Rob. Grove R. P. Dno Episc. Lond. a Sac Dom.
A Plain Discourse UPON UPRIGHTNESS.
SHEWING THE Properties and Priviledges OF AN Upright Man.
By Richard Steele, M. A. and Minister of the Gospel.
John 1. 47.
The Second Edition.
LONDON, Printed for E. Calvert, and are to be sold by John Williamson, at the Sun and Bible in the New Buildings on London Bridge. 1672.
The Epistle to the READER.
THis small Book hopes for thy Acceptance, meerly for its Honesty and Plainness, which I have chiefly stu∣died all along; a plain dis∣course being fittest upon plainness of Heart. I am not ignorant of the various & excellent Tractates up∣on this Subject; unto which Page [unnumbered]Matter and Variation of Method is super added, which I hope you will find in this piece in hand.
Moreover there are such swarmes of litigious Books of Controversies, which scorch up all true Love and Zeal, and greatly grieve such as love Peace, that may perhaps make such Discourses as this concerning the Vitals of genuine Piety, to be ve∣ry necessary. For certainly if our ends were Right, and our Hearts UprightPage [unnumbered] with our God; if Christian Magistrates, Ministers, and People were plainly and truly bent to promote the Honour, Love and Fear of God, and the in∣dubitable wayes of Holi∣ness, we should soon agree, or else charitably indulge one another in these lesser things; 'Tis Hypocrites on all sides that make our wound incurable. Surely where the Mind is sound, and the Heart sincere in the Main, grains of al∣lowance should be granted Page [unnumbered] for some Errors of the un∣derstanding and Failings in the Conversation; lest we deal with others, as we would be loath to be dealt with, either by God or Men. The Consideration hereof, as also of the scar∣city of sincere Christians, to the plenty of Hypocrites in the world, may make some Tolerable Apology for this small Tract; which I do most earnestly re∣commend, first to the bles∣sing of the Lord, and then to your diligent perusal. Page [unnumbered] Read and think, and read and pray, and then through his Grace it shall be useful to you. And I beseech you for the Lord Jesus sake, and for the love of the Spirit, strive together with me, in your prayers to God for me a miserable sinner, that I may be Up∣right and Useful till I dye, whereby you will abun∣dantly recompence these Indeavours of
Your Servant in the Gospel R. S.
Octob. 1. 1670.Page [unnumbered]
- OF the Uprightness of Man.
- Sect. 1. The Context. Page 1.
- Sect. 2. The Text opened. 4
- Sect. 3. Doctrine. Where God doth find an upright man, he shews himself an upright God. 8
Sect. 4. What is uprightness. 9
- Its Scripture Names.
- 1. Truth. ibid.
- 2. Sincerity. 10
- 3. Singleness of heart. 11
- 4. Integrity. 12
- Its Scripture Names.
- Sect. 4. What is uprightness. 9
Sect. 5. Uprightness distinguished into
- 1. Uprightness of heart, where 14
- 1. The Ground of it. 15
- 1. Total receiving of Christ. ibid.
- 2. Total resigning to Christ. 17
- 1. Uprightness of heart, where 14
- Sect. 5. Uprightness distinguished into
Sect. 6. 2. The Nature of it. 20
- 1. Single without Division. ibid.
- 2. Sound without Rottenn•…. 21
- 3. Pure without Mixture. 23
- 4 Perfect without Reservation 25
- Page [unnumbered] 5. Plainness without Guile. 26
- Sect. 6. 2. The Nature of it. 20
Sect. 7. 3. The Object about which it is conversant. 28
- 1. Inward Religion. ibid.
- 1. Obtaining invisible Graces. 29
- 2. Performing invisible Duties. 31
- 3. Avoiding invisible Sins. 32
- Sect. 7. 3. The Object about which it is conversant. 28
Sect. 8. 2. Universal Religion. 33
- 1. Hating all Sin. 34
- 2. Loving all Duty. 35
- Sect. 8. 2. Universal Religion. 33
Sect. 9. 3. Constant Religion. He walks 39
- 1. Before God. 43
- 2. With God. 44
- 3. After God. ibid.
- 4. Like God. 45
- Sect. 9. 3. Constant Religion. He walks 39
- Sect. 10. An Inference, viz. The necessity of Regeneration. 46
Sect. 11. II. Uprightness of Life, where
- 1. Necessity of it. 49
- Sect. 11. II. Uprightness of Life, where
Sect. 12. 2. Description of it.
- 1. In Simplicity. 52
- 2. In Purity. 53
- 3. In Perfection. 55
- 4. In Plainness. 56
- Sect. 12. 2. Description of it.
Sect. 13. 3. The Object of it.
- 1. In words, being Opposite 58
- 1. To Flattering. 59
- 2. To Lying. 60
- 3. To Equivocations. 61
- 4. To Promise-breaking. 63
- 1. In words, being Opposite 58
- Sect. 13. 3. The Object of it.
Page [unnumbered]Sect. 14. 2. In Deeds, being Opposite 65
- 1. To Craftiness. 67
- 2. To Time-serving. 68
- 3. To Defrauding. 70
- 4. To All injustice. 72
- Page [unnumbered]Sect. 14. 2. In Deeds, being Opposite 65
- Sect. 15. An Inference, viz. the Paucity of Upright men. 75
- OF the Uprightness of God. 78
Sect. 1. God shews himself upright.
- 1. Why. Its agreeable to his
- 1. Nature. ibid.
- 2. Method. ibid.
- 3. Honour. 79
- 4. Promise. ibid.
- 2. How. 1. Overlooking their Infirmities. 80
- 1. Why. Its agreeable to his
- Sect. 1. God shews himself upright.
- Sect. 2. 2. Defending their Persons. 84
- Sect. 3. 3. Strengthning their Graces. 89
- Sect. 4. 4. Hearing their Prayers. 93
- Sect. 5. 5. Comforting them in their straits. 98
- Sect. 6. 6. Directing them in their doubts. 103
- Sect. 7. 7. Clearing their Integrity. 106
- Sect. 8. 8. Stablishing them to the end. 110
- Sect. 9. 9. Bestowing outward Blessings. 114
Sect. 10. 10. Crowning their Integrity,
- 1. With Internal Peace. 118
- 2. With Eternal Glory. 120
- Sect. 10. 10. Crowning their Integrity,
Page [unnumbered]CHAP. III.
- THe Application. 123
Sect. 1. Use〈◊〉. Information.
- 1. The Equity of God. ibid.
- 2. The Misery of Hypocrites. 124
- Hypocrites Pleas answered.
- 1. General Approbation. 127
- 2. Singular Obedience. 128
- 3. Quiet of Conscience. 129
- Sect. 1. Use〈◊〉. Information.
- Sect. 2. Use 2. Repr. 1. Those that Distrust an upright God. 2. Those that Distast an upright man. 133
- Sect. 3. Use 3. Exam. 1. The necessity of Tryal. 137
Sect. 4. 2. The marks for Tryal.
- An upright man,
- 1. Really approves himself to God. 141
- 2. Chiefly Loves God. 143
- 3. Willingly Obeys God. 145
- 4. Judiciously Appeals to God. 146
- 5. Trades not in presumptuous sins. 148
- 6. Keeps himself from his Iniquity. 150
- An upright man,
- Sect. 4. 2. The marks for Tryal.
Sect. 5. Use 4. Exhortation.
- 1. To the upright,
- 1. Praise the Lord. 152
- 2. Proceed in your Integrity. 153
- 1. To the upright,
- Sect. 5. Use 4. Exhortation.
Sect. 6. 2. To such as doubt of their Up∣rightness.
- 1. Sit not down quiet in this uncer∣tainty. 155
- 2. Set about the means of assurance. 156
- Sect. 6. 2. To such as doubt of their Up∣rightness.
Sect. 7. 3. To those that want uprightness. Labour for it.
- 1. Motives.
- 1. Its Amiable. 158
- 2. It•… Comfortable. 159
- 3. Its Necessary. 160
- 1. To good Duties here. ibid.
- 2. To Salvation hereafter. ibid.
- 1. Motives.
- Sect. 7. 3. To those that want uprightness. Labour for it.
Sect. 8. 2. Means.
- 1. Study Humility. 161
- 2. Be faithful in Self-examination. 162
- 3. Get an hatred to Hypocrisie, and a love to Uprightness. 163
- 4. Attend a scarching Ministry. 164
- 5. Be instant in Prayer. 166
- Sect. 8. 2. Means.
Sect. 9. Use 5. Consol. of the upright. Their doubts resolved.
- 1. From Allegations of Satan. 168
- 2. From the Censures of men. 169
- 3. From the Cry of Conscience. 170
- 4. From sad Experience. 171
- 1. Of Dryness in secret Duties. ibid
- 2. Of Decayes. 172
- 3. Of Inconstancy. 173
- 5. From the deceitfulness of the Heart. 175
- Sect. 9. Use 5. Consol. of the upright. Their doubts resolved.
A Plain Discourse UPON UPRIGHTNESS.
Psal. 18. 25.
CHAPTER I. Of the Uprightness of Man.
HE that would be Wise, let him read the Proverbs; he that * would be Holy, let him read the Psalms. Every line in this Book breaths peculiar Sanctity.
This Psalm, though plac'd among the •…rst, was penn'd among the last, (as the •…reface assures us) and is left as the Epi∣•…me of the General history of Davids life. Page 2 It is twice recorded in the Scripture, (2 Sam. 22. and in this Book of Psalms) for the Excellency and Sweetness thereof; surely that we should take double notice of it.
Holy David, being near the shore, here looks on his former Dangers and Delive∣rances with a thankful heart, and writes this Psalm to bless the Lord: As if each of you that are grown into years, should re∣view your lives, and observe the wonder∣ful Goodness and Providence of God, to∣wards you; and then sit down, and write a modest Memorial of his most remarkable mercies, for the comfort of your selves and your posterity. An excellent practise: What a comfort would it be for you to read how good your God was to your Father, or Grandfather, that are dead and gone? So would your children rejoyce in the Lord, upon the reading of his Goodness to you, and you cannot have a better pattern for this, than holy David who wrote this Psalm, when he was threescore and seven years old: when he had out-liv'd most of his troubles, and almost ready for his journey to his Father in heaven, he resolves to leave this good Report of him upon Earth.
And I pray mark how he begins; he set•…Page 3 not up Trophies to himself, but Triumphs in his God. I will love thee, O Lord my strength. As the love Of God is the beginning of all our mercies, so love To God should be the end and effect of them all. As the stream leads us to the spring, so all the gifts of God must lead us to the giver of them. Lord, thou hast saved me from sickness, I will love thee; from Death and Hell, I will love thee; on me thou hast bestowed Grace and comfort, I will love thee, O Lord my strength. And after he had heaped on God all the sweet names he could devise, vers. 2. As a true Saint thinks he can never speak too well of God, or too ill of himself, then he begins his Narrative.
I. Of his Dangers, verse 4, 5. Snares of death, Flouds of ungodly men, Sorrows of Hell. Hell and Earth are combin'd against each Holy man, and will trouble him suffi∣ciently in this World, if they cannot keep him out of a better.
II. Of his retreat, and that was earnest prayer to God, verse 6. I called upon th•… Lord, and cryed unto my God. [When our Prayers are Cryes ardent and importunate then they speed] my Cry came before him, •…ven into his ears. The mother trifles, while the child whimpers, but when he raises his note, strains every nerve, and tries Page 4 every vein, then she throws all aside, and gives him his desire. While our Prayers are only Whispers, our God can take his rest, but when we fall to crying, now will I arise, saith the Lord.
III. Of his Rescue, verse 7. to 20. By the powerful and terrible Arm of the Lord, who is in a lofty strain, brought in to his servants help, as if he would min∣gle Heaven and Earth together, rather than leave his Child in the Lyons paws.
IV. Of the Reason of this gracious deal∣ing of God with him, verse 20, &c. He was a righteous Person, and he had a righteous Cause. And thereupon he turns to God, saying, Thou hast dealt with me just as thou art wont to do; For with the merciful, thou wilt shew thy self merciful; and with the upright man thou wilt shew thy self upright.
ANd so we are arriv'd at the Text itself, * which being resolv'd, is an in∣tire Proposition, containing 1. A Subject, a•… Upright man. 2. A Predicate, or what is spoke of him; to or with him, God will Page 5 shew himself upright. For Explication With] or, before him, unto him.
An Upright.] The same word is oft translated Perfect, hec's good throughout, though not throughly; not one that perso∣nates Religion, but that is a Religious Per∣son. He is perfect, because he would be so. So Noah is termed, Gen. 6. 9. Noah was a just man, and perfect (i. e. upright) in his Generation: he was a good man in a bad Age. He was like a glowing spark of fire in a Sea of Water, which is perfect good∣ness: and therefore the Holy Ghost doth so hang upon his Name, as if he could not give over. It is an excellent Preachers ob∣servation, verse 8. But Noah was a just man, and perfect in his Generations, and Noah walked with God. And Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. These are the Generations of Noah. Noah begat three Sons: Noah, Noah, Noah, I love the sound of thy name, and so are all your names precious to God, though hated by men, if the Name of God be dear and sweet to you.
'Tis also sometimes translated Plain, Gen. 25. 27. Jacob was〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, a plain, that is, an upright man dwelling in Tents. Esau was a cunning hunter, but Jacob was a plain man without welt or gard: Page 6 you might know his heart by his tongue, save once when Rebeccah put a cunning trick into his head, otherwise he was a most upright, downright man. And the plain meaning of it is, a simple cordial, unfeig•…d and exact man, this is the man we are looking for.
Man] This Substantive the Hebrews use to drown in the Adjective, but here the Holy Ghost exhibits a word, and a choice one too, signifying a Strong Va∣liant man; the same word, Psal. 45. 3. O mighty man! that's meant of our Lord Christ, who was a most strong and valiant man, that could meet the wrath of God, the malice of the Devil, and the sin of man in the face, and come off with triumph. And so the Dutch translate this clause in 2 Sam. 22. With the right valiant person, thou behavest thy self up∣right.
In short, if the words were literally translated, they run thus [a man of up∣rightnesses] that is, every way you behold him, an upright man: like an even Dye, cast him which way you will, he will be found square and right. A stiff and strong man to tread down both lusts within, and temptations without. An Athanasius contra mundum, A Luther contra Romam;Page 7 this is a man of an an excellent spirit, and such is our upright man.
Thou wilt shew thy self upright] or, wilt be upright with him, for one word in the He∣brew makes all these six, thou wilt upright it with him. If men will deal plainly with God, he will deal plainly with them. He that is upright in performing his duty, shall find God upright in performing his Promi∣ses. It is Gods way to carry to men, as they carry to him. If thou hast a Design to please him, he will have a Design to please thee; if thou wilt Eccho to him, when he calls, hee'l Eccho to thee, when thou call'st: On the other side, if a man will wrestle with God, he will wrestle with him; if thou wilt be fast and loose with him, and walk frowardly towards him, thou shalt have as good as thou bringest; if thou wilt provoke him with never-ending sins, he will pursue thee with never-ending torments: if thou wilt sin in Tuo Eterno, thou must suffer in Suo Eter∣no; and every man shall find like for like.
ANd now 'tis time to be gathering * something for our instruction, and let this be the Lesson hence to be learn'd name∣ly,
Page 8Doctrine. Where God doth find an up∣right man, he shews himself an upright God.
True, he finds none but whom he makes, he finds them of his own making; but where-ever such a man is found, on the Throne, or in a Prison, or on a Dung∣hill, he shall find a God of his own, that will deal uprightly with him. However, he is an upright God, let men be what they will; whatever contrary motions the lower spheres have, yet the Primum mobile keeps its even and constant motion, and is never diverted out of its course at all: so is it with our God, let vain hypo∣crites walk never so crookedly, yet the holy God will be justified when he speaketh, and clear when he judgeth. He will be up∣right with you in executing his threat∣nings, if you hinder the current of his up∣rightness in performing Promises. The filthy Dunghill cannot infect the glorious Sun that shinesall day upon it, nor can any mans Evil, cause him to cease from being Good. But the meaning of the Point is, to the upright man he shews himself a graciously upright God; a true-hearted man on earth, shall find a true-hearted God in Heaven.
Page 9 The most proper and profitable way I •…an think of, for the handling of this Do∣ctrine, within the intended limits is, 〈◊〉. By shewing wherein stands the upright∣•…ess of a man. 2. By declaring how God •…hews himself an upright God. 3. By draw∣•…ng out some inferences and uses thereof. And first, of the first.
THere are Four words (especially) * whereby Uprightness is exprest 〈◊〉 Scripture, which being considered, will give us some view of this Orient •…ewel.
1. It is called Truth, 1 Sam. 12. 24.—Serve him in truth. Now Truth moral is •…he conformity of the mind and heart, to •…hings said and done; when therefore the •…eart prayes with the tongue, when the •…eart obeys with the hand, when we do •…he things of God heartily as to the Lord.•…his is to serve him in truth and up∣•…ightly.
And this sure is the sense of that, Heb.•…0. 22. Let us draw near with a true heart.•…t is our sin and folly to keep at distance•…rom God, both in and out of his service, Page 10afraid, or loth to come up. It is Gods w•… that we should draw near, and nearer ye•… and that with a true heart: a true-hearte•… man at a Prayer does the work, when m•…∣ny of great appearances do but beat t•… Air.
So when we come to men, 1 John 3. 1•…Let us not love in word, or in tongue [only but in deed and in truth; having a Princip of unfeigned love in our hearts to ever•… body, and thence producing words an•… deeds of pure Charity. This is an uprig•… man, whose heart within doth not give t•… lye to his word and actions. Survey h•…duties to God and men, they are pious, ju•… and charitable; open his heart, Piety, Rig•… teousness, and Love are written there Like him that professed, if he might ha•… had the molding of himself, Light shou•… have been his Body, and Truth should ha•… been his Soul.
2. Another word for this is Sincerity.〈◊〉 word taken from Pure Honey, that is, si•… cera, without wax, unmingled. When th•…New man hath as little as may be of th•…Old man mingled with him. This word〈◊〉 us'd Phil. 1. 10. That ye may be sincere. Th•…Greek word there signifies, that which 〈◊〉Sun-proof (as wares, that can abide to 〈◊〉 tryed between you and the Sun) su•…Page 11〈◊〉 an upright man, bring him to the Scrip∣•…ure he is sound; bring him to any solid •…arks, he can stand before them; put •…im into the scales, he is weight, how∣ever he is right Gold, though he may want some grains of allowance. He is of a right Eagle breed, though haply young or weak, yet he can look at the Sun,•…nd not be daunted. An hypocrite can •…ook men in the face, but an upright man, •…he can look God in the face. As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousnoss. This •…one but a righteous upright man can •…do.
3. There is another word of this im∣port, and that is, Singleness of heart, Acts 2. 46. They did eat their meat with gladness, and singleness of heart, that is, with a cordial chearfulness and bounty: And to this referrs that, Luke 11. 34. When thine eye is single (when thy heart is singly bent to honour and serve God, then the whole life will relish of that principle) the whole body will be full of light: but if the heart double with God, the life will be no way uniform with men. And this is taken to be the meaning of the Oneness of heart promised, Ezek. 11. 19. whereas the hypocrite hath an heart, and an heart, and an heart, and an heart, for every lust an Page 12 heart. A double minded man is unstable in all his wayes. He is unresolved in the end he drives at, and so unfixed in his desires and actions that tend thereunto. Now the upright mans heart is one, he goes all one way, he is what he seems, one intention, one delight, one face, one tongue; in a word, he is all but one man, Psalm 103. 1. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and ALL that is within me praise his holy Name.
And to this purpose is the fourth word, that signifies uprightness and that is Inte∣grity, 1 Kings 9. 4. And if thou wilt walk before me, as David walked, in Integrity of heart and in uprightness.—And that is when all the soul in every faculty is resolv'd, and bent for God and his glory. In an hypo∣crite the Judgment is against the Will, the Conscience against the Affection, the Reason against the Appetite, but in the upright, all the faculties agree, and com∣bine within themselves, and the opposi∣tion is onely outward, against a common enemy. He is a whole man, for the whole will of God.
So then you see an upright man is a True hearted, a sincere-hearted, a single∣hearted, and a whole-hearted man.
THis Uprightness 1. Respects God. 2. Re∣spects *Man. The former may be cal∣led Uprightness of heart; the latter Upright∣ness of Life; and both these must be ex∣plained, and where they meet, there we find an upright man.
Concerning uprightness of heart, we must assert, that it is not so much a distinct Grace, a grace by its self, as it is all Grace, tis that which stamps a Reality on every other grace: Without it, Nec amanda est ipsa Cha∣ritas, nec ipsi Fidei fidendum, nec bene speran∣dum de ipsa spe. We cannot believe our Faith, nor love our Love, nor hope well of our Hope it self.
Uprightness and Watchfulness are Ca∣tholick graces, of a general necessity; the former, to wit, Uprightness, to the Being and Truth of Grace, and the latter, to wit, Watchfulness, to the Preservation and Ex∣ercise of Grace. And belike on that ac∣count, sincerity is called a Girdle, Ephes. 6. 14. having your loyns girt about with truth. Religion is to many as a Cloak,Page 14 (though it will prove the dearest Cloak that ever was worn) which they can put on abroad, when it serves their purposes, and put off at home when it troubles them in their lusts; but now sincerity is like a Girdle, that ties it close to us. This makes all our Garments sit close to us, and to be ungirt here is to be unblest. And may be thus described.
Uprightness of heart is that Grace, or gracious temper, whereby the soul is unre∣servedly resigned to God, and heartily bent to walk with him without guile. In short, when one is A man after Gods own heart: for Truth is nothing but an agreement of things with their first Principles, so that the Heart agreeing plainly with the Heart and Will of God, is an upright heart.
The same thing is meant by an Honest heart, Luke 8. 15. that is resolved to car∣ry squarely towards God; as there in the hearing of Gods Word, when the heart is clearly carried with the stream of Gods will, without Exception or Dissimulation. As you know an honest man is ruled and swayed by Reason and Equity in a business, without squinting at his own opinions and ends, even so an upright heart honestly yields his Reason and Will captive to the Page 15Will of God, though it cross his own con∣ceits and ends. And thus he is a man after Gods own heart, is as like him (humane frailty considered) as ever he can look. Now this blessed Uprightness may be con∣sidered,
- 1. In the Grounds of it.
- 2. In the Nature of it.
- 3. In the Object of it.
I. The Ground and root of Uprightness of Heart, stands in the total Receiving of Christ by the Heart, and the total Resign∣ing of the Heart unto him. This done, and there's a good foundation laid for sin∣cerity of soul.
1. There must be a total Receiving of Jesus Christ tendered in the Gospel, when you do take hold of the Lord Jesus, and cleave to him with purpose of heart. As Bar∣nabas prest them at Antioch, Acts 11. 23. Many have a months mind of Christ, some velleities and wouldings, but wilt thou have him, and cleave to him, and that with purpose of heart? this is sincerity, to receive a whole Christ with a whole heart. Not Christ the Saviour or Refuge on∣ly, so most would be willing; but Christ the Prince and Portion also in the land of the living. So David could say, Psal. 142. 5. O Lord, I said thou art my Page 16 refuge, and my portion in the land of the li∣ving. How many would fain have the Lord Jesus Christ for their Refuge, when Conscience pinches, affliction presses, or death stares them in the face, but how few will choose him for their portion and hap∣piness in the midst of their outward com∣forts? the Hypocrite dare not dye without him, the upright Saint cannot live with∣out him. Cant. 1. 4. The upright love th•…, and love cannot live contentedly without fruition.
To be content of a Christ, because of some present need of him is one thing, is nothing, if that be all: but to chuse him as the fairest of ten thousand, and that with an intire heart; to have Mind, Will, Conscience and Affection, all of a mind, and this mind to be set on Christs yoke as well as his Crown, his Spirit as well as his Merit, his Rule as well as his Righteous∣ness, here goes the upright heart: whereas an hypocrite he hath some fancy for Jesus Christ, but will not have him, this pleases him, but that likes him not, and so he dodges endlesly, and parles with him through the window, but bolts the door, and keeps him out for ever. O that ever an holy, just, and offended God, should follow such miserable sinners with a Page 17 bleeding Christ in his arms and that e∣ver such wretches should put a refusal upon him.
2. There must be a total Resignation of the heart unto the Lord Jesus Christ, wherein you do cordially, deliberately, and freely give up your souls and bodies to him and to his service; which is call∣ed Ingageing the heart to approach to the Lord, Jer. 30. 21. Who is this that inga∣ged his heart to approach unto me, saith the Lord? And thereupon that happy Co∣venant is drawn in the next verse; ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. Who is this, saith God? Who in the World? Who in this Congregation? Who in this Family? Who in this Seat? Where's the Man? the Woman? the Child? O let each answer quickly, it is I. But you must ingage, not only hanker, incline, desire, purpose, but ingage; 'tis not bid∣ding but buying, will make this Pearl your own. Alas it is the ordinary guise of people to stand off and treat only; but Sirs, will ye ingage, is't a bargain, and will ye stick to it, get or lose by Christ you will have him? and then 'tis the in∣gagement of the heart, you did subscribe your hands in Baptisme, this very Cove∣nant was sealed in your name and behalf, Page 18 when you were children little, and your not revoking it, doth assert it; but now we come for your hearts thereunto. Where's the Mind, the Conscience, the Will? O where's the Will that submits, resolves, and ingages to be the Lords? Happy this day, this word, and happy you, if hereupon, one shall say, I am the Lords, and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob, and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel, Isa. 44. 5. You are the Lords by your Christian names already, O when will you be his by your surname also.
This is the Gospels great design, this is our errand here, we come for you and are loth to go without you. We beseech you by the mercies of God, to make a present of your selves, as a living sacrifice to God. Poor sinners are like Rebels be∣sieged, whom Christ Jesus will either win, or starve. His Ordinance is mounted, and it batters. A breach is made in the Judgment, but the sinner will not yield; another in the Conscience, yet is he loth to yield; the white flag of mercy is set up, but of a long time the sturdy sinner will not treat: the red flag is hung out, divine wrath is on the march, and a Page 19 storm is preparing. The Ordinance of God replanted again, and now if it hit right, and a breach be made upon the will, then Christ is victor, the City is won, and the sinner yields. And then his note is changed, Psal. 116. 16. O Lord, truly I am thy servant, I am thy servant: Mark how the Psalmist redoubles it, I am, I am, truly I am. Redoubled refusals call for redoubled submissions. I will nei∣ther be my own master, nor my own ser∣vant. I here make a Deed of Gift of my whole self to thee, without Reservation, and without Power of Revocation. It is not enough to say this in a pang of kind∣ness, or in a complement, as we do to men: What's more common with us, than Your servant Sir? but its a servant without service, and such servants hath God a great many, his Servants, but their own Masters; but holy David was not such a man, I am thy servant, truly I am thy servant, I am resign'd to thee, I am resolv'd for thee, thou hast boar'd my ears, Psal. 40. 6. and oblig'd me to thee for ever. I will be thine both Totally and Fi∣nally. When you thus give your Own selves to the Lord, 2 Cor. 8. 5. This is the ground and root of Uprightness.
II. THe Nature of this Uprightness of *Heart, is best discern'd by those ex∣pressions us'd by the Holy Ghost concerning it, which have been partly observ'd alrea∣dy, and shall be reduc'd to these five follow∣ing. It is
- 1. Single without Division.
- 2. Sound without Rottenness.
- 3. Pure without Mixture.
- 4. Perfect without Reservation.
- 5. Plain without Guile.
1. An Upright heart is Single without Division. Unto an hypocrite, there be Gods many, and Lords many, and he must have a heart for each: but to the upright there is but one God the Father, and one Lord Jesus Christ, and one heart will serve them both. He that fixes his heart upon the Creatures, for every Creature he must have an heart, and the dividing of his heart destroyes him, Hos. 10. 2. worldly profits knock at door, he must have an heart for them; carnal pleasures present themselves, he must have an heart for them also; sinful preferments appear, they must have an heart too; Necessariorum numerus parvus, opinionum nullus. Of necessa∣ryPage 21 objects, the number is few, of needless va∣nities, the number is endless: The upright man hath made choice of God and hath enough.
A single Christ is enough for a single heart; hence holy David prayes, Psal. 86. 11. U∣nite my heart to fear thy Name, Let me have but one heart and mind, and let that be thine. As there are thousands of Beams and Rayes, yet they all meet and center in the Sun; so an upright man, though he hath a thousand thoughts, yet they all (by his good will) meet in God. Subordinate ends, he hath many, to procure a livelihood, to preserve his credit, to provide for his chil∣dren, but Supreme end he hath none, but God alone. Hence, that Steadiness in his Resolutions, that Undistractedness in his holy duties, that Consistency in his Acti∣ons, and that Evenness in the frame of his Heart, which miserable hypocrites cannot attain.
2. An Upright Heart is Sound without Rottenness, Psal. 119. 80. Let my heart be sound in thy statutes, that I may not be asha∣med. The more sincerity the less shame. In∣tegrity is the great author of confidence. Every frost shakes an unsound body, and every tryal shakes an unsound soul. An upright man hath not alwayes so pure a colour as an hypocrite may have, but his Page 22 colour is natural, it is his own, it is not painted, his constitution is firm. The hypo∣crites beauty is borrowed, the fire of tryal will melt it off.
An Upright man hath his infirmities, his diseases, but his new nature works them out, for he is sound within. A lepro∣sie overspreads the hypocrite, but he hides it, Psal. 36. 2. He flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful. He endeavours to hide himself from God, more from men, most from himself; he would fain be in with him∣self howsoever, and this trade he drives, till his iniquity be found to be hateful. But now an Upright man, he is alwayes sifting and trying himself; am I sound? am I right? are my services rightly done? are my infirmities consistent with inte∣grity? and the like. An upright Saint is like an apple with rotten specks, but an hypocrite is like the apple with a rotten core. The sincere Christian hath here a speck of passion, and there of worldli∣ness, and there of pride; but cut him up, anatomize him, he is sound at heart, there Christ and Christianity live and reign. Now an hypocrite is like an ap∣ple that is smooth and lovely on the out∣side, but rotten within: His words exact, Page 23 his duties devout, his life blameless, but look within, and his heart is the sty of sin, the den of Satan.
3. An Upright heart is Pure without Mixture. Not absolutely pure, that hap∣piness is reserv'd for heaven, but com∣pared with that pollution and base mix∣ture, that constitutes an hypocrite. Though his hand cannot do all that God bids, yet his heart is sincere in all he doth. His soul is bent for perfect purity, and so he hath his name from that, Mat. 5. 8. Blessed are the pure in heart. In his words he sometimes fails, and so in his thoughts and deeds; but open his heart and there is a love, a desire, a design and an indeavour after real and absolute puri∣ty. Not legally pure, that is, free from all sin; but Evangelically pure, free from the reign of all sin, especially of hypo∣crisie, which is so flatly contrary to the Covenant of Grace. And in this sence the upright man is the Scripture Puritan, and so 〈◊〉 further from hypocrisie than any other man. He is really glad that God is the searcher of hearts, for then he knows, that he will finde his name and nature in his own.
And yet, the most upright man in the Page 24 world hath some hypocrisie in him, Prov. 20. 9. Who can say I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin? but this he detects, resists, and hates, and so it can∣not denominate him an hypocrite in this world, nor damn him for one in another. His ends are generally purely at the glo∣ry of God, his frame of heart and thoughts pure, and generally better than his out∣side; the farther you trace him the better he is. Pure from dishonesty in his deal∣ings, purer yet in his family from all appearance of evil, purer still in his closet, and purest in his heart: though there be sin there, yet there is also there an anti∣pathy against it, that it mingles not with it.
The hypocrite chooses sin, the upright man would have no sin if he could choose. The Traveller (its true) meets with dirt in his way, but he keeps it off as well as he can, mingles not with it, and if he be soil'd, he rubs it off as soon as may be: but the swine delights in it, cannot be well without it. 'Tis just so between the upright man and the hypocrite. The most upright Saint on earth, is bemir'd with sin sometimes, but he did not de∣sign it in the morning, nor sleeps he with it at night; but an hypocrite he designs Page 25 it, he delights in it, he is never so well contented as in sin. In a word, the hypocrite may avoid sin, but no man can abhor sin save the upright man.
4. An Upright man is Perfect and in∣tire without Reservation, Psal. 37. 37. Mark the perfect man, and behold the up∣right, you may see them both at once. His heart is intirely devoted to the will and wayes of God. The hypocrite he hath ever some exceptions and reserva∣tions. Such a sin I must not leave, such a grace I cannot love, such a duty I will not practise; thus far I will yeild but no farther, thus far I will go, it is consistent with my carnal ends, but all the world shall not perswade me farther. The Judgement of the hypocrite will drive be∣yond his Will, his Conscience beyond his Affections, he is not intire, his heart is parted, and so he is off and on. The Up∣right man hath but one Happiness, and th•…t is the injoyment of God; but one Rule, and that is his holy Will; but one Work, and that is to please his Maker; and thereupon he is intire and certain in his choice, in his desires, in his wayes, and contrivances. And though there may be some demurs in his prosecution of his Page 26 main business, yet there is no hesitancy and wavering between two objects, for he is intirely fixt and resolv'd therein, and so may be said to be perfect and intire, want∣ing nothing.
There is in every hypocrite some one Fort, or strong hold, that hath never yielded to the soveraignty and empire of Gods will: Some lust castles it self in the will, but where integrity enters, it brings every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Lord, saith he, I am wholly thine, do what thou wilt with me, say what thou wilt to me, write what thou wilt upon me, Other Lords have had domi∣nion over me, but by thee onely will I make mention of thy name, Isa. 26. 13. here is the upright man.
5. An Upright heart is Plain without Guile, Psal. 32. 2. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no Guile. Here is a blessed word indeed. Alas! we have great and many iniquities, were it not happy for us to be as if we had never sinned? why; non-imputation will be as well for us, as if there had been no trans∣gression; sins remitted are as if they had not been committed: The debt∣book Page 27 crost as good as if never entred. But who is this blessed man? In whose spirit there is no Guile, that is, 1. no fundamental guile; that hath not deceitfully covenanted with his God. 2. That hath no approved guile, to approve and yeild to any way of wicked∣ness; that doth not juggle with God or men, or with his own Conscience; that hides not his Idols under him, when God is searching his Tent, but as it follows there verse 5. acknowledges, and hates, and leaves his sin.
When the Upright man confesseth his sin, his heart akes and he is deeply trou∣bled for it, he dissembles not: the hypo∣crite proclaims open war, but maintains secret intelligence with his lusts. When the upright man prayes for any grace, he earnestly desires it, and he takes pains to compass it too, for he is in good earnest, and dissembles not: The hypocrite is a∣fraid in his prayers to be taken at his word, for he loves not the image, or grace of God at all. And so in every thing else, there is nothing but guile in him, he that will dissemble with God, will dis∣semble with any man in the world. See the wide difference between Saul and David. Saul is charged with a fault, 1 Sam. 15. 14. lie denies it, the charge Page 28 is renewed, verse 17. still he minces the matter, looks for fig-leaves to cover all. But plain-hearted David is another man; he is charg'd and he yields, one prick opens a vein of sorrow in his heart, he tells all, he makes a Psalm of it, and therein concludes this, Psal. 51. 6. Behold thou desirest truth in the inward parts. The plain-hearted man, sayes God, is for me, with the upright man I will shew my self upright.
III. ANd thus you have the Nature* of uprightness a little opened; and now let us consider the Object about which this uprightness is conversant. And the great business of the upright heart is about,
1. He is a Student and Practitioner of Inward Religion. Diligent he is in the outward acts of it also, but that he hath common with the hypocrite, but his greatest study is to be good within, Page 29Rom. 2. 28, 29. For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly, [that is, he is no Jew as to the esteem and acceptation of God, or as to the spiritual priviledges of the Covenant] neither is that Circumcision which is outward in the flesh, [to wit, that is not the Circum∣cision, which God chiefly looks at, and which a man is chiefly advantag'd by] But he is a Jew which is one inwardly, [that is, a Saint in soul] and Circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit and not in the letter. It is not water on the face, but blood on the heart which makes a saveable Christian. O Sirs, what change hath there been on your spirits? what fear, and love, and sanctity is there in your hearts? look to this, or else you will break like bubbles. And then it follows, Whose praise is not of men, but of God, that is, whose aim, and whose honour it is not to be prais'd of men, but of God. The Upright man trades in Invisible things.
1. The upright man studies to obtain invisible Graces. Psal. 45. 13. The Kings daughter is glorious within. In the hidden man of the heart, is the beauty of an up∣right man. To be drest with the orna∣ment of a meek and quiet spirit, with a compos'd and serious spirit, with a peni∣tent Page 30 and believing spirit. Ah beloved! how like are many of us to the River which Athenaeus mentions, whose upper waters are sweet, but brackish at the bottome; like fine clothes, silk without and canvas within: a smooth carriage, and an unpolish'd uncircumcis'd heart; the upright man would not be so. He looks not at things that are seen, but at things that are not seen. Grace and Glo∣ry are the study and ambition of the in∣ward Christian. The hypocrite may be forward for unsanctified Gifts. Simon Magus would give money for such, O the time, and cost and strength that ma∣ny men spend to attain the gift of Know∣ledge, of Prudence, of Language, of E∣locution, of memory, and such like, that never spend a serious thought, to attain the grace of Repentance, Faith, Self-de∣nial, sincere love to God and godliness! but this is the great design in the upright heart, O that I may be stored with the saving knowledge of my God, and of my self! Here's an Ordinance, O that I may have my faith increased, my love inflamed, the back of my patience strengthned by this holy Duty! These are the Pearles our Merchant seeks for.
Page 31 2. The Upright man studies to perform in∣visible Duties. There is an Outside and an Inside in Religion. The bended knee, that's the outside in prayer; The broken heart that's the inside: To hear Gods word, that's the outside; To meditate of it, that's the inside: To read each day two or three Chapters in the Bible, that's the outside; to feel the efficacy of it that's the inside; To reprove another that's the outside; but to watch over thine own heart, that's the inside: To draw out thy purse to a poor man, that's the outside; but to draw out thy heart in pitty to him, that's the inside of the duty. The hypo∣crite may, and oft doth excell in the for∣mer, the upright man is diligent and careful in the latter. He can pray in se∣cret, and is no stranger to Self examinati∣on, Meditation, Ejaculations, and Solilo∣quies these retired acts of Religion, nay in these is his Excellency; he is a Saint in secret, the holiest alone, a busie man in an Ordinance. He wrestles as well as makes supplication, and sweats at that which others sleep at. The Pharisee, Luke 18. had the larger Oration, but the Pub∣lican had the more penitent heart. The Scribe might have more dealing with the Law, but the Apostle delighted in it, in Page 32 the inward man, Rom. 7. 22. and so doth every upright man. His best wares are within out of sight. As you know its the Tradesmans custom, all his wares shall be vendible and good, but behind in his Warehouse and Closet are his choicest things: Even so the upright man, he will be exact and diligent in all his ordi∣nary and visible duties, but his Master∣pieces they are within. He performs invi∣sible Duties.
3. The upright man studies to conquer invisible Sins: Those that he might go to his grave with, and no body aware of them; yet these he labours to rout Horse and Man. An hypocrite on the con∣trary prunes off the sins that will shame him, but nourishes the sins that will damn him. Open drunkenness, uncleanness, op∣pression, profaneness, these an hypocrite disdains; but mean while he lives perhaps in some of these secretly, or at least he takes no pains to subdue proud, wanton, envious, and other inward motions that do as much war against the soul, as other sins. The hypocrite shaves the hair, but the up∣right man plucks it up by the roots, 2 Cor. 7. 1. Let us cleanse our selves from all filthiness of Flesh and Spirit. There Page 33 is a filthiness of the Spirit, which he that would perfect holiness will be cleansing himself from; such as the habits of un∣belief, impenitency, hardness of heart, pride of spirit, dulness in Gods service, and such as Atheistical, loose, imperti∣nent thoughts, wandering in the worship of God, envy at his neighbours riches or reputation, and carnal contrivances to satisfie t•…e lusts of the flesh; these cost him warm water, break his sleep, and fill his prayers, which never cost the hypocrite, nor secure world; one penitent thought. It was Tertullians cry, Ad leonem extra, potius quam ad leonem intra. The upright man knows, that as the filthiness of the flesh will may make him a beast, so the fil∣thiness of the spirit will make him a De∣vil, and therefore he assaults his invisible sins.
2. AN upright man endeavours after u∣niversal Religion. There is a coun∣terpane of the will of God in his heart; that agrees with the Scripture in every thing.
Page 34 1. He hates All sin, with an hatred of Abomination, of Aversation, of Oppositi∣on. Dress it with what disguises you will, and press it with what motives, ends or advantages you can, the upright man hates it in his heart, Psal. 119. 1, 2. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, they walk in the Law of the Lord. They also (they for their part) do no iniquity, they walk in his way. There is a party in him that would be tampering with it, but he likes it not. O, saith God, do not this a∣bominable thing that I hate, Jer. 44. 4. No, Lord, saies he, for I hate it as well as thou. His heart is on Gods side against Sin: And particularly against his own ini∣quity, Psal. 18. 23. I was also upright before him, and I kept my self from mine iniqui∣ty. Mine iniquity; Every man hath some sin of his own, which he is most inclinable to, least able to resist, and lothest to leave. Thus he drags each prayer before God, and cries, Lord, if thou lovest me, strike here. This sin he prosecutes with prayers and tears, and all good means beside, fore∣laies it in cool bloud, and with continu∣al preventing contrivances disappoints, crosses, intercepts, and by degrees starves it to death.
Page 35 And as no sin is so dear as to ingrati∣ate with him, so no sin so small, but his stomack rises at it; and hence it is that the upright man hath not so wide a swal∣low, as other men of large and strained Consciences, and so meets with many an hypocrite in his dish; because he would hate the Appearance of Evil, as he hates the Appearance of the Devil, but still he hates his own sins more than others, and those as much as any, which no body sees but himself.
2. He loves All his Duty, he is neither afraid to know, nor ashamed to own all his duty: By this the Lord measures In∣tegrity 1 King. 9. 4. And if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy Father walk∣ed, in integrity of heart and in uprightness, to do according to all that I have command∣ed thee. Here's the just Standard of since∣rity. For can the holy, wise, and just God appoint any thing unreasonable or un∣comfortable for his own creature, his dear child to perform? Alas! All his wayes are mercy and truth, and all his Laws tend to his servants good. What harsher Law in appearance than that Matth. 5. 29. If thy right eye, if thy right hand offend thee, pluck it out, cut it off.Page 36 And yet if any of you had an eye that were alwayes leading you into pits and precipices, to drown and destroy you, would not you have it out? if you had an hand that were alwayes running into the fire, and you could not keep it out, would not you hack it off? why, it is no other eye or hand, the Gospel hath a quarrel with, but those that would lead into ruine, run you into hell: and how reasonable and necessary is it to be rid of such? The upright man is convinced of this, and so he knows nothing in Reli∣gion but what he likes. Some things may grate upon his carnal appetite, yet he loves them dearly. Now an hypocrite is quite another man, like a sorry Scho∣lar in a hard Chapter, he skips over the hard words, and makes nothing of them; whereas the well taught Scholar, will spell, and labour at them, and rather ven∣ture a whipping, than skip over them: So is it between the hypocrite and the upright in the duties of Christianity. An hypocrite runs smoothly on in divers Religious exercises, till he meets with some costly, hard, or hiddén duties, and there he stands stock-still; he considers that there is no credit or profit, but only pains or peril, to be got, and presently Page 37 skips over these hard words, and neither loves nor obeyes: whereas the upright man finding his duty, bides by it, dwells upon it, and will deny himself ere he will deny his duty. If God will have me love mine enemies, I will love them: * If he wil have me forsake this company or course that I am taken with, I will freely leave them: If he will have me pray, yea and fast too, no duty shall be so hard, but I will do it; no sin so sweet, but I will leave it, with my whole heart and my whole soul. We have both these in that trying verse, Psal. 119. 128. There∣fore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right, and I hate every false way. Each word is a sacred touchstone. [There∣fore] It is said, ver. 126. Wicked men make void the Law. That's so far from carrying the upright man down the stréam, that therefore he loves it the more: he knows it cannot but be excellent, that such men hate. Is the Sabbath generally broken? he is stricter in observing it. Are oathes more frequent? he abhors them the more. Is true Piety hated and hist out of the world? his heart and house shall more throughly imbrace it. [I esteem] I can∣not observe thy precepts as I would, but I do dearly value them. The least of thy Page 38 Laws is more unto me, than thousands of Gold and Silver. [I esteem thy precepts] I do not only esteem the Truths of the Bible, the Histories in the Bible, the Pro∣mises of the Bible, but I esteem thy Pre∣cepts, those that cut out my work, as well as those that hold out my Reward. (And all these) those that are against my nature and interest and custome, as well as those that are agreeable to my nature and custom and subservient to my interest. They are all wise, holy and good. Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loves it. And I esteem all thy precepts (concerning all things to be right) Those precepts that give rules for my bargains, as well as for my hearing; that controule me at my meat, as well as those that direct me in my prayers; they are all right and good. (And I hate every false way.) I do not say, I escape and miss them all (happy if I could) but I hate them, and he that hates sin, will avoid it as much as he can. And that every (false way) I see they are false wayes, neither directed by my God, nor leading to him, and therefore I hate them all. And this is an upright man, he is U∣niversally Religious.
3. AN upright man labours after Con∣stant Religion. His sanctity is a *second Nature in him, now that which is natural is constant; There is great diffe∣rence between the natural heat of an heal∣thy man, and the praeternatural heat of an Ague; such is the difference between the true Saint and the hypocrite. An hy∣pocrite may have some fits of Piety, but they are adventitious, they flow from some outward cause, and accordingly they last but for a while; and when that cause ceaseth, (suppose some sharp judge∣ment fear'd or felt, some qualm of Con∣science, or shallow Sermon-sickness) then a cold fit follows, as bad or worse than before: alas, it is praeternatural, it was no habit, but the upright man hath a constant heat, he fears alwayes and maintains constant duty, though he can∣not keep equal heat therein.
And here's the difference between the inconstancy of an upright man and of an hypocrite; the inconstancy of the hypocrite is in the Substance of the duty it self; one while he prayes, another while he Page 40 restrains prayer; one while he is strict and cautious; and shortly loose and careless; whereas the upright man keeps on in the course of his duty, though he cannot do it alwayes alike; he prayes, and would not b•… hired from it, though the thread of his prayers be uneven: there may be remis∣ness in it, but not an intermission of it: there's constant Religion, though not e∣qual Religion. The hypocrite makes a Cloak of his Religion, which he puts on, and off, as it serves his purpose; the up∣right man wears it as his every day cloathes, and puts not off his integrity, till he dye. There may be some Parentheses in his holy course, wherein vanity and sin may be written, (too many of these God knows in the best mans heart and life) but still the sentence runs current; the sence and scope of his heart runs Heaven∣ward: whereas on the contrary, the full sence of an hypocrites heart is to please or promote himself; though there may be some parentheses of Religion, no part of the scope of his soul: you have their character, Psal. 78. 36, 37. Nevertheless they did statter him with their mouth, and they lied to him with their tongues: for their heart was not right with him, Page 41 neither were they steadfast in his Covenant. No greater sign of a rotten heart, than a fundamental unstedfastness in the Co∣venant of God, when a man is rul'd by times and companies to shew good or evil, this mans heart is not right with God.
Its true, a tempest may bend the boughs of a living tree, or perhaps the tree it self, if the storm be great; but they return to their straightness, they come to themselves, but the rotten sticks and branches are broken and overturn'd; just so, some strong temptation may drive an upright man out of his honest way, but he soon returns, and by mending his pace, makes amends for his stumbling. Three Scriptures give the upright man his character, concerning this mat∣ter. Proverbs 28. 14. Happy is the man that feareth alwayes. To be al∣wayes afraid looks like a miserable life among men; but to have a wa∣king eye, and careful heart for fear of sin, is no more a misery, than to walk, or ride, with a vigilant regard to prevent a fall. This fear is not troublesome or vexatious at all, he's an happy man that uses it, and no wise man will count the other hapy for going, running, riding without fear Page 42 or wit in danger every moment to break his bones. Again, Hos. 12. 6. Keep mer∣cy and judgement, and wait upon thy God continually. The whole life of a sincere Saint is a continual waiting upon God; whatever his work be, whoever his com∣pany, wherever he goes, whenever he eats or drinks, yet in all these he waites upon his God, and serves the will of his heavenly Father. And agreeable to this is the other passage, Prov. 23. 17. Be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long. Most emphaticall both for the duty commanded, and for the term of the duty, both most apposite to set out an upright man. The fear of the Lord, that is universal Religion, be thou in th•…, more than if he had said, let the fear of the Lord be in thee; be surrounded with it, swallowed up in it. And then, this all the day long, not only a fit of Religi∣on at thy prayers in the morning and a∣nother at night, but work and walk, eat and drink in it all the day long, yea all thy life long, which is but a long day.
The Religion of an hypocrite is like a tireing horse, which may go apace in the morning, and shew much mettal for Page 43 a while; but the upright man, though more soberly, yet goes more constantly; and in this sense that is most true, Prov. 10. 9. He that walks uprightly, walks surely. You shall finde this man with savoury thoughts in his heart at noon, with Ejaculations at his work, and there is a coherence between his duties and his life. In a word, and so I'le end this point, the Upright man hath four Walks towards God, which will set him forth to the life.
1. The upright man walks Before God. Gen. 17. 1. Walk before me, and be thou perfect, or upright. And that is whereby the upright man habitually alwayes, and actually as much as in him lies, Sets the Lord alwayes before him; and still thinks, and speaks, and acts, as if he lookt on, weighing not only the matter but the manner, and motives of his wayes, ac∣quitting himself still to his God, 2 Cor. 2. 17. As of sincerity as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ. Happy for ever that Minister, that can call God to record on his soul, that as no errours corrupt his Doctrine, so no base ends corrupt his heart; but that he preaches Page 44Christs will sincerely, as if the Lord him∣self look'd on.
2. The upright man walks with God. So Enoch, Gen. 5. 22. And Enoch walked with God. That is, so to live, as if the Ho∣ly God were in person walking with you on Earth, or as if you were walking with him in Heaven. If God should visibly walk with you on earth, as he was a while with Abraham, O with what humility, sanctity, watchfulness, love, and fear would you continually live? what an hum∣ble and serious regard would you have to∣wards him? much more if you were to walk a while with him in Heaven: what a frame would you there be in? why this sence hath walking with God, which no man hath skill in save the upright man; he is constantly religious.
3. The upright man walks After God, Deut. 13. 4. Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his Com∣mandments, and obey his voice. Where he can see his God walk before him, like a dutiful child, he will, though not aequis passibus, walk after him as fast as he can. This was the praise of Caleb, Numbers 14. 24. that he followed God fully. That Page 45 word I am the Lord thy God, makes every Thou shalt of his, and every Thou shalt not, acceptable to an upright man. Come sayes God, here's a work I must have done, here thou must give, here forgive, here's a Saint must be loved for his own sake, here's a sinner must thou love and pity for my sake. Ready (Lord) saith the upright man, by thy Grace it shall be done, this is to follow God fully, this is to walk after God.
4. The upright man walks Like God, 1 John 2. 6. He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. Now, how did our Lord, Jesus walk when he was upon earth? why, a mirrour and pattern of all humi∣lity, justice, charity, meekness, self-de∣nial. Think often when you are eating, how did Christ order his meales? do I give thanks like him? discourse at table like him? think often when you are hearing and praying; did he hear and pray in such a manner as I do? How would he carry himself among such neighbours? how would he instruct and guide this Family? how would he bear and improve these reproaches, wants and troubles? how would he appear for Page 46 God is in such company? how would he sanctisie the Sabbath? how would he deal with such parents, such children, if he were in my place? how quiet, when provok'd? how chast, when tempted? how just and true in his dealings? how cautious of others names, and how con∣tent with his own estate? Put him often into your case and remember, if ever you will live with him, you must live like him. And by this fruitful and good life you shew, that God is upright, and that there is no unrighteousness in him, Psal. 29. last:
ANd thus I have opened in some poor * measure an upright heart. By all which (dearly Beloved) you may see the Absolute necessity of Regeneration: I mean, the through change of the heart, from the state of nature to the state of grace. For certainly mans heart by nature is false, and far from this uprightness described. How can the soul receive Christ Jesus as he is offered in his Gospel, or resign it Page 47 self to him without Regeneration; how can the heart of a sinful child of Adam, be either single, or sound, or pure, or perfect, or plain without Regeneration? what man will study, or practise Inward, Universal and constant Religion till he be Regenerated? Who will walk Before God, With God, After God, Like God, before his heart be changed? Alas these things are neither conceived by the mind, nor received by the will of a na∣tural man: He is ignorant in them and an enemy to them. O Sirs, you must be new creatures, else all our treatie stands for nothing: we must still begin here, and can parly no further with you, un∣less you yield in this. Will ye be renewed in the Spirit of your mind? Would you give all the world for a new Heart? till then you are but rotten at the heart, you walk in a vain shew: for all your talk a∣gainst hypocrites, you are errand hypo∣crites, and shall be condemned as such, when those you have so reproach'd, shall be your judges and openly honoured be∣fore Angels and men. Those poor Mor∣decaies shall be royally arrayed, and you like proud Haman shall see it to the brea∣king of your hearts.
Page 48 To prevent this, O learn this one Les∣son, Sound Conversion, which is but re∣storing that image you lost in Adam. Your bones were all put out of joynt by that fall, this is the painful pluck that puts them in joynt again. Would not any man abide a painful pluck to set one bone in joynt? O Sirs, abide one pluck to bring all your soul into frame again: you must be new men, else you cannot be upright men; you must be in Christ be∣fore you can walk like him. Your Reli∣gion is but skin deep till the Holy Ghost hath made an holy change.
And therefore, for the Lords sake, and for your souls sake, study this point into practise. Give no sound sleep to your eyes while you are such near neighbours to Hell; your temperate, just, and honest behaviour may make your fall the softer, but without holiness you must never see the Lord; and a carnal heart can never be ho∣ly and upright without Regeneration. And so far concerning the first part of upright∣ness, which respects God, uprightness of heart.
THe second part of Uprightness re∣spects Man, which is Uprightness of life; which
1. Must be with the former; else the * other is but like a candle in a dark lanthorn, which burns away to no pur∣pose. This is the very Sinew of humane Society, and makes men happy in one another. It is such an excellent thing that they who never practise it, yet al∣wayes pretend to it. The veriest knaves abhor to be so called, and would be re∣puted and stiled honest and upright men. And that must needs be amiable which all men commend, and necessary which no society can subsist without: So that there abides a Crown of honour for a Down∣right Heathen, as well as a Crown of glory for an Upright Christian: and there will be an easier punishment for those (I may call them) Christian-Pagans, than for abundance of our Pagan Christians.
Page 50 2. This Uprightness of life is not suffi∣cient without the former. 'Tis good but not good enough. To be a fast friend to men, and a broken bow to God, will yeild you little comfort. Yet how many sit down here, and think themselves well? would not steal a shoe latchet from their neigh∣bour for a world, and yet make no Con∣science of stealing from God his Honour and his Day. That would not wrong their Brethrens Name by any reproach for a world, and yet make no bones of wronging the Name of the great God, and take it in vain day by day. The squareness of your actions may crown you with re∣putation; but the rottenness of your hearts will leave you in condemnation, by that God that trieth the hearts and reins. As in the Law, without bloud there was no re∣mission, so in the Gospel, without Oyle there is no admission into the Kindome of Heaven. Civility and Sanctity are two things.
3. This uprightness of life cannot be without that uprightness of heart. It loseth in truth its name and nature for want of a principle. For that which is truly good must have all its causes, which this wants. It is a common experiment, that water Page 51 will not ascend above its spring without a violence upon nature; and it is as true, that no mans actions can carry a higher level than the fountain of them; so that to make the life upright, you must begin at the heart, and first make the Tree good and then the fruit will be good also.
Now this Uprightness of Life is the ex∣act agreement of a mans words and actions with an honest and upright heart. When the life is the picture of the heart, and there is a blessed harmony between the frame of the soul within, and the course of the life without; when a man doth not frame his life, to gratifie the company, or serve the times he lives in, or the corrupt humours of other, or any carnal ends of his own, but his heart is sincere, and so are his words and deeds. Not that we expect an absolute exactness here; the uprightest man on earth hath enough to humble and afflict him; but for the main, there is no known ordinary and willing swerving of his course from his frame within, or of that from the holy will of God. And herein also we shall consider, 1. Its Essence. 2. Its Object.
I. THe Nature or Being of Upright∣ness * of life shines
1. In Simplicity. Prov. 28. 6. 18. Better is the poor that walketh in his Inte∣grity, than he that is perverse in his wayes, though rich. The word for wayes in both places is Dual, and intimates two wayes. An hypocrite is a man with two wayes. The one he goes in, the other he seems to go in. The poor upright man hath but one way, and that's better than them both. 2 Cor. 1. 12. For our rejoycing is this, the testimony of our Conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with flesh∣ly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our Conversation in the world. When this Apostle was traduc'd by men, yet this afforded him not only content, but joy, to wit, the testimony of his Con∣science. An hypocrite may have quiet in his Conscience, but an upright man hath a Testimony in his Conscience: He carries every where Letters Testimonial in his bosom. And why all this joy? that we have had our conversation in simplicity. As our ends have been single in preaching Page 53 the Gospel, so our Lives have not been double: The drift of our preaching and lives hath been the same: Happy that Preacher that can here subscribe his hand.
This Simplicity of an upright man, makes him sometimes the Subject of loss, and sometimes the Object of scorn. Job 12. 4. The just upright man is laughed to scorn, and many a Simpleton he is called; yet he goes on and carries it in the end. His great consideration is, What is my duty, according to that Prov. 4. 25. Let thine eyes look straight on, and let thine eye∣lids look straight before thee. That is, with∣out squinting at events, or how it will please, or whom it will lose, he is re∣solved to live and dye in his duty. Mi∣stake me not, as if Prudence and Integrity could not dwell together; certainly they may and ought. His simplicity only ex∣cludes the subtlety of the Fox, which stands in being cunning to do mischief, not the wisdom of the Serpent, which stands in carefully avoiding it.
2. Uprightness of Life stands in Purity. Prov. 16. 17. The high-way of the Up∣right, is to depart from evil. His usual road is as far from the broad way as ever Page 54 he can: and his care herein sometimes carries him rather too far, upon which account his Conscience breeds more scru∣ples then other mens, that can swal∣low any thing that comes to hand: but his integrity in other things apologizeth for him to all wise men, and at least brings him off with peace and comfort. And this very thing hath brought upon very many of these upright men, the badge of a Puritan, which is by too many appli∣ed to subvert sincere holiness, and to cast an odium on downright Christianity, and the practise of that we all profess. Sure I am, the Scripture opens Heavens gates to none, but those whose lives are pure and holy, Psal. 24. 4. Who shall ascend in∣to the hill of the Lord? and who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands and a pure heart, &c. Hence, the upright man dare not mingle with those vain fooleries, vitious excesses or suspicious re∣creations that men of devasted Conscien∣ces are drowned in; nor can all the good nature that's in him, nor importunity of neighbours, or kindred, draw him to such company, or courses that would sting his Conscience when he should sleep; except God leaves him to himself sometimes, to try and humble him.
Page 55 3. This Uprightness of Life, shines in the perfection of his Life. Understand a Perfection of parts; each part of him is sincere. See that, Isa. 33. 14. Fearfulness hath surprized the hypocrite: who among us shall dwell with devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burn∣nings? that is, stand before the holy just and upright Jehovah: who can approach him, when he executes judgements here, or passes final sentance hereafter? when all hypocrites shall be in a fright, when their cobweb-coverings shall fall off, and they must stand naked, (like so many cheats on a pillory) before God, Angels and Men: who then shall stand with comfort and confidence? Mark verse 15. He that walketh righteously, (his feet walk uprightly) and speaketh uprightly, (carries an upright tongue) despises the gain of oppressions (keeps an upright heart in him) that shakes his hands from hold∣ding bribes, (both his hands are upright too) that stops his ears from hearing of bloud) his ears are tipt with integrity) and shuts his eyes from seeing evil, (he looks with an upright eye.) Thus you see he is upright all over. Let him deal with friends or enemies, with godly or un∣godly, with wise or foolish, you may Page 56 trust him, for he stands in awe of his God, and of Himself. He hath not one heart for his Religion, and another for his bargains and calling: but studies the Scripture and drives his life into it, as near as he can. This is to obey Gods voice Indeed.* And from this perfection flows an excel∣lent evenness of conversation, so that Queen Elizabeths motto well becomes his life, Semper eadem, Still the same.
2. This Uprightness shines in the Plain∣ness of his life. There are few Criticisms in the life of an upright man. He's plain and that's his prayer, Psal. 27. 11. Lord lead me in a plain path, that's my desire. He hath no quirks, or tricks of legerde∣main. If he cannot stand by plain deal∣ing, he'l fall by it: when he trades and bargains, though he be discreet and careful, yet he is plain: When he re∣proves a fault or advises, he is sober, wise and affectionate, but still he is plain: his discourse and Sermons though elabo∣rate, yet still plain. Among his very ene∣mies though he be cautious and conside∣rate, yet there he is plain also: Lead me in a plain path because of mine enemies. He is like Him, that wisht his body were made of Chrystal, that his sincerity might Page 57 be transparent. Such was that Martyr, whom the persecutors requir'd to disco∣ver his companion, whom they were pro∣secuting, promising to him his own life for the discovery, and so either by denying his knowledge of the place of his friends abode, or by betraying it, he might have saved his own life; after a little pause, breaks out into these words, Mentiri non possum, prodere nolo, I cannot lye, and I will not betray him; and so laid down his life, to save one of the Brethren. Here was an upright man, that would not tell a lye to save a life, that had rather dye than lye. He will be plain, though he suffer for it. But how generally is this plainness banisht out of the world? eve∣ry man almost walking in a vain shew, disguizing their intentions, looking one way and rowing another, that the Tro∣picks are not more distant, than most mens intentions are from their Actions. And so I come to the Object about which this uprightness of life is conversant.
II. THe Object of an Upright life fol∣lows, which is
- 1. Words.
- 2. Deeds or Actions.
1. The Upright man is sincere in his words,*Ps. 15. 2. He walketh uprightly and speak∣eth the truth in his heart. His heart is in∣diting a good matter, and thereof his tongue is the pen of a ready writer. And indeed that is the genuine use of words, to be the interpreters of the heart and mind. And therefore that is a black brand set on our Neighbour Nation, that they use not to sing as they prick, nor to read as they write, nor to speak as they think; which if true, would render their society more intollerable, than the brutes themselves. The upright man perhaps cannot speak elegantly but he can speak truly; he cannot flourish his letters, but he can write a plain Secretary; and his words you may believe, more than others oathes. If you would see a fuller view of him as who would not delight in such Page 59 asight? these Foyles will set him off.
1. An upright man is a greater hater of Flattery. He cannot abide to be either active or passive in it. He rather desires to know the worst of himself than to hear the best; for that open rebuke is better than secret love, and he knows that unjust praises are more dangerous than unjust slanders. And then for others, if he might get all the Town by it, he cannot give flattering Titles to any man, or extol any thing in any body, for his own ends. How fair an opportunity had Micaiah, to have gain'd his liberty, and the favour of two potent Kings, if he could have sooth'd Ahab in his vanity? but prison or no prison, he could not flatter. How easily might Paul have come off before Foelix, with a smooth oration, if he had learn'd to have courted him and his Dru∣silla with a Panegyrick of praise? but he rather chose to speak of Temperance, Righ∣teousness and Judgment to come; so to save them, rather than sooth them in their sins.
'Tis true, he loses many an one by this plain dealing, whom he might have kept by his flattery; but these are better lost, Page 60 than kept, Job 32. 22. I know not, saith Elihu, to give flattering titles, in so doing my Maker would soon take me away. These acts are below a man, much more below a Christian; and generally there is unsoundness in the heart, or baseness in the ends of those that use them. Its true, a man may without any breach in his up∣rightness, give another his due praises, when there is just occasion so to do; but to exceed bounds herein, and that out of any base design, of procuring the like again, or for worldly profit, is very far from true sincerity. A false heart and a flattering tongue usually go together. Prov. 26. 23. Burning lips and a wicked heart, are like a potsheard cover'd over with silver dross. No man so likely to have a tongue, and a tongue, as he that hath an heart, and an heart.
2. An upright man is a great hater of Lying. A sin that is directly contrary to the nature of sincerity. I may not inlarge upon the kinds or aggravations of this sin: whole Sermons, yea Volumes are little enough to overthrow it, it is so common and so dangerous. If a lye will save their credit, few will lose it; if a lye will gain any thing, few will sit down Page 61 by loss; if a lye will shelter one from a∣nothers anger, thousands will venture the displeasure of the Eternal God, before that of a silly worm; and chuse to have their Head broken, that their Helmet may be spared. O the woful havock of mens Consciences by this sin! now an upright man abhors a lye, he knows that the God of truth desires truth in the inward parts, and hath in him a particular Antipathy to this sin. Dress it in what clothes you will, call it a jesting lye, an officious lye, what lye you will; he likes it not, his heart rises against it, Psal. 119. 163. I hate and ab∣hor lying, two words for failing, to shew his great hatred of this sin. Be it with him or against him, the upright man will speak the truth. Whereas an hypocrite as he is nothing else but a Lye, so he can swallow them as fast as occasion serves. Poor man! thou wouldst not speak it, if the man that stands by thee saw into thy heart, and how darest thou speak it, when the holy and true God sees into thy heart, and can choke thee with thy dissembling words?
3. An upright man hates all Equivoca∣tions and mental Reservations. That is, Page 62 he speaks his words in a sense that he would have them construed in, and keeps no part of a sentence in his mind, to con∣tradict what he pronounced with his mouth, especially with an intent to in∣jure another. Such was that jugling trick we read of Cydias, that being betrusted by Archetimus with a sum of mony, af∣terwards flatly denies it. There being no witness to prove the truth, Cydias is summon'd to his Oath before the Altar, and a great Assembly; he quilts the mony in his staffe, and going to take his Oath, gives Archetimus his staffe to hold the while, and then confidently swears he had given him back his money: But this deceit lasted not long, for Archeti∣mus seeing his perjury, in a rage throws down his staffe; it breaks and the fraud is found. And such is the usual issue of such Equivocations. The upright man hath no skill at this; he knows if the plain truth will not bear him out, these cunning shifts never can. My brethren, it beseems not the plain-heartedness of a Christian to speak like the Delphian Ora∣cle, to be understood in two contrary sentences.
The Romans themselves would not so much as hear those Embassadors that were Page 63 painted, saying, how shall we believe them whose very face and looks do lie? An upright man if he do not speak all his heart, yet will speak according to his heart. He loves not to walk with a dark lanthorn, much less to deal with false lights but plain genuine are his expressi∣ons without, and fair and candid is his heart within.
4. An upright man greatly hates pro∣mise breaking, whether it be to God or men. A great note of integrity in Jeph∣thah, Judg. 11. 35. I have opened my mouth to the Lord, and I cannot go back It was a rash vow, but conscience of the obligation brake all other considerations, which in his case might have been many, and he chose rather to have his very heart broken, than his word. It is enough for a subtile Polititian, to have Distinctions and Evasions ready to help himself out of the straightest bonds, the upright man delights not after vows to make in∣quiry.
Well advised every man should be, be∣fore he binds himself in any thing to the Lord, but when his soul is fast, let him be very well advised, how he releases Page 64 himself: for there is nothing doth more prostitute the Conscience, and utterly undo men, than being fast and loose with God in sacred vows and promises.
The same abhorrence hath the upright man of breaking his word with men; and thereupon his word is as good as his bond. If he bids so much for a commodity, he seldom shrinks but gives it; if he bar∣gain to his prejudice, yet he changes not: the scarceness of the thing, the rising of the market cannot prevail with him, to rescind his punctual agreement; whe∣ther he gain or lose, he will not lose his honesty nor his reputation. O what a Golden age would return unto us, if men were but plain in their dealing, and pun∣ctual in their performances? and unwor∣thy is it for a man, a Christian man to be so vile, that no body can believe him, nor trust him. How will that Atilius Regulus rise up in judgment and con∣demn this generation, who being priso∣ner at Carthage, and assur'd of his own death, if he fail'd in his negotiation; was set at liberty to effect a peace at Rome, up∣on the single security of his own word, to return if he fail'd to procure it: but Page 65 such was his publick spirit, that he effe∣ctually disswaded his Countrymen from a peace, assuring them of a certain con∣quest; and such the integrity of his spirit, that after this, he fairly return'd and ac∣cepted of a cruel death, rather than in∣fringe his word. Ten thousand pities such heroick acts should be lost, for want of a right principle; and ten thousand shames, that Christians should break their word for a groat, while Pagans will not do it for their lives.
SEcondly, An upright man is sincere in*his Deeds or Actions, Isa. 33. 15. He walketh righteously, as well as speaketh up∣rightly. As his words are a true Commen∣tary upon his heart, so his actions are a true Exposition upon his words. Whatso∣ever Office or Relation he stands in, he adorns it with integrity. The upright Judge, when he puts on his Robes, puts off his worldly relations. The upright Justice of the Peace disdaining to be drawnPage 66 by favour, or driven by fear besides his duty. The upright Counsellour will not plead, when his Tongue is confuted by his Conscience. The upright Juror, without all by respects, esteems the least grain of Evidence more weighty than a Talent of Ophirs Gold The upright Atturney, when he perceives the cause to be a drop blown up by malice into a bubble, sounds a retreat to his Client, though he lose thereby. The upright Physician will rather go with an empty purse, than torture either the body or purse of his Patient without cause. The upright Tradesman will be upright in his words, upright in his weights, and upright (in his wares, and upright in his rates) And the upright Minister will put on his Thummim, (that is, uprightness, a word derived from that in my Text) as well as Urim, and rather lose the love of ten by his plain dealing, than the soul of one by dissimulation and unfaith∣fulness.
Thus uprightness like a silver thread is drawn through the whole course of the sincere Christian: and he that is upright, is upright every where: And that I may set out this holy course by its most pro∣per Opposites,
Page 67 1. An upright man is a great enemy to Craftiness or Subtlety. Though he stu∣dies to be Wise, yet he delights not in Cunning. Craft is wisdom degenerated, it is wisdom devested of honesty. A tang of this was in that practise of Rebecca, Gen. 37. 35. to procure the blessing for Jacob by a wile. But it cost him many a sweating day, and many a frosty night: Guile and guilt go hand in hand, Job 15. 5. Thy mouth utters thy iniquity, and thou choosest the tongue of the crafty. Carnal policy was never friend to inward piety; * though it sometimes wears Lambs wool without, yet it is alwayes lin'd within with the Foxes furre: But the true and holy God disappoints the devices of the crafty, and drives the counsels of the fro∣ward headlong, Job 5. 12. An upright man is clear in his thoughts, and though discreet, yet candid and fair in his deal∣ings. And I doubt not to affirm, there is no lawful calling under Heaven, but may be managed without this sinful craftiness. Away then with that idle pretence, that without it few Tradesmen can subsist. Cursed is that trade that cannot stand without sin, saith worthy Mr. Capel. Better beg than sin, better starve than damn. Well fare the integrity Page 68 of those noble Athenians, who in their war against the rest of Greece, were told * by Themistocles, that he had a Stratagem against their enemies, but it was not to be told publickly: so they wisht him to tell it to Aristides. He tells him it was to set the Arsenal on fire, where all the Ships of the Grecians lay. Aristides presently told the people, his design was indeed Profitable, but not Just; and thereupon it was exploded by them all. Certainly the greatest wis∣dom in the World is to be a right honest man.
2. An upright man is a great enemy to Time-serving. There is a wise and faultless observing the times; the men of Issachar it should seem were good at it, 2 Chron. 12. 32. they had understand∣ing of the times to know what Israel ought to do. Not only meant of weather-wisdom by rural observations; but also that by Deduction from former, they could make Directions for future times: and so he is compar'd to an Ass, Gen. 49. 14. for the strength of his back, not the stupidity of his head. A point of great wisdom to know what to do, according to the will of God, in every turn of Providence, or Page 69 change of condition, and in every com∣pany we come in.
But there is a culpable Temporizing when a man hath so master'd his Con∣science, and reduced it to that ready * flexibleness, that for worldly ends he can think, and speak, and act, one way, this day, this month, this year, and next day, next month, next year another way; can set his sails to every wind, please every body, to profit or preserve himself: Can turn, return, overturn, any turn to serve his own turn. And this temper is directly opposite to that uprightness we are describing. The upright man is de∣liberate in chusing and setling his prin∣ciples, but a thousand worlds shall not alter him without clear evidence in his Conscience. He is not a twining Willow, but a sturdy Oak; and whether the point he differ in, be small or great, if a matter of Conscience, though he will not be factious, troublesome, or uncha∣ritable; yet all the Rhetorick or Rigour on Earth, will not remove an upright man from his course, till God do make the business clear upon his Consci∣ence.
Page 70 How far the blast of temptation may, for a time, bend or bow a sincere Chri∣stian, or how long, no man can deter∣mine: the best are frail enough, and they who are most censorious of others warpings, would perhaps fall more foul∣ly, if they lived under their temptati∣ons: but this base obsequiousness is no part of the mans uprightness, when the snare is broken, the sincere man will come to himself, and there abide.
3. An upright man is a great enemy to Defrauding of others. He that studies that most righteous Law, Mat. 7. 12. Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them, and hath it written in his very heart, as that Heathen Emperor had it written in each room * of his house, will abominate this most wretched practice. For which of you would be cheated, or defrauded by ano∣ther? Would you think it well to have a crack't estate offered to you? an un∣sound beast, or unproveable wares, im∣posed upon you? a blear-eyed Leah in∣stead of a beautiful Rachel put upon you? you would condemn and dislike it. Open the book of your own Consciences, they will tell you that it is hateful therefore, Page 71 to deal so with another. The upright man considers, that he is not born only to promote his own profit; that he should love his neighbour as himself; that all his bargains and doings in the world, will be tryed again, and there∣fore let others do as they will, so will not he because of the fear of God, Neh. 5. 15. He is one that hath laid this Law upon himself, rather to suffer the great∣est injury, than to do the least: and that because he sees more evil in the least sin, than in the greatest suffering. Besides the remembrance he hath, and the dread of that 1 Thes. 4. 6. That no man go be∣yond or defraud his brother in any matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such. The Conscience of his duty, and rooted liking of truth and equity, doth above all things steer him in these matters. He knows that there is as much honesty in stealing the money out of his purse, or robbing him by the way, as in a wil∣ful cheating or defrauding him, and therefore he will not do it in any matter.
That God who will stay for his own worship, till a man hath undone his in∣jury, Mat. 5. 23, 24•…Leave thy gift at the Altar, &c. will never accept our Page 72 most zealous service while we sleep with such unjust gain. Alas! estates so rais'd are like that Eagles nest, that was consum'd with fire, by the coal that cáme with the meat she stole from the Altar; there is a fatal curse comes with such gain, that at length destroys all the rest of a mans well-gotten goods. Now uprightness stands in a direct op∣position to such indirect courses. He knows that he who hath clean hands, shall be stronger and stronger, Job 17. 9. when on the other side (to use a great Statesmans Proverb) Frost and Fraud shall end in Foul.
4. An upright man (to finish the rude Draught of this Divine portrait) is an enemy to all manner of Injustice: whether in respect of Distributive, or Commuta∣tive Righteousness. If the Lord place him in Authority, he is the greatest ha∣ter of bribes, and the least respecter of persons, Isa. 33. 15. He shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, as if he were a∣fraid to be burnt in the hand with them. He will never revenge his Private injury by the Publick execution, nor heed the merit of the Pers•… against the merit of the Cause. It was the Encomium of Fa∣briciusPage 73 that famous Roman, that one might perswade the Sun from its course, as soon as divert him from his upright and honest dealing. Such is our upright man in office, blind to faces, deaf to cries, and dead to threats and promises.
And then for Commutative justice and dealing between man and man, you have his character before; he indeavours to cleave an hair, and doth exercise himself to have alwayes a Conscience void of offence, towards all men, Acts 24. 16. And so he raises an estate slowly, but he builds surely, as he goes, and the generation of the up∣right after him shall be blessed.
And thus you see his Profession and his Practise are in the same tale. God helps him to spin an even thread throughout. He is the same in the camp below, for the main, as in the mount above, and there is a looking-glass in his words and actions, through which you may see his heart. Its true, this unbyassed and stead∣fast course occasions him often much trouble in the world, and he goes for a singular, a precise, an obstinate man with them that know him not. And because he will humour none, he is of∣ten box't on both sides, and finds Li∣viesPage 74 observation true, Media via nec pa∣rit amicos, nec tollit inimicos; his impar∣tial honesty neither finds friends, nor abates his enemies; [the uprightest Ar∣bitrators please neither party,] yet for all this, the comfort of his Conscience feasts him, and before the scene be taken down, he shall lose nothing by his inte∣grity, Psal. 37. 37. Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace. Mark heedfully this man, I but how can we know him? Uprightness is a character written out of mans sight and reading; why thus, where ever you find a mans words and wayes upright, you are bound to think his heart is upright also. This is the Law of Charity, this is the Law of E∣quity. But what will be the end of him? The End of that man is peace. He may meet with disquiets in his beginning, and troubles in the middle, but the End of that man is Peace: yea there is no end of that mans peace. For that God that will not, that cannot lye, hath said it, with the upright man will I shew my self upright.
And thus at length you see wherein stands the uprightness of a man.
ANd, now Sirs, if all this goes * to make an upright man, what shall I say! where dwell these upright men? how very few is the number of them! The wise man was in the right, Prov. 20 6, 7. Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faith∣ful man who can find? It is a general course for most men to blow their own Trumpet, and fetch about most of their stories and discourses to end in them∣selves, and to set out their own good∣ness; but a faithful true right man, who can find? The next verse will shew him you, The just man walking in his integrity. That's the man in the Bible, if we could match him in the World. I doubt not but there are many such in the World, but verily there are few such in com∣parison; so resign'd to God, resolved for God, such single-hearted, sound-hearted, sincere-hearted, whole-heart∣ed, plain-hearted men; such inward, universal and constant Christians; Per∣sons Page 76 of that Simplicity, Purity, Per∣fection, and Plainness of Life and Con∣versation; such enemies to Flattery, Ly∣ing, Equivocation, Promise-breaking, Craftiness, Time-serving, Defrauding and Injustice. Good Lord! how rare are these on Earth in this Age. We are faln into an Age of Atheists, Scorners, Brutes, Hypocrites, and we may sadly say with the Prophet, Mic. 7. 4. The best of them is a bryar, the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge. Innocent Religion, and Sober Piety is hooted out of the world; and upright men derided, who if they were throughly known, would rather almost be adored. My Brethren, there are but few folks that bid likely for Heaven, if this be an upright man. The judgment of Charity is one thing, but when Gods judgment of Verity comes, the case will alter. Very, very few will hold weight by this ballance, and as I need not, so I know not that I have made more adoe than needs, or cut the way to Heaven narrower than it is. It is reported of Pachomius the famous Ab∣bot among the Ancients, that the 1300 Monks he governed, he divided accord∣ing to the Greek letters into four and twenty classes or ranks, and sorted each Page 77 to that letter that hinted his condition, as under Iota the plain single-hearted person, and under Xi the close intricate person, &c. If we should rank Christi∣ans thus, how many would be crowded under the last letter, and how few under the first! and what need then (trow you) had we to mourn for the fewness of up∣right men, and to judge our selves exact∣ly, lest we should be found to be none of them. And thus we are brought to the second Point to be handled, and that is, How God shews himself an upright God to such a man.
CHAP. II. Of the Uprightness of God.
THat with an upright man, God will shew himself upright, is evident, For
1. It is agreeable to his Nature, Psal. 25. 8. Good and upright is the Lord. He is an upright God, and therefore loves Uprightness. How can he chuse then but shew himself upright to an upright man? Simplicity is Gods first Attribute, and Simplicity is the upright mans chief Property; there must needs therefore be a singular kindness between these two.
2. It is agreeable to his Method. All stories Divine and Humane shew thi•… to be his usual way. Witness Noah, he was upright in a rotten Age, and the Lord was not behind with him: Witness Abraham, who walked before him and Page 79 was upright, and God though he was long, yet he was sure in rewarding him; So to Caleb, so to Job, so to David, to all: no man can come out, and charge God with neglect, or unfaithfulness to∣wards him herein.
3. It is agreeable to his Honour and Interest. It is a Princes Honour and In∣terest to stick to his faithful and upright servants, or else he will quickly have none such about him. He would rather lose a World than lose his Honour; and therefore in this Psalm he is brought in, overturning the earth rather than leave upright David to his Enemies. If fideli∣ty and kindness will win him servants, Satan shall have but a few. He can boldly implead all the world, much more his people, Mic. 6. 3. O my people what have I done unto thee? testifie against me. He would scorn to deal by his ser∣vants as Satan doth, drive them into a snare, and there leave them; pro∣mise them a World, and pay them with an Hell.
4. It is agreeable to his Promise, Psal. 97. 11. Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart. Howe∣ver Page 80 this seedness may be wet and sad, yet they shall have a joyful harvest. If any man on earth can lay claim to the promises, it is the upright man. What an unspeakable comfort is this, to lay the finger of faith on any promise in the Bi∣ble, and say confidently this is mine? say no more I am weak and useless and sin∣ful, Art thou upright? his word is past, and there's an end, all the promises in this blessed Bible are in travail to be deli∣vered into thy heart. To the upright man he will shew himself upright. And that in these particulars.
I. IN over-looking his Infirmities. This was Hezekiahs prayer at that famous *Passeover, 2 Chron. 30. 18, 19, 20. The good Lord pardon every one that hath pre∣pared his heart to seek God, though he be not cleansed according to the purification of the Sanctuary. And the Lord hearken'd to Hezekiah. There were divers really upright, yet not rightly and fully purified Page 81 as you may see, 2 Chron. 29. 34. For the Levites were more upright in heart to sanctifie themselves, than the Priests. Here were upright Levites, yet not sufficiently purified, but Hezekiah obtained for them a pardon of course, for they had done what they could, and the Lord had mercy on them. A very great comfort for Ministers or People, that through straits of time, or any unavoidable hin∣drance, are not rightly sitt•…d and furnish∣ed for their respective duties; and are afraid to come, and more afraid to stay away; The good Lord will pardon such a one, it was an oversight, the heart was sound at the bottom, and God will ne∣ver break with any of his for an infirmi∣ty. Compare Saul and David, Saul had foolishly (at most covetously) spared Agag, and a prey, and he is cast off for it and loseth his kingdom. David defiles the Wife, and then kills the Husband, and he is spar'd: he is, its true, sorely beaten, but not turn'd out of doors. Again, take Peter and Judas. Judas through covetousness betrays his Ma∣ster, and Peter through fear denyes and forswears him. Judas is sent by the Gal∣lows into Hell, and Peter is receiv'd into mercy. And why this different dealing? Page 82 why, David was in the bent of his heart upright before God, and Saul in the bottom of his heart was for himself; Peter resolved to lose his life before he would forsake his Saviour, and Judas never fol∣lowed him but for the bag. And therefore the Lord graciously pardons the unwilling infirmities of his people, for he sees the integrity of their hearts. As a faithful Husband is more satisfied with the be∣wailed failings of his poor Wife, than with the studied observances of an adul∣teress; so the Lord our God he can better connive at, and bear with the mourn'd for infirmities of his dear children, than with the fain'd compliance of rotten hypocrites.
And what a treasure of comfort is this for you that fear God? and let none else meddle with it; your infirmities are ma∣ny, and your fear great, lest they should sink you for ever: you have such raging passions, brutish lusts, frequent distracti∣ons, base distrust, un-heavenliness of heart out of ordinances, and dulness in them; these are your burden, these your fear: now all these are within the Grant of pardon made in the Cov•…nant of Grace, and you that are upright in heart, if any in the world, have an undoubted Page 83 interest therein; and so are forgiven in Heaven, and will be forgiven in your Consciences, so far as is good for you, and shall be forgiven at the last day. And you have Gods word for it, Psal. 32. 1, 2. Blessed is the man whose iniquity is forgiven, whose sin 〈◊〉 covered. But who is he that may claim this blessing? Verse 2. In whose spirit there is no Guile, that is an upright man, that is no hypocrite. When there∣fore you have fallen into sin, do not sit poring and questioning your eternal state, but speedily and seriously set about the work of repentance and faith in the blood of Christ, that you may be made whole.
Indeed after some great fall, or ex∣traordinary fit of spiritual slumber, it is not amiss to clear and resettle the ground work, (so far may the building be decayed, that it may be easier to build anew, than to repair the old.) But it is neither wisdom nor duty upon every slip to condemn your state, or to conclude, that because you are wounded or sick, therefore you are dead. Question your act, but not your state, condemn your acts of sin, but do not condemn your state of grace, nor brew more tears than you need to drink. For supposing you to be Page 84 true men to God, resign'd to him, re∣solv'd for him, and walking with him, to your power, he hath graciously promised to pardon iniquity, transgression and sin, sins of all sorts and sizes of them that fear him and hope in his mercy.
And mark it for your com•…ort, that it belongs to Gods Truth and Upright∣ness to pardon such a sinner. 1 Joh. 1. 9. If we confess our sins, he is Faithful and Just, to forgive 〈◊〉 our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. It is happy for us that we can plead mercy to God for pardon, but when we do uprightly confess and forsake our sins, we may plead his justice and faithfulness. O Lord, as thou art just and faithful, bestow a pardon on me, I beg it in the uprightness of my heart, bestow it in the uprightness of thy word. For thou hast said, with the upright man I will shew my self upright.
II. THe Lord will shew himself up∣right to an upright man, in De∣fending*his Person. He is made sometimes the Butt of malice. Hell and earth con∣spire Page 85 against him, as in this Psalm, vers. 4, 5. Snares of death, flouds of ungodly men, sorrows of Hell all bent against him. A plain argument of the sad de•…e∣neracy of mankind, to be so desperately set against the Image of God in man, and hate those that never did them wrong, and that for his sake that al∣wayes doth them good; yet so is the case, the most innocent man cannot escape by them unto Heaven, without many onsets; they bend their bow and lay their snares, can hardly sleep for rage. Wrongs and Scorns, and Fines and Prisons are their usual Charity; he that departs from evil, ever makes him∣self a prey. The generality of the world are alienated from the life of God, and ene∣mies in their minds to all that live it; and O that I could speak and write it in tears of grief and compassion! A Drunkard, a Swearer, a Whoremon∣ger may live quietly by them. He that never read the Scriptures, that never prays with his Family, shall have all their good will, and go quietly by them into destruction: but if a mans Conscience be once awakened, if he re∣trive his course, and fall to earnest prayer, change his company and sinful cour∣ses, Page 86 dare not prophane the Sabbath, or take Gods Name in vain, or swear as before, then up do all his neighbours rise against him, watch him, censure him, malign him, and (if possible) in∣s•…are him; while he (poor heart) thinks them no hurt, prays for them, and only strives to save his own soul, and others if he can.
But here you may rest safoly, Prov. He is a Buckler to them that walk upright∣ly! The Buckler covers the Souldier, and God cove•… the upright man. They must shoot through God, that can wound you to your 〈◊〉. They hit him in the eye, that aim at you; and they that will incounter him, meddle not with their match, Exod. 19. 4. I bear you on Eagles wings. Other Fowls bear their young in their claws, so that the Fowl∣er may kill the young, and the old one be safe; but the Eagle carrie•… her young on her wings; so that who wounds the young, must shoot through the dam: so doth God carry his upright ones; God will suffer before them, the Lord will suffer with them, Deu•…. 32. 11. As the Eagle—spreadèth abroad her wings, taketh her young and beareth them on her wings; So the Lord, &c. That is a sweet word, Page 87Psal. 7. 10. My defence is of God, which saveth the upright in heart. Thou hast perhaps no great friend to shelter thee, nor great estate to ranso•…e thee, but thou hast a great God for thy defence, whose work and care it is to save the upright in heart. I am thy shield, saith God to Abraham, fear not: if Omnisci∣ence be able to see, and Omnipotence a∣ble to help, thou art sure enough. And therefore fear not thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel: I will help thee, saith the Lord, Isa. 41. 14. A worm is a poor creature that few love, and none fear, so are the seed of Jacob persons that few love, and none fear, and such are most obnoxious to dangers; yet sayes God, fear not thou werm. A worm in the hand of God can withstand a world; and the Gates (the utmost power and policy) of Hell shall not prevail a∣gainst one upright man, Prov. 13. 6. Righte•…ness keepeth him that is upright in the way? His inno•…ence is his shi•…ld, And the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew him∣self strong, in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards him. His all-see∣ing eye, his all-ruling provid•…nce is im∣ployed in finding out all the designs of Page 88 your enemies, to frustrate them or over∣rule them, and to secure you whose hearts are perfect or upright before him. How secure would you be against a subject by such a word from a King? and may you not rest more on his word, who is the King of Kings? If you have his Pass you may go safe enough, even through Armies of Aliens.
Observable is that story in Josephus, of Gods special Providence this way. The Emperor Caligula commands Pe∣tronius, his Deputy in Judea, to set up his Image in the Temple. The Jews (ever since their Captivity, •…een against Idolatry) b•…g and crave, and at length offer their necks and lives to him, ra∣ther than admit such a profanation. Pe∣tronius pities their condition, and for∣bears to execute his Masters command. But the Emperor is inraged, and sends his Deputy a Letter to slay himself, the usual doom of such persons. But Cali∣gula shortly dyes, and his Letter meet∣ing with some delay, was not brought unto Petronius, till just after he had re∣ceived the news of his death; and thus he escaped. Behold the admirable Pro∣vidence of God to those that stand upright.
Page 89 Go forth therefore in your might, con∣sider your duty and faithfully do it. Take no sollicitous care what shall befall you. Study not events, but study your work; not what man or Devils will do, but what you ought to do, and not an hair of your head must fall to the ground. Wickedness proceeds from the wicked, but with the upright man he will shew himself upright.
III. THe Lord will shew himself up∣right * to this man, in Strength∣ning his graces, and prospering him in his soul. His Graces are weak, his bones dried, his soul is poor and needy. He is poring a whole week by times to find one plain evidence, one evident Grace of God; but having an upright heart, and be∣ing a plant of Gods planting, they shall increase and grow up as the calves of the stall. The Child painted on the wall, that grows not, unless it grows more dim; but the Child in the bosome, that hath a principle of life; though it cryes it grows; though sick sometimes yet Page 90 grows, and at length grows a strong and lusty man: so in this case, the pain∣ted hypocrite hath no cubit added to his stature; no, he grows worse and worse, his varnish wears off, and nothing re∣mains at length but a sepulchre with∣out paint. But an upright man though he groan he grows; though he have some qualms, and doubts, and troubles, yet he gets ground, and (though insensibly) gathers strength.
It cannot be, but that a sincere heart who is diligent in the means of Grace, must be changed from glory to glory, Mic. 2. 7. Do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly? certainly they do; He receives good, though he perceive it not. As a living man, that feeds hearti∣ly, must needs gather strength, unless he have some predominant disease upon him; though perhaps he perceive not at every meal renewed strength: So an upright man, being truely alive to God through Jesus Christ, and careful in the use of all Gods Ordinances, must needs increase his spiritual strength, though perhaps he sees no present profit by this prayer, or that Sermon, unless he lye under the tyranny of some imperi∣ous Page 91 sin for a time, Prov. 10. 29. The way of the Lord is Strength to the Upright; which most properly may dignifie, that Religion secures an upright man, ac∣cording to the last Point; but it is most true in this sence, the wayes of God and Godliness are strength, and bring strength to the upright. He that is planted in the house of the Lord, shall still bring forth fruit.—To shew that the Lord is upright, Psa. 92. 13, 14. It is one thing to be placed in the house of the Lord, so many a car∣nal Gospoller is, hath a seat there and ap∣pears there from one years end to ano∣ther; but it is another thing to be planted there, to have a root of Knowledge, Repentance, and Uprightness, and such must needs grow, and go from strength to strength.
Be not therefore discouraged, O ye of upright heart, for your grain of mu∣stard-seed will become a Tree; though your graces seem weak, they shall be strong: To him that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance. You have a little faith and love, Habenti dabitur. God hath said it, you shall have abun∣dance: Despise not the day of small things, ply your Oars, the Ship is passing though you think it stands still, and you will be Page 92 at the shore ere you be aware, Ephes. 6. 24. Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Here's that blessing that reaches even you. [Grace] All Grace, of all sorts and sizes, [be with] it may be with you, though it appear not to you, [with all] in all ages of the Church, and in all places of the World, [that love our Lord Jesus Christ] perhaps thou canst not preach for Christ, write, nor consult, nor fight for Christ, nor but thou canst love Jesus Christ. Thou canst love him as a Lord to Rule thee, as a Jesus to Save thee, as a Christ to teach thee: why, here's Grace in the promise, in the blessing for thee. But Christ must be loved (in sincerity) Jesus Christ, himself, and Jesus Christ for him∣self. And then be assured that Grace shall be multiplied to such a soul. As it is Gods judicial method when men are re∣solv'd to go on in sin, to give them up, Rev. 22. 11. He that is filthy let him be filthy still: So when a man is uprightly bent to serve him, he spurs them on with his word and spirit, saying, He that is righteous let him be righteous still, and thus herein to the upright man, he shews himself upright.
IV. THe Lord shews himself upright * to the upright man, In hearing his prayers, Prov. 15. 8. The Sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord: But the Prayer of the upright is his delight. No musick so sweet to men, as sincere prayers are to God. The upright man delights to pray, and the upright God delights to hear. How pleasant is the childs first language to the father? he had rather hear it than an elegant Oration; and the reason is, first, it is his own child, and secondly, it speaks (poor thing) as it thinks; there is no colour upon its words, nor dissimulation in them: Even so the prayers of the upright man are most welcome to God his heavenly Fa∣ther, for the child is his own, and then his prayer is the counterpane of his heart. He cries against his sin, and also he hates it: he sues for Grace, and he doth hearti∣ly long and indeavour for it: and Hearts can come into Heaven, when Words must stand at door. He gets out of the hear∣ing of many a starch't Oration, but Page 94Psal. 145. 18. He gets nigh to them that call upon him, to them that call upon him in Truth. O when confessions are the sad note of a bleeding heart; when sup∣plications are the real breath of an hungry soul, the Lord listens to such melody.
There is a vast difference between the formal note of a young beggar, and the sensible cries of him that is half starved: we neglect the former, and are ready to serve him only with reproof; but when the other cries that begs in truth, his face cries, his rags cry, his tears cry, the whole beggar cries, then we draw out our heart and hand unto him; even so doth our gracious God, he slights and hates affected words, coming from an un∣affected heart; but when the heart comes up with them, then he comes, and brings his alms with him, and his reward be∣fore him. O what incouragement should this give to an upright heart! Thou hast an ear for God, and he hath an ear for thee. Thou art ready and quick in thy obedience, he is as quick and ready in his audience; thou art punctual to yield to him in any thing, he is punctual to yield in any thing unto thee. In a word, thou art resolved to do his will, he is resolved Page 95 to do thine. Hence L•…ther boldly, Fiat voluntas mea quia tua est, Let my will be done, because its thine. Thine are broken prayers, but they are upright prayers. There is no Rhetorick in them, •…but there is Logick in them, there are arguments that will conquer God him∣self. * There is no argument on earth like Integrity, nor in Heaven like the Blood of Christ.
Object. Ah, but then I fear my state, and doubt of my sincerity, in that I have pray'd long for such a child, for a better memory, for strength against some sins, and have received no answer; and so may conclude my self a very hypocrite.
Answ. 1. God often delights in prayer, * when he seems to deny it, and never denies his servants but when the deni•… is better then a grant. You must di∣stinguish between delaying and denying: our God delayes, to try us, not to deny us, to make us cry the louder; so he put off Jacob to whet him on the more; seem'd to be weary of his company, but he would not pass so; lames him, yet hee'l pray, and wrestle on one leg rather then give out: So the woman of Canaan.Page 96 Drink is more welcome, when very thir∣sty; and when the Lord sees you cannot be without a mercy, you shall have it. And then the Greatness of the mercy, shall pay for the length of its stay; and like money at Interest, so your pray•…s which have been long on the file, shall bring the greater increase back again.
Answ. 2. God often hears our Pray∣ers, when we perceive it not. In this sence he speaks once and twice, yet man perceives it not, Psal. 138. 3. In the Day when I cried, thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul. On the same Day that his letter was sent, he had an answer, and what was it? Why, he was strengthned with strength in his soul. If he were not answered in the Letter, yet he was answered in the Better. He often gives Gold, when we ask for Silver. If he denied Abraham for Ismael, he gave him Isaac. He denies Moses Canaan, but gave him Hea∣ven.
Sometimes our thirst for more, makes us think we have received none. As rich covetous people never have enough, be∣cause their desires are insatiable. When you are arrived at Heaven, you shall see Page 97 that the Lord did book every Petition and answer it, in the best manner for you. It may be you are denied for one child, but God gives it you for another; or perhaps the Grandchild reaps the prayers that you sowed for the Father. The Lord gives you not a stronger me∣mory, but yet bestows on you a softer heart; you discern no strength against some sins, yet you have deeper throws of repentance for them. Still this is a truth inviolable, that the upright mans Prayer, when it is put up in Christs name, for things agreeable to Gods will, is graciously heard and answered in mercy.
Let not therefore your Fathers seem∣ing denials trouble you; for our wise God sometimes yields to the suits of Sa∣tan himself, while he demurrs upon the supplications of his own Servants, I had almost said of his own Son. Compare Job 2. 5. and Luke 8. 32. with Gen. 17. 18. and Mat. 26. 39. But then his Grants to Satan are for his greater Confusion, and his Denials to his Children are for their greater Consolation.
V. THe Lord shews himself upright to the upright man, In comfort∣ing*him in his straits, Psal. 116. 6. The Lord preserveth the simple, (that is, the up∣right) I was brought low and he helped me. His integrity freeth him not from the common infirmities of mankind, as wants, sickness, prisons, losses, crosses, un∣kindnesses, and death it self at last: but his God takes special care to support and comfort him, and at length deliver him. In all these storms he is sure of Sunshine, and you know the Sun-beams when it shines, do guild every drop that the clouds pour down, and make the storm as a calm: So the face and favour of God, doth refresh the upright in heart, for Psal. 11. 7. The righteous Lord loveth righteousness, his countenance doth behold the Upright. And unworthy is that man of Heavens Glory, that prefers not the sharpest sickness, the darkest prison, the heaviest cross with the light of Gods coun∣tenance, before the riches of Egypt with his frowns.
Page 99 This made Paul and Silas sing in pri∣son, when Foelix trembled on the Throne: And they say, the Apostle James was so chearful at his Martyrdom, that one that drew him to the Tribunal, was converted by it. For Death that King of terrours, that dismounts the proudest spirits, the most effectual refuter of all Atheists, and Surprizer of Hypocrites, is disarm'd of all its terribleness by an upright heart. Isa. 57. 2. He shall enter into peace, they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in their uprightness. The Bed of an hypocrite is a Grave, wherein he lyes rotting in his sins; the Grave of an upright man is a Bed of spices, wherein his body is at rest, whose soul hath walk∣ed before God in his Uprightness.
O be of good chear then all ye single-hearted ones: The handkerchief of Gods love shall wipe away your tears, his cordials shall stay your faintings. The Lyons shall roar, and the young Lyons suf∣fer hunger, but they that fear the Lord shall want no good thing. If wants be good for you, look for them; if sickness be good for you, be content with it; if prisons, if losses, if crosses come, they shall do you no hurt: A summo Bono nil nisi Bonum.Page 100 Every stream of Providence, how fierce soever, is turn'd through that Promise, All things shall work together for good to them that love God. His Properties, his Promises, his Providences do all smile on the true-hearted man. Poor men, your straits may be great; Poor women, your pangs may be sharp; but All's for good, yea for the best. God is with you, the great, wise, and holy God. And is this nothing? Are the Consolations of God small with you? If he give quietness, who then can make trouble? Heaviness may indure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. The story alwayes ends well to the sincere-hearted man, Psal. 112. 4. Unto the upright ariseth light in the darkness. Dark providences may well be born, when clear promises are sealed up∣on the heart. This was noble Hezekiahs comfort, when all forsook him, Isa. 38. 3. Remember now, O Lord, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in Truth, and with a perfect heart. I have done upright∣ly with thee, now deal uprightly with me; now remember, and the Lord hath too good a memory to forget such a man in his needs; he gives him a Lease gratis of fifteen years both of Life and Kingdom.
Page 101 Who would not intirely love and serve such a God? The poor mans Friend, the sick mans Doctor, yea and Bed-maker, the prisoners Companion, the true-hearted, the unwearied, the ever∣lasting God, a very present help in trouble. Name that strait, wherein God hath not supported or relieved his people Ask thy Fathers and they shall tell thee, how in six troubles and in seven he hath been with them. All the Patriarchs can prove this, Abraham, and Job, and Daniel. Speak we only with David, was he not very poor, when he sent to crave of Na∣bal? God gave him Content, and at last Plenty: Was he not in dreadful hazard in Keilah, in Gath, in Mahanaim? but he came off well, and dyed in his bed: Was he not upon a time very sick, so that some said, An evil disease did cleave to him? yet God remembred him, and made him safe and sound. All the Saints will bear witness for God, that he is no flincher of his friends; yea at last all men shall say, Psal. 58. 11. Verily there is a reward for the righteous; verily he is a God that judgeth in the earth. Though things seem to go cross with his poor children, yet take one thing with ano∣ther, he deals very uprightly with them. Page 102In very faithfulness thou hast afflicted me. If they want a fuller table, yet they have a lighter heart; if they have not such costly clothes, yet they have more healthful constitutions; if they reach not such vast treasures, yet they can injoy the light of Gods countenance, which is far better.
Artabazus thought himself wrong'd, when Cyrus gave him a Golden cup at a feast, and to Chrysantas only a kiss of Respect; deeming thereby, that he had a lesser portion of kindness, than the other: and shall not we much more value his glorious smiles, above the greatest earthly gifts? Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: For his love is better than Wine. Though you be not delivered from your straits, yet being upheld in them, you are well. It was all one to the three Worthies to be kept in the fire, as to be kept out of it. One way or other light shall spring to the righteous, and joy to the upright in heart.
VI. THe Lord shews himself upright * to the upright man, In directing him in his doubts, Prov. 11. 3. The integrity of the upright shall guide them. Many an upright man is under great doubts, and knows not what to believe or what to do. Arguments and pleas on both hands, Great men on one side, and Good men on another, (for seldom are they both on a side) likely reasons court his Assent ei∣ther way. The commands of men some∣times countermanded by his Conscience, and he wants parts, learning, and judge∣ment to cleave an hair, and state the case exactly, either of Faith or Fact. Now in this case, when he hath us'd the means of resolution, that he is capable of, the integrity of the upright shall guide him. His plain honest heart is neither suspici∣ous of more evil to be in men, or things, then evidently appears; nor on the other side, doth he study extricating Salvo's, or subtle evasions to sleep with a whole skin, and salute the upper party: but according to his best knowledge, Page 104 he fixes his faith and orders his actions by the Rule of Gods Word, which he knows will best bear him out.
An upright man sometimes meets with Doubts in matters of Faith; but herein he stands fairest for that promise, which Christ hath made, to lead his into all truth. Though his integrity may not secure him from Error, that it will not; yet 'twill secure him from being an Heretick.
He hath Doubts sometimes about things to be done; towards God in his Worship, towards men in his Life. In the former, he studies the will of God in his Word, knowing that nothing which is offered to him, will please him, unless directed by him. And for Men, he is relieved in most of his doubts by that golden Rule, Mat. 7. 12. What so∣ever ye would that men should do to you, do ye to them.
And lastly, he is perplexed with some Doubts about the Love of God, and the salvation of his Soul; but here also his Integrity so guides him, that he is far from presuming, though he be loth to despair, and the Lord gives him Com∣fort from his Sincerity, though he want the joyes from Assurance. And is not Page 105 uprightness a choice Jewel to lay claim to this guidance? Psal. 25. 8. Good and upright is the Lord, therefore will he teach sinners in the way. This conduct∣ing a poor sinner in the way, flows from his Goodness and Uprightness, and therefore as long as there is a drop of goodness, or a dram of uprightness in God, the penitent sinner shall never lack a guide. And to this refers that promise, Isa. 30. 21. Of a voice behind you saying, this is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand or to the left; alluding (as some think) to a Schoolmaster promp∣ting his Scholar over the shoulder, how he should pronounce his words, when he (poor child) is puzzled and knows not what to say: even so will God lead his upright ones in the way that he shall chuse, when they are in the dark; and you shall find that Scripture true, Prov. 13. 6. Righteous∣ness keepeth him that is upright in the way: But wickedness overthroweth the sinner.
Resolve then in such cases, after you have us'd the means of illumination, as Jehoshaphat in another, O Lord, I know not what to do, but mine eyes are unto thee. I perceive the blindness of my eyes, but Page 106 thou seest the uprightness of my heart, I would do thy will if I knew it; teach me thy way, and I will walk in thy truth: consider my weakness, and neither leave me in perplexing doubts, nor suffer me to erre from thy will. And be sure God will not forsake thee, for it is plain that many an honest heart is preserved in the way of truth, when many of great, but unsanctified parts, have fallen into damn∣ing errors: With the upright man he is us'd to shew himself upright.
VII. GOds uprightness will yet ap∣pear, *In clearing his integrity. Sincerity hath the sweetest visage, but bad men put on it often the foulest vi∣zard, and many a dear Saint wears the note of an hypocrite to his grave. Though you see that no man is so far from hypo∣crisie as this man, no sin he hates more, yet this character is usually fastned on our plain-hearted man.
It is the subtlety of Satan to charge the Saints with those sins whereof he is sure they can hardly clear themselves till Page 107 the day of judgment: And those are commonly these two, 1. Covetousness. 2. Hypocrisie. Both which, for the na∣ture of them, lye so within, that it is almost impossible to refell his charge. Hence the Apostle is driven in the for∣mer to make his appeal to God, 1 Thes. 2. 5. For neither at any time us'd we flattering words, as ye know, [for this you can clear us] nor a cloak of Cove∣tousness, God is witness, [herein God only can purge us.] And the like the latter, Rom. 1. 9. For the Lord is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit, &c. And the upright Lord will clear up these mens integrity, first or last. Holy David lay under many heavy charges, and that for a long time. How long will ye turn my glory into shame? Naught he was, not fit to live in his own native Country, he hatch'd treason against Saul, and un∣dermin'd his Government, and Religion he had none, but at length his Righte∣ousness did shine as the noon-day; Saul himself was convinc•…d of his integrity, and acquitted him, though thereby he condemn'd himself. So upright Job past for a notorious hypocrite among his enemies, for he was accounted no o∣ther by his friends, but the Lord brought Page 108 out his Justice, as a Lamp that burn∣eth.
And what is more common in the World, than to brand every one for an hypocrite, that is but serious in his Re∣ligion? If any man do humbly and con∣scientiously indeavour to live according to his Covenant in Baptism, do set him∣self against the world, the flesh, and the devil, and deny the pomps and vanities, wherein the generality of men do wal∣low; presently his envious and carnal neighbours, when they can tax him with nothing, condemn him for an hypocrite: his outside is smooth, but inwardly he is an arrand hypocrite: but his upright God, that knows his heart, will clear him sooner or later; at furthest at that great day of setting things at right. The Lord Jesus will come with his thousands of Saints, Jude vers. 15. to convince the ungodly world of all their hard speeches, which ungodly sinners have spoken against him. See here you implacable wretches, this is the man, this the woman, whom you condemn'd for hypocrites; they were praying for you, while you were cursing them; I knew their uprightness and will now declare it, Thus shall it be done to those I delight to honour, and you must go Page 109 with a curse into eternal torments.
Rejoyce in the Lord therefore, O ye Righteous, and be glad all ye of upright heart. Be not dismay'd at mens rebukes, these Reproaches do but adde to your Crown: And God permits them, to make you search your hearts the more. Though these be poor commodities, yet you may make a trade of them, and live the bet∣ter for them. They charge you with the Foxes pranks, and you have the Foxes Nature. They charge you with one fault, and thereby you find out another; they write Hypocrite, and you subscribe For∣mal, Dead, Secure, and chief of Sinners. And know for your comfort, that your names shall have a Resurrection as well as your bodies; and you shall shine in glo∣ry, when your enemies shall only shine in flames. And even in this world your God doth justifie you in their Consciences; the most of them could wish their souls in your souls stead, for all their talk; at least when pale death stares them in the face, then O let me dye the death of the Righteous, and let my latter end be like his. It is not oft that an hypocrite goes undiscovered to his grave; nor very oft that an upright man dies without the testimony of the Centurion, even from Page 110 men; Certainly this man was a dear child of God.
VIII. THe Lord shews himself an * upright God to the upright man, In Stablishing him to the end: its ele∣mentary fire that goes out, the Coelestial ever burns, Prov. 10. 29. The way of the Lord is strength to the upright. He only is the persevering man. The fixed Stars appear but small, the blazing Star looks far greater; but the former abide from age to age, and the latter being but exhalations, compounded of corruptible matter, are spent and consumed to no∣thing; they had perhaps more eyes fixed on them than on the others, but they waste away: Even so an hypocrite may make a greater blaze in his profession, may be more admired and talk't of in the world; but the real Saint is fixed, he abides, no tempest can shake him, he is built on a Rock and abideth for ever. The way of the Lord is strength to the uprighs: Every prayer strengthens him, every Sermon strengthens him, yea every temp∣tation (like the wind to a well∣rooted Page 111 tree) causeth his roots to spread, and stand the stronger: moved he may be, but not removed, fall he may, but not fall a∣way: and yet an upright tree (you know) falls not so soon as that which leans. An upright man never makes a right Apostate, Psal. 25. 21. Let integrity and uprightness preserve me: for I wait on thee. Two good props to a weak Christian. He may say, Lord, I have but weak graces to preserve me, I have no parts or learn∣ing, I have few friends to hold me up in thy wayes; But I have (thou knowest) a sincere desire to please and serve thee; O let integrity and uprightness preserve me, and the rather for that I wait on thee: I wait in the use of the means of perseve∣rance, and I wait by faith upon thy pro∣mise. If sincerity will not hold me up, I must fall.
He that walks in a narrow way, must not reel; if he reel he is in danger to fall. The true Christian goes in such a way, leaning is next to falling. The upright man walks uprightly, and therefore surely. He hath liv'd to see great Scholars, great Professors, and great Preachers, dwindle to nothing, but by Grace he stande. Sirs, this is a great comfort, and security to a poor soul; my stock is small, yet I hope Page 112 I shall never break. I drive but a mean trade, but I perceive I go not backward: better 〈◊〉 be a mean Saint, than a great hypocrite: my heart is sound, I have no secret reserves, I know nothing by my self. I cannot run so fast as others, but I am in the way, that will certainly bring me to Gods holy hill, Job 27. 5. Till I dye I will not remove my integrity from me. My righteousness I hold fast, my heart shall not reproach me as long as I live.
Among the many needless fears of the servants of God, this is one that dis∣quiets the soul, when God stands only looking on; namely, shall I hold out? I am a very weak creature, the fall of one tree shakes another, I have seen great Cedars fall; they were once as confident as I, if tryals come, what will become of me? Study and believe that excellent Scripture, Jer. 32. 40, 41. I will make an everlasting Covenant with them, that I will not turn from them to do them good. Make a stand here poor soul. The eternal true and upright God is en∣tred with thee, even with the weakest and youngest believer, into an everlasting Covenant, that for his part notwithstand∣ing all thy infirmities, he will never (mark) never turn away from doing thy Page 113 soul good. O but my fear is, (saith many an upright heart) that I shall forsake him, and turn from him, there is my fear. Mark what follows then, But I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. So then as God will not turn from thee, so thou shalt not depart from him, and how then shouldst thou fall away! and all this is in his ever∣lasting Covenant, that •…annot be dis∣annulled.
When therefore your fears come cold upon your hearts, concerning your Perse∣verance, plead this Scripture with God, fasten it on your souls, fear not your falling off with a fear of Dissidence; you are allow'd a fear of Caution, that will make you stand the faster, but beware of a fear of Dissidence, that will make you fall the sooner. Look you to the rise, root, and beginning of your Religion, and God will look to the end of it. Though thy grace was but like a grain of Mustard-seed, yet it shall come to be a great Tree. Job 8. 6, 7. If thou wert pure and upright—Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end shall greatly increase. He that hath taken root in Christ, can never wholly wither.
IX. GOd will shew himself upright to the upright man, In bestowing*outward blessings upon him, Prov. 28. 20. A faithful man shall abound with bles∣sings. To these he can make the clearest claim; of these 〈◊〉 hath the truest tenure: Alwayes provided that they be for his good. Prov. 14. 11. The house of the wicked shall be overthrown; but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish. The eyes of the Lord are upon him and his house to do him good, From the be∣ginning of the year, to the end of the year. Health, wealth, peace, and full content∣ment shall be heaped on him; so far as they are good for him. That upright Ca∣leb, whose Title of honour it was, that he followed God fully, Numb. 14. 24. had a double portion (so the Learned say) in the Land of Canaan.
He that hath the soveraignty over the world, and all that therein is, loves them; and he that loves gives, and that libe∣rally, Prov. 15: 6. In the house of the righ∣teous is much treasure. We count our Friends tokens among our treasure: E∣very Page 115 loaf of bread, every shilling in his purse, every corn, yea every grass-pile in the field is a friends token to the up∣right man, so that in his house there is a world of treasure. The upright God doth (in effect) say to his Angels every day, Recommend me to such a child this morning, and carry him from me his daily bread, this or that mercy that is good for him. Hence that ample promise, Psal. 84. 11. For the Lord God is a Sun and Shield: The Lord will give Grace and Glory: No good thing will he with-hold from them that walk uprightly. O blessed pro∣mise! Dost thou want Direction? He is a Sun: Dost thou want Protection? He 〈◊〉 a Shield: Dost thou want Grace? He will give Grace: Wouldst thou have Glo∣•…y? He will give that also: Hast thou •…eed of other good things for thy com∣fort in this life? No good thing will he with-hold from them that walk upright∣•…y. Sit down now and think, what thou •…anst wish or need that is not here pro∣mised. And this from that God that can∣not deceive, able and resolved to make good his word. Put all the worldlings Lands, and Palaces, and Bonds, and Bags •…nto one scale, and this one verse into the other, and try whether will weigh Page 116 down: you will quickly discern they are lighter than vanity, and this one verse of more weight, than the whole world. Rest your weary hearts in this, if health were good for me, I know I should have it: if riches were good for me, I should have them: for I have my upright God in a bond, that he will with-hold no•… good thing from me. Nay once more see•…Psal. 112. 2, 3. The Generation of the up∣right shall be blessed: wealth and riche•… shall be in his house, and his righteousness endureth for ever. Thy great care and fea•… is about thy posterity; loe, here's a pro∣mise for them also: the generation of th•… upright shall be blessed. Though we can∣not certainly be assured of this to every upright mans child, yet this promise gives the upright man more ground o•… hope, than any hypocrite or wicked ma•… in the world hath.
There is a Stock of your prayers going in Heaven, and there is a Stock of God promises in the Bible, why then shoul•… you distrust? sooner or later your post•…∣rity will certainly reap them, either i•… temporal or spiritual mercies; he ma•… be long, but he will be sure; the Cove•…∣nant is made with you and yours, an•… the generation to come shall fare the bet∣ter Page 117 for your integrity. Abraham he hard∣ly injoyed one foot of that land, which fell to him for his true∣heartedness, but his posterity had it all. And many an up∣right man lives and dyes but with an or∣dinary estate, for he dare not do wrong to grow rich, but the Lord remembers his posterity, and his seed shall be migh∣ty in the earth, the generation of the up∣right shall be blessed.
Hold on therefore in your integrity, you are in the way of preferment, Prov. 21. 21. He that followeth after righteous∣ness findeth life, righteousness and honour; he finds more than he lookt for: 'Tis true, the vilest men may be exalted, and the posterity of evil men may be both great and good; but they have no such pro∣mise for it, as you have. They may have fairer houses, finer fare, costlier clothing, but they have a curse with it, and a sad reckoning to come. O therefore for your healths sake, for your estate sake, for your posterities sake, but above all for your souls sake, for an upright Gods sake study integrity: be true-hearted, sincere-heart∣ed, and whole-hearted men for God.
X. GOd will shew himself upright to * his upright ones, in Crowning their integrity; 1. With Internal Peace: Melchizedek was first the King of Righteousness, and then King of Salem, King of Peace; and where Christ hath ingraven Sincerity, which is the true Righteousness, then follows Peace and Joy in the Holy Ghost. There's no Rest but in Religion, nor any sound Peace but in Piety. Others may have Quiet of Con∣science, but the upright man hath the Testimony of his Conscience, that is quite another thing. Theirs is but a truce, a dayes sickness will break it. The hypo∣crite hath a Conscience Pacified, but what's this without a Conscience Puri fied? It is Righteousness and Peace that only will kiss each other. The quie•… of most mens Consciences, is from thei•…Blindness, not from their Goodness; thus the beasts are well, because they know n•… better, fear no worse: Thus millions ly•… still and dye like Lambs. If these had mor•… knowledge, they would have less quiet.Page 119 They are like the malefactor in a dun∣geon, that sees not his misery, or as the bird busie at the chaff, when the Net's unseen: One thundering threat set on by the spirit of bondage, will spoil all their mirth. There can be no true peace, where sin is suffered in quiet. It were well for such as you to be frighted; Cries were your best Musick, and Tears the best Nectar you could drink: you must be let blood or dye, such is your disease that you must be lanc'd or lost. But now, when true grace comes in, after that spiritual conflict that breaks the heart of sin, the Conscience hath a sweet peace, or at least ground for it. The Law charges, the Devil charges, Conscience in Christs blood, that discharges. He that makes Conscience of sin, hath his Conscience quit from sin. Now I can eat and sleep and go in the dark, my Conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, though the earth be removed, and the Mountains carri∣ed into the midst of the sea, yet here's tran∣quility. In the world ye shall have Tribu∣lation, but in me, saith Christ, ye shall have peace; and this is the fruit of upright∣ness, Isa. 32. 17. And the work of righ∣teousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance for Page 120 ever. While Francis Spira kept on in his upright way, he had a heaven of peace; but after his sinful compliance, he had not one day or hour of quiet in his soul. And it is recorded that Cicero, when dying and reflecting on his warp∣ing and temporizing, he cried out, O me miserum, O me nunquam felicem, &c. Sincerity and Serenity live and dye toge∣ther.
And 2. With Eternal Glory. There he payes home the upright man for all. When his God leads him into the Land of Uprightness, Psal. 143. 10. there he shall meet with all Gods hidden ones, of whom the world was not worthy. Ah poor hypocrite! he knows not what to do, when he dyes; each step he takes is towards Hell; the longer he lives, the nearer his destruction, Job 27. 8. For what is the hope of the hypocrite though he hath gain'd (wealth, repute, &c.) when God hath taken away his soul? Their very hope, which is all the comfort that's left them, will flee away and leave them in the bryars. But then the upright man shall be some body. Here he is a Prince unknown, there he enters his kingdom. Here he is under a cloud, there the righ∣teous shall shine as the Sun for ever and Page 121 ever. As he that hath an Estate in Re∣version, though he live poor a while, yet the Estate will fall, An inheritance un∣corruptible and undefiled that fadeth not away; and this as sure as God is in Hea∣ven, and thy name in the Bible, Genes.* 17. 1. Walk before me, and be perfect: I will be thy exceeding great reward. Who can desire more than him that is Alt? It will be merry, when the upright God and the upright Man, do meet. Art thou he that receiv'd my dear Son, and resign'd thy heart so freely to him? Art thou he that gave inward, universal, and con∣stant obedience to my will? Art thou he that stuck to me in such and such times and tryals? Art thou he that walked righteously, and spake the truth in thy heart? Come up hither, Angels put on his Crown, sing an Authem ye sons of the morning at my upright servants coming home. Come enter thou into the joy of the Lord. Here live, and love, and rejoyce for ever. Psal. 140. 13. Surely the righteous shall give thanks to thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence. Now many a poor upright heart hath hardly a house to cover his head, scarce a bed to rest on, here he must not dwell, and there he must not dwell; but there Page 122 is but one life between him, and a glori∣ous Palace, whereof the spangled firma∣ment is but the floor. He hath an house pav'd with Rubies, and fill'd with Saints and Angels, like so many Suns, and there he shall dwell and sing among them world without end. Into that Cor∣poration all upright men may come, and their greatest enemies will never follow them. Seeming Saints will be in the Church, none but Sincere Saints must come into Heaven. Mat. 5. 8. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Rejoyce therefore in the Lord, O ye Righteous, and shout for joy all ye that are upright in heart. O what a shout will there be in Heaven, when all this blessed Tribe meet together, and have Christ a∣mong them? and then you shall see, how the righteous Lord loveth righteousness, and his countenance doth behold the up∣right. Then shall you be paid for every drop of blood, for every drop of tears, for every step, for every thought that you have laid out for his Name.
And thus you have the second general Point, in my poor manner opened to you, namely, Wherein God shews himself up∣right to the upright man.
CHAP. III. The Application.
THe third thing follows, which is the Application: what may we ga∣ther hence for the bettering of our Minds or Manners? To inform the for∣mer, * and to reform the latter.
Use Information. For the former.
1. This Doctrine proclaims the Equity of God. To an upright man he will shew himself upright; why then his wayes are equal. Though clouds and darkness be round about him, [his wayes be hid∣den] yet Judgment and Righteousness are the habitation of his Throne, [they are al∣wayes holy, just and equal.] Psal. 97. 2. He that hath a cause to be tryed for Land or Life, counts it a priviledge that he shall have justice; and that at least, every man may expect from God. His wayes are equal, though our wayes be Page 124 unequal, Psal. 99. 4. The Kings strength (and who is that but God?) loveth judg∣ment, thou doest establish equity. So he doth by his Rule and by his Example. Con∣clude therefore whatever his dealing is with you or others, that he is righteous in all his wayes, and holy in all his works.
The Subject cannot alwayes see the Reason of his Princes method, no nor a child his fathers; but when they come to the knowledge of them, they magnifie what before they were ready to miscon∣strue: Even so perhaps you understand not the wayes of God towards you or his Church; but be silent before him, for you shall see at the long run, that with righ∣teousness doth he judge the world, and the people with equity.
2. This Doctrine pronounces the Misery of all hypocrites. For it follows by the Rule of contraries, that with such froward pie∣ces, God will show himself froward. He that walks contrary to God, shall have God to walk contrary to him. The way of hypocrisie, as well as of impenitency, is a way of contrariety to God, whose holy Law the hypocrite casts behind his back; it is a way of contrariety to Jesus Christ, his Prophetical Chair, his Priestly Page 125 Cross, and his Kingly Throne; and cer∣tainly God will walk contrarily unto them. He will out-wit the subtlest, and overthrow the stubbornest hypo∣crite on earth. He taketh the wise in their own craftiness, and the counsel of the*froward is carried headlong. He that will wrestle with God, shall feel it first or last.
The vain hypocrite hopes to over-reach God, to carry his contrivance cleanly; but let him not be deceived, for God is not mocked: as a man sows, so shall he reap, Job 8. 14. His hope shall be cut off, and his trust shall be a spiders web. You see a spiders web to be a very curious work, but its original is from a spiders bowels, and its design to catch poor flies; and though she be as secure in it as in a castle, yet when the Broom comes, down they go. The thread that an hypocrite spins is very fine, but it hath no higher principle than Self, nor greater end than to deceive. And though he bless himself in his heart, and sit like a Queen in the web that he hath spun, yet when Gods besome comes, down he falls into Hell, and great is the fall of him.
Quest. But you will say, who or what i•… an hypocrite?
Page 126Answ. He is one that hath no Affecti∣on to the Nature of Religion, and yet hath an Affectation of the Name, and Reputation of Religion: That professes the hatred of sin, and yet cordially loves it: That pretends to love piety, and yet inwardly distasts it; this is an hypocrite and woe be to him. The keenest Scrip∣tures, the sharpest Judgments, the hot∣test Torments are the portion of his cup. The very next verse is enough to over∣whelm him, With the froward thou wilt shew thy self froward. When infinite Pa∣tience grows froward, there will be infi∣nite frowardness. None so true a Friend, and none so fierce an Enemy. Proud men, Atheists, and Hypocrites, God hath a pe∣culiar quarrel with, and they shall feel the weight of his indignation. Alas! Sirs, you drive the maddest trade on earth: your Profession of piety hazards the losing of this World, and your Practise of hypo∣crisie loseth you the other; and thus you lose Two Worlds for want of One Upright heart. Repent therefore quickly of this your wickedness, & change your course. If holiness be bad, why do you pretend it? If it be good, why do you abhor it? What man of reason will put on the shape of one he hates, when thereby he Page 127 gets only the applause of a few, and loses the love of many? Alas! you lose the respect of the most on earth by your out∣side, and of the best in Heaven by your inside. O therefore cleanse your hands ye sinners, and purifie your hearts ye double∣minded. Abominate that course, that be∣sides its own vileness, loseth both God and Men, and your selves at last.
But as when cheats are lookt after•… they slip away and hide themselves in the throng, so the hypocrite when threat∣ned, will not be convict, and therefore alledges these things.
Object. 1. General Approbation. I am well esteemed, and that among the best: If I were rotten, sure they would find me out. I love good people, and they love me, and how can I then be an hypocrite?*
Answ. They judge of thee by the judg∣ment of Charity, but God will judge thee with the judgment of Verity: They nei∣ther can, nor will, nor dare be censori∣ous; but do guess thee to be sound with∣in, because thou art smooth without. Their great work lies in assuring their own salvation, and not in questioning o∣thers; and so thou maist go by them to hell unsuspected as Judas did by the Dis∣ciples; they never dream'd of his hypo∣crisie, Page 128 but rather suspected themselves, but this made not his case the safer.
And then that you love the people of God, will be difficult to be proved. You like their company (perhaps) for some natural, moral, or acquired excellencies in them; they are well temper'd, civil, learned, intelligent, or perhaps of some use or stead for you; but alas! you hate their holiness, and least like them when they are in their most religious frame. You care not for their talk of Heaven, when you are pleas'd with their news or discourses upon things on earth. He that loves an holy man for his Sanctity, loves them all as far as they are holy, and so the holier the person is, the better you will love him.
Object. 2. Singular Obedience. I have perform'd abundance of Duties, and have forgone divers Sins, and have continued so to do a great while, and can an hypocrite do so?
Answ. Is there no known Duty that lies by you undischarged? and do you delight in the duties you perform, as well as do them? do the Precepts of the Law please you, as well as the Promises of the Gospel? And do you live in no known sin with purpose, pleasure and perseve∣rance? Page 129 its true, an hypocrite will not al∣wayes call upon God, but its hard to say how long he may; certainly, while any of his base ends draw him on. Indeed when sharp troubles come for Religion, then generally such are weary of it, and utterly deny that which they never de∣lighted in. Canst thou now say in the midst of thy multiplied duties, that thou hadst rather do them, than not do them? Dost thou only use prayer, or chuse pray∣er? Dost thou only avoid sin, or abhor sin? That is something, or else that Pha∣risee, Luke 18. shall be justified, as soon as thou.
Object. 3. Quiet of Conscience: My own heart condemns me not, that is most privy to my own estate, and would be (sure∣ly) most faithful to me in this weighty case; nay, it is more against an hypocrite, than any other sinner.
Answ. Remember that a Conscience pacified, is not alwayes a sign of a Consci∣ence purified. If Conscience be not blind∣ed, it will see; if it be not bribed, it will speak; if it be not brawny, it will feel: but if it have been curb'd and silenc'd, and sinn'd against, it may let you alone (even as God doth) and never bark till it bite, and make its teeth to meet. There Page 130 are that deceive others, until at length * they be deceiv'd themselves: that have deceived their own hearts so long, till a deceived heart hath turned them aside, that they cannot deliver their souls, nor say, is there not a lye in my right hand, Isa. 44. 20.
And yet if one should refer it to thee, Dost thou think in thy very Conscience, that thou art an upright Saint, and a sincere servant of Jesus Christ? Dost thou not know that by thy self, which is in∣consistent with integrity of heart? what is that which makes thee tremble at death? in a fright at thunder, in pain at a searching Sermon? afraid at the reading or hearing of any sisting marks or signs? And then for bearing a great hatred to hypocrites, that's nothing, for one proud man may hate another for standing in his light, and rotten hearts are usually most suspicious and censorious of others. Thy best evidence would be to loath thy self; and thy only cure, to be pricked at the heart.
II. Use. THe second Improvement of this Point is for Re∣prehension:*
- 1. Of those that Disturst an upright God.
- 2. Of those that Distast an upright Man.
1. That Distrust an upright God. No greater trouble to an upright man, than to be suspected and distrusted, to have his word question'd, and his wayes miscon∣strued. Good and upright is the Lord, and he cannot indure to be called in question. They that know him will take his word, for more than this world is worth, Psal. 9. 10. They that know thy Name, will put their trust in thee. But alas! how few are these? if we run over those very par∣ticulars wherein he shews himself up∣right, you shall find much distrust in the world, yea in the very best. If we be in Danger, how sew can quiet themselves in Gods promise of succour? If we have fallen into Temptation, how long ere we can heartily believe our pardon sealed in Page 132 the blood of Christ? when we begin to Pray, which of us believes, that as sure as we ask, we shall receive? how diffi∣cult to relye upon the grace of God for perseverance, or on the promise of God for all good things in this life, and for a Crown of glory in another? O the wretch∣ed distrust of mans heart! whence else do men run to unworthy means, to at∣tain their desires every day; and lean no more on him, or on his word, than on a weak staff, that we dare not trust? you can trust a man when he hath money in his hand, you should trust God when he gives money in the Promise. The World should know we serve a God, whom we dare trust. The promise is ever as good, as the thing promised. He is no flincher with whom you deal. To distrust him, is to devest him, and that of his dearest Attribute, his Truth. When we distrust God, we make him man; when we trust in man, we make him God.
How many experiments have you read, nay how many experiments have you had of his uprightness to you? and must they all stand for nothing? What man can come out and say, I was under such a promise, but I never had the benefit of Page 133 it? I trusted Jacobs God in vain? And must you be the first instances of his unfaithfulness? God forbid. To instance; what disquieting thoughts have we, sometimes, about provision for our Chil∣dren? they'l be left succourless, and quite forsaken, (and unworthy courses are sometimes taken to prevent it) and yet we know they will fall Wards to God, and that the Generation of the upright shall be blessed. And because here perhaps you may reply, that herein you do not so much question Gods uprightness, as your own, therefore see in another In∣stance, what perplexities are Gods ser∣vants in for his Church, when it is rent with schisms, eclips'd with errors, op∣press'd with troubles? And yet he hath undertaken to rule the world for his Churches good, and that the Gates of Hell (stronger than armes on earth) shall never prevail against her. O silence then and charm down your unbelief, and cre∣dit this word, To the upright man, he will shew himself upright.
2. This Reproves those that Distast an upright man. He that is unlike God, can∣not but dislike both him and his likeness. * Wonder of wickedness, that ever any reasonable creature should hate his Ma∣kers Page 134 picture; dislike the men that are after Gods own heart, and the better the man, the worse to hate him. It was so in the be∣ginning, is now, and will be world without end. 1 Sam. 29. 6. Surely (sayes Achish to David) as the Lord liveth, thou hast been upright; nevertheless the Lord favours thee not. Let a man be never so honest, chari∣table, unblameable, yet if he discover his integrity by reproving sin, by a strict watch over his words, by a peaceable demurring at a thing he is unsatisfied in: there's some of you though you never saw him, were never disoblig'd by him, yet out of an inveteracy against God (it can be nothing else) you dislike and declaim a∣gainst him. If this man have an hundred excellent qualities, and but one defect or fault, all his good qualities are buri∣ed, and he goes with you under the no∣tion of his single sin. But on the other hand, let a man be never so ignorant, unclean, swearer, drunkard, Atheistical; yet divers of you can imbrace him, de∣light in his company, or at least he shall live quietly by you, and (if he do not personally affront you) no Magistrate shall ever be inform'd of him, that he might reform him. And (to see your equity) if this man have an hundred ill Page 135 conditions, and but some one good quality, as perhaps of an obliging carriage, all his faults are silenced, and he obtains a favourable character from this single vertue; which shews clearly, that your spite is at the good man, as he is good, or else you would cry down other mens faults as well as his, and lend to them a mantle as well as to others.
If pride be bad, or covetousness, or passion, why do you not blame them, where-ever you find them?
Object. Perhaps you'l say, they are bad (its true) in any, but they are intollera∣ble in one that professes more Sanctity than others.
Answ. His sanctity or profession are neither faults nor faulty, but these you have an aking tooth at: and though they do aggravate his Sins before God, yet I hope with men he may pass better, that hath but one or two faults, than he that hath an hundred. And if you be not ha∣ters of God, you ought to love him bet∣ter that hath a few errors, and those bewailed, (for so all upright men do, though you see them not) than him that abounds in them, and rather glories in them, than mourns over them
Page 136 Object. I know your usual saying, you dislike none but hypocrites, an upright man you could love in your heart.
Answ. Can you prove all them hypo∣crites, whom you distast? and can you justifie your suspicion, where you can make no proof? I think there is no greater a sign of an hypocrite, than easily to judge others so. But for all your professions, I am perswaded, if Christ himself were now on earth, and should be so severe in his life, as never to laugh; so impartial in reproof, as to spare neither Prince nor Priest; so heavenly in his discourse, as al∣wayes to draw it to some spiritual mat∣ter; abundance of Christians would utter∣ly * dislike him, never consort with him, but pursue him to his cross again. Alas! it is integrity and honesty you hate, and the affront is to God more than to men herein. And is not this hatred without a cause? Is not this to rage at Beauty, and to have an Aversion to Innocency it self? Are not these men (such as I have de∣scrib'd) the best husbands, the best pa∣rents, the best children, the best servants, the best subjects, publick Goods, Prov. 11. By the blessing of the upright the City is exalted: but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked. O relent towards them, and Page 137 let your love and pity run in the stream with Gods. Carry your selves to them, as you think David, Paul, or Christ would do if they were here; and judge in your own Consciences, whether they would sort with vile swearers in an Alehouse, or with upright mourners in a Chamber: you cannot have a better coppy than Him in the Text, and therefore with the upright man, shew you your selves upright.
THe third Use of this Doctrine leads * unto Tryal and Examination of our own selves. I report me to your own Consciences, how needful this is. Need∣ful for your comfort here, needful for your salvation hereafter. And pray be exact and serious herein.
1. Because mans heart by Nature is false and froward. Deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, Jer. 17. 9. The Na∣ture of God, the Love of Christ, and the Heart of man, are things inscrutable. Its true, Eccl. 7. 29. God made man upright at first. Our faces were directly upon God, our hearts uniform, but we got a fall, and Page 138 now the whole man is turn'd quite ano∣ther way. He that sayes, I have ever had a good heart, that man never had a good heart: we are estranged from the womb from our God, and from our best selves. No cheat so cunning as the heart of man, 'twill cry out as the Pharisee, I thank God I am not as other hearts are, when seven abominations are therein. And not only false but froward; in other diseases the diseased party is called the Patient, and patient they are to abide the Physicians order, but here the Patient is the great∣est Disease. Quid miserius misero non mi∣serante seipsum? What greater misery than a miserable man not commiserating himself? Having to do therefore with such a Piece, what need have you of the strictest care, that you may not be bank∣rupt, before you feel your decay, and broken for want of bruising?
2. A man may proceed very far, and yet prove rotten at the heart. He may go nine∣teen steps, and for want of going one other step, fall short of Heaven, Mat. 19. 20, 21. That young man had gone far in keeping six commandments: where is the young man that can come forth and truly say the like? yet one thing was lacking, and that lost all the rest. Consider well Page 139 how many changes may pass upon th•… heart without a through saving change. A moral change from debauchery to civi∣lity, a formal change to the profession of Godliness, a partial change, a temporary change; but uprightness of heart lyes in a hairs breadth; you may hit the Butt, and yet miss the Mark, and by consider∣ing how far Herod, Saul, Judas, and others of our acquaintance have gone, and yet fallen away, we see need to sift our selves to the bran, and put our Inte∣grity to the tryal.
3. A man may verily think he's upright, and yet not be right, Prov. 30. 12. There is a generation [that is, abundance in all Ages] that are pure in their own eyes, [shine illustriously, as the Hebrew word signifies, in their own opinions and judg∣ments] and yet are not cleansed from their filthiness: were never truly regenerate. That River of God, the blood of Christ, never run through their hearts: you have heard, he that long deceives others, at last deceives himself, Deceiving and being deceived. Plain in the foolish Virgins, Mat. 25. who thought their case was good, till the gate was shut. A dreadful case! to be damn'd just at Heaven gates, and to feel a Hell, before we fear it: How Page 140 blank would a man look, that hath a sum of money to pay, and when it comes to the touch, it proves all Counters, all his money Counters? even so will many a formal hypocrite look at the last day, when all his graces prove spurious; 〈◊〉 name to live, but dead at heart. When the great Judge of Heaven and earth shall come with his Mene Tekel, &c. put this glistring Professor into the Balance, alas he is too light; weigh that mans Faith, then his Repentance, then his Love in the Balance, they are all too light. Alas! thy kingdom is departed from thee, thou art 〈◊〉 lost man world without end.
Now I say, if a man may verily think he's upright, and yet prove naught, it is high time to come to tryal. And though the Description which you have had, wi•… much supersede this work; and that whe•… all is said, a man that is really upright may most clearly by reflection, and spiri∣tual sensation, find and feel the integrity of his heart, as the mother knows she i•… with child, when she feels it leaping i•… her womb; yet for your further assistanc•… I shall here with much plainness and br•…∣vity (the which I study) give you som•… clear characters of uprightness, and s•… hasten to an end; with this Advertise∣ment,Page 141 that if you can lay a sound claim to any one of them, though you should la∣bour to find them all, you may rest with comfort in the safety of your condition, though at present you may not discern the rest; for that, where there is one In∣tegra•… member of the new man, there is the whole, though not apparent. But let not one Character pass your eye, without a faithful tryal; Is it thus with me? that you may know your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you, and then you are not reprobates.
I. THe first Character of an upright * man is, He really approves himself to God, 2 Tim. 2. 15. Study to shew thy self approved to God. This is the care and business of every upright man. In all business and companies, his chiefest care is, that the words of his mouth, and *the thoughts of his heart may be pleasing to him. Famous is that story of Bernard, who after a curious Sermon, among the gene∣ral applause, was found dejected and in his dumps: and after a more sincere plain discourse, the day following exceeding Page 142 chearful; told one of his friends, that inquir'd the reason, Heri Bernardum, hodie Jesum Christum praedicavi, yesterday I preach'd Bernard, but to day I have preached Jesus Christ. When you can say, Lord, others know my actions, but thou knowest my ends; others may lift me up too high, or cast me down too low; but I am satisfied, if thou art pleased with me: For not he that commendeth himself is ap∣proved, but whom the Lord commends. And this is to walk worthy of the Lord, in all Pleasing: When a mans great aim is at God, and not to please, or exalt himself or others.
Whereas an hypocrite he is quite ano∣ther man, Mat. 23. 5. For all their works they do to be seen of men: and therefore they chose Trumpets to distribute their alms with, and corners of Streets (Streets would not serve, but corners of Streets) that so two full Streets might view them in their prayers: and so (poor creatures) they paid themselves before the great Pay∣day, Verily, I say unto you, they have their reward. Their thought is, how will this or that man like this word or action? If such and such commend me and applaud me, I have enough. But the upright man looks at God, and a smile from him gives Page 143 him content. He may endeavour to com∣pass the good opinion of men, but he will serve God first, and hate any base courses to procure the praise of men. Its part of his Character, Rom. 2. 29. Whose praise is not of men, but of God.
II. The second mark of an upright man is, He chiefly loves God. To love the Lord our God with all the heart, with all the soul, with all the strength, is an infallible Character of an upright man. When it comes to be a disputable case between God and Mammon, God and the Belly, God and Relations, God and a right Eye or Hand; if thou cannot find (at least for the most part) thy soul determining for God, over-ruling the case in his behalf, and that thy love to him can make thee contemn the world, and all that is in it; fear nothing, thou hast an upright heart. Try now, do you use the World to enjoy God, or do you make use of God to enjoy the World?* Do you love him for himself, do you love him like himself, in every thing, above every thing?
Object. But how should I know I love him best?
Answ. Hath he, if not the most, yet the heartiest of your thoughts? When Page 144 your ends are raffled to the bottom, do they end at him, or self?* do you love the hours and duties that tend towards him? Are not you troubled that you can love him no more? is not Heaven it self desirable to you on this account, because there you will love him and hate sin, per∣fectly, and eternally? can you delight in your mercies, when you fear they come not in love? can you live contentedly, under the sence or fear of his absence or displeasure? in a word, doth that please you best, that tends and ends in his ho∣nour, though it shame your persons, or cross your other designs? do you dearly affect his blessed word, and those parts thereof that have nothing to commend them to you, but their holiness? not only the Histories of the Bible, but the Do∣ctrine, the Precepts of the Bible: Can you taste more sweetness in a Sermon of Christ, an Epistle of Paul, the hundred and nine∣teenth Psalm, than in any human writings in the world? Doth the remembrance of your communion with God, and commu∣nication from him, more refresh you than the review of other delights? Cant. 1. 4. We will remember thy love more than wine, the upright love thee. That is a sign of love, this is a sign of uprightness.
Page 145 III. A third sign of an upright man is, He willingly obeys God. 1 Chron. 28. 9. And thou Solomon my Son, serve thou the God of thy Fathers, with a perfect heart, and a willing mind. What he does, his will is in it. He will do what he can, yea more than he can. An hypocrite doth more than he would. He acts not, but is acted by profit, credit, and the like; and when this wind blows not, he stands as the Windmill, stock still. Love to God oyls the wheel of obedience, and then a man runs the way of his Commandments, when the Lord hath inlarged his heart, Psal. 119 32. Amor meus, pondus mcum. Hap∣py for ever that man, whose principle of motion is within. An hypocrite he hath no hearty good will to the very duties he performs; he prays, but he hath no good will to prayer; he gives, but his will is another way, his obedience is against his mind; his interest draws him one way, his mind goes another; and what a wretched life must he live, the generality of whose visible actions go against the frame of his mind, and so neither God, nor himself hath pleasure in them? 2 Cor. 8. 12. If there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what a man hath and doth. Try your selves therefore; do you Page 146 find that your wills are prest for God? do you obey your Master, as your servants should obey you, with good will, doing service as to the Lord, and not to men? 'Tis true, you will find another Law, another will drawing the other way, but if you can say with Paul, Rom. 7. 22. I delight in the Law of God after the inward man, your hearts are upright: you grieve for your unwillingness, you bring your wills to every ordinance, and use the means to make them better; and cordially desire to do his will on earth, as it is done in Hea∣ven. The crossness of your will is your greatest burden; and you are getting ground herein, are you not? then your case is good.
IV. The fourth Character of an up∣right man is, He can Judiciously appeal to God. I call God to record on my soul, saith Holy Paul. And this not only in a crowd, and before others, but in secret in his closet. After consideration of the Law of God, and after the survey of his own heart, an upright man (if there be no eclipse upon his spirit) can appeal to the all-searching God, in his closet, concern∣ing the uprightness of his heart; and this I think few hypocrites can reach to do. Thus Peter could say, John 21. 17. Lord Page 147 thou that knowest all things, thou knowest I love thee. I appeal from Satan and the World to thee, whether I do not love thee above all the world, and above my self; if my heart were open'd, whether thou wouldst not find Jehova, and Jesus, and Holiness to the Lord, written there. The just man dare appeal to the severest Judge, and a sincere Saint to an all∣seeing God. Psal. 139. 23, 24. Search me, O Lord, and know my heart, try me and know my thoughts; And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. So if you can say, Lord, look at me every way, try me by the light of thy word, search me to the quick, I appeal to thee, thou know∣est I am Gold, not Gilded, I am thine, thy Name is on me, and thy Nature is in me, thou that knowest all things, knowest I love thee: No plainer sign of a cheat, than unwillingness to come to tryal; but he that dare bring his heart to the most trying Books, to the most searching Ministers, to the all-searching God, is sound at heart, and a Saint with∣in. I should have nam'd no more, but that I find two more signs within the •…ken of my Text, with which I shall con∣•…lude this Use.
Page 148 V. The fifth mark of an upright man is, He trades not in Presumptuous sins. Psal. 19. 13. Keep back thy servant from presumptuous sins, let them not have domi∣nion over me. Then shall I be upright—The Tyranny of sin is one thing, the Do∣minion of sin is another. It is the opinion of Divines, that though a child of God may have a Darling sin, one sin to which he is more inclin'd then another; yet he hath not a Reigning sin, that is, (I sup∣pose they mean) no sin hath the absolute command of the whole soul: no, there is a seed of God in a sanctified heart, that cannot so yield to sin. So that the diffe∣rence between the sin of an upright man and another, lies not so much in the na∣ture and kind of the sin committed, as it lies in the heart of a sinner. That may be an Infirmity in one, that is a grosser sin in another. A less sin chosen, is worse than a greater sin fallen into without choice: a less allowed, than a greater disallowed.
The presumptuous sinner adds the con∣tempt of God to his sin, and so is said to si•… with an high hand, Numb. 15. 30. (th•… first place (I take it) that speaks of such) But the soul that doth presumptuously, r•…∣proacheth the Lord, and shall be utterly o•…Page 149 off, and no sacrifice admitted for him: which interprets that, Heb. 10. 26. If we sin wilfully, after we have received the know∣ledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin. And both opposed to sin∣ning ignorantly, n•…d yet not every sin of knowledge, a presumptuous sin: but when a man knows it, but cares not, heeds not God, or his will, but lifts up an high hand against him, and will venture. * It is one thing to sin willingly, another thing to sin wilfully. There is of the will in most sins, but not the whole will. There is a predominant motion of the will toward it, but there is in it an habitual hatred of it. Rom. 7. 20. Now if I do what I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. There is in every sin an interpretative contempt of God; but I conceive to create a Presumptuous sin, there must be actual presumption and contempt of God; whereof certainly that man was guilty, that was stoned to death for gathering sticks on the Sabbath day; and thereupon his Tragedy is related immediately upon the Law against pre∣sumptuous sinners, Numb. 15. An up∣right man hath a radical hatred of sin, and he that hates sin, can scarce sin pre∣sumptuously.
Page 150 VI. The sixth and last Character of an upright man is, He keeps himself from his own iniquity. You have this in the next verse but one before the Text. I also was upright before him:—prove it—I kept my self from mine iniquity. Every man hath some sin of his own. We are capable of every sin, but we are not inclin'd to every sin. Our constitutions usually do chuse our darling sin, our condition of life or calling may nurse it up. This Sin is the tryal of our sincerity. An hypocrite chides it before folks, but keeps it under his tongue, cordially favours it, and so makes provision for it; in effect prefers it before Christ and Heaven. 'Tis this sin that sends most men to hell. They'l part with many; but skin for skin, yea soul and all will a man give for the life of this. And there is no wickedness too great to wade through to the fruition of it.
Now an upright man, had at his Con∣version, the deepest prick in this vein. The dearer the sin, the dearer it costs in Repentance: and thereupon he keeps a jealous eye upon it, and is whetted also with an holy revenge against it, for dis∣pleasing such a God as now he finds him to be, and for hindring so much the com∣fort of his soul; that he mainly hates this Page 151 sin, and indeavours to prevent and cruci∣fie it. He most hates it, though he can least vanquish it. And thereupon he faithfully makes use of all the means he knows to mortifie it, and carefully avoids all occasi∣ons that may further it, he grieves bitterly for his relapses into it, and gives no rest to his God, or his soul, till he see the fune∣rals of it; he is resolv'd to dye in the con∣flict, before he will make a peace.
Now feel your Pulse for the Lords sake, and deceive not your own souls. These signs will state your case, if you will but prove your own selves. The explication of them is ours, the application of them is yours. Do not shut the book, till you have opened your hearts, and found either the name of a Saint, or an Hypocrite. Why do you retreat? It is not your enemy, but your Physician that is at door. To try your case can do no hurt. If all be right, you may have the comfort; if all be naught, yet you may have a cure. Rush not blindfold into Hell. Put us not to our best skill in describing Characters, and then let them alone as you found them, for want of pains. If this work not, re∣member we have told you that the clear∣est sign of an hypocrite is, he dare not come to tryal.
THe Fourth Use is by way of Exhor∣tation: Have you made a faithful * scrutiny? Then upon tryal, either you find the Characters of sincerity, or else you find them not, or else you hang in doubt, whether you be upright or no. And ac∣cordingly I shall direct my Exhortation three wayes. First, to those that are up∣right with God; and you I exhort,
1. To praise the Lord, and be thank∣ful. Psal. 33. 1. Rejoyce in the Lord ye righteous: for praise is comely for the up∣right. You of all men have cause to be merry; Praise becomes no bodies mouth but yours. Be chearful in your selves, and thankful to the Lord. What a•…les you to be lean from day to day, that are Kings Sons? Who can lay any thing to your charge? It is God that justifieth. What can dishearten you, seeing the root of the matter is found in you? Turn your plaints into praises. Stand still and admire the distinguishing mercy of God to you, that among so many Heathens the Lord should ma•…e you Christians; that among Page 153 so many Hypocrites, the Lord should make you upright. Adore Electing, admire Converting Grace; say, Lord, who am I? naturally a very Pagan, an errand hypo∣crite, that thou shouldst crown me with Truth in the inward parts—And then kneel down and offer him an Hecatombe of praises, charm up all the daughters of musick, thy best affections, and tune up thy note with Angels, Blessing and Ho∣nour and Immortality be given to him that sitteth on the Throne, and to the Lamb for evermore. And let heart, and lip, and life keep tune; and where thy words fail, let thy deeds extol his holy Name. O Lord, do but tell me which way I may honour thee, and thou shalt see, thy Grace assist∣ing, that no service shall be too hard for such a wretch to such a God.
2. Proceed and walk on in your upright way. Hear David, Psal. 26. 1. O Lord, I have walked in mine integrity—Ay, but are not you weary on't, David! O no; hear him, verse 11. But as for me, I will walk in my integrity; I have don't, and I will do it again. It is enough for sinners, to be weary of their wayes: but as for me, I will walk in my integrity. Improve in your uprightness. Job 17. 9. The righ∣teous also shall hold on their way, and Page 154 he that hath clean hands, shall grow stronger and stronger. Get ground of your hypocrisie, and weed it out of your hearts and duties day by day. A little sin is a great burden to him that hath a great deal of grace, as a little spot is to a very cleanly man. Purge out therefore the old leaven, and keep the feast with that daint•… fare, the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Let nothing byas those honest hearts of yours. Answer your temptations, that you can do any thing but lye, and temporize, and sin a∣gainst God; that Crowns cannot see you to betray Christ, or wound your Consci∣ences; that you fear no body but God, and nothing in the world but sin. A man of uprightness must be a man of strength.
The more uprightness, the more com∣munion with God; the more upright∣ness, the more confidence with men; the more uprightness, the more comfort in your own souls. 1 Chron. 29. 17. I know also my God, that thou tryest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. O do him a pleasure then by walking in your integrity, and resolve with that upright Champion, Job 27. 5, 6. Till I dye, I will not remove my integrity from me,—My Page 155 heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.
SEcondly, To those that are in Doubt,* whether they be upright or no. It is better indeed to doubt with a cause, than to be confident without a cause: and better to begin in doubts, and end in certainties, * than to begin in certainties, and end in doubts. But take advice;
1. Sit not down quiet in this uncertainty. Who that's charg'd with forgery, will be quiet till he be cleared? In the Authority of Gods unerring word, I charge all men by nature with rottenness, corruption, * and hypocrisie. If you be true men, clear your selves, and hang not (as the Papists place One of their small friends) between Heaven and Hell. Who that's going a journey would be content, whilst he is ignorant whether in the way or out? you are going a long journey, quite to eter∣nity; for your own comfort sake be at a point whether you be in the way to the Holy, or to the Miserable eternity. You'l be at cost to clear and settle your outward estate. O be not worse to your souls, than Page 156 you are to your lands: you cannot ima∣gine how far you might go in this work in one Moneths time, nay in the spare hours of one Moneths time. It is a sad case that is threatned, Deut. 28. 66. And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee, and thou shalt fear day and night. O but what is it then, to have everlasting life hang in doubt be∣fore a man, the soul daily taking wings, and you know not whither! O sit not down quiet with this uncertainty.
2. Set about the means to clear up your condition. Knock at each Ministers door that's near you, and borrow light from the Wise. When you have a doubtful di∣stemper, you run to the Physician; when you have a knot in your deed, you run to the Lawyer: you are at a demur concern∣ing the state of your souls, O run to the Minister. Put on boldness and fear not; he deserves not the name of a Preacher, that is not gladder of your company, than of the greatest Mammonist within his charge. Open your mind freely, Sir, I am in a great dismay about the state of this my soul; this I can say for my self, and this against my self: Deal truly with me, and give out a perfect lot.
Be take your selves to the most search∣ing Books, try your selves by the above∣named Page 157marks; but above all, to the Law, and to the Testimony. But be not hasty to conclude upon the reading any of these, either for or against your selves, without good advice; lest you rush on the Rock of Presumption, or be swallowed up in the *Quicksand of Despair. Get into the right method, and then spare not for a little pains. He must give diligence, that will make his calling and election sure. This course hath been found useful to some, namely, single out some trying Scripture, as for Instance, that Psal. 119. 140. and spend your spare minutes in one day, or week, to know the True meaning of it: the next day or week compare your selves by it, with all faithfulness: spend another day or week in urging all such objections you can justly find against your plea: and a fourth day or week in a sound Reply unto them. And then lay them before God, and joyn your earnest prayer, to the searcher of all hearts, to clear and settle you. And when this is done, try another, and a third. The com∣fort will pay the trouble. The answer of a good Conscience is worth some serious thoughts, or else it is worth nothing.
THirdly, The Exhortation runs to * them that want it, Labour for up∣rightness: Buy this truth and sell it not. For the love of God be not hypocrites. Consider three things.
1. Uprightness is Amiable. 1. In the eye of God; you see that in 1 Chron. 29. 17. He hath pleasure in uprightness. You that displease him by your Infirmities, had need to please him by your Integrity; Cant. 4. 7. Thou art fair, my love, sayes Christ, there is no spot in thee. This makes you all fair in his eyes. All the beauty of Heaven and Earth doth not please God as an upright man: no creature like the New creature. And on the contrary, no sight so odious * to him as an hypocrite. He that counterfeits the Kings coyn, dyeth the same death with a Rebel. A lukewarm Christian makes Christs sto∣mach to rise, Rev. 3. 16. And
2. Uprightness is amiable to men. Where enmity to God hath not quite raz'd Page 159 out all reliques of Reason and Honesty, every man seems to be pleas'd with in∣tegrity; and will speak for such as they think in their Consciences mean and speak uprightly. Few would hurt us, if we could more sincerely be followers of that which is good. But an hypocrite is odious to all men, like those Proto-hypo∣crites, 1 Thes. 2. 15. They please not God, and are contrary to all men. He makes an ill choice that imbraces a course, that God and man are agreed to abhor.
2. Uprightness is Comfortable. A sound upright good Conscience, is a continual feast. In troubles, reproaches, sickness, death, no comfort like an upright heart. This will support the spirits, supply with new spirits the weather-beaten Christi∣an, and make him sing in prison, when his enemies shall tremble on the Throne. This gave the Apostle Paul that boldness before Princes, that he lived in all good Conscience. Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect to all thy righteous judgments. And on the contrary, a man hath no comfort from hypocrisie, none at all. What joy can a man have, when he knows his heart is rotten? What comfort in a velvet patch, when it only covers a filthy ulcer? What content, when Page 160 a man dare not commune with himself? he that is not welcome unto his own Conscience, can be merry no where in the world.
3. Uprightness is Necessary.
1. To every good duty here. Without it, Preaching is but a tinkling Cymbal, Prayer but as the howling of a Dog, Re∣ligious discourse but the prating of a Parrot. Nothing acceptable without it, Goats-hair a rich present with it. A sin∣cere sigh of him that joyns, more worth than the fained eloquence of him that makes the Prayer. The two mites of the good Widow, more valuable than the great sums cast in by Pharisees. Our duties are not numbred, but weighed; they are not measured by their length or breadth, but by their prosundity. If they be hearty, sincere, the right stamp upon them, they are current in Heaven, or else they are but the cutting off a dogs neck, the offering of swines flesh, and God abhors them.
2. Necessary to our eternal-Salvation hereafter, Psal. 24. 4. Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? He that hath clean hands and a pure heart. A man may go to Heaven without Parts, with∣out Riches, without Gifts, but there is Page 161 no coming there without uprightness; that is, the land of uprightness, it is there all in fashion. The great question at those Gates will be, Man, Woman, where's thy oyl? Though men may be deceived, God will not be mocked. He that sowes the wind, shall reap the, whirlwind. In the darkest corner of Hell there lye the hy∣pocrites. O the rage, horror and torment of an hypocrite in Hell! when his hope is like the giving up the Ghost. O the confu∣sion and shame that will cover him, when his fellow-Professors shall see him so un∣expectedly packt into Hell! And what brutish madness is it to make others be∣lieve, that thou art going towards Hea∣ven, and that while thou steal into Hell! O sinner, it is absolutely necessary to sal∣vation, that thou be upright. And there∣fore in the Name of God, inquire the means to obtain it, and set about them.—Well, will you faithfully use them? Then they are these.
I. STudy Humility, Hab. 2. 4. Behold*his soul which is lifted up, is not up∣right in him. Pride hath a great influ∣ence Page 162 into hypocrisie, and humility into uprightness. He that takes a pride in be∣ing counted Great or Good, no wonde•… that he will put on the vizard of more goodness than he hath. And on the other side, he that is content of an ordinary Re∣putation, will study to be sound, and not play the white Devil, to get applause. The humble man concludes, I am a very weak creature, and I am a very great sinner, and what care I for a golden name, and know I have but a leaden heart. Do but study the pure Law of God, and then study thy impure heart, and be proud if thou canst: where a truer heart than in Paul? yet he for his part is of Saints the least, of sinners the chief, although the Lord reckoned him greater than the greatest of the former, and less than the least of the latter. Humility and Integrity are born and dye together.
II. Be faithful in Self-examination. Psal. 77. 6. I communed with my heart, and my spirit made diligent search. And for this end, let your Consciences be heard; for the spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, to search the innermost parts of the belly. You think all's right, but when matters come to tryal you'l find all's naught. While the Sun is under the cloud, you Page 163 can see no motes in the room; but when its beams shine in, you may see thousands. How do young people live in the dark, and little feel or fear the plague that is upon them? but when once the light of saving knowledge, Self-knowledge breaks in, then Ephraim bemoans himself, and Paul cryes out, O wretched man that I am! For shame, live not so long strangers at home. If a man do not know himself, he knows nothing. Commune with your own hearts, and be still. You commune with God in religious Duties, you commune with men in your civil Callings, but when do you commune with your selves? Go to the Law, try your selves by every command. Luther going about this, and beginning at I am the Lord thy God, profess'd that he was so overwhelm'd thereby, that he could go no further. Alas! your Confi∣dence flows from your Ignorance; one saving sight of your woful state, would go far in your oure. O lose not your souls, for want of one serious thought.
III. Get an hatred to hypocrisie; and a love of uprightness: Behold them both in their own colours. Read Mat. 23. That glass will shew you the face of the one, and Psal. 119. will shew you the features of the other. If you would put the worst Page 164 badge in the world upon a man, you call him Hypocrite: if you would give any man the most advantageous title, you write him an honest man, an upright man. And when once you hate Hypocrisie, you will flee it: when once you really love up∣rightness, you'l take pains to procure it. Shall I yield to that my soul hates? dwell in an house that I abhor? Ile never do it. May so rare a Jewel as Sincerity be had, and shall I live without it? shall it be offered me and I deny it? No, what∣ever it cost me I will not live or dye an hypocrite. Shall I be a Dunghill covered with Snow? how odious shall I be, when my snow-white mantle will be stript off? Speak man of Reason; is Simulation love∣ly? Is Dissimulation amiable? Why wilt thou wear that ugly vizard? For a Name in this World, lose a Soul in another? For a Shadow of Religion, lose the Sub∣stance of Salvation? A serious hatred of Hypocrisie, is not only a means to con∣quer it, but is a conquest of it. A hearty love to integrity, is Integrity.
IV. Attend a searching Ministry, 1 Pet. 2. 2. Desire the sincere milk of the Word. He that would attain Sincerity, must desire Gods sincere Word. A searching Ministry will make a sound Professor; a plain Mi∣nister, Page 165 will make a plain Christian. Lay your naked heart under the naked truth of God, and let him write on that blank pa∣per, what he pleaseth. For the word of the Lord is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joynts and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts, and intents of the heart. Such a Sword rightly welded will cleave an hair, and give a man as little rest in formality, as in prophaness. The word of truth, is the way to create the grace of truth; the sincere word, a sincere heart. The babe draws spirits with the milk, and that nourishes. And in the word tru∣ly dispensed, the spirit is conveyed; and if the spirit of truth step in with the word of truth, then the work is done, Psal. 143. 10. Thy spirit is good, lead me into the land of Uprightness. This good spirit will take you by the hand, and not only shew you, but bring you into the land of up∣rightness. And go not so much to judge the Minister, as to be judged by the Sermon. Let the most of your severity be imployed upon your selves, and the largest of your charity upon the Preacher. The humble sincere hearer doth mostly go home with the benefit, when the censorious person Page 166 goes away with the talk. And remember this; that as it requires more grace to hear and profit by a weak or offensive Preacher, so a warm and serious spirit will infuse heat and vigour into the most cold general Sermon, if not into the Minister.
V. Be instant in prayer. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights. This is a good and perfect gift, O seek it from the Father of lights. The Matter of such a prayer pleaseth him, and the Me∣diator pleaseth him, and so nothing can frustrate it, but the Man or the Matter. Add faith and forveney, and the manner is sure. And then let not your suit fall for your own fault, nor lose a prayer for up. rightness, for want of an honest heart. Beg also the prayers of others: he may hear Job, that will not hear his friends. Pray and wrestle till this blessing come. O Lord, I have heard such a Character of uprightness, that I misdoubt my self, I seel much amiss, I fear all's amiss, I trem∣ble at my condition: I am a Christian by profession, but I am an hypocrite by na∣ture; thy word hath found me out, and I am lost. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right upright spirit within me.Page 167 And know that the God of Heaven will give grace more freely, than an earthly Father will bread. Good and upright is the Lord, therefore will he teach sinners in the way.
And thus you have the Means, and do you mean to use them? what are directi∣ons, if you will not be directed by them? O let not these words stand here to be your accusers, but your monitors; and re∣member that Practise is the End, the Crown of Preaching.
V. THe Fifth and last Use is for Con∣solation* to all upright ones. You are blessed men in the mouth both of Law and Gospel, Psal. 119. 1. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, that walk in the Law of the Lord. Mat. 5. 8. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. You may be crost by men, but you shall be blest by God: you may not see the desire of your hearts in this life, but you shall see God in life everlasting: you may live poor, but you shall dye rich. Prov. 19. 1. Better is the poor, that walketh in his inte∣grity; than he that is perverse in his lips, Page 168 and is a fool. He that's poor in his wealth, but rich in his integrity, hath coyn that will pass in the other world. Uprightness and Blessedness are insepara∣ble companions.
O but Sir, that's my fear, that my heart is rotten at the core, my wayes crooked; and your discourse hath in∣creas'd my doubts, that I fear I have not one dram of sincerity. And my fears are increas'd upon such grounds as these.
Doubt. 1. The Allegatiòns of Satan. See, saith he, thy rottenness after such a Duty, in such a temptation, thou hast but a shew: and these accusations he follows with fears and terrours in my spirit, that my soul is sometimes weary of my life.
Resol. 1. There are roots of hypocrisie in the sincerest heart; as of all other sins, so of this. That's remarkable, Luk. 12. 1. Jesus began to say to his Disciples first of all, take heed and beware of hypocrisie. Christs own Disciples were in danger of this leaven. All the stock below the grass is perfect Crab-tree. This you may grant with grief, and yet retain your in∣tegrity with comfort.
2 Satans Bills are void in Law, for he is the Accuser of the Brethren right or Page 169 wrong: he had a face to accuse upright Job, that had his Maker for his compur∣gator.* And then the accusation of a con∣demned person is no proof, in any Court of Record; yea his terrors may be your evidences, for he seldom or never troubles his own house: while his prisoners are quiet, he holds his peace; but when they are broken from him, he shakes his chain after them. But then hold up a crucified Christ before his very face, (with wor∣thy Gesner) and say, Huic offendi non tibi, vince hunc & me vinces; It's this Christ that I have offended, (thou fiend of Hell) I never sinn'd against thee; conquer him and then thou conquerest me.
Doubt. 2. The Censures of men: my *Friends whisper it, my Foes proclaim it, and the Minister meets me in every Ser∣mon. I may be partial to my self, but others will speak plain.
Resol. 1. The censures of others should make us more severe in trying our selves. To doubt of sincerity, is one thing; to try it, is another. When they charge the State of hypocrisie upon us, we should mourn for the Habits of hypocrisie in us; and bless God that their opinion for sub∣stance is not true; they do but say what you might have been. And when your Page 170 estate is question'd never so unjustly, 'tis a good way to pass a Fine upon it, and make it surer. And so you will be gain∣ers not losers by such surmises.
2. While your heart is right with God, heed not the censures of men. Who more upright than Job? yet hypocrisie was his charge, an hypocrite was his badge; so David, so our dear Lord Jesus himself. The malicious world will be sure (as was said) to charge those faults on you, where∣of there is no clearing in this life. Resolve with Paul, 1 Cor. 4. 3. But with me it is a very small thing, that I should be judged of you, or of mans judgment, but he that judgeth me is the Lord. We shall at last fall to an equal sentence, and till then we have reason to rejoyce, that we are coun∣ted worthy to suffer this reproach for his Names sake. Nazianzen saith, we must be dung'd with reproaches, that we may be more fruitful.
Doubt. 3. The cry of my own Consci∣ence: And if a mans heart condemn him, who can acquit him? this hath alwayes been my fear, and who can clear him that is condemn'd of himself?
Resol. 1. You must distinguish between Hypocrisie dwelling, and Hypocrisie reign∣ing: where it only dwells, it is as gr•…∣vel Page 171 in the shoe, as the mote in the eye, as the Souldier in his Quarters, you are weary of it, it makes you halt, you give it no rest, you are very sick of it: where it reigns you cannot indure to be touch'd or search•…d, and it orders your life and actions; your main design is, to cloak with God, and to cheat the world.
2. Conscience rightly inform'd may go far in this decision: But Conscience is not Regula regulans, but Regula regulata. Its like the Dial that must be set by the Sun of Gods word, and rightly deter∣mines only by vertue of that. And some∣times, such pangs and terrors overwhelm the Conscience, that then it is not a com∣petent Judge of the cause. If every man whose Conscience pricks him, were an hypocrite; God help the greatest part of Conscientious Christians!
Doubt 4. My sad Experience, 1. of my Dryness in secret Duties. I am better in the assembly, than in my family, better in my family, than in my closet, and there an upright man is best. He that is enlarged and enlivened with others, and straitned in his own bowels, cannot be upright.
Resol. 1. The more company we have in Ordinances, the more inlargement we may Page 172 expect, and yet upright withall. Our Savi∣our himself when he saw the multitudes, it opened his mouth, Mat. 5. 1. and we read but few such Sermons from him as that was: for besides, that the nume∣rousness and seriousness of others, is a rational means to quicken us that are a∣bout the same work; we may expect more of the manifestations of the Divine Presence, where the persons and graces of so many are, that are dear to God.
2. But yet every upright man will be seri∣ous and hearty in secret, and earnest withall. He would not be hired out of his secret devotions: and a little truth and zeal in a closet, is more than the larger expressi∣ons of them with a multitude; what is done in secret, provided you do it of choice and in Conscience to God, hath more genuine features of real integrity; than much more in publick, for that must needs proceed from the love of God and of his service.
O but 2. I have experience of Decayes in my soul, and no growth. The path of the just is like the shining light, that shines more and more to the perfect day. I •…eel my self rather worse every way, but not better.
Resol. 1. It is not easie to determine of spiritual growth or decayes; For its objectPage 173 is various: some grow more visibly in zeal, others in knowledge, others in sta∣bility, some more in the roots, some more in the bulk, some more in fruit. And then to discern growth, is a work of time: our progress in grace, is not so discernable as our entrance; for the change here is specifical, there only gradual; and the younger children are, the more is * their growth discerned.
2. A sensible sight of your decayes, is a true sign of growth; the clearer the sight, the less motes are discerned, when there * is joyn'd withall a grief for our defects. Descendendo ascendimus, we grow higher in Gods esteem, by growing lower in our own. Corruption doth not usually disco∣ver corruption; nor decayes, decayes. If therefore you find, that you hate sin as heartily, and can wisely prevent it, that you can be fully as serious and spiritual in your duties, as wise in reproofs, though perhaps not so frequent as heretofore; you have no just cause to charge your self with decayes, much less with dissembling in Religion.
Yea, but 3. I have experience of Incon∣stancy; my soul is in a perpetual Ague, one while burning hot, another while key-cold; unconstant in avoiding evil, and Page 174 more unconstant in the performance of what is good; and this is an hypocrites temper, and this is mine.
Resol. 1. A perfect setledness is not to be expected in this life. Our day will have a night; our Sunshine will have eclipses; suavis hora, brevis mora, hath been an old complaint. Grace that dwells in such a soul, a soul that dwells in such a body, a man that dwells among such variety of bu∣siness,* companies and temptations, can∣not escape much variableness and daily alterations. Though thou art upright in the way, yet thou art but in the way, viator not comprehensor. Heaven is the only state of invariable holiness and happiness.
2. The inconstancy of an hypocrite i•… about the choice of the end, about the very object of the soul; whether he shall chus•… Christ or Corruption, God or Mammon. The upright man is fully resolved in this, and his inconstancy is only in the use of means; not whether he should pray or not pray, meditate or no, but he hath not alwayes the same degree of love to them, heat and delight in them, and comfort from them. And this must be mourn'd for here, but can be cur'd only in Heaven.
Page 175 Doubt. 5. The Deceitfulness of the heare; this is so great, that after all my tryal I may be mistaken; there are lamps that may delude a man even to the gates of Heaven. And I am sure my heart is one of the worst of the kind, and so most like∣ly to deceive and be deceived.
Resol. 1. Though the Heart be deceitful in its self, yet it is discernable by the help of Gods spirit. Jer. 17. 10. I the Lord search the heart; and he can and will lead every diligent self-searcher into the darkest cor∣ners thereof. God and man together may find out it. Indeed a carnal careless eye sees it not, but he that would know him∣self, shall know himself. No man is de∣ceived herein, but he that is willing to be deceived.
2. Your holy jealousie as it is a good Sign of uprightness, so it is a good Antidote against hypocrisie. He that detects a cheat, is not then of his party; and he that knows he hath a Proteus to deal with, will be vigi∣lant over him. He that hates and bewails hypocrisie, and most in himself, will ne∣ver dye an hypocrite.
And therefore be of good comfort ye upright ones. Your matter shall stand, your tenure is good, notwithstanding the suits commenc'd against it. These shaking Page 176 fits do but confirm your health. The greatest tempest hurts not the tree that's well rooted, its roots will spread the more. The pinching trying Frosts streng∣then the sound man, and every thing doth good to him that is good and upright in his heart. However you may be reputed or used in this world, whatever condition concludes you here; yet in Life, in Death, in Judgment, and in Eternity, Integrity will be a Cordial.