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infirmities of believers. Also it is necessary | enemies, the flesh, the world, and the devil, and that we have grateful, frieudly thoughts of God: therefore God will walk contrary to you. You that we have so much sense of his excellency, were both created and redeemed, though for goodness, and kindness to ourselves, as may your own felicity, yet principally for the glory give us a complacency in conversing with him, and pleasure of your Creator and Redeemer ; and and may make the thoughts and mention of for no felicity of your own but what consists in him to be desirable and pleasing to us. Walking pleasing him, glorifying him, and enjoying him ; with God doth import, though not the full as- “whether therefore we eat, or drink, or whatever surance of his special love and grace to us; yet we do, it should all be done to the glory of God.? such an apprehension of his love and goodness, He that regardeth a day, or regardeth it not; he as may draw the heart to think of him with de- that eateth, or that eateth not, must do it to the sire, if not with delight. A lothness to draw Lord. Though a good intention will not sanctify near him, to think of him, or to mention him, a a forbidden action, yet sins of ignorance and weariness of his special service, are contrary to mere frailty are borne and pardoned of God, when this special walking with God.
it is his glory and service that is sincerely in3. Our walking with God, doth include our tended, though there be a mistake in the choice esteeming and intending him as the ultimate end of means: none of us liveth to himself, and no and felicity of our souls. He is not to be sought, man dieth to himself : for whether we live, we or loved, or conversed with, as a means to any live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die greater good, (for there is no greater) nor as in- unto the Lord : whether we live therefore, or die, ferior, or merely equal unto any; his goodness we are the Lord's : for to this end Christ both must be the most powerful attractive of our love: died, rose, and revived, that he might be Lord his favour must be valued as our happiness; and both of the dead and living. Our walking with the pleasing of him must be our most industrious God, is a serious labouring, that whether preemployment. To walk with him, is to live in sent or absent, we may be accepted of him. To the warming, reviving sunshine of his goodness, this the love of our Redeemer must constrain and to feel a delighting, satisfying virtue in his us : for he died for all, that they which live, love and gracious presence. To live as those should not henceforth live unto themselves, but that are not their own, and that have their lives, unto him that died for them, and rose again.' faculties, provisions, and helps for their mas- Religion therefore is called the seeking of God, ter's service: as a horse or dog is of so much because the soul doth press after him, and labour worth, as he is of use to him that owns him ; to enjoy him, as the runner seeks to reach the and that is the best that is the most serviceable prize ; or as a suitor seeks the love and fruition to his master : yet with this very great differ- of the person beloved. All the particular acts ence, that man being a more noble and capacious of religion are oft denominated from this intencreature, is admitted not only into a state of ser- tion of the end, and following after it, and are vice, but of sonship, friendship, and communion all called a seeking the Lord. with God; and is allowed and appointed to Conversion is called a seeking the Lord. share more in the pleasure and fruits of his ser-Seek ye the Lord, while he may be found.' vices, aud to put in his own felicity and delight • The children of Israel shall return and seek the into his end ; not only because self-love is natu- Lord their God.'—* They do not return to the ral and necessary to the creature, but also be- Lord their God, nor seek him.' Men that are cause he is under the promise of a reward ; and called to conversion, are called to seek God. because he is a lover, and not only a servant, * Break up your fallow ground, for it is time to and his work is principally a work of love, and seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteoustherefore his end is the end of a lover, which is ness upon you.' The converted children of Ismutual complacency in the exercises of love. rael and Judah shall go weeping together to seek
He that seeks not first the kingdom and right the Lord their God.' The wicked are described eousness of God, and refers not other things to to be men that do not seek the Lord. The holy him, but seeks first the creature, and God only covenant was to seek the Lord: if therefore you for it, doth but deny God in his heart, and basely would walk with God, let him be the mark, the subject him to the works of his own hands, and prize, the treasure, the happiness, the heaven itdoth not walk with God, but vilify and reject self, which you aim at, and sincerely seek. * Now him. If you live not to God, even to obey, set your heart and your souls to seek the Lord please, and honour him, you do not walk with your God?— Glory ye in his holy name : let the him; but walk contrary to him, by living to his heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord: sech the Lord and his strength, seek his face for 1 to deliver us,' &c. •But if not, be it known unto evermore. As the life of a covetous man is a thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, seeking of riches, and the life of an ambitious man nor worship the golden image which thou hast is a seeking of worldly honour and applause, so the set up. Worldlings are ruled by their fleshly life of a man that lives to God, is a seeking him ; interest, wisdom, and self-will, and by the will of to please him, honour bim, and enjoy him ; and man so far as it doth comport with these: by so much of this as he attains, so much doth he at these you may handle them and lead them up tain of satisfaction and content. If you live to and down the world : by these doth satan hold God, and seek him as your end and all, the want them in captivity. But believers feel themselves of any thing will be tolerable to you, which is in subjection to a higher Lord, and better law, but consistent with the fruition of his love. If which they faithfully, though imperfectly obhe be pleased, man's displeasure may be borne : serve : therefore our walking with God is called the loss of all things, if Christ be won, will not a walking in his law, a walking in his statutes, undo us.
Man's condemnation of us signifies and keeping and doing his commands,-walking but little, if God the absolute judge do justify in his paths. It is our following the Lamb, us. He walks not with God, that lives not to which way soever he goeth : to be given up to him, as his only happiness and end.
our own hearts' lusts, and to walk in our counsels, 4. Moreover our walking with God includes is contrary to this holy walk with God, and is our subjection to his authority, and our taking the course of those that are departed from him: his wisdom and will to be our guide, and his and they that are far from him shall perish; be laws in nature and scripture for our rule ; you destroyeth those that go a whoring from him: must not walk with him as his equals, but as his but it is good for us to draw near to God.' subjects: nor give him the honour of an ordinary 5. Our walking with God doth imply that as superior, but of the universal king: in our doubts we are ruled by his will, so we fear no punishhe must resolve us; and in our straits we must ment like his threatened displeasure: and that ask counsel of the Lord : • Lord, what wouldest the threats of death from mortal men, will not thou have me to do,' is one of the first words of prevail with us so much as his threats of hell.? If a penitent soul. When sensual worldlings do God say, I will condemn thee to everlasting punfirst ask the flesh, or those that can do it hurt or ishment if thou wilt not keep my laws. If men good, what they would have them be or do; say, we will condemn thee to imprisonment or none of Christ's true subjects, do call any man' death, if thou keep them, the believer fears God father or master on earth, but in subordination more than man: the law of the king doth conto their highest Lord. The authority of God demn Daniel to the lion's den, if he forbear doth awe them, and govern them more than the not to pray for a certain time. But he fears fear of the greatest upon earth. Indeed they God more, that will deny those that deny him, know no power but God's, and that which he and forsake those that forsake him: therefore committeth unto man. Therefore they can obey the forementioned witnesses ventured on the no man against God, whatever it cost them : but fiery furnace, because God threatened a more under God they are most readily and faithfully dreadful fire. Therefore a true believer dare subject to their governors, not merely as to men not live, when an unbeliever dare not die: he that have power to hurt them if they disobey; dare not save his life from God, lest he lose it ; but as to the officers of the Lord, whose autho- but loseth it that he may save it. But unbe. rity they discern and reverence in them: but lievers that walk not with God, but after the when they have to do with the enemies of Christ, | Aesh, do most fear them that they observe most who usurp a power which he never gave them, powerful in the world, and will be more moved against his kingdom and the souls of men, they with the penalty of some worldly loss or sufferthink it easy to resolve the question, whether it ing, than with God's most dreadful threats of be better to obey God or man? As the com- hell: for that which they see not, is to them as mands of a rebellious constable, or other fellow nothing, while they want that faith by which it is subject, are of no authority against the king's foreknown, and must be escaped. commands : so the commands of all the men on 6. Moreover be that walks with God, doth earth, are of so small authority with them against from God expect his full reward. He ceases not the laws of God, that they fully approve of the his holy course, though no man observe him, or resolute answer of those witnesses in Dan. iii., none commend him or approve him ; though all • We are not careful to answer thee in this mat- about him hate him and condemn him; though ter: if it be so, our God whom we serve is able he be so far from gaining by it with men that it cost him all that he hath or hoped for in the down the world, in dangers, sufferings, and unworld : for he knows that godliness is of itself wearied labours, despised and abused by great great gain, and that it hath the promise of this and small : and all this to preach the gospel of life, and that to come, and none can make God's the kingdom, which they had never seen, and to promise void : he knows that his · Father which attain that everlasting happiness, and help others seeth in secret will reward him openly,' and that to attain it, for which they had nothing but the he shall have a treasure in heaven who parts with promise of their Lord. See what a promise well all on earth for Christ. He hath such respect to believed in will make a Christian do and suffer. this promised recompense of reward, that for it Believers did those noble acts, and the martyrs he can suffer with the people of God, and ac- underwent those torments, which are mentioned, count the very reproach of Christ a greater trea- Heb. xi. because they judged him faithful that sure than court or country can afford him in a had promised.' They considered not difficulties, way of sin. He accounts them blessed that are and defect of means, and improbabilities as to persecuted for righteousness' sake, because the second causes, nor staggered at the promise of kingdom of heaven is theirs. He judges it a God through unbelief ; but being strong in faith, cause of exceeding joy, to be reviled and perse- gave glory to God; being fully persuaded, that cuted, and to have all manner of evil falsely what he had promised he was also able to perspoken of us for the sake of Christ, because our form, as it is said of Abraham. reward in heaven is great. For he verily be- 8. To walk with God, is to live as in his prelieves, that as sure as these transitory pleasures sence, and that with desire and delight. When will have an end, and forsake those miserable we believe and apprehend that wherever we are, souls that were deluded by them, so certainly is we are before the Lord, who seeth our hearts there a life of endless joys, to be possessed in and all our ways; who knoweth every thought we heaven with God and all the holy ones; and this think, and every word we speak, and every sehe will trust to, as that which will fully repair his cret thing which we do: as verily to believe that losses, and repay his cost, and not deceive him : God is here present and observes all, as we do let others trust to what they will, it is this that that we ourselves are here: to compose ous he is resolved to trust to, and venture all to make minds, our thoughts, our affections to that holy it sure, when he is sure that all is nothing which reverence and seriousness as beseems man before he ventures, and that by the adventure he can his Maker : to order our words with that care and never be a loser, nor ever save by choosing gravity as beseems those that speak in the hearthat which itself must perish. Thus he that truly ing of the Lord. That no man's presence do walks with God expects his reward from God, seem more considerable to us than his presence : and with God, and thence is encouraged in all as we are not moved at the presence of a fly, or his duty, and thence is emboldened in all his con- worm, or dog, when persons of honour and reflicts, and thence is upheld and comforted in his verence are present, so should we not comparasufferings: when man is the rewarder, as well as the tively be moved at the presence of man, how chief ruler, of the hypocrite, then earthly things great, or rich, or terrible soever, when we know are the poise and motives to his earthly mind. that God himself is present, to whom the great.
7. Our walking with God imports that as we est of the sons of men, are more inconsiderable expect our reward from him, so also that we take than a fly or worm is unto them. As the prehis promise for our security for that reward. Be- sence of the king makes ordinary standers by to lieving his word and trusting his fidelity to the be unobserved, and the discourses of the learned quieting and emboldening of the soul, is part of make us disregard the babblings of children ; so our holy walking with him. A promise of God the presence of God should make the greatest to is greater satisfaction and encouragement to a be scarce observed or regarded in comparison of true believer, than all the visible things on earth : him: God, who is still with us, should so much a promise of God can do more, and prevail fur- take up our regard, that all others in his presence ther with an upright soul, than all the sensible should be but as a candle in the presence of the objects in the world. He will do more, and go sun. further upon such a promise, than he will for all Therefore it is that a believer composes himthat man can give him. Peruse the life of Christ's self to that behaviour which he knows God doth apostles, and see what a promise of Christ can most expect, and beseems those that stand bedo; how it made them forsake all earthly plea- fore him : when others accommodate themselves sures, possessions and hopes, and part with to the persons that are present, observing them, friends, houses, and country, and travel up and pleasing them, and showing them respect, while they take no notice of God at all, as if they be- sanctified to us, while • Holiness to the Lord' is lieved not that he is there. Hence it is that the written upon all.
Though we must not theremen of God were wont to speak, though reve- fore make idols of the creatures, because God rently, yet familiarly of God, as children of their appears to us in them, yet must we hear the Father with whom they dwell, as being indeed message which they bring us, and reverence in fellow-citizens with the saints, who are his house them the name of the Creator which they bear hold: Abraham calls him, “the Lord before By this way of conversing with them, they will whom I walk;' and Jacob, God before whom not ensnare us, or deceive, or poison us, as they my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked ;' and do the carnal unbelieving world: but as the fish David resolves, ‘I will walk before the Lord in brought money to Peter to pay his tribute, so the land of the living.' Yea, God himself is pleased every creature would bring us a greater, even a to use the terms of gracious condescending fa- spiritual gain. When we behold it, we should miliarity with them. Christ dwelleth in them by say with pleasant admiration, “This is the work faith, his Spirit dwelleth in them as his house and of God, and it is wonderful in our eyes. This temple, yea, the Father himself is said to dwell the true divine philosophy, which seeks, and in them, and they in him. · He that keepeth his finds, and contemplates, and admires the great commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him.' Creator in his works : when that which sticks in _ If we love one another, God dwelleth in us.' the creature itself, whatever discovery it seem to
- - Hereby we know that we dwell in him, and make, is but a childish unprofitable trifling : like he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.' learning to shape all the letters aright, without
• Whoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son learning to know their signification and sense. of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.'— It is God appearing in the creatures, that is the • God is love, and he that dwelleth in love, dwell- life, beauty, use, and excellence of all the creaeth in God, and God in him.' Yea, God is said tures; without him they are but useless, vain, to walk in them, as they are said to walk with insignificant things. him: ‘for ye are the temple of the living God; 10. Our walking with God contains our willas God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk ing and sincere attendance on him in the use of in them, and I will be their God, and they shall those duties in which he hath appointed us to exbe my people.
grace. He is everywhere in his essential Our walking with God then is not only a presence, but he is not everywhere alike to be sense of that common presence which he must found in the communications of his grace.
The needs afford to all ; but it is also a believing ap- assemblies of his saints that worship him in boly prehension of his gracious presence, as our God communion, are places where he is more likely and reconciled Father, with whom we dwell, be- to be found, than in an ale-house or a play-house. ing brought near unto him by Christ; and who You are more likely to have holy converse with dwells in us by his Spirit.
him among the holy, that will speak of holy things 9. To walk with God, includes not only our to your edification, than among the senseless igbelieving in his presence, but also that we see him norant sensualists, and the scornful enemies of in his creatures, and his daily providence, that holiness, that are the servants of the devil, whom we look not on creatures as independent or se- he uses in his daily work for the deceiving and parated from God; but see them as the glass, perdition of the world. Therefore the conversaand God as the represented face ; and see them tion of the wicked doth grieve and vex a rightas the letters and words, and God as the sense of eous soul, as it is said the Sodomites did by Lot, all the creatures that are the first book which he because all their conversation is ungodly, far appointed manto read. We must behold his glory from God, not savouring of any true knowledge declared by the heavens, and see him shining in of him or love to him, but is against him by enthe sun ; and see his power in the fabric of the mity and provocation. If God himself do dwell world, and his wisdom in the admirable order of and walk in all his holy ones, then they that the whole : we must taste the sweetness of his dwell and walk with them, have the best opporlove in the sweetness of our food and in the tunity to dwell and walk with God. To concomforts of our friends, and all our accommoda- verse with those in whom God dwelleth, is to tions; we must see, and love his image in his converse with him in his image, and to attend holy ones; and we must hear his voice in the him at his dwelling: and wilfully to run among ministry of his messengers. Thus every creature the wicked, is to run far away from God. . In must become a preacher to us, and we must see his temple doth every man speak of his glory, the name of God upon it: thus all things will be I when among his enemies every man speaks to the dishonour of him in his word and ways. He in pleasant contented thoughts of his benignity, is otherwise present with those that are congre- and of his glory, and the glory which he confers gated in his name and for his worship, than he on his saints. He that is unskilful or unable to is with those that are assembled for wickedness manage his own thoughts with some activity, or vanity, or live as mere animals 'without God seriousness, and order, will be a stranger to in the world. And we must draw as near him much of the holy converse which believers have as we can, if we would be such as walk with with God. They that have given up the governGod.
ment of their thoughts, and turned them loose We must not be strange to him in our to go which way fancy pleases, and present senthoughts, but make him the object of our most sitive objects do invite them, and to run up and serious meditations: it is said of the wicked that down the world as masterless unruly vagrants, they are • far from God ;' and that · God is not in can hardly expect to keep them in any constant all their thoughts. The thoughts are the mind's attendance upon God, or readiness for any sacred employment. It dwells on that which it frequently work. The sudden thoughts which they have thinks of. It is a walk of the mind, and not of of God, will be rude and stupid, savouring more the body which we are treating of. To mind of profane contempt, than of holiness, when they the world, and fleshly things, is contrary to this should be reverend, serious, affectionate and walk with God: we are far from him, when our practical, and such as conduce to a holy compothoughts are, ordinarily, far from him. I know sure of their hearts and lives. that it is lawful and meet to think of the busi- As we must walk with God, 1. In our comness of our callings, so far as is necessary to the munion with his servants. 2. In our affectionate prudent successful management of them; that it meditations ; so also 3. In all the ordinances is not requisite that our thoughts be always ac- which he hath appointed for our edification and tually upon God: but he that doth manage his his worship. calling in holiness doth all in obedience to God's 1. The reading of the word of God, and the commands, and sees that his work be the work explication and application of it in good books, of God, and he intends all to the glory of God, is a means to possess the mind with sound, oror the pleasing of his blessed will : and he oft derly, and working apprehensions of God, and renews these actual intentions ; and oft inter- of his holy truths : so that in such reading our poses thoughts of the presence, or power, or understandings are oft illuminated with a healove, or interest of him whom he is serving : he venly light, and our hearts are touched with a often lifts up his soul in some holy desire or special delightful relish of that truth ; and they ejaculatory request to God : he oft takes are secretly attracted and engaged unto God, sion from what he sees, or hears, or is doing, and all the powers of our souls are excited and for some more spiritual meditation or discourse : animated to a holy obedient life. so that still it is God that his mind is principally 2. The same word preached with a lively employed on or for, even in his ordinary work, voice, with clearness and affection, hath a greater while he lives as a christian.
advantage for the same illumination and excitaIt is not enough to think of God, but we tion of the soul. When a minister of Christ that must think of him as God, with such respect, is truly a divine, being filled with the knowledge reverence, love, trust, and submission (in our and love of God, shall copiously and affectionmeasure, as is due from the creature to his Cre-ately open to his hearers, the excellencies which ator. For as some kind of speaking of him is he hath seen, and the happiness which he hath but a taking his name in vain : so some kind of foreseen and tasted of himself, it frequently, thinking of him is but a dishonouring of him, through the co-operation of the Spirit of Christ, by contemptuous or false unworthy thoughts. doth wrap up the hearers' hearts to God, and Most of our walking with God consists in such bring them into a more lively knowledge of affectionate apprehensions of him as are suitable him, actuating their graces, and enflaming their to his blessed attributes and relations. All the hearts with a heavenly love, and such desires as day long our thoughts should be working either God hath promised to satisfy. Christ doth not on God, or for God : either upon some work of only send his ministers furnished with authority obedience which he hath imposed on us, and in from him, but also furnished with his Spirit, to which we desire to please and honour him, or speak of spiritual things in a spiritual manner; else directly upon himself. Our hearts must be so that in both respects he might say, 'he that taken up in contemplating and admiring him, in 'heareth you, heareth me:' and also by the same magnifying his name, his word and works; and / Spirit doth open and excite the hearts of the