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2 Pet. 2.1. that bring (wift destruction. Truth in the mind preservech an awe of God in the beart; Bat false Doctrines blind the mind, harden the heart, deprave the conversation, destroy the Charches peace, and provoke che Lord to have a controversie with a people where they are tolerated, Rev. 2.14,15,20.
And we should be the more watchful over our selves in chis particular, because Errours are so agreeable to corrupt Nature ; (and Conscience does usually lesse regret a man for Errour, than for unholinesse) and many times also they sute a corrupt intereft (namely, profit and worldly advantage) and then people are in great danger to be caught by them.
To keep chee therefore from Errow take these few Directions.
1. Labour to be well-grounded in the truch Ler the foundation be laid sure, elle che building with every ruffling wind, will be ape to toccer. Ungrounded Christians who never understood the true grounds of the Religion they have taken up, and how it is built on the Scriptures, when they meet with Arguments against it, which they never heard of before, and which they (through their unskilfulness)cannot answer; they presently yield to errour ; and think, because they cannot answer them, therefore no body else can. But if thou would not be carried away with every wind of Doctrine, Labour rightly to understand
the true grounds of Christian Religion: And to this end study the Scriptures, with hamility, and be much in prayer, that God would guide thee by his holy Spirit into all saving cruth, and keep thee from falling into errour. And remember, that what has been commonly received by the people of God and embraced and practised by the Saints in all ages. is not lightly lo be rejected and deferted. Can any racional man think, God would leave the generality of his people to errour and seduction of mind ? Consider with thy self there. fore whether it be not safer to follow che footsteps of the flock of Christ, than to be led away by pretenders to new light; the Scripture having given so many cautions to beware of seduces, 2 Pet. 3. 17,18.
2. Rest not in a bare knowledge of the truth, but reduce thy knowledge into practise. Be sincere in the Religion chou professeft, and let the truths of God, like leaven, season thy mind, will, and affe&tions, and have a powerful influence on thy life. When men are in love with Gospel. truths, for the goudnesse, sweetnesse and benefit they taft in chem, they will labour to hold them faft. Those that have any experience in their own hearts of the comfort and efficacy of the Doctrines of Repentance, Faith in Christ, and daily watchfulneß, will not easily throw them off, and exchange them for new opinions: But they that care not to practise the great and neceßary
truths of the Gospel, no wonder if they prove Apoftates, and fall off from them. Labour therefore to pradise the truths chou professeft
, holding the mystery of Faith in a pure Conscience, i Tim.3.9. The more thou growest in Grace, the more thou shall be kepe from failing into the errour of the wicked, Heb.13.9. He chac doch what he knomes of the will of God, shall know more of it, Fohn 7.17. If ye know these things, faith our Saviour, happy are ge if je do them, Fohn 13,17. Happineffe doch noc lie in che meer knowing or affenting to the principles of Christian Religion, but in living according to them, and expressing the power and efficacy of them in our lives. For a man co be of an orthodox judgment, and an heretical life; an orthodox Swearer, an orthodox drunkard, a prophave perfon, and yet zealous against Hereticks; an antipomian in practise, and yet a declamer against the opinions of the Aacinomians, O how sadly do chese chings found! A right belief should have a powerful influence on the heart and life: But they whose hearts are rotten and deceitfull under truth, 'cis no wonder if they be deceived by errour. Believe ir, if the heart be corrupt and love fin, it will cafily encline a man to entertain such corrupt principles as will give liberty to fin. Men would
fain have that true which is most accomodate to their corrupt interests. Take heed eherefore of harbouring any secret løft or fin in
chy heart. 'Tis fin provokes God to give men up to errour ; God does many times out of a fecret judgment suffer those to fall into errour, who
, held the truth in unrighteousnesse. They who are not found in the fear of God, foon prove unfound in the Faith of God. Hymeneus and Alexander first put away, a good Conscience, and then made shipwrack of Faith, 1 Tim.1.19, 20. The women that were led away by seducers, 2 Tim.3.6. were such as were laden with divers lufts. What solomon cherefore saics of a strange woman, may
be applied to a strange Doctrine ; whoso pleaseth God, shall escape from her, but the finner shall be taken by ber, Ecclef.7.26.
3. Take heed of pride, conceitednesse, confidence in thine own judgment and understanding. The humble God will teach, but be refifts the proud, 1 Pet.5.5. Pride usually 'cis the mother of Hercfies : 'Twas of old the condemnation of the Devil, 1 Tim.3.6. the ruine of our first Parents; and therefore no wonder if it ruine so many
foules in these daies. Proud persons may Carry, it high for a time, but commonly God saffers them at last to fall into the dirch of errour, or prophanenesse. And 'eis just it should be fo'; that when the understanding of these high-flown ones returnes unto them (if God bave such a mercy in store for them) chey may with Nebu chadnezzar, see their folly, and bleß the most High.
4. Beware of the itch of noveltie and affecting new Dectrines. He is half gone into errour, that vainly covers after 'novelties, and listens after every new-fangled opinion. New Doctrines like new fashions, do usually take with unstable minds. We read of itching eares, 2 Tim.4.3, and fol
. lowing after another Gospel, Gal. 1.6. Buc Chrift cels us but of one way to Heaven, and that is by himself; I am the way, the truth, and the life, Fohn 14.6. There is no new way thither. True Repentance, Faith in Christ, and sincere obedi. ence, this is the good old Way
that we must walk in, if we incend to come chither.
5. Expose not thy self co the temptations of seducers. ''ris in vain for any to pray to God to keep them from the infection of errour, if they wilfully (against the exprefle Word of God) and without any just warrant and call, run into the company of jeducers, and read their Books,
ÇTo beware of them, Matth.7.15.
To avoid them, Rom. 16.17.
If they come to us, not to receive
them,or bid them God.speed, or
encourage them in cheir way, į 2 ep. Foh.co.
- bids us,
Bat possibly fome will say; Are we not