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this way, let him drow nigh to God, and God will draw

nigh to him, Jam. 4. 8. When ob. XX. No less diligent care is necessary to preserve tained,

the peace thus obtained, and daily to encrease in incarefully

timacy with the divine favour and friendship. For this, kept. there is required. vít, A daily exciting of his love to

God by devout meditation, both on the divine peral fections, on account of which he is most highly amiable in himself, and on his infinite love, where with he first loved us, and the inestimable bene. fits flowing from that infinite love. For God cannot possibly suffer himself to be exceeded in love by man, Fobn 14. 21, be that loveth me, shall be loved of my father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. . 2dly. Frequent intercourse with God; so that worldly cares being for a little laid alide, and a pleafant retirement fought out, you may, by frequent and repeated exercises of reading, meditation, and prayer, with a modest boldness, obtain familiarity with God, Job 22. 21, acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace, thereby good shall come unto thee. It was a fine advice of Jerome to Eustachius, de custodia virginitatis: Let the privacy of thy chamber always keep thee; let thy bridegroom always delight himself with. in thee :, when thou prayest, thou speckest to thy brides groom": when thou readest, he specketh to thee: let foolish virgins wander abroad, be thou within with thy bride groom : because, if thou shuttest thy door, and, according to the precept of the Gospel, prayest to thy father in se crèt, he will come, and knock and say: behold, I stand at the door and knock. 3dly, The practice of in: offensive and strict godliness, with an attentive watch: fulnefs against the fins that so easily beset us. These things flow from the love of God, and without them none can have familiar converse wich him, John 143 23; if a man love me, he will keep my words, and nzy fan ther will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode-with bim. The exercise of christian vir tues, or graces, is that chain of the spouse, with which the heart of the Lord is ravished, Cantic. 4.

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The work of righteoufrefs shall be peace, and the effects of righteousness, quietness and assurance for ever, Isa. 32.4 17. compare Ifaa 64.50 31-4thly," Becaule, in to its this imperfect state of our fanctification, it cannot altogether be avoided, but at times, the godly may fall,

and turn a little either to the right hand, or to the lefecthey are, in that cafe, presently to rife from their fall, and return to their God, unlefs they would greatly impair their familiarity with him. When he calls us; return, ye backsliding children, and I will heat yaur backslidingss we are directly to answer : bebold, we come unto thee for thou art.the Lord our God, ifer. 3. 2 2. ! 75thly, It also contributes very much to prey ferve the fense of the divine friendthip, if, in all things, you commit yourfelf to the conduct of his providence, always approving his will towards theey to be just, holy, wife and good jo and faying with Job 340 12, yea surely, God will not do wickedly : In whatever befals thee, give him thanks; and denying all thy own defires, give up thy will to be swallowed up in his. Be careful for nothing and the peace of God, which pafseth all understanding, shall keep your kearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Pbil. 4. 6.

XXI. Altho’ it is not pollible, that any who is ad- The sense mitted into peace and friendship with God, should thereof

often in altogether fall from ir, (for the covenant of divine

terrupted. peace, which stands firmier than the mountains and hills, shall never be removed, Ifa. 54. 10.) yet the fenfe and relish thereof are often interrupted. For, ift, God doth not always fhew his pleasant countenance to his friends; fometimes be bides himself, Ifa. 8:17. Standeth a far off, Pf. 10. 1; admits them nor into familiarity with him, nor fills them with the abundance of his confolations: he hears not when they call, Pf. 22. 2, 3, as if he regarded them not. 2dly, Nay, he thruits them from him with a kind of contempt, as if a father had disdainfully spit in the face of his daughter, Numb. 12, 14, and is angry against their prayer, Pf. 80. 4. 3dly, He terrifies them with many forrows í not only by hiding his face, without

this, on the part

34

which there is no joy, Pf. 30. 7, but by his fierce anger
going over them, PJ. 88. 16, 17, 18, Ifa. 57. 17.0
4thly, He seems to deal with them as an adversary,
and boldeth them for bis enemics, and pursues tbem,
though become like the dry stubble, writes bitter
things against them, putteth their feet in the stocks, and
setteth a print: upon the heels of their feet, Job 13.
24, 25, 26, 27. 5thly, Gives them up sometimes

to be vexed and buffeted by the devil, Job. 2. 6. Afat
. 3.

ter that the light of the divine countenance is set, im
mediately the beasts of tbe forest come forth against
the foul, the young lyons roaring after their prey. Pfar

104. 20, 21. The rea.

XXII. The reasons of this conduct of God 10 fons of

wards his friends are various: some respect God;

others, the friends of God. God thus deals with his of God. people, ist, In order to Thew, that he is the sove

reign Lord, and most free dispenser of his own
grace, Mat. 20. 15. Thus himself owns, that he
amicted Job 2. 3, without cause. Not, that Job had
done nothing, to deserve these, or even greater affica
tions: but that God had found nothing in him, for
which to treat hin with greater severity, than hiş
other friends. This was an act of mere sovereignty,
that the works of God foould be made manifest in him,
as is said in a similar case. John 9. 3. 2dly, Like
wise, to sew the difference berween heaven and earth.
For here he will have all things subject to various
viciffitudes, and accustom his people to the alternatę
changes of a rough winter and an agreeable førings
because, in heaven they are to exult in a conitant un-
interrupted joy in his friendship and love, Rev. 7:17.
3dly, That he may the more endear unto thein the
tweetness of his grace, which, when taited at inter-
vals, especially after a draught of a cup of bitterness,
must be most delicious to the pious foul. 4thly,
That he may give a demonstration of the exceeding
greatness of his power and goodness, when he pre-
ferves the soul in its fpiricual life, tho' oppressed
with so many sorrows, restores him to his former

vigour,

time past,

vigour, makes him triumph over Satan, and gives him the more abundant comfort, the more distante he was from all the sense of his favour. This is to bew wonders to the dead, Pf. 88. 10; and to revive the wounded fpirit, which Solomon Prov. 18. 14, declares, exceeds any created power.

XXIII. The reasons with respect to the friends of On the God, are two fold: for, either they regard the time part of påst, or the future. As to the time paft, God man, bote

as to the usually restrains the beams of his favour, ist. When his friends have been guilty of some grievous fin for, in that case, his holiness is concerned, that they feel the rod of his paternal displeasure, and not be suffered to have then familiarity with him, Pf. 51. 9; 11, 12. If they be bound in fetters, and be bolden in cords of affiliation : then be fheweth them their work, Job. 36. 8, 9: and really, as it were, calls out to them ; know therefore and fee, that it is an tvil thing, and bitter thar thou haft forsaken the Lord iby God, Jer. 2. 19. Wben they rebelled and vexed bis boly Spirit, therefore be was turned to be their enemy, Ifa. 63. 10. 2dly. When abusing the good ness of God, they worship his majefty with less reverence and begin to fag in the exercise of devotion gdly." When carnal confidence, and 'vain glorying have seized upon them, Pf. 30. 6, 7, and in my prosperity I said; I fall never be moved: thou didft bide thy face, and I was troubled. 4thly. When the offer of divine grace is unworthily entertained chrough a kind of indolence and drousiness Song. 5. 3.

4, 5.

XXIV. The following reasons refer to the time And the to come, ist. That God may try and exercise time to their faith, 1 Pet. 1.6; 7; which ought to be in come. exercise, even when nothing is to be seen; and their love, by which they are bound to love God for -himself, tho' they are not sensible, that they themselves are loved, and the fincerity of their worihip, which is not to proceed from a mere relish of the

reward,

31

reward, but from an acknowledgment of the divine
dignity or authority; and the constancy of their
religion, by which they must keep close to God,
even when he appears as a stranger to them. 2dly
That he may stir them up to the practice of prayer,
in which Heman was fervent at such a time, Pf. 88. 1,
O Lord God of nry salvation, I bave cried day and night
before thee; fee also verses 9 and 13. 3dly. That he
may instruct and bring his people to true wisdom.
for this distress gives excellene understanding ;
tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience,
Rom. 5. 3. 4. Heman was early introduced into
this school, and such hard exercises were put upon
him, that he was almost distracted: yet at length he
made so great a proficiency, as to be reckoned
among the wiseft in his day, 1 Kings 4. 31. 4tbly.
That they may, for the future, more carefully
preserve the divine favour, when they have once
recovered it. When the fpoufe at last found her
beloved, who had withdi awn himself, she beld bim,
kept him fast, and would not let him gi, until fhe had
brought him into her mother's house, into the chamber of
ber that conceived her. Cant. 3. 4.

9 How to XXV. But what course is the soul now to take, renew the in order to renew the interrupted friendship of God ed friend.

For we are not to think, that God will be angry ihip of with his people for ever: for, I will not contend for? God,

ever, neither will I be always wrotb: for the Spirit, )
jpould feil before me, and the souls which I have made, -
fays the Lord, Isa. 57. 16: fee Isa. 54. 8. And
it. We are, in order to this, carefully to enquire
into the cause of this estrangement, that it may be',
removed: for, generally we have provoked God,
to deal thus with us, either by some fin, or by our..
carelessness, Lament. 3. 40, let us search and try our
ways, and turn egain to the Lord. And should it be,'
that a person cannot find out the cause of that
eftrangement (which is rarely the case with the
ferious and careful eiiquirer), he is then to confule

the

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