תמונות בעמוד

« vation.” Thou haft Cause to doubt, because thou never didft doubt; and yet more, because thou haft been so careless in thy Confidence. What do thy Expressions discover, but a wilful Neglect of thy own Salvation? As a Ship-Mafter that should let his Vefsel alone, and say, “ I will venture it among the “ Rocks, and Waves, and Winds; I will trust God so with it; it will speed as well as other Veffels." What horrible Abuse of God is this, to pretend to trust God, to cloak their own wilful Negligence! If thou didit really trust God, thou would also be ruled by him, and trust him in his own appointed Way. He requires thee to give Diligence to make thy Calling and Election fure(a), and so to trust him. He hath marked thee out a Way in Scripture, by which thou art charged to search and try thyself, and mayst arrive at Certainty. "Were he not a foolish Traveller, that would hold on his Way, when he does not know whether he be right or wrong; and say, “ I " hope I am right; I will go on, and trust God?" Art not thou guilty of this Folly in thy Travels to Eternity? Not considering that a little serious Enquiry, whether thy Way be right, might fave thee a great deal of Labour, which thou bestowest in vain, and must undo again, or else thou wilt miss of Sale "vation, and undo thyself.

$ 2. How canst thou think or speak of the Great God without Terror, as long as thou art uncertain whether He be thy Father, or thy Enemy, and knoweft not but all his Perfections may be employed against thee? Or of ejus Christ, when thou knoweft not whether his Blood hath purged thy Soul; whether He will cindemn, or acquit thee in Judgment; nor whether He be the Foundation of thy Happiness, or a Stone of Stumbling, to break thee, and grind thee to

Powder ? (2) 2 Pet. i, 10.

Powder? How canst thou open the Bible, and read a Chapter, but it should terrify thee? Methinks every Leaf should be to thee as Belshazzar's Writing on the Wall

, except only that which draws thee to try and reform. If thou readest the Promises, thou knowest not whether they fhall be fulfilled to thee. If thou readest the Threainings, for any Thing thou knowest thou readest thy own Sentence. No wonder thou art an Enemy to plain Preaching, and say of the Mi. nifter, as Abab of the Prophet, I hate him, for he dyth not prophesy Good concerning me, but Evil. How canit thou without Terror join in Prayer? When thou receivelt the Sacrament, thou knoweft not whether it be thy Bane or Bliss. What Comfort canst thou find in thy Friends, and Honours, and Houses, and Lands, till thou knowest thou hast the Love of God with them, and salt have Res with him when thou leavest them? Offer a Prisoner, before he know his Senitence, either Musick, or Cloaths, or Preferment; what are they to him, till he know he shall escape for his Life? for if he knows he must die the next Day, it will be small Comfort to die rich or honourable. Methinks it ihould be su with thee, til thou knoweit thy'ete, nal Side. When thou liest down to take thy Relt, methinks the Uncertainty of thy Salvation faould keep thee waking, or amaze thee in thy Dicains, and tr: Yuble thy Sleep. Doth it not grieve thee to see the People of God so comfortable in their Way to Glory, when thou hast no good Hope of erer enjoying it thylelf? How canft thou think of thy dying Hour? Thou knoweft it is near, and there is no avoiding it, nor any Medicine found out that can prevent it. If thou shouldit die this Day, (and who "kuous what a Day may bring forth) thou art not cer'tain whellser thou inalt go to Heaven or. Heil. And Can? thou be inerry, will tirou art got out of this


dangerous State? What Shift doft thou make to preserve thy Heart from Horror, when thou rememberest the great Judgment-Day, and everlasting Flames? When thou hearest of it, doft thou not tremble, as Felix? If the Keepers fncok, and became as doad Men, when they saw the Angel come and roll back the Stone from Christ's Sepulchre; how canft thou think of living in Hell with Devils, till thou hast got some wellgrounded Assurance that thou shalt escape it? Thy Bed is very soft, or thy Heart is very hard, if thou canft sleep soundly in this uncertain Case.

§ 3. If this general Uncertainty of the World about their Salvation were remediless, then must it be borne as other unavoidable Miseries.

But, alas! the common Cause is wilful Negligence: Men will not be persuaded to use the Remedy. The great Means to conquer this Uncertainty is' Self-Examination, or the serious and diligent trying of a Man's Heart and State by the Rule of Scripture. Either Men understand not the Nature and Use of this Dutj', or else they will not be at the Pains to try. Go through a Congregation of a thousand Men, and how few of them J. oll you meet with, that ever beftered one Hour in all their Lives in a close Examination of their Title to Heaven? Ask thy own Confcience, Reeder, when was the Time, and where was the Place, that ever thou solemnly tookeft thy Heart to talk, as in the Sight of God, and didft examine it by Scripture, whether it be renewed or not? Whether it be holy or not? Whether it be fet molt on God or the Creatures, on Heaven or Earth? and when didst thou follow on this Examination till thou hadft discovered thy Condition, and pass’d Sentence on thyself accordingly? But because this is a work of fo high Importance, and fo comoionly neglected, I will therefore stew,

that it is poffible by trying to come to a Certainty ;

what hinders Men from trying and knowing their State;then offer Motives to examine ; and Directions; -together with forne Marks out of Scripture, by which you may try, and certainly know, whether you are the People of God or not.

$ 4. (1) Scripture Ahews, that Certainty of Salvation may be attained, and ought to be labsured for: When it tells us so frequently, that the Saints before us have known their Justification and future Salvation: When it declares, that whosoever believeth in Chrift shall not perish, but have everlasting Life; which it would be in vain to declare, if we cannot know ourselves to be Believers or not: When it makes such a wide Difference between the Children of God, and the Children of the Devil: When it bids us give Diligence to make our Calling and Election fure; and earnestly urges us to examine, prove, know our own felves, whether we be in the Faith, and whether Jesus Christ be in us, except we be Reprobates : Also when its Precepts require us to rejoice always, to call God our Father, to live in his Praises, to love Christ's Appearing, to wish that he may come quickly, and to comfort ourselves with the Mention of it But who can do any of these heartily, that is not in fome Measure sure that he is the Child of God?

$ 5. (2) Among the many Hinderances which keep Men from Self-Examination, we cannot doubt but Satan will do bis Part. If all the Power he hath, or all the Means and Instruments he can employ, can do it, he will be sure above all Duties to keep you from this. He is loth the Godly should have that Joy, Assurance, and Advantage against Corruption, which the faithful Performance of Self Examination would procure them.

them. As for the Ungodly, he knows if they should once earnestly examine; they would find out his Deceits, and their own Danger, and so H


be very likely to escape bim. How could he get fo many Millions to Hell willingly, if they knew they were going thither! And how could they avoid knowing it, if they did but thoroughly try; having fuch a dear Light and fure Rule in the Scripture to discover it? If the Snare be not hid, the Bird will escape it. Satan knows how to angle for Souls better than to fhew them the Hook and Line, or fright them away with a Noile, or with his own Appearance. Therefoie he labours to keep them from a searching Ministry; or to keep the Minister from helping them to search; or to take off the Edge of the Word, that it may not pierce and divide; or to turn away their Thoughts; or to posl:ss them with Prejudice: Saan know's when the Minister hath provided a searching Sermon, fitted to the State and Neceflity of an 1'er; and therefore he will keep him away that Day, it be poffible; or cast him into a Sleep; or

2way the Word by the Caies arid Talk of the Would;

for fome ley prevent its Operation. $ 6. * Another great Hirderance to Seif. Examination arijës frem wicked Min. Their Examples: their merry Company and Discourse; their continually inhitis on worldly Concerns; their Railery and Scofis at godly Pe:[cns; also their Perfuafion's, Alluremenis, ard Torcats, are each of thon: exceeding great Temp. tations to Security. God doth scarce ever open the Eyes of a poor Sinner, to fee that his Way is wintig bur prelenily there is a Muline of Satan's Art ready to deceive and lett'e him again in the quiet Polo feffion of his former Mafter.

" Dahat, ther, “ do you make a Doubt of your Salvation, who have “ lived fo well, and done no Body any Harry? “ God is merciful, and if such as you ila'l not be 66 fared, God help a great mary! " think of all your Fore-finisi And what will

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