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after this loose licentiousness, without the great mercy of God, they never set eye more upon their hearts, till they see them either fearfully entoiled in the present judgments of God, or fast chained in the pit of hell in the torments of final condemnation.
3. If our searches and watches should fail us, we are sure our distrust cannot. It is not possible our heart should deceive us, if we trust it not. We carry a remedy within us of others' fraud; and why not of our own? The Italians, not unwisely, pray God, in their known proverb, to deliver them from whom they trust: for we are obnoxious to those we rely upon; but nothing can lose that, which it had not. Distrust therefore can never be disappointed. If our heart then shall promise us ought, as it hath learned to prof. fer largely of him that said All these will I give thee, although with vows and oaths; ask for his assurances : if he cannot fetch them froin the evidences of God, trust him not. If he shall report ought to us; ask for his witnesses: if he cannot produce them from the records of God, trust him not. If he shall advise us ought; ask for his warrant : if he cannot fetch it from the Oracles of God, trust him not. And in all things so bear ourselves to our hearts, as those, that think they live among thieves and cozeners ; ever jealously and suspiciously, taking nothing of their word; scarce daring to trust our own senses; making sure work in all matters of their transactions. I know I speak to wise men, whose counsel is wont to be asked, and followed, in matter of the assurances of estates; whose wisdom is frequently employed in the trial, eviction, dooming of malefactors: Alas, what shall it avail you, that you can advise for the prevention of others' fraud, if, in the mean time, you suffer yourselves to be cozened at home? What comfort can you find in public service to the state against offenders, if you should carry a fraudulent and wicked heart in your own bosoms ? There is one above, whom we may trust; whose word is more firm than heaven. When heaven shall pass, that shall stand. It is no trusting ought besides, any further than he gives his word for it. Man's epithet is homo mendar; and his best part, the heart, deceitful. Alas, what shall we think or say of the coudition of those men, which never follow any other advice than what they take of their own heart? Such are the most, that make not God's Law of their counsel: as Isaiah said of Israel, Abüt vagus in via cordis sui ; Isaiah lvii. 17. Surely they are not more sure they have a heart, than that they shall be deceived with it, and betrayed unto death. Of them may I say, as Solomon doth of the wanton fool, that follows a harlot'; Thus with her great craft she caused him to yield, and with her flattering lips she enticed him: and he followed her straightways, as an ox that goes to the slaughter, or as a fool to the stocks for correction; Prov. vii. 21, 22. Oh, then, Dear Christians, as ever ye desire to avoid that direful slaughter-house of hell, those wailings, and gnashings, and gnawings, and everlasting burnings, look carefully to your own hearts; and, whatever suggestions they shall make unto you, trust them not, till you have tried them by that unfailable rule of righteousness, the Royal Law of your Maker,
which can no more deceive
4. That tre may avoid not only the events, but the very enterprises of this deceit, let us countermine the subtle workings of the heart. Our Saviour hath bidden us be wise as serpents. What should be wise but the heart ? And can the heart be wiser than itself? Can the wisdom of the heait remedy the craft of the heart? certainly it may. There are two men in every regenerate breast, the old and the new : and of these, as they are ever plotting against each other, we must take the better side; and labour that the new man, by being more wise in God, may out-strip the old. And how shall that be done? If we would dispossess the strong man that keeps the house, our Saviour bids us bring in a stronger than he; and, if we would overreach the subtlety of the old man, yea, the old serpent, bring in a wiser than he, even the Spirit of God, the God of Wisdom. If we would have Ahitophel's wicked counsels crossed, set up a Hushai within us : the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men. Could we but settle God within us, our crafty hearts would be out of countenance, and durst not offer to play any of their deluding tricks before him, from whom nothing is hid; and if they could be so impudently presumptuous, yet they should be so soon controlled in their first motions, that there would be more danger of their confusion than of our deceit. As ye love yourselves therefore and your own safety, and would be free from the peril of this secret broker of Satan, your own hearts, render them obediently into the hands of God : give him the keys of these closets, of his own making: beseech him, that he will vouchsafe to dwell and reign in them; so shall we be sure that neither Satan shall deceive them, nor they deceive us ; but both we and they shall be kept safe and inviolable, and presented glorious to the appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ : to whom, with the Father, and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
JACTATISSIMÆ CHRISTI ARCÆ.
CONCIO SYNODICA, AD CLERUM ANGLICANUM
(PROVINCIÆ PRÆSERTIM CANTUARIENSIS)
IN ÆDE PAULINA, LONDINENSI :
FEB. 20m. 1623.
A JOS. HALLO, S.T. D. DECANO WIGORNIENSI.
BRINGING AN OLIVE OF PEACE
TO THE TOSSED ARK OF CHRIST'S CHURCH.
A SERMON PREACHED IN LATIN,
TO THE CLERGY OF ENGLAND,
AND ESPECIALLY THAT OF THE PROVINCE OF CANTERBURY:
BY JOSEPH HALL, D. D. AND DEAN OF WORCESTER.
TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE MY SINGULAR GOOD LORD,
EDWARD, LORD DENNY,
BARON OF WALTHAM, ALL HEALTH AND HAPPINESS.
RIGHT HONOURABLE :
I MIGHT well perceive by the Author, that this Sermon was never intended to be published in any other language, than that, wherein it was first spoken; being, in respect of the matter, in a sort appropriate to that Auditory wherein it was delivered. But, besides the common desire of many, finding the translation attempted by divers, and performed by some in such a manner as did not altogether satisfy; it pleased my Father herein to improve my leisure: wherein, howsoever I may have somewhat failed of the first elegancy, yet Í have not been far short of the sense. I have presumed to dedicate the same to your Lordship, in respect of your many favours and my obligations; for which, besides this officious though unequal requital, I shall still vow my prayers for your Lordship, and remain,
Most humbly devoted,
REVERENDISSIMO PATRI AC DOMINO,
TOTIUS ANGLIÆ PRIMATI AC METROPOLITA:
TOTIQUE FLORENTISSIMO CLERO ANGLICANO,
CANTUARIENSIS PRÆSERTIM PROVINCIÆ,
IN SYNODO LONDINENSI CONGREGATO:
QUIBUS HABITA EST QUALISCUNQUE CONCIUNCULA;
MINIMUS ECCLESIÆ SERVUS,
OPELLAM HANC ŞUAM, PERTENUEM QUIDEM ILLAM,
HUMILITER VOVAT DICATQUE.
TO THE MOST REVEREND FATHER IN GOD,
PRIMATE OP ALL ENGLAND AND METROPOLITAN:
TO THE REVEREND LORDS
AND TO THE WHOLE FLQURISHING CLERGY OF ENGLAND,
ESPECIALLY THAT OF THE PROVINCE OF CANTERBURY,
GATHERED TOGETHER IN THE CONVOCATION AT LONDON:
BEFORE WHOM THIS MEAN SERMON WAS DELIVERED;
THE LEAST OF ALL THE SERVANTS OF THE CHURCH,
THIS HIS POOR AND UNWORTHY LABOUR..