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with his voice. "He calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them, and putteth them forth, and goeth before them."" Because Israel was his own people, therefore he showed them his words." The law was theirs, and the oracles theirs. When he entereth into covenant with a people, that they become his; then he writeth his law in their hearts, and teacheth them. This is the prophet David's argument; "I am thy servant, give me understanding":" Because I am thine in a special relation, therefore acquaint me with thee in an especial manner. "The earth is full of thy mercy," there is much of thy goodness revealed to all the nations of the world, even to those that are not called by thy name: but as for me, whom thou hast made thine own by a nearer relation, let me have experience of a greater mercy," Teach me thy statutes."
Sixthly, If we be his, he will chastise us in mercy, and not in fury; though he leave us not altogether unpunished, yet he will punish us less p than our iniquities deserve; he will not deal with us as with others; "Though I make a full end of all nations whither I have driven thee, yet I will not make a full end of thee, but I will correct thee in measure 9" I will correct thee to cure, but not to ruin thee.
The second thing, considered in the words, was the present condition of the people of Christ, which was to be ' military men,' to join with the armies of Christ against all his enemies. As he was, so must we be, in this world. sooner was Christ consecrated by his solemn baptism unto the work of a mediator, but presently he was assaulted by the tempter: and no sooner doth any man give up his name to Christ, and break loose from that hellish power under which he was held, but presently Pharaoh and his hosts, Satan and his confederates, pursue him with deadly fury, and pour out floods of malice and rage against him. Hell and death are at truce with wicked men, there is a covenant and agreement betwixt them. Satan holdeth his possession. in peace but when a stronger than he cometh upon and overcometh him, there is, from that time, implacable venom
1 John x. 3, 4. m Psal. cxlvii. 19. n Psal. cxix. 125. Psal. cxix. 64. P Ezra ix. 13. 4 Jer. xxx. 10, 11. Qui trucidat, non considerat quemadmodum laniat; qui curat, considerat quemadmodum secat. Aug.
and hostility against such a soul; the malice, power, policy, stratagems, and machinations of Satan; the lusts and vanities, the pleasures, honours, profits, persecutions, frowns, flatteries, snares of the wicked world; the affections, desires, inclinations, deceits of our own fleshly hearts, will ever ply the soul of a Christian, and force it to perpetual combats.
There is in Satan an everlasting enmity against the glory, mercy, and truth of God, against the power and mystery of the gospel of Christ. This malice of his exerciseth itself against all those that have given themselves to Christ, whose kingdom he mightily laboureth to demolish: by his power, persecuting it, by his craftiness and wily insinuations, undermining it; by his vast knowledge and experience in palliating, altering, mixing, proportioning, and measuring his temptations and spiritual wickedness in such a manner, as that he may subvert the church of Christ, either in the purity thereof, by corrupting the doctrine of Christ with heresy, and his worship with idolatry and superstition; or in the unity thereof, by pestering it with schism and distraction; or in the liberty thereof, by bondage of conscience; or in the progress and enlargement thereof, endeavouring to blast and make fruitless the ministry of the gospel. And this malice of Satan is wonderfully set on and encouraged, both by the corruption of our nature, those armies of lusts and affections which swarm within us, entertaining, joining force, and cooperating with all his suggestions; disheartening, reclaiming, and pulling back the soul, when it offers to make any opposition; and also by the men, and materials of this evil world;by the examples, the threats, the interests, the power, the intimacy, the wit, the tongues, the hands, the exprobrations, the persecutions, the insinuations and seductions of wicked men ; by the profits, the pleasures, the preferments, the acceptation, credit and applause of the world.
By all which means, Satan most importunately pursueth one of these two ends, either to subvert the godly, by drawing them away from Christ to apostasy, formality, hypocrisy, spiritual pride, and the like; or else to discomfort them with diffidence, doubts, sight of sin, opposition of the times, vexation of spirit, and the like affections. And these oppositions of Satan meet with a Christian in every respect or consider
ation, under which he may be conceived: consider him in his spiritual estate, in his several parts, in his temporal relations, in his actions or employments; and in all these, Satan is busy to overturn the kingdom of Christ in him. In his spiritual estate, if he be a weak Christian, he assaulteth him with perpetual doubts and fears touching his election, conversion, adoption, perseverance, Christian liberty, strength against corruptions, companies, temptations, persecutions, &c. if he be a strong Christian, he laboureth to draw him unto self-confidence, spiritual pride, contempt of the weak, neglect of further proficiency, and the like. There is no natural part or faculty which is not aimed at likewise by the malice of Satan: for Christ when he comes, takes possession of the whole man, and therefore Satan sets himself against the whole man. Corporeal and sensitive faculties, tempted either to sinful representations, letting in and transmitting the provisions of lust unto the heart, by gazing and glutting themselves on the objects of the world: or to sinful executions; finishing and letting out those lusts, which have been conceived in the heart: the phantasy tempted by satanical injections and immutations, to be the forge of loose, vain, unprofitable, and unclean thoughts: the understanding to earthly wisdom, vanity, infidelity, prejudices, mispersuasions, fleshly reasonings, vain speculations, and curiosities, &c.: the will to stiffness, resistance, dislike of holy things, and pursuit of the world: the conscience to deadness, immobility, and a stupid benumbedness, to slavish terrors and evidences of Hell, to superstitious bondage, to carnal security, to desperate conclusions: the affections to independence, distraction, excess, precipitancy, &c.--In temporal conditions, there is no estate of health, wealth, honour, estimation, or the contraries unto these ;-no relation of husband, father, magistrate, subject, &c.,-unto which Satan hath not such suitable suggestions, as, by the advantage of fleshly corruptions, may take from them occasion to draw a man from God. Lastly, In regard of our actions and employments, whether they be divine, such as respect God, as acts of piety, in reading, hearing, meditating, and studying his Word, in calling upon his name, and the like; or such as respect ourselves, as acts of temperance and sobriety, personal examinations, and more particular acquaintance with our own hearts;
or such as respect others, as acts of righteousness, charity, and edification; or whether they be actions natural, such as are requisite to the preservation of our being, as sleep and diet or actions civil; in our callings or recreations ;-in all these Satan laboureth, either to pervert us in the performance of them, or to divert us from it. There is then no condition, faculty, relation, or action of a Christian man, the which is not always under the eye and envy of a most raging, wise, and industrious enemy. And therefore, great reason there is, that Christians should be military men,' well instructed in the whole armour of God, that they may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil, and to quench all his fiery darts. It is our calling to wrestle against principalities and powers, and spiritual wickedness in high places, to resist the devil, to strive against sin, to mortify earthly members, to destroy the body of sin, to deny ourselves, to contradict the reasonings of the flesh, to check and control the stirrings of concupiscence, to resist and subdue the desires of our evil hearts, to withstand and answer the assaults of Satan, to outface the scorns, and despise the flatteries of the present world, in all things to endure hardness as the soldiers of Jesus Christ. Our cause is righteous, our captain is wise and puissant, our service honourable, our victory certain, our reward massy and eternal; so that, in all respects, great encouragements we have to be volunteers in such war, the issue whereof is our enemy's perdition, our Master's honour, and our own salvation.
The third thing observed was, The thorough and universal resignation and devotedness of Christ's people unto him. "Thy people shall be willing," or a people of a great devotion, in the day of thy power." From whence I shall gather two observations: First, They that belong unto Christ as his people, are most thoroughly and willingly subject unto his government, do consecrate, resign, and yield up their whole souls and bodies to serve in his wars against all his enemies. For the distinct understanding of which point we are to observe first, That by nature we are utterly unwilling to be subject unto Christ. The carnal mind is enmity against God', it is not subject to the law of God, neither in
deed can be. For if Christ be over us, the body of sin must die; it once crucified him, and he will be revenged upon it. By nature we are willingly subject unto no law, but the law of our members; to no will, but the will of the flesh; full of contumacy, rebellion ", and stoutness of spirit against the truth and beauty of the Word or ways of God. The love of corrupted nature is wholly set upon our own ways*, as an untamed heifer, or a wild ass. Men wander, and go about, and weary themselves in their full compass and swing of lust, and will not be turned. And therefore it is, that they bid God depart from them, and desire not the knowledge of his ways; that they leave the paths of uprightness; that having crooked hearts of their own, they labour likewise to pervert and make crooked the gospel of Christ, that they may from thence steal countenance to their sins, contrary to the holy affection of David', "make my way straight before me;" that they snuff and rage, and pull away the shoulder", and fall backward', and thrust away God from them. And hence it is, that men are so apt to cavil, and foolishly to charge the ways of God; First, As grievous ways, too full of austerity, narrowness, and restraint. "I knew that thou wert an austere man1;"-and "this is an hard saying, who can bear it m?"—"The land is not able to bear all his words "."—"There is a lion in the way ";" a certain damage and unavoidable mischief will follow me, if I keep in it. Thus as Israel, when they heard of giants and sons of Anak, had no heart to Canaan, but cried, and whined, and rebelled, and mutinied, and in their heart turned back into Egypt, that is, had more will to their own bondage than to God's promise; so when a natural man hears of walking in a narrow way with much exactness and circumspection, that come what bait of preferment, pleasure, profit, or advantage will, yet he must not turn to the right hand nor to the left, nor commit the least evil for the greatest good; that as the people in the wilderness were to go only where
d Deut. xxxii. 5.
x Eccles. viii. 11. Prov. xiv. 14.
u Mal. ii. 17. 1 Sam. xv. 23. ii. 24. viii. 6. Hos. iv. 16. lvii. 10. c Job xxi. 14, Psal. v. 8. g Mal. i. 13. 1 Matt. xxv. 24. P Num. xiii. 31. xiv. 1, 4.
m John vi. 60.
2 Pet. iii. 16. k Acts vii. 39. • Prov. xxii. 13.