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and fio, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, and at last come to nothing.
Others, pretending to be better settled, attuin to some form of godliness, but are without the life and power of it; they appear to have some notions and opinions about the way of righteousness, but not being taught them of God, nor coer brought under the nighly influence of them, their walk is Therefore very uneven and irregular, and generally in the end brings great scandal upon the name and cause of Christ.
We have also many at this day, who set out in the ways of religion, but never felt the ruin of the fall
, nor the plague of their own hearts: these are commonly very confident and presumptuous ; they make a shining profession, and go on with great parade, until they come to be tried; and then, in the time of temptation, they fall away.
There are others who are the real children of God, and yet do not walk as becometh their high rank and dignity. An even, holy, happy walk with their reconciled God and Father, is their privilege, and there is grace sufficient promised in Jesus, and to be received by his Spirit, to enable them to live up to it, that they may walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing. Yea, the apostles call upon them and encourage them to be going on and advancing in the right way_" Fur
thermore then we beseech you and exhort you, brethren, by the Lord Jesus Christ, " that as ye have received of us, how ye
ought to walk and to please God, so ye " would abound more and more. 1 Thess. iv. 1. How few follow this evangelical exhortation! How very few attain and preserve in their consciences the sense of God's being perfectly at peace with them! It ought to rule there always, and by all means : but for want of it, they afford continual occasion for a legal and unbelieving spirit to rob them of their peace, and thereby to distress them in their hearts. As guilt comes in, love goes out. IV hat weakens the cause must also weaken the effect. Love, with its fruits, must decrease in proportion as the believer withdraws his heartdependence from God. Then he begins to walk uneven and uncomfortable, he grows cold and indifferent about spiritual things ; he gets into darkness and discontent ; he becomes quite unhappy in his frame, and unthankful in his affections : whatever was the cause of his falling into this decay, it began at the root. His faith was attacked, and gave way. As this yielded, the decay became general, and it was found true,
ye will walk contrary unto me, saith God, " then will I also walk contrary unto you."
Reader, if thou hast the faith of God's clect, thou knowest that these things are
true. Thou findest it hard work to maintain peace with God: and if this be not maintained, if the foundation give way, the building will certainly totter. Look well then to the ground-work. Is all safe there? Dost thou see the infinite glory of the Saviour's work, when he made peace by the blood of the cross, and does this silence guilt in thy conscience? Canst thou at all times draw nigh in love to a reconciled God ?Does not the sense of thy failings and remaining corruptions keep thee at a distance from him, and render thy walk uncomfortable ? especially when without are fightings, within are fears. If it be very difficult under suchotrials to preserve a sense of God's loving kindness, yet it should be remembered, there is a gracious provision made for the establishing of the soul so safely in Jesus Christ, that the peace of God may rule in it always, and by all means. Is it not necessary then to inquire what this provision is ? how it may be received ? and how it may be made use of? For if by daily practice it may be experienced in its divine power, it will then have the same happy effect, which it had upon David ; “ I will run " the way of thy commandments, when thou " hast set my heart at liberty.” May thine heart, reader, and mine, enjoy more of the liberty of the children of God, and then we shall not only go forward, but also run fast ;
and may nothing stop us from pressing toward the mark, till we win the prize of the high calling of Jesus Christ in God.
This has been my constant prayer during the writing of the following treatise. It was the fruit of reading, and meditating, and praying over those scriptures, which speak of the
walk of faith. Such reflections, as used to occur to myself, I have put down ; whether it was in searching mine own heart, or in begging the blessing of God upon the text then under consideration. This seemed to me an easy method, and very useful: because the doctrine would lead to practice, and frequent and heart-searching meditations would tend, under the teaching of the Holy Ghost, to an increase of faith. There are some soliloquies, addressed to my own soul, and some exercises of devotion, in prayer and thanksgiving. I would have every believer to consider, whether it be not his privilege to join me in them, and to make my words his own. If he cannot follow me in his experience after the 6th chapter, I pray God to increase his faith, that his book and his experience may go hand in hand ;and that he may attain to holy fellowship with God in all duties, and to rejoice in God at all times, yea, under the cross itself; and to go on conquering and to conquer, till the good fight of Faith be over, and he finish his course with joy.
CO N T E N T S
OF VOLUME I.
CHAP. I. Whoever walks with God must be first acquainted with the way of peace,
has the peace of God ruling in his con-
God, and walks with him in love, 54
while he walks by faith in a constant
ding to the word, walking with a free