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nance of baptism :' and upon this many have been rebaptized, and put their foot into the snare which I have yet seen few escape and draw back from. Another comes and tells the troubled soul, “It is legal preaching, and looking at something in yourself for peace and comfort, which hath brought you to this distress : as long as you follow these legal preachers, and read their books, and look at any thing in yourself, and seek assurance from marks within you, it will never be better with you. These preachers understand not the nature of free grace, nor ever tasted it themselves, and therefore they cannot preach it, but despise it. You must know that grace is so free that the covenant hath no condition : you must believe, and not look after the marks. And believing is but to be persuaded that God is reconciled to you, and hath forgiven you; for you are justified before you were born, if you are one of the elect, and can bụt believe it. It is not any thing of your own, by which you can be justified; nor is it any sin of yours that can unjustify. It is the witness of the Spirit only persuading you of your justification and adoption, that can give you assurance ; and fetching it from any thing in yourself, is but a resting on your own righteousness, and forsaking Christ.' When the Antinomian hath but sung this ignorant charm to a poor soul as ignorant as himself, and prepared by terrors to entertain the impression, presently it (oft) takes, and the sinner without a wonder of mercy is undone. This doctrine, which subverteth the very scope of the Gospel, being entertained, subverteth his faith and obedience ; and usually the libertinism of his opinion is seen in his liberty of conscience, and licentious practices; and his trouble of mind is cured, as a burning fever by opium, which gives him such a sleep, that he never awaketh till he be in another world. Yet these errors are so gross, and so fully against the express texts of Scripture, that if ministers would condescendingly, lovingly and familiarly deal with them and do their duty, I should hope many well-meaning souls might be recovered. Thus you see the danger of rash interpreting, and so misinterpreting providences. As such interpretations of prosperity and success delude not only the Mahometan world, and the profane world, but many that seemed godly, so many such interpretations of adversity and crosses do ; especially if the seducer be but kind and liberal to rem

lieve them in their adversity, he may do with many poor souls almost what he please.

3. The third enemy to your peace here mentioned, is, Misinterpreting or misapplying the passages of preachers in their sermons, writings or private speeches. A minister cannot deal thoroughly or seriously with any sort of sinners, but some fearful, troubled souls apply all to themselves. I must entreat you to avoid this fault, or else you will turn God's ordinances and the daily food of your souls, into bitterness and wormwood, and all through your mistakes. I think there are few ministers so preach, but you might perceive whom they mean, and they so difference as to tell you who they speak to. I confess it is a better sign of an honest heart and self-judging conscience, to say, 'He speaks now to me, this is my case;' than to say, 'He speaks now to such or such a one, this is their case.' For it is the property of hypocrites to have their eye most abroad, and in every duty to be minding most the faults of others : and you may much discern such in their prayers, in that they will fill their confessions most with other men's sins, and you may feel them all the while in the bosom of their neighbours, when you may even feel a sincere man speaking his own heart, and most opening his own bosom to God. But though self-applying and self-searching be far the better sign, yet must not any wise Christian do it mistakingly : for that may breed abundance of very sad effects. For besides the aforesaid embittering of God's ordinances to you, and so discouraging you from them, do but consider what a grief and a snare you may prove to your minister. A grief it must needs be to him who knows he should not make sad the soul of the innocent, to think that he cannot avoid it, without avoiding his duty. When God hath put two several messages in our mouths ; "Say to the righteous, it shall be well with him ;” and “Say to the wicked, it shall be ill with him;" Isaiah iii. 10, 11. " He that believeth shall be saved; he that believeth not shall be damned ;" and we speak both ; will you take that as spoken to you, which is spoken to the unbeliever and the wicked? Alas, how is it possible then. for us to forbear troubling you? If you will put your head under every stroke that we give against sin and sinners, how can we help it if you smart? What a sad case are we in, by such' misapplications! We have but two messages

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to deliver, and both are usually lost by misapplications. The wicked saith, I am the righteous, and therefore it shall go well with me.' The righteous saith, 'I am the wicked, and therefore it shall go ill with me.' The unbeliever saith, 'I am a believer, and therefore am justified.' The believer saith, 'I am an unbeliever, and therefore am condemned.' Nay, it is not only the loss of our preaching, but we oft do them much harm; for they are hardened that should be humbled ; and they are wounded more that should be healed. A minister now must needs tell them who he means hy the believer, and who by the unbeliever; who by the righteous, and who by the wicked : and yet when he hath done it as accurately, and as cautelously as he can, misapplying souls will wrong themselves by it. So that because people cannot see the distinguishing line, it therefore comes to pass that few are comforted but when ministers preach nothing else but comfort; and few humbled, but where ministers bend almost all their endeavours that way, that people can feel almost nothing else from him. But for him that equally would divide to each their portion, each one snatcheth up the part of another, and he oft misseth of profiting

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this is the course that we must take. And what a snare is this to us, as well as a grief! What if we should be so moved with compassion of your troubles, as to fit almost all our doctrine and application to you, what a fearful guilt should we draw upon our own souls !

Nay, what a snare may you thus prove to the greater part of the congregation ! Alas, we have seldom past one, or two, or three troubled consciences in an auditory, (and perhaps some of their troubles be the fruit of such wilful sinning, that they have more need of greater, yet) should we now neglect all the rest of these poor souls, to preach only to you? O how many an ignorant hardhearted sinner comes before God every day! Shall we let such go away as they came, without ever a blow to awaken them and stir their hearts, when, alas, all that ever we can do is too little! When we preach you into tears and trembling, we preach them asleep! Could we speak swords, it would scarce make them feel, when you through misapplication have gone home with anguish and fears. How few of all these have been pricked at the heart, and said, “What shall we do to be saved ?" Have you no pity now on such stupid souls as

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these? I fear this one distemper of yours, that you cannot bear this rousing preaching, doth betray another and greater sin; look to it, I beseech you, for I think I have spied out the cause of your trouble; are you not yourself too great a stranger to poor stupid sinners ? and come not among them? or pity them not as you should?. And do not your duty for the saving of their souls ; but think it belongs not to you but to others? Do you use to deal with servants and neighbours about you, and tell them of sin and misery, and the remedy, and seek to draw their hearts to Christ, and bring them to duty ? 1 doubt you do little in this ; (and that is sad unmercifulness;) for if you did, truly you could not choose but find such miserable ignorance, such senselessness and blockishness, such hating reproof and unwillingness to be reformed, such love of this world, and slavery to the flesh, and so little favour of Christ, grace, heaven, and the things of the Spirit, and especially such an unteachableness, untractableness (as thorns and briars) and so great a difficulty moving them an inch from what they are, that you would have been willing ever after to have ministers preach more rousingly than they do, and you would be glad for their sakes, when you heard that which might awake them and prick them to the heart. Yea, if you had tried how hard a work it is to bring worldly, formal hypocrites to see their hypocrisy, or to come over to Christ from the creature, and to be in good earnest in the business of their salvation, you would be glad to have preachers search them to the quick, and ransack their hearts, and help them against their affected and obstinate self-delusions.

Besides, you should consider that their case is far different from yours; your disease is pain and trouble, they are stark dead : you have God's favour and doubt of it, they are his enemies and never 'suspect it: you want comfort, and they want pardon and life : if your disease should never here be cured, it is but going more sadly to heaven, but if they be not recovered by regeneration, they must lie for ever in hell. And should we not then pity them more than you; and study more for them; and preach more for them; and rather forget you in a sermon than them? Should you not wish us so to do? Should we more regard the comforting of one, than the saving of a hundred ? Nay more, we should not only neglect them, but dangerously hurt them,


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if we should preach too much to the case of troubled souls; for you are not so apt to misapply passages of terror, and to take their portion, as they are apt to apply to themselves such passages for comfort, and take your portion to themselves.

I know some will say, that it is preaching Christ, and setting forth God's love, that will win them best, and terrors do but make unwilling, hypocritical professors. This makes me remember how I have heard some preachers of the times, blame their brethren for not preaching Christ to their people, when they preached the danger of rejecting Christ, disobeying him, and resisting his Spirit. Do these men think that it is no preaching Christ (when we have first many years told men the fulness of his satisfaction, the freeness and general extent of his covenant or promise, and the riches of his grace, and the incomprehensibleness of his glory, and the truth of all) to tell them afterwards the danger of refusing, neglecting and disobeying him; and of living after the flesh, and preferring the world before him ; and serving mammon, and falling off in persecution, and avoiding the cross, and yielding in temptation, and quenching the Spirit, and declining from their first love, and not improving their talents, and not forgiving and loving their brethren, yea, and enemies ? &c. Is none of this Gospel? nor preaching Christ? Yea, is not repentance itself (except despairing repentance) proper to the Gospel, seeing the law excludeth it, and all manner of hope? Blame me not, reader, if I be zealous against these men, that not only know not what preaching Christ is, but in their ignorance reproach their brethren for not preaching Christ, and withal condemn Christ himself and all his apostles. Do they think that Christ himself knew not what it was to preach Christ? Or that he set us a pattern too low for our imitation ? I desire them soberly to read Matt. v. vi.vii. x. xxv. Rom. viii.

. iv. from the first verse to the fourteenth. Rom. ii. Heb.ii. iv., V. X. and then tell ine whether we preach as Christ and his apostles did. But to the objection; I answer first, We

! do set forth God's love, and the fulness of Christ, and the sufficiency of his death and satisfaction for all, and the freeness and extent of his offer and promise of mercy, and his readiness to welcome returning sinners : this we do


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