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foolish hearts are darkened; these men are it is to be an atheist or ungodly, you may easily heart-atheists; and professing themselves wise, see that godliness is more rare, and atheism they become fools, and are given up to vile affec- more common, than many that themselves are tions: and as they do not like to retain God atheists will believe. It is not that which a man in their knowledge (however they may discourse calls his God, that is taken by him for his God of him, so) God oft giveth them over to a repro- indeed. It is not the tongue, but the heart, that bate mind, to do those things that are not con- is the man. Pilate called Christ the king of the venient, being filled with all unrighteousness, Jews, when he crucified him. The Jews called God fornication, wickedness, covetousness, malicious- their Father, when Christ tells them they were ness, envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity of their father the devil,' and proveth it, because Many such atheists go up and down under the whatever they said, they would do his lusts.' self-deceiving name of Christians : being indeed The same Jews pretended to honour the name unbelieving and defiled, so void of purity that of the Messiah, and expect him, while they killed they deride it, and nothing is pure to them ; him. The question is not what men call thembut even their mind and conscience is defiled : selves, but what they are: not whether you say they profess that they know God, but they deny you take God for your God, but whether you do him in their works, being abominable and disobe- so indeed: not whether you profess yourselves dient, and to every good work reprobate. What to be atheists, but whether you are atheists inare they but atheists, when · God is not in all deed or not. If you are not, look over what I their thoughts, unless it be in their impious or have here said, and ask your consciences : Do you blaspbeming thoughts, or in their light, contemp- walk with God, and who is it you submit yourtuous thoughts! To take God for God indeed, selves willingly to be disposed of by ? To whom and for our God, essentially includes the taking are you most subject, and whose commands have him to be the most powerful, wise and good, the the most effectual authority with you ? Who is most just and holy, the creator, preserver, and the chief governor of your hearts and lives, and governor of the world, whom we and all men whom is it that you principally desire to please ? are obliged absolutely to obey and fear, to love Whom do you most fear, and whose displeasure and desire, whose will is our beginning, rule and do you principally avoid ? From whom is it end: he that taketh not God for such as here that you expect your greatest reward, and i.. described, taketh him not for God, and therefore whom, and with whom, do you place and expect is indeed an atheist : what name soever he as- your happiness ? Whose work is it that you do, sumeth to himself, this is the name that God will as the greatest business of your lives? Is it the call him by ; even
• fool that hath said in his goodness of God in himself, and unto you, that heart there is no God: while they are corrupt draws up your hearts to him in love? Is he and do abominably, they understand not, and the ultimate end of your intentions, design, and seek not after God; they are all gone aside, and the industry of your lives? Do you trust upon are altogether become filthy, there is none of his word as your security for your everlasting them that doth good; they are workers of ini- hopes and happiness? Do you study and obquity, they have no knowledge, and eat up the serve him in his works ? Do you really live as people of God as bread, and call not upon the in his presence? Do you delight in his word, Lord. «Ungodliness' is but the English for and meditate on it? Do you love the communion atheism. The atheist or ungodly in opinion, is of saints, and to be most frequent and familiar he that thinks that there is no God, or that he is with them that are most frequent and familiar one that we need not love and serve, and that is with Christ ? Do you savour more the particubut the same, viz. to be no God.
lar affectionate discourse about his nature, will The atheist or ungodly in heart, or will, is he and kingdom, than the frothy talk of empty wits, that consents not that God shall be his God, or the common discourse of carnal worldlings? to be loved, feared and obeyed before all. The Do you love to be employed in thanking him atheist in life, or outward practice, is he that for his mercies, and in praising him, and delives as without God in the world ; that seeks claring the glory of his attributes and works? Is him not as his chief good, and obeys him not as your dependence on him as your great benefachis highest absolute Lord; so that indeed athe- tor, and do you receive your mercies as his gifts. ism is the sum of all iniquity, as godliness is the If thus your principal observation be of God, sum of all religion and moral good. If you see your chief desire be after God, your chief by the description which I have given you, what confidence in God, and your chief business in it is to be godly, and to walk with God, and what the world be with God, and for God, and your chief joy be in the favour of God, (when you / est of the flesh, and his services must stay till can apprehend it) and in the prosperity of his men have done their service to their lusts, or to church, and your hopes of glory: and if your worldly men, that can do them hurt, or show chief grief and trouble be your sinful distance them favour! And his will must not be done, from him, your backwardness and disability when it crosses the will of sinful man! How in his love and service, the fear of his dis- little do all the commands, promises, and threatpleasure, and the injuries done to his gospel and enings of God signify with these atheistical men, honour in the world ; then I must needs say, in comparison of their lusts, or the laws of men, you are savingly delivered from your atheism or any thing that concerns their temporal prosand ungodliness; you do not only talk of God, perity. O how is the world revolted from their but walk with God; you are then acquainted Maker! How have they lost the knowledge of with that spiritual life and work, which the sen- themselves, and forgotten their natures, capacisual world is unacquainted with, and with those ties and obligations, and what it is to be indeed invisible, everlasting excellencies, which if world. a man. O hearken, sinners, to the call of your lings knew, they would change their minds, Redeemer! Return, O seduced, wandering souls, choice, and pleasures: you are then acquainted and know at last your resting place! Why is with that rational, manly, saint-like life, which not God in all your thoughts ? Or why is he ungodly men are strangers to; and you are in thought on with so much remissness, unwillingthe way of that well-grounded hope and peace ness, and contempt, and with so little pleasure, to which all the pleasures and crowns on earth, seriousness or regard ? Do you understand if compared, are but chaff and misery. But if yourselves in this ? Do you deal worthily with ye were never yet brought to walk with God, do God, or wisely for yourselves ? Do you take not think you have a sound belief in God, nor more pleasure, with the prodigal, to feed swine, that you acknowledge him sincerely, nor that and to feed with them, than to dwell at home you are saved from heart-atheism ; nor is it piety with your heavenly Father ; and to walk before in the opinion and the tongue, that will save him him, and serve him in the world ? Did you but that is an atheist, or ungodly in heart and life. know how dangerous a way you have been in, Divinity is practical science : knowing is not and how unreasonably you have dealt, to forsake the ultimate or perfective act of man : but a God in your hearts, and follow that which cannot means to holy love, joy and service. Nor is it profit you, what haste would you make to leave clear and solid knowledge, if it do not somewhat the crowd, come home to God, and try a more affect the heart, and engage and actuate the life, noble and gainful conversation ? If reasons according the nature and use of the thing may have room and leave to work upon you, I known. The soundness of knowledge and be will set a few before you more distinctly, to call lief, is not best discerned in the intellectual acts you off from your barren, inordinate creaturethemselves, but in their powerful, free and plea- converse, to a believing, serious converse with sant efficacy, upon our choice and practice. By God. these therefore you must judge, whether you are 1. The higher and more excellent the object godly or atheistical. The question is not what is, especially when it is also of most concern to your tongues say of God, nor what ceremonious ourselves, the more excellent is the converse. observances you allow him, but what your hearts Therefore as nothing dare compare itself with and your endeavours say of him, and whether God, so no employment may be compared with you glorify him as God, when you say you know this of holy walking with him. How vile a conhin: otherwise you will find that the wrath of tempt is it of the Almighty, and of our celestial God is revealed from heaven against all ungod joys, for the heart to neglect them, and turn liness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the away, and dwell upon vanity and trouble, and truth in righteousness.'
let these highest pleasures go! Is not God Now alas, what matter of lamentation is here and glory worthy of thy thoughts, and all thy before us! To see how seriously men converse service ? with one another; and how God is overlooked 2. What are those things that take thee up ? or neglected by the most ! How men live to- Are they better than God, or fitter to supply thy gether, as if there were more that is considerable wants ? If thou think and trust in them acin these particles of animated dust, than in the cordingly, ere long thou shalt know better what Lord Almighty, and in all his graces, service they are, and have enough of thy cursed choice and rewards! To see how God is cast aside, and confidence. Tell those that stand by thee and his interest made to give place to the inter- I at the parting hour, whether thou didst choose aright and make a gaining or a saving match. O not shut your eyes, and turn away your face, and poor sinners ! have you not yet warning enough refuse to observe him, who is still observing to satisfy you that all things below are vanity you. and vexation, and that all your hope of happi- Moreover, your dependence both for soul and ness is above! Will not the testimony of God body, is all on him : you can have nothing desatisfy you? Will not the experience of the sirable but by his gift. He feeds, he clothes, he world for so many thousand years together sa- maintains you, he gives you life and breath, and tisfy you? Will not the ill success of the damned all things : yet can you overlook him, or forget satisfy you? Will nothing but your own ex- him ; do not all his mercies require your acperience convince you? If so, consider well the knowledgment? A dog will follow him that experience you have already made, and season- feeds him : his eye will be upon his master : and ably retire, and try no further, and trust not so shall we live upon God, and yet forget and disdangerous a deceiver to the last, lest you buy regard him ? We are taught a better use of his your knowledge at a dearer rate than you will mercies by the holy prophet David, “O bless our now believe.
God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise 3. You have daily more to do with God, than to be heard : which holdeth our soul in life, and with all the world, whether you will or not ; suffereth not our feet to be moved !' therefore seeing you cannot avoid him if you Nay, it is not yourselves alone, but all the would, prefer that voluntary obedient converse world that depends on God. It is his power which hath a reward, before that necessitated that supports them, and his will that disposes of converse which hath none. You are always in them, and his bounty that provides for them : his bands : he made you for his service ; and and therefore he must be the observation and he will dispose of you and all that you have, admiration of the world : it is less unreasonable according to his will. It shall not go with you to take no notice of the earth that bears us and as yourselves would have it, nor as your friends yields us fruit, and of the sun that yields us would have it, nor as princes and great ones of heat and light, than to disregard the Lord that the world would have it; unless as their wills is more to us than sun, and earth and all things. comply with God's ; but as God would have it, “The eyes of all things wait on him; and he who will infallibly accomplish all his will. If a giveth them their meat in due season : he openeth *sparrow fall not to the ground without him, and his hand and satisfieth the desire of every living all the hairs of our heads are numbered,' then thing.'— The Lord is good to all, and his tender certainly he over-ruleth all your interests and mercies are over all his works : all his works affairs, and they are absolutely at his disposal. therefore shall praise him, and his saints shall To whom then in reason should you so much bless him : they shall speak of the glory of his apply yourselves as unto him? If you will not kingdom, and talk of his power.' take notice of him, he will take notice of you : Moreover, God is so abundantly and wonderhe will remember you, whether you remember fully represented to us in all his works, as will him or not ; but it may be with so strict and leave us under the guilt of most unexcusable severe a remembrance, as may make you wish he contempt, if we overlook him, and live as without did quite forget you. You are always in his him in the world. • The heavens declare the presence ; and can you then forget him, and hold glory of God, and the firmament showeth his no voluntary converse with him, when you stand handy-work : day unto day uttereth speech, and before him ? If it be but mean inferior persons night unto night showeth knowledge. Thus 'that that we dwell with, and are still in company which may be known of God is manifest ; for the with, we mind them more, and speak more to invisible things of him from the creation of the them, than we do to greater persons that we sel- world, are clearly seen, being understood by the dom see. But in God there is both greatness things that are made, even his eternal power and nearness to invite you. Should not all the and godhead: so that the ungodly are without worms on earth stand by, while the glorious God
excuse.' Cannot you see that which all the doth call you to him, and offer you the honour world reveals ; nor hear that which all the and happiness of his converse ? Shall the Lord world proclaims? O sing ye forth the honour of heaven and earth stand by, and be shut cut, of his name : make his praise glorious ! Say to while you are chatting or trifling with his crea- the Lord, How terrible art thou in thy works ! tures? Nay, shall he be neglected that is always Through the greatness of thy power shall thine with you? You cannot remove yourselves a enemies submit themselves unto thee: all the moment from his sight; and therefore you should I earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee : they shall sing unto thy name: come and happiness. While the soul is in the body, it see the works of God: he is terrible in his doings maketh so much use of the body in all its operatowards the children of men. Can we pass him tions, that our wise and merciful Creator and by, that is every where present, and by every governor doth respect the body as well as the creature represented to us? Can we forget him, soul, in his ordering, disposing, and representing when all the world are our remembrancers ? Can of the objects of those operations : so that when I we stop our ears against the voice of heaven and consider that certainly all men would be distractearth ? Can we be ignorant of him, when the ed, if their apprehensions of God were any wbit whole creation is our teacher ? Can we overlook answerable to the greatness of his majesty and that holy, glorious name, which is written so glory (the brain being not able to bear such high legibly upon all things that ever our eyes beheld, operations of the soul, nor the greatness of the that nothing but blindness, sleepiness or distrac- passions which would necessarily follow) it much tion, could possibly keep us from discerning it! reconciles my wondering mind to the wise and I have many a time wondered, that, as the eye gracious providence of God, even in setting inis so dazzled with the beholding of the greatest nocent nature itself at such a distance from his light, that it can scarcely perceive the shining glory, allowing us the presence of such grace of a lesser, so the glorious transcendent majesty as is necessary to bring us up to glory. Though of the Lord, doth not even overwhelm our un- it reconciles me not to that doleful distance which derstandings, and so transport and take us up, is introduced by sin, and which is furthered by as that we can scar
carcely observe or remember any satan, the world, and the flesh, and which our Rething else. For naturally the greatest objects of deemer by his Spirit and intercession must heal. our sense, are apt to make us at that time insen- It further reconciles me to this disposal and sible of the smaller : and our exceeding great will of the blessed God, and this necessary nalubusiness, is apt to make us utterly neglect and ral distance and darkness of our mind, when I forget those that are exceeding small: O what consider, that if God, heaven, and hell, were as trifles are the best and greatest of the creatures, near and open to our apprehensions, as the things in comparison of God! What toys and trifles are which we see and feel, this life would not be are all our other businesses in the world in com- what God intended it to be, a life of trial and parison of the business which we have with him! preparation to another, a work, a race, a pilgrimBut I have been stopped in these admirations age, a warfare ; what trial would there be of by considering that the wise Creator hath fitted any man's faith or love, or obedience, or conand ordered all his creatures according to the stancy, or self-denial? If we saw God stand by, use which he designs them to : therefore as or apprehended him as if we saw him (in degree) the eye must be receptive only of so much light it would be no more praiseworthy or rewardable as is proportioned to its use and pleasure, and for a man to abhor all temptations to worldmust be so distant from the sun, that its light liness, ambition, gluttony, drunkenness, lust, may rather guide, than blind us, and its heat may cruelty, &c. than it is for a man to be kept from rather quicken, than consume us ; so God hath sleeping that is pierced with thorns, or for a made our understandings capable of no other man to forbear to drink a cup of melted gold knowledge of him here, than what is suited to which he knows will burn out his bowels, or to the work of holiness: while we have flesh, and forbear to burn his flesh in fire. It were no great fleshly works to do, and lawful necessary busi- commendation to his chastity, that would forness in the world, in which God's own commands bear his filthiness, if he saw or had the fullest employ us, our souls, in this lanthorn of the body, apprehensions of God; when he will forbear it must see him through so thick a glass, as shall in the presence of a mortal man: it were no so far allay our apprehension, as not to distract great commendation to the intemperate and vous, and take us off the works which he enjoins luptuous, to have no mind of sensual delights, if
God and our souls shall be at such a dis- they had but such a knowledge of God as were tance, as that the proportionable light of his equal to sight. It were no thanks to the persecutor countenance may conduct us, and not overwhelm to forbear his cruelty against the servants of the us : and his love may be so revealed, as to Lord, if he saw Christ coming with his glorious quicken our desires, and draw us on to a better angels, to take vengeance on them that know not state, but not so as to make us utterly impatient God, and obey not the gospel, and to be admired of this world and utterly weary of our lives, or in his saints, and glorified in them that now beto swallow us up, or possess us of our most de lieve.' I deny not but this happily necessitated sired happiness, before we arrive at the state of holiness is best in itself, and therefore will be our state in heaven ; but what is there of trial in it ? it, what business it is that they have with Or how can it be suitable to the state of man, God. that must have good and evil set before him, and 1. It is not a business that may be done, or life and death left to his choice ; and that must left undone, like your business with men : but conquer if he will be crowned, and approve his it is such as must be done, or you are undone fidelity to his Creator against competitors, and for ever. Nothing is absolutely necessary but must live a rewardable life before he have the this : nothing in all the world doth so much con-reward ?
You may at far cheaper rates forBut though in this life we may neither hope bear to eat, or drink, or clothe yourselves, or for, nor desire, such overwhelming sensible ap- live, than forbear the dispatch of this necessary prehensions of God, as the rest of our faculties work. cannot answer, nor our bodies bear; yet that 2. Your business with God, and for God in our apprehensions of him should be so báse, the world, is that which you have all your powers small, dull, and unconstant as to be borne down and endowments for ; it is that which you were by the noise of worldly business, or by the pre- born into the world for, and that which you have sence of any creature, or by the tempting baits understanding and free-will for, and that which of sensuality, this is the more odious, by how you have your thoughts, memories and affections much God is more great and glorious than the for, and that which you have eyes, ears, and creature, and even because the use of the crea- tongues, and all your corporal parts and abilities ture itself is but to reveal the glory of the Lord. for; and that which you have your time for ; To have such slight and stupid thoughts of him, and your preservation, protection and provisions : as will not carry us on in uprightness of obedi- it is that which you have all your teaching for; ence, nor keep us in his fear, nor draw out our which Christ himself came for into the world ; hearts in sincere desires to please him, and enjoy which the scriptures are written for ; which minhim, and as will not raise us to a contempt of isters are sent for, which all order and governthe pleasures, profits, and honours of this world, ment in church and state is principally appointed this is to be despisers of the Lord, and to live as for: in a word, it is that for which you have in a sleep, and to be dead to God, and alive only your lives, and all things, and without which all to the world, and flesh. It is no unjust dishonour were as nothing, and will be to you worse than or injury to the creature, to be accounted as nothing, if they do not further your work with nothing in comparison of God, that it may be God: you will wish you had never seen them able to do nothing against him and his interest ; if they befriend you not in this. but to make such a nothing of the most glorious 3. Your business with God, and for him, is God, by our contemptuous forgetfulness or neg- such as you must be continually doing : as is lect, as that our apprehensions of him cannot incumbent on you every hour, for you have every prevail against the sordid pleasures of the flesh, hour given you for this end. You may dispatch and against the richest baits of sin, and all the this man to-day, and another to-morrow, and wrath or allurements of man, this is but to make have no more to do with them again for a long a God of dust, and nothing, and (in heart and time: but you have always incessantly important practice) to make God worse than dust and works to do with God. For your common ashes. It is a wonder that man's understanding work should be all his work ; and all should be can become so sottish, as thus to wink the sun done with principal respect to him. itself into a constant darkness, and to take God But I shall yet more particularly tell the unas nothing, or as no God, who is so abundantly godly what business it is that they have with revealed to them in astonishing transcendent God, which it seems, by their careless negligent greatness and excellency, by all the creatures in lives, they are not aware of. the world, and with whom we have continually 1. You must be either saved or damned by 80 much to do. O sinful man ! into how great a him ; either glorified with him, or punished by depth of ignorance, stupidity and misery art thou him to everlasting: and it is now that the matter fallen!
must be determined, which of the two conditions But because we may see by the lives of the you must be in : you must now obtain your title ungodly, that they little think that they have so to heaven, if ever you will come thither : you much to do with God, though I have spoken of must now procure deliverance from hell-fire, if this to the godly in the other part of this trea- ever you will escape it. Now it is that all that tise, I shall somewhat more particularly acquaint must be done, upon which the scales must turn those that have most need to be informed of for your salvation or damnation : you know this