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which is above? No habitation in that City, whither the Tribes go up, the Tribes of the Lord, unto the testimony of Israel , to give thanks unto the name of the Lord. O my Soul, behold thy falvation comes, his reward is with him, and his work before him. Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen
upon thee. Away, and hate this garment spotted by the flesh, Thele are not the spots of God's Children; These are not the Characters of God's Favourites ; Spots they are, but of Leopards, marks of Wolves that come in sheeps cloathing, signs of Sepulchres, wbich indeed appear beautitul outward, but are within full of dead Mens bones, and full of uncleanness.
Such serious thoughts would check Hypocrifie; but the vain Man hardens his heart against them, locks them out, will give them no entertainment, and that makes him serve God to please the Devil, and turn Religion into a mere [bew and formality, burn in Words, and freeze in Deeds; and, like that Son in the Gospel, fay, 1 go, Sir, but he goes not.
From the Premisles, we may easily guess what to think of other sins, viz. that the great cause of them, is want of Consideration, and therefore the holy Ghost likens Men that live in any fin, or indulge themselves in any transgression, to a Horse that rushes into the Battel, and considers not what he doch, ventures among Swords and Arrows , and the greatest dangers, without recollecting what will be the
issue of it, Jer. 8. 6. Consideration is the Brie dle , that must govern our sense and appetite; take that away, and the Beast runs away with the Rider, and bastens him into a thousand inconveniencies.
CH A P. VI.
Of the various advantages of serious Considerati.
on; it's that which makes a man Master of all Christian Daties; it helps a man to improve sublunary Objects into Heavenly Contemplations. It's the greatest support under afflictions ; dif poses a man to be a worthy Receiver of the Lord's Supper : Prepares him for an Angelical life on Earth; makes him prudent and discreet in Secular affairs and businesses.
Hough in the preceding Chapters, we
have already , in a great measure, discover'd what Men may hope for from Consideration, and of what use it is to a truly, serious, and Christian life ; yet we must not leave so rich a Subject thus, without giving an account of some other positive advantages, which do render it very desirable to a rational Man ;
1. It hath most certainly a very great influ. ence upon all Christian Duties; The Celestial Luminaries have not a greater influence upon
the Bodies of Men, and Beasts, and Plants, then Confideration bath upon these Spiritual endowments; whatever qualification Christ or his Apostles require, or recommend , it's by Consideration of the excellency and dignity of that Duty ; that Men must expe& to arrive to it.
The first and great Commandment is, Thou Salt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. But he shall never be Master of this Duty, that doth not frequently and serioully consider the immenfe and stupendous love of God to him and indeed then I may hope to be acquainted with a fincere and cordial love to God, when I give leave to such Considerations as these to impregnate my understanding. O my God, Can I think of fo great, fo holy, so infinite, so merciful, so munificent a Being, and forbear to be enamour'd with thee? Thy greatness over-awes, thy holiness directs, thy infinity supports,thy mercy charmes, thy munificence invites thy poor unworthy Creatures : Whence are all my mercies but from thee? thou art the Spring, the Fountain of them all. What ever blessings are convey'd to me by the hands of Second Causes, they come originally from thee and thou mov'lt and ordereft those Second Causes, to come in to my assistance. By thee have I been upheld ever since I was born ; when I lay in the shades of nothing, thou didft awake me into a Being , gavest me a Rational
Soul, Soul, a Soul capable of admiring, adoring, and worshipping thee, and ever since thy Mercies have follow'd me; and thou hast been a pillar of a Cloud unto me by day, and a pillar of Fire by night; what parts, Gifts, or Abilities I have, they are thy Gifts, and Characters of thy Compassion, thou order'st my steps, thou art about my bed, and about my paths, and dost preserve me in all my ways; many a time should I have stumbled, and fallen, and perish'd irrecoverably, but that thou hast supported me, and given charge to thy holy Angels to be my Guardians; I had been a barren Wilderness, if thou hadīt not rained showers of grace upon me, and made me fruitful. I bad brought forth nothing but death if thou hadlt nor shined upon me.
I had continued lying in the mire, if thou hadît not pulled me out, and must have remained in the horrible pit for ever, if thou hadst not fet
upon a Rock. I 'bad continued blind, if thou hadst not open'd mine eyes ; Deaf to thy Admonitions, if thou hadît not unlock'd my ears. I could never have risen, if thou hadīt not lent me thy helping hand; I must have sunk, if thou hadft not supported me, and perilh'd, if thou hadst not guided, and directed me. I had committed greater fins, if thy restraining power had not kept me, and what could have bindred me from running with others into excess of riot , if thou hadît not removed the snares, which were laid for me, to catch me into ru
ine. It is thy doing, that I have not done so. That I have abstained from these evils thy affistance is the cause; and that I have believed thee, I am beholding to thy Mercy. Omy God! how often have i desery'd thine
anger and yet in the midst of thy wrath thou thinkest upon Mercy. What judgments might'st not thou have inflicted on me for my wilful sins? buc thou hast fent none as yet, and all to magnifie tny Mercy. Every morning thy Mercies are renew'd upon me, and with the Natural, there rises upon me the Sun of Righteousness , with healing under his wings. Thou prosper'st my endeavours, givelt success to all my lawful undertakings, thou preserveft me from those disasters which befall other men. How wisely dost thou order my affairs? How often dort thou bring light out of darkness, and turnest
afflition into the greatest joy? How wonderful are thy Providences to me and mine? How often have I fear'd such an accident would be my ruine, and God hath turn'd it into the greatest good ? How wisely halt thou Many times denid me temporal mercies, because thou hadít a mind to enrich me with spi. ritual Blessings in Heavenly places? What Friends , what Benefactors haft thou rais'd me? How miraculously halt thou turnd the bearts of men some times into mercy and compaflion for my good ? How often halt thou heard my Prayer, and granted me the request of my lips.? When I have been in the greatest straits