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Some Christians have much ado to bring their hearts to fixa ed, folemn meditation; their hearts fly off from it, but this is their burden, that it should be fo with them. True, it is a very dangerous sign of hypocrisy, when a man's zeal runs out jo one channel of obedience only, and he hath not relpect to all God's commandments; as physicians oblerves, the sweating of one part of the body, when all the rest is cold, is fymptoma. tical, and argues ap ill habit : But whilft the soul heartily ap, proves all the will of God, and fincerely defires to come up to it, and mourns for its backwardness, and deadness, to this or bat duty, apd this is not fixed, but occafional, upder some pretent indifpofition, out of which the soul rileth by the fame degrees as fanctification rifeth in him, and the Lord comes in with renewed Arength upon him; this, I Lay, may confil, and is very ordinarily found to be the cale of upright-hearted ones,
Rule 5. The glances of the eye at felf-ends in duties, whilft felf is not the weight that moves the wheels, the principal end and design we drive at, and whild those glances are corrected, and mourned fons do not conclude the heart to be unfound, and bypocritical in religion : For even among the most deeply fanctified, few caq keçp their eye fo steady and fixed, with pure, and unmixed respects, to the glory of God, but that there will be (alas ! too frequently) some bye-ends, insinuating and creeping into the beart.
Thele, like the fowls, feixe upon the sacrifice, let the soul take what pains it cao to drive them away : It is well that our High-priest bears the iniquities of our holy things for us. Peter had too much regard to the plealog of men, and did not walk with that oprigbtaess towards the Gentile Chriftians, and the believiag Jews, in the matter of liberty, as became him, Gal. ii. 13, 14, for which, as Paul faith, he ought to be blamed, and be did blame him : But yet such a failing as that in the end of bis duty, did not coudemo him. lo public performanees there may be too much vanity, in works of charity too much oftentation; these are all workings of hypocrify in us, and matters of bomiliation to us; but whilst they are disallow, ¢d, corrected, and mourned over, are consistent with integrity;
Rule 6. The doubts and fears that hang upon, and perplex our spirits about the hypocrisy of our hearts, do not conclude that therafore we are what we fear ourselves to be. God will not Bondepo every one for a hypocrite that suspects, yea, or char, ges himself with hypocrisy. Holy David thought bis heart was not right with God, after that great flip of his in the matter of Uriah ; and therefore begs of God to renew a right fpirit in
him, Pfal. li. 10, 11, 12. his integrity was indeed wounded, and he thought destroyed by that fall.
Holy Mr. Bradford fo vehemently doubted the Gocerity of his heart, that he subscribed fome of his letters, as Mr. Fox tells us, John Bradford the hypocrite ; a very painted fepulchre: And yet in fo saying, he utterly misjudged the state and temper of his owo soul.
selves, in cepsuring their own hearts; they are bad enough, but let us not make them worse than they are, but thaokfully own, and acknowledge the least degrees of grace and integrity in them; and possibly our uprightness might be fooder discovered to us, if, in a due composure of spirit, we would sit down, and attend the true aoswers of our own hearts to such qucftions as these are.
Que/t. 1. Do I make the approbation of God, or the applause of men, the very ead and maio design of my religious performances, according to · Theff. ii. 4. Col. iii. 23: will the acceptation of my duties with meo satisfy me, whether God accept my duties and perion, or not?
Quejt. 2. Is it the reproach and shame that attends lid at prefent, and the danger and misery that will follow it hereafter, bar restrains me from the commission of it? Or is it the fear of God in my foul, and the haired I bear to fio as it is fio? aca cording to Psal. xix. 12. and Psal. cxix. 113.
Queft. 3. Can I truly and heartily rejoice to see God's work carried on in the world, and his glory promoted by other hands, though I have to share in the credit and honour of it, as Paul did ? Phil. i. 18.
Queft. 4. Is there no duty in religion so full of difficulty and self-denial, but I desire to comply with it? And is all the holy and good will of God acceptable to my foul, though I cannot rise up with like readiness to the performance of all duties; according to that pattern? Pfal. cxix. 6;
Queft. 5. Am I sincerely resolved to follow Christ and holiness at all feafons, however the aspects of the times may be upon religion? Or do I carry myself fo warily aod covertly as to shun all hazards for religion ; having a secret reserve in my heart to Jauoch ove no farther than I may return with fafety; contrary to the practice and resolution of upright fouls ? Pfalm cxvi. 3. Pfal. xliv. 18, 19. Rev, xxji. 11.
Queft. 6. Do I make no conscience of committing secret fias, or neglecting secret duties? Or am I conscientious both in the one and other, according to the rules and patterns of integrity ? Matth. vi. 5, 6. Psal. xix. 12.
A few such questions folemnly propounded to our own hearts, in a calm and serious hour, would found them, and discover much of their fincerity towards the Lord.
threats and miseries of hypocrites, so hypocrites, on the contrary, are as apt to catch hold of the promises and privileges pertaining to believers.
To detect therefore the soul-damning mistakes of such deceived fouls, O that these following rules might be Itudied, and faithfully applied to their conviction and recovery.
Rule 1. It is not enough to clear a man from hypocrisy, that he knows not himself to be an hypocrite. All hypocrites are not designing hypocrites; they deceive themselves as well as others : “ Many will tay to me in that day, Lord, have we pot prophe“ sied in thy name," doc. Matth. vii. 22. Hell will be a mere furprizal to multitudes of professors: a man may live and die in a blind, ungrounded confidence of his fafe condition, and not fear his suio, till he begins to feel it.
Rule 2. Zeal and forwardness in the cause of God, and for the reforination of his worfoip, will not clear a man from the danger of hypocrisy. Jehu was a zealous reformer, and yet but a painted fepulchre. In the year 1549, reformation grew fo much in reputation, even among the nobles and gentry in Ger. many,
that many of them caused these five letters, V. D. M. I. Ae. being the initial letters of these words, Verbum Domini manet in aeternum: i. e The word of the Lord abideth for ever, to be wrought, or embroidered, or fet io plates, fome upon their clokes, and others upon the Neeves of their garments; to thew to all the world, faith * my author, that forfaking all Popish traditions, they would now cleave to the pure doctrine and discipline of the eternal Word.
And no doubt they would have been as good as their word, if what was embroidered on their clokes, had been engraveo on their hearts; but, Gome, see my zeal, mars all.
Rule 3. It is no sufficient evidence of a man's own integrity, that
Jobn Wolfe, Lelt. Memor. Tom. 2. ad Anno 1549,
he hates hypocrify in another : for, as one proud man may hate a · Bother, aod he that is covetous himfelf, will be apt to ceofure another for beiog lo; lufts may be contrary to one another, as well as all of them contrary to grace ; fo may an hypocrite loath that in another, which yet he alloweth in himfelt : Nay, it is the policy of some to declaim agaiaft the hypocrify of others, thereby to hide their own. Hypocrites are none of the most modeft censurers of others, Plal. XXXV. 16. A falt jest season. ed their meat.
Rule 4. The mere performance of private duties will not clear 4 man from hypocrisy. The influence of education, or fupport of reputation, or the impulse of a convinced conscience may indece a man to it ; and yet all this while his heart may not be carried thither with hongry and thirsty desires after God : it is not the matter of any duty that di Atinguishes the found and unfound professors; but the motives, de figas, and eads of the foul in them.
Rule s. The vogue and opinions you have got among Chriftians, of your sincerity, will not be fufficier.t to clear you from the dan ger of hypocrify. Chrift tells the angel of Sardis, Rev. ill. 1. • Thoo halt a pame that thou livelt, and art dead." The fall of Hymeneus and Philetus, could never have shaken the faith of the faints as it did, had they not had great credit in the church, and been men of renown for piety among them.
Rule 6. Your respects and love to them that are the fincere and upright fervants of God, wilt not cleur you from the danger of being hypocrites yourselves : for the bare loving of a Christian is not characteristical and evidential of a mao's owu Chriftianity, except he love him, qua talis, as he is a Chrisian, or as he belongs to Chrift; and fo his fincerity becomes the attractive of thy affection. There are a thoufand by-considerations, and refpeéts, that may kindle a man's love to the faints, befides their integrity.
SECT. IV. WE
ELL, then, if thou wouldnt indeed fee the uafoundpels
of thy own heart, propound fach heart-founding questions as thefe, to thyfelf.
Queft. Do I engage my heart to approach unto God in the course of my duties? Or do I go in the round of duties, tak: ing so heed to my heart in them? If fo, compare this fymptom of thy hypocrify with that in 2 Kings X. 3. and that in Ezek. XXX. 31, 32.
217 Quest. 2. Am I not fwayed and moved by felf-io térest and Carpal respects in the ways of religion, the accommodation of fome wordly interelt, or getting a Dame and reputation of godliness? If so, how apparently do the same fymptoms of hypocrily appear upon my soul, which did upon Judas, Joho xii. 6. and on Jehu, 2 Kings ix. 13, 14.
Queft. 3. Have I not fome fecret reserves in my heart, notwirnıtanding that face and appearance of zeal which I put op? Certainly if there be any sin that I caonot part with, any fuf. fering for Christ which I resolve against in my heart; I am done of his disciples, my heart is not right with God, the searcher of hearts himself being Judge, Luke xiv. 26, 27.
Queft. 4. What cooscience do I make of secret fins? Do I moora før a vaio heart, wanderiog thoughts, spiritual deadness? And do I conscientiously abstain from the practice of fecret fias, when there is no danger of discovery, no fear of forfeiting my reputation by it? Is it God's eye, or man's, that awes me from commission of sia ?. Certainly, if I allow myself io fecret fins, I am not of the number of God's upright people, whose spirits are of a contrary temper to mine, Psal. cxix. 113. and Pfal. xii. 12.
SECT. V. I Will Chut op all with five or six concluding counsels, (which
che Lord impress upon the heart of him thar writes, and those that shall read them) to preserve and antidote the sout against the dangerous infinuattoo and leaven of hypocrify.
Counsel. 1. Intreat the Lord right and day, for a renewed and right spirit. All the helps and directions in the world will not antidote and preserve you from hypocrisy, nothing will be found able to keep you right, till fanctification hath first fer you right. Ezek. xxxvi. 27. “I will put my Spirit within you; aod cause
you to walk in my Itatutes."
A bowl may keep by a strait line, so long as the impressed force of the hand that delivered it remains stroog upon it; but as that wears off, so its motions fail, and its owo biass sways and turns it. A fright of conscience, a pang of warm affection, or the influence of some great example, or a good education, may influence an vorenewed foul, and push it on in the way of religion for a feason ; but the heart fo influenced, mult, and will return to its own natural course again. And I think there wants nothing but time, or a suitable temptation, to discover the true temper of many a professor's spirit : pray, therefore, VOL. VII,