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and of the Vanity of the World, even in its most charming dress. They fhew, how little those things muft needs be worth, which God permits thofe, whom he least loves, so plentifully to enjoy. They teach us, where to fix our Hopes and our Affections; that we ought to have none in Heaven it felf but Him, much less any thing upon earth, that we defire in comparison of him: and, that our great Endeavour and most earnest Wish fhould be, to be guided by his Counsel, and after that to be received with Glory; that fo, when not only all the World without and its falfe Comforts forfake us, but when even a part of our own felves, this Body, fhall, as very shortly it muft, decay and die, and moulder into duft, when our flesh and our heart fail; God may then, then efpecially, be the strength of our heart, and our portion for ever.

Where, again, can we fee the Gracefulness of Virtue fet off to better Advantage, where the Deformity of Vice more juftly expofed? The Equity of God's Laws, Their happy Influences on all that fubmit to them, The Wisdom, the Comforts, the Delights of Religion, are fo admirably characterized in the xixth, cxixth particularly, and in feveral other Pfalms; that we may truly fay, As no Subject is so noble, so none ever had better reafon done it than this. Nor does all end in a mere Commendation, but useful and seasonable InstruЄtions are frequently intermixt, with regard to particular Occafions and Exigencies. Nothing, that can adorn or accomplish a Good Man, is omitted; No Sin almost, but hath its Temptations and Snares detected. And we may promise our felves much the fame Security and prefent Remedy from these holy Writings, that Saul felt from their Author. For, we no fooner betake our felves to the Divine Applications of this wife Charmer, than the Powers of Hell are bound up and fubdued, and the Evil Spirit finds it felf unable to ftand before them.

Far

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Farther yet. Here are laid the Foundations of Chriftianity, fo very perfpicuous, that no Book in the Old Teftament is fo often referred to, throughout the whole Course of the New. The moft Eminent Myfteries of our Faith, the Sufferings and Death, Refurrection and Afcenfion of our Bleffed Lord, the Malice of the ftubborn Jews, the Treachery of Judas, the Succefs of the Gofpel, the Calling of the Gentiles, the Kingdom of Antichrift, foretold, in Terms clear and peremptory enough, to condemn all the Gainfaying, and Unbelievers. So that nothing could be better accommodated for informing our Judgments, in all neceffary Points of Faith and Practice. And, if we next proceed to the other Ufe I mentioned, it will appear, that they are no less fitted to delight and entertain our Affections, than they are proved already, to enlighten our Understandings.

The Delight I mean, is a truly rational and Innocent Delight. Such, as confifts in moving the Paffions fweetly, by tender Thoughts and proper Expreffions, that ftrike in with the virtuous Inclinations of the Mind, affift and improve Nature, fuit the feveral Exigencies of Human Life, and the different Affections they of neceffity raise in us.

And upon this Subject, Where fhall I begin, where make an end? For, what Fortune, what Circumftance is it, to which the use of these Heavenly Meditations does not accommodate it felf?

Do the Riches and Glories of the World exalt our Spirits, and make our Breasts overflow with Joy? Here are the nobleft Raptures of Praife and Thankfgiving; Such as at once exprefs our Satisfaction, and direct our Views to the Bountiful Hand that gave it. Do these Gayeties (as God knows they are but too apt to do) fwell our Minds with carnal Pride, and a falfe Security, with vain Imaginations of our own fufficiency, a haughty Contempt of thofe to whom

16.

xxxix. 6, 7.

Providence hath dealt them less liberally, and a wicked Forgetfulness of our great Benefactor? Here are most feasonable Remonftrances of the Falfhood and Ficklenefs of all Worldly Advantages, the Frailty of our Nature, and the Shortnefs of our own Continuance. That Man is as Grafs, and his most flourishing Eftate, like a Flower of the Field, which Pfal. ciii. 15, as foon as the Wind goeth over it, is gone, and the place thereof shall know it no more. That his Days are but the length of a Span, and, in that narrow compass, he walks in a fhadow, difquieting himfelf to little or no purpose, and heaping up Riches, which he cannot tell who fall gather. For thus much only is certain in the cafe, that though One's Subftance be increased, and the glory of bis Houfe never so much exalted yet he can carry nothing away with him when he dieth, neither fhall his pompfollow him.

xlix. 16, 17.

Do Adverfities or Injuries of any fort prefs us hard, Want or Difgrace, the Treachery of falfe Friends, or the Malice of profefs'd Enemies, the Mifchiefs of open Violence, or the fecret Stabs of flanderous and envenom'd Tongues? We are provided here with fuitable Applications; Directed in Poverty to that watchful Care, that takes us up, and cherishes us, when even our Father and Mother forfake us: Set upon that Rock, which cannot be shook by any overflowings of Ungodliness; referr'd to that Judge of Hearts, who knows our Innocence, and who, when Men bate us with

xxvii. 12.

XXXV.

out a caufe, and lay to our charge things that we know not; will awake, and stand up to avenge our quarrel, and not fuffer our Enemies to triumph over us ungodly.

Are we intangled in the toils of Satan, and affaulted by violent Temptations to Sin? If, through our Frailty, or our Folly, we have provoked the Majefty

of

of Heaven, to withdraw the cheering Light of his Countenance; In all Attack's and Combats with the Adverfary of Souls, in all the bitter Anguish of Remorfe, in all the anxious Concern to recover that loving Kindness, which is better than Life it felf; we are fupplied with the best Advice, the tendereft Reflections, the most prevailing Methods of Endearment, the most zealous and moft fuccefsful Example to this purpose. And fure it was an act of Mercy to the whole World, that God permitted David to fall fo grievously, and be punished fo feverely; fince this not only teaches us, that the Best Men may fail, and do not stand out of the reach of Danger and Temptation; but makes both his Sin and his Sufferings, his Prayers and his Tears, an everlasting Monument and Pattern, to all fucceeding Ages.

In a word, (for I must force my felf to contract this Point) Whether the Precepts, or the Promises of God, his Exhortations or his Threatnings; Whether Praises or Prayers employ us: There is no Exigence of our Souls, no Condition of Perfon or Fortune, no Mercy we can defire, none that we would return Thanks for; No pofture of Affairs, in the Church, or in the State, of our Friends, or of our Enemies, but thefe Pfalms would regulate our Behaviour under them, and fuggeft feafonable Supplications for them. Of fo wondrous happy a Compofition are the Divine Poems; So inftructive, so pleasurable; So entertaining while they teach, fo improving while they delight; So ready, fo effectual a Cure to those Pains and Paffions, which they charm and affwage.

Of thefe Excellencies the good and wife Men, that have gone before us, declared a due Senfe, by conftantly commending this Book as an excellent Subject for private Meditation, and by allowing it a more than ordinary fhare in the publick Devotions of the Church. Concerning both thefe Ufes I will add fomewhat, and fo conclude. 1. And

1. And First, For Private Meditation. The Care taken in this refpect was formerly fo great, that the moft, and the meaneft, had a confiderable part, and the Men of better Capacity, feem to have had the whole of it perfectly by Heart. St. Chryfoftom describes the Labourer at his Work, the good Woman at her Houfhold Affairs, nay, even the young Children, mixing fuch pious Ejaculations, in the Intervals of their Business and Diverfions. And happy were it fure, if the Memories of all People were fo profitably stored, and the vacant spaces of their time fo virtuously filled up. For it is the Mind's peculiar Excellence, that, as its Thoughts are never weary, so neither can they be abfolutely idle. Here then (inftead of those polluted Images, which nurfe up Vice, and poyfon their Sobriety, and Chastity) Men might make a Virtue of Neceffity; and, in the midst of a laborious Care to provide for themselves and Family, might deceive their Time and Toil, by making sweet Mufick to God, might thus repair that want of Leifure-hours, and more compofed Devotions, which Business will not fuffer them to have. But that indeed, which fhould moft powerfully recommend fuch a Practice, is, that this is doing the Work of Heaven, while upon Earth. For a great part of what we know, concerning that place of Blifs, and its glorious Inhabitants, is, that they live in perfect Harmony and Love, perpetually finging Praife before the Throne of God. And fure, if there be any Sense of, any Pantings after, that happy State; we cannot but delight in joyning with that Bleffed Choir, by raifing our Hearts as high, and labouring to get fuch fore-taftes of their Joys, as our present Distance, and the frailties of mortal Flesh and Blood, will now admit us to do.

2. But then indeed do we approach nearest to those blissful Regions, when with united Hearts and

Voices,

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