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more constantly, seriously, and profitably than formerly? If conscience do witness for God and thy soul, give him glory, take the comfort, thou mayest have thy two hundred, so that thou givest Solomon his thousand when thou hast carefully kept the fruit of his vineyard; but if conscience testify to thy face that thou hast been unfaithful, lie down in thy shame, and let confusion cover thee;† confess thy sins, beg mercy and pardon through the blood of Jesus Christ; thy sins are aggravated from thy very covenant engagement, they are now become sacrilege. Read over the articles thou didst subscribe, go from branch to branch, and then look over thy conscience and conversation, be distinct in the survey, hurry it not over cursorily, but consider it punctually; in this I failed and fell short, in that I went too far, in thought, word, or deed, drop over every fault a tear, not to make God amends, but to testify the grief of your souls for your sins, and under the sense of your criminal deficiency when enjoying so glorious a privilege; as you were unworthy of it, so your unworthy behaviour might justly have provoked God to have cast you off utterly; cry out, O wretch, that I am, who have sinned against such kindness from God, and my own strongest engagements to better obedience. O Lord, though mine iniquities testify against me, do thou accept of me for thy name's sake; for my backslidings are many, I have sinned against thee.‡ Lord, take away all iniquity, receive me graciously, so will I render to thee the calves of my lips; and now also renew your covenant with God; it must be renewed several times in the course of your life, as I have hinted before, especially after heinous sins, or dangerous decays, now form a fresh obligation, let there be another, yea a stricter bond, Song. viii. 12. + Jer. iii. 25. Jer. xiv. 7. || Hos. xiv. 2.

and this new link added to the old chain, this new knot in the decaying cord, may add some strength to it; men are usually more ashamed to break their word which has newly gone out of their mouth, than old promises, which are pretended to be forgotten; old and obsolete things men look on as out of date, but repetition adds new vigour to them. Solemnity of performance leaves some sense upon the conscience; it may do well to set a new stamp on the frequently handled and worn out wax; yea, in some cases you must fall to work, as if you never had done any thing, and also use more seriousness on the painful recollection of your wilful violations; and O for more care, fear, jealousy, watchfulness than ever! See now that you depend more on God's strength, less on yourselves, derive virtue from Christ, by actings of faith upon him; lie under the sense of your disability and God's all-sufficiency, hope and pray for a better frame of heart; it is in the promise, why may it not be realized in actual existence? Observe the first occasions of your first defection, make fresh and solemn resolutions against them, construct the strongest fence where the hedge is lowest, arm yourselves most carefully against your own transgressions, yet not slighting others, pray and watch against all, say: Lord, I thought I found my heart determined to accept of thee, as my God, and to give up myself entirely to thee, but I have found my heart very treacherous, I little thought I should have proved so feeble and fickle, so false and perfidious, so failing and short-coming in the performance of duty, and no wonder I feel myself greatly discouraged, I begin to question whether I do well or not to enter into such an engagement, I doubt my sincerity, and what shall I do? turn my back on thee I cannot, must not, dare not; engage myself again I dare not, for I have no rea

son to trust this deceitful heart, yet in thy name and strength I must and will venture; but God forbid, I should now mock the Almighty, and bring more guilt on my own soul, by making a new engagement, and afterwards being guilty of a new failure. Lord, prevent me by thy grace, assist me by thy Spirit, thou art able to make me stand, though weak, let thy strength be perfected in my weakness; O Lord, I am oppressed, undertake for me; unite my heart to thee.*

10. Prepare for the completion of this engagement in the mansions above; that will be a blessed consummation of this new covenant relation. You may be confident that he that hath begun this good work in you, will perform it till the day of Christ; this is your betrothing to him, that day there will be a solemnization of the marriage. "I have espoused you," saith the apostle, "to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ;" let the bride then make herself ready, let your loins be girt about, and your lights burning, and yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord; being by this gospel covenant grafted into Christ the olive tree, the Christian comes to have oil in his vessel; O therefore get thy lamp trimmed, and then go forth to meet the bridegroom, that thou mayest go into the bridegroom's chamber.|| Bless God for this engagement, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God, § pray in hope, walk and war in hope, serve God, and converse with men in hope of this blessed day. You that are heirs of God, and have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan within yourselves, waiting for the redemption of your body;¶O wait and

Rom. xiv. 4. 2 Cor. xii. 9. Isa. xxxviii. 14. Psal. lxxxvi. Il. + Phil. i. 6. 2 Cor. xi. 2.

Rev. xix. 7. Luke xii. 35, 36. Rom. xi. 17. Matt. xxv. 4, 10. § Rom. v. 2. ¶ Rom. viii. 17-23.

Song. viii. 14.

|| Psal. xvi. 11. * Prov. iv. 18.

long for the approach of your dearest husband, sigh and say, make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe, or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices.* O Lord, my soul desired a union to thee, therefore I covenanted to be thine in a near relation, now my soul pants after present communion with thee in the glass and channels of ordinances, and O for one lift higher in immediate fruition. "I have waited for thy salvation, O Lord;"+ remember the prayer of my blessed Lord, that they whom thou hast given him, and in consequence have given themselves to him, may be with him where he is, to behold and enjoy his glory;‡ and shall I be with thee, dear Lord? that is the height of my ambition, that is the utmost of my desire and hope; thou hast shewed me this path of life, crown me with glory and immortality, "for in thy presence is fulness of joy, at thy right hand are pleasures for evermore. O but I want much fitness for that blessed state, Lord, make my soul meet to be partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light; work me up to this self same thing, fill my soul with the fruits of righteousness; let grace rise up apace till it ascend to glory, let this hidden grace in the shell grow too big for this lower sphere of existence; that when Christ who is my life doth appear, I may appear with him in glory.¶ O that this morning light, this feeble dawning, may shine more and more unto the perfect day.** Thou, Lord, hast planted me in the house of the Lord, make me to flourish as the palm-tree, or to grow like a cedar in Lebanon, even to bring forth fruit in old age, and let that fruit be to eternal life;tt this is the end of my spiritual marriage, that I may bring forth fruit unto


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God.* Lord, make me fruitful in holiness, useful to all about me, resembling my great Lord and master, that at last my soul may be received to the bosom of Abraham; in the mean time my dear Lord is in covenant with me, and will pave my way to heaven, "thou wilt guide me by thy counsel, and afterwards receive me to glory.† Lord, I put my hand into thy hand, thou art my God, lead me in thy truth, bring me to thy holy hill, leave me not to the rage of mine enemies to stop me in the way, but waft me safe over the Jordan of death; "When I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff comfort me; the blessed covenant is my passport to carry me through death, and through death to give my body repose in the grave, it will also unite my soul more closely to my Lord, and therefore I will make that bold challenge, and sing that triumphant song, "O death where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through Jesus Christ our Lord." ||

Thus much for what I proposed to discuss in the more doctrinal part of this subject, though it being so practical, I shall have less need to enlarge in the application.

• Rom. vii. 4.

1 Cor. xv. 55-57.

+ Psal. lxxiii. 24.

Psal. xxiii. 4.

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