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I account him a traducer of God, who represents him as having an ill defign upon his creatures, or sho represents him thus, that upon offence received from his creatures, he is implacable and irreconcileable ; or who thinks that God doth not give place to repentance. For, Two things I declare concerning repentance ;
1. That it doth alter the very temper of the finner. 2. That it is a motive with God, and doth affect him : it doth procure atonement in respect of God. Repentance alters the state and temper of the person, wheresoever it is ; so that we may fay, a penitent upon a moral account is not the same that he was when he did fin. Now this I argue; if God took so
great offence at those who were sent to search and view the land of Canaan, who brought an ill report of temporal Canaan, Num. xvi. 16. what difpleasure may we in reason imagine that God will take at those that do speak hard things of himself? He took so much offence at the spies, that he resolved none of them should ever enter into the promised land ; and can we suppose that they that misrepresent God, and bring fo ill a report of him, that God is not highly displeased with them? It is remarkable in that short epistle of Jude, it is said that he will come ta judge, and to convince finners of all the hard, without any substantive joined with it, so that we may put in thoughts, words or deeds. To discharge men of all these hard words, thoughts and imaginations, which they have concerning God, or his dealings with his creatures, I doubt not but it will manifestly appear at long run, that whosoever perisheth, his destruction is of himself ; to wit, either his own gross carelessness, or his wilfulness, or his voluntary allowance of himself, to gratify his lusts or his humours in things which will do him mischief. This no doubt will appear, whenfoever God calls to account. He will certainly justify himself in the sense of angels and men ; and every one that perisheth will be self-condemned : it will lie upon their wilfulness, or voluntary allowance that did them mischief. What better measure, pray, can we expect from God, or can our own hearts with, than that allowance that God of his own good-will affords ? P/al. ciii. 13. As a father pitieth his children, so the Lord hath compasion on them that fear him. Mal. iii. 17. As a father spares a fon that serves bim, fo will the Lord spare those that fear him, and think upon bis
And we know and have experience how far this extends, the affection of parents to children, to render to them the best construction, and how patient if things be amiss, and how willing to hear intention and purpose of amendment. God declares to this purpose concerning himself. He makes it visible and apparent, if his own ways to us be not equal. But it hath been the fashion of old for finners, to be mal-content and to complain of God. Ezek xviii. the whole chapter is spent in God's justifying of bimself against the murmurings and complainings of men. It was the great miscarriage while the Israelites were under the conduct of God, and while he did miraculously provide for them, upon all occasions, to murmur against him : and here they had got a proverb that cast a reproach upon God : The father hath eaten four grapes, and the childrens teeth are set on edge. But how amply and abundantly, and in several particu
lars, doth God answer and disprove this proverbial saying. We have no other reason to complain of God, than a child hath to complain of his careful parent, that doth interpose and hinder him from doing himself harm.
Now to finish what I have been so long upon, wickedness and works of iniquity : we are highly concerned, if we value God's favour and interest in him, to know what these are, that we may avoid them. I have treated of acts of impiety and profaneness; these terminate immediately upon God himself : acts of únrighteousness, falfhood, treachery, cruelty ; these towards one another, these terminate upon our fellow-creatures : acts of diffoluteness and intemperate living ; these terminate in ourselves.
I have treated of sobriety, chastity and temperance, due moderation in ourselves, self-government in refpect of things of the body. There is a choicer part, man's mind, his soul ; and the misgovernment of that, is more intensely evil than the other. For fins, the more spiritual they are, the more vile. The fins of the mind, though they have less of infamy, because not so discernible to by-standers ; yet they have no less of malignity. Therefore I must give you an account of those things that belong to the misgovernment of the mind. 1. The mind's sentiments. 2. The motions of the will. 3. The affections, or the paffions. And in these, men may greatly offend and become obnoxious to God. Sobriety is greatly concerned in the government of these ; irreligion and wickedness, in the neglect.
1. For the sentiments of the mind. The mind's sense may have malignity in it, as well as words and actions. Rom. viii. 7. The carnal mind is enmity 2gainst God; the internal sense and disposition, the very sentiment of men that are carnally-minded, men that live in an evil spirit. ' Men shew their spirits by their actions. A naughty temper appears in outward motions. Evil is first conceived in the mind ; out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, &c. Mat. xv. 19. An action that is to the harm of another, it is paft by as but a mischance, if it be not designed and intended : for according to the mind's intention, so are things estimated and accounted , what is meant, rather than what is done. It is an apology and excuse, I did not intend it, it was against my mind and will. Wherefore we do observe, that the mind of a good man is his best part, and the mind of a bad mar is his worst part : for a good man hath a mind to do more good than he can compass; and a bad man, le cannot execute so much evil as he hath a mind to. Wherefore God faith, give me thy heart; and not only cleanse your hands, but purify your hearts, nye finners. Now here I must challenge these internal distempers, as things of great malignity, as things that are to be accounted wickedness in the highest degree ; to wit, haughtiness of mind, infolence, arrogance; these fhew the misgovernment of the inward man. Also malcontent, peevilhness, frowardnefs, spitefulness ; fo likewisepresumption, over-weening, felf-conceit, com paring ourselves with others, in our secret thoughts to commend or prefer ourselves ; these few an internal malignity or naughtiness of mind, that men are
poisoned even in their very temper. Whatsoever is contrary to humility becoming a creature, or the modesty befitting a sinner, or the sense quam sit nobis curta supellex ; what is not suitable to the sense that we all ought to have how poor, naked, blind, and miserable we are. For this is our case, and the case of the best of us ; the most that any of us know, is the least of what is to be known ; and the best that any of us can do, is liable to mistake, or may be charged with some imperfection. Whereof then are we to boast ? How can we value ourselves above others ? It is a contradiction in adjecto ; as much as to say, a cold fire, a dark sun ; to say a creature that is insolent, or a finner that is felf-conceited and arrogant ; a proud and bold sinner, nothing is of greater ugliness and deformity. This is that which is the first; the senti ments of mens minds. Look inwardly, examine yourselves, try your temper, see what is in you; these are the things that are ungovernable, and here reformation ought to begin.
2. The motions of the will ; that is the next, wherein we ought to use fobriety and temperance, And we have this word also in the apostle, Eph. ii. 3. the wills of the fish, which is rendred lufts, these are, always exorbitant ; whenfoever the will moves without direction of the reason of the mind, that is exorbitant ; whensoever a man's will moves and
be fore the reason of his mind ; much more, if a man hath a will against the reason of his mind. Some there are, that must have their wills, right or wrong : give me children, or else I die. Stet pra ratione voluntas : this is all the reason I give ; my mind, my will,