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the heavenly vision"; " and the Galatians, that he" conferred not with flesh and blood; "but, with resignation and fortitude, set about his sacred mission; and, with the same spirit, he prosecuted its great purposes to the close of life." What mean ye to weep, and to break mine heart? I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus'. The Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me; neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God".
d Acts, xxvi. 19.
e Gal. i. 16.
Acts, xxi. 13.
OF THE PRECEPTS OF GOD.
OF THE DUTIES AND VIRTUES THAT ARE PURELY
OURSELVES, AND GIVING A DUE ΤΟ OUR REAL CHARACTER, OUR STATE, AND TRUE INTEREST.
SECT. 1. Want of attention is one fatal cause of the ruin and misery of men.-2. This evil becomes still more fatal, when attended with flattering ideas of our own worth, leading us to condemn others.-3. We are therefore called impartially to try our ways, and to inquire into our real character and state.-4. We are also called to awake from our security, and to hearken to the message of divine mercy.-5. We are likewise called to habitual self-attention and watchfulness.6. Prayers of the Saints on this head. Examples.
§ 1. Hag. i. 7.
SECT. 1. Want of attention is one fatal cause of the ruin and misery of men.
THUS saith the Lord of hosts, Consider your ways". The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib; but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider b. The Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, nor eyes to see, and ears to hear unto this day. They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness. Go and tell this people, Hear ye
b Isa. i. 3.
Deut. xxix. 4.
Psalm lxxxii. 5.
indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed". For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord; they would none of my counsel, they despised all my reproof; therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices'. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil: for every one that doth evil, hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
Ephraim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the east wind". He feedeth on ashes; a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his own soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand1? Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not; yea, grey hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not. And the pride of Israel testifieth to his face, and they do not return to the Lord their God, nor seek him for all this. They consider not in their hearts, that I remember all their wickedness; now their own doings have beset them about, they are before my face'. I, the Lord, search the heart, I try the reins; even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings".
SECT. 2. This evil becomes still more fatal, when attended with flattering ideas of our own worth, leading us to condemn others.
There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness. O how lofty are their eyes! and their eye-lids are lifted up: which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am
holier than thou: these are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day. For when they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. Therefore thou art inexcusable, Oman, whosoever thou art that judgest; for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest dost the same things". And thinkest thou, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and dost the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull the mote out of thine eye; and behold a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye'. Thou sayest, I am rich, and increased in goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.
Wo unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness: even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity". Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts. Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky, and of the earth; but why, even of yourselves, judge ye not what is right*? Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit; neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit': wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them". A good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, bringeth forth that which is
good; and an evil man, out of the evil treasure of his heart, bringeth forth that which is evil".
SECT. 3. We are therefore called impartially to try. our ways, and to inquire into our real character and
Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord. The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly". The light of the body is the eye; therefore, when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed, therefore, that the light which is in thee be not darkness. Let no man deceive himself; if any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. And if any man think he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden'. But let a man examine himself. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged". Examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves; know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates'. If our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things: if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence towards God.
SECT. 4. We are also called to awake from our security, and to hearken to the message of divine mercy.
Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding, which have eyes and see not, which have ears