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we grow nearer and nearer unto death: and in refpect of diseases, which is death in fome degree : and lastly in respect of hazard and danger from abroad. For whofoever neglects God and the law, may be master of any body's life. How will men fatisfy themselves, that take fo little care how they pafs out of time, into eternity? That live and die in such a frame and temper, which is altogether unfit for the bufinefs and employment of eternity? For if we expect to be happy, and to attend upon God, and holy angels, and faints in glory; it is neceffary that we free ourselves from all impurity and by holiness of life qualify ourselves for the enjoyment of God. For our Saviour hath told us, that unless we be converted, and become as little children, that are innocent and harmless, that may fuffer wrong, but will do none, we cannot enter into heaven. These three things do utterly unqualify a man for the state of glory and happiness.
1. Earthliness, worldliness, and carnality. 2. A fpirit of malice, ill-will, and revenge. 3. Pride, arrogancy, and haughtiness.
1. Earthlinefs, worldliness, and carnality. The pfalmift tells us, Pfal. xvii. 11. That worldly men have their portion in this life. They being unqualified for the state of eternity.
2. Then for those that live in the spirit of envy, malice, and ill-will. They have the very spirit and temper of the devil, who goes about seeking whom he devour. may
3. And for pride: the apostle Jude tells us, that this was the very temper of the angels that fell, that
kept not their first state, but through pride and arrogance, did affume to themselves.
But to draw to a conclufion. Since now we have fuch a declaration as this in the text, which contains the fulness of gofpel knowledge that when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness, and doth that which is lawful and right, he shall fave his foul alive. Let us entertain good thoughts of God, let us have right apprehenfions of him in our minds always think fo of God, as to encourage our application to him. And never think that he is implacable; but that he is ready to forgive, and is no hard master, nor difficult to please, nor backward to forgive. Yea, I will fay more, that God is such a friend to our fouls, and takes fuch delight in our converfion and turning to him, that he will not be wanting on his part, to afford us what is neceffary, for our enablement and encouragement. And should we think otherwife of God, we should fret in our minds against him, and fit down in discontent and despair: just as you have an account in Rev. ix. 6. of fome that blafphemed God because of their pains. This was the temper of Cain, who faid, my fin is greater than can be forgiven. By this a man doth put himself quite out of the way of forgiveness. I add, that it is the fpecial and genuine effect of the mercy of God to bring finners to repentance. But by every evil act that a man doth commit, his recovery is the more difficult; because fin doth put a man quite out of temper, and fets him at the greater diftance from God. For fin hardens a man's heart, and spoils the modefty of intellectual nature, and much
much more disposeth a man for evil, than he was before.
Now in the clofe of all, I will reinforce the ad vice of the text, that the wicked turn from his wickedness. And let us not herein be mistaken, for we ought in nothing more to understand ourselves aright; because it is the cafe of life and death. Therefore in these cafes, as I told you, men cannot be faid to forfake their fins, when fin rather leaves them, than they their fins; when his turning from fin arifeth rather from abroad than from himself, and is rather the effect of his company, and those that have power over him. You cannot fay that men turn from their wickedness, when 'tis not their own motion, nor what they would do if free and left to themfelves. Nor when a man out of fear of former fufferings, doth not do as formerly he did. For you must know, that all vice and wickedness is first contrary to the reason of our minds ; and fecondly, to the health of our bodies for by fin and wickedness men lay the foundation of aches and difcafes, and fhorten their days. In thefe cafes a man cannot be faid to turn from his fins: but in the other cafes which I named, a man may be faid to turn from his wickedness.
First, When the wicked man loaths his fin out of fense and judgment of the baseness and vileness of it. For the motion, ground, and principle of an action, doth fpecificate the action. And you cannot upon a moral account, estimate an action from the materiality of it, but from the intention, motien, ground, and principle from which it doth pro
ceed. And it is reason in intellectual nature and choice, that makes it an action of virtue.
Secondly, When we avoid fin and evil out of reSpect to God, because we will not give him an offence. For this is religion, to have the fear of God before our eyes and 'tis but the religion of a heathen, to avoid fin upon any other account. Now because God is invifible, if any should ask how he might know what he doth, is with refpect to God: you may know by that which is materially the fame with it. To do a thing because it is confonant to reason and to avoid a thing because it is contrary to reason, is materially the fame as to do, or forbear with respect to God. And I will make this out, because two things are matter of easy knowledge, and the great things of religion.
1ft. That there is a God. And,
2dly. That there is a difference between good and evil. And if we have not funk ourselves into brutishness, by sensuality, or into devilishness, by malice, envy, and ill-will; a man cannot be ignorant of either of thefe.
That there is a God beevery man must grant, cause he did not call himself into being out of nothing. This is plain, because he cannot continue himself in that being which he hath. For to call a thing into being out of nothing, is an act of much greater power, than to continue a being that we have.
And for the difference of good and evil, nothing is more knowable. Will not every man grant, that there is great difference between living in fobriety and
and temperance, and living in luxury and wantonnefs; that the one is far better than the other? That it is better for a man to govern his paffion, and to be affable and courteous, than to be furious, infolent, arrogant, and tumultuous ?
But thirdly and lastly, a man may be faid to turn from his wickedness, when he conceives difpleafure against it, and fully purposes never to return to it again, whatsoever temptations or provocations he be but onmeet withal. Otherwise it may may ly forbearance of the act; unless a man withdraws from it through diflike, and take up refolutions never to do the like. Now if the wicked man do thus turn away from his wickedness, and doth that which is lawful and right, he fhall save his foul alive.
The true Valuation of MAN.
LUKE xvi. 25.
But Abraham faid, fon, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedft thy good things, and likewife Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
Hether this were a ftory, or a parable, I will not difpute or determine. It will be all one as to our inftruction; for our rule is, comparisons make facts; history contains matter of fact, and parables are representations only; there