What a blessed Thing it is to come well out of the pain of a trou∣bled Conscience.
FIrst, That it is a most blessed and happy thing to come out of a troubled con∣science, in a goood, safe, and soul-establishing way. For this womb of con∣science, when in pain and travail, is apt to make many miscarriages, yea sometimes it is so farre from having any joy, that a man-child is born (I mean the true fruit of holiness produced) that there is a monster brought forth in the stead thereof. Doth not experience and Scripture confirme this, that many have come out of their troubles of conscience, with more obstinacy and willfullness to sinne again? That as the wind blowing upon coales of fire, which might seem to extinguish the fire, doth indeed encrease it: Thus these pangs, these gripes of conscience which sometimes they have felt, that made godly friends say, Now there is hope, blessed be God, that maketh them feel the burden of sinne: These hopefull workings (I say) do at last end in a sensless stupidity; Pharaoh for a while, and so also Belshazzar and Felix trembled; Conscience in these did give some sharp stings, but (alas) it came to no good use, so rare a thing is it, to come in a gracious manner out of these waves and stormes upon thy soul: Experience also doth give in full testimony to this; How many do we see that for some time, yea (it may be) yeares have had as it were an hell within them? They have eat their bread, and drunk their drink with trembling and astonishment; They have been even distracted with the terrors of the Lord; but if you observe the later end of such, they have at last grown secure and stupid, as if the Spirit of God had never visited them in such a dreadfull manner: So that we may say to many, What is become of those troubles thou didst once groan under? Where are those feares, those cries, those agonies, thou hadst then? Where are those zealous and fervent workings of heart which did so burn within thee once? Alas, after these meltings and thawings a greater frost and cold hath come upon them; That as sometimes frequent and constant aguish fits do at last end in a consumption: Thus frequent troubles of conscience upon some fits and seasons, do sometimes end in a plain dedolency and stupidity of conscience, never to be troubled more. God hath left thee to be like an A∣daman• and stone, so that though thou sinnest never so grosly, yet now thy conscience is seared, and thou canst be bold and rejoycing in the midst of thy impieties. Thus you see it's a great consequence for any one labouring under the troubles of conscience, diligently to consider, how he cometh out of them, for now is the time of saving or damning of thee, now is the time thou art in the fire, either to be purged and refined, or to be consumed: Oh pray, and get all thy godly friends to pray, that these troubles may be sanctifie, that they may be blessed to make a through change upon thee! Better never have had such a wounded conscience, such a troubled heart, and then to re∣turne to thy vomit again; for every sinne committed by thee after these trou∣bles Page 243 hath an high and bloudy aggravation; Thou knowest how bitter sinne is; Thou hast tasted what gall and wormewood is in it; Thou hast been in the very jawes of hell, hast had some experience of what even the damned feel, and wilt thou go to such sinnes again? wilt thou put these Adders into thy breast again, that have almost stung thee even to despair? Therefore set a Selah, an accent (as it were) upon this particular, thou who hast been a troubled sinner, and see how thou comest to be freed from this spiritual pain.