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for grace. God has promised to give all things to thole, that ask according to his will, 1 John. 5. 14. But we can ask nothing more agreeable to the will of God, and which he more willingly gives, than his Spirit, Luke 11. 13. Who, as he is the principal cause of our fanétification, so is the author and finisher of it. Let this therefore be our daily prayer to God; teach me to do thy will; let thy good spirit lead me into the land of uprightness, Pf. 143. 10. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous fins, let them not have dominion over me : then shall I be upright, and I hall be innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my beart be acceptable in tby hght, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer, Pf. 19. 13, 14.
CXIII. Fourthly. Whoever seriously endeavours careful ob.
to be a proficient, must in all things give himself up fervacion of the ope- to the government and guidance of the Holy Spirit. rations of Whenever he begins to work internally by his fug. the Holy gestions, impulses and emotions; we are with care Spirit.
and follicitude, to observe them; and above all be ware, that we don't despise and grieve the Spirit, or ftifle his operations, Eph. 4. 30. i Thess. 5. 19. For, the Spirit of God is a delicate thing; he, deals by us, as we deal by hiin. If, with care and alacrity, we follow his conduct, he will manifeft himself to us with a more cheerful and serene countenance, will carry us forward to higher attainments, bring us nearer to God and to heaven, and, abundantly favouring us with his joys, make us cheerfully, and without weariness, run the race that is set before us. But if we indolently neglect his influences, he will not bear that afiont, but will withdraw with those his sweetest suggestions, leave us to ourselves, justly expose us to be harrafied by the devil and the Resh, and himself disquiet us with his terrors: till we are brought to observe, how ill we have regarded our own interest, by this indolent careleliness, and how we are nothing without him, we have again reconciled him to us by
means of humble prayer and supplication. Let us therefore readily spread all our fails, while this heavenly, breeze continues to blow, left this profperous gale should fhortly die away, or the storm come on, and so our failing to the fair haven of falvation be intercepted.
CXIV. Fifthly. It is also expedient, that we 5. Renew. renew our covenant with God, and those promises, by ing covewhich we formerly bound ourselves to the fincere ob-nant with fervance of his commandments: frequently saying, I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments, Pf. 119. 106. It was an excel. lent advice of Epictetus apud Arrianum, Lib. 1. c. 14. You ought to fwear to God, as soldiers to their generala And to what are you to swear? That you will always obey him, never accuse bim, nor find fault with whatever he is pleased to bestow, &c. And certainly that oath being thus renewed, if no other advantage attend it, will be of use. iít. To restrain the soul from fin, by being put in mind of its late promise. 2. To quicken its indolence into zeal; 3. To raise it when failen, and teach it to mourn for its fins, with more than ordinary bitterness, especially as the guilt of treachery and perjury, is added to all the rest.
CXV. Sixthly. Holiness is greatly promoted, if, by a 6. A carecareful and frequent examination of conscience, you ful examirecollect your deeds and words, nay and your very conscience thoughts, that, with shame and sorrow, you may confess to God, what you have done, either altogether wrong, or not sufficiently right, and endeavour to reform for the time to come: or if, by glorifying God for what you have done well, and rejoicing in the tettimony of a quiet conscience, you are animated, with cheartulness, to pursue that course of religion, you have entered upon. David declares, that he afted in this manner, to the great emprovement of holinels. Pf. 119. 59. I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.
Which the CXVI. The heathens themselves have recom:
made not a false profession, were not negligent in the
practice of it. Antonin. Lib. 5. 8. 31. Recolleet with mended. thyself, how thou hast hitherto behaved towards the Gods,
tly parents, brethren, wife &c. Whether thou haft
by the heathen.
particular, this chapter would swell to a large volume),
Mail be in their calamities, Pf. 141. 5. It was finely spoken by whoever he was, whether Gregory Nazienzen or Methodius (for the author is not agreed on, as Gataker has observed on M. Antonine, Lib. 6. $. 21), I think it a greater happiness to be reproved, than to reprove, as it is much greater for oneself to be delivered from evil, than to deliver another.
CXVIII. There can be no doubt, but whoever The percarefully walks in this way, shall make very great progress in fanctification, and daily arrive, more and quired by more, at a nearer conformity to the pattern set before not athim. However we are not to imagine, that ever any tainable in one, in this life, can attain to that perfection, which this life. the law of God requires, that, being without all fin, he should wholly employ himself in the service of God, with that purity, that intenseness of all his powers, that the divine holiness itself could find nothing in him, but what was agreeable to it. The contrary is evident. Ift. From express testimonies of scripture, in which it is asserted, that none liveth, who sinneth not, stumblech and falls not, 1 Kings 8. 46. Eccl. 7. 20. Prov. 20. 9. Jam. 3. 2. 1 John 1. 8. 2dly. Froni the humble, and sincere confession of the Saints, who every where own their blemishes and failings, Pf. 19. 12. Rom. 7. 18, 19. Phil. 3. 13, 14, Ifit. 64. 6. 3dly. From an induction of particular examples. For, there are none, even of the most excellent among the Saints, whose actions are more largely described, but have also some blemishes recorded, which, in some measure, throw a shade on the light of the most shining virtues. These things are more notorious than need to be repeated here: ror do we with pleasure mention them. So far are we from taking any delight in the infirmities of the most excellent men of God, or wishing to detract from their heroic virtues, when we sometimes speak of their faults; that, on the contrary, we have an inward horror at the remembrance of them, and defervedly tremble at the confideration of our own weakness,
because, the latchets of their shoes we are not worthy
to loose. The cause CXIX. The principal and proper cause of this of this in- imperfection is to be found in ourselves. And is the tion, the fill-indwelling flesh; or corruption which, tho' really indwell- subdued by the efficacy of the spirit, with respect to ing fiefh its reign, Rom. 6. 14; yet vexes the godly: and, as
that unhappy incumbrance retarded+ Atalanta, so allo believers are retarded by this corruption in their christian race! while the flesh continually lusts against the fpirit, it hinders the elect from chearfully performing, what otherwise they would carnettly desire to do, Gal. 5. 17. Romn. 7. 15. 16. By the spirit the renewed man, certainly, tends upwards : but the Aesh foon with great struggling pulls him down again ; like a heavy ftonetied to the feetofone of the fowls of heaven. Wicht a couragious boldness believers enter upon all the exercises of every virtue, or grace, Pf. 119. 128. At's 24. 16, and while they go on in all the strength of the Lord their God, Pf. 71.16, they undertake what far surpasses the capacity and power of natural men, and thus, at a great pace, they press forward to perfection, like those, who hunt down some wild beast in hopes to poffefs it, Phil. 3. 14. But inberent corrupțion, innate perverseness, heightened by so many vicious acts, the fin that easily besets us, Heb. 12: 1, again spoils and taints all. And this abides in man till his death: It dwells, but reigns not, abides,
+ For the benefit of the common English reader, I would obi. ferve, that Witfius seems here to refer to the fabulous story of Ara. lanta the daughter of Schænus king of the island Scyrus, who being wearied with the importunity of her suitors, consented to have the man that could out run her but on this condition, that he was to die, who loft the race. This being the fate of several others were discouraged. But Hippomanes receiving three golden apples, veatured to run with her, and at proper times, when the was like to get the start of him, threw the apples, which the looping to ġather, loft che race.