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for temporal bleffings, but we can ne. ver be too importunate for spiritual. With regard to them we may use a holy violence with the Almighty; and may say to him as Jacob to the angel; I will not let thee go except thou bless me. And to earnest prayers let us add sincere endeavours after holiness: otherwise our prayers will be nothing but a mocking of God, and a deceiving of ourselves.
In a word: let us do as much as we can, and faithfully improve all those talents and abilities which God hath bestowed upon us already : and then we shall have reason to expect that he will be still more liberal to us. For unto every one who hath mall be given, and be Mali bave more abundance ; but from him who bath not, shall be taken away even that which he bath.
Psalm CXIX. 106. I have sworn, and I will perform
it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments.
THIS Pfalm is full of the fen-
and discovers the author of
extraordinary piery. If to have a great relish of the word of God, and a superlative affection for it; if to
pray heartily for divine assistance in yielding obedience to it, and firmly to resolve to yield such obedience, are indications of a pious temper of mind, as certainly they are : then the author of this psalm must have been pious in an extraordinary degree ; for never surely did any man speak with greater delight concerning the word of God, or express more earnest desires after conformity to it, or make more vigorous resolutions of obedience to the precepts of it. 'Tis one of the last of these, which I have chosen for the subject of my present discourse : I have sworn, &c.
"By the judgments of God, in this place, we are to understand his laws or precepts. Indeed in common discourse the word bears another meaning, and stands for those punishments which God inflicts upon nations or particular persons, for their fins. And it is sometimes used in this sense in scripture : e. g. Isaiah XXVI. 9. When thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. But it is also frequently used in that other sense of laws or precepts: particularly in the books of Moses. This title is prefixed to a large collection of laws in the XXII, XXIII,
and XXIIId chapters of Exodus. They are introduced in this manner : now these are the judgments which thou shalt set before them. And in Leviticus and Deuteronomy it is often joined with the words statutes, testimonies, laws, commandments; according to the custom of the eastern writers, who were wont to use a variety of expressions for the same thing. This psalm in which my texe is, affords another notable instance of these words being put promiscuously one for another. There is scarce a verse in it, in which some or other of them doth not occur ; and yet any ordinary reader may perceive that they are all of the same import. It is plain, that by the judgments of God in our text, cannot be meant those punishments which he inflicts upon men for their fins ; for it would have been abe surd for the psalmist to say of them, that he would keep them : but take it in the sense of laws, and then it is a very wise and rational resolution; as will appear hereafter, when we come to consider the precepts themselves. But before I do that, I shall explain the nature of religious resolution, and shew, that we may know when it is genuine;
because many are apt to deceive them selves in this matter, and think they have fulfilled it, when they have not, In discoursing therefore on this text, I propose,
I. To lay before you the properties of religious resolution.
II. To recommend it to you from the confideration suggested in the text, viz. the righteousness of the divine com. mands.
I. I am to lay before you the properties of religious resolution. Now religious resolution, if it be genuine, hath these properties.
1. It is founded on mature delibes ration.
2. It is peremptory and unmoveable.
3. It respects the time present, and admits of no delay.
4. It is universal, and respects all God's commandments.
į. It is founded on mature delibera, tion. Sudden and hasty resolutions feldom come to any thing, because men often see reason to repent of them afterwards, when they liç down and con