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prove you the heirs of heaven. You may be snatched out of the purest Church on earth, and from the purest ordinances, and out of the arms of the most upright Christians, and cast into hell, if you have no better evidences than such, to show for your salvation. If ever you be saved, it must not be because you are Papists, or Protestants, Lutherans, or Calvinists, Arminians, Antinomians, Anabaptists, Independents, Presbyterian, or Prelatical; formally and merely as such; but because you are true Christians, that have the Spirit of Christ, (Rom. viii. 9,) and are conformed to him, in his sufferings, death, and resurrection, and live in sincere obedience to his will. But hypocrites that want the inward life and power of religion, and are conscious of their wilful sins, would fain borrow something from the parties which they join with, or the opinions which they take up, or the formal outward worship which they perform, or the alms which they give, to make up the want, and cheat their souls with a self-created confidence, that they shall be saved.
But more specially you may hence observe the reason that popery hath so many followers, and that it is so easy a thing to make an infidel, whoremonger, or drunkard, to turn a papist, when yet it is not easy to bring them to faith, and chastity, and temperance, much less to the unfeigned love of God, and to a holy, heavenly.life. Though I doubt not but there are many sincere-hearted Christians among the papists, yet popery itself is of an hypocritical strain, and is notably suited to the hypocrite's disposition. It is revived Pharisaism: I marvel that they tremble not when they read themselves so lively characterized by Christ, with the addition of so many terrible woes, as in Matt. xxiii., and other places, frequently they are : “Woe to the scribes, pharisees, hypocrites.” They bind heavy burdens of external observances, to lay upon the consciences of their proselytes : they make broad their phylacteries; and in variety of holy vestures, they make ostentation of such a religion, as a peacock may have when he spreads his tail. They contend for superiority and titles to be called rabbi, pope, cardinal, patriarch, primate, metropolitan, archbishop, diocesan, abbot, prior, father, &c., to the great disturbance of all the nations of the christian world. They must needs be the fathers and masters of our faith : they shut the kingdom of heaven against the people, forbidding all to read the scriptures in their vulgar tongue, without a special license from their ordinary: and commanding them to worship God in a. strange tongue which they do not understand: by the numbers of their masses and prayers for the dead, they delude the souls, and devour the patrimony of the living. In temples, and altars, and images, and ornaments consisteth no small part of their religion: they make more of tithing mint, anise and cummin, than of judgment, mercy, and faith, the weightier matters of the law. The outside they make clean, and appear as beautiful to men, as ceremonies and outward pomp can make them. They make it a part of their religion to murder the living saints, and keep holy days for the dead : they build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, and say, if we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Thus, Matt. xxiii., is their description. They have their touch not, taste not, handle not, after the commandments and doctrines of men, their voluntary húmility, and worshipping of angels, and other rudiments of the world, and things that have a show of wisdom in will-worship and humility, and neglecting of the body, not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh. (Col. ii. 19-23.) How easy å thing is it to bring an ungodly man to be of a religion that consisteth in such things as these ! in eating fish on certain days instead of flesh; and saying over so many Pater Nosters, and Ave Marias, and naming so oft the name of Jesus; in worshipping a piece of consecrated bread with divine worship; in bowing and praying before an image ; in praying to the souls of such as the pope tells them are saints in heaven; in crossing themselves, and being sprinkled with holy water, and using Agnus * Deis, and consecrated grains and annulets; in dropping of beads; in saying such words as a prayer at such a canonical hour, and such words the next canonical hour; in hearing a mass in Latin, and saying a Latin prayer; in being anointed with hallowed oil, and burning hallowed candles on the altars by day-light; in going so many miles to the chapel of a saint in pilgrimage; in carrying about them a bone, or some other supposed relic of a supposed saint; in confessing their sins so often to a priest, and doing penance, if he impose it on them. And so while they live in whoredom, or drunkenness, or swearing, or lying, or all these, and many other such, it is but confessing and doing penance, and to it again ; on which account (whatever some of them say for the necessity of contrition) it is usual with them, to venture upon the sins of whoredom, drunkenness, and the rest,
because they have so easy and cheap a remedy at hand. And therefore I wonder not that among infidels (who, after baptism, apostatize to deny the holy scriptures, and the immortality of the soul, and the life to come,) and among common swearers, and cursers, and whoremongers, and drunkards, the papists find their labours most successful, and that no fish will so easily take their bait : nor do I wonder that it is a point of the popish faith that none but the children of the devil, that are void of the love of God, and are unjustified, can possibly turn papists. (For they tell us that all are such till they are papists; saving that they are many of them for the salvation of heathens.) A poor wretch that is captivated to his odious lusts, and goes under a galled accusing conscience, will be content to take a popish cure, and quiet his soul with a few compliments, and formalities. But to bring one of these men to a thorough conversion, to a true humiliation, to a deep hatred of all sin, and a love of holiness, to close with Christ as his only refuge from the wrath of God, and to give up himself without any reservation, and all that he hath to the will and service of the Lord, to love God as his portion, and the infinite transcendent good; to take all the honour and riches of the world as loss and dung, and use all in due subserviency to everlasting happiness; to crucify the flesh, and mortify all his earthly inclinations, and live a life of self-denial, and to walk with God, and serve him as a Spirit, in spirit and in truth, and to keep a watch over thoughts, affections, words, and deeds, to live by faith upon a world and happiness that is to us.unseen; and to live in preparation for their death, and wait in hope to live with Christ; this is Christianity and true religion; and this is it that they will not so easily be brought to. It is easier to make an hundred papists than one true regenerate Christian.
Children can make them a baby of clouts; and the statuary can make a man of alabaster or stone : but none can give life, which is essential to a man indeed, but God. There needeth the Spirit of the living God, by a supernatural operation, and a kind of new creation to make a man a real holy christian. But to bring a man to make such a congée, or wear such a vesture, or say such and such words, and make to himself a mimical religion, this may be done, without any such supernatural work. Otherefore take heed of cheating your souls by hypocritical formalities, instead of the life and power of religion.
Use 2. And now, O that the Lord of life would help you so
to apply this truth, and help you so to apply it to yourselves, that it might be as a light set up in the assembly and in all your consciences, to undeceive the miserable self-deceivers, and to bring poor hypocrites into some better acquaintance with themselves, and to turn their seeming, vain religion into that which is real, serious, and saving !
And now I am to search and convince the hypocrite, I could almost wish that all the upright, tender souls that are causelessly in doubt of their own sincerity, were out of the congregation, lest they should misapply the hypocrite's portion to themselves, and think it is their case that I am describing : as it is usual with ignorant patients, especially if they be a little melancholy, when they hear or read the description of many dangerous diseases, to think that all or some of them are theirs, because they have soine symptoms very like to some of those which they hear or read of. Or lest their fearful souls should be too much terrified, by hearing of the misery of the hypocrite; as a fearful child, that is innocent, will cry when he sees another whipped that is faulty. But if thou wilt stay and hear the hypocrite's examination, I charge thee, poor humbled, drooping soul, that thou do not misunderstand me, nor think that I am speaking those things to thee, that are meant to the false-hearted enemies of the Lord ! and do not imagine that thou art condemned in his condemnation; nor put thyself under the strokes that are given him ; but rejoice that thou art saved from this state of self-deceit and misery. And that thou mayest have some shelter for thy conscience against the storm that must fall on others, look back on the foregoing description of the hypocrite, and thou mayest find that thou hast the saving graces, which thou discovered him to want. Let these at present be before thine eyes, and tell thee, thou art not the person that I mean.
1. Thou art humbled to a loathing of thyself for thy transgressions.
2. Thou art willing to give up thyself to Christ, without reserve, that, as thy Saviour, he may cure thy miserable soul, upon his own terms.
3. The favour of God is dearer to thee than the favour of the world, or the pleasures and prosperity of sinners : and thou longest more to love him better, and to feel his love, than for any
of the honours and advancements that flesh and blood desire. 4. It is the life to come that thou takest for thy portion, and preferrest before the matters of this transitory life.
5. Thy religion employeth thee about thy heart, as much as about the outside and appearing part; it is heart sins that thou observest and lamentést, and a better heart that thou daily longest, and prayest, and labourest for.
6. Thou livest not in any gross and deadly sin; and thou hast no infirmity but what thou longest and labourest to be rid
and goest on in the use of Christ's holy means and remedies for a cure.
7. Thou dislikest not the highest degree of holiness, but lovest it and longest after it, and hadst rather be moré holy than be more honourable or more rich.
8. Thou unfeignedly lovest the image of Christ on the souls of all his servants where thou canst discern it; and seest a special excellency in a poor, humble, heavenly Christian, though never so low or despicable in the world, above all the pomp and splendour of the earth ; and thou lovešt them with a special love; and the holier they are, the better dost thou love them.
9. Thou lovest the most convincing, searching sermons, and wouldest fain have lielp to know the worst that is in thy heart ; and comest unto the light that thy heart and deeds may be made manifest.
10. All this is the bent and bias of thy soul ; thy habituated, ordinary case : though there be not alway the same opportunity for the acts, nor the same degree of life in acting. It is not only a good mood that thou art frightened into by some affliction, and then returnest to thy carnal course of life again ; but thou heartily continuest thy consent to the covenant which thou hast made with Christ, and wouldest not turn back to a worldly, carnal, or formal life, nor change thy Master, nor forsake the holy course which thou art engaged in for all the world.
This is the truth of thy case, poor, doubting, troubled Christian ! thou canst not deny it without much injury to thyself and God. And therefore he not now troubled at that which I shall say to the self-deceivers.
And now I am to speak to the self-deceiver, I perceive my task to be exceeding difficult: to get within him that is so guarded ; and to pierce his heart that is so armed; and to open his eyes that is willing to be blind; and to undeceive him that hath so long deceived, and that studieth to deceive himself, and is engaged in that unhappy work, by such subtle enemies that further his deceit, and by so many allurements, and