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and none are more forward than they to set on Persecution against all that differ from them.
(2.) Particularly, it is observable, that they spend their Zeal in some little Things, which they lay great Stress upon; such as the being over zealous, either for or against fome Rites, and Ceremonies, and Modes, and Forms of Confeffions of Faith, for which they contend much more earnestly, than for the true Sense and Substance of the most substantial Articles of the Creed, or Duties of Life..
(3.) They commonly put on a great Shew of Devotion, Fafting, Prayer, and external Mortification, four Looks, demure Countenances, à mortified Gate and Aspects and though there is but little Seriousness in their Hearts, they make a greater Stew of Devotion than they who have ever so much fincere Piety : For fincere Piety is contented with God's Eye, and doth not seek to make an Oftentation before Men.
(4.) It is a Part of the Sheeps Clothing, and one of the best and decenteft Parts of it, that they who put it on, do carefully abstain from all publick scandalous Vices, and exclaim mightily against them. The Vices which they are most guilty of are, secret Pride, Covetoulness, Censoriousness, Malice, secret Luft, Anger, Revenge, fiery Zeal, and Persecution, and such like, which answer their carnal and worldly Ends, without exposing them to the common ill Opinion of the World: So that it is none but such as look very narrowly into their Spirit and Temper, and are very skilful in discerning, can find them out.
(5.) They commonly pretend to much greater Degrees of Familiarity with God; nay, stick not often to lay Claim to immediate Inspirations; and under Pretence of them, carry on their wicked Projects. This requires little more than great Pride and Assurance; and it has such astonishing Effects among the ignorant, vulgar Sort of People, that if there were no more but this, it would be sure to gain them a great following; which is likewise very agreeable to their Spirit: For,
(6.) They are commonly very pragmatical, bold Censurers of Governors and Governments, mighty Sowers of Discord and Divisions; they love to head Parties, and to be admired, courted, respected, and feared upon that Account, and to carry a great Stroke and Management in the Places where they live, all which are taking, popular Arts; whereas Men of true Piety, love to make no Noise, and dutifully to honour Government, and to live under it quiet and peaceable Lives in all Godliness and Honesty.
(7:) Lastly, The Religion of these Men confifts much more in religious Talk, than in an humble sanctifying of God in their Hearts, and in walking according to his holy Precepts in their Lives. For their Ends in Religion, are not the serving of God, and the saving of their own Souls ; but the carrying on of their worldly Projects, for which they find this Pretence of Religion is a very effectual Instrument.
I should now, in the next Place, have gone on and shewed you the internal bad Designs of these false Prophets, how inwardly they are ravening Wolves, and what Mischief they commonly work in Church and State ; and likewise have
shewed you, what Caution we ought to use against them, that we be not leavened with their Principles, or Practices: But being loth to trespass upon your Patience, I shall refer these Heads of Discourse to the next Opportunity; praying God to bless what ye have heard, and to give you a right Understanding in all Things.
Now to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, let us render, as is due, all Praise, Honour, and Glory, Might, Power, and Dominion, for ever and ever. Amen.
Mat. VII. 15.
'Beware of false Prophets, which come to you in Sheeps clothing, but inwardly they are ravening Wolves.
y. 16. Te shall know them by their Fruits: do Men gather Grapes of Thorns, or Figs of Thistlesf
V. 17. Even so every good Tree bringeth forth good Fruit: but a corrupt Tree bringeth forth evil Fruit.
y. 18. A good Tree cannot bring forth evil Fruit: neither can a corrupt Tree bring forth good Fruit.
y. 19. Every Tree that bringeth not forth good Fruit, is hewn down, and cast into the Fire.
V. 20. Wherefore by their Fruits ye stall know them.
The Second Sermon on this Text.
IOB SERVED to you in a former Discourse on these Words, that they are a Preservative against the Danger of false Teachers, who, our Saviour foresaw, would rise up, and by fheir corrupt Doctrine lead away People from
the Obedience of those holy Precepts which he had delivered. In the Words I observed these three Things.
1. A Caution against false Prophets or Teachers, because of their fallacious Character; which is this, that outwardly indeed they make great Pretensions to Piety, but inwardly they are bitter Enemies to it, and to all those who sincerely practise it, their Doctrines tending to the Dea struction thereof.
2. A Mark given how we may discern false Prophets or Teachers from true, by their Fruits ; that is, by the Fruits of their Doctrine, and Practice on themselves and others.
3 An Illustration of this Mark from the Simi. litude of Vines and Fruit-trees, which in this resemble good and bad Doctrine, that each of them brings forth Fruit according to its Kind, and likewise that each of them shall be treated well or ill, according to the Goodness or Badness of their Fruit. ..
I begin with the first of these, the Caution against falfe Prophets or Teachers; Beware of false Prophets, which come to you in Sheeps Cloth. ing, but inwardly they are ravening Wolves. For explaining and recommending of which Caution, I proposed to do these four Things.
1. To shew what is meant by false Pro
2. To consider the external Formality of their Sheeps Clothing
3. Their internal bad Designs.