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I will conclude all with that saying of a great schoolman, who spake indifferently of the state of the reformed and Romish church. 6. For men to differ os about matters of particular persuasion and opini« on it is not inconsistent with that imperfect state « which we are in, while in the way to heaven « when we come thither, we shall be consummat« ed, and more fully harmonize : but to differ in o. « pinion, is not repugnant to peace in the way; « though the difference fhall be taken away when
we come home.”
Now if it be otherwise with any man that owns the reformed religion ; I must tell you that though he may profess he is of the reformed religion, he is Popish in the protestant profession. For these are matters wherein they of the protestant religion do agree : and if any man question any of those, he is fo far popish in the protestant profession.
The Deceitfulness of SIN.
HE B, iii. 13: Take heed, left any of you be hardned through the deceitfulness of fin.
E are in this world in a state of probation, and have many enemies to encounter with
so that our condition is very dangerous, both from force and fraud, and from
fraud the worst of the
two. For if a man be ill dealt withal, and forced, he is excused because he could not help it ; but if any man fuffer from fraud, he is both laughed at, and self-condemned. Now, he is couzened and cheated, that upon any representation made to him qf things without, either doth or permits what is in itself sinful or unlawful. And by this rule you may estimate all that I have to say.
1. Give you an account of the deceitfulness of lm. And,
II. Shew you the great reason we have to take heed, that we be not deceived.
1. My business shall be to shew-you the deceitfule ness of fin, and how much thereby we are in danger. And this I will do in ten particulars.
3. Evil takes another name, though it doth always. retain its nature ; and because it must not be known by its own name, it doth adopt itself into the family of some of the virtues, as if it were like to some of them : and things that are alike do oft impose upon unwary persons. Now because a particular rule is best known by instances, I will mention several. Covetousness pafseth for a thrifty temper, and good husbandry ; prodigality for being generous ;. vanity is reputed necessary remission of mind, and foolish talking to be affable conversation ; lavish expence of time, goes for exercise and recreation due to the body ; finding fault with others, is reckoned to be reproof of sin ; sharpness and severity, to be strict
ness of conscience ; backbiting is accounted an endeavour for reformation ; jealousy and suspicion to be care for right and truth ; busy meddling with other mens affairs, lives, and judgments, is said to be activity for the advancement of religion ; and to controul others liberty, a care for their souls ; prefumption is thought to be faith in God; curious determinations beyond scripture, to be the improvenient of faith ; and inconsiderate dulness to be the denial of our reason ; mal-content to be sorrow for fin ; excessive use of the creatures, to be christian liberty ; compliance beyond measure to be good fela lowship; fond imaginations to be divine inspiration ; extravagancies of passion, to be the unavoidable motion of a cholerick temper ; taking too much upon one's felf, and over-bearing the company in discourse and converse, to be better improvements of the talent ; fierceness in a sect, in a particular way of mode, to be a greater care of religion ; speakįng without fense, to be the fimplicity of the spirit; sheepishness to be modesty ; diffidence to be humility ; affording hard measure, to be standing for one's right ; petulancy and animosity, to be generousness, courage, good mettle, and like a man of fpirit; cunning craftiness, to be prudence and policy; neglect and careless omissions, to be infirmities only, the weaknesses of the saints.
Thus there are many things which pass for a due temper, and regular motion in religion, which are not the perfections they are taken for, but rather the contrary. I cannot now stand to convince these severally of deceit ; but if they be enquired indo, they will not be found to be the things they pretend to be. • The 2d and 3d I will put together. Sometimes evil suggesteth to us pleasure and delight, and sometimes gain and profit. And these two, pleasure and profit, are the baits that take with all men that are not of fixed and resolved virtue.
Now the scripture supposeth both of these ; and therefore we read of the pleasures of sin, that they are but for a season. And also it telleth us of the wages of unrighteousness. But solid and true pleasure, gain and satisfaction to a mind well instructed, is only to be found in the ways of virtue and goodness. For Solomon tells us, that the ways of wisdom are pleasant : and godliness is great gain, faith the apostle.
4. Evil holds us in hand that it is a matter of our right, and that which we may do in the use of our liberty ; whereas, 'tis not power, to be able to do that which is not fit to be done : this is not liberty, but licentiousness, wantonness, to do evil, or to serve any luft. But we are greatly bent to maintain our right, and fhew our power. Fezebel, spake thus to Ahab, when he was troubled for Naboth's vineyard : dost thou govern Israel, and knowest not how to have Naboth's vineyard ? arise, eat bread, and let thine heart be merry : I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite. And she gave it him, but upon strange terms; by wilful murder, perjury, and subornation thus did she use her power, 1 Kings xxi.
5. Evil covers itself with some probable notion, or circumstance. Nothing in this vain world is more usual than colours, pretences, representations, excu
fes, appearances contrary to reality and truth. You feph's brethren’s selling him is covered with their not having their hands upon him Gen. xxxvii. 2. 7. David's murdering Uriah, by drawing him out on the forlorn, 2 Sam. xi. 15. His numbering the people by the priviledge of a prince, 2 Sam, xxiv. When was it known that evil walked abroad without a disguise ? a fair pretence for a foul action. The devil's hook is too well baited to be seen. The serpent propored to our first parents their being like unto Gods. Gen. iii. 5. The lips of the strange woman drop as the boney comb : and her mouth is smoother than oil, Prov. v. 3. The worshippers of the golden calf confecrated a day unto the Lord, Ex. xxxii. Balaam is in shew for the observance of God, Numb. xxiii. 26. But he taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, Rev. ii. 14. Saul takes. upon him to offer a burnt-offering contrary to the express command of God. He faith, the Philistines are upon me, and I have not made supplication unto the Lord, 1. Sam. xiii. 12. And he spared the fattest of the cattle that he might offer them in sacrifice, I Sam. xv. 15. Corah, Dathan and Abiram justified their rebellion against Mofes and Aaron with this pretence that they took too much upon them : seeing that all the congregation was holy, as well as themselves; there fore why should they lift up themselves above the congregation of the Lord, Num. xvi. 3, 7. Here is a pretence of maintaining the just liberty of the congregation. So they that would take away the life of our blessed Saviour say it is expedient that one man should die, and that the nation perish not, John xi. 50.