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de breasts, Confider your ways. ' Consider what enCx flaving your Souls to vicious affections will come tá to, and whether they will not thrive bet'er, beding irradiated with Heavenly light, than warm
ed by Hellish Lufts; and whether it will not
be more for your credit to advance them to ile their primitive lustre and beauty, than lose them do by fin and vanity. Sirs, you stand
brink of a bottomless pit į who but a man, EP
whole brains are crack'd, would not look about nd
himself? the lealt push or thrust sends you thither; Who would not take some pains to get
into an Harbour ? The Ship is ready to be cast the away,
the Masts are split, it's leaking on every lide ; Who would not lay hold of a Plank to fave himself from drowning? If you know not what to do with that power of Consideration God hath given you, marvel not if God takes it away ; and since you will not bethink your selves how to be freed from sin and misery, protests in his anger,
shall not be able to make use of that power any more, in order to obtain Eternal Life; since you will not take up that Sword of the Spirit, to cut the cords of Sin and Disobedience, no wonder if God blunts and dulls the edge of it, that it shall be of no use to you, when you would employ it. O Christians, there is no jesting with a merciful God 5. where the greatest merey is scorn'd and rejected, What can ye expect but the severest judgments? Be wise therefore before the black Decree be irreversibly lign'd and seal'd against
you ; you'll bless the hour and the day which bears the Date of your entire and sincere agree ment to God's Will in this particular; and when you shall find, by blessed experience, that this serious consideration of your ways is the gate to Paradise, you'll admire the Bounty, Wisdom, and Goodness of God, that moved your hearts to embrace the motion, and you will not be able to forbear breaking out into finging the Song of Moses, and the Song of the Lamb, Bles fing, Honorr, and Glory be unto him that fits upon the Throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
CHA P. Viit.
Of Retirement and Prayer, the two great Helps to
Confideration. Retirement proved to be necef sary to make Consideration of our Spiritual state more quick and lively. Prayer calls in the assistance of God's Spirit, and renders the Work effectual. A Form of Prayer to be used upon this occasion.
Will Charitably suppose , that the preceding Exhortation may
have made some impression upon my Reader, and made him, in some meafure, willing to think more of his Soul, and of the darger it is in, and of his Eternal state, than formerly he used to do ; and therefore to shew him how this Confideration must be managed, that it may in truth conquer and subdue his inordinate affections, and make them subject to the best of Mafters, I shall lay down some necessary helps to Confideration, and these are , to mention no more, Retirement and Prayer. ; 1. Retirement. Though I readily grant, (and do commend it too) that Men,as they are walking with others, or travelling, or going abroad about their necessary occafion, or standing in their Shops, or other Rooms, where Company Ff
goes in and out, may think, that the course they have taken bitherto is not safe, and therefore it's high time to change and alter it: yet seeing those thoughts are too much diverted by fensual objects, and apt to go no farther than the mind or understanding, and reach no deeper than speculation; it must neceffarily follow, that Retirement is requisite, to make it reach the affections, and to spread it as far as the life and conversation.
By Retirement, I do not mean absconding, or hiding ones self in a Corner in the Countrey, or in a Wilderness, but retiring in our own Houses. Let the place we live in be never lo populous , to be sure we have Chambers to be private in; and, as the rich may make their best Room a Desart for this work, so the poorest
may convert any Corner in their Houses into a place for this Exercise ; it's not the neatness of a Closet that cleanses the Soul from filthiness, nor the curiosity and convenience of a Withdrawing-room, that fits the heart for bim that made it ; but as Christ made sometimes a Mountain, sometimes a Ship, sometimes a Crofs
his Pulpit ; lo a Man may make a Meadow, ' a Field, a Wood, a Garret, any Corner in bis House, a place fit to retire in, to confider seriously how the case stands between God and his own Soul. I know what Men do commonly object, the very same thing they object against Consideration it. felf, and whereo? we have suficiently spoke in the
second impediment, viz. That they have a great
deal of bufiness, and they can spare no time for this retirement. Business, no doubt, must be done, but there is a time for every thing, and a season for every purpose under Heaven, and then sure there must be a time for this Spiritual retirement too, if there be not, we are obliged to find time for it ; he that cannot, or rather will not, had as good say, he hath no time to be saved, and he that cannot sometimes neglect the concerns of his Body, or Estate, for the concerns of his better part, derides Salvation, and does not believe, that there is such a thing, or if there be, that it is of so much value, as the dirt and dung he grovels in. It's true; Manaffes retirement was forced, much against his will, yet still it was privacy
that contributed much to his amendment, for while he was encompafs'd with his Cour1
tiers and Flatterers, and his fawning Crew, he y thought Religion a thing below him, and a
New Creature but a canting term; but being E alone, none but God and his calamity' about í him, having nothing to take off his choughts,
from reflecting on his Apoftasie, behold; how Confideration melts him, his Conscience fets upon him; makes him ashamed of his unfaithfulness to his God , makes the Tears stand in his Eyes ; and fo great is his change, that he who had exceeded all the Nations Pound about him in Idolatry , and lewdness, immediately takes away all the strange Gods , and Ff 2