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thou sayest thou knowest not what, thou speakest an impossibility. It is an unjustifiable notion, yea, nothing but contradictory nonsense, to plead for the regularity of thy heart, whilst there is nothing of it in thy life; it will be as near truth to call black, white: doubtless there are many good meaners in hell, who pretended their hearts were good when on earth, however it fell out that their lives were ill. The religion of some persons runs all upon nots; they are not such and such; like their predecessor the boasting Pharisee, who for all that was disowned by Christ. Not only the unruly servant, that beat his fellow-servants, is cast into hell, but the false servant too that did not improve his talent; he did not make his talent away,
he gave the Lord his own, and yet, because he did not improve it, he is called an unprofitable servant, and sentenced to depart as such. A negative righteousness will not do ; it will not be enough at the last day, to say, Lord, we have done no hurt in the world, for he expects that we should do some good. Holiness is more than,
4. Flourishing formality.
This is something more than the former, yet short still. All are not saints that seem to be so; there may be, and too often is, the form of godliness where persons deny the power of it; yea, all the religion of too many, is but a formal, lífeless thing. A little they do for fashion's sake; but they are far from making it their main business, and the grand concern of their lives. Some persons' holiness is only a little knack they have got, not that they matter it at all, only they would not be branded by their neighbours, with the black ignominious mark of being irreligious. Some are Christians because christianity hath been handed to them from their ancestors, and they can give no reason why they are so, but because they were brought up so. Ask them why they are of such a religion ; well, because their father was of that persuasion, and so was their grandfather, and all their ancestors, as far as they can remember. They are heirs to their father's religion, as they are to his estate, and so it descends to posterity, and passes from one generation to another, being handed down by tradition; this comes far short of what the Lord requires. These mere formalists are usually for the religion of the state, that which is uppermost and most in vogue, having a desire to be in the fashion in one thing as well as another : thus are the times, and therefore thus are we. Others do thus, and we are resolved we will not be branded for schismatics, they shall never have that to cast in our teeth ; we will keep our church, and mind our prayers, and we do not question but that we shall do as well as
any precise zealots that make such a stir about religion. “The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are we;" our church hath appointed such and such things, and they inquire no further. It is indeed a dismal consideration to think how many there are who go under the name of Protestants, who think themselves good Christians and you shall undergo the lash of their censures if do not think so too, who get not a jot further than a little flourish in religion, a little painted holiness they have to entertain the eyes of the beholders, that they may not see their deformity; and that is all they have, but not all that is required. Holiness is more than,
5. Hypocritical pretences.
Hypocrites pretend to greater strictness in religion than those last mentioned, but they miss it in their aims and designs ; they do not what they do from a right principle and for right ends. It is real sanctity we have been speaking about; now that of the hypocrite is but counterfeit, and observe, counterfeit piety is double iniquity. Great is the difference between a real saint and a hypocrite ; though outwardly you can scarcely distinguish them, nay, it may be, the hypocritical pretender in some external performances, shall outdo him who is a real worshipper. See him in his holiday's dress, and you would really think he is a saint, and yet it is but a more cunning artifice he has in duties than his neighbour : it may be the devil hath faster hold on such than many others. How many of us belong to this number, and who they are, the Lord only knows. There are many who are willingly brought to the outworks of religion, that take little pains with their hearts ; most they do is to be seen of men, and, “verily they have their reward.” Many who will read and pray, and hear and perform many duties, especially such as come under others' observation, whose hearts are not right with God; they bow to Christ in compliment, with cap and knee, but are not ready to do what he commands. A hypocrite may pray neatly, orderly, and fluently, and yet not believingly and experimentally; yea, it is possible he may pray himself into hell. 'Holiness is more than,
6. An intermitting zeal in religion.
This is that which is opposite to a uniform, regular, steady walking. Some will needs be religionists, and walk in the way of holiness, but they are not orderly in their steps ; sometimes they run, sometimes they stand, they have many and long intermissions, as persons in some distempers, they have their hot and cold fits ; sometimes a feverish heat, sometimes an aguish coldness. O! what a fever-burning zeal for religion some
• Simulata sanctitas est duplex iniquitas.
run on a new one.
times, at other times, they can scarcely afford it a good word. Holiness, in the power of it, doth not consist of such ups and downs. It is true, an honest, sincere heart may be out of frame; but though the stream be muddy, yet there is a spring that will cleanse it in due time. If we would walk holily, we must walk regularly ; it is not sufficient to keep up a round of religious duties, and think we may do what we please betwixt times, as though when we had been on our knees begging pardon for our sins, we had paid off the old score and might boldly
What, pray against sin, and go immediately and sin against our prayers ! O daring hypocrisy! Oh, to see a person on God's day, in the solemn assembly, with his hands and eyes up to heaven, wrestling with God for a blessing; another while his eyes fixed on, and, as it were, chained to the minister, catching at every word as it is delivered, and, within a few minutes, to hear the same person, as soon as he is got out of the door, talking idly and vainly, as though he had not been at ease for the want of such an opportunity; yea, and within a few days to see him drinking with the drunken, dishonouring God's name by his notorious sinful practice along with Satan's agents ;-this is very sad! Oh, that
;;those eyes which are one while reading God's book, inquiring into the words of eternal life, then trickling down tears in weeping for sin; that they should be another while employed in reading the devil's books, and such as were contrived by hellish policy, and after that gazing on vanity ;-this is grievous ! Oh, that those tongues, which are heard confessing sin, speaking of it with sighs and emphatical groans, as though the heart were almost ready to break with such depressing, debasing, soulhumbling expressions, as if they would not sin for a world, and another time melodiously singing forth the divine praises; that these should be the week following, blaspheming God's name by their full-mouthed oaths and horrid execrations ; that these instruments should be employed to contemn God's ordinances, and vilify his servants,—this is matter of lamentation ! Oh, to seem serious on God's day, importunately begging for their soul's salvation, and soon after imprecating their own damnation ; raking in the wounds of Christ, enough to make one's ears tingle ;—this is exceedingly dreadful! This is not walking in the way of holiness. Holiness is more than,
7. A temporary profession of christianity.
More might easily have been added, as federal holiness, being baptized in infancy, godly education, church privileges, convictions for, and confessions of sin, a partial reformation, &c. Real sanctity is more than these; but we cannot stay to insist upon
them. VOL. V.
Our holy walking doth imply constancy. Some flourish a little while, and not having root, they wither away, especially when they meet with the scorching days of persecution. One while, “ Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest;" the next news, it may be, we hear of them is, they have turned their backs upon the ways of God, and side with the ungodly multitude. One while, " Hosannah to the Son of David;" within a very little while, by the louder cry of their lives and conversation, “Let him be crucified, let him be crucified.” One while, own Christ; another while, “Away with him, away with him, we will not have this man, but Barabbas;" not those duties and ordinances, but these lusts, follies, and vanities. This is a going backward, not walking on, for that implies progress and continuation; they that would be said to walk holily, must be perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” It is not enough to begin, go on a little, and then give up; they that are holy must be holy still, not begin in the spirit and end in the flesh, for no grace will be saving, but that which is persevering. A temporary flash and no more, like a vapour that is soon in and soon out, is not the way to be found in the path of safety, and to be preserved when sufferings and afflictions come; no, it is the readiest way to bring these upon us. There is no putting our hands to the plough, no engaging in christianity and then giving up, that will carry us to glory; he that expects the prize must run to the end, he that would be crowned must fight on till he hath gained the victory; no cowards that turn again when they meet with difficulties, have any ground to expect the reward which is promised to all those who overcome.
Our holiness must appear at all times, in all places, in all cases and companies; nothing can be a sufficient plea for verging to a compliance with sin. Every duty should be looked after in its place, and we have work enough to fill up all our time, for the commandment is exceeding broad.” It is not enough that thou servest God on his own day, if thou dost gratify thyself all the week after; it is not enough that thou prayest in thy family, or in thy closet in the morning, or in both, if thou keepest the devil's company all the day following. Some on a Lord's day evening put off all their religion with their better clothes, and think what they have done will serve for the next week, though what they did was very meanly too; whereas they should but learn on God's day how to serve him afterwards. Our holiness is walking with God, as Enoch did; a following him fully, as did Caleb; yea, with Zacharias and Elizabeth, “a walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless :" it is serving God uprightly, orderly, regularly,
uniformly, constantly, in a diligent discharge and faithful performance of every appointed duty.
Having explained holiness, another thing in the explication is to shew, what that safety is, to which holiness is the way.
1. It is the way to temporal safety.
This is the way to be freed from outward sufferings, or to be preserved under them. Sometimes God's people are not free from a day of trouble, yet they are preserved under the troubles of the day. When the sea of the world hath been tossed with waves by tempestuous storms, when all things have been unhinged and unsettled, both in church and state, when affairs have been involved and miserably confused in this lower region, though the righteous did not wholly escape such tumultuous distractions, yet they have been kept under them; yea, and inwardly supported so as many did not suppose. Sometimes saints are under sufferings from God, sometimes from men. The Lord doth sometimes lay his hand upon his people and visit them with the rod, yet the other hand is underneath them to bear them up; in this he designs their advantage, to reclaim them from their wanderings, and prevent their going astray for the future. The Lord knows what his poor servants are, and what they can bear, and he treats them accordingly. He that made us, knows our mould, that we are but dust, and cannot bear the stroke of his arm without the auxiliary assistance of his Holy Spirit; therefore when he doth debate, it is in measure, and though the body may suffer, yet if the soul be bettered, what reason is there to find fault? If he do empty us from vessel to vessel, yet if he fill us with his grace; though he do remove comforts, yet if he come in himself and take up his abode with us, we are safe still, and have no reason to repent our waiting on him. Sometimes they are under sufferings from men, it is a day of trouble and rebuke, as in Hezekiah's time, “a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness." It is sometimes a stormy day of persecution, and the instruments of Satan are a little let loose by God's permissive providence, and his servants are hunted as partridges upon the mountains ; yet even then the Lord doth wonderfully preserve them; and though they may suffer and lose something for him, they shall lose nothing by him; the sons of violence may so far prevail as to take them off the stage of mortality, yet then there is,
2. Eternal safety.
The Lord lodges them in heaven, and doubtless that, if any, is a place of safety. When the Lord removes them hence, and houses them with himself they are out of danger, and then there is no ground of fear; for who shall scale the walls of the