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bittews how to run, it may be fercies, are theeing within
strong hold to them in the day of trouble. And, when you meet with mercies and comforts, you may receive them as tokens of his special love : They come to you wrapt up in the bowels of Christ, and dipt in his blood, and so are doubly sweet. When you get a deliverance from any distress, you may say as Hezekiah, Isa. xxxviii. 17. “ Thou hast, in love to my soul, delivered it from the pit of corruption.” O believer, all thy mercies are covenanted to thee, which may make them sweet to thy tafte: That word in Eccl. ix. 7. be. longs to thee, “Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works." Every morsel of bread thou eatest comes from thy Father's hand, sweetened in the blood of Christ, and is an earnest of greater and better things laid up for thee.
God's wisdom and faithfulness may rejoice thy heart. He is a skilful physician, he ponders our case, weighs our neceflity, and knows how to prescribe sometimes bitter potions, and sometimes cheering cordials : He knows how to time our blessings and our crofles also. O covenanted foul, it may be sweet to thee to think that all thy afflictions, as well as mercies, are the fruits of in. finite wisdom and faithfulness : Yea thy being within the covenant, alters the nature and property of thy croffes, and makes them become good and medicinal to thee; thou art now to look on them as mercies covenanted and promised to thee. " When his children transgress, he will visit them with the rod.-In faithfulness halt thou afflicted me, faith the Psalmift.” O what comfort may this bring thee, when thou considerest that all thy afflictions are an article of the covenant, the effect of God's love, and a fruit of Christ's pur. chase ; so that you may say of every rod you meet with, The Lord sees I want this, otherwise I thould not be exercised with it: My covenanted God and Father knows that this, and no less than this, is needful for me ; What am I, that he should be so mindful of me?".
You may rejoice in the almightiness of God, He hath an arm that is full of power, that can easily level your
spiritual Goliahs, pull down fatan's strong holds, and · make good all his promises.
You may rejoice in his immutability. He is unchangeable in his love and in his covenant. Mutable creatures change their respects, and break their leagues and covenants : But God's covenant is indiffolvable; for he is engaged for our part, as well as his own, Jer. xxxii. 40. so believer, God hath promised both for himself and thee:" As you may further see in Heb. xii. 5. compare ed with Jer. xxx. 9, and 2 Tim. i, 12. If once in the covenant, thou art always in it ; you may fing that sweet song, Pfal. xlviii. 14. “ For this God is our God for ever and ever : He will be our guide even unto death;" yea, likewise in death, and, over death. That which diffolves the marriage-covenant among men, will not diffolve this; Adultery will not do it; for God faith, “ Though ye have played the harlot with many lovers, yet return unto me. -Turn, ye backsliding children, for I am married unto you.” Death cannot diffolve it ; yea, it brings you nearer to your covenanted God, where you shall ever rejoice in his presence. Though death robs worldly men of their poor happiness, and hungry heaven, yet it doth no harm to you: Nay, when you find death begin to assault your tabernacle of clay, you may 5 lift up your head with joy; for, behold, the day of your redemption draweth nigh," You may Gng with the Pfalmift, Pfal. Ixxiii. 26. “My flesh and heart fail. eth; but God is the strength of my heart, and my por ; tion for ever.” What though my eye and my heartstrings be ready to break, and the lamp of my life be like a candle burnt to the socket, and near the going out; yet still God is my God and portion for ever.
Thus Olevian, a dying faint, comforted himself; “ My hearing is gone, my smelling is gone, and my fight is going : My speech and feeling are almost gone; but the loving-kindness of God shall never depart from me." When the worldling's portion is gone, yours remains sure to you: Lose what you will, you cannot lose that. Good cause had Habakkuk to say, Hat. iii. 17. 18. “ Altho' the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither Thall fruit be in the vines, &c. yet I will rejoice in the Lord, and joy in the God of my salvation. Obeliever, the more you view your portion, you will find the more ground for
God sed with zeathe Lordght to have ways of ordinan
your rejoicing therein: For in God you have all things you need; all things you can delire; yea, more than « eye hath feen, ear heard, or heart can conceive."
But, fecondly, as you ought to go from this ordinance rejoicing in God, so likewise in the ways of God; and, like Jehofhaphat, you ought to have your hearts lift up in the ways of the Lord. Put on holy resolutions, to proceed with zeal, delight, and alacrity, in the ways of God's commandments: Your hearts thould now be enlarged to run and Ging in his ways, and go about every duty with pleasure, Siedfastly resist every fin, and espe. cially the fin that hath most easily beset you, your predominant fin, your beloved idol : Abhor both inward and outward fins ; fee drunkenness, uncleanness, swearing, lying, cheating, fabbath breaking, &c. Make religion your main work, and make conscience of heartholiness : ftudy to live near Christ, make use of him, and constantly depend on him, for righteousnefs and strength. Study to perform the duties both of the firft and second table : Carefully observe family-duries, and secret prayer. In a word, go on cheerfully in the ways of piety and devotion, and especially in those duties wherein communion and correspondence with God is to be obtained and kept up. Go on joyfully in the ways of justice and honesty, meekness and peace, temperance and sobriety, charity and beneficence, humility and selfdenial; and trust in your covenanted God, for covenant strength and furniture for every good word and work.
IV. In going from the Lord's table, you ought to mix your joy and praises with a holy fear and trembling : And you have great cause for this, when you consider 1. Your manifold fhort.comings in this folemn approach to God. Surely your souls were not cleanfed according to the purification of the sanctuary, your preparation was defective in the fight of God. Have you not cause to be ashamed, that your hearts were not more deeply affected with the great fights prefented to your view, and the glorious things put in your offer ? Have you not ground to be humbled for the coldness of your hearts, the waverings of your minds, the deadaess of your fpi
Weakness heavenly and our aff:&tions, w
rits, and carnality of your aff-&tions, when you was about this heavenly and spiritual work? Alas for the weakness of our graces, the inconstancy of our frames, and the manifold infirmities which cleave to our best performances ! Had we no more sin to answer for, but the iniquities of our holy things, they would be too heavy for us to bear. Let us be humbled under the sense of them, and look to our great high-priest to make atonement for them.
2. You have cause to be humbled and fear, considering the manfold dangers you are exposed to, and ene- mies you are environed with, who are never more busy
than after a facrament, and our being admitted to neara ness with God. Chrift, immediately after his baptism, and the folemn manifestation he had from heaven, was led away to be tempted of the devil, Matth. iv. 1. And it was after the Lord's supper that Christ told his disciples, that “ satan desired to have them, that he might lift them as wheat,” Luke 22. 31. It was after Paul was rapt up to the third heaven, that he was in hazard of being exalted above measure, or puft up with pride, and therefore had a messenger of satan fent to buffet of him, 2 Cor. xii. Have you got any thing of the riches Christ, and the treasures of heaven, at this ordinance ? Then look well to yourselves that you lose it not, for the devil is going about seeking to rob you thereof: Therefore be no lifted up or secure, but be humble and watchful, and walk circumspectly. Sect. II. Containing Directions how to Behave when
you go home to your Closets and Retiring Places.
THINK not your work over on a communion-fabbath, when you are come home from the church: But as soon as possible, retire.
I. For prayer. You should be more bent upon prayer now than ever. The Pfalmift, when God had dealt kindly with him, refclves therefore that he will call upon God as long as he lived, Psal. cxvi. 2. This is a strange return he would give God for former favours: He , would go and beg new favours from him, and lie the
more closely about his hand; I will love God, and love prayer the better all my days. This is not the manner of men, but God is delighted with such a return.
Quest, “ But what shall we pray for now? Can God give more than what he hath given us in the fa. crament?"
Anf. Though God hath here given you the feal of the covenant, and a right to all its privileges and promises; yet he will be enquired of by you for the particular application and accomplishment of them : You must put God to his word, and pray with the Psalmist, Psal. cxix. 49. " Remember the word unto thy fervant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope. Be it to thy servant according to thy word." Again, you should pray that God may continue and preserve any good frame or tenderness of heart, spiritual motions and resolutions, or any warmness of affections and desires that have been wrought in you by this ordinance ; for our hearts are ready to cool, and our goodness to vanish " like the morning clouds and the early dew:" You have need therefore to pray with David, i Chron. xxix. 18. « Lord, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of my heart:" And, Psal. Ixviii. 28. “ Strength en, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us." Your hearts are naturally deceitful, and your feet bent to backsliding i pray as in Psal. xvii. 5.'“ Hold up my goings in thy paths, that my footsteps flip not." "You have no strength in yourselves to keep the promises; and perform the vows to the Lord which you have made : Therefore beg from your covenanted God, that he may furnish you for every good word and work; for '« it is he that worketh in you both to will and to do."
II. Self.examination is a duty most neceffary on the back of this folemn ordinance, as well as before it. Review your carriage at it, so that you may be humbled for defects, or thankful for attainments ; cast up your accounts, and see what you have gained at this gospelo market. Will you not be as wise for your souls, as you are for your bodies ? Were you at a market trading for the things of this world, you would take this course after you had come from it : But, o o what will it profit