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SERM. of spite and rage, of misery and torment.

I.

Heb. xi. 6.

It depriveth each man of all hope from Providence, all comfort and support in affliction, of all satisfaction in conscience; of all the good things which faith doth yield.

The consideration of which numberless and unspeakable mischiefs hath engaged statesmen in every commonwealth to support some kind of faith, as needful to the maintenance of public order, of traffick, of peace among men.

It would suffice to persuade an infidel, that hath a scrap of wit, (for his own interest, safety, and pleasure,) to cherish faith in others, and wish all men beside himself endued with it.

It in reason obligeth all men to detest atheistical supplanters of faith, as desperate enemies to mankind, enemies to government, destructive of common society; especially considering that of all religions that ever were, or can be, the Christian doth most conduce to the benefit of public society; enjoining all virtues useful to preserve it in a quiet and flourishing state, teaching loyalty under pain of damnation.

I pass by, that without faith no man can please God; that infidelity doth expose men to his wrath and severest vengeance; that it depriveth of all joy and happiness; seeing infidels will not grant such effects to follow their sin, but will reject the supposition of them as precarious and fictitious.

To conclude therefore the point, it is, from what we have said, sufficiently manifest, that infidelity is a very sinful distemper, as being in its nature so bad, being the daughter of so bad causes, the sister of so bad adjuncts, the mother of so bad effects.

I.

But this you will say is an improper subject: for SERM. is there any such thing as infidelity in Christendom? are we not all Christians, all believers, all baptized into the faith, and professors of it? do we not every day repeat the Creed, or at least say Amen thereto ? do we not partake of the holy mysteries, sealing this profession? what do you take us for? for pagans ? this is a subject to be treated of in Turkey, or in partibus infidelium. This may be said: but if we consider better, we shall find ground more than enough for such discourse; and that infidelity hath a larger territory than we suppose: for (to pass over the swarms of atheistical apostates, which so openly abound, denying or questioning our religion) many infidels do lurk under the mask of Christian profession. It is not the name of Christian, or the badges of our religion, that make a Christian; no more than a cowl doth make a monk, or the beard a philosopher: there may be a creed in the mouth, where there is no faith in the heart, and a cross impressed on the forehead of an infidel; with the heart man Rom. x. 8. believeth to righteousness. Shew me thy faith by Jam. ii. 18. thy works, saith St. James: if no works be shewed, no faith is to be granted; as where no fruit, there no root, or a dead root, which in effect and moral esteem is none at all.

Is he not an infidel, who denieth God? such a renegado is every one that liveth profanely, as St. Paul Tit. i. 16. telleth us. And have we not many such renegadoes? if not, what meaneth that monstrous dissoluteness of life, that horrid profaneness of discourse, that strange neglect of God's service, a desolation of God's law? Where such luxury, such lewdness, such avarice, such uncharitableness, such universal car

SERM. nality doth reign, can faith be there? can a man I. believe there is a God, and so affront him? can he believe that Christ reigneth in heaven, and so despise his laws? can a man believe a judgment to come, and so little regard his life; a heaven, and so little seek it; a hell, and so little shun it ?-Faith therefore is not so rife, infidelity is more common than we may take it to be; every sin hath a spice of it, some sins smell rankly of it.

To it are attributed all the rebellions of the Israelites, which are the types of all Christian professors, who seem travellers in this earthly wilderness toward the heavenly Canaan; and to it all the enormities of sin and overflowings of iniquity may be ascribed.

I should proceed to urge the precept, that we take heed thereof; but the time will not allow me to do it: I shall only suggest to your meditation the heads of things.

It is infidelity, that maketh men covetous, uncharitable, discontent, pusillanimous, impatient.

Because men believe not Providence, therefore they do so greedily scrape and hoard.

They do not believe any reward for charity, therefore they will part with nothing.

They do not hope for succour from God, therefore are they discontent and impatient.

They have nothing to raise their spirits, therefore are they abject.

Infidelity did cause the Devil's apostasy.

Infidelity did banish man from paradise, (trusting to the Devil, and distrusting God's word.)

Infidelity (disregarding the warnings and threats of God) did bring the deluge on the world.

I.

Infidelity did keep the Israelites from entering SERM. into Canaan, the type of heaven; as the apostle to the Hebrews doth insist.

Infidelity indeed is the root of all sin; for did men heartily believe the promises to obedience, and the threats to disobedience, they could hardly be so unreasonable as to forfeit the one, or incur the other: did they believe that the omnipotent, all-wise, most just and severe God, did command and require such a practice, they could hardly dare to omit or transgress.

Let it therefore suffice to have declared the evil of infidelity, which alone is sufficient inducement to avoid it.

Heb.iii. 19.

iv. 6, &c.

SERMON II.

OF THE VIRTUE AND REASONABLENESS OF
FAITH.

SERM.
II.

2 PET. i. 1.

-to them that have obtained like precious faith with us.

THE

holy scripture recommendeth faith (that is, a hearty and firm persuasion concerning the principal doctrines of our religion, from divine revelation 1 Pet. i. 7. taught by our Lord and his apostles) as a most precious and honourable practice; as a virtue of the Heb. xi. 6. first magnitude, very commendable in itself, very acJohn xvi. ceptable to God, very beneficial to us; having most excellent fruits growing from it, most noble privileges annexed to it, most ample rewards assigned for it.

27.

It is in a special manner commanded, and obedience to that command is reckoned a prime instance 1 John iii. of piety: This is his commandment, that we should believe; this is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

23.

John vi. 29.

Heb. xi. 6.

It is the root of our spiritual life; for, He that 2 Pet. i. 5. cometh to God must believe; and, Add to your faith virtue, saith St. Peter, supposing faith to precede other virtues.

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