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understands not. The word that is not understood turn. As it is a commendation to long prayer, cannot sink into the heart and sanctify it; or if that the pharisees made it their pretence for the it be not well and soundly understood, it is easily devouring of widows' houses: and those that call stolen away by the tempter. If understanding them hypocrites that are much in holy exercises be necessary in our common conversations, much and speeches, should consider that if holy exermore in our holy addresses to the Almighty. 'A cises and speeches were not good, they were not man of understanding is of an excellent spirit;' but fit for the hypocrite's design; evil will not be a God hath no pleasure in fools' or in their “sacrifi- fit cloak for evil; that which the hypocrite thinks ces,' nor is pleased with a parrot-like lip-service, necessary to the covering of his sin, we must think which is not understood. He saith, in detesta. more necessary to the cure of our sin and the tion of the hypocrites, • This people draweth saving of our souls; the way to avoid hypocrisy, near unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me is not by running into impiety and profaneness ; with their lips, but their heart is far from me. I we must do more than the hypocrite, and not less, hope then when we call you to serve God in judg-else he will rise up in judgment against you and ment, and with understanding, we call you to no-condemn you, if he would do more to seem good, thing that a Christian should make question of than you would do to be good, and to please your
4. “God is a Spirit,' and they that serve him Maker; if a pharisee will pray longer to colour must 'serve him in spirit and in truth. The his oppression, than you will do to attain salvaFather seeketh such to worship him. He calls tion. The mischief of hypocrisy is, that the soul for the heart; he looks for the inward desires of of religion is wanting, while the body is present: the soul: he converses with minds that are ab- will you cast away both soul and body, both instracted from vanity, are seriously taken up in side and outside, in opposition to hypocrisy? If attending him, and are intent upon the work they others seem to love God when they do not, do: the words of a prayer, separated from the will you therefore not so much as seem to do it? life of it, is abhorred before the holy God. As So bere about reverence in the service of God: he will be loved, so will he be served, with the hypocrite should not exceed the sincere in any all the heart, and soul, and might.' Do we call thing that is truly good. This is the manner of you then to any thing that is doubtful, when we God's service that I persuade you to, and to no call you to the spiritual worshipping of God ? other: is there any thing of controversy in this?
5. Yet we maintain that the body hath its part Prefer but the spiritual part, and know but what in the service of God as well as the soul, and that means, I will have mercy and not sacrithe body must express the inward reverence and fice,' that so you may not condemn the innodevotion of the soul; though not in a way of cent;' and you shall never say that we will be hypocritical ostentation, yet in a way of serious more backward than you to decency, and reveradoration. The bowing of the knee, the un- ent behaviour in God's service. covering of the head, reverent deportment, and 6. God will be served in purity and holiness, whatsoever nature, or common use, and holy insti- with clean hearts and hands, and not with such tution hath made an expression of holy affections, as remain defiled with guilt of any sinful sin. and a decent and grave behaviour of ourselves, He abhors the sacrifice of the wicked and disobeshould be carefully observed in the presence of dient. He that turneth away his ear from bearthe Most High ; and the holy things of God more ing the law, his prayers are abominable.—To reverently to be respected than the presence what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices of any mortal man. And they rather, because unto me? saith the Lord (to oppressing wicked that a grave, reverent, and holy manner of de- men).—When you come to appear before me, portment in God's worship, reflects upon the who hath required this at your hand, to tread my heart, and helps us in our inward and spiritual courts? Bring no more vain oblations: incense devotion ; it helps the beholders, and awakens is an abomination to me; the new moons and them to reverent thoughts of God, and holy sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away things, which a regardless and common manner with : it is iniquity even the solemn meeting, &c. of deportment would extinguish. It is no dis- - And when you spread forth your hands I will honour to reverent behaviour, that it is the use of hide mine eyes from you ; yea, when you make hypocrites, but rather an honour to it; for it is many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full something that is good that the hypocrite uses of blood. Wash you, make ye clean, put away for the cloak of his secret emptiness or evil: if the evil of your doings from before mine eyes ; there were nothing good in reverent behaviour cease to do evil, learn to do well, seek judgment, before God, it would not serve the hypocrite's relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow: come now and let us reason to-I in heaven. This is part of the service of God gether, saith the Lord.'
that we exhort you to, even to visit, relieve, and To play the glutton, or drunkard, or filthy forni- love Christ in his members and · brethren. Is cator, in the day time, and then to come to God at there any thing of doubt or controversy in all night, as if it were to make him amends by a this ? hypocritical prayer; to blaspheme God's name 8. Moreover, God will be served with love, wiland oppose his rule, yea, oppose his kingdom lingness, and delight : it is the most gainful, and government in yourselves and others, to honourable, blessed, and pleasant work in the do your own will, to hate and scorn them that world, which he hath appointed you, and not a do his will, and study his will that they may do toilsome task or slavery; and therefore it is not it, and then to “pray that God's name may be a melancholy, pining, troublesome course of life hallowed, his kingdom come, and his will be done,' that we persuade you to, under the name of is an abusing God, and not serving or pleasing | godliness; but it is to rejoice in the Lord, and him. Live according to your prayers, and let to live in the joyful expectations of eternal life, your lives show, as well as your words, what it and in the sense and assurance of the love of is that you desire. This is the service of God God. If you could show us any probability of that we call you to: and can you say that there a more pleasant and joyful life on earth, than is any thing controvertible in all this ; are there that which serious holiness doth afford, I should any men of any party among Christians, or so- l be glad with all my heart to hearken to you. ber infidels, that dare contradict it?
I am ready to tell you what is the ground of 7. God will be served entirely and univer- our comforts, which faith reveals : if you will sally, in all his commands, and with all your come, and soberly debate the case, and show us faculties; in works of piety, justice, and charity, the matter and ground of your comforts, which which must never be separated. You must not you have or hope for in any other way ; if yours hold up your charity against duties of piety; for prove greater, better, and surer than the joys of God is to be preferred in your estimation, love, faith, we will hearken to you, and be of your and service ; and all that is done for man must mind and side. be done for his sake. You must not set up The matter of the joys of a believer is, that duties of piety against duties of justice, charity, all his sins are pardoned ; that God is reconciled and sobriety: it is not true piety that will not to him in Christ; that he hath the promise of bring forth these. God must be loved above all, God, that all things, even the greatest sufferings, and our neighbour as ourselves ; and these two shall work together for his good ; that he is sorts of love are inseparable. Do all the good always in the love, care, and hands of God ; that you can to all while you have opportunity; he hath leave to draw near him by holy prayer, especially to them of the household of faith.' and open his heart to him in all his straits and What good you would hear of in the day of wants; that he may solace himself in his praise your accounts, that do now, speedily, diligently, and thanksgiving, and in other parts of holy and sincerely, according to your power. Say worship; that he may read and hear his holy not, I may come to want myself, but "cast thy word, the sure discovery of the will of God, and bread upon the waters, for thou shalt find it after revelation of the things unseen, and the charter many days; give a portion to seven, and also of his inheritance; that he may exercise his soul to eight, for thou knowest not what evil shall be in the serious believing thoughts of the love of upon the earth,' and whether all may not quickly God revealed in the wonderful work of our rebe taken from thee; and then thou wilt wish demption, of the person, offices, and grace of thou hadst done good with it while thou hadst Jesus Christ our Redeemer ; and that he may it, lent it to the Lord, and trusted him with thy love that God who hath so wonderfully loved remainder, who intrusted thee with his blessings ; him ; that he hath the Spirit of God to quicken and hadst made thee friends of the mammon of and actuate his soul, to supply his spiritual deunrighteousness, that when all fail they might fects, kill his sins, and help him to believe, to receive thee into the everlasting habitations.' love, to rejoice, to pray: that this Spirit is God's Drop not now and then a scanty and grudging seal upon him, and the earnest of everlasting alms, as if thou wert a loser by it, and God life; that death shall not kill his hopes, nor end must be beholden to thee ; but believe, that the his happiness, but that his felicity and fullest greatest gain is to thyself, and look after such joy begins, when that of worldlings hath an end, bargain, and do good as readily, gladly, and li- and their endless misery begins; that he is berally, as one that verily expects a full reward | delivered from everlasting torment by the re
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demption of Christ, and the sanctification of sure, as to choose a life of miserable sadness, or the Spirit; that angels will attend his departing refuse a life of true delight. If we could hear soul into the presence of his Father; that from any man, or find, by the most diligent inhe shall be with his glorified Redeemer and quiry, that there is a more full, sweet, rational, behold his glory; that his body shall be raised satisfactory, and durable delight to be had in to everlasting life; that he shall be justified any other way than that of serious faith and by Christ from all the accusations of the devil, holiness, which Christ in scripture hath revealed and all the slanders of the malicious world ; to us, we are like enough to hearken after it. that he shall live with God in endless glory, and But can the distracted, sensual world believe see and enjoy the glory of his Creator, and shall that it is sweeter and happier to brave it out in never more be troubled with enemies, with sin fleshly gallantry and sport, and to rage against or sorrow, but among his holy ones shall per the godly for a while till the vengeance of God fectly and most joyfully love and praise the Lord lay hold upon them, and give them their reward, for ever.
than to live in the love of God, and wait in paThese are the matter of a believer's joy: these, tience for the performance of God's promise of purchased by Christ, revealed in his word, sealed everlasting joy? O what a thing is fleshly pasby his miracles, his blood, his ordinances, and sion, raging sensuality, and blind unbelief! The his Spirit, are our comfort. This is the religion, Lord have mercy upon deluded sinners; the the labour that we invite you to: it is not to devil's business is to turn the world into a bed. despair, nor to some dry, unprofitable toil, nor lam; and alas, how strangely hath he prevailed; to self-troubling, grieving, miserable melancholy, that so many men can take their greatest misery nor to costly sacrifices, or idle ceremonies, or for their happiness, and the only happiness for irrational service, such as the heathens offered an intolerable life! Yea, and be so angry with to their idols ; it is not to cast away all mirth all that are not of their mind, and will not set and comfort, to turn unsociable, morose, and sour; as much by filth and foolery, and as little by but it is to the greatest joys that the world allows, God and glory as they! Like the nobleman and nature is here capable of, and reason can that was lunatic, or mad by fits, and whenever discern and own: it is to begin a truly sociable he was mad, he would swear all were mad, that life: it is to fly from fear and sorrow, in flying said not as he said, and would make all his serfrom sin and hell, and from the consuming wrath vants be sent to bedlam that would not imitate of God: it is to the foretastes of everlasting joys, him, and there they must lie as madmen till their and to the beginnings of eternal life. This is lord was recovered from his madness. So are the labour, the religion which we would have you God's servants used and talked of in the world, to follow with all your might.
as if they were beside themselves, as long as If you have better things to seek, follow, and the world is not cured of its madness. As the find, let us see them, that we may be as wise as man is, so is his judgment, and such is his reyou. If you have not, for your soul's sake, make lish, desire, and delight. When I was a child, not choice of vanity, which will deceive you in I had far more desire to fill my pin-box, than the day of your necessity.
now I have to fill my purse, and accounted it a But you must not think to make us believe greater treasure, and had much more delight and that a great house, or a horse, or a licentious contentment in it. And alas, we may remember course, or a feast, or a flatterer, or fine clothes, since we were strangers to the relish of heavenly or any childish toys, or brutish filthiness, are things, that we found more pleasure in that of more comfortable things than Christ, and ever-which we are now ashamed, than we did in the lasting life; or that it is sweeter and better to most high and excellent things. Let us therelove a harlot, or lands, or money, than to love fore pity and pray for those that are distemGod, grace, and glory; nor that any thing that pered with the same disease. will go no further than the grave with you, is as I have been longer on this than I thought to good as that which will endure to eternity ; nor have been, because men think that we call them that any pleasure which an animal hath, is equal from all mirth, joy, and pleasure, to a heavy, to the delights of the angels of heaven: if you melancholy life, when we call them to a serious would have us of your mind, you must not be diligence for their salvation. As if levity and of this mind, nor persuade us to such horrible folly were the only friends to pleasure, and it things as these. But we profess to you and all were only to be found in childish, worthless, the world, that we are not so in love with sorrows transitory things. And as if the greatest everor sourness, nor so fallen out with joy and plea-l lasting happiness were no matter of true delight, nor seriousness; nor diligence, a friend to shall be as a thousand witnesses, that if you will joy.
go on in ungodly, worldly lives, and refuse the 9. Moreover, as to the manner; God will be serious diligence of Christians in this religion served with absolute self-resignation, without which yourselves profess, it shall be so far from exceptions, limitations or reserves : not with the being any excuse or ease to you, that there were dregs of the flesh, nor with a proviso that you hypocrites, or heretics, or schismatics, or differmay not suffer by your religion, or be poor, or ent opinions in religion in the world; that this despised, or abused by the world: but with self- very thing shall aggravate your sin and condemdenial you must lay down all the interests of the nation; that all these hypocrites, schismatics, or flesh at his feet ; you must take up your cross, different parties in the church, did agree in the and follow a suffering Christ to glory. You confession of all these things, and yet for all that must serve him as those that are wholly his, and you would not practise them; no, nor practise not your own; have nothing but what is his, and what yourselves confessed: all these parties or therefore nothing to be excepted, reserved, or sects shall rise up against the sensual and prosaved from him ; but must be content that you fane ungodly sinner, and say, “Though we are and all your interests be in his hands, and saved ignorant or doubtful of many other things, yet by him, if saved at all. I know these terms we are all agreed in these ; we gave our concurseem hard to flesh and blood; but should heaven rent testimony of them; we tempted no man to be the crown and reward to them that have un- doubt of these, or to deny them. If you will dergone no trial for it? But here is nothing but err more than a hypocrite or a schismatic, and what is past all controversy, and what all Chris- be far worse than those that are such, or you actians confess is the word of Christ.
count such, and think to excuse it, because they 10. Lastly, God will be served resolvedly and erred in lesser things, it is as if the devil should constantly: if you will reign, you must conquer excuse his sin by saying, Lord, thy saints did and endure to the end. Opposition you must none of them love thee as they should, hypocrites expect; and overcome it if you would not be did but seem to love thee, and therefore I thought overcome. It is not good beginnings that will I might hate thee and set against thy ways. serve the purpose, unless you also persevere, and But, saith the ungodly sensualist, I will never fight out the good fight of faith, finish your believe that God delights in long and earnest course, and patiently wait to the last breath, for prayers; or that he is moved by the passions or “the crown of righteousness, which the righte- the words of men; and therefore I take this but ous judge will give the conquerors, when the un- for babbling, which you call the serious diligence believing world shall say of all their delight and of believers, in their serving God. hope, “It is past and gone, we shall never see To this impious objection, I return these seor taste it more, but must now taste of that end- veral answers. less wrath of God which we were treasuring up, 1. Suppose this were true as you imagine, when we should have worked out our salvation.' what is this to you that serve God no way at all
I have all this while been describing to you, with any serious diligence ; that live in sensualiboth as to the principles, the matter and the man- ty, and wilful disobedience to his laws, do more ner, what that religion and service of God is, in for your bodies than for your souls, and for temwhich you must labour with all your might; that Iporal things than for eternal ? you may see that it is no factious or private 2. Who, do you think, is likeliest to understand opinions or practices that we call you to do; God's mind, and what is pleasing to him,-himand that your consciences may no longer be de. self or you? Is any thing more plainly comluded with the pretences of men's different opi- manded in God's word, than praying with frenions in religion; that the names of prelatical, quency, fervency, and importunity. And will presbyterian, puritan, papist, nor any other you tell God that he hath but dissembled with sounding in your ears, may not so distract you, you, and told you that he is pleased with that as to make you forget the name of Christian, which is not pleasing to him ? which you have all undertaken, nor what the 3. What is the reason of your unbelief? forChristian religion is. You see now that it is no- sooth, because God is not moved with human thing, no not a syllable or tittle, which all sober words or passions! I grant he is not. But what Christians are not agreed in, that we persuade of that ; hath prayer no other use to move God? you to do as the work of your religion : there- It is enough, First, That it moves and fits us to refore I tell you again here, before that God that ceive his mercies. Second, That God hath made shall be your judge, and that conscience that l it necessary to the effect, and a means or condi tion without which he will not give the blessing and that with the greatest seriousness and dili. Do you think, if you judge but by natural rea- gence ; nor that he is not the giver of all that son, that a person is as fit for a mercy that thou dost want; or that the governor of the knows not the want or worth of it, and would world regards not the dispositions and actions not be thankful for it if he had it, as one that of his subjects, but will equally reward the good values it, and is disposed to thankfulness and and bad, give to all alike, and have no respect improvement ? Do not you know that holy to men's preparations for his reward. prayer is nothing but the actuating of holy de- heathen that believes that there is a God, doth sires, and the exercise of all those graces which not believe that prayer to him is a necessary are suited to the due estimation and improvement part of his worship ? of the mercy ? If God be not moved and drawn Obj. But is not your strict observation of to us, it is enough that we are moved and drawn the Lord's day a controverted thing? to God: and withal that God may give us his Answ. In this also I will strip thee of this exown blessings, to whom and upon what terms cuse. Spend the Lord's day but according to he please, and that he hath assured us he will the common principles of Christianity and rea. give them only to those that value, desire, and son, and it shall suffice : spend it but as one seek them, and that with faith, fervency, and im- that loves God better than any thing in the world, portunity.
and that takes more pleasure in his service than And yet I may add, that God is so far above us, in sin and vanity : spend it but as the necessities as that his incomprehensible essence and blessed of thy own soul and thy families require; as nature is very little known to us; and there one that is glad of so honourable, gainful, and fore though we know and confess that he hath delightful an employment, as the public and prino human passions nor imperfections, yet if he vate worshipping of God, and the serious conassume to himself the title of such a thing as templation of the life to come : as one that knows love, desire, joy, or wrath, we must in reason the need and benefit of having stated times for believe, that though these are not in God as they the service of God; and what would come of are in man, with any imperfection, yet there is all religion, if the time were left to each one's something in God that cannot be represented to will ? Spend it as men that put a just difference man, nor be understood by man, than by the between the common business of this world, and images of such expressions as God himself is the things that concern your endless state; and pleased to use.
that have considered the proportion of one day 3. But I beseech you hearken to nature itself. in seven, in reference to this different consequence Doth it not teach all rational creatures, in ne- of the work : spend it as men that have lost as cessity, to pray to God? A storm will teach the much time as you have done, and have need to profane seaman to pray, and that with continu- make the best of the little that is left; and that ance and fervency. The mariners could say to are behind-hand so far in the matters of your Jonah in their danger, 'what meanest thou, o salvation, and have need to work with all your sleeper! arise, call upon thy God; if so be that might, and should be more glad of the helps of God will think upon us, that we perish not.' such a day, than of thousands of gold and silver : And they themselves cried every man unto his spend it as those that believe that we owe God god. When thou comest to die, and seest there as much service as the Jews did : spend it as the is no more delay, nor any more hope from the ancient Christians spent it, that were wont to pleasures of sin, or from any of thy old com- stay together almost from morning till night in panions or old deceits, then tell me whether na public worship and communion : spend it as the ture teach thee not to cry, and cry mightily for King's declaration requires, which saith, our pardon, mercy, and help to God? Then we purpose and resolution is, and shall be, to take shall hear thee crying, O mercy, mercy, Lord, care that the Lord's day be applied to holy exerupon a miserable sinner, though now thou wilt cise, without unnecessary divertisements.' not believe that prayer doth any good.
I have done my part to open to you the neI will say no more to thee of this : if nature cessity of serious diligence, and to call up be not conquered, and grace have not forsaken the sluggish souls of sinners to mind the work thee, thou wilt be taught at home to answer this of their salvation, and to do it speedily and objection. Surely thou canst not easily so far with all their might ; I must now leave the sueconquer reason, as to believe that there is no cess to God and you. What use you will make God. If thou believe that there is a God, thou of it, and what you will be and do for the time canst not believe that he is not to be worshipped, I to come, is a matter that more concerns your