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absurdities? so gross, that the devil would have showed himself a fool to vent them, if he had not made his followers such fools as to believe them. But for the faithful servants of the Lord, let them know, that they must serve him on such terms; they must live above the judgment and reputation of this world; and be content that God, the searcher of hearts, shall be their judge, who knoweth both sincerity and hypocrisy; and will bring forth their righteousness as the light. Christians, you must not only be sincere, but also patiently expect to be accounted hypocrites, and pointed at as the only dissemblers of the world; you must not only be honest, but patiently expect to be accounted dishonest. You must not only be wise and sober, but patiently expect to be accounted fools and madmen. You must not be liberal, charitable, and contemners of the world, but patiently expect to be called covetous, even though you give away all that you have. You must not only be chaste and temperate ; but also patiently expect to be defamed as incontinent and licentious, and as Christ was called, a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. A minister must not only lay out himself wholly for the saving of men's souls, and spend himself and all that he hath on his Master's work; but also patiently expect to be accounted unfaithful, covetous, and negligent, and murmured at by almost all whose unreasonable desires he doth not answer, and be censured by almost all whose wills and humours he doth not fulfil; and that is, most, that have a self that ruleth at home, and, therefore, they think should be the idol of others, as it is their own; and that are but unacquainted with the reasons of those things that do displease them. It is little comfort to us to do good, if we cannot bear the estimation of doing evil, and cannot lose all the observation, acknowledgment and applause of man, as if we had never done the good at all. It is far from christian perfection to be honest, and godly, and sincere, if we must needs be accounted to be as we are, and cannot patiently be esteemed dishonest, ungodly, and hypocritical; and be judged worst when we are best; what have the servants of Christ lost their lives for in flames, and by other sorts of torments, but for the best of their service, and greatest of their piety and fidelity ? When dogs bark at passengers, commonly it signifieth but two things, namely, that they are persons they know not, or that they hate ; but it is no sign that the persons are bad, or poor, or sick; for be they never so bad and miserable, if they know them, and love them, the dogs will not bark at them. See that thou be not an hypocrite, and then it must be accounted a small matter by thee, to be called an hypocrite; yea, if persons that fear God themselves shall so esteem thee, it is no other affliction but what thou must be armed for, and patiently undergo. Even from the godly, through mistake, we often suffer most for our greatest duties, and are censured most for that which God and conscience most approve us for; and lose our reputations for that which God would be greatly offended with us if we did otherwise. As ever then you would not prove yourselves hypocrites, see that you look not for the hypocrite's reward, as Christ calls it, Matt. vi. 2, which is, to be approved of men; be they good or bad men, their overvalued applause may be but the hypocrite's reward. To be content and patient in doing well, and being judged to do ill, and being good, and being judged to be bad, is the property of him that is sincere indeed; therefore, to be unthankfully requited and reviled, and spit upon, and buffeted, and shamefully used and put to death, even by those whose lives and souls he had, with greatest care and condescension, pitied, this was the pattern of love and self-denial that was set us by our Lord. And though we cannot reach his measure, and distempered Christians find much struggling before they can bring themselves to patience, under such ingratitude and unworthy usage from the world, especially from their mistaken froward brethren, yet, in some prevailing measure, it must be done. For he that cannot serve God without the hypocrite's reward, is but an hypocrite. If he will not be a Christian, obedient, charitable, diligent, faithful, for heaven and the pleasing of God alone, he is not a Christian indeed. And, alas, what a pitiful reward is it, to be thought well of, and applauded by the tongues of mortal men! How few were ever the more holy by applause! But thousands have been hurt, if not undone, by it. Thou givest all thou hast to the poor : thou spendest thyself wholly, and all that thou hast, for the service of God, and the good of others; it is well; it must be so. But, after all, thou art censured, slandered, vilified, and unthankfully and unmannerly used. And what of that? what harm dost thou fear by it? What advantage thy pride and selfishness might have taken, even by due applause and thankfulness, it is easy to perceive. But now the temptation is taken out of thy way; thou art secluded from all creature-comforts; and so art directed, and almost forced, to look up to the love of God alone; now thou hast no other reward before thee, it is easier to look singly on the saints' reward. When God hath no competitor, to whom else canst thou turn thy thoughts? when all others abuse thee, it is easier to have recourse to him. When earth will scarce afford thee any quiet habitation, thou wilt surely look to heaven for rest.
Thus much I thought meet to interpose here for the confirination of the sincere, on occasion of the world's unjust accusations ; and so to persuade them to be satisfied in the portion of the sincere. I now return again to the self-deceiver.
And here I shall conclude all with these two requests to you, which, as one that foreseeth the approaching misery of selfdeceivers, I earnestly entreat you, for the sake of your immortal souls, that you will not deny me. The first is, that you will be now but as willing to try yourselves, as I have been to help you ; and as diligent and faithful when you are alone, in calling your own hearts to a close examination, as I have been to hold the light here to you. O refuse not, delay not; to withdraw yourselves sometimes from the world, and set yourselves as before the eye of God, and there bethink yourselves whether you have been what you have vowed and professed to be! And whether that God hath been dearest to your hearts, and obeyed in your lives, and desired as your happiness, who hath been confessed and honoured with your lips ? Consider therefore, that God judgeth not as man; nor will he think ever the better of
for thinking well of yourselves. And that there must go more to prove your approbation with God, than commonly goes to keep up your reputation in the world. The religion that serveth to honour you before men, and to deceive yourselves, will never serve to please the Lord and save your souls. And the day is at hand when nothing but God can give you comfort, and when selfdeceivers will become, everlastingly, self-tormentors. Otherefore go willingly and presently to the word, to your lives, and hearts, and consciences, and try yourselves, and try again, and that with moderate suspicion, that in so great a business you may not be deceived, and be self-deceivers.
2. My second request is, that if you do discover, or but justly suspect yourselves of hypocrisy and self-deceit, you would stick there no longer, but presently change your vain religion, your seemings and formalities, for the power of godliness and sincerity of heart.
But I suppose that some of you will say, there lies the difficulty. O that we could do it ! But how should it be done?
I answer : if thou really be willing to be above hypocrisy, and a vain religion, the cure is half wrought, at least; and I will not tire thee now with many, but help and try thee by these few, directions.
In general, be what thou hast promised and vowed to be, in thy baptism, and what thou still dost profess to be, à Christian, and it will serve thy turn : what that is, I have told you before.
More particularly. Direct. 1. Deliberately renew thy covenant with God : and with a grieved heart, bewailing that thou hast been a covenant-breaker, give up thyself presently to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost ; as thy Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier, thy Owner, thy Ruler, and thy Father.
2. Renounce sincerely the devil, the world, and the flesh, and be at a point with all below; and quit all conceits and hopes of felicity, or rest, on earth: and absolutely devote and resign thya self, and all thou hast, to the will and service of thy Lord, without any secret exceptions or réserves. This is the property and plague of hypocrites, that secretly they have exceptions and reserves in giving up themselves to God. They will follow him, except it would disgrace them, or undo them, in the world ; he shall have all, provided the flesh may not be too much pinched. That is, in plain English, they take him not for God, but for a second to themselves and the world, and will give him but what the
flesh can spare.
3. Fix the eye of lively faith of God upon the everlasting joys, and there take up thy whole reward, and look for no other. Quit all expectations of a reward from men. Let it seem a small thing to thee, what any mortal man shall think or speak of thee ; unless as God's honour or interest is concerned in thine. I have told you before, he is an hypocrite that will not be godly without the hypocrite's reward; and that can sail no further than he is moved by the wind of man's applause, or some other worldly end.
4. Stick not in any externals of religion, nor in notions and barren, ineffectual opinions.
So far art thou religious, as thy soul is engaged unto God, and thy life employed for him ; and so far thou dost truly worship him as thy heart is drawn up to him in love, and as thou dost fear him, admire him, trust him, and take thy pleasure in him. Think not, that it is a saving religiousness, to be of such or such an opinion, or such a party, or such a church, or to say over so many words or prayers, or to keep a task of outward duties, or to be of a ready, voluble tongue, in preaching, prayer, or discourse, religion lieth in the heart and life.
5. Indulge not thyself in one known sin. Retain no gross or wilful sin. Plead for no infirmity, but make it the business of thy life to extirpate the relics of the body of death. Be willing of the most searching word, and of the plainest reproof, and of the help thou canst get against so dangerous an enemy.
6. Stint not thyself in any low degree of holiness; but love, and long, and strive, after the highest. If thou bear a secret core of distaste against those that outgo thee, it is a mortal sign. Thou must be perfect in desire, or thou art not sincere.
7. Walk always as in the presence of the holy, dreadful, heart-searching God: remember that he seeth thy ends, thine affections, and all thy thoughts. Be the same, therefore, in secret as thou art in public ; sincerely search the word of God, and know what it is that he would have, and that resolve on, if all the world should be against it. Unresolvedness is hypocrisy; and temporizing, or following the greater side, for the security of the Aesh, is no better. Never think that thou canst be too holy or too obedient. But make it thy study to do God all the service that thou canst, whatever suffering or cost it put thee to. Be not ashamed openly to own the cause of Christ. In the presence of the greatest, remember that thy Master is so much the greater, that they are worms and vanity to him. Take heed of culling out the easy and cheap part of religion, and laying by the difficult and dear. Thy religion must be as the heart in thy breast, which is always working, and by which thou livest; which cannot stop long, but thou wilt die. But the hypocrite's religion is like the hat upon his head, for ornament and shelter from the weather, and not for life : in the night when none seeth him he can lie without it; and in the day he can put it off for the sake of a friend, and perhaps stand bare in the presence of a greater person that expecteth it. So can the hypocrite too often dispense with his religion.
8. Be hearty and serious in all thou doest. Hear, and read, and pray, as for thy life. Sincerity consisteth much in seriousness. Remember that thou art almost at another world! While I am speaking, and thou art hearing, we are both hastening to our endless state. O how should men live on earth, that must live here for so short a time, and must live for ever in heaven or hell! these things are true, and past all question: and there