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Comfort, unto God's heavenly Kingdom, is the ear* nest Desire and Prayer of,
S I R,
LETTER XIX. Containing particularAdvices andDirections, for a clofe and comfortable Walk with GOD.
YO U justly observe, that, " according to my "former Letters, a religious Lise must be a "Course of serious, earnest, and assiduous Applica** tion." And you have therefore good Reaibn to be" solicitous in your Inquiry, How you must give "diligence to make your Calling and Election sure; "and how you fhall sind that Peace and Pleasure I *' speak of, in your Walk with God ?—But there is no Cause at all of any Apprehension, that you fhall ** weary me out, with the continual burdensome "Tasks you are imposing upon me "—Indeed, Sir, you can no Way gratify me more, than by putting it in my Power to be any Way serviceable to your
best Iuterest 1 sincerely thank you, lhat you are
now giving me the Satissaction, of proposing " some "Directions fora close Walk wilh God."—Tis an Affair of the utmost Consequence to my self, as well as to you; An Affair too little considered, even by those of whom we null hope the better Things that accompany Salvation; And an Affair, in which 1 have Cause with Shame to consess, that my Remissness has turned ro my unspeakable Disadvantage Let us then, asin the Presence of God,
rciolve, by the Assistance of his Spirit and Grace, not
only only to consult, but to practise such Methods of Piety, as may be likely Means to sweeten the Fatigues of Lite, prepare us to encounter the last Enemy, and give us a refreshing Prospect of our suture Inheritance.
I fhall endeavour (according to your Desire) to be plain, samiliar, and practical, in the Directions and Counsels which I am now to lay before you. And here my Advice to you is, T. That you endeavour to obtain and" maintain a deep Impression of this important Truth, that you have but one Business to do; and that every Afsair and Conduct of human Lise must be calculated forx and subservient to that one great End of your Being. God has made us for himlelf, to glorify and enjoy Him. We are but 1'ilgrims and Strangers upon. Earth; and have here no continuing City. There is another State before us, a State of our everlasting Residence, a State where we must be unspeakably and inconceivably happy or miserable, to all Eternity. Our whole Work therefore is, to be pressing towards the Mark for the Prize of our high Calling; to be looking to, and preparing for, another and
better Country, even an heavenly. This, I say,
is our whole business ; and therefore not to be enterprisedasa secondary Concern: not to be crowded into a Comer, to make Room for more agreeable Entertainments; nor to be attended only at our vacant Hours, when disencumbered from our worldly Business, and sensual Gratisications. To fear God and keep his Commandments,is thewhole of Man.— You will not Ib sar misunderstand me, as to suppose, that I am inculcating the Necessity of a recluse Lise, wholly taken up in Devotion, wholly separated from the common Business and Society of the World. No! I am only recommending to you and to my self, a due Sense, that we are under Obligations,
ons, in Point of Duty and Interest, to serve God, and thereby to promote our eternal Welsare, as well at one lime as another ; and as much in one Bustness of Lise, as another ; as,much in our secular Afsairs, domestic Concerns, Company, and Diversions, as in the special Duties of Religion and Devotion. Though these call for the more solemn Engagement of the whole Soul in their Performance, being immediately directed to God himself; yet the other also are to be done in Obedience to God, and with an Eye to his Glory. So that we have but one Business; though we haveagreat many Duties of various Kinds belonging to it.
Resolve then, to engage in, and to endeavour to manage every Affair of common Lise, out of Duty to God, with a spiritual Frame of Soul, and with a hearty Desire therein to shew your felf approved unto God. Whether you eat, or drink, or whatever you do. do all to the Glory of God. Consides therefore, that you have the same God to deal with, the seme omni1cient Eye to observe and remember1 your Thoughts, Views, Affections, Frames, Language and Behaviour, while conversant in the common Affairs of Lise, as when upon your Knees in your Closet, or Family, or in the publick Worship of God's House : And that the same upright Views the fame holy Desires, the same Faith in Christ, are necessary in the one, as in the other, if you would have them acceptable toGod.—This Consideration, duly impre ssed, is the true Philosopher's Stone, that
turns all to Gold. This will make every Thing
serve as a fresh Gale to wast us forward to our desired Harbour.
2. Be solemnly caresul to attend upon all the Or-' dinances*of God, without any Reserve. The Duties and Ordinances of Religion belong to the Way which God has appointed us to walk in, in order
to our Salvation; and we must be found jn his Way, as we would expect his Presence and Blesling.—— Herein be therefore caresul to have no Reserve. Let every Duty, whether of the Clofet, the Family, or publick Worship, be diligently and constantly maintained, each in its proper Season. Live in the Omilsicm of none of them; nor let any ordinary Occurrence or Excuse divert and put you by, when the proper Season and Opportunity calls for your
Attendance on them. -You are under the same
Obligations at all Times, as at any Time, to perform Duty; and to observe all Djties,as to observe any. For they are all required by the fame Authority; and to be performed to the fame Object, and for the same End.—He therefore who lives in the wilsul Neglect of any known Duty, does thereby turn his Back upon God and his Salvation. Herein then, the greatest Care should be exercised, that we may prove (or know and do) what is the good, and persect, and acceptable Will of God concerning us.
You should also remember, that the Duties of religious Worship are to be performed to an omniscient and Heart-searchingGod; a God who cannot be deceived, and will not be mocked; a God, who will be sanctisied in all them that come nigh him, and who will highly relent our flattering him with, ou Lips, and lying to him with our Tongues,,when our Hearts are sar from him.—You should therefore be caresul, by previous Meditation, to obtain a lively S.nse of the insinite Pei sections of the glorious God 10 be worshipped, of the Nature and Importance of the Duty to be attended ; and to have your Affections inflamed and much engaged, when you come into God's immediate Presence, in any Ordinance ot religions Worship. You should keep your Heart with all Diligence; watch against, and
carefully caresully suppress every roving and wandering Thought, endeavour to retain a lively Impression of the divine Presence ; and to keep up a devout spiritual Frame of Soul, while in the Performance
of the Worship of God. Our Transactions with
God, in the Duties of religions Worship, above alt Things call for the greatest Seriousness, Watchsulness and Care. And all the Pains we can take in this Matter, will prove too little; we fhall still have Cause to lament our great Desects ; and to mourn after the Pardon of the Iniquity of our holy Things, through the Blood of Christ.
3. Remember, that as you lie at Mercy, so you have a Mercy Seat to repair to ; and that you may sow in Hope.—It is true, that we neither have nor can have any Claim to the Mercy of God, on Account of any Thing that we do, or are able to do in Religion. Not for your Sakes do h this, faith the Lord God, be it known unto you. Be ashamed and confounded for your onvnWays, 0 Houfe of Ifrael.— But yet it is also true, that the insinite Mercy of God is more than equal to all our Unworthineis, to all our Difficulties, and to all our Wants. There it Forgivenefs with God, that he may be feared t and 'with him is plenteous Redemption. And God is in Chrift reconciling the World to himfelf not imputing their Trefpaffes. You should approach the Presence of God, not only with a most abasing Sense of your Sinsulness, Pollution and Unworthiness; and with most earnest Importunity for the Influences of his Spirit and Grace; but also with an humble Considence in the Riches of his insinite Mercy; and with a supporting Hope, that for his own lake, and for his Son's sake, (though not for yours) he will accept, pardon,sanctify and save you.—While you are entertaining hard Thoughts of God, giving into desponding Frames, and nourishing your distracting,