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teousness before God in them, whereon they hope to be accepted with him. They know not, they seek not, after any other righteousness but what is of their own working out. Whatever notions they may have of the righteousness of faith, of the righteousness of Christ, that which they practically trust unto, is their own; and it discovers itself so to be in their own consciences on every trial that befals them. Yea, when they cry unto the Lord, and pretend unto faith in Christ, they quickly make it evident that their principal trust is resolved into themselves. Now in all that they can plead in a way of duties or obedience, nothing carrieth a fairer pretence unto a righteousness, than what they do in the worship of God, and the exercise of the acts of religion towards him. This is that which he expects at their hands, what is due unto him, in the light of their consciences; the best that they can do to please him, which therefore they must put their trust in or nothing. They secretly suppose not only that there is a righteousness in these things which will answer for itself, but such also as will make compensation, in some measure, for their sins; and therefore, whereas they cannot but frequently fall into sin, they relieve themselves from the reflection of their consciences by a multiplication of duties, and renewed diligence in them.
It is inconceivable what delight and satisfaction men will take in any thing that seems to contribute so much unto a righteousness of their own. For it is suitable unto, and pleaseth all the principles of nature as corrupt, after it is brought under the power of a conviction concerning sin, righteousness, and judgment.
This made the Jews of old so pertinaciously adhere unto the ceremonies and sacrifices of the law, and to prefer them above the gospel, the kingdom of God, and the righteousness thereof; Rom. x. 3, 4. They looked and sought for righteousness by them. Those who for many generations were kept up with great difficulty unto any tolerable observance of them, when they had learned to place all their hopes of a righteousness in them, would, and did, adhere unto them, unto their temporal and eternal ruin; Rom. ix. 31-33. And when men were persuaded that righteousness was to be attained by works of munificence and supposed charity, in the dedication of their substance unto the use of the church, they who otherwise were covetous, and greedy, and oppressing, would lavish gold out of the bag, and give up their whole patrimony, with all their ill-gotten goods, to attain it; so powerful an influence hath the desire of self-righteousness upon
the minds of men. It is the best fortification of the soul against Christ and the gospel, the last reserve whereby it maintains the interest of self against the grace of God.
Hence, I say, those that place their righteousness, or that which is the principal part of it, in the duties of religious worship, will not only be diligent in them, but ofttimes abound in a multiplication of them. Especially will they do so, if they may be performed in such a way and manner, as pleaseth their affections with a show of humility and devotion, requiring nothing of the exercise of faith, or sincere divine love therein. So is it with many in all kinds of religion, whether the way of their worship be true or false, whether it be appointed of God, or rejected by him. And the declaration hereof is the subject of the discourse of the prophe ; Isa. i. 11 19. Also, Micah vi. 7, 8.
4. The reputation of devotion in religious duties, may insensibly affect the unrenewed minds of men with great 'diligence and delight in their performance. However men are divided in their apprehension and practice about religion; however different from, and contrary unto, each other, their ways of divine worship are; yet it is amongst all sorts of men, yea, in the secret thoughts of them who outwardly contemn these things, a matter of reputation to be devout, to be diligent, to be strict in and about those duties of religion, which, according to their own light and persuasion, they judge incumbent on them. This greatly affects the minds of men, whilst pride is secretly predominant in them; and they love the praise of men more than the praise of God.
Especially will this consideration prevail on them, when they suppose that the credit and honour of the way which they profess, in competition with others, depends much on their reputation, as to their strictness, in duties of devotion. For then will they not only be diligent in themselves, but zealous in drawing others unto the same observances. These two principles, their own reputation, and that of their sect, constituted the life and soul of pharisaism of old.
According as the minds of men are influenced with these apprehensions, so will a love unto, and a delight in, those duties, whereby their reputation is attained, thrive and grow in them.
I am far from apprehending that any men are (at least I speak not of them who are) such vile hypocrites, as to do all that they do in religion to be seen and praised of men, being influenced in all public duties thereby, which some among the Pharisees were given up unto. But I speak of them who being under the convictions and motives before mentioned, do also yet give admittance unto this corrupt end of desire of reputation, or the praise of men. For every such end being admitted and prevalent in the mind, will universally influence the affections unto a delight in those duties, whereby that end may be attained, until the person with whom it is so be habituated unto them with great satisfaction.
5. I should, in the last place, insist on superstition. As this is an undue fear of the divine nature, will, and operations, built on false notions and apprehensions of them, it may befall the minds of men in all religions, true and false. It is an internal vice of the mind. As it respects the outward way and means of religious service, and consists in the devout performance of such duties as God indeed accepts not, but forbids; so it belongs only to religion as it is false and corrupt. How in both respects it will engage the minds of men into the performance of religious duties, and for the most part with the most scrupulous diligence, and sometimes with prodigious attempts to exceed the measures of human nature in what they do design, is too long a work here to be declared. It may suffice to have mentioned it among the causes and reasons why men, whose affections are not spiritually renewed, may yet greatly delight in the diligent performance of the outward duties of religion. Our design in these things is the discovery of the true nature of this grace and duty of being spiritually minded. Hereunto we have declared that it is necessary that our affections be spirịtually and supernaturally renewed. And because there may be a great change wrought on the affections of men, with respect unto spiritual things, where there is nothing of this supernatural renovation; our present inquiry is, what
are the differences that are between the actings of the affections, of the one sort and of the other; whether spiritually renewed, or occasionally changed? And wherein the great exercise of them consists in the duties of religious worship, I haýe declared what are the grounds and reasons whence men of unrenewed minds do delight ofttimes in the duties of divine worship, and are diligent in the performance of them.
From these and the like considerations, it may be made manifest that the greatest part of the devotion that is in the world doth not spring from the spiritual renovation of the minds of men, without which it is not accepted with God. That which remains to give in instance, farther evidence unto the discovery we are in the pursuit of, is what are the grounds and reasons whereon those whose minds and affections are spiritually renewed, do delight in the institutions of divine worship; and attend unto their observance with great heed and diligence. And because this is an inquiry of great importance, and is of great use to be stated in other cases, as well as that before us, I shall treat of it by itself in the ensuing chapter, that the reader may the more distinctly comprehend it, both in the nature of the doctrine concerning it, and in the place it holds in our present discourse.
Delight of believers in the holy institutions of divine worship. The
grounds and reasons thereof. The evidence of being spiritually minded
thereby, &c. That all true believers whose minds are spiritually renewed have a singular delight in all the institutions and ordinances of divine worship is fully evident, both in the examples of the saints in the Scripture, and their own experience, which they will never forego. For this hath been the greatest cause of their suffering persecution; and martyrdom itself, in all ages. If the primitive Christians under the power of the pagan emperors, or the witnesses for Christ under the antichristian apostacy, would, or could have omitted the observance of them (according to the advice and practice of the
Gnostics), they might have escaped the rage of their adversaries. But they loved not their lives, in comparison unto that delight which they had in the observance of the commands of Christ, as unto the duties of evangelical worship. David gives us frequently an instance hereof in himself, Psal. xlii. 1-4. 'As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holy-day.' Psal. lxiii. 1-5. 'O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; to see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in thy sanctuary. Because thy loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee. Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name. My soul shall be satisfied, as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips.' Psal. lxxxiv. 1-4. 'How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King, and my God. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.'
But a greater than David is here.' Our Lord Jesus Christ himself did upon all occasions declare his delight in, and zeal, for all the ordinances of divine worship, which was then in force by virtue of divine institution and command. For although he severely reproved and rejected whatever men had added thereunto under the pretence of a supererogating strictness or outward order, laying it all under that dreadful sentence, 'Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be plucked up,' and so cast into the fire; yet as unto what was of divine appointment, his delight therein was singular, and exemplary unto all his dis