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Oh my 'soul, leave trifting now, be composed, watchful, serious : this is no common work ; it is God work, soul work, eternity work : I am now going førth bearing seed, which will bring forth fruit to life or death in the world to come. Pause a while upon thy sins, wants, troubles ; steep thy thoughts a while in these, before thou addre's's tiiyself to duty. David first mused and then spake with his tougue, Psal. xxxix. 3, 4. S), Plai. : xlv. !. My heart is indicing, &c.
2. Help. Having composed thy heart by previous meditation, presently set a guard upon thy 'senses. How often aré poor christians in danger of losing the eyes of their mind by those of their body? For this David prayed, Psal. cxix. 37. Turn a away mine eyes fronrbeholding van. ity and quicker thou me in thy way. This may serve to expound that niistical Arabian proverb, which advises to shut the windows, that the house may be light : ic were excellent if you could say in your onsets upon cury, as an: holy man once did when he came off from duty;. be shiut, O mine eyes, be shut: for it is impossible you should ever see such beauty anii glo. ry in any creature, as I have now seen in Ged. You had need avoid all occasion's
of distraction from without ; for be sure you will meet enough from within. Intention of spirit in the work of God,
the eye and ear against vanity. When Marcellus entered the gates of Syracuse, Archemides was so intent about his mathematical scheine, that be took no notice of the soldiers when they entered his study with drawn swords. A tervent cannot be a vagrant heart. 3 Help.
Beg of God a mortified fan. cy. Working fancy (saith one) how much soever it be extolled among men, is a great snare to the soul : except it work in fellowship with right reason, and a sanctified heart. The phantasy is a power of the soul placed between the senses and the understanding ; It is that which first stirs itself in the soul, and by its motion the other powers are stirred ; it is the common shop where thoughts are first forged and framed , and as this is so are they : if imaginations be not first cast down, it is impossible that every thought of the heart should be brought into obedience to Christ, 2 Cor. x. 5. This fancy is naturally the wildest and most untamable power in the soul. Some christians (especially such as are of hot and dry constitutions) have much to do with it.
And truly, the more spiritual the heart is, the more it is troubled about the vani. ty and wildress of it. O what a sad thing it is, that thy nobler soul must lacquey up and down after a vain roving fancy ! that such a beggar should ride on horseback, and such a prince run after it on foot ! that it should call off the soul from attendance upon God, when it is most sweetly engaged in coinmunion with him, 10 prosecute such vanities as it will start at such times before it ! Beg earnestly". of God, that the power of sanctification may one come upon it. Some christians have attained such a degree of sanctifica. tion of their fancies, that they have had much sweetness left upon their hearts by the spiritual workings of it in the night season : when thy fancy is more inartifi. ed, thy thoughts will be more orderly and fixed.
4 Help. If thou wouldst keep thy heart from those vain excursions, realize to thyself, by faith, the holy and awful presence of God in. duties.
If the presence of a grave man wil! compose us to serionsness, how much more the presence of an holy God? Think. est thou, thy soul durst be so garish and light, is the sense of a divine eye were upon it ? Remember, the place where
Rev. ii. 23.
thou art, is the place of his feet, Isa. Ix. 13. Ac faith upon the omniciency of God; all the churches shall not know that I am he that searches the heart, and trieth the reins : and I will give to eveJy
of you according to your works.
All things are naked and open to the eyes of him with whom we have to do, Heb. iv. 13. Realize his infinite holiness. Into what a serious composed frame did the sight of God in his holiness put the spirit of the prophet? Isa. vi. 5. "Labour to get also upon thy heart due apprehensions of God, how ten. der he is over his worship, Lev. x. 3. Moses said unto Aaron, This is that the Lord spake, saying, I will be sanctified in thein that come nigh me, and betore all the people I will be glorifiedol
• A man that is praying (saith Bernard) ou should be have himself as if he were en
tering into the court of heaven, where * he sees the Lord upon his throne, sur+ rounded with ten thousand of his an
gels and saints ministring unto him.' When thou coinest from a duty in which thy-heart hath been loying and wander. ing, thou mayest say, verily God was in this place, and I knew it not, Suppose all the impertinencies and vanities, which have past through thine heart in a duty,
were written out, and interlined with thy petitions, couldst thou have the face to present it to God ? Should thy tongue but utter all the thoughts of thy heart in prayer, would not men abhor thee? Why, thy thoughts are vocal to God, Psal. cxxxix.
2. If thou wert petitioning the king for ti thy life, would it not provoke him to see
thee playing with thy band strings, or
catching every fly that lights upon thy et clothes, whilst thou art speaking to himn this about such serious matters ? o think
sadly upon that scripture, Psal. lxxxvii. t? 7. God is greatly to be feared in the asa
semblies of his saints, and to be had in reverence of all that are round about him. Why did God descend in thunderings and and lightnings, and dark clouds upon Sinai ? Exod. xix. 16, 18. Why did the mountains smoke under him, the people quake and tremble round about him, yeah Moses himself not exempted ; but to teach the people that great truth, Heb. xli, 28, 29, Let us have grace, whereby we may serve him acceptably with reven tence and godly fear ; for our God is a consuming fire! Present God thus before thee, and thy vain heart will quickly be reduced to a more serious frame.
5 Help. Maintain a praying fraine of heart in the intervals of duty,