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fome do expound the wifdom, fome fenfuality, fome the "affectation, fome the defire of the flesh, which doth remain, 66 yea, in them that are regenerated." But as for its prevailing power, it is deftroyed in every foul that is truly born of GOD, and gradually more and more weakened as the be-, liever grows in grace, and the fpirit of GoD gains a greater, and greater afcendancy in the heart.
But Secondly, Walking with God not only implies, that the prevailing power of the enmity of a man's heart be taken away, but also that a perfon is actually reconciled to GOD the. Father, in and through the all-fufficient righteousness and atonement of his dear Son. "Can two walk together, (fays "Salomon), unless they are agreed?" JESUS is our peace, as well as our peace-maker. When we are juftified by faith in CHRIST, then, but not till then, we have peace with God; and confequently cannot be faid till then, to walk with him. Walking with a person, being a fign and token that we are friends to that perfon, or at leaft, though we have been at variance, yet that now we are reconciled and become friends, again. This is the great errand that gofpel minifters are fent out upon. To us is committed the miniftry of reconciliation : As ambaffadors for GoD, we are to befeech finners, in CHRIST's ftead, to be reconciled unto God; and when they comply with the gracious invitation, and are actually by faith brought into a state of reconciliation with GOD, then, and not till then, may they be said so much as to begin to walk with GOD.
Further, Thirdly, Walking with GOD implies, a fettled, abiding communion and fellowship with God, or what in fcripture is called, "The Holy Ghost dwelling in us.” This is what our LORD promifed when he told his difciples, that "the Holy Spirit fhould be in, and with them," not to be like a wayfaring-man, to stay only for a night, but to refidé and make his abode in their hearts. This I am apt to believe is what the Apostle John would have us understand, when he talks of a perfon abiding in him, in CHRIST, "and '' walking as he himself alfo walked." And this is what is particularly meant in the words of our text. "And Enoch "walked with GOD." i. e. He kept up and maintained a holy, fettled, habitual, though undoubtedly not altogether
uninterrupted communion and fellowship with God, in and through CHRIST JESUS. So that to fum up what has been faid on this part of the first general head, walking with GOD. confists especially in the fixed habitual bent of the will for GOD, in an habitual dependance upon his power and promise, in an habitual voluntary dedication of our all to his glory, in an habitual eying of his precept in all we do, and in an habitual complacence in his pleasure in all we fuffer.
Fourthly, Walking with GOD implies, our making progress or advances in the divine life. Walking, in the the very firft idea of the word, feems to fuppofe a progreffive motion. A perfon that walks, though he move flowly, yet he goes forwards and does not continue in one place. And fo it is with those that walk with GOD. They go on, as the pfalmift fays, from ftrength to ftrength;" or, in the language of the Apostle Paul, they pass from glory to glory, even by the Spirit of the LORD." Indeed in one fenfe, the divine life admits of neither increase nor decrease. When a foul is born of GOD, to all intents and purpofes he is a child of GOD, and, though he should live to the age of Methuselah, yet he would then be only a child of GOD, after all. But in another fenfe, the divine life admits of decays and additions. Hence it is, that we find the people of GoD charged with backflidings, and lofing their firft love. And hence it is, that we hear of babes, young men and fathers in CHRIST; and upon this account it is that the Apoftle exhorts Timothy, "to let his progress be made known to all men." And what is here required of Timothy in particular; by St. Peter, is enjoined all chriftians in general, "But grow in grace, (fays he) and in the knowledge of our LORD and Saviour JESUS CHRIST." For the new creature increases in spiritual ftature; and though a person can but be a new creature, yet there are some that are more conformed to the divine image than others, and will, after death, be admitted to a greater degree of bleffed nefs. For want of obferving this distinction, even fome gracious fouls that have better hearts than heads, (as well as men of corrupt minds, reprobates concerning the faith) have unawares run into downright Antinomian principles, denying all growth of grace in a believer, or any marks of grace to be laid down in the fcriptures of truth. From
fuch principles, and more especially from practices naturally confequent on fuch principles, may the LORD of all Lord's deliver us!
From what then has been faid, we may now know what is implied in the words, "walked with GOD," viz. Our having the prevailing enmity of our hearts taken away by the power of the Spirit of GOD; our being actually reconciled and united to him by faith in JESUS CHRIST; our having and keeping up a fettled communion and fellowship with him; and our making a daily progress in this fellowship, so as to be conformed to the divine image more and more.
How this is done, or, in other words, by what means believers keep up and maintain their walk with GOD, comes to be confidered under our fecond general head.
And, First, Believers keep up and maintain their walk with GOD, by reading of his holy word." Search the scriptures," fays our bleffed LORD, "for thefe are they that testify of me." And the royal pfalmift tells us, "that God's word was a light unto his feet, and a lanthorn unto his paths;" and he makes it one property of a good man, "that his delight is in the law of the LORD, and that he exercises himfelf therein day and night." "Give thyfelf to reading," (fays Paul to Timothy); "And this book of the law, (fays GOD to Joshua) shall not go out of thy mouth." For whatfoever was written in afore time, was written for our learning. And the word of GOD is profitable for reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness, and every way fufficient to make every true child of GOD thoroughly furnished to every good work. If we once get above our Bibles, and ceafe making the written word of God our fole rule, both as to faith and practice, we fhall foon lie open to all manner of delufion, and be in great danger of making shipwreck of faith and a good confcience. Our bleffed LORD, though he had the Spirit of GOD without measure, yet always was governed by, and fought the devil with, "It is written." This the Apostle calls the "Sword of the Spirit." We may fay of it as David faid of Goliah's fword, "None like this." The scriptures are called the lively oracles of GoD: not only because they are generally made ufe of to beget in us a new life, but also to keep up and increase it in the foul. The Apostle Peter, in his 2d epiftle, prefers it even to seeing
CHRIST transfigured upon the mount. For after he had faid, chap. i. 18. "That the voice which came from heaven. we heard, when we were with Him in the holy mount;' he adds, "We have also a more fure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light fhining in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-ftar arife in your hearts:" i. e. Till we shake off these bodies, and fee JESUS face to face. Till then, we muft fee and converfe with him through the glafs of his word. We must make his teftimonies our counsellors, and daily, with Mary, fit at JESUS feet, by faith hearing his word. We fhall then by happy experience find, that they are fpirit and life, meat indecd, and drink indeed to our fouls.
Secondly, Believers keep up and maintain their walk with GOD by fecret prayer. The fpirit of grace is always accompanied with the fpirit of fupplication. It is the very breath of the new-creature, the fan of the divine life, whereby the fpark of holy fire kindled in the foul by GoD, is not only kept in, but raifed into a flame. A neglect of fecret prayer has been frequently an inlet to many spiritual difeafes, and has been attended with fatal confequences. Origen observed,
That the day he offered incenfe to an idol, he went out of "his clofet without making use of fecret prayer." It is one of the most noble parts of the believer's spiritual armour. Praying always, fays the Apoftle, with all manner of fupplication." "Watch and pray, fays our LORD, that ye enter not into temptation." And he fpake a parable, that his difciples fhould pray, and not faint. Not that our LORD would have us always upon our knees, or in our closets, to the neglect of our other relative duties. But he means, that our fouls fhould be kept in a praying-frame, so that we might be able to say, as a good man in Scotland once faid to his friends on his death-bed, "Could these curtains, or could
thefe walls fpeak, they would tell you what sweet com·""; munion I have had with my GoD here." O prayer, prayer! It brings and keeps GOD and man together. It raifes man up to GOD, and brings GOD down to man. If you would therefore, O believers, keep up your walk with GOD; pray, pray without ceafing. Be much in fecret, fet prayer. And when you are about the common business of life,
be much in ejaculatory prayer, and fend, from time to time, fhort letters poft to heaven upon the wings of faith. They will reach the very heart of GOD, and return to you again loaded with spiritual bleffings.
Thirdly, Holy and frequent meditation is another bleffed. means of keeping up a believer's walk with GOD. "Prayer, "reading, temptation, and meditation," fays Luther, "make "a minifter." And they also make, and perfect a chriftian. Meditation to the foul, is the fame as digeftion to the body. Holy David found it fo, and therefore he was frequently employed in meditation, even in the night season. We read alfo of Ifaac's going out into the fields to meditate in the evening; or, as it is in the margin, to pray. For meditation is a kind of filent prayer, whereby the foul is frequently, as it were, carried out of itself to GOD, and in a degree made like unto those bleffed Spirits, who by a kind of immediate intuition always behold the face of our heavenly Father. None but thofe happy fouls that have been, accustomed to this divine employ, can tell what a blessed promoter of the divine life, meditation is. "Whilft I was mufing, fays David, the fire kindled." And whilft the believer is musing on the works and word of GOD; especially that work of works, that wonder of wonders, that mystery of godliness, "GOD manifeft in the flesh," the Lamb of Gop flain for the fins of the world: he frequently feels the fire of divine love kindle, fo that he is obliged to fpeak with his tongue, and tell of the loving-kindness of the LORD to his foul. Be frequent therefore in meditation, all ye that defire to keep up and maintain a close and uniform walk with the most-high God.
Fourthly, Believers keep up their walk with GOD, by watching and noting his providential dealings with them. If we believe the fcriptures, we must believe what our LORD hath declared therein, "That the very hairs of his difciples heads are all numbered; and that a sparrow does not fall to the ground, (either to pick up a grain of corn, or when fhot by a fowler) without the knowledge of our heavenly Father." Every crofs has a call in it, and every particular difpenfation of divine providence, has fome particular end to answer in thofe to whom it is fent. If it be of an afflictive nature,