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mission, and from a conviction of my duty, and I have many promises in thy word to encourage me. Be my covenant God, take me as thy covenant servant; do thou set to thy seal, say to my soul, I am thy salvation, as my soul hath said to thee, thou art my Lord, let the God of my salvation be exalted; I have now set to my seal, that God is true, come, Lord, and seal me with the Holy Spirit of promise, and give me the earnest of that Spirit in my heart, from this day do thou bless me, let God, even mine own God, bless me, for this God, shall be my God, for ever and ever, he will be my guide even unto death.* O my Lord, give me a heart to keep this covenant, let my God command strength; strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for me; without thee I can do nothing, all my springs are in thee;† if the Lord depart from me, 'I shall be weak as other men; thou hast helped me to make, now help me to keep my covenant; let not these convictions or impressions languish or die in my soul, leave me not to myself; be surety for thy servant for good, I am thy servant give me understanding; remember thy word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope,‡ thou knowest Lord, how backward my heart was to enter these bonds, how many pleas, excuses, and evasions I made to shuffle and shift it off, and now I am bound, thou knowest what a backsliding heart I have. "O Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy servant, and prepare and stablish my heart for thee. ||
2. Be thankful to God for this season and duty, it
• Psal. xxxv. 3. xvi. 2. xviii. 46. John iii. 33. Eph i. 13, 14. 2 Cor. i. 22. Psalm lxvii. 6. xlviii. 14.
+ Psal. lxviii. 28. John xv. 5. Psal. lxxxvii. 7. Psal. cxix. 122, 125, 49.
1 Chron. xxix. 18.
is a rich mercy that God hath condescended to enter into a new covenant with the children of men; it is free grace that gives you a heart to devote yourselves to the Lord, and that gives you any hopes of reception; adore him for it, and let your spirits be elevated with raptures of joy and gratitude. Lord, what is man that thou art thus mindful of him?"* what is fallen man that thou dost visit him, treat with him, and provide a Saviour and surety for him; thou forsookest the fallen angels, once the sons of God, the darlings of heaven, and courtiers of the King of kings, now lost fiends, cursed devils, reserved in chains of darkness, never to be brought into the bond of a covenant. O that ever the infinite God should cast down beams of light, life, and love upon wretched man! yea upon me, hast thou glanced with a propitious aspect, thou hast let me see, I am a forlorn sinner, awakened my attention to look after a Saviour, melted my heart with a sense of divine love, engaged my soul to lay hold on Christ by faith, and devote myself to thee in covenant, and given me some hopes through grace that thou art my God. "Who am I, O Lord God? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto?-is this the manner of man, O Lord God? and what can thy servant say more unto thee? for thou, Lord, knowest thy servant." For thy word's sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all these great things, to make thy servant know them. O that ever free grace, should pitch on such a wretched worm, such a vile rebel, such a devil incarnate as I am! O that thou shouldest take up an exposed orphan, whom no eye pitied, but was cast out in the open field, polluted in my blood, and shouldest say, Live, yea again, live,‡ and made this a time of love, and didst enter into Ezek. xvi. 4-8.
Psal. viii. iv. + 2 Sam. vii. 18-20.
covenant with me, and I became thine. O that ever God should stoop so low, and raise me so high! what did God see in me? what use can I be of more than
thousands passed by? "My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit rejoiceth in God my Saviour, who hath regarded the low estate of his servant, and hath exalted me, though of low degree."* But will God indeed dwell on earth? behold, the heaven, and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; and wilt thou inhabit so mean a cottage?† yea, thou thyself informest me, that though thou be the high and lofty One, who dwellest in the high and holy place, yet thou takest up thy abode with him also, who is of a contrite and humble spirit. Blessed be God, for this holy ligature, covenant grace hath laid a foundation for this delightful union and relation; this union and relation produce communion and communications. Blessed be free grace; the works of the Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein, he hath sent redemption to his people, he hath commanded his covenant for ever, holy and reverend is his name. ||
3. Gather and improve the blessings of the covenant; make a catalogue of the promises. It is the fault of Christians, that they study not the large inventory of those precious goods bequeathed to them in this blessed testament; that is an extensive expression, all is yours, good things and bad things, north and south winds blow good to you, to do you good, to make the spices of your graces to flow out, and to kill the weeds of corruption.§ Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are yours, is not this an exceeding great reward? Who can fathom the extent of that covenant phrase, I will be thy God? it comprehends more than heaven and
Luke i. 46, 47, 52. +1 Kings viii. 27. + Isa. lvii. 15
earth; here are life, grace, pardon, peace, safety, liberty, strength and heaven; God is heaven, in his light we shall see light; what good thing can you name, which this covenant doth not contain, and convey to you? "O the lines are fallen to me in pleasant places, I have a goodly heritage ;" what is it? "The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance, and of my cup, thou maintainest my lot." Creatures are empty cisterns, "God is the fountain of living waters ;"* if all the stars should shine at once they cannot make day, but the sun doth, the lines of all created natures may centre in God, and find suitable and sufficient rest. O my soul, delight thyself in the Lord, and he will give thee the desires of thy heart, yea thou hast thy heart's desire in him, all excellencies meet in him; I need to go no further for contentment, I need not with the wandering bee go to another flower, I find enough in God; "Jehovah is my shepherd, I shall not want;" whenever I am afraid or afflicted I will go to God, trust in God, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, till these calamities be overpast; my Lord is a sun in times of darkness, a shield in times of danger,† a magazine whence I may fetch armour, a wardrobe whence I may have cloathing, a storehouse whence I shall have supplies; blessed be God for his covenant; "Although my house and heart be not so with God as I desire, yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure, for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow." In prosperity I will solace myself in nothing but my God, I will be put off with nothing below him; in adversity, when all looks black around me, and a peal of stones flies about my head, yet still
• Psal. xvi. 5, 6. Jer. ii. 13.
lvii. 1. xxxiv. 11.
|| 1 Sam. xxx. 6.
I will encourage myself in the Lord my God. O what a transporting object to see my God, and my Lord Jesus standing at his right hand!* If I be cast into a fiery furnace, the presence of the Son of God will quench the flames; in the bottom of the sea, and in the belly of hell, the Lord my God will save me and bring my life from corruption: "let sun and moon be darkened, and stars withdraw their shining; yea, when God roars out of Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem, then the Lord is the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel." I will bless myself in the God of truth, living it shall be my support that I am within the covenant, and when I die, like a standard-bearer falling, I will wrap this banner of the covenant about me and die in it as my winding sheet, as dying David with this living comfort, without fear of miscarriage.
4. Lay up the experience of what hath now passed between God and your souls; write down the passages and circumstances of this solemnity, and lay them up amongst your choicest treasures; thus and thus did God deal with me at such a time, thus and thus did I devote myself to the Lord; I will record this and deposit it, it may stand me in stead in time to come; this day will I set up an Ebenezer, that is, a stone of help, for a memorial of God's goodness, and my engagement, and this shall be as a witness either for me, or against me; it will be my consolation in the hour and power of darkness, if my soul prove faithful; but if my soul prove false or treacherous in the covenant of my God, it will be a testimony against me for my conviction or humiliation. I will think of this time or place whilst I have a day to live, and will say, "surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not; how dreadful is this • Acts vii. 56. † Dan. iii. 25. Jonah ii. 4, 6, 9. Joel iii. 13-16.