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refiding only in weak brains, as the employment
of melancholy, and difeafed minds; and who
ftick not, in the gaiety of their hearts, to fay,
that a strict piety is good for nothing, but to make
the owners of it troublesome to themfelves, and
ufelefs to the rest of the world
O! let not any
one, who wishes well to goodness, differve the
intereft of it more, by his unreasonable fcruples,
than he promotes it, by his exemplary practice!
But let him refolve to fummon up all his reafoning
powers, and to fet them in array against thefe in-
fignificant phantafms and illufions, which would
certainly retire before this fingle reflexion (had a
man but the courage to make and to believe it)
that fuch niceties dwell ufually there, where there
is leaft need of them, and are a real fign of that
fincere piety, the want of which thofe, who thus
unhappily fuffer under them, deplore,

VII. Seventhly, Another fure token of our fincerity in religion, is, when we delight to read the holy fcriptures, and have a favory taste and relifh of them; when we find fomewhat more in them than in mere human writings, and are apt to fettle into a pious compofure of mind while we are perufing them. When we come to them with fatisfaction and eagerness, and are unea y under any long difcontinuance of our converfation with them. This is the token and character, by which the experienced pfalmift teaches us to know a good man. "His delight (faith he) is in the law of the Lord, and in that law doth he meditate day and night." Pfal. i. 2. 'Tis true, it may fometimes happen, that a person of a found B b 2 and

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and fincere piety fhall read the holy fcriptures, without being much warmed, or affected with them. He may be under an indifpofition and langour of mind; the bufinefs or pleasures of life and worldly objects may now and then take poffeffion of his heart, and fhut the door againft fpiritual impreffions; but then this is not a common and every day's cafe; he is for the moft part well difpofed and affected towards this divine employment; his appetite is generally awakened, and his taste very good; and he re joiceth in God's word, as one that findeth great poils." Pfal. cxix. 162. "Did not our hearts burn within us (faid the good difciples) while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the fcriptures?" Luke xxiv. 32. But if a man can frequently perufe thofe facred pages, without any degree of fenfible emotion and concern, without being touched any ways by the matter of them, or awed by the majestic manner of expreflion, which diftinguishes them from all other writings; this is as fure an indication of a fick foul, as a palate, which does not relish the most favory meats, is of a difeafed body, “the fining pot is for filver, and the furnace for gold; but the word of God trieth the hearts:" Prov. xvi. 3. And "it is quick and powerful (faith the author to the Hebrews) and harper than any two-edged fword; piercing even to the dividing afunder of foul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a difcerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" Heb 1v 12. And needs must that heart be very hard and callous, and almost

pungent

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paft feeling, upon which so pungent and searching a medicine doth not operate.

Thefe are the feveral marks or tefts, by which we may examine ourselves, whether we are in the faith, whether we are poffeffed of that truly Chriftian fincerity which God above all things requires. Let us do it honeftly and impartially; let us apply the rules which have been given, and take an eftimate of the true state and condition of our fouls by the means of them. If, upon a strict enquiry, we find that our hearts are right with God, let us give him the praife, and refolve, by his grace and bleffing, to keep them fo," all the while our breath is in us, and the spirit of God is in our nostrils;" Job xxvii. 3. and endeavour to grow in this faith, and to increase in this grace, more and more, "till we come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the ftature of the fulness of Chrift," Ephef. iv. 13. But if, after a ferious review of our lives and confciences, it appears, that they are not fuch as will strictly bear the teft; let us form immediate refolutions of working ourselves up into thofe degrees of fincerity which we want, and of being as "holy" and "blamelefs," as we ought to be, " in all manner of converfation." Pet i 5.

May we every one of us fo refolve, and be bleffed, in God's good time, with an happy and comfortable effect of our resolutions, through the mighty affiftances of his holy fpirit, purchated for us by the blood of his dear fon! To which eternal three be for ever afcribed all honour, adoration, and praife. Amen. FIN I S.

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