CHAP. VIII. Ten Several Evidences of a mans Walking with God.
BUt having set out unto you the excellency of walking with God, you will say, Who is it that doth walk with Him? I shall further set out to you the Evidences of those men and women that do walk with God.
The first Evidence.
One that walks with God, Is one that depends not much up∣on sence or reason in the course of his life: I say, one that is above the waies of Sence and Reason in his course, he hath received a principle to go higher. Most men in the world they walk according to sence; and therefore the Scripture saith, They walk according to the pleasure of their eyes. But now, one that walks with God, his walk lies beyond Sence, and above Reason; though things of Sence seem to go this way or that way, quite crosse to him, yea, though Reason seem to go quite crosse to him, yet still his heart is not in a hurry, but he hath that that can quiet his heart though Sence and Reason seem to be contrary: 2 Cor. 5. 7. there you shal see the walk of a godly man, For we walk by faith and not by sight, saith the Apostle; beyond our sight, either beyond our sight of sence, or the sight of Reason; we walk by faith. But now, this is a great point, a Christian walking by faith, and therefore I in∣tend to speak to that by its self from this very text, (God willing) in another Treatise.
The second Evidence.
One that walks with God, you shall find him in private the same that he is in publick; what ever holiness doth appear in such a one before others, in his walking in the world, if you trace him and follow him in his private course you shall find him the same man as you do in publik: why? be∣cause he hath not to deal with man so much, he hath to deal with God in all his waies, when he hath any thing to do before others, he walks with God, and when he is alone he is the same man still. In the 101. Psal. see what David saith there concerning his walk in private in his family, I will behave my self wisely in a perfect way (saith he) Page 308Oh when wilt thou come unto me! I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. As if he should say, I will not walk when I am abroad only, with a perfect heart, but I wil walk within my house with a perfect heart. There are many people that when they are abroad in the world they seem to be very strict in their way, but follow such men to their houses and there you shall see a great deal of diffe∣rence. You will find many times as much difference be∣tween the course of men when they are abroad and in their houses, as you find in their cloaths; you shall have ma∣ny men and women when they go abroad they wil be very neat, and though they have but little means, yet they wil lay it upon their backs so that they may be fine abroad; but come to them in their families and they care not what cloaths they wear there: It is just so in regard of their lives, their lives have as much difference as their cloaths: When they are abroad then they put a good face on things and seem to be very fair in their conversati∣ons, and speak good things, but at home there they are froward and perverse, and perhaps in their passions, will swear, there they are prophane, and ungodly, and vent their corruptions in a most ungodly manner; doest thou walk with God? If thou hadst to deal with God thou wouldst be the same in thy family that thou art abroad, that thy wife, children, and servants in thy family might give as good a testimony of thee as when thou art abroad with others: Yea, and if ye could retire with them into their very closets you should find them the same there in a∣ny duties of Religion. You shall have many when they come abroad and joyn with others, Oh how enlarged are they! yet dead and dull when they are at home either in family or closet, yea their own consciences tells them so. Those that walk with God wil be as spiritual in the one as in the other; it may be when they are with others, because they are to be the mouth of others they wil sure themselves according to those they pray with; yet when they are alone Page 309 and in their families their hearts are as spiritual and as ho∣ly in their duties as when they are with others: why? be∣cause they have to deal with God in all: and that's ano∣ther Evidence of one that walks with God, that he is the same in private as he is in publick.
The third Evidence.
A man that walks with God hath a serious spirit: walking with God will compose the spirits of men and women, will take off that loosness and vanity of spirit: Therefore wal∣king in the vanity of the mind, that's quite crosse to wal∣king with God; as in the 4. of the Ephe. 17. there it's spo∣ken of wicked men, it's said that they walk in the vanity of their minds: All wicked men they walk in the vanity of their minds; then all those that walk with God walk in the seriousness of their minds: It must needs be that they must have a seriousness of spirit in all their waies, for it's with God that they have to deal withal, they take not that liberty to run this way or that way as others do. If ser∣vants be walking one with another they can take liberty to go out of their way and talk with this or the other body as they please: But if a servant walk with his Master or Mi∣stris, he must not take that liberty but must go as they go. So, many that walk only with the creature, they take liber∣ty to run up and down as they please; but those that walk with God, they must have composed spirits, and walk seriously, and though they may walk seriously, yet cheer∣fully; I beseech you consider of this: For that Christian knows not the way of Christian-rejoycing that doth not know how to mix it with seriousness; yea, Senecha that was a Heathen could say, Joy, it is a serious thing; there is a kind of seriousness in true joy, for the joy of a Christian is not frothy, it is a composed joy: As thus now, It's se∣rious:
First, A Christian in his joy he is able to command him∣self, he can let out his joy so far and yet at a beck he can Page 310 command himself to the most spiritual duty in the world from his joy, he doth not profusely let out his heart so as he cannot call it in again. Certainly, thou dost not joy as a Christian if thou canst not take off thy heart from creature joyes, God gives thee liberty to be merry, but so, as to have it under thy command, as thou shalt be able to call thy heart off from it to the most serious duty in the world.
Secondly, He cannot only command himself to holy du∣ties in the midst of his joy, but he finds himself the fitter for holy duties by it: now this is a serious joy if it be no other than I can command my self off from it, and that that fits me for that which is holy: Christians had need take heed of frothinesse, slightnesse, and vanity, for certainly the wal∣king with God cannot but make them serious, and those that are slight and vain, surely they do not converse with God, for God is such a serious object that it's impossible but it must work a seriousnesse in the spirits of men.
The Fourth Evidence.
Those that walk with God, they walk in newness of life: For this is not our walk naturally, our walking with God is that that comes upon a mighty converting that God gives to our spirits: our walk naturally it is with our lusts, and with the Devil, and in the way to Hell; but one that walks with God walks in newnesse of life: as the Scrip∣ture speaks in the 6. Rom. 4. He walk according to the Rule of the new Creature. In the 6. Gal. 16. And as many as walk ac∣cording to this Rule, peace be on them and mercy. You will say, What Rule doth the Apostle mean here? I confesse ordinarily you have it applied to this, The walk according to the Scriptures: I grant it, that's a truth, That the Word of God should be the Rule of our walk, and of our lives, and those that walk according to that Rule shall have peace. But I do not think that to be the meaning of this text, but the scope is to be taken from the words of the former verse, for saith he in the 15. verse, In Christ JesusPage 311neither Circumcision availeth any thing, nor Ʋncircumcision, but a new Creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, (that is, According to the rule of the new Creature; not standing so much upon external things, either Circumcision or Un∣circumcision, not standing so much upon outward duties, though in their kind they must be stood upon; But the main thing that is to be stood upon, it is, The walk of the new Crea∣ture; and those that walk according to the rule of the new Creature, those that act the new Creature in their walk) peace be unto them. And that's the fourth thing in the Evi∣dences of a Walker with God; He walks in newness of life, and so according to the rule of the new Creature.
The Fifth Evidence.
When he hath to deal with the Creature be doth quickly passe through the Creature unto God. Any one (I say) that is ac∣quainted with this mystery of godliness in walking with God, though while he is in this world, he hath to deal as other men have, with the creatures, yet he will not stick in the creatures, but soon passes from the creatures to God: As thus, he receives sweetness from the creatures as well as others, but when he hath received, or is in receiving the sweetness of the creatures, his heart is upon God, Oh the sweetness there is in God! Is the creature so sweet? how sweet is God then? When he is in company with friends, is it so sweet to have society with men: how sweet is it to have society with God then? And when he hath comforts in a wife; Oh what comfort is there in the comforts of my Husband Jesus Christ! And when he hath comfort in a sweet habitation; Oh what comfort is there in God our habitation! he is not musling in the world, in the crea∣ture, but he relies upon God in al that he doth injoy: Now those that when they have any thing in the Creature there they stick; these are not acquainted with this way of wal∣king with God.
The sixth Evidence.
A man that walks with God, he loves to be much retir'd from the world. It's true, he must follow his occasions in the world, he doth that in obedience unto God, but except he may have his retired times he knows not how to live, it's true, when he is in his calling he walks with God there, he carries his heart Heavenly: There's a great deal of difference for one to walk with a friend in company with others, and when they are alone, though it's true, that while the Saints of God live in the world they must converse with the men of the world, and they have some∣what of God there: but though they have somewhat of God there, yet that's not so much as when God and their souls are alone, this is that that is exceeding sweet and comfortable to them, therefore they have their retired times of meditation; and retired times of prayer; as we reade of Isaac, he went out into the field to meditate, or to pray, for so meditation and prayer is taken sometimes in Scripture for all one: I'le powr forth my meditations to thee, sath David: that was his prayer: So, because they should be both joyned together, Isaac went out into the field to meditate. Those that walk with God if they live in a house and have no retir'd rooms, they go abroad and have some time or other to be retir'd by themselves; where-as you have other men, they know not how to spend any retired times, when they are alone their minds wander this way or that way, and they gaze after every feather that flies, and it's a prison for them to be alone, and they won∣der that men and women will shut up themselves alone, surely it's but their melanchollinesse. Oh poor wretch, thou knowest not what walks they have, they are not alone all this time, they would be loth to give their retired times for all the times of thy Jollity and Bravery; Thou thinkest if thou beest abroad in company, and there art feasting, and having good cheer, and musick, and talking, Page 313 and laughing that this is a brave life, they would be loth to change their retired times for the times of thy greatest Jolity with thy companions: One that walks with God he loves some retir'd times as well as to be busie in the bu∣sinesse of the world.
The seventh Evidence.
One that walks with God, he is careful to make even his ac∣compts with God, he doth keep his accompts with God even. This is a special thing in walking with God, when they lie down to consider, Are my accompts even with God? is there nothing amisse between God and my soul? what hath been this day between God and my soul? For how can two walk together except they be agreed as the Pro∣phet saith: Therefore they are very careful to keep their agreement with God. Indeed Jesus Christ the great Re∣conciler hath first reconciled their souls to God and so they come to walk with him: but then afterwards in the course of their lives they must keep up their agreement with God, and not to run in areriges with, and so to be insna∣red in the world, and insnared in the corruptions of their own hearts, as that men and women will be, if they be not careful to keep their accompts with God even daily, They will insnare their souls in the world and in the lusts of their own hearts till God and their souls come to be strangers, yea, til they be afraid almost to think of God; Here's the reason that many people are loth to come to prayer, loth to come to duties of communion with God, why? because they have not kept their accompts even with God, but have run in areriges with God, and their hearts are intangled in the world, and in their lusts, and now the presence of God comes to be terrible to them; Oh poor wretch that thou art, what thou that art a Christian and yet in such a case that the presence of God should be grie∣vous to thee! Oh thy condition is sad indeed! whereas thou shouldst be glad when thou thinkest of God, I wasPage 314glad when they said, Come let us go up to the house of the Lord: But one that keeps not his accompts with God even, his retired times are grievous to him, Indeed he dares not but have retired times, I but it's grievous to him, why? be∣cause he hath not kept his accompts even with God; But the soul that keeps even with God, Oh that soul rejoyceth in those times when it is to go to God, or doth but think of God. That's a special thing in a man or womans wal∣king with God, they keep their accompts even: And I beseech you observe it, As it's an Evidence, so it may be given as a Rule to help you to walk with God, Oh be care∣ful of keeping your accompts daily: Though this point that I am treating upon, is perhaps little understood by many, yet if so be that God would by his Spirit work your hearts to this, to keep your accompts even with God, you would know more of the meaning of this point.
The eighth Evidence.
That the more spiritual any Truth is, or any Ordinance is, or a∣ny Company is, the more doth the soul delight in it: One that is used to God, and converses with God, when such a one meets with a Truth that hath much of God in it, Oh how it closes with that Truth! when it meets with an Ordi∣nance that hath much of God in it, when it meets with Company that hath much of God in it, how doth this soul delight in it! This is sutable to the heart that conver∣ses much with God, saith the soul, I have had sweet walks with God, now me thinks I come into such a Company, I see the very Image of God in these, and Oh how sweet and delightsom are these to me! and so for Truths, and Ordinances, the more spiritual they are the more such a one doth delight in them: whereas a carnal heart that walks according to the flesh, in the way of the world, if there be some Truths that have some kind of humanity in them, as now, some sollid discourse that shews strength of reason, or strength of judgment in a Sermon, he will take Page 315 delight in that, if there be any Wit, Rhetorick, Eloquence he takes delight in that; but for spiritual truths there's no such delight in them except they be cloathed with some humane excellency. But now, those that are spiritual, the more spiritual any thing is, the more delight they take in it: As for Ordinances, they are but dry meat to those that are carnal except there be something external; bring the Ordinances in the plain simplicity of the Gospel to them, where there is only communion of Saints, sitting about a Table, and eating a piece of bread, and drinking a little wine, they see no excellency there: But a gracious heart, the lesse of man he sees in an Ordinance, and the more of God, the more he closes with them, and takes delight in them: here's one now that walks with God.
The Ninth Evidence.
A man that walks with God, is one that walks in all the Com∣mandements of God. Endeavours to walk in them before him, and blameless before men: in the 1. of Luke, the 6. it's said of Zacharias, and Elizabeth, They were both righteous before God, walking in all the Commandements and Ordinances of the Lord, blameless: here's a walking with God, not only to walk in some one thing, but in all Commande∣ments, and Ordinances of God, and not only so, but blame∣less before men too; though it's true, the chief work that he hath, it is, in converse with God, yet he is careful so as to be blameless before men, because it concerns much the honor of God that he should be blameless before men: Za∣charias and Elizabeth they were walkers with God, and their lives are described so that they were conscionable in all the Commands of God, and walked blameless before men. Now as we go along, apply it, Can you say, Lord, Thou that knowest al things, knowest, that there's no com∣mand of thine, nor no Ordinance of thine, but my soul closes with, and I desire to spend my life in them, and to walk blamelesly before men? There's a great many that Page 316 speak much of walking before God, and of the Ordinan∣ces of God, and yet come to them before men, and they are careless and negligent: (do but hearken to what the Lord speaks this day to thee) Certainly thou never knew∣est what it was to walk with God except thou doest walk blamelesly before men too.
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.