The Mystery Of A Christian
1.He lives in another, Gal. ii. 20. He is wise in another, 1 Cor. i. 30. He is righteous in another, Rom. x. 4. He is strong in another, Isaiah xlv. 24.
2.He is very low in humility, but very high in hope. He knows he is undeserving of the least mercy, yet expects the greatest, Gen. xxxii. 10. 12.
3.He is in the world, but not of the world, John xv. 19. In the world as a pilgrim, but not as a citizen. His habitation is below, but his conversation above.
4.He is meek, but vehement; meek in his own cause, but vehement in the cause of God. As Moses, who was dead to affronts, deaf to reproaches, and blind to injuries. He will comply with anything that is civil, but with nothing that is sinful. He will stoop to the necessities of the meanest, but will not yield to the sinful humours of the greatest.
5.He works out his salvation with fear and trembling, yet believes in Christ without fear and trembling, Phil. ii. 12, 13. He does much for God, yet counts himself an unprofitable servant. He works as if be were to live here always, yet worships as if he were to die tomorrow.
6.When he is weak, then is he strong, 2 Cor. xii. 10. When he is most sensible of his own weakness, and most dependent on Christ’s strength, then he stands the safest.
7.When he is most vile in his own eyes, he is most glorious in the eyes of God. When Job abhorred himself, then God raised him, Job xlii. 6. When the centurion thought himself the most unworthy, Christ said, “I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel,” Matt. viii. 8, 10.
8.He is content with his condition, yet longs and prays for a better, 2 Cor. v. 4.
9.His losses are gains; as Job’s, Job xlii. 12. His falls are risings; as Peter’s, John xxi. 17. His afflictions are promotions, as Jacob’s: “All these things are against me,” saith he, Gen. xlii. 36. Yet all those things were for him. His disappointments are preferments, as Moses’; though he did not go to Canaan, as he desired, yet he went to heaven, which was better, Deut. xxxiv. 4, 5.
10.He cannot sin, 1 John iii. 9. yet he cannot but sin, 1 John i. 8. He cannot sin habitually, and with full consent of will; yet he cannot but sin actually, through weakness.
11.He saith, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me?” Rom. vii. 24. Yet he saith, “O blessed man that I am! Who shall condemn me?” Rom. viii.
12.He grieves, yet rejoices under the strokes of his heavenly Father’s hands. He grieves that his Father’s hand strikes him, yet rejoices that it is the hand of a father, Heb. xii. 6, 7.
13.He knows there is no absolute perfection in this life, yet is continually reaching after it, Phil. iii. 12-14.
14.The less his burden grows, the more he feels it. The less sin he hath, the more sensible he is of sin; not that sin grows, but light, holiness, and tenderness are increased, 1 Tim. i. 15.
15.He is content to live, yet willing to die. He desires to serve Christ here, yet desires more to depart, and to be with him in heaven, Phil. i. 23.
Puritan John Mason died in 1694.
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