The Tenth Evidence, Opened in five Particulars.
See but how the Scripture describes the walk of the Saints with God; there are some four or five particulars that I shal infist upon, wherein I shal open some Scriptures, describing the Saints walk with God.
As first, Their walk it is a walk of Humility, a way very humble. The heart that walks with God must needs be very humble in the presence of God; you know the place in the 6. of Micah, He hath shewn thee, O man, what he would have thee to do, To walk humbly with thy God: that's more than the offering of thousands of Lambs, or ten thousand Rivers of Oyl, To walk humbly with thy God: A proud man or woman never knows what it is to walk with God. But the walking with God causes much humility, there's no such thing in the world to humble the heart of a man as to have converse with God, do you see a man proud and haughty, and high in his carriage, surely you may con∣clude this man hath little converse with God: saith Job, I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now have mine eyes seen thee: what then? I abhor my self in dust and ashes.
Secondly, Another thing that the Scripture speaks of the walk of a Christian with God, it is, Ʋprightness; Walk be∣fore me, and he upright. I might give you twenty Scriptures for that, how uprightness is the walk of a Christian with God: I'le give you only one about this, and that is in the 3 Epist. of John, 3. verse, there it is exprest in the new Te∣stament, by walking in the truth: and so sometimes in the Old, the walking in Ʋprightness, and walking in the Truth, is somewhat the same: I rejoyced greatly (saith the Apostle) Page 317when the Brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, e∣ven as thou walkest in the truth: So that this surely hath refe∣rence unto walking according to the truth of the Gospel in the truth and sincerity of our hearts: They testified of the truth that is in thee: That is, The Word of the Gospel that did prevail in thy heart, and prevailing in thy heart thou didst walk-in the strength and power of that Truth, and accor∣ding to the truth; here's a walking with God. And no marvel though the soul of this man was in so good a con∣dition as indeed it was; for you find in the 2. verse of this Epistle a very strange expression of John concerning this Gaius: what doth he say of him? I wish (saith he) above al things, that then mayest prosper and be in health even as thy soul prospereth. It seems this Gaius had but a poor, weak, sickly body: but a very good soul he was; and saith John, I wish that thou mayest prosper even as thy soul prospereth. Oh! that thou hadst but as good a body as a soul! It's a very strange speech. It were a curse to many of you I am afraid. But John could say concerning Gaius, Oh that this man Gaius had as good a body as he hath a soul! And how came he to have his soul to prosper? He walked in the truth, and according to the truth; and al that he did was in the truth and sincerity of his heart, hence his soul came to prosper: and those that have but very weak parts, yet if they walk in the truth, their souls will prosper.
The Third thing is, Walking in the fear of God. And indeed, these two are very neer a kin one to another, so you have it in the 5. of Nehe. 9. verse, Also I said it is not good that ye do, Ought ye not to WALK in the fear of our God? and he gives an argument there, Because of the reproach of the Heathen. So may I say to all Christians, that would pro∣fesse themselves Christians and godly; ought not ye to walk in the fear of our God? whatsoever other men do, they do thus and thus, and seek to follow their own ends and waies, but ought not YE to walk in the fear of our God? that's the walk of a Christian, the fear of God it is continually upon him. And observe, we reade in the 9. Page 318 of the Acts, of the walk of the Christians in the Primitive times upon which they came so to grow up in the waies of godliness as they did, at the 31. verse, the text saith, Then had the Churches rest throughout all Judea, and Gallilee, and Samaira, and were edified; (and what then?) They walked in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the holy Ghost, and so came to be multiplied. It's an excellent Scripture; would you be built up in godliness? let the fear of God be upon you, and if you walk in the fear of God, you will walk in the joy of the holy Ghost.
Obj. You will say, Fear, that may hinder our Joy.
Ans. No, But the way to have true joy in the holy Ghost it is, To walk in the fear of God, and though you have a company of vain and wanton spirits, that are no∣thing but for Jolity and Mirth, they cannot admit of any kind of seriousness (that we spake to before:) But certain∣ly their Jolity it's but frothy and carnal, but those have the best Joy in their hearts that walk most in the fear of God: When I see a Christian have the fear of God upon him, and that in the whol course of his life, then he will have much of the comfort of the holy Ghost.
Fourthly, The comfort of the holy Ghost it's joyned with the fear of God: and if you see any that talk never so much of the joy that they have; it's but a frothy carnal joy except the fear of God be upon them; Oh it will be a means to convince others of the excellency of the wales of God, when they shall see Christians walk in the fear of God; thus saith the text, they were multiplied; there were many that were convinc'd by it and did joyn with them, because they did see such a beauty and excellency in their way, walking in the fear of God and in the joy of the holy Ghost: and this was at a time when they had much rest; many people it may be when they are in danger, then they wil seem to walk in the fear of God: but mark, this was in a time when this people was freed from their danger, then they walked in the fear of the Lord; and in the joy of the holy Ghost, that was encreased in them: And this is the Page 319 walk of the Saints in their walking with God.
Two or three things more I shall mention. As now,
The walk that they walk, it's above: The way of the Saints it is on high, it's a walk above the world, they keep themselves on high aloft in a spiritual way: it's true, their hearts are humble before God, and yet they are on high too; though they look not upon themselves as worthy of the least crumb of bread, yet they look upon themselves again as too good to be vassals to the world, or to their lusts; and they look upon themselves as being set by God in too a high condition to be satisfied with all the world to be their portion; their hearts are lifted up on high to converse with the most High God, and so they come to be delivered from the snares of death that are below.
Yea and also, They endeavor to walk as Christ walked: as in the 1 Epist. of John, 2. 6. They walk as Christ himself walked, those that walk with God. Who did ever walk with God so as Christ did? who had ever that fellowship with the Father and the Son so as Christ had? The Saints they labor to walk so as Christ walked, to look upon Christ as the pattern of their lives. And so as Christ was anointed with the oyl of joy and gladnes above his fellows; so they come to have some of the ointment run down upon them, they come to have somewhat of that communion that Je∣sus Christ had with the Father, Christ had much com∣munion with the Father in the constant course of his life: Now the Saints laboring to walk as Christ walked, so they come to have Communion with God. The Lord bring you into this walk, and keep you in such a blessed walk as this is.
Now for the Rules of Direction in this our walking with God, that's to be our subject in the next Chapter.