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his spirit than these, with an eye to God and heaven, Return unto thy rejt, O my foul? Thou hast found, here was not thy rest.
The creatures confess it is not in them, what rest thou haft had whilst here, has been in God; and what an addition will be made to it, when thou art returned to abide and dwell with him? This is that which I have waited, prayed and longed for, what I have diligently fought, and been most follicitous about. Whilft others have defired a rest upon earth, I have begged of God, and covenanted with him, that I might have mine in himself, in heaven ; and he hath gracioufly heard my request, and promised me I should: which promise I have lived in the faith of; and now would calmly lay down my head and die. Now therefore, Return unto thy rest, 0
my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee. Which brings me to the
V. Head, viz. To shew how the consideration of God's bountiful dealing with his people, and in what instances, should engage them thus to bespeak their souls to return unto him
all occasions while they live, but especially when they come to die.
Many instances of God's goodness may be mentioned as motives to this.
1. His bountiful dealing with them in giving them his Son, and giving him to die for them, to purchase grace to support them under all the troubles of life ; and after all to take away from them the sting of death, and enable them to go out of this world with the lively hope of glory.
O how bountifully hath God dealt with me in giving me such help in life, and hope at the end of it, and what after this, will he deny or hold back? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall be not with him also freely give us all things ? Rom. viii. 32. The rest I expect by dying to pass into, I was assured, Christ was to purchase, and as the forerunner, is gone to prepare. Had not Christ died, I must have started back from the thoughts of dying, full of doubts and fears about what would
But how unworthy soever I am of the least favour, God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him, Mould not perish, but have everlasting life. Wherefore return unto thy rejt, O my foul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.
2. God's goodness in hearing and answering prayer, may well endear him to his people, and encourage their souls to return to him as their rest. This the Psalmist mentions, that he called ufon the name of the Lord, and this led him to conclude, Gracicus is the Lord, and righteous : yea our God is merciful, i. e. This I have experienced, and he is the same that ever he was: he has heard and helped me, when none else could; and I trust he will not now reject and cast me off, but continue to support me whilft I live, and afterwards answer my dying request, to receive my departing spirit: Wherefore return unto thy reft, O my foul, for the Lord bath dealt bountifully with thee.
3. The goodness of God in the care of his providence from first to last in our younger, and in our riper years, may farther encourage to this. How precious in this respect have been God's thoughts towards me? How great is the sum of them? They are more in number than I can reckon up. His undeserved mercy gave me being, and cast my lot in a land and place of light : his providence hath protected and watched over me in one place, and another, in all the various cases and conditions I have been in. As going through this wilderness to the promised land, he hath given his angels charge concerning me, and been a cloud to shelter me in the day, and a pillar of fire to guide and comfort me by night. When storms hath risen he hath provided for me chambers of rest, and brought me into them, and in the midst of dangers hid me as in his pavilion. From how many evils hath he delivered me? and with how many blessings filled up my days ? How often hath he strengthened me, when flesh and heart have been ready to fail, and been better to me than even either my hopes or desires ? Never did God break his promise with me, never did he fail me, nor forsake me, &c. And when so much mercy hath encompassed me thro' my pilgrimage thus far, how unreasonable would it be to distrust him at last, or entertain any
other than the most amiable thoughts of him ? Surely there is none like the God of ilrael, who rideth upon the heavens for his people's help, and in his excellency upon the sky. The eternal God hath been my refuge and underneath everlasting arms, Deut xxxiii. 26, 27. Return therefore unto thy reft, O my soul, for the Lord bath dealt bountifully with thee.
Lastly, A child of God
may thus speak from experience of the grace displayed in the saving change made
him. The love and grace of God pitied me in my blood, fetched me from the gates of hell, and made me sensible of my need of a Saviour, and then kindly perswaded and enabled me to receive him, and so brought me into his family, and put me among his children, and hath' in the most compassionate manner treated me as such. How often hath he found me weeping, and then kindly wiped away my tears, and calmed and quieted my troubled soul? How often hath he resolved my doubts, and expelled my fears? And when I have provoked him to withdraw for time, how seasonably hath he returned, and said to my troubled soul, be still
. With how ravishing a voice hath he called me, child, and given me leave, and by his Spirit enabled me to cry, Abba, Father ?
He hath shewn to my faith the glory of the New Jerusalem, and the blessed company of those holy spirits that stand about his throne, and given me good hope that I shall be at last with them ; and in the mean time refreshed me with the first-fruits of the promised land, as the earnest of the full poffeffion.
How many comfortable hours have I had in communion with him, in publick assemblies, and in my private retirements, under the influence of his spirit, and the manifestations of his presence? He hath drawn forth my desires, and then met them with comfortable tokens of his favour and love. And when I go from hence,
it is to be nearer to him than ever, more happy than ever ; yea, to be perfectly so, and change no more: Wherefore return unto thy rest, o foul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee.
1. Have holy souls their rest in God, how amiable and great is the change that grace hath made
upon them? For naturally they are inclined to live without God in the world, as well as others, and to take up their rest in lower good; but being born from heaven, they can no longer do so. God is now more than all the world
to them; and if they have not rest in him, they can have none for ever. Should all the monarchs upon earth cast down their crowns at my feet, (laid a gracious soul, that spake his inward sense) and say, All these are thine, I would answer, These cannot content or fatisfy me. Why? because they are not God. Should all the honours and wealth of the world be heaped upon me, I would fay, It is not enough. Why? because I have a soul to be provided for, that none of these can suit or satisfy, and nothing mort of God in Christ can be my
rest. 2. This may help you to pass a judgment upon this world, as altogether insufficient to be the rest of a foul. The wiseft and best upon earth universally renounce it as their portion, and as taught of God, look for rest only in himself. What folly therefore are they guilty of, who look for reit below, which is to look for light in darkness, life in death? In thus looking, they