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Doth it make me resist the Devil, and grapple with powers and principalities, with the rulers of darkness, and with spiritual wickednesses in high places ? Ephef. 6. 12. Doth it make me pray with fervency and importunity ? Doth it tranfport my Soul into ravishments upon the light of yonder glorious things, God hath laid up and prepared for those that love him? Doth it make me rejoyce in that Saviour I have not seen, with joy unspeakable and full of Glory? Doth it infufé boldness, and courage into my Soul to stand up for God, when I either hear his name prophaned, or fee his Creatures fearfully abused? Doth it make me with Phineas run in, and stem the strong current of iniquity, and with Paul and Barnabas angry at the improper honour, men are going to offer me? Does it make me trust God in adversity, even then when the Fig-tree doth nos blossom, when there is no fruit in the Vine, when the labour of the Olive fails, and the Field does yield no meat; when the Flock is cut off from the Fold, and when there are no Herds in the Stalls ? Hab. 3. 17. Doth it make me take notice of God's gracious Dealings and Providences, and admire God's Wisdom and Greatness, and Power, and Goodness in all ? Doch it make me prize the Promises of the Golpel above all riches, and doth it make me willing to suffer for Christ? Rejoyce, O my Soul, if Faith hath thus warm'd thy heart, and if thou findest these footsteps of God within thee! These are Ornaments fit for thee to appear in before
the great Tribunal On the other fide, what ease, what quiet canst thou enjoy, if thy Faith be dead, and dull, and unactive; if it doth not touch thy tongue with a Coal from the Altar, apd doth not make thee break forth into Celebrations, and admiration of the heighth, and breadth, and length, and depth of the love of God ? If thou feelest no boly force to shake off every weight, and every sin which doth so easily beset thee; If thy Faith does not make thee stand upon thy watch, and break through all discouragements and oppositions, to obtain the end of thy Faith, even thy salvation; If it doth not make thy corruptions abate, and thy extravagant desires and passions fall; If it be lo faint, that thy hands grow weak, and thy knees feeble, that thy graces languish, and thy goodness dwindles away ; If thy Gins grow strong under the shadow of it, and the rod of iniquity blossoms, and bears fruit ; If it doth not chale Discontent in a great measure from thy thoughts, and doth not give thee Bowels of compassion to Ministers, to the Servants of God, to Christ's diftreffed Members ; If it doth not drive thee into Heaven, into Contemplations of a glorious Eternity which shall make amends for all the loftes, troubles, perils, miseries, and difficulties thou undergoest here; If it doth not make thee prefer Christ's honour and will, before the vain allurements of flesh and bloud, and the Socie. ety of those who delight in God, before famiSarity with the richest and greatest, who cast
God's Law behind them; If it works no patience in afiliations, po humility, no felf-denial, no meekness under curses, and injuries, and persecutions, no courage to stand up for God, and for his glo ry, no delight in the word and ways of God, no sincere endeavours to practise what thou hearest, no relish in spiritual things, no holy revenge upon thy corruptions, no indignation against thy former fins, no carefulness to please God, no vehement desires after him who is faire er than the Children of men.
Faith thus confider'd, if it be but a painted fire, will quickly betray it self; and Consideration will soon give an Item to the Sinner, that this is no good foundation to build eternal falva
This will blow away the Chaff, and -Thew how little good Corn there was in that Rubbish. This will melt all the Dross and Tin away, and discover, how little of the purer Mettal there was in the Lump. This will make all the droffie .part evaporate, and let you see whether there be any thing of substance at the bottom. In this manner we are oblig'd to proceed in our prayers and supplications. . Coalideration must acquaint us, whether it be the deGres of our hearts, or the desires of our lips only, that we offer unto God, whether it be a deep sense of our spiritual wants and necessities, and of the Greatness, Majeky, Purity, Holiness, Mercy, and Goodness of God that makes us pray, or Custom, and Education, and Civility to our unruly Consciences ?
So in our Distributions to the Necessities of others. Coplideration must acquaint us, whether we give enough or no, whether we fulfil the Rules, Christ and his Apostles have de liver'd concerning it, and whether it be vainglory and the applause of men, that makes us both liberal, and speak of our liberality, or an honest design to advance the glory of God, and the good of our Neighbour ? Whether that which
puts us upon giving, be compassion, and tenderness, or å desire to be rid of the importunate Petitioner ? whether it is our earning bowels, or fear of being ill-fpoken of by other men, that
engages us to such Offices of humanity? So in Fasting, Consideration must acquaint us, whether it be the outward performance we do regard more, than the inward frame of the Soul? whether it be a real, sincere resolution to mortifie fin, that engages us to this severity, or an intent of giving God fatisfaction for the affronts we have offer'd him, and whether the austerity makes sin truly bitter to us, and works an eternal deteftation of it in our hearts; or whether it disposes us to fall on afresh, and tempts us upon the credit of that piece of Mortification, to venture into new fins and enormities?
So in our zeal for God, Consideration must acquaint us, whether we are more passionate in things which concern the honour of God, than in promoting of our own interest; whether it be a zeal according unto kpowledge, and kindled by the Sun of Righteousness; or furious, and
lighted by the flames of the burning Lake; whether it be singularity, peevishness, spleen, and malice, that makes us hot, or deliberate pondering of the affront, that's put on the Divine Majesty. And whether we are zealous for the greater as well as for the lesser matters of the Law, for Judgment, Faith, and Mercy, as well as for paying Tythe of Mint, and Cummin, and Anise ?
Without Consideration, our Souls muft necessarily remain under very great darkness and mistakes, and consequently run the hazard of being cheated in the work of Conversion. How should these Cheats be discovered, but by our reason? How shall our reason judge of them, but by Confideration ? For Consideration calls them to an account, lays them open, examines their rise and progress, discovers them to be Dross, and spies out the danger they involve the Soul in, and by that means works it into a faithful resolution to take another course.