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Turn thou away mine eyes from ‘beholding vanity, and quicken thou me in thy way.—Ver. 37.
DAVID still continueth his requests to God for grace, and entituleth him to the whole work. He had prayed before that God would incline his heart, now that he would ‘Turn away his eyes from beholding 389worldly vanities.’ In this prayer there are two branches—the one concerneth mortification, the other vivification.
First. Turn away, then quicken, &c. The first request is for the removing the impediments to obedience, the other for addition of new degrees of grace. These two are fitly joined, for they have a natural influence upon one another; unless we turn way our eyes from vanity, we shall soon contract a deadness of heart. Nothing causeth it so much as an inordinate liberty in carnal vanities. When our affections are alive to other things, they are dead to God; therefore the less we let loose our hearts to these things the more lively and cheerful in the work of obedience. On the other side, the more the vigour of grace is renewed, and the habits of it quickened into actual exercise, the more is sin mortified and subdued. Sin dieth, and our senses are restored to their proper use. These two requests are fitly joined. Let us consider them asunder.
1. ‘Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity.’ There observe—(1.) The object, vanity; (2.) The faculty, mine eyes; (3.) The act of grace desired, the removing of this faculty from this object.
[1.] The object, ‘vanity.’ Thereby is meant carnal and worldly things, worldly pleasures, worldly honour, worldly profits; all these are called vanity, because they have no solid happiness in them, and do so easily fade and perish. Thus it is said, Prov. xxxi. 30, ‘Favour is deceitful and beauty is vain.’ The same is true of any other transporting objects: ‘Vanity of vanities, all is vanity,’ Eccles. i. 2; and Job xv. 31, ‘Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity, for vanity shall be his recompense;’ Rom. viii. 20, ‘The creature is made vanity.’ By vanity there is understood the vain things of the world, which do so often deceive us as to the happiness they promise.
[2.] The faculty is mentioned, the eye. It is employed and commanded by the heart. But this enkindleth new flames there; and as it is set awork by it, so it sets the heart awork again. It is the instrument of increasing sin in us.
[3.] The act, ‘turn away.’ Our evil delight is too apt to fix it, and become a snare to us, till God cure both heart and sense by grace. He prayeth not from beholding it altogether, but from beholding as a snare.
Doct. It concerneth those that would walk with God to have their eyes turned away from worldly things. I shall give you the meaning in these propositions.
1. He that would be quickened, carried out with life and vigour in the ways of God, must first be mortified, die unto sin. The apostle there speaks of the fruit of Christ’s death, being dead unto sin before he can live to God, 1 Peter ii. 24. David first maketh it his request, ‘Turn away mine eyes,’ then ‘Quicken.’ Many would fain live with Christ, but first they must learn to die unto sin. It is impossible for sin and grace to live in the same subject.
2. One great means of mortification is guarding the senses, eyes, and ears, and taste, and touch, that they may not betray the heart. I put it so general, because the man of God that is so solicitous about his eyes would not be careless of his ears and other senses. We must watch on all sides. When an assault is made on all sides, if one gate be open, it is as good as all were. The senses are the cinque ports by 390which sin is let out and taken in. The ingress and egress of sin is by the senses, and much of our danger lieth there; partly because there are so many objects that suit with our distempers, that do by them insinuate themselves into the soul, and therefore things long since seemingly dead will soon revive again, and recover life and strength. There are no means to keep the heart unless we keep the eye. And partly because in every creature Satan hath laid a snare for us, to steal away our hearts and affections from God. Partly because the senses are so ready to receive these objects from without to wound the heart, for they are as the heart is. If the heart be poisoned with sin, and be come a servant to it, so are the senses of our bodies ‘weapons of unrighteousness.’ Rom. vi. 13. Objects have an impression upon them answerable to the temper and the affections of the soul, and what it desireth they pitch upon; and therefore if we let the senses wander, the heart will take fire presently; and if we do not stop evil at the beginning, but let it alone to take head, we cannot stop it when we would, nor repress the motions of it from flying abroad.
3. Above all senses the eye must be guarded.
[1.] Because it is the noblest sense, given us for high uses. There is not only a natural use to inform us of things profitable and hurtful for the outward man, but a spiritual use to set before us those objects that may stir us and raise our minds to heavenly thoughts and meditations. For by beholding the perfection of the creatures we may admire the more eminent perfection of him that made them: Ps. xix. 1, ‘The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork;’ and Ps. viii. 3, ‘When I considered thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained.’ David, when he walked abroad in a moon-shining night, admired the glory of the moon and stars; the moon and stars are mentioned because it was a night meditation; his heart was set awork by his eyes: Rom. i. 20, 21, ‘For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and godhead,’ &c. The perfections of the creatures are to draw us to God, and their imperfections and defects to drive us from themselves. The eye, as it is used, will either be a help or a snare; either it will let in the sparks of temptation, or enkindle the fire of true devotion. These are the windows which God hath placed in the top of the building, that man from thence may contemplate God’s works, and take a prospect of heaven, the place of our eternal residence. Os homini sublime dedit—God made man with an erect countenance, not grovelling on the earth, but looking up to heaven, and viewing the glorious mansions above.
[2.] Because they have a great influence upon the heart either as to good or evil, but chiefly to evil. In this corrupt state of man, ὀρεῖν γίνεται τὸ ὁρᾷν1313 Qu. “ἐκ τοῦ ὁρᾷν γίνεται τὸ ἐρᾷν”?—ED.—by looking we come to liking, and are brought inordinately to affect what we do behold: Num. xv. 39, ‘That ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring;’ Job xxxi. 7, ‘If my step hath turned out of the way, and my heart walked after mine eyes.’ These are the spies of the heart—brokers to bring it and the temptation together; the eye seeth, and 391then by gazing the heart lusteth, and the body acteth the transgression. It is more dangerous to see evil than to hear it; the impression is greater; ^the relation of anything doth not affect us so much as the sight of it. Those that hear of the fury of wars, firing of houses, ravishing of virgins, killing and wounding of men, and the like, can not have so deep a sense of those things as they that see it. The sight of heaven works more than the report of it; as Paul, when he had a sight of these things, was in an ecstasy: the look doth immediately work on the heart. Well, then, it is dangerous to fix the eye on enticing objects, for it exciteth more than hearsay.
[3.] The eye must be looked to, because it hath been the window by which Satan hath crept in, and all manner of poison conveyed to the soul. I shall prove it—(1.) Doctrinally; (2.) Historically.
(1.) I shall give you doctrinal assertions. The eye hath been the inlet of ail sin; as uncleanness: 2 Peter ii. 14, ‘Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin, beguiling unstable souls,’ &c. In the original, it is ‘eyes full of the adulteress;’ and the eye enkindles impure flames in the heart: Prov. vi. 25, ‘Lust not after her beauty in thy heart, neither let her take thee with her eyelids.’ Gazing on the beauty of women enkindleth foul flames within the breast, and we feel strange transports of soul when we give way to it. The evil heart is in its element when it is thus. Then covetousness gets into the heart by the eye: 1 John ii. 15, ‘Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world: if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.’ And therefore the apostle, when he maketh a division of sin, he saith, ‘For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world;’ because the mind is so secretly enchanted with the love of those things it beholds, and are represented to it by the external senses. And Eccles. iv. 8, ‘There is no end of all his labour, neither is his eye satisfied with riches;’ that insatiable thirst is enkindled in the soul by beholding the splendour of outward things; it is born and bred and fed by it, and the heart is secretly enchanted with a love to it, and therefore we must have more of it. Again drunkenness: Prov. xxiii. 31, ‘Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth its colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright;’ that is so as to entice the heart to crave more and more till it cometh to excess. So envy: Mat. xx. 15, ‘Is thine eye evil because mine is good?’ The more they see and behold the flourishing of others, the more is their evil disposition nourished.
(2.) Historical instances. Let me begin with the first transgression. It is said, Gen. iii. 6, ‘And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof,’ &c. She was first corrupted in her sense; gazing on the fruit with delight, that was the first sin, before eating. The devil tempted Christ when he sought to corrupt the second Adam: Mat. iv. 8, ‘He taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them.’ He knew the best way to work was by sight, and though he could not prevail against Christ, he took that way that was most accommodate^ his purpose. And afterwards what 392an account have we in scripture, how many were wounded by their eyes: The devil knoweth that is the next way to work upon the heart. So Potiphar’s wife: Gen. xxxix. 7, ‘And it came to pass after these things that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph, and she said, Lie with me.’ There the mischief began; she pleased herself with looking on the Hebrew servant. So Achan: Josh. vii. 21, ‘When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels’ weight, then I coveted them and took them,’ &c. First saw, then coveted, then took, and then hid; and then Israel falls before the Philistines, and he is attached by lots and brought to judgment. So Shechem and Dinah: Gen. xxxiv. 2, ‘And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her.’ Seeing always cometh between the sense and the heart. So of Samson: Judges xvi. 1, ‘Samson went to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her.’ So David was ensnared by looking on Bathsheba: 2 Sam. xi. 2, ‘And it came to pass in an evening tide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king’s house; and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon.’ That fired his heart, and brought such mischiefs upon him. Naboth’s vineyard was hard by Ahab’s palace, 1 Kings xxi. 1. It was ever in his eye, and therefore he is troubled and falls sick for it. So how many may thus complain that their souls have been by their eyes betrayed! As Jacob’s sheep, by looking on the rods, brought forth young ones coloured by the rods, so our actions receive that from the objects we take in by the senses.
Use is to reprove those that are so careless of their senses. When they are left at random they soon prove the ruin of the soul. Solomon giveth us the reason of his folly and warping from God: Eccles. iv. 10, ‘Whatsoever mine eye desired I kept not from them.’ I kept not mine eyes from any toy. Those men lie under the power of sin that let the boat run with the stream and never use any restraint; they are wafted down apace into the gulf of destruction. Those open the gates to the enemy, and give them free entertainment. ‘A man that is care less of his senses is like a city without walls,’ that lies open to all comers. The heart is a thoroughfare for sin and temptations. But because most men, yea, good men, have and may miscarry this way, whereby great mischiefs may come upon them, let me produce some considerations that they may see their folly that let their hearts run at random.
1. Foul sinners1414 :Qu. ‘sins’?—ED. are awakened which we thought long since laid asleep, when we let the object strike too freely upon the soul. Who would have thought that David’s heart should have been fired by a look? It is dangerous to dally with temptations, and to think no great harm will come of it. Stones running down hill are not easily stopped. So here; when we yield a little to Satan’s temptations, he carries us away by force; we cannot stop when we please.
2. Evil thoughts will be begotten in us, and they make us culpable before God, though they break not out into sinful acts. Looking causeth lusting, and that is adultery before God: Mat. v. 28, ‘But I say unto you, Whosoever looketh upon a woman to lust after her, hath 393committed adultery with her already in his heart.’ Christ came to restore the law to its spiritual sense. The Pharisees did not think the law broken but by outward gross acts and actual defilement; but Christ showeth that a wanton look is adultery; an envious look murders; the heart consenteth to sin though the body acts it not.
3. By leaving the senses without a guard, evil dispositions are impressed upon us secretly. Though we are not aware of any sensible disorder for the present, the heart groweth vain and carnal by letting loose the eye to vanity. Job doth not only take notice of his eyes when they did stir up carnal thoughts for the present, Job xxxi. 7, but saith, ‘If my eyes have walked after my heart, and if my steps have turned out of the way;’ he speaks twice of the disorders of his eyes. The heart may be corrupted by the eye, and therefore it concerns you to set a guard upon the senses: Prov. iv. 25, ‘Let thine eyelids look on, and thine eye straight before thee.’ Let us mind our business, which is to go to heaven; whereas by gazing and wandering the heart comes to be enchanted with earthly things.
4. By wandering and letting loose the eye the heart is distracted in duty. Distraction in duty is a great and usual evil, and one cause of it is the curiosity of the senses. How often do we mingle sulphur with our incense, and come to worship God having our hearts to the ends of the earth! Men let loose their eyes, and then away go their hearts; and therefore, as Solomon saith, ‘Take heed to thy foot when thou enterest into the house of God,’ Eccles. v. Many come hither merely to see and to be seen, and to display their vanity by their vain attire. How many are there that let loose their eyes to vanity, when they should give up their ears to the counsel of God! Some dress up themselves in such vain attire and indecent fashions to draw the eyes of others to gaze upon them; this is a great affront to God’s worship; Solomon saith, Prov. xvii. 24, ‘The fool’s eyes are to the ends of the earth.’ One cause of distraction is the curiosity of the senses; our eyes run to and fro, and then our hearts wander and rove from the business we are about. It is a strange constancy and fixedness that is spoken of the priests at Jerusalem, that when Faustus, Cornelius, and Furius, and Fabius broke into the city with their troops, and rushed into the temple ready to kill them, yet they went on with the rites of the temple, as if there had been no such thing. And strange is that other instance of the Spartan youth, that held the censer to Alexander while he offered sacrifice. A coal lighting upon his arm, he suffered it to burn there rather than by any crying out of his disturb that worship. These instances are a shame to Christians, that we do not more fix our hearts when we are in the service of God.
Use 2. The second use is to press us to this piece of mortification, even to ‘turn away your eyes from beholding vanity.’ To help you in it you must—
1. Take Job’s course: Job xxxi. 1, ‘I made a covenant with my eyes,’ Job and his eyes were in covenant; there was a covenant between heart and eyes. Eyes, be you faithful to my soul, that there be nothing that may stir up carnal and impure thoughts, that there be no unclean objects that may fire my heart. Oh, the fool-hardiness of this age! Some will smile at this kind of discipline, to be so strict 394and precise. Why, is sin grown less dangerous, or is man’s nature more wise and strong, or are we better fortified against temptations? Are our hearts in a better posture than the servants of God of old? Surely not; and therefore set a watch upon your eyes, that sin break not in upon your heart.
2. Consider the vanity of the things we dote upon and take in by the eyes. So saith David, ‘Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity.’ They are poor vain perishing things, yet they suit too well with our senses. And consider what Solomon saith of these things, ‘Wilt thou set thine heart upon that which is not?’ We inflame our hearts with these things, and lust putteth a lovely face upon the object that suiteth with it; but alas! what are they? Whatever they seem to the beholder, it is but vanity: Ps. xxxix. 6, ‘Man flattereth himself in a vain show.’ All the splendour and beauty of it is but vain: 1 Cor. vii. 31, ‘The fashion of this world passeth away;’ it is but an empty thing, flying bubbles. Though the world is of some use to us in our pilgrimage, yet poor things they are, as that for them we should neglect our duty to God, and grow less lively therein, or have our hearts withdrawn from God. It is the temptation that maketh them seem comely. When these alluring vanities are before our eyes, lust puts a gloss upon them. But consider what they are indeed, and in comparison of those things from which they tempt you, namely, heaven and eternal blessedness.
3. Consider the cursed issue of these things, of letting loose thy eye and heart to vanity. When you please the eye you wound the heart, and make you unfit for your great account: Eccles. xi. 9, ‘Rejoice, young man, in thy youth, and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thy heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: yet know that for all these things God will bring thee to judgment.’ Go, drench and steep thy soul in carnal delights; when thy wandering and wanton eye doth influence the lusts of thy heart, and they begin to boil up, when thou hast not denied thyself anything thy heart can wish and thine eye look upon, put in a little cool water to stop the boiling and raging of thy lust; remember that God will bring thee to judgment; though thou dost now smother thy convictions, and drown thy reason in these sensual delights, yet God will call thee to an account for all thy time, and parts, and strength, and wit, and talents intrusted with thee.
4. Pray, as David doth here, ‘Turn away mine eyes.’ He calleth upon God for the assistance of his grace; and Ps. cxli. 3, ‘Set a watch upon the door of my lips.’ He that bendeth and inclineth the heart by his grace to look after better things, must also bridle the senses. It is lust sets the eye awork, and causeth a deep complacency and delight in carnal things, and that is cured only by God’s grace, Mark x. 27; therefore go and beg this mercy of him.
5. Constant watchfulness. Alas! we cannot open our eyes but we meet with a temptation, a door open for Satan to enter by; therefore we had need diligently and constantly to watch, especially when lusts are like to be stirred. Lot’s wife might not look towards Sodom, but Abraham was bidden to look upon it. It was no temptation to him, but it was to her; she had her heart hankering after it, Gen. xix. 17, 395compared with ver. 28. When we are in danger of a temptation, we should keep a severe and strict hand upon the senses, that they may not dwell unnecessarily upon alluring objects.
6. We have renounced the pomps and vanities of the world in baptism, and shall our eyes and hearts run after them? This is implied in our baptism, for baptism is called ‘the answer of a good conscience towards God,’ 1 Peter iii. 21. It is an answer to God’s demand in the covenant. God puts us to the question whether we will renounce the world and the vanities and pleasures thereof. Now, when we have renounced these things, shall our eyes and our hearts run after them? shall we turn the senses against God who gave us the use of them? yea, against our souls? To shame you that have been no more faithful to your baptismal vow, consider what heathens have done. Basil relateth that Alexander, a young man, in the heat of blood and in the flower of his age, refused to see Darius’s daughter. It is a shame, saith he, for him that hath conquered so many men to be conquered by a woman. It is said of some heathen that he put out his eyes that they might not be a snare to him. We have grace that we may not use such violence to our nature, but certainly the eyes of our lusts should be put out; you see our baptism engageth us. If heathens, those that never came under such an engagement to God, if they by the light of nature saw that the guarding of the senses was a help to the soul, it concerns us much more to renounce the pomps and vanities of the world.
Secondly, We come to the request, ‘Quicken thou me in thy way.’ By quickening is meant the actuation of the spiritual life; he beggeth grace to perform his duty to God with cheerfulness, liveliness, and zeal.
Doct. Quickening is very necessary for them that would walk in God’s ways.
I shall not consider it here as a prayer to God, or as it is a blessing to be asked of God, but as it is necessary to obedience; and here I shall inquire—
1. What quickening is.
2. Show the necessity of it.
First, What quickening is. It is put for two things (1.) It is put for regeneration or the infusion of grace; (2.) For the renewing the vigour of the life of grace, the renewed influence of God, whereby this grace is stirred up in our hearts. First, for regeneration or the in fusion of grace: Eph. ii. 1, 2, ‘When we were dead in trespasses and sins, yet now hath he quickened us.’ Then we are quickened or made alive to God when we are new born, when there is a habitual principle of grace put into our hearts. Secondly, Quickening is put for the renewed excitation of grace, when the life that we have received is carried on to some further increase; and so it is twofold, either by way of comfort in our afflictions, or enlivening in a way of holiness.
1. Comfort in afflictions; and so it is opposed to fainting, which is occasioned by too deep a sense of present troubles, and distrust of God and the supplies of his grace. When the affliction is heavy upon us, we are like birds dead in the nest, and are so overcome that we have no spirit or courage in the service of God: Ps. cxix. 50, ‘This is my 396comfort in affliction, for thy word hath quickened me.’ Then we are said to be quickened when he raiseth up our hearts above the trouble, by refining our suffering graces, as faith, hope, and patience. Thus he is said to ‘revive the contrite one,’ Isa. lvii. 15; to restore comfort to us, and to refresh us with the sense of his love.
2. There is a quickening in duty, which is opposed to deadness of spirit, which is apt to creep upon us, that is occasioned by negligence and slothfulness in the business of the spiritual life. Now, to quicken us, God exciteth his grace in us. An instrument, though never so well in tune, soon grows out of order. A key seldom turned rusts in the lock; so graces that are not kept awork lose their exercise and grow lukewarm, or else it is occasioned by carnal liberty or intermeddling with worldly things. These bring a brawn and deadness upon the heart, and the soul is depressed by the cares of this world: Luke xxi. 34, ‘Now, when you are under this temper of soul, desire the Lord to quicken you by new influences of grace.
Secondly, Let me show the necessity of this quickening, how needful it is.
1. It is needful, for without it our general standing is questionable, whether we belong to God or no: 1 Peter ii. 5, ‘Ye are living stones built up into a spiritual house.’ It is not enough to be a stone in Christ’s building, but we must be living stones; not only members of his body, but living members. I cannot say such a one hath no grace; but when they have it not it renders their condition very questionable; a man may be living when he is not lively.
2. Without it we cannot perform our duties aright. Religion to a dead heart is a very irksome thing. When we are dead-hearted we do our duties as if we did them not in our general course of obedience. We must go to God: Ps. cxix. 88, ‘Quicken me after thy lovingkindness, so shall I keep the testimonies of thy mouth.’ Then we do good to good purpose indeed. It is not enough for us to pray, but we must pray with life and vigour: Ps. lxxx. 18, ‘Quicken me, and I will call upon thy name.’ So we should hear with life, not in a dull, careless fashion, Mat. xiii. 15.
3. All the graces that are planted in us tend to beget quickening; as faith, hope, and love; these are the graces that set us awork, and make us lively in the exercise of the spiritual life: ‘Faith that works by love,’ Gal. v. 6. It sets the soul awork by apprehending the sense of God’s love; whereas otherwise it is but a dead faith, 1 James ii. 16. Then for love, what is the influence of that? It constrains the soul, it takes the soul along with it, 2 Cor. v. 14, and Rom. xii. 1. And then hope; it is called ‘a lively hope,’ 1 Peter i. 3. All grace is put into us to make us lively; not only the grace of sanctification, but the grace of justification is bestowed upon us for this end, that we may be cheerful in God’s service: Heb. ix. 14, ‘How much more shall the blood of Christ purge our consciences from dead works, that we may serve the living God?’ Sin and guilt make us dead and heavyhearted; but now the blood of Christ is sprinkled upon the conscience, and the sentence of death taken away, then we are made cheerful to serve the living God. Attributes are suited to the case in hand; he is called the living God, because he must be served in a living manner.397
4. All the ordinances which God hath appointed are to get and in crease this liveliness in us. Wherefore hath God appointed the word? Isa. lv. 3, ‘Hear and your souls shall live.’ It is to promote the life of grace, and that we may have new encouragement to go on in the ways of God. Moses, when he received the law, is said to receive ‘the lively oracles of God,’ Acts vii. 38. So the doctrine of Christ; they are all spirit and life, and serve to beget life in us. As the redemption of the world by Christ, the joys of heaven, the torments of hell, they are all quickening truths, and propounded to us to keep us in life and vigour. The Lord’s Supper, why was that ap pointed? There we come to taste the flesh of Christ, who was given for the life of the world, John vi.; that we might sensibly exercise our faith upon Christ, that we might be more sensible of our obligations to him, that we might be the more excited in the diligent pursuit of things to come.
Use 1. Is reproof. David considereth the dulness and deadness of his spirit, which many do not, but go on in a cold track of duties, and never regard the frame of their hearts. It is a good sign to observe our spiritual temper, and accordingly go to God. Most observe their bodies, but very few their souls. If the body be ill at ease or out of order, they complain presently; but love waxeth cold, and their zeal for God and delight in him is abated, yet they never lay it to heart.
Use 2. To exhort us to get and keep this lively frame of heart.
1. Get it, pray for it. Liveliness in obedience doth depend upon God’s blessing; unless he put life and keep life in our souls, all cometh to nothing. Come to God upon the account of his glory: Ps. cxliii. 11, ‘Quicken me, O Lord, for thy name’s sake; for thy righteousness’ sake bring my soul out of trouble.’ His tender mercies: Ps. cxix. 156, ‘Great are thy tender mercies, O Lord; quicken me according to thy judgments.’ Come to him upon the account of Christ: John x. 10, ‘I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly;’ and John vii. 38, ‘He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.’ Every new act of faith draweth from Christ some in crease of spiritual life.
2. Stir up yourselves: Isa. lxiv. 7, ‘There is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee;’ 2 Tim. i. 6, ‘Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God which is in thee by the putting on of my hands;’ Ps. xlii. 5, ‘Why art thou cast down, my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise him for the helps of his countenance.’ We have liveliness enough in all businesses of secular concernment. Consider what the business is that we are about. It is about our everlasting estate, whether we shall live for ever in heaven or hell; and shall we trifle here? You had life in a way of sin; worldly men are lively. How dishonourable a thing is it to serve the living God with a dead heart? A lukewarm frame is hateful to God: Rev. iii. 16, ‘Because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.’ Take heed you do not lose quickening, and that—
[1.] By our corruption, by any heinous sin: Ps. li. 10-12 ‘Create 398in me a clean heart, God, and renew a right spirit within me; cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me: restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free Spirit.’ The spirit is a tender thing. A wound in the body lets out the life-blood.
[2.] By an inordinate liberty in worldly pleasures: 1 Tim. v. 6, ‘But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.’ Vain company, vain speeches, and the like, these things shun and avoid, but, Heb. x. 24, ‘Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works;’ let us follow good examples. We grow formal and slight by imitation. Others profess religion, and yet are dead-hearted and vain, and so are we. The idolaters encouraged one another: Isa. xli. 6, 7, ‘They helped every one his neighbour, and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage; so the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he that smoothed with the hammer him that smote the anvil.’ We should encourage one another in the way of godliness, and keep up a lively frame of heart towards God, and pray with the Psalmist in the text, ‘Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity, and quicken thou me in thy way.’
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