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than was return'd to him, Out of thine opon mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant : thou kneroest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not fow. Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury ? Therefore take from bim the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. And as for those mine enemies that would not that I should reign over them, (and it seems, such are all those that will not improve those powers God hath given them, especially this of Consideration, in order to be reclaim'd from the errour of their ways) bring them hither, and say theme. before me, Luke 19. 22, 28.
And indeed, he that can lit down and consider what losses may befal him, what mischief may happen to him, if he keeps Company with a turbulent quarrellom man, and thereupon shuns his Society; He that can consider, what terrour it will strikeintohim, if he lie in a haunted Chamber, how it will discompose' him, how it will break his rest, what sickness it may bring upon him, and what cold Sweats the sight of a Ghost will cast him into, and thereupon will not be persuaded, to take up his Lodging there, will find in the last day, that he might as well have fate down and consider'd, what evil a finful life, would bring upon bim. His reason, to be sure, is capable of taking the one into consideration as well as the other and he that believes he hath a Soul, must be supposed able to think of dangers that may befal his Soul: and fince Consideration is that which represents all dangers in very lively colours, and by that means affects, and makes impressions upon the whole' man, there is no person but may safely expect God's blesling upon such Considerations, not upon the account of merit, but because God hath most freely, and most graciously promis'd his assistance, where men shew their willingness to work in his Vineyard. For God in this Cafe deals with men, as a Master with his Servants, who if they husband a little Farm well, is content to let them 'un. dertake a greater, and encourages their industry by larger conceffions.
And that's the reason why Conversion in Scripture is sometimes attributed to man, and fometimes to the Father of lights, from whom every good and perfect gift descends; and why we read in the fame Prophet, Make your felves a new heart and a new spirit, Ezek. 18.31. And I the Lord will give you a new heart, and a new spirit will I put within you, Ezek. 36. 26. Because God expects the Sinner should take his ways, and
preposterous actions, and the danger which hangs over his head, into serious Confideration, represent the odiousness, and disingenuity, and unreasonableness of his sin to hismind, and muse upon that endless happiness he may
to, weigh the comforts and consolations he may enjoy on this fide Heaven, and God will encourage him, gather the Lambs with his arms, and carry them in his bosome, i.e. prosper those fincere endeavours, and water them with the Dew of his Benediction, till the Byass of the Soul ás chang'd, and turned towards Heaven. So true is that Saying of Christ, Mutih. 24. 29. To him that hath, i. c. who improves the stock of Grace, Providence bath already conferr'd on him, hall be given, and he shall have more abundant ; but from bim that hath not, shall be taken away, even that which he hath.
Consideration is the bed where the incorruprible Seed is fown, and on the ground thus prepared, the Sun of Righteousness doth shine, and by his warmth produces in the Soul all manner of pleasant fruits, Cant. 7. 13. Consideration, like the Pool of Bethesda, draws the great Angel of the Covenant down, who stirs the Pool, and gives it a healing Vertue, and immediately the blind receive their fight, and the lame walk, and the lepers are cleansed, and the dead are raised up, Macth. 1.5.
That God hath fometimes by miraculous means converted, and turn'd men from their iřreligiousness and contempt of holiness, we do not deny; but though these miracles might be the occasion of their Reformation, it was still Coofideration that digested these miraculous Providences, and engaged these men to enquire what they meant, and for what end they were fent, and how they fhould escape if they neglected so great a salvation. It was this made them argue, that as these Calls were great, and full of wonder, so they challengd entertainment and
fubmission answerable to so great a mercy. It was this made them see the Love of God, and wonder whence it should be, that God should over-look so many thousands, and knock at their Gates; pass by Palaces, and be content to take up his rest in their poor habitations. It was this made them ponder, that after such Admo. nitions and Exhortations from Heaven , there was no standing still
, and that contempt of such extraordinary Providences, must needs fall very heavy on the Soul one day, and link it into the nethermoft Hell; upon which considerations and Expostulations, they resolv'd to close
with Christ, and with the terms of the Gospel. • Miracles not improved by Consideration would
make but little impression on the heart, like the Seed that fell upon the Rock, Piecy might suddenly spring up, but for want of Root would soon wither away. Consideration is that, which affects the Soul with them, makes it concerned,
and astonishes into Reformation. Hence it was, that the Jews who considered not Gods design in the Miracles they saw, remained as obstmate as ever, whereas had they by Confideration dived into the care God took to convince them, there would not have been
greater Saints under the Cope of Heaven.
But all this will more fully appear, if we can prove, That without Consideration, Conversion, or Reformation of life cannot but be counterfeit; Conversion being a change of the whole man,and loving God better than the World, or minding
Heaven more than Earth, an immortal Soul more than a frail dying Body, there can nothing beimagin'd, under God, more likely to prevent our being deceiv'd with a form of godliness, than Confideration ; That the Devil very ordinarily transforms himself into an Angel of Light, and imposes upon our minds by shadows of
Vertues, as it is his interest, so it is a thing as common as our yielding to temptations of that nature. Daily experience is a sufficient witness, how men deceive themselves with a varnish and paint of Piety, and flatter themselves, that they are ordain'd to eternal life, and in a way to those Regions of Bliss when they are not. Because they acknowledge and profess, that God is infinite, perfect, glorious, and the Supreme Governour of the World, and that in him we live, and breathe, and have our Being; and that it's he that rules the great Wheel of Providence, they conclude they love him better than their riches or pleasures here, when they do nothing less, indeed no more but what . Parrots may do, which being taught, can repeat the same words, and be never the nearer that Wisdom which makes men wise unto salvation. We see how men, because they have no inclination to fome gross notorious sins that other men are guilty of, are apt to conclude, that they mortifie their lusts, and put off the works of darkness, walking soberly as in the day time; and because they frequent the Temple of the Lord, they are presently true Hearers of the Word. We see how the Harlot, Prov. 7. 14,