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3. “ It lies not in moral righteousness.” This exceeds not the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, and therefore cannot bring us to the kingdom of God, Mat. V. 20. Paul, while unconverted, "touching the righteousness which is in " the law, was blameless,” Phil. iii. 6. None could say, “ Black is thine eye.” The self-julticiary could say, “ I am no extortioner, adulte“ rer, unjust,” &c. Luke xviii. 11. Thou must have something more than all this to shew, or else, however thou mayeft justify thyself, God will condemn thee. I condemn not morality, but warn you not to rest here; piety includes morality, as Christianity doth humanity, and grace reason ; but we must not divide the tables.
" It consists not in an external conformity to the rules of piety.” It is too manifest men may have a form of godliness without the power, 2 Tim. ii. 5. Men may pray long, Mat. xxiii. 14. and fast often, Luke xviii. 12. and hear gladly, Mark vi. 20. and be very forward in the service of God, though costly and expenfive, Isaiah i, 11. and yet be strangers to Converfion : They must have more to plead for themselves, than that they keep their church, give alms, and make use of prayer, to prove themselves found converts : No outward service but a hypocrite may do it, even to the “ giving all his goods to feed the poor, and his ~ members to the fire,” i Cor. xiii. 3.
s. " It lies not in the chaining up of corruption “ by education, human laws, or the force of in* cumbent affliction.” It is too common and easy to mistake education for grace; but if this were enough, who a better man than Jehoath? While
Jehoiadah his uncle lived, he was very forward in God's service, and calls upon him to repair the house of the Lord, 2 Kings xii. 2, 7.; but here was nothing more than good education all this while ; for when his good tutor was taken out of the way,
he appears to have been but a wolf chain. ed up, and falls away to idolatry:
6. In short, “ It confifts not in illuminations or « conviction, not in a fuperficial change or partial “ reformation." An apoftate may be a man enlightened, Heb. vi. 4. ; and a Felix tremble under conviction, Afts xxiv. 25.; and a Herod amend many things, Mark vi. 25. It is one thing to have fin alarmed only by convictions, and another to have it captivated and crucified by converting grace. Many, because they have been troubled in conscience for their fins, think well of their cafe, miserably mistaking Conviation for Conversion: With these, Cain might have passed for a convert, who ran up and down the world like a man diftracted, under the rage of a guilty conscience, till with building and bufiness he had wore it away, Gen. iv. 13, 14. Others think, that because they have given over their riotous courses, and are broken off from evil company, or some particular luft, and reduced to fobriety and civility, they are now no other than real converts ; forgetting that there is a vast difference between being fančtified and civilized ; and that “ many seek to enter inco “ the kingdon of heaven," Luxe xiii. 24. “ are not far from it," Mark xii. 34. and arrive to the almost of Christianity, Acts xxvi
. 28. and yet fall short at last. Whilit confcience holds the whip over them, many will pray, hear, read, and for
bear their delightful fins ; but no sooner is the lion asleep, but they are at their vomit again, Who more religious than the Jews, when God's hand was upon them? Pfal. lxxviii. 34, 35. yet no sooner was the affliction over, but they forgot God, and Thewed their religion to be a fit, ver. 36, 37. Thou mayest have disgorged a troublefome fin, that will not fit. easy on thy stomach, and have escaped those gross pollutions of the world, and yet not have changed thy swinith nature all the while, 2 Pet. ii. 20. 22.
You may cast the lead out of the rude mass into the more comely proportion of a plant, and then into the shape of a beast, and thence into the form and features of a man; yet all the while it is but lead ftill: So a man may pass through divers transmutations, from ignorance to knowledge, from profanent is to civility, thence to a form of religion ; and all this w ile he is but carnal and unregenerate, whilft his nature remains unchanged.
APPLICATION. « Hear then, O finners! “ hear as you would live, fo come and hear," Ifa. lv. 3. Why would you so willingly deceive yourselves, or build your hopes upon the fand ? Í know he shall find hard work of it, that goes to pluck away your hopes : It cannot but be
ungraceful to you, and truly it is not pleasing to me. I fet about it as a surgeon, when to cut off a putrified member from his well-beloved friend, which of force he must do, though with an aching heart, a pitiful eye, and a trembling hand. But underftand me, Brethren, I am only taking down the ruinous house, (which will otherwise speedily fall
of itself, and bury you in the rubbish) that I may build it fair, firm, and streng for ever.
"The “ hope of the hypocrite shall perish,” Prov. xi. 7. if God be true to his word. And hadit thou not better, O finner! to let the word convince thee now in time, and let go thy falie and self-deluding hopes, than have death too late to open thine eyes, and find thyself in hell before thou art aware? I should be a false and faithless shepherd, if I should not tell you, that you, who have built your hopes upon no better grounds than these beforementioned, are yet in your fins. Let your conscience speak: 'What is it that you have to plead for yourselves? Is it that you wear Christ's livery? that you bear his name? that you are of the vifible church? that you have knowledge in the points of religion, are civilized, perform religious duties, are just in your dealings, have been troubled in conscience for your fins ? I tell you from the Lord, these pleas will never be accepted at God's bar: All this, though good in itself, will not prove you converted, and so will not suffice to your salvation. O! look about ye, and bethink yourselves of turaing speedily and foundly. Set to praying and to reading, and studying your own hearts ; reft not till God hath made thorough work with you, for ye muft be other men, or else ye
are lost men. But if these be short of conversion, what shall I lay of the profane finner? It may be, he will scarce cast his eye, or lènd his ear to this discourse; but if there be any such reading, or within hearing, he must know from the Lord that made him, that he is far from the kingdom of God.. May a man be civilized, and not converted; where then
shall the drunkard and glutton appear? May a man keep company with the wise virgins, and yet be shut out; shall not “a companion of fools much
be destroyed ?”. Prov. xiii. 20. May a man be true and just in his dealings, and yet not be justified of God? what then will become of thee,
wretched man! whose conscience tells thee thou art false in thy trade, and false of thy word, and makest thy advantage by a lying tongue ? If men may be enlightened, and brought to the performance of holy duties, and yet go down to perdition for resting in them, and fitting down on this fide of converfion; what will become of you, O miserable families ! that live without God in the world? and of you, O wretched finners! with whom God is scarce in all your thoughts; that are fo ignorant that you cannot, or so careless, that you will not pray? O repent and be converted ; is break off your fins by righteousness;" away to Christ for pardoning and renewing grace; give up yourselves to him, to walk with him in holiness, or else you shall never see God. O that you would take the warnings of God!
In his name I once more admonish you : “ Turn you at my ré: “ proof,” Prov. i. 23. Forsake the foolish, and « live,” Prov. Ix. 6. Be sober, righteous,
godly," Tit, ii. 12. “ Wash your hands, ye “ finners; purify your hearts, ye double-minded," James iv. 8. « Cease to do evil; learn to do a well,” Ifa. i. 16, 17.
“ But if you will on, “s you muft die,” Ezek. xxxiii. 11.