy heart, it were as nothing; (1 Cor. xiii. 3.) for thy works and sufferings, are so far acceptable (through Christ) as they are testimonies of this, that Christ hath thy heart. If he have not thy heart, he takes it as if he had nothing; and if he have this, he takes it as if he have all. For this is not only preferred by him before all; but also he knows that this commandeth all. If Christ have thy heart, the devil will not have thy tongue and life; the alehouse, or a harlot will not have thy body; and the world will not have the principal part of thy life. If Christ have thy heart, it will be heard much in thy conference; it will be seen in thy labours: for that which hath a man's heart will hardly be hid, unless he purposely hide it, which a Christian neither can nor ought to do. It would make a man wonder to hear some wretches, that will run from God as fast as they can, and yet face you down that God hath their hearts; that have no mind, so much as to meditate, or talk of Christ, or his precious blood, or mysterious redemption, or the glorious kingdom purchased by him; that will be at neither cost nor labour in his service, and yet profess that Christ hath their hearts that will re
fuse a holy, heavenly life, and perhaps make a scorn of it, and maliciously prate against the sanctified, and yet will stand to it that the Holy Ghost, the Sanctifier of the elect, hath their hearts. No wonder if those hearts are ill managed, and in a miserable, deceived state, that are so unacquainted with themselves.
Faith entereth at the understanding; but it hath not all its essential parts, and is not the Gospel faith indeed, till it hath possessed the will. The heart of faith is wanting, till faith hath taken possession of the heart. For by faith Christ dwelleth in the heart; Ephes. iii. 17. And if he dwell not in the heart, he dwells not in the man, in a saving sort. He had some interest in Judas, Simon Magus, Ananias and Sapphira, as to the head, and perhaps somewhat more in a superficial sort. But satan entered into the heart of one, and filled the heart of another of them with a lie, and the heart of the third was not right in the sight of God, and therefore he had no part or lot in Christ, but was still in the gall of bitterness, and bond of iniquity; and all because Christ was not heartily entertained; Acts v. 3. viii. 22, 23. It is in the heart that the word must have its rooting, or else it will wither in time of trial. It is seeking with the whole heart that is the evidence of the blessed; Psal. cxix. 2. And it is a feigned turning when men turn not to God with the whole heart; Jer. iii. 10. This is God's promise concerning his elect, "I will give them a heart to know me that I am the Lord, and they shall be my people, and I will be their God for they shall return unto me with their whole heart;" Jer. xxiv. 7. See then that the heart be unfeignedly delivered up to Christ: for if Christ have it not, the flesh, the world, and the devil will have it. Your hearts must be a dwelling for one of these masters, choose you whether.
It is the damnation of the most professed Christians, that they have nothing for Christ but a good opinion, or a few good words, or outside services, or some slight religiousness on the bye, when the flesh and the world go away with their hearts, and yet they will not know it, or confess it. Christ will not be an underling or servant to your flesh. Your hearts he hath bought, and your hearts he will have, or you are none of his. If he shall have nothing from you but a name, you shall have nothing but the name of his purchased salvation,
III. The last part of the Direction yet remains, viz. that you must close with Christ entirely, as well as understandingly and heartily. It is whole Christ that must be received with the whole heart.
For the understanding of this, it must be known, both how and why Christ is offered to us.
As he came into the world to destroy the works of the devil; (1 John iii. 8.) and to seek and save that which was lost; (Luke xix. 19.) and by his mediation to reconcile us to God, and bring us up to glory; so two things were to be done, for the accomplishment of this: first he was himself to merit our salvation, and pay the price of our redemption on the cross, and in his own person to conquer the world, the devil, and death, and the grave and then he was by his intercession in the heavens to make application of this, and bestow the benefits thus purchased by him. And because it was he, and not we, that made the purchase, it therefore pleased the Father that the purchased treasure should be put into his hands, and not immediately put into ours. He is become our treasury, and authorised to be our Head: all power is given him in heaven and earth. We have so foully miscarried already, that he will no more trust his honour in our hands, as at first he did. We shall have nothing of pardon, or grace, or glory, but what we have in and from the Son. "God hath given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son he that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son hath not life;" 1 John v. 12. It is not only the nature and person of Christ that is to be believed in; but it is the person as impowered to certain ends, and clothed with his office that we must now entertain. Now the office of Christ being for our salvation, and the glory of God, is suited to these happy ends.
And our necessities are principally in these three points. 1. We have the guilt of sin upon us to be pardoned, and the wrath of God, and curse of the law, and the punishment of sin to be removed. 2. We have the corruption of our nature to be healed; the power of sin to be destroyed; the image of God repaired on us, and our hearts and lives to be acted and ordered according to the will of God; and to these ends, temptations to be conquered, and our souls directed, strengthened, and preserved to the end. 3. We must be raised from the grave at the last day; we must be justi
fied in judgment, and possessed of that glory which is the end of our faith. To this, justification, sanctification, and glorification may the rest be reduced.
Now the office of Christ is suited to these necessities of ours; and as we cannot possibly be saved unless all these necessities be supplied, and these works done for us so we cannot possibly have these things done but by accepting of Christ, as authorised and impowered, by his office and perfections, to do them.
The glory that God will have by this work, I have before expressed to you at large. He will have his justice, and wisdom, and power, and holiness, and mercy to be demonstrated and honoured by Christ. And therefore Christ hath resolved to give out none of his benefits, but in such manner and ways as may best attain these highest ends.
These several points therefore I must entreat you here to note distinctly. 1. That you must be brought into a special relation to the person of Christ, as clothed with his office, before you can lay claim to his saving benefits. He is the Head, and you must become his spouse; and so of the rest. This is called our uniting to Christ, which must go before our further communion with him. It is the will of God, that you shall never receive his benefits before you receive his Son; (except only those benefits which go before your union with Christ himself, in order to the accomplishing it; as the Gospel, the gift of faith to the elect, &c.) You shall never have actual pardon, justification, adoption, sanctification, or glory, till you have first saving interest in Christ himself. He is the vine, and we are the branches: we must be planted into him, and live in him, or else we can have nothing further from God, nor do any thing acceptable to God. And therefore the first and great work of faith is to receive and close with the person of Christ, as clothed with his office.
2. Understand and note, that as you shall not have his great benefits before, or without his person; so God hath resolved, that you shall not have his special benefits, unless you will take them all together: (I speak of men at age, that are capable of all.) You shall not have pardon and justification, or glory, without sanctification; nor the comforts of Christ without the guidance and government of Christ. You must have all or none.