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No: I am only recommending to you, and to myself, a due sense, that we are under obligations, in point of duty and interest, to serve God, and thereby to promote our eternal welfare, as well at one time as another—and as much in one business of life as another—as much in our secular affairs, domestic concerns, company, and diversions, as in the special duties of religion and devotion. Though these call for the more solemn engagement of the whole soul in their performance, being immediately directed to God himself, yet the other also are to be done in obedience to God, and with an eye to his glory. So that we have but one business, though we have a great many duties of various kinds belonging to it.
Resolve, then, to engage in, and to endeavour to manage, every affair of common life, out of duty to God, with a spiritual frame of soul, and with a hearty desire therein to “show yourself approved unto God. Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Consider, therefore, that you have the same God to deal with, the same omniscient eye to observe and remember your thoughts, views, affections, frames, language, and behaviour, while conversant in the common affairs of life, as when upon your knees in your
closet or family, or in the public worship of God's house; and that the same upright views, the same holy desires, the same faith in Christ, are necessary in the one as in the other, if you would have them acceptable to God. This consideration duly impressed, is the true philosopher's stone, that turns all to gold. This will make every thing serve as a fresh gale, to waft us forward to our desired harbour.
2. Be solemnly careful to attend upon all the ordinances of God, without
The duties and ordinances of religion belong to the way which God has appointed us to walk in, in order to our salvation; and we must be found in his way, as we would expect his presence and blessing. Herein be therefore careful to have no reserve. duty, whether of the closet, the family, or public worship, be diligently and constantly maintained, each in its proper season. Live in the omission of none of them: por let any ordinary occurrence or excuse divert and put you by, when the proper season and opportunity calls for your attendance on them. You are under the same obligations at all times, as at any time, to perform duty; and to observe all duties, as to observe any.
For they are all required by the same authority; and to be performed to the same object, and for the same end. He, therefore, who lives in the wilful neglect of any known duty, does thereby turn his back upon God and his salvation. Herein, then, the greatest care should be exercised, that we may prove (or know and do) what is the good, and perfect, and acceptable will of God concerning us.
You should also remember, that the duties of religious worship are to be performed to an omviscient and heart-searching God-a God who cannot be deceived, and will not be mocked-a God who will be sanctified in all them that come nigh himand who will highly resent our flattering him with our lips, and lying to him with our tongues, when our hearts are far from him. You should therefore be careful, by previous meditation, to obtain a lively
sense of the infinite perfections of the glorious God to be worshipped, of the nature and importance of the duty to be attended, and to have your affections inflamed and much engaged when you come into God's immediate presence, in any ordinance of religious worship. You should keep your heart with all diligence; watch against, and carefully suppress every roving and wandering thought, endeavour to retain a lively impression of the divine presence, and to keep up a devout spiritual frame of soul, while in the performance of the worship of God. Our transactions with God in the duties of religious worship, above all things call for the greatest seriousness, watchfulness, and care. And all the pains we cau take in this matter will
prove too little; we shall still have cause to lament our great defects, and to mourn after the pardon of the iniquity of our holy things, through the blood of Christ.
3. Remember, that as you lie at mercy, so you have a mercy-seat to repair to, and that you may sow in hope. It is very true, that we neither have
of God, on account of any thing that we do or are able to do in religion. “ Not for your sakes do I this, saith the Lord God, be it known unto you. Be ashamed and confounded for your own ways, O house of Israel.” But yet it is also true, that the infinite mercy of God is more than equal to all our unworthiness, to all our difficulties, and to all our wants. “ There is forgiveness with God, that he may be feared; and with him is plenteous redemption." And “God is in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses.”
You should approach the presence of God, not only with a most abasing sense of your sinfulness, pollution, and unworthiness, and with most earnest importunity for the influences of his Spirit and grace; but also with an humble confidence in the riches of his infinite mercy, and with a supporting hope, that for his own sake, and for his Son's sake, (though not for yours,) he will accept, pardon, sanctify, and save you. While you are entertaining hard thoughts of God, giving in to desponding frames, and nourishing your distracting, discouraging fears, you are dishonouring God our Saviour, grieving the Holy Spirit, hardening your own heart, and going further and further from mercy. Come, therefore, before God, self-loathing and self-condemning, yet not with a distrustful dread; but come to him with expectation and dependence. Plead the merits of his Sonplead the riches of his boundless grace-yea, plead your own misery and want before him; hope in his mercy, and wait for his salvation.
4. Review your past life; and be as particular as you can, in your repentance towards God, as also in setting all things right with your neighbour. It is our duty particularly to confess and lament our sins before God; those especially which are peculiarly aggravated, or have been willingly and customarily indulged. It is our duty to make up all breaches with our neighbour, and to repair all injuries we have done him, as far as possible. It is therefore necessary to call ourselves to an account for all the past conduct of our lives, both toward God and man.
Look back, then, to your early age, and bring the sins of your youth to remembrance. Confess
them particularly, lament them before God, and lift up your ardent and frequent petitions to him, that he would not remember the sins of your youth, nor your transgressions. Continue your view, to the successive periods of your life. . Consider what duties you have omitted, whether personal or relative; what parts of instituted worship you have neglected, or, by a careless, hypocritical, and trifling performance, have slighted and profaned, whether in your closet, in the family, or in the house of God. Consider what relations you have sustained, and what have been your special defects in each of them. Humble yourselves in the sight of God, on account of them all: cry to him for pardon, in the blood of Christ; and for grace and strength to serve him acceptably, by a right discharge of your respective duties, in each station and circumstance of life, as well as by a due performance of the several offices of devotion. Consider your many sins of commission, according to their respective natures and aggravations. Confess them before God; and confess the innumerable multitude ch. were unobserved when committed, or forgotten since. Endeavour to impress a just sense of their number, enormity, and guilt, upon your conscience, till you are forced to groan out that language of a repenting soul: “Innumerable evils have compassed me about, mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, they are more than the hairs of
heart faileth me.” Endeavour to bring them all (those which you can remember, by a particular enumeration; those which you cannot remember, by a general confession) to the “ fountain set open for sin