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is, of all earthly creatures, become most miserable: no less than a slave of the devil, a child of wrath, and an heir of eternal damnation. a This is not the estate of a few only, but of all mankind out of Christ; for we are all by nature under the curse.b The best, before their conversion were, by nature, children of wrath, even as others, e for every woman's child did fall equally in Adam. Hence it comes to pass, that no man, by nature, is now in better esteem with God than another. Cain and Abel, as children of the first Adam only, were equally miserable; the like may be said of us all; for both Jews and Gentiles are come under sin:d and, as the Psalmist saith, “We are all gone out of the way, we are all together become filthy; there is none righteous, no not one. en o that men and women had their eyes enlightened, and their judgments convinced of that woful plight in which naturally they are! Oh, were their hearts thoroughly loaden herewith!-surely they would pot long content themselves therein.
The truth is, most in the world are spiritually blind, and cannot discern their own misery; and spiritually dead too, f and cannot be affected with it. The Holy Ghost saith thus of them, -"They walk in the vanity of their mind, baving their under
a Eph. ii, 2, 3. b 2 Cor. iv, 4. Rom. v, 19. Gal. jii, lu. Eph. ii, 3. Rom. v, 12. Rom. iii, 9. e Psalm xiv, 3. f1 John v, 19. Eph. ii, 1, 5.
standing darkened; and are strangers from the life of God, through the ignorance which is in them, because of the hardness of their hearts: who, being past feeling, have given themselves unto wantonness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.a ” these, are so far from having any right to God's promises, that for the present they are under the curse; and consequently in the power of all the plagues and threatenings in God's book.b
Wherefore, let not such, as yet, challenge any comfort from the promises; but let them rather labour, to the utmost of their power in using all good means to be made capable and fit subjects for mercy revealed in the promises. Is it not pity so many sweet promises of life should be made, and yet thou die and be damned notwithstanding? Pray fervently to God, that he would touch thy heart with grief for all thy sins, and work in thee a clear apprehension of thine own unworthiness;c and that he would bestow faith on thee; that by it thou mayest be able to go wholly out of thyself to God, through Jesus Christ, for salvation.
We having departed from him who is the God of all grace and consolation, are fallen into an estate of all baseness, desolation,
aEph. iv, 18, 19. bDeut. xxviii, 27, 56, 63. e Acts i, 37. Luke xv, 19.
and mercy; and cannot be recovered again into the former estate of spiritual life and happiness, unless we be brought again to him who is the foundation of life and happiness, even the living God. And brought to him we can never be, but by faith,a which nothing else but the going out of the soul to God, through Christ, to fetch a new principle of spiritual life and grace; which once in Adam we lost, and now need. The which work of faith is not wrought but by the promises; and being wrought in our hearts, gives us a most sure right and interest unto all the promises of grace. Thus we, through faith and patience, are said to inherit the promises;" therefore we are called “The heirs of the promise:" the promises are as well ours who truly believe, as heaven itself is. Now, by these heavenly promises, God our Father hath engaged himself as a debtor to us, his poor children for all things needful to life and godliness; c until that blessed time comes, when we shall be put into full possession of all things which we have now only in promise. At that time, faith shall end in fruition, and promises in performance.
As the soul is the life of the body, and faith the life of the soul, so are God's prom
a Heb. xi, 6. b Rom. X, 8, 17. Heb. vi, 12, 17. c 2 Pet. i, 3.
ises the life of faith. For from whence hath faith this efficacy, but because it lays hold on the free promisesi But from whence have the promises their strength? Even from the constant nature of Jehovah,a who always gives a being to his word. Desirest thou faith? Then take notice of God's promises. Wouldst thou have thy faith, like the light in the Lord's sanctuary,-never to go out? Then acquaint thyself with God's promises; know them well, meditate on them, confer about them: let them be continually in thy mind, memory, heart, and tongue. Satan laboureth in nothing more than to keep us in unbelief, especially of particular promises; for he knows if we believe them, we shall in all things have the victory, come before God with boldness, carry peace in our own bosoms to our graves, and do and suffer
any thing for God. Oh the abundance of sweet cordial comfort, which all humble believers draw by faith out of every promise!
Now, beloved, these precious promises, (our breasts of consolation,) whereupon our happiness so much depends, lie hid' in the holy scripture, as veins of gold on earth. c. Surely those that searched those mines, to bring to light these treasures, are worthy of great commendation. Wherefore, I doubt not, but the good pains of this blessed and
a 2 Cor. i, 20. bi John v. Eph..ji. Rom. XV. Heb. xi. Isa. Lxvi, 11, 12,