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goodness, his offer of himself to be the stay of souls, his commanding us to rest on him. People wait on I know not what persuasions and assurances, but I know no other to build faith on, than the word of promise, the truth and faithfulness of God opened up, his wisdom, and power, and goodness, as the stay of all those wbo, renouncing all other props, will venture on it and lay all upon him. He that believes, sets to his seal that God is true ; and so he is sealed, for God; bis portion and interest are secured. If ye will not believe, surely ye shall. not be established. This is the way to hare peace and assurance, wbich many look for first, Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is steady on thee, because he trusteth in thee, Isa. xxvi, 3. So here, the heart is fixed by trusting. Seek then clearer apprehensions of the faithfulness and goodness of God, hearts more enlarged in the notion of free grace and the absolute trust due to it; thus shall they be more established and fixed in all the rollings and changes of the world.

His heart is fixed, or prepared, ready-dressed and in arms for all services, resolved not to give back, able to meet all adventures and stand its ground. God is unchangeable, and therefore faith is invincible. That sets the heart on bim, fastens it there on the rock of eternity; then let winds blow and storms arise, it cares not.

This firm and close cleaving unto God hath in it of the affection which is inseparable from this trust, love joined with faith, and so a hatred of all ways and thoughts that. alienate and estrange from God, that remove and upsettle the heart. The holiest, wariest heart is surely the most believing and fixed heart. If a believer will adventure on any one way of sin, he will find that it will unfix him and shake bis confidence, more than ten thousand hazards and assaults from without. These are so far from moving, that they settle and fix the heart commonly more, causing it to cleave the closer and nearer unto God; but sinful liberty breeds disquiet and disturbs all. Where sin is, there will be a storm. The wind within the bowels of the earth makes the earthquake.

Would you be quiet and have peace within in troublous times ? Keep near unto God; beware of any thing that

may interpose betwixt you and your confidence. It is good for me, says the psalmist, to be near God; not only to draw near, but to keep near, to cleave to him and dwell in bim: so the word imports. o the sweet calm of such a soul amidst all storms ! Thus, once trusting and fixed, then no more fear: he is not afraid of evil tidings. Whatsoever sound is terrible in the ears of men, the noise of war, news of death, or even the sound of the trumpet in the last judgment, he hears all this undisquieted. Nothing is unexpected. Being once fixed on God, then the heart may put cases to itself, and suppose all things imaginable, the most terrible, and look for them; not troubled before trouble comes with dark and dismal apprehensions, but satistied in a quiet unmoved expectation of the hardest things. Whatsoever it is, though not thought on particularly before, yet the heart is not afraid of the news of it, because it is fixed, trusting in the Lord. Nothing can shake that foundation, nor dissolve that union; therefore no fear. Yea, this assurance stays the heart in all things, bow strange and unforeseen soever to it. All are foreseen to my God on whom I trust, yea, are fore-contrived and ordered by him. This is the impregnable fortress of a soul, All is at the disposal and command of my God; my Father rules all : what need I fear?

Every one trusts to somewhat. As for honor, and esteem, and popularity, they are airy vain things; but riches seem a more solid work and fence, yet they are but a tower in conceit, not really. The rich man's wealth is his strong city, and as a high wall in his own conceit; but the name of the Lord is a strong tower indeed. This is the thing that all seek, some fence and fixing ; bere it is. We call you not to vexation and turmoil, but from it; and, as St. Paul said, Whom ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. Ye blindly and fruitlessly seek after the show. The true aiming at this fixedness of mind will secure that, though they fall short, yet by the way they will light on very pretty things that have some virtue in them, as they that seek the philosopher's stone; but the believer hath the thing, the secret itself of tranquillity and joy, and this turns all into gold, their iron chains

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into a crown of gold; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.

This is the blessed and safe estate of believers. Who can think they have a sad heavy life? O it is the only ligbtsome, sweet, cheerful condition in the world. The rest of men are poor, rolling, unstayed things, every report shaking them, as the leaves of trees are shaken with the wind ; yea, lighter than so, as the chaff that the wind drives to and fro at its pleasure. Would men but reflect and look in upon their own hearts, it is a wonder what vain childish things the most would find there, glad and sorry at things as light as the toys of children, at which they laugh and cry in a breath. How easily is the heart puffed up with a thing or a word that pleaseth us, bladder-like, swelled with a little air, and it shrinks again, in discouragements and fear, upon the touch of a needle's point, wbich gives that air some vent.

What is the life of the greatest part but a continual tossing betwixt vain hopes and fears? All their days are spent in these. O how vain a thing is a man even in his best estate, while he is nothing but himself; while bis heart is not uvited and fixed on God, and he is disquieted in vain! How small a thing will do it? He needs no other than his own heart; it may prove disquietment enough to itself; his thoughts are bis tormentors.

I know, some men are, by a stronger understanding and by moral principles, somewhat raised above the vulgar, and speak big of a constancy of mind; but these are but flourisbes, an acted bravery. Somewhat there may be that will hold out in some trials, but it will fall far short of this fixedness of faith. Troubles may so multiply as to drive them at length from their posture, and may come on so thick, with such violent blows, as will smite them out of their artificial guard, disorder all their Seneca and Epictetus, and all their own calm thoughts and high resolves—the approach of death, though they make a good mien and set the best face on it, or if not, yet some kind of terror may seize on their spirits, which they are not able to shift off. But the soul trusting on God is prepared for all, not only for the calamities of war, pestilence, famine, poverty, or death, but when in

the saddest apprehensions of soul, beyond bope, believes against hope ; even in the darkest night, casts anchor in God, reposes on him when he sees no light; Isa. 1, 10. Yea, though he slay me, says Job, yet will I trust in him -not merely, though I die, but, though he slay me : when I see his hand lifted up to destroy me, yet from that same hand will I look for salvation.

My brethren, my desire is to stir up in your hearts an ambition after this blessed estate of the godly who fear the Lord, and trust in bim, and so fear no other thing. The common revolutions and changes of the world, and those which in these late times we ourselves have seen, and the likelihood of more and greater coming on, seem dreadful to weak minds. But let these persuade us the more to prize and seek this fixed unaffrighted station. There is no fixing but here.

O that you would be persuaded to break off from the vile ways of sin, which debase the soul and fill it full of terrors, and to disengage them from the vanities of this world, to take up in God, to live in him wholly, to cleave to and depend on him, to esteem nothing beside bim ! Excellent was the answer of that holy man to the emperor, on his first essaying him with large proffers of honor and riches, to draw bim from Christ. “Offer these things," says he,“ to children; I regard them not." Then, after he had tried to terrify him with threatening; “Threaten,” says he, “ your effeminate courtiers ; I fear none of these things."

Seek to have your hearts established on him by the faith of eternal life, and then it will be ashamed to distrust him in any other thing; yea, truly, you will not much regard, nor, be careful for other things how tbey be. It will be all one, the bester and the worse of this moment; the things of it, even the greatest, being both in themselves so little and worthless, and of so short continuance.

Well, choose you; but, all reckoned and examined, I had rather be the poorest believer than the greatest king on earth. How small a commotion, small in its beginning, may prove the overturning of the greatest kingdom! But the believer is heir to a kingdom that cannot be shaken. The mightiest and most victorious prince, wlio hath not only lost nothing, but hath been gaining new conquests all his days, is stopped by a small distemper in the middle of his course; he returns to his dust, and then his vast designs fall to nothing; In that very day his thoughts perish. But the believer, in that very day, is sent to the possession of his crown; that is his coronation-day; all his thoughts are accomplished. How can you affright him ? Bring him word, that bis estate is ruined—“ Yet my inheritance is safe,” says he. Your wife, or child, or dear friend, is dead—“ Yet my Father lives.” You yourself must die—“ Well then, I go home to my Father and to my inheritance.”

For the public troubles of the church, doubtless it is both a pious and a generous temper to be more deeply affected for these than for all our private ones; and to be alive to the common calamities of any people, but especially of God's own people, hath been the character of men near unto him. Observe the pathetical strains of the prophets' bewailing, when they foretel the desolation even of foreign kingdoms, much more when foretelling that of the Lord's chosen people; they are still mindful of Sion, and mournful for her distresses. See Jer. ix, 1, and the whole book of Lamentations. So the psalmist; If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, &c. Psal. cxxxvii, 5. Pious spirits are always public-spirited, as even brave heathens were for the commonwealth. Yet even in this, with much compassion, there is a calm in a believer's mind. How these agree, none can tell, but they who feel it. He finds amidst all hard news, yet still, a fixed heart, trusting, satisfied in this, that deliverance shall come in due time, Psal. cii, 13; and that in those judgments that are inficted, man shall be humbled and God exalted, Isa. ii, 11; V, 16; and that in all tumults, and changes, and subversions of states, still his throne is fixed, and with that the believer's heart likewise. So Psal. xxix, 10; The Lord sitteth upon the flood : yea, the Lord sitteth king for ever; or, sat in the flood, possibly referring to the general deluge; yet then God sat quiet, and still sitteth king for ever. He steered the ark, and still guides his church through all. So psalm xlvi, throughout that whole psalm. Div. No. VIII.


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