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or an intent of giving God satisfaction for the affronts we have offered him; and whether the austerity makes Sin truly bitter to us, and works an'eternal deteftatation of it in our Hearts; or whether it disposes us to fall on afresh, and tempts us upon the credit of that piece of Mortification, to venture into new Sins and Enormities?
So in our Zeal for God, Consideration must acquaint us, whether we are more passionate in things which concern the Honour of God, than in promoting of our own Interest; whether it be a Zeal according unto Knowledge, and kindled by the Son of Righteousness; or furious, , and lighted by the flames of the burning Lake ; whether it be singularity, peevishnels, spleen, and malice, that makes us hot, or deliberate pondering of the affront, that's put on the Divine Majesty. And whether we are zealous for the greater, as well as for the lesser, matters of the Law; for Judgment, Faith and Mercy, as well as for paying Tythe of Mint, and Cummin, and Anise :
Without Consideration, our Souls must neceffarily remain under very great darkness and mistakes, and consequently run the hazard of being cheated in the work of Conversion. How should these Cheats be discovered, but by our Reafon ? How shall our Reason judge of them byt by Consideration ? For Consideration calls them to an account, lays them open, examines their rise and progress, discovers them to be dross, and (pies out the danger they involve the Soul in, and by that means works it into a faithfull Resolution to take another course,
CHAP. IV. Of tbe various Impediments and Remora's of confide
ration. Men fancy greater' difficulty in't than there is indeed. Are continually imployed about sensual Objects Løth to part with their Şins. Ignorant of the pleasure of Cansideration. Reflect upon the danger of lofing their
unlawful gain. Fear they shall fall into Melancboly, or go Distracted with so much Seriousness. Are of opinion, that Conversion in that sense the Scripture speaks of it, is needless. Mistake the nature of Conhderation, Are discouraged by evil company. Neglect consult, ing with Ministers about this necessary work. Delude themselves with the Notion of Christ's dying for the fins of the World. Confideration la Duty to great, fo noble, 10
necessary, one would think should find suitable entertainment with all Men that preţend to reason, or wisdom, or discretion; For in not giving it respect and veneration, they call their own Reason in question, disparage their Wisdom, and give just occasion to their Neighbours to suspect, that discretion is a flower which never ficial, who can imagine to the contrary, but every Man will spread open his Doors, and let it in? How! Lock the Gates against a good Angel! Keep out a Messenger that brings glad ti
dings? Darken the room that I may not see the Sun Confideration, that directs me how I may i be a Friend of God, get room in his Bosom, sing with Angels, triumph with Seraphim, sit at the right hand of a Glorified Redeemer, stand before the Throne of God, serve him day and night in his Temple, and be freed from all possibility of Sin and Misery, from all discontent and vexation of Spirit! Is it possible a Messenger of that Worth, and Beauty and Excellency, can want a Lodging! Is it possible, it should fare no better than 'the GREAT JESUS be destitute of a place where to lay his Head? Is it possible, Men should deal with it as the Inhabitants of Sodom did with the three Heavenly. Messengers, that entred into Lot's House ?: Quarrel with it ; abuse it ; offer violence to it; be angry at its harmless Janguage; Thew their spleen against that, whose Prefence preserves them from being consumed: And which, while it is among them, stays the hand of Heaven, the hand of the destroying An. gel, that they perish not? Does not every Man desire to be happy? Did ever any Man hate his own flesh: Was ever any Man in love with Torment? Is it not every Man's Interest to study how
to prevent it? and then sure Consideration cannot but have the love and embraces of all persons, that do not make fport with casting firebrands, and death, and arrows, Prov. 26. 18, 19.
So an impartial serious Man would think, yet to our grief and forrow we find, that Men run away from it, as from the Plague; and do as carefully avoid it, as they would do. Ratsbane,
or Sublimate, or Night-shade. This will oblige me in the next place to enquire, what are the Re. mora's or Impediments that make Men neglect this Panacæa, and, like mad Dogs, shun the water that would cure them, and slight the remedy that would infallibly recover them. It's natural for Men to enquire into the reasons of any decay. Ifa Tree do not thrive, if Flowers do wither in the Bud, if a Child do not grow, or if the Water of a River fails, the first thing we do, is, to enquire where the stop is, and what the causes of the defect
are, and why things do not prosper according to expectation? And he that hath a Vineyard in a very fruitful Hill, and fences it, and gathers the stones out of it, and plants it with the choicest Vine, and builds a Tower in the midst of it, and makes a Winepress therein, may well ask the Question, Wherea fore when I looked that it foould bring forth Grapes, it brought forth wild grapes? Ifa. 5: 1, 2, 3, 4.
The clogs and Impediments of Consideration are numberless, for indeed it's the Devil's study and contrivance day and night, which way to prevent it. Where a person dares extricate himself from the Snares of Sense, and venture upon this Work, the Enemy justly fears he shall lose a Subject ; and a Soul will be snatcht out of his Clutches, and he' shall not be able to hold the Sinner in his Ægypt, or hinder him from facri. ficing to the Lord' his God. He dreads this Land of Gothen; and to see People walk that way, makes him frer and storm. It gråtes upon his Spirits to behold a Sianer fet "his Face towards Jerusalem, he cannot endure to see the Disciples
on Mount Tabor ; An Ifanc, that's going to meditate, is a Thorn in his Eyes, and being a Spirit that lives upon Envy, enjoys bis malice, and finds his greatest satisfaction in destroying Mens Souls; we must fuppose he leaves no Atone unturned, no stratagem untried, no means unattempted, to binder Men from a serious recollection of their Thoughts and Imaginations. And no Husbandman can be supposed to set more traps, or invent more pit-fals, or devise more snares for vermio and rapacious Animals, than this Sophister lays to divert the stream of Mens Thoughts into a channel of contemptible and impertinent objects and to
There is fuch Beauty, fuch Loveliness in the ways of God, notwithstanding the course outside, that should such a person, by serious Congjeration, be tempted to lift up the Veil, and fee what is behind it ; remove the Sackcloth and Afhes, and take a view of that which is underneath; open the Iron Gate, and behold the Gold within; unlock the Gabinet, and see the Jewels there; he would most certainly be- ravilh'd with the fight, and not stay one hour longer in the chambers of Death. This the Devilknows; he is sensible, that Consideration is a Tree of Life, therefore, left Men put forth their hands and take of the Tree, and eat, and live forever, we may rationally believe he'll cross their endeavours to the uttermoft; so that we may suppose as many impediments of Consideration, as the Devil can invent stumbling. blocks to throw in the way to this Duty. However, let's take a view of some of the principal.