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nefs, which hath too much of late encroached upon this Western World, do not owe its Original to fuch Religious Pretences of Men, who, under the Name of Justice and Sanctity, have dared to do that which Heathens would have trembled at, I leave to wiser Menthan my self to judge.
Only I cannot but take notice of a strange Effeet, which our Sermons have accidentally, as the Sun doth Snakes and Serpents wben shining upon unclean Dunghils, produced in the Lives of too many, of whom we might justly have expected better returns in Religion; for while we have been discouraging them from Hypocrisy, they bave run out into Debauchery ; and while we have endeavoured to clear our
Church from such as have but a Form of Godliness, they have made our Attempt an opportunity to indulge themselves in their Lusts, and thought that the way to approve themselves true Members of our Church, was to Drink, Swear, and be Lewd, and to commit those Sins openly, which the other (may be) did in secret. Excellent Sons of the Church ! that, Viper-like, tear up her Bowels, and, by à kind of Gallantry fetch'd from Hell, rail at their Mother more than Shimei did at David. I may be bold to affirm, That there is no Church this day in all the Christian World, that in her Dottrine doth either encourage Real Goodness more, or strive more to keep ihe Balance even, that God may have the Things which are God's, and Man the Things which are Man's, than that we live in: Yet to our forrow we find, that while we have given People leave to laugh at Religious Disimulations, they have laugh'd themselves
into Licentiousness; and while they have taken liberty to cavil at a falfe Religion, they have at last learned to be averse from all that looks like Holiness. This hath made me sometimes admire what thefe Men do with their Reafon, and that they do not prefektly for swear buying any more Pearls, because some there are that fell Counterfeit ones for True. Strange! I hey Should, to avoid one Extreme, run into another; end to Jhun Deceptions in Religion, run as far from it as the Devil can mislead them. How Joon might the Folly of both Extremes be discovered, if Men were but willing to think more than they do: But while they go on in a Road of a few outward Duties, and consider not how unworthy of that Church and Gospel they live, whose Friends they profess themselves to be, no marvel if they fright Men away from our Assemblies, and bring Darkness upon all the Land of Goshen.
Thejust Indignation I have taken at the Injuries our Church suffers from these Scandalous Men, hath been partly the occasion of this Treatise. For I fee, Men's Cures lie within their own Breasts; and that so many are fick unto Death, and ready to perish, the reason is, because they will not reflełt what unreasonable Men they are; nor represent to themselves the Wrong they do to their Souls for want of a lively Consideration, as will evidently appear in the ensuing Discourse.
I confefs divers Accomplishments which render a Book acceptable to curious Palates, such as are Rhetorick, Elegancy of Style, Fancy, Wit, and frequent Quotations of Authors, &c. will be
found wanting here: but, as I professno Skillthat way, so my Design was not so much to fill Men's Heads with Notions, as their Hearts with Fire. It was to engage the Ignorant and Careless to a substantial Improvement of their Reafon : And if what I have said, can prevail with those that have lived like Beasts, to recover themselves into Men again; I both undervalue the little Cenfures of Supercilious Men, and content my self with that Success. We cannot all shine as Stars of the first Magnitude, in the wide Firmament of the Church; those that cannot, must give such Light as they are able to dispense: I envy not our Eagles in Divinity, that they see far more than 1, but thank God I see so much: And while the greater Sages offer Gold and Myrrhe and Frankincense, I am happy enough if I may be allowed to bring Goats Hair, and Badgers Skins, towards the Accomplishment of the Tabernacle. A Critical Eye may Spy Faults in this Free-will Offering, and I do not wonder at it ; for my duller Sight, now I have done, discovers more than I wish there were in't. But my Discourse is fitted to my End. Doing good is my intent; if I fucceed not, it's no more but what greater Men have failed of.
CHAP. I. TH HE Nature of our Souls. The eternal State they are de
sign’d for. The Means God hath made use of tó fit Men for everlasting Bliss. All these Means ineffe&tual without Confideration.
Page 1 CH A P. II. Confideration, no transitory view of Spiritual Things; imports laying the Heart and Mind close unto Spiritual
Concerns ; resembles Magnifying-Glases, which discover Things ima perceptible to the naked Eye. The great Ingredients of a Self-Examination, Expoftulation and strong Resolution. Iš
CH A P. III. The absolute Neceflity of Confideration, in order to a serious
Life. God's frequent commands to that purpose. Our Reason and the Power of Confideration we are furnished or endued witb, proved to be given us for this end. Without it, Men have cause to suspect that their Reformation is Counterfeit.
59 CHAP. IV. Of the various Impediments and Remora's of Confideration.
Men fancy greater difficulty in't than there is indeed. Are continually employed about sensual Objects. Loth to part with their Sins. Ignorant of the Pleasure of Confideration. Reflect upon the Danger of losing their unlawful Gain. Fear they mall fall into Melancholy, of go diftraEted with so much Seriousness. Are of Opinion, that Conversion, in that sense the Scripture speaks of it, is needlefs. Mistake the Nature of confideration. Are discou
raged by evil Company. Neglet consulting with Ministers