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in religious discourses especially. Christ " spake as one having authority." Our speech as to the manner, as well as to the matter, should betray us that we " have been with Jesus." Be not slight or careless.
1th Rale. Speak in faith: "I believed, and therefore spake," Psal. cxvi. 10; 2»Cor. iv. 13. It is a fault to speak of those things we neither know nor believe; uncertainties are not fit matter of discourse: "That which we know declare we unto you."
8th Rule. In speaking, it were good to be looking up in prayer to God in heart; as, if ye have spoken amiss, O Lord, pardon; when ye are called to speak, O Lord, open my mouth, and help to a seasonable word, and what to say; to seek a blessing, Lord, bless what I am to discourse to my neighbour. Thus did Nehemiah ii. 4.
Qth Rule. Speak wisely and pertinently to the time and purpose ye intend, and persons ye speak to; that is called " speaking words in season." Col. iii. 16, " Let the word of Christ dwell richly in you in all wisdom, admonishing one another."
10th Rule. Speak in fear: it were good to have a bridle always in the mouth, and no word to get out without permission, Psal. xxxix. 1. It was ill said, " Our lips are our own, who is Lord over us?" As there is eating without fear, so there is speaking without fear.
11<A Rule. Let not your neighbour's faults be the subject of your talk, though it be true. "Who backbiteth not," Psal. xv. 3. Show thy neighbour his faults.
12th Rule. Speak not of thyself or worth: "Let another praise thee, and not thine own mouth," neither directly nor indirectly; let thy works praise thee. It is an ordinary thing for a proud heart to hunt for estimation from others to itself, by telling its own acts or resolutions. I have added these last two, because professors ordinarily miscarry in these.
§ 4. Rules in our Actions. I shall comprehend in this both civil and religious actions; actions should not only be good as to their matter, but as to their manner.
1st Rule. Do nothing without foresight; let thine eye of knowledge guide thee continually in the way thou art to walk in. Lam. iii. 40, first "search and try your ways," then turn. "Ponder the path of thy feet." Do all things as a man, and by rule, Prov. iv. 26, so shalt thou have peace.
2d Rule. Whatever thou do, do it spiritually as the Lord's work; as to him, because commanded by him, Eph. vi. 6, 7, 8; Col. iii. 23.
3d Rule. Labour for spirituality in your outward deportments, as well as in your hearts, in a grave, wise, sober, and humble carriage. "Be holy in all manner of conversation," 1 Pet. i. 14, 15. Let holiness be on bells, pots, bridles, and horses, Zech. xiv. 20, 21. Have on the wedding-garment.
4th Rule. In midst of business look up ever and anon to heaven by ejaculatory prayer, to preserve the soul from corruption; and keep divine impressions, that they die not out, Eph. vi. 18; 1 Thess. v. 17.
5th Rule. Whatever thou dost, depend on the Lord; do nothing without him, but " in all thy ways acknowledge Mm," Prov. iii. 6; Isa. xxx. 2; Psal. xxxvii. 5; Neh. ii. 4; 1 Sam. xvii. 45.
6th Rule. Whatever ye do, " do it with all thine heart," i.«., quickly without delay, and heartily, doing what thou dost only, and nothing else, Eccl. ix. 10.
1th Rule. Whatever ye do, do it in faith, without which " it is impossible to please God;" in faith of the lawfulness of it, in faith of God's assistance and acceptance: else, doubting, ye are damned, Rom. xiv. 22, 23; Heb. xi. 6, 7. Do nothing without or against conscience.
8th Rule. Be sober in what ye do: eat, drink, marry, and buy, as though ye did it not, in an holy indifferency, referring the event to God, 1 Cor. vii. 29, 30, 31. Be not fretted with cares, lay not out too much affections or heart with your actions; but " let your moderation be known to all men, the Lord is at hand," Philip, iv. 5.
9th Rale. Rest not in actions, but seek the end of an action, Matth. vi. 16. Eest not in prayer, but labour to attain the end of prayer by meditation and prayer. Be not like children shooting at random without a mark.
\0th Rule. Bound your actions with your callings: fight, but not out of your station, 1 Cor. vii. 24, " Let every man wherein he is called walk with God." 1 Thcss. iv. 11; 1 Tim. v. 13, Doing your own business.
§ 5. Rules for our Conversation.
First Rule. Mark the frame of your heart and your carriage immediately after you have been near God; and see what deportment ye are then inclined to follow, and study that always.
Second Rule. Follow that kind of conversation wherein ye have most peace after serious reflections on your ways. I think little peace shall be found in a light, furious, carnal conversation.
Third Rule. Look to the carriage of Christ, his apostles and prophets, and study that conversation that ye think was Christ's or the apostles'; this was not a laughing, frothy, vain, light conversation. When, therefore, thou art examining such a carriage, ask, Would Christ have done this? would this set Paul to do? 1 Cor. xi. 1, and iv. 17; Matth. xi. 29, 30.
Fourth Rule. Study that conversation which is most agreeable and suitable to your profession, gospel estate, and station, 1 Thess. ii. 12. AValk "as becometh the Gospel," suitably to the providences ye are trysted with, James v. 13, and to the persons ye have to do with.
Fifth Rule. Walk not outwardly mournfully before the wicked, who may be ready to make sport of thy sadness, nor before those who may be discouraged. Shun carnal mirth, Micah i. 10; 2 Sam. i. 20.
Sixth Rule. Study that conversation which is most edifying, most convincing and condemning of the wicked, 1 Pet. i. 14, 15, and likest to glorify God and the Gospel, Col. iv. 6.
Seventh Rule. A grave serious conversation, mixed with serenity,
is a good conversation; and this is like Christ, this is suitable to our great work and aims. Let the mad children of the world trifle and play, we are called to seriousness, 1 Tim. iii. 2; Tit. ii. 2.
Eighth Rule. Be circumspect in your conversation, and wise, especially "towards them that are without," Eph. v. 15; Eccl. ii. 14. Keep up the Christian decorum; let nothing escape thee but what is befitting the majesty of a Christian; labour not to disparage that at all. Walk worthy of your calling.
Ninth Rule. Walk soberly in apparel, 1 Pet. iii. 3, sober in passions, sober in expressions; do nothing violently or passionately, keeping passions within bounds: Walk with a sober pace, not "tinkling with your feet."
Tenth Rule. Walk kindly, lovingly, and courteously; be ready to serve all: A tart, rigid carriage is not good ; "the Son of man came eating and drinking," Acts xxvii. 3, and xxviii. 2, 7. Stoicism is not Christianity. Through thy gravity and holiness let love appear; receive all; "become all things to all men" except with apostates and open enemies; yea, let your reproofs be in love, Lev. xix. 17.
Declaring such things as, through the Lord's blessing, have done
I cannot deny but the Lord hath shown me kindness and done me good, and that a little one hath become a great nation, and that, however "I am poor and needy," yet "the Lord remembers me." And notwithstanding "I came over this Jordan with my staff," yet now am I, by the Lord's blessing, "become two bands." But whatever good it be that the Lord hath shown me for the benefit of others, and confirmation of myself, I have thought fit to show and set down these things, which, in my experience, through the Lord's blessing, I have found to be most helpful unto m« in furthering me in the ways of holiness, peace, and fellowship with God. And I have found these twenty-seven things especially concur, and blest for doing me good:—
1. The society of saints: When they have been fidl in communicating their cases, they have encouraged me, my griefs have been eased by them; I have, by their godly conversation, been provoked to good works; I have been kept in life by them, recovered out of decays by them, enlightened and edified by them, Eccl. iv. 4, 9, 10, 11; 1 Cor. xii. 7; Heb. x. 24, 25; Prov. xxvii. 17. "Iron sharpeneth iron."
2. I have found much profit by observing the Lord's providences, by searching into God's ends in dispensations, whether good or evil; this hath made me see much love in things, freed my judgment from confusions, and made me know my duty, Micah vi. 9; Hosea xiv. 9; Psalm cvii. 43; Jer. viii. 7; Gen. xxv. 22; Exod. iii. 3, 4.
3. I have found meditation on the attributes of God to do me much good, especially his love, power, sovereignty, and holiness, Job xxii. 21; John xvii. 3, for thereby have I been made conform to his image, and my love, fear, and faith, have been begotten and increased, Psal. ix. 10; Eph. iii. 18, 19.
4. I have found much good by a long and serious study and pondering of the covenant of grace; the freedom, fulness, and unchangeableness thereof; the condition, (faith,) and nature thereof. By meditation on the gospel, gospel-promises, offers, and invitations; this hath strengthened and sanctified me, given me more knowledge of Christ and of his ways than any thing that ever I was exercised in. I have found it indeed the "ministration of life," Gal. iii. 2; Heb. xi. throughout; Rom. i. 16, 17.
5. I have found the Lord confining me at home, in not calling me abroad; ordinarily this hath been a gathering time, and never ordinarily better than when alone. Abstraction and solitude hath done me good, Prov. xviii. 1; Numb. vi. 2, 3; Hos. ii. 14. God hath oftentimes visited me in a solitary wilderness.
6. I have found outward afflictions and hard measure from the world doing mc good, humbling my soul, mortifying me to the