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work and province, as we are invested with intellectual nature ; and if we are led to gratify sense against reason, we are cheated and couzened. We render those words of the apostle, Rom. xiii. 14. to make provision for the flesh : but the Greek word fig. nifies, to make it the businefs of mind and under. standing, to cater for the body; which is no less than to make it the employment of the spirit to feed the beast ; when it should be the business of mind and understanding, to contemplate God and things divine. For otherwise, the mind of man is as the field of Solomon's sluggard, that instead of bringing a good crop, is overgrown with thorns and briars ; and a man lives in a lie, and hath no judgment. For the use of judgment is to observe the difference of things, which he doth not, that knows not how to value spiritual and eternal things before those that are present and temporal.
9. Lastly, If God be not understood and acknowJedged in our worldly enjoyments, and recommended to us by them : if he be not intended in all our actions, then do we not comply with the relation we stand in to God, nor act according to our highest principles, nor answer our capacity ; nor are true to our own interest. For it is the work of mind and understanding, to seek after God, and to find him out in his ways and works, as you read, Afts xvii. 27. To be without God in the world, is our degeneracy in full proportion; and to alienate our selves from him, is the greatest and truest sacrilege. For our highest faculties are God's peculiar, God's appropriate, God's reserve, made for God, and fit
to attend upon him, and to receive from him. Since therefore there is this danger, Ift. Let us act with caution and with good advice, by conversation with the best and wisest men. For ’tis an easy matter to be deceived without great care and diligence. 2dly. But chiefly, let us make application to God, by meditation and prayer, who will not be wanting to us. Let us carefully avoid all presumption, pride, arrogancy, and self-assuming. Do not on the sudden, but see before you do, and understand well before you act. And in all thy ways acknowledge God, and lean not to thy own understanding,
The Converfion of a SINNER.
EŻ e K. xvii. 27. When the wicked man turneth away from his wicked
ness that he hath committed, and dath that which is lawful and right, he shall
save his soul alive. F we would be true to our great interest, and be
and fecure them for eternity; we must then put evil from us, and repent of what we have done amiss'; we must disclaim it, and condemn ourselves in it; we must be reformed, and return to our duty.
1. That the wicked ought to reform.
1. That the wicked ought to reform. And that will appear upon these suggestions. First, fın is contrary to reason, credit, and safety. 1. Sin is contrary to reason.
This is the malignant and mischievous nature of every sinful action. It is in itself unreasonable, contrary to all wisdom and understanding : and you will easily grant, that what is against reason ought not to be done at all ; or if it be done, that it ought to be revoked. We ca not say worse of a man, than that he is an unreafonable perfon : nor worse of an action, than that it is contrary to reason.. If a. man will hear no reason, who will have to do with him? For he that will not hear reason, will do no right; and therefore what is done against reason must be revoked, and disclaimed. For what is so done is done against right, which is the rule of all actions. For right is the measure of all motion, and the law of heaven. Right is so sacred a thing, that even poverty, necessity, calamity, and misery, which make cases very pitiable, and compassionable, they are not considerable, in competition with right, for so we read, Lev. xix. 15. Thou shalt nat countee. nance a poor man in his cause.
Be the man poor or rich, the right of his case, and nothing else must be considered in judgment.
2. A sinful action is discreditable to any person whatsoever. It is said of the sons of Eli, that by
their wickedness, they made themselves vile, 1 Sam.
The higher any man is in place, the greater he is in power, the more eminent for birth, and dignity; the greater is his fault if he commit a sinful action. No man whatsoever hath credit enough to countenance that which is wicked, and ought not to be done.
3. It is grievous, painful, and intollerable to bear the effe&ts of wicked and sinful actions, and to vary from
right. Unless a man disclaim and revoke it, such actions are very costly and dearly paid for ; though they promise pleasure for the present, yet they lay the foundation of an evil confcience, and a difquieted and discontented mind; and if they be not repented of, we shall rue it to eternity : and that, not only in respect of loss, but misery ; which we cannot now express. For we know not what is meant by Tophet's burning, nor fully understand what is comprehended in those words of enduring the worm that dieth not, and the fire that goeth not out. Let no man deceive himself; real satisfaction, true content must have a folid foundation, a clear conscience, honest intention, right actions, an unblame. able tenour and course of life. And that is the firft the malignancy and naughtiness of every sinful action, as being a contradiction to reason, against right the agents discredit, a grievous, painful, an intollerable thing.
Secondly, Being such, it cannot be justified. For this is most certain, whatsoever is contrary to the reason of the thing, or to the right of the case, is mo. rally null and void, though it be done by any per
son whatsoever, I say, null as to the validity of the thing; though not null and void as to the mischief it doth to the agent. It is without all authority, and right. For this power is not in God himself; For his throne is established in righteousness, Pro. xxv. 5. It is a principal miscarriage ; so that a bad man is not a man of power and priviledge, he is not a man of excellency ; but he is, as a man that is deaf, blind, or lame ; that is not distinguished from other men, by any perfection, but by impotency and deformity. As the palsy-motion, which seems to be quicker than other, but it is not from strength but from weakness : no man can justify a sinful action, but to a bad conscience, or before an unrigh. teous judge ; who is either ignorant or partial, or himself as bad by undue principles, corrupt intereft, or an abuse of
power. For it is not to be able, for a man to do that which ought not to be done.
Thirdly, Every sinful action, however we may stand to it, or may be countenanced here in the world, will be discountenanced sooner or latter, whether we will or no. For it will fall under censure, and be brought to judgment, and condemned and punished. For right shall finally prevail : things themselves will not long continue out of order. Folly and madness will at last be weary and ashamed of themselves : besides the judgment of God, which will be according to truth, for God will bring to light the hidden works of darkness, &c.
Fourthly, If we do not repent of that which we have done sinfully, it will lie upon us as the black. eft spot, as the heaviest judgment, and as the worst