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lity and eternity of the foul, and future punishments. If then these things be real, have not finners run a wild courfe? I will only tell them,
1. That many, who have as madly refolved, have before their deaths found cause to alter their judgments in these matters, and thought it their fafeft way to deprecate their offence.
2. However they make shift to ftifle the voice of conscience at prefent, and go on to fin; fome others, who have fometime done the like, have never had any true enjoyment of themfelves after fuch wounds made in their confcience, and breach of their peace; but either fell into confufion of thought and perplexity of mind, or diftraction, and have been fometimes their own executioners, and have made an end of themselves; rather then endure the reproofs of their confciences, have rid themselves out of the world.
3. Those that are of raised intellectuals, of refined morals, of fober reafon, would not have upon them the guilt of fome mens fins (however they may efcape judgment in this world) for all the titles, powers and revenues which such men enjoy in the world. It will only give fuch, reafon to know, that notwithstanding their own incompetent judgment concerning themselves, that is true even of them, which is faid by Samuel concerning the wicked fons of Eli; they have made themselves vile, and contemptible. So are these profane and atheistical perfons; they are base in the fight of God, and in the fight of wife men for wickedness doth difrobe any man
of his excellency, and makes him vile and contemptible.
Secondly, To perfons engaged in ways of religion. If these be real and fincere in their profeffion, they are in a state of reconciliation with God; and if in a state of reconciliation with him, then let them be true to the terms of friendship, and not do acts of enemies in the state of friendship. Let them that name the name of Chrift, depart from iniquity. Where God Speaks peace to his people, let them not return again to folly, Pfal. lxxxv. 8. To the fear of God, in fcripture, is always adjoined the efchewing of evil; and this is the character God gives of an upright man, Fob i. 8. It is effential to religion, to walk according to the difference of good and evil. There are other things which have the use and confideration of the means in religion, which I call the inftrumental part of religion but religion itself, doth iffue holiness, uprightness, integrity, and separation from iniquity.
The DANGER of UNFAITHFULNESS to God.
HE B. iii. 12.
Take heed, brethren, left there be in any of you, an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
ELIGION is highly concerned in two things; the judgment of truth, and the confcience of right: and he doth fubftantially fail upon account of religion, that is wanting in either of these.
I fhall now confider the reafons of this caution in the text, Take heed, brethren, &c. We are highly concerned to be cautious and wary, upon a fourfold
1. From those things that are within us.
3. From the great confequence and importance that truth and goodness hath unto our fouls.
4. From not a possibility only, but a probability of failing, and miscarrying, if care be not taken; and the greatness of the evil, if we do fall fhort. wary, because of those. for if once wé confent ourselves with evil, we put ourselves out of an indifferency to good and e
1. We had need to be things that are within us to iniquity, and acquaint
vil, and so marr the ingenuity and modesty of our. natures. For one evil act doth beget an indifpofition to the contrary virtue; men become less competent to judge, or to do what is right, when once they have mifcarried. We do not know what wrong we do ourselves, when we do an act contrary to right; for by this means we come to pass into the oppofite nature. The apoftle doth exhort chriftians, Heb. ii. 1. That they fhould take heed to the things that they had learned; left they let them flip, and become like leaking veffels. Good apprehenfions do not always stay with us; and contrary ones are in a fucceffion. This we find by experience, that we do ebb and flow, rise and fall, go backward and forward, up and down, here and there, on and off, do and undo. Sometimes we fee, and believe, understand and refolve, and then again, we grow infenfible of these good impreffions that were upon us and therefore David being well acquainted with the frail and uncertain condition of man, prays thus unto God, Keep it in the imaginations of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, 1 Chron. xxix. 18.
Also we are inclined and sollicited from our lower and worfer part; from the delights of our fenfes, which many times prove ftrong temptations to us and lastly, we are often befooled by our own fancies. and imaginations. He is a wife man who is not his own fool. Our fense of ourselves is more incompetent, than our judgment of others. We are so much given up to self-flattery, that in favour of ourselves, we conceit that of ourselves that we do not find, and K 2
are apt to think that of ourfelves that no body that knows us do believe; and all this from within.
2. And then from without us. How many things do impose upon us from our eafinefs and credulity; so that we walk as it were in a vain fhew, I Cor. vii. 31. and this occafioned both from objects and agents 1 John ii. 16. The guife of the world, the manners and humours of men, these are supposed to be indubitable and unquestionable: and these prove a mighty temptation to us, when we look about us and fee men so sollicitous, and over-bufy, defigning, undertaking, and engaging about the things of this life; as if a man's happiness were altogether to be had here, and as if our prefent actions had no reference to eternity. And then Satan, he is a lying spirit in the mouths of all his false prophets he is an abettor and encourager of evil; being a liar from the beginning, and one that goeth about feeking whom he may devour. And then men-are deceitful and uncertain, and ufe their wits and parts to circumvent and over-reach one another. Fair representations of things are made, when their real exiftence is otherwife; fo that we are many times deluded and deceived, and this is our weakness, we love to have it fo; we would have men speak according to our fenfe, and not according to the reality of things. Thus it often happens, that they are grievous unto others, that do not speak according to their fenfe. We read of Ahab, that he hated Micaiah, because he did not speak according to his fenfe, and as he would have him, 1 Kings xxii. 8. And fo St. Paul faith, that he was their enemy because he told them the truth, Gal, iv. 16, 3. Then