« PreviousContinue »
fwear in his wrath, that I shall never enter into his ret! No no, 1 yield, I render my self Captive ; O God! thou seest my Heart, I have no Reseryations. I lay down all at thy Feet. Cover my Head in the Day of Battel. Inspire me. I'll run the Race which is set before me. By thee will I run through a Troop, with my God will I leap over a wall. I'll pursue mine Eremies, and overtake them ; neither will I turn again till I have consumed them. Behold, they that are with me, are more than those which are against me. Be. hold, the Mountain is full of Horses, and Chariots of Fire round about Elisha. The Lord is with me, the God of Jacob is my refuge. I am convinced, that God's Service is perfect freedom. He that enters upon it, is under the Government of a lawfull Prince; his Life is sweet and easie, he feels no Tyranny, no oppression; the King with everlasting Kindness visits him, and guides his Feet into the ways of Peace ; giyes his Angels charge to keep him in his going out, and in his coming in, and will not suffer any of his Bones to be broken. He is with him in Distress, and when he weeps, holds a Bottle under to catch his Tears : Pfal. 56. 8. He binds up his Wounds, and is a Wall of Brass to him, a Wall that stands firm under the flashes of Hell, and dasbes all the fiery Darts of the Devil. He covers him with his Feathers, and his Truth is his thield and Buckler. His Eyes watch over him, and his ears are open to his Prayers. He protects him from the Pestilence that walks in Darkness, and from the Destruction that wasts at Noon day. His Groan
ings are not hid from him, and he preserves him in all his Ways. He takes notice of his Work and Labour of Love, and there is a Book of Remembrance written before him, for them that fear the Lord, and think upon his Name. Here Men are free from slavilh Fear, as being under the Wings of a Father. Here nothing but Love rules in their Hearts, which makes their yoke easie, and their Burthen light ; makes the Strait Gate pleafant, and the Narrow Way full of delight and satisfaction. Here Peace of Conscience reigns ; a Peace which is not procured by Riches or Plenty, or the Worlds deceitfull Glory, or a multitude of Children, or strength of Body; a Peace, which kills the worm within, and frees the Soul from her Prison of grief and Sorrow ; a Peace, which purifies the Mind from all Uncleanness, and is a Bed of Roses, inriched by showers from above a Peace, which is most truly God's Banquetinghouse, Christ's Palace, and the Habitation of the Holy Ghost; a Peace which is felt on Earth, yet tafts already of Heaven; a Peace, which fills the Soul with greater Joy, than Jacobs coming from the Field did the amorous Rachel, or Foseph's being alive , the Heart of the aged Patriarch. Here Men fit quiet under their own Vine, aud under their own Fig.tree, and the Subjects of this Kingdom are acquainted with Joy in the Holy Ghost. Here they are secure. The Enemy may moleft, but he cinnot break them. He may shew his Teeth, but he cannot bite; he may rage, but he cannot ravish them out of God's hands. He may raise a Storm, but cannot overthrow their
Vessel ; set their House on fire but cannot confume them ; rain Brimstone upon them, but they have a Zoar to flee to. Here the Love of God illuminates their Minds, purifies their Consciences, establishes their Souls, makes glad their Heart and unites them to that Light, which lighteth every Man that comes into the World. Here the Evil Spirits of their Sins were cast out, and the Spirit of God enters into them, even the Spirit of Joy, the Spirit of Power, of Love, and of a sound Mind.Here Men are freed from the Curse of the Law, and their Minds are employed in the noblest Contemplations. Here they dwell in the fecret place of the most High, and abide under the shadow of the Almighty. Here I'll fix, here I'll build Tabernacles, for it's good to be here. Away with all Suggestions, that would make me unwilling or backward to this work. Away with all Thoughts that would discourage me. Away with all Imaginations that would possess me with misconstructions of the
of God. Ye are all miserable Comforters, ye seek not the good, but the loss and defolation of my Soul. I'll seek the things which are above, where Christ fitteth on the right hand of God; I'll set my Affections on things above, and not on things on earth ; I am dead to all these sublunary Vanities, and my Life is hid with Christ in God; and when Christ, who is my Life, shall appear, then shall I also appear
with him in Glory. Without such Resolutions as these, Consideration is lame and feeble : It's practical Consideration that must do the Work, and it's these Resolu
tions make it so ; the necessity of which Consideration, is the next thing I must endeavour to demonstrate.
CHA P. III.
The absolute Necefity of Confideration, in order to a fe
rious Life. God's frequent commands to that purpose. Our Reason, and the Power of Consideration we are furnished or endued with, proved to be given us for this end. Without it, Men bave cause
to suspect that their Reformation is Counterfeit. WHa
Hat we have said hitherto, is not a thing
indifferent, left to our Liberty or Discretion to mind or neglect it as we shall see occasion. It is not of the nature of Meat offered to Idols, not of the nature of a Holy-day, which Men may neglect, or make conscience of, as they see it expedient, for the edifying of their Brethren. It is not of the nature of Civil Actions, of buying or selling, of fitting or rising, of staying in a place or Travelling, which are things left to our Willand Pleasure, and may be used, or superseded, according as we see it convenient or inconvenient. If labouring after a better Life, if endeavouring to get a Thare in the incorruptible Crown of Glory, if attempts to compass the eternal Felicity of our Souls, if studying how we may be admitted into the Quire of Angels, and enjoy the Sociery of the First-born which are written in Heaven, if contriving how we may arrive to that fulness of joy God
hath both revealed and promised, be indispensibly necesary, this Confideration must be so too. If Self-preservation be not a thing indifferent, Confideration cannot possibly be fo. For the great Object of this Confideration is, how we may preserve our selves from being undone for ever; how we may guard our Souls from everlasting Perdition; how we may avoid the Second Death
; and how we may make our Happiness lasting and durable, Proof against the Gates of Hell, and the Assaults of the roaring Lion, which walks about seeking whom he
devour. God, that commands all the Powers of Light and Darkness; and hath the same Power over us that the Potter hath over his Vessel ; and hath made us capable of being governed by Moral Laws ; and hath created us on purpose to be ready at his becķ; and may force us into Obedience by plagues and Thunders, if we are loth to be courted by Smiles and Favours : God, who owes no Man any thing ; who gives Life to all; who hath made all Things for his Glory; who is in all Places, and all in All; who can be present by Vengeance, where he is not present by Grace who can be felt, but cannot be seen; who holds all things, fills all things, surrounds all things, excels all things, sustains all things, and afar off sees all the Dangers we are subject to, and knows what Armies of Enemies lie in ambush, and watch our Fall ; it's he, that peremptorily commands this Consideration. A Sovereign Prince expects to be obeyed, and he thạt dares refuse or fight his reasonable Command, is justly looked upon