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

$ERM. V1.3 SINS AND SORROWS SPREAD BEFORE GOD. ` 107 sake of Christ, who has purchased all the blessings of the covenant, that a saint hopes to receive them ; and for the sake of Christ, he pleads that God would bestow them. But having treated largely on this subject, in my dis- course, entitled, "AGuide to Prayer," I shall not re peat the same things here, but refer the reader to the first chapter of that book, sect. 5. It remains that I make a few useful reflections on the whole foregoing discourse. REFLEÇT1ON I. What a dull and uncomfortable a thingis religion, with- out drawing near to God ! for this is the very business for which religion is designed; the end and aim of reli- gion is getting nigh to God ;; if it attain not this end, it is nothing. O the madness of hypocrites, who satisfy themselves to toil in long forms of worship, and appear perpetually in the shapes of religion, but unconcerned whether they ever get near to God by it or no ! They lose the end and design for which religion was made. What if we know all the doctrines of the gospel; what if we cart talk rationally about natural religion ; what if we can deduce one truth from another, so as to spread a whole scheme ofgodliness before the eyes or ears of those we converse with ; what if we can prove all the points of christianity, and give incontestable arguments for the- belief of them ; yet we have no religion, if our souls never get near to God by them. A saint thinks it a very melancholy thing when he is at a distance from God; and cannot tell God his wants and sorrows. Though he be never so much studied in divinity, and the deep things of God, yet if God be not with him; if he does not come near to his mercy -seat, so as to converse with him as his .friend, the soul is concerned. and grieved, and never rests till this distance be removed. It is to little purpose that we get into churches, join in the fel- lowship of the gospel, and attend many seasons of prayer: It is to very little purpose to read chapters, and to hear serinons, one day after, another : It is to little purpose all these forms are maintained, if we have not the substance and power of godliness;; if our God be not near us, if we never -get near to God.