Mans nature, being contrary to holiness, hath an aversion to any act of homage to God, because holiness must at least be pretended. In every duty wherein we have a communion with God, holiness is requisite: now, as men are against the truth of holiness, because it is unsuitable to them, so they are not friends to those duties which require it and for some space divert them from the thoughts of their beloved lusts. The word of the Lord is a yoke, prayer a drudgery, obedience a strange element. We are like fish, that drink up iniquity like water, and come not to the bank without the force of an angle; no more willing to do service for God, than a fish is of itself to do service for man.
What though the polite man count thy fashion a little odd, and too precise; it is because he knows nothing above that model of goodness which he hath set himself, and therefore approves of nothing beyond it: he knows not God, and therefore doth not discern and esteem what is most like Him. When courtiers come down into the country, the common home-bred people possibly think their habit strange; but they care not for thatit is the fashion at court. What need, then, that Christians should be so tender-foreheaded as to be put out of countenance because the world looks upon holiness as a singularity? It is the only fashion in the highest court, yea, of the King of kings himself.
It is of things heavenly an universal declaration, working in them whose hearts God inspireth with the due consideration thereof, an habit or disposition of mind whereby they are made fit vessels both for the receipt and delivery of whatsoever spiritual perfection.
As God sometimes addresses himself in this manner to the hearts of men, so if the heart will receive such motions by a ready compliance they will return more frequently, and still more and more powerfully.