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return to Herod, they departed into their own Country another Way. Matth. ii. 12.
Let us, like these Wise-men, be obedient to his Inspirations, and like them take the contrary Course from the World. --- It is one of the first Lessons given to the first Christians, That they must obey God rather than Man. We can never return to Heaven but by a Road different from That which has carried us away from it. It is the greatest of all Delusions, to pretend to be con-. verted without changing our Lives, and to go to Heaven by that Way which was leading us to Hell. 'Tis Faith that changes all the Heart, This is the Grace that shall prevail
'Tis Faith that works by Love, In the decisive Hour. That bids all finful Joys depart, Faith mult obey her Father's Will,
And lifts the Thoughts above. As well as trust his Grace, 'Tis Faith that conquers Earth and Hell A pard'ning God is jealous dill By a celestial Pow'r ;
Éor his own Holiness.
REPENT ye: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand.
- Matth. iii. 2.
Repentance is the true Preparation for the Kingdom of Heaven. Let this therefore keep us every Moment prepared for it, because this Kingdom is every Moment approaching nearer to us. --- If this Kingdom is a Kingdom of Love, the Repentance which prepares us for it, must likewise be a Repentance of Love. It is from thee, O Lord, that we hope to receive both this Love, and this Repentance; both the Principle and the Works.
Fone call you to his
The Summons reach thro'all the Earth, Bow e'er the awful Trumpet found, Let Earth attend and fear,
And call you to his Bar, Listen ye Men of royal Birth, ForMercy knows the appointed Bound, And let their Vaffals hear.
And turns to Vengeance there. Together in his Presence bow, Amazing Love! that yet will call,
And all your Guilt confess, And yet prolong our Days, Accept the offer'd Saviour now, Our Hearts fubdu'd by Goodness fall, Nor trifle with the Grace.
And weep, and love, and praise.
FOR this is he that was spoken of by the Prophet Efaias, I saying, The Voice of one crying in the Wilderness, Prepare ye the Way of the Lord, make his Paths straight. Mat. iii. 3.
It is difficult to hear this Voice except in the Wilderness, that is, in Retirement, and out of the Noile and Hurry of worldly Affairs; or, at least, in a recollected, sedate Mind. The Sinner is gone too far from God to be called back any otherwise than by a great Cry, that is to say, a great Grace. Repentance is not the Business of a Moment, because it is a Preparation for being reconcil'd with God; nor does this Preparation confift only in a few Thoughts of Words, because the Way of God lies in the Will: nor is this Way easy to be prepared, since by it the Heart must pass from Darkness to Light, nor is all this the work of Man, because The Preparations of the Heart in Man are from the Lord, and He only can order and direct his Steps and make kim chuse and delight in his Way.
Return, my roving Heart, return, Wisdom and Pleasure dwell at Home, And chase these shadowy Forms no more, Retir'd and filent, seek them there ;
Seek out some Solitude to mourn, True Conquest is ourselves t'o'ercome, And thy forsaken God implore. Truefrength to break the tempter's snare.
THINK not to say within your felves, We have Abraham
1 to our Father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these Stones to raise up Children unto Abraham. Mat. iii. 9.
The Virtue of Fathers is of no Advantage to Children, unless they tread in the same Steps. --- God has no need of us to serve him, because he can make Worshippers of the most hardened Sinners, can change Hearts of Stone into tender Lovers of his Word, and form Children out of the vileft Slaves. O that this Heart, O Lord, hitherto so hard, may feel the Effects of this Sovereign Power ! Vouchsafe to thew thy Glory in making me a Child of Faith and Promise. O thou, my God, whose piercing Eye, And fill its radiant Beams impart,
Diftin&t surveys each deep Recess, 'Till all be search'd and purify'd. In these abftracted Hours draw nigh, Then with the Visits of thy Love,
And with thy Presence fill the Place. Vouchsafe my inmost Soul to chear, Thro'all the Mazes of my Heart, 'Till ev'ry Grace shall join to prove, My Search let heav'nly Wisdom guide, ThatGod hath fix'd his dwelling there.
W HOSE Fan is in his Hand, and he will throughly purge
✓ his Floor, and gather his Wheat into the Garner ; but he will burn up the Chaff with unquenchable Fire. Mat. iii. 12.
The present and visible Church is the Floor where the Corn is as yet mingled with the Chaff, the Children of God with the Children of Satan: The Sufferings for the Gospel separate them in this Life, the one from the other, the Fan of the last Judgement shall remove them from the Floor, in or. der to be either carried into the Garner, or cast into the Fire. - Terrible but inevitable Separation! We shall eternally helong either to the one or the other; and out of the Floor we fhall be the same that we have been in it, either Chaff or Wheat. - Grant, O Lord, that I may have a Heart not as of Chaff, feeble, light, empty, barren, and tost about with every Wind: but as of Wheat, pure, full of substantial Virtue, firm in Goodness, and fruitful in good Works, and fit to become the Bread of God.
Who may His Day abide, . Come then the purging Flame,
The Power of Jesus' Name!
Blood that washes white as Snow, He shall from the Furnace come, Purify a People here,
Leave his inbred Dross behind. Sinless make thy Church below.