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Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord, the tem
ple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these; but thoroughly amend your ways and your doings, &c. Jer. vii. 4, 5. Of true prayer and worship in Spirit and in Truth. See also John iv. 24.
Rom. xii. 1. James i. 27. As a contrite heart is the most pleasing temple of God; so speaking
with God in words of our own, as a child does with his father, is the best book of prayer. The most cunning method, by which Satan deceives many now, is, the mistaking of an extensive knowledge and an assurance of their own making, not witnessed by the Spirit for true faith ; or trusting on some outward form of worship, or having communion with others, or pretending to gospel-experience and liberty, and thereby claiming the office of building up souls, though a true change was never wrought in their own hearts; for what can all our reading, prayers, going to church, and sacrament, profit us, without this? Before all this shall be acceptable to the Lord, we must be re. newed in our minds, and prove by our own words and deeds that we are the living temples of God.
Is there a thing beneath the sun
That strives with thee my heart to share ?
O hide this self from me, that I
No more, but Christ in me may live!
In all things may I nothing see,
Forsake me not, O Lord my God, be not far fron me. Divine
Answer: The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed ; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that has mercy on thee. O thou afflicted, tossed with tempests, and not comforted; behold, I will lay thy stones with fuir colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires ; and I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of
carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones. Isa. liv. 10–15. Such as have never felt spiritual distress, cannot relish this word of
promise ; but they who have been brought out of great misery by this sweet word, or any other word of promise applied to their hearts by the Holy Ghost, will henceforth take hold of it and prize it ; — yea, they should firmly believe, even without a present feeling of its comfort, that God will certainly perform the promise he has once sealed upon them. He is a God that changeth not, and a God in covenant with his people, and his covenant is everlasting; therefore he will not forsake his people, but order all things for their good, and conduct them safely through their pilgrimage, though violent enemies assault them, and mighty tempests fall upon them. His faithfulness stands engaged for this. Firm are the words bis prophets give, T' embrace the message of his Son, Sweet words on which believers live ; And call the joys of Heav'n our own. Each of them is the voice of God,
Then should the earth's old pillars shake, Who spoke and spread the skies abroad.
And all the wheels of nature break; O! for a strong, a lasting faith,
Our steady souls should fear no more To credit what th' Almighty saith !
Than solid rocks when billows roar.
Lean not unto thine own understanding. Prov. iii. 5. Be not wise in
your own conceits (Rom. xii. 16); for the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. 1 Cor. iii. 19.
Whoever desires to know the will of the Lord, and prayeth earnestly
for instruction, shall certainly know his will. But he must not be wise in his own conceit, nor lean to his own understanding, nor expect that the wisdom or learning of this world will explain the things of God. He must not seek to reconcile the word to his lusts, but combat his lusts by the word. In short, he must come to Jesus for instruction, with the same simplicity of mind as a child comes to learn its letters; and not come for a month or a year, but sit all his life at the feet of Jesus, to receive instruction from him. Lord, make me jealous of myself, enable me to go in and out with prayer, and keep me from all errors that
Thus saith the wisdom of the Lord,
Immortal life is his reward ;
But the vile wretch that Mies from me
The soul that seeks me shall obtain
So we preach, and so ye believed. 1 Cor. xv. 11. The method of the gospel is this: First, it proposeth things which
are peculiarly its own. So the apostle sets down the constant entrance of his preaching. I Cor. xv. 3. It reveals its own mysteries, laying them as the foundation of faith and obedience; and it also inlays them in the mind, thereby conforming the whole soul unto them. Rom. vi. 17. Gal.iv.19. Tit. ii. il, 12. 1 Cor. iï. 11. 2 Cor. iii. 18. This foundation being laid, it then grafts all duties of moral obedience on the stock of faith in Christ Jesus. Where this foundation is not laid through ige norance, or rejected through prejudice, the gospel hath nothing to do with such men: it neither renews their souls, nor produces any genuine fruit of obedience. Thus the apostle Paul, .in all his epistles, teaches first the mysteries of faith that are peculiar to the gospel, and then descends unto those moral duties which are regulated thereby ; so we must first hear the gospel, and be acquainted with its discoveries before we can believe aright; and when our faith is rightly founded, it is to show itself in the practice of all those good works that are required of us in the Scriptures. “As many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.” Reveal mysterious gospel-truth, And plant it on my mind, O Lord;
So will my spirit be renew'd, 1
And yield obedience to thy word.
How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?
Gen. xxxix. 9.
Josepu was a slave, and in a strange country: he was tempted by a
wanton and revengeful mistress: had he complied, he would have been sure of secrecy and rewards ; but if he resisted, he night expect her keenest resentment, if not the loss of his life. Yet all these could not influence him; he chooses to submit to every inconvenience and danger, rather than be guilty of so foul a crime, and sin against God, From hence we may learn, that the fear of God is a most effectual
pre, servative against all criminal indulgences; it was this that restrained Joseph, and will, where it is possessed, have the same effect on all mankind, upon all occasions, and in every scene of life. It strikes every pas. sion, every spring of human actions, and includes in it all the most powerful motives, by which the conduct of mankind is determined. If interest be the principal thing that sways us, that surely cannot be so certainly promoted as by securing the favour of God, and avoiding his displeasure. If we are governed by our fears, he is the most formidable Being in the universe to a mind that has perverted its faculties and transgressed the laws of its nature: if by hope, he is the
supreme Good; if by love, he is the most amiable and perfect Excellence ; if by gratitude, he is the Author of all our happiness.
O Lord, such godly fear And looks to thee when sin is nea“, As feels thy presence nigh;
And inakes the tempter fiy.