The previous post from this 17th century devotional may be found here
Upon a Counterfeit Piece of Coin
What physicians say of some disease, they are most dangerous which imitate and come nearest unto health, may be applied fitly to adulterous and spurious coins: that the greater resemblance and likeness they have to the true and genuine, the more pernicious and destructive they are to the public, wasting though insensibly not only private estates but the common treasury and riches of a nation.
And therefore, falsifying of coin, which bears the image or arms of the prince (as the general warrant to ratify the goodness of it), has been made a crime of the same complexion with the highest attempt or act done against his person; the same capital punishment being inflicted upon him that is food guilt of the one as is upon him that is guilty of the other.
What can be one more to deter any from such practices then the loss of name, estate, life, in a ghastly and ignominious death? And yet, these severities, which should be as boundaries at the foot of the mountain to keep all from offending (Exodus 19:21-25) are insufficient to restrain the many who love gain, and the hope of secrecy do embolden to run a sad hazard that thy may enjoy the sweet.
Secrecy in sinning, though in some respect it extenuates the sin, as making it less sandals and less contagious, yet it is a powerful attractive to include to the commission of sin.
Joseph’ mistress (Genesis 39:11) was most vehement in her soliciting of him to folly when none of the men of the house were within. The Harlot of Probers mades that as her plea to the young man to harken unto her, That the good man is not at home, he is gone a long journey, he hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come at the day appointed. (Prov. 7: 19-20)
It is that which put an edge upon the covetousness of Achan, to take the goodly Babylonian garment, the two hundred shekels of silver, and the wedge of gold, that he could not do without the privity [knowledge] of any, so that none could charge him with the breach of that strict command which God had given of not taking the accursed thing least they make themselves accursed the camp of Israel accursed and trouble it. [Judges 7:10-26]
But how far more presumptuous are they who adulterate not the coins of princes but the truths of God and stamp his names on their inventions, to give a credit and value to them. Have such workers of iniquity any darkness and shallow of death where they may hide themselves? Do they think that though Kings cannot discover those oft times that violate the dignities of the crown, that they also can escape the knowledge of the Most High? Or is not he as jealous of his Word, which has magnified above all his Name as they are of every piece that carries their image and inscription upon it? Has he not declared himself to be against those that prophecy the deceits of their own heart (Jeremiah 14:14) and use their tongues and say, The Lord says.
Yea, has he not denounced the most dreadful curses against all embalmers or clips of his heavenly coin? To the one he threatens that all the plagues that are written in the Book of Truth (Rev. 22:18); and for the other, he shall take away his part in the book Book of Life, out of the Holy City, and from the things that are written in the Book of God (Rev. 22:19). Who can read such a sentence and not tremble at the thought of it?
And yet though God (as Bernard speaks) A wise exchanger will not take mont that is broken or false; though we cannot mock him, as one man mocks another, how many do take a liberty to mint doctrines and tenet that have only the semblance not the purity and substance of Divine Truth? And upon these they set the Name of God, that they may more easily deceive the incautious
As Pompey built a theater with the title of “temple”, and Apollinaris the Heretic School with the Title of Orthodox: What prevalence such arts in this kind have had, I would [give as an example] the defections of many particular persons, yea of churches [does] abundantly witness. Was not the whole church of Galatia soon removed from him that had called them into the Grace of Christ unto another Gospel (Gal. 1:6). By their false teachers blending the necessity of circumcision with the Gospel and the works of faith. And did no the Corinthians comply more readily with the false apostle than with Paul? Ye suffer [permit it] if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take you, if a man exalt himself, if a man do smite you on the face. 2 Cor. 11:20.
It is the temper and disposition of most to be far more circumspect and jealous of the concernments of their estate than of their faith; and to use both the scale and the test to find out false and light coins, when in matters of faith, the question is seldom made, “Whose image and superscription do they bear?” (Mark 12:16) It is enough if they please fancy or else have the allowance of such whom them have in admiration. Can I then do less than bemoan the slightness and indifference of Christians about the Truth which is the only deposit that God has concredited [deposited with] to the Saints? And awaken both myself and others to buy the truth at any rate, but to sell it or debase it at no rate?
Rob but God once of his truth, and what riches of glory do you leave him? Is not he the God of Truth, and are not you witnesses, chosen by himself, to give testimony unto it? And can you dishonor him more than to make him like the Father of Lies (John 8:44), while you either spread the infection of error to others, or receive it from others into your own bosom? Bethink therefore yourselves, you who deliver the oracles of God, that you be not as lying vanities of the heathen which deceived those that repaired [went] uno them. What comfort can you ever have in departing form the form of sound words (2 Tim. 1:13) and speaking in affected and swelling words which are one of Satan’s lures to seduce into errors?
Who can understand behems greeming of the inward root, or the canting of the familists, of being Godded with God or Christed with Christ? And be you wise, O Christians, in the differencing of such impure gibberish from the holy dialect of the Spirit. Let not such arts, which serve only as the light of the fowler in the night, first to amaze the birds and then to bring them into the net, ensure and captivate you. Keep untainted from errors. The doctrines of the faith that you profess, that you profess, which will be your glory; and the duties that you perform to god from hypocrisy which will be your comfort. Let not your intercourse with heaven be in such services that are only guided with words of piety, which make them specious to men, and wholly destitute of sincerity, which can alone commend you to God.
Would it not be a piece of inexcusable folly for any to heap up a mass of counterfeit coin and then to value himself worth thousands? And is it not far great for men to think that they have laid much treasure in heaven (Matt. 6:20), and rich toward God by prayers that they have made and other services they have done, which will all be found dross and not gold and will produce no return [rather than] the increase of a sore condemnation? O the thoughts are dreadful to think how many will be found poor, miserable, and naked Laodiceans, who comfortably presume that they are rich and increased with goods and have need of nothing (Rev. 3:17).
I cannot therefore but pray,
Lord help me to buy of thee the God tried in the fire
and to get such grace into my heart
that I may never be amongst the number of those who are justly hated by men for hypocrites in the world
and condemned by God for hypocrites in the other world.