Saturday, June 27, 2009


Comic Art


Jack Kirby

Dave Cockrum

Jim Lee

Humberto Roberts

John Byrne

Simon Bianchi

Dave Cockrum

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Friday, June 26, 2009


How Many Ministry Professionals Does This Apply To?

Joel Peluse at CGO write on narcissism:
So Hollywood is narcissistic? Tell me something I don't know, right? Well, though we live here in Los Angeles, and we see our share of fantastically ridiculous behavior, I was recently surprised and grieved to learn more about the narcissism in this city and how it is effecting our culture at large.


The core shift in thinking about Hollywood and narcissism was precipitated by these two men a couple years ago. After researching celebrities they published something quite contrary to prevalent assumptions:

"Narcissism is not a byproduct of celebrity, but a primary motivating force that drives people to become celebrities." - Journal of Research in Personality in October 2006.

They explained that it is actually a particular type of brokenness rooted in self-loathing and self-hatred which drives them to pursue public acclaim.


Christians have been quick in the past to boycott and attack these deeply hurting people- sometimes forgetting that they are people. It hasn't helped Hollywood's perception of Christians, and has made it harder to share the gospel with them. Yet, that gospel is what their brokenness yearns for.

Actually. Truth be told. It's the same gospel my brokenness yearns for every day. To be fully known, and yet to be forgiven, and loved- not just by the faceless fans, or the public press, but by the God who died to make me whole again.
One is not permitted to say much, but I have one client that would allow me to come into contact with what he is discussing here and to affirm the point made. It is amazing what a little attention can do to these people.

But having said that, I could not help but want to turn this particular spotlight on the church. So many churches run on the celebrity model - especially mega-churches. And while I am sure the celebrity preachers believe they are in it for service, how many are driven, subconsciously by the need for attention. I know for fact that such was part of what drove me to my brief stint in professional ministry, and discovering such was part of what drove me out.

It is also true for many that seek volunteer jobs in the church. I bet if you think really hard, you can think of someone just like that in your church right now.

This is one of the many reasons there should be gatekeepers for ministry. We need to send people away and tell them they are not ready for ministry from time to time. We hesitate because narcissism tends to make them leave altogether when they are so frustrated, but they will, I think in the end learn.

But more importantly, the narcissistic motivation can deeply harm the ministry. The narcissistic tend, even though it is unintentional and subconscious, to put themselves in the place that God should occupy in the life of those they minister to. Thus when they screw up, it is easy for the flock to think God has screwed up. It's a pretty ugly cycle and I'm betting you have seen it.

This is a difficult line because I do not think the church is called to be psychologists, but we are called to bring healing and we are called to do good ministry. This stands in the way of that.

If you are in ministry I suggest a careful evaluation, followed by confession.

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Friday Humor

Reason #4,261 why I really like Bob Knight!

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Thursday, June 25, 2009


Deep Thoughts...

...but well worth taking the time to listen too. I want to pass on Justin Taylor's recommendation to listen to John Mark Reynolds on Faith and Science.

Everybody knows that is one of my favorite topics!

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Illuminated Scripture

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009


News Of The Day

There were a couple of "in the moment" news items that deserve mention here today. The first was this story out of Massachusettssetts on a church caught in a toxic land issue. (HT: Evangelical Ecologist) This is the first such story I have seen, and I am surprised. Such contaminated soils how I make my living and it is quite common and quite problematic. These cases can take decades. The simple question "Is it safe?" has no simple answer, at least not legally, and any answer takes a significant investment just to collect data.

Churches often lack the legal and technical sophistication to even know where to begin in a situation like this. If your church, or church property, is in such a bind, please drop me an email. I have anet work of Christian professionals and we would all be willing to do this as inexpensively as humanly possible to help a church.

The second story is the formal disunion of the EPiscopalian Church. A necessary but lamentable move. Which is why this follow on story bothered me.
The Rev. Rick Warren brought hundreds of former Episcopalians to their feet in applause Tuesday when he called their exodus from the denomination "a historic event" and said God was "calling you out" of the Episcopal Church.
Sometimes we are forced by circumstance to do things that should not happen. The disunion of a denomination is one of them. There is no cause for celebration here. Again, I do not argue the necessity, only the applause.

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MMI, a while back, linked to this:
The problem was that, like many leaders, I believed there was something seriously wrong with low-drive Christians. I tended to project my own passion and calling onto everyone else. Since I'd heard my call so clearly, I assumed anyone who didn't share the same vision and fervor must not be listening to what God had to say.

But then he brought two remarkable people into my life. They weren't remarkable for what they accomplished; they were remarkable for who they were.

Both were as godly in character as anyone I've ever met, but neither one had a leadership bone in them. When it came time to charge the hill, they opted to serve on the supply line. When I called on people to step out and do something daring, they smiled and politely demurred. And they weren't much for "spiritual disciplines" either. They couldn't point to a lot of kingdom accomplishments.

But when it came to obeying scripture their character, relationships, and integrity, they were two of the most Christlike people I'd ever met.

Frankly, I didn't know what to do with them. Their godliness messed with my head. It contradicted all my paradigms of spirituality. For the first time, I began to wonder if God could actually be pleased with simple folks who love him, love their family and friends, and then die without ever having done (or wanting to do) anything significant. To put it more bluntly, I began to wonder if there was room in the kingdom for mediocrity. Could someone be average and still please God?

I've come to the conclusion that the answer is yes — a resounding yes.

Now it's important to note that I am not talking about cold and lukewarm Christians who wave the banner of Christ but live as they please. I'm talking about wonderful people of integrity and obedience to God's Word who simply don't register much on the intensity or impact meter—and never will.
Now, I could argue this guy's vocabulary choices for a long time - "low drive" - give me a break. But I cannot argue with his basic sentiment. It is a rather interesting piece to read because despite the fact this guy is considered a Christian leader - it is from such a completely worldly view, hence the vocabulary choices.

You see, I do not think there is anything mediocre about people of good character and integrity that love their family and friends. God does not measure excellence that way.

Indeed Christ came to bring God's Kingdom, but how did He choose to do so, by teaching truth that sets us free (John 8:32) - by making us fishers of men (Matt 4:19) - by giving us an abundant life (John 10:10) - and so the list could go. Christ, the ultimate expression of God's desire for us came not to change the world, but to change us.

One of the beautiful things about a religiously free nation is how well it fits in with God's plans. Think about this vision for a minute. If enough people come to Jesus and become the kind of people discussed here, then in a democratic nation such as ours, does it not seem reasonable that our nation will begin to conform to the outlines of the kingdom God envisions for the world?

God tried working through the scope of history. He created His very own nation, and under David and Solomon it was a wonderful thing - but even that did not change the world - only a man making men could do that.

There is nothing mediocre about good Christian people just changing their lives - that are exactly how God intends to change the world, which makes them excellent indeed.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Get A Job!

If there is a single problem that faces the church today it is the idea that Christian maturity = Christian ministry. Somehow we have come to think that if we are really growing as Christians, we have to be proclaiming the gospel somehow. There are two problems at the root of this as I see it. The first is Evangelicalism's lack of depth. When all there is is evangelism, then that's all your gonna get. The other is most individual's desire for attention and the fact that "preaching" seems to be a pretty good way to attract attention to yourself.

That is why I really appreciated Justin Taylor's link to a Gene Veith post on vocation.
Luther called vocation a "mask of God." He said that God milks the cows by means of the milkmaid. We see a menial worker and may even be so presumptuous to look down upon her, but behind that humble façade looms God Himself, providing milk for His children.
Somehow the church has got to become big enough to recognize the valuable contribution of its milkmaids. Oh sure, we pay lip service to such ideas now, but it always seems to be in a smug, condensing way - "Glad your here, now please, go milk the cows quietly." Veith continues later:
Of course, we also sin in vocation -- insisting on being served rather than serving; loving ourselves rather than our neighbors; misusing the gifts and the calling God Himself has given us -- we come to Him on Sunday mornings in repentance, hearing God's Word, being built up in our faith. Whereupon God sends us back into our callings, with all of their trials and tribulations, for that faith to bear fruit in love, service, and sanctification.

One problem people often have with vocation -- that of others, as well as their own -- is that some vocations exercise authority. "There is no authority except from God," says the apostle Paul (Rom. 13:1). Strictly speaking, only God has authority in Himself. But as Romans 13 goes on to say, God exercises His authority through the agency of lawful government, punishing wrongdoers and rewarding those who do well, so as to make civil order possible.
Read that carefully - puts the shoe on the other foot if you think about it. Those whose role is authoritative have a special burden to humility, to making it plan and obvious that they operate not on their own, but of God. That is much easier for the milkmaid than it is for the pastor.

I think Jesus said something about the first being last?

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Kitty Kartoons

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Monday, June 22, 2009



It was an interesting juxtaposition. Dan Edelen wrote of his lack of comprehension of church planting:
But here, it seems to me what some church planters do is more akin to fostering envy. Their new church is hotter. Their new church is cooler. Their new church meets a felt need not addressed by the church across the street. So people in that community shuffle from church to church. Or the new church plant sucks completely dry some older church that wasn’t quite as hip. And the church planter gets a pat on the back for doing a fine job moving people from Them to Us.
And two days later,Al Mohler, commenting on a Fred Barnes column, writes in praise of church planting. Quoting Barnes:
There's a theory behind church planting. It rejects the idea of trying to fill up existing churches before building new ones. Old churches are often "closed clubs" that don't attract new residents or young people or "the lost," says the Rev. Johnny Kurcina, an assistant pastor of The Falls Church. Besides, population increase far exceeds church growth in America. This is especially true in cities.
Frankly, I saw everybody's point in all of this. Mohler and Barnes are reacting to what is an extremely common occurrence - an existing church culture that is off-putting to a large segment in the community and Edelen is reacting to the lack of spiritual depth produced by the media frenzy that is often associated with new church plants in well-churched areas.

There must be, of course, some middle road between these declared poles. I have some ideas. For one, it is natural that as people mature in a Christian community, some will feel a call to ministry. I some cases that call may be to a neighboring plant. And this makes sense, given that it is inevitable that any institution develops a culture that both feeds the institution and limits the pool of people that would be attracted to it.

The real need here is to make sure that good people are making good decisions, in prayer and supplication. I think there is little doubt that there is too much church planting going on - much of it motivated by the desire for self-ministerial-expression for the planter rather than the genuine needs of the community and guidance of the Holy Spirit. But that does not mean there is no role for ministry of this type. So what to do?

May I suggest building disciples? You see, if a church focuses its efforts in that direction - the other question, like the suitability of a plant and who to do it, will be obvious. People genuinely involved in being God's people should make good decisions. That is how discipleship is supposed to work. Good disciples will have a feel for when a community needs a new plant and when it needs to reinvigorate and existing one. Good disciples will seek ministry for good reasons, not mere ego gratification.

Jesus never laid out a blueprint for the church, He focused on making good disciples so they made good decisions in circumstances as they presented themselves.

Think about it.

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Sunday, June 21, 2009


Blessed Father's Day!

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Sermons and Lessons


The Pattern of Perfection
Exhibited in Gods Image on Adam: And Gods Covenant made with him.

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.

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