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who knows my down-sitting, and my up-rising, and understands my thoughts afar off ? Can re member the Fate of Judas, and not think of a serious Repentance ? Can I hear the Son of God call fo often, Woe, woe to the Hypocrites,and hug the Sin in my Bosom? Shall I harbour a Snake there, which will sting me into endless gnawings of Conscience ? How shortly will all these Delusions, be discovered ? Before I am a few days older, God may summon me, and lay open all
deceits and juggles in Religion. Thus others have been served; 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 the Impostures may be laid open, and discovered to my shame, and sorrow, and astonishment, as soon as my Soul leaves my Body senseless
. Dó I think to blind the Eyes of him, in whose Book all my Members are set down? Is the Portion of Hypocrites no discouragement ? What Promise in the Gospel can I lay hold of, during this condition? They all run to the upright in Heart, and must I go without these Cordials ? Must'I see others run away with these Treasures, while my self can expect nothing but God's Curse and Anger ? Must I see others go to posless the Promised Land, while I must stay behind in a Wilderness? Must I see others gather Manna, and feed up. on the rich Clusters of Canaan, while my own Soul must perish for want of that Bread of Life: Lord, who all abide in thy Tabernacle ? Who shall dwell in thy holy Hill : He that walks uprightly, and works righteousness and
speaks to the truth in his X4
heart. And must I have no seat in yonder Mansions : No house in that Jerusalem, which is above? No habitation in this City, whither the Tribes up, the Tribes of the Lord, unto the teftimony of ifrael, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord? Ö
my Soul, behold thy Salvation comes, his reward is with him, and his work before him. Arise, Shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. Away, and hate this garment spotted 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, signs of Sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of Dead Mens bones, and full of Uncleanness.
Such serious 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 serve God to please the Devil, and turn Religion into a meer shew and formality, burn in Words and freeze in Deeds ; and like that Son in the Gospel, say, I go Sir, but he goes not.
From the Premisses, we may easily guess what to think of other Sins, viz. That the great cause of them, is want of Confideration; and therefore the Holy Ghost likens Men that live in any Sin, or indulge themselves in any Transgression, to a Horse that rulhes into the Battel, and considers not what he doth; ventures among Swords and Arrows, and the greatest Dangers, without recollecting what willi be the issue of it. Jer. 8. 6.
Consideration is the Bridle that must govern our
Of the various Advantages of serious Consideration;
it's that, which makes a Man Master of all Chriftian Duties; it helps a Man to improve Sublunary Objects into Heavenly Contemplations. It's the greatest Support under Afflictions ; disposes a a Man to be a Wortby Receiver of the Lord's Supper ; prepares him for an Angelical Life on Earth; makes him prudent and discreet in Secular Affairs, and Business.
Hô in the preceeding Chapters we have al
ready, in a great measure discovered, what Men may hope for from Consideration, and of what use it is to a truly serious and Christian Life ; yet we must not leave so rich a Subject thus, without giving an account of some other positive Advantages, which do render it very desirable 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 Beasts, and Plants, than Consideration hath upon these Spiritual Endowments; whatever Qualification Christ or his Apostles re
require or recommend, it's by Consideration of the Excellency and Dignity of that Duty, that Men must expect to arrive to it.
The First and Great Commandment is, Thou Shalt love thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. But he shall never be Master of this Duty, that doth not frequently and seriously consider the immense and stupendious Love of God to him; and indeed, then I may hope to be acquainted with a sincere and cordial Love to God, when I give leave to such Considerations as these, to impregnate my Understanding. O my God! Can I think of so great, so holy, so infinite, so merciful, fo munificent a Being, and forbear to be enamoured with thee : Thy Greatness over-awes, thy Holiness directs , thy Infinity supports, 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. What. ever Blessings are conveyed to me by the hands of Second Causes, they come originally from thee, and thou movest and orderest those Second Causes, to come in to my Assistance. By thee have I been upheld ever since I was born; when I lay in the shades of Nothing, thou didst awake me into a Being, gavest me a Rational Soul, a Soul capable of admiring, adoring, and worshipping Thee, and ever since 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 Compassion;
Thou orderest my Steps, thou art about my Bed, and about my Paths, and dost preserve me in all my ways; many a time should I have stumbled, and fallen, and perished irrecoverably, but that thou hast supported me, and given charge to thy Holy Angels to be my Guardians. I had been a barren Wilderness, if thou hadft not rained fhowers of Grace upon me, and made me fruitful. I had brought forth nothing but Death, if thou hadît not shined upon me. I had continued lying in the Mire, if thou hadît not pulled me out ; and must have remained in the horrible Pit for ever, if thou hadst not ser 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 risen, if thou hadît not lent me thy helping Hand. I must have sunk, if thou hadît not supported me; and perished, if thou hadst not guided and directed me.
I had committed great. er Sins, if thy restraining Power had not kept me; and what could have hindred me from run. ning with others into excess of Riot, if thou hadst not removed the Snares, which were laid for me, to catch me in Ruin. It is thy doings that I have not done fo; that I have abstained from these Evils, thy Asistance is the cause; and that I have believed thee, I am beholding to thy Mercy. O my God! How often have I deserved thine Anger And yet in the midst of thy Wrath, thou thinkest upon Mercy, ments mightest not thou have inflicted on me for my wilful Sins? But thou hast sent none as