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It will be good

faces in that glass, that we may see our spots, and may particular in the acknowledgment of them. for us to ask, What have we done this day? What have we done amiss? What duty have we neglected? What false step have we taken? How have we carried it in our callings, in our converse? Have we done the duties of our particular relations, and accommodated ourselves to the will of God in every event of providence? By doing this frequently, we shall grow in our acquaintance with ourselves, than which nothing will contribute more to our soul's prosperity.

(2.) We must renew our repentance for whatever we find has been amiss in us, or has been said or done amiss by us; we must be sorry for it, and sadly lament it, and take shame to ourselves for it, and give glory to God by making confession. If any thing appear to have been wrong more than ordinary, that must be particularly bewailed; and, in general, we must be mortified for our sins of daily infirmity, which we ought not to think slightly of, because they are returning daily, but rather be the more ashamed of them, and of that fountain within, which casts out these waters.

It is good to be speedy in renewing our repentance, before the heart be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Delays are dangerous; green wounds may soon be cured, if taken in time, but if they are corrupt, as the Psalmist complains (Ps. xxxviii. 5), it is our fault and folly, and the cure will be difficult. Though through the weakness of the flesh we fall into sin daily, if we get up again by renewed repentance at night, we are not, nor ought we to think ourselves, utterly cast down. The sin that humbles us shall not ruin us.

(3.) We must make a fresh application of the blood of Christ to our souls, for the remission of our sins, and the gracious acceptance of our repentance. We must not think that we have need of Christ only at our first conversion to God; no, we have daily need of Him as our Advocate with



the Father, and therefore, as such, He always appears in the presence of God for us, and attends continually to this very thing. Even our sins of daily infirmity would be our ruin, if He had not made satisfaction for them, and did not still make intercession for us. He who is washed, still needs to wash his feet from the filth he contracts in every step; and, blessed be God, there is a fountain opened for us to wash in, and it is always open.

4. Let us lie down with humble supplications for the mercies of the night. Prayer is as necessary in the evening as it was in the morning, for we have the same need of the Divine favour and care to make the evening outgoings to rejoice, that we had to beautify those of the morning.

(1.) We must pray that our outward man may be under the care of God's holy angels, who are the ministers of His providence. God has promised that He will give His angels charge concerning those who make the Most High their refuge, and that they shall pitch their tents round about them, and deliver them; and what He has promised we may and must pray for. Not as if God needed the service of the angels, or as if He did Himself quit all the care of His people, and turn it over to them; but it appears, by abundance of Scripture proofs, that they are employed about the people of God, whom He takes under His special protection, though they are not seen, both for the honour of God, by whom they are charged, and for the honour of the saints, with whom they are charged. It was the glory of Solomon's bed, that threescore valiant men were about it, of the valiant in Israel, all holding swords, because of fear in the night (Cant. iii. 7, 8). But much more honourably and comfortably are all true believers attended; for though they lie ever so meanly, they have hosts of angels surrounding their beds, and by the ministration of good spirits are preserved from malignant spirits. But God will for this be inquired of by the house of Israel; Christ Himself must pray the Father,

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and He will send to His relief legions of angels (Matt. xxvi. 53). Much more reason have we to ask, that it may be given us.

(2.) We must pray that our inward man may be under the influences of His Holy Spirit, who is the author and fountain of His grace. As public ordinances are opportunities in which the Spirit works upon the hearts of men, and, therefore, when we attend on them we must pray for the Spirit's operations; so are private retirements, and, therefore, we must put up the same prayer when we enter upon them. We find that in slumbering upon the bed, God opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction (Job xxxiii. 15, 16). And with this David's experience concurs. He found that God visited him in the night, and tried him, and so discovered him to himself (Ps. xvii. 3); and that God gave him counsel, and his reins instructed him in the night season, and so He discovered Himself to him (Ps. xvi. 7). He found that was a proper season for remembering God, and meditating upon Him; and in order to our due improvement of this proper season for conversing with God in solitude, we need the powerful and benign influences of the blessed Spirit, which, therefore, when we lie down we should earnestly pray for, and humbly put ourselves under, and submit ourselves to. How God's grace may work upon us when we are asleep we know not: the soul will act in a state of separation from the body, and how far it does act independent of the body, when the bodily senses are all locked up, we cannot say, but are sure that the Spirit of the Lord is not bound. We have reason to pray, not only that our minds may not be either disturbed or polluted by evil dreams, in which, for aught we know, evil spirits sometimes have a hand, but may be instructed and quieted by good dreams; which Plutarch reckons among the evidences of increase and proficiency in virtue, and on which the good Spirit has an influence. I have heard of a good man that used to pray at night for good dreams.



The Pleasant Journey.

There are twelve things which help to make a journey pleasant, and there is something like to each of them which may be found in the way of wisdom, and those that walk in that way.

1. It helps to make a journey pleasant to go upon a good errand. He that is brought up a prisoner in the hands of the ministers of justice, whatever conveniences he may be accommodated with, cannot have a pleasant journey, but a melancholy one. And that is the case of a wicked man, he is going on, in this world, towards destruction; the way he is in, though wide and broad, leads directly to it; and, while he persists in it, every step he takes is so much nearer hell, and therefore he cannot have a pleasant journey. It is absurd and indecent to pretend to make it so: though the way may seem right to a man, yet there can be no true pleasure in it, while "the end thereof is the ways of death," and the " steps take hold on hell" (Prov. v. 5).

But he that goes into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, whatever difficulties may attend his journey, yet the errand he goes on is enough to make it pleasant: and on this errand they go that travel wisdom's ways; they look for a kingdom which cannot be moved, and are pressing forwards in the hopes of it. Abraham went out of his own country, "not knowing whither he went" (Heb. xi. 8). But those that set out and hold on in the way of religion, know whither it will bring them, that it "leads to life" (Matt. vii. 14)— eternal life; and therefore," in the way of righteousness is life" (Prov. xii. 28), because there is such a life at the end

of it.

Good people go upon a good errand, for they go on God's errand, as well as on their own, that are serving and glorifying Him, contributing something to His honour, and the advance

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ment of the interests of His kingdom among men; and this makes it pleasant; and that which puts so great a reputation upon the duties of religion, as that by them God is served and glorified, cannot but put so much the more satisfaction into them. With what pleasure doth Paul appeal to God, as the God whom "he served with his spirit in the gospel of His Son!" (Rom. i. 9).

2. It helps to and ability for it. He that is weak, and sickly, and lame, can find no pleasure in the pleasantest walks. How should he, when he takes every step in pain? But a strong man rejoiceth to run a race, while he that is feeble trembles to set one foot before another. Now this makes the ways of religion pleasant, that they who walk in those ways are not only cured of their natural weakness, but are filled with spiritual strength; they travel not in their own might, but in the "greatness of His strength who is mighty to save" (Isa. lxiii. 1).

make a journey pleasant, to have strength

Were they to proceed in their own strength, they would have little pleasure in the journey, every little difficulty would foil them, and they would tire presently; but they go forth, and go on "in the strength of the Lord God" (Ps. lxxi. 16), and upon every occasion, according to His promise, He renews that strength to them, and they mount up with wings like eagles, they go on with cheerfulness and alacrity, they "run and are not weary, they walk and do not faint” (Isa. xl. 51). God with His comforts enlargeth their hearts, and then they not only go but "run the way of his commandments" (Ps. cxix. 32).

That which to the old nature is impracticable and unpleasant, and which, therefore, is declined or gone about with reluctancy, to the new nature is easy and pleasant; and this new nature is given to all the saints, which puts a new life and vigour into them, "strengthens them with all might in the inner man" (Col. i. 2), unto all diligence in doing work, patience

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