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hat, any chino amiss, or it may be him for
rice at all of them, or indeed so much as that there is a Lord over them, that all they have they had from him, or are at all oblig'd unto him for any thing. They feldom, it may be, if ever think that they do amiss, or can be made senlible that any thing is Evil which they do, and take a Pleasure in doing. No, till Wicked Men be detected, and an Accusation brought in against them, and they be apprehended, and begin to fear that Punishment is not far off, they know not how to be serious, or to think in earnest of their Condition.
This is a thing that's too obvious, Instruction, Advice, Intreaty, good Counselor Reproof fignifie nothing to the thriving Sinner; no Threatenings will move him, so long as the Evil threatened seems at a distance. No such things as these make any Impression on him, as long as he hath any thing to wake, and suffereth no more by it, but the Loss of what is wasted. Such an one talis the sweetness of the Honey, and eats greedily of it, and fears not the fting so long as he neither feels nor fees it. His Conscience is laid alleep by the deceitfulness of fin, and you cannot awake ir, cry as loud as you will to him. Nothing will awake it, butThunder, till he find him in prefent Danger of perishing, he considereth not that there is any danger of it. The Trangression of the Wicked faith within my Heart that there is no fear of God before bis Eyes; For he flatteretb himself in his own Eyes, until his Iniquity be found to be hateful. Pfal. 26. 1. 2.
Let us therefore take heed how we give our felves over to a pleasant Life; for the Pleasures of Sin are so powerful, as to make us forget our felves to be rational Creatures. All the Discourse they will suffer us to have within our selves is that of our Lufts, reason is allow'd to say nothing at all; nor can the Man be heard to fpeak, for the noise of the Swine both within us, and without us. Nothing but some prefent fear, or pain, or sicknefs, will silence our Brutish Affections, and give us Leave to talk with, and hearken to our felves. How many of us are fad Examples of this Dominion that Sin hath got over us by the help of vain Pleasures? Such a Dominion, that we grow in a little time the veriest Slaves in the World to it, going camely to perform all it's vie Test Drudgeries, and nor daring so much as whilper a little against it to our felves in secret; our Thoughts are no longer our own. Only when we think we hear God's last Call, when we think the Stewardships going, when sickness hath fasten'd us to our Beds, and Death seems to stand at the Bed. fide, and we have no hope of living any longer, then we begin to consider, when we are in such a fear and Distraction, that we know not where to begin to consider, nor what to think on. This is a very lamentable Condition, that we bring our felves into by the waste of our Master's Goods; we waste our Estates in feeding our Lufts, tillWant, pinch us as it did the Prodigal after he had spent all with riotous Living, and would have been glad to be fed with the Swine he was set to wait upon, might he but have been allow'd his *Belliful of such course Fare, and then our Lufts thus fed waste our inward Goods, our Bodily Health and Strength bringing us to Death's Door, and our mencal Goods, our Understanding and Freedom of choice, and we can neither consider,
por refelve on anything that is good for us. Only some fevere Affliction, which disablech us at present to relish the pleasures of Sin, sets our Minds a licule at Liberty to think; and truly if it please God by his leverest Rod to awake us, and to bring us so effectually to our felves, that we return unto him by a true Repentance, to chastise us severely, is the greatest kindness can be done us.
But all that we hear of this Man's use that he made of his Master's taking the Stewardship from him, comes but to this, He said within bimself. He consider'd of something, and grew somewhat thoughtful. But we hear nothing of what he faid to his Master, or to any of his Fellow Servants, and yet something in all Reason one would expect to have heard said to them. An humble Confession of his Fault to his Master whom he had chiefly sinned against, and then a more publick Confession to the Family of the Offence and Scandal he had given unto all therein. Something of this nature would have become him very well. But all that was said by him was within himself.
Wicked Men even after thcy are detected, and they find themselves in danger, are very hardly brought to acknowl dge their guilt, or to make an humble, free, full and ingenuous Confession of their sin, together with the aggravations of it. either to God or Man. An Oath is readier to deny the Fault withal, and it may be an Impreca. tion to second is; or at least an Excuse or Pretence to lesen and extenuate it, is usually more ready than such a Confession..
How hard a thirg is it to humble our proud Hearts before God: We are alham'd to own
Our selves to be so vile and abominable, as in truth we are. We must, in so doing, acknowledge that we have been not only wicked, but foolish; that we have not only wrong'd God, but undone our felves. But if ever we hope for mercy, let us lay aside our Pride. And whatever it Thail please God to take from us, or lay upon us Chasiifement for the waste we have made of his Goods, let us most humbly acknowledge, that he doth justly, and that our Sins have deserv'd far worse than yer we have suffer'd. He that coverėth his Sins shall not prosper ; but he that confesseth and forsaketh them, shall have mercy. Prov. 28. 13. Confess your Faults one to another. Jam. 5. 16. We should all rake the same course that the peni-, tept prodigal did, go and fall down before God, faying every one of us, Father, I have finned against Heaven, and before thee, and am no more wors thy to be called thy Son. Luk. 15. Let us first confess to God, and in the next place where our Fault is publick and scandalous, and Offence is given to the Church, let our Confession be as publick as our Sin; thar fo we may do all we can to restore those, whom we by our Example may, have led into Sin and remove the Occalion that we have given the Adversaries to speak Evil of the. Religion which we profess. But this is a Lesson, which how necessary soever, is very hard to be learn'd by most of us. We are not alham'd to fin, but we' are asham'd to do Penance for our Sins, that is, we are asham'd to let our Neighbours know that we are penitent, for they knew already that we have sinned, and 'tis because they know it, that they ought also to be satisfied of our Repentance for it; but this we are unwilling " X 4
they should be, that is, we are not truly penitent, we are not humbled enough to confess our Faults, cho'all the World know them.
2. The second thing here to be taken Notice of, is, the perplexity and trouble of Mind which this evil Man fell into, so soon as he awak'd, and began to consider his Condition. He found that he had run on so rashly and giddily, muddled with the pleasures of a voluptuous Life, that he had outşun hisWits, he had bewildred himself, and got into such a Mase, that which way now he should turn hiinself he knew not, but cried out, What shall I do? This, indeed, is che natural consequent of Inconfideration. He that will not be at the trouble to consider well what he is a doing, or whither the way wherein he walks will bring him in the end, but go on like one in a Dream, following the vain imaginations of his own Head, whillt reason, which should guide him, iş a-sleep, is too, for the most part, like such an one that walks in his Sleep, in a strange Confusion wheneyer he awakes. He finds himself on the brink of a Precipice, or in some very dangerous Place, and the very Apprehension of his danger doch so Confound him, that it proves sometimes fatal. Wicked Men following inconsiderately their various Lufts and Appetites, find, when they come to themselves, and make use of their Reason, thaç they have been all this while going towards Helli, and now are come so near it, that they have some cause to 'fear 'tis too late to think of returning towards Heaven. They have so long disused the narrow way that leads thither, that they know not how to find it, or walk in