« FöregåendeFortsätt »
we should be pardoned without repentance, and made virtuous without our own care and good endeavours; is not hope, but presumption. We must seek things in God's own way; For this is the confi. dence that we have in him, that if we ask any thing according to his will, ke keareth
Preparation of a good Life, for the
[From Bishop PATRICK's Mensa Mystica.]
PSALM xciii. the last verse.
?: for ever.
assertion of holy David is found
ed, is this ; That God is essentially boly. Which truth hath such a foundation in our natural understanding, and springeth so clearly from every man's mind, that all the deductions and consequents which Aow from it, must needs be evident, and find no resistance but only from the wills and perverse affections of men,
If we consider therefore with ourselves a while, and look upon him that dwelleth in pure light, we shall soon be persuaded, that they ought to be holy that approach near unto him; that no profane foot ought to tread in his fanctuary ; and that an unhallowed mind cannot be the temple where he should dwell. — A short explanation of the Pfalmift's words, will make it manifest, that our minds. do rightly persuade us, when we fo conclude.
The house of God (which he speaks of) was the temple at Yerusalem, where God was worshipped; into one part of which, none but the high priest might"enter, and that but once a year, being void of legal uncleanness. " Into a second, the other priests might enter, but only to minister in holy things, and not without the like state of purity.' And the people, who were only admitted into the courts of God's house, could not even there be accepted to feast with God, unless their offering was without blemish, and they themselves at that time free from any pollutions which their law prohibited. Which to any wise
man must fignify thus much ; -- that God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of his saints; and to be had in reverence of all them that are round about him; and that nothing becometh his presence but what is separated from the world, and cleansed from carnal affections. And whoever thinketh otherwise, is by this very thought (if there were nothing else) an unholy person. And it is still ingrafted fo much in every man's mind, that none will venture to make any of the more fo. lemn addresses to God, but they think of some repentance and amendment, of some more devout disposition of mind, how unholy foever the reit of their lives have been. · Now though the Psalmist intend more than a fit of religion, and cannot be thought to mean so little as an holiness that hath only its set and appointed times ; yet it may justly be asked, whether besides these two things I have already mentioned, (to wit, the holiness of God, and the constant holiness of those who converse with him) there be not also a third included in
them, them, which is, that at some times we are engaged to an higher degree of holiness, and ought more folemnly and religiously to purify and cleanse ourselves.
Are we not to raile up our hearts to a greater feryour in devotion, to search oura selves more curiously, and cast out all evil inclinations, when we come near to God in the highest duties of our religion ? Or, in short, it may be asked, whether we are not to use a greater preparation, and bring a greater holiness to God's table, than a other times, when we approach to him in other duties ? I shall not certainly determine how far the Psalmist's words do favour fuch an affertion, that there ought to be a greater regard to ourselves when we go to the house of God than at other times; but I shall endeayour to illustrate all the truth that is in it, in these following propositions.
Only let it be premised, that it is my design fo to state this matter of preparation, that we may come to God's table in a very severend manner, and yet not use him unreverently at other times. A great