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they not suffer? What pleasant enjoyment would they not glad. ly part with, to arrive at the desire of their fouls, the full afsurance of their fincerity? It was the saying of a pious woman, I have born said she, seven children, and they have coft me as dear as ever children cost a mother, yet I would be content to endure all that sorrow over again, to be assured of the love of God to my soul.
M ve 2. Secondly, And as the work is full of difficulty, so the discovery of your sincerity will be full of sweetness and joy unspeakable : It will never repent you, that you have prayed and mourned, that you have trembled and feared, that you have searched and tried : Nay, it will never repent you, that God hath cried you by thousands of Tharp afflictions and deep sufferings, if, after all, your fincerity may be fully cleared up to the fatisfaction of your souls; for in the same day your fincerity shall be cleared, your title to Chrift will be made as clear to your souls as your fincerity, is ; you may then go to the promises boldly, and take your own Christ into the arms of your faith, and say, “ My Beloved is mine, and I am his !" Yea, you may be confident, it shall be well with you in the judgment of the great day, for “ God will not caft away the s upright man,” Job viii. 20. If the word clear you now, ic cannot condemn
then. O what an ease is it to the soul, when the fears and doubts that hang about it are gone! When a man fees what be is, and what he hath in Christ and the promises, and what he hath to do; even to spend the time betwixt this and heaven, in admiring the grace of God that hath delivered him from the ruining mistakes and miscarriages by which so great a part of the profelling world to all eternity.
Motive 3. Thirdly, The deep concernment of your souls in the matter to be tried, should awaken you to the utmost diligence
about it. The trials of men for their life, at human bars, is but a trifle to this : It is your eternal happiness that stands or falls wih your sincerity,
It is said in the trial of opinions, that if a man superstruct hay or stubble upon the foundation, he shall suffer loss ; yet he himself may be saved, 1 Cor. iii. 12. But if hypocrisy be in the foundation, there is no such relief, there is no possibility of falvation in that case.
Ah, reader, thou must be cast for ever according to the integrity or hypocrisy of thy heart with God. Summon in then all the powers of thy foul: bring thy thoughts as close as it is possible to bring them to this matter: If there be any fubject of con
fideration able to drink up the fpirits of a man, here it is : Never was time put to an higher improvement ; never were thoughts spent upon a more important bufiness, than this is : Happy is the man that rescues the years, months, days, yea, the very moments of his life from other employments to confecrate them unto this folemn, awful, and moft important business!
Møtive 4. Fourthly, How evidential will it be of your fins cerity, when you are willing to come to the trial of your own hearts?
Suppose your doubts and fearš should in fome degree remain with you ; yet in this you may take some comfort, that if hypocrisy be in your heart, it is not there by consent: You are hot loth to rife and come to trial, becaufe, like Rachel, you fit upon your idols : Çertainly it is a good sign thy heart is right, when it is filled with fo much fear left it should be false. You know all the disciples said, “ Master, is it Í ?" before Judas, who was the traitor, fpake a word. “ Last of all(faith the * text) Judas said, Is it I ?” Our willingness to be tried, is good sign that the defire of our foul is to be right with God.
Motive 5. Fiftbly, Conclude it to be your great advantage to be thoroughly tried, whatever you be found to be in the trial: If you be found lincere, you are richly rewarded for all your pains and labour: Never did that man repent of digging and toiling, that after all hit upon the rich vein that he digged for: What is a vein of gold to a vein of sincerity!
If upon fearch you find the contrary, a falfe, hypocritical, unsound heart, yet in that very sad discovery you meet with the greatest advantage that ever you had in your lives for falvation. This discovery is your great advantge: For now your vain confidence being over-turned, and your ungrounded hopes destroyed; you tie open to the stroke of a deep and effectual conviction of your fin and misery, which is the introductive mercy to all other mercies to your fouls; and surely till you come to that, to give up your false hopes, and quic your vain pretensions, there is no hope of you. Christ told the Pharisees, Matth. xxi. 31. Publicans and harlots enter into the kingdom of heaven before you : Publicans were the worst fort of men, and harlots the worst fort of women, and yet they stood in a fairer way for heaven than the hypocritical Pharisees, because conviction had easier access to their confeiences : They had not those defences and pleas of duty and strictness to ward off the word, that the self-cozening Pharisees had.
I may say of your vain and groundless hopes, as Christ, in VOL. VII,
another sense, said to the officers that came to seize him in the gardeo, If you seek me, let these go their way. So it is here, if you expect Christ, and falvation by him, let your vaio confi. dences go their way; away with your masques and vizards, if ever you expect to see Chrilt. O it is your happiness to have all these things stript off, and your nakedness and poverty discover: ed, that you may be rich, as the text speaks.
Motive 6. Sixthly, Coalider how near the day of death and judgment approach you. O these are searching days wherein you cannot be hid : Will your consciences, thiok you, be put off in a dying day as easily as they are now ? No, no, you know they will not.
I have heard of a good map that consumed not only the greatest part of the day, but a very considerable part of the night also io prayer, to the great weakening of his body; and being asked by a relation why he did so, aod prayed to favour him. felf, he relurned this answer, o I must die, I must die ; plainly intimuting, that so great is the concernment of dying in a clear assured condition, that it is richly worth the expence of all our time and strength to secure it.
You know also that after death the judgment, Heb. ix. 27. you are haftening to the judgment of the great and terrible God, Death will put you into his balance to be weighed exactly; and what gives the foul a louder call to search itself with all diligeoce, whilft it stands at the door of eternity, and its curd is not yet come to go before that awful tribunal: O that these confiderations might have place upon our hearts !
c H A P. XII. Containing divers helps for the clearing of fincerity, and disco
very of hypocrisy.
is, and how many things put a necessity and a solemnity upon that work. Now, in the clofe of all, I would offer you fome helps for the due management thereof, that is as far as I can carry it ; the Lord persuade your hearts to the diligent and faithful application and use of them. The general rules te clear sincerity are these that follow :
Rule 1. Me may not presently conclude we are in the fate of
hypocrisy, because we find some workings of it, and tendencies to It in our fpirits : The best gold hath fome dross and alloy in it. Hypocrisy is a weed naturally springing in all ground, the bestheart is not perfectly clear or free of it: It may be we are ftumbled, when we feel fome workings or grudgings of this disease in ourselves, and looking into such scriptures as these, John i. 47. “ Behold' an Ifraelite indeed, in whom there is no
guile:” and Psal. xxxii. 1. “ Blefsed is the man unto whom " the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is
This I say may stumble some upright soul, not understanding in what an allayed and qualified sense those scriptures are to be understood : For by a spirit without guile, is not underftood a person absolutely free from all deceitfulness, and falseness of heart; this was the sole prerogative of the Lord Jesus, who was separated from finners, in whose mouth was no guile found : In whom the prince of this world, in all his trials and attempts upon him, found nothing: But we must understand it of reigning and allowed hypocrisy; there is no such guile in any of the saints : distinguish the presence from the predominance of hypocrisy, and the doubt is resolved.
Rule 2. Every true ground of humiliation for fin, is not a sufficient ground for doubting and questioning our estate and condition. There be
many more things to humble us upon the account of our infirmity, than there are to stumble us upon the account of our integrity : It is the fin and amiction of some good fouls to call their condition in question, upon every flip and failing in the course of their obedience. This is the
to debar felves from all the peace and comfort of the Christian life : We find that Joseph was once minded to put away Mary his espoused wife, not knowing that the holy thing which was conceived in her was by the holy Ghost.' It is the sin of hypocrites to take brass for gold, and the folly of saints to call their . gold brass: Be as severe to yourselves as you will, always provided you be just : " There is that maketh himself rich, and yet hath nothing; and there is that maketh himself poor,
great riches,” Prov. xiii. 7. Hiram called the cities Solomon gave him, Cabul, Dirty, for they pleased him not, 1 Kings ix. 13. It is but an ill requital, an ungrateful return to God for the best of mercies, to undervalue them in our hearts, and be ready upon all occasions to put them away as worth nothing
u and yet
Rule 3. Astronger propenfon in our nature, and more free quent incidence in our practice to one fan than another, doth non prefently infer our hypocrisy, and the unfoundness of our hearts în religion. It is true, overy hypocrite hath some way of wick. edness: Some peccatum in deliciis, iniquity that he delights in and rolls as a sweet morsel under his tongue; some luft that he is not willing to part with, nor can endure that the knife of mortification should touch it; and this undoubtedly argues the infincerity and rottenness of his heart : And it is true, alfo, that the nature and conftitution of the most fanctified man inclines him rather to one fin, thau to another, though he allow himself in noue ; .yea, though he set himself more watcba fully against that fin than another, yet he may still have more trouble and vexation, more temptation and deflement from it, than any other.
As every man hath his proper gift, one after this manner, and another after that, as the apolüe [peaks, 1 Cor. vii. 7. So every man hath his proper fin alio, one after this manner, and another after that? For it is with original fin, as it is with the juice or lap of the earth, which though it be the common inata ter of all kinds of fruits, yet it is specificated according to the different forts of plants and seeds which it pourithes ; in one it becomes an apple, in another a cherry, &c. Just so it is in original corruption, which is turned into this or that temptation, or fin, according to this or that constitution, or employ. ment it finds us in; in one it is passion, in another luft, in a third covetousness, in a fourth levity, and fo on. Now I say the frequent affaults of this fin, provided we indulge it not, but, by setting double guards, labour to keep ourselves from our own iniquity, as David did, Pfalm xvii. 23. will not inferi the hypocrisy of our hearts,
Rule 4. A greater backwardness and indiffofednefs ta one due ty rather than another, dash not conchide the heart to be uns found, and false with God, provided we do not inwardly diflikez and disapprove any duty of religion, or except against it in qur agreement with Christ, but that it riseth merely from the prefent weaknefs and distemper we labour under.
There are some duties in religion, as suffering for Christy bearing sharp reproofs for fin, &c. that even an upright heart, under a present distemper, may find a great deal of backwardness and lothness to; yet still he consents to the law, that it is good, is troubled that he cannot comply more chearfully with his duty, and deGres to stand complete in all the will of God: Perfection is bis aim, and imperfections are his sorrows.