CHAP. III. How the Soul is brought to Walk with God, Discovered in Six Particulars.
FIrst, Every one by nature goes astray from God, in the 58. Psal. 3. it is said of all the wicked, that they are estranged from the wombe, they go astray as soon as they are born, speaking lies. That's one of the first things wherein wickedness ap∣pears in children, but 'tis from the very womb that they go astray, before they can speak: 'tis natural for the wic∣ked to go astray from God as soon as they have any being. The way wherein men naturally do walk, it is the way of death, it's the way of their own hearts, of their own coun∣sels, it's the common course of the world, it is the walk of the flesh. But now, the work of God in bringing the soul to walk with him, it is, First, To cause the soul to make a stop in the way that men naturally walk in; Those that the Lord hath left for a while in the way of nature, that walk in the way of death, the Lord is pleased to come to them by some mighty work of his to make a stop, by con∣sidering, where am I? what's my way; whither am I go∣ing? is the way that I am in like to the way that befeems an Immortal soul? Is the way like to end well that I am walking in? It causes the soul to make a stop in it, and be∣gin to think where it is, whither it is going, and so usu∣ally causes some fear, fearing it is in a way like to miscar∣ry, so that it dare not proceed further in that way that it hath been walking in all this while, though never so plea∣sant a way, though never so sutable to the flesh, the Lord forbid that I should go on in that way that I have walked in. There's a stop caused.
Secondly, The Lord manifests to the soul the way of life, what the way of life is. This stop of the soul is just like to that we Page 269 reade of Saul, that when he was posting on in the way of death, there did shine a light round about him, and caused him to stop so that he could go no further. But then (I say) the Lord manifests to the soul what the way of life is. In the 30. of Isa. 21. And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee saying, This is the way, walk ye in it. Oh! how many are there that can tell this by experience, that they have been walking in the waies of death, of eternal misery, and blest themselves in those waies? But there was a blessed time wherein God caused them to hear a voice as it were behind them saying, This is the way, walk-in it; you are out of the way, but here's the way of life, if you would not perish eternally, here's the way, walk in this way; It is a secret voice that the Lord causes to be heard in the soul, but yet a powerful voice: perhaps you have come to the Word, and have heard what the way of life is: but yet that never hath given a turn to your hearts: but when God would have the soul to come in to walk with him, he causes the soul (besides the outward voice of the Word) to hear a voice behind in secret, and yet powerfully, saying, Oh! this is the way; Oh thou poor soul that are wandring from the way of life, and art going on in the way of eternall death, Come in, come in, here's another way, This is the way, walk in it: And so the Lord gives a mighty turn to the soul by that secret voice.
Thirdly, The Lord makes peace between himself and a sin∣ner; He doth reveal the doctrine of Reconciliation. For a sinner at first when he comes to have his eyes enlightened, when he comes to know himself and to know God; Cer∣tainly God at first cannot but appear terrible to a sinner that hath walked in the waies of death formerly, and though I see my way to be dangerous, and I see another way to be good, Oh but God is terrible to me, and how can two walk together that are not at peace? In Amos 3. 3. Can two walk together except they be agreed? saith the text, Oh there is naturally an enmity between Man and God, every man in the world is naturally an enemy to God; and can Page 270 there be two walking together unless they be agreed? Oh! you that are going on in the waies of enmity with God, surely you are strangers to this way of walking with God, can you walk with God before you are agreed? no soul can have this testimony given of it, that he hath walked with God, but such a soul as is reconciled to him; God doth manifest that in some measure to the soul before it's a∣ble thus to walk with him, as here Enoch did, and certain∣ly Enoch came to walk with God by this, for the holy Ghost in the forenamed place of the 11. of the Heb. saith, It was by faith that he did it, and without faith it's impossi∣ble to please God, that's as much as, without faith it's impossible to walk with God. The holy Ghost means the same thing, when the Apostle saith, that he did walk by faith, and without faith it's impossible to please God, therefore there must be a work of faith to bring the soul to be reconcil'd, and that there may be an agreement between the soul and God before it can walk with him. That's the third thing.
Fourthly, Though there be peace made so that God doth not appear as an enemy against the soul, yet there may be some strangness after peace made. There was peace made between David and Absalom, David was passified towards him, yet he would not see his face for a while, he would have been gone from his presence, there should not be that converse with him in that familier way as a child with the father for a while: So though there be peace made, yet there's re∣quir'd a further work of God for the souls walking with him, that is, That God should render himself in loveliness, and fulness of mercy, and sweetness, and delightfulness unto the soul, that there may be a familiarity between the soul and God; It's one thing for me to know God is not as an enemy to me, that he doth not intend wrath and mi∣sery against me, and another thing for the soul to appre∣hend the sweet delightful countenance of God, and the im∣bracements in the arms of his mercy, and those condescen∣tions of God, that he is willing to come and deal with us Page 271 as a friend with his friend in a familiar way: Therefore that's a fourth work, the Lord is pleased to manifest him∣self to the soul in the sweetness of his love, and his delight; Not only thou art that soul that shalt not be damn'd, that shalt eternally be sav'd; but thou art the soul that my soul delights in, thou art one that I take as my friend, and that I love to deal with in all sweetness, and to bring into a fa∣miliarity with my self. This is that that is manifested to the soul for the bringing of it to this walking with God that here the holy Ghost speaks of concerning Enoch.
Fifthly, The Lord is pleased to send his holy Spirit to guide the soul To himself, and to guide it in walking With himself: In the 8. Rom. it's said, All that are the sons of God are led by the Spirit of God. As a father when he walks with the child he gives him his hand and leads along the child with him∣self: when any comes to be a child of God, God puts forth his hand and leads him, and so they walk together. As have you not seen somtimes a father and child walking in the garden, the father puts forth his finger and the child takes hold of it and so walks along with him: even so the Lord puts forth his Spirit into a gracious soul, and God and the soul thus walks together being led by the Spirit of God; in the 35. Isa. 8, 9. there you may see what the Lord speaks of the way of the redeemed ones. And an high way shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness, the unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for those; the way∣faring men though fools, shall not err therein: Though they be very weak and fools, yet they shall not err therein. And no Lyon shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon: it shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there, that's the priviledg of the redeemed ones. Now this way of walking up unto the Land of Ca∣naan from their captivity, it's typical, to typifie the walk of the soul with the Lord.
Sixthly, For the souls walking with God, there is this further done by God, Christ the Son of God he takes the soul and brings it unto God the Father, as the Spirit leads, so Jesus Christ.
Page 272 The Lord Jesus Christ he brings the soul unto the Father to render God and the soul familier together: In Ephes. 2. 18. Through him we have an acccess by one Spirit unto the Fa∣ther: We have an access through him, we have a manuducti∣on, He brings us unto the Father, we have access through Jesus Christ. As if a Prince should take a Traytor that is reconciled to his Father, having his pardon, and his Fa∣ther being passified towards him, the Prince comes & takes him by the hand, and saith, Come, I'le bring you unto my Father, and I will walk along with you unto my Father: So it is, None that ever hath been a sinner can walk with God, but Christ must walk together with him; Christ walks along with him, and so God is ever more rendred sweet, aimable, and lovely; why? Because Christ hath him by the hand (as I may so say) God the Father hath him in one hand, and Christ hath him by the other hand, and so the soul walks in this blessed walk, between the hands of God the Father and the Son; and the holy Ghost leads and guides him too.