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tion, errs in choice and application of means to his end. (3.). That man is frustrated, and disappointed in the issue : after all costs, curseth his labour. After promising expectations, expensive ways in the close of all, has a shadow for the substance. Hope deferred makes his heart sick, and the desire is not accomplished, which is a tree of life.
6. By his inward perturbations, man is vain. The affections of the soul, have as well changed their name as their use. A man is always at difference, in contestation with himself. 'Tis not in man, a monarchy of reason, but a democracy of humours. Man disturbs his own content and quiet. To enjoy a man's self, is the greatest good in the world : the serenity and sweet composure of his mind, is happiness within ; yet men easily discompose themselves, and throw themselves into mal-content. Were allthe world else in a calm, yet man will not be at quiet ; he raiseth storms and tempefts, makes foul weather within. We have not ourselves in our own hands : we are not masters of our passions, ends, and undertakings.
Man fears, where no fear is, and so creates himself an enemy, by his own fancy : he dotingly loves what will return nothing for affection : he runs out in hope, where there is no ground for expectation.
The uses to be made of this, are thefe.
1. There is no cause of pride. Presumption, pride and conceit, are the most ungrounded things in the world. Self-denial is the most rational act, Why should we believe a lie? Why do we make tools of ourselves, by fond felf-fattery? man is vain
in his existence : by opinion a liar, Psal. lxii. g. Things are not to conform to our apprehenfions ; but our thoughts are to answer things. 'Tis our mifery to be deprived, but 'tis our madness to be deceived, befooled; otherwise we affect to know things justly as they are ; why are we not willing to. know ourselves ?
2. What cause have we to magnify the rich grace of God, who gave so great a price for us, fo little worth. The great physician hath dearly bought discafed patients. God hath bought chaff instead of wheat ; vanity instead of substance. It could not be therefore his gain by us, that did direct his choice, but his compassion of our misery, that procured us mercy What the
us, leaves us, are two things of greatest considerati
From the depth of misery, to the height of excellency. Who deals with the blind, halt and diseased, but God ? Luke xiv. 21. We may say as Job, Dost thou open thine eyes upon such an one ? Job
and how grace
Let man believe himself, or lean to his own undersianding, Prov. iii. 5. He that trusteth in his own heart, is a fool, Prov. xxviii. 26. Let the grace of God be acknowledged, both for wisdom, and for strength. Nothing is better grounded than that advice of wisdom ; In all thy ways acknowledge him, Prov. iii. 6. If Egypt be a broken reed, Ifa. xxxvi. 6. which was never itrong, because a reed; which will picrce him that leans on it, because broken : is not he rafhi and unadvised, that trufts, and hath confi
dence in such things ? better have no confidence, than self-confidence : which is a refuge of lies; an hiding place that waters will overflow, Ifa. xxviii. 17. And man is never fo broken, as when he is frustrated in his expectation.
4. Hence we have an account of the general madness that rules in the commonwealth of men. What can the transaction be, when the convention is made up of vain and empty persons ? the world is a very chaos, and confufion ; fo that, if things be tolerable in the world, that is much more than we can groundedly expect from men.
Whatever is of any consideration in the world is to be accounted to God, who made a chaos and confusion the ground-work of a glorious creation.
Preached before the Honourable HOUSE of
COMMONS, February 4. 1673.
JER. vi. 8. Be thou instructed, Jerusalem, left my soul depart. from thee ; left I make thee defolate, a land not inhabited.
O awaken your apprehensions upon this occasion, I shall make use of the words of
king Hezekiah, when he rent his clothes, and covered himself with fackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord, upon an occafion of Senna
cherib's invading Judah, and sending reviling Rabfakeh to insult, and triumph over them : his words were, This is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and of provocation, Ifa. xxxvii. 3. For our further advantage upon this account, I will adjoin the words of the prophet, Joel ii. 2. A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness : v. 3.
A fire devours before them, and behind them a flame burneth. By fears and apprehenfions people are appaled, and all faces gather blackness, v. 6. This seems much to suit with our condition ; and if so, it becomes us (as Ezra fometimes did, Ezra ix. 13.) to make a due acknowledgment to God, and to state things right : for all this is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespasses ; for God hath punished us less than our iniquities deserve, viz. in the late devouring fire, and a little before, in the raging pestilence, and by several other judgments. But now God hath given us a very great deliverance, and we have out-lived all these judgments, and we have cause to say that God is righteous, not in the sense that sometimes the word is taken, viz. to punish condignly; but righteous in the sense of the prophet, Dan. ix. 7, 8. O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee; which he explains v. 9. Io thee, O Lord, belongs mercies and forgiveness, though we have rebeca led against thee. God hath been gracious, and God is righteous ; he hath been gracious and merciful
; für we are before God, all of us in our transgressions, and we cannot stand before God because of them : wherefore let us be ingenuous, and let us reason God's cause with ourselves, as Ezra once did with
the people of Israel, should we again break thy como mandments, and join in affinity with a people of such bominations ; wouldest not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping, Ezra ix. 14.
We profess, by our assembly this day, to do what king Hezekiah did ; to make hearty application to God, to humble ourselves before him, to deprecate his offence and displeasure, and to represent before him, the fad and deplorable condition of the nation, and to do also what the prophet Joel called the people to : Thus faith the Lord, turn ye even to me, with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning, and rent your hearts, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God. And also what we find the prophet Jeremiah iv. 4. in the like case directing to; Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the fore-skins of your heart, left my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings. Let us close with that of Daniel iv. 27. Break off your fins by righteousness, and your iniquities by afts of mercy, if there may be a lengthning of your tranquillity. For a day of humiliation, is a day of repentance, in order to reconciliation with God; and the truth of repentance lies in real reformation, in leaving off sin ; in converfion and turning to the Lord. It is not to how down the head as a bulrush, and to spread fackcloth and ashes under us, Isa lviii. 5. But as the Ninevites did, who though a people that were not under any institution of God, before the prophet Jonah's denunciation against them (that we know of;) yet they teach us