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sin that flattereth, that dissembleth, that offereth to hold God, as it were, fair in hand, about that which is neither purposed nor intended. It is also a sin that puts a man upon studying and contriving to beguile and deceive his neighbor as to the bent and intent of the heart, and also as to the cause and end of actions. It is a sin that persuadeth a man to make a show of civility, morality, or religion, as a cloak, a pretence, a guise to deceive withal. It will make a man preach for a place and praise, rather than to glorify God and save souls; it will put a man upon talking, that he may be commended; it will make a man, when he is at prayer in his closet, strive to be heard without door; it will make a man ask for that he desireth not, and show zeal in duties when his heart is as cold, as senseless, and as much without savor as a clod; it will make a man pray to be seen and heard of men, rather than to be heard of God; it will make a man strive to weep when he repenteth not, and to pretend much friendship when he doth not love; it will make a man pretend to experience and sanctification when he has none, and to faith and sincerity when he knows not what they are. There is opposed to this sin, simplicity, innocence, and godly sincerity, without which three graces thou wilt be a hypocrite. Believe that a hypocrite, with the cunning and shrouds for his hypocrisy, can go unseen no further than the grave; nor can he longer flatter himself with thoughts of life.
A hypocrite and a false professor may go a great way; they may pass through the first and second watch, to wit, may be approved by Christians and churches; but what will they do when they come at the iron gate that leadeth into the city?
As Luther says, In the name of God" begins all mischief. For hypocrites have no other way to bring their
evils to maturity, but by using and mixing the name of God and religion therewith. Thus they become whited walls; for by this white, the white of religion, the dirt of their actions is hid.
Religion to most men is but a by-business, with which they use to fill up spare hours; or as a stalking-horse, which is used to catch the game.
The Pharisees did carry the bell and wear the garland for religion.
A fawning dog and a wolf in sheep's clothing; they differ a little in outward appearance, but they can both agree to worry Christ's lambs.
CHRIST'S LOVE ABUSED.
Take heed of abusing this love of Christ, Eph. 3 : 18, 19. This exhortation seems needless; for love is such a thing as one would think none could find in their hearts to abuse. But for all that, I am of opinion that there is nothing that is more abused among professors at this day, than is this love of God. And what can such a one say for himself in the judgment, that shall be charged with the abuse of love? Christians, deny yourselves, deny your lusts, deny the vanities of this present life, devote yourselves to God, become lovers of God, lovers of his ways, and a people zealous of good works; then shall you show to one another and to all men that you have not received the grace of God in vain. And what a thing will it be to be turned off at last, as one that abused the love of Christ; as one that presumed upon his lusts, this world, and all manner of naughtiness, because the love of Christ to pardon sins was so great! What an unthinking, what a disingenuous one wilt thou be counted at that day; yea, thou wilt be found to be the man that made a prey of love, that made a stalk
ing-horse of love, that made of love a slave to sin, the devil, and the world; and will not that be bad?
OBJECTION. If it be so, then men need not care what they do; they may live in sin, seeing Christ hath made satisfaction.
ANSWER. If I were to point out one under the power of the devil, going hastily to hell, I would look no further for such a man than to him that would make such a use as this of the grace of God. What, because Christ is a Saviour, thou wilt be a sinner; because his grace abounds, therefore thou wilt abound in sin! O wicked wretch, let me tell thee before I leave thee, as God's covenant with Christ for his children stands sure, immutable, and unchangeable, so also hath God taken such a course with thee, that unless he deny himself, it is impossible that thou shouldst go to heaven, dying in that condition. They tempted God, proved him, and turned his grace into lasciviousness; so he sware in his wrath, They shall not enter into my rest. No, saith God, if Christ and heaven will not satisfy them, hell must devour them. God hath more places than one in which to put sinners: if they do not like heaven, hell must be their residence; if they do not love Christ, they must dwell for ever with devils.
PERVERSION OF THE TRUTH.
Let those that name the name of Christ depart from the iniquity that cleaveth to opinions. This is a sad age for that let opinions in themselves be never so good, never so necessary, never so innocent, yet there are spirits in the world that will entail iniquity to them, and will make the vanity so inseparable from the opinion, that it is almost impossible with some to take in the opinion and leave out the iniquity that by craft and subtlety of Satan is joined thereto. Nor is this a thing new and of yesterday; it has been thus almost in all ages of the church of God, and
that not only in things small and indifferent, but in things fundamental and most substantial. I need instance in none other for proof hereof, but the doctrine of faith and holiness. If faith be preached as that which is absolutely necessary to justification, then faith fantastical, and looseness and remissness in life, with some, are joined therewith. If holiness of life be preached as necessary to salvation, then faith is undervalued and set below its place, and works, as to justification with God, set up and made copartners with Christ's merits in the remission of sins. Thus iniquity joineth itself with the greatest and most substantial truths of the gospel; and it is hard to receive any good opinion whatever, but iniquity will join itself thereto.
What you say about doubtful opinions, alterable modes, rites, and circumstances in religion, I know none so wedded thereto as yourselves. For you thus argue: "Whatsoever of such are commended by the custom of the place we live in, or commanded by superiors, or made by any circumstance convenient to be done, our Christian liberty consists in this that we have leave to do them."
So that, do but call them things indifferent, things that are the customs of the place we live in, or made by any circumstance convenient, and a man may not doubt but he hath leave to do them, let him live at Rome or Constantinople, or amidst the greatest corruption of worship and government. There are therefore, doubtless, a third sort of fundamentals, by which you can wrestle with conviction of conscience, and stifle it-by which you can suit yourself for every fashion, mode, and way of religion. Here you may hop from Presbyterianism to a prelatical mode; and if time and chance should serve you, backwards and forwards again yea, here you can make use of several consciences, one for this way now, another for that anon; now putting out the light of this by a sophistical, delusive argument,
then putting out the other by an argument that best suits the time. Yea, how oft is the candle of the wicked put out by such glorious learning as this. Nay, I doubt not but a man of your principles, were he put upon it, would not stick to count those you call gospel-positive precepts,*
"Latitudinarian." This term is used of a "remarkable clan of divines," who flourished in England about the middle and towards the close of the seventeenth century. Coleridge, in his Literary Remains, says that they were generally Platonists, and all of them admirers of Grotius. "They fell into the mistake of finding in the Greek philosophy many anticipations of the Christian faith, which in fact were but its echoes. The inference is as perilous as inevitable, namely, that even the mysteries of Christianity needed no revelation, having been previously discovered and set forth by unaided reason." They are thus characterized by Dr. Wm. R. Williams, ("Miscellanies," p. 196:) "Against infidelity and popery they did good service in the cause of truth. Their dread of enthusiasm made them frigid, and their mastery of the ancient philosophy made them profound. Their doctrines were generally Arminian. Their notions of church power were less rigid than those of the rival party, and they were also more tolerant of difference in opinion. But in their preaching they laid the whole stress, well-nigh, of their efforts upon morals, to the neglect of doctrine; and in their theology, they attributed to human reason a strength and authority which gradually opened the way to the invasion of the gravest heresies. Of generally purer character than their opponents, they were also abler preachers. But while valuable as moral treatises, their sermons were most defective; for the peculiar doctrines and spirit of the gospel were evaporated." It cannot be doubted, that a class which included such men as Henry More, Cudworth, Tillotson, and Burnet, hardly deserves the wholesale reprobation hurled upon it by Bunyan. That some of them carried their liberalism to a dangerous extreme, and that all of them allowed too great latitude of sentiment in theology, and, by their philosophical speculations, obscured the simple glory of the gospel, is indeed true; but some who bore this name were men of unquestionable piety, as well as of eminent genius and scholarship.
It is interesting to contrast the mixture of divine truth and human speculation, and the almost melancholy doubts, exhibited in the writings of so excellent a man as Cudworth, with the strong and certain convictions, and the clear, well-defined views of Christian doctrine of John Bunyan, connected as they were in his case with the alınost exclusive study of the word of God. We learn thereby not to despise learning and philosophy, but to beware of lowering the authority and