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and deceitfulness. If they love God's true character, they will love him under all circumstances. If they love Christ's true character they will love him under all circumstances. If they love heaven for its holiness they will love it under all circumstances. But if they do not love these objects on account of their intrinsic excellence, they will love them in one situation and hate them in another; which will prove that they have not the love of God in them, and are entirely destitute of any holy affections.

2. We learn from what has been said, that saints may more easily ascertain their true character, than sinners can theirs. Though both have the same rule, by which to try their own hearts, and both are able to apply it ; yet sinners are unwilling to apply it : and it is their unwillingness to apply it, that renders it so very difficult for them to know the truth respecting their hearts. But this difficulty is in a degree removed from saints. They sincerely desire to know their own hearts; and they are willing to take the only proper way to discover their true character. They pray God to search and try them; and they are, in some measure, willing to search and try themselves, by impartially inquiring why they think they love God and cordially embrace the gospel ; and as they are conscious of both right and wrong affections, they are much more capable of discerning the difference between holy and unholy, or between selfish and disinterested exercises of heart. They know what it is to love God for what he is in himself, and what it is to love him merely for his favors. Of course, they are able to compare their right with their wrong affections and to discover the essential difference between them. Abraham knew

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the difference between loving God for what he is in himself and loving him merely for his favors. Moses knew the difference between loving God for what he is in himself and loving him merely for his favors.--And Job knew the difference between loving God for what he is in himself and loving him merely for his favors. Accordingly, these good men stood the test of change of circumstances. They loved God as really when he frowned, as when he smiled, when he removed, as when he bestowed favors. They knew why they loved God and why God loved them. But sinners have only selfish affections and know not by ex. perience, the difference between selfish and disinterested affections. And when their selfish affections put on the appearance of disinterested affections, they are deceived through the deceitfulness of sin. are under no natural necessity of being deceived. They know enough in speculation, to distinguish selfishness from benevolence. If they are deceived, they are deceived through their own fault and because they choose to deceive themselves. It is a deceived heart, which has turned them aside, that they cannot deliver their soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand ?

3. It appears from what has been said, that all the changes, that mankind meet with in the course of life, are trials of the heart. Their circumstances are continually changing from evil to good, from adversity to prosperity and from prosperity to adversity. And ev. ery change they experience is a trial of the heart. All will allow, that a change from prosperity to adversity, is a trial; and a change from great prosperity to great adversity, is a great trial. But a change from adversity to prosperity, is as real a trial, as a change from pros


perity to adversity; and a change from great adversity to great prosperity, is a great trial. The reason, why such changes are trials, is because they have a natural tendency to draw forth the affections of the heart, whether they are holy or unholy, friendly or unfriendly to God, who is concerned in every change that takes place. Prosperity is as great a trial of the heart as adversity. Mankind are as naturally disposed to abuse the smiles, as the frowns of divine providence.They much oftener do overlook and disregard the hand of God in his favors, than in his frowns. God means to try men's hearts, by all the changes which he causes them to experience. God meant to try Pharoah's heart, by inflicting and removing judgments; and it is worthy of remark, that the respite he gave him between removing and inflicting judgments, had the greatest tendency to harden his heart.

God meant to try Abraham, by giving and threatening to take away

his beloved son Isaac. God meant to try Job, both by changing his circumstances from prosperity to adversity, and from adversity to prosperity again. These changes, in respect to these men, produced the effects designed. The changes, which Pharoah experienced, tried his heart and proved it to be deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, because it changed with every change of circumstances. The changes, which Abraham and Job experienced tried their hearts and proved them to be right with God, because they remained the same under entirely different circumstances.--All changes try men's hearts, because they prove whether they love God because he is good, or only because he is good to them ; and whether they love their fellow men because they are friends to God, or only


because they are friends to them. In a word, all changes in men's circumstances, whether great or small, whether from prosperity to adversity, or from adversity to prosperity, try their hearts and give them opportunity every day to know whether they are in a state of nature or in a state of grace.

4. It appears from the wickedness and deceitfulness of the human heart, that it is not strange that religious apostacy has prevailed so much in the world. Apostacy from the true religion soon began after the apostacy of Adam. The first instance was in his family.--Cain was an apostate from the true religion. It continued to spread and prevail from that time until the earth was filled with error and violence. After the true religion was revived by the second father of mankind, all the branches of his family soon fell into idolatry, except Abraham. Though the true religion was preferred in his family, yet some branches of it apostatized and symbolized with an idolatrous world. Notwithstanding the strong bulwarks God placed around his people in Judea ; yet they were perpetually apostatizing, until ten tribes at once forsook the true God and true religion and gave themselves up to the grossest errors and delusions. While the apostles were living, the mystery of iniquity began to work and many individual professors of christianity made shipwreck of their faith and turned apostates. Soon after, whole churches apostatized and openly professed and maintained idolatry. And ever since that day, men have been apostatizing from christianity to Mahometanism, arianism, socinianism, unitarianism, deism, and scepticism. So long as the hearts of men are deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, there can be no dependance upon the mere professioni of the true religion. A mere change of circumstances may lead them to apostatize from the doctrines, the duties and the belief of the true religion. Any errors are more agreeable to the natural heart, than the doctrines and spirit of true religion. It is not strange that men are so easily seduced to apostatize ; for all seducers are of the world and speak of the world and therefore the world heareth them. It is not strange that there are so many apostacies in our churches, at the present day. Many of them have been composed of those, who never experienced a change of heart, nor professed to experience such a change ; and all such professors are prepared to apostatize, when apostate teachers creep in among them. The apostle, speaking of apostates, represents them as acting according to their nature. “ It had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his vomit again ; and the sow, that was washed, to her wallowing in the mire.” The heart that is desperately and incurably evil, will lead men to pursue

evil to their own death. 5. It appears from what has been said, that those are unwise, who trust in their own hearts. Solomon does not hesitate to pronounce him a fool, who trusts in his own heart. Since the hearts of men are so extremely wicked and deceitful, they must be extremely unwise to trust them ; especially since they have so often been deceived by them. But though they have found their hearts to be wicked and deceitful above all

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