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and so many

many faults; nor do I affirm all these things to be consistent with true grace that I have here expressed: but only this, that professors that seem godly to others are thus too many of them guilty; and those that have true grace may have any of these faults in a mortified degree, though not in a reigning predominant measure.

But methinks, sirs, you should, by this time, be convinced and sensible how much we dishonour God by our infirmities; and what a lamentable case it is that the church should consist of so many infants,

should be so little serviceable to God or the common good, but rather be troublers of all about them: alas, that we should reach no higher, that yet no greater things should be attained! O what an honour would you be to your profession, and what a blessing to the church, if you did but answer the cost and pains of God and man, and answer the high things that you have been acquainted with and profess; that we could but boast of you as God did of Job, and could say to Satan or any of his instruments, 'Here be Christians rooted and stablished in the faith, try whether you can shake them or make them stagger, and do your worst!' Here is a man eminent in meekness and humility, and patience and self-denial, discompose and disturb his mind if you can-draw him to pride or immoderate passion, or censoriousness, or uncharitableness, if you can: here are a people that are in unity, and knit together in faith and love ; of one heart, and one soul, and one lip-do your worst to divide them or break them into parties, or draw them into several minds and ways, or exasperate them against each other : here are a people established in mortification, and that have crucified the flesh with its affections and lustsdo your worst to draw them to intemperance in eating, or drinking, or recreations, or any of the delights of the flesh; or to puff them up by greatness and prosperity, and make them forget themselves or God. Try them with riches, or beauty, or vain-glory, or other sensual delights, and see whether they will turn aside, and be ever the less in communion with God, and enticed to forget the joy that is set before them; or will not rather despise your baits, and run away from alluring objects as their greatest dangers: daunt them, if you can, by threatenings; try them by persecution, by fire and sword, and see whether they are not past your shaking, even rooted, confirmed, and built up in Christ.'

O what a glory would you be to your profession if you could attain to this degree? could we but truly thus boast of you, we might say our people are Christians of the right strain. But when we must come about


like in a swoon, and can hardly perceive whether you are alive or dead, and can „scarce discern whether


any grace or none, what a grief is this to our hearts, what a perplexity to us in our administrations, not knowing whether comfort or terror be your due ; and what a languishing uncomfortable life is this to yourselves, in comparison of what you might attain to!

Rouse up yourselves, Christians, and look after higher and greater things, and think it not enough


that you are barely alive. It is an exceeding righteousness that you must have if you will be saved, even exceeding all that the unsanctified do attain : for, ' except your righteousness exceed even the righteousness of scribes and pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.' But it is yet a more exceeding righteousness that you must have if you will be confirmed, built up, and abound, and would honour your profession, and cheerfully, successfully, and constantly go on in the journey, the race, the warfare, that you have begun; you must then exceed yourselves, and exceed all the feeble, unstable, wavering, infant Christians that are about you: and, to persuade you yet further to look after this, I shall here annex a few motives more.

1. Consider, Christian, that it is a God of exceeding infinite greatness and goodness that thou hast to do with, and therefore it is not small and low matters that are suitable to his service. O if thou hadst but a glimpse of his glory, thou wouldst say that it is not common things that are meet for such a dreadful Majesty. Hadst thou but a fuller taste of his goodness, thy heart would say—“This pittance of love and service is unworthy of him.' You will not offer the basest things to a king, much less to the highest King of kings : ' If ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil ? and if ye offer the lame and sick, it is not evil? offer it now to thy governor : will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the Lord of hosts.' ye have profaned iť (his great name), ‘ in that ye say, the table of the Lord is polluted; and the

. But

fruit thereof, his meat, is contemptible. Ye have said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the Lord of hosts: and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick ; thus ye brought an offering : should I accept this at your hand? saith the Lord. But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing : for I am a great King, saith the Lord of hosts, and my name is dreadful among the heathen.' If you better knew the majesty of God, you would know that the best is too little for him, and trifling is not tolerable in his service. When Nadab and Abihu ventured with false fire to his altar, and he smote them dead, he silenced Aaron with this reason of his judgment: 'I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified.' That is, I will have nothing common offered to me, but be served with my own holy peculiar service. When the Bethshemites were smitten dead for looking into the ark, fifty thousand and seventy men of them, they found that God would not be dallied with, and cried out, · Who is able to stand before this holy Lord God ?'

2. It was an exceeding great price that was paid for

your redemption! for 'ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but by the precious blood of Jesus Christ.' It

was an “exceeding great love that was manifested by God the Father, and by Christ, in this work of redemption, such as even poseth angels and men to study it and comprehend it; and should all this be answered but with trifling from you? Should such a matchless miracle of love be answered with no greater love? especially when you were purposely redeemed from all iniquity, that you might be sanctified to Christ' a peculiar people, zealous of good works.' It being therefore so great a price that you are bought with, remember that you are not your own,' but must glorify him that bought you ' in body and spirit. 1 Cor. vi. 20.

3. Consider also, that it is not a small, but an exceeding glory that is promised you in the gospel, and which you live in hope to possess for ever. And, therefore, it should be an exceeding love that you should have to it, and an exceeding care that you should have of it. Make light of heaven, and make light of all. Truly it is an unsuitable, unreasonable thing, to have one low thought, or one careless word, or one cold prayer, or other performance, about such a matter as eternal glory. Shall such a thing as heaven be coldly, or carelessly, minded and sought after? shall the endless fruition of God in glory, be looked at with sleepy heartless wishes ? I tell you, sirs, if you will have such high hopes, you must have high and strong endeavours. A slow pace becomes not him that travelleth to such a home as this : if you are resolved for heaven, behave yourselves accordingly. A gracious, reverent, godly, frame of spirit, producing an acceptable service of God, is fit for them that look to ' receive the kingdom which cannot be moved.' The believing thoughts of the end of all our labours must

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