Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

every one that hath, shall be given, and he shall have abundance. Thus, in general.

2. As we defire our Souls fhould prosper, principles of grace should be exercised in all the fore mentioned duties. I will instance only in one, and that is the duty of Prayer , both because that is, and ought to be our every days work: We ought in every thing, both great and small, to make known our requests to God, believing his universal Providence; that as there is nothing so great that is above his Power, fo there is nothing so little that is below his Care. This we are injoined, Phil. 4.6, Be careful for nothing ; but in every thing, by prajer and supplication, with thanksgiving ; let your requests be made known unto God. And also, because the better this duty is perfor med, the better all other duties will be performed: It hath an influence upon them all, and is often

put for the whole worship of God, Rom. 10. 12, 13, Whosoever ifhall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved. And besides, all the Providences of the day are sanctified by it, 1 Tim. 4. 5, For it is sancti. fied by the word of God, and Prayer. But then we must know this, that if we desire prayer may be a sanctifying duty to us, our hearts must be fanctified for it, and grace must be exercised in it. I shall not mention now; what graces must be exercised, but

only

[ocr errors]

only in general, so that the heart may be wrought off from all evil frames, and composed, and fixed, the inward thought thereof gathered in, and the affections raised;" so as feelingly, and awfully,: believingly, fervently and sincerely we may powre out our desires unto God, and be able to say, as Lam. 2. 18, Their heart cryed unto the Lord. And Pfal. 119. 145, I cryed with

my

whole heart, hear me, o Lord. This is one thing, intended in that expression of Praying in the spirit, Eph. 6. 18. The spirit of a Man is an active thing, and whatever it doth, good, or bad, it doth to purpose. Such gracious workings of the Soul in prayer, are the very Soul of prayer ; and then the Soul profpers by prayer, Jude, vers: 20, And ye, Beloved, building up your Souls in your molt holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost. Then are our Souls edified, when we thus pray, in the exercise of the graces of the Holy .Ghost.

This is all I shall say to the former of the two last things proposed. That in order to Soul-prosperity, grace ought to be exercised, in all the External Duties of Religion.

I now proceed to the latter. As ever we desire our Souls should prosper, the principles of godliness ought to be exercised in all other things, wherein the visible part of

Religi

R 3

[ocr errors]

Religion, so far as it may be made visible to Men, doth confiit.

And here I shall only speak a sittle to three particulars

1. In all Providences. It is seldom or never seen, that any of the people of God continue in the same condition, as to the things of this world, any long time, with out some alteration, more or less. God is pleased, many times, to bestow many good things upon them, which he never intended they should always enjoy, Pfal. 102. 10,Thou hast lifted me

up,
and caft

me down. Now, as we desire our Souls should prosper, principles of godliness should be so exercised, as to bear all such changes, so as to avoid the snares, and temptations accompanying them. To this height St. Paul attained, that he could thus manage all conditions, Phil. 4. 12, I know both how to be abafed, and I know how to abound, &c. Want, or nd want; having nothing, or possessing all things, make no change of the frame of my heart. So he faith, I am instructed in every thing: This is the excellency of the principles of godliness, That though truths, and fallhood; things morally good, or morally evil, are at such a distance, that the same principles cannot turn to either side: yer Poverty and Riches, a full Estate, and a poor and mean Fftate; liberty or restraint are not at such

a distance, but that the same gracious principle can apply it self to both the one, and the other ; and may be exercised so as the Soul may prosper,

and may be fpiritually a gainer, both by the one, and by the other. And as we desire our Souls should prosper, these principles ought to be exercised, that we may find it so. For so far as corruption mingles with the Providences we are under, fo far, if there be any grace in the heart, it will be so far from thriving, that it will wither, and decay. It is observed, that when things go well with a Man in his outward condition, if corruption be not kept at a distance from it, the Man will grow proud, and passionate ; high, and self conceited: Earthy, and Selfish, impatient of be ing crossed in any thing; having, as he finds, wit enough for every thing elle; and that therefore every one must stoop to him. And so, when things go cross, and, as the usual phrase is, The World frowns upon him if his corruptions be not kept at a distance from his condition, the Man will grow fret, ful, discontented, unthankful for what he hath, envious at those, with whom it is bet ter then with himself : And (to speak all in a word) fin will fit light, when crolles sit heavy. Therefore, it is of absolute necellity, that, as ever we desire our Souls hhould prosper, this ( with the uttermost

of our care ) should be looked unto. .: 1. That when the good hand of God is for us, so as all our Goings outz and Comings-in, the beginning and ending of every thing we undertake, succeeds well, according to our desires, that then these principles of grace ought to be exercised, that nothing come betwixt Jesus Christ, and our hearts, but that the more we have of the World, the more our hearts may be in Heaven. As facob was then desirous to be in Heaven, when God had given in the unexpected sight of his loft Son, his best Son, and that as great as he was good, Gen. 46. 30, And Israel said unto Joseph, Now let me dye', fince I have seen thy face. Jám. 1. 10, Let the rich Man rejoice in that he is Wadei lcw, because as the flower of the grass befall pass away. [. when he is made low.] ice. When his heart is low and meek, humble and patient, when his condition as full, and high; though perhaps not fo in it felf, but as compared with others, who had the same opportunities for the World, that he had u reckoning of all that he hath, but as food that perisha eth; but as a flower that fadethicaccounting this as the chiefest excellency of the plensitulness of his Efate, that he hath a larger opportunity of doing good and- of doing more for God, then he could have had, if his portion had been as little; as once it was.

I Thus 10

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »