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PSAL. cxix. 59. I thought on my ways, and turned
any feet unto thy testimonies.
N these words two things are observable, first, the Pfalmist's practise : He thought on his
Secondly, the result and consequence of that practise : He turned bis feet unto God's testimonies.
The text therefore presents to us these two points, consideration, and the happy effect of it, reformation, or amendment. These
SERM. will be the subjects of the present discourfe.
I. And this is the method to be observed by
1. To shew, what is implied in considera
tion, or thinking on our ways.
which is amendment.
tion, I would recommend the practise
1. I am to thew, in the first place, what
is implied in confideration, or thinking
on our ways.
To think on our ways is to recollect and
have been in': How far our behaviour has SERM. been suitable to the dispensations of divine
I. Providence toward us : what we have been, and what we have done : how we have behaved in times of prosperity, or of adversity : how far we have regarded and performed, or neglected and omitted, the duties owing to God or men, in the stations we have been in. By which it may appear, that this is a wide field of meditation, to expatiate in.
2. In the practise of this duty is implied feriousnefle and deliberation. - I thought on my ways. I recollected them, as just shewn: and that seriously and deliberally. I did not bestow only some few flight, and curforie reflections on my-self and my past conduct : but I acted with seriousneffe and deliberation, being sensible, it is a thing of no small moment. I alloted some time to this work, and called off
and called off my thoughts from other matters, to think of my-self and my ways. I laid aside other businefle, and redeemed some time from the hurries of life, for the fake of this necessarie review. I defifted from farther pursuits, untill I had furveyed my past conduct, and could judge, how far it has been right, or how far
SERM. wrong: whether I ought to proceed in the 1.
present course, or whether it ought not
This I did, knowing that God fees all things, and that he is acquainted with all my wandrings. He tryes the hearts, and knows all the ways of the sons of men. He is the best judge of integrity, and will approve of it. He is not to be deceived by false pretenses, and specious appearances. All the actions of my life, and all the purposes of my heart, ever since I have enjoyed this rational nature, and have arrived to the exercise of it's powers, have been under his notice. And he discerns the present frame and actings of my mind.
When therefore I thought on my ways, I resolved to do it in the fear, and as in the presence of God. I set aside partial and too favorable regards for my self, and resolved not to heed now the fair, and too agreeable speeches of friends or flatterers: but to know the truth concerning my-self, and to pass a right judgement upon my ways.
I examined my-felf, then, and weighed my SERM.
I. actions in an equal balance, without a favorable and partial indulgence: but yet, as I was persuaded I ought to do, without a rigour and severity, that has no bounds, and directly, and necessarily leads to despair and despondence: believing, that equity, mercie and compassion, are branches of eternal righteousnesse, and some of the glories of that infinitly perfect being, who made the world. He certainly is not strict to mark iniquity. He knows all the weaknesses and disadvantages of his creatures, as well as the
powers and advantages, he has bestowed
them. He does not equally resent involuntarie and undefigned failings, and deliberate and wilful wickednesse. He is ever ready to pardon the penitent, and accepts the fincere and
upright, though they are not perfect.
As therefore I would confess and acknowledge all the offenses I can descry, with hopes of finding favour with God; so would I humbly rejoice, and take satisfaction in every instance of virtuous conduct, hoping it may be graciously approved of and accepted by him, to whom I am accountable: and B 3