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vanities of the world. Sometimes they will appear fo ferious in religion, that one would think they would never go back again to their finful courses; anon, they give themselves the fwing in their finful courfes, as they would never look back again to religion. Take head to this; waverers will never get up the hill to Zion: Jam. i. 6. 7. 8. "But let him afk in faith, nothing wavering, for he that wavereth is like a wave of the fea, driven with the wind and toffed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double-minded man is unftable in all his ways." Go ftraight forward in the Lord's way, as one that is refolute for God and his way: Prov. iv. 25. 26.27. "Let thine eyes look right on, and let thy eye-lids look ftraight before thee. Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. Turn not to the right hand nor to the left, remove thy foot from evil."--I obferve,
3. Unequal walking is fuch a walking: Prov. xxvi. 7. "The legs of the lame are not equal." 'The parts of the conversation of many answer no better than a long leg and a fhort one do. In the church they are faints, at home they are devils; in their profeffion they are fair, in their practice they are foul and falfe; in their words the world is nothing, but in their affection it is their all. Their practice is made up of contradictions. They agree not with themfelves, how can they with God? They pretend piety towards God, yet make no confcience of duty, mercy, and juftice towards man: Matth. xxiii. 23. "Woe to you, Scribes and Pharifces, hypocrites, for ye pay tithe of mint, anife, and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgement, mercy, and faith: These ought ye to have done, and not left the others undone." A wide confcience
fcience in fubftantials, and narrow in circumftantials of religion, is a conscience of a profane make. Beware of this; fee the emblem of these folk, Prov. xxvi. 23. "Burning lips, and a wicked heart, are like a potsherd covered with filver drofs." The potfherd will be broken in pieces at length. Labour to have your whole conversation of a piece, if ever you would fee heaven: James, iii. 10. "Out of the fame mouth proceedeth bleffing and curfing. My brethren, these things ought not to be fo."-I obferve,
4. Partial and divided walking is fuch a walking: Hof. x. 2. "Their heart is divided." They keep not with one mafter, but in fome things ferve the Lord, in other things their own lufts. They would make void the commands of God; fome they will comply with, others they will not regard. They will strain at a gnat in some things, and in others fwallow a camel. At a communion, or under a conviction, they fay, as in Deut. v. 27. "Speak thou unto us all that the Lord our God fhall speak unto thee, and we will hear it, and do it." But when it comes to a labouring in their work, they will refolve to do, but they cannot : Prov. xx. 4. "The fluggard will not plow, by reafon of the cold." They haye their particular idols of jealousy, which they can by no means part with. Beware of this; be univerfal in your refpect to God's commandments, otherwise you will be cloathed with fhame at length: Pfal. cxix. 6. "Then fhall. I not be ashamed, when I have a respect unto all thy commandments." The straight foul fays, as in ver. 128. "I efteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right, and I hate every falfe way."-I fhall now go on to fhew,
II. THE evil of this way of walking. I fhall fum up this in these four things.
1. It is a walking highly difhonourable and offenfive to God: Rev. iii 15. 16. "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot; I would thou wert cold or hot. So then, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth." How could an affectionate husband take it, to have his wife gadding after other lovers? And, O how difhonourable is it to God, that those who have given themselves away to him should be found hanging about the doors of the world, and their lufts! Friends' wounds pierce deepest; and therefore many do more difhonour God, and difgrace religion, by their uneven walk, their halting betwixt two opinions, than if they should go over entirely to the devil's fide in the world: Ezek. xx. 39. "As for you, 0 houfe of Ifrael! thus faith the Lord God, Go ye, serve ye every one his idols, but pollute ye my holy name no more with your gifts and with your idols."
2. It is a walking which is moft grievous and offenfive to the serious and godly. With what concern does Elijah complain of it here! They are a heavy burden in the fhip of the church of God; and the lighter they are in their fleeting and flowing, the heavier their cafe lies on ferious fouls: Pfal. lv. 12. 13. 14. "For it was not an enemy that reproached me, then I could have borne it; neither was it he that hated me, that did magnify himself against me, then I would have hid myself from him. But it was thou, a man, mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took fweet counsel together, and walked to the houfe of God in company." And no wonder, confidering that the name of God is blafphemed by reason of such
walkers; and they are the worst enemies religion has : Phil. iii. 18. «For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Chrift; whofe end is deftruction, whofe god is their belly, and who mind earthly things." When two armies are in the field, as is the cafe betwixt Chrift and the devil, abfolute deferters are dangerous; but fuch as remain in the camp, yet keep up a correfpondence with the enemy, are ftill more fo.
3. It is a walking which is hardening to the wicked: Prov. xxviii. 4. «They that forfake the law, praise the wicked." They betray the cause of religion to them, and open their mouths to blafpheme and reproach the way of God: Rom. ii. 23. 24. "Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonoureft thou God? For the name of God is blafphemed among the Gentiles, through you, as it is written." Do you think that your coming to a communion-table, your waiting on ordinances, public, private, or fecret, will ever commend the way of the Lord to onlookers, while you make not conscience of tender walking in the whole of your converfation, even in your natural and civil actions? Nay, truly, the finful liberty you take to yourselves, even as others, will make your religion loathfome to them. I have found fome have been restrained from the table of the Lord by observing the unsuitable walk of others after a communion; but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed.
Laftly, It is a walking which is ruining to one's own foul. The generation that wandered in the wilderness died there; and waverers betwixt the Lord and their idols fall into the mire at length: Hos. vi. 4. 5. “What shall I do unto thee, O Judah? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and
as the early dew, it goeth away. Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets, I have flain them by the words of my mouth; and my judgements are as the light that goeth forth." It is to thofe that are faithful unto the death only that the crown of life is promised, Rev. ii. 10. Ínstability in the good ways of the Lord vexeth the Holy Spirit ; whereupon he departs, then the foul withers, and is caft over the hedge at length. Many walk in a round betwixt their lufts and their duties while. they live; and when they go out of the world, they are just where they were when they came into it. As they were born in fin, fo they die in it, and fo tumble down into the pit.-I fhall now point out,
III. THE Causes of this unfteady walking, going from fide to fide betwixt the Lord and idols; together with the remedies.
1. The want of a right set of the heart at first, is one cause Pfal. lxxviii. 37. "For their heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfaft in his covenant." While these in the text had two opinions, and were not determined to one of them, they could not but halt betwixt the two. The heart that is never once freely separate from fin, so as to fee it to be an evil, and the greatest evil, and to hate it for itself, that is, for its contrariety to God's holy nature and law, will make at best but a halting profeffor. If the duties of religion be defireable to them for one reason, the enjoyment of their lufts is fo for another; and thus the heart being divided, the life is fo too.
In this cafe the remedy is, to come once freely away to the Lord Chrift, from all your lufts and idols: 2 Cor. vi. 17. " Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, faith the Lord,