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is driven from hypocrisy, and forced to behave as well as the most open transgression of the himself as in the open light, and to do all as in the life : for the thoughts of the heart are open to his sight of all the world, as knowing that the sight view. All that is done before God, is done as of God is of far greater concern and regard. in the open light: nothing of it can be hid: no The partiality, corruption and bias of the heart, sin can have the encouragement of secrecy to are detected and shamed by the presence of God. embolden it. It is all committed in the presence Therefore to walk with God is to walk in the of the universal king and lawgiver of the world, light, and as children of the light, and not in who hath forbidden it: it is done before him darkness. He that doth truth cometh to the that most abhors it, and will never be reconciled Jight, that his deeds might be manifest, that they to it. It is done before him that is the judge of are wrought in God: when every one that doth the world, and will shortly pass the sentence on evil hateth the light, neither comes to the light, us according to what we have done in the body. lest his deeds should be reproved : this is their | It stands up in his presence who is of infinite condemnation, that light is come into the world, majesty and perfection, and therefore most to be and men love the darkness rather than the light, reverenced and honoured ; therefore if the prebecause their deeds are evil. It tends therefore sence of a wise, grave, and venerable person, exceedingly to make men wise, to walk with will restrain men from sin, the presence of God, God, because it is a' walking in the light,' and in apprehended seriously, will do it much more. It such a presence as most powerfully prevails is committed before him that is our dearest against that hypocrisy, deceitfulness and partial friend, tender father, and chief benefactor : thereity of the heart, which is the common cause of fore ingenuity, gratitude and love, will all rise destructive error.
| up against it in those that walk with God. 10. Lastly, they that walk with God are en- | There is that in God, before the eyes of those titled by inany promises, to the guidance and di- that walk with him, which is most contrary to rection of his Spirit. Blessed are those that sin, and most powerful against it, of any thing have such a guide: at once a light in the world in the world. Everyone will confess, that without them, and a light immediately from God if men's eyes were opened to see the Lord within them: for so far as he is received and in glory standing over them, it would be the works in them, he will lead them into truth, and most powerful means to restrain them from transsave them from deceit and folly, and having gressing: the drunkard would not then venture
guided them by his counsel, will afterward take upon his cups: the fornicator would have a coolthem unto glory. Whereas the ungodly are led ing for his lusts : the swearer would be afraid by the flesh, and often 'given up to their own to take his Maker's name in vain : the profane hearts' lusts, to walk in their own counsel,' till at would scarce presume to scorn or persecute a last the fools do say in their hearts, There is no holy life. He that walks with God, though he God, and they become corrupt and abominable, see him not corporally, yet sees him by faith, and eating up the people of the Lord as bread, and lives as in his presence; and therefore must needs call not on his name.'—Deceiving and being be restrained from sin, as having the means which deceived ; sensual, having not the Spirit, who is next to the sight of God. If pride should be shall receive the reward of their unrighteous- gin to stir in one that walks with God, O what ness, as accounting it pleasure to riot in the day a powerful remedy is at hand! How effectually timne.'
would the presence of the great and holy God SECT. IV. Another benefit of walking with rebuke it ; and constrain us to say, 'I have heard God, is, that it makes men good, as well as wise : of thee by the hearing of the ear; but now mine it is the most excellent means for the advance- eye seeth thee ; wherefore I abhor myself, and ment of man's soul to the highest degree of holi- repent in dust and ashes. If worldly love, or ness attainable in this life. If conversing with carnal lust, should stir in such a one, how powergood men doth powerfully tend to make men fully would the terrors of the Lord repress it; good; conversing with God must needs be and his majesty rebuke it; and his love and more effectual ; which may appear in these par- goodness overcome it? If worldly cares or murticulars.
muring discontents begin to trouble such a one, 1. The apprehensions of the presence and at- how effectually will the goodness, the all-suffitributes of God, do most effectually check the stir-ciency and the faithfulness of God allay them, rings of corruption, and rebuke all the vicious in- and quiet and satisfy the soul, and cause it to be clinations and motions of the soul: even the most offended at its own offence, and to chide itself secret sin of the heart, is rebuked by his presence, | for its repinings and distrust ? If passion arise
and begin to discompose us; how powerfully him, and obey him, than himself. It is life eterwill the presence of God rebuke it? and the re- nal to know him in his Son, and that is, not only verence of his majesty, and the sense of his au- because it entitles to life eternal, but also because thority and pardoning grace will assuage it, and it is the beginning and incentive of that life of shame us into silent quietness ; who dare let out holiness which will be eternal. his passions upon man, in the presence of his 5. Moreover, those that walk with God, have Maker, that apprehends his presence? The same a constant as well as a powerful and universal I might say of all other sins.
incentive to exercise and increase their graces. 2. The presence and attributes of God appre- Other helps may be out of the way: their hended by those that walk with him, is the po- preachers may be silenced or removed : their tent remedy against temptations. Who will once friends may be scattered or taken from them : turn an eye to the gold and glory of the world, their books may be forbidden, or not at band : that is offered him to allure to sin, if he see God but God is always ready and willing : they have stand by ; who would be tempted to lust or any leave at all times to come to him, and be wel. sinful pleasure, if he observe the presence of the come. Whenever they are willing they may go Lord ? Satan can never come in so ill a time to him by prayer or contemplation, and find all with his temptations, and have so little hope to in him which they can desire. If they want not speed, as when the soul is contemplating the at-hearts, they shall find no want of any thing in tributes of God, or taken up in prayer with him, God. At what time soever fear would torment or any way apprehensive of his presence. The them, they may draw near and put their trust soul that faithfully walks with God, hath enough in him. He will be a sure and speedy refuge at hand in him to answer all temptations. The for them, a very present help in trouble. Whenfurther any man is from God, and the less he ever coldness or lukewarmness would extinguish knows him, the more temptations can do upon the work of grace, they may go to hiin, and find
those streams of flaming love flow from him, 3. The presence of God, affords the most power those strong attractives, those wonderful mercies, ful motives unto good, to those that walk with those terrible judgments, of which, while they him. There is no grace in man, but is from God, are musing, the fire may again wax hot within and may find in God its proper object or incen- them. tive. As God is God, above the creature trans- 6. Lastly, by way of encouraging reward, Gud cendently and infinitely in all perfections, so all uses to give abundantly of his grace, to those the motives to goodness which are drawn from that walk most faithfully with him : he will show him, are transcendently above all that may be most love to those that most love him: he will brought from any creature. He that lives always be nearest to them that most desirously draw by the fire, or in the sun-shine, is likeliest to be nigh to him ; while he forsakes those that forwarm. He that is most with God, will be most sake him, and turns away from those that turn like to God in holiness. Frequent and serious away from him. • The hand of our God is for converse with him, doth most deeply imprint good upon all them that seek him: but his power his communicable attributes on the heart, and and his wrath is against all them that forsake make there the clearest impression of his image. him.' Believers have learned by their own experience, Thus it is apparent in all these evidences, that that one hour's serious prayer, or meditation, in walking with God is not only a discovery of the which they can get nigh to God in the spirit, goodness that men have, but the only way to doth more advance their grace, than any help increase their grace, and make them better. O that the creature can afford them.
what a sweet humility, seriousness, and spiritu4. Moreover, those that walk with God, have ality appears in the conference, or conversation, not only a powerful, but an universal incentive or both, of those that newly come from a believfor the actuating and increasing of every grace. ing close converse with God; when they that come Knowledge, faith, fear, love, trust, hope, obedi- from men and books, may have but a common ence, and zeal, and all have in God their pro- mind or life! Those that come from the business per objects and incentives : one creature may and pleasure of the world and flesh, and from be useful to us in one thing, and another in the company of foolish, riotous gallants, may another thing; but God is the most effectual come defiled, as the swine out of the mire. mover of all his graces : and that in a holy har- | Sect. 'V. Lastly, to walk with God, is the mony and order. Indeed he hath no greater best preparation for times of suffering, and for motive to draw us to love him, fear him, trust the day of death. As we must be judged according to what we have done in the body: so world is nothing to us, or but as a dead and the nearer we find ourselves to judgment, the lothesome body, what is there left to be very more we shall be constrained to judge ourselves troublesome in any suffering from the world, or according to what we have done, and shall the to make us loth by death to leave it? It is men more perceive the effect upon our souls. that know not God, that overvalue the profits
That this is so excellent a preparative for suf and honours of the world ; and men that never ferings and death, will appear by the consider- felt the comforts of communion with God, that ation of these particulars.
set too much by the pleasures of the flesh : and 1. They that walk with God are safest from it is men that set too much by these, that make all destructive sufferings ; and shall have none so great a matter of suffering. It is he that but what are sanctified to their good. They are basely overvalues wealth, that whines and re. near to God, where destruction comes not: as pines when he comes to poverty: it is he that the chicken under the wings of the hen : they sets too much by his honour, and being befooled walk with him that will not lead them to perdi- by his pride, doth greatly esteem the thoughts tion: that will not neglect them, nor sell them or applauding words of men, that swells against for nought, nor expose them to the will of men those that disesteem him, and breaks his heart and devils, though he may suffer them to be tried when he falls into disgrace. He that is cheated for their good. No one can take them out of his of his wits by the pomp and splendour of a high hands. Be near to him, and you are safe: the and prosperous estate, doth think he is undone destroyer cannot draw you thence. He can draw when he is brought low. But it is not so with you, when the time is come, from the side of him that walks with God : for being taken up your merriest companions, and dearest friends; with far higher things, he knows the vanity of from the presence of the greatest princes; from these : as he sees not in them any thing that is the strongest tower, or most sumptuous palace, worthy of his strong desires, so neither any thing or from your heaps of riches, in your securest that is worthy of much lamentation when they health : but he cannot take you from the arms of are gone. He never thought that a shadow, or Christ, nor from under the wings of your Crea feather, or a blast of wind, could make him tor's love. For there is no God like him, in happy: and he cannot think that the loss of heaven above, or on the earth beneath, who keeps these can make him miserable. He that is taken covenant and mercy with his servants, that walk up with God, hath a higher interest and busibefore him with all their heart. However we ness, and finds not himself so much concerned are used in our Father's presence, we are sure it in the storms or calms, that are here below, as shall be for good in the latter end : for he wants others are, who know no better, and never minded neither power nor love to deliver us, if he saw higher things. deliverance to be best.
4. Walking with God doth much overcome the 2. Walking with God is the surest way to ob- fear of man : the fear of him that can destroy tain a certainty of his special love, and of our both soul and body in hell fire, will extinguish salvation : what an excellent preparative for the fear of them that can but kill the body. The sufferings or death such assurance is, I need not threats or frowns of a worm are inconsiderable tell any considerate believer. How easy may it to him that daily walks with the great and dreadbe to us to suffer poverty, disgrace or wrongs, ful God, and hath his power and word for his seor the pains of sickness or death, when once we curity. As .Moses esteemed the reproach of are certain that we shall not suffer the pains of | Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt, hell! How cheerfully may we go out of this because he had respect to the recompense of retroublesome world, and leave the greatest pros- ward ; so he feared not the wrath of the king, perity behind us, when we are sure to live in for he endured as seeing him that is invisible.' heaven for ever! Even an infidel will say, that 1 5. Walking with God doth much prepare he could suffer or die, if he could but be certain for sufferings and death, in that it promotes to be glorified in heaven when he is dead. quietness in the conscience : so that when all is
3. Walking with God doth mortify the flesh, at peace within, it will be easy to suffer any thing and all the affections and lusts thereof: the soul from without. Though there is no proper merit that is taken up with higher matters, and daily in our works to comfort us, yet it is an unspeaksees things more excellent, becomes as dead to able consolation to a slandered persecuted man the things below : thus it weans us from all that to be able to say, · These evil sayings are spoken in the world which seems most desirable to car- | falsely of me, for the sake of Christ: and I nal men. When the flesh is mortified, and the suffer not as an evil doer, but as a Christian. It is matter of very great peace to a man that is walk with God if he should recover! What if hasting unto death, to be able to say as Heze- the priest absolve this man from all his sins ? kiah, remember now, O Lord, how I have Doth God therefore absolve him? Or shall he walked before thee in truth, and with a perfect thus be saved ? No, it is certain that all the saheart, and have done that which is good in thy craments and absolutions in the world will never sight:' and as Paul, “I have fought a good fight, serve to save such a soul, without that grace I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: which must make it new and truly holy. henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of Nay, if you have not walked with God in the righteousness.'— For our rejoicing is this, the Spirit, but walked after the flesh, though your testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity repentance should be sound and true at the last, and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but it will yet very hardly serve to comfort you, by the grace of God, we have had our conversa- though it may serve to your salvation : because tion in the world. Such a testimony of con- you will very hardly get any assurance that it is science is a precious cordial to a suffering or a sincere. It is dangerous lest it should prove but dying man: the time we have spent in a holy the effect of fear, which will not save, when it and heavenly conversation, will be exceedingly comes not till death fright you to it. sweet in the last review, when time spent in sin- 6. Moreover, to walk with God is an excellent ful vanity, idleness, and in worldly and fleshly preparation for sufferings and death, because it designs, will be grievous and tormenting. The tends to acquaint the soul with God, and to day is coming, and is even at hand, when those embolden it both to go to him in prayer, and to that are now the most hardened infidels, or obsti- trust on him, and expect salvation from him. He nate presumptuous sinners, or scornful malicious that walks with God is so much used to holy enemies of holiness, would wish and wish a thou- prayer, that he is a man of prayer, and is skilled sand times, that they had spent that life in a in it, and hath tried what prayer can do with serious, obedient walking with God, which they God: so that in the hour of his extremity, he is spent in seeking worldly wealth, and laying up not to seek, either for a God to pray to, or a a treasure on earth, and feeding the inordinate mediator to intercede for him, or a spirit of desires of their flesh. I tell you, it is walking adoption to enable him as a child to fly for help with God, that is the only way to have a sound to his reconciled Father. Having not only been and quiet conscience : he that is healing and frequently with God, but frequently entertained settling his conscience upon the love of God and and accepted by him, and had his prayers heard the grace of Christ, in the time of prosperity, is and granted, it is a great encouragement to an making the wisest preparation for adversity : the afflicted soul in the hour of distress, to go to preparation thus made so long before, perhaps such a God for help. And it is a dreadful thing twenty, or forty, or threescore years or more, is when a soul is ready to go out of the world, to as truly useful and comfortable at a dying hour, have no comfortable knowledge of God, or skill as that part which is made immediately before. I to pray to him, or encouragement to expect acknow that besides this general preparation, there ceptance with him: to think that he must preshould be also a particular special preparation sently appear before a God whom he never for sufferings and death ; but yet this general knew, nor heartily loved, being never acquainted part is the chief and most necessary part. A man with that communion with him, in the way of that hath walked in his life-time with God, shall grace, which is the way to communion in glory, certainly be saved, though death surprise him what a terrible thought is this ! But how comunexpectedly, without any more particular pre- fortable is it when the soul can say, 'I know paration : but a particular preparation without whom I have believed ? The God that afflicts either such a life, or such a heart as would cause me is he that loves me, and hath manifested his it if he had recovered, is no sufficient preparation love to me by his daily attractive, assisting and at all, and will not serve to any man's salvation. accepting grace! I am going by death to see Alas! what a pitiful provision doth that man make him intuitively, whom I have often seen by the for death and for salvation, who neglects his soul, eye of faith, and to live with him in heaven, despises the commands of God, and disregards with whom I lived here on earth ; from whom, the promises of eternal life, till he is ready to and through whom, and to whom was my life! die, and then cries out, I repent, I am sorry for I go not to an enemy, nor an utter stranger, my sin, I would I had lived better,' and this only but to that God who was the spring, the ruler, from the constraint of fear, without any such the guide, the strength, and the comfort of my love to God and holiness which would make him life. He hath heard me so often, that I cannot think he will now reject me: he hath so often | and daughters, saith the Lord almighty.' Do you comforted my soul, that I will not believe he will draw back, as if you repented of your covenant ; now thrust me into hell: he hath mercifully re- and were not only weary of the duty, but of the ceived me so often, that I cannot believe he will privileges and benefits of your relation? You now refuse me: those that come to him in the may have access to God, when others are shut way of grace, I have found he will in no wise out: your prayers may be heard, when the cast out. As strangeness to God doth fill the prayers of the wicked are abominable : you may soul with distrusting fears, so walking with him be welcome when the worldlings, ambitious, and breeds that humble confidence which is a won. carnal are despised : he that dwells in the highderful comfort in the hour of distress, and a est heaven, is willing to look to you with respect, happy preparation to sufferings and death.' and dwell with you, when he beholds the proud
7. Lastly, to walk with God, doth increase afar off. Yet will you not come that may be the love of God in the soul, which is the heavenly welcome? Doth he put such a difference betincture, and inclines it to look upward, and tween you and others, as to feed you as children being weary of a sinful flesh and world, to desire at his table, while others are called dogs, and to be perfected with God. How happy a prepar. are without the doors, and have but your crumbs, ation for death is this, when it is but the passage and yet will you be so foolish and unthankful, to that God with whom we desire to be, and to | as to run out of your Father's presence, and that place where we would dwell for ever! To choose to be without, among the dogs ? How love the state and place that we are going to, came your Father's presence to be so grievous being made connatural and suitable thereto, will to you; and the privileges of his family to seem much overcome the fears of death. But for a so vile ? Is it not some unchildlike carriage; soul that is acquainted with nothing but this the guilt of some disobedience or contempt that life, and savours nothing but earth - and flesh, hath first caused this? Or have you fallen again and hath no co-naturality with the things above, in love with fleshly pleasures, and some vanity for such a soul to be surprised with the tidings of the world? Or have you had enough of God of death, alas, how dreadful must it be!
and godliness, till you begin to grow weary of Thus I have showed you the benefits that him? If so, you never truly knew him. Howcome by walking with God, which if you love ever it be, if you grow as indifferent to God, do yourselves with a rational love, methinks should not wonder if shortly you find him set as light resolve every impartial, considerate reader, to by you : believe it, the day is not far off, in give up himself without delay, to so desirable a which the fatherly relation of God, and the pricourse of life! Or, if he have begun it, to follow vileges of children, will be more esteemed by it more cheerfully and faithfully than he had you : when all things else forsake you in your done.
last distress, you will be loth that God should
then forsake you, or seem as a stranger to hide Chap. VII.
his face: then you will cry out, as the afflicted
church, · look down from heaven, and bebold DUTY OF WALKING WITH GOD, AND THE from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy DANGER OF NEGLECTING IT.
glory : where is thy zeal and thy strength; the
sounding of thy bowels, and of thy mercies toI am next to show you that believers have spe- wards me; are they restrained? Doubtless thou cial obligations to this holy course of life, and art our Father : though Abraham be ignorant of therefore are doubly faulty if they neglect it: us, and Israel acknowledge us not, thou, O Lord, though indeed, to neglect it totally, or in the art our Father, our Redeemer ; thy name is main drift of their lives, is a thing inconsistent from everlasting.' with a living faith
| Nothing but God, and his fatherly relation, Consider, 1. If you are true Christians, your will then support you : attend him therefore, relations engage you to walk with God: is he and with reverent, obedient cheerfulness and denot your reconciled Father, and you his chil. light, converse with him as with your dearest dren in a special sense? Whom should chil- father. For since the beginning of the world, dren dwell with, but with their Father? You | men have not known by sensible evidence, either were glad when he received you into his cove- of the ear or the eye, besides God himself, what nant that he would enter into so near a relation he hath 'prepared for him that waits for him. to you, as he expresses, “I will receive you, and Though he be wroth with us because we have will be a father to you, and ye shall be my sons sinned, yet doth he meet him that rejoices and