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per, 82; to the worthy participation whereof there is indispensably required a suitable and sufficient preparation, 84. In which these conditions are required;
I. That the preparation be habitual, 90.
II. That it be also actual, 93; of which the principal ingredients are, 1. Self-examination, 96. 2. Repentance, 98. 3. Prayer, 100. 4. Fasting, 101. 5. Alms-giving, 103. 6. Charitable temper of mind, 104. 7. Reading and meditation, 106.
The reverend author seemed to have designed another discourse upon this text, because in this sermon he only despatches the first part, viz. the necessity of preparation ; but proceeds not to the second, viz. that God is a severe animadverter upon such as partake without such a preparation, 84.
OF THE FATAL IMPOSTURE AND FORCE OF WORDS.
ISAIAH y. 20.
[Vol. iv. p. 203. 235. 265.]
I. To examine the nature of good and evil, what they are, and upon what they are founded, viz. upon the conformity or unconformity to right reason, 111. Not upon the opinion, 113, or laws of men, 114; because then, 1. The same action under the same circumstances might be both morally good and morally evil, 117. 2. The laws could neither be morally good nor evil, 117. The same action might be in respect of the divine law commanding it, morally good ; and of an human, forbidding it, morally evil, 118.
But that the nature of good and evil is founded upon a
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her nly on; ere
jus naturale, antecedent to all jus positivum, may be exemplified in those two moral duties, towards God and towards one's neighbour, 118.
II. To shew the way how good and evil operate upon men's minds, viz. by their respective names or appellations, 121. : III. To shew the mischief arising from the misapplication of names, 122. For since, 1. the generality of men are absolutely governed by words and names, 122. and 2. chiefly in matters of good and evil, 128. which are commonly taken upon trust, by reason of the frequent affinity between vice and virtue, 129. and of most men's inability to judge exactly of things, 130. Thence may be inferred the comprehensive mischief of this misapplication, by which man is either, 1. deceived, 133. or 2. misrepresented, 135.
Lastly, to assign several instances, wherein those mischievous effects do actually shew themselves. [Vol. iv. p. 203.]
I. In religion and church, 205. such as calling, 1. The religion of the church of England, popery, 206. which calumny is confuted from the carriage of the church of Rome towards the church of England, 208. and from the church of England's denying the chief articles of the church of Rome, 209. 2. Schismatics, true protestants, 215. against whom it is proved, that they and the papists are not such irreconcileable enemies as they pretend to be, 215. 3. The last subversion of the church, reformation, 220. which mistaken word turned the monarchy into an anarchy, 220. 4. The execution of the laws, persecution, 222. by which sophistry the great disturbers of our church pass for innocent, and the laws are made the only malefactors, 223. 5. Base compliance and half-conformity, moderation, 224. both in church governors, 226. and civil magistrates, 227.
A terrible instance of pulpit impostors seducing the minds of men, 232.
II. In the civil government, 236, 241. (with an apology for a clergyman's treating upon this subject, 236.) such as calling, 1. Monarchy, arbitrary power, 243. 2. The prince's friends, evil counsellors, 247. 3. The enemies both of
prince and people, public spirits, 251. Malicious and arbitious designs, liberty and property, and the rights of the subject, 255. Together with a discovery of the several fallacies couched under those words, 245. 250. 252. 257.
The necessity of reflecting frequently upon the great long rebellion, 260.
III. In private interests of particular persons, 268. such as calling, 1. Revenge, a sense of honour, 269. 2. Bodily abstinence, with a demure, affected countenance, piety and mortification, 273. 3. Unalterable malice, constancy, 274. 4. A temper of mind resolved not to cringe and fawn, pride, and morosity, and ill nature, 276. and, on the contrary,
ttery and easy simplicity, and good-fellowship, good nature, 280. 5. Pragmatical meddling with other men's mat ters, fitness for business, 281. Add to these, the calling covetousness, good husbandry, 284. prodigality, liberality, 285. justice, cruelty; and cowardice, mercy, 285.
A general survey and recollection of all that has been said on this immense subject, 285.
PREVENTION OF SIN AN UNVALUABLE MERCY.
1 SAMUEL xxv. 32, 33. And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the Lord God
of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet me: and blessed be thy advice, and blessed be thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to shed blood, and from avenging myself with my own hand. P. 139.
This is David's retractation of his revenge resolved upon an insolent wealthy rustic, who had most unthankfully rejected his request with railing at his person and messengers, 139. From which we may,
I. Observe the greatness of sin-preventing mercy, 141. Which appears, 1. From the deplorable condition of the sinner, before that mercy prevents him, 142. 2. From the cause of that mercy, which is God's free grace, 147. 3. From the danger of sin unprevented, which will then be certainly
committed ; and in such deliberate commission, there is a greater probability that it will not, than that it will be pardoned, 148. because every commission hardens the soul in that sin, and disposes the soul to proceed further, and it is not in the sinner's power to repent, 149. 4. From the advantages of the prevention of sin above those of the pardon of it, 151. which are the clearness of a man's condition, 151. and the satisfaction of his mind, 154.
II. Make several useful applications, 155. As, 1. To learn how vastly greater the pleasure is upon the forbearance, than in the commission of sin, 155. 2. To find out the disposition of one's heart by this sure criterion, with what ecstasy he receives a spiritual blessing, 156. 3. To be content, and thankfully to acquiesce in any condition, and under the severest passages of Providence, 158. with relation to health, 158. reputation, 159. and wealth, 160.
SERMONS XXIII. XXIV.
OF THE NATURE AND MEASURES OF CONSCIENCE.
1 John iii. 21.
Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, we have confidence
toward God. Pp. 163. 194. It is of great moment and difficulty to be rationally satisfied about the estate of one's soul, 163: in which weighty concern we ought not to rely upon such uncertain rules, 164. as these: 1. The general esteem of the world, 164. 2. The judgment of any casuist, 166. 3. The absolution of any priest, 168. 4. The external profession even of a true religion, 170.
But a man's own heart and conscience, above all other things, is able to give him confidence towards God, 173. In order to which we must know,
I. How the heart or conscience ought to be informed, 174. viz. by right reason and scripture, 175. and endeavouring to employ the utmost of our ability to get the clearest knowledge of our duty; and thus to come to that confi
dence, which, though it amounts not to an infallible demonstration, yet is a rational, well-grounded hope, 176.
II. By what means we may get our heart thus informed, 179. viz. 1. By a careful attention to the dictates of reason and natural morality, 179. 2. By a tender regard to every pious motion of God's Spirit, 181. 3. By a study of the revealed word of God, 184. 4. By keeping a frequent and impartial account with our conscience, 187.
With this caution, lest either, on the one side, every doubting may overthrow our confidence, 190. or, on the other, a bare silence of conscience raise it too much, 191.
III. Whence the testimony of conscience is so authentic, 195. viz. 1. Because it is commissioned to this office by God himself, 197. And there is examined the absurdity and impertinence, 199. the impudence and impiety of false pretences of conscience, 206; such particularly as those of schismatical dissenters, 201, 209. who oppose the solemn usages of our church ; the necessity of which is founded upon sound reason, 204. 2. Because it is quicksighted, 211. tender and sensible, 213. exactly and severely impartial, 215.
IV. Some particular instances, wherein this confidence suggested by conscience exerts itself, 217. viz. 1. In our addresses to God by prayer, 217. 2. At the time of some notable sharp trial, 219. as poverty, 220. calumny and disgrace, 221. 3. Above all others at the time of death,
THE DOCTRINE OF MERIT STATED, AND THE IMPOSSIBILITY
OF MAN'S MERITING OF GOD.
JOB xxi. 2.
I. Men are naturally prone to persuade themselves they can merit, 234. because,