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establish our resolution more than any thing else. Faith is the root, fear the guard, and hope the spur of all our virtues. Faith convinces us what is our duty; fear makes us impartial, diligent, and watchful; hope, resolved and active in the prosecution of it. It being thus clear 'what our spiritual strength consists in, it will be easy to discern by what means we are to gain it. But I can here only suggest those hints and intimations which the reader must upon occasion, as he needs, enlarge and i mprove.

i. Meditations the first thing necessary. We must often survey the grounds and foundations of our faith; we must consider frequently and seriously the scripture topicks of hope and fear, such are the death of Jesus, a judgment to come, the holiness and justice, and the omnipresence of God: we must diligently observe the wiles and stratagems of Satan, the arts and insinuations of the world and fie/h, and mark the progress of fin from its very beginning to maturity; and all this with a particular regard to the corruption of our own nature, and the deceitfulness of our own hearts. We must often ponder upon the beauty and peace of holiness, the love of God and of Jesus, the virtues, sufferings, and crowns of martyrs. And, finally, if we will increase in strength,

we must practise this duty of meditation often, and we must not suffer our selves to be withdrawn from it, or be prevailed with to intermit it on any flight and trivial pretences. And because we are not always maflers of our own affairs, nor consequently of our time; therefore ought we to have ever ready at hand, a good collection of texts, which contain, in few words, the power and spirit of gospel motives, the perfection and beauty of duties, and the substance of advice and counsel: and to fix these so in our memory, that they may serve as a shield for us to oppose, as our Saviour did, against the darts of the devil, and as a supply of excellent and useful thoughts upon a sudden: fo that in all the Tittle interruptions of business, and the many little vacancies of the day, the mind, which is an active and busy spirit, may never want a proper J'ubjeB to work upon; much less lose it self in wild and lazy amusements, or defile itself by vain or vicious thoughts. But we must not only take care that meditation be frequent, but also that it be not loose and roving. To which end it will be necessary to study om selves as well as the scriptures, and to be intimately acquainted with the advantages and disadvantages of our constitution, and our state; so that in our meditations on the


scriptures, we may more particularly have an eye to those vices we are. most obnoxious to, and those virtues which are either more necessary, or more feeble and undergrown.

Next aster meditation must follow prayer. Great is the power of prayer in promoting Christian strength and fortitude; whether we consider its prevalence upon God, or its natural influence upon our jehes. If we consider the latter, what divine force and energy is there in the confidences of faith, the joys of hope, the earnest longings and defires of love, the tender sorrows of contrition, the delight of praises and thanksgivings, the adorations and self-depressions of a profound humility, and the resolutions and vows of a perfect abhorrence of, and holy zeal and indignation against sin! how do these things mellow and enrich the foul! how do they raise it higher and higher above the corruption .which is in the world through lust ! how do they renew it daily, and make it a partaker of the divine Nature! the repetition of the same acts naturally begets an habit; an habit is the strength and perfection of the foul; for it is a disposition ri- , pened and confirmed by custom. How naturally then must prayer fortify the mind, ripen good dispositions, or add strength and perfection to good habits! since it is

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nothing else but a repeated exercise of al~ most all the graces of the gospel, repentance, faith, hope, charity, and the like: and it ought to be observed, that prayer gives us a frequent opportunity of exercising those virtues, which we should not otherwise be so often obliged to do. If, secondly, we enquire into the prevalence oj prayer with God, we {hall have further reasons yet to resolve, that it is a most effectual means of increafing our spiritual strength. 'What will God deny to the prayer of a righteous man? He may deny him temporal things, because they are not good for him. He may refuse to remove a temptation, because this is often an occasion of his own glory, and his servant's reward; but he will never refuse him grace to conquer it. He will no more deny his Spirit to one that earnestly and sincerely begs it, than the natural parent will bread to his hungry and craving child. And no wonder, since grace is as necessary to the spiritual life as bread to the natural .-, the goodness of God is more tender and compassionate than any instinct in human nature; and the purity and perfection of • God more zealoufly follicitous for the holiness and immortality of his children, than earthly parents ban be for a sickly perishing life of theirs. Thus then 'tis plain, that prayer contributes wonderfully to the

strengthening strengthening and establishing the mind of man in goodness. But then we mult remember, that it must have these two qualifications; it must be frequent and incessantly importunate, i. It must be frequent. I would have this rule complied with as far as it may, even in our stated, regular, and solemn addresses to God. But because business, and several obligations we lie under to the world, do often preft hard upon us ; therefore must I give the fame counsel here, which I did before under the head of meditation; that is, to have always ready and imprinted in our memory several texts of scripture, containing the most weighty and important truths, in the most piercing and mpving language; that we may be able to form these on a sudden into ejaculations, in which our fouls may mount up into heaven, amidst the ardours and transports of desires and praise, as the angel did, in the flame of Manoatfs sacrifice. 2. Prayer must be ineesjantly importunate. Importunate it will be, if the soul be prepared and disposed as it ought; that is, if it be disengaged from this world, and possessed entirely with the belief and earnest expectation of a better; if it be humbled in itself, disclaim all strength and merit of its own, and rest wholly on the goodness and all-sufficiency of God. I add incessantly, in conformity

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