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risk is that, foreboding a fearful wakening! If love your own souls, strive againft this fluggish disposition.
3. A false notion of the easiness of the way to heaven. , Many in their thoughts of their getting to hea. ven, the necessity of their being in the faith, regeneration, uoiversal and illimited obedience to G in the way of duty, and sparing no known sin, never comes in their head : only they believe God is a merciful God; and when the time coines, they must apply for his mercy. Hence our Lord exhorts, Luke xiii. 25. Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and small not be able.
4. A secret fear that all is wrong. This frights them from felf-examination ;, and they chufe rather to patch up their present case the best way they can, than fairly to open the wound, that it may be healed. What is this but to chuse to die of the disease, rather than to lay it open for cure? But the eyes most closely shut now will be opened in the other world, as the rich man's were, Luke xvi. 2 3. Be not discouraged with fears, but be willing to know the worst as well as the best of your cafe; for that is your safeft course.
5. A general hopefulness as to one's state, got by fome passing reflections on fome good thing they ima. gine they have, without examining to the bottom. This men come at easily, as it were in passing: and being easy in this course, they never set themselves to go to the ground of the cause, like the church of Laodicea, Rev. iii. 17. forecited. This is a very dangerous state, and proves the ruin of many.
6. Lilly, Satan has a mighty influence to the hiaderance of it, both in faints and finners. In the for. mer he mars the comfort of the clear view of their hate: in the latter he keeps them from waking out of their natural security, and so holds them back from Christ. And I know no duty he fets himself more a. gainit. For being an accomplished master in hellith subtilty, he well knows, that if finners were at duc
pains in examining themselves, and discovered the damnable ftate they were in by nature, they would haften an escape to the gospel-city of refuge; and therefore he lulls them in a sleep of profound security, that they may not feel their misery, and the worse than Egyptian bondage they are in to sin and Satan, Awake then, ye that sleep, that Christ may give you light.
I shall now press the exhortation by some inotives ; and that the Lord may carry it home with power on your hearts, as your eternal welfare is deeply concerned therein !
Mot. 1. God has given thee a faculty of examining thyself. He has set up a twofold candle for thee, one within thee, conscience, Prov. xx. 27. forecited, and an. other without thee, the written word, Pfal. cxix. 105. And will ye venture to walk on in darkness as to your state, while ye have these lights to let you into it? Sirs, if ye will not bring in that light and use it for this purpose, a light will be let in whether ye will or not, that will set the matter in due light, either in mercy, as in the case of the prodigal, Luke xv. 17. or in wrath, as in that of the rich man, chap. xvi. 23.
Mot. 2. To be bound up from this duty ftill, is next door to a desperate case, If. xliv. 20. above quoted. While a person is inquiring about his ftate, there is some hope : but while men are unconcerned about it, whether good or bad, that is like the case of men sleeping to death in their bleeding wounds. Publicans and harlots entered into the kingdom of heaven before self-righteous Pharisees, because the mer were more ready by far to admit the conviction of the badness of their state, than the former, who were blinded with delusive ideas of their own righteou: ness,
Mot. 3. It is certain ye were once not in the faith, tot in a gracious ftate, as the Ephesians were, F.ph. ii. 3. 12.
Now dare ye pawn your eternal falvation
on it, that ye are now in the faith, in a state of grace? No; but ye hope the best, and are easy. But one would think, that in all reason, according to the weight of the matter, one should labour for a proportional certainty. And to leave a matter of the utmost importance at an uncertainty, and make a leap in the dark into the other world, is a most miserable affair, and argues the greatest instability. Surely then this requires a moft folemn and deliberate trial; and if ye were wise for yourselves, ye would bring it to a point.
Mot. There are many false pretenders to religion, from off whose faces Christ will draw the mask. Hence he says. Matth. vii. 22. 23. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils ? and in thing name done many wonderful works? And then will I profejs unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, je that work ini juity. Luke xiii
. 25. 26. 27. When once the Master of the house is risen' up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us ; and he shall answer and say unto you, I krow you not, whence you are : then shall je begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou has taught in our streets. But be jhall say, I tell you, I know you not whence you are ; de part from me, all ye workers of iniquity. Many have Jacob's voice, but Efau's hands; like Judas, they kiss Christ, and betray him. Such pretenders were the Laodiceans, when they fancied they were rich, and increased with goods, and stood in need of nothing, Rey. 11. 17. Men may go a great length, in legal humili. ation with Ahab, in repentance with Pharaoh, in re. forination with Herod, in zeal for religion with Jehu, and in strictness of life as to the outward man with Paul before his conversion; and yet be strangers to the life of religion and godliness. And should not these instances alarm all who profess Cbrist, to bring The matter to a trial whether they are in the faith or not? as a mistake here is of the most dangerous consequence.
Mot. 5. This would be a matter of the greatest utitility, if followed through, both to believers and unbelievers. To the former it brings the comfort of their faith, clear's up their gracious state, and gives them so many evidences for heaven as they have proofs of their faith. To the other it may be the beginning of good; it will give them the knowledge of their disease, which is the first step to the cure, and if once they be thoroughly convinced of their sinful and dam nable estate, they may be induced to leave no stone unturned till they be rescued therefrom by application by faith to the blood and Spirit of Jesus Christ, who saves from fin, and delivers from the wrath that is to come.
Mot. 6. Try now your state, for God will try one and all of you, and no wrong judgement will pass be. fore hi m.
O to what purpote should we shift a trial, which we know we will certainly undergo, from an infallible hand? We cannot by any fleight or artifice cast a blind before his eyes, Gal. vi. 7. Be not deceived ; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man foweth, that jhall be also reap. All things are naked, and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do, Heb. iv. 13. Not the least thing in or about us can escape his allpiercing eye; for he says, I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees, Zeph. i. 12. God has trying times for lands, and for particular persons, wherein he sets them. And fuch a trying time we have just now. O let us regard the operation of his hands, left he proceed against us hy terrible things in righteouiness. However, should we pafs untried in this world, we will most certainly be tried in the other, and there will be no altering of the decision then made. Should we not then be itira red up to try ourselves now, and see how matters stand betwixt God and us, that we may not be condemned in the great day of decision and judgement ?
Mot. last. It is the express command of God, that ye should try yourselves, whether ye be in the faith or
God has not only warned you to try this impor. tant point, both by his word and providence, but has expressly interposed his authority, binding it as an indispensable duty upon you to try yourselves, as ye will answer it on your highest peril. I say then, Try yourselves as to this weighty affair, lest ye be found to be fighters against God, to spurn at his yoke, and to throw his cords from off you. Try yourselves then, I say, whether ye be in the faith or not, as ye would regard the authority of the great Lord of heaven and earth, and would not fall into the hands of the living God, from which there is no deliverance.
The Danger of unworthy Communicating
1 Corinthians xi. 29. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not difcerning the Lord's body. T is a seasonable advice which Solomon gives,
Prov. xxiii. 1. When thou fittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee. We expect the great Ruler of heaven and earth is to cover a table for us in this place; but at it fome may get their via. ticum for heaven, others theirs for hell. The Jews
* Though this discourse was not delivered in the course of this work, but many years before, when the author was minister at Simprin, it was judged advileable to insert it here, as a proper addition to, and a further illuflration of the preceding discourses on the Lord's supper. And as onu orthy communicating is in itself a great fin, and one of the epidemical evils of the present time, a discourse on luch a lubject must be deemed extremely seasonable in the present juncture ; and the reader will do well 10 peruse it with that seriousness and attention the matter of it requires.