« FöregåendeFortsätt »
seck God's Face. Call upon me (faith God) in the Day of Trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou malt glorify me, Pfal. l. 15.
Ah! but I cannot pray! I cannot perform any holy Duty; or fiš to any one part of Religion. I no sooner retire into my Closet, or kneel down upon my knees, but a thousand Terrors infeft me, so that I think 'twere better to let Devotion alone, then to perform it no better. (Ah, Lord!) But let me ask thee, Dost thou do thy utmost? Doft thou sincerely defire to do thy Duty, and to please God? and doft thou put a force upon thyself, sometimes to perform the Duty of Prayer, or any other holy Duty, tho it be with many Interruptions and Distractions? Continue to do so; for by so doing thou wilt approve thyself unto God, who seeth chy Heart ; and, in all probability, thy Fears and Terrors will by degrees vanish; these Tad and dismal Thoughts will lefsen, and at length quite leave thee. . .
God is a God hearing Prayers. He will be sought to in our Distresses, and implored in, our Affiliations. Say then (with the Psalmist) Why art thou cast down, O my Soul? and why art thou so difquieted within me? Hope thou in God, (pray to him) for I ball yet praise him, wbo is the
Help of my Countenance, and my God. Pfal. xlii. ult.
; VII. Again: To prevent these fad, deEjected, or despairing Thoughts we are
speaking of, We must be careful that we * do not love the World immoderately. For ? how remote soever Coretou (nefs may seem
from Despair, the former doth frcquently conduce to the latter. He that fets too great a value upon the Things of this World, and a Temporal Prosperity, will not only be greatly hindred from doing his Spiritual Duty, but when it pleaseth God to deprive him of his Prosperity, he is very apt to be extremely disquieted, and repining; and sometimes to look upon
himself as utterly forsaken of God, bem a cause he is stripp'd of those outwardThings.
He mistakenly looks upon Temporal good Things to be certain Marks of God's Favour: Whereas-in Truth they are, nor, but he sometimes deals them promiscuoulo', as the Rain descends both upon the fuft and Unjuft, Pral. lxxiji.
And what is the likely Confequence of such an enormous Love of the World ? (if, I say, it should please God to bring such án one into Adverfity) but that he Thould have dismal, and even despairing Thoughts of his own Condition. There have been frequent Examples of this Nature in the G3
World: And thus far have these Words of the Apostle been verify'd: Birt then that. will be rich, fall into temptation, and a snöre, and into many foolish and hurtful Luftsa which drown Men in perdition. For the love of Money is the root of all Evil; which while fome have coveted after, they have erred from the Faith, and pierced theinselves through with many Sorrors. I Tim. vi.9, 10.
Let us not therefore set our Affections too much upon these fleeting, Things: Leo us enjoy every good Thing with Submislion to; and dependance upon, God's Providence. Let us beware that we do 1100 fix our Hearts on any thing here, below; neither Riches, Polesions, Friends, Chile dren, nor any of these sublunary Things, For so doing hath oftentimes proved very fatal to many; and at last hath thrown them into Melancholy; nay, even inco Defperation...
VIII. The last Remedy against black, dreadful, or despairing Thoughts, is, Religious and Cheerful Conversation. 'T'is not jolly, vain Company; that will be of no use, but hurt : but godly and cheerful Society will very much contribute to their Cure. To be always poring, ag, gravates the Malady, and rivets the Dera pair, and fometimes proves fatal indeed : And therefore a little good Conversation
is very neceffary. Religious Discourses and Conferences will keep out worse Thoughts, and conduce very much to make us rejoice with them that do rejoices T There is a kind of Melody in them, which
(like that of David's Harp, when he play'd =1 to Saul) will drive away the evil Spirit,
5 1 Sam. xvi. 23. 'Tis a common thing FC for fuch Persons as are troubled with E this kind of Thoughts, to affect Soligudo,
and desire to be always alone, and ima mur'd in their own fad Contemplations.
But notwithstanding the strongest Aver, Eifion to Company which they may hayo,
El 'cis advisable that against their Inclina - tions, they be brought into good and I cheerful Converfation, and that not once,
or twice, but with Continuance. And e this is a proper way (in time) to be rid of gi such, evil Thoughts. For the Devil's
Temptations and Injections, cspecially of this kind, are usually more prevalent, and come with greater Force, when People are alone, than when they are in Society. And then too, they are apt to dote upon their own Notions of Things, hug their Miftakes, and think them true, however
false and erroneous they may be. , . Di A religious and cheerful Friend there
fore I take in this Cafe to be of great Advantage, to comfort, advise, divert, and G 4
improve them in better Things. And more especially do I recommend the frequent Converfation of their Spiritual Guide. For it is not to be imagined what Efficacy a seasonable Word hath sometimes; and what a sweet Alteration it causes in difconfolate People. It goeth like Oil into their Bones : or else (to use the Preacher's Comparison) The Words of the wife are 035 Goads, and as Nails fastned by the Masters of Assemblies. Good Conversation ftrengthens and exhilarates the Spirits to a great degree ; and is a very proper means against all fad and melancholy, or despairing Thoughts. 1 And indeed, I think, Religion is that Which goes a great way towards the Cure of Melancholy: And without it, 'tis hardly ever to be cur'd. 'Tis Religion must give a Man a rational, and a wellgrounded Hope of the Security of his eternal Condition hereafter; without which 'tis difficult to imagine how his Heart fhould ever be easy, and his Thoughts serene, quiet, and compos'd. And therefore he that would avoid this kind of evil Thoughts, I exhort and advise him 'firit to fix the grand Point of Religion in him.
felf; and then to cherish, and improve it -by cheerful and religious Conversation.