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Careless, inconsiderate meditations; hypocritical, pharifaical fastings ; popular alms-deeds, having, only the shew of godliness, but denying the power thereof: all these, and whatsoever else are like to these, are odious to God, abominable to good men, and most destructive to their souls that are deluded by them.
When, by the sweet affistance of the heavenly goodness, and gentle breathings of his blessed spirit, we are drawing nearer to our heaven; when the anguilh distempers of the foul are. abated, and her native and radical heat is grown strong and vigorous; then the fervency of our zeal is a rich evi. dence of the liveliness of our faith, of the certainty of our hope, of the perfection of our charity; when our affections are inflamed with God's love, and our a&tions aim only at his glory; when we are grown up to that happy state of grace, that our consciences are pure, our resolutions godly, oui conversations unblamable; altho' we dare not then propose these base, and by respects, these outward aims, unto ourselves, yet how cunningly and closely will corruptions steal in upon us, even in these very blessed acts of grace? This is too truly proved, too sadly experienced, even by the very best of christians: (Lord, in thy rich mercy) give us eyes to discern it, hearts to avoid it.
How often may we find pride in our humility, luft in our desires of chastity, our own private ends in our propofals of God's public interest? when 'We bear a part amongst the mourners of Sion, when we are cast down for some human frailty, we prefently conceive highly of our own holiness, and very meanly of others in their relations unto happiness; while we have fought to become better, by the proposal of some strict rules, to preserve chaltity, have we not marry times become worse, by poisoning those desires by very unclean thoughts, and unclean actions ? How many while they have sincerely aimed at God's glory, 'by the holy proposal and happy performance of some real good for the benefit of his children, have been secretly furprized with the bye-end of their own deserved praise; Lord, how readily have I now. met with mine own fins, to thy great glory, and mine own deserved shame? I willingly confefs that I am guilty of all this, and infinitely more than this; even these very lines are witnesses against me, of my secret corruptions; Olet this my forrowful Huny Azeera confeffion purchase for theo my free and full remilano che fion, that ihou mayest have the glory, I the com.* fort, of these weak endeavours.
AND now Lord, seeing I am thus impure, and sinful in mine own eyes, even in the very best of my performances, how loathsome must I needs ape
pear in thy sight, who art purity itself, and canst not behold iniquity! Blessed Lord, as thou hast given me the light of thy word to discover me unto myself, so give me also the sword of thy spirit, to deliver me from myself.
Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil man, from · mine own secret corruptions, and unknown abominations.
Although I am unto mine own soul both ruin and destruction; yet let my blessed Saviour be unto me lafety and salvation.
Search my heart (O Lord) and try my reins; O let no base and by-respects inhabit there, to rob thee of thine honor; no false and vain respects, to cheat me of my present holiness, and future happiness.
to che thine hon Vorespecte
Pardon and pass by the secret and unknown er. rors of my sinful life, suppress the great disturbances of my corrupt affections, although they many times prevail against me, yet let thy saving grace (Lord) be fufficient for me.
Lord, make me purely and entirely holy; let me love holiness, neither for fear of thy punishments nor for hope of thy rewards, but for thy fake only, (O my God) who art holiness itself. Let me never think myself holy enough, but forget all those holy -actions which are pafty and press hard forward towards the mark, for the rich price of the high call. ing in Christ Jesus,
Lord, crown my holy desires with happy per. formances, and blessed perseverance, that at the end of my race I may receive the end of my hopes, the salvation of my precious soul, and that for his fake, and perfect holiness by whom I trust these weak, and sinful endeavours of mine, shall be graciously accepted, and faithfully rewarded. --Amen.
UPON THE UNRULINESS OF THE TONGUE, WITH
NECESSARY CAUTIONS TO RESTRAIN IT.
THY servant David is said to be a man after thine own heart, and yet I find him setting a watch before his lips, that he might not offend with his tongue; if such a chosen vessel as he had so much need of circumspection, what holy cautions had I need to use, what strict rules to observe, who am so far from David's purity, that I am nothing else but wilful impiety? I am too far Lord, from being at union with thee, that I am even enmity itself against thee.
In vain had holy David set' a watch before his lips, unless he had first set a guard upon his heart, where the fountain is impure the streams can never be wholesome; if the heart be full of sinful corruption, the tongue will soon overflow with corrupt and sinful communication.
Lord, I need none other proof of this point, than mine own sinful failings; how often have I provoked ihee to anger, and displeasure against me,