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6. And I faid, O that I had Wings like a Dove, "for then would I flee away, and be at reft.
22. Caft thy BURDEN upon the LORD, and he "fhall fuftain thee; he fhall never fuffer the RIGHTEOUS to be moved.
2: "Pf. Avi. 8. Thou telleft my WANDRINGS; put "thou my Tears into thy Bottle; are they not in thy Book?
"10. In GOD will I praise his Word; in the "LORD will I praise his Word.
13. For thou haft delivered my SOUL from "DEATH, wilt not thou deliver my Feet from fall"ing, that I may walk before GoD in the Light of the Living?
HAVING thus attempted to collate fome of the various CONFLICTS and TEMPTATIONS that this inspired Prince paffed through: It appears (without putting any forced Conftructions upon his own Words) that thefe Complaints are most properly applicable to the CONFLICTS of his SOUL with the Remainders of SIN, and the Temptations of the SUBTLE and CRUEL ONE; as in this Sacred Book is often expressed.
WE are taught by our SAVIOUR daily to pray, not to be led into TEMPTATION, but to be delivered from the EVIL ONE, which is explained in the LITANY; "From SIN, from the CRAFTS and ASSAULTS of "the Devil, and that SATAN may be beat down un
der our Feet.
THAT the Members of the Chriftian Church were to prepare for, and undergo these CONFLICTS, is very evident from the repeated WARNINGS given both by our Saviour and his Apoftles.
TO begin with St. Peter, who was feduced to deny and abjure his Master.
"I Pet. v. 8. Be SOBER, be VIGILANT, because your Adversary the DEVIL, as a roaring Lion, "walketh about, feeking whom he may devour;
9. Whom refift STEDFAST in the FAITH, knowing that the fame AFFLICTIONS are accomplished in your "Brethren that are in the World.
AND after he had represented in his first Epistle, the glorious Inheritance that is referved in Heaven for the SAINTS, who are kept by the Power of GOD through FAITH unto SALVATION; he tells them, that the Joy that was to refult from this, would be fometimes clouded by the HEAVINESS that was to arife from the TRIAL of their FAITH through manifold TEMPTATIONS.
THIS Apoftle plainly distinguishes between inward TRIALS and outward AFFLICTIONS.
ST. JAMES begins his Epiftle with the like Exhortation :
"Chap. i. 2. My Brethren, count it all Joy when ye fall into divers TEMPTATIONS;
3. Knowing this, that the TRYING of your FAITH "worketh PATIENCE.
FOR wherein can there be a greater Exercife of PATIENCE, than in that Season, when that FAITH, by which alone we can ftand, fhall be tried by the fiery Darts of the Devil?
THAT this hath been the Cafe of many holy and excellent Men, is very evident, not only from the SCRIPTURES, but from the Writings of the Primitive FATHERS, and many of the firft REFORMERS, who were facrificed in Flames.
AS the Epiftle to the Hebrews begins with a most fublime Representation of the DEITY of our SAVIOUR, who was the very BRIGHTNESS of the Divine GLORY, and the exprefs IMAGE of his MAJESTY, and by whom all Things are upheld; fo the Apoftle proceeds to represent the greatnefs of his HUMILIATION and SUFFERINGS, (of which his TEMPTATIONS were not the leaft.)
"Heb. ii. 14. Forafmuch then as the Children are "Partakers of FLESH and BLOOD, he also himself took "part of the fame, that through DEATH he might
" destroy him that had the Power of DEATH, that is,
15. And deliver them, who through Fear of "DEATH, were all their Life-time subject to BONDAGE. 17. Wherefore in all Things it behoved him to "be made like unto his Brethren; that he might be "a MERCIFUL and FAITHFUL High Prieft, in Things pertaining to GOD, to make RECONCILIATION for "the SINS of the People:
"18: For in that he himself hath fuffered, being TEMPTED, he is able to fuccour them that are 66 TEMPTED.
WHAT thefe TEMPTATIONS were, is very fully defcrib'd by the Evangelifts in our SAVIOUR'S forty Days Fafting and Hunger. His human Nature was tempted not to depend upon PROVIDENCE, but by his Divine Power to turn Stones into Bread. The Tempter ftops not here, but proceeds to fuggeft the most infolent Blafphemies.
.IN the ivth Chapter of the Epiftle to the Hebrews, the Apostle having reprefented the JUDGMENT that came upon the Ifraelites because of UNBELIEF, (which lies in the Inmoft Recefles of the Mind) he tells them, "The WORD of GoD is quick and powerful, and
fharper than a two-edged Sword; is a Difcerner of "all the THOUGHTS and INTENTS of the HEART; "and that all Things are NAKED and OPEN to the Eyes of him with whom we have to do.
BUT that the Confideration of this, might not overwhelm the Soul with the Senfe of its great GUILT and INFIRMITIES, we are exhorted, that "feeing we have "fo great an HIGH PRIEST, who is paffed into the "Heavens, Jefus the Son of GOD, to hold faft our "PROFESSION: For we have not an HIGH PRIEST "which cannot be touched with the FEELING of our "INFIRMITIES, but was in all Points TEMPTED like as
we are, yet without SIN:" and therefore are encouraged to "come BOLDLY to the THRONE of GRACE, "that
"that we may obtain MERCY, and find GRACE to "help in time of need.
IN the xith Chapter of the fame Epiftle, the GLORIOUS ACTS performed by the Patriarchs and Prophets, by the Power of their FAITH, are enumerated; and the Conclufion drawn from it by the Apostle, is, "That fince the Members of the Chriftian Church are encompaffed with fo great a Cloud of WITNES"SES, they fhould lay afide every Weight, and the "SIN which doth fo eafily befet them, and with Pa
TIENCE run the glorious Race; and in all our "TRIALS and TEMPTATIONS to look up to Jefus, "who is both the AUTHOR and FINISHER of our "FAITH.
IF the Epiftles of St. Paul, upon this Subject, be attentively confidered, the HARMONY between the Expreffions of these, and thofe of the Pfalms, will be very
HOW often do we find the Royal Prophet sOARING into the HEAVENS, in the adoring PRAISE of the Divine Majefty? But that he did not always enjoy this high Felicity, is very evident from the Expreffions before quoted.
THE Apoftle St. Paul being wrapped up to the THIRD HEAVENS in an Ecftafy, having heard Words INEFFABLE, acknowledgeth that for his HUMILIATION, a Meffenger of SATAN was permitted to buffet him: He earnestly implores, that this THORN in the FLESH might be taken from him, which feems to be fome BоDILY DISTEMPER which had very much affected his Mind, as appears by the Answer given to his reiterated Prayers: "My GRACE is fufficient for thee; £6 my STRENGTH fhall be perfected in thy WEAKNESS.
IN his outward PERSECUTIONS and SUFFERINGS for the Gospel, he glories and triumphs: and in his CHAINS at Philippi he fings HALLELUJAHS; from which Dungeon he was refcued by a Miracle.
IN his Epistle to the Corinths, and other Epiftles, he reprefents what the SPIRITUAL WARFARE is, from what they faw in the celebrated Olympic Games:
"I Cor. ix. 24. Know ye not that they which run "in a RACE, run all, but one receiveth the PRIZE ? "So run that ye may obtain.
"25. And every Man that STRIVETH for the MafCC tery, is TEMPERATE in all Things:" and therefore fets before them his own Example;
"26. I therefore run, not as uncertainly; fo fight "I, not as one that beateth the Air.
27. But I KEEP UNDER my BODY, and bring it into SUBJECTION. WHICH is ftated more fully in 2 Cor. x. 3. "For tho' we WALK in the FLESH, we do not wAR CC AFTER the FLESH.
4. For the Weapons of our WARFARE are not "carnal, but mighty through GOD, to the pulling "down of STRONG HOLDS;
5. Cafting down IMAGINATIONS, and every HIGH "THING that exalteth itself against the KNOWLEDGE "of Go D, and bringing into Captivity every "THOUGHT to the OBEDIENCE of Chrift.
IN the Epiftle to his beloved Timothy, He exhorts him "to fight the good Fight of FAITH, and lay "hold on ETERNAL LIFE:" And when he approached to his MARTYRDOM, he expreffeth his triumphant Joy that He had fought a GOOD FIGHT, and had finished his COURSE, and was going to take Poffeffion of that CROWN of GLORY, which was laid up " for him in Heaven.
THE Experience of all Ages fhews how very averfe Mankind have been to enter into this COMBAT with themselves; and have chofe rather to fuffer any Severities upon the BODY, than to engage in this CONTEST with their LuSTS and SINFUL INCLINATIONS.