THE TRIAL OF A CHRISTIAN'S
Continued from Part Two
Now, I say that this exhortation doth belong unto and
concerneth the youngest Christians; for he speaks to all that have spiritual
life begun in them: ver. 25,'If we live in the spirit, let us,' says he,'walk
in the spirit,' and then'we shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh,' ver. 16.
A weak body, though weak, yet if he useth care, may keep himself from
distempers as much as some man who is strong, but grows careless and neglects
his health. But yet though one of less grace be thus actually more watchful,
yet he may discern the want of growth by this : -
[1.] First, that still his lusts rise oftener, and that with delight, and are apter to catch fire presently, although they be smothered as fast as they catch. His case then is as if there were a heap of straw in a room where fire is, where sparks fly about, still taking fire upon every occasion; but he that keeps the straw is careful still to put it out.
[2.] And, secondly, in this case they shall find the strength of their corruptions in privative workings against grace, and distracting and disturbing them, deadening their hearts in duties; and therefore when the Apostle had exhorted such to'walk in the spirit, so as not to fulfil the lusts,' mark what follows : Yet, says he, the flesh will discover itself in'lusting against the spirit,' take what care you will, so as a man' shall not be able to do what he would,' Gal. v. 16, 17; and the more strong it is, the more it will shew itself strong in disturbing so as Christians not grown up, that are very watchful over their hearts, do keep as it were but negative Sabbaths, and are therein like unto those watchers and keepers of good rule in great churches, where there are many sleepers; they have so much to do to watch those boys that sleep and are idle at church, as they cannot attend the sermon. For though, by reason of watchfulness, corruption may be kept from discovering itself in open unruliness much, yet it can never, by all the watchfulness in the world, be brought on to duties, but so much as is in the heart will discover itself either in opposition to them or a hypocritical joining in them. Although the Papists may be kept by a waking State from venting that malice of their hearts in rebellion, yet they cannot be brought to join with us in holy duties; no more will corruption, unless in hypocrisy; and therefore so much as is doth still discover itself in them.
Five cautions more to prevent such misjudgings.
3. A THIRD caution to prevent misjudging: If a man will not
be mistaken in judging his growth in mortification comparatively with others or
with himself, he must consider his occasions and opportunities to draw him out.
Thus, a man when he had more corruption, yet less occasions and provocations to
sin, may have corruption less stirring in him than when he is more grown up in
grace, if his temptations were then greater. The same tree standing in the
shade, where also the rain comes not to it, when transplanted where both sun
and rain fall upon it, may be more fruitful than formerly. David, when under
afflictions in the wilderness, and wanting opportunities, how strict was he,
and kept himself from his iniquity!' Ps. xviii. 23. But when he came to the
delicacies of a kingdom, though he was grown up more and more in grace, yet how
did he fall! As to aggravate the sin of not growing more, the proportion of
means every one hath had is to be considered; and for one who hath had much
means to grow much, for him is less than one who hath less means: so in the
stirring or declining of sin, opportunities and occasions are also to be
considered; as if a man be transplanted out of a full condition into an empty,
if then many of his lusts do not stir so much as before, no wonder. Even as if
a man when cast into a sweat by reason of multitude of clothes, it is no marvel
if when clothes are taken off he sweat less.
4. A fourth thing to be considered, to keep us from mistakes herein, is, that he whose spirit is naturally active, his lusts, though weaker than another man's whose spirit is slower, may be yet more quick and apt to break forth more than his. Peter was of a bold spirit, and so spake often rashly, and vented corruption more than the other disciples, insomuch as he once provoked Christ to call him Satan, not that he had less grace, but a more active spirit. Yea, he might have more grace, and less of corruption stirred in him, only a more forward natural spirit, that was apt to put itself forth. As an angry man, whose spirit is quick, may soon be stirred, and in the forwardness of his spirit to action, give a man a blow, when one given to malice will scarce give you an ill word, whose lusts of revenge yet burn inwardly more. Gunpowder will take and fall into a blaze sooner than lime, yet lime hath more innate heat, and bums more within; some have speedier vent. Those two brethren, John and James,'sons of thunder,' as Christ calls them, how soon was their choler up! They had quick and hot spirits, as Christ tells them,'Ye know not what spirit ye are of,' Luke ix. 55.
5. Fifthly, if we would judge aright what measure of true mortification is in us, we must not take into the reckoning what restraining grace doth in us, but observe that apart, and cast that up in a sum by itself. For this you must know, that even in the regenerate, all their abstinence from sins is not from mere mortification, but restraining grace continues even after regeneration to contribute to it, and so make mortification seem the greater. It was not merely and only mortification of the lust of anger that made Moses so meek; for at another time, when he was left, what a chafe was he in, when he called them all rebels, and said in a heat that he must fetch water out of the rock for them! It was his temper and disposition of nature helped to make him so eminent in ruling that passion above any other, that he is said to be 'the meekest man on earth.' It was not simply, merely mortification that made that great apostle, Paul, so eminently chaste; but over and besides what mortification helped him in it, he had a peculiar gift,' as he calls it, 1 Cor. vii. 7; he speaks of it as of a gift, not a grace, such as might be in reprobates.'For,' says he there,'every one hath his proper gift.' So it was not mere mortification that made Luther never troubled with covetousness, but the freeness and generousness of his spirit that helped him in it. Now, if all these would have cast up what grace and mortification they had attained to, they must have reckoned restraining grace by itself, (which may be observed by what our virtues were before conversion,) which though now sanctified, - that is, helping forward sanctification, and making the abstinence easier, - yet is not to be reckoned true sanctification. As goldsmiths mingle in all the silver they work some other metals to make it more malleable, so are those common graces mingled with true in this life, where sanctification is imperfect, which do help them and eke them out. Grace set in a good nature seems a great deal more, and goes further than in a bad. Wine that is of itself somewhat pleasant, a little sugar will make it sweeter to the taste than a great deal of sugar will do sour wine. Therefore let every one consider what natural ingenuity, and modesty, and education did in him before conversion; and let him know that, now he hath true grace, these help him still, and stand him in stead as much as ever, although he hath a further new principle of grace in him beyond these. Grace in this life, and whilst imperfect, takes not away such common gifts, but sanctifieth and useth them, as the reasonable soul doth a quick fancy or memory, which are sensitive faculties, and do make his ability to abstain from such and such sins more easy. Indeed all such gifts will be swallowed up in glory. And therefore many who have less grace, yet seem in many carriages more mortified than those who have more grace, they will be less impatient in a cross, less stirred and provoked with an injury. A man who hath been less helped by restraining grace before conversion, and had his lusts more outrageous, if he hath them now under, it is a sign he hath much more mortification in him than one who was naturally civil. And I appeal to every godly man's conscience, it is not only simply mortification that makes him always to abstain from sins, but shame, modesty, terrors of conscience strike in at a pinch, when strength of mortification had failed him else; and many accidental things, ordered by God's providence, hinder and keep God's people from sinning. And as David was fain to make use of Goliath's sword, and take in discontented persons that had not the same ends that he had, to strengthen himself against Saul; so is grace fain to take in fleshly dislikes and discontents against sin, to help it in a pinch, till it hath got the victory. For instance, it was not Judah's grace so much kept him from killing Joseph, for then he would not have consented to sell him, but nature wrought in him, and made him abhor the killing him: 'Is it not our brother, and our flesh? and what profit is it to kill him?' Gen. xxxvii. 26. So God prevented David from murdering Nabal's family by an external means, whenas his grace else had not kept him from revenging himself causelessly upon his family, for they were in no fault; his grace alone had not done it, for his passion was up, and he in a rage, and fully resolved to do it. But God used another means, and sent Abigail submissively to meet him; and her lowly submission and elegant oration won him, and cooled him: through this Daxid acknowledgeth God's hand in it, and was glad he was so kept, as a godly man will, and hath cause, when he is hindered of his purpose in sinning. As he says, Phil. 1. 18,'I rejoice that Christ is preached, though out of envy,' so if sin be abstained from, though by any means; yet God did rather by this means restrain him than by his fear of God, or the grace in his heart; but God kept him by her coming, 1 Sam. xxv. 34.'For in very deed,' says David, 'as the Lord liveth, which hath kept me back from hurting thee, except thou hadst hasted and met me, surely there had not been left a man unto Nabal.' So shame moved Judah. Fear of being destroyed moved Jacob to reprove the sin of his sons, and is all the argument he useth, Gen. xxxiv. 30. So that in an evening, when thou castest up thy abstinences of that day, think not how much thou hast abstained from sin or denied thyself, but how much out of hatred of it, and the spirit of mortification, how much of that there is in thy abstinence, and accordingly measure thy growth in it.
6. Sixthly, another false rule is, when men judge of their mortification, and the measure of it, by their present listlessness of the heart to sin: which though it be true, that where true mortification is there is a listlessness and a deadness and so much mortification, so much deadness, Rom. vi. 2,'How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein ?' - and indeed, to live in it is to take pleasure in it; - but yet this you must know, there are many things which in a godly man may add to his deadness to sin besides true mortification, and so make it seem greater than it is in truth; and therefore it may be a false rule to judge by, if it be not warily considered and dintinguished. Sickness breeds a listlessness; when we are sick, our lusts are sick together with us; and as we gather strength, they gather up their crumbs again Job xxxiii. 19, 20, then his 'soul abhors dainty food.' Suppose he be a glutton, old age brings a listlessness: Eccles. xii. 1, When the evil days come, wherein a man says he hath no pleasure in them;' as Barzillai had no taste in his meat, by reason of old age. So when our expectations or desires are crossed, or are like to be, and we begin to fail of those main props of the comfort of our lives, we are apt to have a listlessness to all other pleasures; when some one thing that was sauce to all the rest is gone, or like to go, we then have no stomach to all the rest, and are weary of living, as David was when Absalom was gone: Would I had died for thee!' Some great cross coming may, like thunder, sour all our joys and delights, and make them stale to us, and as dead drink to the stomach. Terror of conscience may, like an eclipse, overspread our spirits, and then all things lose their beauty and lustre, as things in the dark use to do; as Job says of himself in his desertion, that his soul had no more sweetness in all comforts than in the 'white of an egg'. For such occasions as these do draw the intention another way, and do take the mind up about God's wrath, or the afflictions we are in, so as it cannot run out to sin; and intention, you know, is the cause of all pleasure. As therefore, when by study the spirits are drawn up to the head, a man's stomach decays to that meat he most loved, so when terrors drink up the spirits, as Job speaks; but when that heat is over, and intention dismissed, a man recovers his spirits; and so do men their appetites to sin, when they come forth of terrors.
And this will help you to find out the true reason why that young Christians are often more dead to all pleasures of sin than those who are grown up, or than themselves are when grown up. They are often then altogether dead to all mirth and other contentments, and yet they are not more mortified than afterwards, for then legal humiliation adds to their deadness. And besides that first deadly blow which Christ gave their lusts then in part, the law also and the bitterness of sin did lay that part of their lusts which remained unkilled in a swoon, that one would think all were dead.'Sin revived; saith Paul,'and I died,' Rom. vii. 9. He speaks of that time when he lay humbled for sin, during which time, we read in the Acts, he fasted. He had no mind to meat nor drink; for three days he forgot all. And again, as then they are usually so taken up about pardon of sin, and the obtaining thereof, that all the spirits retire to the heart to relieve it, and to encourage it to seek out for pardon, and so sin is left in a swoon, and it seems quite dead; but by degrees men come out of that swoon, and sin revives, and then men think they decay in mortification. Again, young Christians sometimes, and others afterwards, for some honeymoons of their lives, are entertained with raptures and ravishment; joy unspeakable and glorious, and then they seem in a manner wholly dead to sin, and walk so; but as the others are in a swoon, so they are in an ecstasy; but when they are out of it, then sin comes to itself again. Those joys, whilst they last, make a man's actual present deadness to sin seem more than habitually and radically it is indeed. As a man that hath tasted some sweet thing, whilst the impression upon his palate lasteth he hath no relish of meat, so whilst the impressions of spiritual joy; but when their mouths are washed once, and their sense of that sweetness gone, they find their wonted relish of them. Thus spiritual joys do, for the time they are upon the heart, much alter the taste; but yet much of that alteration is adventitious and not wholly radical, or altering the sinful faculty itself; though it doth add much that way, yet not so much as they seem to do at that present, the sense of that sweetness is fresh in his heart.
Now therefore, to give a help or two to difference what is real and true mortification from this seeming listlessness and deadness to it
(1.) First, true mortification makes a man not only listless to sin, but to have a quick hatred against it, a hatred aiming at the destruction of it; but false listlessness takes but the heart off it, doth not set it against it. How often are these yoked together in Ps. cxix.,'I hate sin, and every false way,' with this,'Thy law do I love!' The heart being quickened with love to God and to his law, is carried out against sin, and not only taken off from it to have no mind to it, but to have a mind against it to destroy it. There is the same difference between mortification and listlessness that there is between true patience and senselessness. Senselessness is a dull, stupid bearing of pains, but patience is joined with a quick sense of them, which ariseth from strength of spirit; that, being quick and vigorous, are the more sensible of pain or pleasure; so true mortification is joined with an active hatred that flies out against sin, which comes from liveliness of affection to the contrary.
(2.) Secondly, true mortification is joined with activeness and life in the contrary duties: Rom. vi.11,'Reckon yourselves dead unto sin, and alive unto God.' That false listlessness is but a dead palsy that doth take these members of sin, but true mortification is with a new life, a resurrection, strengthening a man to walk so much the more nimbly in the ways of God, Rom. vi. 4, 5., Young Christians, and such as have a false listlessness and deadness, you shall find them complain that their mortification is more than vivification; they will find they are more dead to the world than quickened to God, True mortification doth not dull the spirits, but sets them at liberty, as purging the humours out doth. It makes the body more light and nimble; whereas false listlessness causeth a deadness, a dulness to everything else. Those false causes of listlessness contract the mind, as a bladder that is clung, and dead, and 'hung up in the smoke,' as David compared his condition in terrors of conscience; but mortification empties it of the sin, and fills it with grace, so as the mind is as full and wide as before, only filled with grace now instead of sin.
7. Seventhly, a man is not to judge of his growth in mortification simply by the keenness of his affection against sin, though that is good and blessed, but by his strength against it. As there is a fond love, which is not so strong and solid, which will not do so much for one, or hold, if it come to the trial and be put to it, that yet hath a more seeming edge in it; so there is a keenness of hatred that hath not so much strength. A man that is angry seems to have more keenness of affection against him he falls out with, and in his rage vows never to be reconciled, and could eat him up; whenas yet a malicious man hates more strongly. So do young Christians their sins, having lately felt the bitterness of them; and then many other inconveniences, besides the contrariety of them to God, do egg on and provoke their spirits against them; but like as a sharp knife that is weak, the edge is soon turned and blunted, so in a temptation, they are for all their edge soon overcome. For all those concurring inconveniences and apprehensions of their hurt by them makes their spleen indeed greater, but it adds not to their strength and courage to resist them; like a stomachful boy, that cries he cannot have the victory, yet is weak, and easily laid on his back; his stomach is more than his strength. The hurt that comes by sin to us at first lately felt, helps to sharpen the edge, but adds no metal, and so our weapons are beaten to our heads again when we use them. What an edge of spirit had Peter raised up against denying Christ! He would die rather; he spake then as he thought, and he would have died in the quarrel, for he drew his sword, but afterwards he wanted strength to his stomach; how easily was he overcome, being yet but weak in grace! Therefore judge of your growth herein by your strength to resist. Hence the Apostle prays,'they may have strength in the inward man,' Eph. iii. 16; and in chap. vi. 13, he speaks of'ability to stand in the evil day.' Although this let me add, that every man should keep up his heart in this continual keenness and edge of spirit against sin, and whet his heart against it; for that will cause a man to use his strength the more against it, and to put it forth. A man that keeps his heart in a revengeful, vexed, spleenful spirit against sin, he will easier cut through a temptation: and though if a Christian want metal, though he hath an edge, he may be foiled; yet when edge and metal both meet, a man walks above his lusts. If either be wanting, a man may be foiled.
RESOLVING QUESTIONS CONCERNING GROWTH IN MORTIFICATION AND VIVIFICATION.
Two questions resolved concerning growth in mortification.
I WILL now conclude this discourse about growth in grace
with answering some questions which may be made concerning this our growth,
both about mortification and about increase in positive graces; which I did
reserve to this last place, that I might handle them together.
Quest. 1. - The first question concerning the purging out of sin is, Whether every new degree of mortification, and purging out of sin, be always universal, extending itself to every sin? So as the meaning of this, that God goes on to purge, should be, not only that he goes on first to purge forth one sin, then another, but that he goes on to purge out, by every new degree of mortification, every sin together; so as when any one sin is more weakened, all the rest in a proportion grow weak also.
Ans. - To this I answer affirmatively, that every new degree of mortification is uniyersal. Because when the Scripture speaks of our growth therein, he speaks of it as extending itself to every sin. So, Eph. iv. 22, when he exhorts the Ephesians, who were mortified already, to a further progress in it, he exhorts them to'put off the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.' It is not one lust that is the object of mortification, and the growth of it, although he mentions particular lusts afterwards, but the whole man that is corrupt, and all its lusts. And thus he there speaks of daily growth therein; for of that he had spoken in the former verses, from the 12th verse, and goes on to speak of it and exhort to it. Thus, in like manner, Gal. v. 24, it is called'crucifying the flesh with the lusts:' not one lust, but the flesh, the whole bundle, the cluster of them all; and in that it is called crucifying, it implies it also, for of all deaths that did work upon every part, it did stretch every nerve, sinew, and vein, and put all the parts to pain: and this going on to mortify sin is called, Rom. vi.,'the destroying of the body of sin,' of the whole body. It is not the consumption of one member, of the lungs, or liver, &c., but it is a consumption of the whole body of sin, so as every new degree of mortification is the consuming of the whole. And therefore also, Col. iii., where in like manner he exhorts to growth therein, he exhorts to 'mortify earthly members' - every member. And the reasons hereof are, because
(1.) First true mortification strikes at the root, and so causeth every branch to wither: for all sinful dispositions are rooted in one, namely, in 'love of pleasure more than of God;' and all true mortification deads a man to the pleasure of sin, by bringing the heart more into communion and into love with God; and therefore the deading to any sin mnst needs be general and universal to every sin. It is as the dying of the heart, which causeth all the members to die with it; for that is the difference between restraining pace, which cuts off but branches, and so lops the tree, but true mortification strikes every blow at the root
(2.) Secondly, every new degree of true mortification purgeth out a sin, as it is sin, and works against it under that consideration; and if against it as sin, then the same power that works out any sin works against every sin in the heart also. Now that every new degree works against a sin, as it is sin, is plain by this, because if it be purged out upon any other respect, it is not mortification.
(3.) Thirdly, the Spirit, and the virtue that comes from Christ, which are the efficient causes of this purging ont a sin, do also work against every sin, when they work against any one; and they have a contrariety to every lust; they search into every vein, and draw from all parts. Physicians may give elective purges, as they call them, which will purge out one humour, and not another; but Christ's physic works generally, it takes away all sorts of distempers.
Obj. - And whereas the objection against this may be, that then all lusts will come to be equally mortified
I answer, No, for all lusts were never equally alive in a man; some are stronger, some weaker by custom, through disposition of body and spirit; and therefore, though mortification extends itself to all, yet there being an inequality in the life and growth of these sins in us, hence some remain still more, some less mortified: as when a flood of water is left to flow into a field, where many hills are of differing height, though the water overflows all equally, yet some are more above water than others, because they were higher before of themselves. And hence it is that some sins, when the power of grace comes, may be in a manner wholly subdued, - namely, those which proceed out of the abundance of naughtiness in the heart, as swearing, malice against the truth; and these the children of God are usually wholly freed from, and they seem wholly dead; being as the excrements of other members, and being as the nails and the hair, they are wholly pared off, as was the manner to a proselyte woman; the power of grace takes them away, though other members continue vigorous. And therefore of swearing Christ says,'What is more than Yea, yea, and Nay, nay, is out of a profane heart. As when a man is a-dying, some members are stiff and cold, and clean dead long afore, as the feet, whilst others continue to have some life and heat in them; so in the mortification of a Christian, some lusts that are more remote are wholly stiff and stark, when others retain much life in them.
Quest. 2. - The second question is, Whether, when I apply Christ, and the promise with the virtue of Christ, for the mortification of some one particular lust or other, and do use those right means, as prayer, fasting, &c., for the special mortification of some one lust, whether that lust thereby doth not become more mortified than other lusts do?
Ans. - I answer, Yes, yet so as in a proportion this work of mortification runs through all the that; for as in washing out the great stains of a cloth, the lesser stains are washed out also with the same labour, so it is here. Therefore the Apostle in all his exhortations to mortification, both Eph. iv. and Gal. v. and Col. iii., though he exhorts to the putting off the old man,' the whole body of sin, yet instances in particular sins, because a man is particularly to endeavour the mortification of particulars, as it were apart; and yet because in getting them mortified the whole body of sin is destroyed, therefore he mentions both the whole body and particular members thereof apart, as the object of mortification. And to that end also doth God exercise his children, first with one lust, then with another, that they may make trial of the virtue of Christ's death upon every one. And therefore Christ bids us to'pull out an eye,' and 'cut off a hand,' if they offend us: for mortification is to be by us directed against particular members; yet so as withal, in a proportion, all the rest receive a further degree of destruction. For as a particular act of sin, be it uncleanness, or the like, when committed, doth increase a disposition to every sin, yet so as it leaves a present greater disposition to that particular sin than any other, and increaseth it : so in every act of mortification, though the common stock be increased, yet the particular lust we aimed at hath a greater share in the mortification endeavoured, as in ministering physic to cure the head, the whole body is often purged; yet so as the head, the party affected, is yet chiefly purged, and more than the rest.
Three questions resolved concerning positive growth.
Other questions there are concerning that other part of our
growth, namely, in positive graces and the fruits thereof.
Quest. 1. - As, first, Whether every new degree of grace runs through all the faculties?
Ans. - I answer, Yes: for as every new degree of light in the air runs through the whole hemisphere, when the sun shines clearer and clearer to the perfect day, which is Solomon's comparison in the Proverbs; so every new degree of grace runs through, and is diffused through the whole man. And therefore also, 1 Thess. v. 23, when the Apostle there prays for increase of grace, he prays they may be 'sanctified wholly, in body, soul, and spirit.' And every new degree, though it begins at the spirit, the understanding, yet goes through all; for so, Eph. iv. 23, 24,'Be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new man:' it runs therefore through the whole man, having renewed the mind; as the work of grace at first, so after still continually 'leaveneth the whole lump.'
Quest. 2. - Whether one grace may not grow more than another?
Ans. l. - I answer, first, that it is certain that when a man grows up in one grace, he doth grow in all; they grow and thrive together. Therefore, in Eph. iv. 15, we are said to'grow up into him in'all things.' Growth from Christ is general; as true growth in the body is in every part, so this in every grace. Therefore, 2 Cor. iii. 18, we are said to be 'changed into the same image from glory to glory.' Every increase stamps a further degree of the whole image of Christ upon the heart. So the Thessalonians, their faith and their love did both overflow, 2 Thess. i. 3.
Ans 2. - Yet, secondly, so as one grace may grow more than some other
(1.) Because some are more radical graces, as faith and love, therefore of the Thessalonians' faith the Apostle says, 2 Thess. i. 3, that it did 'grow exceedingly;' and then it follows, their love 'did overflow.'
(2.) Some graces are more exercised, and if so, they abound more; as though both arms do grow, yet that which a man useth is the stronger and the bigger, so is it in graces. In birds, their wings, which have been used most, are sweetest to the taste. As in the body, though the exercise of one member maketh the body generally more healthful, yet so as that member which is exercised will be freest from humours itself; so it is here. So 'tribulation worketh patience, patience experience,' Rom. v. Many sufferings make patience the less difficult, and much experience, many experiments, make hope greater.
(3.) Again, thirdly, that some graces are more in some than others, appears hence; for what is it makes the differing gifts that are in Christians but a several constitution of graces, though all have every grace in them? As now in the body every member hath all singular parts in it, as flesh, bones, sinews, veins, blood, spirits in it, but yet so some members have more of flesh, less of sinews and veins, &c., whence ariseth a several office in every member, according as such or such similar parts do more or less abound in a member. The hand, because it hath more nerves and joints in it than another member, though less flesh, yet how strong is it, and fit for many offices! The foot is not so. So in Christians, by reason of the several constitution of graces, and the temper of them more or less, have they several offices in the church, and are fitted for several employments. Some have more love, and fit for offices of charity; some more knowledge, and are fit to instruct; some more patience, and are fitter to suffer; some for self.denial, and accordingly do grow in these more specially.
Quest. 3. - The third question is, Whether this increase be only by radicating the same grace more, or by a new addition? Ans - I answer, that by adding a new degree of grace, as in making candles, which is done by addition; when a candle is put anew into the fat of boiled tallow, every time it is put in it comes out bigger, with a new addition; or as a cloth dipped in the dye comes out upon every new dipping in with a deeper dye. And this is done by a new act of creation, put forth by God. Therefore when David, being fallen, prayed for increase of grace, he says,'Create in me a new heart.' And therefore, Eph. iv. 24, when the Apostle exhorts to further putting on the new man, and speaketh of growth, he adds,'which is created;' for every new degree is created as well as the first infusion, which shews the difference between natural growth and this. in natural growth there needs not a new creation, but an ordinary concurrence; but it is not so in this: that God that begun the work, by the same power perfects it. And therefore, Eph. i. 19, he prays that the believing Ephesians might see that power that continued to work in them to be no less than that which raised up Christ: for though natural life may with a natural concurrence increase itself, because the term from whence it springs, is but from a less degree of life to a greater; yet it is otherwise in this life, and our growth in this is from a greater degree of death to a further degree of life. And therefore, Phil. iii. 11, the Apostle calls growing in grace a going on 'to attain the resurrection from the dead.' And therefore the same power that raised up Christ must go along to work it. Hence also every new degree of grace is called a new conversion, - ' Except ye be converted,' says Christ to his disciples converted already, - because the same power that wrought to conversion goes still to this. And there fore it is said that 'God gives the increase,' 1 (Cor. iii. 7); and it is called 'the increasing of God,' Col. ii 1.; so, Hos. xiv., shewing the ground why they grow so fast, 'Thy fruit is found in me,' says God, ver. 7. Although this is to be added by way of caution and difference, that therein God doth proportion his influence to our endeavours, which in conversion at first he doth not. Therefore we are said to be fellow-workers with him, although it be he that gives the increase, 1 Cor. iii. 6 - 8; the same you have also Rom. viii., We by the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the flesh.' We, as co-workers with the Spirit!
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