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themselves, to think humbly of their own gifts and graces, and to take it well of others that think so too, to love them that have low thoughts of them, as well as those that have high, to bear easily the injuries or undervaluing words of others against them, to lay all that they have at the feet of Christ, and to prefer his service and favour before all earthly objects, to prepare to die, and willingly to leave all, to go to be with Christ, which is far better. The outside hypocrites will never be persuaded to these duties._Of these hypocrites there are two notable sorts. First, The superficial opinionative hypocrite. Secondly, The worldly hypocrite.
1. The superficial opinionative hypocrite entertains the doctrine of the gospel with complacency, but it enters only into the surface of his soul; he never gives the seed any depth of earth. He changes his opinion, and thereupon engages for religion, as the right way, and sides with it as a party ; but it never melts and new moulds his heart, nor sets up Christ there in full power and authority; but as his religion lies chiefly in his opinions, so he usually runs from opinion to opinion, and is carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;" for, as his religion is but opinion, so is his study, and conference, and chief business, all about opinion. You will never hear, in private conference, any humble and hearty bewailings of his soul's imperfections, or any heart-bleeding acknowledgments of his unkindnesses to Christ, or any pantings and longings after him, from this man; but that he is of such a judgment, or of such a religion, or party, or society, or a member of such a church. Herein he gathers his greatest comforts; but of the inward and spiritual labours of a Christian, he is igno rant.
2. The worldly hypocrite, who chokes the doctrine of the gospel with the thorns of worldly cares and desires, shows a similar temper. His judgment is convinced that he must be religious, or he cannot be saved ; and therefore he reads, and hears, and prays, and forsakes his former company and courses; but because his belief of the gospel doctrine is wavering, ne resolves to keep his hold of present things, and yet to be religious, that so he may have heaven, when he can keep the world no longer, thinking it wisdom to have two strings to his bow, lest one should break. His judgment may say, God is the chief good, but his heart and affections never said so; these look upon God as a kind of strange and disproportionate happiness, to be tolerated rather than the flames of hell, but not desired before the felicity of earth. In a word, the world has more of his affections than God, and therefore is his god; his covetousness is idolatry. This he might easily know and feel, if he would judge impartially, and were but faithful to himself. O how faint is he in secret prayer ! how superficial in self-examination and meditation ! how feeble in heart-watchings, and humbling, mortifying endeavours ! how cold and careless in loving and walking with God, rejoicing in him, or desiring after him!
IV. This subject reproves even the godly themselves, for being too indolent in seeking their everlasting rest. Alas! what a disproportion is there between our light and our heat, our professions and our practice ! Who makes that haste, as if it were for heaven! How still we stand! How idly we work! How we talk, and jest, and trifle away our time! How deceitfully we do the work of God! How we hear as if we heard not; and pray, as if we prayed not; and confer, and examine, and meditate, and reprove sin, as if we did it not; and use the ordinances, as if we used them not; and enjoy Christ, as if we enjoyed him not! Who that stood by us, and heard us pray in public or private, would think that we were praying for no less than everlasting glory! Should heaven be sought no more earnestly than this ? Methinks there is none of us all in good earnest for our souls: we do but trifle with the work of God, and with Christ. We are dying, and yet we consider it not; we are at the door of eternal happiness or misery, and yet we perceive it not. Death knocks, and we hear not: Christ calls, and we
hear not; God cries to us, “ To-day, if ye will hear my voice, harden not your hearts : Work while it is day, for the night cometh when no man can work. Now labour for your lives, now lay out all your strength and time," and yet we stir no more than if we were half asleep. What haste do death and judgment make! How fast do they come on! The spur of God is in our side; we bleed, we groan, and yet we mend not our pace. The rod of God is on our backs; it speaks to the quick, and yet we stir no faster than before. Lord, what a senseless, sottish, earthly thing is'a hard heart! Where is the man that is serious in his christianity ? Methinks men do every where make but a trifle of their eternal state.
Do the magistrates among us seriously perform their portion of the work? Are they zealous for God ? Do they build up his house ? Are they tender of his honour? Do they study how to do the utmost they can for God, improve their power, wealth, and honour, for the greatest advantage to the kingdom of Christ, as men that must shortly give an account of their stewardship? Or do they build their own houses, and seek their own advancement, and contest for their own honours, and do no more for Christ than consists with their worldly interest !
And how few are those ministers who are entirely devoted to their work! Nay, how mightily, in this respect, do the very best fail! Do we cry out against men's disobedience to the gospel, in the evidence and power of the Spirit, and by force pull them out of this fire? Do we persuade our people as those should do that know the terrors of the Lord ? Do we press Christ, and regeneration, and faith, and holiness, as men that indeed believe that without these they shall never see life? Do our bowels yearn over the ignorant, the careless, the obstinate, the unbelieving multi tude, when we think they must be eternally damned, if they be not seasonably recovered ? When we look our dear people in the faces, do our hearts melt over them; do we, like Paul, tell them, even weeping, of their fleshly and earthly dispositions; and teach them
publicly, and from house to house, night and day with tears? And do we entreat them, as if it were indeed for their lives and salvation, that when we speak of the joys and miseries of another world, they may see us affected accordingly, and perceive that we do in deed mean as we speak? Or rather, do we not study words and neat expressions, that we may approve ourselves able men in the judgment of critical hearers; and speak so formally and heartlessly of eternity, that our people can scarcely think that we believe ourselves ? Seldom do we adapt our sermons, either in matter or manner to the great end,our people's salvation; but we sacrifice our studies to our own credit, or our people's content, or some such base inferior end. How gently do we handle those sins which will handle so cruelly our people's souls! How tenderly do we deal with their careless hearts, not speaking to them as to men that must be awakened or damned ! We tell them of heaven and hell in such a sleepy tone, and slight way, that we often preach our people asleep with those truths which one would think would rather endanger the driving of some beside themselves, if they were faithfully delivered.
And are the people any way more serious than magistrates and ministers ? How can it be expected! Reader, look but to thyself, and resolve the question. Ask thy conscience, and suffer it to tell the truth, Hast thou set eternal rest before thine eyes, as the great business which thou hast to attend to in this world ? Hast thou studied, and cared, and watched, and laboured, lest any should take thy crown? Hast thou made haste lest thou shouldst come too late, and die before the work be done? Hast thou pressed on, through crowds of opposition, “toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, forgetting the things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before ?” When you have set your hand to the work of God, have you done it with all your might? Can conscience witness your secret cries, and groans, and tears ? families witness that you have taught them the fear
of the Lord, and warned them with all earnestness and unweariedness to remember God and their souls, and to provide for everlasting life? Can your ministers witness that they have heard you cry out, “ What shall we do to be saved ?" and that you have followed them with complaints against your corruptions, and with earnest inquiries after the Lord ? neighbours around you witness, that you are always learning of them that are able to instruct you; and that you plainly and honestly reprove the ungodly, and take pains for the saving of their souls ? Let all these witnesses judge this day between God and you, whether you are in good earnest about the things which belong to your everlasting peace.
SECTION II. An Exhortation to Diligence in Seeking the Hea
venly Rest. I HOPE, reader, thou art, by this time, somewhat sensible what a desperate thing it is to trifle about our eternal rest, and how deeply thou hast been guilty of this sin. And I hope also, that thou darest not now suffer this conviction to die; but art resolved to be another man for the time to come. What sayest thou? Is this thy resolution? If thou wert sick of some desperate disease, and the physician should tell thee, “ If you will observe but one thing, I doubt not to cure you," wouldst thou not observe it? Why, if thou wilt observe but this one thing for thy soul, I make no doubt of thy salvation. If thou wilt now but shake off thy sloth, and employ all thy strength, and ply the work of God unweariedly, and be a Christian in good earnest, I know not what can hinder thy happiness. As far as thou art gone from God, if thou wouldst but now return and seek him with all thy heart, no doubt but thou shalt find him. And that thou mayest see I urge thee not without cause, I will here add some considerations to move thee, and to