Billeder på siden

other matters for meditation, this one should be enough;

What will not the due know-
That is the best Christian,

for this one is in a manner all. ledge of God do upon the soul? and the most happy man that knoweth most of him; and that is the most vile and miserable wretch that is furthest from him, and strangest to him; it is the character of the fool of fools, to have an heart whose disposition and practice saith, "There is no God;" Psalm xiv. 1. that is, to be so affected and employed in their hearts, as if there were no God, and when God is not in all his thoughts; Psalm x. 4. It was better with man when he had less knowledge for himself, and fewer thoughts for himself, and more of God. And there is no way to restore us to sound understanding, and to perfect our knowledge, but to turn our eye upon God again; for in knowing him, we know all that is worth the knowing. Take hold then of the blessed God in thy meditations, and fill thy thoughts with him, and dwell upon those thoughts. Remember he is always with thee, and wherever thou art, or whatever thou art doing, most certainly he seeth thee. As sure as thou art there, the Lord is there. He knows thy thoughts, he hears thy words, he sees all thy ways. And is such a God as this to be provoked or despised? not better to provoke and despise all the world? Is his favour to be slighted? Were it not better to lose the favour of all the world? Consider of this!

Were it

2. Another thing that I would have you oft think of, is, What end you were made for, and what business it is that you came for into the world. You may well think that God made you not in vain; and that he made you for no lower end, than for himself; and that he would never have made you, nor so long preserved you, if he had not cared what you do. He would never have endued you with a reasonable and immortal soul, but for some high, and noble, and immortal end. Surely it was that you might be happy in knowing him, that he made you capable of knowing him; for he made nothing in vain. It is useful for a horse to know his pasture, and provender, and work, and perhaps his master; but he need not know whether there be a God; and accordingly he is qualified. But it is sure man's chief concernment to know that there is a God, and what he is, and how to serve him, and what he is and will be to us; or else we should never have been capa

ble of such things. And he would never have made you capable of loving him, but that you should be exercised and made happy in that love. The frame, and faculties, and capacity of your souls, and the scope of Scripture, do all declare, that you were sent into this world, to seek after God, and to love him, and obey him, and rejoice in him in your measure; and to prepare for a life of nearer communion, where you may enjoy him and praise him in the highest perfection. Consider with yourselves, whether a life of sin be that which you were made for; or whether God sent you hither to break his laws, and follow your own lusts. And whether the satisfying of your flesh, and the gathering a lit*tle worldly wealth, and the feathering of a nest which you must so quickly leave, be like to be the business that you were sent about into the world.

3. The next thing that I would have you consider of, is, How you have answered the ends of your creation, and how you have done the business that you came into the world to do. Look back upon the drift of your hearts and lives; read over the most ancient records of your consciences, and see what you have been, and what you have been doing in the world till now. Have you spent your days in seeking after God, and your estates and strength in faithful serving him? Have you lived all this time in the admiration of his excellencies, and the fervent love of him, and delightful remembrance of him, and the zealous worship of him? If you have done this, you had not need of a conversion. But consider, have you not forgotten what business you had in the world, and little minded the world that you should have prepared for, and lived as if you knew not him that made you, or why he made you? Was sport and merriment the end that you were created for? Was ease and idleness, or eating, or drinking, or vain discourses, or recreation, the business that you came into the world about? Was living to the flesh, and scraping up riches, or gaping after the esteem of men, the work that God sent you hither to do? Was this it that he preserved you for, and daily gave you in provision for? What, was it to forget him, and slight him, and turn him out of your hearts, and rob him of his service and honour; and to set up your flesh in his stead, and give that to it, that was due to him? Bethink you what you have done, and whether you have done the work that you were sent to do, or not.

4. The next thing you should use to consider of, is, How grievously you have sinned, and what a case it is that your sin hath brought you into. If you take but an impartial view of your lives, you may see how far you have missed your marks, and how far you have been from what you should have been; and how little you have done of that which was your business. And O what abundance of aggravations have your sins! which I shall pass over now, because I must mention them under another head. It is not only some actually out-breakings against the bent of your heart and life, but your very heart was false and gone from God, and set in you to do evil.

O the time that you have lost; the means and helps that you have neglected; the motions that you have resisted; the swarms of evil thoughts that have filled your imaginations; the streams of vain and idle words that have flowed from your mouth; the works of darkness, in public and in secret, that God hath seen you in! And all this while, how empty were you in inward holiness, and how barren of good works, to God or man? What have What have you done with all your talents, and how little or nothing hath God had of all!

And now consider what a case you are in, while you remain unconverted. You have made yourselves the sinks of sin, the slaves of satan, and the flesh; and are skilful in nothing but doing evil; if you be called to prayer or holy meditation, your hearts are against it, and you are not used to it, and therefore you know not how to do it to any purpose: but to think the thoughts of lust, or covetousness, or hatred, or malice, or revenge, this you can do without any toil. To speak of the world, or of your sports and pleasures, or against those that you bear ill will to, this you can do without any study. You are such as are spoken of, Jer. iv. 22. "My people is foolish, they have not known me: they are sottish children, and they have no understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge." You are grown strangers to the God that made you, in whose love and service you should live and find your chief delights. Your hearts are hardened, and you are dead in your sins: the guilt of the sins of your lives are still upon you: you can neither look into your hearts and lives, no, not on one day of your lives, or the best hour that you have spent, but you must see the ugly face of sin, which deserveth condem

nation. You have made God your enemy, that should have been your only felicity: and yet you are always at his mercy, and in his hands. Little do you know how long his patience will yet endure to you; or what hour he will call away your souls: and if death come, alas, what a case will it find you in! How lamentably unready are you to meet him! How unready to appear before the dreadful God whom you have offended! and what a terrible appearance do you think that will be to you! Most certainly if you die before you are converted, you will not be from among the devils and damned souls an hour. The law hath cursed you already, and the execution will be answerable, if you die in your sins. And thus you may see the gain of sin, and what it is that you have been doing all this while for your own souls; and what a case it is that you have brought yourselves into ; and what need you have speedily to look about you.

5. The next step of your Consideration should be this; Bethink yourselves what a blessed condition you might be in, if by conversion you were but recovered from this misery, and brought home to God. This moved the heart of the prodigal son to return; Luke xv. 16, 17. " When he came to himself he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough, and to spare, and I perish with hunger?" He that hath not husks to feed on with the swine, considered the plenty that he had forsaken at home. The poorest member of the household of Christ, is in a better condition than the greatest king on earth, that is unconverted. You might have lived another kind of life than you have done, for safety, and benefit, and true content, if you would have turned your minds and life to God. Were you but converted, you would be the living members of Christ, and his precious benefits would be yours; his blood would cleanse you from all your sins, and they would be all freely forgiven you; God would be reconciled to you, and become your friend, yea, your Father and your God; and will take you for his household servants, and adopted children: the Holy Ghost would dwell in you, and guide your understandings, and shew you that which flesh and blood cannot reveal, and bring you into acquaintance with the mysteries of God: he will be a Spirit of light and life within you, and work your hearts yet more to God, and give you yet stronger inclinations and affections to the things above. He will

help you when you are weak, and quicken you where you are dull, and be your remembrancer when you are forgetful of necessary things: he will help you in prayer, both for matter and for manner, and help you in meditation and conference, and other duties: he will warn you of your danger, and strengthen you against temptations, and cause you to overcome; and if you fall, he will cause you to rise again : he will be an indwelling comforter to you, and so effectually speak peace to you in the midst of your disquietness, that by speaking it, he will create it in you: and in the multitude of your thoughts within you, his comforts will delight your souls. O what a life might you live, if Christ by his Spirit did once live in you! You may easily conjecture how tender Christ would be of his own members, how dearly he would love them, how constantly he would watch over them, how plentifully he would provide for them, and how safely he would preserve them. And if you should come into a rougher way, he would lead you out: afflictions should never be laid on you but for your good; and continue no longer than your need continueth them, and be taken off at last to your satisfaction and contentment. Indeed your life would be a life of mercies; and that which is but a common mercy to common men would be a special mercy to you, as coming from your Father's love, and furthering your salvation, and hinting out to you your everlasting mercies. You could not open your eyes, but you would see that which may encourage and comfort you; all the works of God which you behold, would shew you his majesty, his love, and power, and lead you to himself. You could not open your Bible, but you would find in it the blessed lines of love: O what good it would do you, to read there the blessed attributes of your God! to look upon his name! to peruse the description of his most perfect nature! What good would it do you to read of the nature, and incarnation, and life, and death, and resurrection, and ascension, and intercession, and return of your blessed Redeemer? What good would it do you to find those holy rules which your new nature is agreeable to, and to read over the law that is written in your hearts, and read the curse from which you are delivered? What life and joy would your souls receive from the many, and full, and free promises of grace! Were you once but truly sanctified and made new, your condition would be

« ForrigeFortsæt »