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not to turn to the right hand nor to the left, remove my foot from evil, but let me still make straight paths to my feet, and walk in the ways of uprightness. O what a wandering eye have I? Lord, turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity, I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes; O that mine eyes might be ever towards the Lord! I will look to my Maker, and mine eyes shall have respect to the holy one of Israel.* I will incline mine ear to discipline, and hear what the Lord will speak; thou sayest, hear and thy soul shall live; Lord, bore mine ear through with an awl to the door of thy house, that I may serve thee for ever; let me be deaf to Satan's enchantments, and sinners' allurements, but always open to a divine call, and what other bodily members I have, they shall be for thy service and glory.† Lord, give me strength to make good this vow to be a Nazarite to the Lord, and perpetually to observe this covenant.
Secondly, As you must give up yourselves, your souls, and bodies to the Lord, so you must dedicate what you have to the Lord, which may be considered as embracing your relations, and your concerns of a temporal nature.
1. You must give up to God your relations to which you have any title or interest, so far as your authority or influence extends; you must even give up yourselves to God in that relation wherein you stand to others. I shall give a sketch of the different relations of husband and wife, parent and child, master and servant, magistrate and subject, minister and people.
1. Lord, thou hast made me an husband. love my wife as my own body, and be entirely united to her, and not be bitter against her, nor forsake her;
* Heb. xii. 13, 14. Psalm cxix. 37. ci. 3. xxv. 15. Isa. xvii. 7. + Job xxxvi. 10. Isa. lv. 3. Exod. xxi. 6. Prov. i. 10.
I am resolved to dwell with her according to knowledge, to instruct her, pray for her and with her, and O that she may be thine, and that we both may be heirs together of the grace of life! Thou gavest me my wife, I will give her back to thee; if thou continue her to me, I will bless thee; if thou take her, I will not sorrow as one without hope; but as I have given her back to thee upon my knees, and while she is with me, I will be as if I had none, and when thou takest her, I shall have all made up in thee, my dear Lord.* Or, thou hast made me a wife, and I shall submit myself to my own husband in the Lord, if he be not won to God by the word, I will endeavour to win him by my humble subjection and holy conversation. O for an ornament of a meek and quiet spirit! O that I were a daughter of Sarah in doing well, that though I be of a timorous nature, yet I may not be afraid with any amazement; yea give me such a spirit as Manoah's wife, to hold up the feeble hands of my fainting husband. God forbid I should be a snare to my husband; no, Solomon's virtuous woman shall be my pattern, and I will do him good, and not evil all the days of his life. Being a father or mother, and God having given me children, Lord, teach me what I shall do for my child, how I shall order it, how I shall do unto it; it is thine more than mine, I dedicate it to thee, my child is a loan lent to the Lord, as long as he liveth, he shall be lent to the Lord; I devote my poor child to thee in the ordinance of baptism, since the promise is made to me and to my seed; I will pray for them, and instruct them, in the way of the Lord,‡ yea, I will com
* Eph. v. 28, 31. Col. iii. 19. 1 Cor vii. 11. Gen. ii. 18. 1 Thess. iv. 13. 1 Cor. vii. 29, 30. + Eph. v. 22. 1 Pet. iii. 1-6. Judg. xiii. 23. Judg. xiii. 8, 12. 1 Sam. i. 28. Acts ii. 39.
1 Pet. iii. 7.
Prov. xxxi. 10.
Prov. xxii. 6.
mand my children and household after me; and O that they may keep the way of the Lord! If they die I will say, "the Lord gives, and takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord." If I die, and must leave them, I will leave my fatherless children to God, they are the Lord's heritage and reward.* Being a child, I will obey my parents in the Lord, honour father and mother, and be subject to them, as my Lord was to his parents; and according to my ability and their necessity, I will learn to requite my parents; if I die, I will take care that they be provided for as David did,† and my Lord Jesus, who committed his surviving mother to the guardianship of the beloved disciple. O that my parents and I might meet in heaven! Being a master and God having given me servants, I will endeavour that they may be all spiritually circumcised, and trained up for God, as his soldiers and servants in the spiritual warfare. "Mine eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me; he that walketh in a perfect way shall serve me, but he that worketh deceit shall not dwell in my house; he that telleth lies shall not tarry in my sight." I will give to my servants that which is just and equal-and continue in prayer with them and for them. And O that all under my shadow might return to the Lord!‡ Being a servant, I will first be Christ's servant, and God forbid that I should be a slave to men's passions, yet in all lawful things I will be subject to my master with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward; with good will I shall do him service, as to the Lord and not merely to man; I will be obedient,
* Gen. xviii. 19. + Eph. vi. 1, 2.
Job i. 21. Jer. xlix 11.
John xix. 27.
Psal. cxxvii. 3.
Psalm ci. 1-6.
and please him well in all things, not answering again, not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity. Lord, help me herein to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. In the office of a magistrate, I will fear God, love truth, hate covetousness, execute judgment and justice impartially, without respect of persons, defend the poor and fatherless, and do justice to the afflicted and needy. I will love truth and peace, and not be a terror to good works, but to evil; remembering to whom I must give an account. † As a subject, and an inferior, I will behave myself with all reverence and due subjection, not only for wrath, but for conscience' sake, "rendering tribute to whom tribute is due; as I must give to God the things that are God's, so I will give to Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's." I will pray for the king and all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. "I will not curse the king, no not in my bed chamber, nor speak evil of the ruler of the people." I do purpose by God's grace to be quiet and to do my own business, that whoever may watch for occasion, may find none against me, save concerning the law of my God. God give me wisdom in this. Bearing the character of a minister of the gospel, O what a charge is laid upon me! I will study the necessary qualifications for that office, and the faithful discharge of it; I will study to be blameless, vigilant, sober, apt to teach; I will meditate on the things of religion, give myself wholly to them, travail in birth that Christ may be formed in the hearts of sinners, and feed Christ's lambs and sheep. I will study to be
* 1 Cor. vii. 22, 23. 1 Pet. ii. 18, 19. + Exod. xviii. 21. Psal. lxxxii. 2, 3.
Eph. vi. 7.
Tit. ii. 9, 10,
Zech. viii. 19.
Rom. xiii. 3.
Eccl. x. 20.
Rom. xiii. 1, 5-7. Luke xx. 25. 1 Tim. ii. 2.
Acts xxiii. 5. 1 Thess. iv. 11. Dan. vi. 5.
skilful and faithful; God Almighty, make me successful in my Lord's work. Being a hearer, I will join with God's people in all ordinances, and "continue stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine, and christian fellowship, in breaking of bread and prayer." I will know and esteem them highly whom God hath set over me, who watch for my soul, I will endeavour to edify the saints, and do what I can to promote peace amongst the servants of God;† and O that I could do some good to worldly-minded neighbours, by my discourse with them and prayers for them; that though they are apt to speak evil of me, as an evil doer, they may by my good works which they behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. I am resolved by the assistance of God's grace to deny myself, as my Lord did, and to please my neighbour for his good to edification. Though faith hath made me a freeman, yet love shall make me all men's servant, according to the rule by love, serve one another. Lord, strengthen me by thy grace to perform all these vows, and solemn engagements to thee, and to others for thy sake.
2. You must also dedicate and give up all your concerns to the Lord; and in the first place, your property in such terms as these:-O Lord, whatever silver, or gold, or worldly possessions I have, all is thine, it is thou that gavest me power to get wealth, if thou callest for part, or all of what I have, thou art welcome to it, "I will offer willingly to the Lord for the service of thy house--for all things come of thee, and of thine own do I give thee;" the silver is thine, and the gold is thine,§ it is fit it should be for thy use, when thou
* 1 Tim. iii. 2-5. 1 Tim. iv. 15. + Acts ii. 42. 1 Thess. v. 11-14. Rom. xv. 1-3. Gal. v. 13.
Gal. iv. 19. John xxi. 15. + 1 Pet. ii. 12.
§ Deut. viii. 18. 1 Chron. xxix. 3—14.
Hag. ii. 8.