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5. If you should continue your mistakes till death, there will be no time after to correct them for your recovery. Mistake now, and you are ruined for ever. Men think, to see a man die quietly or comfortably, is to see him die happily; but if his comfort proceed from this mistake of his condition, it is the most unhappy case and pitiful sight in the world. To livé mistaken, in such a case, is lamentable; but, to die mistaken, is desperate.

Seeing then that the case is so dangerous, what wise man would not follow the search of his heart, both night and day, till he were assured of his safety? :. Sect. V. 4. Consider how small the labour of this duty is, in comparison of the sorrow which followeth its neglect. A few hours' or days' work, if it be closely followed, and with good direction, may do much to resolve the question. There is no such trouble in searching our hearts, nor any such danger as may deter men from it. What harm can it do to you to try or to know? It will take no very long time, or if it did, yet you have your time given you for that end. One hour so spent, will comfort you more than many otherwise. If you cannot have while to make sure of heaven, how can you have while to eat, or drink, or live? You can endure to follow your callings at plough, and cart, and shop; to toil and sweat from day to day, and year to year, in the hardest labours : and cannot you endure to spend a little time in inquiring what shall be your everlasting state? What a deal of sorrow and after-complaining might this small labour prevent! How many miles' travel, besides the vexation, may a traveller save by inquiring of the way! Why, what a sad case are you in, while you live in such uncertainty! You can have no true comfort in any thing you see, or hear, or possess ; you are not sure to be an hour out of hell, and if you come thither, you will do nothing but bewail the folly of this neglect : no excuse will then pervert justice, or quiet your conscience. If you say, “I little thought of this day and place;? God and conscience may reply, "Why didst thou not think of it? Wast thou not warned? Hadst thou not time? Therefore must thou perish, because thou wouldst not think of it. As the commander answered his soldier, in Plutarch, when he said, “Non volens erravi,” “ I erred against my will;" he beat him, and replied, “Non volens pænas dato,“Thou shalt be punished also against thy will.”

Sect. VI. 5. Thou canst scarce do Satan a greater pleasure,

nor thyself a greater injury. It is the main scope of the devil, in all his temptations, to deceive thee, and keep thee ignorant of thy danger till thou feel the everlasting flames upon thy soul; and wilt thou join with him to deceive thyself? If it were not by this deceiving thee, he could not destroy thee: and if thou do this for him, thou dost the greatest part of his work, and art the ehief destroyer and devil to thyself. And hath he deserved so well of thee, and thyself so ill, that thou shouldest assist him in such a design as thy damnation ? To deceive another is a grievous sin, and such as perhaps thou wouldst scórn to be charged with: and yet thou thinkest it nothing to deceive thyself. Saith Solomon, “ As a madman who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, so is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?” (Prov. xxvi. 18, 19.) Surely, then, he that maketh but a sport, or a matter of nothing, to deceive his own soul, may well be thought a madman, casting firebrands and death at himself. “ If any man think himself to be something when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself,” saith Paul. (Gal. vi. 3.) Certainly, among all the multitudes that perish, this is the commonest cause of their undoing, that they would not be brought to try their state in time. And is it not pity to think that so many thousands are merrily travelling to destruction, and do not know it, and all for want of this diligent search?

Sect. VII. 6. The time is near when God will search you, and that will be another kind of trial than this. If it be but in this life, by the fiery trial of affliction, it will make you wish again and again that you had spared God that work, and yourselves the sorrow; and that you had tried and judged yourselves, that so you might have escaped the trial and judgment of God, (1 Cor. xi. 30, 31.) He will examine you, then, as officers do offenders, with a word and a blow: and as they would have done by Paul, examine him by scourging. (Acts xxii. 24.) It was a terrible voice to Adam, when God called to him, “ Adam, where art thou? Hast thou eaten,” &c.? And to Cain, when God asked him, “ Where is thy brother?” To have demanded this of himself had been easier. Men think God mindeth their

. y. Quid profuerit reo, si sociis et circumstantibus suam innocentiam proba. verit, cum eum judex criminis convictum teneat ? Quamobrem nos semper ad Christi tribunal sistamus; ea nos probemus, et operam demus ut nos ipsos pertentemus penitus, ne ut aliis, sic vobis imponamus.- Cart. Harmon. vol. ii. p. 231,

state and ways no more than they do their own. “ They consider not in their hearts” (saith the Lord)" that I remember all their wickedness; now their own doings have beset them about, they are before my face.” (Hos. vii. 2.). Oh, what a happy preparation would it be to that last and great trial, if men had but thoroughly tried themselves, and made sure work beforehand! When a man doth but soberly and believingly think of that day, especially when he shall see the judgment-seat, what a joyful preparation is it, if he can truly say, 'I know the sentence shall pass on my side: I have examined myself by the same law of Christ which now must judge me, and I have found that I am quit from all my guilt, and am a justified person in law already.' Oh, sirs, if you knew but the comfort of such a preparation, you would fall close to the work of self-examining yet before you slept!

7. Lastly, I desire thee to consider what would be the sweet effects of this examining. If thou be upright and godly, it will lead thee straight towards assurance of God's love. If thou be not, though it will trouble thee at the present, yet doth it tend to thy happiness, and will lead thee to assurance of that happiness. .

1. The very knowledge itself is naturally desirable. Every man would fain know things to come, especially concerning themselves. If there were a book written which would tell every man his destiny, what shall befall him to his last breath, how desirous would people be to procure it and read it? How did Nebuchadnezzar's thoughts run on things that after should come to pass, and he worshipped Daniel, and offered oblations to him, because he foretold them! When Christ had told his disciples “ that one of them should betray him," how desirous are they to know who it was, though it were a matter of sorrow ! How busily do they inquire when Christ's predictions should come to pass, and what were the signs of his coming! With what gladness doth the Samaritan woman run into the city, saying, 'Come and see a man that hath told me all that ever I did,' though he told her of her faults! When Ahaziah lay sick, how desirous was he to know whether he should live or die! Daniel is called a man greatly beloved, therefore God would reveal to him things that long after must come to pass. And is it so desirable a thing to hear prophecies, and to know what

2 Dan. ii. 29, 46, 47; Matt. xxvi.; Ibid. xxiv; John iv. 29 ; 2 Kings i, 2; Dan. ix. 23, and x, Il, 19.

shall befall us hereafter? And is it not then most especially to know what shall befall our souls; and what place and state we must be in for ever? Why, this you may know, if you will but faithfully try.

2. But the comforts of that certainty of salvation, which this trial doth conduce toward, are yet for greater. If ever God bestow this blessing of assurance on thee, thou wilt account thyself the happiest man on earth, and feel that it is not a notional or empty mercy. For, .

1. What sweet thoughts wilt thou have of God! All that greatness, and jealousy, and justice, which is the terror of others, will be matter of encouragement and joy to thee. As the son of a king doth rejoice in his father's magnificence and power, which is the awe of subjects, and terror of rebels; when the thunder doth roar, and the lightning flash, and the earth quake, and the signs of dreadful omnipotency do appear, thou canst say, 'All this is the effect of my Father's power.

2. How sweet may every thought of Christ, and the blood which he hath shed, and the benefits he hath procured, be unto thee who hast got this assurance! Then will the name of a Saviour be a sweet name; and the thoughts of his gentle and loving nature, and of the gracious design which he hath carried on for our salvation, will be pleasing thoughts. Then will it do thee good to view his wounds by the eye of faith, and to put thy fingers, as it were, into his side; when thou canst call him, as Thomas did, "My Lord and my God.”

3. Every passage, also, in the word will then afford thee comfort. How sweet will be the promises when thou art sure they are thy own! The Gospel will then be glad tidings indeed. The very threatenings will occasion thy comfort, to remember that thou hast escaped them. Then wilt thou cry, with David, “O how I love thy law! it is sweeter than honey, more precious than gold,” &c.; and with Luther,' that thou wilt “not take all the world for one leaf of the Bible.” When thou wast in thy sin, this book was to thee as Micaiah to Ahal, “ It never spoke good of thee, but evil;" and therefore, no wonder if then thou didst hate it; but now it is the charter of thy everlasting rest, how welcome will it be to thee; and, how beautiful the very feet of those that bring it! (Rom. X. 15.)

4. What boldness and comfort then mayst thou have in prayer, when thou canst say “ Our Father” in full assurance; and knowest that thou art welcome and accepted through Christ; state and ways no more than they do their own. “ They consider not in their hearts” (saith the Lord) “ that I remember all their wickedness; now their own doings have beset them about, they are before my face.” (Hos. vii. 2.). Oh, what a happy preparation would it be to that last and great trial, if men had but thoroughly tried themselves, and made sure work beforehand! When a man doth but soberly and believingly think of that day, especially when he shall see the judgment-seat, what a joyful preparation is it, if he can truly say, 'I know the sentence shall pass on my side: I have examined myself by the same law of Christ which now must judge me, and I have found that I am quit from all my guilt, and am a justified person in law already' Oh, sirs, if you knew but the comfort of such a preparation, you would fall close to the work of self-examining yet before you slept!

7. Lastly, I desire thee to consider what would be the sweet effects of this examining. If thou be upright and godly, it will lead thee straight towards assurance of God's love. If thou be not, though it will trouble thee at the present, yet doth it tend to thy happiness, and will lead thee to assurance of that happiness.

1. The very knowledge itself is naturally desirable. Every man would fain know things to come, especially concerning themselves. If there were a book written which would tell every man his destiny, what shall befall him to his last breath, how desirous would people be to procure it and read it? How did Nebuchadnezzar's thoughts run on things that after should come to pass, and he worshipped Daniel, and offered oblations to him, because he foretold them! When Christ had told his disciples “ that one of them should betray him,” how desirous are they to know who it was, though it were a matter of sorrow ! How busily do they inquire when Christ's predictions should come to pass, and what were the signs of his coming! With what gladness doth the Samaritan woman run into the city, saying, “Come and see a man that hath told me all that ever I did,' though he told her of her faults! When Ahaziah lay sick, how desirous was he to know whether he should live or die ! Daniel is called a man greatly beloved, therefore God would reveal to him things that long after must come to pass. And is it so desirable a thing to hear prophecies, and to know what

z Dan. ii. 29, 46, 47; Matt. xxvi. ; Ibid. xxiv; John iv. 29 ; 2 Kings i, 2; Dan. ix. 23, and x, 11, 19.

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