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who knows my down-fitting, and my up-rifijng, and understands my thoughts afar off? Can member the Fate of Judas, and not think of ferious Repentance? Can I hear the Son of God call fo often, Woe, woe to the Hypocrites,and hug the Sin in my Bofom? Shall I harbour a Snake there, which will fting me into endless gnawings of Confcience? How fhortly will all these Delusions be discovered? Before I am a few days older,God
may fummon me, and lay open all my deceits and
juggles in Religion. Thus others have been ferved; Why should I think to escape? And thô the Day of Judgment is not come, yet there are Angels, there are Righteous Souls, before whom SA the Impoftures may be laid open, and difcovered to my shame, and forrow, and astonishment, as foon as my Soul leaves my Body fenfeless. Do I think to blind the Eyes of him, in whofe Book all my Members are fet down? Is the Portion of Hypocrites no difcouragement? What Promise in the Gospel can I lay hold of, during this condition? They all run to the upright in Heart, and muft I go without thefe Cordials? Must I fee others run away with thefe Treasures, while my self can expect nothing but God's Curie and Anger? Muft I fee others go to poflefs the Promised Land, while I must stay behind in a Wilderness? Muft I fee others gather Manna, and feed upon the rich Clufters of Canaan, while my own Soul must perish for want of that Bread of Life? I Lord, who shall abide in thy Tabernacle? Who el fhall dwell in thy holy Hill? He that walks uprightly,and works righteousness,and speaks to the truth in his X4
heart. And muft I have no feat in yonder Man fions? No house in that Jerufalem, which is above? No habitation in this City, whither the Tribes go up, the Tribes of the Lord, unto the teftimony of IfYael, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord? O my Soul, behold thy Salvation comes, his reward is with him, and his work before him. Arife, fhine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is rifen upon thee. Away, and hate this garment fpotted by the flesh; these are not the Spots of God's Children; these are not the Characters of God's Favourites: Spots they are, but of Leopards, marks of Wolves that come in Sheeps Cloathing, figns of Sepulchres, which indeed ap pear beautiful outward, but are within full of Dead Mens bones, and full of Uncleannefs.
Such ferious thoughts would check Hypocrifie; but the vain Man hardens his heart against them, locks them out, will give them no entertainment, and that makes him ferve God to please the Devil, and turn Religion into a meer fhew and formality, burn in Words,and freeze in Deeds; and like that Son in the Gospel, fay, Igo Sir, but he goes not.
From the Premiffes, we may eafily guess what to think of other Sins, viz. That the great of them, is want of Confideration; and therefore the Holy Ghoft likens Men that live in any Sin, or indulge themselves in any Tranfgreffion, to a Horfe that rushes into the Battel,and confiders not what he doth; ventures among Swords and Arrows, and the greatest Dangers, without recollecting what will be the iffue of it. Jer. 8. 6.
Confideration is the Bridle that must govern our
Of the various Advantages of ferious Confideration; it's that, which makes a Man Mafter of all Chriftian Duties; it helps a Man to improve Sublunary Objects into Heavenly Contemplations. It's the greatest Support under Afflictions; difpofes a a Man to be a Worthy Receiver of the Lord's Supper; prepares him for an Angelical Life on Earth; makes him prudent and discreet in Secular Affairs, and Bufinefs.
'Hô in the preceeding Chapters we have already, in a great measure discovered,what Men may hope for from Confideration, and of what ufe it is to a truly ferious and Chriftian Life; yet we must not leave fo rich a Subject thus, without giving an account of fome other pofitive Advantages, which do render it very defirable to a rational Man. And,
I. It hath most certainly a very great influence upon all Christian Duties; the Celestial Luminaries have not a greater influence upon the Bodies of Men, and Beafts, and Plants, than Confideration hath upon thefe Spiritual Endowments; whatever Qualification Chrift or his Apostles re
require or recommend, it's by Confideration of the Excellency and Dignity of that Duty, that Men must expect to arrive to it.
The First and Great Commandment is, Thou fhalt love thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy foul, and with all thy mind. But he fhall never be Master of this Duty, that doth not frequently and seriously confider the immense and ftupendious Love of God to him; and indeed, then I may hope to be acquainted with a fincere and cordial Love to God, when I give leave to fuch Confiderations as thefe, to impregnate my Understanding. O my God! Can I think of fo great, fo holy, fo infinite, fo merciful, fo munificent a Being, and forbear to be enamoured with thee? Thy Greatness over-awes, thy Holiness directs, thy Infinity fupports, thy Mercy charms, thy Munificence invites thy poor unworthy Creatures: Whence are all my Mercies, but from thee? Thou art the Spring, the Fountain of them all. Whatever Bleffings are conveyed to me by the hands of Second Causes, they come originally from thee, and thou moveft and ordereft thofe Second Caufes, to come in to my Affiftance. By thee have I been upheld ever fince I was born; when I lay in the fhades of Nothing, thou didst awake me into a Being, gaveft me a Rational Soul, a Soul capable of admiring, adoring, and worshipping Thee, and ever fince thy Mercies have followed me; and thou hast been a Pillar of a Cloud unto me by day, and a Pillar of Fire by night; what Parts, Gifts or Abilities I have, they are thy Gifts and Characters of thy Compaffion;
Thou ordereft my Steps, thou art about my Bed, and about my Paths, and doft preserve me in all my ways; many a time fhould I have stumbled, and fallen, and perished irrecoverably, but that thou haft fupported me, and given charge to thy Holy Angels to be my Guardians. I had been a barren Wilderness, if thou hadst not rained fhowers of Grace upon me, and made me fruitful. I had brought forth nothing but Death, if thou hadft not shined upon me. I had continued lying in the Mire, if thou hadst not pulled me out; and must have remained in the horrible Pit for ever, if thou hadft not fet my Feet upon a Rock. I had continued blind, if thou hadst not opened mine Eyes; deaf to thy Admonitions, if thou hadft not unlocked mine Ears. I could never have rifen, if thou hadft not lent me thy helping Hand. I must have funk, if thou hadst not fupported me; and perished, if thou hadst not guided and directed me. I had committed greater Sins, if thy restraining Power had not kept me; and what could have hindred me from running with others into excefs of Riot, if thou hadft not removed the Snares, which were laid for me, to catch me in Ruin. It is thy doing, that I have not done fo; that I have abstained from these Evils, thy Affistance is the cause; and that I have believed thee, I am beholding to thy Mercy. O my God! How often have I deferved thine Anger And yet in the midst of thy Wrath, thou thinkeft upon Mercy. What Judg ments mighteft not thou have inflicted on me for my wilful Sins? But thou haft fent none as yet,