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all their due, and of speaking the truth from the heart; that we will walk uprightly and work righteousness... despise the gain of oppression, and shake our hands from holding of bribes,' knowing that they who do so, • shall dwell on high...their place of defence shall be the munition of rocks...bread shall be given them, and. their waters shall be sure'.... Isa. xxxiii. 15. 16. We find it upon record, to the honor of Christ's holy religion, when it was first planted in the world, that Pliny, a heathen magistrate, and a persecutor of Christianity, giving an account to the emperor Trajan of what he had discovered concerning the Christians, in an epistle yet extant, acknowledgeth, that in their religious assemblies they bound themselves by a sacrament; it is the very word he uses, Non in scelus aliquod, sed ne furta, ne latrocinia, ne adulieria committerent; ne fidem fallerent, ne depositum appellati abnegarent ; that is, they bound themselves not to do any ill thing, but that they would not rob or steal, or commit adultery; that they would never be false to any trust reposed in them...never deny any thing that was put into their hands to keep; and the like. The same is still the true intent and meaning of this service: it is the bond of a covenant, added to the bond of a command, That we do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.

Come then, my soul, come under those bonds; come willingly and cheerfully under them; he that: bears an honest mind, doth not startle at assurance: be not a friend to promise that which thou art already bound to do; for these vows will rather facilitate thy duty, than add to the difficulty of it; the faster thou findest thyself fixed to that which is good, the less there will be of uneasy hesitation and wavering concerning it, and the less danger of being tempted from it.

Only remember, that all these yows must be made with an entire dependance upon the strength and grace of Jesus Christ, to enable us to make them good,

We have a great deal of reason to distrust ourselves, $ so weak and treacherous are our hearts: Peter betray. Sed himself by confiding in himself, when he said,

“Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee:' but we have encouragement enough to trust in Christ; in his name therefore let us make our vows... in this grace let us be strong: surely in the Lord alone have we righteousness and strength :' he is the surety of the covenant for both parties; into his custody therefore, and under the protection of his grace, let us pour out our souls, and we shall find he is able to keep what we commit to him.

CHAPTER XII.

Directions concerning the frame of our spirits, when

we come away from this ordinance.

THEY that have fellowship with the Father, and with his son Jesus Christ, at the table of the Lord... whose hearts are enlarged to send forth the workings of pious and devout affections towards God, and to take in the communication of divine light, life, and love from him, cannot but say, as Peter

did upon

the holy mount, Lord, it is good for us to be here : here let us make tabernacles. They sit down under the refreshing shadow of this ordinance with delight, and its fruit is sweet unto their taste: here they could dwell all the days of their life, beholding the beauty of the Lord, and enquiring in his temple: but it is not a continual feast; we must come down from this mountain ;

these sweet and precious minutes are soon numbered and finished; supper is ended...thanks are returned...the guests are dissmissed with a blessing; the hymn is sung, and we go out to the mount of Olives ; even in this Jerusalem, the city of our solemnities, we have not a continuing city: Jacob hath an opportunity of wrestling with the Angel a while, but

ance.

he must let him go, for the day breaks, (Gen. xxxii. 25.) and he hath a family to look after....a journey to prosecute, and the affairs thereof call for his attend.

We must not be always at the Lord's table; the high priest himself must not be always within the vail : he must go out again to the people when his service is performed: now, it ought to be as much our care to return in a right manner from the ordi. nance, as to approach in a right manner to the ordi. pance. That caution is here needfull John, ver. 8.... Look to yourselves, that we loose not those things which we have wrought which we have gained'-50 some read it. Have we in this ordinance wrought any thing, or gained any thing that is good; we are concerned to see to it, that we do not undo what we have wrought, and let slip what we have gained. When the solemnity is done, our work is not done, still we must be pressing forwards in our duty. This, perhaps, is the mystery of that law in Ezekiel's temple-service, (Ezek. xlvi. 9.), that they should not return from worshipping before the Lord, in the solemn feasts, through the same gate by which they entered in, but by that over against it;' forgetting those things which are behind, still we must reach forth to those things which are before.'

Let us, enquire, then, what is to be done at our coming away from the ordinance, for the preserving and improving of the impression of it?

First, We should come from this ordinance, ad. miring the condescensions of the divine grace to us. Great are the honors which have here been done us, and the favors which here we have been admitted to: the God that made us hath taken us into covenant and communion with himself: the King of kings hath entertained us at his table, and there we have been feasted with the dainties of heaven...abundantly satisfied with the goodness of his house; exceeding great and precious promises have been here sealed to us, and earnest given us of the eternal inheritance : now,

vance us.

if we know ourselves, this cannot but be the matter of our wonder....our joyful, and yet awful wonder. ;

(1.) Considering our meanness by nature, we have reason to wonder, that the great God should thus ad

Higher than heaven is above the earth, is God above us ; between heaven and earth there is, though a vast, yet only a finite distance; but, between God and man there is an infinite disproportion. What is man, then, (man that is a worm, and the son of man that is a worm), that he should be thus vi. sited and regarded....thus dignified and preferred ?' That favor done to Israel sounds great-Psal. lxxviii. 24.... Man did eat angels' food; but here man is feasted with that which was never angels' food—the

flesh and blood of the Son of man, which gives life to the world. Solomon himself stood amazed at God's condescending to take possession of that magnificent temple he had built... i Cor. vi. 18, • But will God in every deed dwell with man on the earth ?? And, which is more, shall men on the earth dwell in God, and make the Most High their habitation? If great men look with respect upon those that are much their inferiors, it is because they expect to receive honor and advantage by them ; but can a man be profitable unto God?' No; he cannot : our goodness extendeth not unto

He was from eternity happy without us, and would have been so to eternity, if we had never been, or had been miserable ; but we are undone...undone forever, if his goodness extends not to us : he needs not our services, but we need his favors ; men adopt because they are childless, but God adopts us purely because we are fatherless. It was no excel. lency in us that recommended us to his love, but

poVerty and misery made us proper objects of his pity.

Come, then, my soul, and compose thyself, as king David did, when, having received a gracious message from heaven, assuring him of God's kind intentions to him and his family, he went in, and with a great fixedness of mind sat before the Lord; and say as he

him.

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said, "Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto'-that I should be so kindly invited to the table of the Lord, and so splendidly treated there that one so mean and worthless as I am....the poorest dung-hill worm that ever called God father, should be placed among the children, and fed with the children's bread? And yet, as if this were a small thing in thy sight, O Lord God, thou hast spoken also concerning thy servant for a great while to come,' even as far as eternity itself reaches, and thus thou hast regarded me according to the estate of a man of high degree, though I am nothing, yea, less than nothing, and vanity. Is this the manner of men, O Lord God? Could men expect to be thus favored? No; but thou givest to men not according to their poverty, but according to thy riches in glory. Do great men use to condescend thus ? No; it is usual with them to take state upon them, and to oblige their inferiors to keep their distance ; but we have to do with one that is God, and not man-whose thoughts of love are as much above ours, as his thoughts of wisdom are : and therefore, as it follows there, What can David say more unto thee? What account can I give of this unaccountable favor? It is for thy word's sake, and according. to thine own heart,' for the performance of thy pur. poses and promises, that thou hast done all these great things, to make thy servant know the m'....11 Sam. vii, 18, 21-I Chron. xvii, 16, &c.

(2.) Considering our vileness by sin, we have yet more reason to wonder that the holy God should thus favor us.

We are not only worms of the earth, be. low his cognizance, but a generation of vipers, obnox ious to his curse; not only unworthy of his love and favor, but worthy of his wrath and displeasure : how is it, then, that we are brought so near unto him, who deserved to have been sentenced to an eternal separation from him? Ht hath said, the foolish shall not stand in his sight....Psal. v. 5. Foolish we know

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