The Mutability and Inconstancy of the Will.
FOurthly, The mutability and inconstancy of the will about what is holy, is a great part of the original desolation upon it. It is true, Adam's will was mutable at the first Creation, though he had full power and perfection to stand, yet because his will was changeable, therefore he fell from his holy estate, and no wonder that Adam's will was mutable, for the will of the Angels so great∣ly transcending man in glory, was also vertible and changeable, so that to have the will confirmed in what is good, that it cannot fall into the contrary condition, is a blessed and gracious priviledge vouchsafed by God alone; Therefore there Page 301 are no men, though never so much sanctified, but their wils would make them fall off from God, did not God outwardly support him. This natural mutability is in the will, because it's the will of a creature, onely the will of God is immuta∣ble and unchangeable, and this is onely a negative imperfection, it is not a sinne, but the inconstancy and changeablenesse that I now mention is a sinfull and cor∣rupt one. This mutability of the will and instability, discovers it self in these par∣ticulars,
1. In some great fears or judgements of God upon a man, then though he hath no more but nature, yet his will doth sometimes seem to yeeld, and to melt before God. Thus Pharaob's will, Ahab's will, did abate of their contumacy while the heavy rod of God was upon them, but how quickly did they lick up their vomit again? When the iron was taken out of the fire, it grew as cold as ever; And is not this inconstant will the ruine of many? Oh that thou hadst such a will alwayes, as thou hadst in such straits, in such extremities, then how happy wouldst thou be!
2. This inconstancy of thy will appeareth to thy undoing, When in some Or∣dinance the Word preached, the Sacrament administred or reproof applied to thee, then thou beginnest to yeeld, then thou sayest, I will do it, I will be so no more, I will become new, but these April showrs hold for a season, the winter will come when all will be frost and snow. Mat. 21. 29. One of those sons, who said to his father, I go, sir, seeming to be very willing; (whereas on the other side, I will not,) did quickly falsifie his Word; So that he who refused at first, proved better then he that seemed so forward, and thus truly it falleth out sometimes, that the later end is farre better of some, who for a long while say, they will not, that are stubborn and rebellious, but God afterwards maketh them to will, then of such who give many fair promises, now they will, and then they will, in such sickness they will, in such a powerfull motion they will, but afterwards they will not.
3. The sinfull inconstancy of the will about holy things, is, When after a rea∣dy and willing profession of Christ, in times of temptation and great extremities then they fall off, and their fall is great. This is because the will was not resolved and fixed, that whatsoever should fall out, yet they would not treacherously depart from God, Act. 11. 23. Barnabas exhorted the Disciples, That with purpose of heart they should cleave to God, otherwise if the will be not stedfast and resolved, every temptation is able to drive it back.
Lastly, The lazy, sluggish and half-desires of the will about good things, mani∣fest the inconstancy of it. Jam. 1. A double-minded man, (and so a double-willed man) is inconstant in all his wayes; when the will is divided between the creature and the Creator; or when like the sluggard, he desireth meat, but will not put forth his hand out of his bosom, he willeth and willeth, but never doth effectu∣ally set himself upon working: This man is like a reed that is tossed up and down with every wind. Many more sinfull affections might be named, for they are like the motes in the air, or the sand upon the sea shore; But let this suffice, because more will then be discovered, when we speak of the slavery of it to evil, having no freedom to will what is good. Only let this Truth be like a coal of fire fallen upon thy heart, let it kindle a divine flame in thy breast, consider this corrupt will is the root of all evil; If thy will were changed, if thy will were turned to God, this would bring the whole man with it: Oh pray to God, to master thy will, to conquer thy will? Say, O Lord, though it be too hard for me, yet it is not for thee; Remember hell will be the breaking of thy corrupt will; Thou that wouldst not do Gods will here, shall not have thy will in any thing when in hell.