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Saviour had prayed that Peters Faith should not fail, yet together with the other Apostles, he bids him watch. Luke 22.40,46. The fear of God is a preferving Grace, Jer.32.40. I will put my fear into their hearts, that they shall not de part from me. This fear will make us watchful, not diffident of Gods power and goodneß. And in this fenfe, Bleffed is the man that feareth alwaies, as Solomon faies, Prov.28.14. And as our Saviour adviseth, Luke 22.46. that watcheth and prayeth, that he enter not into temptation.
We see then that to perfeverance there is a concurrence of our care and diligence required, Jude v.21. Keep your felves in the love of God. & Phil.2.12,13.Work out your falvation with fear and trembling for it is God that worketh in you,&c.
Indeed the main work is Gods; he is the be ginner, and he is the perfecter. Phil.1 6. He is the author, and he is the finisher, Heb.12.20 But may we then be idle and fit ftill, be careless and negligent? No, in no wife: For God worketh in us, and by us. If therefore there be no Grace working in us, nor working by us, and exciting, and quickning, and enabling us to fincere obedience, and a careful and watchful carri age towards God, we may juftly fufpect our ftate for the prefent to be very bad. A Chriftians life is never exempted from care. We must be watchful and diligent to the very laft: Satan is alwaies bufie, we have corruptions within, and
the world is full of faares: And many times, where there feems to be leaft danger, there is moft caufe of fear. Lot that was chaft in Sodom, miscarried in the mountaines, where there were none but his own Family. David's example may warn the holiest perfons to the worlds end, to - be jealous over themselves. Who would have thought that he (whofe heart fmote him for cut ting off the lap of Sauls garment) fhould after fall into uncleanneffe and murder? Peter also is a fad inftance of confidence in a mans own ftrength.
Upon all these confiderations, let me advise thee to watch and pray, to pray and watch continually. Haft thou begun to make profeffion of Religion: O do not fall off, and bring an ill report upon the waies of Holineffe. A house begun, and not finifhed is a habitation of fhreek owles. Hold out to the laft, that fo thou maift obtain that honourable title, that Mnafon had, to be an old difciple, Acts 21.16.
I hall conclude this Head of watchfulnesse, and this whole Chapter of maintaining a daily clofe communion with God, with two further Directions, which (with Gods bleffing) will much conduce to the carrying on of the whole work.
Direction 1. Inure thy foul, (befides thy daily folemn prayers) to fend up frequent, mental, ejaculatory prayers unto God. Thefe ho'y
liftings up of the heart unto the Lord, as they are very pleafing to him, fo they are exceedingly advantageous for the fetching speedy aid from Heaven, for the quenching of a luft, refifting of a temptation, the better performing any Service, delivering us out of any prefent ftraits, enabling us to bear any affliction, or in cafe of any failing, to beg mercy and pardon speedily, while the heart is fmitten, and tenderly affected with a fenfe of its mifcarriage: As when Davids heart fmote him for numbring the people, 2 Sam, 24.10. we find him lifting up his heart unto the Lord, in this manner, I have finned, I beseech thee take away the iniquity of thy fervant.
Thefe ejaculatory prayers are (as it were) messengers fent post to Heaven, (when time is not afforded for continued prayer) for fome fpeedy help. And as they hinder no bufineffe, but being duly performed) further it much every way, so no bufineffe can hinder them. When a Minifter is preaching, and finds his heart cold and liveleffe in the fervice, or when in folemn prayer he finds his spirit indifpofed, dry, and barren, How may he speed one of thefe Swift and filent meßengers, one of these fervent ejaculations to Heaven, for help and afsistance? When a Chriftian is hearing the Word, of how much advantage is it, to fend up fuch filent and fervent prayers, that God would fet home fuch or fach à Doctrine upon his heart; or
help him to forfake fuch a fin, then reproved, or enable him to believe, and embrace fuch a Truth? When Chrift was preaching to his Apoftles, that hard leßon of brotherly forgiveness, we find in the 17th of Luke, v. 5. They fenr up that holy ejaculation, Lord encreafe our Faith. A man that is riding, or walking, or emolǝyed in his lawful calling, may thus converse with Heaven, and yet no waies hinder his prefent bufinelle.
And further to perfwade thee to the practise of this direction, confider,
I. Thefe ejaculatory prayers do very much honour God; in that they acknowledge him, to be a God, that can understand the language of our hearts, and the least movings of our defires, towards him; and that he is a God hearing prayers, and a very prefent help in time of tron
II. They are a good means to keep our hearts fpiritual, and heavenly, and in a good frame. Strangeneffe often growes between God and our fou.es, for want of thefe. And many affecting providences loofe their kindly wok upon us for want of a prefent lifting up ot our hearts in fome futable ejaculations.
III. They are a fpecial means to fi us for more folemn prayer. We must begin duties with duties: God prepares the hearts of his people, to pray acceptably unto him, by thefe ejaculations.
But here obferve these few cautions and directions.
1. Take heed of formality, flightneß, and customarines in them. Let them be ferious, and fervent, and from thy heart. Nothing more usual with many people, than God forgive me, Lord bleffe me, God help me, when the heart is nothing affected; nor does it fend up these as earnest requefts unto the Lord, looking for an answer.
2. Use these holy ejaculations, not only in a way of petition, but alfo of thanksgiving. Thus our Saviour, Father I thank thee, Mat.11.25,26. Thus David often, as may be seen in his Pfalms, that are full of fach holy breathings and affecti onate thanksgivings.
3. Take heed under this pretence of laying afide, or neglecting folemn prayer in a continued way: For that many ignorant people are apt to do; thinking a few formal, fhort ejaculations to be devotion enough; and begrutch God any more of their time.
4. Get a deep fenfe of thy own Weaknesse, inabi lity, infufficiency, and of thy continual need of help from God, and that will difpofe thy heart to be ready in every thing by prayer," and fupplication, with thanksgiving, to make thy requests known unto God.
Direct. 2. Retire thy felf every night, and review and reflect upon all thy actions and whole behaviour in the day past. We read that God