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into mysticalness; for who is it that dares play with the thunder? Why? (says he) for it is the voice of God. So is the Scripture, it is the voice of God. Would ye therefore, so take heed unto it, as to keep it, and not deny the same? Then take heed of that corruption of nature which doth boil up to malice; take heed of evil principles about the rule of your life; and take heed of playing with Scripture, and of living upon the confines of that great sin of denying it, lest God in just judgment, give you up at last to the gross evil of it.
2. And for particular truths of the Scripture, that you may keep them in your heart and judgment, consider,
Whether that doctrine, which you are now about to deny
not that doctrine which hath seven times passed through the fire in the sufferings of the saints? whether it be not that doctrine which many saints have lost their estates, liberties, and their blood for? And if it be so, then think with yourself, how hard a thing it will be for you to be saved, denying that truth which so many have shed their blood for.
Consider also, whether the doctrine you are now about to deny, be not that doctrine which the saints generally have maintained in opposition to the world? And if it be, then think with yourself how hard a thing it will be for you to be saved, denying that doctrine which all the saints generally have maintained against the world: but above all, take heed of an itching ear. The apostle tells Timothy, 2 Epist. iv. 3. “ That the times should come, wherein men will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own wills, shall heap up to themselves, teachers, having itching ears, such as shall not be contented with the settled ministry of God's appointment, but shall, after their own wills, heap up teachers to themselves; and this they shall do from the itch of the ear: well but what shall this itch in the ear bring forth? verse 4. “ They shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” Now therefore, that you may keep, and hold fast the word in the particular doctrines, oh, then take heed of this itching ear. III. Yet one thing more. If
would take heed to the Scripture, you must so heed the same, as you may walk thereby.
Therefore prize it much : who takes heed to that which he
does not prize? The martyrs in queen Mary's days, prized the written word of God much : one gave a cart load of hay for one leaf of the Bible in English : another being at sea, and swimming for his life on a mast, and having all his estate, which was five pounds, in one hand, and the Bible in the other, and being compelled to part with one, chose rather for to keep the Bible, and to throw away his five pounds, all that he had. These then did prize the written word of God, and they did walk thereby.
Therefore also, get your heart affected with love to every truth which you know; for because men receive not the . truth in the love thereof, therefore God doth give them up to strong delusions : men take heed unto what they love.
And therefore that you may heed it so as to walk thereby, let it be your continual companion, going where you go; if you go into the fields, oh! let the word go with you; if into your calling, oh! let the Scripture and the written word of God be with you.
take heed unto it, as to a light shining in a dark place. And I pray tell me, are not these times dark times? The conjunction of clouds and miseries make dark times. Now the world is full of wars and rumours of wars: now men, say, Lo, here is Christ, and, Lo, there is Christ; insomuch as, if possible, the elect would be deceived. Now spiritual judgments and outward miseries are in conjunction; a cloud and a cloud, a conjunction of clouds: surely, therefore, these times must be dark times. The eclipses of the sun and moon, and the falling of the stars from heaven make dark times: and when were there more eclipses, and falling of the stars, and of great lights from heaven, than in these days of ours? False lights also make dark times, for the more false lights are set up the more men are drawn from the true light, and so the more they are in darkness. And when ever were there so many false lights hung forth as in these days of ours ? Surely, therefore, these are dark times; and if so, what cause have we all to take heed unto the word, which is as a light shining in a dark place. What I therefore say to one, I say to you all, and to my own soul; Oh, let us all take heed thereunto. And if any think that he is not at all in the dark, he is therefore in the dark, because he thinks he is not in the dark. If any think these
things concern not him, they do therefore the more concern him than others, because he thinks they concern him not. Think therefore on all these things, and the Lord give you a clear understanding in all things.
“ Be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me. For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name sake lead me, and guide me,” -Psalm xxxi. 2, 3.