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guard was kept upon the very wicket of the soul. Now the old heavens and earth, that is, the old earthly conversation, and old carnal, that is, Jewish or shadowy worship, passed away apace, and every day all things became new. He was no more a Jew, that was one outwardly, nor that circumcision that was in the flesh; but he was the Jew that was one inwardly, and that circumcision which was of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter, whose praise is not of man, but of God."
. VII. Indeed the glory of the cross shined so conspicuously through the self-denial of their lives, who daily bore it; that it struck the heathen with astonishment, and in a small time fo Thook their altars, discredited their oracles, struck the multitude, invaded the court, and overcame their armies, that it led priests, magistrates, and generals, in triumph after it, as the trophies of its power and victory,
And while this integrity dwelt with Christians, mighty was the presence, and invincible that power that attended them : it quenched fire, daunted lions, turned the edge of the sword, out-faced instruments of cruelty, convicted judges, and converted executioners.” In fine, the way their enemies took to destroy, increased them; and by the deep wisdom of God, they were made great promoters of the Truth, who in all their designs endeavoured to extinguish it. Now, not a vain thought,
• Rom. ii. 28, 29. Heb. xi. 32, to the end. Isaiah xliii. 2. Daniel iii. 12, to the end.
9 Dan. vi, 16. to the end.
not an idle word, not an unfeemly action was permitted : no, not an immodest look, no courtly dress, gay apparel, complimental refpects, or personal honours; much less those lewd immoralities, and scandalous vices, now in vogue with Christians, could find either example or connivance among them. Their care was not how to sport away their precious time, but how to redeem it,' that they might have enough to work out their great salvation in, which they carefully did, with fear and trembling: not with balls and masks, with playhouses, dancing, feasting, and gaming: no, no: to make sure of their heavenly calling and election, was much dearer to them than the poor and trifling joys of mortality. For they having, with Mofes, seen him that is invisible, and found that his loving-kindness was better than life, the peace of his spirit than the favour of princes; as they feared not Cæsar's wrath, so they chose rather to sustain the afflictions of Christ's true pilgrims, than enjoy the pleasures of sin, that were but for a season ; esteeming his reproaches of more value than the perishing treasures of the earth. And if the tribulations of Christianity were more eligible than the comforts of the world, and the reproaches of one, than all the honour of the other: there was then surely no temptations in it, that could shake the integrity of Christendom.
s. VIII. By this short draught of what Christendom was, thou mayst see, O Christendom,
Eph. v. 15. 16.
what thou art not, and consequently what thou oughtest to be. But how comes it, that from a Christendom that was thus meek, merciful, self-denying, suffering, temperate, holy, just, and good, so like to Christ, whose name she bore, we find a Christendom now, that is superstitious, idolatrous, persecuting, proud, passionate, envious, malicious, selfish, drunken, Jascivious, unclean, lying, swearing, cursing, covetous, oppressing, defrauding, with all other abominations known in the earth, and that to an excess justly scandalous to the worst of heathen ages, surpassing them more in evil than in time : I say, how comes this famentable defection?
I lay this down, as the undoubted reason of this degeneracy, to wit, the inward disregard of thy mind to the light of Christ shining in thee, that first shewed thee thy fins, and reproved them, and that taught and enabled thee to deny and resist them. For as thy fear towards God, and holy abstinence from unrighteousness was, at first, not taught by the precepts of men, but by that light and grace which revealed the most fecret thoughts and purposes of thine heart, and searched the most inward parts of thy belly, setting thy sins in order before thee, and reproving thee for them, not suffering one unfruitful thought, word, or work of darkness, to go unjudged; so when thou didst begin to disregard that light and grace, to be careless of that holy watch that was once set up in thine heart, and didît not keep centinal there, as formerly, for God's glory, and thy own peace; the restless enemy of man's good quickly took advantage of this lackness, and often surprized thee with temptations, whose suitableness to thy inclinations, made his conquest over thee not difficult.
In short, thou didst omit to take up Christ's holy yoke, to bear thy daily cross; thou wast careless of thy affections, and kept no journal or check upon thy actions; but didit 'decline to audit accounts in thy own conscience, with Christ thy light, the great Bishop of thy soul, and Judge of thy works, whereby the holy fear decayed, and love waxed cold; vanity abounded, and duty became burdensome. Then up came formality, instead of the power of godliness; superstition, in place of Christ's institution : and whereas Christ's business was to draw off the minds of his disciples from an outward temple, and carnal rights and services, to the inward and spiritual worship of God, suitable to the nature of divinity, a worldly, human, pompous worship is brought in again, and a worldly priesthood, temple, and altar, are re-established.
Now it was, that the Sons of God once more saw the daughters of men were fair :' that is, the pure eye grew dim, which repentance had opened, that faw no comeliness out of Christ ; and the eye of lust became unclosed again, by the god of the world, and those worldly pleasures, that make such as love them forget God, though once despised for the sake of Christ, began
• Gen. vi. 2.
now to recover their old beauty and interest in thy affections; and from liking them, to be the study, care, and pleasure of thy life.
True, there still remained the exterior forms of worship, and a nominal and oral reverence to God and Christ; but that was all: for the offence of the holy cross ceased, the power of godliness was denied, self-denial lost; and though fruitful in the invention of ceremonious ornaments, yet barren in the blessed fruits of the spirit. And a thousand shells cannot make one kernel, or many dead corpses one living man.
S. IX. Thus religion fell from experience to tradition ; and worship, from power to form, from life to letter; that instead of putting up lively and powerful requests, animated by the deep sense of want, and the assistance of the Holy Spirit, by which the ancients prayed, wrestled, and prevailed with God; behold, a by-rote mumphmus, a dull and insipid formality, made up of corporeal bowings and cringings, garments and furnitures, perfumes, voices, and music ; fitter for the reception of some earthly prince, than the heavenly worship of the only true and immortal God, who is an eternal, invisible Spirit.
But thy heart growing carnal, thy religion did so too, and not liking it as it was, thou fashionedft it to thy liking : forgetting what the holy prophet lạid, The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord ;' and
• Prov. xv. $.