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M E D I TA TI ON S.

December 19, 1686.

I. Upon the scandalous Lives of many Ministers. I

Have always look'd on such Men, who have

taken upon them this Sacred Function, and thereby not only oblig'd themselves to a good Life, but also taken upon themselves the Care of a Mulcitude of others Souls, of which they must give a strict Account at the great Day to be the most despicable and miserable of Mankind, when they do not only neglect the Care of those committed to them, but by their Excefs in Drinking, or their careless, loofe, and pleasureable Conversation, prove the greatest Temptation to all under their Charge and Conduct; nay, and to all others, that observe them; and do more encourage them in their Sins by their ill Example, yea, perhaps by one single Instance of Debauchery, than they can dissuade them from thein by all those long Harangues and Discourses from the Word of God, which from the Pulpit they make unto them. for there is scarce any Man of so dull Apprehension, but will reason thus: If this Man believed himself in what he preaches to us, if he really believed that there is such a great Reward for the Godly, and Punishment for the Wicked in another World; and that the Word of God requires such Strictness and constant Carefulness in the keeping its Commands, to be sure he would be more temperate in Drink, and more exact and careful of his Conversation, and not live as the rest of the careless World do, who

scarce

come: And

scarce believe any Thing in earnest of a World to

And then perhaps he thinks he has Reason to conclude, that in reality he does not believe what he declares to them, but preaches only for a Livelihood, as other Persons follow their Trades to get a Subsistance. Oh how fad will the Account be one Day for such Pastors, who instead of being an Example to their Flocks, of Sobriety, Con. tempt of the Pleasures, Riches, and Honours of the World, Heavenly-mindedness, Self-denial, and all other Christian Virtues, shall be found to be one great Occasion of their eternal Ruin and Destruction! When even their very Tythes and Maintenance, which was appointed for the Use of Perfons to take care of the People's Souls, shall rise up in Judgment against such as received them, but never took care to discharge that Duty which such plentiful Provisions requir'd at their Hands!

O Bleffed God, if thou pleaseft to lengthen out my Life, and to call me to serve thee in the Ministery, to which my Father has devoted me, I humbly beseech thee, to make me sensible of the Weight of the Charge I undertake, and careful and conscientious in the Discharge of the fame ; and especially that I may by my good Example constantly edify and instruct my Flock, and do my utmoft diligence both to save myself and them that hear me ; Through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Amen.

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February 6, 1686.
II Of the Neglext of the Sabbatb [or Lord's-

Day. ]
Think 'tis a true Observation of some, that 'tis
I

one of the first Fruits or Signs of a Person's Conversion, to be careful in a strict Obfervation of the Lord's-Day, or Christian Sabbath;

and then, by the Rule of Contraries, it must be a sign of a careless and profane Temper to disregard and Night the same: Which, alas! is too common even among the Learned themselves, who seem too much to have lost the Sense of their Duty as to the keeping Holy this Day; and is, methinks, one of the worst Presages and Forebodings of some future Judgment impendent on this Land. The eminent Judge Hales observes that he had long taken special Notice that, according to his Seriousness or Carelesness on the Sabbath, so on the Week following his temporal Concerns did prosper or not; God immediately rewarding his Care of keeping Holy the Sabbath, by the prosperous Success of his Affairs the Week following; as you may see in his Directions to his Children about the Sabbath. And surely when we by Experience find the well spending of that Day to be so beneficial to our Souls, too apt to be clogg'd and taken up by the Business, and Cares, and Pleasures, of this World; unless we set apart

some Times on Purpose, wherein, withdrawing ourselves from the World, we may have Leisure and Opportunity to take Care of our Souls, and prepare for another World : And when we find God had ordain'd one Day in seven for his immediate Service, even

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immediately after the Creation, which Command was never, I suppose, abrogated, but only changed, inasmuch as the Resurrection of our Saviour was such a signal Mercy as made the Apostles think fit, (I suppose by the Direction of the Spirit of God,) to alter the Jewish Sabbath to the Christians Lord'sDay, that we might in particular remember the Resurrection of Christ, as they did the Creation of the World ; I say when we find it both a Duty and an exceeding Benefit, it may juftly seem a Wonder that it should be so publickly and openly profan’d, even when the Laws of the Land are so good and severe as to the Observance of it: And, if not repented of, I much fear God will by some Judgment (perhaps Fire) revenge himself on a sinful and disobedient People. For certainly the Sanctification of this Day cannot consist with that carnal Ease, Mirth, and Rejoicing, which on this Day is now grown too common among us.

[N. B. When I wrote this, I was not appriz'd that the Sabbath was never changed : But was ever to be observed in a lesser Degree, as the Lord's-Day in a greater, by all Christians. ]

March 6, 1686 7. III. Of the Temptations of the Devil. LTHO' there is no Question but wicked

Men do oft, to excuse themselves, lay the Fault of their evil Deeds to the Charge of the Evil one ; when it is the Naughtiness of their own Hearts, which love and practise Sin, that is the real Cause of such Actions; yet it cannot, I think, in reason

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be denied, but the Devil has a great and secret Hand, especially in some Sort of Temptations, and often does suggest such suspicious Objections, and oftentimes blasphemous, horrid, and strange Apprehensions to the Mind, as are hardly so accountable any other Way: For they are often, especially in melancholy Persons, fo contrary to the constant Sentiments and Belief of a Man's Mind, and so contrary and abhorrent from the settled Temper and Inclination of a Perfon, yea not seldom so black and dismal, so odious and ugly, and the Mind is so fill'd with fad Terror and Amazement at the Consideration of them: That they seem to own their Original from nothing fo fitly, as from that roaring Lion that goes about seeking whom he may devour. To this Source and Fountain may well be referr'd those atheistical, unbelieving, diftruftful, despairing Suggestions, which too many by woful Experience have felt in themselves. Hither also

many

of those idle, vain, distracting and wandering Thoughts, which are so often caft into the Soul, when it is about the great Duties of Religion, and come in without any other apparent Cause, directly.contrary to the Desire and Purpose of the Person, which it ought to be our great Carę to avoid. Neither perhaps can we so well refer the extreme Wickedness, Debauchery, Profaneness, Perjury, and other the saddest Instances of the depraved Nature of Man, which appear so visibly in the World, contrary to all the Dictates of sober Reason, Counsel, and Interest itself, to the Defilement and Pollution of human Nature (which yet is very great) as to the violent Temptations

of

may be referr'd

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