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? Would they not say that you unworthily exposed them to scorn? So, if you will take on you to be the living images of God, of Christ, of the Spirit, and the word; and yet will be blind, and worldly, and passionate, and proud, and unruly, and obstinate ; or lazy and negligent, and little differing from those that bear the image of the devil: what do you but proclaim that the image of God, and of Satan and the world, do but little differ? and, that God is thus unrighteous and unholy as
(10.) Lastly, consider, that the faithful servants of Christ are few; and, therefore, if those few dishonour him, and prove not fast to him ; what do you but provoke him to forsake all the world,' and make an end of all the sons of men. It is but a little flock to whom he will give the kingdom.' It is but a few from whom God expecteth any great matter: and shall those few prove deceitful to him? It must be you or none that must honour the gospel, you or none that must be exemplary to the world; and shall it be none at all? shall all the workmanship of God abuse him ? shall he have no honour from any inferior creature? how can you then expect that he should preserve the world? For will he be at so much care to keep up a world to dishonour and abuse him? If the turning of men's hearts prevent it not, he would come and ‘smite the earth with a curse.' For the land that beareth thorns and briars, is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing, whose end is to be burned.' If, therefore, Israel play the harlot, yet let not Judah sin.' If the vessels of wrath prepared to destruction, will be blind, and sensual, and filthy still, yet let pollution be far from the sanctified. “Such were some of you, but ye are washed, ye are sanctified, ye are justified.' O let the Lord be magnified in His saints. Blot not out his image. Receive not his impressions defectively, and by the halves. Let the name of the most Holy One be written in your very foreheads. O that you would be so tender of the honour of the Lord, and shine forth so brightly in holiness and righteousness; that he that runs might read whose servants you are, and know the image and superscription of God upon the face of your conversations ! that, as clearly as light is seen in and from the sun, and the power, and wisdom, and goodness of God is seen in the frame of the creation and of Scripture, so might the same shine forth in you: that you might 'be holy as God is holy,' and ' fect as your Heavenly Father is perfect;' that they that would know God may see him in his saints, where his image is, or should be so lively and discernible. And they that cannot read and understand the Scripture, or the works of creation, or disposing Providence ; may read and understand the holy and heavenly representations of your lives.
Men are apt to look after images of the Godhead, because they are carnal, and far from God. O you that are appointed to bear his image, see that you so represent him to the eyes of the world, as may be to his glory, and not to his dishonour, and take not the name of God in vain! It is so desirable for God, and for the church,
and for your own peace and happiness, that Christians should grow up to a ripeness in grace, and be rooted, built up, confirmed, and abound, according to my text; that it hath drawn out from me all these words of exhortation thereunto. Though one would think, that to men of such holy principles and experience, it should be more than needs. But if all will but serve to awaken the weak to a diligent progress, I shall be glad, and have my end. The great matter that I intended, when I began this discourse, is yet behind; and that is, the giving you such directions as may tend to your confirmation and perseverance; which I shall now proceed to: but I intreat every reader that hath any spark of grace in his soul, that he will resolve to put these directions in practice, and turn them not off with a bare perusal, or approbation. Let me reap but thus much fruit of all my foregoing exhortations, and I shall not think my labour lost.
CONFIRMATION IN A STATE OF GRACE.
Be sure that the foundation be well laid, both in your heads and hearts ; or else you can never attain to confirmation, nor be savingly built up.
To this end you must know what the foundation is, and how it must be soundly laid. The foundation hath two parts or respects, according to the faculties of the soul where it must be laid., The first is the truth of the doctrine and matter, and the second is the goodness of it. As true, the foundation is laid in our understandings; as good, it is laid in the will. Concerning both these we must, therefore, first consider of the matter of the foundation, and then, of the manner how that must be received or laid. And the foundation is that matter, or object, of our faith, and hope, and love, which is essential to a Christian : that is, to the Christian saving faith, hope, and love. This hath been always contained in our baptism; because baptising us, is making us visible Christians, or the solemn entrance into the state of Christianity. As therefore we are baptised into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, renouncing the flesh, the world, and the devil: so the doing of this unfeignedly, without equivocation, according to the Scripture sense of the words, is the essence of Christianity, or the right laying of the foundation. So that the foundation principle, or fundamental matter, is God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The secondary foundation, or fundamental doctrine, is those Scripture propositions that express our faith in God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. When we name the three persons as the object of the Christian faith, we express names of relation, which contain both the persons, nature, and offices, or undertaken works: without either of which, God were not God, and Christ were not Christ, and the Holy Ghost were not, in the sense of our articles of faith, the Holy Ghost. As we must, therefore, believe, that there is one only God; so we must believe that God the Father is the first in the Holy Trinity of persons: that the whole Godhead is perfect and infinite in being, and power, and wisdom, and goodness, (in which all his attributes are comprehended; but yet a distinct understanding of them all, is not of absolute necessity to salvation.) That this God is the creator, preserver, and disposer of all things, and the owner and ruler of mankind, most just, and merciful : that as he is the beginning of all, so he is the ultimate end, and the chief good of man, which, before all things else, must be loved and sought. This is to be believed concerning the Godhead, and the Father in person. Concerning