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find no room for thoughts of this kind; but are so taken up with enjoying the blessings, as not to be at leisure to consider the great Author and Bestower of them; even these persons do, in the day of their distress, take refuge in reflexions oa the benignity and goodness of God; and begin then to think of Him with some kind of pleasure (tho' allayed with doubts and fears) when they can with pleasure think of nothing besides Him. How much more shall devout and blameless souls, which have never been strangers to these considerations, retreat to them, in an evil hour, with eagerness, and rest in them with the utmost satisfaction and delight? The acquaintance, which they stand in need of for their support, is not now sirst to be made: It has been contracted long ago, and wants only to be renewed, and applied to particular exigencies and occasions. Happy, extremely happy are they, who, by the means of a virtuous temper and a religious education, have been trained up in this acquaintance from their very youth, that season of our age, when the friendships we enter into are most sincere and true, most passionate and tender, most sirm and durable; whilst our minds were as yet untainted with false principles and vicious customs, and had not drunk in that contagion from ill company, which indisposes us for better, had not made that •* friendship with the world, which is en nity "with God. Behold, then was the day of sal— *' vation, then was the accepted time:" wh«n God most valued the osfer of our hearts, and we could give them up yo him most easily and most entirely. And when once we have thus early and thoroughly
roughly devoted ourselves to God, there are no trials of our virtue and courage so sharp, no evils so great, but that we can sustain and bear them: "For God is our hope and strength, a very pre"sent help in time of trouble:" and therefore we resort to him, on such occasions, with the utmost readiness and considence, even as a son doth to a beloved and loving parent, or a friend to the friend of his bosom, "casting all our care upon ** him," as knowing that " He careth for us."
"I have set God always before me" (fays good David): "He is on my right hand, therefore I "shall not fall." And having set God always before him, what wonder is it, if he found the special.advantage os such a practice, in the time of his suffering and sorrows? And therefore thus, in another place, professes of himself.—" Whca "I am in heaviness, I will think upon God."
No man had ever studied the several arts of holy living, with greater care than he; no man had more diligently practised them : His "delight was in the law of God; and in that he did exercise himself day and night. He took heed to his feet, and ordered all his steps aright, that he might run the way of God's commandments." And what, at last, was the great expedient he pitched upon to secure himself in a regular and uniform course of virtue ? even this,—" To set God always before himself; to watch early and late; to remember him on his bed. and to think on him when he was waking.'' He was the "man after God's own heart;" and this was the chief method by which he became so: It was this that enabled him to fulsil the public character of a religious. ligious, just, and merciful prince, and a father, of his people; and that awed him in his retirements, when the eyes of men were far from T»im: It was this that gave life and wings to his devorions; that carried him through various dif'ficulties and temptations; that supported him
tinder all his troubles and afflictions. "When
I am in heaviness," (faid he) " 1 will think upon 'God ; when my heart is vexed, I will complain •to him."
'He might have thought on many other things, which are usually looked upon as reliefs to afflicted minds: He might have endeavoured to raise •himself by reflecting on the happy circumstances of his royal state, on his power and wealth, anil Vorldly splendor; on the love and reverence that was paid him by his subjects, on "his fame, that was gone out into all lands, and on the fear of him that was fallen upon all nations j" on his potent and numerous alliances,his'signal successes and triumphs. But he renounces all these weak and insufficient supports, and betakes himself to that, which was worth them all, and which alone could 'administer true comfort to him. When I am in heaviness, 1 -will think upon God.
And how can the pious sons and daughters df affliction better employ themselves, than in looking up to him that hath bruised them, and possessing their souls in patiencce, under the fame thought, with which this good prince aueited his griefs, because it is thy hand, and thou, Lord, haft done it 7 What comfort and composedness of mind must it afford them to consider, that these are the chastisements of a kind father, who means them
for for our good, and "doth not willingly afflict, or grieve the children of men, but even in his wrath thinketh upon mercy: and will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that we may be able to bear it?"
Let us imitate the pattern, which this royal sufferer hath set us: Let us follow this excellent guide, by laying hold of the remedy which he found so successful, in the day of visitation. Let us, throughout the whole course of our lives, take care to make the thoughts of God so present, familiar, and comfortable to us here, that we may not be afraid of appearing face to face before him hereafter. Let us so inure our minds to those faint views of him, which we can attain to in this life, that we may be found worthy to be admitted into the blessed vision of him in the next, when ** in his presence there will be fulness of joy, and *' at his right hand pleasures for evermore."
To him, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, three persons, and one God, he ascribed by us, and all men, all possible adoration and praise, mights majesty, and dominion, new *nd Jor evermire. Amen.