« PreviousContinue »
Phil.2.15. That ye may be blamelesse, and harm
leffe, the sons of God without rebuke, in the midt of a crooked and perverse nation, among
whom ye shine as Lights in the world. Pbil.4.8. Finally Brethren, whatsoever things are
true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, what foever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any vertue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Hiving now dispatched those four things chou must watch over, namely, thy Thoughts, thy Affe&tions, iby Words, and thy Actions. I come now in the second place to speak of those fix things thou must especially watch against.
1. Against chose fins chou art most enclined to, by temper and natural constitution. The weakest part of the City must have the strongest guard. Some Affections are predominant in one Age, some in another : There are youthful lufts, 2 Tim.2.22. as well as infirmities proper to old Age. 'Twas a greac Argument of Davids sincerity that he could truly say, Psal.18 23. I was upright before thee, and kept my self from mine iniquity.
Study therefore thy heart, and consider what fins thou are most prone unco. All sins fight against the soul, but thy Master Sin is the Golish; endeavour (chrough che aids of Grace) co slay
that, and the whole Army of the Philistines will be easily vanquished.
2. Against the fins thou art most obnoxious to, by reason of thy particular Calling, Condiți. on, State, and course of life, A man by reason of his calling, or condicion of life may have more frequent, and stronger inducements to some fins, than to others, which he is cherefore the more especially co keep watch against, 2 Kiøg.5.18. In this ihing the Lord pardon thy fervant, that when
my Master goeth into the house of Rimmon, to worship there, and he leaneth on noy band, and I boro my self in the house of Rimmon; when I bow down my self in the house of Rimmon, the Lord pardon thy servant in this thing.
3. Against the fins of the times, and places wherein chou liveft. We must be careful of being carried away wich the evil of the times. 'Tis a description of wicked men, Eph.2.2. that they walked according to the courle of this world, 3. l, according coche Age, as the manner of the. times went. But of righteous Noah, we have another kind of Character, Gen.6.9. Noah was a just man to upright in his generation, & Noah walked wtih God. And so in 2 Chron.17.3.4. We read, that the Lord was with Fehosaphat, because he walked in the firft waies of his Father David, and fought xot unto Baalim, bout fought to the Lord God of his Father and walked in his Commandments, and not after the doings of Ifrael. And the Apostle ex
horts the Philippians, Chap. 2. v.15. that they should be blamelesse, and harmlesse, the sons of God without rebuke in the midst of a crooked and a perverse nation, among whom (saics he) ye bine as Lights in the world. 'Tis a high point of Grace, not to be fnared with the evils of our own times.
4. Against all occasions, and temptations, chou foreseest are likely to endanger thy soul. We that pray to God, not to lead us into temptation, must not run our selves inco.it: A prudent man should therefore forechink, and consider in the morning, what temptations he is like to be encountred with that day, thac lo he may (if possible) decline them, or else sec his guards the stronger against them. A weak temptation that takes us unawares, will prevail more than a stronger forseen. A prudent man faith Solomon,
Prov.22.3. foreseeth the evil, and bideth him. self, but the foolishgoon still and are punished. 'Tis a point of true spiritual wisdom co forefee fin afar off, in the occasions, and cempcacions chat lead to it; and by avoiding the one to prevent che ocher. 'Tis easier and safer for che Fowlco pusse by the snare, while she is yet out, than ic is to wind her self out again, when he is once in.
Watch and pray, saies our Saviour to his Dirciples, Mat.26.41. that ge enter net into temptation. If ye do rashly enter the lists of temptation, a thousand co one (such is mans nacurall weak
neffe) you will not come out without some
5. Against dishoncuring God in the use of fr
Reniember chac 'cis in the use even of things indifferent, that Sacan most usually sexcech his snares for Gods servants ; for here the snare iš noc so visible, as in grosser fins; and he prevailech more often against those chát be nor groffely prophanc and ungodly, by the immoderate or undue use of things in themselves lawful, chon by drawing them to such things as are simplyevil, and unlawful. The Devil knowes well
, that he that will do all he nowy do, will soon be drawn to do fomewhat be ought not to do. "Iis dan. gerous to come near the borders and confines of fon: Those that will go to the utmost extent of their Chriftian Liberty and venture themselves
so near the brink, do many times fall into ile pit of sin. All things (saich 'che Apostle) are' lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient, 1 Cor.6.12. and 10.23. Al things. i. c, not all things absoLutely, but all things in their own pacure indifferent, aré lawful to me; yet all such things are not alwaies expedient. ?Tis bercer for us many times to forbear many things we may do, (it will never be grief or offence of heart to us, as was said to David, in another case, i Sam.35.31.) chan be once bvertaken in what we should not do.
6. Watch against Errour.
As thou must be careful to keep thy heart from finsul lusts, and thy life from being spocced and stained with sinful practises ; lo thou muft be vigilant also co keep thy judgment Sound, and thy mind from being tainted and Ay-blown with Errour. Thou must take heed of a corrupt judgment, as well as a rotren heart and a wicked life. 'Tis a great jodgment to be given up either to an erroneous mind or co vile affections. Some there are that seem very strict in their lives, and pretend as much tendernesse in maccer' of morality, as Lot did of his guests, Gen.19. yet are very loose as to their judgments, exposing them as he his Daughters to be defiled with any corrupt Doctrine chat comes to cheir doors. Fulian' the Apostate was a just, temperace, strict man, but a bitter enemy co Chrift: Some that are fóber in their lives, are yet drunk with Errour. But let such consider, that as they fuy of fish, they begin to stink at the head, so a corrupt judgment is very frequently a beginner and introducer of a depraved conversacion. Men in this age are wanton, and play with opinions ; buc (believe ic) 'cis not of small moment, whaç opinions we hold, and whecher we be found in the Faith, or no. Grace and Truth use to thrive together : The way of truth is the way of life, and erroux tenderb to death. The Apostle cels us of pernicious Doctrines, and damnable Herefies,