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And this is no fmall difadvantage which a man that hath only the form of religion lies under, that in effect he lofeth all the pleasure and fatisfaction of religion; or if he fancy any hope or comfort to himself, it is built upon a falfe foundation, which, when it is tried, will endure no fhock. This is the comparison our Saviour ufeth in this very cafe, Matth. vii. 26. 27. Every one that heareth thefe fayings of mine, and doth them not, (here is a form of godliness without the power of it) fhall be likened to a foolish man, which built his houfe upon the fand; and the rain defcended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it. But real and fubftantial religion is like a house built upon a rock, which no tempeft can overthrow. Righteousness, faith Solomon, Prov. x. 25. is an everlasting foundation; it is a continual fpring of joy and peace. There is a certain unfpeakable contentment and delight arifing from a good confcience, and from the fincere difcharge of our duty, which a hypocrite is a stranger to, and is never admitted to the taste of. Now what an uncomfortable thing is this, for a man to take the pains to feem to be religious, and yet to lose the real pleasure of religion!

III. The great end of all, of being religious, is the faving of our fouls. And this end a mere form of religion will certainly mifs of. No external garb of religion will gain a man admission into heaven; there is no getting in there in mafquerade, no prayers will then avail, tho' never fo fervent and importunate. Many fhall fay in that day, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and yet he will bid them depart from him. Tho' we had heard Chrift himself preach, and had received the bleffed facrament with him, yet this will not avail. So our Saviour tells us, Luke xiii. 26. Then fhall they begin to Jay, we have eaten and drunken in thy prefence, and thou. haft taught in our streets, and yet he will fay unto them, I know not whence you are. It is not a pretence to infpiration, no, though it were juftified by miraculous gifts, that will then ftand us in ftead. Many fall fay in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophefied in thy name, and in thy name have caft out devils, and in thy name have done many wonderous works? And yet these shall


be rejected. Why, what should be the reafon of all this Teverity? Our Saviour gives us a plain account of it; because they were workers of iniquity. Under all these several masks of religion, they were wicked in their lives.

It is not an orthodox faith, and the belief of all the articles of Chriftianity, that will fave a man, without the works of a good life, Jam. ii. 14. What doth it profit a man, my brethren, tho' a man fay that he hath faith, and hath not works? Can faith fave him? thou believest there is one God; thou doft well; the devils believe this too, but they are not fo vain as to hope to be faved by this faith; no, they know the contrary, and that makes them fear and tremble. Know then, O vain man, that faith without works is dead. Thou believeft in one Lord Jefus Chrift, that came down from heaven to fave us, that was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the virgin Mary, and became man that he might bring us to God; that fuffered and died for our fins, and rofe again for our juftification, and is afcended into heaven, and fitteth at the right hand of God the Father almighty, and from thence he hall come again at the end of the world, to judge the quick and the dead; thou doft well to believe this but if thou do not live accordingly, what will become of thee, when the Son of God fhall come to judge the world? then the great enquiry will be, how we have lived? what good we have done? So our Saviour represents the proceedings of that great day. I was hungry, and ye gave me no meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink; naked, and ye clothed me not; fick and in prifon, and ye vifited me not: therefore, depart, ye curfed, into everlasting fire. So that it feems here the bufinefs will stick, upon the good and bad actions of mens lives, and accordingly fentence fhall be pronounced upon them. For God will render to every man according to his works; to them that by patient continuance in welldoing feek for glory, and honour, and immortality, eternal life but to thofe that obey not the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish upon every foul of man that doth evil, of the Jew first, and alfo of the Gentile: but glory and honour, and peace to every man that worketh good; to the Jew first, and also C 2


to the Gentile for not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law fhall be justified. Still you fee that it is to the patient continuance in well-doing, to the obeying of the truth, to the working of righteouf nefs, that eternal life is promifed: and the wrath of God is threatened to them that obey unrighteousness, to every foul of man that doth evil. To the Jew firft. Why fo? Because he had great advantage of coming to the knowledge of the truth, which is so much the greater aggravation of his wicked life, and makes his fentence fo much the heavier.

Indeed it fhall be to men at the day of judgment likewife according to their faith, in a certain fenfe, that is, according to the doctrine of the gofpel which they profefs to believe, according to what our Saviour and his Apoftles have taught, that the workers of iniquity fhall depart from him, that without holiness no man fhall fee the Lord; and if we live after the flesh we shall die; that no whoremonger, nor adulterer, nor covetous, nor unrighteous perfon, fhall have any inheritance in the kingdom of God, and of Chrift. This we profefs to believe, and according to thefe declarations God will proceed with men at the great day. And he that believes this, and yet goes on in an impiety and wickedness of life, tho' his faith will not juftify him, yet God will juftify his faith, and make it good, when he fhall judge the world in righteoufness.

Thus you fee plainly, that a form of godliness, without the power, is infignificant to all the great ends and purpofes of religion; nay, he that takes up in a form, does not only lofe the advantages of religion, but he hath two great difadvantages by it.

I. He hath the trouble of making a fhew of religion, without the real benefit of it.

II. He incurs a heavier fentence upon this very ac


But thefe, with the application, I fhall refer to the next opportunity.




of godliness.


Of the form, and the power

2 TIM. iii. 5.

Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.


The third fermon on this text.

Come now to fhew, that he that takes upon him a form of religion, without the power of it, doth not only fofe all the confiderable advantages of religion, but he hath two great disadvantages by it.

I. He hath the trouble of making a fhew and appearance of religion, without the real benefit of it.

II. He incurs a heavier fentence upon this account, that he hath a form of religion, and yet is deftitute of the power of it.


1. He hath the trouble of making a fhew and appearance of religion, without the real benefits of it. And it is no fmall trouble to perfonate and act a part well, it requires great art and attention, great guard and caution. That which men are prompted to by an inward principle, is natural and eafy, it is done with pleasure and delight; but whatever is artificial and counterfeit, is ftiff and forced. Nemo fictam perfonam diu fuftinere poteft, no man can diffemble always," one time or other he will be furprized, and forget himself, and let his mask fall. A form of religion is a dry unpleafant thing, and a continual burden to him that affumes it, and the more outwardly ftrict and holy he is, he is the more inwardly guilty; his confcience never ftings and galls him more, than when he is playing the hypocrite with God and men: whereas a truly good man, when he employs himfelf in acts of religion, or juftice, or charity, he doth it naturally, and bath a mighty fatisfaction of mind in the doing of it, and if he were permitted to

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make his own choice, he would not do otherwife; but a hypocrite puts a force upon himself all the while, and acts against his nature and inclinations, every thing that he does in religion goes against the grain, and becaufe it is unnatural must be uneafy; his outward converfation and demeanour is fet, and in a frame; he does not move as he would, but as he muft; and the secret propenfions of his nature are under a continual restraint.

He hath indeed one advantage by his artificial garb, that he can more fecurely over-reach and defraud others by a fhew of godlinefs, while men are not aware of his diffimulation. But this commonly does not last long, and only ferves a man for a few turns: and when it is discovered, the man is loft, and no-body will trust him. But fuppofe he could ferve himself of religion this way for fome confiderable time, where is the advantage? It amounts to no more than this, that the man hath the opportunity of being a greater finner, of making himfelf more miferable, and treafuring up to himself more wrath against the day of wrath. So that he pays dear for all this in the end and iffue, as well as in the way. He fpends many a tedious hour in the fervice of God, and the exercife of religion; more it may be than many do, who fave their fouls, and get to heaven. For as to the external part of religion, a hypocrite must do all that which a truly religious man does; he must frequent the church, and make as much fhew of devotion as the beft; nay, it may be he prays more, and fafts oftner, and is more bufy, and keeps a greater ftir in the outward part of religion, than the fincere Chriftian; for being confcious to himself of his own hollownefs and infincerity in religion, he thinks himself obliged outwardly to over-act it in unfeafonable and fuperftitious obfervances, and in all other arts of affected devotion; and when he goes abroad into the world, he is forced to lay great retraints upon himself, and to be continually gathering. his cloak about him, as being afraid left any body should fpy what is under it. So much more troublefome it is for any man to feem to be religious, than to be fo indeed.

II. A mere form of religion does, upon fome accounts, bring a man under a heavier fentence, than if he


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