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you will move apace God-wards; nothing will prevent you, and if the will go along with you, you will be sincere in making, and faithful in keeping this blessed


4. Your hearts must be duly humbled; your spirits will never stoop to gospel terms without sincere humiliation; "Take my yoke on you," saith Christ, how? why, "learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart:”* that stiff sinew in your necks must be bent, or else you will scorn gospel terms, and be like a wild bullock, unaccustomed to the yoke;† a broken heart only will be fit to grieve for sin: O that you did sensibly perceive yourselves children of wrath by nature, bond slaves to Satan, enemies to God, under a dreadful curse, ready to perish, unable to help yourselves: O then you will see a need of a physician, and willingly submit to his severest prescriptions, to recover your soul's health; you will lay yourselves low at God's feet, and judge yourselves unworthy of this high honour, and say as David did once, "Who am I, or what is my life, that I should be thus advanced?" Seemeth it a light thing to be the King of heaven's son! Who durst have presumed to aspire to such an honour, if the great God had not condescended to take such a worm? Must the thistle in Lebanon be allied to the cedar in Lebanon? || Shall I who am less than the least of God's mercies, be advanced to the highest of privileges? Who could believe it, but that God himself saith it? Let the terms be what they will, I have great reason to acquiesce in them, and subscribe to them. Dismounted Saul of Tarsus will say, "Lord, what wouldst thou have me to do? or the Jews pricked in their hearts, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" or the affrighted jailor, "Sirs, what must I

•Matt. xi. 29. + Jer. xxxi. 18. || 2 Chron. xxv. 18. § Act. ix. 6.

+ 1 Sam. xviii. 18-23.

¶ Act. ii. 37.


do to be saved?"* or as the German divine, let us put our necks under Christ's yoke, and obey his word, if we had six hundred necks.† When Paul was submissively humbled, he "was not disobedient to the heavenly vision," nor "consulted with flesh and blood,”‡ but immediately yielded to God's terms; the humbled soul picks no quarrels with God's proposals, but freely subscribes to his articles, and the stricter the better; let flesh complain, the humble soul takes God's side, and looks on all that he prescribes as holy, just, and good; but a proud, unhumbled heart riseth in rebellion against God, instead of covenanting with him, and is ready to say as proud Pharaoh, "Who is the Lord that I should obey him?" They were proud men that scorned Jeremiah's message, therefore he saith, "hear ye, give ear, be not proud for the Lord hath spoken.”¶ Proud men are self-sufficient, and think they can shift well enough without God, and say, "we are lords, we will come no more to thee."** God knows the proud afar off and keeps them at a distance in point of covenanting or communion, "but he gives grace to the humble,"†† yea, he dwells with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit; ‡‡ the lower you are, the nearer to God; you must humble yourselves to walk with God; cast yourselves at his feet, and he will lift you up; the showers of covenant mercy flow down into the valleys of humility; lie at God's feet, and you shall receive the benefit resulting from his word;|||| give God glory by taking shame to yourselves; be ashamed you have stood out so long, resisted so many calls of his word, impulses of his Spirit, and checks of conscience calculated

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to induce you to enter into this covenant with the Lord; lay to heart that you have so long turned a deaf ear to his solemn calls, and broken his bonds asunder, and cast his covenant behind your back. Ah soul, Ah soul, "see thy. way in the valley, know what thou hast done, that thou hast been as a swift dromedary, traversing her ways;" when God brings his people to himself in covenant, "they shall come with weeping and with self-bemoanings :"+ Oh, saith the soul, what a wretch am I! my bones are full of the sins of my youth, I have forgot my baptismal covenant; "I, like man," that is, Adam at first, "have transgressed the covenant, therein have I dealt treacherously against the Lord;"‡ yea, I have slidden back by a perpetual backsliding, I have held fast deceit, and have refused to return;|| it is a wonder I am not in hell; alas, my heart is hardened to a prodigy, I am as dried stubble fit for the fire, and is there yet any hope? Doth God wait to be gracious? Well, I come, Lord, as I can, upon my knees. O that at last my. heart were knit to thee! O that my heart were sincere! I doubt it, I much fear it; this depraved, treacherous, hypocritical heart, hath so often deceived me, I have great reason to be jealous it will cozen me in this great affair. God loves to see a soul humbly bending at his feet, to lay hold on his covenant, that is the soul he will accept. It is storied of Augustus, that having promised by proclamation a great sum of money to any one who should bring him the head of a famous pirate the pirate hearing of this, brought it himself, and threw himself at his feet, he was accepted, pardoned, and rewarded; go you and do likewise in reference to our gracious God.

5. Put on a holy resolution to enter into this covenant, notwithstanding all contradiction: you will find * Jer. ii. 23. + Jer. xxxi. 9, 18. + Hos. vi. 7. || Jer. viii. 5.



much opposition from without and from within: Satan will interpose and forbid the banns of this holy marriage, and claim an interest in you by prescription, time out of mind; one while he will allure as an angel of light, at other times affright as a roaring lion: the world will divert or deter you, and tell you it is more ado than needs, thou hast something else to do: but above all, a deceitful heart will muster up all its faculties, and plausibly will begin to make excuses, † I have this and that to do; the flesh will pull back, and unite with the devil and the world, and say, What needs all this? this preciseness is but an invention of these Puritan priests, who would bring all folks under their girdle, it is enough for us to serve God, pray, attend church, receive the sacrament as well as we canwhat need we to bind ourselves in covenant? Thus a carnal heart would slip the collar, would be loose, and is loth to lay conscience under the severe obligation of a sacred oath, but still would leave some hole to creep out at, to gratify some appetite: and therefore you must put on a heroic resolution, to do it whatever it cost you, to act according to conviction; to put in present execution what your heart suggests and your hand finds to do. Thus we find holy Joshua stirring up the people to courage as preparatory to their covenanting, chap. xxiii. 6, "Be ye therefore very courageous, to keep, and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses:" and why courage? because they should meet with much opposition in the way of duty. Every part of religion hath its difficulties; uprightness hath boldness; the Levites are said to have been more upright in heart, to sanctify themselves than the priests were; the priests shewed more policy than piety, as if they would stay a while and see 2 Cor. xi. 14. 1 Pet. v. 8. + Luke xiv. 18. 2 Chron. xxix. 34.

how the times would prove, before they would engage, lest they should be more forward than wise. Reformation-work is but an icy path, saith one, cowardly spirits love to have it well-beaten and broken by others, before they dare venture; but sincerity is of a better cast, like the true traveller, whom no weather will keep from going his appointed journey. An upright man stands not looking at the clouds, imagining this or that scarecrow, but takes his warrant from the word of God, and nothing will daunt him if he have a commission from heaven. God's pleasure is bounty-money to carry him through this warfare; a resolute spirit chides his slack and slothful heart; "My soul wait thou upon God:* my heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed," yet still a little short, he adds, "awake up my glory, awake psaltery and harp, I myself will awake early."† The true covenanters ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherwards; this shews intention and fervency of spirit, a magnanimous resolution to go through with the business, whatever it cost, as Christ is said, "stedfastly to set his face to go to Jerusalem,"|| nothing could take him off, or make him linger or loiter in the way, no entreaties, fear, or shame could stay him, but he goes towards the place, saith Bede, with a kind of obstinate and fearless mind ;§ just thus must you do, you must not cast about how this covenanting may consist with your profit, credit, ease, or carnal designs, but set about it with a holy magnanimity to bind hand and foot, soul and body to be the Lord's; there is no delay or dallying in the case, but as the ten lepers said, “If we enter into the city, the famine is there-if we sit still, we shall die; now then let us fall to the host of the Syrians, if they save us alive, we live, if they kill us, * Ps. lxii. 5. + Ps. lvii. 7, 8. Jer. 1. 5. Luke ix. 51. § Obstinatâ et imperterritâ mente locum petiit.

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