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wilt use the Phyfick, dyer and exercise, which thy Physician doth prescribe chec, it is that which muß refore thy health and comfort, and not the saying over a few words to thce. If thou lazily look that other mens words cr prayers fhould curc and comfort thec without thy ewen endeavours, thou mayeh thank thy self when thou art deceived.
Dirca. 14. Ibe principal means of comfort is to live in tbo exercise of comfortable duties.
Faitb, Hope, and especially the Love of God, arc duties which are also mans felicity: And the exercise of these in Praises and Thanksgiving, are the proper pleasure of the foul. Give up thy self wholly to study the Goodness and Love of God in Jesus Christ, till thou feel thy heart enflamed with bis Love, and spend half thy godly conference in Gods praises, and half thy daily prayers in that, and in thanksgiving; and this will comfort thec not only by the reasoning way of evidence; but as a foaft pleascth thy tafte, and as the fire warmcth thee, or as the loving of thy friend delightetb thce, or as health it self is the pleasure of thy fich.
As the fins themselves of not knowing God, not loving him, ner delighting in him, are the greatest part of the penalty, or rather mifery of the finner (which hath its peculiar way of remilion) so the knowledge, and love, and praise of God, and delighting in him, is inftcad of a reward unto it fell, and a be ginning of Heaven to the heavenly Belicver.
Direct. 15. Deel much in Heaven, if you would dwell in comfort. Comfort your selves and one anorber with these words, that we mall for ever be witb the Lord. Heaven is the place or ftate of our everlasting comfort; and all that we have here must come from thence : And Faith, and Hope, and Love mult fetch it : He that will have carnıljoy, muft go for it to paftime, or lufts and pleafure, to an Ale-boufe, or a Wbore, or to i Gameing-bouse, or a Play.bouse, or to his weal h and worldly hom nours : But he that will have beavenly joy, muft go for it by Faith to Heaven; and dwell there coery day by Faith, where he hopes to dwell for ever. Heaven will not comfort either them that believe it not, or them that remember it not; but them whose conversation and hearts are shore, Phil.
3. 20, 21.
Dire&t. 16. Set your selves woliy to do good. Resolve that you will be faithful to Chrift, and do all the good that you can in the world, and let him do with you what he will: And in this way you (hall quickly find, that the foundeft confolation will come in to your souls, before you could expect it. Though no works of our own can add any thing to God, nor must be trusted to at all, in a lcgal Sense; and though blind Libertines tell you, that all comfort is legal and unfound, which camc by the thoughts of any thing in your felves, or any of your own deings; yet Godis no such enemy to godliness, but he that will hereafter judge you to Heaven or Hell according to your works, will now judge you to joy or forres of heart, usually according to your works : Well doing Chall afford you peace, and il doing Chall difquiet you, when all is Gaid.
Dircd. 17. Laily, Bc furc, mobile you want the comforts of effurance, to bold fast those comforts wbicb rationaly belong to common grace, and to ibem abat bave sbe Gospel offers of salvation. When the Gospel came to Samaria, das 8. ibere was great jog in Ibat City. It is glad tidings in it felf, for guilty souls to have Chrift and pardon freely off red to them. Can you not say, I am sure that I am regenerare, jullified and adopted ? For all that, if you be not infidels, you can say, I am sure that Cbrift, and Pardon, and Heaven, are freely ffered me, and Ministers are commiffioned to intreat me to accept it ; and nothing tui my wilful and final refusal can deprive me of it, and fout me out. This is certain; take but so much comfort as this much (hould 18tionally inferr.
To which I might add, the comforts of your probability, when you are in come degree of hope, that your faith and sc. pentance arc fir.cere, though you are not certain : But ibis I have more largely fpoken of (and the reft which is needful to be ipoken on this subjc&) in the fore- named. Tocatisc long ago.
The ordinary and long troubles and unlerıledness af honch Chriftians, are caused most 1. By unskilful Guides, who arc moft confident, where they are moft igaorant, and revils those Truths and Methods which God hath appointed for the feriling of mens peace : 2. And by their own lazy and unskilful course ; who take up not with cxamining and
complaining, inftcad of learning more understanding in Gods Methods, and diligent eminding what is amifs, that she cause of their troub!c might be taken away.
How to live by Faith insbe Publick Worfhipping of God.
where) as to dirc& you in the several parts of Worship diftin&ly; but shall only give you some bricf Directions about Publick Worship in the general
. Direct. 1. Come not before God witb Pberisaical conceits of the wortbiness of your selves, or Worship, as if you offered bine fomething which did oblige bim : But come as - bumble receivers, that need bim and his grace, mboncedetb not you ; and as learners Ibat bope to be wiser and better by drawing neer to God.
You know Christs instance of the prayers of the Pharifee and the Publican:And remember that many a oncs beart Caish, I tbank tbee Lord that I am not as obber men, 'or es tbio Pub. lican, whose tongue can spend an hour or more in sad confefLions; you and that it is those very copious confessions of their badness, that puff them up as if they were so good.
Yea many a one that in opinion is moft vchement against all. Our works in our Justification, or looking at any tbing in our selves at all, to make us acceptable with God, as being againt free grace in Chrift, do yer look so much at that which is (or is conceired to be) in themselves, that few Churches on earth are thought worthy of their communion.
Note alfo that it is sacrificing which is commonly the Hypocrites Worship in the Old Testament, and bearing and obeying which he neglccterh, and God calls him to :-As you may loc at large in Ija. 1. throughout; and many other places, Pfal. 40. 6. Sacrifice and offering tbou didit not require : Mine ears baft tbou opened, &c. So Pfal. 50. 8, 9, &c. I wil nst reprove tbee for aby sacrifices and burnt offerings, to bave been continually before me ; I will take no buBock out of tby boufe For even ry beast of the Foreft is mine, é c. If I were bungry, I would not
tel tbec, for tbe world is mine, and the fulness iberoof. Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay tby vows to the most Higl. And cal upou me in tbe day of trouble
-Bur to tbe wicked, faitle God, 'Wbat baft tbox to do to declare my Statutes, or that i boxe shouldest take my Covenant in tby moutb, fucing tbox batest in. Strudion, and cafteft my words bebind ibee
1 Sam. 15:22, 23. Hab the Lord deligbr in burnt-offerings, and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Bebold, to obey i beiter bar sacrifice, and to bearken, abanıbe fat of Ranes.
Pfal. 4:3, 4, 5. Know, that the Lord babe chosen tbe man tbat is godly for bimself Stand in ame and fin nos... Offer ibe Sacrifices of righteousness--
Plal. 51.17. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit.
Matth. 9. 13. & 12.7. Learn what this meaneth, I wil bave mercy, and not sacrifice--
Ecclef. 5. 1. Keep tby foot when tbou goeft to sbe bouse of God, and be more ready so bear, than to offer ibe sacrifice of fools, for Ibey know not tbat they do evil.
All this telleth us, that fools and hypocrites, while they disobey Gods Low, do think to make up all with facrifice, or to appeasc God with offering him something that is excellent : But the acceptable Worshipper comech to God as a penitent, * learner, resolving to obey; as a Receiver of mercy, and not i meriur.
Dirca. 2. Over-value not therefore the manner of your own Worship, and over-vilifie not orber mens, of a different mode : And makc not men believe that God is of your childish humour,and valucth or vilificth words, and orders, and forms, and ceremonics, as much as self-conccircd pcoplc do. ! If one man hear another pray only from the babits of bio mind, and present defires, he reproacheth him as a ralh prefumptuous speaker, that talkech that co God which he never foro considered. As if a beggar did ralhly ask an alms, or a corre&cd child, or a malefa&or did inconsiderately beg for pardon,unless they learn firft the words by rote:or as is all mens converss, and the words of Judges on the Bench were all nich; or the counsel of a Phyficiao to his Patient, because they use not books and forms, or set not down their words long before.
And if inother man hear a form of prayer, especially if it be icad out of a Book, and especially if it have any disorder or defeat, hc Aticketh not to revilcil, and call it false Worship, and mans Inventions, and perhaps Idolatry, and to fly from it, and make the world believe, that it is an odious thing which God abhorrech. And why so ? Are your words so much more excellent than the words of orbers ? Or doth the Book, or Preß, or Pen, make them odious to God? Or arc all words bad which are resolved on bcforc-hand? Is the Lords Prayer and the Psalms all odious, because they are book. for poss?? Or doch the command of other men makc God hate them? Let Pin rents take heed then of commanding their children prescribed words. (Nay rather let them tako hecd left they omit such prescripts :) Or, is it the disorder or defe&is that makes them odious ? Such are not to be justified indeed where-ever we find them : But woc to us all, if God will not pardon disorders and defeas, and accept the prayers that are guilty of them.
Many a time I have heard such forms of prayers, whoso disorders and defcats I have much lamented (and donc may part to have cured) and yet I durft not so reproach them as io fay, God will not accept and hear them: Or that it is unlawful to joyn in communion with them. And many a time I have heard as fad disorder in extemporate prayers fometimes by wrong methods, or no method at all; sometimes by vain repetitions ; sometimes by omitting the chiefert parts of prayer, and sometimes in the whole frein, by turning a prayer into a Sermon to the hearcrs, or a meer talk or narrative to God, that had littlc of a prayer in it, lave very good matter, and honc& zeal. And though this prayer was more disorderly than the forms which (perbaps in tbat prayer) were accused of dilorder ; yet durft I not run away from this neither, nor say, it is so bad, 'that God will not hear it, nor good mea should have no comunion in it.
It is easic (but abominable) to fall in love with our own, and to vilific that which is againk our opinion, and to think that God is of our mind, and is as fond of our mode and way as we arc,and as exceptious again the way or words of other men, as childish, pievilh Chriftians are. Look on your Book, and scad, or learn your prayer in words, faith onc, or ello uuu