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arguments give such a certainty of the truth of religion as experience does. - (2.) When wickedness profpers and piety is oppressed, experimental religion keeps a man from being led away with the error of the wicked, Mal. ii. 16. -? (3.) When many stumbling-blocks are laid in the way, especially in divisions and church-contentions, which make ma ny wicked men think there is no reality in religion at all ; yet the righteous, in such a time, shall hold on his way.

This is a very weighty point; and to illustrate it a little fure ther, I will,

1. Give evidence that experimental religion is very rare.
2. Point out some causes of it.
3. Shew how it may be obtained.
4. Press you to seek after it by some confiderations.

First, I am to give evidences that experimental religion is very rare in our day.

1. The little relish that men have of the word either preached or read. Experience makes the word favoury: hence David says, I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil, Pfal cxix. 162. How many are there to whom the word is tasteless as the white of an egg? Their fancy may be tickled : by the discovery of something which they knew not before; but alas! they have no inward sensation of the thing wrapt up. in the words of truth,

2. The little knowledge of the word by experience. The best commentary on the ills of the heart is the word, and the best commentary on the word is experience. These reflect light one upon another. The experimental Christian reads his heart in the word ; he gets it opened and anatomized there, Heb. iv. 12. 13. It is the looking.glass wherein he sees it,' And he understands the word by experience, John ii. 17. & vii. 16. The doctrine of truth is according to godliness, and godliness in the practice of it makes truth shine the more into the soul.

3. The little precise and nice walking there is among profes.. fors, Eph. v. 14. Christians should walk circumspectly; and it is the native effect of experimental religion, Il. xxxviii. 15.

And the reason is plain : The experimental Christian finds how a wrong step will provoke the Spirit to depart, and how communion with God cannot be kept up in a loose and irregular way, Pfal. lxvi. 18. He sees how small a thing exposeth to the dirt of the threatening, and that the way of getting the promise told out to him is the way of tender waiking, which cougts no lin little. But alas for that miserable latitude 1. The Lord has a controversy with our mother, and therefore has withdrawn, and it fares the worse with the children. She was some time Hephzibah, and her land Beulah ; but non her gold is become diofs, and her wine mixed with water. She has forgotten her husband, and has been gaddiog after other lovers. She bath cast herself into a loathsome discare; her kindly heat and warmıh is gone; any thing of it that is left

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God help us! Scotland's stroke feems to be may do re dark, with feet of wool, that we will never cinie found of till we feel its iron hands. It is very like Ligh karful surprise is abiding us. The dispensations of our th:

in their own nature rousing difpensations ; but we are ail awakened by them, more than we were when there pot a pin in our tabernacle loofed. There are different opinions and praclices in these matters; but whose heads fo. esor are righteft, we think the hearts of all parties are wrong.

among all-our unbappy differences, we have a more un. happy agreement in a spirit of slumber that has seized all togeiher. And what thall be the end of these things ?

Secondly, I shall point out some of the causes of the scarcity of experimental religion,

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of the things of the world to catch

prowhen they would get upward, their ny of us, I trow, when our worldly tual incomes were more. Or if ir fpirits are fo embit tered, that 'igion,

business, but just a by-hand

whose abode is in the earth ; cabove ground, it hastes in again .cment. They will say their prayers ..orning; but for walking with God in cles, they know nothing about it. Their rewhen duties are over. They are like a man that

uc indeed, but he justs vomits it up again when he but it, giving it no time to work, Gen. vi. 9. Religion's sance-customers will never grow rich by it.

4. People's not holding hand to any attainment they make in religion, like the pothfül man not roasting that which he took in hunting, Prov. xii. 27. They are, it may be, at some pains to earn something in religion, but they put it in a bag with holes. Sometimes they are in a fair way to gain experience of religion, they get fome taste of it, but then they do not follow on, Hof. vi. 3. The spark is kindled, but they let it go out ; they do not feed it, and presently they have a cold coal to blow at again.

5. Lasly, Formality in religion, when people content them. felves with outward worship, doing the work, but make it not their business to worship God in the Spirit; by faith in him, love, dependence, fear, hope, patience, &c. It is these and the like graces that bring in the experimental knowledge of Christ and religion into the soul. These are they that get forward to God, even to his throne. And duties without them are used lefs and vain, like liquor that has lost all the spirits.

Thirdly, I come to thew how we may become experi.nental Christians.

1. Let us labour to be Christians indeed, and lay the foun. dation well in a serious and sincere closing with Jesus Christ. That is to say, Let us, under a conviction of the reality and neceffity of religion, give away and confecrate purselves to the

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that prevails in the walk of the generation, who take such a woful liberty in their words and actions, as we may say with the prophet, Mic. vii. 1. 2. Wo is me, for I am as when they have gathered the summer-fruits, as the grape gleanings of the vintage : there is no cluster to eat : my foui desired the first-ripe. fruit. The good man is perished cut of the earth : and there is none upright among men : they all lie in wait for blood : they hunt every man his brother with a net.

4. The little advantage religion has by the conferences of profeffors. People may go into many companies ere they get one from whence they may come forth with a heart' more in. flamed with love to God and Christ, and the practice of god. liness, because they can meet with few like him who fail, Come and har, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul, Pfal. Ixvi. 16. . Alas! there is little of heaven in the converse of Christians at this day, which says there is but little of it in their hearts. We have sat down on time-things; and as for the matters of another world, we have lirile relith of them. A philofopher bade one speak, that he might see him, Col. iii. 16.

5. Lastly, The general security that prevails among all ranks, though we never faw the day wherein it-was more unseasonable. Did experimental religion prevail, we would be waiting on the Lord in the way of his judgements, as the church did, Ir. xxvi. 8. God help us! Scotland's stroke feems to be walking in the dark, with feet of wool, that we will never hear the sound of till we feel its iron hands. It is very like fome fearful surprise is abiding us. The dispenfations of our day are in their own nature rousing dispensations ; but we are noo at all awakened by them, more than we were when there was not a pin in our tabernacle loofed. There are different opinions and practices in these matters; but whose heads foever are rightest, we think the hearts of all parties are wrong. And

among all our unhappy diferences, we have a more unhappy agreement in a spirit of flumber that has seized all ther. And what thall be the end of these things?

Secondly, I shall point out some of the causes of the scarcity of experimental religion.

1. The Lord has a controversy with our mother, and therefore has withdrawn, and it fares the worse with the children. She was some time Hephzibah, and her land Beulah ; but now her gold is become dross, and her wine mixed with water. She has forgotten her husband, and has been gaddiog after other lovers. She batlı cast herself into a loathsome disease; her kindly heat and warmth is gone; any thing of it that is left

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has struck out to the outward parts, leaving a key-cold heart within. . And, by all appearance, the will not be cured, till blood be let of her.

2. People's fpiritual senses are dulled with the luscious fweers of a present world. Forms and merchandise take away peo ple's appetites for the marriage fupper, Marth. xxi. 4. 5. The devil makes birdlime of the things of the world to catch profeffors, that they find, when they would get upward, their feet stick in the mire. Many of us, I trow, when our worldly incomes were less, our fpiritual incomes were more. Or if the world go against people, their spirits are fo embittered, that they find no sweetness at all in religion,

3. Religion is not made people's business, but just a by-hand work. Men are like the mole whose abode is in the earth; and though sometimes it come above ground, it haftes in again to its hole, to be in its element. They will say their prayers indeed, evening and morning; but for walking with God in the interval of duties, they know nothing about it. Their religion is over when duties are over. They are like a man that takes physic indeed, but he justs vomits it up again when he has got it, giving it no time to work, Gen. vi. 9. Religion's chance-customers will never grow rich by it.

4. People's not holding hand to any attainment they make in religion, like the Pothful man not roasting that which he took in hunting, Prov. xii. 27. They are, it may be, at some pains to earn fomething in religion, but they put it in a bag with holes. Sometimes they are in a fair way to gain experience of religion, they get some taste of it, but then they do not follow on, Hof. vi. 3. The fpark is kindled, but they let it go out ; they do not feed it, and presently they have a cold coal to blow at again.

5. Laslly, Formality in religion, when people content them. selves with outward worship, doing the work, but make it not their business to worship God in the Spirit; by faith in him, love, dependence, fear, hope, patience, &c. It is thefe and the like graces that bring in the experimental knowledge of Christ and religion into the soul. These are they that get forward to God, even to his throne. And duties without them are use. lefs and vain, like liquor that bas lost all the spirits.

Thirdly, ļ come to thew how we may become experi.nental Chriftians.

1. Let us labour to be Christians indeed, and lay the foundation well in a serious and fincere closing with Jesus Christ. That is to say, Let us, under a conviction of the reality and neceffity of religion, give away and confecrate ourselves to the

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