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Lord's assistance, become in your souls a sacred treasure of heavenly thoughts.
1. Let your thoughts be exercised upon the the infinite, eternal and incomprehensible majesty of God. Here you may soon lose yourselves in the vast ocean of his blessed essence, yet launch not too far, but bound your thoughts by the sure compass of Scripture discovery.
Thus think: Oh what a holy, omniscient, omnipresent Spirit is the almighty maker and possessor of heaven and earth! What transcendent mysteries are locked up in the trinity of persons, in the unity of essence! How impossible is it for a mortal eye to approach that inaccessible light! " none can see God and live,” yet have poor sinners a glorious reflection of the Godhead in the person of our dear Redeemer, and in his sweetly proclaiming his blessed name, and displaying his glorious attributes of wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth to the sons of men. By these, we taste and see what a Being the Lord is. Oh how great is this Jehovah whom we worship! “ the heaven of heavens cannot contain him," he is the King of kings and Lord of lords; he sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers ; he is clothed with honour and majesty, thousand thousands minister unto him, ten thousand times
thousand stand before him; he is the God in whose hands my breath is, the searcher of hearts, the hearer of prayer, the Lord of hosts, and King of saints. O my soul admire him for his greatness, fear him for his justice, love him for his goodness, trust him for his faithfulness, worship him in the beauty of holiness, and delight thyself in his transcendent perfections.
2. Fix your thoughts upon the works of creation, study this large, voluminous book, every page thereof will find you fresh matter of meditation and admiration; every creature hath a tongue to tell us of the power and wisdom of its Maker; and thus let your thoughts be working : Surely, this goodly fabric of heaven and earth speaks aloud the glory of the great Creator. If this vast globe of the earth be above twenty thousand miles in compass, then of what a vast extent are the heavens, which are stretched out as a curtain! How admirably hath God laid the beams of his chambers in the waters, and suspended the earth upon nothing! How firmly hath he built his stories in the heavens, and fixed the glorious constellations as fountains of light! Oh what beauty there must be in the “ Father of lights,” that hath set up the resplendent luminaries! These great bodies were created of nothing by the word of God's power, while there are deep mysteries in the least and lowest creature; every herb, flower, plant, spire of grass, twig or leaf, worm or fly, scale or feather, billow or meteor, hath enough in it to puzzle the most profound philosopher, and speaks the power and wisdom of our great Creator; how much more the curious piece of man's body! “I am fearfully and wonderfully made,” but much more may I stand admiring the strange nature of my immortal soul, and still reflect with thankfulness and admiration upon the power and goodness of my omnipotent Creator.
3. Think on the capacity, excellency, and immortality of the precious soul; you cannot think without it, and should you not spend some thoughts upon it. This distinguisheth you from beasts. Thus, then, meditate : What divine spark is this that God hath breathed into this lump of clay? this immortal soul which God immediately created, is greater and better than the world, and cannot be satisfied with the world ; it is a spiritual being, and of the same
nature with the angels; it is of an active nature, and can make quick excursions to the creatures, and sallies through this vast universe, and must return like Noah's dove, because there is no place to rest the weary foot of her affections upon. God alone is the anchor and centre of this tossed wanderer. This soul is capable of communion with God in spiritual ordinances and eternal happiness ; it must return at last to God, that gave it, to receive from him a sentence of absolution or condemnation. Oh my soul, thou art in constant motion, whither art thou moving? what art thou doing? what condition art thou in? and what must become of thee when thy body shall be left a putrefying carcase ? Soar aloft my soul, and mind things above; debase not thy noble nature with the pursuit of things that are below thyself. Get well adorned with the graces of the Spirit, and enriched with an interest in Jesus Christ, make God thy portion, lay up lasting treasures in heaven, and then return unto thy rest, and God will deal bountifully with thee.
4. Think much upon the sacred word of God,“ meditate on it day and night, let the word of God dwell richly in you,” and let your thoughts be furnished with, and dwell much upon it; what is in your Bibles is God's, but what is in your hearts is your own.
Thus then, let your thoughts be working : Oh the infinite condescension of the great Jehovah ! What is worthless man that God himself should write so large an epistle from heaven to him with the hand of his blessed Spirit? What care hath God taken to direct, move, incite, and encourage fallen and sinning man to attain eternal happiness! What precepts, promises, threatenings, examples, are sprinkled up and down in this blessed book! Oh the antiquity and authority,excellency and efficacy, power and purity, perfection and suffi
ciency, verity and perpetuity of the sacred Bible! Methinks when I take up this Holy Book, I take wonders into my hand, and when I look within it, I meet with mysteries, that the wisdom of the greatest clerks can never reach, and yet the meanest capacity, by the help of that Spirit who indited them, may wade this deep ford of divine secrets. How plainly held forth therein are necessary truths and duties that lead the soul to God and eternal happiness! How familiarly and affectionately doth God converse with man therein! How pat and proper to my state are the precious promises in these blessed pages ! every word hath its weight, and comes as pertinently as if the Lord had named me. Methinks, there is no such virtue or savour in any other writings. What reviving doth it bring to my heart. . O blessed be God for the holy Scriptures.
5. Let your thoughts be employed about the glorious works of providence. Oh how sweet are they! Whoso is wise will consider them. Pause after this manner : O my soul, take a view of this beautiful checker-work of divine providence ; consider the days of old, and the years of many generations; recollect what the Scripture records of drying up the “sea, driving back Jordan,” the “ standing still” and “ going back of the sun in the firmament ;" reflect npon the miracles of mercy for the church, and of judgment upon her enemies ; nay, consider, O my soul, what wonders God hath wrought in thy days, in thine eyes. Oh what national, domestic, personal deliverances hast thou seen! even such as may astonish the atheist, and silence unbelief for ever. Thou needest not want matter of holy musing, if thou take a strict survey of the course of thy life, and particular providences about thy soul, body, estate, name, relations, and all thy concernments, which may afford a vast field of devout meditation. Those ways of providence that seemed uncouth and unlovely whilst seen but in their birth and parts, how comely now are they in their mature product and perfection! I saw not then, but I have fully seen since what the Lord aimed at in his strange dispensations. Oh the happy connection, symmetry, and contexture of all things, combining together by the concurrence of providence to accomplish, and to centre in the grand end of all things, namely “ the glory of God.” How wonderful are his “judgments, and his ways past finding out !"
6. Think humbly upon man's apostacy. Let your thoughts be sometimes taking a view of the origin of all our present sinfulness and wretchedness in such thoughts as these. Woe is me, whence and whither are we fallen ? God made man
“ upright, but he sought out many inventions ;” once man was “ created after the image of God,” now is he defaced after the image of the devil; once was man entire and straight, now he is deformed and crooked in all his faculties once holy and happy, now filthy and subject to all sin and misery; once he was the darling of God, lord of the world, and a fit companion for the blessed angels, now he is God's enemy, the devil's slave, and the basest part of the whole creation. Oh mutable free-will that chose to fall, that might have chosen to stand ! surely man, in his best estate was subject to vanity. Oh, how little was the pleasure, and how lasting is the pain ! But, O my soul, find not fault with Adam,—if thou hadst been in his stead thou wouldest have done as he did, yea, thou dost the same every day, too, too voluntarily, and of choice : sin is a “transgression of the law,” and this holy law thou breakest every moment, Oh my soul, what a miserable case art thou in? what enmity to God, antipathy to good, and constant tendency to all evil is in thy depraved nature ! Woe is me,