Sunday, June 21, 2009
Sermons and Lessons
Remember from whence thou art fallen, and repent!, and do the first works, or else I will come unto thee quich4y, and will remove thy Candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. Rev 2:5.
Of Gods’ Image in the Affections
Now we proceed to the image of God in the affections of Adam, as love, joy, delight, sorrow, fear, which are seated in the sensitive soul; for all sensitive creatures have them. The poor creature fears the whip; and the creature again, sports and delights itself. Now these Adam had, and in these was the image of God.
QUES. What was the image of God in the affections of Adam?
ANSW. It appeared in that serviceable subjection, sweet agreement, and submission which they did yield unto holy will, and right reason. The Understanding directed what should be done, the Will embraced that, and the Affections yielded serviceably to the command of Reason and Holiness. Herein appeared the difference between these affections in Adam, and in other creatures. The creature is carried by the rule of appetite; the horse rusheth into the battle, the wild ass snuffeth up the wind. The Psalmist saith, Be not like the horse and mule, which have no understanding. Ps. 32. Here was the excellency of Adam, that wisdom that God had imprinted in his understanding, that holinesses that he had implanted in his will, commanded his affections, and they did sweetly yield thereto. Adams soul was like a well-tuned instrument, all the strings (the affections) being rightly tuned, make a sweet harmony. In a well governed commonwealth, the Council directs, the King enacts laws, and the subjects obey: so there was wisdom in Adams understanding, and that counseled; there was holiness in the will, and that commanded; and all the affections were like loyal subjects, embracing what reason and holy will commanded. In this common-wealth there were no traitors; no, in Adams heart there were no tumultuous disorders, as now we find; but what the reason said, and the will choosed, that the affections embraced.
QUEST. Wherein doth this subjection discover itself? How shall we see Adams affections submitting to reason?
ANSW. In four particulars.
1. The affections of Adam were willing to entertain every command which wisdom and holiness gave. The affections are but so many servants that attend on the understanding. I Peter 5:9 Be sober and watch. There is a sobriety required in the soul; namely, a man should not lavish out his affections on other things, and so unfit himself to be under the subjection of the Truth. This sobriety was abundant in Adam; he had a sweet easiness and softness of affection, like wax, to take the print of Gods Seal: whereas it is with our affections as with drunken servants, who, when their Masters call them, are not themselves: for there is a drunkenness in mans heart, when it is inordinately carried with too eager a pursuit after vain things; & though reason commands, yet it obeyeth not. Adams affections were in a sweet frame: for if God revealed any command, love embraced it. Eph. 6:15. Having your feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace. The feet are the affections; the shooing of the feet, is the preparing of the affections to entertain all the conditions of the Gospel of peace. A man that is shod, is fit to go a journey: so when the affections are thus shod, they are fit to walk in any way that God requires. Since Adam lost this sobriety of affections, what awkwardness do we find to duty! when a man should love an enemy, how hardly is he brought to it! when a man ought to reform a sin, what a difficulty is there in it!
2. They were speedy in the performance of what was enjoined them. A wise understanding could no sooner reveal a duty to be done, but they echoed answerably, This all of us would have Ps. 40 mark how speedy Christ was in performing of duty: Behold I come, thy law is within mine heart, And Ps. 27:8 The Lord saith, seek ye my face: and his affections answered, Thy face (Lord) will I seek. Also in Ps. 119:4,5 Gods voice saith, I charge you diligently, keep my Commandments: and they echo again, Oh that our ways were made so direct, that we might keep thy Statutes! I Pet. 1:13 Gird up the loins of your mind. And in Luke 12:35 it is said, Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning. The loins of our minds are our affections. They are compared to loose garments, such as they wore in the East Countries, which they girded up, when they went on a journey. Our affections hang like loose garments about us, we must gird them up, that we may with more speed go in the paths of Gods Statutes. Thus David prayeth: Set mine heart at liberty, that I may run the ways of thy commandments. But we find the contrary: for though many times the mind so yields, that the course is holy, yet what a base weariness hangs on the heart! what slow hearts have we! how do we draw our loins after us! We feel this; and the ground of it is the want of Gods image.
3. They continued in the speed they made. Adams affections were to hold themselves in an holy bent, without warping. We find the contrary. In Gal. 6 the Apostle saith, Be not weary in well doing. Sometimes a man is hot at first, and then his affections cool; this is the bane of Religion. He was holy; so they may say of a man-devil, an Angel of light. But Adam was able to hold himself in a right pitch. This David prayed for, Ps. 51:12. when he had wounded his affections, Oh stablish me with thy free spirit! as if he should say: Time was, when I did love thy Word, mine heart did fear evil, and I did hate uncleanness; but now, how unsteadfast are my affections! therefore stablish me with thy free spirit. If you find your hearts giving way to any base lusts, you shall find them easily giving back from holy duties. Rev. 2:31 Thou hast forsaken thy first love: 0 woe to that declining condition; that those who heretofore expressed forwardness in a good course, and could cry fur mercy as fur life, are now key-cold: But Adams affections were able to keep themselves in full strength: and so did the Saints of God. Num 14:24 Caleb followed God fully. Ps. 63:9 My soul follows hard after thee. He pursued God with eagerness, as the creature the prey. David stands not still, nor delays, but pursueth; and as the phrase is, (Esa. 51:1) follows after righteousness. Thou that hast a stubborn heart by nature, if thou beat once righteous, thou wilt then follow after meekness.
4. His affections were in an orderly tractableness to the rule of reason and holiness. Reason and holiness gave not only direction to the affections, but moderation in all things, and upon all occasions. The affections would not be carried out of order nor measure upon any thing, nor stay longer then they should upon any object. An Ambassador goes no farther then his Commission, stays no longer then his Commission gives leave: so reason and holiness were the commanders of Adams affections; they received a command therefrom, and went no further then reason and holiness allowed them. It is lawful fur a man to love the world; but no more then reason and holinesses allows: if God should say, I will take away these things from thee, love and joy should willingly part with them. The soldier, if he be loyal, when the Commander biddeth battle, he goes; when he soundeth a retreat, he returns home again: so the reason and will sanctified, were the commanders of Adams course. When reason and holiness saith it, a man may delight in the things of this life; but when they say, grieve no more for the loss of them, the affections should yield to the command of reason. It is quite contrary in us; a mans affections, though they are set upon a lawful object, yet they go so amaine like unruly colts, that they cast the rider delight and desire outbid reason, and sometimes transgress the bounds of honesty most commonly of holiness. It is marvelous hard to have our affections at command. Lot goes into Sodom, and God could not get him out again, but that the Angel was fame to carry him out by force: so when a man gets into Sodom, lets loose his affections on shop, or children, or the like, oh what an hard matter is it to say, No more of that! But Adams affections were so ordered, that if reason should say, Love that now, and then leave it; he would love it now, and leave it then. Phil. 4:12. I know how to abound, and how to be poor; his meaning is, if God would bestow these things, he had an heart to love them; if he would take them away, he was content to leave them. Job 1:21. The Lord hath given, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the name of the Lord; whereas we sit Rachel-like, disquieted, because our comforts are not.
USE 1. The first Use is of examination. A man may here plainly perceive what measure of grace he hath, and whether he hath any or no: See what tractableness there is in thy affections, to grace thou submit unto the authority of holiness. So much boisterousness as thou findest against the evidence of reason, and frame of holiness; so much corruption there is in thy heart. I speak this the rather, to take off the conceit of many, who use to commend a man in this manner; He is an holy man, but that he hath one fault, he is as dogged as may be: it is but a poor commendation. So much boyling as is in thine heart, so much want of grace is there. He is a good Christian (they will say) but wonderful outrageous: surely then there is but little good in him. The servant is stubborn against his Master, the master again is quarrelsome for every word: if there be grace in these, it is well; yet there is a great deal of the want of Gods image upon such a soul: I Cor 3:3 When there are strifes and envyings amongst you, are ye not carnal? When the heart is boisterous and full of envy, is it not carnal? There is a great deal of rubbish in thy heart, which grace, if it were there, would remove. The Philosopher observes, that all storms are here below in these baser bodies, there is none of them in the highest heavens: so, hadst thou an heavenly heart, all thunderings and lightenings, all cross, dogged, and malicious distempers would bee gone, there would bee no news of them. The fruits of the Spirit are love, meekness, &c. But when men run abreast, the Master his way, and the Servant his way, where are the fruits of the Spirit? Are ye not carnal?
QUEST. But may not a man by education or misery be tempered, and cooled from these things?
ANSW. Yes, he may have the ruggedness of his affections smoothed, and the edge of furiousness blunted. But though a man may have these somewhat abated, and want grace, vet if a man have these, it is somewhat suspicious, whether he have grace. There may bee a root, and vet no blossoms, and yet it is certain, where there are blossoms there is a root. If a man express envy in his life, there is sure a treasure of it in his heart. If there be so much filth in the streams, there is more in the fountain: if there be good in thee, there is but a little.
Here we may also see, whether wee have any truth of grace: judge of it by the works. No fire but will burn: fire will heat the whole house; so grace will frame the whole sonic. Art thou able to tame those jarring affections, and to stifle them? Art thou able, when they would transport thee, to allay them, and bring thy soul to a calm frame? Then it is a sign thou hast grace. God is the God of order, not only in the Church, but in the house, and everywhere. If thou canst master those boisterous affections, that they may be subject unto wisdom and holiness, then it is certain, there is some grace in thee.
QUEST. But are not the best men troubled with passions and distempers?
ANSW. There are such in the best upon whom the Lord hath been pleased to look graciously: but they are in a far different manner in them, then in the wicked. Their spots are different: Deut. 32:5 Their spot is not like the spot of my children: as who should say, the Saints have their spots, and the wicked have their spots; but they are not the same. The spots of the purples are dangerous, but the spots of the plague are deadly. The wicked have the spots of the plague; the Lord have mercy on them, they are but dead men. Though a Common-wealth bee subject to conspiracies, yet a wise King can discover them; but when there is no King, (as in Israel) every man doth what he list: so in the heart of an ungodly man, corruptions do what they list, they make him as proud, and as covetous as they list. The Saints have many mutinies in their hearts, vet they have a wise King, a gracious will that quells these, and submits to God, and the power of his grace.
The difference between the distempers of the Saints and the wicked, appears in three particulars.
1. The Saints make those distempers and unruly affections which lie upon them, their greatest burden; it is their heart-smart, though other sins are greater: and the reason is, because they break the union between God and the soul, and they breed a distance between Gods good Spirit and it. II Cor. 12:7 God suffered Satan to buffet St Paul, which was some distemper, and provocation to sin; now this made him groan and sigh to the Lord, yea, it brought him on his knees thrice. As it is with an enemy, if his use be to come suddenly upon a Town, a wise Captain will gather his forces together to hinder his designs: So must the Saint because their corruptions surprise them suddenly. These make them cry out, This will be my bane; the least sin will damn me as well as the greatest; I shall perish one day by the hand of Saul, &c whereas a carnal man maketh nothing of these, but bares all with a Pish, is not such a great matter as some make it: I confess I am passionate and cholerick but I would I had no worse to answer for, and the like. Oh, how doth this argue a graceless heart, that can thus digest graceless courses. A toad will feed upon poison; but if a man take two or three drops, it will kill him: it is a sign thou hat a toadish nature, that canst digest these lusts. Gen. 15 ult. Esau went away carelessly, when he saw that he lost his birthright. I confess, it is possible for a carnal heart to grieve for these distempers, but it is either when a man hath monstrously befouled himself, or when conscience flies in his face; What, you go to heaven? Therefore a man on these terms may crouch, not because of sin, but of disgrace, or the sting of conscience, that lies in his bosom.
2. The Saints, when they are thus, it is but a pang, they come to their cold temper again; and they then will welcomely entertain the word, and desire that it would discover their sin. A gracious heart cares not what the man be that discovers his sin, whether he be friend or enemy, whether a good man or a bad man. He looks not at the man, but at the goodness of the command. I Sam. 1:17. Eli, when he had been indulgent, and the Lord threatened him for it, he saith to Samuel; Hide nothing from me. Jonah being in a sullen fit, forsakes Gods command; but this is but in a push; in cold blood he is otherwise. David, that had the heart of a Lion, he would not leave a man alive in Nabals house; yet Abigail, a woman, makes him say, Blessed be thou, & thy counsel: here was a gracious heart, that could submit to the counsel of so mean a person. But a wicked man cannot abide to have his corruption crossed: they are so incorporated into it, that they cannot live without it: This was it that made the young man go away sorrowful. They murmur against their instructors, as the Hebrew said to Moses, Exod. 2:14 What, wilt thou slay me, as thou didst the Egyptian yesterday? Let every cup stand upon his own bottom; what have you to do with me? &c. A wicked man may bite the lip for the present, and say, I thank you for your counsel; yet he will go away, and fit you an evil turn. But the godly come, and acknowledge plainly, These passages and grace cannot stand together, and therefore they will submit to the truth with all their heart. A wicked man will use all means to undermine the truth, and misconstrue it; and if any man will join side with him, he will fly out desperately: but if he cannot avoid it, he will (like the dog) bite the stone; if he cannot have his will of the man, he will owe him a grudge. The Saints will say, The Word of the Lord is good, strike here at this sin, smite home.
3. The Saints are not only careful to have their sins outwardly mortified, but their lives reformed; they do not complain of this and that, and yet maintain it: no, he that is burdened with sin, will part with it. Luke 2:8. When Christ came, crooked things were made straight: not only mountains were brought low, but rough things were made smooth: So in the Saints of God, there is not only a new tongue, to talk of religion; but a new heart, and new affections. It is possible for a godly man by the power of temptation to be led aside, yet you shall always find him on the mending hand, and so in conclusion forsakes sin. I do not say, he will bee now and then drunk, and the like; (for we doe not read of those, that after they accustom themselves to gross sins, do ordinarily rise again;) but I speak of some boisterous distemper which breaks out, yet I say, he will bee of the mending hand. As a man in an Ague, when nature grows strong, his Ague will leave him: so if a man be overtaken with these, if grace grow strong, he will leave them, else he errs from the nature of true repentance. You know what God calls for, when he requires repentance, Is. 1:24. Cease to do evil, learn to do well. Jer. 26:3. Is. 55:7. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the imaginations of his heart. This is repentance; this the Saints have done, as holy Job speaks, chap. 34:32. If I have done iniquity, I will do so no more. Ps. 18:23 I have kept my self from mine iniquity. Gal. 5:24. They that are in Christ have crucified the flesh with the lusts thereof the flesh is sin, the lusts thereof are the violent distempers thereof he that hates sin, kills these. Can any man kill the root, and the blossom flourish? so, can the root of sin be killed, and the fruit thrive? It cannot be. Again, morality can make a man somewhat qualified, and cannot grace much more? shall a Heathen bridle himself, and not a gracious man? That cannot be. But a wicked man gives way to, and continues in his course without any amendment, and that’s the reason why they fall to day, and fall to morrow, and continue in it. Jer. 8:6. He takes fast hold of iniquity, and rusheth into it, as the horse rusheth into the battle: for a man customarily, usually to be transported with these boisterous distempers, this is the spot of the wicked; no righteous man can always be thus: for he hath not that depth of wickedness in him; yet upon some occasion he may and doth fall into sin. You see how the godly are, and how the wicked behave themselves. The wife rails, and the husband, out of a kind of sottish Nabalness, if any thing fall cross, makes the wife and child pay for it. This is ordinary, these are the plague sores of our towns; also the servant, if be be admonished, then he flies out, and warning must be given presently to be gone. These are the spots of profession nowadays.
USE 2. It is a word of instruction, That a gracious heart brings most quiet to a mans life: that takes away the greatest troubles: that is most peaceable. Nothing can trouble a gracious heart, life. unless he trouble himself. It is not the blowing of the wind that shakes the earth; but the wind is got into some hollow of the earth, and the shaking comes from within: so, when there is envy & malice within, these breed hatred without, and these shake our holds: whereas, were these removed, were a man quiet at home, he should never be troubled from without. It is not a mans condition, but his corruption that breeds discontent; therefore St. Paul saith, I can abound, and be poor; be had quiet within him. Look, as it was with our Savior, Matt. 8. when the winds arose, he commands them to cease; so it is in the Lords power to rule these distempers: nothing under heaven can quiet a man thus enraged, but grace. Go to God to take away thy unruliness. Grace makes a man on Gods side, and therefore there can bee no dissention: if God takes away an thing, the good son is content; if he will have anything, the soul yields it, and so here is no trouble.