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2 Pet. 2.1. that bring (wift destruction. Truth in the mind preserveth an awe of God in the beart; But falfe Doctrines blind the mind, harden the heart, deprave the conversation, destroy the Churches peace, and provoke che Lord to have a controversie with a people where they are tolerated, Rev. 2.14,15,20.
And we should be the more watchful over our selves in this particular, because Errours are so agreeable to corrupt Nature ; (and Conscience does usually lesse regrec a man for Errour, than for unholinesse) and many times also they sute 4 corrupt interest (namely, profit and worldly advantage) and then people are in great danger to be caught by them.
To keep thee therefore from Errow take these few Directions.
1. Labour to be well-grounded in the truch Let the foundation be laid sure, else the building with every ruffling wind, will be apt to toccer. Ungrounded Christians who never understood the true grounds of che Religion they have taken up, and how it is built on the Scriptures, when they meet with Arguments against it, which they never heard of before, and which they (through their unskilfulness)cannot answer; they presently yield to errour ; and think, because they cannot answer them, therefore no body else can. But if thou wouldIt not be carried away with every wind of Doctrine, Labour rightly to understand
the crue grounds of Christian Religion: And to this end study the Scriptures, with hamility, and be much in prayer, that God would guide thee by his holy Spirit into all saving cruth, and keep chee from falling into errour. And remember, that what has been commonly received by the people of God and embraced and practised by the Saints in all ages. is not lightly to be rejected and deferted. Can any racional man think, God would leave the generality of his people to errour and seduction of mind ? Consider with thy self chere: fore whether it be not safer to follow the footsteps of the flock of Christ, than to be led away by pretenders to new light; the Scripture having given so many cautions to beware of seduces, 2 Pet. 3. 17,18.
2. Rest not in a bare knowledge of the truth, but reduce thy knowledge into practise. Be fincere in the Religion chou professeft, and let the truths of God, like leaven, season chy mind, will, and affections, and have a powerful influence on thy life. When men are in love with Gospel. truths, for the goudnesse, sweecnefse and benefic they taft in chem, they will labour co hold them faft. Those chac have any experience in their own hearts of the comfort and efficacy of the Doctrines of Repentance, Faith in Christ, and daily watchfulneß, will not easily throw them off, and exchange them for new opinions: But they thac care not to practise the great and necessary
truths of the Gospel, no wonder if they prove Apoftates, and fall off from them. Labour therefore co pra&tise the truths chou professeft, holding the mystery of Faich in a pure Conscience, 1 Tim.3.9. The more thou growest in Grace, the more thou shalt be kepc from falling into the errour of the wicked, Heb.13.9. He chat doth what he knowes of the mill of God, shall know more of it, Fohn 7.17. If ye know these things, faith our Saviour, happy, are ye if ye do them, Fohn 13,17. Happineffe doch noc lie jo che meer knowing or afsenting to che principles of Christian Religion, buc in living according co chem, and expressing the power and efficacy of them in our lives. For a man to be of an orthodox judgment, and an hæretical life; an orthodox Swearer, an orthodox drunkard, a prophame perfon, and yet Zealons against Herecicks; an antiRomian in practise, and yet a declamer against che opinions of the Ancinomians, O how sadly do chese things found! A right belief should have a powerful influence on the heart and life: Buc chey whose hearts are rotten and deceitfull under truth, 'cis no wonder if they be deceived by errour. Believe ic, if the hearc be corrupt and love fin, it will casily encline a man co entertain such corrupt principles as will give liberty to fin. Men would fain have that true which is most accomodate to their corrupt interests. Take heed therefore of harbouring any secret loft or fin in
chy heart. 'Tis fin provokes God to give men up to errour; God does many times out of a fecret judgment suffer those to fall into erreur, who held the truth in unrighteousnese. They who are not
found in the fear of God, foon prove unfound in the Faith of God. Hymeneus and Alexander first put away, a good conscience, and then made shipwrack of Faith, I Tim.1.19, 20. The women that were led away by seducers, 2 Tim.3.6. were such as were laden with divers lufts. What solomon cherefore saics of a strange woman, may
be applied to a strange Doctrine; whoso pleafeth God, shall escape from her, but she finner shall be taken by ber, Ecclef.7.26.
3. Take heed of pride, conceitednesse, confidence in thine own judgment and underftanding. The humble God will teach, but bis refifts the proud, 1 Pet.5.5. Pride usually 'cis the mother of Hercfies : 'Twas of old t be condemnation of the Devil, 1 Tim.3.6. the ruine of our first Parents; and therefore no wonder if it ruine so many soules in these daies. Proud persons may Carry, it high for a time, buc commonly God suffers them at last to fall into the ditch of erroir, or prophanenesse. And. 'cis just it should be fo; that when the understanding of these high-flown enes returnes unto them (if God have luch a mercy in store for them) they may with Nebuchadnezzar, see their folly, and bleß the most High.
4. Beware of the itch of noveltie and affecting new Dectrines. He is half gone into errour, that vainly covers after 'novelties, and listens after every new.fangled opinion. New Doctrines like new fashions, do usually take with unstable mirds. We read of itching eares, 2 Tim.4.3, and fol. lowing after another Gospel, Gal.1.6. Buc Chrift cels us but of one way to Heaven, and that is by himfelf; I am the way, the truth, and the life, Fohn 14.6. There is no new way thither. True Repentance, Faith in Christ, and sincere obedience, this is the good old way that we must walk in, if we incend to come chicher.
5. Expose not thy self to the temptations of seducers. ''ris in vain for any to pray to God to keep them from the infection of errour, if they wilfully (against the exprefle Word of God) and without any just warrant and call, run into the company of seducers, and read cheir Books,
To beware of them, Macch. 7.15.
To avoid them, Rom. 16.17.
If tbey come to us, not to receive
them, or bid them God.speed, or encourage them in cheir way,
2 ep. Fob.io. Bat possibly fome will say, Are we noc