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before you come to receive the “ feed of the word,” according to Hosea x. 12. If you would have the fallow ground plowed up, you must seek the Lord by fervent and heart-breaking prayer.. ..
3. Bring hunger and thirst with you to God's banqueting house ; bring a deep sense of soul wants and necessities, and longing desires to meet with Christ in the ordinances: For he." fills the hungry with good things, when the rich are sent away empty.” Ô for the hungry appetites of God's children, when we come to God's houfe ! Say, “ O that, like a new born child, I may this day desire the fincere milk of the word for my nourishment! and, O that, like a true child of my heavenly Father, I may love that milk best which comes warm from the breasts of public ordinances !"
IV. Search into these lusts and evils that hinder the success of ordinances ; caft them out, and guard carefully against them. If you would have God this day to hear your prayers, and accept of your sacrifices, you must “ regard no iniquity in your hearts," you must throw out all bosom luits and idols. Christ faith to you this day, as once he did to Judas in another case, John xviii. 8 “ If therefore you seek me, let these go their way:" Let your pride, worldlinefs, prejudice, &c. go away; for they bar Christ out of the heart.
1. Throw out worldliness, and all thoughts about the world, that you may with your whole fouls this day attend upon God: Say to the cares of the world, as Abraham to his servants, Gen. xxii, “ Stay ye here till I go yonder to worship God.” Suffer not a vain thought this day to take up its lodging in your heart, according to Jer. iv. 14. It is said of Bernard, that, when he came to the church door, he would say, “ Stay here, all my earthly thoughts." Nay, say this also before you come from home. Worldly hearts will hinder you from getting good of the ordinances; they will make the church like the market-place to you, full of tumult and distraction; they will make such a noise and buz. zing in your ears, that you cannot hear; or they will make you wander in time of hearing, as those, Ezek,
xxxill, xxxiii. 31. Nay, they will make you weary of all Sabe bath work, as those, Amos viii. 5.
2. Lay aside felf-conceit, or a good opinion of yourfelves, your duties and performances; count all these but “ dung and loss for the saving knowledge of Christ."
For, if you lean upon your prayers and preparations · this day, as any piece of righteousness before God, this will mar your access to God this day, and make the ordinances prove dry breasts to you... in . 3. Throw out all prejudices against ministers, and against the laws of Christ; and with meekness lay your car and heart open to receive instruction, saying with Paul, “ Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” and with Samuel, “ Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.”
4. Guard against doubtings concerning the truths of God, and mysteries of religion : Let us captivate and subject reafon to faith, and deal with it, as Joshua did with the Gibeonites”; he made them a hewers of wood, and drawers of water, for the service of the temple :' So let us make reason subject to faith, and serviceable to religion; but nowise set it up as a standard for examining its mysteries by, since they are above its reach.
5. Beware of erroneous principles; for these will mar the good of ordinances to you; while there is an error in the foundation, you cannot be “ built up in the most holy faith.” Christ bids us " be wise as serpents;" and serpents (they say) whatever injury is oifered to them, their great care is to preserve their head. Let it be our great care, then, not only to preserve our hearts and hands from sin, but our heads from error; espe. cially when there are so many false teachers going abroad, seeking to “ pervert the simple, by fair words and false (peeches." . .
6. Beware likewise of schism and division, and guard against those who are instruments to divide and scatter Christ's sheep. Do not ftraggle from Christ's flock, but abide close by the place where the good Shepherd feeds his flock, s and makes them to rest at noon," and do not“ turn aside after the flocks of the companions,” Cant. i. 7.
I refer I refer the handling of the duties of mafters of families, as such, till afterwards: Only, it ought to be their care early to call their families together to pray with them, and praise God; and to cause them rise as early this day as ot? ers. Let not your servants and children waste away this morning in Ne-p and idleness, but call them up as early to God's work this day, as you do to your own upon other days.
How blame.worthy are these families, and especially the masters thereof, who on week-days can rise betimes to follow their worldly business, but on the Lord's day do ly longer in bed than ordinary, giving themselves to carnal ease and rest? Is this to keep holy the Sabbathe day, thus to fleep and loiter away the first and chiefeft part thereof? Is this the way to accomplish the work of the Sabbath, to promote the glory of God, and carry on the work of your falvation ? All of you have great work to do this day; therefore rise early to it, as the Ifraelites did to the besieging of Jericho: They had been encompassing the city fix days before ; but we are told, Joshua vi. 15. That “ on the seventh day, they rose early about the dawning of the day, and compaffed the city seven times:" And so that day they became masters of the city. And, according to the best expo. Gitors, this seventh day, on which the walls of Jericho fell down, was the Sabbath. Now, O Chriftian, as the Israelites had the strong walls of Jericho, fo haft thou the strong holds of fin to batter down this day; thou hast these Canaanites to conquer, which would keep thee out of the promised land: Therefore imitate the Ifraelites, and rise early this morning to your work: The walls are thick, your enemies (trong ; if you would expect then to conquer on the Sabbath-day, and triumph against night, see that you begin the lege early.
And, if you would manage the work successfully, you must fet about and carry, it on conjunctly, as well as feparately; by family-prayer, as well as secret-prayer : And see that all in the family attend family-worship this morning. Likewise, as occasion offers, exhort your children and fervants to prepare themselves for
the the public worship by the performance of secret duties, particularly reading and prayer.' When you are at meat this morning, thew by your holy speeches, that your minds are not forgetful of the work of the day. Check playing and idle talking, both in children and servants, and labour to engage them by y'ur example, to show a more gravę and serious air in their counte-, gances this morning, than upon other occasions.
Let as many of them as can be conveniently spared, accompany you to the public ordinances; and suffer none of them to be absent therefrom, except in cases of necessity. Remember the fourth commant, “ Thou, thy fon, thy daughter, thy man-fervant, and thy maid. servant, and all within the gates." Let nor the dressing of meat for you, keep servants from the house of God this day ; but see that you be able to say with Cornelius, (who feared the Lord with all his house) 66 We are all here present before God." Though children be young, yet bring them with you; for they are capable of getting good by the word sooner than we are aware. The scripture takes several times notice of little ones in the solemn assemblies, Deut. xxix. 11. Ezra X. 1. Acts xxi. s. If we lay our children by the pool. fide, who knows how early the Spirit of God may help them in, and heal them? Take your families am longst with you to the church ; leave them not behind you, to come ftraggling to the church after worship is begun; nor allow them to drop away before it be ended. This is very indecent and ditorderly; you would not allow them to do so with respect to your work. If you were going to the harvest field, you would not fuffer them to come or go when they pleased. No, you would oblige them all to be ready timeously to come forth together, and fall to their work at once, and tarry till they loosed from work together: And should you not be as much concerned for God's work, as for your own; for the business of eternity, as for the affairs of time?
it. Concerning our going to the Church. **In the next place, let me give some advices relating to your behaviour in going to the church, proper especially for you whose houses lie somewhat remote from it.
Having dressed your souls, as well as may be, this morning, according to the foresaid directions, go forth, watching over your hearts and senses, having the lively impression of God's eyes upon you, and believing that he takes special notice of all your thoughts, words, and actions this day.
If you walk in company with others, take heed to your words, that they be favoury and suitable. O that people would guard against worldly discourse in their going to the church (which very much discomposeth the heart for the public worship) and would talk of spi. ritual subjects, of the design and work of the day, and encourage one another to it! How pleasant would this be ! This was the ancient practice of God's people, Zech. viii. 21. and we see how much David is taken with it, Pfal. cxxii. I. “ I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord;" q. d. It was the most pleasant found I heard all the week through, to hear people encouraging one another to assemble to God's public worship, in God's house, upon God's day. This to him was the most pleasant journey ever he went; he was not backward to it, he did not weary of it: nay, it was " the joy and life of his soul;" he was glad of it. How few among us are in this frame! Alas! instead of it, there are many in our day glad of any trifling excuse to stay them at home, or take them away from the afternoon's sermon.
If you live at some distance from the church, and be trysted with çarpal company by the way, who favour nothing but the world; it is best for them to retire from them to thine own meditations, left thou be infected with their carnal and corupt communications: For even a Peter, when he is converfing and warming his hands with the enemies of Christ, his heart turns ice cold and.