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them Atrong delusion, that they would believe a lie. | This calls aloud to you to redeem the time; and, .
It, To labour to get the knowledge of the truth, to know what we believe, and to understand the principles of the religion which we profess; and for this cause to improve the means of knowledge. Ignorance is dangerous at all times, especially in such evil
days. 1.2dly, To study to know why you believe, and to
understand the reasons of your principles. · Hence the apostle Peter exhorts, Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear, 1 Pet. iii. 15. Many have been too easily satisfied with the prina ciples which they have learned, without inquiring
into the scripture-grounds of them: but surely this 7 calls aloud to the practice of the Bereans, who were ? more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they re
ceived the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so, Acts xvii. 11.
3dly, Labour to be experimental Christians, to feel the power of truth in your own souls; to know Chrift,
and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowi foip of his fufferings, being made conformable to his
death, Phil. iii. 10. Raw unfelt notions in the head are easily parted with in a day of trial; but experience of the power of truth rivets it in the heart: which is the true reason why many simple men and women hold fast the truth, when learned divines let it go; for all the human learning in the world will not give men such a hold of the truth as Christian experience will give. These duties the case of our day calls for at all hands. · But for your further direction, as to what is your duty at this day, when the harmony in the song of the watchmen is marred, and some are destroying what others build up, and a spirit of error is undoubtedly gone forth, I would say,
(1.) Be not ye unconcerned with the public state of affairs in that point. For the honour of God, and the cause of truth, lie at stake: and there is a wo denounced against such careless ones, Amos vi. 1. We te them that are at ease in Zion. Some, if they get their own worldly affairs right, they are little concerned to know what way it goes with the church and interest of Christ; they think it none of their business, Phil. ii. 21. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's. Some, from a profane and wicked principle of looseness, look on the confusions of the day with satisfaction, saying in their hearts, Aha, so would we have it, like the children of Edom, who said in the day of Jerusalem's distress, Rase it, rafe it, even to the foundation thereof, Psal. €xxxvii. 7. Others fhew concern about them; but the great thing with them is, thereby to gratify their curiosity, or some particular humour of theirs; but their hearts are not affected with them as kindly children of Zion.
But I would advise you to a cordial concern, in your most secret retirements before the Lord, in these matters. Take to heart the dishonour done to God thereby, the wounds given to truth, the stroke renched to true religion, and the danger to the souls of men. Shew such sympathy with God's interests, as you may be capable to say before the Lord, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee, are fallen upon me, Pfal. lxix. 9. If I forget thee, o Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerufalem above my chief joy, Pfal. cxxxvii. 5. 6. Mourn over these things in secret, as the select few in Jerusalem did, Ezek. ix. 4. forecited. Wrestle with God in prayer for his appear. ance, for his return to the land, to ordinances, and to the spirits of his ministers and people. Hear what the Lord says, I have set watchmen upon thy walls,
ind scatteres takend fign
0 Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night : ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not filence; and give him no reft, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth, If, lxii. 6. 7.
(2.) Let your hearts be impreffed with awful thoughts of the anger of God against the generation, appearing in that matter, Hab. iii. 16. It is an aw. ful thought, that Zion.builders are now turned like Babel-builders, through the anger of God, that they
cannot understand one another. It was a fad sign to * Jerusalem, when coals of fire were taken from be
tween the cherubims, and scattered over the city, Ezek. X. 2. And when the angel took fire off the altar, and cast it on the earth, Rev. viii. 5. fearful confufions ensued. Thefe coals of fire are scattered a
mongst us, and the prospect of the issue may cause a logo serious observer to tremble.
(3.) Be duly affected with the hazard of your own fouls in such a time. There is danger on every hand, when the anger of the Lord seems to be against the
whole multitude of us. Let no man adventure to * lodge the causes of wrath in one party. Some may
be deeper than others in the sinful courfe; but all have a deep hand in the provocation. Hear what the Lord says to Israel, Ezek. vii. 12. 13. 14. The time is come, the day draweth near: let not the buyer rejoice, nor the seller mourn : for wrath is upon all the
multitude thereof. For the seller. shall not return to that 1 which is fold, although they were yet alive : for the 's vision is touching the whole multitude thereof, which
Shall not return : neither sball any strengthen himself in the iniquity of his life. They have blown the trumpet, even to make all ready, but none goeth to the battle : for my wrath is upon all the multitude thereof. There is a danger of straying both to the right and
left hand in this time of the Lord's anger. And if | the Lord do not pity, there may be frightful monu
ments of the Lord's anger on both hands, giving up men to strong delulions.
(4.) Give yourselves folemnly away to Christ, te be by him carried safely through the wilderness in the dark and cloudy day. Say with the prophet, Therefore I will look unto the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation, my God will hear me, Micah vii. 7. In confideration of your danger, take him anew for your guide and leader, saying with the spouse, Cant. i. 7. Tell me, O thou whom my foul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon : for why/bould I be as one that turneth afide, by the flocks of thy companions? + Our own wisdom is not to be trusted at any time, efpecially when the days are evil. Now when you fee the mift arising, take fast hold of him ; when you see the storm a-coming, chuse him for your pilot, and commit yourselves to his conduct through the waves.
(5.) Keep up habitually a holy jealousy over yourfelves, and confidence in the promise of direčtion, and a conscientious believing use of the means of his appointment. That holy jealousy is necessary in refpect of the snares in the evil day, and the corruption of our hearts fo ready to entangle us in them. He that trusteth in his own heart, is a fool, Prov. xxviii. 26. The promises are many on which faith is to be exercised; as, The meck will he guide in judgment : and the meek will he teach his way, Psal. xxv. 9. ! will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou fhalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye, Psal. xxxii. 8. Thine ears fall hear a word behind thee, saying, i This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left, Il. xxx. 21., And you muft use the means in confidence of the promise, Cant. i. 7. 8. When the spouse prayed for direction, Tell me, &c. quoted above, the Bridegroom! Teplied, If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kid's beside the shepherds tents. Go ye and de Ikewise.
(6.) Beware of those things particularly, which leave men to be a prey to delusion in evil days, and for which God leaves them to be carried away with
the torrent. And these are, - · [1.] Worldly-mindedness, denoted; Rev. vii. 3.
by the earth. Carnak earthly profeffors are ready to get a caft in such a day; they whose God is the world, will be sure to hold by it, when Christ and the world, part. Why has the cause of God fo few friends, but
because the world has fo many? The world's ease, -: advantage, good word, and its multitude, have a
great sway with men, to the prejudiee of their duty, as in the case of Demas, 2 Tim. iv. 10. who forsook, the apostle Paul, having loved this present world.
[2.] Instability and wavering, denoted, Rev. vii. 3. by the sea. They that have itching ears after novel. ties, are ready to be caught in the snare. And hence : it, is, that at this day old solid truths are loathed and disrelished, and the land-marks set by our fathersare removed.
[3.] Pride and self-conceit, denoted, Rev. vii. 3. by the trees. None are readier to fall into the snare. than those who are high in conceit with themselves.. The humble foul lies fairest to make its way fairly
through, while, the stormy wind blows, and cafts. -down many tall cedars.
[4.] A secret disgust of the truth, through a love to: - unrighteousness, 2 Theff. ii. 10. forecited. When
practical religion decays in a generation, and fin a- . bounds, the truth cannot long miss to be departed from. Lufts fecretly entertained in the heart, prepare ; men for quitting of truth in their judgements.
[5.] Formality, Rev. xi. 2. Those that worship in the outer court, are ready to become a prey to delusion.
(7.) Be much converfant in the scriptures ; Search the scriptures, says Christ, John y. 39. and there notice what the Spirit of the Lord teaches. The scripture is the reed for measuring the sanctuary; it is, the infallible word, the only foundation of divine