Imatges de pÓgina
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to damp a godly zeal, and to perplex thy mind with intricate and endless doubts.

2. Happy is that meekness and poverty of fpirit, which induftriously declines the rugged thorny paths of controverfy and captious difputes; and walks in the plain smooth way of duty and practical religion; which studies God's commands, and labours to understand things of a fize with its own capacity, without troubling itself about his doings and decrees.

3. Too many instances there are of daring men, who, by prefuming to found the deep things of religion, have cavilled and argued themselves out of all religion. These men miftake their business: for the thing required of a christian, is not penetration, and fubtilty of wit, nice diftinction, or fublime notions, but victorious faith, and an honeft holy life; fobriety, and temperance, and chastity, juftice and charity, piety and devotion.

4. Thefe doubts are not always finful, nor always from themselves, but frequently owing to the temptations of the devil, and induftriously scattered by him, with wicked artifice and malicious defign. Be not therefore too axious thefe occafions. Trouble not thy

upon

thyfelf to argue nicely, nor employ thy thoughts upon the matter, nor hold thyfelf concerned to be able to answer every cavil, which he puts into thy head: but keep close to fcripture, and do thy duty; and the enemy will foon retreat when he finds thee neglect his attempts.

5. Think not thefe inward diftractions a fign that thou art forfaken of God. They are rather on the contrary, a mark of grace. God fuffers them to exercise thy patience, to try thy conftancy, to promote thy fpiritual advantage. Proceed then in thy chriftian courfe with resolution and patience, and ftill frequent the facrament with stedfast faith, and humble reverence.

6. Whatever there thou findeft to exceed thy understanding, put it to God's account; and leave him to make it good, tho' thou canst not conceive how it fhould be done. He will not deceive thee; but they, who rely upon their own understanding, are fure to deceive them--felves. For,

7. Remember, God hath faid; that he walks and dwells with the humble, and fhews his to the meek; that he reveals himself to babes; that

ways

he

he

&c. opens the eyes of the honeft and fincere; but hides his grace and knowledge from the proud and wife in their own fight. Human reason may both deceive and be deceived: but faith hath God for its foundation, and cannot err; because depending upon one who is truth itself, incapable of mistaking, or of impofing. upon others.

8. "Tis therefore highly fit, and in matters of religion, absolutely neceffary, that these two principles fhould know their order, and respective stations; and each contain itself within its proper fphere. Faith (which fuppofes a revelation received and acknowledged) challenges the highest place; and reafon ought to keep her distance, to ferve and follow after, not to set bounds to, or affume, and encroach, and ufurp over the other. For,

9. Faith and charity are the two pillars, upon which christianity ftands; the two governing principles of a good man's opinions and actions. And their authority and influence are, in no one inftance, more confider able, than in this of the bleffed facrament. God is infinite and eternal, his power unbounded, and incomprehenfible, he does whatfoever pleafeth him in heaven and earth: and who

can

can understand his council, or find out all his methods?

10. If the works of God were fuch, as hu-man reason could penetrate with ease, they' would lose great part of their glory. We fhould foon abate of our awe and veneration for their author, if his dealings were not above the power of our tongues to express, and the utmoft extent of our imaginations to conceive. O that men would therefore praise the Lord for his goodness, and confefs the wonders that he doth for the children of men! for great and marvellous are thy works, O Lord God almighty; how unSearchable are thy judgments, and thy ways paft finding out? Pfalm cvii. Rev. xv. Rom. xi.

A prayer of thanksgiving, in our retirement, after we are returned home, from the Lord's table. Behold thou art made whole, fin no more, left a worse thing come unto thee. John v. 14.

O

Lord

my God! I acknowledge with all thankfulness of heart thy great mercy and goodness, in giving me an opportunity of approaching thy holy table, in difpofing my mind to commemorate the infinite love of my. crucified Saviour, to render him thanks and praise for laying down his life as a facrifice for the fins of the world, and to reprefent unto

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thee

thee that facrifice as a full fatisfaction for them; whereby thou doft incline me humbly to hope for all the benefits of his death and paffion. But,

What thanks, moft gracious God, can I return unto thy divine majefty, for impreffing a fenfe of my duty upon my mind; and for that strength and power, whereby thou haft, in fome measure, enabled me to perform it? I will praife and magnify thy great and glorious name, and I will entirely devote myself to thy fervice, as long as I have any being.

Bleffed be thy name for thofe fresh fupplies of grace I have received; grant that they may make me run the way of thy commandments with delight and pleasure, that I may never more faint, or droop, or tire in my duty. Bleffed be thy name for those comfortable affurances thou haft given me of pardon and forgiveness.

Let this thy compaffionate goodness be a perpetual obligation to love and gratitude. Let it put me upon my guard, that I may watch over all my ways, and do always that which is well-pleafing in thy fight.

Bleffed be thy name, for that peace and quiet thou haft restored to my foul; for those refolutions thou haft wrought in me to perfe

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