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• * vation." Thou haft Cause to doubt, because thou never didst doubt; and yet more, because thou hast been so careless in thy Considence. What do thy Expressions discover, but a wilsul Neglect of thy own Salvation? As a Ship.Master that should let his Vessel alone, and fay, " I will venture it among the « Rocks, and Waves, and Winds; I will trust God "with it; it will speed as well as other Vessels." What horrible Abuse of God is this, to pretend to trust God, to cloak their own wilsul Negligences If thou didst really trust God, thou wouldst also be ruled by him, and trust him in his own appointed Way. He requires thee lv give Diligence to make th) Calling and Eldlion Jure (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 fay, " I *' hope 1 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 Salvation, 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 knowest not but all his Persections may fce employed tigainst'thee? Or of Jesus Cbrijft when thou knowest not whether his Blood hath purged thy Soul; whether He will condemn, or acquit thee in Judgment; nor whether He he the P'oundation of thy Happiness, or a Stone of Stumbling, to break thee, and grind thee to
M i Pet. i. jo.
Powder? How canst thou open the Bible, and read a Chapter, but it should terrify thee? Methinks eveiy Leas should be to thee as Bel/hazzar's Writing on the Wall, except only that which draws thee to try and resorm. If thou readest the Promises, thou knowest not whether they (hall be fulfilled to thee. If thou readest the Threatnings, sor any Thing thou knowest thou readest thy own Sentence. No Wonder thou art an Enemy to plain Preaching, and say of the Minister, as Abab of the Prophet, I hate him, for he d;th n» prophesy Good concerning me, but Evil. How canst thou without Terror join in Prayer? When thou receives! the Sacrament, thou knowest not whether it be thy Bane or Bliss. What Comsort canst thou sind in thy Friend:, and Honours, and Houses, and Lands, till thon knowest thou hast the Love of God with them, and shalt have Rest with him when thiouleavest them? Offer a Prisoner, besore he know "his Sentence, either Mustek, or Cloaths, or Preserment; what are they to him, till he know he shall escape sor his Lise? sor if he knows he must die the next Day, it will be small Comsort to die rich or honourable. Methinks it should be so with thee, ti'.lthou knowest thyete. rial S;a e. When thou liest down to take thy Reft, methinks the Uncertainty of thy Salvation should keep thee waking, or amaze thee in thy Dieair.s, and trouble thy Sleep. Doth it not grieve thee to see the People of God so comsortable in their Way to Glory, when thou hast no good Hope of ever enjoying i: thyself? How canst ihou think of thy dying Hcur? Thou knowest it is near, and there is no avoiding it, nor any Medicine sound out that can prevent it. If thou shoukilr die this Day, (and who knives what a Day may bring forth) thou art not certain whetlJer thou (halt go to Heaven or Hell. 'And thou be merry, ull thou ait got out of this
.dangerous State? What Shift dost thou make to pre. . serve thy Heart from Horror, when thou rememberest the great fudgment.Day, and everlasting Flavin? When thou nearest of it, dost thou not tremble, as Felix? If the Keepers fivok, and became as dead Mm, when they faw the Ang'l come and roll back the Stone from Cbrijl's Sepulchre; how canst thou think of living in Hell with Devils, till thou hast got some wellgrounded Assurance that thou shalt escape it? Tby Bed is very soft, or thy Heart is very hard, if thou canst steep 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 wilsul Negligence., Men will not be persuaded to use the Remedy. The great . Means to conquer this Uncertainty is Sclf.Examiva. tion, or the serious and diligent trying of a Mans Heait and State by the Rule of Scripture. \ Either Men understand not the Nature and Use of this Duty, or else they will not be at the Pains to try. Go through a Congregation of a thousand Men, and how few of them Jlallyau meet with, that ever be/lcwed one Hair in all their Lives in a close Examination of their Title to Heaven'. Ask thy own Conscience, Reader, when was the Time, and where was the place, that ever thou solemnly tookest thy Heart to task, as in the Sight of God, and didst examine it by Scripture, whether it be renewed or not? Whether it be holy or not? Whether it be set most on God or the Creatures, on Heaven or Earth? and when didst thou follow on this .Examination till thou hadst discoveied thy Condition, and pass'd Sentence on thyself accordinglyt But became this is a Work of so high Importance, and so commonly neglected, I will therefore she*, ——that it is l.ojfible by ttying to come to a Certainty . what hinders Men from trying and knowing their
State; then offer Motives to examine; and Di
rtcTms; together with some Marks out of Scripture,
by which you may try, and certainly know, whether you are the People of God or not.
§4. (i) Scripture fiiews, that Certainty of Salvation nay be attained, and ought to be laboured for: When it tells us so frequently, that the Saints besore us have known their Justification and future Salvation: When it declares, that whosoever betieveth in Chrst 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 wr CaWm* and Election sure; and earnestly urges us to examine, prove, know our own /elves, whether we be in the Faith, and whether Jtsm Christ b; in us, except we be Reprobates: Also whai 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 heartilv, that is not in some Measure sure that he is the Child of God?
§5. (2) rfmong the many Flinderances which keep Men from Sef-Examination, we cannot doubt but Satan will do his 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 saithful Persormance of Self Examination would procure them. As sor the Ungodly, he knows if they should once earnestly examine, they would sind out his Deceits, and their own Danger, and so H be be very likely to escape him. How could he get so 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 lucha clear Light and sure Rule in the Scripture to discover it? If the Snare be not hid, the Bird will escape it. Satan knows how to angle sor Souls better than to (hew th--m the Hook and Line, or fright them away with a Noile, or with his own Appearance. Thefefote he labours to keep them from a .searchmg Ministry; or to keep the Minisler from helping them to search; or to take oft the Edge of the Word, that it may not fierce, and divide, or to turn away their Thoughts; or to pofscss them with Prejudice; Satan knowsT when the Minister hath provided a searching Sermon, fitted 10 the State and Necessity of an I!c:i:er; and theresore he will keep him away that Day, if it be poffib'e; or cast him into a Sleep; of seal away the Word by the Cares and Talk of the Wot Id ;/or some Wav prevent its Operation.
& 6 ^Another great Hinderavcc to Self- Examination .arises frtm wicked Mm. Their Examples; their iwrrJr Company and Discourse; their continually insists on worldly Concerns; their Railery and Scoirs at coJlv Persons; also their Persuasion;, Allurements, • Ird Tiueatr, are each of then, exceeding great Temp:tationi to Security. God doth scaice ever open the Eyes of a poor Sinner, to see mat his Way is wrong, bus presently there is a Multitude of Sitm's A"ft*> ready to deceive and settle him again in the quiet loir-session cf his former Master. "What,-' fry. :J". "do you make a Doubt of your Salvation, who toe "lived so well, and dope no Body any Harm. "God is merciful, and if such'As you flail not W « saved, God help a great many! What do.Jj .« thlnk pf all vour- Fore-fcUuis? And wWT*