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gion that will undo them ; they never come to be entirely devoted to Christ, nor fully to resign to him ; they must have the sweet sins, they mean to do themselves no harm; they bave secret exceptions for life, liberty, or es. tate. Many take Christ thus hand over head, and never consider his self-denying terms, nor cast up the cost; and this error in the foundation mars all, and secretly ruins them forever, Luke xiv. 28, Matt. xiii. 21.
3. Formality in religion. Many stick in the bark, and rest in the outside of religion, and in the external performances of holy duties, Matt. xxiii. 25, and this oft-times doth. most effectually deceive men, and doth more certainly undo them than open looseness; as it was in the Pharisee's case, Matt. xxiii. 31. They hear, they fast, they pray, they give alms ; and therefore will not believe but their case is good, Luke xviii. 11. Whereas resting in the work done, and coming short of the heart-work, and the inward power and vitals, of religion, they fall at last into the burning, from the flattering hopes, and confident persuasions of their being in the ready way to heaven, Matt. vii. 22, 23.
O dreadful case, when a man's religion shall serve only to har. den hiny, and effectually to delude and deeeive his own soul !
4. The prevalency of false ends in holy duties, Matt. xxiii. 25. This was the bane of the Pharisees. Oh, how many a poor soul is undone by this, and drops into hell before he discerns his mistake! He performs good duties, and so thinks all is well, and perceives not that he is actuated by carnal motives all the while. It is too true, that even with the truly sanctified, many carnal ends will ofttimes creep in, but they are the matter of his hatred and humiliation, and never come to be habitually prevalent with him, and to bear the greatest sway, Rom. xiv. 17. But now, when the main thing that doth ordinarily carry a man out to religious duties shall be some carnal end, as to satisfy his conscience, to get the repute of being religious, to be seen of men, to shew his own gifts and parts, to avoid the reproach of a profane and irreligious person, or the like ; this discovers an unsound heart, Hos. X. 1, Zech. vii. 5, 6. O Chris. tians, if you would avoid self-deceit, see that you mind, not only your acts, but withal, yea, above all, your ends.
5. Trusting in their own righteousness, Luke xviii. 9. This is a soul undoing mischief, Rom. x, 3. When men do trust in their own righteousness, they do indeed réject Christ's. Beloved, you had need be watchful on every hand; for not only your sins, but your duties, may undo you. It may be you never thought of this ; but so it is, that a man may as certainly miscarry by his seeming righteousness, and supposed graees, as by gross sins, and that is, when a man doth trust to these as his righteousness before God, for the satisfying his justice, appeasing his wrath, procuring his favour, and obtaining of his own pardon ; for this is to put Christ
out of office, and make a saviour of our own i duties and graces. Beware of this, 0 professors; you are much in duties, but this one fly will spoil all the ointment. When you have done most, and best, be sure to go out of yourselves to Christ, reckon your own rightcousness but rags, Ps. cxliii. 2, Phil. iii. 8, Isa. Ixiv. 6, Neh. xiii. 22.
6. A secret enmity against the strictness of religion. Many moral persons, punctual in their formal devotions, have yet a bitter enmi. ty against preciseness, and hate the life and power of religion, Phil. iii. 6, compared with Acts ix. 1. They like not this forwardness, nor that men should keep such a stir in religion: they condemn the strictness of religion as singularity, indiscretion, and intemperate zeal: and with them, a lively preacher, or lively Christian, is but a heady fellow. Those men love not holiness, as holiness, (for then they would love the height of holiness) and therefore are undoubtedly rotten at heart, whatever good opinion they have of themselves.
7. The resting in a certain pitch of reli. gion. When they have so much as will save them (as they suppose) they look no further, and so shew themselves short of true grace, which will ever put men upon aspiring to further perfection, Phil. iii. 13, Prov. iv. 18.
8. The predominant love of the world.This is the sure evidence of an unsanctified heart, Mark x. 37, 1 John ii. 15.
But how close doth this sin lurk oft times under a fair covert of forward profession ?Luke viii. 14. Yea, such a power of deceit is there in this sin, that many times, when every body else can see the man's worldliness, and covetousness, he cannot see it himself ; but hath so many colours, and excuses, and pretences for his eagerness on the world, that he doth blind his own eyes, and perish in his self-deceit. How many professors be here, with whom the world hath more of their hearts and affections than Cbrist? who mind earthly things, and thereby are evidently after the flesh, and like to end in destruction ? Rom. viii. 5, Phil. iii. 19. Yet ask these men, and they will tell you confidently, they prize Cbrist above all, God forbid else : and see not their own earthly mindedness, for want of a narrow observation of the working of their own hearts. Did they but carefully search, they would quickly find, that their greatest content is in the world, Luke xii. 19, and their greatest care, and main endeavour to get and secure the world; which is the certain discovery of an unconverted sinner. May the professing part of the world take earnest þeed, that they perish not by the hand of this sin unobserved. Men may be, and of. ten are kept off from Christ, as effectually, by the inordinate love of lawful comforts, as by the most unlawful courses, Matt. xxii. 5, Lake xiv. 18, 19, 20, 24.
9. Reigning malice and envy against those that disrespect
them, or are injurious to them, 1 John ii. 9, 11. Oh how do many that seem to be religious remember injuries, and carry grudges, and will return men as good as they bring; rendering evil for evil, loving to take reyenge, wishing evil to them that wrong
them, directly against the rule of the gospel, the pattern of Christ, and the nature of God, Rom. xii. 14, 17, 1 Pet. ii. 21, 23, Neh. ix. 17. Doubtless, where this evil is kept boiling in the heart, and is not hated, resisted, mortified, but doth habitually prevail, that person is in the very gall of bitterness, and in a state of death, Matt. xviii. 34, 35, 1 John iii. 14, 15.
Reader, doth nothing of this touch thee? Art thou in none of the fore-mentioned ranks ? Oh, search, and search again; take thy heart solemnly to task. Wo unto thee, if, after all thy profession, thou shouldst be found under the power of ignorance, lost in formality, drowned in earthly-mindedness, envenomed with malice, exalted in an opinion of thine own righteousness, leavened with hypocrisy and carnal ends in God's service, embittered against strietness : this would be a sad discovery that all thy religion were in vain. But I must proceed.
10. Unmortified pride. When men love the praise of men, more than the praise of God; and set their hearts upon men's esteem, applause, and approbation, it is most certain they are yet in their sins, and strangers to true conversion, John xii. 43, Gal. i. 10,When men see not, nor complain, nor groan under the pride of their own hearts, it is a sign they are stark-dead in sin. Oh, how secretly doth this sin live and reign in many hearts, and they know it not, but are very strangers to themselves! John ix. 40.