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excite expectations, and when the time of fulfilment is come, it turns out that they meant nothing. Such is the state of things in society. The arm of brutal force being tied up by law, men endeavor to satisfy their greedy appetites by practising deceits.

2. There are other things in the world that deceive, but not intentionally: such as riches, and pleasure and honor. They never promise any thing; but we will have it that they do, · We will give them a name, which though they

disown, we obstinately persist in giving; and we continue calling them by their wrong -names, and reasoning from fictitious premises, till finding ourselves mistaken in the end, we call them deceivers. In this sense riches deceive. We imagine that riches will do every thing for us; and fancy that he that has wealth equal to his wishes, is in want of nothing. Yet riches can take to themselves wings and fly away, and leave their possessor with more wants than at first, and less ability to supply them. Or if they remain with him, it is seldom seen that he is happier than before, if so much so. Our desires multiply with the means of gratifying them; so that the rich man does not so much taste new pleasures, as provide for new wants.

3. There are some things that deceive us, which are neither in their nature fallacious, nor such as we wish to be deceived about things in which we are mistaken through the defectiveness of our judgment: for instance,

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The Providence of God. We expect that he will act in some particular way, not considering that he may have ends in view which are entirely unconnected with us, or with any thing that we have heard about. So we often find that He acts quite otherwise than we expected, and we are in consequence deceived. From the same source, namely, the imperfection of our knowledge, arise those frequent disappointments which we meet with in our projects. Our unwieldy schemes in the course of time come to nothing, because with all our sagacity we know nothing of the future. Hence also we form erroneous opinions of others. We have thought highly of some, whom we now know we are deceived in. We have condemned others, whom time has proved to be upright persons and our best friends. So liable are we to be imposed upon by appearances! But let all outward things deceive us in what form, or to what extent they may, a man's own heart outdoes them all in duplicity. The principal engine of deceit is dissimulation; the art of practising upon others, and yet keeping our purposes concealed.

4. Now the heart is one of the things the least known among men.

God has given them some account of it, and they profess to believe the word of God without reservation; but they hesitate to give their assent to all that is said against the heart. The course of things in the world corroborates the divine testimony concerning our depravity. Wicked

ness generally prevails. General wickedness can be only the aggregate of the wickedness of each individual; and each individual crime must be owing to something within him. Thus legitimate reasoning conducts us to the heart. Yet men will not admit the conclusion though they acknowledge the premises: except indeed, they can do it without implicating themselves. Thus it is often remarked that such a man must have a bad heart that could act in such a way; but they will not allow that their own bad actions must be owing to some evil in their hearts.

As men in general are ignorant of their depravity, so each man is blind to his own particular failings; that is, to a particular propensity of the heart which seems its most prominent feature, and characterizes the man. Other men can see when we are covetous, but we cannot see it ourselves. Sometimes however we do believe what men say of us, and that is, when they flatter us. At such times the heart succeeds so completely in hiding our defects from us, that we can believe any thing that is said in our praise. There is reason to think that each man is naturally sunk into such a depth of absurdity as to believe, after comparing himself with others, and making allowances for the disadvantages attending his situation and circumstances, that the overplus of merit rests solely with himself. It is humiliating to find what a deficiency of self-knowledge there is in others, who, of all men in the world, ought


to know themselves best; those whom God, by his Grace, hath called to knowledge and virtue. This self-deception appears in many of our habits and opinions. We judge one another always uncharitably; often unmercifully. Looking to the right-hand and to the left of the Church of God, we observe how foolish is this, and how wrong is that: not considering, that what others do, they may do to the Lord, as well as we who leave it undone; and, that what they leave undone, they do it so to the Lord, as well as we who do it. We are not now speaking of the sin of judging; but rather of the deceitfulness of the heart, in not letting us see the sinfulness of a sensorious temper. We acknowledge that we must not judge, lest we be judged: yet we are always doing it. Why? because the thing is so evidently wrong; rather let me add, because we are so abominably proud. There is a secret belief that though it would be wrong in others to judge, we are privileged to do so, from our knowledge and general correctness. The heart is never more deceitful than in the report it gives of our progress in Christian virtues. It tells us we have zeal, which zeal is often no other than bitterness, and ill temper. We are violent against the misconduct of others; not because they have sinned against God, but because they trouble, and interfere with ourselves. We are zealous for Christ, and the spread of his Gospel; but cannot rejoice if the work be not done by ourselves and friends; nay, are often

so wicked as to wish the work may not be done at all, if it cannot be done in our own way. Now if our zeal is of this nature, it is evidently pure worldliness. It is possible, nay, it is very easy for our religious attachments to become in time so confined, that we shall seek the good of those of our own communion, with no higher motive than men seek to aggrandize their families and connexions; and consequently, without any exercise of grace at all

: yet our hearts will be telling us all the while that we are zealous for God.

We often think we have love, when we have none. If ye love them that love you, what thank have you? If we can love those only who think with us, we do no more than every worldly man does. All friendships are formed in this way. Similarity of sentiments in politics, literature, brings men together-leaves no room for dissention—and is a reciprocal acknowledgment of each other's discernment. But Christian love is quite another thing. It needs not the impulse of selfish motives, but feels the attractive influence of the object. It cares not where that object exists. If there be

any thing truly lovely in persons, who even despise and ill treat us, we shall love it in spite of all

, we shall open our way to the pearl, in spite of the tenacity of the shell. ' If this be love, how little of it exists! yet all lay claim to it; they must therefore deceive themselves.

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