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and fhall we determine not to be faved, becaufe God chufes to do it, not in our way, but his own?
That in this and many other inftances his ways are mysterious, and paft finding out, is undoubtedly true. But let it be remembered always, that the myfterious part relates only to what he has done for us; what we have to do (which is all that it concerns us to know) is perfectly clear and intelligible. It is nothing more than this, that we proftrate ourselves with all humility before the throne of grace, and adore the goodness of our Maker in confenting, on any terms, to extend his mercy to us; that we embrace, with gratitude and thankfulness, the great falvation offered to us by the death of Christ, and exert our utmost endeavours to render ourselves capable of fharing in the benefits of that facrifice, by fulfilling the conditions, the only conditions, on which we can be admitted to partake of it; that is, by denying ungodliness and worldly “lufts, and living foberly, righteously, and "godly in this prefent world."
COMMUNE WITH YOUR OWN HEART, AND IN YOUR CHAMBER, AND BE STILL..
O commune with our own hearts is, in the language of Scripture, to retreat from the world, and give ourselves up to private meditation and reflection. But as the fubjects of our meditation may be very different, in order to know what kind of felf-communion is here meant, we must confider the purposes which the Pfalmift had in view. Thefe purposes are specified in the former part of the verfe," Stand in awe, and fin not;" to which is immediately fubjoined, as the means of impreffing this facred awe upon the mind, "Commune with your own heart, and in your chamber, and be ftill." The design, there
fore, of the felf-communion here recommended is, to restrain us from vice; to cherish and improve the feeds of virtue; to give us leisure for examining into the state of our fouls; to stamp upon our hearts a love for God and a reverence for his laws; to make us, in fhort, "ftand in awe, and fin not."
Such is the purport of the injunction in the text; and a more important one it is not eafy to imagine it is, indeed, an effential and indifpenfable requifite towards our well-being, both here and hereafter. For if we will never stand still and confider, how is it poffible we fhould ever go on well? Yet, notwithstanding the evident neceffity of reflection to an intelligent and accountable being, a very large part of mankind seem to have formed a refolution never to think at all. They take the utmost pains that they may never experience the misfortune of finding themselves alone and still, may never have a fingle moment left for ferious recollection. They plunge themselves into vice; they diffipate themselves in amusement; they entangle themselves in bufinefs; they engage in eager and endless pursuits after riches, honours, power, fame,
every trifle, every vanity that ftrikes their imagination; and to these things they give themfelves up, body and foul, without ever once stopping to confider what they are doing and where they are going, and what the confequence must be of all this wildness and folly. In vain does Reafon itself fometimes reprefent to them, that if there really be another state of existence, it is infanity never to concern themselves about it: in vain does God command them "to watch and pray, and to work " out their falvation with fear and trembling:" in vain does Religion call upon them to withdraw a little from the busy scene around them, to retire to their own chamber, to be there quiet and ftill, to commune with their own hearts, to proftrate themselves before God, to lament their fins, to acknowledge their wretchedness, and entreat forgiveness through the merits of their Redeemer. Against all these admonitions they fhut their ears, and harden their hearts; and prefs forward with intrepid gaiety in the course they are embarked in, which they infift upon to be the only wife one. To that wisdom then, and the fruits of it, we must leave them, with our earnest
prayers to God,
God, that they may fee the things that belong to their peace before they are for ever hid from their eyes. But whatever may become of this giddy unthinking multitude, we, my brethren, who are brought here by a fenfe of duty, must fee, that if we hope either to understand that duty, or to fulfil it, we must fometimes retire and think of it. Even the best and greatest of men, have found this felf-communion neceffary to preserve them from fin and error. The royal Pfalmift more efpecially, who gave
us the precept, enforced it powerfully by his own example. Though no one was more attentive to the interefts of his people, and good government of his kingdom, had a greater variety of weighty objects to engage his thoughts, more difficulties to encounter, or more temptations to combat than he; yet he never fuffered either bufinefs, grief, or pleafure, fo entirely to poffefs his foul, as to exclude the great concerns of Religion; but wherever or however fituated, he found time to commune with himself; he frequently retired at morning, and evening, and noon-day, to review his conduct, to examine into the ftate of his foul, and fearch out his fpirits, to