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you in my Text, and requireth our most careful search and confideration.
When Satan and the World have wounded us by their Deceits, Religion is it that helpeth us to a cure. He that is Deceived by plea. fures, and profits, and the vain-glory of the world, must be undeceived and recovered by Religion, or he must perish. But that Religion it self should become his deceit, and the remedy prove his greatest misery, is the most stupen. dious effe&t of Satans febrilty, and a sinners fraudulency, and the fad. dest aggravation of his deplorable calamity. And yet, alas, this is so common a case that where the Go. spel is Preached, it seems to be Satans principal game, and the high-way to hell. There is no other Name by which we can be saved, but by Jesus Christ, the only Mediator, between sinful man,
and the offended Majesty: and yet what is there in all the world, that is more abused to the deceiving of mens souls, then the Name & Grace of Jesus Christ? Men that might be saved by an effetual Faith, are cheated and destroyed by falfe Faith and presumption. The merciful nature of God, is the groundwork of all the comforts of the godly: and yet there is nothing that is more abused, to the deceiving of mens souls; that will profess that they truff in the mer.. cies of God, while they are labouring to be miserable, by the refusing and refifting the mercy that would fave them. The free promises of the Gospel do support true believers ;
but are abused to the deceiving of the presumptuous world. And so the Apostle telleth us that many do by their Religion : They will have a Religion to deceive themselyes, but not to save them.
It is the Hypocrite that is the subject in my text, who is described by this double property." 1. That he seemetb to be Religious. 2. That his obedience answereth not this Jeeming or profession : the instance is given in the bridling of his Tongue, because that was the point that the Apostle had some special reason to insist on, with those to whom he immediately directed his Epistle. Though its plainin ver. 22, 23, c. that it is the whole work of obedience that he implyeth, where he instancech in this particular. The sin of the tongue which he specially intendech to reprove, was the bitter reproaching of their brethren, upon the account of their differences in matters of Re. ligion, and the vilifying of others, and uncharitable passionate contendings and censures, upon pretence of knowing more then others; as appeareth in the chird Chapter throughout. The
The Predicate is double : one by way of fuppofition ; viz. that this hypocrite doth but deceive his own heart : The other by way of assertion; viz. that his Religion is vain..
Whether spñs xos and Spnoreid be. fercht as far as from Orpheus the Thracian, as Erasmus and many others imagine, is of no great moment to our understanding of the text, it being evident that it is the worshipping of God, that is here meant by (Religion); and it is men addicted to his worship, that are : called Religious: The seeming here spoken of, refers both to himself and others ; he that seemeth to himself to be. Religious, or is: judged so by other men.. By bridling the tongue, is meant, restraining it from evil speech. By deceiving himself, is meant, the : mistake of his judgement concerne ing che fincerity, and acceptableness;
and reward of his Religion, and the frustrating of his own expe&ations hereupon. His Religion is said to be [in Vain ] in that it shall not attain the ends of an unfeigned trueReligion of which more anony The fence of the Text chen, is contained in these two Propositions.
1. There is a seeming Religiousness, which is best self-deceiving, and will prove in Vain.
2.where fincere obedience doth not accompany the profession of Religion, and in particular, when such men bridle not their tongues, their Religion is but Vain and self-deceiving.
These two being contained in the text, the former comprized in the latter, I shall handle them together, and fhew you, 1. What this seeming Religion is, and how it differeth from true Religion. 2. Wherein this self-deceiving by a seeming Religion doch cônlíft. 3. IVbence it is that men are so