CHAP. V. Twelve several Excellencies of walking with God, Opened.
THe next thing is, The Excellency that there is in walking with God.
The first Excellency.
And this may be in the first place: The walking with God. Oh there is an Excellency in it: If it were only this, That it makes the waies of God easie: All the waies of God, how easie are they to the soul that knows what this means, [Of walking with God] That hath God in his company con∣tinually, Oh the easiness that there is in the waies of God! it's that that is worth a world, and it's a very grievous and sad condition that men and women are in who have con∣vinced consciences, and dare not wilfully go out of Gods waies, but are alwaies drooping and find them grievous and tedious to them: But it is because they have not communi∣on with God in them: they are in them meerly, upon ne∣cessity because they ought to be in them. But the Saints find the waies of God more easie to them, for they have al∣waies good company with then. When I awake, I am alwaies with thee, saith David. The very nights are pleasant unto them: when he awakes still he is with God. There's ma∣ny men and women cannot lie alone; those that cannot sleep when they awake, if they have no company with them the nights are tedious; but if they cannot sleep, and yet when they awake they have some with them the nights are not so tedious to them: When I awake I am ever with thee saith David concerning God. That's the first thing, for the Excellency of this walking with God.
The second Excellency.
But Secondly, This walking with God, it is, most hono∣rable. Oh 'tis an honorable thing to walk with God. At∣tendance upon Kings and Princes we know is honorable; The Maids of Honor that do but attend upon a Queen, it's a great honor; the attendance upon a King, yea upon Noble Men: But now, not only attendance, but free con∣verse with Princes, that's more than meer attendance; to walk with an Emperour as a friend up and down in his Galleries, in his Gardens, in his Orchyard. So it is with the Saints, Abraham is called Gods friend. You are not my servants, but my friends, saith Christ. God admits the soul to come as a friend and to have converse with him, Oh! this is honorable. They were accounted blessed that were in the presence of Solomon, that were but his servants to wait at his Table; much more to sit at his Table, to see the order of Solomons Table: Then to be alwaies with God, and walking with him, what a blessed and honourable thing is this! It is the honor of Angels themselves, that they do but see the face of God, the Angels that are in Hea∣ven do behold the face of God; what honor is it then for Christians to be alwaies walking with God? Honor! 'tis that that is the great honor and happiness of the Church when she shall be in her glory. Mark how Christ doth ex∣presse himself, in Revel. 3. 4. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis, which have not defiled their garments, What's promi∣sed to them? and they shall walk with me in white; for they are worthy. There shall be a glory put upon them, and they shall walk with me, for they are worthy. The walking with Christ, that's the greatest honor that Christ could promise unto them. And so in the 14. of the Revelation. it's said of those that stood upon Mount Sion with the Lamb, having harps in their hands, and singing of a new song; in the 4 verse, These are they which were not defiled with women, for they are virgins; these are they which follow thePage 288Lamb whithersoever he goes; these were redeemed from among men; being the first fruit unto God and to the Lamb. They follow the lamb whithersoever he goes: This is the honor that is put upon them: Oh the walking with God it is most honora∣ble.
The third Excellency.
Thirdly, The Excellency of walking with God consists in this, In the blessed satisfaction that the soul must needs have in walking with him: to walk with life its self, with glory, with happinesse, and that in a constant way, this must needs satisfie the soul, must I say bring inconceivable satis∣faction and peace unto the soul thus walking with Him. You know what Philip said, Let us see the Father, and it suffi∣ceth us: What, would it suffice Philip to see God? Oh then! not only to see him, but to walk and be continually with him. People will run many times but to have the fight of a great man, but to be admitted into the same room and to walk with him; this is more, in the 33. of Exod 14. And he said, my presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest: God promised to Moses that his presence should be with him, and then when the presence of God is with the soul, Oh the rest that the soul hath by the presence of God! Oh the lettings out of joy that there must needs be to the heart that walks with God! in the 38. Psal. 8. 9. They shall be a∣bundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house, and thou shalt make them drink of the rivers of thy pleasures; for with thee is the fonntain of life: In thy light shall we see light. Certainly where God walks there is a glorious light round about, that such a soul never walks in darkness, the light of God shines about it; as we reade of those that walked with Christ to Emaus, the text saith, Their hearts burn'd within them. Certainly the hearts of the Saints walking with God must needs be fild with those influences from God that must make their hearts glow within them while they are walking with him: in Psal. 89. 15, 16. you have a nota∣ble Scripture there about the satisfaction of the soul in Page 289 walking with God, Blessed are the people that know the joyfull sound: they shall walk O Lord in the light of thy countenance, In thy Name shall they rejoyce all the day, and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted. Those that walk with God they walk in the light of Gods Countenance, and in Gods Name shal they rejoyce all the day, and in his righteousness shall they be exalted. Oh! a blessed thing it is to walk with God. The speech of that noble Marques Galiatius that was of great birth in Italy, and forsaking all his honors and friends and coming to Geneve, he had this expression, saith he, upon a time feeling his sweet converse with God, Cursed (saith he) be that man that accounts all the gold and silver in the world worth one daies enjoyment of Communion with Jesus Christ. He had left a great deal of gold and silver, the Pope himself was a neer kinsman to him, and great posses∣sions and kindred he had, and left it all to come to Geneve, to professe the truth there, and he found all recompenced in Cōmunion with Christ, and his heart was so ful with it, that he even cursed those that should account all the gold and silver in the world worth the enjoyment of one hours communion with Christ: Oh an hours walking with Christ is more than all the world. I appeal to those souls that have been acquainted with this, whether would you have lost such an hour that you have been conversing with God for all the world? what would you take for the enjoyment of such an hour as that is? Oh not thousand thousands of worlds a gracious heart would not take for some hours that it hath in enjoyment of communion with God in walking with him; Oh there's infinite sweetness in wal∣king with God. There's a great deal of good to be had in walking with the Saints, as sometimes I have told you of Dr. Taylor that was the Martyr, when he came to prison he rejoyced that ever he was put in prison there to meet with that Angel of God John Bradford: Now if it be comforta∣ble to have communion with the Saints though in prison, Oh how sweet is it to have communion with God in wal∣king with him! I remember I have read of a King, that Page 290 once beholding Plato walking up and down with other Phylosophers, he cries out thus; Oh life! this is life and true happiness; yonder is true happiness: he did not look upon his Kingdom as affording a life to him, and as affording that happiness as he did beleeve Plato and the Phylosophers had conversing one with another about Phylosphie; as if he should say, 'tis not the Kings of the earth that live the hap∣py lives, but these Phylosophers that walk and converse thus one with another. Oh then what life and happiness it is for the soul to walk up and down with God, and to converse with God himself! what though thou walkest in the velly of Bacha, yea what though thou walkest in the shadow of death in respect of outward afflictions, yet wal∣king with God is that that will shine upon thee, and will sweeten thy heart even when thou art walking in the vally of Bacha, and in the shadow of death. In the 7. of the Revel. see whither Jesus Christ leads the soul in walking with Him, The Lamb which is in the midst of the Throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. Thus when thou walkest with Jesus Christ, he leads thee to the living fountains of waters that comfort thee; the comforts that thou hadst in the world were but as dirty puddles; but those comforts that thou hast in Christ when thou walkest with him, they are the fountain of living waters. That's the third thing wherein the excellency of walking with God consists, The abundance of soul-satisfaction that the heart hath in God.
The fourth Excellency.
The fourth Excellency that there is in walking with God is this, It's a special part of the covenant on our part that God doth make with us, upon which the very blessing of the cove∣nant doth in grreat part depend: as that Scripture in the 17. of Gen. doth cleerly shew, where God is coming to make a co∣venant with Abraham, and to be a God to him and to his Page 291 seed; what's that God requires of Abraham now? Walk be∣fore me and be upright; Then I am God alsufficient, and I en∣ter into covenant with you, to be a God to you, and a God to your seed, Walk before me and be upright. As if that were all the thing that God look'd at, that you should walk with him and be upright: [then] you shall have the blessing of the Covenant. Oh this is a great excellency, that it is a special part of the Covenant that God makes with his people on their part: and then on his part, he will be a God unto them. What was it that God requir'd, in the 6. of Micah, 6, 7. verses, there you may see how God prizes walking with him, that it's the great thing that God doth look at, whereas there were some that said, Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow my self before the high God? shall I come before him with burns offerings? with Calves of a yeer old? will the Lord be pleased with thousands of Rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of Oyl? shall I give my first born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? What shall I do to please God? Mark in the 8. verse, He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good: and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do Justly, and to love Mercy, and to WALK humbly with thy God? As if he should say, This is the great thing, to walk with thy God; not only to exercise some particular grace of thy Justice, and Mercy, but in general, to walk with thy God; Never tell me of any thing that you would do for me, but in the constant course of thy life, walk humbly with thy God. This therefore was the comfort of Hezekiah when he had the message of death come to him, in the 38. of Isa. Remember O Lord (saith he) how I have walked before thee in truth, and with a perfect heart; he turned his face to the wall, and (the text saith) he wept (it was for joy:) as if he should say, Lord, it's true, there hath been many infirmities in me; but Lord, I have walked be∣fore thee in truth, and with a perfect heart; as if he should say, I may boldly challenge, and I do come now Lord to challenge the good of the Covenant, that thou wouldst re∣member me according to the riches of thy mercy, for Lord Page 292 I have walked with thee: as if he should say, Lord, was not that the thing that thou didst require of my father A∣braham? why Lord, I have walked before thee, and I have been upright in some measure; therefore Lord, be a God alsufficient to me, Lord, remember thy Covenant, be a God to me, be All in All to me because of this. Oh my brethren! Is not this worth ten thousand thousand worlds, That the soul may be able to appeal to God that it hath done that which is a special thing that is requir'd in the Covenant on our parts; and so upon it may have the assu∣rance of Gods performing the Covenant on his part.
The Fifth Excellency.
And then the fifth thing is, There is a blessed safety in wal∣king with God. As in the 23. Psal. 4. there see the Prophet David that was a man much exercised in walking with God, saith he, Yea though I walk through the vally of the sha∣dow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff doth comfort me: I am walking with thee, and though I be walking in the shadow of death, I'le therefore fear no evil. Now is it not a blessed thing to be in safety alwaies with God? And in the 138. Psal. 7. saith David, Though I walk in the midst of trouble thou wilt revive me; thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies: and thy right hand shall save me. No matter what the trouble be so God be with the soul; he that walks uprightly walks sure∣ly, in the 10. of the Proverbs, 9. Whereas it's said of the wicked that they walk upon a snare continually: in the 18. of Job, 8. The wicked walk upon a snare: The waies of wickednesse that you walk in, they may seem to be pleasant and comfortable to you, but certainly you are upon a snare, and you may be catch'd and undone for ever, though perhaps thou hast escap'd all this while, yet thou art in continual dangers, Every step (I say) thou goest on in the waies of sin, thou art upon a snare, and in danger to be catch'd to thy eternal destruction; But he that walks up∣rightly, Page 293 he walks surely, and this is a great excellency, for a man to walk surely, I know I am in my way for I am with God: A child doth not fear what way soever it goes in, if he can but see his father. Now the soul may know surely, I am in the right way, I am with God; and I am safe what ever danger comes, for I am walking with God.
The Sixth Excellency.
The sixth Excellency that there is in walking with God is this, From hence the soul comes to enjoy a holy boldness and a holy familiarity with God. It may be when the soul comes first to God, the presence of the great God strikes some fear, there is some dread of the Majesty of God; But when the soul hath used to converse with him, there is a holy fami∣liarity that the soul hath with God, and a holy boldness, it can have free liberty to say any thing to him now; and this is the reason that some now that never knew what the spirit of prayer meant, and what the liberty of the soul in opening its self to God meant before, yet when they have come to be acquainted with the waies of God; Oh what liberty have they then in their spirits to open their hearts to God, yea, they can open their hearts to God as one friend to another. I remember it's said of Luther, that when ever he was praying, he could speak to God as to his friend. In Job, 22. 21. Acqusint now thy self with Him, and be at peace. The soul comes to have an acquaintance with God, Oh what a phrase is here! What, acquaint our selves with God, that God should be our acquaintance! I, God is willing to be the acqaintance of the poorest Christian in the world, Poor men and women, and Servants, and o∣thers that perhaps some rich men that is by them wil scorn their acquaintance, but they account them rather (as it's spoken of some vile people) fit to be set with the dogs of the flock, yea, perhaps though they be poor godly people, yet they think it too much debasing themselves to have any kind of acquaintance with them: Well, but the infinite Page 294 God though he is so high that he humbles himself to be∣hold the very things that are done in Heaven, yet this God thinks not much to be one of thy acquaintance, to be of the acquaintance of any one that hath any godliness in them; when we see a great man, a man of parts and ho∣nor come to some poor man and shake him by the hand, we will say, Look what an humble man is this, that will be so familiar with the meanest of all. Oh! now acquaint thy self with God, This is the blessedness of walking with God; the soul comes to have a familiar converse with God, and a holy boldness.
The seventh Excellency.
The seventh benefit or Excellency that there is in wal∣king with God is this, The Communication of Gods secrets. He that walks with God shall come to know the mind of God. It's impossible for a man to take delight in walking with another but he must discover secrets from him; there's ne∣ver any true friendship where there is a closeness of spirit. But where there is true friendship they will take one another and walk together, and open their hearts each to other: this is comfortable walking indeed. Thus it is in walking with God, this is the blessing of it, such souls they have the secrets of God discovered to them, they come to know much of the mind of God; though they are weak in their natural parts, yet (I say) they come to know much of Gods mind because they are with God. We reade in the 13. of Proverbs, 20. vers. saith the holy Ghost there, He that walketh with wise men shall be wise. Then what shall he be that walks with God? Surely if there be wisdom to be learned from our walking with wise men, then there is wis∣dom to be learn'd in walking with God: 'Tis from hence that men that are weak in parts they come to have such ex∣cellent knowledg in the great mysteries of the Gospel, and you wonder at it: you see such a mean servant that a while ago could understand nothing at all; yet now comes to Page 295 understand the great mysteries of the Gospel, and that be yond many great Scholers: How comes this to passe? he walks with the God of wisdom, and the God of wisdom doth delight to let out himself to him, and to open his heart to him, they come to know the counsels of God be∣cause they walk with him; those Christians that keep close to God in a holy conversation walking with him, certain∣ly they come to know more of the mind of God than o∣thers do; others that walk loosly they know little of the great mysteries of the Gospel, they may talk something of them, but certainly they have not a spiritual insight into the Great mysteries of the Gospel so as those have that walk with God.
The eighth Excellency.
The eighth benefit of walking with God it is, That such find favour in Gods eyes for granting their petitions; for to hear them in their prayers. In the 37. Psal. 4. ver. Delight thy self in the Lord, and he shall give thee the desire of thine heart; walk with God, and enjoy converse and communion with him, so as to delight thy self with him, and he will give thee thy hearts desire, thou shalt have what thou wouldst have. As now, if a man have a petition to give to any great man, If he can but observe him in his walks, then he thinks that surely when he may have such an opportunity, now to present it as he hopes to have audiance, and acceptance of the petition. I remember I have read of one that offered to give a great sum of mony that he might have but liberty to whisper any thing in the Kings ear every day, why? be∣cause thereby he thought that he should have a great many people come to him to desire his help for to prefer their pe∣titions, and if he might have but that liberty he should get enough that way. Now the soul that hath the liberty of walking with God, what a priviledg hath he? and what opportunities to present petitions to God? and the Lord de∣lights in hearing of them. If a King will admit a man to walk with him, surely such a man whatsoever he presents Page 296 it's like to speed. Now my brethren, upon this ground it is thus: you shall see a great deal of difference in a formal professor's prayer, & the prayer of a godly man that walks with God; the difference in the prayers of these two is thus: I'le set it out by this similitude. You have your beggers, and they pray for an alms, but they stand at the door; but if you a have special friend, an acquaintance that shall come to desire a favour from you, the door is opened for him, you carry him into the Parlour, and there he opens his mind to you, he hath a great deal of priviledg more than the other: Both come to ask a favour from you, but one stands at the door, and the other is let into the Parlour and walks up and down there, and there opens his mind to you. Just for all the world is there this diffe∣rence between the prayers of formal professors, and the prayers of those that walk with God; Those that make but a meer profession of Religion, they will pray as others do, but they are like beggers at the door, they see not Gods face all the while, they knock it may be, but the door is not opened for them to come in: But a gracious heart that walks with God, doth not only stand knocking at the door, but it is opened and he comes into the Pre∣sence Chamber, and there saith God, What is thy request O thou soul? As if a friend should hear another that is his dear friend stand knocking at the door, he presently o∣pens the door and carries him into the best room that he hath, and there saith, Tell me what it is that you would have, I am not able to deny you; and this is the priviledg of those that are gracious and holy, that walk with God: they have much priviledg in prayer, much benefit that way, and freedom with God, and assurance of Gods gran∣ting of their petitions.
The ninth Excellency.
In the ninth place, There's this Excellency in the souls walking with God, There must needs be a glory put upon the soul.Page 297 As it was with Moses, he went up and was but with God fourty daies upon the mount, and when he came down, his face did shine that the people were not able to behold it: God appeared in a visible manner to him; But spiritually it's true now, the soul that is conversing with God fourty daies, yea, in the constant course of his life, hath a beauty, a lustre, a glory put upon it, and such a lustre and glory that those that have enlightened consciences and yet are guilty they are scarce able to bear the fight of them: As I appeal to you, when you have given liberty to some way of sin, and you have come into the presence of those that have been godly and walked very close with God, hath it not struck a terror to you? for there is a glory and beau∣ty upon those souls that do walk close with God, they do shine in the midst of a crooked and perverce generation. What's the glory of Heaven but the reflection of Gods pre∣sence upon Heaven that makes it so glorious? And in its measure a gracious heart that walks close with God hath the glory of Heaven upon it.
The Tenth Excellency.
Tenthly, Gods presence doth mightily act every grace, doth draw forth every grace: (and that I lay down as another di∣stinct head in the excellency of walking with God) I say, it draws forth every grace, the graces of the Spirit of God are alwaies kept in action: as now, fire will draw fire. The Lord being of infinite holinesse, when the heare is holy it being in the presence of God walking with him, (I say) all holinesse must needs be drawn forth, and must be acted; and this will put a mighty beauty upon men, while they have not only grace in their hearts but it is acted. And this is a great blessing to have our graces acted, drawn forth, and enlarged, and this is the benefit of walking with God.
The Eleventh Excellency.
And besides, The presence of God, and familiarity of the soul in walking with him, will make the presence of God neither at death or judgment shall ever be terrible to it. Those that now walk with God and have much converse with him, (I say) when they come to die, Gods presence shall not be terrible to them; yea when Jesus Christ shall come in flaming fire to revenge himself upon those that know him not, the pre∣sence of Christ shal not be terrible to them: Why? Because they walked with Christ all the daies of their lives: In the 11. of Hosea, 10. vers. They shall walk after the Lord: he shall roar like a Lyon. Mark how these two are joyned together: wicked and ungodly men they shall tremble at the roaring of a Lyon: but for the Saints it shal not be terrible to them: And how much is it worth, that when God shall appear in death, and at judgment here and hereafter, the terrour of God shall be taken away? My brethren, God appears at death, and at the times of Judgment ordinarily in another manner than he doth in the time of prosperity; you see no terror in Gods presence now; but beware of it when death is approaching: wicked men when they lie upon their death-beds, how terrible is the presence of God to them then! but those that walk with God shall not find it so: when they come to die, then God appears to them; Now am I going to stand before the great God, to have my eternal estate determined one way or other: But what God is this? He is great indeed; but he is my friend, I have had converse with him all the daies of my life: And so, when I must come to Judgment here comes Jesus Christ with his thousands of Angels in glory, but it is Christ that I have conversed with all the daies of my life, this Christ hath been my friend before whom I am. This will be the comfort in walking with God.
The twelfth Excellency.
And then, The end of the walk, that makes it belssed indeed. Oh! how blessed will that make it! It's a blessed thing to walk with God now; but when you come to the End of this walk you shall find it blessed indeed. If a man did come to enjoy God at last, though it was through never so many difficulties, yet he had cause to blesse God. If one were going to possess a Kingdom, though his way were ne∣ver such a difficult way and hard, yet the end of his way would make it comfortable, because it is to go and take a Kingdom: But now, you that are walking with God, you have comfort in your walk, but the end of your walk, oh that will be glorious indeed! it is to possesse a Kingdom, it is to have the crown of glory set upon your heads; your communion that you have with God here, it is but as the forerunner of that glorious Communion that you shall en∣joy with him together with the Saints and Angels to all e∣ternity.
And thus we have given you the heads at least of the Ex∣cellency that there is in, Walking with God. No marvel though the holy Ghost sets such a commendations upon E∣noch, Above al things, That he walked with God, seeing there is so much good in it. I confesse I had thought not to have left this Head without applying of it, and war∣ming it upon your hearts, that you might walk so with God that you might not lose the comfort, and blessing, and sweet Excellency that you have had opened to you in wal∣king with God; only let me say thus much, Be in love with it; Know, there is no such good in any other path, the Devil doth but gul you, and your own hearts; and the world doth but deceive you, if it promise any good in any other way that will counter vail this: Oh no, the walking with God it is the good of a Christian, it's his happinesse, his glory, his commendations; Oh that this may be re∣corded of you as it was of Enoch! And Enoch walked with God.