Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man [that is] my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts. Zach. 13:7.
Did the disciples forsake Christ, though they had such strong persuasions and resolutions never to do it? Then we see, That self-confidence is a sin too incident to the best of men. They little thought their hearts would have proved so base and deceitful, as they found them to be when they were tried. “Though all men forsake thee (saith Peter) yet will not!” Good man, he resolved honestly, but he knew not what a feather he should be in the wind of temptation, if God once left him to his own fears.
Little reason have the best of saints to depend upon their inherent grace, let their stock be as large as it will. The angels left to themselves, quickly left their own habitations, Jude 6. Upon which, one well observes, That the best of created perfections, are of themselves defectible. Every excellency without the prop of divine preservation, is but a weight which tends to a fall. The angels in their innocence, were but frail, without God’s sustentation; even grace itself is but a creature, and therefore purely dependant. It is not from its being and nature, but from the assistance of something without it, that it is kept from annihilation. What becomes of the stream, if the fountain supply it not? What continuance has the reflection in the glass, if the man that looks into it, turn away his face? The constant supplies of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, are the food and fuel of all our graces. The best men will show themselves but men if God leave them. He who has set them up, must also keep them. It is safer to be humble with one talent, than proud with ten; yea, better to be an humble worm, than a proud angel. Adam had more advantage to maintain his station than any of you. For though he were left to the liberty of his own mutable and self-determining will; and though he was created upright, and had no inherent corruption to endanger him, yet he fell.