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fear, noterror into my Soul? I am loth to believe I am so bad a Man; but what if God, and the Great Day, should find me so? Have I no Self-end in my Religious Duty? What is it puts me many times upon doing good, Applause from Men, or the Love of God? Do not I pretend God's Glory sometimes, when I aim at nothing but mine own? Donor I draw nigh to God with my Lips, when in my Heart and Conversation I deny him? Do not I, by pretending to please God, neglect my Duty to my Neighbour? And while I am hot for Devotion, hate my Brother in my Heart? I am loth to neglect my Prayer, but am I as loth to negled relieving such a Believer that groans in Prison, or Poverty? Am not I more severe in pressing the lesser Concerns of Religion, than I am in urging the greater? Do not I commend that in a rich or great Man, which I can reprehend in my Inferiors, or meaner:Persons; Do not I require those Duties of other Men, which my self am loth to practise? Do not I applaud my self for my own Sandity, while I despise others, whom I fancy not so holy as I am? Am not I more curious to know other Mens Conditions, than mine own? Am not I more zealous in publick, than I am in private? Am not I religious for filthy Lucre's fake? Do not I make a gain of Godliness, and use Religion as a Cloak to cover my secret Sins? Donat Imake Devotion a Scaf. fold toerect my own Credit and Profit by? What is Hypocrisie, if this be not? Tho'I can hide it from the sight of Men, can I conceal it from him, who knows my down-fitting, and my up-rising,
and understands my thoughts afar off? Can I remember the Face of Judas, and not think of a ferious Repentance? Can I hear the Son of God call fo often, Woe, woe to the Hypocrites, and hug the Sin in my Bosom? Shall I harbour a Snake there, which will sting me into endless gnawings of Conscience? How shortly will all these Delufionsbe discovered? Before I am a few days older, God maysummon me,and lay open all my deceits and juggles in Religion. Thus others have been ferved; Why should I think to escape? And tho’the Day of Judgment is not come, yet there are Angels, there are Righteous Souls, before whom the Impostures may be laid open, and discovered to my fhame, and sorrow, and aftonishment, as soon as my Soul leaves my Body senseless. Do I think to blind the Eyes of him, in whose Book allmy Members are set down? Is the Portion of Hypocrites 'no discouragement ? What Promise in the Gospel can I lay hold of, during this condition? They all run to the upright in Heart, and mustIgo without these Cordials? Must I see others run away with these Treasures, while my self can expect nothing but God's Curse and Anger? Must I see others go to possess the Promised Land, while I must Itay behind in a Wilderness? Must I fee others gather Manna, and feed upon the rich Clusters of Canaan, while my own Soul must perish for want of that Bread of Life? Lord, who Jhallabide in thy Tabernacle? Who Mall dwellin thy holy Hill? He that walks uprightly, and works righteousness, and
fpeaks the truth in his heart. And must I have no seat in yonder Mansions?
No house in that Jerusalem, which is above? No habitation in this City, whither the Tribes go up, the Tribes of the Lord, unto the Testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord? O my Soul, behold thy Salvation comes, his reward is with him, and his work before him. Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. Away, and hate this garment spotted by the flesh; these are not the Spots of God's Children; these are not the Characters of God's Favourites: Spots they are, but of Leopards, marks of Wolves that come in Sheeps cloathing, signs of Sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of Dead Men's bones, and all Uncleanness.
Such serious thoughts would check Hypecrifie ; but the vain Man hardens his heart against them, locks them out, will give them no entertainment,and that makes him serve God to please the Devil, and turn Religion into a meer shew and formality, burn in Words, and freeze in Deeds; and like that Son in the Gospel, say, I go Sir, but he goes not.
From the Premisses, we may easily guess what to think of other Sins, viz. That the great cause of them, is want of Consideration; and therefore the Holy Ghost likens Men that live in any Sin, orindulge themselves in any Transgression, to a Horse that rushes into the Battel, and considers not what he doth; ventures among Swords and Arrows,and the greatest Dangers, without recolJeding what will be the issue of it. Jer. 8. 6. Consideration is the Bridle that must govern our
Sense and Appetite; take that away, and the Beast runs away with the Rider, and hastens him into a thousand inconveniencies.
CH A P. VI. Of the various Advantages of ferious Considera. tion; it's that, which makes a Man Master of all Christian Duties; it helps a Man to iṁprove Sublunary Objects into Heavenly Contemplations. It's the greatest Support under Afflictions; disposes a Man to be a Worthy Receiver of the Lord's Supper; prepares him for an Angelical Life on Earth; makes him prudent and discreet in Secular Affairs, and Business.
HO’in the preceding Chapters we
have already in a great measure discoT
vered, what Man may hope for from
Consideration, and of what use it is to a truly serious and Christian Life; yet we must not leave so rich a Subject thus, without giving an account of some other positive Advantages, which do render it very desirable to a rational Man. And,
I. It hath most certainly a very great influence upon all Christian Duties; the Celestial Luminaries have not a greaterinfluence upon the Bodies of Men, and Beasts, and Plants, than Considesation hath upon these Spiritual Endowments; whatever Qualification Christ or his Apostles
require or recommend, it's by Consideration of the Excellency and Dignity of that Duty, that Men must expect to arrive to it.
The First and Great Commandment is, Thou Jhalt love thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. But he shall never be Master ofthis Duty, that doth not frequently and seriously consider the immense and itupendious Love of God to him; and indeed, then I may hope to be acquainted with a fincere and cordial Love to God, when I give leave to fuch Considerations as these, to impregnate my Understanding. Omy God! Can I think of so great, so holy, so infinite, fo merciful, fo mupificent a Being, and forbear to be enamoured with thee? Thy Greatnefs over-awes, 'thy Holiness dire&s, thy Infinity supports, thy Mercy charms, thy Munificence invites thy poor unworthy Creatures: Whence are all my Mercies, but from thee? Thou art the Spring, the Fountain of them all. Whatever Blessings are conveyed to me by the hands of second Caufes, they come originally from thee, and thou movest and orderelt those fecond Caufes, to come in to my Assistance. By thee have been upheld ever since I was born; when Ilay in the shades of Nothing, thou didit awake me into a Being, gavest me a Rational Soul, a Soul capable of admiring, adoring, and worshipping Thee; and ever since thy Mercies have followed me; and thou hast been a Pillar of a Cloud unto me by Day, and a Pillar of Fire by Night; what Parts, Gifts or Abilities I have, they are thy Gifts, and Characters of thy Compaffion;