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necessary, and yet suffers himself to be diverted from the pursuit of that, by troubling himfelf about many things, is more justly chargable with folly, than he that negleits his Estate, and forids himself no other Imployment, but to purfue Feathers in the Wind..
Among those things that Religion offers to our study, God And our own hearts are the chief. "God is the First and Last, and whole of our Happiness, the Beginning, Progress, and Compleatment of it is from him, and in him, for in that Centre do allthe Lines meet,but our Heart is the Stage upon which this Felicity (as to the application of it) is transacted: upon this little spot of Earth, doth God and Satan draw up their several Ärmies; here dosh each of them new their Power ana Wisdom, this is treated by both, each of them challengė, an interest in it; 'tis attaqued on the one side, anda defended on the other. So that here are Skirmishes, Battels, and Stratagems managed; that Man then that will not concern himself in his Enquiries, how the Matter goes in his own Heart, what Ground is got or lost, what. Forts are.tdken or defended, what Mines are Sprung, what Ambufcado's laid, or how the Battel proceeds : must needs lie under a just imputation of the greatest folly; neither can be be excused in his neglett, by the most pressing sollicitations of other things that seem to require his attendance upon the highest imagi, nable pretences of neceffity: For what is be profited, that
But the exact and faithful management of such spiritual Enquiries, with their necessary improvement to diligent watchfulnefs, and careful endeavours of resistance, is another manner of work than most Men dream of: To discover the intrigues of Satans policy, to espie bis haunts and burking places in our hearts,to note his subtile contrivances in taking advantages against sis, and to observe how the Puise of the Soul beats under his provocations, and deceitful allurements:
how far we comply or dissent ; requires so much attendance and laborious skilfulñefs, that it cannot be expected that fuch Men who design no more than to be Christians at the easiest rate, and content themselves with a formal Superficiality of Religion; or such, who, having given up themselves to the deceitful sweets of worldly carnal delights, are not at leisure to engage themselves in fo ferious a Work; or fucb whose secret guilt of rebellious Combination with the Devil againsi God, makes them fearful to consider fully, the haZards of that wickedness, which they had rather praitise with forgetfulness, left the review of their ways, and fight of their danger, should awaken their Gonsciences to give them an unwelcome disquiet ; it cannot (I fay) be expected that any of these forts of Men (whilst they are thus fet) Nould give themselves the trouble of so much pains and toil as this Business doth require..
Upon this consideration, I might rationally fis my Progno. stick of the entertainment of the following Treatise. What acceptance foever it may find with such as are cordially concerned for their Souls, and the Realities of Religion, and of such I may say as the Apostle Paul concerning Brotherly Love, 1 Thess. 4. 9. as touching this Matter, They need not that I write unto them, for they themselves are taught of God to be suspicious of Satans devices, and by experience they find his deceits fo fecret, and withal so dangerous, that any help for further discovery and caution, mult needs be welcome to themi yet) to be sure the Prince of Darkness (who is always jealous of the least attempts that may be made against his Empire) wilarm his foremen tioned Subjects againf it, and whomsoever else he can prevail upon, by the power of prejudice, to reject it, as urging us to a study more severe or harsh, than is consistent, either with the lower degrees of knowledge of many, or with that cafe which most Men desire to indulge to themselves; or as
offering effering such things which they (to save themselves from further trouble) will be willing to call Chimära's or idle Speculations : and this last I may rather expect, because in this latter Age, Satan bath advanced so far in his general design against all Chriftianity, and for the introduction of Paganism and Atheisın, that now none can express a ferious conscientious care for holiness, and the avoidance of fin; but upon pain of the imputation of filliness, or whining preciseness; and none can speak or write of Converfion, Faith, or Grace, but he shall be hazarded by the scoffs of those that are unwilling to judge the private workings of the heart to Godward, or spiritual exercises of Grace, to be any better than conceited Whims, and unintelligible Non. fense: but seeing such Men make bold.to jeer, not only that Language, and those forms of Speech which the Holy Ghost thought fit to make use of in the Scriptures, but alfo ibe very things of Faith, Grace, and Spirit, which are every where in the Sacred Oracles recommended to us with the most weigh:y seriousnefs, (which with them pass for no better than cheats and fancies) we can easily fit under their contempt; and fall ( as we hope) be so far from being jeered out of our Religion, that their scorns shall have no more impression upon us, than the ravings of a frenzical . Person that knows not what he speaks.
Notwithstanding these, (who are no way considerable for weight) there are, I hopes a great many, who seriously imploy themselves in the Inwards, as well as the Outwards of "Religion, (and who will not suffer themselves to be perswaded, that the Apostle obtruded an empty Notion upon Believers, when he recommended that obfervable Truth to them, Rom. 2.28. He is not a Jew which is one outwardiy, 80.) for their fakes have I undertaken this labour of collecting and methodizing the grand Stratagems, and chief ways of delu, "on of the great Deceiver. I these I muli particú.
lærly account for some fera-things relating to this Difi course: As,
i. That I have satisfied my self in the Reasons of the publication of these Papers, and do not judg is requisite to trouble any So far, as to tell what these Reasons are. They who desire to resist fuck an Enemy, and whole experience doth convince them, that all.helps are n:cessary,will not need them, and those that are Men of scorn, or of avowed caree lefness, will not regard them though I should declare them,
2. To prevent the misapprehenfiors (which posibly some may otherwise labour withal) of a monstrous product from one Text, because they may obferve ono Text in and no other mentioned 'throughout the First and Second Parts; they may know, that I made use of several in the preaching of these Discourses, as suitable Foundations for the several Particulars herein mentioned ; but in the moulding up of the Whole, into the method of a Treatise, for the ease of the Reader, I thought fit to lay aside those Introductions, as also many other occasional Applications, which were proper for Sermons, and a great many things which were necessary to be spoken, for Explication and I live Stration of these points to a popular Auditory, and have on. ly presented the Substance in a more close connection; because if there be any little obscurity that may at first appear to any, for want of variety of words, the Treatise being under :their eye, will be at leisure to attend their review in a few cond or third reading : Which bowever I would recommends earnestly to those that, in these Concerns, do really design to : be wife for themselves. -.
3. Neither should it seem strange, that I have frequently made use of instances from Hiftory, or other later Relations. Whosoever fall consider the nature of the Mattern: treated ox, will not complain of this as a needless trouble :put upon them ; yet withal I have been so careful of doing
any Perföns an unkindness, by making too bold with them, that I mentioned no Names but such, as upon such occasions have been made publick by orbers before. The reft I have only mentioned in the general, discovering their case where it was usefut, but concealing the Perfons.
4. It may, perhaps seem a defect, that the several Di. rections, Remedies, or Counsels, which are requisite to be observed in making resistance against Satan, are not added, except fome few hints in the latter end of the Third Part, and some other things in that Part, in the Applications of the several Doctrines therein, (which I thought fit, upon good grounds, to leave in the order of a Preaching Method) but such may be pleased to consider, that several have performed that part very fully; to whose Labours I had rather refer the Reader, thân trouble him with a repetition: It was only my design to endeavour à more full discovery (though every way short of the thing it self) of Satan's Graft, because the knowledg of this is so necessary, and withal others have done it more sparingly. Such as it is açcept, and improve for thy spiritual advantage s for that was the end of this undertaking, by him who desures that thy Soul may prosper, ..... .... Rich. Gilpin
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