The spring of strengthning grace in the Rock of Ages, Jesus Christ demonstrated in a plain and short sermon
Hill, Thomas, d. 1653.

Page  17BEhold,*what convincing reason all you Saints▪here have to put an high value upon Jesus Christ: He is called by the Prophet, The Rock of Ages, Isa. 26.3. And therefore upon the strongest grounds called by the Psalmist, Psal. 73.26. The Rock of his Heart, and his Portion for ever; and that after he had been in the Sanctuary of God beholding his glory, ver. 17. coming from the North (so Chaldea lay in regard of Judea) Hereupon to the same purpose, when Habakuk saw a bitter and hasty Na∣tion, as he calls the Chaldeans, Hab. 1.6. threatning, and indeed beginning to ruine Judah (its probable the Captivity was then begun) appeals to God, in this language, ver. 12. Art not thou from everlasting, O Lord my God, O Rock God. This is the Prophet Micahs Dialect (its sweet to observe the harmonious breathings of the Spirit in several Prophets) chap. 5.2. who speaking of Christ as the Ruler in Israel (there's his strength) addes, Whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of Eternity.

Where is your Faith in this Eternal Rock, that should be emboldened to frequent actings upon for all new supplies; as in Romans 1.17. Paul tells us, The righteousness of God is re∣vealed from faith to faith; that is, righteousness enough for one act of faith after another: So in Christ, grace upon grace' though the actings of faith be never so often repeated, which in∣deed is very pleasing to him. O remember, I beseech you, where your strength lieth; and know, that unless you do learn this Art of Memory, it may cost you very dear, many a smart∣ing whipping: The want of this provokes God to be some∣times severe with his beloved children.

Here is a double method of his proceedings:

1. He whips them unto Christ, and to the dependance upon his grace, by Spiritual desertions: A most sharp remedy, the sting of other afflictions. His gracious presence doth sweeten every thing, his absence will embitter any thing. David found this by woful experience, which made him groan so sadly, Psal. 51.8. Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones which thou hast bro∣ken may rejoyce: When he had broke his conscience by sinning,*God would break his bones for sin; And again ver. 12. Restore Page  18 to me the joy of thy salvation; and ver. 10. Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right Spirit within me. Its true, the Lord had so far deserted him, in regard of sensible comforts, that he may desire their restoring; and, which may be observed by the way, let the proud Arminian say what he can, David was not become silius irae, but onely silius sub ira, still a beloved son, he begs indeed the cleansing of his heart, but onely the re∣newing of a right spirit within him.

*2. The Lord whips his children to an improvement of the grace of Christ, by suffering them in his holy and wise providence, to fall into some great, and it may be some scandalous sin, which shall draw on a sharp affliction. This is to a Saint a most sharp cure; yet God makes it often effectual to that happy end: for, though we be the onely proper authors of sin, yet Gods permis∣sion is not otiosa, but effcax permissio; He knows how to go∣vern its subserviency to the Covenant of Grace, and to bring good out of evil, otherwise he would neither suffer evil of sin or punishment to be; David too clear an instance of this Rule: Hereby the Lord whipped him out of himself, to seek mercy from his Savior, Psal. 51.1. Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindeness, according to the multitude of thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.