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Our Rule in these Cafes is, To the Lan and to the Testimony; To the Publick and undoubted Oracles of God, in the Old and New Testament. Whatever Doctrine
be proved out of them, we are bound to embrace it without a new Miracle. On the other lide, Whatever: Doctrine is inconsistent with them, we must reject it, though an Angel from Heaven, or one from the Dead should come and Preach it to us.
Thirdly, From hence we fee the Vanity and Unreasonableness of those Men, that, not content with the Ordinary Means of Grace, are always wishing for Extraordinaries. There are a great many of us, that will be saved by Methods of our own chusing, otherwise we will not be saved at all. As it was in St. Paul's Timė, the Jews they required a Sign; the Greeks, they were for Wisdom and Philofophy; and, perhaps, a Third. Sort of Men were for another kind of Means of Con, viétion: So it is among us.
Here is one Man would have a particular Miracle wrought for his Conversion. If he could fee a Spirit or, a Ghost, he would be lieve there was another World. If God would fend an Angel from Heaven to Preach to him, he thinks he should become a New Man.
Here is another would believe the Gospel, if every Point of it could be demonstrated by Reason, and a clear and plain Account be given of all the Mysteries of it: But till that be done, he is of the Religion of the Philofophers,
Here is another Man waits for immediate Impulses and Inspirations. The ordinary Alistances of the Spitit, that acccompany the Word and Sacraments, will noc do his Buliness.
But let us not deceive ourselves. All these Imaginations are vain and foolish. If God should grant us our several Desires; and give one of us a Sign, another of us a Demonstration, another of us a powerful Conviction upon our Miods, from his Holy Spirit, and that in an extraordinary Way; yet it is still very doubtful, whether, for all this, the Business, of our Conversion would be effected.
None was more confident, than the Rich Man in the Parable, that if to the Testimony of Moses and the Prophets, was superadded a New Miracle, his Brethren would certainly be persuaded : But yet you see, our Saviour affirms the direct contrary.
Oh! let us all close with the standing Publick Methods which God hath established in the Church, for the bringing us to Vertue and Eternal Happiness, and not be hankering after new and fanciful Ways of our own chufing. Most certainly, the Ordinary Means of Grace are sufficient for the Salvation of all our Souls, and will be effectual to that End, if we be not wanting to ourselves. And if any Extraordinaries be at any Time needful, God, without doubt, will supply us with them also.
Fourthly and Lastly, From what hath been said, we see the horrible Guilt, and the utter
Inexcufableness of those Men, that notwithftanding the Gospel-means of Salvation, that have been so long afforded them, do ftill continue Infidels in their Judgment, or Immoral in their Lives.
What will these Men be able to say for themselves, when they come to appear before the Judge of the World, at the great Day of Accounts? Will they pretend, there was not force enough in the Gospel-Evidence, to convince them; or weight enough in its Motives to reclaim them? Ah! their own Hearts will give them the Lye. They can no longer be able to deceive themselves. There will be no Unbelievers, no seared Consciences, in the other State. They will then be clearly convinced, that God, for his Part, did all that was neceffary; nay, all that was fit 'to be done, in order to their Salvation : But they were resolved to shut their Eyes, and harden their Hearts against the gracious Means that were tendred them.
Oh! how will the Rich Man, and his Five Brethren in Hell, rise up in Judgment against thefe Men? For they only refused to hear Moses and the Prophets : But these, besides them, have obstinately, refused to hear Chrift and his Apoftles, who brought abundantly greater Light into the World, than the former did. · Much more, How will the poor ignorant Heathens rise up in Judgment against them? Who were deftitute both of Mofes and Chrifti and yet, to the shame of Christians it may
be spoken, have several of them lived better Lives than many of us do.
May we not justly and sadly apply that Woe which our Saviour pronounced of Choa razin and Bethsaida, to Thousands among us? Woe unto you Unbelievers! Woe unto you, O obftinate and irreclaimable Sinners ! for if the mighty Means of Grace, the mighty Evidence of Truth, had been
afforded to Tyre and Sidon, to Sodom and Gomorrha, to Mahometans and Pagans, that have been offered unto you, they would long ago have repented in Sackcloth and Asbes. But, I say unto you, it fall be more tolerable for all these in the Day of Judgment, than for you. God Almighty give us all Grace seriously to com
sider these Things, that we may, by a timely and hearty closing with his Methods and Der Jigns for our Salvation, prevent the dismal Consequences of Infidelity and a Vicious Life; that so it may not be our Condemnation at the last Day, That Light is come into the World, and we have loved Darkness rather than Light.
W H I T E-H A L L,
On the 11th of APRIL, 1690.
GALAT. V. 13.
NY one that useth to make :Re.
flections upon his own Actions, A cannor but observě, That one of
the great Occasions of the Sins he
is Guilty of in the Course of his Life, is the too free use of his Läwful Liberty.
I do not say, that any Man doth commit Sin by using his Lawful Liberty, (for that would be a kind of Contradi&tion: ) But, I say, the using our Liberty to the utmost pitch and extent of that which we call Lawful, is the occasion of a great many Sins that would otherwise not have been committed.
If one should offer to tempt a Man that hath any Sense of Vertue or Religion, to do a thing, that at the first light appears Sinful