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the soul is made to understand what a spiritual hurricane means.
A man may lose his all in this world, his substance may be lost, his trade may fail, he may come to be as poor as Job; and yet, being in esteem for his goodness and honesty,
have trust and credit among his neighbours, and so may in time recover his losses.
A man may be clouded, as to his name and credit, among men ; yet having of his own wherewith to subsist in the sight and midst of his traducers and reproachers, he may make a pretty good shift to weather the point.
A man may be extremely poor, he may be blackened with reproach, he may be visited with bodily sickness; yet, having sensible communion with God, none of these single storms can overset him, because the discerned smiles of God's reconciled face supply all the other wants.
But, for the same person to be stripped of all visible substance, and to become a proverb of reproach among all sorts, as well friends as enemies; to be smitten in his health, and to feel himself under the actual arrest of death; and, at the same time, for God to seem to write bitter things against him, and to carry it towards the poor
soul as if he were become the man's enemy: if there be a spiritual hurricane this side hell, this is one.
All these bitter ingredients met together in that sad hurricane which the devil was permitted to raise against Job. His substance swept all away;
and he left as empty-handed as when he came into the world! He was cast out of the kind and charitable thoughts of all, as well his friends and nearest relations as enemies and strangers! and the God of his life and comfort, too, did set himself in battle array against him! O, what a hurricane was this holy, upright-hearted man, in! It must needs be very sore and sharp, when such a mirtour of patience lets fly such expressions, as to curse the very day of his own birth, Job iii. 1, 2, 3; and to wish himself to be a mere nonentity, ver. 16, with other expressions full of unbecoming reflections on that just, holy, and, tremendous God, whom he loved and feared above all things! It were worth while, if those deluded and graceless perfectionists, who talk so boastingly and ignoråntly of a sinless perfection, had power to con sider, without prejudice, how far 'Job was from that sinless perfection they teach and affirm is attainable in this life: and, for proof whereof, they bring in Job for one instance; asserting, that he was perfect in their sense.
Let Job's great impatience in the time of his sore and sinking trials, together with his own acknowledgment of his imperfection in sanctification, be weighed in the balance of an unbiassed and unprejudicate consideration, and then it will convincingly appear how vain, and altogether contrary to God's truth and the experience of all true believers, that silly opinion of theirs is.
“ If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall
condemn me : if I say, I'am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse. If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean; yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine own cloaths shall abhor me,” Job ix. 20, 30, 31. Holy David was somewhat near to Job in point of troubles and afilictions, as appears by Psal. xlii. 7. “ Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy water, spruts : all thy waves and thy billows have gone over me,” And in Psal. cxlii. 4, “I looked on my right-hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me : refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.” Other instances might be here brought in, to shew what hurricanes the saints of God have gone through; and yet it hath not been in the power of those hurricanes to overset or overcome those servants of the living God, The higher and sharper the storms were, the closer faith did cling to its object: witness Job's fixed resolution, “ Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him,” Job xiii. 15. That of David, also, is to the purpose; “ Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of deathı, yet will I fear no evil,” Psal. xxiii. 4.
These, and all the most eminent saints of God recorded in scripture, whenever they felt any thing of a storm approach them, the way they took for self-preservation, was to run, by faith and prayer, to the shadow of Christ. And, as they, so every true and upright-hearted believer, 'when he finds himself stripped of all outward accommodations, forsaken.
of all relations and familiar friends, made an obloquy of the blackest reproach, compassed about with the shadow of death, and the face of God himself seeming to frown on the dying believer; yet in the very height of his extremity his faith will catch hold of the apple tree, and there will hold, come life, come death. Oh the excellency and power of a divine faith!
To apply what hath been discovered concerning Christ's suitableness and commodiousness to answer the necessitous condition of poor sinners from this metaphor of the apple tree, let the first usc be of information. I will branch it forth into six particular branches.
Branch the First. Learn hence how sacrilegious and wicked the doctrine of popery is, which allows and teaches that there are more mediators between God and sinners besides Jesus Christ. The continual use papists make of the virgin Mary, and other saints, in their praying to God, is an evident proof hereof. They that doubt hereof, let them, for their own satisfaction, look into the Rosary, or Ladies Psalter, which is the poor besotted papist's vade mecum : the which whoever reads, comparing the same with the word of God, will soon be convinced of the idolatry of the church of Rome. The Spirit and word of God assure us, that there is but one only mediator between God and sinful men, and that the man Christ Jesus is that mediator. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus,” i Tim. ii. 5.
· But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry; by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises,” Heb. viii. 6. .“ And to Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant,” Heb. xii. 24.
To convince you of this sacrilegious and damning doctrine, I offer three things to your serious consideration.
First, The word of God no where gives that honourable title of mediator to any but the Son of God.
Secondly, No one was ever found by the wisdom of God who was capable of such an high office, and that for two reasons.
First, Because the mediator who must come in between God and sinners must be God as well as man.
Now it is most certain that neither the virgin Mary, nor any other of the saints of whom papists make use as mediators, are God.
Secondly, Because none of the creatures to be redeemed were able to encounter with the death and miseries through which the mediator was to go, in making up the breach between God and the elect. Neither the virgin Mary, nor any other saint, shed their blood on the account of ransoming sinners. “ I have trodden the wine-press alone, and of the people there was none with me. And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me, and my