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you would not be delivered from them. What can you say to excuse all this from palpable hypocrisy.
To conclude, you pretend to all that is necessary to salvation, but have you that in reality which you pretend to? . 1. You think yourselves wise enough to be saved. But is it not folly that goes under the name wisdom? When you should be converted, and lead a holy life, you are wise enough to give reasons for the contrary, and wise enough to confute the preacher, and prove him a fool, instead of obeying the call of God. You are wise enough to prove the physician to be ignorant, and to cast away the medicine that should heal you. And what if nobody could deal with you in subtlety of argument, but you could say that against the necessary means of your own salvation, that none can answer? When you die by your wisdom, and have disputed yourselves out of the reach of mercy, will you not bewail it then as folly? Is he wiser, that, being hungry, eats his meat, or he that gives such reasons for his refusing it, and pleadeth so learnedly against eating and drinking, that none can answer him? Is the condemned man wiser that makes friends for a pardon, or he that with unanswerable subtlety reasoneth against it, till the ladder be turned? Such is your vain and seeming wisdom. You are not wise enough to be cured, but to give reasons why you should cons tinue siek. In the issue, it will prove that you were not wise enough to be saved, but notably wise to resist salvation, and plead yourselves into hell.
2. You pretend that you have a saving faith, when your hearts refuse that salvation from sin, and that rule of Christ which is the object of faith, and when you will not believe the doctrines, precepts, or threatenings that cross your own conceits; and when your belief of heaven will not carry your hearts from earth, nor work you to a holy, heavenly life.
3, You pretend to repentance, as I said before, while you hold fast the sin, and give not up yourselves to God; when as if your neighbour, or master, or husband, should but beat one of you, and tell you when he hath done that he repenteth, and do this as often as you commit your wilful sins, and say you repent, I am confident you would not take it for true repentançe, You repent, but will not confess when it is to your disgrace, as long as you can hide your sin. You repent, but will not make restitution or reparation of injuries to your power. You repent, but your heart riseth against him that
reproveth you. You repent, but you had rather keep your sins than leave them. What is this but to deceive your own hearts, and to mock yourselves with a seeming, vain, and mock repentance ?
4. You pretend to love God above all, (as was before said,) when you love not his image, ways, or communion, but love that which he hateth, and still prefer the world before him,
5. Yąu pretend that you have true desires to be godly, and what God would have you be; but they are such desires as the sluggard hath to rise, and as the slothful hath to work that is, if it could be done with ease, and without labour ; you lie still, and use not the means with diligence for all your desires. When you can sit and have your work done with wishes, and your families maintained, and your necessities all supplied with wishes, you may think to come to heaven with wishes, The good desires that the poor may be warmed, and clothed, that James speaks of, (Jamn. ii, 15,) did neither relieve the poor, nor save the wisher. “The desire of the slothful killeth him ; for his hands refuse to labour," (Prov, xxi. 25.) Up and be doing according to thy desires, or else confess that thy wishes are hypocritical, and that thou deceivest thy own heart by vain desires.
6. You also pretend to be sincere worshippers of God. You. pray, and you read the Scripture, and good books, and you hear the word, and receive the Lord's supper. But I have before shown you your hypocrisy in these; you pray against the sin that you love and would not leave; you pray for holiness, when you hate it, or desire it not in any degree to cross your flesh; you serve God, with mere words (whether of your own conceiva ing or of others' prescribing) with some forced acknowledgment of that God that hath not your hearts or lives. Let Christ pass the sentence on you, and not me: (Matt. xv. 7-9.) “Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments on
You like that teaching that sooths you in your own opinions, and galleth not your consciences in the guilty place. A minister you would have, that should stand like an adorned idol that hurts nobody, and toucheth not your sores; or that is but like a pair of organs, or a tinkling cymbal, to tickle your; fancy, and make church worship to be as a kind of religious stages
play to you. But a true minister of Christ, to open to you the doctrine of the kingdom, and roundly to awaken you from security in sin, and to call you up to the most serious, holy, heavenly life, and follow you, and let you take no rest, till you yield and practise it; and to call you to open confession of your open scandalous sins, that you may make such reparation to the wronged honour of God and souls of men, as you are capable of; and accordingly to absolve you, or to bind you over to answer it at the bar of God, and charge the Church to avoid communion
you are impenitent and incorrigible; such a minister as this (which is the minister of Christ's appointment) you abhor; at least, when he comes to touch
your sores. Then
you are too proud to be taught and ruled by such as these, though you hypocritically profess to be ruled by Christ, who ruleth his Church by his Spirit, word, and ministers, conjunct. Then you say, 'Who gave you authority to do thus and thus by me?” As if you knew not that Christ in Scripture hath described, confirmed, and limited the ministerial office. Like condemned traitors, that should say to him that bringeth them a pardon, "Who gave you authority to make so bold with me?' or like a man that hath the plague or leprosy, that asketh the physician,
Who gave you authority to tell me that I am sick, and put me to such medicines as these ?' or as the Israelite to Moses, (Exod. ii. 14,) “Who made thee a prince and a judge over us?"
not understanding that God by his hand would deliver them," saith Stephen ; (Act. vii. 25 ;) or as the Jews to Christ, when he was teaching men the way to heaven, (Matt. xxi. 23,) “By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?” So because you hate the way of your recovery, you will not be saved without authority, nor be satisfied of their authority that would save you, but are like a beggar that should proudly refuse a piece of gold, and ask, “By what authority do you give it me?' A minister that agreeth with God's description you cannot abide. (Acts xx. 18—36; Heb. xxiii. 7, 17; 1 Cor. iv. 1; 1 Thes. v. 12, 13; 1 Tim. v. 17, 20, and 2 Tim. iv. 1.) So that, indeed, it is but a mock-minister, a mock-sacrament, a mock-prayer, and so a seeming, vain religion which you desire.
7. Lastly, you pretend also to sincere obedience. If we ask you, whether you are willing to obey God? you will say, God forbid that any should deny it. But when it comes to the particulars, and you find that he commandeth you that which flesh and blood is against, and would cost you the loss of worldly
prosperity, then you will be excused; and yet, that you may cheat your souls, you will not professedly disobey; but you will persuade yourselves that it is no duty, and that God would not have you do that which you will not do. Like a countryman's servant, that promiseth to do all his master bids him ; but when he cometh to particulars, thrashing is too hard work, and mowing and reaping are beyond his strength, and ploughing is too toilsome; and in conclusion, it is only an idle life with some easy chars, that he will be brought to. This is the hypocrite's obedience. He will obey God in all things, as far as he is able, in the general: but when it comes to particulars, to deny himself, and forsake his worldly prosperity for Christ, and to contemn the world, and live by faith, and converse in heaven, and walk with God, and worship him in spirit and truth, to love an enemy, to forgive all wrongs, to humble himself to the meanest persons, and to the lowest works; to confess his faults with shame and sorrow, and ask forgiveness of those he has injured; these and other such works as these he will not believe to be parts of obedience, or at least, will not be brought to do them.
Poor souls, I have stood here a great while to hold you the glass, in which, if you were willing, you might see yourselves. But if you will yet wink, and hate the light, and perish in your self-deceiving, who can help it?
Briefly and plainly, be it known to thee again, whoever thou art that hearest this, that if thou have not these five characters following, thy religion is all but vain and self-deceiving.
1. If God's authority, as he speaketh by his Spirit, word, and ministers, be not highest with thy soul, and cannot do more with thee than Kings and Parliaments and than the world and flesh. (Matt. xxiii. 8-10.)
2. If the unseen everlasting glory be not practically more esteemed by thee, and chosen, and sought, than any thing, or all things in the world. (Matt. vi. 21 ; Col. iii. 2; John vi. 27; 2 Tim, iv. 8, 9; Matt. xxii. 5; Luke xviii. 22, 23; Phil. iii. 20.)
3. If thou see not such a loveliness in holiness, as being the image of God, as that thou unfeignedly desirest the highest degree of it. (Matt. v, 20; Psalm cxix. 1-3, &c.; Phil. iii. 12-14.) 4. If
any sin be so sweet and dear to you, or seem so necessary, that you consent not and desire not to let it go. (Matt. xix, 22; Phil. iii, 8; Psalm lxvi. 18.)
5. If any known duty seem so costly, dangerous, troublesome, and unpleasant, that ordinarily you will not do it. (Matt. xvi. 24-26; Psalm cxix. 6.)
In a word, God must be loved and obeyed as God; Christ must be entertained as Christ; Heaven must be valued and sought as Heaven; and holiness loved and practised as holiness; though not to the height of their proper worth (which noue on earth is able to reach,) yet so, as that nothing be preferred before them.
But yet there is one more discovery, which, if I pass by, you will think I baulk a chief part of my text.
An unbridled tongue in a professor of religion is enough to prove his religion vain.
By an unbridled tongue is not meant all the sins of our speech: “ If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. For in many things we offend all.” (Jam. ïïi. 2.) Every unwarrantable jest, or' angry word, or hasty, rash expression, is not enough to prove a man's religion to be in vain. Though Christ says that we shall answer for
shall be condemned for every idle word.” But when the tongue is unbridled, and is not kept under a holy law, but suffered to be the ordinary instrument of wilful known sin, or of gross sin, which men might know and will not ; this proves the person void of holiness, and, consequently, his religion vain.
It is true, every hypocrite hath not an unbridled tongue : some of them have the bridle of moral precepts, and some of teligious education, and some of the presence and awe of persons whom they esteem; common knowledge, with natural mansuetude and moderation doth bridle the tongues of many an hypocrite ; but as every wicked' man is not a drunkard, or fornicator, and yet every drunkard or fornicator (that liveth in it) is a wicked man; so every hypocrité liath not an unbridled tongue, (his vice may be some other way;) but every man that hath an unbridled tongue is an hypocrite, if withal he profess himself a Christian.
The sins of the tongue are of three sorts. 1. Such as are against piety. 2. Such as are against justice. 3. Such as are against charity.
1. Against piety, that is, directly against God, are blasphemy, perjury, rash swearing, swearing by creatures, light and unreverent using of God's name and attributes, and words and works;