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CHAPTER SEVENTEEN: DIRECTIONS FOR THE WEAK CHRISTIAN
Now that a believer is defined, the godly life described, and the helps thereto adjoined, it remains in the next place to direct the weak Christian in the right use of means. For those duties of godliness are not left to men sometimes to be practiced and at other times neglected; nor are means to be only used generally but not particularly; means must be used daily and throughout each day. This does not mean that one must do the same things every day, but rather that all evil should be avoided every day; and such good done every day as in our calling and life shall be occasioned.
Daily Intake of God’s Word
First, therefore, the believer must have direction for his life every day out of God’s Word. 1 Peter 1:17, 4:2; Hebrews 3:14, Luke 1:75.
a. The Scripture commends us to a certain course of walk in with God and a particular direction of our lives. Psalm 119:9, Proverbs 10:9, Galatians 6:16. This must be kept and daily followed by us. Proverbs 21:14, 1 Timothy 5:10, Psalm 119:97, Psalm 91:15, Acts 24:16 & 24:7, Psalm 145:2. Therefore, Christians must be guided by some daily directions in the leading of their lives.
b. Furthermore, many parts of a daily direction as will sufficiently direct a man are found enjoined in the Word of God; these instructions are be used daily. In prosperity, James 5:13, 1 Thessalonians 5:19, James 2:23. In afflictions, James 1:5; 2 Chronicles 20:34; Lamentations 3:27, Psalm 32:6, 2 Samuel 15:26, Luke 9:23, Deuteronomy 33:12, Matthew 26:41. Among the helps for prayer, Psalm 55:16, Psalm 119:164, Proverbs 6:22. For watchfulness, Psalm 119:97. For reading, Joshua 1:8. And as for public hearing, Proverbs 8:33, Acts 2:46.
c. Besides, if we consider the danger that follows the neglecting of this direction, by taking unlawful liberty, that there will be reason to stir us up to embrace this truth; for, first we are caught presently with the deceitfulness of sin some way or other. Matthew 26:41, Hebrews 3:13, 2 Timothy 4:5, Proverbs 28:13.
Secondly, God himself though he keeps his children from many evils while they desire it, yet if they be secure, he leaves them to themselves does punish their sin as he does other men’s. 2 Samuel 7:1,; 2 Chronicles 16:9, Proverbs 10:9, Psalm 89:3. And we all know that Satan watches for any opportunity to hurt us. Matthew 13:44, Matthew12:44.
Rise When You Fall
That this daily direction is the best means to keep us well – while we are well—and to raise us up when we fall.
That the very Ten Commandments teach us daily exercise. Three commandments make mention of particular days; and the commandments are generally applicable on all days.
No Time to be Careless
God has forbidden us to consider any day’s time for which we may be careless. Galatians 4:10, Colossians 2:16, Hebrews 5:8.
Our Citizenship is in Heaven
And lastly, that our whole daily conversation must be in heaven Philippians 1:27 & 3:20.
Therefore, as a man that has a long journey to travel will not count it sufficient to merely notice whether he is going east or west, but rather will take particular note of the way; so ought we to learn wisdom since we have a long pilgrimage. We must not content ourselves with generalities, but rather we must pay attention to the particular means – which may help us forward in the kingdom of heaven.
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN: THE CHRISTIAN LIFE MUST BE LIVED EVERY DAY
Now it follows to show what is daily direction is. It is to gather together certain rules are God’s Word, that which we may be enabled every day according to the will of God with sound peace.
There are the following of such direction as they will and constant effort to please God in all things every day as long as we are to the peace of our own conscience and glorifying of God. And the description is to be observed:
That it is called an endeavor only, because perfection is neither required of God nor to be looked for in the best Christians. Thus such places as, Psalm 119:1, Luke 11:28, which to require perfection are to be expounded by those that speak of endeavor, such as, Chronicles 28:7, Hosea 6:3, acts 24:16. But this is an inseparable fear of the fear of God, and must be in our hearts continually.
That this endeavor must be hearty, not constrained or hollow, but constant, that we faint not, but hold out therein.
Whereto it tends, viz, to please God in all things. Luke 16:13, Colossians 1, Hebrews 13:18.
Lastly, that this must be daily and continued to the end. Acts 24:16, Proverbs 4:26, Acts 26:7 2 Corinthians 1:13.
The Ncessary Parts of Daily Directions are These Eight.
1. First every day we should be humbled for our sins, as through due examination of our lives by the law of God we shall see them. Psalm 5:3, Ephesians 4:26; Job 1:5.
2. Every day we ought to be raised up in assured hope of forgiveness: of them by the promises of God in Christ; this is never separated from the former, Acts 2:38, Hosea 14:2-3. The words “this day” in the Lord’s Prayer teach us at least this much.
3. Every day we ought to prepare our hearts to seek the Lord still and keep them fit ndnd willing thereto. Hebrews 3:12, Deuteronomy 5:29, Proverbs 4:8.
4. Every day we must strongly and resolutely arm ourselves against all evil and sin, fearing most of all to is offend God.
5. Every day we must nourish our fear and love of God and joy in him more than in anything and endeavor to please him in all duties as occasion shall be offered. 2 Thessalonians 3:5.
6. Every day our thanks be for benefits received and still certainly hoped for. Lamentations 3:23, Psalm 118:7, Psalm 103:3, 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
7. Every day we ought to watch and pray for steadfastness and constancy in all these Ephesians 1:17.
8. Every day hold and keep our peace with God, and so lie down with it. 2 Corinthians 1:12, Philippians 4:4, 1. Thessalonians 5:16.
These are all necessary, as without which we can never be safe, we could never taste of true joy. But here are two extremes to be avoided in conceiving [thinking about] of them.
First, that we think it not sufficient to regard these duties, some one time in the day; for we must have this present with us, and our hearts seasoned with them throughout the day. Second, that we do not take occasions from hence to shake off our callings, or to neglect any part of them. For in our ordinary and meanest [least important] works, we may and must serve God by doing them in faith, not for carnal respect only: and avoiding the common sins that profane ones join with them.