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remained between hope and despair. Faith in Christ still seemed a great mystery to me : what I was to believe, or how I was to believe, I could not tell.. To believe that God had blotted out my iniquities, when I had the strongest inward testimony to the contrary, would have been too gross a delusion for me to plunge into with my eyes open. However I resolved never to rest till the Lord brought me out of darkness into his marvellous light. One day when I was alone wrestling with the Lord, he graci. ously looked down upon my affliction, and revealed his Son to me, as suffering for my sins; and I thought I heard a voice saying, "Dost thou now believe ?” to which I answered aloud ---" I can. not help but believe.”. I now clearly saw that God was still juft in justifying a guilty sinner who believed in his Son Jesus. ..
When I had found peace with God, I went and met in a class.; and in a year after was appointed a leader : I continued in this office about two years, and then was appointed an itinerant preacher in St. Austle circuit, in Cornwall; Mr. Rhodes was the assistant of the circuit, and shewed me all the affe&tion and tenderness of a father. When I had travelled four months, I fell into evil-reasonings, and began to doubt of my call to the work of the ministry. In this distress I wrote to Mr. Rhodes, requesting he would send for a preacher to supply my place, as I intended to travel no lon. ger; but he encouraged me to persevere in well-doing; and thro' the blessing of God we saw a gracious revival of the work, about three hundred new members being added to the societies in our circuit this year. Having obtained help, I continue to the present day to love God and his people, and to speak of the things of his kingdom.
Plymouth-Dock, wap.com 1794
: JOHN BOYLE.»
Mr. Mather's first Discourse on CHRISTIAN PERFECTION:
[Concluded from page 13. ). THE fear of God, which has been already described, cleanseth
1 from all filthiness of flesh and spirit fundry ways : It keeps the conscience truly tender, and makes it quick-sighted to discern and feel the slightest touch of sin, or even omission of duty in any degree. The conscience is hereby led to pass a just sentence upon both, admitting of none of those palliating excuses or exten. uations, which, alas! bespeak a very great want of holy jealousy; such'as, “ Satan took the advantage; I was off my guard; my natural temper is so and fo; surely no one is tried like me; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak; there is no living without fin; there is no perfection in this life, it is well we are to be saved by Christ, and not by our own works, &c.". And thus men who have laid a foundation for repentance by dead works, hide it from their own eyes, and effe&tually dębar themselves from alļ the
advantages intended them by a throne of Grace through an Advocate at the right-hand of the Majesty on high; who, notwithstand. ing all their exclamations and excuses, is displeased with impeni. tent finners for taking refuge in such lies as these are, in that sense in which they use and apply them. For thus finners place the most insurmountable bar in their own way to perfecting holic ness, and thereby fix in their hearts the strongest aversion to per. fection in holiness; the very mention of which is sufficient cause for any one to be judged arrogant and presumptuous by them, who in this state are blind, and cannot see afar off ; for in respect to the enjoyment of their privileges, they have actually forgotten that they were ever purged from the guilt and dominion of their old sins.
But the conscience a&tuated by godly fear, liftens to none of these excuses, will hear no such falle witnesses; and therefore charges home wilful fin and guilt, by whatever cause contracted; and says, as Nathan to David, “ Thou art the man !---the offender ;---thou art likely to bear the punishment.” This awakens in a mind not yet stupified by deceitful opiates, a feeling sense of fin; and it begins to plead guilty, and sues for a frelh act of mercy through the atoning Blood, to which alone it looks, as the only way to God for pardon, and for grace to help in every future time of need. And being thus, by this holy jealousy driven to the Blood again, which alone can make the wounded whole, it receives a twofold privilege, (1.) A deliverance from being fatisfied with any thing besides a lively enjoyment of God, and victory as well over inward as outward sin. . (2.) A greater jealousy over itself, left it should be betrayed by any of its enemies, and so robbed of its peace and access to God: and hereby it becomes more influenced by that fear, which keeps it humble, though so favoured by the Lord ; and is animated to greater watchfulness, left, as it has been grafted in by faith in which it stands, it should be cut off by any degree of unbelief!
Oh! what carefulness, what diligence, what contrition, what self-denial, what cleaving unto God! And above and in all, what dependence upon Chrilt! and what continual application to his Blood, as that whereby alone all the impurity and defects discerned by a soul so eagle-eyed, can be done away! And how exceeding great are the longings of such a soul for God, even the Living God! What agonizings after him! With what unutterable ardour it cries out,
Ah! shew me that happiest place,
The place of thy people's abode,
And hang on their crucified LORD!
Thy Passion and Death on the Tree!
· Thefe do hunger and thirft after righteousness, the fult confor. mity of their fouls to Chrift, and cannot rest till they have full redemption through his Blood. . And is it posible that fuch should not be perfe&ting holiness ? No, nor that they hould be Jong ere they axtain to the perfeétion of holinefs, who are fo clearlfing themfelves from all filthiness of flesh, as well as of spirit, and are in all things seeking the Lord with all their heart. The Lord whom they so feek, will suddenly come to his temple, and make their longing souls his bleft abode. He cannor lie, who has said, I am the high and lofty One who inhabiteth eternity, and to him will I look, and with him will. I dwell, who is humble and of a contrite fpirit, and trembleth at ny word. My mercy is treasured up for such, in my Son, and in my promises, whereon I have cavfed them to hope, and have thus engaged their hearts to approach unto me. But this naturally leads me
Ill. To the third thing proposed, viz. the argument the Apostle ufes, at once to enforce this duty, and to encourage those who are called to the performance of it: Having these promises, dearly beloved, let us fer upon, and accomplish this great work of perfecting holiness: a work supposed by some to be not only unne. cessary, but even impossible to be done in this life by any means whatever, and “ much more, say they, by cleansing our fetve's from aļl filthiness of flesh and spirit. For we can, we need do nothing! The filthiness of sin may, and must dwell in us, fo long as we live. Then death shall do, what neither we nor any thing else (the Blood of Christ not excepted) ever can do!" Oh, what a mercy, that these are not the words of God, but of man! of poor short-fighted man! a stranger to his own privileges, and · herein an enemy to his own happiness. But we have not fo learn. ed Chrift, nor fo received his glorious declaration, who fent him to destroy the works of the Devil, and * fave his people from their fins !
Consider we then this argument and encouragement: even thofe promises from God, which relate to this very thing, namely, holi. ness, or perfection in holiness, particularly those to which the text may more immediately refer. Thus faith the Lord, “I will fürinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean. From all your filthiness, and from all your idols will I cleanse you. A new heart will I give unto you. I will take the ftony heart out of your fesh, and I will give you a heart of fleih, I will put my spirit within you, and ye shall' walk in my statutes: ye fhall keep my judgments, and do them. And I will be a God unto you, and ye shall be my people, faith the Lord.” To the same purpose is the close of the chapter preceding the text : “ Ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath laid, I will dwell in them, and walk in ihem; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people," Again, thus faith the Lord, “ I will circumcise your heart, that ye may love the Lord your God with all your heart, and will all your soul, and with all your inind, and with all your frength i
and your neighbour as yourself.” Nor does the very firft promise, * The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head,” as explained by St. John, imply any thing less. “ For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the Devid." Herein Davidi exults, (Ps. cxxx.)“ Let Ifrael hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities." And it is to these and the like promises, no doubt, the Apostle to the Hebrews refers, when he would encourage the Chriftian believers by assuring them, that he who could not lie, had provided strong consolation for them who had fled for refuge, and laid hold upon the hope fet before them, even CHRIST Jesus. He had engaged himself by two immutable things, his word and his oath : in performance whereof he sent his Sòn to “ save us from our sins." These are fome of those exceeding great and precious promises, which, as St. Peter says, are given to believers, that encouraged by them, they might partake of the Divine nature, having escaped the corruptions which are in the world through luft.
Having then these promises, 1. upon record in the Word of God: 2. Ensured to us by our relation to Chrift: And, 3. urged upon us as an incentive to the important duty before us, we yield to the invincible force of such arguments, and say, It is meet, right, and our bounden duty, to perfect holiness in his fear, whom, because we love, therefore we delight to obey : confident that however heaven and earth may pass away, the word of the Lord, that shall stand! These mighty promises shine, engraved as in eternal brass, nor can all the powers of darkness erase these everlasting lines, which enforce the duty by motives so powerful, wherein are connected fo great privileges with such just commands. For what privilege fo great, as that of loving the Lord our Cod with all the heart, soul, ftrength, and mind ? And what command fo just, as that those who are so related to him, should have the highest efteem for their Maker, Preserver and Redeemer? A sense of these obligations to a mind under the agency of the Eternal Spirit, is a sufficient motive to constrain it to the moft cheerful obedience. And how inuch more, when by that same Operation it discerns the wonderful benignity of God, in engag. ing himself to do that for us, who have so rebelled against him, wherein our only felicity can be found ? O the riches of his good. ness to fallen man, in providing for his restoration to present and eternal happiness, by an union with and conformity to himself!
It is true, the duty so equitable in itself, and so beneficial to its performers, has many and very great oppositions to encounter : and whoever begins in good earnest, will find fuch enemies to grapple with, as, before that, he scarce imagined the Christian foldier could meet with in the process of this war! He is now resolved upon the utmost fidelity to his Sovereign, and that nothing in him fhall rob Him of his right, so juftly claimed, and dearly purchased, even at the immenle price of his own most precious
Blood ! He never before, fo fully knew, what bondage he was in to those who had usurped the dominion over him ; nor what strong possession the world, the flesh, and the Devil, had of his affections: the treachery, the deceit, the enmity, and unbelief of his heart! its stubbornness and pride, yea, and desperate wickedness! All which being now discovered, he is resolved, that Jesus shall be Lord of all his motions, and shall bring all into captivity, to the obedience of himself: yea, not a thought shall be excepted, but all be made subject to him!
This occasions the accomplishment of that word, “I will shew thee thy heart.” But bear in mind, o Christian, this discovery is made, that he may do thee good; though once thou wouldst not have believed it, though a man from the authority of the Bible, and from the fincerelt good-will, had told it unto thee.
Yet be not discouraged. You have the promises; and you find even now they are fulfilling to you. Self was never so abased in you as now. Sin was never so detestable, and loathed, and abhor. red by you, as at this day. Never did you feel so willing to give it up, so willing to part with the most darling luft, as you are now. There never were such a longing in your soul, to get rid of it all for ever, as in the present moment! Oh, what throes you feel to be delivered! What longings after God, whom your soul loveth!
You have often seen a beauty in religion; wonderful wisdom · and goodness in the mystery of redemption by Christ; the supe. rior excellence of a godly life, and being all for God. And for it you have given up many, yea, all things you then saw a bar in your way; and, it may be, suffered gladly the loss of many things, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus your Lord. But now you esteem all as dung, that you may thus win Chrift, and be so found in him, as that by any means you may attain unto the resurrection of the dead ! not even shrinking at the fellowship of his sufferings, and that not merely in the mortification of the members that are upon the earth, and in the daily cruci. fixion of the old man, for the destruction of the body of sin: not. merely, I say, in wrestling with flesh and blood; but even with principalities and powers, and with the rulers of the darkness of this world; who, unwilling that all their faithful aliies should be banished from the soul, exert their rage and malice, to deter you from the attempt. They hope, at least, to keep one (if it could be only one) in possession. They say, “ It cannot, it need not be now; it may, it will be easier and better done, by and by :, at death when you must go, and all will be left at once; and you will not have any of that reproach which is caft upon such professors : And you have the promises, the faithful promises, which shall, will, must be then accomplished.” Thus Satan will transform himself into an angel of light: and because he well knows the force of that exceeding weighty artillery, “ Having these promises," he will endeavour by his abuse of them, to hinder you