« PreviousContinue »
deavor to order and govern my whole life according to thy direction, and will not allow myself in the neglect of any thing that I know to be my duty.
Only because, through the frailty of my flesh, I am subject to many failings, I am bold humbly to protest, That unallowed miscarriages, contrary to the settled bent and resolution of my heart, shall not make void this covenant; for so thou hast said.
Now, Almighty God, searcher of hearts, thou knowest that I make this covenant with thee this day, without any known guile or reservation; beseeching thee, that if thou espiest any flaw or falsehood therein, thou wouldst discover it to me, and help me to do it aright.
And now, glory be to thee, O God the Father, whom I shall be bold from this day forward to look upon as my God and Father, that ever thou shouldst find out such a way for the recovery of undone sinners. Glory be to thee, O God the Son, who hast loved me, and washed me from my sins in thine own blood, and art now become my Saviour and Redeemer. Glory be to thee, O God the Holy Ghost, who, by the finger of thine almighty power, hast turned about my heart from sin to God.
O dreadful JEHOVAH, the Lord God Omnipotent, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost! thou art now become my covenant friend, and I, through thine infinite grace, am become thy covenant servant; Amen, So be it. And the
covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.
THE AUTHOR'S ADVICE.
This covenant I advise you to make not only in heart, but in word; not only in word, but in writing; and that you would, with all possible reverence, spread the writing before the Lord, as if you would present it to him as your act and deed: And when you have done this, set your hand to it; keep it as a memorial of the solemn transactionsthat have passed between God and you, that you may have recourse to it on doubts and temptations.
Direct. XI. Take heed of delaying thy.conversion, and set upon a speedy and present turning. I made haste and delayed not, Ps. cxix. 60. Remember and tremble at the sad instance of the foolish virgins, that came not till the door of mercy was shut, Matt. xxv. and of a convinced Felix, that put off Paul, to another season; and we never find that he had such a season more, Acts xiv. 25. Oh, come in while it is called to-day, lest thou shouldst be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin; lest the day of grace should be over, and the things that belong to thy peace should be hid from thine eyes. Now merey is wooing of thee: now Christ is waiting to be gracious to thee, and the Spirit of God is striving with thee; now ministers are calling; now conscience is stirring; now the market is open, and oil may he had, thou hast opportunity for the buying: now Christ is to be
had for the taking. Oh! strike in with the
Direct. XII. Attend conscientiously upon the word as the means cppointed for thy conversion, James i. 18, 19. 1 Cor. iv. 15. tend, I say, not customarily, but conscientiously; with this desire, design, hope and expectation, that thou mayest be converted by it. To every sermon thou hearest, come with this thought: "Oh, I hope God will now come in I hope this day may be the time, this may be the man by whom God will bring me home." When thou art coming to the ordinances, lift up thine heart thus to God:"Lord, let this be the sabbath, let this be the season wherein I may receive renewing grace. Oh, let it be said, that to day such a' one was born unto thee:"
Obj. Thou wilt say, I have been long a hearer of the word, and yet it hath not been effectual to my conversion:
Ans. Yea, but thou hast not attended upon it in this manner, as a means of thy conversion, nor with this design; nor praying for, and expecting of this happy effect of it.
Direct. XIII. Strike in with the Spirit, when he begins to work upon thy heart.When he works convictions, Oh, do not stifle them, but join in with him; and beg the Lord to carry on convictions to conversion. Quench not the Spirit; do not out-strive him, do not resist him. Beware of putting out
convictions by evil company, or worldly bu siness. When thou findest any troubles for sin, and fears about thy eternal state, beg of God, that they may never leave thee, till they have wrought off thy heart thoroughly from sin, and wrought it over to Jesus Christ. Say to him, "Strike home, Lord, leave not the work in the midst. Thou seest that I am bled enough, wound me yet deeper, Lord; am not trouOh! go to the bottom of my corruption, let out the life-blood of my sin." Thus yield up thyself to the workings of the Spirit, and hoist thy sails to his gusts.
not yet wounded enough, thats
Direct. XIV. Set upon the constant and diligent use of serious and fervent prayer. He that neglects prayer, is a profane and unsanctified sinner, Job xv. 4. constant in prayer, is but an hypocrite, Job He that is not xxvii. 10. (unless the omission be contrary to his ordinary course, under the force of some instant temptation.) This is one of the first things conversion appears in, that it sets men on praying, Acts ix. 11. Therefore set to this duty let never a day pass over thee, wherein thou hast not, morning and evening, set apart some time for set and solemn prayer in secret. Call thy family also together daily and duly, to worship God with thee. Wo be unto thee, if thine be found amongst the families that call not on God's name, Jer. x. 25. But cold and lifeless devotions will not reach half way to heaven; be fervent, and importunate; importunity will carry it; but without violence the kingdom of heaven will
not be taken, Matt. xi. 12. Thou must strive to enter, Luke xiii. 24, and wrestle with tears and supplications, as Jacob, if thou meanest to carry the blessing, Gen. xxxii. 24, compared with Hos. xii. 4. Thou art undone for ever without grace, and therefore thou must put to it and resolve to take no denial. That man that is fixed in this resolution"Well, I must have grace and I will never give over, till I have grace; and I will never leave seeking, and waiting, and striving with God, and mine own heart, till he do renew me by the power of his grace;" This man is in the likeliest way to win grace.
Obj. But God heareth not sinners, their prayer is an abomination.
Ps. Distinguish between sinners. (t.).
'There are resolved sinners: their prayers God abhors. (2.). Returning sinners: these God will come forth to, and meet with mercy, though yet afar off, Luke xv. 20. Though the prayers of the unsanctified cannot have full acceptance, yet God hath done much at the request of such; as at Ahab's humiliation, and Nineveh's fast, 1 Kings xxi. 26. Jonah iii. 8, 9, 10. Surely thou mayest go as far as these, though thou hast no grace and how dost thou know but thou mayest speed in thy suit, as they did in theirs? Yea, is he not far more likely to grant thee, than them, since thou askest in the name of Christ, and that not for temporal blessings, as they, but for things much more pleasing to him; viz. for Christ, grace, pardon, that thou mayest be justified, sanctified, renewed, and fitted to