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can befalus. Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors: and the king of glory jhall come in: awake, O my foul, raise thy self above this world anaj flesh, that thou mayest be fit for the king of glory to dwell in thee: Who is the king of glory $ the Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battel; that Holy Spirit that suhdues our enemies, that strengthens us with might, and fills us with courage and holy alacrity, Pfal. xxiv. 7, 8. Nor does the Psalmist prepare his foul for God by meditation only, and spiritual recollection and soliloquies ; but by a careful and Circumspect regulation of all his actions, Pfal. ci. 2, 3. / will behave my self wifely in aperfect way: O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfeci heart. I will Jet no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn afide, it Jhall not cleave to me. And how earnestly does he pray against God's forsaking him? PigJ. li. 11. Cast me not away front thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. The result of all this, must needs be stedfaflnejs and growth in holiness and goodness. For, first, This is the natural influence of such a dependance upon God; it places us always before him, and makes us walk humbly and circumspectly, as becomes those $hat are awed by the presence of holy a Majesty: I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right-hand, I shall not be moved, Psal. xvi. I. Secondly, We cannot doubt but that God will plentifully bestow his grace on those, who thus rely upon him For where can He bestow it with more advantage to his glory, or to the propagation of holiness; both of which are so dear to him? Who is a subject more capable of it, or who can be better entitled to it, than he who thus depends upon God? As he begs it humbly, and receives it thankfully ; so he will husband it carefully, and employ it zealously.
§.3. In prayer, meditation, and other infrumental duties of religion, we are to aim at one or all of these three things.
1. The quickening and enlivening the Conscience. 2. The confirming and strengthening our resolutions of obedience. 3. The raising and keeping up holy and devout affeBions. Great is the benefit ot each of these. Tenderness of conscience will keep us not only from evil, but every appearance of it; increase of spiritual strength will render us stedfast and unmoveable in all the works of God; and holy pafsion will make us abound in them. To spiritual pafjion we owe the zeal and pleasure; to spiritual strength and liberty, the constancy stancy and uniformity of an holy life; and both strength and paffion are generally owing to a tender and enlightened conscience. For while the conscience preserves a quick and nice fense of good and evil, all the great truths of the gospel will have their proper force and natural efficacy upon us. These then are the genuine fruits of meditation, the eucharist, psalmody, and such like. If they do not add life and light to the conscience; if they do not augment our strength, nor exalt our pajpons-, if they do not increase our detestation of sin, and our love to God and goodness; if they do not quicken and excite devout purposes; if they do not engage and refresh the soul by holy joy and heavenly pleasure; if, I say, they do not in some degree or other promote these things, we reap no benefit at all from them, or we can never be certain that we do. But tho' the ends I have mentioned, be of this great use to all, and consequently all are obliged to aim at them, yet may the different defects and imperfections of different Christians, render one of these ends more necessary than another; and by consequence, it will be 'wisdom more immediately and directly to intend and pursue that For example; if a man's temper be such, that his fassiom do soon kindle, and soon die again j that he is apt to
form wise and great projects, and as unapt to accomplish any thing; in this case, it will be his duty to aim especially a,% the increase of strength. But if on the ether hand, a man's temper be cold and phlegmatic^, How and heavy; it is but *ijt that he should particularly apply himi self to the awakening and exciting devout
fijseSliom in his foul. For as excellent pur► poses (^o often miscarry for want of con
i itancy and firmness of mind; Jo steadiness
, and firmness of mind doth seldqni effeffc
any great matter, when it wants life and i passion to put it into motion. Again, if
I one's past l^e has been very finful, or the
present be not very fruitful, it will behove , such a one to increase the tenderness of
CQn/cien-cey to add more light and life to its convJtfions; that, by a daily repetition of contrition and compunction, he may wash off the fain, or, by the fruitfuinpss of his following life, repair the barrenness of tljajt past. Having thus in few words, bPth made out the usefulness of those thrtf ends I proposed to a Christian in the performance of instrumental duties of religion, and (hewed in what cafes he may be obliged to aim more immediately at one than another; I w#l now enquire, and that as briefly as I can, how these three ends may be f cured and promoted.
1st, Of tenderness of conscience; or the full and lively convictions of it.
Jo promote this, the first thing neceiTaryis meditation. No man, who diligently searches and studies the Rook ,o/Gody can be a stranger to himself, or to his duty. Not to •bis duty; for this book reveals the whole will of God in clear and full terms; k gives us such infallible charaStert of good and evil, right and wrong, as render our ignorance or error inexcusable: it points out the great ends of life fo plainly, and conducts to them by such general and unerring rules, that there is no variety of circumstances can so perplex and ravel our duty, but that an honest man by the help of this may easily discover it. For this reason 'tis, that the Word of God is called light, because it does distinguish between good and evil, right and wrong; and like a lamp does manifest the path which we are to chuse, and disperses that mist and darkness, with which the lust of man, and the fubtilty of hell has covered it. And for this reason 'tis, that the good have such a value, and the wicked such an aversion for the Book of God. For every one that doth evil, hateth the light, neither cometb to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved, But be that doth truth, cometh to the light, that his deeds may be mads manifest, that they are wrought in