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of his excellency, and makes him vile and contemptible.

Secondly, To persons engaged in ways of religion. If these be real and sincere in their profession, they are in a state of reconciliation with God ; and if in a state of reconciliation with him, then let them be true to the terms of friendship, and not do acts of enemies in the state of friendship. Let them that name the name of Christ, depart from iniquity. Where God Speaks peace to his people, 'let them not return again to folly, Psal. lxxxv. 8. To the fear of God, in scripture, is always adjoined the eschewing of evil; and this is the character God gives of an upright man,

Job i. 8. It is essential to religion, to walk according to the difference of good and evil. There are other things which have the use and consideration of the means in religion, which I call the instrumental part of religion : but religion itself, doth issue in holiness, uprightness, integrity, and separation from iniquity

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HE B. iii. 12. Take heed, brethren, left there be in any of you, an evil · heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. D ELIGION is highly concerned in two I things; the judgment of truth, and the con

science of right : and he doth substantially fail upon account of religion, that is wanting in either of these. · I shall now consider the reasons of this caution in the text, Take heed, brethren, &c. We are highly concerned to be cautious and wary, upon a fourfold account.

1. From those things that are within us.
2. From things that are about us.

3. From the great consequence and importance that truth and goodness hath unto our souls.

4. From not a posibility only, but a probability of failing, and miscarrying, if care be not taken; and the greatness of the evil, if we do fall short.

I. We had need to be wary, because of those things that are within us : for if once we consent to iniquity, and acquaint ourselves with evil, we put ourselves out of an indifferency to good and e

vil, and so marr the ingenuity and modesty of our.
natures. For one evil act doth beget an indisposi-
tion to the contrary virtue ; men become less com-
petent to judge, or to do what is right, when once
they have miscarried. We do not know what wrong
we do ourselves, when we do an act contrary to
right; for by this means we come to pass into the
opposite nature. The apostle doth exhort christians,
Heb. ii. 1. That they pould take heed to the things that,
they had learned ; left they let them ip, and become like
leaking vessels. Good apprehensions do not always
stay with us; and contrary ones are in a succession.
This we find by experience, that we do. ebb and
flow, rise and fall, go backward and forward, up
and down, here and there, on and off, do and undo.
Sometimes we see, and believe, understand and re-
solve, and then again, we grow insensible of these,
good impressions that were upon us : and therefore
David being well acquainted with the frail and un-
certain condition of man, prays thus unto God, Keep
it in the imaginations of the thoughts of the heart of thy.
people, i Chron. xxix. 18.
· Also we are inclined and sollicited from our low-
er and worser part ; from the delights of our senses,
which many times prove strong temptations to us ;
and lastly, we are often befooled by our own fancies
and imaginations. He is a wise man who is not his
own fool Our sense of ourselves is more incompe-
tent, than our judgment of others. We are so much
given up to self-Aattery, that in favour of ourselves,
we conceit that of ourselves that we do not find, and

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are'apt to think that of ourselves that no body that knows us do believe ; and all this from within.

2. And then from without us. How many things do impose upon us from our easiness and credulity; so that we walk as it were in a vain-shew, 1 Cor. vii. 31. and this occafioned both from objects and agents 1 John ii. 16. The guise of the world, the manners and humours of men, these are supposed to be indubitable and unquestionable: and these prove a' mighty temptation to us, when we look about us and fee men so sollicitous, and over-busy, designing, undertaking, and engaging about the things of this life ; as' if a man's happiness were altogether to be had here, and as if our present actions had no reference to eternity. And then Satan, he is a lying fpirit in the mouths of all his false prophets : he is an abettor and encourager of evil ; being a liar from the beginning, and one that goeth about seeking whom he may devour. And then men-are deceitful and uncertain, and use their wits and parts to circumvent and over-reach one another. Fair representations of things are made, when their real existence is on therwise; fo that we are many times deluded and deceived, and this is our weakness, we love to have it fo ; we would have men speak according to our sense, and not according to the reality of things. Thus it often happens, that they are grievous unto others, that do not speak according to their sense. We read of Ahab, that he hated Micaiah, because he did not speak according to his sense, and as he would have him, 1 Kings xxii. 8. And fo St. Paul faith, that he was their enemy because he told them the truth, Gal, iv. 16,

3. Then

. 3. Then also, the consequences... of truth and real virtue to ourselves. For, it is the proper employment of our intellectual faculties, to be conversant about God ; to make enquiry, after him, and to find him out in all his ways and works ; to conceive aright of him, and then to resemble and imitate him, Religion is an obligation upon us to God. The first motion of religion is to understand what is true of God; and the second is, to express it in our lives and to copy it out in our works : the former is our wisdom, and the latter is our goodness.. In these two consists the health and pulchritude of our minds : for health to the body is not more than virtue is unto the mind. A depraved, vitious mind is as really the sickness and deformity thereof, as any foul and loathfome disease is unto the body. And as really as these tend to the death and dissolution of the. body ; so the vices of the mind tend to the separation of God and the soul. If therefore it be our care to rid ourselves of bodily diseases; much more, it becomes us to look after the cure of our souls.

4. And lastly, the danger if we do not take care; for in this state of probation, exercise and trial there are many things that are matter of temptation to us, and are intended for the exercise of our virtue : and in the course of providence God permits them, partly to awaken us to diligence and confideration ; and partly to make us to betake ourselves to., him for protection, guidance, and direction. And then gain or loss is according as we approve ourselves unto. him.

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