Page images
PDF
EPUB

11. The prevailing love of pleasure, 2 Tim. üi. 4. This is a black mark. When men give the flesh the liberty that it craves, and pamper and please it, and do not deny and restrain it; when their great delight is in grati. fying their bellies, and pleasing their senses : whatever appearance they may have of reli. gion, all is unsound, Rom. xvi. 18, Tit. iii. 3. A flesh-pleasing life cannot be pleasing to God; They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, and are careful to cross it, and keep it under, as their enemy, Gal. v. 24, 1 Cor. ix. 25, 26, 27.

12. Carnal security, or a presamptuous and ungrounded confidence, that their condition is already good, Rev. iii. 17. Many cry peace and safety, when sudden destruction is eoming upon them, 1 Thess. v. 3. This was that which kept the foolish virgins sleeping, when they should have been working; upon their beds, when they should have been at the markets, Matt. xxv. 5, 10, Prov. x. 5. They perceived not their want of oil till the bridegroom was come; and while they went to buy, the door was shut. And Oh that these foolish virgins had no successors ! Where is the place, yea, where is the house almost, where these do not dwell? Men are willing to cherish in themselves, upon never so slight grounds, a hope that their condition is good, and so look not out after a change, and by this means perish in their sins. Are you at peace? Shew me upon what grounds your peace is maintained ? Is it a scripture peace ? Can you shew the distinguishing marks of a

[ocr errors]

是 2

sound believer? Can you evidence that yon have something more than any hypocrite in the world ever had ? If not, fear this peace more than any trouble; and know, that a carnal peace doth commonly prove the most mortal enemy of the poor soul; and while it smiles and kisses, and speaks it fair, doth fatally smite it (as it were) under the fifth rib.

By this time methinks I hear my reader crying out with the disciples, Who then shall be saved ? Set out from among our congregations all those ten ranks of the profane on the one hand, and then besides, take out all these twelve sorts of close and self-deceiving hypocrites on the other hand, and tell me then, whether it be not a remnant that shall be sav. ed ? How few will be the sheep that shall be left, when all these shall be separated and set among the goats ? For my part, of all my numerous hearers, I have no hope to see any of them in heaven, that are to be found among these two and twenty sorts that are here mentioner, except by sound conversion they be brought into another condition.

Application. And now, conscience, do thine office ; speak out, and speak home to him that heareth or readeth these lipes. If thou find any of these marks upon him, thou must pronounce bim utterly unclean, Lev. xiii. 44. Take not up a lie into thy mouth : speak not peace to him, to whom God speaks no. peace. Let not lust bribe thee, or self-love, or carnal prejudice blind thee. I subpoena thee from the court of heaven, to come and give in evidence : I require thee, in the name

of God, to go with me to the search of the sus pected house. As thou wilt answer it at thy peril, give in a true report of the state and case of him that readeth this book. Conscience, wilt thou altogether hold thy peace at such a time as this? I adjure thee, by the living. God, thať thou tell us the truth, Matt. xxvi. 63. Is the man converted, or is he not? Doth he allow himself in any way of sin, or doth be not? Doth he truly love, and please, and prize, and delight in God above all other things, or not? Come, put it to an issue.

How long shall this soul live ať uncertainties ? O conscience, bring in thy verdict. Is this man a new man, or is he not? How dost thou find it? Hath there passed a thorough and mighty change upon him, or not? When was the time? where was the place ? or what was the means by which this thorough change of the new birth was wrought in his soul ? Speak, conscience. Or if thou canst not tell time and place, canst thou shew'scripture evidence that the work is done ? Hath the man been ever taken off from his false bottom, from the false hopes, and false peace, wherein once he trusted? Hath he been deeply convinced of sin, and of his lost and undone condition, and brought out of himself, and off from his sins, to give up himself entirely to Jesus Christ? Or dost thou not find him to this day under the power of ignorance, or in the mire of profaneness? Hast thou not taken upon him the gains of unrighteousness? Dost not thou find him a stranger to prayer, a neglegter of the word, a lover of this present world ?-Dost not thou often catch him in a lie ? Dost not thou find his heart fermented with malice, or burning with lust, or going after his eov. etousness? Speak plainly to all the fore-mentioned particulars: canst thou acquit this man, this woman, fron being any of the two and twenty sorts here described ? If he be found with any of them, set þim aside, his portion is not with the saints : he must be converted and made a new creature, or else he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Beloved, be not your own betrayers, do not deceive your own hearts, nor set your hands to your own ruin, by a wilful blinding of yourselves.. Set up a tribunal in your own breasts : bring the word and conscience together; To the law, and to the testimony, Isa. viii. 20. Hear what the word concludes of your estates. "Oh, follow the search, till you have found how the case stands : mistake here, and perish. And such is the treachery of the heart, the subtilty of the tempter, and the deceitfulness of sin, Jer. xvii. 9, 2 Cor. xi. 3, Heh. iii. 13, all conspire to flatter and deceive the poor scul; and withal, so common and easy it is to be mistaken, that 'tis a thousand io one but you will be deceived, unless you

be very careful, and thorough, and impartial in the enquiry into your spiritual conditions. On therefore ply your work, go to the bottom, search as with candles, weigh you in the balance, come to the standard of the sanctuary, bring your coin to the touchstone : You have the archest cheats in the world ta

[ocr errors]

deal with : a world of counterfeit coin is go: ing; happy is he that takes not counters for gold. Satan is master of deceits, he can draw to the life, he is perfect in the trade, there is nothing but he can imitate : you cannot wish for any grace, but he can fit you to a hair with a counterfeit. 'Trade warily, look on every piece you take, be jealous, trust not so much as your own hearts. Run to God, to search you, and try you ; to examine you and prove your reins, Ps. xxvi. 2, and cxxxix. 23, 24. İf other helps suffice not to bring all to an is. sue, but you are still at a loss, open your cases faithfully to some godly and faithful minister, Mal. ii. 7. Rest not till you have put the business of your eternal welfare out of question, 2 Pet. i. 10. O searcher of hearts, put thou this soul upon, and help him in the search,

CHAP. V.

SHEWING THE MISERIES OF THE UNEON

VERTED.

SO unspeakably dreadful is the case of every unconverted soul, that I have sometimes thought, if we could but convince men that they are yet unregenerate, the work were upon the matter done. But I sadly experience, that such a spirit of sloth and slumbor

« PreviousContinue »