THE Upright Christian DISCOVERED; By keeping himself from his Iniqui­ty, and Resignation to the Di­vine Will. By way of QVESTION and ANSWER.

Gathered out of the judicious Trea­tises of William Bates, D. D.

LONDON, Printed for Jonathan Robinson, at the Golden Lion in St. Paul's Church Yard, 1693.

The Upright Christian Discovered, &c.

Psal. 18.23.

I was also upright be­fore him; and I kept my self from MINE Iniquity.

Mat. 26.39.

He fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this Cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will, but AS THOU WILT.

Quest. 1. WHat Sin may be na­med a Man's own?

Answ. Generally, every one that he commits, may be named his own. All are Off-springs of the Lust, that [Page 4] St. James calleth his own. The Devil can fasten no Guilt upon us without the consent of our Wills. But yet some Sins be more peculiarly and more eminently to be called our own. Namely, such as there is a stronger ten­dency in us to commit, than others; such as our Wills and Affections are more engaged unto, than unto others.

These are of different kinds in the several unregenerate Persons; in all of whom they do reign. The Discovery of them, that is most level to the low­est Christians, is made by their Causes, and by their Effects.

Their Causes are either Natural or Moral. Natural, from the different Temperaments of Mens Bodies and Connexion of their Passions. These be the secret Springs of special Incli­nations and Aversions. It is true, cor­rupted Nature includes all Sin. But [Page 5] there is not an equal inclination in every person unto all Sin. In waste Ground some Weeds be ranker than others, from the quality of the Soil: And in the Lives of Men, some Sins be more predominant than others, by reason of peculiar Dispositions. For bodily Dispositions incline the Soul. We see Men of Sanguine Constitutions are usually light and vain, sensual and riotous, bold and aspiring. Men of Phlegmatick Constitutions be idle and slow, cold and careless in things of mo­ment. Men of Melancholick ones are suspicious, soure, and not easie to be sn­treated, jealous, and often revengeful. And Cholerick Constitutions of Body, make men heady, various, violent, troublesome to themselves and others. Moreover, vicious Affections run in several Channels, according unto the alterations made in Bodies in Mens se­veral Ages. The Spring of corrupt Nature is still the same; but the Course [Page 6] is different. Youth is carnal, presum­tuous, easie to be deceived, and refra­ctory to Reason. Middle Age is of cooler Passions, covetous, ambitious, turned unto more solemn and less scandalous Follies than those of Youth. Old Age has its peculiar Vices; it is querelous, impatient, covetous, vainly fearful of contempt or want. Now according to our Constitutions and Ages, we must make our enquiry for our Own Sin.

Our Passions be sensitive Cravings for apprehended good, or for the re­moval of apprehended evil. Now Sin being the disorder of our desiring Fa­culty, we may discover what is our predominant Sin, by considering what Affection is most violent in us; and of what others it is productive. What is it we do most love, and when dis­appointed of it, do most hate, such as cause the disappointment? &c.

[Page 7]The Moral Causes of special Sins are to be found in the several Callings wherein Men are engaged. In these, Satan lays his Snares. Secondly, In the opposite states of Prosperity and Adversity. Both of which have their special Temptations adherent; long trains of them. Thirdly, In the So­ciety that we converse with. Compa­ny that we chuse, discovers us unto others, and may discover us unto our selves. Fourthly, In the Quality of the Times wherein we live. There are Days named Evil, in respect of Tem­ptations concomitant, which will re­quire great circumspection to preserve our innocence. And in these, our swimming with the Stream, or resist­ing the Torrent, will discover much of our hearts. It was Jehosaphat's ho­nour, that he walked in the Command­ments of the Lord, and not according to the doings in Israel.

[Page 8]The Effects of peculiar Sin, by which it is made known, are now to be con­sidered; 1. The Sin that is frequently and easily committed, and is difficultly retracted, that Sin is a Man's own pecu­liar one. Frequent Actions are from Dispositions strongly bent. And when the power of a Temptation is quick and speedy, the sinful inclination must needs be strong. Add, that it must surely be a Darling-Lust that controlls the efficacy of the Principles of Con­science concerning Good and Evil. 2. That Lust to which others are subservient, has the supremacy in the Heart. Sins do serve one another. Covetousness serves Pride; and Pride is his Sin who robs and oppresses for Money wherewith to support his State and Pomp. 3. It is the darling Corruption that ingrosses the Thoughts. When the Mind is in continual exer­cise to compass Riches, Covetousness is then the reigning Passion. 4. The [Page 9] Sin that you desire to conceal, and are apt to defend or to extenuate, and are impatient of Reproof for it, this is your own special Sin. All Sinners dissem­ble, and paint their most beloved Sins with least odious Colours. Inconti­nent men call Lust a humane Frailty. Many Men of fair Tempers will re­coil upon their Reprovers; and some­times recriminate, that they are as bad as themselves. 5. The Sin that enlightned Conscience reflects upon with most anguish and remorse, is usually the peculiar one. It is commonly that by which God has been most dishonour­ed, that the Sinner is then most tor­mented with. 6. The Sin that is your own you must seek out among the seve­ral kinds of Sin. Is it Omission, or Com­mission? Spiritual, or Carnal? Perso­nal, or Relative? &c. You must search, even where you may think there is little reason to expect it.

[Page 10]Q. 2. What is it to preserve ones self from ones own Sin?

A. It implies two things.

  • 1. Abstaining from the practice of that Sin.
  • 2. Mortifying the inward Affection to that Sin.

He keeps himself from it, who to­gether abhorrs the commission of it, and watches and prays against the ve­ry inclination unto it.

Q. 3. How appears it that a Man's so keeping himself from his own special Sin, is an undeceiving evidence of Sin­cerity?

A. It appears, if we consider,

1. God approves it. Sincere Chri­stians only, and accepted ones, can ap­peal to God. And this David doth; I was upright before him.

[Page 11]2. This keeping ones self from ones own Sin, is equivalent to Perfection and Integrity; and it is opposite unto Guilt. 'Tis equivalent unto Perfection, Psal. 37.37. Mark the perfect Man, and be­hold the Upright, the end of that man is peace. 'Tis opposite to Guile, John 1.47. Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!

Q. 4. What is hence to be learned?

A. 1. The making this our Rule to judge our selves by.

2. The keeping our selves with all diligence from our own iniquity.

Q. 5. What Motives are unto this?

A. These Six.

M. 1. Habitual indulged Lusts are irreconcileable with the state of Grace. They render us uncapable of God's pardoning Mercy here, and of the [Page 12] heavenly Glory hereafter. Continued in, they do so.

M. 2. We may by Divine Grace, subdue the strongest Lusts, that from our Nature and Temper, from Custom, or from Interests carnal, have rule o­ver us. The new Covenant assures Believers, that sin shall not have domi­nion over them, because they are not under the Law but under Grace, Rom. 6.14.

M. 3. Our subduing the ruling Lust, will make the Victory over other sins more easie. For that is the Root whence others do spring and are fed. And besides, one Victory inspires with courage to atchieve another. The Indians, when they had killed one Spaniard, took▪ Heart and resol­ved to Fight the rest. The Romans counted that they had killed an Host of their Enemies, in one Mithri­dates.

[Page 13]M. 4. Our Sins cost our Saviour his Sacred Blood, to purchase their Par­don, and our freedom from their Do­minion. This purely Evangelical Ar­gument, has an admirable Efficacy to inspire Zeal, and make Sin odious. Even the Sin that has been as near to us as our Bosoms; as pleasant as our corrupt Inclinations, as familiar and intimate as Custom, 2 Cor. 5.14.

M. 5. The blessed Reward of Vp­rightness, comprehends all good of Time, and of Eternity. God is gra­ciously ready to supply all their Wants, allay all their Sorrows, over­come all their Fears, satisfie all their Desires, when his Servants are up­right. And nothing but Experience, can make the greatness of their Re­ward to be understood. Light is sown for the Righteous, and Joy for the up­right in Heart, Psal.

[Page 14]M. 6. Woful are the Effects of in­dulging your peculiar Sins; the Lusts that by Pleasure or Profit bribe you. Accusing Conscience begins Hell here. Sin's memory, in the approaches of Death is very ghastly. The power of God's wrath, is then more in sight. But the prepared Plagues in the next World, do exceed all the most fearful Apprehensions in this World. There is perfection of misery, A Life in tor­ments that never Dies, a Death that never ends. Well then,

Q. 6. What are the Means requisite for preserving us from our special Sins?

A. Let it be considered, Medicines be not Sweet-meats. Rules for Reco­very and Preservation of Health will seem harsh, and be distastful unto Minds carnal. But, if we will keep our selves from our own Iniquity, we must follow them.

[Page 15]R. 1. We must be inquisitive, and get to understand, intimately and di­stinctly what our own Sins be. Against undiscerned Enemies we cannot be pro­vided of Defence; but must fall by them without Resistance.

R. 2. We must use diligent Watch­fulness and Circumspection, to prevent and resist our special Sins. To wit, when we have gained the knowledge of them, and sense of our danger from them.

R. 3. We must seriously Resolve and solemnly Engage our selves, not to yield unto our special Sins. This we must do, with Dependance upon the PRESENT and the PERPETUAL assistance of the Divine Grace. With­out which, our Resolutions cannot be sincere, and will not be effectual. But be broke by the next tempting Ob­jects; as easily as the strings of a [Page 16] Cobweb be broke by a strong gust of Wind; or Walls of Glass by the Bat­tery of Cannon.

R. 4. We must rise by speedy and deep Repentance, when we have negle­cted our Watch, and fallen into the Sin that we are peculiarly prone un­to. This is necessary to recover God's favour, and to preserve us for the fu­ture. Many have been cut off in early Sins, and lost their Times, their Hopes, and their Souls for e­ver. However, by continuance in Sin, the Heart grows both more UNABLE, and more UNWILLING to resist and mortifie it. Fresh Wounds are of easier Cure than inve­terate Ulcers.

R. 5. We must fervently and con­stantly pray for the Renewing Grace of God. It is by the Spirit of Holi­ness that we are able to mortifie the [Page 17] deeds of the Body. And if we inter­mit Prayer, we must not expect the H. Spirit's aids thereunto.

R. 6. We must act Faith in our Re­deemer. This is the Soveraign and Effectual Means. Christ is the Foun­tain of Inherent as well as of Imputed Righteousness. It is through Christ strengthning we can do all things. It is He gives Repentance. It is He blesses us in turning us from our ini­quities. Mortification of Sin is at­tributed to his Death, in respect of meritorious procurement; and in re­spect of its being a Representation of it. Our crucifying the Flesh with its Affections and Lusts is a lively resemblance of his Death. Which was designed to be operative in us of the death of Sin, and to be significa­tive of the same. Besides; Christ's Death mortifies Sin by Moral Influ­ence. As it expresses God's transcen­dent [Page 18] Love unto us; that draws us from Sin. And as it no less expres­ses God's holy severity against Sin, that affrights and drives us from Sin. Now, Faith in Christ both OBLIGES and ENCOURAGES us to subdue our Sins. And it has (in the word) a cleansing Vertue, and a victorious efficacy, attributed unto it. It puri­fies the heart, and it overcomes the world.

Concerning the great Duty of Re­signation to the disposing Will of God, observe,

Entire Resignation to God's dispo­sing Will is our indispensible Duty un­der the sharpest Afflictions.

Q. 1. What is consistent with this Resignation?

[Page 19] A. 1. Earnest Prayer against im­pending Judgments, is consistent with it. Christ Resigned to God's will, yet Prayed the Cup might pass. 2. A mournful sense of Affliction is consistent with it. If we do not at all mourn, we despise God's Rod.

Q. 2. What does Resignation to God's will, include in it?

A. It includes, 1. Our Mind's as­sent to the Righteousness and Good­ness of what God doth. 2. Our Wills consent and subjection to God's Or­ders, though against our own Incli­nations. 3. Our Affections composure unto a just temper; and their restraint from sinful excesses in their Degrees, and in their Continuance.

Q. 3. What are the Arguments for this Resignation?

[Page 20] A. 1. God has supreme right in our Persons, and in All we enjoy. 2. God is Righteous in all his ways, and will not wrong us. 3. God's Power is uncontroulable, and it is vain to con­tend with Him. 4. God's Fatherly afflictions deserve our Love and Thanks. 5. God's Wisdom orders all in the best manner for his Glory; which is to be preferred above all, our Life it self: And for our final Good, which is to be preferred above present Ease.

Q. 4. What Directions are useful for our Resigning to God's Will?

A. 1. Look to Jesus Christ, the grand Exemplar; his Resignation and his Reward. 2. Look to Saints in all Ages. Jam. 5.10. 3. Look to all Creatures, how they obey God's Will. Angels above us; and those of rank below us, Ravens and Lions. 4. Look [Page 21] to the glorious excellency of the Wills that are united unto God's Will. 'Tis our highest Perfection. 5. Look to the Felicity that is in Resignation. It quiets our Hearts, it makes our Ele­ction sure, and our Adoption. 6. Look how short your suffering Time is. Weep­ing endures but for a Night. Add hereto, it concerns you,

1. To Believe stedfastly God's Pro­vidence and Promises. 2. To make GOD the supreme Object of your E­steem and Affections. 3. To moderate your Valuations and Affections to all things below. 4. To forecast possible evils as future, and as coming on you; and make it your Motto, Never se­cure. 5. To reflect seriously and mourn­fully upon your guilt and deservings from God's Justice. In the day of Ad­versity consider, Godly sorrow, lessens Natural. 6. To apply your Minds to consider your Blessings as well as [Page 22] your Sufferings. 7. To Pray fre­quently and fervently. Is any afflicted? let him Pray.

That your Prayers may prevail; Pray 1. With your Eye to God's Mer­cy, and Christ's Merit. 2. With your Heart submissive to God's Will and Wisdom. 3. With your Haste more for Grace, than for Comfort.


This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.