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to fecure our felves of that his gracious Co-opera


Wherefore let us ftand bogling no longer at the Difficulty of our Progress in Religion, fince God be praised, there is nothing required of us beyond what we are able; do you but your Partwhich is only what you can, and then doubt not but God will do his; put forth but your honeft, Hearty Endeavour, and earnestly implore his Aid and Affiftance, and if then you mifcarry, let Heaven answer for it. But if upon a Pretence that your Work is too difficult, and your Enemies too mighty for you, you lay down your Arms, and refolve to contend with them no longer, let Heaven and Earth judge between God and you, which is to be charged with your ruine, God, that fo graciously offered you his Help, that stretched out his Hand to raise ye up, tendered you his fpirit to guard and conduct ye through all Oppofitions to eternal Happiness, or you, that would not be perfuaded to do any thing for your felves, but rather chofe to perifh with Eafe, than take any Pains to be faved.

V. Confider that the Practice of thefe Duties is not fo difficult, but that it is fairly confiftent with all your other neceffary Occafions. When men are told how many Duties are neceffary to their fuccefsful Progreß in Religion, what Patience and Conftancy, what frequent Examinations and Trials of themfelves, what lively Thoughts and Expectations of Heaven, &c. they are apt to conclude, that if they fhould ingage to do all this, they must refolve to do nothing else, but even fhake hands with all their fecular Bufinefs and Diverfions,


Diverfions, and Cloifter up themselves from all other Affairs. Which is a very great Miftake, proceeding either from their not confidering, or not understanding the nature of thefe religious Exercises, the greatest part of which are fuch as are to be wholly tranfacted in the Mind, whofe Motions and Operations are much more nimble and expedite than thofe of the Body, and fo'may be very well intermixt with our fecular Employments, without any Lett or Hindrance to them. For what great time is there required for a man now and then to revolve a few wife and ufeful Thoughts in his Mind, to confider the Nature of an Action when it occurs, and reflect upon an Error when it's past and hath escaped him? I can confider a Temptation when it's approaching me, and with a Thought or two of Heaven or Hell arm my Refolution against it in the twinkling of an eye; I can look up to Heaven with an eye of earnest Expectance, and fend my Soul thither in a fhort Ejaculation without interrupting my Bufinefs; and yet thefe and fuch as thefe, do make up a great part of thofe religious Exercises wherein the proper Duty of our Chriftian War fare confifts. And though to the due performance of thefe Duties, it will be fometimes neceffary that our Minds fhould dwell longer upon them, yet it is to be confidered that when once we are entered upon the Practice of them, our Mind will be much more at Leisure to attend to them; for then 'twill be in a great meafure taken off from its wild and unreasonable Vagaries, from its finful Defigns and lend Contrivances, from its PhantaStick Complacencies in the Pleasures of Sin, and

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anxious Reflections on the Guilt and Danger of it; and when all this Rubbish is thrown out of the Mind, there will be room enough for good Thoughts to dwell in it, without interfering with any of our neceffary Cares and Diverfions. For would we but give these our religious Exercises as' much Room in our Minds as we did heretofore freely allow to our Sins; they would ask no more, but leave us as much at Leifure for our other Affairs

as ever.

I confefs there are fome of thefe Duties that exact of us their fixt and fated Portions of Time, fuch as our Morning Confideration and Prayer, our Evening Examination and Prayer, our religious Obfervation of the Lords Day, and our preparing for and receiving the Holy Sacrament; but all this may be very well fpared without any Prejudice to any of our lawful Occafions. For what great matter of Time doth it ask for a man to think over a few good Thoughts in the Morning, and forearm his Mind with them against the Temptations of the Day; to recommend himself to God in a fhort, pithy, and affectionate Prayer, and re-. peat his Purpofe and Refolution of Obedience; what an eafie matter were it for you to borrow fo many Moments as would fuffice for this Purpose from your Bed, and your Comb and Looking-glaß? And as for the Evening,when your Bufinefs is over, it's a very hard cafe if you cannot fpare fo much time either from your Company or Refreshments as to make a fhort Review of the Actions of the Day; to confeß and beg Pardon for the Evils you have faln into, or to bleß God for the Good you have done, and the Evils you have avoided; and


then to recommend your felves to his Grace and Protection for the future. And as for your religious Obfervation of the Lords Day, it is only the Seventh Part of your Time; and can you think much to devote that, or at least the greatest Part of that, to him who gives you your Being and Duration? And laftly, as for your receiving the Lords Supper, 'tis at most but once a Month that you are invited to it, and 'tis a hard Cafe, if out of fo great a proportion of Time you cannot afford a few Hours to examine your Defects, and to quicken your Graces, and to dres and prepare your felves for that blessed Commemoration. Alas! how eafie were all this to a willing Mind? And if we had but half that Concern for our Souls and everlasting Intereft that we have for our Bodies, we should count fuch things as thefe not worth our mentioning. How difingenuous therefore is it for men to make fuch tragical Out-cries as they do of the Hardship and Difficulty of this fpiritual Warfare, when there is nothing at all in it that intrenches either on their fecular Callings, or neceffary Diversions; when they may be going onward to Heaven while they are doing their Bufineß, and mortifying their Lufts even in the Enjoyment of their Recreations, and fo take their Pleafure both here and hereafter ?

VI. Confider that the Difficulty of the fe Duties is fuch, as will certainly abate and wear off, by Degrees, if we conftantly practise them. For in all Undertakings whatsoever, it is Use that makes Perfectneß, and that which is exceeding hard to us at first, either through want of Skill to manage, or Inclination to practise it, will by degrees

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degrees grow easier and easier, as we are more and more accustomed and familiarized to it. And this we fhall find by Experience, if we conftantly exercise our felves in thefe progreffive Duties of our Religion, which to a Mind that hath been altogether unacquainted with them, will at first be very difficult. 'Twill go against the grain of a wild and ungoverned Nature, to be confined from its extravagant Ranges by the strict ties of a religious Difcipline; and to reduce a roving Mind to fevere Confideration, or a fickle one to Conftancy and Refolution, or an unreflecting one to Selfexamination; to raise up an earthly Mind to heavenly Thoughts and Expectations; and confine a liftles and regardleß one to ftrict Watchfulness and Circumfpection; to confine a carnal mind to frequent Sacraments; or an indevout & careless one to its daily and weekly periods of Devotion, will at the first no doubt be very painful and tedious; but after we have perfifted in,and for a while accustomed our felves to it, we fhall find it will quickly grow nore natural and eafie to us, and from being grievous it will become tolerable, from being tolerable cafic, and from being cafie delightful. For when once we come to feel the good Effects of those Duties in our Natures, how faft our Lufts do decline,our Difpofitions mend, and all our Graces improve in the Ufe of them, the Senfe of this will mightily indear and ingratiate them to us. Just as it is with a Scholar, when he first enters upon the Methods of Learning, they are very tedious and irk fom to him; the pains of reading, obferving, and recollecting, the Confinement to a Study, and the racking his Brains with fevere Reasoning and Difcourfe,


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