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(12.) That every man is to attend upon and act according to his general or particular calling.
4. We ought to lay up experimental truths, which are vital, and vivifical, that beget and maintain good blood, as it were, in the soul. These are the sweetest solace to a sound believer; these reach and teach the very heart, bow the will, engage the affections, awaken the conscience, and influence the whole conversation ; the delightful revolving of these divine truths in the mind, helps the soul to walk in the sweetest paradise of contemplation. These mysterious, marrowy truths are like that song that none could learn but the “hundred and forty and four thousand that are redeemed from the earth,” Rev. xiv. 4,; or like that “new name which no man knoweth, saving he that receiveth it.”— Rev. ii. 17. Such truths are better felt than spoken, sooner experienced than expressed; indeed, like those [άρρητα ρήματα] unutterable words that Paul heard in paradise.—2 Cor. xii. 4. Such truths as “ are hid from the wise and prudent, but revealed unto babes.Matth. xi. 25. This is a right “ knowing of the truth as it is in Jesus,” a lying under the power and impression of divine revelation ; without this experience, knowledge is a cold, dull, moonlight speculation, without the clear, quickening heat of the sun of righteousness; nay, the choicest truths of the gospel cannot be discerned but by experience. Divinity is not a speculative, but effective or influential knowledge. * Treasure up such truths as these :
(1.) That by nature we are averse to good, and prone to evil.
(2.) That we have no free will with respect to saving good, but are passive in conversion. * Theologia est scientia effectiva, non speculativa.
(3.) That regeneration is a thorough change of the whole man, in heart and life.
(4.) That faith and repentance are the gifts of God's free grace.
(5.) That a sinner is justified only by Christ's merits imputed, not by works.
(6.) That conformity to God is an inseparable companion of communion with God.
(7.) That every child of God hath the Spirit of adoption, to assist in prayer.
(8.) That the best saints in this life are sanctified but in part.
(9.) That a Christian's best and bravest life is a life of faith.
(10.) That sincere saints may be assured of the truth of grace, and their title to glory.
(11.) That a justified person cannot totally and finally fall away.
(12.) That some spiritual good is exhibited in, and conveyed through the seals of the covenant.
Such precious truths as these, Christians, you are to gather, and seal them up among your treasures, and you will find that such a treasure will furnish your minds with saving knowledge, fortify your hearts against errors and opposition, satisfy your spirits amidst all doubts and objections, teach you to profit by God's verbal and real dispensations, and prepare you for fiery trials, and hottest persecutions. You cannot stand for truths you know not, and you will not stand for those truths that you do not adopt, and look not upon as your treasure; you must hold fast what you have received, and therefore must you receive what you may retain, and lay up what you may live up to, and live upon them in an evil day; as a minister, so a member of the church must hold fast the faithful word,
as he hath been taught. Titus, i. 9. He must maintain truth with all his might, struggle and contend for it, fight and die in the defence of it; truth and our souls must be married, and never divorced. There are truths that we may venture our souls uponi, and must venture our lives for. That is an atheistical speech of some, that the martyrs in Queen Mary's days died in the pet, and were too prodigal of their blood; and that God requires no man to be cruel to himself for his sake. But the saints have otherwise learned Christ, than to deny him, or his truths before men, for they would not be denied by him another day; they have not otherwise learned to love him * than to lay down their lives for him, if he call them to it; and, thus, by being overcome they do overcome, as their Saviour before them; and as it is on record, Rev. xii. 11, “ They overcame by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they loved not their lives unto the death.” It is the duty of every Christian to lay up such truths in the close cabinet of his heart, as he may live and die by, and adhere closely and constantly unto. We must do by truths, as Cæsar by his books, who having to swim through a river to escape the fury of his enemies, carried his books above water with his hand, but lost his robe; † so though we should be put to swim through a sea of trouble in following the Lamb, yet must we keep the Lord's deposit, though we should lose our garments of earthly enjoyments; yea, our lives themselves, rather than part with the sacred and saving truths of God contained in this blessed book of books, the holy Scriptures, which are to be our treasures. Hence, saith the wise man, † “ Take fast hold of instruction, let her not go,
* Aliter amare non didici.
Prov. iv. 13.
keep her, for she is thy life.” Hence, some good souls have been willing to be burnt themselves, rather than willingly to burn their Bibles; and have been racked in pieces, rather than suffer themselves to be rent from the truth. It is our great duty to hold fast, and hold forth the word of truth; to be witnesses to the truth actively, and for the truth passively, and if we maintain it, it will maintain us. “ Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation.”—Rev. iii. 10. The word of his patience may be taken either effectively, for such a word as works a quiet, composed, submissive frame of spirit, or eventually, for that word that may put a man upon the exercise of patience, so that he may suffer great hardships for it, and lay down his life, as a sacrifice on the behalf of it, for a Christian must not flinch back, but in the strength of God run the greatest hazard for approved, experienced, sacred truths. “ I know,” saith a reverend Divine, * “ there is a difference in truths, and the value we are to set upon them, as in coins, whereof one piece is a farthing, another no less than a pound.” Only take this rule in general,—despise not the meanest truth, prove all things by Scripture rules,-lay up and hold fast what is consonant thereunto, but above all lay the greatest stress upon fundamental points of religion, and be not beat from your hold, through fear or favour.
So much for treasuring up Scripture truths. * See Dr. Hall's Peace Maker, sect. 1, p. 1; read it through.
THE GRACES WHICH A CHRISTIAN SHOULD TREA
THE second class of precious commodities that a Christian's breast is to be stored with, is, divine graces. Every grace is of vast worth, and excellent use; yea, the least degree of sincere grace is worth a mine of gold, or a prince's crown and kingdom. It is said of the grace of faith, that the trial of it (or faith tried in the furnace of affliction) is much more precious than gold, that perisheth.—1 Pet. i. 7. None can set a right and perfect estimate on a grain of true grace, which is no other than the offspring of Heaven, the purchase of Christ's blood, and the blessed fruit of the Spirit of grace. It is part of the divine nature, the image of God, and seed of immortality. Grace is the monument and ornament of the soul ; it is the only emolument and accomplishment of a Christian. Let the world be hurried to gather great estates, filling their houses with goods, their barns with grain, and bags with gold. Let the pious soul get filled with the fruits of righteousness, the graces of the Spirit.
There are four sorts of graces, which I shall advise all Christians in a special manner to treasure up in their hearts, which are these,
Directing, subjecting, profiting, and persevering graces.
1. The believing soul is to lay up, with diligence, directing, conducting, deciding, and satisfying graces, that is, abundance of knowledge, wisdom, prudence, and judgment, that he may have light and discernment about the things of God. Days are coming, when