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for ends and purposes, he betrays his innocency and commits iniquity.
3. For a man to denominate himself from religion, to pretend the honour of God and his worship, and to serve his own ends; for a man to make use of his religion, or the repute and credit of it, for any other purpose than to sanctify and save his soul ; is to play the hypocrite. And, This is the next thing we are to take heed of (viz.) hypocrisy. It is the greateft fign of hypocrisy, to use fuch liberty. A man may be mistaken, but he either does or may certainly know what himself means. A man may be short in his religion, but an hypocrite he is not, except he defiyn ill, and practise upon religion.
4. Let us take heed of backsliding or alteration in judgment when judgment has been well-informed, that we may enlarge our liberty for base ends : let us also beware of mean compliances, that we may be the better fit for the guise of this mad world : common practice is the worst kind of teacher. It is good therefore, before we entertain any thing on account of religion or conscience, to take great care, at times. to use much reading, meditation, prayer, conference, that we may have right judgment of truth, that we may know certainly that what we receive on account of religion is an unquestionable truth of God; otherwise it will be harder to fatisfy us, if we be mispere fuaded; for it is eafier to introduce light to darkness, and to scatter darkness, than to discharge any man that is conceited of an opinion, or to convince him of an error.
God hateth Wickedness.
PSA L M v. 4, 5. Thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness, &c.
Have given an account what kind of persons in the
for wicked. Sinners we all acknowledge ourselves to be ; that is, that in some particulars we fail, are in many things mistaken ; that we stand in need of God's mercy, cannot justify ourselves, nor stand upon our points ; but through the grace of God we may thankfully assert, that in scripture sense, if it be no worse with us than fo, we are not stiled wicked. I have shewed what those persons are.
Now. I shall shew that those that are wicked work. ers of iniquity, cannot have to do with God; they stand at a great distance from him, and are banished from his throne. For as the eye which sees the fun, must be sun-like, i. e. clear as the sun ; so must also the mind that fees God, be God-like, and partake of his holiness. In an impure soul no true notion of God can lodge, no right sense of him : we best know God by imitation and resemblance of him ; for then we feel him. This is expressed to the life in that excellent book of wisdom, chap. i. 4, 5. Into a mali
cious foul wisdom shall not enter, nor dwell in the body that is subject unto fin. The holy spirit will remove itself from thoughts that are without understanding, and will not abide where unrighteousness is entertained, for all froward thoughts, do separate the mind from God, ver. 3. Then he adds a reason, ver. 6. For wisdom is a genįle, benign, loving spirit, which agrees with what the apostle says, Gal. v. 22. The fruit of the spirit is love ; unless we use, wise, as the prophet does, (when he challenges, reproves and upbraids) Jer. iv. 22. Wije io do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge ; foolish people, who have not known God; sottish, who are void of understanding : in this fenfe of the prophet, to be wise, is to be cunning in contriving evil, crafty to conceal it ; or as the apostle fays, 1 Tim. vi. 20. knowledge, falsly so called ; the wisdom of the world, which is folly, madness. But, as Mofes tells his people, Deut. iv. 6. This is your wisdom and understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. So Job xviii. 28. The fear of the Lord, that is wisdoni, and to depart from evil is understanding. Prov. ix. 10. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. It is observable that in the catalogue of most horrid, monstrous, and degenerate creatures, of which we read, Rom. i. 30. is placed, without underflanding.
This gives us an account of the Gnosticks apostacy from all grounds of reason ; they were without understanding of God'; for vice and impurity do corrupt and vitiate the principles of the mind ; man by
use, custom and practice, works himself into another temper, he does over-ballance natural dispositions, impressions and inclinations.
We cannot build upon any report concerning God, which a bad man makes ; for if lie should speak right of God, he would condemn himself; therefore it is grievous to him to think that of God, which is true, because it is a reproof to himself, he is self-condemned, he is impatient, unquiet under the account or notion of virtue, he does not defire any such explication. Malignity to the mind, is what matter of disease is to the body ; the one spoils the constitutions of nature, the other abuses the faculties of the soul ; malignity spoils the temper of the mind, as matter of disease mars the conftitution of the body; a fick mind is otherwise affected, has another taste, relish, and inclination, than a man that is in perfect health.
Purity and holiness is the quality of the divine nature ; the filthiness of iniquity and fin, is the degenerate state of his creatures, at which God takes disa pleasure, upon which he does withdraw and leave them. No such thing is planted in the nature of man, but this is the creature's own contracted indispofition by abuse of himself; therefore it is an offence and abomination to God. Goodness, which is God's perfection ; and wickedness, which is man's acquifition, can no more consist together, than light and darkness, health and fickness, foundness and rottenness; therefore it is, that God withdraws from men of wicked and profane spirits, and that also the wicked take no pleasure in address and approach to God; goodness expresses the state and perfection of the di
vine nature, and wickedness is the acquired temper of the degenerate creature.
Further, This adds to the wretchedness of a degenerate state, that persons of naughty minds have no true thoughts either of God or man ; they think of all abroad without themselves, according as they find at home within themselves ; Psal. I. 21. Thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thy self ; for men flatter themselves and are apt to justify what they themselves are, what they do, what they delight in. To instance in three forts of persons, the infolent, the spiteful, the crafty. 1. The insolent, usurper, self-assumer ; such think the divine excellency to be self-will, because they.themselves affect to be arbitrary, unaccountable, to do as they list, and to have their will for a law; whereas this can be no rule where any other has a demand of right; this is no reason at all, because I will; where the right of the case is otherwise, this is no justification, I would have it so. 2. The spiteful or revengeful ; they think it God's privilege to be able to do harm, to crush, to oppress at pleasure, to keep under : for nothing gratifies bad natures more than to be revenged, or to have others at their pleasure : as on the other fides it pleases good natured persons to do courtesies, to oblige by kindness, and acts of good will. But there are those that practise and delight in cruelty, and they think this is God's privilege. I never took up a notion in divinity to determine any of those points that are in controversy, from one that is of a naughty disposition ; for because he does allow himself what, he is, he is apt to think fo of God; and as he him