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of the Devil: Who hurries fuch Perfons, as by their former evil Lives have banished the good Spirit from them, to fuch Degrees of Wickedness as otherwife 'tis fcarce credible that a reasonable Creature fhould ever be induced to commit. Yea tho' in the mean while they do profefs to believe that they are in that Way where in the End they must expect everlasting Damnation.

But, O gracious Father, thou Lover of Souls, fend down thy Holy Spirit, into my Heart, to affift, counfel, comfort, and conduct me so safely through the Wilderness of this World, that, whatfoever Suggestions the Devil may caft into my Mind, I may abhor and caft them out again, without the least Defilement by them; and at last may by that Holy Spirit's Guidance and Affiftance be brought safe to the Vision of Peace, through Jefus Chrift. Amen.

March 27, 1687, being EASTER-DAY.

IV. Of the Reasonableness of Religion.


HEN the Ends and Defigns of true Religion; (fuch as are the Glory of God, and the Happiness of Man, in raifing those noble Faculties of his Soul to the highest Pitch, and most worthy Objects, and even in this World the Peace and Profperity of all human Societies; and as well the Welfare of the World in general, as of each Perfon in particular;) are fo apparently excellent and reasonable; and the Ways and Means it prescribes fo conducive and proper to the Attainment of the forementioned Ends; it muft needs follow that Religi

on is really reasonable in itself, and every way worthy of human Nature; and altho' it should lay more Restraint upon the Affections and Actions of Men, than indeed it doth, they might well be borne, inConfideration of those greater Benefits and Advantages which it produces. But wherein lies this Hardness, and what are the Restraints which are fo burthenfome, that Religion must be thought unreasonably fevere in impofing them on us? Is it in that Temperance, Sobriety, Chastity, and Diligence, it injoins? the contrary Vices bring fuch real Difadvantages not seldom in this World, that might more reasonably deter a prudent Man from them, tho' they were forbidden by no Law; fo that here is apparently not only no juft Cause of rejecting, but very just Cause of embracing Religion, which propofes fo noble a Reward to the Exercise of thofe Virtues, which a Man would think were fufficiently rewarded by the Bleffings they procure in this Life. Is it unreasonable for a Creature to love, worship, fear, trust, serve, and obey his great and good Creator? why then is it not thought as unreasonable for a Child to perform the like in a lower Degree to his Parents? or why do Parents require and think it fitting that their Offspring fhould be obedient to 'em when it very much croffes their Inclination? when we all have a more immediate Dependence on God, than a Child on his Parent. Sure this Unreasonableness cannot be charged on the Duties of Justice and Charity: Without which indeed all Societies would be in miferable Circumstances, and which, if followed, would render Man's Life far more eafy and com


fortable than 'tis like to be, while Men are fo carelefs in performing the Duties relating to one another. Where then is it? in those Self-denials, and Bearing the Crofs; in those Perfecutions, Troubles, and Difficulties, that Religion fometimes expofes Men to? Well, suppose these Things do fall to the Portion of good Men: Yet, for Answer, I afk, are they the only miferable? do no Calamities light on the rest of the World? is there no Hardness and Difficulty in conquering the Reason and stopping the Mouth of the Confciences of the Profane and Wicked, before they can get leave of themselves to follow fuch Courfes as they cannot but difallow? is there no Torment in an accufing, ftinging, and condemning Confcience? no Croffes and Troubles in the Way to Deftruction? is all fo fmooth and easy, so plain and safe, free and undisturbed, that no Troubles or Afflictions can poffibly reach or affect them? nothing lefs. Nay, I think that it may be questioned whether the Life of wicked Perfons, all things confidered, be not the harder and fuller of Difficulties, excepting only fome particular Times of Perfecution, when God calls Men to lay down their Lives for his Sake. How often does one Vice contradict another? what Quarrels and Contentions do arife among Copartners? what Fears of the Detection of fecret Crimes? what Horror of Death, and future Account, what Poverty, Difgrace, Sickness, and a thousand Inconveniences do they often bring upon themselves, and however a perpetual Guilt dogging and accompanying them wherefoever they go, which will return again with


the greater Horror by how much the more they fhall have drowned the Senfe of it in Debauchery and Drinking. Nay farther, I suppose, that Intemperance, Luxury, Quarrelling, and other Vices have brought innumerable more to an untimely Death then ever Religion did: So little Reafon Men have to complain of the Hardness of the Way to Heaven, when they take fuch Pains to go through with that Course which in the End will requite them with eternal Mifery.

Never let me, O Lord, perform that Drudgery, the Wages whereof is eternal Death, only to escape fome Difficulties and Hardships in that Way which leads to eternal Blifs! through Jefus Christ.

May 5, 1689. V. On the late great Changes, and the prefent Pofture of Affairs in England, &c.

WHOEVER he be that fets up his Reft here

below, and is not fufficiently convinced of the Vanity and Uncertainty of all worldly Goods; let him but seriously within his own Breaft reflect on these late great and astonishing Mutations, and he need go no further for a convincing Evidence of what he is so unwilling to believe, viz. That it is the greatest Folly imaginable lo lay up Treasure, or place any Confidence in this frail, mortal, and more than unconftant State, and Vale of Tears. The divine Providence feems in all Ages to have given Inftances fufficient to all Mankind, to deter them from doating on earthly Goods, from depending on Princes Favours, or thinking themselves fecure in


the most profperous Times, thereby to prepare their Minds the better to attend the Motions of his Holy Spirit, and the conftant Suggeftions of the Law of Nature written in their Hearts. For while we think we are fecure, and likely to enjoy innumerable, Days of Eafe, Honour, and Satisfaction, we put the Thoughts of Death, Judgment, and Eternity out of our Minds; and we are apt to think we are so well provided for already, that we are in no Need of looking out for another Manfion, when our Bodies are laid in the Duft, and our Souls fled to another Region. We seldom care fo to number our Days as to apply our Hearts to Wisdom, and the Fear of God, while we are on every Side encompassed with Friends, treated with Refpect and Obfervance, and carefs'd by the pleasing Smiles of Fortune; but when an adverse Gale fhall ftop us in our Career, and when the Almighty by his Providence takes from us all the Props and Confidences wherein we trufted, and reduces us to Straits and Difficulties, then we are at Leifure, and can freely look upwards to our Maker; then we are willing to entertain Thoughts of God and Religion, and can be content, feeing this World either gone or going, to look after a more durable Felicity hereafter: And when we feel all our worldly Holds to fail and deceive us, we erect our Eyes and Hopes towards Kingdom that cannot be moved; which no Ill-will of a Prince can deprive us of; nor any Alteration of Government eject us from. Good God! how adorable are thy Difpenfations, who by denying us Earth givest us Heaven?

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