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world of his honesty. .. It cannot be spoken, how peevishly witty the heart of man is this way. Neither doubt 1, but this wiliness is some of the poison, that the subtle serpent infected us with in that fatal morsel. They were three cunning shifts, which the Scripture recordeth of three women; as that sex hath been ever noted for more sudden pregnancy of wit; Rachel, Rahab, and the good wife of Bahurim: the first, hiding the teraphirn with a modest seat; the second, the spies with Hax-stalks; and the third, David's scouts with corn spread over the well: but these are nothing, to the devices, that nature hath wont to use, for the cloaking of sin. God made man upright, saith Solomon, but he sought many inventions. Is Adam challenged for siu? behold, all on the sudden, it is passed from his hand, to God's; The woman, that thou gavest me. Is Saul challenged for a covetous and disobedient reniissness? the sin is straight passed from the field to the altar; I saved the fattest for a sacrifice to the Lord thy God. So the one begins his sin in God, and the other ends it in him. Is David bewitched with lust to abuse the wife? the husband must be sent home drunk to hide it; or, if not that, to his long home, in a pretended favour of his valour. 'Is a griping Usurer disposed to put his money together to breed a monster? he hath a thousand quirks to cozen both law and conscience. Is a Simoniacal Patron disposed to make a good match of his people's souls ? it shall be no bargain, but a gift: he hath a living to give; but a horse to sell. And sure I think, in this wise age of the world, Usurers and Simonists strive who shall find the wittiest way to hell. What should I speak of the secret frauds in contracts, booties in matches, subornation of instruments, hiring of oaths, feeing of officers, equivocations of answers, and ten thousand other tricks that the heart of man hath devised for the conveyances of sin; in all which, it too well approves itself incomparably deceitful ?
(2.) The False Semblance of the heart is yet worse: for the former is most-what for the smothering of evil; this, is for the justifying of evil, or the disgrace of good.
In these two doth this act of falsehood chiefly consist; in making evil good, or good evil.
For the first: the natural man kuows well how filthy all his brood is; and therefore will not let them come forth, but disguised with the colours and dresses of good. So as now every one of nature's birds is a swan: pride is handsomeness; desperate fury, valour: lavishness is noble munificence; drunkenness, civility: Hattery, compliment; murderous revenge, justice: the courtesan is bona fæmina ; the sorcerer, a wise man; the oppressor, a good husband: Absalom will go pay his vows; Herod will worship the Babe.
For the second: such is the envy of nature, that, where she sees a better face than her own, she is ready to scratch it, or cast dirt in it; and therefore, knowing that all virtue hath a native beauty in it, she labours to deform it by the foulest imputations. Would the Ísraelites be devout? they are idle: doth David dance for joy. before the ark? he is a fool in a Morris: doth St. Paul discourse of
his heavenly vision? too much learning hath made him mad: do the Disciples miraculously speak all the tongues of Babel ? they are full of new wine: do they preach Christ's Kingdom? they a: € seditious; the resurrection they are babblers: is a man conscionable? he is a hypocrite; is he conformable? he is unconscionable; is he plain dealing? he is rudely uncivil; is he wisely insinuative? he is a flatterer. In short, such is the wicked craft of the heart, that it would let us see nothing in its own form: but fain would shew us evil fair, that we might be enamoured of it; and virtue ugly, that we might abhor it.
And, as it doth for the way, so doth it for the end; hiding from us the glory of heaven that is laid up for overcomers, and shewing us nothing but the pleasant closure of wickedness; making us believe that hell is a palace and heaven a dungeon, that so we might be in love with death.
And thus, both in Cunning Conveyance and False Semblance, The heart of man is deceitful above all ihings.
2. Ye have seen the Fashion of this deceit; cast now your eyes upon the SUBJECT. And whom, doth it then deceive? It doth deceive others; it can deceive itself; it would deceive Satan; yea, God himself.
Others, first. How many do we take for honest and sound Christians, who yet are but errant hypocrites! These apes of Satan have learned to transform themselves into angels of light. The heart bids the eyes look upward to heaven, when they are full of adultery: it bids the hands to raise up themselves towards their Maker, when they are full of blood: it bids the tongue wag holily, when there is nothing in the bosom but atheous profaneness: it bids the knee to bow like a camel, when the heart is stiff as an elephant: yea, if need be, it can bid a tear fall from the eye, or an alms or just action fall from the hand; and all to gull the world with a good opinion. In all which, false chapmen and horsecoursers do not more ordinarily deceive their buyers in shops and fairs, than we do one another in our conversation.
Yea, so crafty is the heart, that it can deceive itself: by ovet. weening his own powers, as the proud man; by under-valuing his graces, as the modest; by mistaking his estate, as the ignorant. How many hearts do thus grossly beguile themselves! The first thinks he is rich and fine, when he is beggarly and naked; so did the angel of Laodicea: the second is poor in his own spirit, when he is rich of God's Spirit: the third thinks that he is a great fa. vourite of heaven, when he is rather branded for an outcast; that he is truly noble, when he is a slave to that, which is baser than the worst of God's creatures, sin. Let the proud and ignorant worldling therefore know, that, though others may mock him with applauses, yet, that all the world cannot make him so much a fool as his own heart.
Yea, so cunning is the heart, that it thinks to go beyond the Devil himself. “ I can," thinks it, “swallow his bait, and yet avoid his hook: I can sin, and live: I can repent of sinning, and defeat my punishment by repenting: I can run upon the scorė, and take up the sweet and rich commodities of sinful pleasure; and, when I have done, I can put myself under the protection of a Saviour, and escape the arrest.” Oh, the world of souls that perish by this fraud; fondly beguiling themselves, while they would beguile the Tempter.
Yet higher: Lastly, as Satan went about to deceive the Son of God; so this foolisl consort and client of his goes about to deceive God himself. The first pair of hearts that ever was were thus credulous; to think they should now meet with a means of knowledge and deifying, which God either knew not of or grudged thein; and therefore they would be stealing it out of the side of the apple, without God, yea, against him. Tush, none eye shall see us : Is there knowledge in the Most High, saith the sottish atheist? Lord, hare not we heard thee preach in our streets ? hare not we cast out devils in thy name? says the smoothing hypocrite; as if he could fetch God over for an admission into heaven. Thou hast not -lied to man, but to God, saith St. Peter to Ananias. And pettish Jonah, after he had been cooled in the beily of the whale and the sea, yet will be bearing God down in an argument to the justifying of his idle choler; 1 do well to be angry to the death. But as the greatest politicians are oft overtaken with the grossest follies, (God owes proud wits a shame, the heart of man could not possibly devise how so much to befool itself, as by this wicked presumption: Oye fools, when will ye understand? ile that formed the eye, shall he not see? He that teachelh man knowledge, shall not he understand? The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity; Psalm xciv8–11. A rod for the back of fools, yea a rod of iron for such presumptuous fools, to crush thein in pieces like a poiter's vessel.
3. Ye have seen the Fashion and the Subject of this deceit: the SEQUEL, or EFFECT follows; every way lamentable.
For hence it comes to pass, that many a one hath had his heart in keeping forty, fifty, threescore years, and more, and yet is not acquainted with it; and all becanse this crafi hath kept it at the Priscillianist's lock, Tu omnes, te nemo. It aflects to be a searcher of all men : no man is allowed to come aboard of it. And, if a man, whether out of curiosity or conscience, be desirous to enquire into it, (as it is a shame for a man to be a stranger at home; know ye not your own heart? saith the Apostle;) it casts itself, ProteusYike, into so many forms, that it is very hard to apprehend it. One while the man bath no heart, a mes, saith Solomon: then he hath 250 as, a heart and a heart, saith David; Psalm xii. 2. and one of his hearts contradicts another; and then how knows he whether to believe? and what certainty, what safety can it be, for a man to live unacquainted with himself?
Of this unacquaintance, secondly, arises a dangerous misprision of a man's self; in the nature and quantity of his sin; in the quality of his repentance; in his peace and entireness with God; in his right to heaven'; and, in a word, in bis whole spiritual estate.
Of this misprision, thirdly, arises a fearful disappointment of all his hopes, and a plunging into unavoidable torments : wherein it is miserable to see, how cunningly the traitorous hearts of many men bear them in hand all their lives long; soothing them in all their courses; promising them success in all their ways; securing them from fear of evils; assuring them of the favour of God and possession of heaven, (as some fond bigot would brag of lis Bull, or Medal, or Agnus Dei; or, as those priests, that Gerson * taxes, who made the people believe that the Mass was good for the eyesight, for the maw, for bodily health, and preservation) till they come to their death-beds : but then, when they come to call forth the comforters they must trust to, they find them like to some unfaithful captain, that hath all the while in garrison filled his purse with dead pays, and made up the number of his companies with borrowed men; and, in time of ease, shewed fair; but, when he is called forth by a sudden alarum, bewrays his shame and weakness, and fails his general when he hath most need of him: right thus do the perlidious hearts of many, afier all the glorious brags of their security, on the bed of their last reckoning, find nothing but a cold despair, and a woeful horror of conscience; and, therefore too justly may their hearts say to them, as the heart of Apollodorus the tyrant seemed to say unto him, who dreamed one night that he was Hayed by the Scythians and boiled in a caldron, and that his heart spake to him out of the kettle, έγω σοι τέτων αιτία, “ It is I that have drawn thee to all this.” Certainly, never man was, or shall be frying in hell; but cries out of his own heart, and accuses that deceitful piece as guilty of all his torments : for, let Satan be never so malicious, and all the world never so parasitical, yet if his own heart had been true to him, none of these could have hurt himn. Let the rest of our enemies do their worst, only from the evil of our own hearts, good Lord deliver us. III. It were now time for our thoughts to dwell a little upon
the meditation and deploration of our own danger and misery, who are every way so environed with subtlety. If we look at Satan; his old title is, that old serpent; who must needs therefore now, by so long time and experience, be both more old and more serpent. If we look at Sin, it is as crafty as he; Lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin: if at our own Hearts, we hear (that which we may feel) that the heart is deceitful above all things. Owretched men that we are, how are we beset with Impostors on all hands! if it were more seasonable for us to bewail our estate, than to seek the redress of it. But since it is not so much worth our labour, to know how deep the pit is into which we are fallen, as how to come out of it, hear rather, I beseech you, for a CONCLUSION, how we may avoid the danger of the deceit of our false heart: even just so as we would prevent the nimble feats of some cheating juggler; Search him, Watch him, Trust him not.
* Qui publicè volunt dogmatizare seu prædicare populo, quòd si quis audit missam in illo die non erit cucus, nec morietur morte subitanea, nec carebit suffuienti sustentatione, &c.
1. Look well into his hands, pockets, boxes, sleeves; yea, under his very tongue itself. There is no fraud so secret, but may be descried. Were our hearts as crafty as the Devil himself, they may be found out: We are not ignorant, saith St. Paul, of Satan's devices, vońjumtu QUTZ: much more then may we know our own. Were the hearts of men, as Solomon speaks of kings, like unto deep waters, they have a bottom, and may be fathomed. Were they as dark as hell itself, and never so full of windings, and blind ways, and obscure turnings, do but take the lanthorn of God's Law in your hand, and you shall easily find all the false and foul corners of them: as David saith of the sun, nothing is hid from the light thereof. Prove yourselves, saith the Apostle. It is hard, if falsehood be so constant to itself, that by many questions it be not tripped. Where this duty is slackened, it is no wonder if the heart be over-run with spiritual fraud. Often privy searches scare away vagrant and disorderly persons: where no enquiry is made, is a fit harbour for them. If ye would not have your hearts, therefore, become the lawless Ordinaries of unclean spirits, search them oft : leave not a straw unshaken, to find out these Labanish Teraphims, that are stolen, and hid within us. And, when we have searched our best, if we fear there are yet some unknown evils lurking within us, as the man after God's own heart prays against secret sins, let us call him in that cannot be deceived; and
say God, with the Psalmist, Search thou me, O Lord, and try me. Oh, let us yield ourselves over to be ransacked by that all-seeing eye, and effectual hand of the Almighty. All our daubing, and cogging, and packing, and shuffling lies open before him; and he only can make the heart ashamed of itself.
2. And, when our hearts are once stripped naked and carefully searched, let our eyes be ever fisedly bent upon
their conveyances and inclinations. If we search, and watch not, we may be safe for the present; long we cannot: for our eye is no sooner off, than the heart is busy in some practice of falsehood. It is well if it forbear while we look on; for, The thoughts of man's heart are only evil continually; and many a heart is like some bold and cunning thief, that looks a man in the face, and cuts his purse.
But surely, if there be any guardian of the soul, it is the eye: The wise man's eye, saith Solomon, is in his head; doubtless, on purpose to look into his heart: My son, above all keepings, keep thy heart, saith he. If we do not dodge our hearts then in all our ways; but suffer ourselves to lose the sight of them, they run wild; and we shall not recover them, till afier many slippery tricks on their parts, and much repentance on ours. Alas, how little is this regarded in the world! wherein the most take no keep of their souls, but suffer themselves to run after the ways of their own hearts, without observation, without controlment. What should I say
of these men, but that they would fain be deceived and perish? For,