Baxter - BV4831 84 F3 1830

116 OUR TITLE TO [Chap. S. them the hook and line, or fright them away with a noise, or with his own appearance. Therefore he labors to keep them from a searching ministry; or to keep the minister from helping them to search, or to take off the edge of the word, that it may not pierce and divide; or to turn away their thoughts; or to possess them with prejudice. Satan knows when the minister has provided a searching sermon, fitted to the state and necessity of a hearer; and therefore he will keep him away that day, if it be possible; or cast him into a sleep ; or steal away the word by the cares and talk of the world ; or some way prevent its operation. Another great hinderance to self-examination arises from wicked men. Their examples ; their merry company and discourse; their continually insisting on worldly concerns ; their raillery and scoffs at godly persons; also their per- suasions, allurements, and threats,, are each of them ex- ceedingly great temptations to security. God doth scarcely ever open the eyes of a poor sinner, to see that his way is wrong, but presently there is a multitude of Satan's apos- tles ready to deceive and settle him again in the quiet pos- session of his former master. " What !" say they, " do you make a doubt of your salvation, who have lived so well, and done nobody any harm? God is merciful; and if such as you shall not be saved, God help a great many! What do you think of all your forefathers ? And what will be- come of all your friends and neighbors that live as you do ? Will they all be damned ? Come, come, if you hearken to these preachers, they will drive you out of your wits. Are not all men sinners ? and did not Christ die to save sinners ? Never trouble your head with these thoughts, and you shall do well." 0, howmany thousands have such charms kept asleep in deceit and security, till death and hell have awa- kened them ! The Lord calls to the sinner, and tells him, " The gate is strait, the way is narrow, and few find it; try and examine; give diligence to make sure." The world cries, " Never doubt, never trouble yourselves with these thoughts." In this strait, sinner, consider, it is Christ, and not your forefathers, or neighbors, or friends, that must judge you at last; and, if Christ condemn you, these can- not save you; therefore common reason may tell you, that it is not from the words of ignorant men, but from the word of God, you must fetch your hopes of salvation. When