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enter into temptation, do thou, Lord, deliver me from evil* ! Make me sensible, I intreat thee, of my own weakness, that my heart may be raised to thee for present communications of proportionable strength! When I am engaged in the society of others, may it be my desire and my care, that I may do, and receive, as much good as possible ; and may I continually answer the great purposes of life, by honouring thee, and diffusing useful knowledge and happiness in the world! And when I am alone, may I remember my heavenly Father is with me ; and may I enjoy the pleasure of thy presence, and feel the animating power of it, awakening my soul to an earnest desire to think, and act, as in thy sight!
“ Thus let my days be spent : and let them always be closed in thy fear, and under a sense of thy gracious presence! Meet me, () Lord, in mine evening retirements ! May I chuse the most proper time for them ; may I diligently attend to reading and prayer; and when I review my conduct, may I do it with an impartial eye! Let not self-love spread a false colouring over it; but may I judge myself, as one that expects to be judged of the Lord, and is very solicitous he may be ap. proved by thee, who searchest all hearts, and canst not forget any of my workst ! Let my prayer come daily before thee as incense, and let the lifting up of my hands be as the morning and the evening sacrificeI! May. I resign my powers to sleep in sweet calmness and serenity ; conscious that I have lived to God in the day, and cheerfully persuaded that I am accepted cf thee in Christ Jesus my Lord, and humbly hoping in thy mercy through him whether my days on earth be prolonged, or the residue of them be cut off in the midstş! If death comes by a leisurely advance, may it find me thus employed; and if I am called on a sudden to exchange worlds, may iny last days and hours be found to have been conducted by such maxims as these ; that I may have a sweet and easy passage from the services of time to the infinitely nobler services of an immortal state! I ask it through him, who while on earth was the fairest pattern and example of every virtue and grace, and who now lives and reigns with thee, able to save unto the utlermost || : to him, having done all, I would fly, with humble acknowledgment that I am an unprofitable servant T ; to him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”
• Matt. vi. 13.
s Isai. xxxvii, 10. YOL, I,
+ Amos viii, 7. || Heb. vii. 25.
I Psal. cxli. 2.
in be draan aside from the Course recommended above. Durgers continue, after the first Ditliculties (considered chap. xvi.) are brohatineral, $. I. Particular Cautions, (1.) Against a sluggish and indo
mit Teinit, 5.2. (2.) Against the excessive Love of sensitive Pleasure, $. leading to a Neglect of Business and needless Expence, g. 4. (3.) Against the Snares of rain Company, $. 5. (4.) Against excessive Hurnes of worldly Business, . 6. which is enforced by the fatal Consequences these have had in many Cases, §. 7. The Chapter concludes with an Exhortation to die to this World, and live to another, s. 8. Ind the young Convert's Prayer for Divine Protection against the Dangers arising from these Snares.
1. I HE representation I have been making of the pleasure and advantage of a life spent in devotedness to God and communion with him, as I have described it above, will I hope engigre you, my dear reader, to form some purposes, and make some attempt to obtain it. But from considering the nature, and observing the course of things, it appears exceedingly evident, that besides the general opposition which I formerly mentioned as like to attend you in your first entrance on a religious lite, von will find even after you have resolutely broke through this, a variety of hindrances in any attempts of exemplary piety, and in the prosecution of a remarkably strict and edifying course, will present themselves daily in your path. And whereas you may, by a few resolute efforts, baffle some of the former sort of enemies; these will be perpetually renewing their onsets, and a vigorous struggle must be continually maintained tuh them. Give me leave now therefore, to be particular in my caution against some of the chief of them. And here I would insist upon the difficulties, which will arise from indokener and the love of pleasure; from vain company, and from worldly cares. Each of these may prove insnaring to any, and especially to young persons, to whom I would now have Meine particular regard.
... I intreat you therefore, in the first place, that you will gated against a sluggish and indolent temper. The love o veni ansinuates itself into the heart, under a variety of polarrible pretences, which are often allowed to pass, when Reporations of a grosser nature would not be admitted. The
a spending a little time seems to wise and good men but a wall ammatter; yet this sometimes runs them into great inconveMONIC. It often leads them to break in upon the seasons regularly allotted to devotion, and to defer business, which might immediately be done, but being put off from day to day is not done at all, and thereby the services of life are at least diminished, and the rewards of eternity diminished proportionably : not to insist upon it, that very frequently this lays the soul open to farther temptations, by which it falls in consequence of being found unemployed. Be therefore suspicious of the first approaches of this kind. Remember, that the soul of màn is an active being, and that it must find its pleasure in activity. Gird up therefore the loins of your mind*. Endeavour to keep yourself always well employed. Be exact, if I may with humble reverence use the expression, in your appointments with God. Meet him early in the morning; and say not with the sluggard, when the proper hour of rising is come, a little more sleep, a little more slumbert. That time which prudence shall advise you, give to conversation and to other recreations. But when that is elapsed, and no unforeseen and important engagement presents, rise and be gone. Quit the company of your ,dearest friends, and retire to your proper business, whether it be in the field, the shop, or the closet. For by acting contrary to the secret dictates of your mind, ás to what it is just at the present moment best to do, though it be but in the manner of spending half an hour, some degree of guilt is contracted, and a habit is cherished, which may draw after it much worse consequences. Consider therefore what duties are to be dispatched, and in what seasons. Form your plan as prudently as you can, and pursue it resolutely ; unless any unexpected incident arises, which leads you to conclude, that duty calls you another way. Allowances for such unthought of interruptions must be made ; but if in consequence of this, you are obliged to omit any thing of importance which you proposed to have done to-day, do it if possible to-morrow : and do not cut yourself out new work, till the former plan be dispatched, unless you really judge it, not merely more amusing, but more important. And always remember, that a servant of Christ should see to it, that he determine on these occasions, as in his master's presence. . $. 3. Guard also against an excessive love of sensitive and animal pleasure, as that which will be a great hindrance to you in that religious course, which I have now been urging. You cannot but know, that Christ has told us, that a man must deny himself, and take up his cross daily, if he desire to become his disciplet. Christ the Son of God, the former and the heir * 1 Pet. i. 13. † Prov. vi. 10.
of all things, pleased not himself* ! but submitted to wants, · to difficulties, and hardships, in the way of duty, and some of
them of the extremest kind and degree, for the glory of God and the salvation of men. In this way we are to follow him ; and as we know not how soon we may be called, even to resist unto blood, striving against sint, it is certainly best to accustom ourselves to that discipline, which we may possibly be called out to exercise, even in such rigorous heights. A soft and delicate life will give force to temptations, which might easily be subdued by one, who has habituated himself to endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christs. It also produces an attachment to this world, and an unwillingness to leave it ; which ill becomes those who are strangers and pilgrims on earth, and who expect so soon to be called away to that betler country which they profess to seeks. Add to this, that what the world calls a life of pleasure, is necessarily a life of expence too, and may perhaps lead you, as it has done many others, and especially many who have been setting out in the world, beyond the limits which providence has assigned ; and so after a short course of indulgence, may produce a proportionable want. And while in other cases it is true, that pity should be shewn to the poor, this is a poverty that is justly contemptible, because it is the effect of a man's own folly; and when your want thus comes upon you as an armed man|l, you will not only find yourself stripped of the capacity you might otherwise have secured for performing those works of charity which are so ornamental to a christian profession, but probably will be under strong temptations to some low artifice or mean compliance, quite beneath the christian character, and that of an upright man. Many who once made a high profession, after a series of such sorry and scandalous shifts, have fallen into the infamy of bankrupts, and of the worst kind of bankrupts; I mean such as have lavished away on themselves what was indeed the property of others, and so have injured, and perhaps ruined, the industrious, to feed a foolish, luxurious, or ostentatious humour, which while indulged was the shame of their own families, and when it can be indulged no longer is their torment. This will be a terrible reproach to religion : such a reproach to it, that a good man would rather chuse to live on bread and water, or indeed to die for want of them, than to occasion it. • §. 4. Gaard therefore, I beseech you, against any thing which might tend that way, especially by diligence in business, * Rom. XV.-3. + Heb. xii. 4. | 2 Tim. ii. 3. SHeb. xi. 13—16. || Prov, vi, 11.
and hy prudence and frugality in expence, which by the divine blessing, may have a very happy influence to make your affairs prosperous, your health vigorous, and your mind easy. But this cannot be attained without keeping a resolute watch over yourself, and strenuously refusing to comply with many proposals, which indolence or sensuality will offer in very plausible forms, and for which it will plead, “ that it asks but very little.” Take heed, lest in this respect you imitate those fond parents, who by indulging their children in every little thing they have a mind to, encourage them by insensible degrees to grow still more incroaching, and imperious in their demands; as if they chose to be ruined with them, rather than to check them in what seems a trifle. Remember, and consider that excellent remark, sealed by the ruin of so many thousands: He that despiseth small things shall fall by little and little.
. 5. In this view, give me leave also seriously and tenderly to caution you, my dear reader, against the snares of vain company. I speak not, as before, of that company, which is openly licentious and profane. I hope, there is something now in your temper and views, which would engage you to turn away from such with detestation and horror. But I beseech you, to consider, that those companions may be very dangerous, who might at first give you but very little alarm: I mean those, who though not the declared enemies of religion, and professed followers of vice and disorder, yet nevertheless have no practical sense of divine things on their hearts, so far as can be judged by their conversation and behaviour. You must often of necessity be with such persons, and christianity not only allows, but requires, that you should, on all expedient occasions of intercourse with them, treat them with civility and respect: but chuse not such for your most intimate friends, and do not contrive to spend most of your leisure moments among them. For such converse has a sensible tendency to alienate the soul from God, and to render it unfit for all spiritual communion with him. To convince yon of this, do but reflect on your own experience, when you have been for many hours together among persons of such a character: Do you not find yourself more indisposed for devotional exercises ? Do you not find your heart, by insensible degrees, more and more inclined to a conformity to this world, and to look with a secret disrelish on those objects and employments, to which reason directs as the noblest and the best? Observe the first symptoms, and guard against the snare in time : and for this purpose, endeavour to form friendships, founded in piety, and sup