The works of William Bridge, sometime fellow of Emanuel Colledge in Cambridge; now preacher of the Word of God at Yarmouth. The first volume. Viz. I. The great Gospel-mysterie of the saints comfort and holinesse, opened and applyed from Christs priestly office. II. Satans power to tempt; and Christs love to, and care of his people under temptation. III. Thankfulnesse required in every condition.
Bridge, William, 1600?-1670., Yates, John, d. ca. 1660., Greenhill, William, 1591-1671., Adderley, William.
Page  97

SATANS Power to tempt; AND CHRISTS love to, and care of his people under temptation.

For in that He himself hath suffered being tempted,* he is able to succour them that are tempted.

THE Scope and Drift of this Epistle, is to raise and strengthen the faith of the He∣brewes, and so the faith of those that are weak in grace. Our Apostle Paul there∣fore (whom I take to be the Pen-man) labours to discover the transcendent Ex∣cellency of Jesus Christ, with his love and good-will to the Children of men. And because his Ex∣cellencies, were either such as relate his Person; or such as re∣late his Offices, of King, Priest, & Prophet: He tels us in the Page  98first Chapter, that for the Personal Excellencies of Jesus Christ; He is the Son of God; Heire of all things; by whom were the Worlds made: being the brightness of his Fathers glory, and the express Image of his Person, in the 2, & 3. verses of that Chapters. That he is far above the Angels, at the 4. verse. That he is God himself, at the 6. verse. And as for those ex∣cellencies that relate his Offices: He tels us at the 1. verse, That he is the Prophet of Prophets. That he is the great King, at the 8. verse. That he is an High-Priest, in the 2. Chap. and the 17. verse: and therefore who would not trust unto him, and take heed unto such things are he shall speak unto them. And as for the love, and good-will that he bears unto the Children of men; the Apostle speaks it out in all this Se∣cond Chapter.

The greater Condeseention in the person loving, to the person loved, the greater is the love. Now though Jesus Christ be Heir of all things; and had all things put under his feet; far above all Angels: yet notwithstanding, at the 7. verse, He is made a little lower than the Angels, takes our na∣ture upon him, &c.

The more Profitable any love is, to the person loved, the greater is the love. Such is the love of Christ; for his love is such, That by him many sons are brought to glory, at the 10. verse. Sanctified while they live, at the 11. verse. Satan their deadly enemy subdued for them, at the 14, & 15: verses.

The more Distinguishing any love is, the greater is that love. Now Jesus Christ, as the great Load-stone, passes by the golden mettel of Angels, and draws unto himself the Iron-mettal of man kind, at the 16. verse: For verily, he took not on him the nature of Angels; but he took on him the seed of A∣braham.

Again, The more the person loving, does Suffer for the person loved, the more and the greater is the love. Christ suffered death, and he was while he lived subject to our in∣firmities, and unto our temptations: He was in all thing made like unto us, at the 17. verse. And he was tempted as we are tempted, that he might succour those that are tempted, at the 18. verse.

Page  99

And would you have an Account, or a Reason of all this? it is, that he might shew mercy unto the children of men, verse the 17. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faith∣ful High-Priest, in things partaining to God, to make reconciliati∣on for the sins of the people. If he were not made like unto us in regard of our infirmities, he could not so experimental∣ly pity us under our infirmities: If he were not tempted like unto us, he could not so feelingly succour us under our temptation; and so he had not been so fit to have benn our High-Priest: but our High-Priest he is gone into the holy of holiest, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto us, that he might be a merciful and faithful High-Priest: For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, be is able to suc∣cour them that are tempted,

I will not hold you longer in the Coherence, or Divisi∣on of the words, or further Explication: I shall open the words (God willing) more particularly, and distinctly, as I shall come to the Observations that shall be raised from them. And I begin with the last, being made the reason of the former. For in that he him self hath suffered being temp∣ted, he is able to succour them that are tempted. Tempted twice: He tempted, and They tempted.

This word Tempted, or Tempt; it is given in Scripture phrase, sometimes to God, sometimes to Man, and some∣times to the Devil; and accordingly it is used Three waies: Sometimes it is used for to Prove; and so God is said for to Tempt, in the 13. of Deuteronomy. Sometimes it is used for to Try, to make experiment of a Thing, or a Person, whom or which we did not know before; and so it is given to Man (as I take it) in the 6. of Judges. Sometimes it is used for a So∣licitation, and Drawing unto what is evil; and so it is given unto the Devil, in the 4. of Matthew, Christ was led into the axilderness to be tempted. If ye look into the Scripture, ye don't find in all the old Testament, that the word Tempta∣tion is given to Satan, that Satan was said to Tempt any: Page  100Satan did frequently Tempt, we reade in the old Testament; but I say, the word Tempt is not given unto him. Satan tempted Job, but Job's afflictions in the old Testament, are not called Satans temptations. As our Lord and Saviour Christ in the old Testament was Vail'd, the old Testament was full of Christ, yet Christ was hidden there: So was Satan and his temptations mask't. Now when the light of the glorious Gospel shined more cleerly in the comming of Jesus Christ, as Christs vail was taken off, so Satans Mask was taken off; Satans temptations are no longer cal∣led afflictions, but bare Temptations, throughout the new-Testament. Indeed, this word Temptation, in the phrase of the new Testament, is used sometimes for Afflicti∣on; Sometimes for Satans Suggestions; sometimes for our own Sins. Temptation used for our Afflictions: in the 1. of James, 2. verse, Rejoyce when ye fall into divers temptations. That is, Afflictions. Sometimes for the Devils suggestions, Solicitations to evil. So in the 4. of Matthew, Christ is led in∣to the wilderness to be tempted. Sometimes for our own sins. Galatians the 6 chapter, and the 1. verse. If any man be over∣taken with an infirmity, you that are spiritual, restore him, consi∣dering that you also may be tempted. Now though our Savi∣our Christ is said to be Tempted, in the two first respects, and not in the third; yet when it is said here in the text, He himself hath suffered being tempted; I take it to be meant in the second way, not the first: for otherwise, there would be an identity thus: He himself hath suffered; having suffered; that would be the sense of it else. And though we our selves are said to be tempted in all three respects, In regard of Afflictions, Satans Suggestions, and our own Cor∣ruptions, and Sins; yet when it is said in the latter end of the verse, He is able to succour them that are tempted; I take it to be meant especially in he two last respects, and not in the first: for it hath relation unto that which goes before the last verse being a reason of the latter end of the 17. vers. To make reconciliation for the sins of the people, for in that he him∣self hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succovr them that Page  101are tempted. Hence the Observation that I shall present un∣to you is only this.

That God doth suffer his own Servants, and dearest Children, [Doct.] to be sorely tempted. Yea, even to suffer by the hand of the temp∣tation.

Our Lord and Saviour Christ, the Son of God, the only Beloved Son of God, yet saith the text, He himself hath suffered being tempted: not only tempted, but suffered being tempted. And it is said, of his Brethren, (for so his people are called, in the beginning of the 17. verse) that they are tempted: He is able to succour them that are tempted. Succou∣ring presupposeth suffering.

For the opening, and clearing of this Truth, I shall de∣liver my self these Three waies.

First, That there is a suffering, Afflictive disposition in every Temptation, though it don't prevail.

Secondly, That the Saints and People of God do thus suffer, and why?

Thirdly, Answer to an Objection; and so come to the Ap∣plication.

First, There is a Vexing, Corroding, [unspec 1] Afflictive disposition in every temptation, when it takes least, though it do not prevaile These Granadoes, fire-bals, fire-darts of Satan have a dan∣ger with them; though they do not burn down our spiri∣tual building to the ground, they are afflictive, there is somewhat of a suffering with them. Paul cals his buffetings, a thorn, or a prick in the flesh: a Buffetting and therefore Af∣flictive; a thorn, or a prick in the flesh, and therefore Affli∣ctive. Notable is that expression which our Saviour Christ useth, in the 22. of Luke, at the 31. verse, to Peter. Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. There is never a word here, but carries a suffering with it. It is some affliction, to have so great an Adversa∣ry as an Angel is, who is great in Power; the Devil is cal∣led an Angel, and he is called Satan, that is an Adversa∣ry. [Satan hath desired] the word that is used there, Desired,* it is not used again in the new Testament, (as I remember) Page  102But in other Authors that use it, it signifies such a De∣siring, as when one man does challenge another into the field to a Duel: Or such a Desiring, as when a man comes and cals for open, and publick Punishment upon a man: and all this is Suffering, and Afflictive. Or, as your trans∣lation hath it: Satan hath desired to Have you. He does not say thus: Satan hath desired to Sift you; but Satan hath desired to Have you. Is it not an affliction to a child, to hear a Begger stand craving, and begging of his father to have him away, to carry him away from his house? There is never a Temptation, but in that Temptation Sa∣tan desires to Have you, you that are the Children of God, Satan desires to have you. Then again, He hath desired to have you that he may [sift you as wheat.] Now though in sif∣ting, there is a separation between the Chaff and the wheat, yet it is not without a concussion, and a shaking of the wheat: the wheat and the grain is shaken, though the chaffe be blown aside, and laid on heaps. And though through the skil of the sifter, the wheat may be so kept, as it does not fal into the chaffe-heap; yet notwithstanding, there is some danger in sifting, that the grain should fall o∣ver into the heap of chaffe, and be burnt with the chaffe: So here. Especially where Satan, the great destroyer of man-kind, hath the fan in his hand: Saith Christ, Satan hath desired to have you, and hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat; and I tell you, there is so much dan∣ger in it, that nothing but my prayer can secure you, But I have prayed for you. So that you see, there is something of a Suffering in a Temptation. You know it was a Law in the old Testament, that if a woman were abroade in the fields, and there met her some that offered violence to her; if she cryed out, and did not consent, she was not guilty: but now, though she were not guilty, but inocent, if she were abused, it would be a continual affliction, to a modest good woman. So it is here, Satan comes to meet us, and though we do not consent to him, yet a gracious heart can∣not but look upon it as an affliction, to be thus followed, Page  103and haunted with a Temptation. And the holy Ghost al∣luded to this practise, when he saith here in the text, Jesus Christ is able to succour: The word Succour,* signifies such a Succouring as brings in help unto those that cry out; to come in, and run in with help upon ones crying out. In the 12. of the Revelation, it is said, Woe to the inhabitants of the earth; for the Devil is come down with great wrath, for he knows that his time is short. There is a Woe in it, where the Devil comes down with great wrath. Now he looks up∣on all the Saints, as having their time but short, and he comes down upon them in great wrath with his temptati∣ons: and there is a Woe in it, although the temptation takes not: And for ought I know, upon this account, the new-Testament may so promiscuously use the word Tempta∣tion, both for Affliction, and Satans Suggestions, even because seldom any Affliction comes, but it does bring Temptation with it: never any Temptation but brings Affliction: al∣waies something of a Suffering in every Temptation, even at that very time when it does least prevail. This is the First thing.

Secondly, Doth God suffer his own children thus to Suffer? [Quest. 2]

Yes, And many times the best, most tempted, [Answ.] the best men meet with the worst temptations, those that are most eminently Godly, are most fouly assaulted. David, Job, Peter, Paul, and Christ himself was. Yea, God doth not only suffer Satan to come, and present evil objects before his servants, but suffers him to go so far, as to solicite, to press, to follow on his temptation. And therefore it is said concerning David, That Satan stood up, and provoked him to Number the people. He did not only present an evil object to him, but he followed his temptation, he solicited, he stood up and provoked Da∣vid to Number the people.

Yea, God doth not only suffer this: but at that very time, when the Saints have had most of God, then they have suffered by the hand of temptation. when Paul had been taken up into the third Heaven, then a messenger, Satan was sent to buffet him. And when Jesus Christ had heard the voice, This is Page  104my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: Then (saies the text in the 4. of Matthew 1.) was he led by the spirit into the wil∣derness, to be tempted of the Devil. And so with the Saints now: when they have been, as it were, in the third Heaven with God, when they have had most of him, when they have heard the Lord saying, This is my beloved child; after special manifestations of his love, then most tempted: Oh! who would be secure, after manifestations of Gods love?

Further, God doth not only suffer it thus far: but some∣times he suffers his children to be so far tempted, as they seem to have the worser, Satan the better; Satan taking the wall of them, the upper hand, In the 3. of Zachary, it is said concerning Joshua: That Satan stood at his right hand: Satan took the wall of him, took the upper hand of him.

Lastly, God suffers this to be, and to continue a long time with some of his children. Paul saith, he had prayed thrice: that is, often; and all the answer he could get was this, My grace is sufficient for thee, (Paul) I don't say, I will deliver thee, but thou shalt have grace enough to uphold thee, My grace shall be sufficient. Thus God suffers his own dear children to Suffer under the hand of temptation.

And would you know the Reason? [Reas. 1] Good Authors say, That God suffers his own dear children to be tempted, that they may be more inlightened. Temptation inlightens the temp∣ted; there by they are more experienced, and so more in∣lightened: God is pleased to answer them by this secret of thunder.

God suffers his children thus to be tempted, [Reas. 2] That they may be cleansed. This is Gods usual way, he does wash us from our own filth, by the dung and excrement of these unclean spirits: and scowres of the rust from his chosen vessels by the messengers of Satan: these are Gods scullions to make his golden pots of the Sanctuary the brighter.

God suffers his own children to be tempted, [Reas. 3] That they may be conserved, or kept: He preserves them from one sin, Page  105by being tempted to another. And Paul saies, That he re∣ceived that messenger of Satan, twice, that he might not be exal∣ted. [Reas. 4]

God suffers his children to be tempted, That their graces may be increased. As the fire is blown up by the wind of the bellows; and the strength of an Argument, draws out the strength of the Answerer: So does these temptations draw out the strength of the tempted.

God suffers his Children to be tempted, [Reas. 5] That they may be discovered to themselves, and others; what their sins & graces are. You don't know what the liquor is, till the vessel be bored, then you know it. And the word that is used here for Temptation, Originally signifies to bore, as a vessel is bored.* The love of a woman is never more known, than when her husband is from home, and she is solicited to folly, then her love is tryed to her husband.

God suffers his children to be tempted, [Reas. 6] That occasionally they may be made more fit to receive the fulness of Christ as a Savi∣our. A man not tempted may receive the fulness of Christ as the head: but unlesse a man be tempted, not fit to re∣ceive the fulness of Christ as a Saviour.

Hereby they are made like unto Jesus Christ. [Reas. 7] Christ was made like to us, that he might be tempted; and we are tempted that we may be made like to him. He was made like to us, that he might be tempted, and so become our High-Priest: and we are tempted, that we may be made like to him, and receive of the mercy of that office. He was made like to us and tempted, that he might have com∣munion with us in the evil of our temptation: and we are made like to him and tempted as he was, that we might have communion with him in the benefit of his temptati∣ons. For these and other reasons, God suffers his chil∣dren to be tempted. But my design is not to fall upon the argument of Temptation at large; only to speak of the Suf∣fering part of it: For in that he suffered being once tempted, he is able to succour those that are temped.

And upon the same reason, or account, that God suffe∣red Page  106the children of Israel to be Vexed, and to suffer by the hands of the Egyptians, he doth suffer his own dear children to be stung, and vexed by these temptations. Give me leave a little in that.

God suffered the Isralites to be vexed, [unspec 1] & to suffer much by the hands of the Egyptians, That so be might make his glo∣rious power the more to appear for them, and in them. For when men saw, that the Isralites increased and prospered, the more they were oppressed, and the more that the Egypti∣ans laboured to cut them off: then who would not say, Oh! what power, and what mercy is here? So now, when as men shall see, that the graces of the Saints increase the more by temptation, and by spiritual oppression; who would not say, Oh! what mercy, and what power is here?

God suffered the Isralites to be vexed by the Egyptians, [unspec 2] That the Isralites might not learn their manners, and their Super∣stitions. They were very apt to drink-in their manners, to imitate, to follow them. Notwithstanding all the ill u∣sage that the Israelites had at the hand of the Egyptians, they were very apt to learn their manners: had they had better usage, how would they have drunk them in much more then? Beloved! God would not have us to learn the manners of Satan, we are apt to drink them in too much notwithstanding all the hard dealing that we have from our temptations that do come from Satan: had we better entertainment, how should our souls mingle, and incor∣porate with those temptations?

God suffered the Israelites to be vexed by the Egyptians, [unspec 3] That so they might be provoked against them, to cut them off, and destroy them utterly. We never cut off an Enemy, and de∣stroy him utterly till we be provoked; and we are provo∣ked by the ill usage that we have at their hands. God would have Satan destroyed: for this cause was Christ manifested in the flesh, that he might destroy the works of Satan; And what Christ did for us, he doth work in us: and we will not destroy him till we be provoked and Page  107therefore God is pleased to let us have such hard dealing, and suffering work from the hand of temptation, that we may be the more provoked against him.

God suffered the Israelites to be vexed by the Egyptians, [unspec 4] That so they might long for Canaan the land of rest. And why doth God suffer his people to suffer thus by their temptati∣ons, but that they might cry out for help, and for the land of rest? as David, Oh! that I had wings like a dove for then would I fly away and be at rest.

If the children of Israel had not suffered thus from the hands of the Egyptians; [unspec 5] in all likelihood they would have returned to Egypt much more than they did. They made them a Captain to re∣turn again, notwithstanding all the hardness that they un∣derwent in Egypt: but had the children of Israel had good usage in Egypt, how would they have returned a∣gain thither; Beloved! we are apt to return again to fol∣ly, you that are the servants of God, too apt to return to folly; notwithstanding all the hard usage that you have from the hand of your temptation, how apt and ready are you to retturn to folly; now God loves you, and would not have you to return again, and therefore that you might not return to your garlike, onyons, and fleshpots a∣gain, he suffers this Spiritual Phatoah thus to follow you, and lie hard upon you in these temptations. And thus you see what a glorious design of love God hath, even in the suffering part of his childrens temptations: Gods own children do suffer thus by the hand of a Temptation.

But you will say, [Object.] In the Third place (to answer the Ob∣jection) If Gods own people, his dearest children be sorely tempted, yea, suffer under the hand of a temptation: how is that true, which you have in the 1 Epistle of John, the 5. chapter and the 18. verse: Whosoever is born of God sins not: he that is begotten of God, keeps himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not; the Devil toucheth him not: and if the Devil does not so much as touch him, how can this be true, that he suffers thus by the hand of his temptation.

For answer hereunto, ye must know, [Answ.] that this word Page  108Touching, in Scripture phrase, besides the litteral sense, sometimes notes an Hurting, or Harming of one. So in the 105. Psalm, and the 15. verse. Touch not mine anointed. Which is explained in the following words, and do my Pro∣phets no harm. We reade of Christs Touching, and the Devils Touching. Christ touching those that were sick, and he cured them with his touch, it was an healing, cu∣ring touch, the touch of Christ. And we reade of the De∣vils touching: So he speaks unto God that he would touch Job; that is, that he would break him, and break all his E∣state: Christ touch is an healing touch, curing touch; but Satans touch is a destroying touch, a breaking touch. Now though God suffers his own children to be tempted, yea, and to suffer by the hand of a temptation, yet not∣withstanding, the evil one touches him not, so as to harm him, to hurt him; But in the conclusion, so as to heal and to cure him, which is no touching.

Again, This same word Touching, in Scripture Phrase, sometimes notes Fellowship and Communion: and so when the Apostle forbids the Corinthians fellowship and com∣munion with Idolaters; saith he, Be ye Separate, and touch no unclean thing. Touching there noting Communion and Fellowship with them in their Worship: don't in the least measure have any communion with them. So now, al∣though it pleases God, to suffer Satan thus to vex his chil∣dren with temptation, yet notwithstanding, they have not fellowship or Communion with him, Satan knocks at their door, but they don't frequently, and ordinarily open and let him in, so as to sup with them: Christ stands at their door and knocks, and they open, and he comes in and sups with them, and they with him: they have fellow∣ship with the Father, and they have fellowship with Jesus Christ, but they have not fellowship with the Devil; they don't delight in him, they don't converse with him, they have not this fellowship with him: and therefore though they meet with temptation, yea, and though they suffer under temptation, yet in this respect the evil one touches Page  109not, but suffer they do. And so I have cleared the Point: God suffers his own dear children to be sorely tempted, yea, and to suffer under the hand of a temptation.

I come to the Application.

If this be so:*Then why do you that are the Servants of God question Gods love to you, and call your own condition into questi∣on because of your temptations, or because of the hard things that you meet withall from the hand of your temptation? Oh! saies one, if God loved me, I should never be thus tempted, I should never suffer such hard things by temptation as now I do: was there ever any of Gods Children tempted thus? Surely this cannot stand with grace. But was not Jesus Christ tempted? Yes. But I am tempted many times to doubt of my Child-ship, whether I be the Child of God, Son of God I or no. And was not Christ thus? There were Two special times of Christs temptation: Once when he entered upon the Ministry: Once when he went out of the world; and you shall see, how at both these times, he was followed with this temptation: In the 4. of Matthew, there you reade of the first, and in the combate, twice, If thou be the Son of God? saies the Devil: putting an If upon his Son∣ship: and again, If thou be the Son of God: putting an∣other If upon his Son-ship. So when he was upon the Cross; the Devils Instruments speak his own Language, they had not forgotten it: If he be the Son of God, let him come down? putting an If upon his Son-ship again. The Devil follows this close. Oh! but I am tempted many times to use indi∣rect means to get out of trouble, out of mine affliction. And was not Christ so? when he was an hungry, saies the De∣vil to him, Command that these stones be made bread. Oh! but I am tempted, I am loth to say what it is, sometimes even to lay violent hands upon my self. And what said the Devil to Christ? Throw thy self down off the pinacle of the Temple. Oh! but I am tempted to horrid and blasphe∣mous things that I am afraid to name, and my heart trem∣bles Page  110to think of. And was not Christ thus tempted? saies Satan to him, All this will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. What? worship the Devil! Oh! horrid blasphemy! Blush, O Heavens, and be astonished: All this will I give thee, If thou wilt fall down and worship me. Oh! but I am tempted to depair: sometimes; I confesse I am able to reade Gods love, and to say, that God is with me, and I think I can say, I know that God is with me: but at another time, Oh! how unlike am I unto my self, and I say, Mercy is gone, and Christ is gone, and hath left me as an orphan. And I pray consider how it was with Christ in this respect; he went as neer to it as could be, without sin. It is Musculus his Observation. In the 16. of John: Behold (saies Christ at the 32. verse) the hour cometh (speaking of his suffering hour) Yea, it is now come, when ye shall be scattered every man from his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone because the Father is with me. (Speaking of his suffering hour) And yet when he was upon the Cros, he saies, Father, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? How diverse does he seem to be from himself? Saies he, I am not alone, because the Father is with me: And yet when he comes into the hour, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Oh! but I have suffered as much as ever any did, I have suffered by the hand of my temptati∣ons, they have been a continual torment to me, and I have suffered much from them. Well, but have ye suffered more than Christ suffered? It is said in the text, For in that he suf∣fered being tempted: What a mighty suffering was it, for the glorious God of Heaven and Earth to have such temptati∣ons thrown in upon him? any one temptation to be lod∣ged in his mind, what a mighty suffering was this? Thus you see how Christ suffered.

And beloved, He suffered, and was tempted, that he might succour you that are tempted. Will you question his love then, because of your temptation, or your own condition? do ye know what you do? Suppose that your Father should leave you a great Estate, and give you good Evidences; and Page  111a cunning Lawyer comes, and writes upon the back-side of your Evidence, Naught, naught: will ye because of that, joyn with him and say, that your Father hath given you nothing? Christ hath given you in a great Estate of Mer∣cy, and hath given you good Evidences for it; and Satan now, comes & writes upon the back-side of your Evidence, and saies, This is naught. Will you joyn with him against God and Christ? what wrong is this to his love? think of it, I pray, you that are the Saints and people of God: Be humbled under every temptation, though it be never so small; but never question your condition, though your temptation be never so great.

There is indeed, something of a suffering, a malignant quality, an affliction in every temptation when it takes least: and therfore, look how you would walk under an afflicti∣on, so walk under your temptation. In your affliction, you will walk Humbly: so under your temptation do. In your affliction, you will examine the Cause, especially if your affliction lie long upon you: So in your temptation do. In your affliction, you will seek God Early: So in the morning of your temptation do. In the day of your affliction, you will Engage to God; the day of affliction, is the day of engaging, and you say, Oh! if the Lord will deliver me, through his grace I will do so and so: So in your temptation do. In your affliction, you will take heed of those sins that you are most apt unto in the time of affliction: so do in the time of your temptation: For ex∣ample thus: in affliction, a man is very apt to be discoura∣ged, to have his heart sink and to die within him: So in temptation, take heed of that. In affliction, a man is apt so to mind his present burden, as to forgit all his former mercy: so in the time of temptation take heed of that. In the time of affliction, a man is very apt to be froward, and impatient, to break out into frowardness, and impatiency though he did not so before: As the wood that is laid up∣on the fire, sends forth filth which you did not see in the wood before it came upon the fire: So men are apt to send Page  112forth filth, and much frowardness and impatiency in the time of affliction, when you took them for good natured people before, and thought there was no such frowardness in them, and no such impatiency: So in the time of temp∣tation also take heed of that. In the time of affliction, men are apt to make an evil construction, and interpretation of things: Affliction raises Passion, and Passion puts other colors upon things than formerly; and so in time of temp∣tation, we are apt to make strange constructions of Gods dealings, and Christ's dealings with us: take heed of that. In time of affliction, men are apt to change their behaviour; David did so, he let fall his spittle upon his beard, and faigned himself mad; he changed his behaviour: and so are men apt to change their behaviour in times of temptati∣on: take heed of that. In time of affliction, men are apt to stint, and limit God, and say, Can God provide a table now? and can God deliver now? and so also in the time of temptation, men are apt to say, Can God provide now? & can God deliver now? and so stint, and limit the Holy One of Israel; take heed of that. In the day of affliction a gracious heart does rather rejoyce that he hath any oppor∣tunity to exercise his grace, than mourn for his present bur∣den: so do you now. In the day of affliction, a gracious heart doth more desire to be cleansed, than to be delivered; wishes rather that his heart may be sanctified by his affliction, thā that his affliction may be removed. There is somthing of a suffering (ye have heard) in every temptation: now then, does a temptation arise, and presse in upon you; Go to the Lord and say, Lord, though I meet with hard things from the hand of my temptations, & these temptations have lien long upon me: yet I do rather chuse Grace than Peace; rather to be Cleansed, than to be Delivered: Oh! my belo∣ved, how well might it be with us, if we did but improve our temptations? what againing day, what a learning day might the day of temptation be? yea, what an harvest-day unto us, when Satan desires to winnow us?

But you will say unto me; [Quest.] We are greatly unskil'd in this Page  113matter: temptations I have, and great temptations, where ever I go, in every business: but Oh! how should I so order things, and mannage my thoughts, and my heart, as that I may be able so to walk under these temptations, that I may have peace and comfort in the latter end.

Beloved, the next point tels us, [Answ.] That Jesus Christ is a succouring Christ to all his tempted people: and I intend (God willing) to shew you, how Christ succours, and how we should draw succour from him under temptations. But for the present, give me leave to give you some Rules, and Directions, against these suffering temptations, and so I will winde up all.

First, Take heed that you don't yeeld to any thing, [unspec 1] that you may be rid of; that you don't yeeld to any part of the temptation, that you may be delivered from. It is more easy to keep the E∣nemy out of the town, than to get him out when he is come into it: if he get into the town, and get into the market∣place, it will be a more hard thing to get him out again. It is an easie thing to keep a stone on the top of an hill, while it lies there; but when once it begins to roul down, it is a hard thing to stay it, and you cannot say how far it shall go: How many are there that say when they are tempted, I'le yeeld but once, I'le yeeld but a little, and I'le never yeeld again, this is the last time: Oh! but, your once yeelding, and your yeelding but a little, ingages your heart to the whole work. you should watch and pray a∣gainst temptation; Watch and pray that ye enter not into temp∣tation: he does not say, Watch and pray, that you be not tempted; but watch and pray, that you enter not into temp∣tation. 'Tis one thing for temptation to knock at the door, and another thing to come in: When temptation enters you, you enter into temptation; take heed of that.

Again, Take heed that you don't carry the sin, [unspec 2] and the guilt of your Old condition, into a New condition. See your Call in∣to a New condition, before you leave your Old condition. Never count your self safe, or secure in any condition, but assoon as ever you come into any condition, observe what Page  114are the snares, and temptations of that condition. Some there are that carry the evil of their former condition, into an after condition, into a new condition; and then as Ra∣chel carrying a way her fathers Idols, tempted Laban to fol∣low after.

Some again, they don't much mind their Calling to a condition, nor don't go in the strength of their Call: whereas you shall observe, that when Peter was called to stand before the Princes, and Rulers, he did boldly professe Christ, because his call did lead him thereunto: but when he was not Called into the High-Priests hall, then he fals before a tempting wench. Others again there are, that think their condition wil secure them: Oh! saies one if I were but in such and such a condition, then I should be safe and free from Satans temptations; whereas, several conditions, have several temptations: and the Devil does use sometimes to tempt a man to alter his condition, so that by your very avoiding a temptation you fall into it. Take heed of this.

Thirdly, [unspec 3] If temptation do arise, observe the temptation; and know that there is some suitable disposition of your own, wherein the Devil does lay that temptation, and labour to file, and pare off that disposition. Beloved, the Devil observes the situation of our hearts, and accordingly does plant his Ordnance: he seldom tempts, but he laies his temptation in our own disposition, something sutable unto the temptation. So when David had a mind to number the people, then the Devil stands up, and provokes him to number the people sutable to his own disposition. When our Lord and Savi∣our Christ was an hungry, then he comes and tempts him to turn stones into bread. When again, he cryed out and said, My God my God why hast thou forsaken me? then saies the Devils instruments, If thou be the Son of God, then come down and shew thy self. He does usually lay his temptation in our own disposition that is sutable to the temptation. And therefore, I say, first observe the temptation, then know you have a disposition subservient thereunto, and Page  115the Devil laies his temptation in that disposition, and pre∣sently fals to work, and labours to file, and pare off more and more that disposition in Jesus Christ.

Fourthly, When a temptation arises, [unspec 4] don't alwaies stand to answer it in the kind, but sometimes turn your mind and thoughts off it to another object. 'Tis in our deliverance from a temp∣tation, as in our comforts under an affliction: a man hath a great affliction upon him; possibly the death of some friend that is near and dear unto him, and you go to comfort him, and in comforting him, you fall a speaking of his friend departed: whereas the way to comfort him, is not to speak of the person departed, but fall into confe∣rence about some other good thing different; and by that time his heart is setled upon some other thing, then you may come back again, and speak of the friend departed without grieving of him, but otherwise, even in your comfort you fetch out tears. And so I say in regard of temptation: the way to avoid temptation, is not alwaies to apply a salve directly pertinent to the temptation; but turn off your mind and your thoughts to some other good objects, and by that time your mind is setled upon other objects, you will be easily able to meet with the temptati∣on.

Fifthly, Above all things take the shield of faith. [unspec 5] Whom re∣sist siedfast in the faith, Simon, Simon (saies our Saviour) Sa∣tan hath desired to have you, that he may winnow you: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith faile not: that must do it. That same woman that came to Christ for her daughter, she met with great temptations: There was the temptation of her calamity; her daughter possest: There was a tempta∣tion of Christs not answering, but delaying his answer. There was a temptation of Christs seeming denial; I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel: There was a temptation of her own unworthiness; 'Tis not lawful to take the childrens bread and to cast it to dogs: yet notwithstan∣ding she beleeves, Oh! saies our Saviour, Woman, great is thy faith, be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And so I say, though Page  116your temptations be twisted one within another, and one stands at the end of another; do but get the prospect of faith, and you will be able to look over all. When temp∣tation therefore arises, say, Lord, though thou kil me, yet will I trust in thee: And Satan, though thou slayest me, I will keep to Jesus Christ. It was the speech of Taulerus, one that Luther prizeth above all: Saies he, Though the Marriners may make use of their Oars in the time of calm, yet when a storm comes down, the Marriners leave all and fly to their Anchor. So, though at other times we may make use of Resolutions, and Vows, and the like; yet when the storm of temptation comes down, nothing then, but fly to the anchor of faith, nothing then like to casting of anchor into the Vail. And as if the holy Ghost, put al on this, he cals Faith our Anchor; and he cals Faith our Shield: All dangers are either Sea-dangers, or Land dan∣gers: if your dangers be Sea-dangers, Faith is your Anchor; and if your dangers be Land dangers, Faith is your Shield. And therefore I say, when temptation arises, labour then to exercise your faith, and say, Oh! how should I do this thing, and sin against my Christ, and sin against my God? Satan, thou tellest me, All this I will give thee, if I wil do this thing: I but, how shall I do this, and sin against Je∣sus Christ who hath loved me, and given himself for 'me? Satan, thou tellest me, that if I do yeeld, God is merciful, and God will pardon me: Yea, but Satan, God hath par∣don'd me already, and therefore I will not yeeld; and be∣cause I know that the Lord would pardon me if I did it, therefore I will not do it. Thus labour to exercise your faith in time of a temptation.

Sixthly, [unspec 6] Be sure of this, When temptation arises, don't fear too much: nor don't fear too little. I confesse, it's an hard thing to carry it equally, between too much, and too little: but (beloved) if you fear too Much; you honour Satan, you weaken your selves: immoderate fear weakens. And if you fear too little, then you grow secure: security betraies you, and so you lose all before you strike a stroke. Where∣fore Page  117this Rule is: If temptation arise, don't fear too much, though the temptation be never so great: don't fear too little though the temptation be never so small.

Seventhly, Art thou assaulted by temptation? [unspec 7] Either you do overcome; or you are overcome: if you do overcome, be Thankful, lest you lose your former Victory, by your after-Ʋnthankfulness. And if you be overcome, yet don't lay down the weapon, hold it up still, stand upon your guard. The Devil tempts that he may tempt; and he is willing to be overcome in the skirmish, that he may overcome you in the battel: and he brings up the greatest temptations in the reare: As Jobs afflictions were greatest at that last: yea, he tempts us to break the Law, and sin against the Law, that he may tempt us to sin against the Gospel. This is the Seventh Rule: If you be overcome, or be not overcome, walk thus.

Eighthly, and Lastly, [unspec 8] If temptation do arise; Be sure that you make some improvement of it for the better. If an enemy come and make an assault against one of your garrison∣towns, and he goes away, and gets no hurt, he is incou∣raged, and invited to come again; for (saies he) I lost no∣thing; though I did not gain, and carry the Town, yet I lost nothing: But now, if upon his assault he loses many men, and his Ordnance, I'le come no more there (saies he) for there I had such and such a great loste. Thus it is with Satan when he comes before a soul with his temptations; there is a soul (saies he) I came before him with my temp∣tations, and though indeed I did not carry it, I did not get the thing I would, yet I lost nothing, and therefore I'le go again. But there is a soul, and there's a heart, I came before him with my temptations, and I confesse I lost much; I tempted and he prayed, and the more I temp∣ted the more he prayed, and the more I tempted still, the more he did go to Jesus Christ, and therefore I will tempt him no more. Beloved, labour to improve your temp∣tations, goe to God with your temptations in your hands, and pray over your temptations: and if you improve your temptations, you shall not be troubled Page  118with Satan; and therefore you are troubled with Satan so much, because you improve your temptations no more. Oh! how well might it be with us, if we did but improve our temptations? what a good day would this be? what a good day might be this sad day of our temptation, if we did but improve our temptations? And I beseech you think of it, how we may improve them more and more. You know what our Saviour said concerning the false ground; in the time of temptation it fell away: let that awe our hearts. You know what our saviour saies again by way of comfort unto his Disciples; You continued with me in my temptations, and therefore I appoint unto you a kingdom: and blessed are they that do continue, and hold out this siege. Beloved! these turning times, are tempting times: and I think I may truly say, if ever there were an hour of temptation upon this kingdom, this is the hour of Eng∣lands temptation, it is an hour of temptation. Oh! you that are the servants of God, and the Disciples of Jesus Christ, will ye not watch with him one hour? an hour of temptation it is, but this is our comfort, it is but an hour: and therefore you that are his servants and Disciples, will you not watch with him one hour? Watch and pray, watch and pray: some pray, but they will not watch; and some pretend to watch, but they don't pray. There∣fore that I say to you, to my self, and to all is, watch and pray: if you watch, you enter into your masters joy; if you watch not, you enter into temptation: Oh! let us all watch and pray, that we enter not into temptation.

Page  119


For in that He himself hath suffered being tempted,* he is able to succour them that are tempted.

BY the word Tempted in the first clause, re∣lating to Christ, we are to understand Satans solicitations to evil, (as ye have read in the former Sermon:) By the word Tempted in the last clause, He is able to succour them that are tempted, specially to understand those solicitations of Satan and our own sins, by comparing the former verse with this. As if the Apostle should say: For in that our Lord and Sa∣viour Christ was tempted by Satan, solicited to what was evil; He is able to succour them that are both, either soli∣cited to evil, or overcome thereby.

But how is it said here, He is able to succour them that are tempted; in that he himself suffered being tempted? Was he not as God, able to succour them that are tempted? Why then is it said, In that he suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted?

There is an ability of Sufficiency: and an ability of Ido∣niety. As God (indeed) he is able to succour those that are tempted: but by being tempted in the flesh, he is able, that is, apt, and idonious to succour those that are tempted. There is an Absolute ability: and a Respective ability as he is Page  118〈1 page duplicate〉Page  119〈1 page duplicate〉Page  220High-Priest. As God indeed, he was able to succour them that are tempted, though he had not been tempted: but he speaks of Christ here as our High-Priest; and so by be∣ing tempted, he is able to succor them in that way. There is, (as I may so speak) a Scientifical ability, or an Experi∣mental ability. As he was God, he was able in the first sense to succour, 'tis true: but by being tempted, he is able Ex∣perimentally to succour them that are tempted.

It is an ability of Disposition and Compassion that here he speaks of. And therefore in the fift Chapter, speaking of the same thing, he saith concerning the High-Priest, That he can have Compassion on the ignorant, and those that are out of the way. So then, Christ by being tempted, is able to suc∣our those that are tempted with an ability of Idoniety, an Experimental ability: with an ability of Compassion and Dis∣position, and gracious Inclination. And so the Observa∣tion that lies before us, is this:

The Lord Jesus Christ, [Doct.] is a succouring Christ to tempted souls.

In the former Doctrine ye heard, That God suffers his own servants, and dearest children to be sorely tempted: Now this Doctrine holds forth the remedy, Jesus Christ is a succouring Christ to tempted souls. As our hearts are full of Sin, So his heart is ful of Succour, he is a succouring Christ. His Names, and Titles speak him so. His Nature speaks him so. His Officies, His Doctrine, His Life and Conversation; His Death and Sufferings call him a Succouring Christ. I shall not run thorow all these particulars. But because men are known by their Names, I will fix there a little: and we shall see, how all the Names and Titles of Christ call him a Succouring Christ.

If we search the Scripture, we may observe, That the Names of Satan, of the Devil, carry malice with them, and evil against them: And the Names of Jesus Christ are con∣trary thereunto, as holding forth a Succour against all that evil that is in him, who is The Evil One.

Is the Devil called Satan? that is, an Adversary: Jesus Page  221Christ is called our Friend. Is Satan called Diabolus? the Accuser, or the Accuser of the brethren: Jesus Christ is called our Advocate. Is Satan called a Destroyer? Jesus Christ is called our Saviour. Is Satan called a Lyon, that goes up and down seeking whom he may devour? Jesus Christ is called a Lyon of the Tribe of Judah. Is Satan called a Serpent? and, Old Serpent? Jesus Christ is called the Brasen-Serpent. Still Names of reliefe and succour answerable unto those Names of Satan.

We shall observe, that there is no Evil in Sin, but there is somewhat in the Name of Jesus Christ that speaks the con∣trary, contrary succour. Is sinne called 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 or a transgression of the Law? Jesus Christ is called our Righte∣ousness: The Lord our Righteousness. Is Sin called Folly? Je∣sus Christ is called Wisdom, The Wisdom of the Father. Is sin called an Infirmity, or Weakness? He is called the Rock, and the Rock of ages, and the Arme of the Lord. Is sin called Darkness? He is called Light Is sin called Pollution, or Ʋn∣cleanness? His blood is the fountain opened for sin and for un∣cleanness to wash in. Is sin called Death? He is called Life. Is there Ignorance in sin? He is called our Prophet, in opposi∣tion to that. Is there Disorder in sin? In opposition to that, he is called our King to order. Is there Guilt in sin? In opposition to that, he is called our Priest; he is called our Propitiation, in that place of John: But in the 3. of the Romans, and the 25. verse, He is called our Propitiatory: Whom God hath set forth to be a Propitiation (so you reade it) but rather, a propitiatory:* the Same Greek word that the Septuagint used for the Jewes Propitiatory: And in that he is our Propitiation, or Propitiatory; this speaks him a succouring Christ.

Famous was the succour, and reliefe that the Jewes had from their Cities of refuge: and as if the holy Ghost inten∣ded the confirmation of this Truth that is now before us, those Hebrew Names that were given to the Cities of refuge are given to Christ. Is any of the Cities of refuge called Kedesh? signifying Holy: He is called Holy, Holy, Holy.Page  222Was another City called Shechem? signifying Shoulder: Ʋpon his Shoulder is the government; and the lost sheep brought home upon his Shoulder. Is another City called Hebron? from Society, or Fellowship: By him we have fel∣lowship with the Father. Is another called, Golan? signify∣ing one Revealed, or Manifested: 'Tis said of him, He was Manifested in the flesh. Is another City called Ramoth? Things Exalted: Him hath God Exalted, and by him are all Exalted. In the phrase of the new-Testament, he is cal∣led our Father, and our Brother, and our Friend, and our Shepheard; a Hen, a Lamb, a Door: there's none of all his Names but speak him full of sweetness and loving disposi∣tion, and succour unto poor souls.

But that I may the better clear up this Truth I shall deli∣ver my self these Four waies.

  • First, That Jesus Christ is able to succour tempted souls.
  • Secondly, That he is willing to do it.
  • Thirdly, That he is faithful in doing of it.
  • Fourthly, How he doth it, in the day and time of their temp∣tation; and so come to the Application.

First, [unspec 1] He is able to do it. He is able to succour them that are tempted. He is able (saith our Apostle in that 17. of the Hebrews) to save those that come unto God by him, he is able to save them to the uttermost:* As Satan tempts to the uttermost, he is able to save to the uttermost. And as they sin to the uttermost, he is able to save to the uttermost. A man is said to be able to do all that which he hath a commission, and power from God to do: The Lord Jesus Christ in the 3. of the Romans and the 25. was set forth to be a propitiation: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation. He hath laid help upon one that is Mighty; and that is Christ. Design'd, and called he is to the office of the High-Priest. The proper work of the High-Priests office was, to condole with, re∣lieve and succour the people against their sins: And the more Eminent any High-Priest was, the more in this work. In the 17. of the Hebrews, we find all along, how abun∣dantly he excels all the High-Priests that ever were. As Page  223for other High-Priests, they did not take an Oath when they came into their office: but he swears. Other High-Priests, had sins themselves to offer for: but he Holy, and Seperate from sinners. Other High-Priests, dyed, and did not continue so for ever: but he liveth for ever to make inter∣cession. Other High-Priests, offered not Themselves: but he offered up Himself. He was a King and a Priest: they were not. They indeed entered into the Holy of Holiest, but it was Earthy: he is gone into the Holy of Holiest, and that is Heavenly. They were but Types of him, Shadows: if a shadow fall upon a dirty ground, it cannot make it dry; but the Sun can: and yet notwithstanding, these o∣ther High-Priests, the Apostle saith of them, Being compast about with infirmities; they could have compassion on those that are ignorant, and out of the way; They men of Infirmities, sinners; They in the time of the Law: How much more is Jesus Christ able to succour, who is so transcendent an High-Priest, and excelling all others that ever went before him. I'le say nothing of the great Power that he hath with the Father, or in his own hands: The Keyes of hell and death. He is able by Conquest for to succour you that are temp∣ted: he is able by Conquest for to raise the Siege that is laid against our souls; he hath beaten through the Enemy: As now, if a Town be beleaguer'd straightly, besieged by an Enemy, and the Enemy abroad in the Field, having an army in the Field: if any will come to raise the Siege, they must fight through the Army, they must beat through the Army before they can raise the Siege. Never a tempted sould but is thus besieged with temptation, closely begirt, and the Devils were abroad in the field, were the Masters of the field till Christ came: and no man, nor Angel was able to beat through: but Jesus Christ beat up the Quarters all along, beat through the Enemy, cast out Devils all along, overcame. Paul by being tempted overcame temptation. So by his dying he overcame death; and by taking our in∣firmities upon him, he overcame our infirmities; and by being subject to the Law, he overcame the Law, and the Page  224curse of the Law: and so by being tempted, he overcame temptation; and having beaten the Enemy out of the field he is now able to raise the Siege; he is absolutely able to raise the Siege, which none else is able to do: He is able to save to the uttermost. We shall not need to stand long on this.

But you will say, [unspec 2] We will grant Christ is able to succour tempted souls: but is he willing?

Yes, He is infinitly willing to succour poor tempted souls. Our great succour lies in Reconciliation with God the Father; as by comparing these two verses together doth appear. God the father hath set him forth to be a propitiation: it was the will of God the Father, that Jesus Christ should come and make propitiation, it was his will. Now, look into the 40. Psalm, and see what Christ saith concerning the will of the Father; verse the 7. Loe, I come: in the vo∣lum of the book it is written of me: I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy Law is within my heart: Some books reade it, Thy Law is within my bowels: thy Law is within my heart, 'tis in my desires. Yea, not only (saith he) in my desires: but in the Gospel we reade it, With desiring have I desired to eat this Pass-over, before he suffered. Desiring have I desi∣red. And (saith he) I have a baptisme to be baptizeds with, and I am straitened till it be accomplish't: I can have no rest till it be done, I am straitened till it be accomplished. Yea, not only so: but (saith he) here in this Psalm, I de∣light to do thy will: 'tis the will of God he should make pro∣pitiation; and so succour: I delight to do thy will. And in the 8. of the Proverbs: My delights are with the sons of men: some reade it, All my delight: but 'tis in the plural number. When God laid the foundations of the earth my delights were with the sons of men. A high, and a great expression. Surely, Jesus Christ cannot but be willing to succour tempted ones, when his delights are with the sons of men.

Again, A man must needs be willing, to do that which he is willing to suffer much for, to be at much cost and pains for. Da∣vidPage  225was willing to build the Temple, because he laid out so much by way of preparation. And Araunah was willing to have a sacrifice, because he gave up his threshing-flowr, it appear'd he was willing. And now when Jesus Christ is content to suffer so much that he may make a propitia∣tion for sinners, and reconciliation with the Father, and so succour; it argues that he is very willing.

Besides, A man is willing to have that done which he is much troubled for if it be not done. You know when Christ came to Jerusalem, he wept (saies the text) and he wept: He came a succouring, and they would not be succoured: How often would I have gathered thee as an hen gathers her chic∣kens under her wings, and thou wouldst not? A Hen is a suc∣couring creature: Christ came a succouring, came to ga∣ther them as a Hen. A Hen sits upon the eggs, and hatcheth with the warmth of her body: So doth Christ do with the warmth of his love. A Hen sits till the feathers be off her own body, makes her own body naked for to hatch up: And so did Christ. When the chicken is hatch't, she suc∣cours it, and covers it under her wings: and when the chicken can run abroad, let the hen find but a grain of corn, she clucks, and cals the chicken to her to have part of it: And so did Christ. And when danger comes, the Kite comes, she cals the chicken under her wings again to suc∣cour it: So does Christ. When he saies thus, he came to gather them as a Hen gathers her chickens under her wings, he came to succour them, but they would not be succour'd; see how he takes it: the text saies, He wept, he wept; he was much troubled. Wise men don't use to weep before company; children will: but those that are very wise, if they will weep, they weep in private: Jesus Christ (that was the wisdom of the Father) fals a weeping, and all be∣cause they would not be succour'd; Surely then, Jesus Christ is very willing to succour poor sinners. And belo∣ved! this was his love, and this was his compassion in the day of his infirmity; how great is it now in the day of his glory?

Page  226

Again, It argues that he is very willing to succour poor tempted souls, because he was so willing to cure diseased bodies; when he was upon the earth he was willing to cure them: So willing, as though it did cost a miracle, yet he would do it. So willing, that though they did not know him as he was, but thought him a Prophet, yet he would do it. So willing, as that though they did not desire it themselves but were brought by others, yet he would do it. So wil∣ling, as that though they were unmannerly in their co∣ming to him; withness the pulling the tyles off the house, yet he would do it. And that so willing, though much unbeleef express by those that were brought unto him, yet he would do it. I beseech you consider it: this was a work that Christ came into the world to do; this is The work: the work that Christ came to do, it was to bind up broken hearts: The work that Christ came to do, was to open the pri∣son doors to poor captives: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me (you know the place.) To administer a word in due season to those that are weak: He hath given me the tongue of the learned to administer a word in due season to those that are weak. Now then, if Jesus Christ was so willing to do the other work which was but his work by the bye, which was not The-work that he did come about: how infinitely willing must he needs be to do The-work that he did come about? but I say, to succour poor tempted ones, this was The-work that he came upon; Heaven hath not alter'd him, he hath lost none of his love by going thither: Surely therefore, the Lord Jesus Christ is infinitely willing to succour poor tempted souls.

Well, [unspec 3] But though he be able, and willing, yet it may be he is not faithfull.

Yes, saith the former verse, Faithful: merciful, and faithful High-Priest. Faithful in all his house as Moses was. What honest man will break his word? go contrary to his oath? He is sworne into this office of the High-Priest. Yea, we have not only his Promise, and his Oath, but the fa∣thers Bond for the Sons performance: The seed of the woman Page  227shall break the serpents head: it shall bruise his heel, she shall break his head. The pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. This is the work that is in his hand, to succour tempted ones: it shall prosper in his hand. In the 8. Chapter of Matthew, We reade there at the 16. verse, That he cast out spirits with his Word, and healed all that were sick: That is might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esai∣as the Prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses. Because he took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses, he took himself to be engaged for to heal the sicknesses, and diseases among the people. Beloved! he hath taken our infirmities, He hath borne our sins, and therefore he takes himself engaged also, for to heal our soul-diseases, to heal those temptations: He is very faith∣full.

Well, But suppose he is faithful: [unspec 4] How doth he succour those that are tempted, in the day and time of their temptation? (that is the Fourth thing.)

He succours Before temptation: He succours In temptation: He succours After temptation.

Christ succours tempted souls Before the temptation comes; sometimes: By a special manifestation of himself, ihs love, and fulness to them. When Christ himself was to be tempted, immediately before, the Father said from Hea∣ven, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And so, when Christ sees that a soul is to go into temptation, he speaks out from Heaven, and saies, This is my beloved servant in whom I am well pleased.

Sometimes he succours Before temptation; By laying in of Gospel-principles, and Gospel-dispositions in the heart. The Law is weak, saies the Apostle. As it is weak unto the point of Justification, the matter of Justification; so a legal disposition is weak as to the matter of resisting temptation: a Gospel-disposition is able to bear it off. Christ fore-see∣ing a temptation, laies in such a disposition, & then when it comes, Oh! saies the soul, How shall I be able to close with all this love of the world, having received so many Page  228love-tokens from my dear Saviour.

Again, He succours Before the temptation: By filling the heart with the holy Ghost. When the vessel is fild with one liquor, it keeps out another. I will return to my house (saith Satan) and I came and found it empty; and so he entered. The Lord therfore, fils the house, the soul with the holy Ghost, and so keeps Satan from entering.

He succours also, Ʋnder temptation: By opening the eyes of him that is tempted to see that 'tis but a temptation. A temptation is half cured, when a man knows that 'tis but a temp∣tation: when a mans eyes is open to see the tempter, and the temptation. Therefore men are so hardly cured, be∣cause they are hardly perswaded that 'tis a temptation; when they see that, then they say, Get thee behinde me Satan. Christ opens their eyes.

Again, He succours Ʋnder temptation: By letting fal some glimpse of his love, some love-look upon a tempted soul. And so, when Peter was in the High-Priests hall, Christ looks upon him, and he went out and wept bitterly. It was the sweet look of Christ, that made Peter weep bitterly; Peters tears, came from Christs eyes first: and though he were much engag'd, yet having a love-look from Christ, I'le stay no longer, and away he goes. And so, when a soul sees but the gracious eye of Christ looking on him, he breaks off from his temptation: thus he succours.

Again, He succours Ʋnder temptation, by temptation, even from temptation. Beloved! the Devil seldom tempts with one single temptation: As we seldom commit single sins, or receive single mercies; so the Devil seldom tempts with a single temptation. One may be laid in our Natures; and the o∣ther laid in our Callings: Christ sees now, that one is given to Uncleannesse, or to Pride; and so he lets out Sa∣tan upon him, to trouble him with blasphemous thoughts, and by the afflictions of those blasphemous thoughts, they are kept from Pride, and from Wantonnesse, and deligh∣ting in other sins.

He does succour From temptation; I say, from temptation Page  229by temptation (sometimes) by causing a word in the temptation to standout, so as thereby to give the tempted man an hint to Jesus Christ. So when Christ tempted, and tryed the woman of Canaan: 'Tis not lawful to cast childrens bread before dogs: There stood out a word, that word Dog: she laies hold on it, True Lord: yet the dogs eate of the crums. Christ does so order the very temptations of Satan, that some word or other in the very temptation does so stand forth as to hint the soule again unto Jesus Christ.

Sometimes he succours Ʋnder temptation: By throwing in a Promise, lotting the soul upon some Promise; which as a Ca∣ble, keeps the heart fast in the time of a storm.

And sometimes he succours Ʋnder temptation (again:) By weakending the temptation, and by keeping the heart, and the temp∣tation asunder; may be, by raising up some Affliction: Woe to that soul, when the heart and temptation meet, cor∣ruption and temptation meet. The Lord Christ therefore, sometimes is pleased to raise up an Affliction between them, that so these two wicked lovers may be kept asunder. Thus Under temptation.

After temptation he succours: By filling the heart with joy unspeakable and full of glory. By sending the Angels to Mini∣ster: As when the Devil left Christ, had tempted him and left him; then came the Angels and Ministred to him. Every way, Before temptation: and In temptation: and After temptation, the Lord Jesus Christ is asuccouring Christ to tempted souls, he is a succouring Christ: Beloved! he was aman of sorrows, that he might be a God of succours; his heart it is full of succours.

I come to the Application

Whist I stand upon this Truth,* me thinks I hear a so∣lemn, and gracious Invitation to all poor tempted souls to come unto Jesus Christ, to come for succor. There's none of you all, but labour under some temptation or other. Page  230Ye have read that the Lord Christ is a succouring Christ: shall I need to invite you to come unto him? Ye have read how able he is: and willing he is to succour. His heart is bent to succour you, his armes are open, his bosom is open, his heart is open to poor tempted souls that they may re∣ceive succour from him. Oh! therefore, you that are tempted, Come unto Jesus Christ that you may be succou∣red by him, Come unto Christ, Come unto Christ a∣lone.

You will say, [Quest.] But does he succour all that are tempted? why then are any damned?

Some men will not come unto him: [Answ.] Ye will not come unto me, that ye may have life. Some come unto him, but make an halfe Christ of him: They won't come under great temp∣tations, then they are afraid, and then they despair: They won't come under small temptations, then they despise: But for middleing temptations, those they will come to Christ for succour in; and thus they make a halfe Christ of him. Some come to him as to a Moses, make a conditional Christ of him: they must have their own Preparations, and Humiliations before they come unto him, or else they will not come unto him. But beloved! ye know what our Apostle saies, in the 7. of the Hebrews: He is able to save unto the uttermost those that come to God by him. Those that come to God by Him: if you do come unto Him, he will succour.

But my temptation is an Old temptation, [Object.] an Ancient temptation; I have gone under fears, and temptations for many yeers together, I may say, almost my whole life: and will Jesus Christ succour such a one as I am?

Pray what think you of the verse that goes before the text? [Answ.] reade it, and consider it: the 14. and the 15. verses. He himself took part of the same, that through death he might de∣stroy him that had the power of death, that is, the Devil. And (at the 15. verse) Deliver them from Satan that were all their life time subject to bondage. That he might deliver them from Satan that were all their life time subject to bondage: in Page  231fear of death, and all their life time subject to bondage.

Art thou therefore, a man or woman, that hath gone up and down all thy daies in fear of death, and fear of hell, and been in bondage all thy life time? See, he came to de∣liver such souls, such tempted souls as these are Christ came to deliver.

Oh! But my temptation is not a bare temptation, [Object.] there's much affliction that is mixt withal: and will he deliver those?

Yea, you know how it was with Jacob: [Answ.] Jacob used indirect means to get the blessing; Esau's heart rose against him: Jacob flies for it; when he was in the field, in the night, then Christ appears to him: A ladder, whose top was in Heaven (the Deity) the bottom on Earth (the Humanity) and Angels ascending and descending. All the while he was in his fathers house, he never had this Vision of Christ, but now, when he lay in the open field, Christ appears for his succour, by his Angels thus.

Oh! but my temptation is not such; [Object.] but my temptation is mixt with much Corruption; I have a Proud heart, an Ʋnclean heart, a froward heart; Will the Lord Jesus Christ lay such a wretched heart as mine is in his bosom? Oh! will he succour such a soul as I am?

For answer to this, [Answ.] I pray consider these Three things with me. The Lord Jesus Christ is a succouring Christ ye have read: And

First, He will succour tempted sinners most, [unspec 1] when they are most tempted. When the Child is sick, and when the Child is most sick, then the Mother comes forth and succours it, then love sits upon the bed-side, then love laies the Child in her bosom. And (saies he) in the 66. chapter of Esay, and the 13. verse: As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you.

Again, He will not only succour thus: [unspec 2] but he will suc∣cour you that are tempted, when you cannot succour your selves; when your own thoughts cannot succour you, when your own thoughts dare not succour you, or when your own thoughts trample-upon your Evidences, and when your Page  232own thoughts shall make a Mutiny in your hearts, and set al on fire: In the multitude of my thoughts thy word comforts my soul. The Lord knows how to deliver in the time of temp∣tation, though you do not know; and when you do not know it, then he knows, and then he will deliver when you know not. Reade again the same place, the 13. verse of the 66. of Esay. As one whom his mother comfor∣teth so will I comfort you. Who are those? (saies he) at the 5. verse. Hear the word of the Lord, ye that tremble his word, and you that are cast out by your brethren: As one whom his mo∣ther Comforteth, so will I comfort you: you that lie and trem∣ble before the promise, and dare not draw neer unto it, As a mother comforteth, so will I comfort you.

Thirdly, [unspec 3] He will not only succour thus: but he will succour poor tempted souls with a Notwithstanding; Not∣withstanding all their failings, Notwithstanding all their infirmities. Joseph, a Type of Christ, his brethren sold him away, he indured much misery: Afterward his brethren came to want; and they go down to Egypt to him; and when they came there, Joseph succours them, Notwithstan∣ding all their former unkindnesse; I am your brother Jo∣seph, I am Joseph your brother; 'tis true, you sold me, and thus and thus you dealt by me; but you are come for suc∣cour, and I will succour you with a Notwithstanding. So saies the Lord Jesus Christ; Poor tempted soul, I know how thou hast dealt by me, how thou hast sold me, how thou hast neglected me, how thou hast crucified me: but I will succour thee with a Notwithstanding, Notwithstand∣ing all thy guilt, and all thy fear, I will succour thee with a Notwithstanding.

Three great succours that the Jewes had in the wilderness: Suc∣cour from the Rock, that gave out water: Succour against their Thirst. Succour from the Mannah that came down from Heaven: succour against their Hunger. Succour from the Brasen-serpent: from the fiery serpents that stung them. All these Three were great Types of Christ. And the Rock was Christ, saies the Apostle. And saies Christ Page  223himself: I am the bread, (speaking of the Mannah.) And when I am lifted up, (speaking of the brasen-serpent, allu∣ding to it.) Now, look into the story and you will find; God did not give out these succours to them till they murmur; in the 15. of Exodus, there they murmur, and murmur, and murmur, and then God opened the rock, and God gave them water notwithstanding. And in the 16. of Exodus, there he gives them bread. And in the 17. there he opens the rock: but first they murmured; the Lord gave them these succours with a Notwithstanding. The thing that I mean is this: Will the Lord give them a Typi∣call Christ for their succour, with a Notwithstanding? and will he not give poor tempted souls the Real Christ with a Notwithstanding, Notwithstanding all if they do come un∣to him, if tempted souls do but come unto him? Oh! what a mighty incouragement is here unto all poor tempted souls to come unto Jesus Christ? Oh! you, Come unto Je∣sus Christ, you that never came unto Jesus Christ, Come unto Jesus Christ, you shall find him a succouring Christ.

Secondly, If this Doctrine be true: [unspec 2] what ground of strong Consolation is here unto all the Saints? Oh! you that are the servants of God, children of God; you that are Saints, will you ever doubt of Christs love again? will you ever suffer your hearts to lie under the pressure of de∣spondent fears again? Doubting arises from Ignorance, mistakes of Christ; we put Esau's cloathes upon him; we make him an Angel of darkness and then we fear him. Ye don't look upon him as a succouring Christ, and therefore you are so full of Doubtings: or if you do, you don't actu∣ate your considerations, and you notions on him.

Beloved! Either there is a truth in this Doctrine; or else there is not. If there be not, what mean all the proofs that ye have had? And if there be a truth, if the Lord Je∣sus Christ be a succouring Christ to tempted souls; why then should you not triumph in him? and say, Well, no∣thing shall separate me from the love of God in Jesus Christ: Page  234I am perswaded, I am perswaded, that neither death, nor life, nor Angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other ereature, shall be able to separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Thus Paul reasoned in the 8. of the Romans. And I pray mark it; Who then shall separate us? (saies he at the 35. verse) shall tribulation, or distresse, or persecution, or fa∣mine, or nakednesse, or peril, or sword? Nay in all these things we are more than conquerers, through him that loved us. I am per∣swaded, that neither death, nor life, &c. Whence did arise this perswasion? (at the 33. verse) Who shall lay any thing to the charge of Gods Elect? it is God that justifieth. (Mark) He does not say, 'Tis God that justifies me; but only in the general, 'Tis God that justifieth: Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died. He does not say, 'Tis Christ that died for me: but 'tis Christ that died.

You will say, [Quest.] I, indeed, if I could say, That God justifies me; and Christ died for me; then I would say with Paul, That no∣thing shall separate.

Paul raises his perswasion thus: [Answ.] 'Tis God that justifies, and 'tis Christ that died.

I but, [Quest.] was there any temptation, in any of all these that Paul speaks on?

Yes sure: [Answ.] Why does he say else, That in all these things we are more than conquerers? There is an adversary power in this. And what think you when he saies, That neither life, nor death, nor Angels, nor principalities, and powers? Does not the Devil come in there, under principalities and powers? Neither does he say thus: I'le hope well now, That be∣cause Christ dies, and 'tis God that justifies; I'le hope well: No, but I am perswaded, none of all these shall separate me from the love of God in Christ. Though I have feared, I will fear no more. Thus he makes his Triumph. Oh! what strong consolation is here to all the Saints? You that are the tempted Saints of God, do not your hearts burn, and glow within you with love to Jesus Christ? and will you question his love to you? Did Christ Come and Page  335succour you? and will not you succour your selves? Is his heart full of succour toward you? and won't you own it? The Lord rebuke our unbelief.

Thirdly, If Jesus Christ be a succouring Christ: [unspec 3] Then let us be succouring Christians. Shall the Lord Jesus Christ take a poor tempted soul into his arms? and shall I thrust him away with my hand? Shall the Lord Christ take him into his Bosome? and must I thrust him out of the City, and the place where he dwels? Shall the Lord Jesus Christ car∣ry a poor tempted soul upon his shoulder, by way of suc∣cour? and shal I carry him upon my shoulder as a burden? It was Christ's Command: See that ye love one another, as I have loved you. And how did Christ love us? He loved us, and gave himself for us: He loved us, and was made in the form of a servant, took our Infirmities upon him: he lo∣ved us, and was tempted for us, suffered being tempted: And shall not I be willing to succour those that are temp∣ted? You look upon another mans Opinion, or his Pra∣ctice, or his froward disposition, and you are offended at it whom otherwise you would love, and do account godly: But how do you know whether that be not his temptation? that his disposition, and Opinion, and Practice; how do you know whether that be not his temptation that he lies under? and will you not succour him? Oh! my beloved, How contrary are our dispositions to Christs? Christ came from Heaven to succour those that are tempted: and we call for fire from Heaven against those that are tempted. Christ would bear with much smoke, for a little fire: and we wil quench a great deal of fire because of a little smoke. Oh! therefore, as you desire to be like unto Jesus Christ, succour the Saints: and if there be any thing in their life that does offend you, say with your selves; I but, may be it is a temptaion that such a man lies under; and Christ came to succour those that are tempted, why should not I?

Fourthly, If the Lord Jesus Christ be a succouring Christ? [unspec 4] Then why should we yeeld unto our sins, and to our temptations?Page  236Though the Siege be straight, and violent, and fierce, if a City be block't up, be beleaguer'd; if it have but hopes that succour and relief will come, it will hold it out: and if it know for certain that succour will come, it will hold out unto great extreamity. There's never a temptation but you are beleaguer'd by it: and when your temptation is about you, say, O my soul, be quiet, yeeld not; the Lord Christ is a succouring Christ, and succour will come, and therefore hold it out. Shall the Lord Jesus Christ, shall he succour me against my temptations with his bo∣som? and shall I take my sins, and temptations into mine own bosom? Shall he come to succour me against my sins? and shall I succour my sins that he comes against? What a mighty argument is here to keep us from all our sins, and from yeelding to our temptations? Jesus Christ is a suc∣couring Christ to tempted souls.

In the fift place, [unspec 5] If there be a truth in this, Christ is a succouring Christ: Let us all labour to answer Christ. Be∣loved! 'tis the duty, and the property of the people of God, to observe what God is doing upon their hearts, and to help on that work. If Jesus Christ be succouring of any of your souls, against your temptations; Oh! help it on, help on the work; 'tis your duty for to help it on, and to answer him.

But you will say, [Quest.] Christ succours Before temptation; and he succours Ʋnder temptation; and he succours After temptation: how shall I answer this? how shall I help his work on?

Give me leave to give an answer unto this Question, [Answ.] and so I will winde up all. Does the Lord Jesus Christ succour Be∣fore temptation? Observe his succours, and lay them up in your hearts against a rainy day: Gird your sword upon your thigh, it may not be to seek when the enemy comes: have it in readinesse. You don't lay the plaister on upon the wrist for the Ague, when the Ague is on, but before it comes. Observe what those tokens of love are that Jesus Christ does throw into your bosom before a temptation comes, and lay them up carfully there.

Page  237

And beloved in the Lord; Labour to keep the sence of his love warm upon your hearts; Look as it is with water in win∣ter; so with your hearts in this respect: So long as the fire is under the water, and the water is hot, it freezes not; but when the heat goes off, and the water is cold, then ice comes upon it. And so long as your heart is kept up in the sence of Christs love, and warm with Christs love; so long the ice comes not, the temptation comes not. The slumber of grace, is a preparation to sin, and a preparation to temp∣tation. When once our hearts grow cold, and grow re∣misse; then way is made to temptation: and therefore, if you would answer Jesus Christ; Oh! labour to keep the sence of his love still upon your hearts.

And when the temptation is come: Then look upon Jesus Christ. No temptation so violent, or fierce, but a thought may steal out, and get a look upon Jesus Christ. The sight of Christ on the Cross, is a Judge upon the Bench against all temp∣tation. The consideration of Three things, keeps one from the power of temptation. The worth of a soul: The hainousness of sin: And the love of Christ. And you see all these in Christ upon the Crosse. When temptation comes, stand & look upon him. You know, that when the Israelites were stung, they were then to look upon the brasen serpent, and by their very looking upon it, they were cured thereby. The Lord Jesus Christ is our brasen-serpent, lift up upon Gospel poles, having more excellency than any brasen-serpent: That was but a piece of brasse: he is the God of glory. That for a time: he is our High-Priest, and lives for ever. That for the Jewes only: but he for Jew and Gentile. That for those that could see; and if any poor, blind man was stung, it was a case, what should become of the blind man, how should he look upon the brasen serpent? how should he be cured; but this our brasen serpent, is able to give you an eye. Beloved! this Ordinance is still on foot spiritually. And therefore Christ saies by the Prophet Esay, Look unto me from all the ends of the earth, and be saved. Oh! when a temptation comes; poor tempted soul, ad∣dresse Page  238thy self to the Lord Jesus, stand wishly looking up∣on him.

And then: Give thy soul over into the hands of Christ all thou canst: put thy self out of thine own hands. So long as the planck, or the board swims in the stream, in the midst of the water, you may draw it along with a little thred: but if once it come towards the banck, towards the shoare, and touches upon the ground, then you can hardly draw it. So long as your temptation is in the stream of Christs love, and of his blood, you may draw it along the more ea∣sily: but if once it come to touch upon your own shoare? Oh! then you draw hard. Whensoever therefore, a temptation arises, go unto Jesus Christ, and say, O Lord, I have no strength to stand against this great Enemy: I con∣fesse it is my duty to resist this temptation, but 'tis thy pro∣mise to succour me under this temptation, and therefore I put my self upon thee.

And then, rest upon Christ. As I use to say, Your very re∣sting on him makes him yours; your resting on his strength makes it yours; and your resting on his succour makes that yours.

And if the Lord command you to the use of any means; Don't rest upon any because they are great: Or despise any because they are small. You do observe, that the great Victories a∣mongst the Jewes, they were obtained by the weakest means; and by the blowing of rams horns wals fell down. Those were but Types of those spiritual Victories under the Gos∣pel.

God seldom does wound the head of a temptation, but first the heel (the means) is bruised whereby the head of the temptation is wounded. As Christs heel is bruised in his wounding of Satans head; So I say, 'tis in regard of means: seldome that any means does wound the head of a temptati∣on, but the very heel of that means is first bruised: and therefore, don't despise it though it be small.

And if it please the Lord, to cast in any Promise, when you are under a temptation: Oh! take heed, that you don't Page  339live upon the letter of the Promise. I mean, don't live upon the Conveyance, but upon the Land: and yet how many do live upon the bare Promise, bare letter of the Promise. When a temptation comes, passe from the temptation unto the Promise; and through the Promise unto Jesus Christ, and learn to live upon the thing Promised, and not the let∣ter of the Promise.

After temptation is over, (I can but touch on things) Either you have the better of Satan: Or else the worse. If you have the worse; Be for ever Humbled, but never Discouraged. And if you have the better of him: Then rejoyce in the Lord, and in all his goodness toward you, and in all his succouring love and mercy. Rejoyce in the Lord evermore, and again I say, rejoyce. As one whom his mo∣ther comforteth, so will I comfort you: and then it follows, They shall rejoyce; your hearts shall rejoyce. But take heed your spiritu∣all joy after Victory, don't degenerate into carnal joy, and you be drunk therewith. 'Tis reported of the English, that once going into Spain, and taking in a Town there: after they had taken it in, there being much wine in the Town, the souldiers fell a drinking of themselves drunk; and the Country came down upon them, and beat them out, and recovered the Town again. So 'tis with many: They have a Victory over temptation, and they begin to rejoyce spiritually; but their spiritual joy degenerates into carnal joy, and they are drunk with their joy, and so lose their Victory. Beloved! Joy not in your Joy, but in the God of your Joy after Victory.

And if you have the better after temptation, if you have the better: be sure of this, That you improve your Victory to more assurance. If the Devil get the better of you, he'le be sure to improve his Victory to your despair: I say, if he get the better of you, he will be sure to improve his Victo∣ry to your despair. Therefore, if you get the better of him be sure that you improve your Victory, to more assurance of Gods love in Christ.

Yea, (my beloved) for ought I know, there is no temp∣tation Page  240that a child of God meets withal, but he may im∣prove it to more assurance. As thus:

Surely, If I were the Devils own, he would never trouble me thus. When the strong man keeps the house, all is at peace, and all is at quiet. Now ever since, from the very first day that I have set my face towards heaven, and Christ; Oh! how have I been troubled, and tempted, and perplexed, and vexed in my spirit? Surely therefore, I am none of the Devils. Now if I had been his own, I should have been more quiet under him: but because I am thus troubled. I hope in the Lord I am none of the Devils, I am the child of God. Thus a man may improve.

And, Oh! what a good thing were it, if we did make improvement of our temptations! what gracious improve∣ment might we make of all our temptations? and what a blessed issue might we have in our temptations, if we did go unto Christ for succour.

I beseech you therefore in the Lord, when as any temp∣tation arises, go unto Jesus Christ, he is a succouring Christ. He hath National succours; and he hath Family succours; and he hath Personal succours: You have National temp∣tations; and you have Family temptations; and you have Personal temptations; Soul-temptations; temptations when you are alone. Therefore go unto Christ for suc∣cour.

To conclude, I beseech you (beloved in the Lord) go to Christ and try him, put him to it: The greater your temp∣tation is, the more fit work for Christ to cure: do not de∣spair, do not sit down; go to Jesus Christ, you shal find him better than I have spoken, you shall not find him worse; he will go beyond my words, he will not fall short of my words. As the Devill goes about like a roaring lyon, see∣king whom he may devour: So Jesus Christ in the Gospel, goes up and down with his succour, seeking whom he may succour. Go to him for succour: and the God of peace, even Jesus Christ himself, tread down Satan under our feet shortly.

Page  241


LUKE 22.31, 32.
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath de∣sired to have you that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.

AFTER our greatest injoyments of God, usually follow the greatest temptations of Satan. And therefore our Saviour speaks these words unto his Disciples. In the 19. verse of this Chapter, we find them at the Lords Supper with Christ himself; This is my body which is given for you; This do in remembrance of me. Having received the Supper with Christ himself, and having had sweet Com∣munion with him there, our Saviour gives them out a most gracious and blessed promise, at the 28, 29, & 30. verses, Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations, and I appoint to you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me: that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Having said thus unto them; He comes in the very next words to acquaint them with a great temptation that was coming down up∣on them all: and therefore these words are knit together with the former by the word And; And the Lord said, Si∣mon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired. Though you have had this Communion with me; and though I have made Page  242you this gracious and blessed promise, know, that there is a great storm of temptation coming down upon you.

Here are two things: The Danger of the temptation; and the Remedy against it. The Danger in the 31. and the Re∣medy in the 32. verse. In the 31. verse we have considera∣ble, The Tempter; called Satan, which signifies an Adver∣sary. The Tempted; and those are, not Simon only, but all the Disciples. Satan hath desiredyou: 'tis in the Plural num∣ber: he directs his speech unto Simon, but the temptation spreads larger upon all the Disciples: That he may sift you.

The Manner of the temptation, in Two expressions: Satan hath Desired you: according to the Original word, Satan hath challenged you into the field;* as one man does another: And hath desired you, that he may sift you as wheat, and leave you nothing but chaffe. Plainly then, here this Observation.

The Lord Jesus Christ does give leave sometimes unto Satan, [Doct.] to tempt and winnow his own and best Disciples; Christs own, and best Disciples are exposed to Satans temp∣tings, and winnowings: not Peter only, but James, and John, and all the beloved Disciples of Jesus Christ were exposed here unto Satans winnowings. He hath desired You, in the Plural number, not thee Pe∣ter only, but you all my Disciples, that he may sift you as wheat.

For the clearing and making out of this Truth, I shall labour to discover.

  • First, What great power Satan hath to tempt, molest, and an∣noy the children of men.
  • Secondly, That he puts forth this power especially upon the Saints, Christs own-and bestDisciples.
  • Thirdly, How he comes by this power, and why God the Fa∣ther gives him this leave. And so to the Applycation.

First, [Quest. 1] If ye aske me, What power Satan hath to infest, mo∣lest, and thus to tempt the children of men?

I answer, [Answ. 1] First, ye know that Satan is an Angel still;Page  243and being an Angel, he is a Superiour creature to man, and therefore, according to the rank of Creation he hath a great deal of power over man. Man hath a great power over the Beasts, for man is a Superiour. The Beasts have a great deal of power over the Herbs, and the grasse, for the Beast is the Superiour. The Angels by Creation are Superiour to man, Satan, though fallen, is an Angel still: according to the rank of Creation, therefore he must needs have a mighty power over the children of men.

But he is not only a Superiour creature, [Answ. 2] but also a more Spiritual creature than man, he is a spirit; and upon that account, he is more able to come within a man, to close with a mans soul and spirit: being spirit himself, he is more able to converse with, to close and get within our souls and spirits.

Thirdly, He is able to suggest unto man whatsoever he plea∣ses, and to cast in a thousand sinfull objects into a mans mind one after another. [Answ. 3]

Yea, and he being so well experienced, [Answ. 4] having studied man for many thousand years: having gotten in all these years so much tempting skill and policy, he is able to dis∣cern what that bait is, that will take soonest with the children of men, according to their Natures, Constituti∣ons, Complexions, Ages, Sexes, &c.

Further, He is not only able to present and suggest; [Answ. 5] but he is also able to follow his suggestions. It is said, That he stood up, and provoked David to number the people: he did not only present that evill unto David, but he did solicite, he provoked David to number the people (saies the text.)

He is not only able thus; but he is able also, [Answ. 6] to bemire the phansie, to raise stormes in that lower region: A mans soul (ye know) it works by organs, it works by the body, and by the phansie: now Satan being able to disturbe the phansie of a man, is thereby able also, to hinder the very operation of the soul.

Page  244

He is able to hold down a mans mind unto that parti∣cular thing, [Answ. 7] and to cut off al relief to the soul; so to befiege it, that unless relief comes immediately from Heaven, he is able to bow down a mans mind, and to hold it down un∣to that particular.

Lastly, [Answ. 8] satan hath so great a power, that the same words that are given unto God, and unto the holy Ghost for good, in Scriptnre, are given also unto Satan for evil. The holy Ghost is said to enlighten a man: Satan is said for to blind him, The god of this world hath blinded their eyes; saies the Apostle. The Spirit is said to Rule in us; Satan is said, To rule in the children of disobedience. The holy Chost is said, To work in us mightily, the same word is used for Him also. The holy Ghost is said, To fill the hearts of beleevers; They were filled with the holy Ghost: So are mens hearts said, To be filled with Satan: Saies Peter to Ananias, why hath Sa∣tan filled thine heart? Indeed, there are three things especi∣ally, wherein he does fal short: for though Satan is able to discern what temptations would take best with a man, yet he don't know mans thoughts, for God only is the knower of ones thoughts; that is Gods prerogative. And though Satan may work very effectually in the children of disobe∣dience, yet notwithstanding, he does not work with an Al∣mighty power. When the Lord converts a man, he puts forth an Almighty power in mans conversion. The same power (saies the Apostle) that raised up Christ from the dead, makes ye to beleeve. The Devil is Magnipotent (saies Luther) but not Omnipotent: the Devil may be very powerful, but he is not Almighty: neither does he put forht an Almighty power in his temptations, as God does in the conversion of a sinner. And though he may suggest, and provoke un∣to what is evil, he cannot force, or determine any man to evil. And therefore saies the Apostle Peter, why hath Satan filled thine beart? he asked Ananias that question, because Satan, though he did fill his heart, he could not have for∣ced, or determined him without his own will thereunto. But very powerful Satan is. In the 6. chapter to the Ephesi∣ans,Page  245you shall see the Apostle speaks thus much unto you there: at the 12. verse. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the ru∣lers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickdness in high places. He speaks concerning Satan, as you see in the former verse, Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the Devil, For we wrestle not a∣gainst flesh and blood, &c. It is something for a man to have all the world against him, to have all man-kind against him: if all man-kind should be aginst one man, you would say, there were a great strength; but behold more than that, here is something more than flesh and blood that every man does wrestle against: For we wrestle not a∣gainst flesh and blood: all man-kind is but flesh and blood, and so ther's a weakness; but we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, for Authority; and against power, for Strength; and against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual wickedness in high places. Oh! what a mighty power then hath Satan to in∣fest, molest, and to tempt the children of men.

Whether does Satan put forth this power, [Quest. 2] and exercise this his tempting power upon the Saints and Children of God?

Yes, [Answ.] for they are the Saints that the Apostle speaks of here, in that to the Ephesians; For we wresile not against flesh and blood. You that are Ephesians, and you that are Saints We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principa∣lities and powers. Properly, ye don't wrestle with a man that is down; ye wrestle with a man for to throw him down; but he must be a standing man that ye wrestle withal: ye don't wrestle with one that does run away but one that stands to it. Now all wicked men, they are down, but the Saints they stand, and they labour to throw Satan down, and Satan labours to lay them all along in unbe∣lief: but they properly do wrestle with Satan, for they stand, the other are fallen already.

Yea, the Saints are not only tempted by Satan; but the Page  246best, and the most beloved Disciples of Jesus Christ. In the old Testament: who more beloved than David, and Job? yet they tempted. In the new Testament, who more be∣loved than Peter, and Paul? One of the Circumcision, and the other of the Uncircumcision and Apostleship, and yet both had special temptations.

Yea, it is possible for one of Gods own children to be so far opprest with Satan, that he may even be weary of his life. In the 10. of Job, and the 1. verse, saies Job under his great temptations: My soul is weary of my life. And if Re∣bekah were weary of her life, because of the children of Heth: much more may a poor, gracious soul be weary of his life, by reason of these children of darkness, these po∣wers of darkness, these temptations of Satan.

But you will say, [Quest.] Why should Satan lie so heavy upon Gods own children and people? for he may know, that they shall be sa∣ved do he what he can: Satan had heard our Saviour Christ say to Peter, The gates of Hell shall not prevail against thee; and yet now Satan tempts: if Satan know this, why should he follow Gods children, yea, the best of his children so sorely with sad temptations?

Satan is the envious man we reade of in Scripture; [Answ. 1] and when he hears the Lord owning and honouring of his chil∣dren, then does his envy work and rise: and when he hears any of Gods children triumphing by faith, and ma∣king boast of the love of God, then does his malice kindle into a flame; shall such a one go to Heaven, and shall I be damn'd? (saies he) shall such a one be received, and shall I be cast away for ever? These are the boylings of this envi∣ous mans heart against the children of the most high.

But there is this great reason for it. [Answ. 2] Satan knows, that if he can but make Gods people, and the best of his chil∣dren fall; though they should not be damn'd, but pardo∣ned, that their fall shall be stumbling blocks unto others that may be damn'd. And therefore, I pray mark, how it is carried concerning Dauid: it is said, in the 1 Chron. 21. chapter, and the 1. verse. That, Satan stood up against Israel Page  247to provoke David to number Israel. It is not said thus, And Satan stood up against David, and provoked David to num∣ber Israel: no, but thus, And Satan sood up against Is∣rael, and provoked David to number the people: he stood up against Israel; why? because he know, that if he did make David thus to number the people, it would be a stum∣bling for all Israel, and all Israel should fare the worse by it. When Satan stands up, and tempts the master of a fa∣mily unto sin, he does not barely stand up against him, but in tempting him, he stands up against all the family. When Satan tempts a religious holy man, a beloved Dis∣ciple of Christ in a Town, Satan stands up against all the Town in tempting that one man. He stood up against Is∣rael, and tempted David to number the people: and so when he tempts those that are the most beloved Disciples of Christ, he stands up against others; and therefore though Satan knows, that their sins shall be pardoned, yet he does follow them with sad and sore temptations. [Answ. 3]

Thirdly: Satan loves to divide between friends: he is the great make-bait of the world, he loves to divide. He may know, that there is so much goodness between man and wife, that he shal never part them; and yet he will labour to sow discord between them, that they may live uncomfor∣tably. And so, though he knows he shall never part Christ and a poor beleever; yet he will labour to throw jealousies into the heart of a beleever concerning the love of Christ. He knew well enough what was said concerning our Savi∣our Christ: What was said by the Angels at the birth of Christ; what was said by the Angel to Mary; what was said by Elizabeth; he heard what was said from Heaven, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: and yet pre∣sently he comes to Christ with an If: If thou be the Son of God: laboring to throw a jealousy into the heart of Christ, and to doubt of his Son-ship, even with God the Father. So I say, although Satan should know, that the Lord will pardon such of such a man, yet he loves to make a division between God and the soul, and to cast in jealusies between

Page  248

Christ and a beleever. As for others (saies he) they are my own already, I shal not need to break into that house, there is nothing but chaffe lies there; but here's a godly man, and here's treasure; and therefore he does especially lay his battery against the Satines, and those that are the most beloved Disciples of Jesus Christ.

But you will say unto me, [Quest. 3] How does Satan come by this tempting power; this infesting, and molesting power?

Great is the power (as we have read already) that he hath as he is a Superiour creature:* but Satan hath yet another power, and that is the power of Conquest; for in Adams fall, Satan conquered the whol world, all man-kind, they were the Devils conquest upon the fall. When a man is Converted, and trun'd to God, then he comes out of the kingdom of Satan. But I say, upon the fall the Devil made a conquest upon all man-kind, and so by conquest he hath a great power. Satan hath heave from God the Father to tempt; I don't say, that he hath a special leave for every temptation, not a special commission, or permission, or leave for every temptation; but there is no great, or extra∣ordinary temptation that does fall upon the children of God, but Satan hath a special leave from God the Father for it. There was a special temptation upon the Country, in his running their herd of swine into the Sea, and he had leave for that before he did it. There was a special temp∣tation upon Ahab, in the lying spirit of the Prophets, and he had a special leave, and permission from God for that. There was a special temptation upon Job, and he had a leave for that. Here was a special temptation coming down upon the Disciples, and he had leave for that. Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired you. He was fain to ask leave, and he had leave for that. There is no extraordinary, or great temptation befals any of the children of God, but Satan is fain to ask leave for it: he hath a leave for it, before he can come and tmept the soul.

But you will sa then unto me, [Quest. 4] Why does God the Father give Satan leave thus to tempt his own Children, and Christs own Disciples?

Page  249

First: take it thus, Lood whatsoever is the end, [Answ. 1] and the issue of any evil which befals the children of God, that was the design of God the Father, in suffering that evil to come upon them. Now the end, and issue of the Saints tempta∣tion is alwaies good unto them; and therefore God suffers the temptations of his people, because he hath a design of mercy, and love upon them in these temptations. What was the end, and issue of Satans tempting of Adam and Eve? They fell and then the righteousness of Christ, and eter∣nal life thereby was brought in: this was the end and the issue of it. Now God the Father had this design upon Sa∣tans temptation, all the while Satan was tempting of A∣dam: and the Lord would never have suffered our heel to have been bruised by Satans temptation, but that he did in∣tend to break the head of Satan. It was a great temptati∣on, that of David, when as Satan stood up, and provoked him to number the people: pray, what was the end, and issue of that temptation? I shall only name the Scriptures: The 1 Chron. the 21. chapter: and the 22. chapter and the beginning of it, and the 2 Chron. the 3. chapter, and 1. verse, compared together, you shall find this: First Satan tempts David; he numbers the people, the people being numbe∣red, a plague breaks forth: the plague prevailing, David goes and offers up a sacrifice at the threshing flowre of Or∣nan; and there God told him the temple should be built. David had a long time desired to know where the Temple should be built: he saies, he would give no rest unto him∣self, no sleep unto his eye-lids, until he had found out a place for God: you shall find, that David had this place discovered as the issue of this temptation, this was the issue of it, the Devil had as good have let David alone, he had as good have been quiet, for David now had the end & the issue, attain'd unto that, that he never did attain unto be∣fore. So I say it is with the people of God, the Lord ne∣ver suffers his own children to fall into any sin, but he does intend to wean them from that sin that they do fall into, even by the falling into it: the Lord never suffers any of Page  250his own children to be tempted, but he intends to break the back of that temptation, even by their being tempted. This is the design of God the father: Oh! what a glorious design of love, and mercy is here upon all the temptations of Gods people!

But God hath yet greater, [Answ. 2] and higher designs: The Ma∣nifestation of his own Power; of his own Wisdom; of his own Faithfulness; of his own Love and Free grace.

The manifestation of his Power. When Paul was temp∣ted, and buffeted by Satan, the Lord said unto him, That his sirength should be perfected in weakness: in Pauls weakness, Gods strength should be perfected.

The manifestation of his Wisdom, The Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation, saies the Apostle.

The manifestation of his Faithfulness. In the 1 Cor. 10.13. The Lord is faithful, and will not suffer ye to be tempted above what ye are able to bear.

The manifestation of his Free-love and grace. And therefore, when Paul was tempted and bufferted by Satan, and prayed against his temptation, the Lord answered thus: My grace is sufficient for thee.

But in regard of the Saints themselves: How should they give a Probate, or Testimony of their uprightness, and sin∣cerity, their firm, and fast cleaving to God, if they were never tempted: reade for this purpose, the 13. of Deuterono∣my, and the 2. and 3. verses. Before Job was tempted, Sa∣tan thought that Job had served God for a boone, for some∣thing: Hast thou not seen my servant Job (saies God) I, saies Satan, but does Job serve God for naught? Job's an Hypocrite, all things go well with him, Job's in a fair, and blessed outward condition, and Job was never tempted; does Job serve God for naught? but now touch him, and let me tempt him a little, and see if he don't blaspheme God then: thus Satan then. And just thus is the language of the Devil now: Does such a man or woman serve God for naught? he is but an Hypocrite, all things go well with him, he was never yet tempted: but, O Lord, let this man or wo∣man Page  251come under my hand, and let me tempt him a little, and see if he don't blaspheme. Well Satan, (saies God) Job is in thine hand, only spare his lefe: And Satan did tempt him, and touch him: and in stead of blaspheming, behold blessing; The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away; blessed be his Name: Here now Job gave a Testimony, that he did not serve God for something, that his heart was sincere and up∣right. And so, when men can hold out, notwithstanding all their temptations, they give a Testimony of their up∣rightness, and sincerity, and that their souls do cleave un∣to God in truth. For these, and many other reasons, the Lord doth suffer his own best, and dearest Children to be tempted by Satan.

I come to Application.

If God doth suffer his own people, and dearest children,* to be exposed to Satans temptings and winnowings: Why sould any man then doubt of his Child-ship, doubt of his own everlasting condition, and say, That he is none of the child of God because he is tempted? Beloved! I have seen a sore evil under the sun, a vanity even among the Saints, and people of God: Some doubting of the soundness of their condition, and the love of God, because they are not tempted; others doubt betause they are tempted. One saies, Oh! I am afraid I am none of the child of God, for I was never tempted, the children of God, they meet with temptations, but I was never yet buffetted, and therefore I am none of Gods child: Another on the contrary; I labour under these and these temptations, and therefore I fear that I am none of Gods child: yea, sometimes the same person thus: First, he does not observe his own heart, and saies he, I fear I am none of Gods child, for I never was tempted. Af∣terward, when he meets with temptation, then he doubts againe that he is not Gods Child because he is tempted: Oh! what Childish dealing is this with God your Fa∣ther!

Page  252

But my beloved in the Lord, If this be true, That the Lord doth suffer his own, and best children, to be exposed to Satans winnowings, and temptings; then why shouldst thou conclude that thou art not the child of God, because thou art tempted? Oh! but, I don't conclude (will some say) that I am not the child of God, I don't conclude that the Lord does not love me because I am tempted, but because I meet with such and such temptations. Tell me, did not David, Job, Paul, and Peter meet with such and such, and so great temptations? Yea, did not Christ himself meet with it? Oh! but, my temptations are such as would make ones haire stand upright on ones head to thinke of them; sometimes tempted, even to lay violent hands upon my self: What think ye of Christ? when Satan spake unto him, and tempted him to throw himself down off the pina∣cle of the Temple. Oh! but, I am tempted with such temp∣tations that I am ashamed to name, and my heart akes, and trembles when I do reflect on them, even with blasphe∣mous thoughts. What think ye of Christ? was not he tempted to blasphemy? Saies the Devil to him, All this will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me: what greater blasphemy than to worship the Devil? to make a God of the Devil himself, what greater blasphemy? Oh! but, I fear, and doubt my condition, and the love of God to∣wards me, because my temptations are not as the temptati∣ons of Gods children, but my temptations are such as can∣not stand with grace, there is a spot, that is not the spot of Gods people: and are there not temptations, that are not the temptations of Gods people? have not wicked men their peculiar temptations, such as does not fall upon the children of God? I am afraid that my temptations are of that rank and of that sort, and therefore I fear and doubt my condition. Mark I pray, This same word Temptation may be considered two waies: Either in regard of the For∣mallity, or form of the temptation; or in regard of the Ma∣teriallity, or matter of the temptation.

Take now Temptation according to the propriety of the Page  253speech and phrase, and so wicked men are not said to be tempted by Satan; by their own hearts they are, but I speak of Satans temptations, properly the wicked are not said to be tempted by Satan. He is said to rule in them, in the children of disobedience; and he is said to lead them captive at his will: but if ye look into the new Testa∣ment, ye will not ordinarily find, that wicked men are said to be tempted by Satan. A man does not tempt his wife, but when he solicites another woman, then he is said for to tempt that woman. As the Sains are married to Christ, so wicked men, they are match't to Satan; and he is not in propriety of phrase said for to tempt them. Your men stea∣lers, those that steal children, they don't tempt their own children for to go with them, they naturally go with their father: but they come and tempt your children, they are other folkes children that they tempt. And so Satan, he is properly said to tempt those that are none of his children. A Master don't tempt his servant, he is not said properly to tempt his won servant to dwell with him, or to serve him; but he goes to another mans servant, and speaks to him to come and dwell with him, and to serve him. As for wic∣ked men, they are properly the servants of Satan; and therefore when the Devil solicites them to do that which is evill, or to dwell with him, and to converse with him, 'tis not I say in propriety of speech a proper temptation: but for the servants of Christ, when he solicites them unto evil, then he is properly said to tempt them. This for the form of a temptation.

But now, take a temptation in the Materiality of it, for the Matter of it, which is a solicitation to evil; and so wic∣ked men are tempted by Satan; yea, they are more temp∣ted than the godly are; that is, they are more solicited un∣to evil by Satan; and the same temptation that godly men are tempted with, wicked men are tempted with: and the same temptation that wicked men are tempted with, a god∣ly man is tempted with. As there is no Duty which a godly man does performe, but a wicked man may do it, Page  254for the Act, and yet remain wicked: So there is no sin, which a wicked man fals into, but a godly man may be tempted to it and yet remain godly.

But you will say unto me, [Object.] This evil that is upon my heart, is not the temptation of Satan, but indeed it is the corruption of mine own heart, and therefore I fear my condition. Indeed, if I were sure that it were only the temptation of Satan, I should never que∣stion Gods love, nor mine own condition because of it; but, Oh! I am afraid it is not a temptation of Satan, but the corruption of mine own heart, and therefore I fear all is not right with me.

This is no new thing, [Answ. 1] for Gods own people and chil∣dren, to charge all Satans temptations upon their own hearts, to lay all at their own door. Wicked men, they charge all their own corruptions upon Satans temptations, as if they were not their own, but altogether Satans: God∣ly men, they charge all Satans temptations upon their own hearts, and upon their own account, as if they were, all their own and nothing of Satans; this is no new thing. Adam and Eve, when they were fallen, and had eaten the forbidden fruit, then they were ungodly, in the state of nature presently upon the fall before they beleeved in Christ: and, saies Eve, This serpent gave me to eat; as if she should say, He hath done it, 'tis all his work, 'tis Satans work, and 'tis none of mine; being in her unregenerate state, she laies all upon the Devil, and free's her self, as if she had nothing to do with it. On the other side, David was provoked by Satan to number the people; yet not∣withstanding, see what he saies in the 2 Sam. 24. Chapter and the 10. verse. And Davids heart smote him after that he had numbered the people; and David said unto the Lord, I have sinned greatly in that I have done; and now I be∣seech thee, O Lord, take away the iniquity of thy servant, for I have done very foolishly. He laies it all upon himself: he does not go now and say, Satan hath provoked me to num∣ber the people, and 'tis Satans work and none of mine; but he does charge it here upon himself, as if Satan had no Page  255hand at all in it. I have done foolishly (saies he) and I have sinned, and forgive this great iniquity. This is usual; Wicked men excuse their own corruptions, by Satans temptations: Godly men aggravate Satans temptations by their own corrupti∣ons.

But in the Second place: [Answ. 2] Although this be so, that it is usual with the Saints thus to do, to charge all upon them∣selves, and nothing on Satan; yet know, that the Saints seldom or never do fall into any great sin, but Satan hath a special hand therein. I am not of Origens mind, to lay all sin upon Satan, not upon man; but I say, there is no great sin that any of Gods children do fall into, but Satan hath a special hand and a work therein. And therfore if ye look into the New-Testament, you wil find, That the sins of the godly, they are very often called Temptations: in the 1 of Cor. 10. Chap. and the 13. verse. There hath no temp∣tation taken you, but such as is common to man; but God is faith∣ful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that which you are able, but will with the temptation also make a way to escape. Wherefore (at the 14. verse) my dearly beloved, fly from Idolatry, as if that were temptation too. And so in that 6. of Ga∣latians, 1. vers. If any man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering thy self, lest thou also be tempted: lest thou also fall into sin. And so the Apostle saies unto the Thessalonians, in the 1 of Thessa. 3. chap. and the 5. vers. For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain. The meaning is, Lest you are fallen; but 'tis called temptation to them.

Thirdly, Although this be true, [Answ. 3] That there is no great sin that the Saints do fall into, but Satan hath a speciall hand in it: Yet it is the property and disposition of Gods people to be humbled and grieved under their temptations as if they were all their own and nothing of Satans. Peter goes out and weeps bitterly when he had fallen; He might have said thus: The Lord told me that there was a temp∣tation Page  256coming, Satan had desired to winnow me; and now the word of the Lord is fulfilled, Satan hath tempted me, and I am thus fallen: But not a word of Satan, but he goes out and weeps bitterly, as if it were all his own work. And let me tell you for your comfort, When as you can mourn over your temptations, as if they were all your own, and nothing of Satans, the Lord will pardon them to you, as if they were all Satans, and nothing of your own.

In the Fourth place, [Answ. 4] to speak a little of the difference be∣tween these that ye may know the difference between the temptations of Satan, and the corruptions of your own heart.

When as your heart, and your flesh trembles and quakes under the first rising, and motion of a sin, this is not your own corruption alone, but there is a temptation with it. When the corruptions of ones own heart does work up evil, a mans heart is rather pleased and tickled with it, and con∣sents to it, then any way ones flesh lie trembling, and qua∣king under it. That temptation is not much to be feared, when a man fears himself for his temptation. He is to be feared most, that does fear least: and he is to be feared least, that does fear most. A godly, gracious, man or woman, is humbled under nothing more than under his temptati∣ons; he looks upon his temptations as the greatest afflicti∣ons in all the world. As now, take that of Blasphemous Thoughts; Suppose a poor soul troubled with such evill thoughts, such a poor soul saies, I do professe it in the sight of God, I never met with such an affliction since I was born: I have lost Children; Oh! but that affliction is not like to this: I have lost friends; Oh! but that affliction is not like to this: I have lost my Estate; Oh! but that affliction is not like to this. Man or woman, if it be thy affliction, 'tis not thy sin. And I appeal to you now, you that say, ye don't doubt of Gods love, ye don't fear your own condi∣tion because of temptations only, but because ye are afraid they are the corruptions of your own heart, and not the Page  257temptations of Satan; I appeal to you that say so; Are ye not afraid in your selves because of your temptations? Don't ye look upon your temptations as your greatest af∣flictions? Nay, does not thy flesh quake, and tremble some∣times, when a temptation dashes, and beats in upon thy soul? does not thy very outward man, sometimes, lie qua∣king, and trembling, before a temptation? Certainly, this is not all the corruption of thine own heart, here's the De∣vils hand, here's a temptation in it, and, poor soul, thou maiest have some comfort yet; notwithstanding the oppres∣sion is so great, yet here is comfort, 'tis no other but what may stand with grace.

Oh! but you will say: [Object.] Suppose it be all the temptation of Satan, and not the corruption of mine own heart, yet 'tis a great affliction, and what comfort can I have in this conditi∣on?

What comfort! Is it not much comfort to know, [Answ.] that there is nothing does befal you, but what may befall a true child of God? Sometimes ye say thus: No mans conditi∣on is like to mine; did I but know that it is so with other of Gods children, then I should be satisfied: This Doctrine tels thee, That Christs own best Disciples, sometimes, are exposed to Satans temptings, to Satans winnowings.

Is it not a great comfort, for a man to know, that while he is tempted, Christ is at prayer for him? But I have pra∣yed for thee. In time of temptation you cannot pray, I but Christ can pray, and he is then at prayer for you: as he said to Peter, so he saies to every Disciple of his now, But I have prayed for thee: poor soul, though thou canst not pray thy self, yet I have prayed for thee.

Is it not a sweet comfort, for a man to know, that the E∣nemy is overcome before he strikes? Satans temptation is overcome by Christs Intercession; and Christ prayes before Satan tempts; But I have prayed for thee: before the temp∣tation came.

Is it not a choice comfort, for a man to know, that Satan Page  258the great tempter, hath no more power than my father gives him leave? Thus it is, Satan hath desired &c.

Is it not wonderful comfort, for a man to know, that there is something that he can never be robbed of? When a man is travelling in his journey,; if he meet with theeves, they take away the money that he hath about him; but when they have taken away all his money that he hath about him, well (saies he) though they have ta∣ken away my spending-money, and that which I did wear about me, yet I have land at home that they cannot rob me of. And so saies a child of God (or at least he may say so) when Satan comes and tempts him, and robs him of some comfort; yet blessed be the Lord, I have Union with Christ that I can never be robbed of; and I have an inheri∣tance in Heaven that theeves cannot break through and steal away. Satan may take away my spending-money, my spending comforts that I have here in this world; but Oh! blessed be God, I have such comforts, and such an E∣state, such durable riches that I can never be robbed of Oh! you that are the Saints and people of God, lift up your heads: you that have been bowed under temptation, these things have I spoken to you, that you may not be over∣whelmed with temptation, you that are tempted, but that in the midst of all you may breath out your souls in the bo∣some of Jesus Christ.

Well, [Object.] but yet you will say, It is not comfort that I look for, or that I follow after; but the truth is, I am sorely tempted, and Satan lies heavy on me, following, and dogging me at the heels to yeeld unto his temptations; what shall I say, or what shall I do, that I may not yeeld unto his temptations?

What shalt thou say: [Answ.] If it be possible, don't stand to treat with Satan, don't stand to parley with him; he will dispute you out of all your comfort if you stand and par∣ley with him. You have half lost the field when ye honour Satan, and you honour him when you follow him into his disputes: if it be possible therefore don't stand and parley, or dispute with Satan, but if you must say something to Page  259him, and ye must treat, ye must speak; Tell Satan then, That therefore you beleeve it, because he denies it: there∣fore you do not beleeve it, because he affirms it; that you beleeve the contrary, because he speaks thus. When ye are to deal with a great lyar, one that is your Enemy, & he comes and tels you very ill news, you will say, He is a lyar, and he is my Enemy, and he does it to scare me, and there∣fore I beleeve the contrary. Satan is a great lyar, and he is your Enemy, and therefore when he saies unto thee, There is no hope for thee, thou hast been a great sinner, a Drunkard for thus many yeers, a Swearer thus many yeers, there's no hope for thee: say, Satan, therefore I beleeve the contrary, there is hope for me, because thou saiest there is none, for thou art a lyar, yea, the father of lyes.

Again, If ye must speak with Satan; then speak of Christ, of grace, of the infinite love of God in Christ: he cannot stand before words of grace, and before words of love: not a word of grace, or of free love in all his temp∣tations.

Yea, If you must speak with Satan, tell him, Oh! tell him, what ye find in the waies of God, and tell him, that you beleeve beyond what ye find; thus: Satan, for the pre∣sent I find nothing but sweetness in the waies of God; thou toldst me that if I would turn godly I should never have merry day again, but I tell thee what I now find, I find of a truth, That the sowrest part of godliness, is sweeter than the sweetest part of wickedness. Satan, I find, that all that e∣ver thou toldst me is false; Thou saidst, I should lose all my friends: I have better. Thou saidst, I should lose all my comforts if I turned godly; I have better, Satan. And this I find, Satan; That all that ever Christ spake unto me, is true: Oh! I find infinite sweetness in the waies of God, and I beleeve beyond what I find: that if the wheels of pro∣vidence should run never so crosse, yet through grace I would beleeve. Beloved! ye know what the Apostle saies, Whom resist, stedfast in the faith: and by faith we quench his fie∣ry darts. Must ye therefore neds speak with Satan; speak Page  260to him words of faith; not of sence (man) not of reason, but speak words of faith; I charge ye in the Lord, if ye will stand and parley, and speak with Satan, speak words of faith to him, speak words in a way of beleeving; and 'tis only faith that brings Christ and the soul together in the time of temptation; and when Christ comes in, Satan goes out.

But you will say, [Quest.] I know 'tis a good thing and happy, so to answer Satans temptations as I may not yeeld: But Oh! that I might not be led into any temptation: what shall I do that I may prevent it?

Take heed that ye don't stand playing upon the borders, [Answ. 1] or con∣fines of any sin. If you stand upon the brink of a sin, Satan comes behind you and thrusts you into it. Some there are that tempt the tempter, that begin unto Satan, they drink to Satan the first draught, and Satan pledges them, and drinks unto them again. Would you (m beloved) prevent temptation? Oh! take heed how ye stand playing upon the borders of any sin, the holes of the Aspes.

Again, [Answ. 2] If ye would prevent temptation: Then labour to get your hearts mortified unto the objects of love and fear. Satan tempts two waies: As a Serpent: And as a Lyon. When Satan tempts as a Serpent; then he does make a tender, and an offer of some comfortable, profitable, sweet thing: You shall be like God; You shall be as God, saies he unto Adam and Eve, when he tempted as a Serpent, came as a Serpent. And so dealing as a Serpent with our Saviour Christ, All this will I give thee if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Shews him the glory of the world, and all this will I give thee. So saies he unto a poor soul, when he tempts as a Serpent, Come and yeeld unto this temptation, and all this comfort will I give thee, and all this profit will I give thee, and all this repute and honor will I give thee. Thus as a Serpent. Sometimes he tempts as a Lyon: for he goes up and down as a roaring Lyon, seeking whom he may devour. And when Satan tempts as a Lyon, then he does roare upon a poor soul, and labours to scare him out Page  261of his conscience, and out of the good waies of God. And therefore in the book of the Revelation, Satan shall cast some of you into prison. Satan shall do it. And sometimes he does stand and rattle the chaines of a prison; Look, do ye hear these? If you will go on in such and such a way, you wil lose al your friends; & if you will go on in such a way, I wil make it too hot for you, and thus and thus shall you suffer, and it shall cost ye a prison ere I have done with you. Thus now Satan tempts as a Lyon, by holding terri∣ble objects before a man. It is said, That Satan came to our Saviour Christ, and he found nothing in him; so he prevailed not: But Satan comes to us, and he finds a great deal in us, he finds a disposition in us to be moved with ob∣jects of love, unto comfortable, and profitable things: He comes to us, and finds in us a disposition to be moved with Fear by terrible objects. Wherefore now (my beloved) do you desire to prevent the mischief of a temptation? Oh! labour more and more to die unto all the objects of your outward Love, and the objects of Fear; Die to the objects of Love, get your heart mortified to these two objects of Love and Fear. And be sure of this, if thou wouldst pre∣vent temptation, that ye labour more and more to walk in the light: Satan is the prince of darkness, and he walks in darkness: and he tempts in darkness. When night comes the beasts go forth to their prey, saies the Psalmist, And when Satan sees a poor ignorant soul, that walks in the dark, saies he, Here's a fit prey for me. Oh! therefore, you that are ignorant, and have sate ignorant under the Ordinan∣ces; for the Lords sake, labour to get more light, and more knowledge, get your heart opened unto every truth of God, labour to acquaint your selves more with Gospel∣light, and set your bosomes open unto every truth of the Lord.

And, beloved! whether you would overcome, or wha∣ther you would prevent temptation; what ever means you use; be sure of this, That you take your temptation and dip it in the blood of Christ. Take a candle, that is lighted, and Page  262only blow out the candle, the candle is easily lighted a∣gain: but when the candle is out, take it and put it into the water, and then 'tis not so easily lighted again: So now a temptation comes, and you blow it out with a Reso∣lution, and you won't yeeld to it, alas, 'tis easily lighted again: but now, take this candle, take this temptation, and come and dip it in the blood of Jesus Christ, and it will not be so easily lighted again; so you shall be able to pre∣vent temptation for the time to come: Never rest alone in re∣solving, but, Oh! take your temptation and dip it in the blood of Jesus Christ.

And if that you do overcome your temptation at any time; be thankful to God: if ye have more than flesh and blood against you, ye shall have more then flesh and blood with you. And therefore, have you overcome temptati∣on? go away and be very thankful, and say, Oh! though flesh and blood be against me, yet I have more than flesh and blood with me, praise the Lord much: And if you have been overcome with temptation, yet be not discouraged; for ye hear the Doctrine, God doth suffer his own dear chil∣dren to be tempted, to be buffeted, to be exposed to Satans temptings, and to Satans winnowings. But though ye be tempted, and it be a temptation of Satan, yet ye hear withall, That 'tis the property, and disposition of Gods own people to grieve, and mourn under their temptation as if it were all their own, and nothing of Satans. Where∣fore now (my beloved) having heard these things, think on them, and the Lord blesse them to you every day more and more.

Page  263


LUKE 22.31, 32.
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold,* Satan hath de∣sired to have you that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.

YE find that these words hold forth the re∣lation of a great storme of temptation coming down upon Christ's Disciples: The Danger of it. And the Remedy against it. Of the Danger somewhat ye heard from the 31. verse. And now I am to speak unto the 32. verse. But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.

Here is somewhat Implied; and somwhat Exprest: Im∣plied, Satans Design, and his great Design upon their faith. Exprest, Christs love and care, his special love and care over them, and towards them in this temptation. As if he should say thus, Simon, Simon, Satan hath desired to tempt you; not only thee, but all my Disciples: the temptation is great, and in this temptation, his great design is upon your faith: but I have spoken unto my Father, and your Father, that your faith may not fail. So that hence you may observe thus much:

That in the time of temptation, [Doct.] Satans great Design is upon the faith of the Saints, to make their faith fail.

Page  264

He doth not say, But I have prayed for thee, that thy Prayer faile not, or that thy Patience fail not, or that thy Love fail not; but I have prayed that thy Faith fail not. So that Satans great design in all his temptations is upon the faith of the Saints, that he may make their faith to faile them.

For the further clearing, and opening of these words, and of this Truth; I shall labour to shew you.

  • First, What it is for to fail in our faith: and how far the Saints may fail in their faith in time of temptation.
  • Secondly, What an evilthing it is for the Saints to faile in their faith in time of temptation.
  • Thirdly, That Satans great design in all his temptations, is upon our faith.
  • Fourthly, How Satan labours to weaken our faith in the time of temptation: what strokes he gives unto our faith, and how we shall be able to bare off those blows in the time of temptation that so our faith fail not?

If ye aske me, [Quest. 1] What it is for to fail in faith here?

The word in the Original signifies, [Answ.] * an Eclipse, as the E∣clipse of the Sun, or of the Moon: and the words may be so translated, But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith be not Eclipsed. But according to the ordinary acception of that word Eclipse, Peters faith did fail, for it was much Eclipsed. The word signifies also, a total defect, such as Judas made, who of a Disciple became an Enemy, a Traitour; and in stead of beleeving, fell to despair: and so Peters faith did not faile. A mans faith is said to faile, Either when it fals short of what it hath been, or what it should be; and in both these respects Peters faith did fail: It fell short of what it had been, it fell short of what it should be. But there is a Two fold failing in faith: One in regard of the Acting and Exercise of faith; and another in regard of the grace of faith it self. In regard of the Acting, Working, and Exercise of faith, Peters faith did fail: but in regard of the grace it self, so it failed not. The Lutherans, they say and contend much for it, That a regenerate mans faith Page  265may fail totally, and finally in time of temptation: and so they say, that Peters faith failed here, when he denied his Lord and Master; because it is said in the next words, When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. As if his faith had failed so far, as he should need a new conversion. But that word translated, When thou art converted, (as divers of the learned do well observe) may be translated,*A∣gain, thus: I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not: and do thou strengthen thy brethren again: do thou re∣turn to that work again. And so you have the same word used in the Septuagint, translated in the 58. Psalm, at the 6. verse. Wilt thou not revive us again? The word in the He∣brew is thus: Wilt thou not convert, or turn unto us, and re∣vive us? which we translate, Wilt thou not revive us a∣gain? And so the words here may be translated, (being an Hebraisme) But do thou strengthen thy brethren again. But suppose that the words stand according to their present translation, it does not argue, that Peter did fail totally in this temptation: for, the whole life of a Christian here, is a continual converting, and turning to God: We repent, and repent again; turn, and we turn again. Every day we turn unto God yet more and more; every day brings forth another conversion: yet not so, as if the former con∣version were made void. And if the faith of a beleever would fail totally in the time of a temptation; what should be the meaning of those words, in the 1. of Joh. 5. Chapter, and the 18. verse. We know, that whosoever is born of God sins not; but he that is begotten of God, keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not: The wicked one: that is Satan, he toucheth him not. But now, if Satan could tempt a godly man, and prevail so far in his temptation, as to make his faith fail totally, then he would touch him to the pur∣pose: but (saies the text) he keeps himself, and the wicked one toucheth him not: and therefore his faith cannot fail totally, a regenerate mans faith cannot fail totally. And ye know what is said, in that 7. of Matthew at the 24. and 25. verses. Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doth Page  266them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which hath built his house upon a rock; and the rain descended, and the flouds came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house; and it fell not, because it was founded upon a rock. Now every Beleever is founded up∣on a rock, (Christ) and therefore, though the rain descend, and the flouds come, and the winds blow, and temptations be never so great, he cannot fail totally, because he is built upon a rock. In the 13. of Matthew, ye know it is made the property of the false ground, that in the time of temp∣tation it fell away: Now if the good ground (a regenerate man) should fall away in the time of temptation; what difference were there between the false ground, & the good ground? Plainly therefore, the Scripture holds forth this truth unto us, That a regenerate man, a Beleever, though his faith may fail much, yet it does not fail totally in time of temptation. And thus Peters faith failed, and thus it failed not: In regard of the Exercise, and Acting of his faith, it did fail; but in regard of the grace it self, faith it self, so it failed not: and so it is, and may be with others of the Saints also.

Secondly: [Quest. 2] If the faith of a beleever do only fail in regard of the Acting, Exercise, and Working thereof, What great incon∣venience is there, or evil in the failing of his faith?

Much, (my beloved) very much: [Answ.] For though that faith fail only in regard of the Acting, Exercise, and working, he does lose an opportunity of glorifying God. 'Tis said of Abraham, That he beleeved, and gave glory to God. Faith gives glory to God: it glorifies his Power, his Mercy, his Faithfulness, and his Wisdom; not faith in the Habit, but faith in the Exercise of it glorifies God: and so much as a mans faith doth fail, in the Acting, Working, and Exer∣cise of it, so much he loseth an opportunity of glorifying God.

Moreover, He loses his own Comfort. Faith is a Com∣forting grace. Being justified by faith, we have peace with God. And in the 15. to the Romans, and the 13. verse, ye find, That Joy and Peace grows upon faith: Now the God of hope, Page  267fill ye with all Joy and Peace in beleeving. So much as a man does beleeve, so much Joy and Peace: if a man fail in the Exercise of his faith, he does lose his Comfort.

Yea, hereby also, he does lose his present prize. A Christ∣an hath a prize in this life; he hath a two-fold crown: A crown of glory in the world to come; and a present crown. And therefore saies the Lord unto the Church of Philadel∣phia, Hold fast that which thou hast, lest another take thy crown. Now if a man do fail in the Exercise of his faith, he does lose much of his present prize. Ye know how it was with Moses and Aron, ye reade of it in the 20. chapter of Num∣bers, and the 12. verse. And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye beleeve me not, to sanctifie me in the eyes of the children of Israel; therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have promised them. They were shut out of the land of Canaan for not beleeving. But Moses & Araon did not lose the grace of faith, it was only failing in the Exercise of faith; their failing was not in the grace it self, but only they failed, in the Exercise of their faith, and they were shut out of Canaan for it. And Moses besought the Lord earnestly in prayer, that he would reverse this threatning, and it might not be; he was shut out of Canaan, meerly for failing in the Exercise of his faith. Oh! what an evil thing is it then, for a Christian to fail in his faith, though it be no more than in the Exercise of his faith.

Further, In this failing of ones faith, though but in the Exercise of it; A Christian does lose much of the benefit, and sweetness of the mercy promised. Look as it is with a wicked man, in regard of the judgment threatned; So with a god∣ly man in regard of the mercy promised. Now take a wic∣ked man, and let the threatning of God be fulfilled before him upon others, upon himself; he profits not by Gods judgments. Why? because that he don't exercise faith concerning the threatning; and so when the judgment comes, he profits not by Gods dealing, by Gods judgments, he loses the benefit of Gods dispensations that way. So I say with a godly man: let the promise be fulfilled, and pos∣sibly Page  268he does not find the sweetness, or the benefit of the mercy promised when the promise is fulfilled: Why? be∣cause he don't exercise faith in the promise it self. When as the Lord gave Manna, Moses had the seetness of it, why? because he exercised faith about it: But the children of Isra∣el, they make a tush of it, a light matter of it: why? because they look't upon it in a way of sence, & did not take it in a way of beleeving, and so they lost the benefit, and sweet∣ness of the mercy promised. Beloved! it is no small mat∣ter this, for to lose the benefit, and sweetnesse of the mercy promised: that a Christian loses by failing in his faith in regard of the Exercise of it; and therefore certainly it is a very evil thing: though their faith fail not in regard of the grace it self, yet if it fail in regard of the work, and the exercise of it, it is a very evil thing, and much incon∣venience comes unto the Saints thereby.

Thirdly, [Quest. 3] Whereby may it appear, that Satans great design is upon our faith in the time of temptation?

He does tempt most unto that sin which is the greatesi: and the sin against the Gospel is the greatest sin. [Answ.] Satans great de∣sign is, to hinder the work of Christ, the kingdom of Christ in the hearts of the Saint; to counter-work the Spirit of God. Satan does tempt that he may tempt: and the grea∣test temptation usually comes in the reare, comes at the last. Satan does tempt a man to break the Law; but he hath a further reach in that: for he tempts a man to break the Law, that so he may tempt him afterwards to sin a∣gainst the Gospel: he lies in ambush in one temptation, for to draw to another. When Satan tempted our first parents Adam and Eve, he tempted like a serpent, in form of a serpent: and so now too, he comes, and he winds a∣bout us in his temptation; but his sting is in the taile, and at the latter end. And thus ye see it was in the temptation of our Saviour Christ: his great design was upon Christs faith: in the 4. of mathhew, ye know he hath Three temptations there: and saies he, in the two first temptati∣ons, If thou be the Son of God? and If thou be the Son of God?Page  269And in the Last temptation: All this will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. He tempted him to Blasphemy, and Atheisme; and what greater unbeleef? So 'tis with the Saints also: Satan, he comes and tempts them to sowre∣nesse, frowardnesse, and passion in their families, but he hath a further reach upon that distemper: for (saies he) I will tempt this man or woman to passion, and froward∣ness, and when he hath been froward, and passionate, then I will tempt him to be doubting whether he be the child of God or no: first I wil tempt this man for to break the Law, and when he hath broken the Law, then will Itempt him to sin against the Gospel, then will I strike at his faith: his great design still is upon your faith in all his temptati∣ons.

But you will say, [Quest.] Why is Satans great design upon our faith in time of temptation?

He is the great Robber, or Theef: and if he can, [Answ.] he will be sure to spoil a man of that wich is the best. Now faith is more precious than gold; the trial of your faith is, faith is the gift of God: and therefore, if he can get any thing from a man, he will get that which is Gods gift. He is the great hinderer of all good, of every good work; and he will especially labour to hinder that work which is The work of God in a special manner: and this is THE Work of God, that ye beleeve in his Son. Satan knows, that faith is the most Beneficial grace unto the Saints: The Shield of faith, it is called; and the Anchor of faith. If ye be in a storm at sea; faith is your Anchor: If ye be in danger at land, before Enemies, faith is your Shield. If that a mans Faith fail, his Duties fail, his heart failes, and all failes. He knows well enough, that he shall soon make us suffer shipwrack, if he can but weaken faith, and there∣fore his great design is upon our faith. He knows, that faith is most prejudicial to Himself: for by faith we overcome the world; whom resist, stedfast in the faith; And by faith we quench the fiery darts of the Devil. Now then (saies Satan) Does faith quench my fiery darts? then will I labour to Page  270quench faith if I can. The Devil does labour alwaies to present himselfe in Christs cloathes unto a soul, as an An∣gel of light: and he does labout to rpesent Christ in his own cloathes, as an Angel of darkness. When as he is a lyar Himself, he does labour to make the soul put the lye upon Christ, and upon the Spirit. The Spirit of God, that comes and testifies unto a man or woman, Thou art the child of God: Satan saies, No. When a man there∣fore does say, He is not the child of God; the language of his action is, He gives the lye unto the Spirit, and he saies, that Satan speaks true: So here he makes Christ and the Spirit of Chrhist a lyar by his unbelief; & he makes the devil to speak true. Now this is Satans great design, and there∣fore, in all his temptations, still he strikes at the faith of the Saints, labours to weaken their faith; his great design is upon their faith.

In the Fourth place, [Quest. 4] How does Satan weaken our faith in time of temptation? What are those strokes that Satan gives unto our faith? and how shall we be able to bare them off?

In the general, [Answ.] Satan does sometimes labour to weaken our faith, By drawing us from the means of faith. Take the wood away from the fire, it will soon lose it's heat, if not put out. And if a man be but drawn away from the means of faith; the means drawn from him, or he from the means by his own default, his faith will be soon wea∣kened. This Satan labours to do sometimes.

Sometimes again, He raises up Mountains of Difficulties, and Discouragements in the way of a Christians obedience; and so labours to wound his faith. Throw water upon the fire it will soon be out.

But that I may speak the more fully unto this great Question, the answer whereof is of concernment every day amongst you.

Ye know there the Three acts of faith: There is the faith of Reliance; whereby a soul does relye upon God in Christ. There is the faith of Assurance; Whereby a man is perswaded of Gods love towards him, and his love to God, Page  271and that he is the child of God, And there is the faith of Acknowledgment; whereby a man does own, and acknow∣ledge the Cause, and Truth of Christ. I shall now spend some time, and shew ye, How Satan strikes at all these faiths: and withal labour to shew you, How we may bare off his blows, that so we may stand in the time of tempta∣tion, and our faith may not fail.

First, For the faith of Reliance: Satan does sometimes strike at the faith of Reliance in the Saints, by hiding from them their former Experiences of Gods gracious dealing with them. So long as a man hath the sight, and view of his Experien∣ces of Gods gracious dealing with him before, he does relye on God, and he saies, I will for ever rest upon God, and relye upon God in Christ, for thus and thus he hath dealt wth me heretofore. Now therfore, Satan does labour in the time of temptation, to hide the Experiences of the Saints from them, and so does strike at their faith, and labours to make their faith faile.

But then, How should we bare off this blow? [Quest.]

Thus, Take heed that ye never rest upon the promise barely, [Answ. 1] or only because of your Experience; but rather deal with your Experi∣ence because of the promise. It is a good thing for a man to come up to the Promise by the ladder of Experience: but it's better for a man to go down to the promise by his Ex∣perience. And if ye look into the 106. Psalm, ye shall find, that when a man does rest upon the Promise, barely by reason of his Experience, his faith will soon fail. The wa∣ters covered their enemies (at the 11. verse, 'tis spoken of the Israelites when they came through the red sea) there was not one of them left. Verse the 12. Then beleeved they his words. (Mark) now because of their Experience, now they belee∣ved Gods word, now they beleeved his promise by reason of their Experience; Then beleeved they his words, they sang his praise. But what became of this? Reade the next words: They soon forgate his works, they waited not for his counsel. So that I say, take heed that ye don't rest upon the promise barely, and only because of your Experience, for if your Page  272Experience be but out of the way a little, then your heart will fail, and your faith fail presently.

Take heed that ye never mourn for any evil, [Answ. 2] no not for sin it self, so as to be unthankful for, or unmindful of former mercies. We are very apt to this; and Satan he comes and tempts, and saies unto a poor soul, Are you speaking of former mercies, or blessings to be thanful for them? That is a good work for others, but as for you, you have committed such a sin, and it's your duty now to mourn for your sin committed, look you to that, to be humbled; apply your self to that work: and so when he hath gotten a mans heart fix't upon that work in opposition to thankfulness for former mercies received, the soul loses the sight of his Experience and so his faith failes in the time of temptation. Wherefore my Ex∣hortation is, that you may avoid this blow, and this stroke, Never mourn, no not for son committed; but still be thank∣ful for grace received, otherwaies your Experience will go out of sight, and then your faith failes ye.

Again, [Answ. 3] Satan does sometimes strike at the faith of Reli∣ance, Labours to weaken the faith of the Saints Reliance, By sundering or severing their souls from the promise. So long as a man hath the sight of the promise, and the pro∣mise is by him; a gracious heart saies, I wil for ever trust in God, and relye upon God in Christ, for thus and thus hath God spoken, and thus and thus saith the promise to me. But now, if the promise be gone, then a mans reli∣ance fails. Satan therefore, in the into of temptation, la∣bours to take away the promise; scaring the soul, or cog∣ging the soul from the promise; this he does many waies, but sometimes he speaks out thus: What! do you meddle with the promise? the promise don't belong to you, the Threatening belongs to you; you have finned so and so, and the Threatning belongs to you, but the Promise don't belong to you: And if he can but get the soul to beleeve this, then his faith failes.

Oh! [Quest.] but, How should we bear off this blow in time of tempta∣tion? for I confesse thus, by this temptation does Satan strike at Page  273my faith, and labours to make my faith to faile.

In this case, let a mans heart speak thus: [Answ.]

First: If the Lord do command me to beleeve, [unspec 1] then the promise belongs to me, for I cannot beleeve unless I apply the promise: now in this time, at this very time of my temptation, the Lord does command me to beleeve, else it were no sin not to be∣leeve; 'tis a sin for me not to beleeve, not therefore the Lord commands me to beleeve; but beleeve I cannot unless I apply the promise, therefore God would have me to ap∣ply the promise, therefore the promise does belong to me, and I may apply it.

Again, Let the heart speak thus: [unspec 2] If the Lord does give out a Threatning that it may not be fulfilled; and he does give out a Promise that it may be fulfilled: If the very applying of the Threatning, makes the Threatning not to belong to me; and the very applying of the Promise, makes the Promise to belong to me; then the Threatning does not belong to me, for I have applied it; and the Promise does belong to me, for I have applied it; Oh! I remember how my soul hath lien trembling before the Threatning, the Lord knows I have often applied the Threatning: but now this is true, That the very applying of the threatning, makes the threatning not to belong to a man; and the very applying of the Pro∣mise, makes the Promise to belong to a man; and therfore Satan, the Threatning belongs not unto me, but the Pro∣mise does.

But then again Thirdly, let him say thus: [unspec 3] If I be more godly now, than I was when Satan told me, that the Threatning did not belong to me; and the Promise did belong to me, then there is no reason for this temptation. When I went on in a way of sin, then Satan told me, the Threatning did not belong to me; and then he told me, the Promise did belong to me: Oh! but now I am more godly than I was then, I have more of Christ than I had then I am sure, & therfore Satan, Didst thou tel me, that the Promise did belong to me then? 'therefore it belongs much more to me now. Thon toldst me heretofore, when I went on in a way of sin, the Threat∣ning Page  274did not belong to me: now then the Threatning does less belong to me, for now I am more godly than I was then. [unspec 4]

But above all things, remember that of the Commamnd to beleeve. Luther was a man that laboured under great temp∣tations: and being once sorely tempted, and the teares trickling down his cheeks; saies he my friend (my spi∣ritual father) came unto me, and said, O my son! why doest thou mourne? doest thou not know that God hath commanded thee to beleeve? When (saies Luther) I heard that word, Command, that God hath Commanded me to beleeve; it prevail'd more with my heart, than all that was said, or thought on before. So say I now unto ye, Does Satan come with this temptation, and tell thee, the Promise don't belong to thee? Answer, I but the Lord hath Commanded me to beleeve (Satan) God hath Commanded me to beleeve, 'tis my duty now at this time to beleeve; but I cannot beleeve unlesse I apply the Promise, therefore I may go by commission from God unto the Promise, and the Promise does belong to me. Thus, give in these an∣swers, so shall ye be able to stand, and to relye upon God, and your faith of Reliance shall not fail. This is the first thing, The faith of Reliance.

Secondly, [Quest. 2] How does Satan strike, or labour to weaken the faith of Assurance, the Assurance of Gods people?

Much may be said here, [Answ.] 'tis a large field I shall only ga∣ther up some few things, and present them to you.

Sometimes Satan does labour to weaken the Assurance of the Saints, [unspec 1] By telling them that they have no faith. As∣surance is the flower of faith, it grows upon faith; but you have no faith (saies Satan) and therefore your assurance is naught. But how unreasonable is this temptation! for, observe I pray, in what rounds Satan goes: He tempts us to beleeve that we have no faith, because we have no Assu∣rance; and he tempts us again, to beleeve we have no Assu∣rance, because we have no faith. For answer hereunto, I shall only turn unto that 4. to the Romans: It is said of A∣brahamPage  275(at the 21. verse) Being fully perswaded, that what God had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore (at the 22.) it was imputed to him for righte∣ousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him: but for us also to whom it shall be imputed, if we beleeve on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead. Abraham was justified by faith, it was imputed to him for righteousnesse: and saies the Apo∣stle here, it was not written for his sake, but for us also. We are justisied as Abraham was, by the same faith, what faith is that? is it the faith of Assurance? Yes! he was As∣sured indeed, but I pray of what? He was Assured that God was able to performe: He being fully perswaded, that what he had promised, he was able also to perform. Abraham beleeved that God was able, and so relyed upon God, and hereby he was justified. So it shall be with men and women now: if they be Assured, and Perswaded, that God is able, and so relye upon God; this is the faith that justifies. When therefore this temptation comes, Answer unto Satan: Satan, thou saiest I have no Assurance, because I have no faith; but I have this Assurance that Abraham had, whereby he was justified, I beleeve God is able to help me, and so I relye upon God, and therefore (Satan) I am now justified, and stand righteous through Jesus Christ in the sight of God.

Secondly, [unspec 2] As he does labour to weaken the faith of As∣surance, By telling the Saints that they have no faith: So also, by telling them, That they have no Obedience, that they don't profit under the means, that they are not fruit∣full: where ever there is true faith, there will be Obedienee, and men will profit under the means, and be fruitful; but you are Unfruitful, and you are barren, and where's your Obedience? here's no Obedience, therefore no faith: So no Assurance, your Assurance is wrong.

Well, But how may we ward, [Quest.] and keep off this blow in the time of temptation, that our faith of Assurance may not faile?

Truly, this blow is not to be warded off, [Answ.] if this be true; Page  276That ye never were Obedient, never Fruitful, never profited by the means of grace; this blow fals dead upon the soul, this blow is not to be warded off, this is no temptation. But now, if ye have ever been fruitful, if ye have ever been obedient, if ye have ever profited by the means of grace; though for the present ye may seem dead: yet remember what Job saies, There is hope of a tree, though it be cut down, that by the scent of waters it will florish again. And so, there is hope of thy soul, that by the scent of the Gospel-waters thou maiest flourish again. But though there be no obedi∣ence in your own eye, though ye don't profit under the means in your own eye; yet your obedience may be in the eye of others: and in time of temptation, another mans eye is a better judge than your own.

But suppose there seem to be no obedience, neither in your own, nor anothers eye; yet the root of the matter may be in you. Ye know how it is with the fish, that are in the water, in a windy and a stormy day: ye put many fish into a pond; and in a faire, sun shiney day, ye see them playing upon the water, upon the uppermost part of the water; but in a rainy, and stormy day, ye see none of them there, but yet you say, they are all there, they are in the water, they are at the bottome, though you see them not. And so, it may be, in this stormy time of temptation, your obedience, and profiting is not seen, but it may be there as heretofore. Satan does never more presse a child of God, to try himself by signs of grace drawn from his own conver∣sation, than in the time of temptation. There is indeed a good use of signs drawn from our own conversation, but this is agreed upon by all, That there's no use of them in the time of temptation. And therefore saies Luther: In the time of temptation, I am as if there were no Law, nor no works, but only the righteousness of Christ in the world, and so I do rest up∣him. Does Satan come forth therefore with this temptati∣on, That you have no obedience, that you don't profit, that you are Unfruitful? Answer it thus: True Satan, I con∣fesse I am very Unprofitable, and therefore I will learn to Page  277profit more; I confesse I am very unfruitful, and therefore I will labour to be more fruitful: But (Satan) I will not now at this time determine about my Condition; for it may be a time of temptation: hereafter, at another time, I will come and determine about my Condition, and I will look after signes; but now at this time, it may be a time of temptation, and therefore I will forbear to winde, and draw up a conclusion, but leane my self upon God, and rest upon God at this time.

Thirdly, [unspec 3] Sometimes Satan does labour to weaken the Assurance of Gods people, the faith of Assurance, to make that to fail, By telling of them, that they have no faith at all, because they have no particular faith, no particular promise; for, saies Satan thus: faith and Wavering, faith and Doubting do not agree; He that beleeveth doubteth not: but now, you pray and doubt, you beleeve and wa∣ver, ye have no particular word for what you beleeve, therefore ye have no particular faith, so no faith at all, and therefore your Assurance is naught.

[Quest.] How should we ward off this blow?

[Answ.] In this case now, let a poor beleever say Two or Three things unto his own soul.

First, Tell thy soul this: [unspec 1] Though it pleases God some∣times to give out a particular word unto his people, a par∣ticular promise, in the time of Affliction, or Desertion (e∣specially) or temptation; yet the Lord does not therefore giveout a particular promise, that a man may measure his condition thereby; (there's a mistake) but the Lord does therefore give out a particular word or promise, to uphold the soul in the condition: not to measure out his condition by it, but to uphold him; and therefore, though I have not a particular word, or promise, I will not conclude a∣gainst my faith for this.

Again, Tell thine own soul, [unspec 2] That though it pleases the Lord to give out a particular word or promise sometimes; yet alwaies he does not. Hezekiah had a particular word for his recovery; but the three children had not a particu∣lar Page  278word, that they should be delivered out of the fiery furnace, yet they beleeved; and whether God deliver, or does not deliver, (say they) we will not bow our selves to this Idolatry. So that, though God is pleased sometimes, to give out a particular word or promise, yet alwaies he does not, and therefore my faith may be right (Satan) though I have not a particular word now for this businesse.

Again, [unspec 3] Tell thy soul this: That though God is pleased thus to indulge, and sometimes to give out a particular promise unto his people, and they have a particular faith concerning this or that businesse; yet there is alwaies a Waiting-faith that we reade of in Scripture. There is a faith of Recumbency, whereby a soul leans upon God, and commits his cause unto God: And there is a Waiting faith. Now therefore (Satan) though I have not a parti∣cular word, and a particular faith for this business; yet notwithstanding I have a Waiting faith, I can waite upon the Lord my God, and I can rest upon Jesus Christ: and therefore (Satan) I do yet beleeve, and my faith is right. Tell your own soul thus; so shall you be able to stand to your faith, and shall not fall off in the time of your temp∣tation.

Thirdly, [unspec 3] For the faith of Acknowledgement. Sometimes Satan does labour to weaken the faith of the Saints Acknow∣ledgement. He does labour either that they should deny the Truth, or not own it: either that they should deny Christ, or that they should not own him. So he laboured to make Peters faith to fail, by denying Christ. And therefore, he comes unto a poor soul and saies, If you will go on in this way, it shall cost you a prison; can you lie, and rot, and die in a prison? he rattles chaines in the ears of a poor be∣leever, and so labours to scare him away from his consci∣ence, and from his faith, and from the Truth and Cause of God, and the good waies of Christ.

How shold we ward off this blow? [Quest.]

First, [Answ. 1] Before the temptaton comes, labour to possesse your heart much, with the Mercy, and priviledge of suffe∣ring Page  279for the Cause, Truth, Name, and Way of Christ. To you it is given, not only to beleeve, but to suffer; 'tis a great Gift: A suffering opportunity, and a suffering heart, is a great Gift from God. Is it not a great mercy to be confor∣mable to Jesus Christ our head? For this Cause (saies Christ) came I into the world, that I might bear witness unto the truth, Is it not a great mercy, to be confessed at the last day before all the world, Angels, and men? He that confesses me before men, (saies Christ) Him will I confess before my father &c. Is it not a great mercy, to live and reigne with Christ a thousand years? ye know that Scripture; I shall not speak of the meaning of it now, but cerainly, there is a great deal of glory promised there, living and reigning with Christ a thousand years: and the promise is made unto those that do acknowledge, and own the Cause, and Truth of God and Jesus Christ. Possesse your heart much, with the priviledge, and mercy of bearing witness to the Truth, the Cause, and the good way of Christ be∣fore your temptation comes.

Secondly, [Answ. 2] If you would bear off the blow of this temp∣tation; Be sure that you look upon both sides of your suf∣fering, or bearing witness to the Truth, Cause, or way of Christ: the Dark side, and the Light side; let them not be sundered. When the Lord cals for any of his people to suffer at any time for him, he does give them more strength than before, and he does give them more Comfort and Consolation than they had before. Now Satan, comes and holds forth the suffering, he makes mention of the suffering; but he hides the Strength, and the Consolation. Either Satan holds forth the suffering alone; or else, if he do mention any strength, or comfort that a gracious soul shall have in the suffering, 'tis but the same strength that he hath now, he don't speak of the strength he shall have then, and the great Consolation that he shall have then when the suffering comes: and so these being parted, the Suffering and the Consolation being parted, now our faith fails. When ever therefore this temptation does Page  280come upon you, answer thus: Satan, here thou bringest the suffering before me, and causest that to come before me; but thou doest not tell me of the strength I shall have, and of the consolation I shal receive Satan, I shall not have the strength I have now, nor the consolation I have now, but I shall have more strength then, when the suffering comes, and I shall have more consolation, when as the affliction comes than I had before. Keep these together, don't look only upon the one side of your suffering, and witness-bea∣ring; but look upon both sides together, and thus you shall be able to stand, and ride out the storm of this temp∣tation.

But you will say, [Quest.] We have heard of the several blowes that Satan gives unto our faith: unto the faith of Reliance, unto the faith of Assurance, and unto the faith of Acknow∣ledgment; how he labours to weaken all these our faiths, and how we should bear off al these blows: But there may be yet some temptation (possibly) that does not fall within the compass of these temptations: these directions are pointed against these par∣ticular temptations; but I have other temptations that don't fall within the compass of these, whereby Satan labours to weaken my faith, and to make my faith to fail: What general Rules and Directions may be given, by which a man should so walk, as that Satan may not make his faith to fail in the time of his temp∣tation?

First: [Answ. 1] Before your temptation comes, while you are up∣on even ground; Study, and look much into the Scrip∣ture, and into every corner, and nook thereof, (as I may so speak) laying, and treasuring up Promises, and Words su∣table to every condition. Let the Word of the Lord dwell in you richly; that so when a temptation comes, ye may have a word sutable at hand, and this will help ye to bear off the strength of the temptation when it comes.

Secondly. [Answ. 2] Either a particular Word and Promise does come unt ye, or it does not, in the time of your temptation. If it do come unto ye, Take heed that ye dont' measure your selves, or your condition, by the warmth, and life, and inlargment of Page  281your heart which ye have at the coming in of the word. And if a particular word, or Scripture, and promise do not come unto you in the time of your temptation; don't mea∣sure your selves, and your condition, by the straightness, and deadnesse of your heart which you have at that time when a particular word does not come.

Thirdly, If temptaion come, [Answ. 3] Look much unto the infirmi∣ties of Jesus Christ: not the sinful infirmities, for so he had none, but he had many other infirmities. And ye know what the Spouse in the time of Desertion saies, in the book of the Canticles, His left hand is under my head, and with his right hand he does imbrace me. The right hand, is a hand of power; and the left hand, is a hand of weaknesse: and in the time of Desertion, and Temptation, it's a great relief to a poor soul, to consider the infirmities of Jesus Christ, his left hand is under our head then. As when a man is inlarged in heart, 'tis good to consider of Christs Example, that so he may be humbled under his inlargement: So when a man is in Desertion, or Temptation, it's good for to think of Christs Infirmities, that so he may not be over∣whelmed, or cast down too much.

Fourthly, If temptation do come, be sure of this, [Answ. 4] That ye don't conclude it is no temptation. Satan tempts, and then he tempts a man to think it is no temptation. So long as a poor soul thinks it is but a temptation, his heart is borne up with comfort, and he saies, It is but a temptati∣on, and it will be over shortly, and the Lord Jesus Christ will pity me, for 'tis but a temptation, and so his heart is borne up with comfort, waiting upon God: But if the Devil can get a man so far, as to make him think it is no temptation, but worse than a temptation; then his heart fails, and his faith failes. Therefore, I beseech ye, If a temptation come, don't conclude it is no temptation, but say, Oh! it may be 'tis a temptation, and therefore I will wait on God.

Fifthly, If temptation come, [Answ. 5] Remember thine own soul of the waies of God with thee. Gods waies (ye know) are in the Page  282deep, and his footsteps are not known: but as the Heavens are greater than the earth, so are Gods waies of mercy beyond our waies. Now therefore, if a drak temptation do come upon ye, and ye see no way to get out, say, O but my soul, remember Gods waies are infinite, and his waies are beyond our waies; and though I see no way, God hath infinite waies, he walks over mulbery-trees, and his waies have been in the deep; and so it hath been all along with my soul, and therefore now, O my soul, wait on God.

Sixthly, [Answ. 6] If temptation come, if Satan come, Do you run to Christ; and look how Satan appears to you, so do you apply the Attributes of Christ to you sutable to his temptation. Does Sa∣tan set a temptation unto your breast? observe what temp∣tation it is, and take an Attribute of Christ sutable to that temptation, and set it to the breast of that temptation. For Example: Does Satan come and tempt as a Serpent? Then remember, that Jesus Christ is the brasen serpent. Does Sa∣tan come and present himself as a roaring Lyon? Now re∣member, that Jesus Christ is the Lyon of the tribe of Judah. Does Satan come and present himself as an Accuser? Now remember, that the Lord Jesus Christ is an advocate. Be∣loved! in the time of temptation, ye are to run to Christ, that is true; but that is not all, but you are to observe how your temptation lies, and apply that Attribute of Christ to your soul which is sutable to your temptation: do this, and your faith shall not faile in time of temptati∣on.

Seventhly, [Answ. 7] and lastly. Above all things, take the Shield of faith. Take the Shield of faith, that your faith may not fail: for, the way to beleeve is to beleeve; the way to pray is to pray; the way to hear, is to hear; the way to receive, is to receive; the way to perform duty, is to perform duty; the way to exercise grace, is to exercise grace. When temp∣tation therefore does come upon thee, that thy faith may not fail, now stir up thy self to this work of faith, and to beleeve; and if ye beleeve that ye shall overcome, ye shall overcome; and if ye beleeve that ye shall prevaile against Page  283your temptations, ye shall prevaile against your temptati∣ons. And, poor soul, if thou canst relie upon Christ, and beleeve that thou shalt be justified, thou shalt be justified; and if thou canst by faith relie upon the Promise, the Pro∣mise shall belong to thee. Wherefore, stir up your selves now to beleeve when temptation comes. When ye have to deal with an Enemy here among men, I don't say, beleeve ye shall overcome your enemy, and ye shall overcome: a man may beleeve he shal overcome his outward enemy here in the field, and yet fall before him, and not overcome: but having to deal with this enemy, Gods enemy, your fathers enemy, and your enemy; beleeve ye shall overcome him, and ye shall overcome him.

[Quest.] But shall we overcome him Only if we beleeve?

[Answ.] Who ever thou art that speakest, or thinkest thus: Doest thou make on Only of beleeving? I tell thee from the Lord, It is an harder thing to beleeve, than to keep all the Commande∣ments: for there is something in Nature towards the keeping of the ten Commandements; but nothing in Nature towards beleeving in Christ. And, (poor soul) doest thou make an Only of beleeving? thou doest not know what beleeving means: but I say unto thee from the Lord, Beleeve that thou shalt overcome, and thou shalt overcome; beleeve that thou shalt prevaile against Satan, and thou shalt prevail against him; beleeve that thy sins shal be pardoned through Christ and relie upon him, and thy sins shal be pardoned. When∣soever therefore any temptation comes, Oh! run to Christ, cry unto Christ, and rest upon Christ, and say, Lord I do beleeve, help thou my unbelief.

Beloved in the Lord, ye have heard, That in all Satans temptations, his great design is upon your faith, to wea∣ken your faith: therefore, let it be all your design, in all your temptations, to strengthen your faith, and to look to your faith. Which that ye may do, think on all these things, and the Lord bless them to you.

Page  [unnumbered]Page  285


LUKE 22.31, 32.
And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath de∣sired to have you that he may sift you as wheat:* But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.

THese words (as ye have heard) acquaints us with a great temptation that was to come down upon Christs Disciples. Con∣cerning which ye have here, The Danger of the temptation: And the Remedy a∣gainst it. For the Danger of the temp∣tation, I have spoken already: and now come unto this 32. verse, But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not. Here is something Implyed; and somthing Exprest. Satans design implyed, which is, and was, to weaken the faith of Christs Disciples, to make their faith to fail. And of that ye have heard already.

Now that which is exprest is; Christs tender care of, and love unto his Disciples in regard of their temptations. And this love and care of his towards his Disciples under temptation, is Exprest in many things. First in the forewarning of them, of a temptation coming upon them: there is his love and care, in that he told them of the temptation before it came. And then also, He prayed for them. Yea, He prayed for them before they were tempted. Yea, And he tels them that he did pray for them that they might have assurance of Page  286his help in the time of their temptation. Great was his love and care, to, and for his Disciples unders their temptati∣on. And so the Observation is this.

Christs love and mercy, [Doct.] is never more at work for his Disciples, and people, then when they are most assaulted by Satan. When Satan is most busie to tempt, and assault their faith, then is Christs love and mercy most at work, to keep and defend both them and their faith. We don't reade of such a pra∣yer for Peter before. We reade indeed, that our saviour said unto Peter; Ʋnto thee do I give the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven; Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church: but we don't reade there, that he prayed for Peter. But here he prayes, and for Peter in particular: I have pra∣yed for Thee. Why? because now his temptations were to be more than Ordinary; and therefore Christs love and care was drawn out, and exprest in a more than ordinary way.

For the clearing of this Truth unto ye, I shall labour to discover.

  • First, Wherein the love, care, and mercy of Christ, is expressed unto his people under their temptations.
  • Secondly, That this love and care of his, is most expressed when they are most tempted.
  • Thirdly, What there is in the heart of Christ, that does thus incline him to this indulgence, or mercy. And so to the Appli∣cation.

First, [Quest 1] If ye aske me, Wherein the love and care of Christ is expressed unto his people under their temptations?

I answer, [Answ. 1] First, In the ordering of their temptations. For there is no temptation befalls any of His, but he measures out the temptation according to their abilities. As a wise Phifitian, does not give the same Physick unto every person, but considers every ones ability; that which he gives to one, is too strong for another: he considers first the abili∣ty of his patient, and prescribes accordingly. Now, though our Saviour Christ don't direct Satan for to tempt, yet he does order him in tempting; and Satan cannot put Page  287the least dram into any temptation, but as it is measured out by the hand of Christ. And this is that which the A∣postle speaks plainly, in the 1. Cor. 10. Chapter, and the 13. verse. But God is faithful who will not suffer you to be temp∣ted above that you are able &c. that ye may be able to bear it.* The Psalmist David saies, Search me, O Lord, and prove me. That is (saies Gregory) First, O Lord, look upon, my strength, and then, if I must be tempted, suffer me to be tempted according to mine ability. Christ does measure out all the temptations of his people according to their a∣bilities.

Secondly, [unspec 2] As he does measure out their temptations ac∣cording to their abilities: So he does also, mortifie their temp∣tations, and weaken them as they come through his hand. Mor∣tifie them before they do come at his Disciples, and people, before they do come at you. And upon this account (partly) it is said, That we are more than conquerers, through Christ that giveth victory. Because our enemy is overcome before he strikes, and his blow is broken as he strikes. And therefore saies the Apostle, concerning our Saviour, That he hath spoil'd principalities, and powers, and made a shew of them openly upon the crosse. All your temptations, the power and strength of them were spoil'd upon the crosse. There's no temptation befals any of Gods people, but it is mortifi∣ed, and weakned before it does come it them, the sting, teeth, and the poison being taken out.

Thirdly, He does not only thus mortifie, [unspec 3] and weaken a temptation before it does come at us: But he does cause Sa∣tan so to lay his temptations, as that he may be discerned, and so o∣vercome, Satan tempted Adam and Eve; but he tempted in a serpent, and so Adam might easily have discerned the hand of Satan in it: for Adam knew all the creatures; he gave them their Names, & he knew their Natures: and he knew well enough the serpent could not speak to him; he might easily have known, that the hand of Satan was in the business. And so now, though God does suffer Satan to tempt his people, yet he does cause Satan so to lay his Page  288temptations, as that the black feet of the tempter may be discovered: and when a temptation is discovered, 'tis half overcome.

Fourthly, [unspec 4] He doth not only thus: But the Lord Jesus Christ, hath the Timeing of all our temptationps. Time is a great matter in the point of temptation. Should a temp∣tation come at such or such a time, possibly Gods child might be overwhelmed. I praise the Lord (saies one) I did resist such a temptation; but had it fallen out at such a time, I should never have been able to have stood under it. Satan observes his tempting times: he knowes that great advantage may be made unto him by his time. And there∣fore when Christ was an hungry, he tempted him to turn stones into bread: observed his time. And as Satan does observe his time to tempt: So our Lord and Saviour Christ, does set him his time; & the time of his temptations are in the hand of Christ. And therefore, if ye look into the 20. chapter of the Revelation, the 1. 2. and 3. verses, ye shall find to this purpose thus: I saw an Angel come down from Heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit, and a great chain in his hand: And he laid hold on the dragon, the old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years should be fulfilled, and after that, he must be loosed a little sea∣son. (Mark) The Lord Jesus Christ, hath not only the tempter in a chain, that he can go no further than he gives him leave to go; but his hand also, is in the hand of Christ, and Christ hath an eye to the Time of his temptati∣on, a special eye upon the time of our temptation, and this argues much of his care and love.

Fiftly. [unspec 5] He hath not only the Timeing of our tempta∣tions: But he does also Sanctifie our temptations, and does make them blessed means of our Sanctification. And there∣fore saies Paul, I received the messenger Satan for to buffet me, that I might not be exalted. Twice he hath that, That he might not be exalted out of measure. But for this I need go Page  289no further than the instance of Peter; before Peter was temp∣ted; what abundance of carnal confidence was there in Pe∣ter? Lord (saies he) though all men for sake thee, yet will not I. But now, I pray look upon him after his temptation, and you shall see how this carnall confidence was laid down: for, our Saviour saies unto him, Peter, lovest thou me more than these? Lord (saies he) thou knowest I love thee: but not a word of the comparative, More than these, he had left comparing now, having been under temptation, and ha∣ving fallen, his carnal confidence was gone; and he don't say now, Lord, though all men forsake thee, yet will not I: the comparison is left out now: he answers to the other part, but not a word to that. So that I say, If the Lord Jesus Christ do measure out all our temptation for us: And mortifie them before they come at us: And does cause Satan to lay them, as we may most easily discover them: And if the Lord Christ does Time our temptations for us: And sanctifie them unto us: Then certainly, there is much of Oh rists love and mercy at work for his people under their temptations.

Secondly, If you ask me yet further, [Quest. 2] Wherein is the love of Christ exprest, or drawn out unto his people under their temptati∣ons?

I answer, It is seen and exprest in this: In teaching of them, [Answ.] in, and by their temptations. Tempting times, are teaching times unto Gods people: the school of temptation is a great school. Luther said, that the temptations of Satan, were the imbracings of Christ: meaning, that then Christ did imbrace his people most, and discover most of his love unto them. Three things (he said) there were that made a Preacher: Meditation, Prayer, and Temptation. And in∣deed, when, or where does God or Christ reveal himselfe more fully unto his people, than in the times of their temp∣tations? 'Tis said, that at Massab and Meribah, the waters of strife and of temptation, there the Lord gave Israel his statutes. How many experiences do Gods people get, in, and by their temptations? tempting times are teaching: Page  290and Christ teaches his people by their temptations. Satans Buffetings, are the Saints schoolings.

Yea, [unspec 3] Thirdly, He does not only teach his people; But he does also bear up, and uphold their hearts with new supplies of his grace, and Spirit, in the times of their temptations. Christ does not suffer his people to go into new temptations, with old strength: but as a new temptation does come from Sa∣tan, so new supply of grace and strength does come from Christ. Saies David, in the 94. Psalm, and the 18. verse. When I said, my foot slippeth: thy mercy, O Lord, held me up. He does not say thus: when my foot slippeth; thy mercy, O Lord held me up: but when I said, my foot slippeth; when I thought I was quite rejected, cast off, and forsaken: when I said, my foot slippeth: then thy mercy, O Lord, held me up. As new temptations do come in, so new strength comes in.

Yea, and supplies of greace in Proportion to our tempta∣tions. My grace is sufficient for thee (saies the Lord to Paul) my grace is Fit for thee.

Yea, he does not only give out Proportionable strength; but an Cverplus of sirength. As the woman, that had oyle given her, not enough barely to pay her debt, but an O∣verplus to live on the rest. So Gods people in the time of their temptations, have not only strength given them to stand out against their temptations, but an Cverplus to live on the rest.

Yea, and they have not only in-comes of Assisting grace; but of Accepting grace too; more Accepting grace. God doth and will then Accept lesser than at another time. Though the prayer be weak, and the faith low; yet, saies the Lord, it is the time of temptation with this my poor servant; and therefore I will take the Duty, though it be never so little, because it is the time of temptation, it's a time of darkness, and a time of sadness. Ye know what our saviour said unto Thomas: Reach hither thine hand, and put it into my side: Come Thomas, if thou wilt not beleeve without it, I'le take thy faith, even upon these termes, for Page  291I know it is a time of temptation with thee. What grace! what love and mercy is here!

Yea, Fourthly. [unspec 4] The Lord Jesus Christ does not only come in thus, with supplies of grace, & strength in the times of temptation: But he does give his people an Ease, and a Remedy, a breathing time under their temptations, though they be never so sad, and never so great. Indeed, Job said, That God was his enemy, and would not suffer him to swallow his spittle, he followed him so close: but the good man was mistaken much: for at the same time, the time of his temp∣tation, he could say, I know that my Redeemer liveth; and he could blesse the Lord: he had his breathing time in the midst of all. When David was persecuted by Saul, he was under temptation, for, as the Devil casts some men into prison; so the Devil persecutes in wicked men: yet David had his breathing time, now and then, Saul given into his hands, as a pledge of that ful deliverance that David should have afterwards. And this is no other than that which the Apostle speaks of, in that same 1 of the Corinthians, the 10. Chap. at the 13. verse, Who will not suffer you to be tempted a∣bove that you are able; but will with the temptation also, make a way to escape. Make an Out-let, (so the word is;) He will make an Out-let. Though the smoke be very offensive, yet there shall alwaies be some window open for to let it out, or some door open for a poor tempted soul to go out at: stil an out-let, some breathing time in the midst of these temptations.

Fiftly, and lastly. [unspec 5] As the Lord Jesus Christ liveth for e∣ver to make intercession for us; So he doth it especially when his people are under temptation; then he prayes for them, and then especially. I will not determine, whether Christ now in Hea∣ven does intercede Vocally, or Really: but when Satan lies hard upon a poor tempted soul, and fetches blood from it, then does the Lord Jesus step in unto his Father, and present his wounds, and his blood, and saies unto his Fa∣ther, O Father, I have prayed unto thee, that this poor man or woman, may not fail in the time of temptation. Page  292Thus it was with Peter here; I have prayed for thee: and yet this was not the time of his full intercession, when he was here on earth. There are two parts of Christs Priestly Of∣fice: Satisfaction, and Intercession. The proper place for him to make satisfaction for sin, was here on earth: and in Heaven, the holy of holiest, he does make intercession; there he does do it fully, but he could not for bear while he was here on earth, but he saies unto Peter, I have prayed for thee. Though my great work in Heaven be to intercede, and my special work here on earth be to satisfie: yet notwithstan∣ding, I have prayed for thee already Peter. And the Lord Jesus Christ was heard in all that he prayed for. Now then, if the Lord Christ doth intercede here on earth for his poor tempted servants, and was heard here; how much more, when his Disciples are tempted, does he inter∣cede, and pray for them in Heaven, and is heard there. Satan may come running in upon you with his temptation: but when Satan runs in upon you with his temptation, Christ runs into the presence of God the Father, and spreads his blood, and his satisfaction for you, and there he saies unto the Father, Father, I have prayed that this man or womans faith may not fail. Oh! what grace and mercy, and love is here! Thus, in all these respects, (and many others that I might mention) is the love of Christ, and his mercy drawn out unto his people in the time of their temptation.

Well, [Quest. 2] But how may it appear, that Christs mercy is most at work, when his people are most assaulted by Satan? Christ deals by His, [Answ.] as God the Father did deal by Him. Now ye shall find, that Gods love was never more towards Christ, than when Christ was under temptation. When Christ came to die, Satan was very busie; it's called, The hour of darkness: so busie was Satan with all his malice a∣gainst him; yet then was the Fathers love towards Christ, then especially; for saies Christ, Therefore does the Father love me, because I lay down my life. If the Father did there∣fore love him, because he laid down his life, then his love Page  293was most at work towards Christ when this hour of dark∣ness was. And so I say, when you hour of darknese is, the hour of temptation; Christs love is then most at work because he deals by His, as the Father did deal by Him.

The truth is, Christs dealing with his Disciples, was a pattern and plat-form of his dealing with all his people, to the end of the world. Now ye shall observe, that Christs love was never more let out towards his Disciples, than from this time, after he had said these words, Satan hath desired to sift you as wheat. After this time they were all offended because of Christ, and they all forsook him: Pe∣ter denied him; some doubted whether he were the Messiah or no: and another would not beleeve his Resurrection; & as sheep, they were all scattered, and shattered; great was their temptations: yet from this time, do but observe the love of Christ towards them: after this speech, then Christ preaches a most excellent, and sweet Sermon to them, in the 14, 15, and 16. chapters of John. Then he takes wa∣ter and a towel, and washes and wipes his Disciples feet. Then he appoints the Lords Supper. Then he spends a whol chapter (the 17. of John) in prayer for them, makes a most excellent, and sweet prayer for them. Then he cals them his friends: Ye are no longer my servants, but my friends: Yea, his Children: Yea, his Little children. Never was his love more drawn out, or exprest towards them, than after this time. And (I say) this was a pattern, and a plat-form of his dealing with all his people unto the end of the world. And therefore, though Christ do suffer his own peo∣ple to be tempted, yet his love and mercy is never more at work than when they are most assaulted by Satan.

Thirdly, You will say, [Quest. 3] What is there in the heart of Jesus Christ, that does incline him to this indulgence toward his people, that his love and mercy is then most at work when they are most as∣saulted by Satan?

My beloved, [Answ.] There is the quintescence of all the excellen∣cy of loving relations in Jesus Christ. A Father, a Mother, a Brother, a Friend; He is the everlasting Father. And his Page  294soul was in travel (saies the Prophet) He is not ashamed to all you his brethren. And he is a Friend: I call you my friends. Now though parents be tender of their children at all times, yet especially when they are sick; then there's a chair of love stands by the childs bed-side. And so, though Christ be alwaies tender of his people, yet then especially, when their souls are sick; and labour under temptation. There is the greatest pity in Christ that can be, the most pitiful disposition in Christ; which is alwaies laid out where he sees a fit object for it: pray what is the object of pity? The object of pity is, One whom ye love in misery. If ye see a man in misery, yet if ye don't love him, ye don't pity him; if ye see a man whom ye love, yet if ye don't see him in mi∣sery, ye don't pity him, ye love him, but ye don't pity him: but a person whom ye love in misery, is the object of pity. Now all the Saints and people of God, are the be∣loved of Christ; and when they are in temptation, that is their greatest misery; and therefore, when they are most tempted, then is the love and mercy of Christ drawn out unto them especially.

Besides, The Lord Jesus Christ hath a great Interest, and share in every beleever, a share going in every beleever. As the member hath an interest and a share in the head; so the head hath also in every member. Thine they were (saies Christ) and thou gavest them me. Christ hath a special and great interest in all his people, and he will not lose his inte∣rest. The truth is, when Satan does assault a beleever, he does rather strike at Christ, than at a beleever. And therefore saies Gregory well, The Devil in tempting Job, did not so much strike at Job, as at God; for the Lord had said, That Job was an upright man: and now the Devil would go about to make Job an Hypocrite; so that the Devill would fain have made God a lyar; and he did not so much strike at Job, as at Gods testimony of Job, he did strike at God. And so now in all the temptations of the Saints, he strikes at Christ, and they bear those temptations because of Christ. Let a man go on in a wicked, and ungodly way, Page  295Satan won't vex him with temptations; but let a man once become godly, and be in Christ, and then, how many temptations will Satan vex him with? Now (saies Christ) shall this poor soul endure all this for me? and shall not I help? shall not I assist? shall not I deliver? If a man break his Arme, or his Leg before ye, you will pity him: but if he break his Arme, or his leg in your work, or service, in a work that you set him about, you count your self ingaged then to help him. 'Tis the work of Christ that the Saints are about, and Christ sets them on work, and when Satan comes to tempt, 'tis to disturbe them in the work that Christ sets them about: Now therefore, (saies Christ) shall they endure all this because of me, and because of my work? and shall not I assist, and defend them, and help them? Surely I will. Oh! my beloved, if ye did but know what an Interest Jesus Christ hath in every beleever, you would easily see the reason of this, so great tenderness in him, that his love and mercy is never more at work, than when they are most assaulted by Satan.

For Application.*

What abundance of Comfort is here unto all those that are the true Disciples of Jesus Christ! you are not alone in your temptations, Christ is with you; and he is in Heaven too, interceding, and praying for you: he hath sent his Spirit into your hearts, to make intercession for you there; and he himself is in Heaven, making intercession and pra∣ying for you there: when you are in temptation, Christ is at prayer for you. Yea, he does not only pray for you, but his love and his mercy is most of al at work then, when you are most assaulted. Oh! what Comfort is this!

But will some say, I fear this comfort belongs not to me, [Object.] be∣cause I am none of these that are Christs true Diseiples; Christ prayed for Peter, because be was his Disciple, and he prayed for therest, because they were his Disciples: but as for me, though in profession I may be a Disciple, yet really I fear I am no true Disciple of Jesus Christ, and therefore I fear that he does not pray, and in∣tercede for me in the time of my temptation.

Page  296

Two things for answer to this. [Answ.]

First I pray consider that place in the 16. chapter of Matthew, and the 24. verse. Then said Jesus unto his Disci∣ples, If any man will come after me (or, if any man will be my Disciple, so some books hath it) let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (Mark) Here are Three pro∣perties of a true Disciple. (To open the words a little un∣to ye, that I may settle this comfort the more fully upon your hearts.)

First, [unspec 1] A true Disciple does deny himself. So long as a man is in the state of Nature, he is alwaies in the Circle of self, and Satan keeps him in it: but when Christ comes, he gets out of that Circle, and then he denies himself. Self saies, (whether Natural-self, Civil-self, or Sinful-self) Thou art now minding Christ, and the waies of Christ: but mind thy Estate more, and thy Name more, and thy Firends and Relations more, and thy Health more, and thy Pleasures and Recreations more. Nay, (saies a true Disciple) but I must mind Christ more, I must mind mine own Soul more, I must mind mine Eternity more; so he denies himself; his sinful-self, and Civil-self, and Religious-self too: his self-reason, and his self-will, and his self-affection.

Secondly, [unspec 2] He does take up his Cross: A true Disciple takes up his crosse. 'Tis not said, He does bear his crosse with patience; there is a great deal of difference between these; Bearing of a mans cross with patience when it is laid upon him, and taking up his crosse when it is laid before him. Properly a man is said to take up his crosse, when there is Sin laid on one side; and there is a Crosse, and an Afflicti∣on laid on the other side: Now, either you must commit this Sin; or else you must endure this Crosse, or Affliction: Nay then, (saies a true Disciple) rather than I will com∣mit that sin, I will endure this affliciton; and so he takes up his cross.

Thirdly. [unspec 3] He does also Follow Christ. Some there are, that having suffered for the Name, and Cause of Christ; they then grow Proud of their sufferings, and they fal into foul Page  297miscarriages: But a true Disciple of Christ, when he hath taken up the crosse, he follows Christ: now properly a man is said to follow Christ, when he does do those things at Christs command, wherein Christ does differ from others. As now, a man is said to follow Luther, when he does fol∣low him in those things wherein he differs from Calvin: and a man follows Calvin, when he does follow him in those things wherein he differs from Luther. So a man is said to follow Christ, when he follows him in those things wherein he differs from others. There are some things wherein Christ and Nature do agree: Nature saies, That a man must do by another, as he would be dealt by himself; Herein Christ and nature agree. But Christ saies, A new comman∣dement give I unto ye, That ye love one another, as I have loved you: Here Christ differs from Nature. Nature teaches a man, That there is a God, and that God is to be Prayed unto; and that a man is to pray for his friends: But now Christ saies, Pray for your Enemies. I say, a man is pro∣perly said for to follow Christ, when he follows him in that wherein Christ differs from others. Now whosoever thou art that makes this Objection, That thou art not a Disci∣ple of Jesus Christ, and therefore he does not pray for thee in the time of thy temptation; I appeal to ye: Are ye not willing to take up your crosse? rather to endure that affli∣ction, than commit this sin? Do ye not set your self to de∣ny your self, your Pleasures, Recreations, Relations, and all for Christ? And do ye not desire to follow Jesus Christ in those things wherein he does differ from Anti-Christ, and from Nature, and from Moses? then surely, thou art a Disciple of Jesus Christ.

But besides this, Our Saviour tels us in the 17. [unspec 2] of John, That he did not only pray for those his present Disciples; but (saies he) I pray for all that shall beleeve on me through their word, verse the 20. What is it to beleeve on Christ? To rest upon Christ for life and glory in the time of our temp∣tation; this is to beleeve on Christ? Now in the time of your temptation, don't ye rest on Christ? don't ye relye on Page  298Christ? then Christ hath prayed for ye. And though thou art in such a temptation, as thou complainest, thou canst not pray, yet the Lord Jesus Christ hath prayed for thee: and he is heard in all that he prayed for.

But I fear (will some say yet) that the Lord Jesus Christ does not pray, [Object.] or intercede for me in the time of my temptation, because my faith failes me; Oh! my faith hath failed me in the time of temptation: did Christ pray for me, my faith would not fail, for he is heard in all that he prayes for; but Oh! my faith fails in time of temptation, and therefore I fear, that this love and mercy of Christ, is not at work for me in the time of my temp∣tation.

For Answer, [Answ. 1] First, There is a great deal of difference between the failing of your Faith, and the failing of your Heart. Possibly, your Heart may fail in time of temptati∣on, and yet not your Faith. Look I pray into the 73. Psalm, the 26. verse, and you shall find as much. Saies the Psalmist there, My flesh and my heart faileth. I but did not his Faith fail now? See what he saies; his faith stands notwithstanding this; But God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever: here's his faith. So that though his flesh failed, and his heart failed; yet his faith did not fail. There is a great deal of difference between a recoyling fit of a heart-failing in time of temptation, and the failing of ones faith.

Secondly, [unspec 2] It is one thing for you to fail in your faith in our own opinion; and another thing for your faith to fail in the opinion of Jesus Christ. When Peter denied his Lord and Master, in his own opinion he could not but think that his faith failed; and yet in the opinion of Jesus Christ his faith did not fail; for Christ prayed that his faith should not fail, and it did not fail, for Christ was heard in what he prayed for.

Thirdly, [unspec 3] There is great deal of difference, between the failing of faith, and failings that do accompany faith. The poor wo∣man that came to Christ, and touched the hem of his gar∣ment, failed very much, for shee came behinde him and Page  299thought to have stolen a cure: I but, though there were many failings that did accompany her faith, yet her faith did not fail; for she came and touched the hem of his gar∣ment, and was cured by her faith. So I say, there is a great deal of difference between the failing of faith, and the failings that do accompany faith: there may be many fai∣lings that do accompany ones faith, and yet ones faith may stand, and not fail.

But yet further, Whosoever you are, [unspec 4] that say your faith fails you, and therefore you are afraid that Christ prayes not for you: Man or woman, Did thy faith ever fail thee like Peters; didst thou ever deny thy Lord and Master as Peter did? and yet Christ said, I have prayed that thy faith fail not, and he was heard in the thing that he prayed for.

Oh! but, that was but one Act in Peter; [Object.] but my faith doth constantly fail; Peter denied, and his faith failed in the exercise as to one Act, but my faith doth constantly fail in time of tempta∣tion: I was heretofore more able to beleeve in the time of my temp∣tation than now I am; my faith is failed, and it constantly fails, and therefore I fear that the Lord Christ will not pray for me in the time of my temptation.

Well, But if you be more able to relye upon meer free-grace, [Answ.] than ye have been heretofore, then your faith is not less, but increa∣sed rather. If you be now more able to be contented with your condition, than you were heretofore. If you can let God and Christ alone, to use his own means about you. If you can leave the Events and successes of things, more unto God than you could heretofore; then your faith is not failed, but rather increased. Man or woman, if that you are able now to take those hints of a word which you could not heretofore. If your judgment be more setled in the Truth. If you be more contented to suffer now for the Cause, and the way of God than you were heretofore: Then thy faith is not failed, but thy faith is increased ra∣ther, and so thou comest within the compasse of the Lord Christs prayer.

Page  300

Oh! [Object.] but yet (will some say) I have sinned greatly, very much; I have been a great sinner; and therefore I fear, that the Lord Jesus Christ will let me alone to wrestle with my temptations all alone, and will not pray and intercede for me in the time and hour of my temptation.

Well, [Answ.] I must yet say again to you: Hast thou sinned more than this Peter did, when he denied his Lord and Master? Yet Christ prayed for him, and his prayer took and prevailed. Have you sinned more than Jerusalem did? Oh! Jerusa∣lem, thou that stonest the Prophets, (saies Christ when they put him to death.) And yet if you look into the 1. of the Acts, you shall find, that Christ after his Resurrection, bids his Disciples for to stay and wait at Jerusalem, and not stir from thence; and preach the Gospel, and mercy, and free-grace in Jerusalem. Hast thou (man or woman, that makest this objection) sinned more than those that did put Christ to death? that run him into his body with a spear? that nailed him upon the crosse? hast thou sinned more than these? Ye know our Lord and Saviour when he was upon the crosse, he prayed for them; Oh! Father for∣give them, they know not what they do. But, (Lord) these are thine opposers, these are persecutors, and they persecute thee to death. Well, be it so, (saies Christ) I know what I do, and I know whom I pray for: Father forgive them, they know not what they do. Oh! what grace, and mer∣cy, and love is here! Comfort, yea, Comfort unto all the Disciples of Jesus Christ: when ye are in temptation, the Lord Christ is at prayer for you. And remember the Do∣ctrine; Never is his love and mercy more at work for ye, than when Satan is most busie about ye, to tempt ye most. What comfort is here! This was that (in part) that com∣forted the Martyrs in the Primitive times, ye reade of very great comforts that the Martyrs had in the Primitive times, those times next after Christ: I have desired to con∣sider, what it was especially, that bore up their hearts un∣der all those persecutions. And Turtullian, pitches upon this as one thing: We consider (saies he) the case of Peter;Page  301Satan desired to winnow him; Christ prayed for him. Here were (saies Turtullian) two requests before God the Father: One was the request of Satan: and another was the request of Christ. Now the Son having more credit with God the Father than Satan, his request must needs prevail: So (saies he) Satan hath desired for to tempt, and to winnow us, and persecute us; but the Lord Jesus Christ hath requested for us: There are two requests before God the Father; There's Satans request to winnow us; and there's the Sons request praying for us: Now therefore, seeing that the Son hath more credit with God the Father than Satan, therefore are we assured that we shall be up∣held, and our faith shall not fail. And so may you also. This is matter of great comfort unto all the Saints.

You will say, Indeed it is matter of great comfort: [Quest.] but is there no Duty that this Truth cals for at our hands? Here is much comfort, but what is that Duty that this Truth cals for?

Much every way. If I be an Ungodly man; [Answ.] what a migh∣ty incouragement is here for to get into Jesus Christ, that I may be in the number of the true Disciples. So long as a man is out of Christ, not a true Disciple of Jesus Christ; Satan may come and tempt, and do what he wil with him, and no Christ by to help. Satan could not hurt, or touch, or tempt Job, but he must ask leave: But Satan went to the Sabeans, and brought in them upon Jobs Estate, and he did not ask leave for that, they were in his power: He ruleth in the children of disobedience. Daniel was in the Lyons-den, and they devouered him not, their mouthes were stopt, and they could not hurt him: But when the Enemies were thrown into the Lyons, they crack'd, and crush'd their bones before they came to the ground. If a godly man, one that is a true Disciple of Jesus Christ, if he be in a den with these Lyons, Devils, their mouths shall be stopt, they shall not swallow him. But oh! for wicked men, that are not in Christ, these Lyons, they crush their bones, every day they crush their bones: and a wicked man may say as Saul did, The Philistims are upon me, and God is departed from me:Page  302So a wicked man, that is not in Christ, he may cry out and say, Oh! temptations are upon me, and Christ is departed from me, I have none of Christ to help me: as for the Saints, and those that are true Disciples of Jesus Christ, they have Christ at hand, though they fall, Christ is by for to help them up. And Christ himself measures out all their temptations, and Christ assists them, and helps them, but Oh! as for me, I am all alone in my temptations, I poor soul, am all alone in my temptations: Ah! who would be a Drunkard still? who would be a Swearer still? who would be an Unclean wanton still? who would be a lyar, and a Theevish servant still? Let me tell ye, that while ye go on in these sins, you are out of Christ: Poor soul, a Swearer, a Drunkard, a common Lyar, a Sabbath-breaker, a Wanton, out of Christ, and thy temptations fall heavily upon thee; the Lord knowes, thou art all alone in the time of thy temptations: Oh! but, get into Jesus Christ, get into Jesus Christ, to be in the number of Christs true Disciples; and when thou art tempted, the Lord prayes for thee; yea, and the love and mercy of Christ is never more at work for thee, than when thou art most temp∣ted, and assaulted by Satan. What a mighty incourage∣ment is here to al that hear the word of the Lord, to get in∣to Jesus Christ!

But if I be godly; and al this be true: Why should I quest∣ion the love of God towards me in the time of my temptati∣on? Beloved! ye know it in your Experience, ye are never more apt for to question the love of Christ, than in tempta∣tion; and yet Christs love is never more at work for you, than in temptation. Oh! what an unworthy answering of Christs love is here!

Again, If I be Godly: Why should I not be contented, and quiet under all my temptations, though they be never so great? Christ prayeth for me, Christs love is most at work now I am most assaulted, his bowels then yern to∣wards me.

Yea, If I be Godly: Why should I not with Paul Tri∣umph Page  303over all temptations? and make my boast of Christ, and say as he did, Now know I, that nothing shall separate me from the love of God in Christ; not Principalities, nor Powers nor Devils, nor Temptations; for when I am most tempted Christ is most at work in love for me.

Yea, (beloved in the Lord) why should we not all warm our hearts with this love of Jesus Christ? it's a mercy that the Lord Christ will cast but an eye, or a look upon a poor soul under temptation; that is a mercy: I but, I tell ye more than so; Christ does not only cast an eye, and a look upon a poor tempted soul, but his love and mercy is never more at work, than when you are most assaulted, and tempted by Satan: Ah, what grace, and heart-warming love is here!

If I be Godly: (again) upon this account, why should I give over so soon, and lay down my weapon in time of temptation? If a City be beleaguer'd, besieged, and know that help will come, they will not give over. And though I am thus besieged, and thus tempted, help will certainly come, for Christ hath prayed; why should I give over then in time of temptation?

And if these things be so, if there be so much love in the heart of Christ towards poor tempted souls: then (belo∣ved) should we not all run to Christ in the time, and hour of our temptation, run unto him by prayer?

It may be there are some that will say, [Quest.] If Christ pray for us in time of temptation, what need we pray?

But I pray look into this chapter, [Answ.] and you will find our Saviour carries it otherwise. In the text, saies he, But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fall not. At the 46. verse, Why sleep ye? (saies he) rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. So that, though he had said, That he prayed for them, yet he cals upon them also to pray. It's good praying (my beloved) when mercy is coming: and mercy is then coming when Christ is praying; and when you are most tempted, then Christ is at prayer.

But to end all. What ever your temptations there∣fore Page  304be, you that are the servants of God, still think ye hear Christ saying to ye, Man, Woman, be of good comfort, I have prayed for you: though thy temptations be very great, I have prayed for thee: thought thou canst not pray for thy self as thou wouldst, I have prayed for thee: when flesh fails, and eyes fail, and heart fails, and all fails, yet remember this, Christ prayeth for you, in the time of your temptation Christ prayeth for you: think that ye hear Christ speaking to ye in the time of your temptation, for certainly he does it as well to his Disciples now as he did to his Disciples then, he does speak and say, Be of good com∣fort, man or woman, though thy temptations be great, yet I have prayed for thee, and thy faith shall not fail.