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we believe in Christ crucified, "to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Greeks foolishness; but to them which are called, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God." This gospel many have found to be "the power of God unto salvation,"* and though it is a mystery above the conception of men and angels, yet I believe what I cannot comprehend: "Manifold wisdom of God, unsearchable riches of Christ," to be admired, but cannot be traced; there are large dimensions passing human knowledge; above reason, not against it. God hath discovered these mysteries in his word, and revealed them to his saints by his Spirit ;† the angels themselves are proficients in this school; there are unfathomable depths in the holy scripture, but I am sure that the judgment of God is according to truth: when I know it is the voice of the true Shepherd I must assent and comply therewith, a little child shall lead me with the line of scripture. I will not be disobedient to the heavenly vision, but believe all things that are written in the law and the prophets: and being instructed in gospel truths, which are surely believed among us, I will venture my soul and eternal welfare upon them. "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to babes; even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight."||
(2.) I also give my free consent to the equity of divine injunctions; and resolve by the grace of God to square my heart and life according to the preceptive part of his word: God forbid that I should say, concerning any part of God's revealed will, and my duty,
this is a hard saying, and who can hear it? Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently," exactly, "O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!" Alas! I can keep none as I ought, but then shall "I not be ashamed, when I have respect to all thy commandments."* Faith in Christ is the great gospel commandment, and loving one another. "Lord I do believe, help thou my unbelief;" I do now purpose by the assistance of divine grace, to love the Lord my God, with all my heart, with all my soul, mind, and strength, and my neighbour as myself. Lord, give me the end of the commandment, which is charity, out of a pure heart, a good conscience, and faith unfeigned. And now since the grace of God hath appeared to me, I do purpose to deny ungodliness, and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. And since I have taken upon me the name of Christ, I resolve to depart from all iniquity, t I will "hide thy word in my heart, that I may not sin against thee; O teach me thy statutes; thy testimonies shall be my delight and my counsellors; stablish thy word unto thy servant who is devoted to thy fear."|| Put thy law in my inward parts, and write it in my heart; teach me to know the Lord: "put thy fear in my heart that I may not depart from thee;" take the stony heart out of my flesh, and give me a heart of flesh; sprinkle clean water upon me; put a new heart and a new spirit within me, and cause me to walk in thy statutes. Separate me from a wicked world, and receive me, be a Father to me, and let me be thy child.
* John vi. 60.
† 1 John iii. 23.
Psal. cxix. 4-6.
Matt. xxii. 37, 38. Luke x. 27. 1 Tim. i. 5. Tit. ii. 11, 12. 2 Tim. ii. 19. Psal. cxix. 11, 12, 16, 24, 36, 38. § Jer. xxxi. 33, 34. xxxii. 40.
Ezek. xxxvi. 25—27.
Thou sayest, how shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a land of desires, yea, a goodly heritage?* thyself answerest, "thou shalt call me, my Father, and shalt not turn away from me.” Amen My dear Lord, work what thou commandest, and then command what thou pleasest, and I will obey, whatever the flesh saith, my spirit doth consent to the law of God, that it is good; I will for ever say, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, just, and good, whatever I be.t
(3.) Divine institutions. My earnest desire is to walk before God in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord-blameless. Tell me, "O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, and where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon:-I will go forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed my kids besides the shepherds' tents." I will follow my dear Lord "to the gardens, to the beds of spices, I will hold the king in the galleries; O bring me into the banqueting house, let thy banner over me be love." While the King of heaven sitteth at the table, "let my spikenard send forth the smell thereof." I am resolved to own a gospel ministry; and encourage such pastors and teachers as God hath qualified with gifts, and sanctified with grace, and made conscientious in his work, for converting sinners, and edifying the body of Christ. I will know and own them that labour, and are over me in the Lord, esteem them highly, and obey them, according to gospel rule. I will suffer a word of caution, admonition, and exhortation, and give myself to God, and to his ministers by the will of God. I will reverently esteem that sacred ordinance of baptism, and will
• Heb. An heritage of glory. Jer. iii. 19. Rom. vii. 12, 16. Luke i. 6. Song i. 7, 8. vi. 1, 2. vii. 5. ii. 3, 4. i. 12. Eph. iv. 11. 1 Thes. v. 12, 13. Heb. xiii. 17, 22. 2 Cor. viii. 5.
endeavour to put on Christ, to be buried with him in mortification, that I may rise with him in vivification. The true laver of regeneration is renewal by the Holy Ghost; would to God I were born again, not only of water, but of the Spirit.* I did answer to the questions propounded in baptism; but oh for the answer of a good conscience toward God! Also, I dare not omit any season of duly attending my Lord at his holy table, I will keep close to the institution, prepare for it, examine myself, labour to discern the Lord's body, do it in remembrance of him, shew forth my Lord's death till he come, labour to enjoy communion with Christ, and feed upon him. But oh for a wedding garment, that I may be a worthy communicant, and go from his holy table with advantage! Yea, there is no ordinance of God, but my soul desires to close with it. I will henceforth be more diligent in searching the scriptures and meditating in God's law, "day and night." My mouth shall speak wisdom, and my tongue talk of judgment. Evening, morning, and at noon will I pray and cry aloud. I will "sing and give praise, and render to God the calves of my lips." Lord, I have loved "the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwells." This, this is the one thing that I desire of the Lord, and this will I seek after, "that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and inquire in his temple.” Amen, Lord, give me a heart to perform this covenant, and the blessing of him who attends at the posts of wisdom's doors.||
(4.) Yet further, the covenanting Christian must freely
* Gal. iii. 27. + 1 Pet. iii. 21. John v. 39.
Psal. lvii. 7.
Rom. vi. 11. Col. ii. 12. Tit. iii. 5. Joh. iii. 5.
Psal. lv. 17.
1 Cor. xi. 23-26. 1 Cor. x. 16. Matt. xxii. 5-12.
Psal. xxvii. 4.
welcome, and willingly submit himself to all providential dispensations. Oh! this self-denying work may prove the hardest thing the poor soul hath subscribed to. But he must, and by grace, will do it. O Lord, I am at thy disposal, as clay in the hands of the potter, "I am the work of thy hand," thou mayest use thy absolute prerogative, to make me a vessel of honour or of dishonour, in respect of this or another world; if thou condemn me, my mouth must be stopped, I have deserved it, I have not a word to reply against God: yet I have no warrant from God to express my being content to be damned, for that is a state of sin and separation from God, which I can by no means wish: nor doth my Lord delight in the "death of a sinner."* That to which I must in this my covenanting freely submit, is with respect to outward dispensations of providence, and in this I am resolved, not to think of carving or choosing for myself, but put myself into God's hands, and take my lot as it falls. Thou, Lord, art wiser than I, and fitter to rule me than I can order myself. Thou art wise in heart, and mighty in strength, who hath hardened himself against thee, and prospered? Thou takest away, who can hinder thee? who can say unto thee, what dost thou? who dare strive against thee? for thou givest not account of thy matters; thou art an absolute sovereign, and a righteous governor; thy ways are always equal: "Clouds and darkness are round about thee, yet righteousness and judgment are the habitation of thy throne. Thou art righteous in all thy ways, and holy in all thy works;" therefore I am resolved to justify the Lord when I cannot satisfy myself, and lay down this maxim, “righteous art thou
• Isa. lxiv. 8. Rom. ix. 20-22. Ezek. xviii. 32.
+ Job ix. 4, 12. Job xxxiii. 13. Ezek. xviii. 25. Psal. xcvii. 2. Psal. cxlv, 17.