CHAP. IV. Walking with God what it is, Opened in Nine Particulars.
BUt now, The way of the soul in this walk with God: When the soul is thus brought to God, and by this means enabled to walk with him, Then what's the way of the soul in walking thus with God?
Walking with God causes the soul to eye God.
In the first place, Now the soul being come thus to God, in all the waies of God it ey's God, and sets God before it. Enoch walked with God: that is, Enoch in the waies of his Page 273 life set God before him, and did eye God in his waies; First beholding the infinite beauty there is in God. Second∣ly, God being the fountain of al good to the soul. Third∣ly, the soul apprehending God infinitly worthy of all ho∣nor. These three things causes the eye to be upon God continually: The Lord hath infinit excellency and beauty in him. The Lord is the fountain of all good to me: The Lord is infinitly worthy of all honor and service; and a soul walking with God eyes God thus continually. In the 26. Psal. 3. For thy loving kindness is before mine eyes, and I have walked in thy truth: Oh Lord! I see thee aimable, love∣ly, and gracious, and the fountain of all good, and Lord, I have walked in thy truth, setting God before me; so in Psal. 16. 8. I have set the Lord alwaies before me that I might not fall. A soul that walks with God scarce ey's any thing but God, when it enjoyes the creature yet the eye is upon God; as the little child walking with the father looks up to the father; every soul that walks with God hath his eye upon him, for there's no such lovely drawing object to the soul as God himself is; whereas wicked men they do not find God to be such a lovely object, sees no such excellency in him, and therfore they rather turn their eyes away from him, they look another way, Psal. 86. 14. They do not set God before them; men that walk according to the lusts of their own hearts in their wicked sinful waies, the Lord is not in all their thoughts, as in the 10. Psalm. That's the first thing in the way of the souls walking with God, he eyes God, and sees God before him.
Walking with God causeth a man to carry himself as in Gods Presence.
Secondly, The soul behaves its self as in Gods Presence. I see my self in Gods presence, and my eye is upon God, Oh let me then look to my self, that the carriage of my soul be as beseems one who is in the presence of so holy, so great, so glorious and blessed a God as the Lord is, in the 2 Cor. 2. Page 274 17. As of God in the sight of God speak we in Christ, saith the Apostle; when we come to do any thing, we do it as of God, in the sight of God, knowing that we are all∣wayes before God. Augustine, speaking concerning Noah's walking with God, he hath this expression, Noah walked with God, that is, he had God alwaies present be∣fore his eyes, walking so holily, and so reverenced God: This is to walk in the fear of God, when the soul upon the apprehention of Gods presence shall labor to compose its self as beseeming the presence before whom it is, and this indeed is the walk that you shall find the Saints of God in all day long, would you know where to find a Saint? you may know his walk, you shall all the day long find him walking in the fear of the Lord, Preverbs 23. 17. saith the text there, Let not thy heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long. He doth not say, do thou fear the Lord all the day long, but be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long, Oh the walk of a Christian should be so from morning to night, to walk in the fear of the Lord; and nothing in this world should put him out of this walk, no temptations should call him out of it, but in the fear of the Lord all the day long: This is the walk of a Christian, when he labors to behave himself as be∣seems the presence of God.
Walking with God is, when we make Gods Will the Rule of our will.
Thirdly, The soul may be said to walk with God, When the way of it is the same way that God himself goes, the soul doth that that God doth: What's the way of God, but the way of holiness and righteousness? when the soul makes the Will of God to be the rule of it, I will not be acted by my own will, I will not be acted by any thing but by the Will of God: what is it that God wills? I will the same thing, then the soul walks that way God walks, when it doth sute its self with God, sets the Lord as an example before it, Page 275 as the Scripture saith, Be ye holy as your Heavenly Father is holy; I see the holy and the righteous waies of God, and I labor as a deer child to follow him, and to go in the very same steps that God doth, how doth God carry busi∣nesses? I will labor to carry things so as God doth, that my life shall hold forth a resemblance of God himself; this is to walk with God, to do as God doth, to imitate God; that's a third thing in a souls walking with God.
Walking with God is, when a Soul hath the same Ends that God hath.
The Fourth is this, Not only to do the same thing, to make the will of God to be the rule of it, But to have the same ends that God hath: What's the end that God hath in all his waies? Surely it is, that his blessed Name may be magnified, that his glory may be set forth; I'le drive on the same design, that shall be the great design of my life, it's that that my soul shall aim at as the highest end of all things, and all things shall be subordinate to this end e∣ven, The glory and honor of God, it's that that God aims at, and therefore that which I'le aim at, thus the soul goes along with God; as now, A man may be said to go along with another man when they do both drive on the same designs: Oh! this is a blessed thing indeed. We shall speak to that hereafter: but the very opening what it is shews much of the excellency of it; and I beseech you as you go along, examine your own hearts, see whether by the very mentioning of these things you be not strangers to God; examine by the workings of God in bringing your souls to walk with him, or otherwise by the way of the soul, in eying God, in behaving its self as in the presence of God, in making the Will of God to be its rule, and in driving on the design that God doth.
Walking with God, is the observing the administrations of God and suting the soul to them.
Fifthly, It is the observing of the several administrations of God, and the suting of the soule to the several administra∣tions of God in the world: I open that thus, God some∣times seems to work in one way, sometimes in ano∣ther way; now the soul that walks with God observes which are the several waies and administrations of God in the world, and let me (saith the soul) labor to sute my heart with them: that's thus, sometimes the Lord is in a way of judgments, in the world, heavie and dreadful af∣flictions: yea, sometimes against his own Saints, and Peo∣ple: then let me sute my heart according to this, Oh Lord! we will wait upon thee in the waies of thy judgments, saith the Church in Isa. Are we under Gods way of judgments, in a way of afflictions? Lord, we will sute our selves to honor thee there according to that way, we will labor to exer∣cise those graces that are sutable to these administrations of thine. And Lord, art thou in a way of mercy? we will sute our selves accordingly, and labor to draw forth and exercise our graces that are sutable to those waies of thine. And art thou in a way of affliction in my family, or in a way of mercy? Lord, I will labor to exercise those graces that are sutable to those waies of thine. This is to walk with God. As when we walk with a man, if he turn this way, then I set my self to go with him, and if he turns ano∣ther way, then I sute my self to go with him that way, so though the waies of God be never so variōus, yet the soul that walks with God is sutable to those waies of God; Oh this is a great Art, a great Mystery to sute a mans self to these several administrations of God in the world. You shall have some that if God go in a way of mercy, Oh there they can bless, & praise God, and they think that this is to walk with God; but if God turns his back upon thee and takes away thy choisestearthly comfort (it may be) thy deerest yoke-fellow & so comes in a way of affictions, how Page 277 canst thou sute with Gods waies then? When God was in a way of mercy, then my exercise was in joy, and thanks∣giving, and speaking good of his Name; but now the Lord is in a way of afflictions, now I exercise faith on God, now I exercise patience, now I exercise Christian wisdom, to know what good I can get out of this hand of God, that what courses soever God takes, yet still a Christian hath several graces to exercise in several conditions, and that not only while God is in a smooth path the soul can exer∣cise Joy, and Thanksgiving, & speaking good of his Name: But let God go into a rugged path of very great afflictions, yet the soul doth sute it's self unto God according to his several administrations; this is to walk with God.
Walking with God, is, To have a Holy Dependance upon God. Opened in Four Particulars.
Sixthly, Walking with God, it is, To have a holy depen∣dance upon God in all his waies. For one to live in a holy de∣pendance upon God for these Four things.
First, In a holy dependance upon God for Direction;* Oh lead me in the way of thy truth. When a Christian looks up to God and depends upon him in the constant course of his life, depends upon him for direction, Oh Lord! teach me thy way, Lord, lead me in the way of everlasting life, Lord, send forth thy light and thy truth to guide me; Thou shalt be my guide even unto death, when the soul dare not go one step further, then it sees God going before it, and therefore it saith, Lord, lead me, guide me: I beseech you examine as you go along, can you say, that in the course of your lives this you find; That you walk in a holy de∣pendance upon God for guidance and direction in every step? whatsoever you meddle with, yet your walk is thus in a holy dependance upon God for direction in your bu∣finess, and according as the business is, of lesse or greater conscequence the heart works more after God for guidance and direction for that business. But now, the men of the Page 278 world they are afraid that God should lead them into hard paths, into ttoublesom waies, and therefore they are shy of Gods Guidance; this is the way of wicked hearts, (I say) they are shy of the guidance and direction of God; but a gracious heart saith, let God lead me, and let the way be what it will. The wicked are guided by their own thoughts, by their own counsels, by the examples of o∣ther men, what's most sutable to their own ends, but the way of the Saints is this, Lord, guide me.
Secondly, Their holy dependance upon God it is for protection to protect them in what they do. Lord, I am in the way that * thou hast guided me into, I may meet with much trouble and affliction, but Lord do thou protect me, do thou defend me in this way of thine. As the child walking with the father, if he hears any noise that doth scare him, he looks up to the father, and depends upon his father to be prote∣cted: So when a child of God shall in all his waies walk in a holy dependance upon God for protection, this is to walk with God.
Thirdly, The soul depends upon God for assistance in any thing that it undertakes. Lord, this is the work that thou * callest me to, Oh let me have strength from thy self in this work, I can do nothing without thee Lord, and let me have assistance from thee. Whereas the wicked they make flesh their arm, and therefore there's a curse pronounc'd a∣gainst them, in Jer. 17. 5. verse, they are strangers to any such work as this, of dependance upon God for assistance! Now and then at a spurt, they will say, that God must help them and they can do nothing without God: I but to have a holy, gracious frame of spirit to walk in a holy dependance upon God for assistance in every businesse, this is far from the wicked and ungodly.
Fourthly, The soul walks in a holy dependance upon God for*a blessing upon all it doth. Walk before me and be upright, I am thine exceeding great reward. As if God should say to Abra∣ham, Walk in dependance upon me, I am thy reward, though thou hast little encouragment in the world, yet Page 279 look up to me for thy reward: so when the soul turneth from men, and the world, and minds not so much what en∣couragement it hath from the world, but looks up to God, Lord, I depend upon thee for a blessing, and how ever things seem to go, yet Lord, I look up to thee for the brin∣ging all to a good issue; here's now a soul walking with God.
Walking with God makes a man free and ready in the waies of God.
Seventhly, One that walks with God, in all his waies of Ho∣liness and Obedience his heart is free in him, he comes off readily to every good work, he is not hall'd and pull'd to God, but he walks with him. There's a great deal of differenet between one that is dragged after another, (as if you should drag a prisoner that hath no mind to go that way) and another that walks up and down with delight and pleasure with you: 'Tis not enough to walk with God, for to be in the way that God would have you to be, or to do the things that God would have you to do, except your hearts do come off freely in the waies of obidience, except there be a cheerfulness in the waies of obedience, except you choose the waies of holiness as the waies that are most sutable to you, this is the walking with God. In the 119. Psal. 45. I will walk at liberty, (saith David) for I seek thy precepts. It's a notable Scripture. The men of the world they think that there is no walking at liberty but for them to satisfie their defires to the uttermost, to walk after their lusts which is the Scripture phrase: No but saith David, my liberty is this, I seek thy precepts. A carnal heart thinks it is the greatest bondage in the world for to seek the pre∣cepts of God, and to conform to Gods precepts, that I must walk according to rule, that's a bondage: No, I'le walk at liberty, for I seek thy precepts. It's an excellent argu∣ment of grace in the heart, to account the precepts of God to be the greatest liberty to the soul: When I am in the Page 280 waies of sin, I am in the waies of bondage, I am a slave to Satan; but when I seek thy precepts, I am at liberty. As a man when he is walking up and down in the fields, he is at liberty. So when the soul is walking with God it is at liberty, but when the soul is walking without God it is in a dungeon, a prison; but (I say) when it walks with God it is at liberty, it comes off freely in all the waies of obedi∣ence.
Walking with God consists in Communion with God.
Eighthly, Walking with God consists in the Converse and Communion that the soul hath with him in holy duties: There are the special walks of the soul with God, and of God, with the soul in the duties of holy Worship. In the 18. of Levit. 4. saith the Lord there, Ye shall do my Judgments, and keep mine Ordinances, to WALK therein, I am the Lord your God. You must Walk in Gods Ordinances, the Ordinan∣ces of God they are the Walks of a gracious soul, and there the soul meets with God, in the 26. of Levit. 11, 12. It's a notable Scripture to shew that in Gods Ordinances there the soul meets with God. And I will set my tabernacle a∣mongst you, and my soul shall not abhor you, that is, shall de∣light in you, And I will WALK among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people. I will set my Tabernacle amongst you: What's that? That is, mine Ordinances, you shall enjoy mine Ordinances, you shall have the duties of my Worship, and I will Walk among you: then God walks among us when we enjoy his Ordinances. So that you see in the 18. of Levit. there God saith, You shall walk in mine Ordinances, the Ordinances are the godly mans walk: then in the 26. of Levit. the Ordinances are Gods walk; so that we see they walk the same way, and there God and a gracious heart meet together. The Churches enjoying Or∣dinances are the Candlesticks that we reade of in the 1 of Revel. 13. In the midst of the seven golden Candlesticks was one like unto the son of man, cloathed with a garment down to the feet,Page 281and gird about the paps with a golden girdle: The Lord Jesus Christ is in the midst of the Candlesticks; that is, in the midst of the Churches, where there are the Ordinances of God, there he is, and if you would walk with him you must find him there; in the 68. Psal. 24. there likewise you may see what the way of a gracious heart is in walking with God, They have seen thy goings O God, even the going of my God, my King, (where?) in the Sanctuary. If you would walk with another you must know where his goings are, observe where he uses to walk, and be going there. They have seen thy going O God, even the goings of my God, my King, in the Sanctuary; there's the goings of God, if you would meet with God and walk with him, it must be in the Sanctuary, it must be in his Ordinances. In the 7. of Cant. 5. verse, it is said, That the King (speaking of Christ) is held in the galleries; now what's that but in the Ordinances? that's as it were the galleries of the great King of Heaven and Earth. And you know Princes and great men, they have their sumptuous galleries wherein they use to walk, and only chief favourites are permitted and suffered to be there to walk up and down: The King is HELD in his galleries: that is, when Jesus Christ is in Communion with his Saints in his Ordinances, in the du∣ties of Worship: Oh 'tis the most pleasant galleries to walk in that he hath, it's as pleasant a gallery as he hath in Heaven it's self, Oh! he loves to be there, The King is Held there. Oh! many a sweet and comfortable turn hath a gracious heart in these galleries, that is, in the Ordinan∣ces and Duties of Worship in walking with Jesus Christ.
When the soul is exercised in the Ordinances, it hath converse with Christ, it hearkens what Christ saith, and Christ hearkens what such a soul saith, I will hearken what he will say, and the soul knows the voice of Christ, 5. Cant. 2. It is the voice of my beloved, saith the Spouse. Oh it knows what the voice of Christ is when they walk toge∣ther in Ordinances: Christ speaks to the soul, and the soul knows his voice, and the soul speaks again to Jesus Christ, Page 282 there is a blessed converse between them, Christ lets him∣self into the heart, and the heart opens its self to Christ, Oh! the Communion that a gracious heart hath with Je∣sus Christ in Ordinances it is unspeakable! Only those that are acquainted with it understand what the meaning of conversing with God there means; It is with many even as it was with Adam, that when God came to walk in the garden, we read that he was hid in the bush: The Ordi∣nances and Duties of Worship are as Paradice, as Eden; and God comes many times to walk with us, and would feign have communion and converse with us, yet Oh! how many times are many of his servants hid in the bush; they have walked loosly, and contracted some guiltiness upon their spirits, and so the presence of God is terrible to them, and the more the voice of God, and the presence of God is in an Ordinance, the more they are afraid because of some guiltinesse: they are intangled in the bush when as they should be conversing with God, Oh the difference that there is between some Christians and others in the exercising themselves in the Duties of Worship! There are some that when they are worshiping of God, Oh what sweet and blessed terms have they with God, and Communion be∣tween God and their souls! and others, though (it may be) they have some good in them, yet they are intangled in the bryars of the world, and though God be in the midst of his Ordinances, yet they have no converse, no commu∣nion with him at all.
Walking with God causeth the soul to follow God more as be re∣veals himself more.
The Ninth Particular is this: The soul that walks with God, as God reveals himself unto it still more and more, so it fol∣lows God more and more, and still seeks to glorifie God more and more, that's walking: There is a progresse in the waies of godliness where there is a walking. The soul when first it is led by the hand of Jesus Christ to God, and comes and Page 283 walks with him, Oh 'tis sweet and comfortable, but still as God reveals himself more and more to the soul, so the soul still grows up in godlinesse more and more, and still is more holy, and more gracious, and honours God more in the Conversation of it than formerly it hath done, it gets neerer and neerer to Heaven every day; this is to walk with God. There's a notable Scripture in the 63. Psal. 8. David saith there, My soul follows hard after thee, O Lord, thy right hand upholdeth me. As a poor child that is walking with the father, it may be he is weak, and cannot go so fast as it doth desire, but the father puts forth his hand and takes hold of him and so upholds and strengthens the child, and it follows hard after the father: so 'tis here: Oh Lord thy right hand upholds me: If it did not uphold me, I could not walk, but thy right hand upholds me, and then my soul follows hard after thee, and so increa∣ses in godliness more and more: I will praise thee more and more saith David in another place speaking of the honor that he disir'd to give to God in his way, he profess'd he would still ad to the praise of God, and praise him more and more.
These are the principal things wherein walking with God consists.
Now to all these take in that consideration that we have mentioned all along, and that makes it up, That all these are in a constant course of a mans life, This walking with God.
Some other men that know not what it is to walk with God, perhaps they may come and walk a step or two in Gods waies, but they quickly turn out again, and they find them tedious and irksom to them: But the heart that walks with God doth all this that I have named.
That is, Eyes God in all his waies. Behaves its self as in the presence of God. Walks in the same way God doth. Observes Gods designs. And so likewise the rest, and all this in the constant course of his life.
It's true, Through the violence of some temptation there Page 284 may chance to be a step astray, or there may be perhaps some fall in the way; but still the heart is God-ward, and still is towards God, it gets up again, and walks again in the way, it doth not meerly go a step into the way of God as some carnal men do; it may be somtimes when Gods hand is upon them, or upon the hearing of some Sermon, then their hearts are a little touch'd, and they seem to be a little froward; but take the constant course of their lives, and it's in the way of sin; But the constant course of the waies of the Saints, are in the waies of God. As now, a Swine may go through a fair meadow, I but that's not the place that it doth so much regard, but it would be in the mire and dirt, and there it wallows. So it is with many wicked men, they will come and hear, and pray, and do some good duties, this is a Swine in a meadow; but when they come to those waies that may satisfie the lusts of the flesh, there they wallow, that's their proper place, and therefore far from walking with God. A begger will perhaps follow a man a little way so long as he hath hopes of getting any thing by him: but if the man goes still a∣way from him, he turns aside to another way, he will go no further along with him: so 'tis with many men, even many professors they would seem to follow God perhaps for comfort, and for something that they would have from him; but if they cannot find presently what they would have from God, then they turn aside: whereas (I beseech you observe this) the difference between a friends walking with another out of delight of Communion with him, and a begger that only goes along with another man begging for an alms; The man that goes along begging for the alms he doth not regard the company of this man any further than he may have hopes of an alms from him, if he cannot have what he would have, or if he have once what he would have, he turns aside from the man: But a friend that is walking with his friend, that that satis∣fies him is, the company of his friend, and the converse that he hath with him while he is walking, and so he goes Page 285 on in a constant way, and walks to the end of the place where his friend is to go, and is sorry that the walk is so short, and still desires to converse with his friend: So I say, this is the difference for all the world in Professors, there are some that have some touch of conscience, and they see there is no way for them if they have not mer∣cy from God but they must perish, and perhaps they will be seeking of God, and following of God, and crying to God for mercy: but if they have not comfort according as they expect they turn away from him, and seek for comfort other waies: But a gracious heart that is indeed turned to God, it doth not only seek to God for mercy for its self that it might be delivered from misery, but it sees an excellency in God, and finds sweetness in Converse and Communion with God, and loves the presence of God, and this is the ground of the constancy of his heart in the waies of holiness, Because it loves so much of the presence of God, and Communion with God, it is for God him∣self that the soul is in those waies, and such a one will hold out in the waies of God. Indeed one that meerly serves God in a servile way, and seeks himself only in seeking of God, such a one (I say) will be ready to turn aside; but where the soul walks with God out of a sence of Commu∣nion, Sweetness, and Good that there is in Communion with God, such a one goes on in a constant way to the end and is not tir'd in the waies of God as others are. You know, If you be walking from place to place, if you have good company with you, you are not weary, you account the journy nothing, why? because you have good com∣pany, and especially if you have good discourse all along too; so it is with Christians, Oh the waies of God come to be very easie to them upon this ground, and so they hold out.