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the enmity, and reconciled Jew and Gentile unto God." (ver. 14-16.) “ And through him we have all an access to the Father by one Spirit: We are now no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens of the saints, and of the household of God.” (ver. 18, 19.) “In him we have boldness and access with confidence by the belief of him." (Ephes. iii. 12.) Though of ourselves we are unworthy to be called his children, and may well stand afar off with the publican, and not dare to lift up our faces towards heaven, but smite our breasts, and say, “O Lord be merciful to me a sinner.” Yet“ have we boldness to enter into the holiest, by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh : And having an High Priest over the house of God, we may draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.”. (Heb. X. 19-22. Therefore whensoever we are afraid at the sight of sin and justice, let us remember that “we have a great High Priest that is passed into the heavens, even Jesus the Son of God: And therefore let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. iv. 14–16.) He that alloweth us to walk with him, doth allow us such humble familiarity as beseemeth those that walk together with him.
3. Our walking with God must be a work of some holy pleasure and delight. We may willingly be dragged into the presence of an enemy, and serve as drudges upon mere necessity or fear. But walking together is the loving and delightful converse of friends. When we take sweet counsel of the Lord, and set him always at our right hand, and are glad to hear from him, and glad to speak to him, and glad to withdraw our thoughts from all the things and persons in the world, that we may solace ourselves in the contemplations of his excellency, and the admirations of his love and glory, this is indeed to walk with God. You converse with him as with a stranger, an enemy, or your destroyer, and not as with God, while you had rather be far from him, and only tremble in his presence, and are glad when you have done and are got away, but have no delight or pleasure in him. If we can take delight in our walking with a friend, a friend that is truly loving and constant, a
friend that is learned, wise and holy! if their wise and heavenly discourse be better to us, than our recreations, meat, or drink, or clothes ! What delight then should we find in our secret converse with the most bigh, most wise and gracious God! How glad should we be to find him willing and ready to entertain us! How glad should we be that we may employ our thoughts on so high and excellent an object ! What cause have we to say, “My meditation of him shall be sweet, and I will be glad in the Lord.” (Psal. civ. 34.) “In the multitude of my thoughts within me (my sorrowful, troublesome, weary thoughts) thy comforts do delight my soul.” (Psal. xciv. 19.) Let others take pleasure in childish vanity or sensuality, but say thou as David, “ I have rejoiced in the ways of thy commandments, as much as in all riches: I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways: I will delight myself in thy statutes, and will not forget thy word. I will delight myself in thy commandments which I have loved.” (Psal. cxix. 14–16. 47.) Let
scorners delight in scorning, and fools hate knowledge,” (Prov. i. 22,) but "make me to go in the path of thy commandments, for therein do I delight.” (Psal: cxix. 35.) If thou wouldst experimentally know the safety and glory of a holy life, “ delight thyself in the Lord, and he shall give thee the desire of thy heart.” (Psal. xxxvii. 4.) Especially when we draw near him in his solemn worship, and when we separate ourselves on his holy days from all our common worldly thoughts, to be conversant, as in heaven, with the blessed God; then may we with the holy apostle be “ in the Spirit on the Lord's day," (Rev. i. 10,) “and if we turn away our foot from the Sabbath, from doing our pleasure on that holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable, and shall honour him, not doing our own ways, nor finding our own pleasure, nor speaking our own words, then shall we delight ourselves in the Lord,” (Isa. lviii. 13, 14,) and understand how great a privilege it is, to have the liberty of those holy days and duties for our sweet and heavenly converse with God.
4. Our walking with God must be a matter of industry and diligence : It is not an occasional idle converse, but a life of observance, obedience, and employment, that this phrase importeth. The sluggish, idle wishes of the hypocrite, whose hands refuse to labour, are not this walking with God: nor “the sacrifice of fools,” who are hasty to utter the overflowings of their fantasy before the Lord, while they “ keep not their foot, nor hearken to the law, nor consider that they do evil.” (Eccles. v. 1-3.) “ He that cometh to God and will walk with him), must believe that he is, and that he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him : God is with you, while you are with him; but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.” (2 Chron. xv. 2.) “Up
• and be doing, and the Lord will be with you.” (1 Chron. xxii. 16.) If you would meet with God in the way of mercy
take diligent heed to do the commandment and law, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart, and with all your soul.” (Josh. xxii. 5.)
5. Our walking with God is a matter of some constancy: It signifieth our course and trade of life, and not some accidental action on the by: A man may walk with a stranger for a visit, or in compliment, or upon some unusual occasion : But this walk with God, is the act of those that dwell with him in his family, and do his work. It is not only to step and speak with him, or cry to him for mercy in some great extremity, or to go to church for company or custom, or think or talk of him sometimes heartlessly on the by, as a man will talk of news, or matters that are done in a foreign land, or of persons that we have little to do with: But it is to “be always with him.” (Luke xv. 31.) “ To seek first his kingdom and righteousness.” (Matt. vi. 33.) “Not to labour (comparatively) for the food that perisheth, but for that which endureth to everlasting life.” (John vi. 27.) “To delight in the law of the Lord, and meditate in it day and night.” (Psal. i. 2.) That his “words be in our hearts, and that we teach them diligently to our children, and talk of them sitting in the house, and walking by the way, lying down, and rising up,” &c. (Deut. vi. 6 8.) That “we pray continually.” (1 Thess. v. 17.) “And in all things give thanks.” But will the hypocrite delight himself in the Almighty, or will he always call upon God ?” (Job xxvii. 10.) “His goodness is as the morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.” (Hos. vi. 4.)
So much of the description of this' walking with God.'
CHAP. II. Use. We are next to consider how far this doctrine doth concern ourselves, and what use we have to make of it upon our hearts and lives.
And First, It acquainteth us with the abundance of atheism that is in the world, even among those that profess the knowledge of God. It is atheism not only to say, “ There is no God :" but to say so“ in the heart.” (Psal. xiv. 1.) While the heart is no more affected towards him, observant of him, or confident in him, or submissive to him, than if indeed there were no God: When there is nothing of God upon the heart, no love, no fear, no trust, no subjection, this is heart atheism. When men that have some kind of knowledge of God, yet glorify him not "as God, nor are thankful to him, but become vain in their imaginations, and their foolish hearts are darkened; these men are heart-atheists; and professing themselves wise, they become
; fools, and are given up to vile affections: And as they do not like to retain God in their knowledge (however they may discourse of him, so) God oft giveth them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things that are not convenient, being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity,” &c. (Rom. i. 21, 22. 26. 28-30.) Swarms of such atheists go up and down under the self-deceiving name of Christians: Being indeed unbelieving and defiled, so void of purity, that they deride it, and "nothing is pure to them; but even their mind and conscience is defiled : They profess that they know God, but they deny him in their works, being abominable and disobedient, and to every good work reprobate.” (Titus i. 15, 16.) What are they but atheists, when "God is not in all their thoughts,”
, “ (Psal. x. 4,) unless it be in their impious or blaspheming thoughts, or in their slight contemptuous thoughts! To take God for God indeed, and for our God, essentially includeth the taking him to be the most powerful, wise and good, the most just and holy, the Creator, Preserver and Governor of the world, whom we and all men are obliged absolutely to obey and fear, to love and desire, whose will is our beginning, rule and end: He that taketh not God for such as here described, taketh him not for God, and there
fore is indeed an atheist: What name soever he assumeth to himself, this is the name that God will call him by; even a " fool that hath said in his heart there is no God: while they are corrupt and do abominably, they understand not, and seek not after God; they are all gone aside, and are altogether become filthy, there is none of them that doth good ; they are workers of iniquity, they have no knowledge, and eat up the people of God as bread, and call not upon the Lord.” (Psal. xiv. 1-4.) Ungodliness is but the English for atheism. The atheist or ungodly in opinion, is he that thinks that there is no God, or that he is one that we need not love and serve (and that is but the same, viz. to be no God). The atheist or ungodly in heart, or will, is he that consenteth not that God shall be his God, to be . loved, feared, and obeyed before all. The atheist in life, or outward practice, is he that liveth as without God in the world ; that seeketh him not as his chiefest good, and obey
l eth him not as his highest absolute Lord; so that indeed atheism is the sum of all iniquity, as godliness is the sum of all religion and moral good. If you see by the description which I have given you, what it is to be godly, and to walk with God, and what it is to be an atheist or ungodly, you may easily see that godliness is more rare, and atheism more common, than many that themselves are atheists will believe. It is not that which a man calls his God, that is taken by him for his God indeed. It is not the tongue, but the heart that is the man. Pilate called Christ the King of the Jews, when he crucified him. The Jews called God their Father, when Christ telleth them, they were of their father the devil, and proveth it because (whatever they said they would do their lusts. (John viii. 44.) The same Jews pretended to honour the name of the Messiah, and expect him, while they killed him. The question is not what men call themselves, but what they are: Not whether you say you take God for your God, but whether you do so indeed: Not whether you profess yourselves to be atheists, but whether you are atheists indeed or not. If you are not, look over what I have here said, and ask your consciences, Do you walk with God? who is it you submit yourselves willingly to be disposed of by? to whom are you most subject? and whose commands have the most effectual authority with you? who is the chief Governor of your hearts