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The Third Petition. would ever fo fain do his will. These are their burden, and these they lay before the Lord daily for strengthening, longing for the day when the executive power shall be answerable to their will, and their will to the will of God.
[2.] An indisposition hindering their obedience, which they would frin be rid of, Matth. xxvi. 41. The gracious heart itself has such a mixture of corrup. tion, that there is always a spice of backwardness to compliance with the will of God, and an inclination to the wrong side, which they have to strive with. This is as iron fetters on them, out of which they would be enlarged, to run the way of God's command
[3.] A perverseness of spirit, whereby one is inclined to rest and go quite contrary to the will of God. Ephraim complains of this, Jer. xxxi. 18. I have fierely beard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus, Thou bait chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unai(!?!?oned to the yoke : turn thou me, and I shall be turn. et; for thou art the Lord my God. And the remainders est it in the best occasioa them many a sad struggle ; by which the heart of a child of God is like a field of battle; the new nature endeavouring to take on the yoke, the corrupt nature relifting and shifting like an Untamed ox.
(2.) God's advancing them to, and fixing them in a course of dutiful obedience to his own will, that they may do it, as it is done in heaven. They look on perfect holiness as what would be their happiness
. They see the will of God how it is done in heaven, they approve and love that way of it, and condemn their own, and would fain be brought up to the way of heavenly obedience, being wearied of their own earthly heartless way of doing it.
Quest. What fignifies their praying for it, since they cannot obtain it while here? Ans. It speaks,
1. Their sense of duty in that case, and of their fauing; in their best performances. It is certain that
perfection as well as fincerity of obedience is our du. ty, though we cannot reach it, Matth. v. ult. Be
ye And when the faints have stretched out to the utmoit, they sit down fighing, that they cannot get the length they should, Luke xvii. 16.
2. Their desire of perfection, which is accepted of God, 2 Cor. viii. 12. They would do the will of God. on earth, as it is in heaven, if they could. That is the bent and disposition of their new nature, and they would as fain be rid of the remainders of corruption, as ever a prisoner was desirous of being rid of his chains, Rom. vii. 24. while others please themselves therewith as with golden chains.
3 Their fincere endeavour to get forward to that perfection. Though, tbe stormy wind blowing in the face of the weak creature, they cannot hold pace with t'hose in heaven in doing the will of God; yet they are still following them at a distance, if at length they inay get up with them, Phil. iii. 13. 14. And here as in a glass we may see what sort of doing of the will of God the saints aim at and desire. It is,
(1.) To do it evenly, without stumbling or changing their course. So the heavenly bodies and the angels are uniform in their course, Pfal.cxix. 91. But alas! what an unevenliness is there in the walk of the best! Sometimes they are warm in obedience, and a. gain key cold. Sometimes they are tender with reipect to the least of fins, and sometimes untender in great matters, according as grace or corruption gets the mastery. But all the saints are alhamed of this, and groan under the burden of it, longing for tlie day wherein they shall keep a stayed even course of obedi. ence, as it is in heaven,
(2.) To do it unweariedly. Thus it is done in hcaven, Pfal. xix. 5. The fun is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejciceth as a sirung man to ri.n a race, Rev, vii. 15. They are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple. There is no wearying of this doing of the will of God in heaven. But
alas ! how soon are we on earth weary of well-doing? Even when the spirit is willing, the clog of earth which the soul is fixed to, often sets up, and can go no farther,
This often makes them long to be diffolved, that without wearinets they may be capable to serve the Lord day and night in his temple.
(3.) To do it universally: So the angels do it, knowing all, and doing all in perfection without the least failure, Pfal. ciii. 21. But which of the commandments do we not break on earth? what part of God's will is done by us in erery point as is required? None at all. But the saints hope and long for the day, when they shall be able to know and do the whole of it in every point.
(4.) To do it humbly. When the angels have wings to fly on God's erands, y(t they have also wings to cover their face and their teet, ll. vi. 2. There is no rising of pride in their hearts upon the doing of their duty, nor to keep them from any duty. But how does pride of heart keep us back from many duties as too low for us; and how often does it arile upon the doing any thing well! 2. Cor. xii. 7. This is a heavy piece of the body of death, which the faints long to be rid of.
(5.) To do it chearfully, Plal. ciii. 20. So the an. geis do in heaven. It is no burden to them to do his xvill; there is no heavy driving in the course of their obedience. This alto is our duty, Plal. c. 2. But all! how often are our hearts to be dragged to duty? what backwardness to the doing of God's will, like the cutting off of a right hand ? How desirable is it to a holy heart to be able to obey chearfully!
(6.) To do it readily, without delay. So the angels are repredented with wings, to fhew their readiness and speed in obeying their Lord. So should we, Pial, cxix. 60. I made hafte, and delayed nct to keep thy commandments. But alas ! how far from it are the belt many times! God speaks once, yea twice, but we per• ceive it not. How often are we ruined with delays,
and our 'work is marred in our hand! It is the desire of all the godly to be rid of this indisposition.
(7.). Lastly, To do it constantly. So the heavenly bodies do it without intermission, without interruption : and fo do the angels. So the faints desire to do, Pfal. cxix, 112. I have inclined my heart to perform thy statutes always, even unto the end. But alas! how fickle and inconstant are they now, through a lightness of heart, which is heavy, heavy to every gracious foul?
SECONDLY, I shall shew. what is the import of this petition with reference to the will of God's providence. It imports,
First, A confeffion, (1.) Of a natural aptness in all men to quarrel, repine, and murmur against the methods and disposals of providence, Numb. xiv. 2. No king's management is fo freely canvassed and censured by the subjects, as the King of heaven's management in this world is by the hearts of men. An allwise providence guides the world, in every particu, lar; but where is the man that has not some quarrel or other with it?
[1.] Kind providences towards others are grudged, Matth. xx. 15: Though God is the Sovereign Lord of all, and all things are his own, and he is debtor to none, men are prone to quarrel the disposal of his benefits, as if they would teach him on whom to be. ftow his favours.
[2.] Aflictive providences towards one's self are quarrelled. The toolish heart speaks as one of the foolish women, Job ii. 10. Though the worst we meet with in the world is short of our deservings, yet how does the heart rise against the smallest evils laid upon us! When the yoke of afiliction is wreathed about one's neck, the unsubdued heart rages under it like a wild bull in a net.
(2.) Of a natural backwardness to fall in with the deligns of providence of one fort or other. God teaches by kind providences and afflictive ones too, But such is the perverseness of human nature, that it scorns to be led by the one, Rom. ii. 4. or to be driven with the other, Jer. v. 3. Whether God write mens duty in white or black lines of providence, the heart is disposed not to fall in with it, Matth. xi. 16. 17.
Secondly, A profession, (1.) Of the faints forrow for this disposition of heart crossing the will of God. It is a burden to them, and the renewed nature hereby enters a diffent against this quarrelling of the corrupt nature against the will of God, Jer. xxxi. 18. They condemn themselves for not submitting chearfully to, and falling in readily with the divine will in all things. It is one of the greatest struggles which a child of God has, to get his will conformed to the will of God.
(2.) Of the faith of the power of grace to subdue the will to this conformity. So they hereby put their ftony refractory heart into the heart-changing hand to melt it down, and make it pliable, Jer. xxxi. 18. forecited. And it is the comfort of all the saints, thas there is a remedy of sufficient grace in Jesus Christ, for the removing of the natural perverseness of their wills.
Thirdly, A defire of grace for a thorough compliance with the will of God's providence. Which extends to,
I. A submission to the will of God in afflicting providences. This is our duty, whatever be our trial, Psal. xxxix. 9. I was dumb, fays David, I opened not my mouth ; because thou didst it. But it is a difficult duty, because of that corrupt felf-love which cries for ease, and so much prevails in all men ; because of that blindness of mens minds, whereby they take that which is really for their good to be for evil to them; and because we are all so much wedded to our own will. Therefore the saints desire the removal of these impediments by God's grace, and the sub. duing of their hearts to a submission,