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THE VAIN RELIGION

Of the Formal
HYPOCRITE.

Jam. 1. 26, If any man among you seem to be

Religious, and bridleth not his tongue,

but deceiveth his own beart, this mans Religion is vain,

Eloved hearers, I may suppose that we are all come-híther to day, for the

great end of our lives; and to labour in that work

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for

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for which we are created, redeemed, preserved, instructed, and furnished with the helps and means of Grace : even to prepare for death that is coming to arrest us, and for the presence of our Judge, who stands as at the door; and to make our Calling and Election sure, that the glory of the Saints may be our lot, when the world of the ungodly are caft into endless misery and despair. And I hope I may suppose that in order to this end, you would gladly be acquainted with the causes of damnation, that you may avoid them; with your greatest dangers, that you may escape them, and with the hinderances of your salvation, that you may overcome them. When we read in the Gospel, that salvation is to be offered unto áll, and no man is excepted or shut out, but such as shut out and except themselves

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and

that

yet read that there are but few that find the firait gate and the narrow way and that the flock is little that shall have the Kingdom, and that many fall seek to enter that fall not be able, (Matth.7. 13, 14. Luk. 12. 32. and 13. 24.) we must needs conclude that some powerful enemy standeth in the way, that can cause the ruine of so many millions of souls : But when we go further and find what rich preparations God hath made, and what means he hath used, and what abundant belps he offereth and affordech to bring men to this blessed state of life, it forceth us to admire that any enemy can be so strong, as to frustrate so many, and such excellent means.

But when we yet go further, and find that salvation is freely offered, and that the purchase is made by a Saviour to our hands,

and that hearty consent is the con#dition of our Title, and nothing

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us;

but our wilful refusal can undo

when we find that salvation is - brought down to mens wills, and

also what motives and convincing helps, and earnest perswafions are appointed and used to make men willing; we are then surprized with yet greater admiration, that any deceiver can be so subtile, or the heart of man can be so foolish, as to be drawn (in despight of all these means) to cast away the immortal crown, that else'no enemy could have taken from him. And now we discern the quality of our Enemy,

of our snares, of our danger, and of, our duty : It is not meer Violence but Déceit that can undo us : not force but frand that we have to resist. And were not the mind of a carnal man exceeding brutish, ( while he seemeth wife for carnal things) it were a thing incredible that so many men, could by all the subtilty of hell be drawn

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in the day-light of the Gospel, de. liberately and obstinately to refuse their happiness, and to choose the open way of their damnation, and leave their friends lamenting their calamity, that might have mercy, and cannot be perswaded to consent.

That Satan is the great Deceiver, and layeth the snare , and manageth the bait, we are all convinced : that the world and all our fleshly accommodations are the inftrumental Deceivers; the snare, che bait, which Satan uleth, is also a thing that we all confess. But that beside the Devil and the World, a Reasonable Creature should be his own Deceiver, and thac in a business of unspeakable, everlasting consequence, and that Religion it self, (a seeming Religionsnefs that indeed is Vain,) should be made by himself the means of his Deceit, this is a mysterie, that is opened to

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