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Seeing, therefore, that you are all either saints or hypocrites, come now to the bar, and refuse not a trial that may prevent the terrors of another kind of trial that you cannot refuse.
And here let me set before you your profession, and then try yourselves whether you are such as you profess yourselves to be or not. And I think I may take it for granted that the Articles of the Creed and the Baptismal Covenant is the least that every one of you do profess; and that the desires, implied in the petitions of the Lord's Prayer, you all profess to be your own desires, and that you take the Ten Commandments for part of the rule of your obedience. Let us peruse them briefly in the several parts.
1. Do you not all say that you believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth,” and that you will “ have no other Gods but him?” and are you not accordingly engaged in covenant with him? You will not deny it. And what is the meaning of this much of your profession? It is no less than to take God for the only infinite good, to be loved with the chiefest love, and to take him for your absolute Lord and Governor, the owner of you and all you have, to whom you owe universal, absolute obedience; and that you are truly willing to love him above all, and fear him, and trust him, and obey him accordingly, though your flesh and all the world should be against it. He that meaneth not all this, doth dissemble or lie, when he saith he taketh God to be his God: for to be God, is to be this much to us.
And really is it thus with you as you profess? Speak but as men that dare.not lie before the Lord that knows your
hearts. Do you indeed love God as God, with your superlative love? Are your hearts set upon him? Do you make it your principal care to please him? Is it your delight to do his will? Is it sweeter to you to think and speak of him than of the world ? Doth it grieve you most to offend him? In a word, you are not such strangers to nature but you know what love is : and you are not such strangers to your own hearts, but you
know what it is to love your pleasure, your profit, your honour, and your friend. Can conscience say before the Lord that you love him better than all these? If not more passionately, yet more deeply, effectually, and resolvedly—with a love that will cause you to deny and part with all for him. If you thus truly love him as God, and above all, how comes it to pass
seek the world more carefully and eagerly than him; and that you
are more pleased with worldly thoughts, and speeches, and employments, than with divine? Were not the hypocrite justly blinded, and a wilful stranger to himself, he could not but know that he loveth not God as God, and above all. And to love him, in subordination to your flesh and its contents, is not at all to love him as God; as it is no degree of conjugal love to love a wife but as a servant, nor no degree of the love due to your sovereign to love him as an equal or as a slave.
And if really you take God for your absolute Lord and Governor, why is it then that you take na pleasure in his laws, but count them too strict, and had rather be at your own dispose ? Why is it that you obey your fleshly desires, before and against the God whom you acknowledge? Why will you not be persuaded to that holiness, justice, and charity, which you know his law commandeth you? Why do you wilfully continue in those sins which conscience tells you God forbids? Will you
live in wilful disobedience, and love your sins, and loath your duty, and obstinately continue thus, and yet profess that you take God for your God, and, consequently, for your Lord and Governor? and yet will you not confess that you are dissembling hypocrites ?
2. Do you not all profess that you " believe in Jesus Christ;" and have you not, in covenant, taken him for your Saviour and Lord? and do you şo, indeed, or do you not, play the hypo, crites ? If you believe in Christ, and take him for your Saviour, you then take your sins for the disease and misery of your souls, and you are so grieved for them, and weary of them, and humbled in the apprehension of your lost estate, that you fly to. Christ as your only refuge from the wrath and curse of the offended Majesty, and' value his justifying and healing grace before all the riches of the world, and you are willing to take his bitterest medicines, and use the means appointed by him for the destruction of your sin and the perfecting of his graces. And is it thus with you that have unhumbled hearts, that never felt the need of Christ, as condemned miserable men must do; and that love the sin that he would cure, and are unwilling to be mortified and sanctified by his grace? Unless a carcass be a man, such hypocrites as these are no trye Christians, and have but a seeming, self-deceiving faith.
3. Do you not all profess“ to believe in the Holy Ghost;" and are you not engaged to him in covenant as your Sanctifier; and do you not grossly play the hypocrites here? If not, how
comes it to pass
had no need of sanctification; and live as quietly without any acquaintance with true regeneration, and the Spirit to dwell and rule within you, as if you needed no such change? Or else, that you take up with a formal, an affected, or a forced kind of religion, instead of sanctification and spiritual devotion? And how comes it to pass that you distaste the highest degrees of holiness; and that you will not be brought to the mortification, self-denial, and unreserved obedience, which are the essence of sanctification As for the more debauched, profane sort of hypocrites that can make a common mock of godliness, and scorn at the very name of holiness and sanctification, and deride at all that pretend to have the Spirit, I had rather tremble at the thought of their misery than now stand to reprove that notoriaus hypocrisy, which professeth to believe in the Holy Spirit which they deride, and covenanteth with the Sanctifier, while they hate and mock, or, at least, do obstinately refuse, sanctification, When God himself tells us, (Rom. viii, 9, “That if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, the same is none of his :" and therefore to deride a man for professing that he hath the Spirit, is to deride him for professing to be a Christian,
4, Do you not all profess to “believe the holy Catholic Church;" that is, that Christ hath a people dispersed through the world, that are sanctified by his Spirit, and made a holy peculiar people, whom he loveth as his spouse and as his own body, of which number you must be if you will be sayed? And yet, at the same time, the members of this church you contemn, the holiness of it you secretly hate, and the faithful pastors in it you despise and disobey, Is not this hypocrisy?
5. You all profess to“ believe the communion of saints ;” that is, that the true members of the Catholic Church are all saints, that have one and the same Spirit, and walk by the same holy law or rule, and in holiness must converse together, and join to, gether for the public worshipping of God, according to his own institution; and must purely and fervently love each other with such a eharity as shall make one as ready to relieve another, when God calls for it, us if our riches did belong, in common, to the saints. This is the meaning of this article of your creed. And do I then need to ask you whether those that profess this are hypocrites, if they hate the saints and their inward spiritual communion; and if they love them but with that lifeless charity that James describeth? (James ii. 14, 15, &c.) or
if they despise or hate the discipline, ordinances, and holy communion of the church ; and if they live in communion with drunkards, with harlots, with worldlings, or sensual, vain, or ambitious men, and fly from the communion of saints?" What dost thou when thou sayest, “I believe the communion of saints,” but say, 'I am a dissembling hypocrite,' if it be thus with thee?
6. You all profess to “ believe the forgiveness of sins;” that is, that through the blood of Christ all true repenting and believing sinners shall be forgiven, and are not shut up under remediless despair ; and also I think you all profess that you do repent yourselves, that forgiveness may be yours; and yet you love
your sin ; you love not to be told of it; you will not believe it to be sin, as long as you can strive against conviction; and when you must needs confess it, you will not forsake it; but while you seem to reform by parting with so much as you can spare, your dearer sins, which pleasure and honour and profit are much engaged in, you will not forsake; though repentance do consist in turning from sin to God, and Christ hath assured you that “except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke xiii. 3,5.) Is not this, therefore, palpable hypocrisy, to profess repentance for remission of sin, and still keep the sin which you say you repent of, as if you thought to mock God with names and shows ?
7. You all profess to “ believe the resurrection of the body, and that Christ shall come again to judge the quick and the dead;" but do you live as men that believe it indeed, that they are passing unto such a judgment ? If you seriously expected to be judged for your lives, for the words you speak, the deeds you do, the time you spend, the means of grace which you neglect or use, and for all that you receive and do, is it possible
you could so waste your time, and neglect the means of your salvation, and sin so boldly and obstinately as you do?
8. You all profess that you “ believe the life everlasting," that the righteous shall go into their Master's joy, and the rest into everlasting punishment in hell. (Matt. xxv. 13.) But do you ?
not play the hypocrites? Can you heartily believe that you stand so near to heaven or hell, to everlasting joy or torments, and make no greater a matter of it, nor make no better preparation for it, nor bestir yourselves no more in a case of such unspeakable weight? If you believe sincerely the glory of Heaven, you set your hearts on it more than upon Earth,
and take it for your portion, and most desirable felicity. But do I need to tell the worldly, fleshly hypocrite how far he is from this.
9. You profess, as the sum of the ten commandments, that you love God above all, and your neighbours as yourselves. But doth not your selfishness, and quarrelling with your neighbours, when they do but stand in the way of your honour or commodity, convince you of hypocrisy in this profession?
10. In the use of the Lord's Prayer, what word do you speak that is not in hypocrisy? Do you first and principally desire the hallowing of God's name, the coming of his kingdom, and the doing of his will ? when you are far more tender of your own names than of God's, and more regardful of your own honour ? And when yo care more for your own prosperity than for the prosperity of the church and gospel, and do yourselves become the hinderers of his kingdom and government in the church and in the souls of men ? And when you cannot abide to do his will, when it crosseth the interest of your flesh, but dislike it as too strict, and had rather the word and will of God were agreeable to yours, than you will conform your own to his?
Do you only desire your daily bread, and that in subordination to the honour, and kingdom, and will of God. Or rather do
you not play the hypocrites in saying so, when it is not daily bread that will content you; but plenty and prosperity is sweeter to you than holiness?
When you pray for “the forgiveness of your sins, as you forgive others,” you intimate that you are weary of your sins, and hate them, and would forsake them; and that you forgive all that have wronged you, out of the sense of your own transgressions, and of the love of Christ. But is all this so, or is it mere dissembling, when you forsake not your sin, nor are willing to forsake it, and when your consciences know that there be some that you forgive not?
You pray against “ being led into temptation," and yet you love it, and cast yourselves into it. Into tempting company, and tempting talk, and tempting employments. And for recreation, meat, drink, apparel, houses, attendants, estate, reputation, and almost all things else, you love and choose that which is most tempting.
You pray to be " delivered from evil,” when the evil of your pride, flesh-pleasing, and worldliness, you so love, that indeed