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In a word, he makes a great conscience of discharging the duties of his relations among men. (2.) When others stick in externals, do you look to the spiritual part of every command, and principally mind the inwards, and vitals of religion? Do you not only mako conscience of performing duties, but do you carefully look to the manner of performing them, and the ends for wbich you do perform
, them ? Do you not only make conscience of open, but of secret sins ? Do you abound, above all, in secret duties? Do you keep a watch upon your heart, and make conscience, not only of the gross acts of sin, but even of sinful thoughts, inclinations, and desires, and are grieved even with your very infirmities, and corrupt dispositions of your natures, which you cannot help, though you would ? ,
Quest. II. When others have their reserves in closing with Christ, do you give up all to him entirely? Have you taken Christ not hand over head, but deliberately, understand. ingly, sitting down first, and counting the cost ? Have you no secret reserves, for your own case; safety, estate, esteem, on some beloved sins? Have you, upon
Have you, upon solemn considerations, accepted Christ as the Lord your "righteousness, for better, for worse, for all changes of times and conditions, to run all hazards with him, and to take your lot with
, him, fall as it will ?
Quest. III. When others are for a little of religion, by the by, do you make religion your business? Do you not put off God with the world's leavings, and serve bim when you
are at leisure ? Must not God stand by, while the world is first served? And are not your souls the least of your cares, and put off with some by-scrapes and ends your time? Is religion your trade, and your conversation in heaven? Do you walk with God ? Or have you only now and then a turn with him? When you have ended your prayers, is there an end of your religion till you come to them again? Or do you carry on a design of religion throughout your whole course? Have you only a list of religion at the outside of the piece ? Or is the woof of religion woven into the whole cloth, into heart and life, into your discourse, and trades, and table ? Do you first seek the kingdom of God, and the righteousness thereof? Is it the chief care of your lives, that God be served, and your souls be saved ? And is this the one thing necessary with you, that you chiefly mind, and are most solicitous about ? Do your very hearts say with David, One thing have I desired of the Lord, that I will seek after ? &c.
Quest. IV. Wben others are for the wages of religion, are you for the work ? Can you say with David, I have chosen thy precepts ? Do your hearts come off freely in this choice?
you rather be holy than otherwise, if you were at your choice? Had you rather be God's servants, and live to his command, than at your own lusts? Do you count the laws of Christ your heritage, or rather count them your bondage ? Do you choose not only the wages of righteousness, but the ways of rightcousness ? Are God's commandments your
delight? And are the sweetest hours of your lives the hours ye spend with him ? Do you never enjoy yourselves so much as when you most enjoy God ? Is his service the greatest comfort, and is it meat and drink to you to do his will (unless when you are not yourselves, in the time of temptation and desertion ?) Do you make use of holy duties only as men do of physic, when they are ill at ease, when conscience lasheth, or affliction stings, as it were, to conjure down the frightful furies? or to pacify God that he may not hurt you ? Or else do
you use them as your daily bread, and the very staff of your life, and means of your comforts ?
Quest. V. When others are for the cheap and easy religion, are you for self-denial? When others are for the religion that will serve them best, are you for that which will serve God best? When others are all upon the sparing hand, and will spare what may be spared, and study how they may best save charges in going to heaven, are you of prince. ly spirits, to resolve not to serve the Lord with that which will cost you nothing ? Is your course of religion such as doth put your flesh to it, and cross and curb its desires > Or tlo you love to give it what it craves, and suffer it to make its own way? Have you no enemy you dread so much as self? Do you pamper and please it, and make provisions for it? Or do you pray and watch against it, and grieve for its unhappy infirmities in your actions ? and bad rather than all the world that this enemy were under your feet?
Quest. VI. When others are for no more of religion than needs must, are you for the height of religion, The hypocrite (as one well says) is very inquisitive what is the lowest pitch that a man may have, and go to heaven; and upon this design, if he could find but this, he would look no farther: but the sincere Christian, though satisfied that his state is good, will rest in no atlain ments in grace, but reaches forward, and presses on, if it were possible, to attain to the resurrection of the dead. He that doth not desire, and design, and endeavor perfection, nerer yet came up to sincerity. A true believer de sirès holiness for holiness' sake, and therefore is set upon perfecting holiness í others desire it only for Icaren's sake, and are therefore only for so much as will bear their charges thither: other's make use of holiness only as a bridge to heaven, and therefore are for no more than will just serve their turn.* The true believer hail a boly nature, and there. fore holiness is his element, and natural employment; and he must needs desire holiness in its height, because every nature reaches after perfection in its kind. The godly man desires not holiness because it is the way to learen : but he loves heaven the better for the holy way that leads to it, and for the perfect loliness which is there.
*And they have a false notion of heaven itself; else they might just's desire it, as the end of their present holiness, ic bring the fruition of God in perfect holi
Quest. VII. When others are all for the salvation of Christ, are you as truly by sanctification for Christ ? Do you take Clirist as God offers him, with all bis cilices and bene. fits, to be both a Prince and a Saviour, to give
a you repentance, as well as remission of sins? Are you willing of the dominion of Christ, as well as deliverance by Christ ? Do you close with his burden as well as his benefits ? Do you count his laws your liberty ? his governnient not your bondage, but your privilege? his service, your freedom ? Do you go in Christ's ways, as in gaols and fetters; or do you run with enlargement of heart, delight, or real willingness?
? Quest. VIII. When others do make self their end, do you set up God above all, as your highest end? The hypocrite doth the same duties which the godly do, but with different ends : he eats for himself, and fasts for him. self, and prays with no better than self ends, , and therefore is rejected. Now, is it your
, great design, in your whole course, to glorify
, God, and enjoy God? Do you count this your whole business and blessedness? Do you make other business to stoop to this; other interests to yield to this? Do your souls breathe after this above all worldly good, that Christ may be magnified in you? Do you count
your name and your estate as loss, and the delights of sense but puddle water, in comparison of Christ ? If conscience give
comfortable and clear answer to these questions, go in peace : blessed are you of the
: Lord, God is your friend, heaven is your