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of, or rather that it is an hard, a difficult matter to keep out of it, the way being so narrow that carries from it, that it is a difficult thing to find it; and the way so broad that leads unto it, that none can miss of it that hath but a mind to walk in it.

But I hope none of my readers have, God forbid they should have, a mind to go to hell: their taking religious books into their hands is rather an argument that they have a mind to go to heaven, and read on purpose to learn the way thither. And we do well to take all opportunities of finding out the way to bliss; for we may assure ourselves it is a very narrow one, it is hard to find it out, but much more hard to walk in it; for it is a way very rarely trodden, so that there is scarce any path to be seen, most people go either on one side, or else on the other side of it; some running into the bypaths of error, heresy or schism, others into the broad way of profaneness or security insomuch that there are but very few that hit upon the right path that leads directly to the New Jerusalem, the place of rest. I speak not this of myself; no, Christ himself that came from heaven to earth, on purpose to show us the way from earth to heaven, saith, that'strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.'

And let not any think that Christ spake these words in vain, or that it is no great matter whether we believe what he said or no. For questionless, one great reason why so few ever come to heaven, is because most think it so easy to get thither, that they need not take any care or pains about it. For even amongst ourselves, to whom the gospel is so clearly revealed, men generally think, if they do

but read the Scriptures, and hear sermons, and live honestly with their neighbours, so as to harm nobody, but pay every one their own, then they shall as surely come to heaven as if they were there already; nay, many are so simple as to think that their separation from the church militant on earth is the way to bring them to the church triumphant in heaven; and others so ridiculous as to believe that a death-bed repentance is sufficient to entitle them to eternal life. But stay a while: it is not so easy a matter to get to heaven. Indeed to me it seems one of the greatest mysteries in the world, that ever any man or woman should come thither; that such sinful worms as we are, who are born in sin, and live so long in sin and rebellion against the great Creator of the world, should ever be received so far into his grace and favour as to enjoy life and eternal happiness in him. And did we look no further than ourselves, we might justly despair of ever obtaining such transcendant glory which we are altogether so unworthy of. But the goodness of God both is and hath been so great to mankind, that there is none of us but, in and through the merits of Christ Jesus, is in a capacity of it. Yet we must not think that it is so easy a thing to come to heaven, as the devil, the world, and our own base hearts, would persuade us it is: if we do, we are never likely to come thither; no, we may assure ourselves, as heaven is the greatest good that we can attain, so doth it require our greatest care and study imaginable to attain it.

This therefore is that which I shall endeavour to convince men of, and account myself happy if I can do it. For I dare say, there is none of us but desires to see Christ in glory, and to be happy

with him and in him for ever; but that we can never be, unless we do whatsoever is required of us, in order to it; and if we think it is so easy a matter to do whatsoever is required of us, I have just cause to suspect that we never yet made trial of it, nor set ourselves seriously upon the performance of those duties which are enjoined us here in reference to our being happy for ever. For if we have set upon it in good earnest, we cannot but have found it very hard and difficult, by reason of our natural averseness from what is good, and inclinations unto evil. For we all know, that 'without holiness no man shall see the Lord.' So that holiness is the way, the direct and only way, that leads to heaven; neither is there any way imaginable of being happy hereafter, but by being holy here. And though it be an easy thing to profess holiness, and to perform some external acts of it; yet to be truly pious and holy indeed, so as we must be if ever we would go to heaven, this is every whit as difficult as the other is easy.

For first, I suppose all will grant that he is not truly holy that lives in any known sin, as the apostle also intimates, saying, 'He that is born of God doth not commit sin." And therefore he that still indulgeth himself in the commission of any known sin, he is not yet regenerate, or born of God, he is not truly holy. So that to our being so holy here, as that we may be happy hereafter, it is absolutely and indispensably necessary that we forsake and avoid to the utmost of our power whatsoever is offensive unto God, and contrary to his laws. But it is as difficult as it is necessary to forsake sin as

21 John, iii. 9.

1 Heb. xii. 14.

we ought to do. It is an easy matter, I confess, to rail at sin, to backbite others, to blame ourselves for it. But that is not the business; but to loath our sins as much as ever we loved them, to abhor them as much as ever we desired them, and to be as much averse from them as ever we were inclined to them; to forsake sin as sin, and by consequence all sins whatsoever, one as well as another; so as to deny ourselves all that pleasure we were wont to take in any sin, and all that seeming profit which we used to receive by it, and that too out of love to God, and fear of his displeasure: this is to forsake sin indeed, but it is sooner spoken of than done; and it requires a great deal of time, and skill, and pains, to get so great a conquest over ourselves as this is, to cut off our right hand, to pluck out our right eye, and cast it from us; even to renounce and forsake those very beloved and darling sins, which the temper and constitution of our bodies, the corruption of our hearts, and constant custom and practice hath made in a manner natural to us. So that our very natures must be changed before we can ever leave them. And therefore it must needs be a matter of as great difficulty as it is of moment to master and subdue those sins and lusts that have been long predominant in us; which I dare say many of us have found by our own sad and woeful experience, having struggled perhaps many years against some corruption, and yet to this day have not got it under, nor totally subdued it. And it is such, and such alone, who are competent judges in this case; for they that never strove against their sins, cannot know how strong they are, nor how hard it is to conquer them. And therefore it is to those who have made it their bu

siness to destroy and mortify their lusts, that I appeal whether it be not hard to do it. I am confident they cannot but have found it, and therefore must needs acknowledge it to be so; and by consequence that it is no easy matter to get to heaven, seeing it is so hard to keep out of hell, and to avoid those sins which otherwise will certainly bring us thither; every sin unrepented of having eternal punishment entailed upon it.

And if it be so hard to forsake sin, how difficult must it needs be to perform all those duties, and to exert all those graces which are necessarily required, in order to our attaining everlasting happiness. It is true, praying and hearing, which are the ordinary means for the obtaining true grace and holiness, are duties very common and customary amongst us, but they are never the easier because they are common, but rather far more difficult. For we being accustomed to a careless and perfunctory performing of these duties, cannot but find it a hard and difficult matter to keep our hearts so close unto them, as to perform them as we ought to do, and so as that we may be really said to do them. For we must not think that sitting at church while the word of God is preached, is hearing the word of God, or being present there while prayers are read, is real praying: no, no, there is a deal more required than this to our praying to the great God aright; insomuch that, for my own part, I really think that prayer, as it is the highest, so it is the hardest duty that we can be engaged in. All the faculties of our souls, as well as members of our bodies, being obliged to put forth themselves in their several capacities, to the due performance of it.

And as for these several graces and virtues which

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