Page images





The Epistle Dedicacory. upon all outward things as accomodations only he in his passage, but at Heaven as his home and at happinesse. He will cordially desire and enden P vour fo to walk in his particular Calling, as be may be faithful also in his general, and may feh Gure bis foul to eternal life.

8 3. Be careful to get a distinct and clear knowledge of the things that concern your

falvation. th Ignorance will not excuse any man when 'tis cauf- on ed by his own negligence. The main things cre that concern salvation, you may know, if you will give your minds to it. God hath not left you in kn darknesse, take heed of shutting your eyes.

4. Take heed of neglecting or slighting the publick Ordinances, and means of Grace. To bave no appetice to the Word, to apprehend no great need of it, and to find no profic by it, is a mark of a dead and graceleffe heart.

5. Take heed of formality and resting in a meer outward performance of religious services. Learn to distinguish between Religion the end, and Religion the means. Religion the end is, To accain a gracious frame of Spirit, to enjoy God, to fear him, love him, and have our natures conform’d unto him. Religion the means is, to perform such religious duties and services as God hach appointed for the attaining this end. Now if we rest in the means, i.e. in a bare perforinance of religious duties; without defiring co enjoy God in chem , or labouring to get our



[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

hearts into a better frame by them, and aiming át those higher ends to which they were ap. pointed, our services are rather a mocking of God, than a true' and fincere worshipping of him. It will do os no good to be of the right Religion as to external profession, if we be slight, and formal, and perfunctory in the duties of chat Religion. Take heed inerefore of having only a form of Godlinesse, and denying, or recretly having the power thereof.What will it profit any man to be thought godly and religious, if God know him to be ungodly? Our Saviour hath told us that except our righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees(and get theirs was ontwardly a very strict religiousnes)we cannot enter into the Kingdom of God, Mat.5.20.

6. Take heed of contenting your selves with meer civil honesty, and a fair, just outward conversation. This is very commendable, yea and necessary, but this is not fufficient 10 salvati09. Without regeneration and truc conversion there is no salvation to be expected. Not only loose livers, but meer civil persons need a further change. There are many people that applaud themselves in their own righteousnesse; they give every one cheir own; they defraud no man; they pay what they owe to all men. Do they so? I am glad of it. But let us a little examine whether they be so just as they pretend. Possibly they give every man his due and would not defraud


any man willingly or knowingly of any thing. I commend them for it, But do they give God his due? They owe their hearts to him: They owe Gncere obedience and spiritual worship to him: They are bound to love him above all, and delight in communion with him, and to make Conscience of the duties and services he requires. They ought to fear and reverence his holy Name, to delight in bis Word, to sanctifie his day, to accend upon his Ordinances, to be ten. der of his honour, to decline all waies of finning against him, either by wicked thoughts, irregular affections, sinful words, evil actions. Their whole life ought to be a living unto God, and his Glory ought to be their end and aim in all their undercakings. They ought to renounce the devil, the world and the Alch, and co serve him faithfully all their daies. Now then come, and let us consider, Do they do thus ? Do they insdeed give every one his own ? Do they give unto God, what of right is due unto him? They make Conscience of being just towards men and they do well in it) but are they careful also of paying God what they owe to him? And what kind of righteousnesse call you this, to be righteous towards men, and unrighteous and unjust toward God? Is this a righccousnesse any man dare stand

upon, and plead for his juftification before Gods Tribunal ? Tou see then there is more requi. red than an honest, outward, fair conversation to Save the forila


7. Take

7. Take heed of deceiving and ill-grounded hopes of Heaven.

Secure your ftate in Grace, and then your title to Glory is unquestionable . Look to your evidences for Heaven. Take heed of mistakes about the great work of repeating and believing in Christ. Many think they have chole Graces, when indeed they have only a lhadow of them. Examine your selves whether ye be in the Faith: Prove your selves. Whoever is in Christ is a new Creature; old things are passed away, old carnal principles, old finful inclinations, old wicked practises, old ungodly company are pafled away and left by them that are true converts. Ask your selves whether your repentance be a repentance unto life? whecher your Faith be a saving Faich ? What the true characters of Repentance and Faith are, you may find in the 24 and 3. Chapters of the second Pare of this Treatise.

'Tis carnal hopes that deceive the world, and hinder people from looking after a saving conversi

Content Bot your felves therefore to say, you hope you shall be saved, but prove and try whether you are sach persons as God hach promised salvation to. Prove by marks of Grace in your souls that you are true converts, and then hope for salvation, and spare not, and the Lord confirm your hopes. Great things and of everlasting consequence, should be made as sure as is posible. Ask your felves what evidences you have you are


converted. 'Tis proof must carry it, and noi confident presumption. Take God in Chrift for your only happinesse and end: And Christ as Mediacour, for your only Lord and Saviour. Accept him for your Sovereign, as well as for your Saviour. Be sensible of


continual need of his Bloud, Spirit and intercession, and give up your selves fincerely to him, to be juAified, sanctified, guided , directed and everlastingly saved by him. Let his Interest be uppermost in your souls, and you are blessed for


8. Pray earnestly unto the Lord to be eftablished in the cruch, and to be preserved from Errour, giddinesle, and apostacy, which is the fin and shame of these cimes. Let not the diffe. rent Opinions that are now going, be an offence unto you. Remember that though men are mutable, and change from one opinion to another, and grow wanton and wild-headed, yet God and Christ, and the Scripture, and Heaven, and the way thither, are still the same: These change not: Mind

you these things. Take heed of that threefold Apostacy that this age is too guilty of. Namely,

1. Of Judgment, from the Truths of God.

2. Of Affection, from the ordinances of God,

3. Of Conversacion, from that sober, hymble, and circumpect walking, which all true


« PreviousContinue »