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All worship, not in faith, is fruitless to the worshipper, as well as displeasing to God: and this faith is the gift of God, and the nature of it is to purify the heart, and give such as truly believe, victory over the world. Well, but they go on: We have waited for him, we will be glad, and rejoice in his falvation. The prophet adds, Blessed are all they that wait upon God: and why? For they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall never faint, never be weary :' the encouragement is great.
O hear him once more! For since the beginning of the world, men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hatli the eye feen, O God! besides thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.. Behold the inward life and joy of the righteous, the true worshippers ; those whose spirits bowed to the appearance of God's Spirit in them, leaving and forsaking all it appeared against, and embracing whatever it led them to. In Jeremiah's time, the true worshippers also waited upon God :' and he assures us, that The Lord is good to them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.' Hence it is, that the prophet Hofea exhorts the church then, to turn and wait upon God. Therefore turn thou to thy God; keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually.' And Micah is very zealous and resolute in this good exercise: I will look unto the Lord, I will wait for the God of
my Ifaiah xxx. 18. Ifaiah xl. 31. m Ifaiah Ixiv. 4. Jer, xivi 22
• Lam, üi, 25
? Hof. xii, 6.
falvation : my God will hear me. Thus did the children of the spirit, that thirsted after an inward sense of him. The wicked cannot say fo; nor they that pray, unless they wait. It is charged upon Ifrael in the wilderness, as the cause of their disobedience and ingratitude to God, that they waited not for his counsels. We may be sure it is our duty, and expected from us; for God requires it in Zephaniah: Therefore wait upon me, faith the Lord, until the day that I arise,' &c. O that all who profess the name of God, would wait fo, and not offer to arise to worship without him. And they would feel his stirrings and arisings in them to help and prepare, and fanctify them. Christ expressly charged his disciples, They should not stir from Jerusalem, but wait till they had received the promise of the Father, the baptism of the Holy Ghost, in order to their preparation for the preaching of the glorious gospel of Christ to the world. And though that were an extraordinary effufion for an extraordinary work, yet the degree does not change the kind ; on the contrary, if so much waiting and preparation by the spirit was requisite to fit them to preach to man; fome, at least, may be needful to fit us to speak to God.
$. XII. I will close this great scripture doctrine of waiting, with that passage in John, about the pool of Bethesda: There is at Jerufalem, by the sheep-market, a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue, Bethesda, having five porches; in these lay a great multitude of impotent folks, of blind, halt, and withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first, after the troubling of the water, stepped in, was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.' A most exact representation of what is intended by all that has been said upon the subject of waiting. For as there was then an outward and legal, so there is now a gospel and spiritual Jerusalem, the church of God, confisting of the faithful. The pool in that old Jerusalem, in some fort, represented that foun, tain, which is now set open in this new Jerusalem. That pool was for those that were under infirmities of body; this fountain for all that are impotent in soul. There was an angel then that moved the water, to render it beneficial; it is God's angel now, the great angel of his presence, that blesseth this fountain with success. They that then went in before, and did not watch the angel, and take advantage of his motion, found no benefit of their stepping in : those that now wait not the moving of God's angel, but by the devotion of their own forming and timing, rush before God, as the horse into the battle, and hope for success, are sure to miscarry in their expectation. Therefore, as then they waited with all patience and attention upon the angel's motion, that wanted and desired to be cuired; fo do the true worshippers of God now,
need and pray for his presence, which is the life of their souls, as the sun is to the plants of the field. They have often tried the unprofitableness of their own work, and are now come to the fabbath indeed. They dare not put up a device of their own, or offer an unfanétified request, much less obtrude bodily worship, where the soul is really insensible or unprepared by the Lord. In the light of Jesus they ever wait to be prepared, retired, and recluse from all thoughts that cause the least distraction and discomposure in the mind, till they see the angel move, and till their beloved please to wake: nor dare they call him before his tiine. And they fear to make a devotion in his absence ; for they know it is not only unprofitable, but reprovable: Who has required this at your hands? He that believes, makes not haite." They that worship with their own, can only do as the Israelites, turn their ear-rings into a molten image, and be cursed for their pains. Nor fared they better, That gathered sticks of old, and kindled a fire, and compassed themselves about with the sparks that they had kindled;for God told them, They should lie down in forrow. It should not only be of no advantage, and do them no good, but incur a judgment from him : forrow and anguish of foul should be their portion. Alas! felh and blood would fain pray, though it cannot wait; and be a faint, though it can: not abide to do or suffer the will of God. With the tongue it blefses God, and with the
* Ifa. i, 12. and xxviii. 16.
* Isaiah 1. 11.
tongue it curses men, made in his fimilitude. It calls Jesus LORD, but not by the Holy Ghoft; and often names the name of Jesus, yea, bows the knee to it too; but departs not from iniquity: this is abominable to God.
§. XIII. In short, there are four things so neceffary to worshipping of God aright, and which put its performance beyond man's power, that there seems little more needed than the naming of them. The first is, The fanctification of the worshipper. Secondly, The confecration of the offering; which has been spoken to before somewhat largely. Thirdly, What to pray for; which no man knows, that prays not by the aid of God's spirit; and therefore, without that fpirit, no man can truly pray.
This the apostle puts beyond dispute; We know not, says he, what we should pray for, as we ought, but the spirit helpeth our infirmities.» Men unacquainted with the work and power of the Holy Spirit, are ignorant of the mind of God; and those, certainly, can never please him with their prayers. It is not enough to know we want; but we should learn whether it be not fent us a blessing: disappointments to the proud; losses to the covetous; and to the negligent stripes : to remove these, were to secure the destruction, not help the salvation, of the soul.
The vile world knows nothing but carnally, after a fleshly manner and interpretation; and too many that would be thought enlightened, are apt to call providences by wrong names:
y Rom. vüi, 26.