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to deny him in the event of persecution, but actually had denied him, and that thrice in one night, thou shalt be received as Peter, interceded for as Peter was by the Lord himself, and made a strengthener of the brethren.
But this will not come to pass unless you give heed to those deep and solemn views of the Divine government which we set forth as the doctrine of this discourse; namely, that not only shall every action of a man's life be called into account by the Judge at the last day, but hath an immediate effect in somewhat hindering or somewhat furthering the hope of his spiritual calling by the Everlasting Word; every vain, every false, every hypocritical, every dishonest act, goes to a present account as well as to a future one, and somewhat disqualifies you for receiving the engrafted word, which alone is able to save your soul. Therefore, stand still and consider. There are few, if any, who have not a hope of being yet called and converted by the grace of God; for which end ye have come hither this night to hear the ministry of the word. Now I tell you, upon our Lord's authority, that the word which I preach, however sweet unto your ears, and even joyful to your heart, cannot take root, where levity and laughter and gaiety and jollity hold the ascendant. It cannot bear fruit : and all your hearing, and all my preaching, cannot make it bear fruit; and Christ, whose is the fructifying Spirit, hath declared it will not bear fruit. You might as well expect the slender tendrils of the root of corn to pierce the rock and gather nourishment from the flint, as that the word of God will take root in you: you might as well expect the shallow
and untenacious stony soil, which hardly covers the seed, to shelter the exposed root from the scorching summer's heat, as that a heart fond of outward shows and appearances should imbed the seed of the word and afford it root sufficient to resist the temptations of this world. Oh no, brethren! such inconsistencies will not come together in the economy of Divine grace.
The Holy Spirit is not given in order to make sin and holiness meet together, but to expel sin and instate holiness. Ye must either serve Christ or Belial: ye cannot serve them both. And the first office of the Holy Spirit unto your souls must be to restrain these follies, and repress these levities, and overshadow these gaudy shows, and disgust you with their idle ostentations, and to kill within you the taste and love of these things, and beget the taste and love of things pure and honest and lovely and of good report, in order to prepare a soil in which the seed of the word may take deep root, and resist all the offences and attacks of Satan's power. Therefore give heed, and expect the Spirit to mortify these evil parts of your nature. Go not to indulge these, and think conversion will come notwithstanding : go not to run riot in these, and think the change will be the more remarkable. I do fear much that this appetite for extraordinary conversions worketh with fatal effect upon the unconverted, leading them to expect some such wonderful interference for their sake, as they read of in the magazine reports. But the common way of God's dealing with men, is to check them in their sins, and to move them with inward purposes of amendment, to bring his word home to their conscience,
and expect them to give it faith and love and obedience in the Spirit, and so to prune their wickedness away by his word, as that they shall bear much fruit and become his disciples. But if you carry on in your old ways and indulge your former delights, and bring the same volatile and excitable character into spiritual things, then you shall never make progress to the saving of your soul, or the glory of Christ, or the good of the church.
And let me speak boldly the truth, and faithfully tell you, that there is too much latitude allowed to this flighty fluctuating disposition, in what they call the religious world. For my part, I know and will acknowledge no religious world. I know only the church and the world: but I know no religious world. You might as well speak of a bright darkness, or a bitter sweetness, or a righteous wickedness, as speak of a religious world. Yet so it is, we have such a name; aye, and we have such a thing; where, with devotedness to God's glory and the church's good, and a great mixture of excellent intentions of soul, there are present, at the same time, the love of show, the desire of popular applause, the love of large assemblies, hunger and thirst for excitement, idle and flourishing talk, vapouring and vaunting speeches, idolatry of one another, self-complacency, much more which belongeth not to the church of Christ, but is the staple commodity of the world. From which intermixture I augur no good.
It is my office to warn you against all love of spectacle and from all hasting after novelties; and to press upon you a grave sedate spirit, which loves communion with truth, seeks instruction and edification in righteousness, not pleasure and entertainment, and rejoices in simplicity and sincerity and truth : because in such a spirit only will the word of God take deep root, and bring forth much fruit to the praise and glory of God. Therefore, I warn you, and diligently admonish you, in hearing the word from my lips, or the lips of other ministers, to weigh the matter, and apply the matter, and bring it home to your conscience, and during the week to prepare your souls for it, by a most conscientious and honest discharge of every office, and utterance of every thought, to hate the very appearance of falsehood, and on no account of jest, or courtesy, or compliment, or apology, to utter a lie: also to look into the spiritual properties of all things, their relation to God and the immortal soul; not to gaze upon the changing forms and convenient uses which they have. For men's minds in this day, by idleness and vanity, and the exaggeration of appearances, and neglect of realities, have grown into a volatile, versatile character, which cannot bear the spiritual matters and unchanging realities of the Gospel, but would have it also translated into the conditions of space and time, made meet for the present passing life, and accommodated to the conveniences of the place in which we have our abode. Therefore I do require it of you, to be grave and sincere in all your discourses and dealings with one another, to be moved by spiritual considerations, and for spiritual ends; and to measure the value of things by their godly uses; and it shall come to pass that the doctrines of the word will take a deep root in your souls, and be of a continual service in your lives, and be desired as meat and drink, and be needful as the light unto your eyes, and the lamp unto your path, a guide
to your understanding, and a consolation to your heart; your wisdom, your righteousness, your glory and salvation. But this brings us to speak at length upon the third thing proposed, which is the remedy of this evil.
III. THE REMEDY. Having thus taught you, dearly beloved brethren, according to my best ability, that this thinness of soil which retaineth not enough of moisture for the heavenly seed, ariseth from the vanities of life, and the falsehoods of worldly intercourse, with all other dishonesties and deceptions, which, though unseen and unblamed, are the true ingredients of worldly life, and which do so weaken the conscience and love of truth, and familiarise the soul to depart from uprightness for present pleasure and profit, that the unction of the Holy One which is truth and no lie, cannot abide in them, or the fruits of his Spirit be produced of them ;-having also shewn you that their having no root in themselves cometh necessarily from their being outwardly directed in their thoughts and purposes, and looking to the appearance of things, in the eye of others, and consulting for its present expediency to the well-being of themselves, from making the children of Satan judges over them, and some forms of the visible kingdom the ultimate end of their life, instead of searching inward for the gift of faith, walking by its guidance, and coveting the best gifts of the Spirit, and the approbation of their own conscience and the word of God, and consulting for their comeliness and gracefulness in his eye-sight;—having also explained how, in consequence of this scattered and dissolute character, they are not capable of