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Rules of exercising this Consideration.

1. Let this actual thought often return, that God is omnipresent, filling every place; and say with David,3232Psal. xiii. 7, 8. “Whither shall I go from thy Spirit, or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, thou art there,” etc. This thought, by being frequent, will make an habitual dread and reverence towards God, and fear in all thy actions. For it is a great necessity and engagement to do unblamably when we act before the Judge,3333Boeth. 1. v. de Consol. who is infallible in his sentence, all-knowing in his information, severe in his anger, powerful in his providence, and intolerable in his wrath and indignation.

2. In the beginning of actions of religion, make an act of adoration, that is, solemnly worship God, and place thyself in God’s presence, and behold him with the eye of faith; and let thy desires actually fix on him as the object of thy worship, and the reason of thy hope, and the fountain of thy blessing. For when thou hast placed thyself before him, and kneelest in his presence, it is most likely all the following parts of thy devotion will be answerable to the wisdom of such an apprehension, and the glory of such a presence.

3. Let everything you see represent to your spirit the presence, the excellency, and the power of God; and let your conversation with the creatures lead you unto the Creator; for so shall your actions be done more frequently, with an actual eye to God’s presence, by your often seeing him in the glass of the creation. In the face of the sun you may see God’s beauty; in the fire you may feel his heat warming; in the water, his gentleness to refresh you: he it is that comforts your spirit when you have taken cordials; it is the dew of heaven that makes your field give you bread; and the breasts of God are the bottles that minister drink to your necessities. This philosophy, which is obvious to every man’s experience, is a good advantage to our piety; and, by this act of understanding, our wills are checked from violence and misdemeanour.

4. In your retirement, make frequent colloquies, or short discoursings, between God and thy soul. Seven times a-day do I praise thee: and in the night season also I thought upon thee, while I was waking. So did David; and every act of complaint or thanksgiving, every act of rejoicing or of mourning, every petition and every return of the heart in these intercourses, is a going to God, an appearing in his presence, and a representing him present to thy spirit and to thy necessity. And this was long since by a spiritual person called, “a building to God a chapel in our heart.” It reconciles Martha’s employment with Mary’s devotion, charity and religion, the necessities of our calling, and the employments of devotion. For thus, in the midst of the works of your trade, you may retire into your chapel, your heart, and converse with God by frequent addresses and returns.

5. Represent and offer to God acts of love and fear, which are the proper effects of this apprehension, and the proper exercise of this consideration. For, as God is everywhere present by his power, he calls for reverence and godly fear; as he is present to thee in all thy needs, and relieves them, he deserves thy love; and since, in every accident of our lives, we find one or other of these apparent, and in most things we see both, it is a proper and proportionate return, that, to every such demonstration of God, we express ourselves sensible of it by admiring the Divine goodness, or trembling at his presence; ever obeying him because we love him, and ever obeying him because we fear to offend him. This is that which Enoch did, who thus ‘walked with God.’

6. Let us remember that God is in us, and that we are in him: we are his workmanship, let us not deface it; we are in his presence, let us not pollute it by unholy and impure actions. God hath ‘also wrought all our works in us:’3434Isa. xxvi. 12. and because he rejoices in his own works, if we defile them, and make them unpleasant to him, we walk perversely with God, and he will walk crookedly towards us.

7. ‘God is in the bowels of thy brother;’ refresh them, when he needs it, and then you give your alms in the presence of God, and to God; and he feels the relief which thou providest for thy brother.

8. God is in every place; suppose it, therefore, to be a church: and that decency of deportment and piety of carriage, which you are taught by religion, or by custom, or by civility and public manners, to use in churches, the same use in all places; with this difference only, that in churches let your deportment be religious in external forms and circumstances also; but there and everywhere let it be religious in abstaining from spiritual indecencies, and in readiness to do good actions, that it may not be said of us, as God once complained of his people, ‘Why hath my beloved done wickedness in my house?’3535Jer. xi. 15, secun. vulg. edit.

9. God is in every creature: be cruel towards none, neither abuse any by intemperance. Remember, that the creatures and every member of thy own body, is one of the lesser cabinets and receptacles of God. They are such which God hath blessed with his presence, hallowed by his touch, and separated from unholy use, by making them to belong to his dwelling.

10. He walks as in the presence of God that converses with him in frequent prayer and frequent communion; that runs to him in all his necessities; that asks counsel of him in all his doubtings; that opens all his wants to him; that weeps before him for his sins; that asks remedy and support for his weakness; that fears him as a judge; reverences him as a lord; obeys him as a father; and loves him as a patron.

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