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“ become of all your Friends and Neighbours that " live as you do? Will they all be damned? Come, come,
if you hearken to these Preachers, they will “ drive you out of your Wits. Are not ail Men. « Sinners? And did not Christ die to save Sinners! “ Never trouble your Head with these Thoughts, " and you shall do well.” Ohow many Thoulands have such Charms kept asleep in Deceit and Security, till Death and Hell have awakened them! The Lord calls to the Sinner, and tells him, The Gate is firait, the Way is narrow, and few find it: Try and examine, give Diligence to make sure. The World cries, Never dsubt, never trouble jourselves with these Thoughts. In this Strait, Sinner, consider, it is Christ, and not your Fore-fathers, or Neighbours, or Friends, that must judge you at laft; and if Christ condemn you, these cannot save you: Therefore common Reason may tell
you, that it is not from the Words of ignorant Men, but from the Word of God, you must fetch your Hopes of Salvation. When Ä ab would enquire among the Multitude of flattering Prophets, it was his Death. They can flatter Men into the Snare, but they cannot tell how to bring them out. Let no Man deceive you with vain Wordi, for because of these Things cometh the IVrath of God upon the Chile dren of Dijobedience; be not ye therefore Partakers with
$ 7. But the greatest Hinderances are in Men's own Hearts.-- - Some are so ignorant, that they know not what Self-Examination is, nor what a Minister means when he persuadech them to try themselves: Qr they know not that there is any Necessity for it; but think every Man is bound to believe that his Sins are pardoned, whether it be true or false, and that it is a great Fault to make any Question of it: Or they
(b) Ephes. 8. 6, 76
not think that Assurance can be attained: Or that there is any great Difference between one Man and another, but that we are all Christians, and therefore need not trouble ourselves any further: Or at least they know not wherein the Difference lies. They have as gross an Idea of Regeneration, as Nicodemus had. Some will not believe, that God will ever make such a Difference betwixt Men in the Life to come, and therefore will not search themselves whe. ther they differ here.-- Some are so stupified, say what we can to them, that they lay it not to Heart, but give us the Hearing, and there's an End. Some are so povijed with Self-Love and Pride, that they will not so much as suspect they are in any Danger. Like a proud Travelman, who scorns the prudent Advice of casting up his Books. As fond Parents will not believe or hear any Evil of their Children.
Some are so guilty, that they dare not try; and yet they dare venture on a more dreadful Trial. Some are
so in Love with Sin, aid s dislike the Way of God, that they dare not try their Ways, left they be forced from the Course they love, to that which they loath. ----Some are so reolud never to change their present State, that they neglect Examination as an useless Thing. Before they will seek a new Way, when they have lived so long, and gone so far, they will put their eternal State to the Venture, come of it what will.--Many Men are jo busy in the World, that they cannot set themselves to the trying their Title to Heaven.Others are so clogged with Slethfulness of Spirit, that they will not be at the Pains of an Hour's Exainination of their own Hearts.
-But the inost common and dangerous Impediment is that falje Faith and Hope, commonly called Presumption, which tears up the Hearts of the greatest Part of the World, and so keeps thein from suspeciing their Danger.
$ 8. And
$ 8. And if a Man should break through all these Hinderances, and set upon the Duty of Self-Examination, yet Assurance is not presently attained. Too many deceive themselves in their Enquiries after it, through one or other of the following Causes.There is such Confusion and Darkness in the Soul of Man, especially of an unregenerate Man, that he can scarcely tell what he doth, or what is in him. As in a House, where nothing is in its proper Place, it will be difficult to find what is wanted; so it is in the Heart where all Things are in Disorder.-Mf Men accustom themselves to be Strangers at Home, and too little observe the Temper and Motions of their own Hearts.
-Many are resolved what to judge before they try. Like a bribed Judge, who examines as if he would judge uprightly, when he is previously resolved which Way the Cause shall go.Men are partial in their own Cuvuse; ready to think their great Sins small, and their small Sins none; their Gifts of Nature to be the Work of Grace, and to say, All these have I kept from my Youth; I am rich, and increased in Goods, and have need of nothing. -Mift Men search but by the Halves. If it will not easily and quickly be done, they are discouraged, and leave off. They try themselves by false Marks and Rules; not knowing wherein the Truth of Christianity doth consist; some looking beyond, and some short of the Scripture Standard.
And frequently they miscarry in this TVork, by, attempting it in their own Sirength. As fome expect the Spirit Mould do it without them, so others attempt it themselves without seeking or expeding the Help of the Spirit. Buth these will certainly miscarry in their Afurance.
$ 9. SOME other Hindrances keep even true Christians from comfortable Certainty. As for Instance; -The IVeaknefs of Grace. Small Things are hardly H 3
difcerned. Most Christians content themselves with a fmall Measure of Grace, and do not follow on to fpiritual Strength and Manhood. The chief Remedy for such would be, to follow on their Duty, till their Graces be increased. Wait
God in the Use of his prescribed Means, and he will undoubtedly bless you with Increase. Oh that Christians would bestow most of that Time in getting more Grace, which they befow in anxious Doubtings whether they have any or none; and lay out those serious Affections in praying for more Grace, which they bestow in fruitlels Complaints! I beseech thee, Christian, take this Advice as from God; and then, when thou believest strongly, and loveft fervently, thou canst no more doubt of tliy Faith and Love, than a Man that is very hot can doubt of his Warmth, or a Man that is frong and lusty can doubt of his being alive.Christians hinder their own Comfort by locking more at Sizes, which tell them what they are, than at Precepts, which tell them what they should do. As if their present Cale must needs be their everlasting Cafe; and if they be now unpardoned, there were no Remedy. Were he not mad, that would lie weeping because he is not pardoned, when his Prince stands by all the while offering him a Pardon, and persuading him to accept of it? Justifying Faith, Christian, is not thy Perjuofion of God's Special Love ta thee, but thy accepting Christ to make thee lovely. It is far better to accept Christ as offered, than spend so much Time in doubting whether we have Christ or no.Another Cause of Distress to Christians is, their miftaking Asurance for the Yoy that sometimes accompanies it. As if a Child should take himself for a Son no longer, than while he fees the Smiles of his Father's Face, or hears the comfortable Expressions of his Mouth: And as if the Father cealed to be a Father, whenever he ceased
those Smiles and Speeches. --The Trouble of Souls is alfo increased by their not knowing the ordinary IV ay of God's conveying Comfort. They think they have nothing to do but to wait when God will bestow it. But they must know, that the Matter of their Comfort is in the Promises, and thence they must fetch it as often as they expect it, by daily and diligently meditating upon the Promises, and in this way they may expect the Spirit will communicate Comfort to their Souls. The Joy of the Promises, and the Joy of the Holy Ghost, are one. Add to this, their expecting a greater Measure of Asurance than God usually befiows. As long as they have any Doubting, they think they have no Assurance. They consider not that there are many Degrees of Certainty. While they are here, they Thall know but in Part.---Add also, their deriving their Comfort at first from insufficient Grounds. This may
be the Cale of a gracious Sou), who hath better Grounds, buido: not see them. As an Infant hath Life before he knoweth it, and many Misapprehensions of himself ani other Things, yet it will not follow that he hath no Life. So when Christians find a Flaw in their fi.lt Comforts, they are apt to judge it a Flaw in their Salety
Many continue render Doubting, through the exceeding teakness of iheir naiural Parts. Many honeft Hears have weak Heads, and know not how to per.. form the IV ok of Self Trial. They will acknowledge, the Premises, and yet deny the apparent Conclufion. If God do not fome other Way fupply the Defeat of their Realon, I fee not how they fhould have clear and settled Peace. ----Ore great and 192 common Carle of Distress in the secret maintaining Jomies knozu Sir. This abates the Degree of our Grace, and to makes them more und fernable. It obicureth tirat which it deftro reth n*; for ir beareth such Sway, thias Grace is not in Action, nor seems to stir, nor is scarce heard