Page images
PDF
EPUB

in an hour; and some by more slow degrees. Besides the effects upon men's souls, and estates, and public affairs, which plainly demonstrated the means and cause. And shall a promise thus sealed to us, be ever questioned again? Nay, have you not the witness in yourselfb? Even the Spirit of Christ, which is the pledge and earnest of your inheritance, and the seal and mark of God upon you? In a word, it is an unquestionable truth, that the rational world neither is, nor ever was, nor can be governed agreeably to its nature, without an end to move and rule them, which is beyond this life ; and without the hopes and fears of a reward and punishment hereafter. Were this but taken out of the world, man would no longer live like man, but as the most odious, noxious creature upon earth. And it is as sure that it agreeth not with the omnipotence, wisdom, and goodness of God, to govern so noble a creature by a lie, and to make a nature that must be so governed. And it is as certain that all other revelation is defective, and that life and immortality, the end and the way, were never so brought to light, as they are in the Gospel, by Christ, and by his Spirit.

Say then to the malicious tempter, 6- The Lord rebuke thee, O satan! even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem, rebuke thee i.” “ O full of all subtlety and mischief! thou enemy of God and righteousness ! wilt thou not cease to be a lying spirit, and to pervert the truth and right ways of the Lord'?Lift up your soul to God, and say, I believe, Lord help mine unbelief! Though satan stand to resist me at my right hand, am I not a brand plucked out of the fire ? Am I not thine? and have I not resigned this soul to thee? and didst thou not accept it in thy holy covenant ? O then defend it as thy own! Plead thou my cause, and confirm thy work, and justify both thy truth and me, against the malicious enemy of both. O let the intercession of my Saviour prevail, that my faith fail not. And take away the filthy garments from me, and cause mine iniquities to pass away. And though my soul be troubled, what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? But then what passage shall I have into thy presence? I was born a mortal wight, and go but the way as all generations have gone before me; and follow my Lord and all his saints: Father, receive and glo

h 1 John v. 10-12.

i Zech. ii. 2.

* Acts xii, 10.

rify thy servant, that thy servant may glorify thy name for ever! Receive, O Father, the soul which thou hast made! Receive, O Saviour, the soul which thou hast so dearly bought, and loved to the death, and washed in thy blood! Receive the soul which thou hast regenerated by thy Spirit, and in some measure quickened by the immortal seed! Behold, thou hast made my days as an hand breadth: my age before thee is as nothing: and every man at his best estate is vanity. When thy rebukes correct us for iniquity, thou makest our beauty to consume as a moth. And now 0 Lord, what wait I for? is not my hope alone in thee? Deliver me from my transgressions, and impute not to me the sins which I have done. Remember not against me the sins of my youth; and forgive the iniquities of my riper years. Charge not upon me my grieving of thy Spirit, and neglects and resistances of thy grace. Forgive my sins of ignorance and of knowledge, my sins of slothfulness, rashness, and presumption, especially those which I have wilfully committed, against thy warnings and the warnings of my conscience. Who can understand his errors ? Cleanse thou me from secret sins. O pardon my unprofitableness, and abuse of thy mercies, and my sluggish loss of precious time! that I have served thee no better, and loved thee no more, and improved no better the day of grace! Though folly and sin have darkened my light, and blemished my most holy services, and my transgressions have been multiplied in thy sight, yet is the sacrifice sufficient which thou hast accepted from our great High Priest, who made his soul an offering for sin. In him thou art well pleased : he is our peace : in him I trust: he was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners: he did no iniquity: 'he fulfilled all righteousness: and by once offering of himself, he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified: he is able to save to the utmost them that come to God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. Accept me, O Father, in hini thy well beloved : let

miy

sinful soul be healed by his stripes, who bare our sins in his body on the cross. Let me be found in him, not having any legal righteousness of my own, but that which is through the faith of Christ; that being made conformable unto his death, I may attain to the resurrection of the dead, and may by him be presented without spot or blemish. My God, thou hast encouraged my fearful soul, by the multitude of thy mercies, as well as by thy promises, to trust thee, and yield itself to thee. Thou hast filled up all my days with mercy : every place that I have lived in, and every relation, and all that I have had to do with in the world, are the witnesses of thy love and mercy to me. Thy eyes beheld my substance being yet imperfect, and all my members were written in thy book. My parents were instructed by thee to educate me, and all things commanded by thee to serve for my preservation, comfort, and salvation. Thou hast brought me forth in a land and age of mercies, and caused me to hear and see the things which others have not seen or heard. The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places : my life hath not been spent in a howling wilderness, nor in banishment from thy sanctuary, or the communion of thy saints ; nor hath it been wholly consumed in darkness, and sorrow, and unserviceable barrenness. But often have I heard the joyful sound, and I have gone with the multitude to the house of God, and there have seen the light of thy countenance, and drank of the rivers of thy pleasure, even of the waters of life, and have been solaced with the voice of joy and praise. How oft have I cried unto thee in my trouble, and thou hast delivered me out of my distresses ? When for my folly and transgression I was afflicted, thou broughtest me out of darkness and the shadow of death. Thou renewedst my age as Hezekiah's, and causedst the shadow of my dial to go back! and hast set me at liberty to praise thee for thy goodness, and declare thy works to the children of men. In the day of trouble I called upon thee, and thou didst deliver me that I might glorify thee. Thou causedst me to receive the sentence of death, that I might trust in God that raiseth the dead. My Shepherd hath led me in his pleasant pastures, by the silent streams: he restored my soul, and conducted me in the paths of righteousness. How precious are thy thoughts unto me O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand! And will that mercy now forsake me, which hath abounded to me, and supported me so long? Thou hast said, I will never fail thee nor forsake thee? Having loved thy own, that are in the world, thou wilt love them to the end; for thy mercy is great and reacheth to the heavens, änd it endureth for ever. O therefore when I awake, let me be with thee! And as thy loving-kindness is better than life ; and to depart and be with Christ, is far better than the best condition upon earth; so let thy servant depart in peace, his eye of faith beholding thy salvation: and when my earthly house of this tabernacle is dissolved, let me have that building of God, the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Let iny present burden of sin and suffering make me more earnestly to groán, not to be unclothed, but to be clothed upon, that mortality may be swallowed up of life; that being absent from the body, I may be present with the Lord. And seeing this cup may not pass from me, and I must not look for the chariot of Elias, to carry me unto heaven; let thy will be done, and let me rest therein, and let death be the gain and advantage of my soul: and while this outward man is perishing, let the inner man be renewed from day to day: for what am I better than my fathers, and all thy saints, and the generations of mankind, that I should think of any other passage, than this of death to the world of immortality ? O let this fainting heart be glad, and let my glory rejoice, and in love and joy, in thankfulness and praise, let me pass into the world of love and joy, where thanksgiving and praise shall be my work for ever. And though my flesh and heart will fail, be thou the strength of my heart, O God, and my portion for ever. Though I must walk through the valley of the shadow of death, let me fear no evil; but be thou still with ine, and let me be tomforted by thy rod and staff: let the goodness and mercy which have followed me thus far all my days, receive me at the last, that I may dwell with thee for ever. For it is the will of my Redeemer, that those which thou hast given him, be with him where he is, to behold the glory which thou hast given him. And that his servants should follow him, that where he is, there also may his servants bé. Amen, Lord Jesus! good is thy will and the word which thou hast spoken! Into thy hands I commend my spirit which thou hast redeemed : receive it, and let me be with thee in paradise. O thou that hast called us thy brethren, when thou didst ascend to thy Father and our Father, and to thy God and our God, take up this poor unworthy soul, to the mansions which thou hast prepared for us, that I may be with thee where thou art. And though this flesh must perish, let it rest in hope, and be but sowed as a grain of wheat ; till thy powerful call shall raise it from the dust, and this corruptible shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality, and this natural body shall be raised a spiritual body, and death shall be swallowed up in victory. For though I be dead, my life is hid with Christ in God : and when thou appearest who art my life, then let me appear with thee in glory. O hasten that appearance, and come with thy holy, glorious angels, to be glorified in thy saints, and admired in and by believers! When thou wilt change our vile bodies, and make them like to thy glorious body, by the mighty working, by which thou canst subdue even all things to thyself. Hast thou not said, “ Behold I come quickly?” Even so come Lord ! and let the great marriage day of the Lamb make haste, when thy spouse shall be presented spotless, unblamable, and glorious; and the glory of God in the New Jerusalem, shall be revealed to all his holy ones, to delight and glorify them for ever. In the meantime, remember Lord thy promise, • Because I live, therefore shall ye live also:” and let the dead that die in thee be blessed : and thou that art made a quickening Spirit, and art the Lord and Prince of life, and hast said that not a hair of our heads shall perish; gather our departing souls unto thyself, into the heavenly Jerusalem and Mount Sion, the city of the living God, and to the myriads of holy angels, and to the general assembly and church of the first-born, and to the perfected spirits of the just; where thou wilt make us kings and priests to God, whom we shall see, and love, and praise for ever. For of him, and through him, and to him are all things ; and for his pleasure they are, and were created. And Othou the blessed God of love, the Father of spirits and King of saints, receive this unworthy member of thy Son, into the heavenly choir which sing thy praise! who rest not saying, night and day, Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, who is, and was, and is to come! For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever, Amen.

END OF THE SECOND PART, AND OF THE FOURTH VOLUME.

R. EDWARDS, CRANE COURT, FLEET STREET, LONDON,

« EelmineJätka »