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ravishments of love and joy would my soul be continually possessed with! Well, I am resolved, by the grace of God, to try; and to that end do, this morning, wholly sequester and set myself apart for God, resolving, by the assistance of his grace, to make all and every thought, word, and action, to pay their tribute unto him. Let this man mind his profit, a second his pleasures, a third his honors, a fourth himself, and all, their sins; I am resolved to mind and serve my God, so as to make him the alpha and omega, the first and the last, of my whole life. And, that I may always have an exact copy before me, to write and frame every letter of this my life by.
I am resolved, by the grace of God, to make Christ the pattern of my life here, that so Christ may be the portion of my soul hereafter.
LET the whole world go whither it will, I am resolved to walk in the steps that my Saviour went in before me. I shall endeavour in all places I come into, in all companies I converse with, in all the duties I undertake, in all the miseries I undergo, still to behave myself as my Saviour would do, were he in my place. So that wheresoever I am, or whatsoever I am about, I shall still put this question to myself Would my Saviour go hither? Would he do this or that? And every morning consider with myself-Suppose my Saviour were in my stead, had my business to do, how would he demean himself this day? How meek and lowly would he be in his carriage and deportment! How circumspect in his walking! How savoury in his discourse! How heavenly in all, even his earthly employments! Well; and I am resolved by strength from himself, to follow him as near as possible. I know I can never hope perfectly to transcribe his copy, but I must endeavour to imitate it in the best manner I can, that so by doing as he did in time, I may be where he is to all eternity. But, alas! his life was spiritual, and I am carnal, sold under sin; and every petty object that doth but please my senses, will be apt to divert and draw away Div. No. 1.
my soul from following his steps. In order therefore to prevent this,
I am resolved, by the grace of God, to walk by faith, and not by sight, on earth, that so I may live by sight, and not by faith, in heaven.
AND truly this resolution is so necessary to the performance of all the rest, that without it I can do nothing, with it I can do every thing that is required. The reason why I am so much taken with the garnish and seeming beauty of this world's vanities, so as to step out of the road of holiness to catch at or delight myself in them, is only because I look upon them with an eye of sense. For could I behold every thing with the eye of faith, I should judge of them, not as they seem to me, but as they are in themselves, vanity and vexation of spirit; for faith has a quick and piercing eye, that can look through the outward superficies into the inward essence of things. It can look through the pleasing bait to the hidden hook; view the sting as well as the honey, the everlasting punishment as well as the temporal contentment there is in sin. It is, as the apostle very well defines it, the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen. It is the substance of whatsoever is promised by God to me, or expected by me from him; so that, by faith, whatsoever I hope for in heaven, I may have the substance of upon earth and it is the evidence of things not seen, the presence of what is absent, the clear demonstration of what would otherwise seem impossible; so that I can clearly discern, as through a prospective, hidden things and things afar off, as if they were open and just at hand. I can look into the deepest mysteries as fully revealed, and see heaven and eternity as just ready to receive me.
And oh could I but always look through this glass, and be constantly upon the mount, taking a view of the land of Canaan, what dreams and shadows would all things here below appear to be! Well; by the grace of God, I am resolved no longer to tie myself to sense and sight, the sordid and trifling affairs of this life, but always
to walk as one of the other world; to behave myself in all places and at all times, as one already possessed of my inheritance, and an inhabitant of the new Jerusalem; by faith assuring myself I have but a few more days to live below, a little more work to do, and then I shall lay aside my glass, and be admitted to a nearer vision and fruition of God, and see him face to face.
By this means, I shall always live as if I were daily to die; always speak as if my tongue, the next moment, were to cleave to the roof of my mouth; and continually order my thoughts and affections in such a manner, as if my soul were just ready to depart and takes its flight into the other world. By this means, whatsoever place I am in or whatsoever work I am about, I shall still be with my God, and demean myself so, as if, with St. Jerome, I heard the voice of the trumpet crying out, Awake, ye dead, and come to judgment.'
And thus, though I am at present here in the flesh, yet I shall look upon myself as more really an inhabitant of heaven, than I am upon earth. Here I am but as a pilgrim or sojourner, that has no abiding city; but there I have a sure and everlasting inheritance, which Christ has purchased and prepared for me, and which faith has given me the possession of. And, therefore, as it is my duty, so will I constantly make it my endeavour, to live up to the character of a true Christian, whose portion and conversation is in heaven, and think it a disgrace and disparagement to my profession, to stoop to or entangle myself with such toys or trifles, as the men of the world busy themselves about; or to feed apon husks with swine here below, when it is in my power, by faith, to be continually supplied with spiritual manna from heaven, till at last I am admitted to it.
And that I may awe my spirit into the performance of these, and all other my resolutions,-
I am resolved, by the grace of God, always to be looking upon God, as always looking upon me.
WHERESOEVER I am or whatsoever I am doing, I
must still consider the eye of the great God as directly. intent upon me, viewing and observing all my thoughts, words, and actions, and writing them down in the book of his remembrance; and that all these, unless they be washed out with the tears of repentance and crossed with the blood of my crucified Saviour, must still remain on record, and be brought in judgment against me at the great day. That, therefore, I may always behave myself as in his presence, it behoves me throughly to consider and be persuaded, not only that my outward man, but even all the secret thoughts, the inward motions and retirements of my soul, all the several windings and turnings of my heart, are exactly known and manifest, as anatomized before him. He knows what I am now thinking, doing, and writing, as well as I do myself; yea, he sees every word whilst it is in my heart, before it be brought forth and set down. He knows all the resolutions I have made, and how often, poor creature! I have broken them already, since I made them.
Upon this consideration, I resolve to stand my ground against all temptations; and whenever I find myself in danger to be drawn aside by them, to oppose the bent of my corrupt affections by these or the like questions→ Am I really in the presence of the Almighty, the great Lord of heaven and earth, and shall I presume to affront him to his face, by doing such things as I know are odious and displeasing to him? I would not commit adultery in the presence of my fellow-creatures, and shall I do it in the presence of the glorious Jehovah? I would not steal in the sight of an earthly judge, and shall I do it before the Judge of all the world? If fear and shame from men have such an influence upon me, as to deter me from the commission of sin, how ought I to be moved with the apprehension of God's inspection, who does not only know my transgressions, but will eternally punish me for them.
May these thoughts and considerations always take place in my heart, and be accompanied with such happy effects in my conversation, that I may live with God upon earth, and so love and fear his presence in this world, that I may for ever enjoy his glory in the next!
RESOLUTIONS CONCERNING MY
BUT who am I, poor, proud sinful dust and ashes, that I should expect ever to live so holy, so heavenly, as is here supposed? Can grapes be gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? Can the fruit be sweet, when the root is bitter? or the streams healthful, when the fountain is poisoned? No; I must either get me a new and better heart, or else it will be impossible for me ever to lead a new and better life. But how must I come by this pearl of inestimable value, a new heart? Can I purchase it with my own riches, or find it in my own field? Can I raise it from sin to holiness, from earth to heaven, or from myself to God? Alas! I have endeavoured it, but I find, by woful experience, I cannot attain to it. I have been lifting and heaving again and again to raise it out of the mire and clay of sin and corruption, but, alas! it will not stir. I have rubbed and chafed it with one threatening after another, and all to get heat and life into it, but still it is as cold and dead as ever. I have brought it to the promises, and set it under the droppings of the sanctuary; I have shown it the beauty of Christ and the deformity of sin; but yet it is a hard and sinful, an earthly and sensual heart still. What therefore shall I do with it? O my God, I bring it unto thee! Thou that madest it a heart at first, canst only make it a new heart now. O do thou purify and refine it, and renew a right spirit within me! Do thou take it into thy hands, and, out of thine infinite goodness, new mould it up, by thine own grace, into an exact conformity to thine own. will! Do thou but give me a new heart, and I shall promise thee, by thy grace, to lead a new life and become a new creature! Do thou but clear the fountain, and. I shall endeavour to look to the streams that flow from it! Which that I may be able to do with the better success,