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ness is now become almost the covering of all flesh; and in these days of light and knowledge, it is accounted by all, that are not downright atheists, a great shame not to seem to be religious. And when men, and families, and congregations, are gotten into this form, they think themselves both safe and happy, as being near the suburbs of the kingdom of God, and close neighbours to the saints. And this form of godliness, as it is of very easy compliance with flesh and blood, in this particular, in that according to this, men only make their actions new, retaining still their old natures; so it is also of great credit and esteem with carnal gospellers. But the spiritual man judgeth all things, and yet he himself is judged of no man: and he, being partaker of the power of God himself, can in some measure discern, both the presence and the want of it in others; both which he knows in his own experience.

Now this form of godliness is, when men are godly without God, and anointed without Christ, and regenerate, not having the Spirit; that is, when they have a semblance of holiness, but not the thing itself: a semblance of grace, retaining their old natures. And such Christians as these perform spiritual duties with natural strength, heavenly duties with earthly strength, the works of God with the power of men. In the religion of these men, there is the outward duty done, and it may be, very speciously and plausibly, but there is none of Christ nor the Spirit in the duty. There is their own working towards God, which is faint and faithless, and not God's own working in them towards himself, which is lively and mighty. And all the religious acts they do are only their own operations, and not the operations of God in them.

This form of godliness, how pleasing soever it be to a man's self, and of what reckoning soever with others who are like himself, yet is indeed of very evil and woful con

sequence; whether we regard the doings or sufferings unto which this form necessarily engages.

For first, when men, by occasion of this form, are called forth to do the great works of God, and yet are destitute of the power of God, their duties are above their strength, and their strength bears no proportion to their duties. And so, sooner or later, meeting with difficulties, they faint. and languish as a snail, their works being too high for their faculties. For nature being strained above its power, and offering at that which is beyond its abilities, by degrees grows weary, and returns to its old temper again; and he which sought that glory which was not his own, at last lies down in his own shame.

Again; the form of godliness exposes a man to those evils that are incident to the faithful because of godliness Now when a man hath the same evils with the faithful, and not the same power to support him under those evils; when men have the same evils in the flesh, but not the same power in the Spirit; the same burdens on their shoulders, but not the same everlasting arms underneath them; they fall sadly and desperately, to the great scandal of the ways of God.

However, if men be not called forth to such eminent doings and sufferings, and so escape such manifest discoveries and downfalls; yet the form of godliness hath this evil in it, that it brings a man only to the troublesome part of religion, but not to the comfortable; it engages a man in the same duties with the godly, but supplies him not with the same strength; it involves him in the same bitterness of flesh, but doth not furnish him with the same joy of spirit. For as such a man's religion doth not reach above flesh and blood, no more doth his strength and comforts. And so he performs duties at a low rate; yea, and his bare and empty form casts a black veil upon religion, and utterly obscures its beauty and glory, and makes the

world judge meanly of it, and to think it a matter only of singularity and humour, and not of power. Whereas, when a Christian walks in the strength of the Spirit, doing and suffering the will of God, beyond all strength and abilities of flesh and blood, the world oftentimes wonders and gazes at him, and many are provoked to "glorify God, who hath given such power to men."

For this power of godliness, among other things, hath these three advantages: (1.) It makes a man do every duty strongly and mightily. And whatever might take a man off from duty, or distract and disturb him in it, all falls to nothing before this power. There is that strength in each duty, performed by the power of the anointing, which declares it to be the operation of God himself in man, and nothing else but the very power of God, that is, Jesus Christ himself, in action in us.

(2.) It makes a man inflexible in the ways of God, that he shall neither turn to the right hand nor to the left, but take straight steps towards the mark set before him. No fears, nor favours, nor frowns, nor flatteries, nor temptations, nor insinuations, nor designs of others, nor ends of his own, can turn him aside. He carries such strength in his spirit, as he can never be bended; and so far forth as he partakes of the power of God, he is as unmoveable and unchangeable as God himself.

(3.) It makes a man invincible by all evils and enemies because all the power against him is but the power of the creature, but the power in him is the power of God. And the power of God easily overcomes the mightiest power of the creature, but is never overcome by it. And if this power in a Christian should be prevailed against, God himself, who is that power, should be conquered; which is impossible.

To conclude the power of godliness is the doer of every duty in God's kingdom, the subduer of every sin, the

conqueror of each tribulation and temptation, the life of every performance, the glory of each grace, the beauty of a Christian's life, the stability of his conversation, the lustre of his religion, his great honour and excellency, both in doing and suffering; yea, it is the very glory of God himself in the church of God: for by faith the Lord arises on us, and by this power of godliness his glory is seen upon us.

These considerations, RIGHT HONOURABLE, moved me to discourse of the power of the Holy Spirit coming on all Christians, ministers, and people. And besides the importunity of some other friends, your HONOUR's earnest desires of these notes hath especially prevailed with me to publish them. Not that I am worthy to publish any thing, but that the truth of God is worthy to be published, be the instrument never so mean and unworthy. And although I well know the doubtful success of such undertakings as these, yet in this matter I am not at all careful; being most willing to be bound up in one condition with the truth of God, and to have with it the same common friends and enemies. Besides, if Christ dwell in my heart by faith, I carry in my bosom already my reward; out of whom, I neither regard praise or dispraise, good or evil.

Now I was bold to prefix your HONOUR's name to these notes, because your desire of them hath made them yours; and also your many noble favours are a strong and continual engagement for me to serve you, according to what God hath made me. Especially, I remember your extraordinary compassion and bowels towards me in the day of my deepest distress, when my soul drew near to the pit, and the shadow of death sat upon my eyelids, and I had not the least drop of comfort, either from earth or heaven: Your HONOUR then shewed me the kindness of the Lord, and encompassed me both with your pity and goodness, though then, through bitterness of spirit, I tasted it not.

Wherefore, when I remember the wonderful goodness of God to me, after so great sorrow and darkness, I cannot forget that part of his goodness, which he was pleased to administer to me by your HONOUR's hands: and the remembrance of this, causes me to pray that God would double the same goodness on you; and that he would pour forth upon MY LORD, your HONOUR, your noble offspring and family, this power of the Holy Spirit here treated of; which shall render you a thousand times more precious and excellent before God and his saints, than all worldly honour and nobility whatsoever. And by this means shall religion shine in your family in its native beauty and lustre; and the kingdom of God, which stands not in word, but in power, shall appear in its bright glory among you, till the kingdom of the Son first fit you, and then deliver you up to the kingdom of the Father, and God be all in all immediately.

Which is the earnest prayer of
Your most humble and faithful Servant,


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