Page images

Saviour had prayed that Peters Faith should not fail, yet togecher with che other Apolltles, he bids him watch. Luke 22.40,46. The fear of God is a preserving Grace, Jer.37.40. I will put my fear into their hearts, that they sball not de. part from me. This fear will make us watchful, not diffident of Gods power and goodnes. And in this sense, Blessed is the man that feareth alwaies, as Solomon faies, Prov.28:14. And as our Saviour advisech, Luke 22.46. that matcheth and prayeth, that he enter not into temptation.

We see chen char to perseverance there is a concurrence of our care and diligence required, Jade v.21. Keep your selves in the love of God. & Phil.z.12,13.Work out your salvation with fear and trembling for it is God that worketh in you, &c.

Indeed the main work is Gods; he is the beginner, and he is the perfetler, Phil

. 1 6. He is the author, and he is the finisher, Heb.12.2. But may we then be idle and sit still, be careles and negligent ? No, in no wise : For God worketh in us, and by us, If therefore there be no Grace working in us, nor working by us, and exciting, and quickning, and enabling us to fine cere obedience, and a careful and watchful carriage cowards God, we may jaftly suspect our state for the prefent to be very bad. A Christians life is never exempted from care. We must be watchful and diligent co the very last: Sacan is alwaies busies we have corruptions within, and


the world is full of saares : And many times, where there seems to be least danger, there is most cause of fear. Lot that was chaft in Sodom, miscarried in the mountaines, where there were nonc but his own Family. David's example may warn the holiest persons to the worlds end, to be jealous over themselves. Who would have thought that he (whose heart smete him for ceto ting of the lap of Sauls garment) should after fall into uncleannesse and murder? Peter also is a fad instance of confidence in a mans. own Atrength.

Upon all these considerations, let me advise thee to watch and pray, to pray and watch continually. Hast thou begun to make profession of Religion? O do not fall off, and bring an ill report upon the waies of Holinesse. A house be

and not finished is a habitation of shoreek owles. Hold out to the last, that so thon maist obtain that honourable title, that Mnafon had, to be an old disciple, Acts 21.16,

I shall conclude this Head of swatchfulnesse, and this whole Chapter of maintaining a daily close communion with God, with cwo further Direćtions, which · (with Gods blefing) will much conduce to the carrying on of the whole work.

Direction 1. Inure thy soul, (besides thy daily folema prayers) to send up frequent, mental, ejaculatory prayers unco God. These ho'y



liftings up of the heart unto the Lord, as they are very pleasing to him, so they are exceedingly advantageous for the fetching speedy aid from Heaven, for the quenching of a luft, refisting of a temptation, the better performing any service, delivering us out of any present straits, enabling us to bear any affliction, or in case of any failing, to beg mercy and pardon peedily, while the heart is smitten, and tenderly affected with a sense of its miscarriage : As when Davids heart (mote him for numbring the people, 2 Sam 24.10. we find him lifting up his heart unto the Lord, in this manner, I have finned, I beseech thee take away the iniquity of thy fervant.

These ejaculatory prayers are (as it were) messengers sent post to Heaven, (when time is not afforded for continued prayer) for some speedy help. And as they hinder no businesse, but ( being duly performed) further it much every way, so no businesse cín hinder them. When a Minister is preaching, and finds his heare cold and livelesse in che fervice, or when in solemn prayer he finds his spirit indisposed, dry, and barren; How may he speed one of chese Swift and filent meßengers, one of these fervent ejaculations to Heaven, for help and allistance ? When a Chriftian is hearing the Word, of how much advancage is it, co send up such filent and fervent prayers, that God would set home such or such a Doctrine upon his heart ; or


[ocr errors]

help him co forsake sach a fin, then reproved 3 or enable him to believe, and embrace such a Truth. When Christ was preaching to his Apostles, chac hard leßon of broch-rly forgiveness, we find in the 17 h of Luke, v.5. They seni up thac hɔly ejaculation, Lord encrease our Faith. A man that is riding, or walking, or emoloyed in his lawful calling, may chus converse with Heaven, and yec no waies hinder his presenc busineile.

And further to persuade thee to the practise of this direction, consider,

1. Thele ejaculatory prayers do very much honour God; in that they acknowledge him, to be a God, that can understand the language of our hearts, and the least movings of our de

fires, cowards him; and that he is a God hearing i prayers, and a very present help in time of tromble.

II. They are a good means to keep our hearis spiritual, and heavenly, and in a good

frame. Strangenesse often growes between God , and our fou es, for want of these. And many : affecting providences loose their kindly wo k upon . !!s for want of a present lifting upot our hearts in lume sucable ejaculacions.

III. They are a special means to fi: us for more folemn prayer. We must begin duties with ducies: God prepares the hearts of his people, to pray acceptably unco him, by these preparatory ejaculacions,



But here observe chele few cautions and directions.

1. Take heed of formality, fightnes, and customarines in them. Let them be serious, and fervent, and from thy heart. Nothing more usual with many people, than God forgive me, Lord blesse me, God help me, when the heart is nothing affected; nor does it fend

up these as earnestre quests unto the Lord, looking for an answer.

2. Use these holy ejaculations, not only in a way of petition, but also of thanksgiving. Thus our Saviour, Father I thank thee, M:11.11.25,26. Thus David ofren, as may be seen in his Psalms, that are full of sach holy breathings and affecti. onate thanksgivings.

3. Take heed under this pretence of laying, aside, or neglecting solemn prayer in a continued way: For that many ignorant people are ape to do; thinking a few formal, short ejaculations to be devocion enough; and begrutch God any more of cheir time.

4. Get a deep senfe of thy own Weaknesse, inability, insufficiency, and of thy continual need of help from God, and that will dispose thy heart to be ready in everything by prayer, and supplication, with thanksgiving, to make i hy requesis known unto God.

Direct. 2. Retire thy self every night, and of view and refleEt upon all chy actions and whole behaviour in the day past

. We read that God


« PreviousContinue »