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nature, God does thereby say, “ My son, keep thyself from idols :" if prosperous, he does it as it were by a small, still voice, say, “My son, give me thy heart.” If believers, therefore, would keep up their walk with God, they must from time to time hear what the Lord has to say concerning them in the voice of his providence. Thus we find Abraham's fervant, when he went to fetch a wife for his master Ifaac, eyed and watched the providence of God, and by that means found out the person that was defigned for his master's wife. “ For “ a little hint from Providence," says pious Bishop Hall, “ is “ enough for faith to feed upon.” And as I believe it will be one part of our happiness in heaven, to take a view of, and look back upon, the various links of the golden chain which drew us there ; fo those that enjoy moft of heaven below, I believe, will be most minute in remarking God's various dealings with them, in respect to his providential dispensations here on earth.
Fifthly, In order to walk closely with God, his children must not only watch the motions of God's providence without them, but the motions also of his blefied Spirit in their hearts. “ As many as are the sons of God, are led by the Spirit of God,” and give up themselves to be guided by the Holy Ghost, as a little child gives its hand to be led by a nurse or parent. It is no doubt in this sense, that we are to be converted, and become like little children. And though it is the quintessence of enthusiasm, to pretend to be guided by the Spirit without the written word; yet it is every christian's bounden duty to be guided by the Spirit in conjunction with the written word of God. Watch, therefore, I pray you, O believers, the motions of God's blessed Spirit in your souls, and always try the suggestions or impressions that you may at any time feel, by the unerring rule of God's most holy word: and if they are not found to be agreeable to that, reject them as diabolical and delufive. By observing this caution, you will fteer a middle courfe between the two dangerous extremes many of this generation are in danger of running into; I mean, enthuhajm, on the one hand, and deism, and downright infidelity, on the other,
Sixthly, They that would maintain a holy walk with God, must walk with him in ordinances as well as providences, &c. It is, therefore, recorded of Zachary and Elizabeth, that
They walked in all God's ordinances as well as commandments, blameless.” And all rightly informed christians, will look upon ordinances, not as beggarly elements, but as fo many conduit-pipes, whereby the infinitely condescending Hehovah conveys his grace to their fouls.
grace to their fouls. They will look upon them as childrens bread, and as their highest privileges. Consequently they will be glad when they hear others say, “ Come, let us go up to the house of the LORD.” They will delight to visit the place where God's honour dwelleth, and be very eager to embrace all opportunities to shew forth the Lord CHRIST's death till he come.
Seventhly and lastly, If you would walk with God, you will associate and keep company with those that do walk with him. “My delight, says holy David, is in them that do excel” in virtue. They were in his fight; the excellent ones of the earth. And the primitive christians, no doubt, kept up their vigour and first love, by continuing in fellowship one with another. The Apoftle Paul knew this full well, and therefore exhorts the christians to see to it, that they did not forsake the assembling of themselves together. For how can one be warm alone ? And has not the wiseft of men told us, that, iron sharpeneth iron, so doth the countenance of a man his friend ?” If we look, therefore, into church history, or make a juft observation of our own times, I believe we shall find, that as the power of God prevails, christian societies, and fellowship meetings prevail proportionably. And as one decays, the other has insensibly decayed and dwindled away at the fame time. So necessary is it for those that would walk with God, and keep up the life of religion, to meet together as they have opportunity, in order to provoke one another to love and good works.
Proceed we now to the Third general thing proposed, To offer some motives to excite all to conie and walk with God,
And Firf, Walking with God, is a very honourable thing. This generally is a prevailing motive to persons of all ranks, to ftir them up to any important undertaking. O that it may have its due weight and influence with you, in respect to the matter now before us ! I suppose you would all think it a very
-high honour to be admitted into an earthly prince's privys council, to be trusted with his secrets, and to have his ear at all times, and at all seasons. It seems Haman thought it so, when he boafted, Esth. v. 11, that besides his being " advanced above the princes and servants of the king; yca, moreover, Ejther the Queen did let no man come in with the King unto the banquet that she had prepared, but myself ; and to-morrow am I invited unto her also with the King"
And when afterwards a question was put to this fame Haman, chap. vi. 6. “ What shall be done unto the man whom the King delighteth to honour ?” he answered, ver. 8. “Let the royal apparel be brought which the king used to wear, and the horle that the king rideth upon, and the crown royal which is set upon his head ; and let this apparel and horse bę delivered to the hand of one of the king's most noble princes, that they may array the man withal whom the King delights to honour, and bring him on horseback through the street of the city, and proclaim before him, Thus fhall it be done to the man whom the King delighteth to honour.” This was all then, it seems, that an ambitious Haman could ask, and the most valuable thing that he thought Ahasuerus, the greatest monarch upon earth, could give. But alas, what is this honour in comparison of that which the meanest of those enjoy, that walk with God! Think ye it a small thing, Sirs, to bave the secret of the LORD of Lards with you, and to be called the friends of God? and such honour have all God's saints. « The secret of the LORD is with them that feat him :" and " Henceforth, says the bleffed Jesus, call I you no longer servants, but friends; for the servant knoweth noe the will of his master.” Whatever you may think of it, holy David was fo sensible of the honour attending a walk with God, that he declares, “ He had rather be a door-keeper in his house, than to dwell even in the tents of ungodlinefs, O that all were like-minded with him !
But, Secondly, As it is an honourable, so it is a pleasing thing to walk with God. The wiseft of men has told us, that “Wisdom's ways are ways of pleasantnefs, and all her paths peace.” And I remember pious Mr. Henry, when he was just about to expire; laid to a friend, “ You have heard
many mens dying words, and thefe are mine : A life spend
I not apo
« in communion with God, is the pleafanteft life in the 56 world.” I am sure I can set to my seal that this is true. Indeed, I have been lifted under Jesus's banner only for a few years ;. but I have enjoyed more solid pleasure in one moment's communion with my God, than I should or could have enjoyed in the ways of fin, though I had continued to have went on in them for thousands of years. And
may peal to all you that fear and walk with God, for the truth of this? Has not one day in the LORD's courts, been to you better than a thousand ? In keeping God's commandments; have you not found a present and very great reward ? Has not his word been sweeter to you than the honey, or the honey-comb? O what have you felt, when, Jacob-like, you have been wrestling with your God? Has not JESUS often met you when meditating in the fields, and been made known to you over and over again in breaking of bread ? Has not the Holy Ghost frequently shed the divine love abroad in your hearts abundantly, and filled you with joy unspeakable, even joy that is full of glory? I know you will answer all these questions in the affirmative, and freely acknowledge the yoke of CHRIST to be easy, and his burden light; or (to use the words of one of our collects) “ Thać “ his service is perfect freedom.” And what need we then any further motive to excite us to walk with God?
But methinks I hear some among you say, “ How can " these things be? For, if walking with God, as you say, is “ such an honourable and pleasant thing, whence is it, that the “name of the people of this way is cast out as evil, and every “ where spoken against ? How comes it to pass that they are
frequently afflicted, tempted, destitute, and tormented ? Is “this the honour, this the pleasure that you speak of?” I answer, Yes. Stop a while; be not over-hasty. Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment, and all will be well. It is true, we acknowledge the people of " this way,” as you, and Paul before you, when a persecutory called them, have their names cast out as evil, and are a fect every where spoken against. But by whom? Even by the enemies of the most high ĠOD. And do you think it a disgrace to be spoken evil of by them? Blessed be God, we have not fo learnt CHRIST. Our royal Master has proVOL. V.
nounced those “ blessed, who are perfecuted, and have all, manner of evil spoken against them falsly.” He has commanded them " to rejoice and be exceeding glad.” For it is the prilege of their discipleship, and that their reward will be great in heaven. He himself was thus treated. And can there be a greater honour put upon a creature, than to be conformed to the ever-blessed Son of God? And further, it is equally true, that the people of this way are frequently afflicted, tempted, destitute, and tormented. But what of all this? Does this destroy the pleasure of walking with God? No, in no wise ; for those that walk with God, are enabled, through Christ strengthening them, to joy even in tribulation, and to rejoice when they fall into divers temptations. And I believe I may appeal to the experience of all true and close walkers with God, Whether or not their suffering times, have not frequently been their sweetest times, and that they enjoyed most of God, when most cast out; and despised by men? This we find was the case of CHRIST's primitive servants, when threatened by the Jewish fanhedrim, and commanded to preach no more in the name of Jesus; they rejoiced, that they were accounted worthy to suffer shame for the sake of Jesus. Paul and Silas sang praises even in a dungeon ; and the face of Stephen, that glorious proto-martyr of the christian church, fhone like the face of an angel. And Jesus is the fame now, as he was then, and takes care fo to sweeten sufferings and afflictions with his love, that his disciciples find, by happy experience, that as afilictions abound, confolations do much more abound. And therefore these objections, instead of destroying, do only more enforce the motives before urged to excite you to walk with God.
But supposing the objections were just, and walkers with God were as despicable and unhappy as you would represent them to be; yet I have a third motive to offer, which, if weighed in the balance of the sanctuary, will over-weigh all objections, viz. That there is a heaven at the end of this walk. For, to use the words of pious Bishop Beveridge, “ Though " the way be narrow, yet it is not long; and though the gate “ be straight, yet it opens into everlasting life.” Enoch found it so. He walked with God on earth, and GoD took him to fit down with him for ever in the kingdom of heaven. Not that we are to expect to be taken away as he was : 'no; I fup3