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be fufpe&ted. Thus much for the first Thing, I the Lateness of the Disciple's Faith, and the
Practical Obfervations it affords.
2. The Second Thing to be considered and reflected upon, is, the Ealiness or Cheapness of it. Now we believe that thou camest forth from God. And this must be measured from
the instant Convictions they were then under, 1 and the Encouragements they had just now re
ceived from him. For now (this very Evenį ing) our Saviour had been discoursing to them
of the most acceptable and obliging Argu-
32. From hence I make this Observation, viz. that we ought to be very careful not to trust too much to that Faith, which grows only from the occasional Heat, Complacency, and
Exaltation of our Spirits. Indeed a good Hui mour, or a Pious Frame of Mind, makes Converts to Religion very cheaply, but I fear, very deceitfully. Shall I explain my self in a few Instances? Thus, when we have put our selves into a devout Temper, it may be, when we are preparing for the Sacraments, or at any other time when we contemplate the indulgent Love of Christ, in his Condescenfion, and coming down from Heaven; in his Innocence and Mortification, and Humility, and Patience, and Sufferings in how easy is it then, to pass into a sudden Resolution of being Religious, of following his Example, and conforming to his Life and Death? Oh! Then we are all Life and Flame ? then we are fix'd for Heaven, and thither we will go in all haft. Again, whilst we are under the affli&ing Hand of God, or the Influence and Conviction of a serious and affecting Difcourse; when we have heard the Doctrines of Faitha and Repentance ; of Heaven and Hell ; of Death and Judgment, well handled and pressed home upon us : How are our Passions moved, and our Fears raised, and our Consciences touched; and how do we tremble at the Thoughts of Sinning against so Great and terrible a God?
go away, and perhaps we say within our felves, we will Sin no more, left a worse Thing befall us. Once more ; whilst the Providences of God are administred favourably towards us, and Heaven seems to smile upon us, how forward are we to be thankful? Whilft Men
shew us Respect, and court our Friendship, and flatter our Inclinations, how prone are we to be civil, and courteous, and affable? Whilft no Body does us any Injury, nor offer us any Affront, how gloriously can we pronounce that we are at Peace, in Love, and Charity with all the World? Thus, I say, it may be many times with us ; but in the mean while, there may be nothing of well-grounded Religion in all these. They may be no more than the natural Refult of the present State of our Mind ; which being pleased with the Posture of Things without, is not willing to ruffle its own Enjoyment by any disturbing Pallions within. And therefore he that would have reasonable Hopes of the Sincerity of his Religion, in more lasting Shews than these, must find it in the Constancy of his Faith, and the Satisfactions of his Virtue, in the Time of Trial, and in the Hour of Temptation; how far his Love to Christ will engage him to follow him, in the Difficulties of Mortification, Humility, and Self-denial ; what good Effect the Instructions he hath at any time receiv'd, have had upon the general Course of his Life ; what he can forgive, when Injury provokes him; what he can suffer, when Danger threatens him ; what he can forego of his own Intereft, to promote the Interest of Christ and his Religion. For these Reasons, we ought not to make an Estimate of the Truth of our Faith, from some sudden, extemporary, and occasional Expressions of it; but from the Trials
of it, amidst the Snares and_Temptations of the World. Without these Experiences, all our Professions are but like the vain Badges of Ephraim's Valour, who being harnessed, and carrying Bows, run away, and turned himfelf back in the Day of Battle. But further, in the 3d Place,
3. The Last Thing to be reflected on in this Confession of the Disciples, was the Confidence of their Faith. It was their own Hearts, they pronounced upon ; and yet (as appears by the Iffue) they were deceived : It was a little too soon to boast, before they had proved the Grounds of their Confidence; it was very unseafonable, to cry, now we believe, just at the time, when they were ready to confute their own Pretences. It had been inore modeft, and would have better se
cured their Faith, had they prayed (as once Luk. 1.75.they did) Lord ! increase our Faith.
From hence likewise I shall draw this Observation, viz. That Men are paturally prone to entertain too kind and indulgent an Opinion of themselves. Truly this, we all, even the Best of us are apt to do. Pride is one great Part of that Corruption we drew from the Loins of our first Parents ; a good Conceit of our selves is a very sweet Passion ; it pleases us wonderfully, it sets us, mightily at case with our felves, and so it has always a sure Friend of our Nature; it takes us off from our proper Business ; it nourilhes in us
Idleness, Difdain, Detraction, and Contempt of others, and so it has always a sure Friend of the Devil : And no wonder then it steals fo insensibly upon us, and prevails so universally in the World. Our evil Thoughts, our hard Censures, our bitter Reproaches, spend themselves all upon others; and so our good ones fall of course to our felves. But there is littļe of Ingenuity, less of Honesty, leaft of all of Charity and Religion in these Pra&ices,
I know that Men never calumniate more bitterly, nor wound more deeply; nor insult over one another's Infirmities more Magisterially, than upon the Differences and Quarrels of Religion. Heresie and Damnation are the beft Words and Compliments they can afford one another. Mean while true Religion mourns under, and remonstrates to the Slan der ; lhe implores her Professors to be more meek and humble, more kind and merciful, both to her, and to one another. Ah! the Things of Christ and of his Religion, are quite of another Nature, if we may trust St. Paul, who thus reckons them up. The Fruit of the Gal. s.22 Spirit is Love, Foy, Peace, Long-suffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness. My Beloved, did these Graces ever teach Men to be Proud and Haughty ; to censure and un: dervalue their Brethren? The Charge given to Christians by the fame Apostle is this ; If Phil.z. 1.2 there be therefore any Confolation in Chrift; if there be any Comfort of Loves If there be any Fellowship of the Spiritif there be