(Owen. The Glory of Christ, Part 2. File 2)

(... continued from File 1)

them, for the ruin of their souls. He has other arts, and ways, and 
methods of dealing with other men, - as by sensual and worldly 
lusts; but as unto them who, through their convictions, do attend 
unto the preaching of the word, this is his great and almost only 
engine for their ruin: There needs no haste in this matter, - 
another time will be more seasonable, - you may be sure not to fail 
of it before you die; however, this present day and time is most 
unfit for it, - you have other things to do, - you cannot part with 
your present frame, - you may come again to hear the word the next 
opportunity. Know assuredly, if your minds are influenced unto 
delays of coming to Christ by such insinuations, you are under the 
power of Satan, and he is like enough to hold you fast unto 
    3. This is as evil and dangerous a posture or frame of mind as 
you can well fall under. If you have learned to put off God, and 
Christ, and the word for the present season, and yet relieve 
yourselves in this, that you do not intend, like others, always to 
reject them, but will have a time to hearken to their calls, you are 
secured and fortified against all convictions and persuasions, all 
fears; one answer will serve for all, - within a little while you 
will do all that can be required of you. This is that which ruins 
the souls of multitudes every day. It is better dealing with men 
openly profligate, than with such a trifling promiser. See Isa. 5: 
7, 10. 
    4. Remember that the Scripture confines you unto the present 
day, without the least intimation that you shall have either another 
day, or another tender of grace and mercy in any day, 2 Cor. 6: 2; 
Heb. 3: 7, 13; 12: 15. Take care lest you come short of the grace of 
God, miss of it by missing your opportunity. Redeem the time, or you 
are lost for ever. 
    5. As unto the pretence of your occasions and business, there 
is a ready way to disappoint the craft of Satan in that pretence, - 
namely, to mix thoughts of Christ and the renovation of your 
resolutions either to come or to cleave unto him with all your 
occasions. Let nothing put it utterly out of your minds; make it 
familiar unto you, and you will beat Satan out of that stronghold, 
Prov. 7: 4. However, shake yourselves out of this dust, or 
destruction lies at the door. 
    Fourthly, It is the language of the hearts of some, that if 
they give up themselves unto a compliance with this exhortation, and 
go seriously about this duty, they must relinquish and renounce all 
their lusts and pleasures; yea, much of their converse and society, 
wherein they find so much present satisfaction, as that they know 
not how to part with them. If they might retain their old ways, at 
least some of them, it were another matter; but this total 
relinquishment of all is very severe. 
    Ans. 1. The Jesuits, preaching and painting of Christ among 
some of the Indians, concealed from them his cross and sufferings, 
telling them only of his present glory and power; so as they 
pretended to win them over to faith in him, hiding from them that 
whereby they might be discouraged; and so preached a false Christ 
unto them, one of their own framing. We dare do no such thing for 
all the world; we can here use no condescension, no compliance, no 
composition with respect unto any sin or lust; we have no commission 
to grant that request of Lot, "Is it not a little one? let it be 
spared;" nor to come to Naaman's terms, "God be merciful to me in 
this thing; in all others I will be obedient." Wherefore, - 
    2. We must here be peremptory with you, whatever be the event; 
if you are discouraged by it, we cannot help it. Cursed be the man 
that shall encourage you to come to Christ with hopes of indulgence 
unto any one sin whatever. I speak not this as though you could at 
once absolutely and perfectly leave all sin, in the root and 
branches of it; but only you are to do it in heart and resolution, 
engaging unto a universal mortification of all sin, as by grace from 
above you shall be enabled; but your choice must be absolute, 
without reserves, as to love, interest, and design; - God or the 
world, - Christ or Belial, - holiness or sin; there is no medium, no 
terms of composition, 2 Cor. 6: 15-18. 
    As unto what you pretend of your pleasures, the truth is, you 
never yet had any real pleasure, nor do know what it is. How easy 
were it to declare the folly, vanity, bitterness, poison of those 
things which you have esteemed your pleasures! Here alone - namely, 
in Christ, and a participation of him - are true pleasures and 
durable riches to be obtained; pleasure of the same nature with, and 
such as, like pleasant streams, flow down into the ocean of eternal 
pleasures above. A few moments in these joys are to be preferred 
above the longest continuance in the cursed pleasures of this world. 
See Prov. 3: 13-18. 
    Fifthly, It will be said by some, that they do not see those 
who profess themselves to be believers, to be so much better than 
they are, as that you need to press us so earnestly to so great a 
change; we know not why we should not be accounted believers 
already, as well as they. I shall in a few words, as well as I am 
able, lay this stumbling-block out of the way, though I confess, at 
this day, it is weighty and cumbersome. And I say, - 
    1. Among them that profess themselves to be believers, there 
are many false, corrupt hypocrites; and it is no wonder that on 
various occasions they lay the stumbling-block of their iniquities 
before the faces of others; but they shall bear their own burden and 
    2. It is acknowledged, it must be bewailed, that some whom we 
have reason to judge to be true believers, yet, through their 
unfortified pride, or covetousness, or carelessness in their 
conversation, or vain attire and conformity to the world, or 
forwardness, do give just occasion of offence. We confess that God 
is displeased herewith, Christ and the Gospel dishonoured, and many 
that are weak are wounded, and others discouraged. But as for you, 
this is not your rule, - this is not proposed unto you; but that 
word only is so that will never fail you. 
    3. The world does not know, nor is able to make a right 
judgement of believers; nor do you so, for it is the spiritual man 
alone that discerneth the things of God. Their infirmities are 
visible to all, - their graces invisible; the King's daughter is 
glorious within. And when you are able to make a right judgement of 
them, you will desire no greater advancement than to be of their 
society, Ps. 16: 3. 
    These few instances of the pretences wherewith unbelief covers 
its deformity, and hides that destruction wherewith it is 
accompanied, may suffice unto our present purpose; they are 
multiplied in the minds of men, impregnated by the suggestions of 
Satan on their darkness and folly. A little spiritual wisdom will 
rend the veil of them all, and expose unbelief acting in enmity 
against Christ under them. But what has been spoken may suffice to 
answer the necessity of the preceding exhortation on this occasion. 

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file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: owgch2-2.txt