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wise,” &c. Why not many wise called ? Those that are wise consider the things of God in a mere rational way, and therefore not many wise are called. It hinders them from the work of believing. Luther says well—“If you would believe, you must crucify that question—why ?” God would not have us so full of wherefores. And if you would believe, you must go blindfold into God's command. Abraham subscribes to a blank when the Lord calls him out of his own country.
Besides, you know the great field that faith hath to work in —the large and vast orb and sphere that it hath to move in.
Faith can go into the Old Testament and run as high as Adam, and come back again to the soul, and tell the soul, I have seen a man whom God hath pardoned, that damned all the world, and why may He not pardon thee ? Faith can run up to heaven, and come home again to the soul, and say, I have seen the glory there; be of good comfort, there is enough in heaven to pay for all. Faith can run unto God's all-sufficiency, to God's omnipotency, and having viewed that well, it returns to the soul home again, and says, Be quiet ; there is enough in God alone. And Faith having seated itself upon the high tower and mountain-God's omnipotency and all-sufficiency—it hath a great prospect. It can look over all the world, and look into another world too. But now Reason-it gets upon some little mole-hill of creature-ability, and if it can see over two or three hedges, it is well. And therefore, oh, what a pain it is to Faith to be tied to Reason. I suppose you will all say that if a man were able to go a journey of two or three hundred miles afoot, he were a very good footman ; yet if
you will tie him to carry a child of four or five years old with him, you will say, it would be a great luggage to him; and the man would say, Pray let this child be left at home; for though he may run along in my hand half-a-mile, or go a mile with me, yet notwithstanding I must carry him the rest of the way; and when I come at any great water, or have to
THE ENCUMBERED TRAVELLER.
go over any hill, I must take him upon my back, and that will be a great burden to me.” And thus it is between Faith and Reason. Reason at the best is but a child to Faith. Faith can foot it over mountains and difficulties, and wade through afflictions, though they be very wide ; but when Reason comes to any affliction, to wade through that, and to go over some great difficulties, then it cries out, and says, " Oh ! Faith, good Faith, go back again ; good Faith, go back again !” “No," says Faith, “but I will take thee upon my back, Reason.” And so Faith is fain to do indeed-to take Reason upon its back. But oh, what a luggage is Reason to Faith! Faith never works better than when it works most alone. The mere rational considering of the means, and the deadness thereof, is a great and special enemy to the work of believing.
Doubting. Ask thy soul these questions :—First, Whether there be any gain by doubting? Faith purifies the heart ; but doth doubting purify the heart ? Secondly, Whether there is anything more pleasing to God than to trust Him in and by Jesus Christ, when all comforts are out of view, and when you see nothing but what is contrary to the thing promised ? Thirdly, Whether you must not venture upon Christ at the last ? and if you must venture upon Christ at the last, why not now? When a man hath to go over a river, though he ride once and again into the water, and come out, saying, I fear it is too deep for me; yet, considering that there is no other way for him, he resolves to venture, for, saith he, the longer I stay, the higher the waters will rise, and there is no other way for me-I must go through at the last, why not at the first ? and so he ventures through. Thus it is with you. You say, “Oh, but my heart is not humbled; oh, but I am a great sinner; and should I venture upon Jesus Christ ?" Will this heart be more humbled by keeping from Jesus Christ, and wilt thou be less a sinner by keeping from Him? No, certainly; for the longer you stay from Christ, the harder it will be to venture on Him at the last. Wherefore, if there be ever a poor, drooping, doubting, fearing, trembling heart in all this congregation, know that I do here, in the name of the Lord, call out to you and say, O soul, man or woman, venture, venture, venture upon Christ now; for you must come to the venturing work at the last; and if at last, why not now?
Few of the Nonconformists have acquired and retained the popularity of the ejected incumbent of St Margaret's, Fish Street Hill. For this he may have been, in some measure, indebted to the ingenious and “ taking" titles of his books“A Golden Key to Open Hidden Treasures ;” “A Box of Precious Ointment;" “ An Ark for God's Noahs;” “ Apples of Gold in Pictures of Silver,” &c. But, although a quaint title
may catch a few readers at first, it needs something more to keep hold of the public throughout all the changes which England has witnessed under these last ten sovereigns, and to command frequent reprints two centuries after the first publication ; like Brooks's works, some of which have now passed through fifty or sixty editions. For one thing, they are full of wisdom pithily expressed. Many of his sentences are proverbs newly coined, shrewd, humorous, and Saxon; and they are provided with that alliterative jingle which, like a sheep-bell, keeps a good saying from being lost in the wilderness. Then there is an obvious anxiety to make the matter plain and interesting. Because the preacher was wise, he sought out acceptable words; and betwixt his plainness of speech, and his entertaining anecdotes, there is no danger of a drowsy or bewildered auditory. Above all, his heart is kind, and his looks are sunny. Even when he reproyes, there is no indulgence of a morose and
splenetic humour; and, like the visits of a bright and hopeful physician, his "cheerful countenance doeth good like a medicine." Perhaps we who are ministers do not sufficiently study that évvola which Aristotle holds to be so essential to the successful orator. There is so much error to be refuted, and so much evil to be rebuked, that it is apt to furrow our brows and roughen our voices, even if it should not embitter our spirits; till the angelic anthem itself is repeated in a denouncing tone, and children think that the parson is scolding when he is only preaching the gospel. In Brooks, and Flavel, and Alleine, there is no want of seriousness and faithfulness; but even in their most solemn appeals there is a benevolence which cannot be hid. In the two latter, the loving heart comes out in warm representations of the Saviour's grace, and in tender entreaties to commence the life of practical Christianity, enforced by the alluring sight of their own undissembled happiness. In Brooks there may not be expressed the same yearning desirousness, but every page is a-glow with a friendly warmth, and its little sparkles of pleasantry are welcome as the playful tokens of a kindly nature. Even a topic so unpromising as “Murmuring" will hardly, we think, belie this eulogy.
Twelve Arguments against Murmuring.
As a motive to silence under your greatest trials, consider the heinous and dangerous nature of murmuring.
1. Consider, That murmuring speaks out many a root of bitterness to be strong in thy soul; murmuring speaks out sin in its power, corruption upon its throne. As holy silence argues true grace, much grace-yea, grace in its strength, and in its lively vigour---So murmuring, muttering under the hand of God, argues much sin, yea, a heart full of sin—speaks out a heart full of self-love (Ex. xv. 24, xvi. 7, 8), and full of slavish fears (Num. xiii. 32, 33, xiv. 1-3), and full of ignorance (John vi. 41, 42, 61), and full of pride and unbelief (Ps. cvi. 24, 25).
Yea, they despised the pleasant land, or the land of desire" (there is their pride); "they believed not in His word” (there is their unbelief); what follows? “They murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of God;" they were sick of the sullens, and preferred Egypt before Canaan, a wilderness before a paradise. As in the first chaos there were the seeds of all creatures, so in the murmurer's heart there are not only the seeds of all sin, but a lively operation of all sin. Sin is become mighty in the hearts of murmurers, and none but an almighty God can root it out; those roots of bitterness have so spread and strengthened themselves in the hearts of murmurers, that everlasting strength must put in, or they will be undone for ever.
2. The Holy Ghost hath set a brand of infamy upon murmurers; he hath stigmatised them for ungodly persons (Jude 15, 16). “To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches, which ungodly sinners have spoken against him." But who are these ungodly sinners ? “ They are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts," &c. When Christ comes to execute judgment upon ungodly ones, murmurers shall be set in the front; they shall experience the firstness of His wrath, and the fierceness of His wrath, and the greatness of His wrath. If you can joy in that black character of ungodly sinners, be murmurers still; if not, cease from murmuring. Where murmuring is in its reign, in its dominion, there you may speak and write that person ungodly. Let murmurers make what profession they will of godliness, yet if murmuring keeps the throne in their hearts, Christ will deal with them at last as ungodly sinners. A man may be denominated ungodly, as well from his murmuring; if he lives under the dominion of