Watts - Houston-Packer Collection BX5207.W3 S4x 1805 v.1

SEAM. V.] THE SOUL DRAWING NEAR TO GOD. 93 gift of prayer poured down upon us by the Spirit, as-weal brighter evidences of every praying grace. I must conclude this discourse before I proceed to the other heads which were proposed ; but I would not 'willingly leave it without a caution or two, and one re- flection. The first caution is this; Let not the humble mourn- ing Christian, who walks carefully with God, under much darkness and fear, charge himself with utter distance and estrangement from the throne of grace, because he does not feel all these sacred passions and powers of nature in lively exercise, while he bows his knees before the Lord: for I have described this blessed privilege in the sublime glory and beauty of it, so as it has been often attained and enjoyed by persons eminent in grace and religion, and especially such as have had lively affec- tions, and the powers of animal nature in a good degree sanctified, and subservient to the devotions of the soul. But where the natural spirits are low and sinking, and where temptations and darkness hang heavy upon the mind, the Christianmay truly draw near to God, so far as to find a gracious acceptance with him, and may fetch secret divine communications from the mercy-seat to maintain his spiritual life; though he feels but little of these sensations of heavenly pleasure, these more vi- gorous efforts of devotion and joy. Yet let him neither denynor despise those more elevated enjoyments of soul, those near and blessed approaches to the seat of God, with which others have been favoured. The second caution shall be addressed to those, who feel much of rapture and transport in their hours of se- cret piety. I intreat, that they would not imagine them- selves so often to enjoy this unspeakable privilege of holy nearness to God in worship; if they do not sensibly find such an increase of holiness, as may prove effectually that they have been. with God. If they have been con- versing with their Maker, like Moses in the mount, there will be a shine of holiness upon the face of their souls. To pretend therefore to have enjoyed much of God in the closet, and to come down amongst men peevish and fretful, or immediately to betray a carnal and covetous, or a haughty and intractable spirit; these are things of so inconsistent a nature, that the succeeding iniquity