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for temporal blessings, but we can never be too importunate for spiritual* With regard to them we may use a holy. violence with the Almighty; and may say to him as Jacob to the angel* I will not let thee go except thou blest me. And to earnest prayers let us add sincere endeavours after holiness: otherwise our prayers will be nothing but a mocking of God, and a deceiving of ourselves.
In a word: let us do as much as we can, and faithfully improve all those talents and abilities which God hath bestowed upon us already: and then we shall have reason to expect that he will be still more liberal to us. For unto every one who hath Jhall be given, and he Jhall have more abundance ; but from him who hath nott Jhall be taken away even that which he bath.
The duty and advantages of religious resolution.
Psalm CXIX. \o6.
I have sworn, and I'will perform it, that I will keep thy righte* ous judgments,
HIS Psalm is full of the sentiments of a religious man, and discovers the author of it to have been a pecson-of extraordinary pieryf If to have a great relish of the word of God, and a superlative affection for it if to "O 3 pray
pray heartily for divine assistance in yielding obedience to it, and firmly to resolve to yield such obedience, are indications of a pious temper of mind, as certainly they are: then the author of this psalm must have been pious in an extraordinary degree; for never surely did any man speak with greater delight concerning the word of God, or express more earnest desires after conformity to it, or make more vigorous resolutions of obedience to the precepts of it. 'Tis one of the last of these, which I have chosen for the subject of my present discourse: I have sworn, &c.
By the judgments of God, in this place, we are to understand his laws or precepts. Indeed in common discourse the word bears another meaning, and stands for those punishments which God inflicts upon nations or particular persons, for their sins. And it is sometimes used in this sense in scripture: e. g. Isaiah XXVI. 9. When thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the -world will learn righteousness. But it is also frequently used in that other sense of laws or precepts: particularly in the books of Moses. This title is prefixed to a 1 arge collection of laws in the XXIst, XXIId,
and XXIIId chapters of Exodus. They are introduced in this manner: now--these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them. And in Leviticus and Deuteronomy it is often joined with the words statutes, testimonies, laws, commandments; according to the custom of the eastern writers, who were wont to use a variety of expressions for the same thing. This psalm in which my text is, affords another notable instance of these words being put promiscuously one for another. There is scarce a verse in it, in which some ot other of them doth not occur; and yet any ordinary reader may perceive that they are all of the same import. It is plain, that by the judgments of God in our text, cannot be meant those punishments which he inflicts upon men for their sins; for it would have been ab* surd for the psalmist to say of them, that he would keep them : but take it in the sense of laws, and then it is a very wise and rational resolution; as will appear hereafter, when we come to consider the precepts themselves. But before I do that, I shall explain the nature of religious resolution, and shew, that we may know when it is genuine j O 4 be
because many are apt to deceive themselves in this matter, and think they have fulfilled it. when they have not. In discoursing therefore on this text, I propose,
I. To lay before you the properties of Religious resolution. . IJ. To recommend it to you from the consideration suggested in the text, viz, the righteousness of the divine com? mands.
I. I am to Jay before you the proper? ties of religious resolution. Now religious resolution, if it be genuine, hath, these properties.
1. It is fqunded on mature delibeb ration.
2. It is peremptory and unmover able.
3. It respects the time present, and. admits of no delay.
4. It is universal, and respects all God's commandments.
i. It is founded on mature deliberation. Sudden and hasty resolutions seldom come to any thing, because men pften see reason to repent of fhem afterwards, when they down and con