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My soul shall more delight itself with the matter, than my ears with the melody of thy facred notes : church-music will be then truly sweet unto me, when mine outward joy is subservient to mine inward.
Man's finful weakness shall not make me flight thy holy ordinances : if my pastor have failings, I will pity, and pray for him, but not despise him. If I look into my own soul, I shall there find work enough to repair mine own ruins. This, Lord, shall rather move me to extol thy mercy, in uphold. ing mine own steps, to lament the sadness of my brother's misery, Lord, let me never think myself better than another, because I know not how soon I may become worse.
I shall willingly continue in that fold where thou . hast placed me, and hope to remain there with comfort, till thou shalt lead me out with safety. While I am at thy feeding, I am happy; one of thy morfels well digested with humility and thankfulness, will yield me better nourishment than that other food of mine own finding. The very meanest of thy ministers may afford me patience, and that heavenly grace, with thy blessing to boot, is a great advantage. If I receive thy sacred word with cheerfulness, with earnestness of heart, my obedience Shall be accepted, my zeal rewarded.
" While I am within thy walls, I shall account that gesture most decent, that is most humble, and those ceremonies most neceffary, that are most suitable to obedience; all matters of doctrine (which are necessary to salvation) ought to be guided by the sacred word, which is the only rule of faith; all matters of discipline (which are necessary only to obedience) are therefore left to the churches care ; that as thou art one, so thy church may be one in . that blessed union of love, which is the bond of peace,
AND now, O Lord, if thou shalt call me to a strict account for all the misdemeanors in thy sacred worship, with what confusion of face must I needs appear before thee.?
How many evil suggestions? how many idle imaginations? how many sinful objects have I often entertained, to divert my thoughts from thy service.?
I have too often 'sinned in absenting thy house, but more often and more grievously in frequenting it, by coming carelessly and out of custom, by unbeseeming gestures, cold prayers, heartless hearing, prophane scoffing, curious censuring, and even in the best of my performances, by serving thee my God by halves; all this I heartily bewail, and earnestly desire thy pardon and forgiveness for it.
Lord, let this day's rest of my body, bring to my remembrance, that eternal rest of my soul; let me not now think mine own thoughts, speak mine own words, do mine own actions, but come before thee with a sanctified and humble soul, with a wounded and contrite spirit.
Repel all evil suggestions, remove all idle imaginations, divert all sinful objects, enlighten mine understanding, rectify my will, strengthen my mem mory, subdue mine affections, that I may rejoice in thy love, delight in thy law, long for thy presence, rely on thy promise, thirst for thy grace, and be for ever blessed in thy glory. Amen.
UPON OUR RETURNING FROM GOD'S HOUSE, AND
THE NEGLECT OF PRIVATE DUTIES.
He that knoweth thee, will undoubtedly delight to serve thee; if I call thy fabbath a delight, my thoughts in this day will be pure, my words gracious, mine actions holy. That soul which cannot joyfully familiarize itself with thee in this life, may well be fearful to be seen of thee in that to come.
When I seriously consider what a rich favor I enjoy, how great a distance I am at from thee my God, how sweet a mercy thou affordest me to speak unto thee, I cannot but confess mine own unwor. thiness, if I regard rot what I hear, if I rejoice not to recal thy blessed words to my remembrance.
How dreadful was that voice that spake in thun. der! and how severe the words that then were spo. ken! how blessed is this still music of the gospel! and how delightful to my wounded spirit! Lord let this raise my soul above the reach of earthly va. nities, let this encourage me to heavenly cheerfulness, in heavenly duties, to be joyful in reading, fervent in prayer, frequent in meditation, constant
in all. That knowledge will make woefully wise, which teacheth me to know, and not to do thy will. Meditation is the life of hearing. Practice the life of meditation, and a sincere heart the life of practice.
When I look into my life past, I find it to be all fin; when I consider of my life present, I cannot but confess it to be all shame; I am still so far from growing better, that I am become much worie; this is that blessed day which concerneth my peace, if I embrace not this happy opportunity, I may justly fear these gracious offers will be hid for ever. from mine eyes, each word, that I heard this day, is of weight; if I become not more holy by my heavenly. improvements by it, I shall certainly become sinful by my careless neglecting of it. Thy work, o Lord, will have its end, and this end (either to my happiness or ruin) shall assuredly promote thy glory; there is no vacuity in nature, with thee, the God of. nature, there can be none..
Think therefore, O my soul, that this day's in.). struction may be thy last (as thou hopest), for heaven, let it not pass thee without some profit: con-; fider seriously, how many millions of worlds one loft soul would give to be restored to thy condition, that to-morrow thou mayest be as one of them, and. then judge how great will be thy folly, how woeful}