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no purpose to say that you intend to lead a Christian life.

And if through carelessness, presumption, violent temptations, or the like, you happen to fall into any of these sins before-named, you must resolve, by God's grace, immediately to repent and forsake it, left you grow hardened, and careless of your soul, and drive the Spirit of God from you; for then you can never repent, never be forgiven.

Lastly. If it shall please God to give you a sense of your miscarriages, and your sins have been such as have given offence to the church of God; do you resolve to give glory to God in a free confeilion of your fins, and after such a way as the Church and Ministers of Christ's kingdom here on earth shall appoint?

It is necessary that you should consider this, and be resolved what you will do in such a case; for as on the one hand shame will be apt to make you endeavour to avoid fuch an open acknowledgment; (the unthinking world may be apt to persuade you that such a formality is not necessary, and the profane world will be apt to laugh at you;) so on the other hand, you must know, that whoever despiseth the wholsome orders of the ministers of Christ, despiseth Christ himself, and God that sent him. Here then will be the trial of

obedience; and you ought to resolve beforehand, whether shame, the censure of a foolish world, or any other consideration, shall hinder you from doing that, without which your pardon, in all probability, will never be sealed in heaven.



To conclude this particular. If you can resolve in all these cases to do what you believe will be most pleasing to God, in hopes of being beloved and rewarded by him, then may you with safety and good hopes renew your baptismal vow, now and at all times :And the grace of God will most surely be with you, to assist and bless your good endeavours, without which your best purposes and most sober resolutions would all be in vain.

III. Which brings us to the third particular to be explained; namely, what afstances you may depend on, to enable you to do what you piously resolve upon. And this is very necessary to be considered; for the word of God assures us, and by experience we find, that all our good purposes and designs will come to nothing, unless the Spirit of God be with us, to encourage, to support, and to strengthen us.

And for this very reason the Apostles of Christ (no doubt by his appointment) began this usage in the church of God, that after persons had by baptism been received into the church and houshold of faith, and had been made partakers of the covenant of grace, the apostles, and their successors, should lay their hands upon them, assuring them by that sign



of God's favour and good will towards them, that such a measure of his Holy Spirit shall accompany them, as shall be sufficient to guide, to support, and to defend them, from themselves, and their own deceitful hearts; from the world, and all its vain deceitful charms; from the devil, and all the powers of darkness; till they come to that everlasting kingdom of which they are heirs.

Now, if this be the way by which God will bestow a greater measure of his Holy Spirit, what fober person will neglect such means of grace? Who will dare to despise this ordinance? : But, as beneficial as this ordinance may be to all those who make use of it, it will secure no man in the ways of holiness, but fach as purpose to use their best endeavours to retain that Holy Spirit which is conferred upon them by imposition of hands. We pray, that God may defend


with his heavenly grace. We shew you, that God is ever ready to bless his own holy appointments. We may convince you, that this is one of his ordinances, and as such you may earnestly desire to be partakers of it; and yet, after all, reap no befiefit by it.

For you may neglect the gift bestowed upon you, forget your promises and good purposes, and grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by which you are sealed unto the day of redemption.

God God forbid it should be so with


you on whom I am now going to lay my hands. But since it may be fo, it is fit you

should have warning to be careful of your ways, and know how to value the grace of God so as not to forfeit it.

And value it surely you will, if you consider the blessing of being under the government of the Spirit of God: for then no temptation can overcome you; the devil cannot hurt you;


is he that is with you, than he that is against you. You will, by his assistance, learn to despise this world, and set your affections upon a much better. You will be enabled, by that same Spirit, to mortify the deeds of the flesh, that you may live - live as free from fin as may be here, and for ever in heaven. For this good Spirit will enlighten your minds with saving truths; when you go astray, will pull you back; when you grow careless, will awaken you;

you; when you want help, will assist you; when you want comfort, will rejoice your heart; when you do well, will encourage you; and when you do amiss, will correct and chasten you; until he brings you to heaven, when all your trouble and danger will be over, and, for the short trials you have undergone in this life, you will be made happy for ever and ever.

IV. And now you will desire to know, By what means this good Spirit is to be secured,bow you may attain the end of your faith and

Christian Christian profesion; namely, the salvation of your souls; which was the last particular we proposed to speak to.

The holy Psalmist set himself (as he tells usk) this rule: I set God always before me, therefore I shall not fall

. That is, he endeavoured to have these thoughts ever in his mind, That God saw all his actions, heard all his words, and knew the very thoughts of his heart,—that he might not offend God, he therefore took care of his thoughts, words, and actions. But if at any time he had the misfortune to fall, his way was not to continue in rebellion: I made hasie, faith he, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.

And thus must you do, if you hope for the continuance of God's grace.

You must strive to live in the fear of God, remembering his judgments upon wilful finners, frequently calling to mind the vows that are upon you, calling upon him in all your wants, and giving him thanks for every blessing you receive.

By this means, the knowledge of God will be ever present with you, and the Spirit of God will delight in you, and lead you

in the way

go:-And if at any time you go astray, he will by the methods of his providence bring you back, that you may in the end be saved.

In the second place, be sure not to neglect any opportunities of improving yourselves in

wherein you

you should


* Pf. xvi. 8,

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