AN ALARME TO Unconverted Sinners, In a Serious TREATISE, SHEWING

  • I. What Conversion is not, and cor­recting some Mistakes about it.
  • II. What Conversion is, and wherein it consisteth.
  • III. The Necessity of Conversion.
  • IV. The Marks of the Unconverted.
  • V. The Miseries of the Unconverted.
  • VI. Directions for Conversion.
  • VII. Motives to Conversion.

Whereunto are annexed divers Practical Cases of Conscience Judiciously Resolved. By Ioseph Alleine late Preacher of the Gospel at Taunton in Somerset-shire.

LONDON, Printed by E. T. and R. H. and are to sold by Nevil Simmons at the Princes Arms in St. Pauls-Church-yard. 1672.

To all the Ignorant, Carnal, and Un­godly, who are Lovers of pleasures more than God, and seek this world more than the Life Everlasting, and live after the Flesh, and not after the Spirit; These Calls and Counsels are directed in hope of their Conversion to God, and of their Salvation.

‘He that hath an ear to hear let him hear.’
Miserable Souls.

THere is that Life and Light and Love in every true Be­liever, but especially in every Faithful Minister of Christ, which engageth them to long and labour for your Sal­vation. Life is communicative and active. It maketh us sensible that Faith is not a fantasie, nor true Religion a stage-play, nor our hopes of eternal happiness a dream. And as we desire nothing more for our selves, than to have more of the Holy Life which we [Page] have, alas! in so small a measure, so what is it that we should more desire for others? With the eye of an infallible (though too weak) faith, we see the Heaven which you neglect, and the blessed souls in Glory with Christ, whose companions you might be for ever: we see the multitudes of souls in hell, who came thither by the same way that you are going in: who are shut out of the glorious presence of God, and are now among those devils that deceived them, remembring that they had their good things here, Luke 16. 25. and how they spent the day of their visitation, and how light they once set by God, by Christ, by Heaven, by Mercy, whilest Mercy was an earnest solicitour for their hearts: And with our bodily eyes we see at the same time, abundance of poor sinners living about us, as if there were no God, no Christ, no Heaven, no Hell, no Judgment, no nor Death to be expected; as if a man were but a master beast, to rule the rest, and feed upon them, and perish with them. And if it were your own case, to see what souls do in Heaven and Hell, and at once to see how unbelievingly, carelesly and senselesly most men live on earth, as if [Page] there were no such difference in another world, would it not seem a pitiful sight to you? If you had once seen the five brethren of Dives on earth, eating, drinking, laughing and merry, clothed and faring daily with the best, and at the same time seen their brothers soul in Hell, begging in vain for a little ease, and wishing in vain that one from the dead might go warn his brethren that they come not to that place of torment, would it not seem to you a pitiful sight? would not pity have made you think, [Is there no way to open these Gentlemens eyes? No way to acquaint them what is be­come of their brother, and where Lazarus is, and whither they themselves are going? No one driveth or forceth them to Hell: and will they go thither of themselves? and is there no way to stop them or keep them back?] Did you but see your selves what we see by faith (believing God) and at once beheld the Saints in Heaven, the lost despairing souls in Hell, and the senseless sensual sinners on earth, that yet will lay none of this to heart, sure it would make you wonder at the stupi­dity of mankind. Would you not say, O what a deciver is the Devil that can thus lead on souls to their own dam­nation? [Page] O what a cheater is this transi­tory world, that can make men so for­get the world where they must live for ever! O what an enemy is this flesh, that thus draweth down mens souls from God! O what a besotting thing is sin that turneth a reasonable soul into worse than a beast! What a Bedlam is this wicked world, when thousands are so busily labouring to undo themselves and others, and gratifying the Devil, a­gainst the God and Saviour, who would give them everlasting blessed life.

And as we have such a sight as this by Faith to make us pity you, so have we so much tast of the goodness of God, the sweetness of his wayes, and the happiness of believers, as must needs make us wish that you had but once tryed the same delights, which would turn the plea­sures of sin into detestation. God know­eth that we desire nothing more for our selves, than the Perfection and Eternity of this holiness and happiness which we believe and tast. And should we not de­sire the same for you?

And being thus moved with necessary pitty, we ask of God, what he would have us to do for your salvation. And he hath told us in Scripture, that the [Page] preaching of his Gospel, to acquaint you plainly with the truth, and earnestly and frequently intreat you to turn from the flesh and world to God by Jesus Christ, is the means with which his grace is ready to concurr for your salvation, when obstinate resistance causeth not the Holy Spirit to forsake the sinner and leave him to himself, to follow his own Counsels, Lusts and Wills.

In this hope we undertook the Sacred Ministry, and gave up our selves to this great and most important work: in the great sense of our unworthiness, but yet in the sense of your souls necessity. We were not such fools at our first setting out, as not to know it must be a life of labour, self-denial and patience, and the devil would do his worst to hinder us, and that all sorts of his instruments would be ready to serve him against our labours, and against your souls. Christ our Captain saved us by patient Conquest, and so must we save our selves and you: and so must you save your selves under Christ, if ever you be saved. It was no strange thing to Paul that bonds and afflictions did every where abide him, nor did he account his life dear that he might finish his course with [Page] joy, and the Ministry committed to him by the Lord. Act. 20. 23, 24. It was no strange thing to him to be forbidden to preach to the Gentiles that they might be saved, by such as were filling up the mea­sure of their sins, and were under Gods uttermost wrath on earth. 1 Thess. 2. 15. 16. Devils and Pharisees, and most where they came, both high and low, were against the Apostles preaching of the Gospel, and yet they would not sacrilegiously and cruelly break their Covenant with Christ, and perfidiously desert the souls of men; even as their Lord for the love of souls, did call Pe­ter Satan, that would have tempted him to save his life and flesh, instead of making it a sacrifice for our sins. Mat. 16. 23.

What think you should move us to undertake a calling so contrary to our fleshly ease and interests? Do we not know the way of Ease and Honour, of Wealth and Pleasures as well as others? And have we not flesh as well as o­thers? Could we not be content that the cup of reproach and scorn and slan­der and poverty and labours, might pass from us, if it were not for the will of God and your salvation? Why should [Page] we love to be the lowest, and trodden down by malignant pride, and counted as the filth of the world and the off­scouring of all things, and represented to Rulers whom we honour, as schisma­ticks, disobedient, turbulent, unruly, by every Church-usurper, whom we re­fuse to make a God of? Why give we not over this preaching of the Gospel, at the will of Satan, that is for the ever­lasting suffering of your souls, under the pretense of making us suffer? Is not all this that you may be converted and saved? If we be herein besides our selves, it is for you. Could the words of the ignorant or proud, have per­swaded us, that either your wants and dangers are so inconsiderable, or your other supplies and helps so sufficient, that our labours had been unnecessary to you, God knoweth we should have readily obeyed the silencing sort of Pa­stors, and have betaken us to some other land, where our service had been more necessary. Let shame be that hypocrites reward who taketh not the saving of souls, and the pleasing of God, for a suffi­cient reward, without Ecclesiastical Di­gnities, preferments, or wordly wealth.

I have told you our motives: I have [Page] told you our business and the terms of our undertaking. It is God and you sinners that next must tell us what our entertainment and success shall be. Shall it be still neglect, and unthankful con­tempt, and turning away your ear and heart, and saying, we have somewhat else to mind? Will you still be cheat­ed by this deceiving world? and spend all your daies in pampering your guts, and providing for that flesh that must lie rotting very shortly in a grave? Were you made for no better work than this? May not we bring you to some sober thoughts of your condition, nor one hour seriously to think whither you are going? What! not to one awakened look into the world where you must be for ever? Nor one heart-raising thought of the everlasting Glory? Not one heart-piercing thought of all your Saviours love, nor one tear for all your sinful lives? O God forbid: Let not our labour be so despised. Let not your God, your Saviour and your souls be set so light by. O let there be no pro­fane person among you like Esau, who for one morsel sold his birth-right.

Poor sinners! We talk not to you as on a stage, in customary words, and [Page] because that talking thus is our trade. We are in as good earnest with you, as if we saw you all murdering your selves, and we are perswading you to save your lives. Can any man be in jest with you who believeth God? who by faith foreseeth whither you are going, and what you lose, and where the game of sin will end? It is little better to jest with you now in Pulpit or in pri­vate, than to stand jesting over your departing souls, when at death you are breathing out your last.

Alas, with shame and grief we do confess, that we never speak to you of these things as their truth and weight deserve, nor with the skill and wisdom, the affection and fervency which be­seemeth men engaged in the saving of poor souls. But yet you may perceive that we are in good sadness with you. (For God is so.) What else do we stu­dy for, labour for, suffer for, live for? Why else do we so much trouble our selves, and trouble you with all this a­do, and anger them that would have had us silent? For my own part, I will make my free confession to you to my shame; that I never grow co [...]d and dull and pittiless to the souls of others, till I [Page] first grow too cold and careless of my own (unless when weakness or specula­tive studies cool me, which I must con­fess they often do.) We never cease pittying you, till we are growing too like you, and so have need of pitty our selves.

When, through the mercy of my Lord, the prospect of that world of souls which I am going to, hath any powerful operation on my self, O then I could spend and be spent for others. No words are too earnest, no labour too great, no cost too dear, the frowns and wrath of malignant opposers of the preaching of Christ's Gospel are no­thing to me. But when the world of spi­rits doth disappear, or my soul is cloud­ed, and receiveth not the vital illumi­nating influences of Heaven, I grow cold first to my self, and then cold to others.

Come then poor sinners, and help us who are willing at any rate to be your helpers. As we first crave Gods help, so we next crave yours: Help us, for we cannot save you against your wills, nor save you without your consent and help. God himself will not save you without you; and how should we? We know [Page] that the Devil is against us, and will do his worst to hinder us; and so will all his ministers, by what names or titles soever dignified or distinguished. But all this is nothing if you will but take our parts your selves: I mean if you will take Christs part, and your own, and will not be against your selves. Men and Devils cannot either help or hin­der us in saving you as you may do your selves. If God and you be for us, who shall be against us?

And if you will help us, give over striving against God, and Conscience, give over fighting against Christ and his Spirit: take part no more with the world and the flesh which in your Ba­ptism you renounced: set your hearts to the message which we bring you. Allow it your man-like sober thoughts; search the Scripture, and see whether these things which we speak be so or not. We offer you nothing but what we have re­solvedly chosen our selves: and that after the most serious deliberation that we can make. We have many a time looked round about us, to know what is the happiness of man: And had we found better for our selves, we had of­fered better to you. If the world [Page] would have served our turns, it should have served yours also; and we would not have troubled you with the talk of another world: But it will not; I am sure it will not serve your turns, to make you happy, nor shall you long make that sorry self-deceiving shift with it as now you do.

But if you will not think of these things; if you will not use the reason of men, alas what can we do to save your souls? O pitty them Lord, that they may pitty themselves. Have mercy on them, that they may have some more mercy on themselves. Help them that they may help themselves and us. If you still refuse, will not your loss be more than ours: If we lose our labour (which to our selves we shall not;) if we lose our hopes of your salvation: what is this to your everlasting loss of salvation it self? And what is our suffering for your sakes, in comparison of your endless suf­ferings.

But, O, this is it that breaketh our hearts, that we leave you under more guilt than we found you; and when we have laid out life and labour to save you, the impenitent souls must have their pain [...] increased, for the refusing of these [Page] Calls? And that it will be part of your Hell to think for ever how madly you refused our Counsel, and what pains and cost and patience were used to have sa­ved you, and all in vain. It will be so: it must needs be so: Christ saith that it shall be easier for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of Iudgment, than for the rejecters of his Gospel-calls. The nature of the thing, and the nature of Iustice certainly tell you, that it must be so.

O turn not our complaints to God against you: Turn us not from beseech­ing you to be reconciled to God, to tell him you will not be reconciled. Force us not to say, that we earnestly invited you to the heavenly feast, and you would not come. Force us not to bear this witness against you, Lord we could have born all our labour and suffer­ings for them much easilyer, if they would but have yielded to thy grace. But it was they themselves that broke our hearts, that lost our labour, that made us preach and intreat in vain: It was easier to preach without maintenance, than without success. It was they that were worse to us than all the persecutors in the world. How oft would we have gathered them, but they would not, but are ungathered still? How many [Page] holy faithful Ministers have I known these eleven years last past, who have lived in pining poverty and want, and hardly by charity got bread and cloath­ing; and yet if they could but have truly said [Lord the Sermons, which I preach privately and in danger, have won home many souls to thee] it would have made all this burden easie. But I tell thee senseless impenitent sinner, thou that deniedst God thy heart, and thou that deniedst them thy Conversion, which was the end of all their labours, hast dealt much more cruelly with them, than they that denied them the Levites bread.

Poor sinners! I know that I am speak­ing all this to those that are dead in sin: but it is a death consisting with a natural life, which hath a capacity of spiritual life: Or else I would no more speak to you than to a stone. And I know that you are blind in sin: but it is a blind­ness consisting with a reasonable faculty, which is capable of spiritual Illuminati­on: Or else I would no more perswade you, than I would do a beast. And I know that you are in the fetters of your own lusts: your wills, your love, your hearts are turned away from God, and [Page] strongly bewitched with the dreams and dalliances of the flesh and world: But your wills are not forced to this Capti­vity: Surely those wills may be changed by Gods grace, when you clearly see sufficient reason for to change them: Else I would as soon preach (were I ca­pable) to Devils and damned souls. Your case is not yet desperate: O make it not desperate: There is just the same hope of your Salvation, as there is of your true conversion and perseverance, and no more: Without it there is no hope: and with it you are safe, and have no cause to doubt and fear. Hea­ven may yet be yours if you will. No­thing but your own wills, refusing Christ and a holy life, can keep you out. And shall that do it? Shall Hell be your own choice? And will you not, I say will you not be saved?

O think better what you do! Gods terms are reasonable: His word and ways are good and equal: Christs yoke is easie and his burden light, and his Commandments are not grievous to any, but so far as blindness and a bad and backward heart doth make them so. You have no true reason to be unwilling: God and Conscience shall one day tell [Page] you and all the World that you had no reason for it. You may as wisely pre­tend reason to cut your throats, to tor­ment your selves, as plead reason against a true conversion unto God. Were I perswading you not to kill your selves, I should make no question, but you would be perswaded. And yet must I be hopeless when I perswade you from everlasting misery, and not to prefer the world and flesh before your Saviour and your God, and before a sure everlasting Joy? God forbid!

Reader, I take it for a great mercy of God, that before my head lieth down in the dust, and I go to give up my ac­count unto my judge, I have this oppor­tunity once more, earnestly to bespeak thee for thy own salvation. I beg it of thee, as one that must shortly be called away, and speak to thee no more, till we come unto our endless state, that thou wouldst but sometimes retire into thy self, and use the reason of a man, and look before thee whither thou art go­ing; and look behind thee, how thou hast lived, and what thou hast been do­ing in the world till now; and look within thee, what a case thy soul is in, and whether it be ready to enter upon [Page] Eternity; and look above thee what a Heaven of Glory thou dost neglect, and what a God thou hast to be thine ever­lasting Friend or Enemy, as thou choosest and as thou livest, and that thou art al­ways in his sight: Yea and look below thee, and think where they are, that died unconverted. And when thou hast soberly thought of all these things, then do as God and true Reason shall di­rect thee. And is this an unreasonable request? I appeal to God, and to all wise men, and to thy own conscence when it shall be awake. If I speak against thee, or if all this be not for thy good, or if it be not true and sure, then regard not what I say: If I speak not that message which God hath commanded his Mini­sters to speak, then let it be refused as contemptuosly as thou wilt. But if I do but in Christs name and stead, beseech thee to be reconciled to God, 2. Cor. 5. 19, 20. refuse it at thy peril: And if Gods beseeching thee shall not pre­vail against thy sloth, thy lust, thy ap­petite, against the desires of thy flesh, against the dust & shadows of this world, remember it when with fruitless cries and horrour, thou art beseeching him too late.

[Page]I know, poor sinner, that Flesh is bruitish, and lust and appetite have no reason: But I know that thou hast reason thy self which was given thee to over­rule them; and that he that will not be a Man cannot be a Saint, nor a Happy man. I know that thou livest in a tempting and a wicked world, where things or persons will be daily hindering this. But I know that this is no more to a man, that by Faith seeth Heaven and Hell before him, than a grain of sand is to a Kingdom, or a blast of Wind, to one that is fight­ing or flying for his life. Luke 12. 4. O man! that thou didst but know the dif­ference between that which the Devil and sin will give thee, if thou wilt sell thy soul and Heaven, and that which God hath promised and sworn to give thee, if thou wilt heartily give up thy self to him.

I know that thou maist possibly fall into company (at least among some sots and drunkards) that will tell thee, all this is but troublesome preciseness, and making more ado than needs: But I know withal what that man deserveth, who will believe a fool before his Maker: (For he can be no better than a misera­ble fool, that will contradict and revile [Page] the word of God, even the word of Grace that would save mens souls.)

And, alas, it is possible thou maist hear some of the Tribe of Levi, (or rather of Cain,) deriding this serious Godliness as meer Hypocrisy and Phanaticism, and self­conceitedness: As if you must be no better than the Devils slaves, lest you be Proud in thinking that you are better than they: That is, you must go with them to Hell, lest in Heaven you be proud Hypocrites for thinking your selves Hap­pier than they.

It may be they will tell you, that this talk of Conversion is fitter for Pagans and Infidels to hear, than Christians and Protestants. Because such mens big looks or Coats may make the poyson the easilier taken down, I will intreat thee but as before God to answer these following questions, or to get them an­swered, and then judge whether it be They or We that would deceive thee? and whether, as men use to talk against Learning that have none themselves, so such men prate not against Conversion and the Spirit of God, because they have no such thing themselves?

Qu. 1. I pray ask these men, whe­ther it be a Puritane or Phanatick o­pinion [Page] that men must dye? and what all the pomp, and wealth, and pleasure of the World will signifie to a departing soul? Ask them whether they will live on Earth for ever, and their merry hours, and Lordly looks will have no end? And whether it be but the conceit of Hypocrites and Schismaticks, that their Carcases must lie rotting in a darksome grave?

Qu. 2. Ask them whether man have not an Immortal soul, and a longer life to live when this is ended? Luke 12. 41.

Qu. 3. Ask them whether reason re­quire not every man, to think more se­riously of the place or state where he must be for ever, than of that where he must be but for a little while, and from whence he is posting day and night. And whether it be not wiser to lay up our treasure where we must stay, than where we must not stay, but daily look to be called away, and never more be seen on earth? Math. 6. 19, 20. 2 Cor. 4. 16, 17, 18. and 5. 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8.

Qu. 4. Ask them whether God should not be loved with all our heart and soul and might? Math. 22. 37. And whe­ther it be not the mark of an ungodly miscreant, to be a lover of pleasure more [Page] than God, 2. Tim. 3. 4. and a Lover of this world above him? 1 Ioh. 2. 15, 16. And whether we must not seek first Gods Kingdome and his Righteousness, Matth. 6. 33. and labour most for the meat that never perisheth, Joh. 6. 27. and strive to enter in at the strait Gate, Luke 13. 24. and give all diligence to make our Calling and Election sure? 2. Pet. 1. 10.

Qu. 5. Ask them whether without Holiness any shall see God? Heb. 12. 14. Mat. 5. 8. Tit. 2. 14. And whether the carnal mind is not enmity to God, and to be carnally minded is not death, and to be spiritually minded, life and peace? And whether if you live after the flesh you shall not die, and be condemned? and they shall live and be saved that walk after the Spirit? And whether any man be Christs that hath not his spirit? Rom. 8. 1, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13.

Qu. 6. Ask them whether any man have a treasure in Heaven, whose heart is not there? Math. 6. 21. And whether this be not the difference between the Wicked and the Godly, that the first do make their bellies their Gods, and mind Earthly things, and are Enemies to the Cross of Christ (though perhaps not to his name;) and the latter have their [Page] conversation in Heaven and being risen with Christ do seek and set their affections on things above, and not on the things that are on earth, to which they are as dead, and their life is hid (or out of sight) with Christ in God, till Christ ap­pear, and then they shall appear (even o­penly to all the world) with him in Glory. Phil. 3. 18, 19, 20. Col. 4. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Qu. 7. Ask them whether is be cre­dible and suitable to Gods word or workings, that he that will not give them the fruits of the earth without their labour, nor feed and cloath them without themselves, will yet bring them to Heaven without any care, desire, or labour of their own? when he hath bid them, Care not for the one, and called for their greatest diligence for the other: Math. 6. 25, 33. Ioh. 6. 27. Yea ask them whether these be not the two first articles of all Faith and Religion, 1. That God is; 2. That he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Heb. 11. 6.

Qu. 8. Ask them, yea ask your eyes, your ears, your daily experience in the world, whether all or most that call themselves Christians, do in good sad­ness thus live to God in the Spirit, and [Page] mortifie the flesh with its affections and lusts, and seek first God's Kingdom and righteousness, and love him above all, and lay up treasure and heart in Hea­ven? or rather whether most be not lovers of the world, and lovers of plea­sure more than God, and live not after the flesh, and mind not most the things of the flesh? I mention not now the drunkards, the flesh-pleasing Gentlemen, that live in Pride, Fulness and Idleness, and Sport and Play away their precious time; nor the filthy Fornicators, nor the merciless oppressors, nor the ma­lignant haters of a godly life, nor the perjured and perfidious betrayers of mens souls, and of the Gospel, or their Countries good; nor such other men of [...]eared Consciences, whose misery none questioneth, but such as are as blind and miserable. It's not these only I am speaking of; but the common, world­ly, fleshly, and ungodly ones.

Qu. 9. Ask them whether the name of a Christian will save any one of these ungodly persons? And whether God will like men the better for lying and calling themselves Christians when they are none indeed? And whether they dare preach to the people, that a Christian [Page] drunkard, or a Christian fornicator, or oppressor, or a Christian worldling, needeth no Conversion?

Qu. 10. Ask them wether they say not themselves that Hypocrisie is a great aggravation of all other sin? and whe­ther God hath not made the Hypocrites and Vnbelievers to be the standards in Hell? Luke 25. 51. And whether seeking to abuse God by a mock-religion do make such false Christians better than the poor Heathens and Infidels, or much worse? And whether he be not an Hypo­crite that professeth to be a Christian, and a servant of God, when he is none, nor will be? And whether he that know­eth his masters will and doth it not, shall not have the sorest stripes, or pu­nishment? Luke 12. 47.

Qu. 11. Ask them whether in their Ba­ptism, (which is their Christening, as to Covenant,) they did not renounce the flesh, the world, and the Devil, and vow and deliver up themselves to God, their Father, their Saviour and their Sanctifier? And whether all or most men perform this vow? And whether a perjured Cove­nant-breaker against God, is fitter for sal­vation, than one that never was baptized?

Qu. 12. Ask them whether the holy [Page] nature of God be not so contrary to sin, as that it is blasphemy to say that he will take into Heaven, and into the bo­some of his eternal delights, any unholy unrenewed soul? 1 Pet. 1. 15, 16.

Qu. 13. Ask them why it was that Christ came into the world? whether it was not to save his people from their sins, Mat. 1. 21. and to destroy the works of the Devil, 1 Iohn 3. 8. and to purifie to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works, Tit. 2. 14. and to bring home straying souls to God, Luke 15. and to be the way to the Fa­ther? Ioh. 14. 6. And whether Christ save that soul that is not converted by him and saved from his sins? Or whether it be the dead Image only of a Crucified Iesus, that is all their Saviour, while they will have no more of him?

Qu. 14. Ask them why they believe, and were baptized into the Holy Ghost, and whether a man can enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, that is not born of the Spirit as well as of Water, Iohn 3. 3, 5, 6. and that is not converted, and begins not the world as it were anew, in a teachable, tractable newness of life, like a little child? Matth. 18. 3. And whether it be not a certain truth, that [Page] If any man have not the spirit of Christ, the same is none of his, Rom. 8. 9.

Qu. 15. Ask them why Christ gave the world so many warnings of the damnableness of the Pharisees hypocrisie, if Hypocritical Christians may be saved. And what were these Pharisees? They were the Masters of the Jewish Church: The Rabbies that must have high places, high titles, and ceremonies, formal gar­ments, and must be reverenced of all: That gave God lip-service without the heart, and made void his commands, and worshipped him in vain, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men, and strictly tythed Mint and Cummin, while love, mercy and Justice were past by: Who worshipped God with abun­dance of ceremonies, and built the Tombs, and garnished the Sepulchres of the Saints; while they killed and per­secuted those that did imitate them, and hated the living Saints, and honoured the dead. They were the bitterest ene­mies and murderers of Christ, on pre­tense that he was a blasphemer, and a se­ditious enemy to Caesar and the common peace, and one that spake against the Temple: They were the greatest ene­mies of the Apostles, and silencers of [Page] those that preached Christs Gospel, and persecuted them that called on his name. And had these no need of Conversion, because they could say, God is our Fa­ther (when the Devil was their Fa­ther, Iohn 8. 44.) and that they were Abraham's seed? And are not hypo­critical Christians, drunken Christians, fornicating Christians, carnal, world­ly, infidel Christians, (the contradiction is your own) persecuting Christians, false-named hypocritical Christians, as bad, yea worse, as they abuse a more excellent profession? Mat. 15. 7, 8. and 23. and 22. 18. and 6. 2, &c. Luke 12. 1.

Qu. 16. Doth not the Holy State of Heaven require Holiness in all that shall possess it? Can an unholy soul there see and love and praise and delight in God for ever, and in the Holy Society and employment of the Saints? Rev. 21. 27. Is he not liker a Mahometan than a Chri­stian, that looketh for a sensual and un­holy Heaven?

Qu. 17. What is the difference be­tween the Church and the world? Is not the Church a holy Society of Regene­rate souls? Yea the Church visible is those only that in Baptism vow Holiness and profess it. Look these hypocrites [Page] in the face, and see whether they do not blush, when they repeat in their Creed I believe in the Holy Ghost, I be­lieve the Holy Catholick Church, and the Communion of Saints, who shall have the forgiveness of sins, and life ever­lasting. Ask them whether they mean Holy Adulterers, holy worldlings, holy perjured persons? Ask them whether they mean a Communion of Saints in a Tavern, in a play-house, in a gaming house, in a whore-house, or a jesting, can­ting stage-play Communion? If the Church be holy, be holy if you will be of the Church: If it be a Communion of Saints, make it not a Communion of swine, and make not Saints and their Communion seem odious either for their infirmities, or their crossness to your carnal interests or conceits.

Qu. 18. Ask them whether there be a Heaven, and a Hell, or not? If not, why are they pretended Christians? If there be, will God send one man to Heaven, and another to Hell, to so vast, so amazing a difference of states, if there be no great difference between them here? If Holiness no more differ­enced Christians from others, than say­ing a sermon, or saying over a prayer, [Page] doth difference one from an Infidel, where were the Iustice of God in saving some, and damning others? & what were Christianity better than the religion of Antonine, Plato, Socrates, Seneca, Cicero, Plutarch, if not much worse? Go into London streets, and when you have talk [...] with living prudent men, then go to the Painters shop, and see a comely picture, and to the Looking-glass and see the ap­pearances of each passenger in a glass, and to the Periwig shops, and see a wood­en head with a Periwig upon the bulk, and you have seen somewhat like the difference of a Holy Soul, and of a dead and dressed formal hypocrite, Psal. 23. 27.

Qu. 19. Ask them whether Kings and all men make not a great difference be­tween man and man; the loyal, and the per [...]idious, the obedient and the disobe­dient? And whether they difference not themselves between a friend and a foe, one that loveth them, and one that rob­beth, beateth or would kill them. And shall not the most Holy God more dif­ference between the righteous and the wicked? Mal. 3. 17, 18.

Qu. 20. But if they are dead in e­very point save carnal interests, ask them why they are Preachers or Priests? [Page] And if Conversion and Holiness be a needless thing, what use they themselves are of? and why the Country must be troubled with them, and pay them tythes, and owe them reverence? When these twenty Questions are well answer­ed, conclude that you may be saved without Conversion.

But if poor soul, thou art fully con­vinced, and askest, What should I do to be converted? The Lord make thee willing, and save thee from hypocrisie, and I will quickly tell thee in a few words.

1. Give not over sober thinking of these things, till thy heart be changed. Psal. 119. 59.

2. Come to Christ, and take him for thy Saviour, thy Teacher, thy King, and he will pardon all that's past and save thee, Iohn 1. 12. and 3. 16. and 5. 40. 1 Iohn 5. 11, 12.

3. Believe Gods love, and the pardon of sin, and the everlasting joyes of Hea­ven, that thou maist feel that all the pleasures of the world and flesh, are dung in comparison of the Heavenly de­lights, of Faith and Hope and holy Love, and peace of Conscience and sincere obedience.

[Page]4. Sin no more wilfully, but forbear that which thou maist forbear. Isa. 55. 7.

5. Away from Temptations, occasions of sin and evil company, and be a Com­panion of the humble, holy, heavenly and sincere. Psal. 119. 115. 63.

6. Wait on Gods spirit in the diligent, constant use of his own means. Read, hear, meditate, pray: Pray hard for that grace that must convert thee: wait thus, and thou shalt not wait in vain. Psal. 25. 3. and 37. 34. and 69. 6.

Pitty O Lord, and perswade these souls: Let not Christ's blood, his do­ctrine, his example, his spirit, be lost unto them, and they lost for ever. Let not Heaven be as no Heaven to them, while they dream and dote on the shad­dows in this world. And O save this land from the greater destruction, than all our late plagues, and flames, and divisions which our sins and thy threat­nings, make us fear. O Lord in thee have we trusted, let us never be con­founded.

Having thus contributed my endea­vour in this Preface to the furtherance of the design of this excellent book, I must tell thee Reader that I take it for an honour to commend so masculine a birth [Page] unto the World: The Midwife of A­lexander or Aristotle need not be asha­med of her office. Who the Author of this treatise was; how he preached, how he lived, how he suffered (and for what) and how he died, his Life and Letters lately printed fully tell you: and I ear­nestly commend the reading of them to all, but especially Ministers, not to tell them what men have been here forbid­den to preach Christ's Gospel, and for what, nor what men they are that so many years have done it: but to tell you what men Christ's Ministers should be: But say not, He kill'd himself with excessive Labour, and therefore I will take warning, and take my ease. For 1. He lived in perfect health all his days notwithstanding his labours, till after his hard and long imprisonment. 2. It was not the greatest labours of his times of liberty that hurt him, but his preaching 6 or 7 or 8 times a week, after that he was silenced, because he could not speak to all his people at once. O make not an ill use of so excellent an example. Say not like Iudas, What need this waste? His labour, his life, his suf­ferings, his death were not in vain. The ages to come that read his Life, and [Page] read this little popular treatise, and his Call to Archippus shall say, They were not in vain. And though he was cut off in the midst of his age, and his longer labours, & more elaborate writings thus preven­ted, take thankfully this small, but me­thodical, warm, and serious tractate: Read it seriously, and it cannot be but it must do thee good.

I am one that have lookt into books, and sciences, and speculations of many sorts, and seriously tell thee as a dying man, that after all my searches and ex­perience, I have found that Philosophical enquiries into the Divine Artifices, and the Nature of things hath among a grea­ter number of uncertainties, a great ma­ny pretty pleasant probabilities, which a holy soul can make good use of in ad­miring God, & may find us a lawful kind of sport: but in the moralities which A­theists count uncertainties, the knowledge of God, and our duty, and our hopes, the doctrine and practice of Holiness, Tempe­rance, & Charity, and Iustice, and the dili­gent seeking & joyful hopes of life everlast­ing, is all the true Wisdom, the Goodness, the Rest and Comfort of a soul: whatever be our play, this is the satisfying certainty, the Business, and the beatifying improve­ment of our lives.

[Page]I have done, when I have sought to remove a little scandal, which I foresaw; that I should my selfwrite the Preface to his Life, where himself and two of his friends make such a mention of my name, which I cannot own; which will seem a praising him for praising me. I confess it looketh ill-favouredly in me: But I had not the power of other mens writings, & durst not therefore forbear that which was his due. Had I directed their pens they should have gone a middle way, and only esteemed me [a very unworthy servant of Christ, who yet long to see the peace and prosperity of his Church] and should have forborn their undeserved praise, as other men should have done their slanderous libels. But if the Reader get no harm by it, I assure him the use I made of it was, to lament that I am really so much worse than they esteemed me; and to fear lest I should prove yet worse than I discern my self; who see so much sin and weakness, in my betters, and much more in my self, as to make it the constant senti­ment of my soul, that PRIDE of mens GREATNESS, WISDOM and GOOD­NESS is the first part of the DEVILS I­MAGE on mans soul, and DARKNES is the second, and MALIGNITY the third.

R [...]. Baxter.



HOw well were it if there were no more uncon­verted ones among us, than those to whom this is directed? Vnconverted persons how many are there, but how few unconverted Readers? especially of such Books as this before thee? A Play or a Romance better suits the lusts, and there­fore must have more of the eye of such; what will cherish the evil [Page] heart is only grateful, not what will change it.

How many are there to whom this is directed, who will not know, that they are the men? and how little hope is there that this excellent Treatise should reach its end, with those who ap­prehend not themselves concern'd in it? Art not thou one of them? Art thou a Convert, or art thou not yet in thy sins? What is sin? What is Conversion? It may be, thou canst tell me neither, and yet a Convert thou sayst, thou art. But to what purpose is it then like to be, for the servant of God to treat with thee about this mat­ter? Let him bid thee believe, thou art a be [...] [...]ever already; let him bid thee repent and turn to the Lord, that work thou say [...] is not now [...]o do. What can there be said to this man, that's like to [Page] bring him to good? Friend, know thy self better, or thou perishest without remedy. Thou maist pray, but what hope is there in thy pray­ing? Thou maist read, but what hope is there in thy reading? Yet read on, this little hope there is; In this book there's Eye-Salve that may heal thee of thy blind­ness. In this book there is a Glass that will shew thee thy face. Dost thou know thine own face when thou seest it? Behold thy very I­mage in those Marks that are given of an unconverted person; Read and consider them, and then say, if thou be not the man.

Be willing to know thy self, and to know the worst of thy case; wink not at the light, hide not thy self from thine own soul. Wilt thou never know thy disease, till thou be past remedy?

[Page]Much of our hardest work would be over, if we could see the sin­ners to whom we are sent, to be convinced sinners. If we could but open the blind eyes, there were hope we should shortly raise the dead.

Sinner, of a truth, thou art in evil case, whether thou know it or not; thou art among the dead, and there is but a step betwixt thee and Hell. Thou wilt not be­lieve it though it be told thee, yet once again let me beseech thee, come to the Glass that is here presented to thee, and narrowly observe whether the very marks of the dead be not found upon thee.

If there be a miscarriage in this first work, if thou wilt not un­derstand thy misery and thy dan­ger, there's an end of all hopes concerning thee. Whilest this [Page] self-ignorance abides upon thee, all the Counsels, that are necessa­ry to a man in thy case, will do thee no good; they are never like to prosper with thee, because thou wilt not count them proper for thee. Who will be perswaded to do that, which he believes is al­ready done? Who will take the Counsel of the Physician that does not think himself sick? The man of God may spare his pains of perswading thee to Conversion, whilest thou art confident thou art converted already. Who will be at the pains of repentance that con­cludes he hath repented? Who will bear the labour and the pangs of the new birth that is confident he is already passed from death to life?

But Friend, let me a little rea­son with thee; Thou art confident it is well with thee, yet why wilt thou not yield to thus much at least, [Page] to put it to the question, am I not mistaken? Thou art worse than mad, if thou thinkest such a question may not be put. Dost thou know that thine heart is false and deceitful, and yet because it speaks good con­cerning thee, must it not be questi­on'd whether it speak truth or no? Be so wise as to conclude I may be mistaken, and thus come to the tri­al whether thou art mistaken or not.

And if upon trial by the marks that are before thee, thou come to be undeceived, and see thy self wrap­ped up in that misery which hither­to thou wouldst not suspect, the next news I expect to hear from thee is, What must I do to be saved? O were it come to that once! Then thou hast an answer at hand in those Means thou wilt find prescribed thee: And because they are such as thou wilt hardly be perswaded to use, take in the Motives that fol­low, [Page] and these will help down the means. Consider both the one and the other, and if thou dost not find the means proper, and the motives weighty, I think I shall do thee no wrong if I tell thee, thou art still of a blind mind and an harder heart.

Friend, the matter which this little book comes to treat with thee about, is of highest importance; 'tis a matter of life and death. If thou sayest, The terms upon which Life is offered, are hard; consider, is it not harder to dye? He is wor­thy to dye who will lose his soul to save his labour. If thou couldst step down into the deep, and take a turn or two with those damned souls who are drench'd with fire and brimstone, and bound in everla­sting chains of vengeance, & shoul­dest ask them, Now what do you think of the terms upon which life was offered? Now what think [Page] you of that repentance, of that obedience, of that holy circum­spection, self denyal, and the greatest severity which by the Gospel were imposed upon you? If you might once again have the same terms granted you for your redemption from this place of torment, would you yet say, Hard terms! Let me rather dye this death for ever, than live such a life! let me broil in this furnace, rather than escape with such diffi­culty! Shouldst thou ask them thus that have felt what 'tis to be dam­ned, what answer dost thou think they would make? O friend, ne­ver again groan under the difficul­ties of conversion, till thou believe them to be worse than Hell. But I will not farther anticipate my wor­thy Author.

Nor is there much need I should commend either himself or his works; [Page] for the Author himself thou maist at a small charge get acquaintance with him in that History of his life and death, which is extant; concer­ning which I shall only say, ‘Sic mihi contingat vivere sicque mori.’

And for this work of his, what commendation I should give of it, would be needed no longer than till thou hast read it over. Thou wilt find such Wine in it as needs no Bush. This only I shall say, as far as my credit will go, it is exceeding­ly well worth thy most serious peru­sal. O maist thou hear that voice, (such a voice from Heaven there is whether thou hear it or no) Tolle & lege, take up and read. Read, friend, and read over again. Read and understand, understand and pray, pray and consider, consider and consent unto him, who by the [Page] pen of his servant calls to thee from Heaven, why wilt thou dye? turn and live. O suffer this word of in­struction and exhortation, to open thy blind eyes, to turn thee from darkness to light, from the power of Satan unto God, that thou maist re­ceive forgiveness of sins, and an in­heritance among them that are san­ctified. Et cum talis fueris me­mento mei. When it is thus with thee then pray for

The Friend and Servant of thy Soul, Richard Alleine.


DEarly Beloved, and longed for, I gladly acknowledge my self a debtour to you all, and am con­cerned, as I would be found a good steward of the houshold of God, to give to every one his portion. But the Physician is most sollicitous for those Patients, whose case is most doubtful and ha­zardous, and the Fathers bowels are especially turned towards his dying child. The numbers of the unconverted souls among you, call for my most earnest compassions, and hasty diligence to pluck them out of the burning, Iud. 23. and therefore to these first I shall apply my self in these lines.

But whence shall I fetch my arguments, or how shall I choose my words? Lord, where­with shall I wooe them? whereby shall I win them? Oh that I could but tell! I would write unto them in tears, I would weep out every ar­gument, I would empty my veins for ink, I would petition them on my knees; verily [Page 2] (were I able) I would, (O how thankfully I would!) if they would be prevailed with to repent and turn.

How long have I travelled in birth with you? how frequently have I made suit to you? how often would I have gathered you? how instant have I been with you? This is that I have prayed for, and studied for, for many years, that I might bring you to God: O that I might but do it! Will you yet be intreated? O what a happy man might you make me, if you would but hearken to me, and suffer me to carry you over to Jesus Christ?

But, Lord, how insufficient am I for this work! I have been many a year wooing for thee, but the damsel would not go with me. Lord, what a task hast thou set me to! Alas wherewith shall I pierce the scales of Leviathan, or make the heart to feel that is firm as a stone, hard as a piece of the nether milstone! Shall I go and lay my mouth to the grave, and look when the dead will obey me and come forth? shall I make an oration to the rocks? or declaim to the mountains, and think to move them with arguments? shall I give the blind to see? From the beginning of the world was it not heard, that a Man opened the eyes of the blind. But thou, O Lord, canst pierce the scales, and prick the heart of the sinner. I can but shoot at rovers, and draw the bow at a venture; do thou di­rect the arrow between the joints of the harness, and kill the sin, and save the soul of the sinner, that casts his eye into these labours.

But I must apply my self to you, to whom I am sent: yet I am at a great loss. Would to God I knew how to go to work with you! [Page 3] would I stick at the pains? God knoweth, you your selves are my witnesses, how I have fol­lowed you in private, as well as in publick, and have brought the Gospel to your doors; testifying to you the necessity of the new birth, and perswading you to look in time after a found and through change. Beloved, I have not acted a part among you, to serve my own advantage; our Gospel is not yea, and nay. Have not you heard the same truths from the Pulpit, by publick labours, and by private let­ters, by personal instructions? Bretheren, I am of the same mind as ever, that holiness is the best choice; that there is no entring into Heaven, but by the streight passages of the se­cond birth: that without holiness you shal ne­ver see God, Heb. 12. 14. Ah my beloved! refresh my bowels in the Lord. If there be any consolation in Christ, any comfort of love, any fellowship of the spirit, any bowels and mercies, fulfil you my joy. Now give your selves unto the Lord: 2 Cor. 8. 5. Now set your faces to seek him. Now set up the Lord Jesus in your hearts, and set him up in your houses. Now come in, and kiss the Son, Psal. 2. 12. and embrace the tenders of his mercy. Touch his Scepter, and live: why will you die? I beg not for my self; but fain I would have you happy: This is the prize I run for, and the white I aim at. My souls desire and prayer for you is, that you may be saved. Rom. 10. 1.

The famous Lycurgus, having instituted most strict and wholesome laws for his people, told them, he was necessitated to go a journey from them, and got them to bind themselves in an [Page 4] oath, that his laws should be observed, till his return. This done, he went into a voluntary banishment, and never returned more, that they might, by vertue of their oath, be engaged to the perpetual observing of his laws. Me­thinks I should be glad of the hard conditions, which he endured (though I love you tenderly) so I might but hereby engage you throughly to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Dearly beloved, would you rejoice the heart of your Ministers? Why then, embrace the counsels of the Lord by me: forgo your sins: set to prayer: up with the worship of God in your families: keep at a distance from the cor­ruptions of the times. What greater joy to a Minister, than to hear of souls born unto Christ by him, and that his children walk in the truth? 2 I [...]h. 4.

Brethren, I beseech you suffer a friendly plainness and freedom with you in your deepest concernments. I am not playing the oratour to make a learned speech to you, nor dressing my dish with eloquence, wherewith to please you. These lines are upon a weighty errand indeed, viz. to convince, and convert, and save you. I am not baiting my hook with Rhetorick, nor fishing for your applause, but for your souls. My work is not to please you, but to save you: nor is my business with your fancies, but your hearts. If I have not your hearts, I have nothing. If I were to please your ears, I would sing another song. If I were to preach my self, I would steer another course. I could then tell you a smoother tale; I would make you pillows, and speak you peace, for how can [Page 5] Ahab love this Micaiah, that alwaies prophesies evil concerning him? 1 King. 22. 8. But how much better are the wounds of a friend, than the fair speeches of the harlot, who flattereth with her lips, till the dart strike through the liver, and hunteth for the precious life? Prov. 7. 21. 22, 23. & Prov. 6. 26. If I were to quiet a crying infant, I might sing him into a pleasant mood, or rock him asleep: but when the child is fallen into the fire, the parent takes another course; he will not now go to still him with a song or trifle. I know, if we speed not with you, you are lost: if we cannot get your con­sent, to arise and come away, you perish for ever. No Conversion, and no Salvation. I must get your good will, or leave you miser­able.

But here the difficulty of my work again re­currs upon me. Lord choose my stones out of the rock. 1 Sam. 17. 40. v. 45. I come in the name of the Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel. I come forth like the stripling against Goliah, to wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with Principalities, and Powers, and the Rulers of the darkness of this world. Eph. 6. 12. This day let the Lord smite the Philistine, and spoil the strong man of his Armour, and give me to fetch off the captives out of his hand. Lord choose my words, choose my weapons for me, and when I put my hand into the bag, and take thence a stone, and sling it, do thou carry it unto the mark, and make it sink, not into the forehead, 1 Sam. 17. 49. but the heart of the unconverted sinner, and smite him to the ground, with Saul in his so happy fall. Act. 9. 4. Thou hast sent me, as Abraham did Eliezer, [Page 6] to take a wife unto my master thy son. Gen. 24. 4. But my discouraged soul is ready to fear, the woman will not be willing to follow me. O Lord God of my Master, I pray thee send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my Master, and send thine Angel before me, and prosper my way, that I may take a wife unto thy son. Gen. 24. 12. That as the servant rested not, till he had brought Isaac and Rebeckah together, so I may be succesful to bring Christ and the souls of my people together, before we part.

But I turn me unto you. Some of you do not know what I mean by conversion, and in vain shall I perswade you to that which you do not understand; and therefore for your sakes, I shall shew what this Coversion is. Others do cherish secret hopes of mercy, though they continue as they be; and for them I must shew the necessity of Conversion. Others are like to harden them­selves with a vain conceit, that they are con­verted already; unto them I must shew the marks of the Vnconverted. Others, because they feel no harm, fear none, and so sleep upon the the top of the ma [...]t; to them I shall shew the misery of the Vnconverted. Others sit still, be­cause they see not their way out; to them I shall shew the means of Conversion. And final­ly for the quickening of all, I shall close with the motives of Conversion.

Shewing the Negative, what Conversion is not, and correcting some mistakes a­bout it.

LEt the blind Samaritans worship they know not what; Ioh. 4. 22. Let the heathen Athenians superscribe their Altar to the unknown God; Act. 17. 23. Let the guileful Papists commend the mother of de­struction, Hos. 4. 6. for the mother of devo­tion: they that know mans constitution, and the nature of the reasonable souls operation, cannot but know, that the understanding having the Empire in the soul, he that will go rationally to work, must labour to let in the light here. Ignorantis non est consensus. And therefore that you may not mistake me, I shall shew you what I mean by the conversion I perswade you to endeavour after.

It is storied that when Iupiter let down the golden chaplets from Heaven, all of them but one were stoln: Whereupon (left they should lose a relique of so great esteem) they made five others so like it, that if any were so wick­edly minded, as to steal that also, they should not be able to discern which was it. And truly my beloved, the Devil hath made many coun­terfeits of this conversion, and cheats one with this, and another with that; and such a craft and artifice he hath, in this mystery of deceits, that (if it were possible) he would deceive the very Elect. Now that I may cure the damnable mistakes of some, who think they [Page 8] are converted, when they are not; as well as re­move the troubles, and fears of others, that think they are not converted, when they are [...] I shall shew you the nature of conversion, both negatively, or what it is not; and positively, what it is.

We will begin with the negative.

1. It is not the taking on us the profession of Christianity. Doubtless Christianity is more than a name. If we will hear Paul, it lies not in word, but in power. 1 Cor. 4. 20. If to cease to be Jews and Pagans, and to put on the Chri­stian profession had been true conversion, (as this is all, that some would have to be under­stood by it) who better Christians than they of Sardis and Laodicea? These were all Christians by profession, and had a name to live, but be­cause they had but a name, are condemned by Christ, and threatened to be spewed out, Rev. 3. 1, 16. Are there not many that name the name of the Lord Jesus, that yet depart not from iniquity? 2 Tim. 2. 19. and profess they know God, but in works deny him? Tit. 1. 16. And will God receive these for true converts, be­cause turned to the Christian religion? What, converts from sin, when yet they do live in [...]in! 'Tis a visible contradiction. Surely if the lamp of profession would have served the turn, the foolish virgins had never been shut out. Matt. 25. 3, 12. We find not only professours but preachers of Christ, and wonder-workers turned off, because [...]yil workers. Matth. 7. 22, 23.

2. It is not in the being washed in the laver of Regeneration [...] or putting on the badge of Christ [Page 9] in baptism. Many take the press-money, and wear the Livery of Christ, that yet never stand to their colours, nor follow their leader. A­nanias, and Saphira, and Magus were baptized, as well as the rest. How fondly do many mi­stake here, deceiving, and being deceived! dreaming, that effectual grace is necessarily tied to the external administration of baptism, (which what is it, but to revive the popish tenent, of the Sacraments working grace, ex opere operato?) and so every infant should be re­generated, not only (Sacramento tenus) sa­cramentally, but really and properly. Hence men do fancy, that being regenerated already, when baptized, they need no further work.

But if this were so, then all that were bap­tized (in their infancy) must necessarily be saved: because the promise of pardon and sal­vation is made to conversion and regeneration. Act. 3. 19. 1 Pet. 1. 3, 4. Matth. 19. 28. Our Calling, Sanctification, (as to the beginnings of it) or conversion, (which are but the same thing, under different conceptions and ex­pressions;) is but a middle link in the golden chain, fastened to election at the one end, and glorification at the other. Rom. 8. 30. 2 Thes. 2. 13. 1 Pet. 1. 2. The silver cord may not be broken, nor the connexion between sanctifica­tion and salvation, between grace and glory, impiously violated. Matth. 5. 8. If we are indeed begotten again, it is to an inheritance incorrupti­ble reserved in Heaven for us, and the divine power is ingaged to keep us for it 1 Pet. 1. 5. And if the very regenerate may perish at last in their sins, we will no more say, That he that is born [Page 10] of God, his seed remaineth in him, and that he cannot sin, 1 Iohn. 3. 9. i. e. unto death, nor that it is impossible to deceive the very elect. Matth. 24. 24.

And indeed were this true, then we need look no further to see our names written in Heaven, than only to search the register, and see whether we were baptized: then I would keep the certificate of my baptism, as my fairest evidence for Heaven, and should come by Assu­rance of my gracious state, with a wet finger: then men should do well to carry but a certifi­cate of their baptism under the registers hand, when they died, (as the Philosopher would be buried with the Bishops bond in his hand, which he had given him for the receiving his alms in another world:) and upon sight of this, there were no doubt of their admission into Hea­ven

In short, if there be no more necessary to conversion or regeneration, than to be turned to the Christian Religion, or to be baptized in infancy, this will flie directly in the face of that scripture, Matth. 7. 14. as well as multitudes of others. For first, we will then no more say, Strait is the gate and narrow is the way: for if all that are baptized, and of the true religion are saved, the door is become heavenly wide, and we will henceforth say, wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth unto life: for if this be true, whole parishes, yea whole coun­tries, and whole Kingdoms may go in a breast, and we will no more teach, that the righteous is scarcely saved, or that there is need of such a stir in taking the Kingdom of Heaven by vio­lence [Page 11] and striving to enter in. Surely if the way be so easie, as many make it, that there is little more necessary, than to be regenerated in our baptism, and cry God mercy, and be absolved by the Minister at our end, 'tis more ado than needs, to put our selves to such run­ning, and seeking, and knocking, and fighting, and wrestling, as the word requires, as necessary to salvation. Secondly, if this be true, we will no more say, few there be that find it: yea we will rather say, few there be that miss it: we will no more say, that of the many that are called, but few are chosen, Matth. 22. 14. and that even of the professing Israel, but a rem­nant shall be saved, Rom. 11. 5. If this doctrine be true, we will not say any more with the di­sciples, Who then shall be saved? but rather who then shall not be saved? Then if a man be called a brother (that is, a Christian) and be baptized, though he be a fornicatour or a railer, or covetous, or a drunkard, yet he shall inherit the Kingdom of God. 1 Cor. 5. 11. 1 Cor. 6. 9, 10.

But the Arminian will reply; such as these, though they did receive regenerating grace in Baptism, are since fallen away, and must be renewed again, or else they cannot be saved.

I answer, 1. That there is an infallible con­nexion between regeneration and salvation, as we have already shewed, and itch to be farther evidencing, but that 'tis against designed brevi­ty. 2. Then men must be again born again, which carries a great deal of absurdity in its very face. And why may not men be twice born in nature, as well as in grace? Why not [Page 12] as great an absurdity to be twice regenerated as to be twice generated? But 3. and above all, This grants however the thing I contend for, that what ever men do, or pretend to re­ceive in baptism, if they be [...]ound afterwards to be grosly ignorant or prophane, or formal, without the power of godliness, they must be born again, or else be shut out of the Kingdom of God. So then, they must have more to plead for themselves, than their baptismal rege­neration.

Well, in this you see all are agreed, that be it more or less that is received in baptism, if (when men come to years) they are evidently unsanctified, they must be renewed again by a through and powerful change, or else they can­not escape the damnation of hell. Friends and Brethren be not deceived, God is not mocked; Gal. 6. 7. whether it be your baptism or what ever else that you pretend, I tell you from the living God, that if any of you be a prayerless per­son, Iob 15. 14. or unclean, or malicious, or cove­tous, or riotous, or a scoffer., or a lover of e­vil company, Prov. 13. 20. in a word, if you are not holy, strict, and self denying Christians, Heb. 12. 14. Matt. 16. 24. you cannot be saved, except you be transformed by a further work upon you, and renewed again by repen­tance.

Thus I have shewed, that it is not enough to evidence a man to be regenerate, that he hath been baptized; effectual grace not necessarily accompanying baptism, as some have vainly as­ [...]rted. But I must answer one objection before I pass.

[Page 13] Obj. The Sacraments do certainly attain their ends, where man doth not ponere obicem, or lay some obstruction, which Infants do not.

Sol. I answer it is not the end of Baptism to regenerate. 1. Because then there would be no reason, why it should be confined only to the seed of believers: for both the law of God, and the nature of Charity, require us to use the means of conversion for all, as far as we can have opportunity. Were this true, no such charity as to catch the children of Turks and Heathens, and baptize them, and dispatch them to heaven out of hand, like the bloody wretches, that made the poor Protestants (to save their lives) to swear they would come to mass, and that they would never depart from it, and then put them forth with to death, saying, they would hang them while in a good mind. 2. Because it presupposeth regeneration, and therefore cannot be intended to confer it. In all the express instances in Scripture, we find that baptism doth suppose their repenting, be­lieving, receiving the Holy Ghost. Act. 8 37. Act. 2. 38. Act. 10. 47. Mark 16. 16. And to imagine, that baptism was instituted for an end of which not one of the first subjects was ca­pable (for they were all adult persons and sup­posed to have faith and repentance according as they professed, and their children were not baptized till after them, in their right,) were no little absurdity. Were this doctrine true, baptism would make disciples, but we find it doth bespeak them such before hand. Matth. 28. 19. 3. Because Baptism, being but a Seal of the Govenant, cannot convey the benefits, but [Page 14] according to the tenour of the covenant, to which it is set. Now the Covenant is con­ditional, therefore the Seal conveys con­ditionally. The Covenant requires faith and repentance, as the condition of the grand be­nefits, pardon, and life. Act. 16. 31. Act. 3. 19. And what the Covenant doth not convey but upon these conditions, the Seal cannot. So that baptism doth presuppose faith and repen­tance in the subject, without which it neither doth, nor can convey the saving benefits: o­therwise the Seal should convey contrary to the tenour of the Covenant to which it is af­fixed.

3. It lies not in a moral righteousness. This exceeds not the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, and therefore cannot bring us to the Kingdom of God. Matth. 5. 20. Paul, while un­converted, was touching the righteousness which is in the Law blameless, Phil. 3. 6. None could say black is thine eye. The [...]elf­justiciary could say, I am no Extor [...]ioner, adul­terer, unjust, &c. Luke 18. 11. Thou must have something more than all this to shew, or else (however thou maist justify thy self) God will condemn thee. I condemn not morality, but warn you not to rest here. Piety includes mo­rality, as Christianity doth humanity, and grace reason. But we must not divide the tables.

4. It consists not in an external conformity to the rules of Piety. 'Tis too manifest, men may have a form of godliness, without the power. 2 Tim. 3. 5. Men may pray long, Matth. 23. 14. and fast often, Luke 18. 12. and hear gladly, Matth. 13. 20. [Page 15] and be very forward in the service of God, though costly, and expensive, Esay. 1. 11. and yet be strangers to Conversion. They must have more to plead for themselves, than that they keep their Church, and give alms, and make use of prayer, to prove themselves sound converts. No outward service but an hypo­crite may do it; even to the giving all his goods to the poor, and his members to the fire. 1 Cor. 13. 3.

5. It lies not in the chaining up of corruption, by education, humane laws, or the force of incumbent affliction. 'Tis too common and easie, to mi­stake education for grace: but if this were e­nough, who a better man than Iehoash? while Iehoiada his uncle lived, he was very forward in Gods service, and calls upon him to repair the house of the Lord, 2 Kings 12. 2, 7. But here was nothing more than good education all this while: for when his good Tutour was taken out of the way, he appears to have been but a wolf chained up, and falls off to Idolatry.

6. In short, it consists not in illumination, or convictions, in a superficial change, or partial re­formation. An Apostate may be a man inlight­ened, Heb. 6. 4. and a Felix tremble under convictions, Act. 24. 25. and a Herod amend many things, Mark 6. 20. 'Tis one thing to have fin alarm'd only by convictions, and ano­ther to have it captivated and crucified by con­verting grace. Many, because they have been troubled in conscience for their sins, think well of their case; miserably mistaking conviction for conversion. With these Cain might have passed for a Convert, who run up and down the [Page 16] world, like a man distracted under the rage of a guilty conscience, till with building and bu­siness he had worn it away. Gen. 4. 13, 14. Others think, that because they have given off their riotous courses, and are broken off from evil company, or some particular lust, and re­duced to sobriety and civility, they are now no other than real Converts; forgetting that there is a vast difference between being sanctified, and civilized; and that many seek to enter in­to the Kingdom of Heaven, Luke 13. 24. and are not far from it, Mark 12. 34. and arrive to the almost of Christianity, Act. 26. 28. and yet fall short at last. While conscience holds the whip over them, many will pray, hear, read and forbear their delightful sins: but no sooner is this Lyon asleep, but they are at their vomit again. Who more religious than the Jews, when Gods hand was upon them? Psal. 78. 34, 35. but no sooner was the affliction over, but they forgat God, and shewed their religion to be but a fit, v. 36, 37. Thou maist have dis­gorged a troublesome sin, that will not sit in thy stomach, and have escaped the gross pol­lutions of the world, and yet not have changed thy swinish nature, all the while. 2 Pet. 2. 20, 22.

You may cast the lead, out of the rude mass, into the more comely proportion of a plant, and then into the shape of a beast, and thence into the form and features of a man: but all the while, it is but lead still. So a man may pass through divers transmutations, from ignorance to knowledge, from prophaneness to civility, thence to a form of religion, and all this while [Page 17] he is but carnal and unregenerate, while his nature remains unchanged.

Application. Hear then, O sinners hear; as you would live, so come and hear, Esay 55. 3. Why would you so wilfully deceive your selves, or build your hopes upon the sand? I know he shall find hard work of it, that goes to pluck away your hopes. It cannot but be ungrateful to you, and truly it is not pleasing to me. I set about it, as a Surgeon, when to cut off a pu­trid member from his well-beloved friend; which of force he must do, but with an aking heart, a pitiful eye, and trembling hand. But understand me, Brethren, I am only taking down the ruinous house, (which will other­wise speedily fall of it self, and hurry you in the rubbish,) that I may build fair, and strong, and firm for ever. The hope of the wicked shall perish, if God be true of his word, Prov. 11. 7. And wert not thou better, O sinner, to let the word convince thee now in time, and let go thy false and self-deluding hopes, than to have death too late to open thine eyes, and find thy self in hell, before thou art aware? I should be a false and faithless Shepherd, if I should not tell you, that you who have built your hopes upon no better grounds, than these fore­mentioned, are yet in your sins. Let your con­sciences speak; What is it, that you have to plead for your selves? Is it that you wear Christs livery? That you bear his name? That you are of the visible Church? That you have know­ledge in the points of Religion, are civilized, perform religious duties, are just in your deal­ings, [Page 18] have been troubled in conscience for your sins? I tell you from the Lord, these pleas will never be accepted at Gods Bar. All this, though good in it self, will not prove you converted, and so will not suffice to your salvation. Oh look about you, and bethink your selves of turning speedily and soundly. Set to praying, and to reading, and to studying your own hearts, rest not, till God hath made through work with you: for you must be other men, or else you are lost men.

But if these be short of Conversion, what shall I say of the prophane sinner? It may be, he will scarce cast his eyes, or lend his ears to this discourse: but if there be any such read­ing, or within hearing, he must know from the Lord that made him, that he is far from the Kingdom of God. May a man be civilized and not converted, where then shall the Drunkard, and Glutton appear? May a man keep company with the wise Virgins, and yet be shut out? shall not a companion of fools much more be destroyed? Prov. 13. 20. May a man be true and just in his dealings, and yet not be justified of God? What then will become of thee, O wretched man, whose conscience tells thee thou art false in thy trade, and false of thy word, and makest thine advantage by a ly­ing tongue. If men may be inlightened, and brought to the performance of holy duties, and yet go down to perdition, for resting in them, and sitting down on this side of Conver­sion: what will become of you, O miserable families, that live as without God in the world? [Page 19] And of you, O wretchless sinners, with whom God is scarce in all your thoughts; that are so ignorant, that you cannot, or so careless, that you will not pray? O repent and be converted; break off your sins by righteousness: away to Christ for pardoning and renewing grace: give up your selves to him, to walk with him in holiness, or else you shall never see God. Oh that you would take the warnings of God [...] In his name I once more admonish you. Turn you at my reproof. Prov. 1. 23. Forsake the foolish and live. Prov. 9. 6. Be sober, righteous, godly. Tit. 2. 12. Wash your hands you sinners, purify your hearts, ye double minded. Iames 4. 8. Cease to do evil, learn to do well. Esay 1. 16, 17. But if you will on, you must die. Ezek. 33. 11.

Shewing positively what Conversion is.

I May not leave you with your eyes half open­ed, as he that saw men as trees walking. Mar. 8. 24. The word is profitable for doctrine, as well as reproof, 2 Tim. 3. 16. And therefore having thus far conducted you by the shelves and rocks of so many dangerous mistakes, I would guide you at length into the harbour of truth.

Conversion then (in short) lies, in the thorow change both of the heart, and life. I shall briefly describe it in its nature and causes.

1. The Author of it is the spirit of God; and there­fore it is called, the sanctification of the spirit; [Page 20] 2 Thes. 2. 13. and the renewing of the Holy Ghost. Tit. 3. 5. Yet not excluding the other persons in the Trinity: For the Apostle teach­eth us, to bless the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for that he hath begotten us again: 1 Pet. 1. 3. and Christ is said, to give repen­tance to Israel; Acts 5. 31. and is called the everlasting Father; Esay 9. 6. and we his seed, and the children which God hath given him Heb. 2. 13. Esay 53. 10. Oh blessed birth! Seven Cities contended for the birth of Homer: but the whole Trinity fathers the new creature. Yet is this work principally ascribed to the Holy Ghost, and so we are said to be born of the Spirit. Iohn 3. 8.

So then, it is a work above mans power. We are born, not of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man; but of God. Ioh. 1. 13. Never think thou canst convert thy self. If ever thou wouldst be savingly converted, thou must despair of doing it in thine own strength. Ier. 31. 18. It is a resurrection from the dead, Rev. 20. 5. Eph. 2. 1. a new creation, Gal. 6. 15. Eph. 2. 10. a work of absolute omnipotency: Eph. 1. 19. Are not these out of the reach of humane power? If thou hast no more, than thou hadst by thy first birth, a good nature, a meek and chast temper, &c. thou art a very stranger to true Conversion. This is a super­natural work.

2. The moving cause is Internal, or Exter­nal.

The Internal mover is only free grace. Not by works of righteousness which we have done; [Page 21] but of his own mercy he saved us—by the renewing of the Holy Ghost. Tit. 3. 5. Of his own will begat he us: Iames 1. We are cho­sen and called unto Sanctification, not for it. Eph. 1. 4.

God finds nothing in man to turn his heart, but to turn his stomach: enough to provoke his loathing, nothing to provoke his love. Look back upon thy self, O Christian. Take up thy ver­minous rags: Look upon thy self in thy blood. Ez. 16. 6. O reflect upon thy swinish nature, thy filthy swill, thy once beloved mire. 2 Pet. 2. Canst thou think without loathing of thy trow and draugh? Open thy Sepulchre, Mat. 23. 27. Art not thou almost struck dead with the hellish damp? Behold thy putrid soul, thy loathsome members. O stench unsufferable, if thou dost but sense thine own putrefaction! Psal. 14. 3. Behold thy ghastly visage, thy crawling lusts, thy slime and corruption. Do not thine own cloths abhor thee? Ioh 9. 31. How then should holiness and purity love thee. Be astonied O Heavens at this, be moved O earth. Ier. 2. 12. Who but must needs cry, Grace! Grace! Zech. 4. 7. Hear and blush you children of the most High. O how unthankful generation! That free grace is no more in your mouths; in your thoughts; no more adored admired, commended by such as you. One would think you should be nothing but praising and admiring God, where ever you are. How can you make a shift to forget such grace, or to pass it over with a slight and seldom mention? [Page 22] What but free grace should move God to love you, unless enmity could do it, or deformity could do it; unless vomit, or rottenness could do it? How affectionately doth Peter lift up his hands? Blessed be God and the Father of our Lord Iesus Christ, who of his Abundant mercy hath be­gotten us again: 1 Pet. 1. 3. How feelingly doth Paul magnifie the free mercy of God in it? God who is rich in mercy, for his great love where­with be loved us; bath quickened us together with Christ; by Grace are ye saved. Eph. 2. 4, 5.

The External mover is the merit and intercession of the blessed Iesus. He hath obtained gifts for the rebellious; Psal. 68. 18. and through him it is, that God worketh in us, what is well pleasing in his sight: Heb. 13. 21. Through him are all spiritual blessings bestowed upon us in Heavenly things. Eph. 1. 3. He intercedeth for the Elect, that believe not. Iohn 17. 20. E­very Convert is the fruit of his travel. Esay 53. 11. Oh never was infant born into the world with that difficulty, that Christ endured for us. How emphatically he groaneth in his travel! All the pains that he suffered on his Cross, they were our birth-pains, Act. 2. 24. [...], the pulls and throws that Christ endu­red for us. He is made Sanctification to us. 1 Cor. 1. 30. He sanctified himself (that is set apart him­self as a Sacrifice) that we might be sanctified. Ioh. 17. 19. We are sanctified through the offering of his body once for all. Heb. 10. 10.

'Tis nothing then without his own bowels, but the merit and intercession of Christ, that prevails with God to bestow upon us conver­ting [Page 23] grace. If thou art a new creature, thou knowest to whom thou owest it, to Christ's pangs and prayers. Hence the natural affection of a believer to Christ. The foal doth not more naturally run after the dam, nor the suck­ling to the dugs, than a believer to Jesus Christ. And whither else shouldst thou go? If any in the World can shew that for thy heart, that Christ can, let them carry it. Doth Satan put in, doth the world court thee, doth sin sue for thy heart? Why, were these crucified for thee? 1 Cor. 1. 13. O Christian, love and serve thy Lord while thou hast a being. Do not even the Publi­cans love those that love them? And shew kind­ness to those that are kind to them? Matth. 5. 46, 47.

3. The Instrument is either Personal, or Real.

The Personal is the Ministry. I have begotten you to Christ through the Gospel; 1 Cor. 4. 15. Christs ministers are they, that are sent to open mens eyes, and to turn them to God. Act. 26. 18.

O unthankful world, little do you know what you are doing, while you are persecuting the messengers of the Lord. These are they whose business is (under Christ) to save you. Whom have you reproached, and blasphemed? Against whom have you exalted your voice, and lifted up your eyes on high? Esay 37. 23. These are the servants of the most high God that shew unto you the way of salvation, Act. 16. 17. and do you thus require them, O foolish and unwise? Deut. 32. 6. Oh sons of ingratitude, [Page 24] against whom do you sport your selves? against whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue? Esay 57. 3. These are the instru­ments, that God useth to convert and save you: and do you spit in the faces of your Phy­sicians, and throw your [...] Pilots over board? Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

The Instrument Real is the word. We were begotten by the word of truth. This is it that inlightens the eyes, that converteth the soul, Psal. 19. 7, 8. that maketh wise to sal­vation: 2 Tim. 3. 15. This is the incorruptible seed, by which we are born again: 1. Pet. 1. 23. If we are washed, 'tis by the word: Eph. 5. 26. if we are sanctified, 'tis through the truth: Ioh. 17. 17. This generates faith, and regenerates us. Rom. 10. 17. Iames 1. 18.

O ye Saints, how should you love the word? for by this you have been converted. O ye sinners, how should you ply the word? for by this you must be converted No other ordi­nary means, but this. You that have felt its renewing power, make much of it while you live, be for ever thankful for it. Tie it about your necks, write it upon your hands, lay it in your bosoms. Prov. 6. 21, 22. When you go let it lead you, when you sleep let it keep you, when you wake let it talk with you. Say with holy [...] David, I will never forget thy precepts, for by them hast thou quickened me. Psal. 119. 93. You that are unconverted, read the word with diligence; flock to it, where powerfully preached; fill the porches, as the multitude [Page 25] of the impotent, blind, halt, withered, wai­ting for the moving of the waters. Ioh. 5. 3. Pray for the coming of the spirit in the word. Come off thy knees to the sermon: and come to thy knees from the sermon. The seed doth not prosper because not watered by prayers and tears, nor covered by meditation.

4. The finall cause is mans salvation, and Gods glory. We are chosen through sanctification to Salvation: 2 Thess. 2. 13. Called that we might be glorified: Rom. 8. 30. but especially, that God might be glorified, Esay. 60. 21. that we should shew forth his praises, 1. Pet. 2. 9. and be fruitful in good works. Col. 1. 10.

O Christian, do not forget the end of thy calling, let thy light shine, Mat. 5. 16. let thy lamp burn, let thy fruits be good, and ma­ny, and in season. Psal. 1. 3. Let all thy designs fall in with Gods, that he may be magnified in thee. Phil. 1. 20. Why should God repent that he hath made thee a Christian, as in the time of the old world, that he made them men? Gen. 6. 6. Why shouldest thou be an eye-sore in his Orchard, Luke 7. by thy unfruitfulness? or a son that causeth shame, as it were a grief to thy father, and a bitterness to her that bare thee? Prov. 17. 25. Prov. 10. 5. O let the womb bless thee that bare thee. Prov. 17. 21. He that begets a fool, doth it to his sorrow; and the father of a fool hath no joy.

5. The subject is the elect sinner, and that in all his parts and powers, members and mind. Whom God predestinates, them only he calls. Rom. 8. 30. None are drawn to Christ by their calling, [Page 26] nor come to him by believing, but his sheep, those whom the father hath given him. 1 Ioh. 6. 37, 44. Effectual calling runs parallel with eternal election. 2 Pet. 1. 10.

Thou beginnest at the wrong end, if thou disputest first about thine Election. Prove thy conversion, and then never doubt of thine e­lection. Or canst thou not yet prove it? Set upon a present and thorow turning. Whate­ver Gods purposes be (which are secret) I am sure his promises are plain. How desperately do rebels argue! If I am elected, I shall be sa­ved, do what I will: if not, I shall be damned, do what I can. Perverse sinner, wilt thou be­gin where thou shouldest end? Is not the word before thee? what saith it? Repent and be con­verted, that your sins may be blotted out. Acts. 3. 19. If you mortifie the deeds of the body, you shall live. Rom. 8. 13. Believe and be saved. Acts 16. 31. What can be plainer? Do not stand still, disputing about thine election, but set to re­penting and believing. Cry to God for con­verting Grace. Revealed things belong to thee; in these busie thy self. 'Tis just (as one well,) that they that will not feed on the plain food of the word, should be choaked with the bones. Whatever Gods purposes be, I am sure his promises be true. Whatever the decrees of Heaven be, I am sure, that if I repent and believe, I shall be saved; and that if I repent not, I shall be damn [...]d. Is not here plain ground for thee: and wilt thou yet run upon the rocks?

More particularly, this change of conversion passes thorowout in the whole subject. A car­nal [Page 27] person may have some shreds of good morality, a little near the list, but he is never good throughout the whole cloth, the whole body of Holiness and Christia­nity: feel him a little further near the ridge, and you shall see him to be but a deceitful piece. Conversion is not a repairing of the old buil­ding, but it takes all down, and erects a new structure: it is not the putting in a patch or sow­ing on a list of holiness; but with the true con­vert, holiness is woven into all his powers, principles, and practice. The sincere Christi­an is quite a new fabrick, from the foundation to the top stone all fire-new. He is a new man, Eph. 4. 24. a new creature, All things are be­come new. 2. Cor. 5. 17. Conversion is a deep work, a heart work; Act. 2. 37. and 16. 14. it turns all upside down, and makes a man be­gin a new world. It goes thorowout with men, thorowout the Mind, thorowout the Members, thorowout the motions of the wole life.

1 Thorowout the Mind. It makes an universal change within. First it turns the ballance of the judgement, so that God and his glory do weigh down all carnal and worldly interests. Act. 20. 24. Phil. 1. 20. Psal. 73. 25. It opens the eye of the mind, and makes the scales of its native ignorance to fall off, and turns men from darkness to light. Act. 26. 18. Eph. 5. 8. 1 Pet 2. 9. The man that before saw no danger in his condition, now concludes himself lost, and for ever undone, Act. 2. 37. except renew­ed by the power of Grace. He that formerly thought there was little hurt in sin, now comes [Page 28] to see it to be the chief of evils; he sees the un­reasonableness, unrighteousness, the deformi­ty and the filthiness that is in sin, so that he is affrighted with it, loaths it, dreads it, flies it, and even abhors himself for it. Rom. 7. 15. Iob 42. 6. Ezek. 36. 31. He that could see little sin in himself, and could find no matter for confession (as it was said of that learned Ig­noramus Bellarmine (who it seems while he knew so much abroad, was a miserable stranger to himself,) that when he was to be confessed by the Priest, could not remember any thing to confess, but was fain to run back to the sins of his youth) I say he that could not find matter for confession, unless it were some few gross and staring evils, now sin reviveth with him, Rom. 7. 9. he sees the rottenness of his heart, and desperate and deep pollution of his whole nature: he cries, unclean, unclean, Lev. 13. 45. Lord purge me with Hyssop, wash me throughly, create in me a clean heart. Psal. 51. 2, 7, 10. He sees himself altogether become [...]lthy, Psal. 14. 3. corrupt both root and tree. Mat. 7. 17, 18. he writes unclean upon all his parts, and powers, and performances, Esay 63. 6. Rom. 7. 18. He discovers the nasty corners that he was never aware of, and sees the blas­phemy, and theft, and murther, and adultery that is in his heart, which before he was igno­rant of. Heretofore he saw no form nor come­liness in Christ, no beauty that he should desire him; but now he finds the hid treasure, and will sell all to buy this field. Christ is the pearl he seeks, sin the puddle he loaths.

[Page 29]Now according to this new light, the man is of another mind, another judgment, than before he was. Now God is all with him: he hath none in heaven nor earth like him. Psal. 73. 25. He prefers him truly before all the world: his favour is his life: the light of his countenance is more than Corn and Wine and Oyl, (the good that he formerly enquired af­ter, and set his heart upon. Psal. 4. 6, 7.) Now let all the world be set on one side, and God a­lone on the other; let the Harlot put on her paint, and gallantry, and present her self to the soul (as when Satan would have tempted our Saviour with her) in all the glory of her king­doms, yet the Soul will not fall down and worship her; but will prefer a naked, yea a crucified, persecuted Christ before her. Phil. 3. 8. 1 Cor. 2. 2. Not but that a Hypocrite may come to yield a general assent to this, that God is the chief good: yea the wiser Heathens (some few of them) have at last stumbled upon this: but there is a difference between the absolute, and comparative judgment of the understan­ding. No Hypocrite comes so far, as to look upon God, as the most desirable and suitable good to him, and thereupon to acquiesce in him. This is the converts voice; The Lord is my portion, saith my soul. Whom have I in hea­ven but thee? and there is none upon earth, that I desire besides thee. God is the strength of my heart and my portion for ever. Psal. 73. 25, 26. Lam. 3. 24.

Secondly, It turns the Byas of the Will, both as to means and end. (1.) The intention of the will [Page 30] is altered; Ezek. 36. 26. Ier. 31. 33. Esay 26. 8, 9. Now the man hath new ends and designs. Now he intends God above all, and desires and designs nothing in all the world so much, as that Christ may be magnified in him. Phil. 1. 20. He accounts himself more happy in this, than in all that the earth could yield, that he may be serviceable to Christ, and bring him glory in his generation. This is the mark he aims at, that the name of Jesus may be great in the world, and that all the sheaves of his bre­thren, may bow to this sheaf.

Reader, dost thou view this and never ask thy self, whether it be thus with thee? Pause a while, and breath upon this great concernment.

2. The election also is changed, so that he chooses another way. Psal. 119. 30. He pitch­es upon God as his blessedness, and upon Christ as the principal, and holiness as the subordinate means, to bring him to God. Iohn 14. 6. Rom. 2. 7. He chooses Jesus for his Lord. Col. 2. 6. He is not meerly forced into Christ by the storm, nor doth he take Christ for bare necessity, as the man begged from the Gallows, when he takes the wife, rather than the halter: but he comes off freely in the choice, This match is not made in a fright, as with the terrified conscience, or dying sinner, that will seemingly do any thing for Christ, but doth only take Christ, rather than hell: but he deliberately resolves, that Christ is his best choice, Phil. 1. 23. and would rather have him to choose, than all the good of this world, might he enjoy it while he would. A­gain he takes holiness for his path. He doth [Page 31] not out of meer necessity submit to it: but he likes and loves it. I have chosen the way of thy Precepts. Psal. 119. 173. He takes Gods testi­monies not as his bondage, but his heritage, yea his heritage for ever: v. 111. he counts them not his burden, but his bliss; not his cords, but his cordials. 1 Iohn 5. 3. Psal. 119. 14, 16, 47. He doth not only bear, but take up Christs yoke. He takes not holiness, as the stomach doth the loathed potion, (which it will down with rather than dye) but as the hungry doth his beloved food. No time passes so sweetly with him (when he is himself) as that he spends in the exercises of holiness; these are both his aliment, and his element, the de­sire of his eyes, and the joy of his heart. Iob 23. 12. Psal. 119. 82, 131, 162, 174. Psal. 63. 5.

Put thy conscience to it as thou goest, whether thou art the man. O happy man, if this be thy case! But see thou be thorow and impartial in the search.

Thirdly, it turns the Bent of the affections. 2 Cor. 7. 11. These run all in a new channel. The Iordan is now driven back, and the water runs upward against its natural course.

Christ is his Hope. 1 Tim. 1. 1. this is his prize: Phil. 3. 8. here his eye is, here his heart is. He is contented to cast all over board (as the mer­chant in the storm, ready to perish) so he may but keep this Jewel.

The thirst of his Desires is, not after gold, but grace: Phil. 3. 13. He hungers after it, he seeks it as silver, he digs for it as for hid trea­sure: [Page 32] he had rather be gracious, than be great: he had rather be the holiest man on earth, than the most learned, the most famous, most pro­sperous. While carnal, he said: Oh! if I were but in great esteem, and rolled in wealth, and swim'd in pleasure, if my debts were paid, and I and mine provided for, then I were a hap­py man: but now the tune is changed. O, saith the Convert, if I had but my corruptions subdued; if I had such measures of grace, such fellowship with God, though I were poor and despised, I should not care, I should account my self a blessed man. Reader, is this the lan­guage of thy soul?

His Ioys are changed. He rejoyceth in the way of Gods testimonies, as much as in all riches: Psal 119. 14. He delights in the law of the Lord, wherein once he had little savour. He hath no such joy, as in the thoughts of Christ, the fruition of his company, the pro­sperity of his people.

His Cares are quite altered. He was once set for the world, and any scraps of by-time, nothing (too often) was enough for his soul. Now he gives over caring for the asses, and sets his heart on the Kingdom. Now all the cry is, What shall I do to be saved? Act. 16. 30. His great sollicitude is, how to secure his soul. Oh! how he would bless you, if you could but put him out of doubt of this!

His Fears are not so much of suffering; but of sinning. Heb. 11. 25, 27. Once he was afraid of nothing so much as the loss of his estate, or efteem, the dipleasure of friends, the frowns [Page 33] of the great: Nothing sounded so terrible to him, as pain, or poverty, or disgrace. Now these are little to him, in comparison of Gods dishonour, or displeasure. How warily doth he walk, left he should tread on a snare? He feareth alway: he looks before, and behind; he hath his eye upon his heart, and is often casting over his shoulder, le [...]t he should be o­vertaken with sin: Psal. 39. 1. Prov. 28. 14. Eccles. 2. 14. It kills his heart to think of lo­sing Gods favour; this he dreads as his only un­doing. Psal. 51. 11, 12. Psal. 119. 8. No thought in the world doth pinch him and pain him so much, as to think of parting with Christ.

His Love runs a new course. My Love was crucified (said holy Ignatius) that is, my Christ. This is my beloved, saith the spouse. Cant. 5. 16. How doth Augustine often pour his loves upon Christ.

He can find no words sweet enough. Let me see thee, O Light of mine eyes. Come, O thou joy of my spirit; let me behold thee, O the gladness of my heart. Let me love thee, O life of my soul. Appear unto me, O my great delight, my sweet comfort, O my God, my life, and the whole glory of my soul. Let me find thee, O desire of my heart: let me hold thee, O love of my soul. Let me embrace thee, O Heavenly Bridegroom. Let me possess thee, O esternal blessedness, &c.

His sorrows have now a new vent. 2 Cor. 7. 9, 10. The view of his sins, the sight of a Christ crucified, that would scarce stir him before, now how much do they affect his heart?

[Page 34]His Hatred boils, his Anger burns against sin. Psal. 119. 104. He hath no patience with him­self: he calls himself fool, and beast, and thinks any name too good for himself, when his in­dignation is stirred against sin. Psal. 73. 22. Prov. 30. 2. He could once swill in it, with too much pleasure; now he loaths the thought of returning to it, as much as of licking up the fil­thiest vomit.

Commune then with thine own heart, and attend the common and general current of thine affections, whether it be towards God in Christ, above all other concernments. Indeed, sudden and strong commotions of the affections and sensitive part, are oft times found in hypo­crites; especially where the natural constitution leads thereunto: and contrariwise, the sanctified themselves are many times without sensible stirrings of the affections, where the temper is more slow, dry, and dull. The great enquiry is, whether the judgment and will be stand­ingly determined for god, above all other good, real, or apparent: and if the affections do sincerely follow their choice, and conduct, though it be not so strongly and sensibly, as is to be desired, there is no doubt, but the change is saving.

2. Thorowout the Members. These that were before the instruments of sin, are now become the holy utensils of Christs living Temple. Rom. 6. 19. 1 Cor. 3. 16. He that before made, as it were, a baud, or a barrel of his body, now pos­sesseth his vessel in sanctification, and honour, in temperance, chastity, and sobriety, as dedica­ted [Page 35] to the Lord. Thes. 4. 4. Gal. 5. 22, 23. 1 Cor. 6. 19, 20.

The eye that was once a wandring eye, a wanton eye, a haughty, or a covetous eye, is now employed, as Mary, in weeping over her sins Luke 7. 38. In beholding God in his works, Psal. 8. 3. in reading his word, Act 8. 30. in looking up and down for objects of mercy, and opportunities for his service.

The ear that was once open to satans call, and that (like a vitiated palate.) did relish no­thing so much as filthy, or at least forthy talk, and the fools laughter, is now bored to the door of Christ house, and open to his disci­pline. It saith, speak Lord for thy servant hear­eth: It cries with him, veniat verbum Domini, and waits for his words as the rain, and relishes them more than the appointed food, Iob. 23. 12. than the very honey and honey-comb. Psal. 19. 10.

The head, that was the shop of worldly de­signs, is now filled with other matters, and set on the study of Gods will, Psal. 1. 2. Psal. 119. 97. and the man beats his head, not so much abouts his gain, but about his duty. The thoughts and cares that now fill his head are principally, how he may please God, and flie sin.

His heart, that was sty of filthy, lusts, is now become an Altar of incense, where the fire of divine love is ever kept in, and whence the dai­ly sacrifice of prayer and praises, and sweet in­cense of holy desires, ejaculations, and anhe­lations are continually ascending. Psal. 108. 1. [Page 36] Psal. 119. 20. Psal. 139. 17, 18.

The mouth is become a well of life, his tongue as choice silver, and his lips feed many: Now the salt of grace hath seasoned his speech, and eat out the corruption, Col. 4. 6. and cleansed the man from his filthy communications, flattery, boasting, railing, lying, swearing, backbiting, that once came like the flashes proceeding from the hell that was in the heart. Iames 3. 6, 7. The throat, that was once an open sepulchre, Rom. 3. 13. now sends forth the sweet breath of prayer, and holy discourse, and the man speaks in another tongue, in the language of Canaan, and is never so well, as when talking of God, and Christ, and the matters of ano­ther world. His mouth bringeth forth wisdom, his tongue is become the silver Trumpet of his makers praise, his glory and the best member that he hath.

Now here you shall have the hypocrite halt­ing He speaks it may be like an Angel, but he hath a covetous eye, or the gain of un­righteousness in his hand. Or the hand is white, but his heart is full of rottennes, Mat. 13. 27. full of unmortified cares, a very oven of lust, the shop of pride, the seat of malice. It may be with Nebuchadnezzar's image, he hath a golden head, a great deal of knowledge: but he hath feet of clay, his affections are worldly, he minds earthly things, and his way and walk are sensual, and carnal: you may trace him in his secret haunts, and his footsteps will be found in some by-paths of sin. The work is not thorowout with him.

[Page 37]3. Thorowout the motions, or the life, and practice. The new man takes a new course. Eph. 2. 2, 3. His Conversation is in Heaven. Phi. 3. 20. No sooner doth Christ call by effectual grace, but he straight way becomes a follower of him. Matth. 4. 20. When God hath given the new heart and writ his law in his mind, he forth with walks in his statutes and keeps his judgments, Ezek. 36. 26, 27.

Though sin may dwell (God knows a wearisome and [...] unwelcome guest) in him, yet it hath no more dominion over him. Rom. 6. 14, 7. He hath his fruit unto holiness; Rom. 6. 22. and though he makes many a blot, yet the law and life of Jesus is that he eyes, as his copy, Psal. 119. 30. Heb. 12. 2. and hath an un­seigned respect to all Gods commandments. Psa. 119. 6. He makes conscience even of little sins & little duties. Psal. 119. 113. His very infirmities which he cannot help, though he would, are his souls burden, and are like the dusts in a mans eye, which though but little, yet are not a little troublesome. [O man, dost thou read this, and never turn in upon thy soul, by self-examination?] The sincere Convert is not one man at Church and another at home: he is not a Saint on his knees, and a cheat in his shop: he will not tithe Mint and Cummin, and neglect mercy and judgment, and the weighty matters of the Law: he doth not pretend piety and neg­lect morality, Matth. 23. 14. but he turns from All his sins and keeps All Gods Statutes, Ezek. 18. 21. though not perfectly (except in desire and endeavour) yet sincerely, not allowing [Page 38] himself in the breach of any. Rom. 7. 15. Now he delights in the word, and sets himself to prayer, and opens his hand, (if table) and draws out his soul to the hungry. Rom. 7. 22. Psal. 109. 4. Esay 58. 10. He breaks off his sins by righteousness, and his iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; Dan. 4. 27. and hath a good conscience willing in All things to live honestly, Heb. 13. 18. and to keep with­out offence towords God and men.

Here again you shall find the unsoundness of many professors, that take themselves for good Christians. They are partial in the law, Mal. 2. 9. and take up with the cheap and easie du­ties of religion; but they go not thorow with the work. They are as a cake not turned, half roasted, and half raw. It may be you shall have them exact in their words, punctual in their dealings, but then they do not exercise themselves unto godliness; and for examining themselves, and governing their hearts, to this they are strangers. You shall have them duly at the Church, but follow them to their fami­lies and there you shall see little but the world minded: or if they have a road of family du­ties, follow them to their closets, and there you shall find their souls are little looked after. It may be they seem otherwise religious, but bridle not their tongues, and so all their religion is in vain: Iames 1. 26. It may be they come up to closet and family prayer; but follow them to their shops, and there you shall find them in a trade of lying, or some covert and cleanly way of deceit. Thus the hypocri [...]e goes not [Page 39] thorowout in the course of his obedience.

And thus much for the subject of Conver­sion.

6. The terms are either from which, or to which.

1. The terms from which we turn in this mo­tion of Conversion, are sin, Satan, the world, and our own righteousness.

First, Sin. When a man is converted, he is for ever out with sin: yea with All sin, Psal. 119. 128. but most of all with his own sins, and especially with his bosom sin: Psal. 18. 23. Sin is now the But of his indignation; 2 Cor. 7. 11. he thirsts to bath his hands in the blood of his sins. His sins set abroach his sorrows. It is sin that pierces his and wounds him: he feels it like a thorn in his side; like a prick in his eyes: he groans and struggles under it, and not formally, but feelingly cries out, O wretched man! He is not impatient of any bur­den, so much as of his sin. Psal. 40. 12. If God should give his choice, he would choose any affliction, so he might be rid of sin. He feels it like the cutting gravel in his shooes, pricking, and paining him as he goes.

Before Conversion he had light thoughts of sin: He cherished it in his bosom, as Uriah his lamb: he nourished it up, and it grew up to­gether with him; it did eat as it were of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was to him as a daughter: but when God opens his eyes by Conversion, he throws it away with abhorrence; Esay 30. [Page 40] 22. as a man would a loathsome toad, which in the dark he had hugged fast in his bosom, and thought it had been some pretty and harm­less bird. When a man is savingly changed, he is not only deeply convinced of the danger, but defilement of sin: and O how earnest is he with God to be purified? He loaths himself for his sins. Ezek 36. 31. He runs to Christ, and casts himself into the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness. Zech. 13. 1. If he fall, what a stir is there to get all clean again? He flies to the word, and washes, and rubs, and wrinses, labouring to cleanse himself from all filthiness both of flesh and spirit: he abhorrs his once beloved sin, Psal. 18. 23. as a cleanly nature doth the trow, and mire, wherein he s [...]es the swine delight.

The sound Convert is heartily engaged a­gainst sin. He wrestles with it, the wars against it. He is too often foiled, but he never yields the cause, nor lays down the weapons; but he will up, and to it again, while he hath breath in his body. He will never give quiet possession; he will make no peace; he will give no quarter; he falls upon it, and fires upon it, and is still dis­quieting of it with continual alarms. He can for­give his other enemies; he can pity them, and pray for them: Act. 7. 60. but here he is implaca­ble, here he is set upon revenge: he hunteth, as it were, for the precious life; his eye shall not pity, his hand shall not spare, though it be a right hand, or a right eye: Be it a gainful sin, most delightful to his nature, a support to his e­ste [...]m with carnal friends; yet he will rather [Page 41] throw his gain down the kennel, see his credit fall, or the flower of pleasure wither in his hand, than he will allow himself in any known way of sin. Luke 19. 8. He will grant no in­dulgence, he will give no toleration; but he draws upon sin where ever he meets it, and frowns upon it with this unwelcome salute, Have I found thee, O mine enemy!

Reader, hath conscience been at work, while thou hast been looking over these lines? Hast thou pondered these things in thine heart? Hast thou searched the book within, to see if these things be so? If not, read it again, and make thy conscience to speak whether or no it be thus with thee.

Hast thou crucified thy flesh with its affecti­ons and lusts, and not only confessed, but for­saken thy sins, all sin in thy servent desires, and the ordinary practice of every deliberate and willful sin in thy life? If not, thou are yet un­converted. Doth not conscience fly in thy face, as thou readest, and tell thee that thou livest in a way of lying for thy advantage, that thou usest deceit in thy calling, that there is some way of secret wantonness that thou livest in? Why then, do not deceive thy self, thou art in the gall of bitterness, and bond of ini­quity.

Doth not thine unbridled tongue, thy brutish intemperance, thy wicked company, thy neg­lect of prayer, of hearing and reading the word now witness against thee, and say, We are thy works, and we will follow thee? Or if I have not hit the right, doth not the bird with­in [Page 42] tell thee, there is such or such a way, that thou knowest to be evil, that yet for some car­nal respect thou dost tolerate thy self in, and art willing to spare? If this be the case, thou art to this day unregenerate, and must be chan­ged, or condemned.

Secondly, Satan. Conversion binds the strong man, spoils his armour, casts out his goods, and turns men from the power of Satan unto God. Act. 26. 18. Before, the Devil could no sooner hold up his finger to the sinner, to call him to his wicked company, sinful games, filthy delights, but presently he follows, like an Ox to the slaughter, and a fool to the correction of the stocks, as the bird that hasteth to the prey, and knoweth not that it is for his life. No sooner could Satan bid him lie, but presently he had it upon the top of his tongue: Act. 5. 3. no sooner could Satan offer a wanton object, but he was stung with lust. The Devil could do more with him than God could. If the Devil say, away with these family duties, be sure they shall be rarely enough performed in his house. If the Devil say, away with this strictness, this preciseness, he will keep far enough from it. It he tells him, there's no need of these clo­set duties, he shall go from day to day and scarce perform them. But now he is convert­ed, he serves another master, and takes quite another course: 1 Pet 4. 4. he goes and comes at Christs beck. Col. 3. 24. Satan may some times catch his foot in his trap; but he will no longer be a willing captive. He watches against the snares and baits of Satan, and studies to [Page 43] be acquainted with his devices. He is very suspicious of his plots, and is very jealous, in what comes athwart him, left Satan should have some design upon him. He wrestles a­gainst principalities and powers. Eph. 6. He entertains the messenger of Satan as men do the messenger of death. He keeps his eye up­on his enemy, 1. Pet. 5. 8. and watches in his duties, left Satan should put in his foot.

Thirdly, the World. Before sound faith, a man is overcome of the world. Either he bows down to Mammon, or idolizes his reputa­tion, or is a lover of pleasure, more than a lover of God. 2. Tim. 3. 4. Here's the root of mans misery by the fall; he is turned aside to the creature, instead of God, and gives that e­steem, confidence, affection to the creature, that is due to him alone. Rom. 1. 25. Mat. 10. 37. Prov. 18. 11. Ier. 17. 5.

O miserable man! What a deformed mon­ster hath sin made thee. God made thee little lower than the Angels, sin little better than the devils: Iohn 6. 70. and 8. 44. a monster, that hath his head and heart, where his feet should be; and his feet kicking against Heaven, and every thing out of place. The world, that was formed to serve thee, is come to rule thee; and the deceitful harlot hath bewitched thee with her inchantments, and made thee bow down and server her.

But converting grace sets all in order again, and puts God in the Throne, and the world at his footstool; Psal. 73. 25. Christ in the heart, [Page 44] and the world under feet: Eph. 3. 17. Rev. 12. 1. So Paul, I am crucified to the world, and the world to me. Gal. 6. 14. Before this change all the cry was, who will shew us any (worldly) good: but now he sings quite another tune, Lord lift up the light of thy countenance upon me, and take the corn and wine whoso will: Psal. 4. 6, 7. Before, his hearts delight and content was in the world: then the song was, Soul take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry, thou hast much goods laid up for many years: but now all this is wi­thered, and there is no comliness that he should desire it, and he tunes up with the sweet Psal­mist of Israel, The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance; the lines are fallen to me in a fair place, and I have a goodly heritage. He blesses himself, and boasts himself in God: Psal. 34. 2. Lam. 3. 24. nothing else can give him con­tent. He hath written vanity and vexation up­on all his worldly enjoyments, Ec. 1. 2. and loss and dung upon all humane excellencies. Phil. 3. 7, 8. He hath life and immortality now in chase; Rom. 2. 7. he trades for grace and glo­ry, and hath the Crown incorruptible in pur­suit. 1 Cor. 9. 25. His heart is set in him to seek the Lord: 1 Chron 22. 19. and 2. Chron, 15. 15. he first seeks the kingdom of Heaven and the righteousness thereof, and religion is no longer a matter by the by with him, but the main of his care, Matth. 6. 33. Psal. 27. 4. Now the gawdy idol is become Nehushtan. 2 Kings 18. 4. and he ups and treads upon it, as Diogenes trampling on Plato's hangings and saying, Caleo Platonis fastum. Before, the [Page 45] world had the swaying interest with him: he would do more for gain than, godliness, 1 Tim. 6. 5. more to pleasure his friend, or his flesh, than to please the God that made him, and God must stand by till the world were first served; but now all must stand by: he hates father and mother and life and all in compari­son of Christ. Luke 14. 26.

Well then, pause a little, and look within. Doth not this nearly concern thee? Thou pretendest for Christ; but doth not the world sway thee? Dost thou not take more real delight and content in the world, than in him? Dost not thou find thy self better at ease when the world goes to thy mind, and thou art encom­passed with carnal delights, than when retired to prayer and meditation in thy closet, or at­tending upon Gods word and worship? No surer evidence of an unconverted state, than to have the things of the world uppermost in our aims, love, and estimations, 1 Iohn 2. 15. Iames 4. 4.

With the sound Convert Christ hath the su­premacy. How dear is this name to him? How precious is its favour? Cant. 1. 3. Psal. 45. 8. The name of Jesus is engraven upon his heart, Gal. 4. 19. and lies as a bundle of myrrh between his breasts [...] Cant. 1. 13, 14. Honour is but air, and laughter is but madness, and Mammon is fallen like Dagon before the ark, with hands and head broken off on the threshold, when once Christ is savingly revealed. Here is the pearl of great price to the true Convert; here is his treasure, here is his hope. Matth. 13. 44, 45. [Page 46] This is his glory: My beloved is mine, and I am his. Gal. 6. 14. Cant. 2. 16. Oh 'tis sweet­er to him, to be able to say, Christ is mine, than if he could say, the Kingdom is mine, the Indies are mine.

Fourthly, our own righteousness. Before Con­version, man seeks to cover himself with his own fig-leaves, Phil. 3. 6, 7. and to lick himself whole with his own duties. Mic. 6. 6, 7. He is apt to trust in himself, Luke 16. 15. and 18. 9. and set up his own righteousness, and to reckon his counters for Gold, and not submit to the righteousness of God; Rom. 10. 3. But Con­version changes his mind; now he casts away his filthy rags, and counts his own righteous­ness, but a menstruous cloth: he casts it off, as a man would the verminous tatters of a nasty beggar: Esay 64. 6. Now he is brought to poverty of spirit, Matth. 5. 3. complains of and condemns himself, Rom. 7. and all his inven­tory is, poor, and miserable, and wretched, and blind, and naked. Rev. 3. 17. He sees a world of iniquity in his holy things, & calls his once ido­lized righteousness, but flesh, and loss, and dogs meat, and would not for a thousand worlds be found in himself; Phil. 3. 4, 7, 8 [...] 9. His finger is ever upon his sores, Psal. 51. 3. his sins, his wants. Now he begins to set a high price up­on Christs righteousness: he sees the need of a Christ in every duty, to justifie his person, and justifie his performances; he cannot live with­out him, he cannot pray without him; Christ must go with him, or else he cannot come into the presence of God; he leans upon the hand [Page 47] of Christ and so he bows himself in the house of his God. He sets himself down for a lost un­done man without him. His life is hid in Christ, as the life of man in the heart. He is fixed in Christ, as the roots of the tree spread in the earth for stability and nutriment. Before, the news of a Christ was a stale and sapless thing: but now, how sweet is a Christ? Augustine could not relish his before so much admired Cicero, be­cause he could not find the name of Christ. How pathetically cries he? Dulcissime, amantis. benignis. claris. &c. quando te videbo? quando satiabor de pulchritudine tuâ? Medit. c. 37. O most sweet, most loving, most kind, most dear, most precious, most desired, most lovely, most fair, &c. all in a breath, when he speaks of and to his Christ. In a word, the voice of the Convert is, with the Martyr, None but Christ.

2. The terms to which are either Vltimate, or Subordinate and mediate.

The Vltimate is God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, whom the true Convert takes, as his All-sufficient and eternal blessedness. A man is never truly sanctified, till his very heart be in truth set upon God, above all things, as his portion and chief good. These are the natu­ral breathings of a believers heart, Thou art my portion O Lord: Psal. 119. 57. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: Psal. 34. 2. My ex­pectation is from him: he only is my rock, and my salvation, he is my defence: in God is my salva­tion, and my glory, the rock of my strength, and my refuge is in God. Psal. 62. 1, 2, 5, 6, [...] Psal. 18. 1, 2.

[Page 48]Would you put it to an issue, whether you be converted or not, now then let thy soul and all that is within thee attend.

Hast thou taken God for thy happiness? Where doth the content of thy heart lie? Whence doth thy choicest comfort come in? Come then, and with Abraham lift up thine eyes Eastward, and Westward, and North­ward, and Southward, and cast about thee what it is, that thou wouldst have in Heaven or earth to make thee happy. If God should give thee thy choice, as he did to Solomon, or should say to [...] thee, as Ahasuerus to Esther, What is thy petition and what is thy request, and it shall we granted thee; Esther 5. 3. what wouldst thou ask? Go into the gardens of pleasure, and ga­ther all the fragrant flowers from thence: would these content thee? Go to the treasures of Mammon, suppose thou mightest lade thy self, while thou wouldst from hence: go to the towers, to the trophies of honour; what thinkest thou of being a man of renown, of having a name like the name of the great men of the earth? Would any of this, all this suf­fice thee, and make thee count thy self a hap­py man? If so, then certainly thou art carnal and unconverted. If not, go further; wade into the divine excellencies, the store of his mercies, the hiding of his power, the deeps un­fathomable of his All-sufficiency. Doth this suit thee best, and please thee most? Dost thou say, 'Tis good to be here? Matth. 17. 4. Here I will pitch; here I will live and die? Wilt thou let all the world go, rather than this? Then 'tis [Page 49] well between God and thee: Happy art thou, O man, happy art thou, that ever thou wast born. If a God can make thee happy, thou must needs be happy: for thou hast avouched the Lord to be thy God. Deut. 26. 17. Dost thou say to Christ, as he to us. Thy father shall be my fa­ther, and thy God my God? Iohn 20. 17. Here is the turning point. An unsound professour never takes up his rest in God; but converting grace does the work, and so cures the fatal mi­sery of the fall, by turning the heart from its idols, to the living God. 1 Thes. 1. 9. Now saies the soul, Lord, whither should I go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. Iohn 6. 68. Here he centers, here he settles, Oh 'tis as the en­trance of Heaven to him, to see his interest in God. When he discovers this, he saith, Re­turn unto thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee. Psal. 116. 7. and it is even ready to breath out Simeons song, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, Luke 2. 29. and saith, with Iacob, I when his old heart revived at the wellcome tydings, It is e­nough [...] Gen. 45. 28. When he sees he hath a God in Covenant to go to; this is all his salvation and all his desire. 2. Sam. 23. 5.

Man, is this thy case? Hast thou experienced this? Why, then blessed art thou of the Lord. God hath been at work with thee, he hath laid hold on thin heart by the power of converting grace, or else thou couldst never have done this.

The Mediate term of Conversion is either Principal, or less Principal.

[Page 50]The Principal is Christ, the only mediatour be­tween God and man. 1 Tim. 2. 5. His work is to bring us to God; 1 Pet. 3. 18. he is the way to the Father, Iohn 14. 6. the only plank on which we may escape, the only door by which we may enter. Iohn 10. 9. Conversion brings over the soul to Christ, to accept of him, Col. 2. 6. as the only means of life, as the only way, the only name given under Heaven: Act. 4. 12. He looks not for salvation in any other, but him; nor in any other with him; but throws himself on Christ alone, as one that should cast himself with spread arms upon the Sea.

Here (saith the convinced sinner) here I will venture, and if I perish, I perish: if I die, I will die here. But Lord suffer me not to perish under the pitiful eyes of thy mercy. Intreat me not to leave thee, nor to turn away from following after thee. Ruth 1. 16. Here I will throw my self. If thou kick me, if thou kill me, Iob 13. 15. I will not go from thy door.

Thus the poor soul doth venture upon Christ, and resolvedly adhere to him. Before Conver­sion the man made light of Christ, minded the [...]arm, friends, merchandise, more than Christ: Matth. 22. 5. now Christ is to him as his neces­sary food, his daily bread, the life of his heart, the staff of his life. Phil. 3. 9. His great design is, that Christ may be magnified in him. Phil. 1. 20. His heart once said, as they to the spouse, What is thy beloved, more than another? Cant. 5. 9. He found more sweetness in his merry company, wicked games, earthly de­lights, [Page 51] than in Christ. He took religion for a fancy, and the talk of great enjoyments, for an idle dream. But now, to him to live is Christ. He sets light by all that he accounted precious, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ. Phil. 3. 8.

All of Christ is accepted by the sincere Con­vert. He loves not only the wages, but work of Christ: Rom. 7. 22. not only the benefits, but the burden of Christ. He is willing not only to tread out the corn, but to draw under the yoke: he takes up the commands of Christ, yea and the Cross of Christ. Mat. 11. Mat. 16. 24.

The unsound closes by the halves with Christ: he is all for the salvation of Christ, but he is not for sanctification: he is for the privi­ledges, but appretiates not the person of Christ. He divides the offices, and benefits of Christ. This is an error in the foundation. Whoso loveth life, let him beware here. 'Tis an undoing mistake, of which you have been often warned, and yet none more common. Jesus is a sweet name, but men love not the Lord Jesus in sincerity. Eph. 6. 24. They will not have him, as God offers, To be a Prince and a Saviour. Act. 5. 31. They divide what God hath joined, the King, and the Priest. Yea they will not accept the salvation of Christ, as he intends it; they divide here. Every mans vote is for salvation from suffering; but they desire not to be saved from sinning. They would have their lives saved; but withall they would have their lusts saved. Yea many divide [Page 52] here again; they would be content to have some of their sins destroyed; but they cannot leave the lap of Dalilah, or divorce the beloved Herodias. They cannot be cruel to the right eye, or right hand: the Lord must pardon them in this thing. 2 Kings 5. 18. Oh be in­finitely tender here: your souls lie upon it. The sound Convert takes a whole Christ, and takes him for all intents and purposes, without exceptions, without limitations, without reserves. He is willing to have Christ, upon his terms, upon any terms. He is willing of the dominion of Christ, as well as deliverance by Christ, he saith with Paul, Lord what wilt thou have me to do? Act. 9. 6. Any thing Lord: He sends the blank for Christ to set down his own conditions. Act. 2. 37. Act. 16. 30.

The less Principal is the Laws, Ordinances, and ways of Christ. The heart that was once set against these, and could not endure the strictness of these bonds, the severity of these wayes, now falls in love with them, and chooses them as its rule and guide for ever. Psal. 119. 111, 112.

Four things (I observe) God doth work in every sound Convert, with reference to the Laws and ways of Christ, by which you may come to know your estates, if you will be faith­ful to your own souls; and therefore keep your eyes upon your hearts, as you go along.

1. The Iudgment is brought to approve of them, and subscribe to them, as most righteous, and most reas [...]nable. Psal. 119. 128, 137, 138. The mind is brought to like the ways of God, and [Page 53] the corrupt prejudices that were once against them, as unreasonable, and intolerable, are now removed. The understanding assents to them all, as holy, just, and good. Rom. 7. 12. How is David taken up with the excellencies of Gods Laws? How doth he expatiate in their praises, both from their inherent qualities, and admirable effects? Psal 19. 8, 9, 10, &c.

There is a twofold judgment of the under­standing, Iudicium absolutum, & comparatum. The absolute judgment is, when a man thinks such a course best in the general, but not for him, or not under the present circumstances he is in, pro hîc & nune. Now a godly mans judg­ment is for the waies of God, and that not on­ly the absolute, but comparative judgement: he thinks them not only best in general, but best for him. He looks upon the rules of religion, not only as tolerable, but desirable, yea more desirable than gold, fine gold, yea much fine gold. Psal 19. 10. His judgment is settled­ly determined, that it is best to be holy, that 'tis best to be strict: that it is in it self the most eligible course; and that 'tis for him the wisest, and most rational, and desirable choice. Hear the godly mans Judgment. I know O Lord that thy judgments are right. I love thy Com­mandment above gold, yea above fine gold. I e­steem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right, and I hate every false way. Psal. 119, 127, 128. Mark, he did approve of all that God required, and disallowed all that he forbad. Righteous art thou O Lord, and upright are thy judgments. Thy testimonies that thou [...]ast com­manded [Page 54] are righteous, and very faithful. Thy word is true from the beginning; and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever, Psal. 119. 86, 160, 162, 163. See how readily and fully he subscribes; he declares his assent, and consent to it, and all and every thing therein contained.

2. The desire of the heart is to know the whole mind of Christ. Psal. 119. 125, 144, 169. Psal. 25. 4, 5. He would not have one sin undiscover­ed, nor be ignorant of one duty required. 'Tis the natural and earnest breathing of a sanctified heart, Lord if there be any way of wickedness in me, do thou discover it. What I know not, teach thou me, and if I have done iniquity, I will do it no more. The unsound is willingly ignorant, 2, Pet. 3. 5. loves not to come to the light. Iohn 3. 20. He is willing to keep such or such a sin, and therefore is loth to know it to be a sin, and will not let in the light at that window. Now the gracious heart is willing to know the whole latitude and compass of his makers Low. Psal. 119. 18, 19, 27, 33, 64, 66, 68, 73, 108, 124. He receives with all ac­ceptation the word that convinceth him of any duty that he knew not, or minded not be­fore; or discovereth any sin that lay hid before. Psal. 19. 11.

3. The free and resolved choice of the will is de­termined for the ways of Christ, before all the plea­sures of sin, and prosperity of the world. Psal. 119. 127, 103, 162. His consent is not extorted by some extremity of anguish, nor is it only a sud­den and hasty resolve: but he is deliberately pur­posed, [Page 55] and comes off freely in the choice. Psal. 17. 3. Psal. 119. 30. True, the flesh will re­bel, yet the prevailing past of his will is for Christs laws and government; so that he takes them not up as his toil or burden, but his bliss. 1 Iohn 5. 3. Psal. 119, 60, 72. When the un­sanctified goes in Christs ways, as in Gives and fetters, he doth them naturally, Psal. 40. 8. Ier. 31. 33. and counts Christs law, his liber­ty. Psal. 119. 32, 45. Iames 1. 25. He is will­ing in the beauties of holiness, Psal. 110. 3. and hath this inseparable mark, That he had rather (if he might have his choice) live a strict and holy life, than the most prosperous and flourish­ing life in the world. 1 Sam. 10. 26. There went with Saul a band of men whose hearts God had touched. When God touches the hearts of his chosen, they presently follow Christ, Mat. 4. 22. and (though drawn) do freely run after him, Cant. 1. 4. and willingly offer them­selves to the service of the Lord, 2 Chron. 17. 16. seeking him with their whole desire. 2 Chro. 15. 15. Fear hath its use, but this is not the main spring of motion with a sanctified heart. Christ keeps not his subjects in by force, but is King of a willing people. They are (through his grace) freely resolved for his service, and do it out of choice, not as slaves, but as the son or spouse, from a spring of love, and a loyal mind. In a word, the laws of Christ are the Converts love, Psal. 119. 159, 163, 167. desire, v. 5, 20, 40. delight, v. 77, 92, 103, 111, 143. and continual study, v. 99, 97. Psal. 1. 2.

[Page 56]4. The bent of his course is directed to keep Gods Statutes. Psal. 119. 4, 8, 167, 168. 'Tis the daily care of his life to walk with God. He seeks great things: he hath noble designs, though he fall too short. He aims at nothing less than perfection; he desires it, he reaches after it, he would not rest in any pitch of grace, till he were quite rid of sin, and had perfected holiness. Phil. 3. 11, 12, 13, 14.

Here the hypocrites rottenness may be dis­covered. He desires holiness (as one well) only as a bridge to Heaven, and enquires earnestly, what is the least that will serve his turn; and if he can get but so much as may just bring him to Heaven, this is all he cares for. But the sound Convert desires holiness for holiness sake, Psal. 119. 97. Mat. 5. 6. and not only for Heaven sake. He would not be satisfied with so much as might save him from hell; but desires the highest pitch. Yet desires are not enough. What is thy way and thy course? Is the drift and scope of thy life alter­ed? Is holiness thy trade, and religion thy bu­siness? Rom. 8. 1. Mat. 25. 16. Phil. 3. 20. If not, thou art short of sound Conversion.

Application. And is this, that we have de­scribed, the Conversion that is of absolute ne­cessity of salvation? then be informed, 1. That strait is the gate, and narrow the way that lead­eth unto life. 2. That there be but few that find it. 3. That there is need of a Divine power savingly to convert a sinner to Jesus Christ.

Again, the [...] b [...] [...]xhorted, O man, that readest, [Page 57] to turn in upon thine own self. What saith conscience? Doth it not begin to bite? Doth it not twitch thee, as thou goest? Is this thy judgment, and this thy choice, and this thy way, that we have described? If so, then it's well. But doth not thy heart condemn thee? and tell thee, there is such a sin thou livest in against thy conscience? Doth it not tell thee, there is such and such a secret way of wicked­ness, that thou makest no bones of? Such or such a duty, that thou makest no conscience of?

Doth not conscience carry thee to thy closet, and tell thee how seldom prayer, and reading is performed there? Doth it not carry thee to thy family, and shew thee the charge of God, and the souls of thy children and servants, that be neglected there? Doth not conscience lead thee to thy shop, thy trade, and tell thee of some mystery of iniquity there? Doth it not carry thee to the Ale-shop, or to the Sack-shop, and round thee in thine ear for the loose com­pany thou keepest here, the precious time thou mispendest here, for the talents of God which thou throwest down this sink, for thy gaming, and thy swilling? &c. Doth it not carry thee into the secret chamber, and read thee a curtain lecture?

O conscience do thy duty. In the name of the living God I command thee, discharge thine office. Lay hold upon this sinner. Fall upon him, arrest him, apprehend him, unde­ceive him. What, wilt thou flatter and sooth him, while he lives in his sins? Awake O con­science: What mean [...]st thou, O sleeper? What, [Page 58] hast thou never a reproof in thy mouth? What, shall this soul die in his careless neglect of God and eternity, and thou altogether hold thy peace? What, shall he go no still in his trespas­ses, and yet have peace? O rouze up thy self, and do thy work. Now let the preacher in the bosom speak. Cry aloud and spare not, lift up thy voice like a Trumpet; let not the blood of this soul be required at thy hands.

Of the Necessity of Conversion.

IT may be you are ready to say, what mean­eth this stir? And are apt to wonder, why I follow you with such earnestness, still ringing one lesson in your ears, That you should repent and be converted. Act. 3. 19. But I must say unto you, as Ruth to Naomi, Intreat me not to leave you, nor to turn aside from following after you. Ruth. 1. 16. Were it a matter of indifferency, I would never keep so much ado. Might you be saved as you be, I would gladly let you a­lone. But would you not have me sollicitous for you, when I see you ready to perish? As the Lord liveth, before whom I am, I have not the least hopes to see ever a one of your faces in Heaven, except you be converted. I utterly despair of your s [...]lvation, except you will be prevailed with to turn throughly, and give up your selves to God in holiness and newness [Page 59] of life. Hath God said, Except you be born a­gain, you cannot see the Kingdom of God, Iohn 3. 3. and yet do you wonder, why your Mi­nisters do so painfully travel in birth with you? Think it not strange, that I am earnest with you to follow after holiness, and long to see the image of God upon you. Never did any, nor shall any enter into Heaven, by any other way but this. The Conversion described is not an high pitch of some taller Christians, but every soul, that is saved, passes this universal change.

It was a passage of the noble Roman, when he was hasting with corn to the City in the fa­mine, and the mariners were loth to set [...]ail in the foul weather, Necessarium, est navigare, non est necessarium vivere. Our voyage is of more necessity than our lives. What is it that thou dost account necessary? Is thy bread necessary? Is thy breath necessary? Then thy Conversion is much more necessary. Indeed, this is the Vnum Necessarium, the one thing necessary. Thine estate is not necessary: thou maist sell all for the pearl of great price, and yet be a gainer by the purchase. Mat. 13. 45. Thy life is not necessary: thou maist part with it for Christ, to infinite advantage. Thine esteem is not ne­cessary: thou maist be reproached for the name of Christ, and yet happy, yea much more hap­py in reproach, than in repute. 1 Pet. 4. 14. Mat. 5. 10, 11. But thy Conversion is neces­sary, thy damnation lies upon it, and is it not needful in so important a case to look about? Upon this one point depends thy making, or marring to all eternity.

[Page 60]But I shall more particularly shew the neces­sity of Conversion in five things: for without this

I. Thy being is in vain. Is it not pity thou shouldst be good for nothing, an unprofitable burden of the earth, a wart, or wen in the body of the universe? Thus thou art, while uncon­verted, for thou canst not answer the end of thy being. Is it not for the divine pleasure thou art and wert created? Rev. 4. 11. Did not he make thee for himself? Prov. 16. 4. Art thou a man, and hast thou reason? Why then bethink thy self, why, and whence thy being is. Behold Gods workmanship in thy body, and ask thy self; To what end did God rear this fabrick? Consider the noble faculties of thy Heaven-born soul: to what end did God be­stow these excellencies? To no other, than that than shouldst please thy self, and gratifie thy senses? Did God send men like the swal­lows, into the world, [...]only to gather a few sticks, and dirt, and build their nests, and breed up their young, and then away? The very heathens could see further than this. Art thou so fearfully and wonderfully made, Psal. 139. 14. and dost thou not yet think with thy self, surely it was for some noble and raised end?

O man, set thy reason a little in the chair. Is it not pity such a goodly fabrick should be raised in vain? Ver [...]ly thou art in vain, except thou art for God. Better thou had [...] no being, than not be for him. Wouldst thou serve thy end? Thou must repent, and be converted. [Page 61] Without this thou art to No purpose, yea to Bad purpose.

First, to No purpose. Man unconverted, is like a choice instrument, that hath every string broke, or out of tune. The spirit of the living God must repair, and tune it, by the grace of regeneration, and sweetly move it by the power of actuating grace, or else thy prayers will be but howlings, and all thy services will make no musick in the ears of the most holy. Ephes. 2. 10. Phil. 2. 13. Hos. 7. 14. Esay. 1. 15. All thy powers and faculties are so corrupt in thy natural state, that except thou be purged from dead works, thou canst not serve the living God. Heb 9. 14. Tit. 1. 15.

An unsanctified man, cannot work the work of God. 1. He hath no skill in it. He is alto­gether as unskilful in the work, as in the word of righteousness. Heb 5. 13. There are great mysteries as well in the practice, as principles of godliness: now the unregenerate knoweth not the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven. Mat. 13. 11. 1 Tim. 3. 16. You may as well expect him that never learn'd the Alphabet to read, or look for goodly musick on the lute, from one that never set his hand to an instrument, as that a natural man should do the Lord any pleasing service. He must be first taught of God, Iohn 6. 45. taught to pray, Luke 11. 1. taught to profit, Esay 48. 17. taught to go, H [...]s. 11. 3. or else he will be utterly at a loss.] 2. He hath no strength for it. How weak is his heart? Ezek. 16. 30. He is presently tired: the Sab­bath what a weariness is it? Mal. 1. 13. He is [Page 62] without strength, Rom. 5. 6. yea stark dead in sin Eph. 2. 5.] 3. He hath no mind to it: he de­sires not the knowledge of Gods ways. Iob 21. 14. He doth not know them, and he doth not care to know them. Psal. 82. 5. He knows not, neither will he understand.] 4. He hath neither due instruments, not materials for it. A man may as well hew the marble without tools, or limn without colours, or instruments, or build without materials, as perform any ac­ceptable service without the graces of the spi­rit, which are both the materials, and instru­ments in the work. Alms-giving is not a ser­vice of God, but of vain-glory, unless dealt forth by the hand of divine love. What is the prayer of the lips, without grace in the heart, but the carcase without the life? What are all our confessions, unless they be the exercises of godly sorrow and unfeigned repentance? What our petitions, unless animated all along with holy desires, and faith in the divine attributes and promises? What our praises and thanks-giving, unless from the love of God, and a holy gratitude, and sense of Gods mercies in the heart? So that a man may as well expect the trees should speak, or look for Logick from the bruits, or motion from the dead, as for any service holy and acceptable to God, from the unconverted. When the tree is evil, how can the fruit be good? Mat. 7. 18.

Secondly, to bad purpose. The unconverted soul is a very cage of unclean birds, Rev. 18. 2. a sepulchre full of corruption and rottenness, Mat. 23. 27. a loathsome carcase full of crawl­ing [Page 63] worms, and sending forth a hellish and most noisome favour in the nostrils of God. Psal. 14. 3. O dreadful case! Dost thou not yet see a change to be needful? Would it not have grieved one, to have seen the golden con­secrated vessels of Gods temple turned into quaffing bowls for drunkenness, and polluted with the idols service? Dan. 5. 2, 3. Was it such an abomination to the Jews, when An­tiochus set up the picture of a swine at the en­trance of the Temple? How much more abo­minable them would it have been, to have had the very Temple it self turned into a stable, or a sty, and to have the holy of holies served like the house of Baal, to have the image of God taken down, and be turned into a draught-house? 2 Kings 10. 27. This is the very case of the unregenerate: all thy members are turned into instruments of unrighteousness, Rom. 6. 19. servants of Satan; and thy inmost powers, into the receptacles of all uncleanness. Eph. 2. 2. Tit. 2. 15. You may see the goodly guests within, by what comes out. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false, witness, blasphemies, &c. This black guard discovers what a hell there is within.

Oh abuse unsufferable! to see a heaven-born soul abased to the filthiest drudgery: to see the glory of Gods creation, the chief of the wayes of God, the Lord of the universe, lapping with the prodigal at the trow, or licking up with greediness the most loathsome vomit. Was it such a lamentation to see those that did [Page 64] feed delicately, sit desolate in the streets? and the precious sons of Sion comparable to fine gold, to be esteemed as earthen pitchers? and those that were clothed in scarlet to embrace dunghils? Lim. 4. 2, 5. And is it not fearful much more, to see the only thing that hath immortality in this lower world, and carried the stamp of God, to become as a vessel wherein there is no pleasure? (which is but the modest expression of the vessel, men put to the most sor­did use.) Oh indignity intolerable! Better thou wert dashed on a thousand pieces, than con­tinue to be abused to so filthy a service.

II. Not only man, but the whole visible creation is in vain, without this. Beloved, God hath made all the visible creatures in Heaven and earth for the service of man, Ier. 22. 28. and man on­ly is the spokesman for all the rest. Man is in the universe, like the tongue in the body, (which speaks for all the members.) The other crea­tures cannot praise their maker, but by dumb signs and hints to man, that he should speak for them. Man is, as it were, the High-Priest of Gods creation, to offer the Sacrifice of praise, for all his fellow creatures. Psal. 147, and 148, and 150. The Lord God expecteth a tribute of praise from all his works; Psal. 103. 22. now all the rest do bring in their tribute to man, and pay it in by his hand. So then, if man be false, and faithless, and selfish, God is wrong­ed of all, and shall have no active glory from his works.

Oh dreadful thought to think of! That God should build such a world as this, and lay out [Page 65] such infinite power, and wisdom, and good­ness thereupon, and all in vain; and man should be guilty at last, of robbing, and spoiling him, of the glory of all. Oh think of this [...] while thou art unconverted, all the offices of the creatures to thee are in vain: thy meat nourishes thee in vain, the Sun holds forth his light to thee in vain, the stars, that serve thee in their courses by their most powerful, though hidden influences, Iudges 5. 20. Hos. 2. 21, 22. do it in vain; thy cloths warm thee in vain; thy beast carries thee in vain: in a word, the labour unwearied, and continual travel of the whole creation (as to thee) is in vain. The service of all the creatures, that drudge for thee, and yield forth their strength unto thee (that therewith thou shouldst serve their maker) is all but lost labour. Hence the whole creation groaneth under the abuse of the unsanctified world, Rom. 8. 22. that pervert them to the service of their lusts, quite contrary to the very end of their being.

III. Without this thy Religion is in vain. Iames 1. 26. All thy religious performances will be but lost; for they can neither please God, Rom. 8. 8. nor save thy soul, 1 Cor. 13. 2, 3. which are the very ends of religion. Be thy services never so specious, yet God hath no pleasure in them. Esay 1. 14. Mal. 1. 10. Is not that mans case dreadful, whose Sacrifices are as murder, and whose prayers are a breath of abomination? E­say 66. 3. Prov. 28. 9. Many under convictions think, they will set upon mending, and that a [Page 66] few prayers and alms will salve all again: but alas, [...]irs, while your hearts remain unsancti­fied, your duties will not pass. How punctual was Iehu? and yet all was rejected, because his heart was not upright. 2 Kings 10. with Hos. 1. 4. How blameless was Paul? and yet being un­converted, all was but loss. Phil. 3. 6, 7. Men think they do much in attending Gods service, and are ready to twit him with it, Esay 58. 3. Mat 7. 22. and set him down so much their debtour, whenas (their persons being unsancti­fied) their duties cannot be accepted.

O soul, do not think when thy sins pursue thee, a little praying and reforming thy course will pacify God: thou must begin with thine heart: if that be not renewed, thou canst no more please God, than one that having unspeak­ably offended thee, should bring thee his vomit in a dish to pacify thee, or having fallen into the mire, should think with his loathed embraces to reconcile thee.

It is a great misery to labour in the fire. The Poets could not invent a worser hell for Sysi­phus, than to be getting the barrel still up the hill, and then that it should presently fall down again and renew his labour. God threatens it, as the greatest of temporal judgments, that they should build and not inhabit, plant and not gather, and their labours shall be eat up by strangers. Deut. 28. 30, 38, 39, 41. Is it so great a misery to lose our common labours, to sow in vain, and build in vain? how much more to lose our pains in religion, to pray, and hear, [Page 67] and fast in vain? This is an undoing and eter­nal loss. Be not deceived, if thou goest on in thy sinful estate, though thou shouldst spread forth thine hands, God will hide his eyes; though thou make many prayers, he will not hear Esay 1. 15. If a man without skill, set about our work, and marr it in the doing, though he take much pains, we give him but small thanks. God will be worshipped after the due order. 1 Chron. 15. 13. If a servant do our work, but quite contrary to our order, he shall have rather stripes, than praise. Gods work must be done according to Gods mind, or he will not be pleased; and this cannot be, except it be done with a holy heart, 2 Chron. 25. 2.

IV. Without this, thy hopes are in vain. Iob 8. 12, 13. The Lord hath rejected thy confidence. Ier. 2. 37.

First, thy hopes of comfort here are in vain. 'Tis not only necessary to the safety, but com­fort of your condition, that you be converted. Without this, you shall not know peace. Esay 59. 8. Without the fear of God, you cannot have the comforts of the Holy Ghost. Act 9. 31. God speaks peace only to his people, and to his saints. Psal. 85. 8. If you have a false peace continuing in your sins, 'tis not of Gods, speak­ing; and then you may guess the Au­thor. Sin is a real sickness, Esay 1. 5. yea the worst of sickness, 'tis a leprosie in the head, Levit. 13. 44. the plague in the heart: 1 Kings 8. 38. 'tis brokenness in [Page 68] the bones, Psal. 51. 8. it pierceth, it wound­eth, it racketh and tormenteth. 1 Tim. 6. 10. A man may as well expect ease, when his dis­eases are in their strength, or his bones out of joint, as true comfort, while in his sins.

O wretched man, that canst have no ease in this case, but what comes from the deadliness of thy disease! You shall have the poor sick man, saying in his lightness, he is well; when you see death in his face. He will needs up and about his business, when the very next step is like to be into the grave. The unsanctified often feel no­thing amiss, they think themselves whole, and cry not out for the Physician, but this shews the danger of their case.

Sin doth naturally breed distempers and di­sturbance in the soul. What a continual tempest and commotion is there, in a discontented mind? What an eating evil is inordinate care? What is passion, but a very feaver in the mind? What is Lust, but a fire in the bones? What is Pride but a deadly tympany? or covetousness, but an unsatiable and unsufferable thirst? or ma­lice and envy, but venom in the very heart? Spi­ritual sloth is but a scurvy in the mind, and car­nal security, a mortal lethargy. And how can that soul have true comfort that is under so many diseases? But converting grace cures, and so eases the mind, and prepares the soul for a setled, standing, immortal peace. Great peace have they that love thy commandments, and nothing shall offend them. Psal. 119. 165. They are the wayes of wisdom that afford pleasure and peace. Prov. 3. 17. David had infinitely more pleasure [Page 69] in the word, than in all the delights of his Court, Psal. 119. 103, 127. The conscience cannot be truly pacified, till soundly purified. Heb. 10. 22. Cursed is that peace, that is main­tained in a way of sin. Deut. 29. 19, 20. Two sorts of peace are more to be dreaded, than all the troubles in the world; Peace with sin, and Peace in sin.

Secondly, Thy hopes of Salvation hereafter are in vain: yea worse than in vain; they are most injurious to God, most pernicious to thy self; there is death, desperation, blasphemy in the bowels of this hope. 1. There is death in it. Thy confidence shall be rooted out of thy ta­bernacles, (God will up with it root and branch) it shall bring thee to the King of terrors. Iob 18. 14. Though thou maist lean upon this house, it will not stand, Iob. 8. 15. but will prove like a ruinous building, which when a man trusts to it, falls down about his ears. 2. There is desperation in it. Where is the hope of the hypo­crite, when God taketh away his soul? Iob 27. 8. Then there is an end, for ever, of his hope. In­deed, the hope of the righteous hath an end, but then 'tis not a destructive, but a per­fective end; his hope ends in fruition, others in frustration. Prov. 10. 28. The godly must say at death, It is finished; but the wicked, It is pe­rished; and in too sad earnest bemoan himself, (as he in a mistake) Where now is my hope? He hath destroyed me, I am gone, and my hope is re­moved like a tree. Iob. 19. 10. The righteous hath hope in his death. Prov. 14. 32. When nature is [Page 70] dying, his hopes are living: when his body is languishing, his hopes are flourishing, his hope is a living hope, 1 Pet. 1. 3. [...]. but others a dying, yea a damning, soul undoing hope. When a wicked man dyeth, his expectation shall perish; and the hope of unjust men perisheth. Prov 11. 7. It shall be cut off, and prove like the spiders web, Iob 8. 14. which he spins out of his won bowels, but then comes death with the broom, and takes down all, and so there is an eternal end of his confidence, wherein he trusted. For the eyes of the wicked shall fail, and their hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost. Iob 11. 2. Wicked men are setled in their carnal hope, and will not be beaten out of it. They hold it fast, they will not let it go. Yea but death will knock off their fingers. Though we cannot undeceive them, death and judgment will. When death strikes its dark through thy liver, it will let out thy soul, and thy hopes together. The unsanctified have hope only in this life, 1 Cor. 15. 19. and therefore are of all men most miserable. When death comes, it lets them out into the amazing gulf of endless de­speration, 3. There is blasphemy in it. To hope we shall be saved, though continuing un­converted, is to hope, we shall prove God a liar. He hath told you, that so merciful and pitiful as he is, he will never save you not with­standing, if you go on in ignorance, or a course of unrighteousness: Esay 27. 11. 1 Cor. 6. 9. in a word, he hath told you, that whatever you be, or do, nothing shall avail you to sal­vation, without you be new creatures, Gal. 6. [Page 71] 15. Now to say, God is mercifu [...] and we hope, he will save us nevertheless, is to say in effect, we hope God will not do as he saith. We may not set Gods attributes at variance. God is resolved to glorifie mercy, but not with the prejudice of truth, as the presumptuous sinner will find to his everlasting sorrow.

Obj. Why, but we hope in Jesus Christ, we put out whole trust in God, and there­fore doubt not, but we shall be saved.

Ans. 1. This is not to hope in Christ, but against Christ. To hope to see the Kingdom of God, without being born again, to hope to find eter­nal life in the broad way, is to hope, Christ will prove a false prophet. 'Tis David's plea, I hope in thy word: Psal. 119. 81. but this hope is against the word. Shew me a word of Christ for thy hope, that he will save thee in thine ignorance, or prophane neglects of his service, and I will never to to shake thy confidence.

2. God doth with abhorrency reject this hope. Those condemned in the Prophet, went on in their sins, yet (saith the Text) they will lean upon the Lord. Mic. 3. 11. God will not en­dure to be made a prop to men in their sins. The Lord rejects those presumptuons sinners, that went on still in their trespasses, and yet would stay themselves upon the God of Israel, Esay 48. 1, 2. as a man would shake of the briars (as one well) that cleaves to his gar­ment.

3. If thy hope were any thing worth, it would purify thee from thy sins: 1 Iohn 3. 3. but cursed is that hope, which doth cherish men in their sins.

[Page 72] Obj. Would you have us to despair?

An. You must despair of ever coming to Hea­ven as you are, Act. 2. 37. that is while you re­main unconverted. You must despair ever to see the face of God without holiness: but you must by no means despair of finding mercy, upon your through repentance and conversion: neither may you despair of attaining to repen­tance and conversion, in the use of Gods means.

V. Without this all that Christ hath done and suffered will be (as to you) in vain; Iohn 13. 8. Tit. 2. 14. that is, it will no way avail to your salvation. Many urge this, as sufficient ground for their hopes, that Christ died for sinners: but I must tell you, Christ never died to save impeni­tent and unconverted sinners (so continuing.) 2 T [...]m 2. 19. A great Divine was wont, in his pri­vate dealings with souls, to ask two questions. 1. What hath Christ done for you? 2. What hath Christ wrought in you? Without the applica­tion of the spirit in Regeneration, we can have no saving interest in the benefits of Redemption. I tell you from the Lord, Christ himself can­not save you, if you go on in this estate.

I. It were against his trust. The mediatour is the servant of the father, Esay 42. 1. shews his commission from him, acts in his name, and pleads his command for his justification: Iohn 10. 18, 36. Iohn 6. 38, 40. And God hath committed all things to him, entrusted his own glory, and the salvation of his elect with him Mat. 11. 27. Iohn 17. 2. According­ly, Christ gives his father an account of both [Page 73] parts of his trust, before he leaves the world. Iohn 17. 4, 6, 12. Now Christ should quite cross his fathers glory, his greatest trust, if he should save men in their sins; for this were to overturn all his counsels, and offer violence to all his attributes.

First, To overturn all his counsels; of which this is the order, that men should be brought, through sanctification, to salvation. 2. Thes. 2. 13. he hath chosen them that they should be holy. Eph. 1. 4. They are elected to pardon and life, through sanctification. 1 Pet. 1. 2. If thou canst repeal the Law of Gods immutable counsel, or corrupt him, whom the Father hath sealed, to go directly against his Com­mission, then, and not otherwise, maist thou get to Heaven in this condition. To hope that Christ will save thee while unconverted, is to hope that Christ will falsify his trust. He never did, nor will, save one soul, but whom the Father had given him in election, and drawn to him in effectual calling. Iohn 6. 37, 44. Be assured, Christ will save none, in a way contrary to his Fathers will, who came on purpose to do his will. Iohn 6. 38.

Secondly, To offer violence to all his attributes. 1. To his Iustice. For the righteousness of Gods judgment lies, in rendring to all accor­ding to their works. Rom. 2. 5, 6. Now, should men sow to the flesh, and yet of the spirit reap everlasting life, Gal. 6. 7, 8. where were the glory of divine Justice, since it should be given to the wicked, according to the work of the righteous? 2. To his holiness. If God [Page 74] should not only save sinners, but save them in their sins, his most pure and strict holiness would be exceedingly defaced. The unsancti­fied is, in the eyes of Gods holiness, worse than a swine, or viper. Mat. 23. 33. 2 Pet. 2. 22. Now what cleanly nature could endure, to have the filthy swine bed and board with him in his parlour, or bed chamber? It would offer extremest violence to the infinite purity of the divine nature, to have such to dwell with him. They cannot stand in his judg­ment, they cannot abide in his presence. Psal. 1. 5. Psal. 5. 4, 5. If holy David would not endure such in his house, no nor in his sight, Psal. 101. 3, 7. shall we think God will? Should he take men as they be, from the trow to the table, from the harlots lips, from the sty and draugh, to the glory of Heaven, the world would think God were at no such distance from sin, nor had such dislike of it, as we are told he hath: they would conclude, God were altogether such a one as themselves (as they wickedly did, but from the very forbearance of God. Psal. 50. 21.) 3. To his veracity. For God hath declared from Heaven, That if any shall say, they shall have peace, though he should go on in the imagination of his heart: his wrath shall smoak against that man. Deut. 29. 19, 20. That they (only,) that confess, and forsake their sins, shall find mercy. Prov. 28. 13. That they that shall enter into his [...]ill, must be of clean hands, and a pure heart. Psal. 24. 3, 4. Where were Gods truth, if notwithstanding all this, he [...]hould bring men to salvation without Con­version? [Page 75] O desperate sinner, that darest to hope, that Christ will put the lie upon his Fa­ther, and nullify his word to save thee! 4. To his wisdom. For this were to throw away the choicest mercies, on them that would not value them, nor were any way suited to them. First, they would not value them. The unsanctified sinner puts but little price upon Gods great salvation. Mat. 22. 5. He sets no more by Christ, than the whole by the physician: Mat. 9. 12. he prizes not his balm, values not his cure, tramples upon his blood. Heb. 10. 29. Now, would it stand with wisdom, to force pardon and life, upon them that would give him no thanks for them? Will the all-wise God (when he hath forbidden us to do it) throw his holy things to dogs, and his pearl to swine, that would (as it were) but turn again and rent him? Mat. 7. 6. This would make mercy to be despised indeed. Wisdom requires, that life be given, in a way suitable to Gods honour; and that God provide for the securing his own glory, as well as mans felicity. It would be dishonourable to God, to set his jewels in the snouts of swine (continuing such) and to be­stow his choicest riches on them, that have more pleasure in their swill, than the Hea­venly delights that he doth offer. God should lose the praise and glory of his grace, if he should cast it away on them, that were not only unworthy, but unwilling. Secondly, they are no way suited to them. The divine wisdom is seen in suiting things each to other, the means to the end, the object to the faculty, the quality [Page 76] of the gift to the capacity of the receiver. Now, if Christ should bring the unregenerate sinner to Heaven, he could take no more fe­licity there, than a beast, if you should bring him into a beautiful room, to the society of learned men, and a well furnished table; when as the poor thing had much rather be grazing with his fellow-bruits. Alas, what should an un­sanctified creature do in Heaven! he could take no content, because nothing suits him. The place doth not suit him, he would be but piscis in arido, quite out of his element, as a swine in the parlour, or a fish out of water. The company doth not suit him. What commu­nion hath darkness with light, corruption with perfection? Filth and rottenness, with glory and immortality? The employment doth not suit him. The anthems of Heaven fit not his mouth, suit not his ear. Canst thou charm thy beast with musick? or wilt thou bring him to thy Organ, and expect that he should make thee melody, or keep time with the skilful quire? Or had he skill, he would have no will, and so could find no pleasure, no more than the nauseous stomach in the meat, on which it hath newly surfeited. Spread thy table with delicates before a languishing patient, and it will be but a very offence. Alas, if the poor man think a sermon long, and say of a Sabbath, What a weariness is it? Mal. 1. 13. how miser­able would be think it, to be held to it, to all eternity? 5. To his Immutability, or else to his Omnisciency, or Omnipotency. For this is e­nacted in the conclave of Heaven, and enrolled [Page 77] in the decrees of the Court above, that none but the pure in heart shall ever see God. Mat. 5. 8. This is laid up with him, and sealed among his treasures. Now if Christ, yet, bring any to Heaven unconverted, either he must get them in without his fathers knowledge, and then where is his Omnisciency? or against his will, and then where were his Omnipotency? or he must change his will, and then where were his im­mutability?

Sinner, wilt thou not yet give up thy vain hope of being saved in this condition? Saith Bildad, Shall, the earth be forsaken for thee? or the rocks removed out of their place? Iob. 18. 4. May not I much more reason so with thee? Shall the Laws of Heaven be reversed for thee? Shall the everlasting foundations be overturned for thee? Shall Christ put out the eye of his Fathers omnisciency, or shorten the arm of his eternal power for thee? Shall divine justice be violated for thee? Or the brightness of the glory of his holiness be blemished for thee? Oh the impossibility, absurdity, blasphemy, that is in such a confidence! To think Christ will ever save thee in this condition, is to make thy Saviour to become a sinner, and to do more wrong to the infinite Majesty, than all the wicked on earth, or devils in hell ever did, or could. And yet wilt thou not give up such a blasphemous hope?

II. Against his word. We need not say, Who shall ascend into Heaven to bring down Christ from above? Or who shall descend into the deep to bring up Christ from beneath? The word is nigh us. [Page 78] Rom. 10. 6, 7, 8. Are you agreed, that Christ shall end the controversie? Hear then his own words: Except you be converted, you shall in no wise enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Mat. 18. 3. You must be born again. Iohn 3. 7. If I wash thee not, thou hast no part in me. Iohn 13. 8. Repent or perish. Luke 13. 3. One word, one would think, were enough from Christ; but how often and earnestly doth he reiterate it, verily, verily, verily, verily, except a man be born again he shall not see the Kingdom of God. Iohn 3. 3, 5. Yea he doth not only assert, but prove the necessity of the new birth, viz. from the fleshliness and filthiness of mans first birth, Iohn. 3. 6. by reason of which, man is no more fit for Heaven, than the beast is for the chamber of the Kings presence. And wilt thou yet believe thine own presumptuous confidence, directly against Christs word? He must go quite against the Law of his Kingdom, and rule of his judg­ment, to save thee in this estate.

III. Against his Oath. He hath lifted up his hand to Heaven, he hath sworn, that those that remain in unbelief, and know not his wayes, (that is, are ignorant of them, or disobedient to them) shall not enter into his rest. Psal. 95. 11. Heb. 3. 18. And wilt thou not yet believe, O sinner, that he is in earnest? Canst thou hope he will be forsworn for thee? The Covenant of grace is confirmed by oath, and sealed by blood: Heb. 6. 17. Heb. 9. 16, 18, 19. Mat. 26. 28. but all must be made void and another way to Heaven found out, if thou be saved living and dying unsanctified. God is come to [Page 79] his lowest and last terms with man, and hath condescended as far as with honour he could, hath set up his pillars, with a Ne plus ultra. Men cannot be saved, while unconverted, except they could get another Covenant made, and the whole frame of the Gospel (which was established for ever, with such dreadful so­lemnities) quite altered; and would not this be a distracted hope?

IV. Against his Honour. Christ will so shew his love to the sinner, as withall to shew his hatred to sin. Therefore he that names the name of Jesus, must depart from iniquity, 2 Tim. 2. 19. and deny all ungodliness; and he that hath hope of life by Christ must purify himself, as he is pure: 1 Iohn 3. 3. Tit. 2. 12. otherwise Christ would be thought a fautour of sin. The Lord Jesus will have all the world to know, though he pardon sin, he will not protect it. If holy David shall say, depart from me all you workers of iniquity, Psal. 6. 8. and shall shut his doors against them, Psal. 101. 7. shall not such much more expect it from Christs holiness? Would it be for his honour, to have the dogs to the table? or to lodge the swine with his children? or to have Abrahams bo­some, to be a nest of Vipers?

V. Against his Offices. God hath exalted him to be a Prince and a Saviour, Act. 5. 31. he should against both, should he save men in their sins. It is the office of a King [...]arcere subjectis, & debellare superbos;’ [Page 80] To be a terror to evil doers, and a praise to them that do well. Rom. 13. 3, 4. He is the Minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath on him that doth evil. Now should Christ favour the ungodly (so continuing,) and take those to reign with him, that would not that he should reign over them, Luke 19. 27. this were quite a­gainst his office. He therefore reigns, that he may put his enemies under his feet: 1 Cor. 15. 25. now should he lay them in his bosome, he should cross the end of his Regal power. It belongs to Christ, as King, to subdue the hearts, and slay the lusts of his chosen. Psal. 45. 5. Psal. 110. 3. What King would take the rebels, in open hostility, into his Court? What were this but to betray life, Kingdom, Government and all together? If Christ be a King, he must have homage, honour, subjection, &c. Mal. 1. 6. now to save men while in their natural enmity were to obscure his dignity, lose his authority, bring contempt on his Govern­ment, and sell his dear-bought rights for nought.

Again, as Christ should not be a Prince, so neither a Saviour, if he should do this. For his Salvation is spiritual: he is called Jesus, because he saves his people from their sins. Mat. 1. 21. So that should he save them in their sins, he should be neither Lord, nor Jesus. To save men from the punishment, and not from the power of sin, were to do his work by halvs, and be an imperfect Saviour. His office, as the Deliverer, is, to turn away ungodliness from Iacob: Rom. 11. 26. He is sent to bless men in [Page 81] turning them from their iniquities, Act. 3. 26 to make an end of sin: Dan. 9. 24. so that he should destroy his own designs, and nullify his offices, to save men abiding in their uncon­verted estate.

Application. Arise then, what meanest thou O sleeper? awake O secure sinner, lest thou be consumed in thine iniquities. Say as the Lepers, If we sit here we shall die. 2 Kings 7. 3, 4. Verily, it is not more certain thou art now out of hell, than that thou shalt speedily be in it, except thou repent and be converted: there is but this one door for thee to escape by. Arise then O sluggard, and shake off thine excuses. How long wilt thou slumber, and fold thy hands to sleep? Prov. 6. 10, 11. Wilt thou lie down in the midst of the Sea, or sleep on the top of the mast? Prov. 23. 34. There is no remedy; but thou must either turn, or burn. There is an unchangeable necessity of the change of thy condition, except thou art re­solved to bide the worst of it, and try it out with the Almighty. If thou lovest thy life, O man, arise, and come away. Methinks I see the Lord Jesus laying the merciful hands of an holy violence upon thee: methinks he carries it, like the Angels to Lot, Gen. 19. 15. &c. Then the Angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, lest thou be consumed. And while he lingred, the men laid hold upon his hand, the Lord being merciful unto him, and they brought him without the City, and said, Escape for thy life, stay not in all the plain, escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.

[Page 82]Oh how willful will thy destruction be, if thou shouldst yet harden thy self in thy sinful state! But none of you can say, but you have had fair warning. Yet methinks I cannot tell how to leave you so. It is not enough to me to have delivered my own soul. What, shall I go away without my errand? Will none of you arise, and follow me? Have I been all this while speaking in the wind? Have I been charming the deaf adder, or allaying the tum­bling Ocean with arguments? Do I speak to the trees or rocks, or to men? to the tombs and monuments of the dead, or to a living auditory? If you be men, and not senseless stocks, stand still, and consider whither you be going. If you have the reason and under­standing of men, dare not run into the flames, and fall into hell with your eyes open: but be­think your selves, and set to the work of re­pentance. What, men, and yet run into the pit, when the very beasts will not be forced in! What, endowed with reason, and yet dally with death and hell, and the vengeance of the Almighty! Are men herein distinguished from the very bruits, that they have a foresight of, and a care to provide for, the things to come; and will you not hasten your escape from eternal torments? Oh shew your selves men, and let reason prevail with you. Is it a reasonable thing for you to contend against the Lord your maker, Esay 45. 9. or to harden your selves a­gainst his word, Iob 9. 4. as though the strength of Israel would lie? 1 Sam. 15. 29. Is it reasonable, that an understanding creature [Page 83] should lose, yea live quite against, the very end of his being, and be as a broken pitcher, only fit for the dunghil? Is it tolerable, that the on­ly thing in this world that God hath made capable of knowing his will, and bringing him glory, should yet live in ignorance of his ma­ker, and be unserviceable to his use, yea should be engaged against him, and spit his venom in the face of his Creatour? Hear O Heavens, and give ear O earth, and let the creatures without sense be judge, if this be reason that man, when God hath nourished and brought him up, should rebel against him. Esay 1. 2. Judge in your own selves: is it a reasonable un­dertaking, for briars and thorns, to set them­selves in battel against the devouring fire? Esay 27. 4. or for the po [...]sheard of the earth, to strive with his maker? If you will say, this is reason, surely the eye of reason is quite put out. And if this be not reason, then there is no reason that you should continue as you be, but 'tis all the reason in the world, you should forthwith re­pent and turn.

What shall I say? I could spend my self in this argument. Oh that you would but heark­en to me! that you would presently set upon a new course! Will you not be made clean? When shall it once be? What, will no body be perswaded? Reader, shall I prevail with thee for one? Wilt thou sit down and consider the forementioned arguments, and debate it, whe­ther it be not best to turn? Come and let us reason together. Is it good for thee to be here? Wilt thou sit still, till the tide come in upon [Page 84] thee? Is it good for thee to try whether God will be so good as his word? and to harden thy self in a conceit, that all is well with thee, while thou remainest unsanctified?

But I know, you will not be perswaded, but the greatest part will be as they have been, and do as they have done. I know the drunkard will to his vomit again, and the deceiver will to his deceit again, and the lustful wanton to his dalliance again. Alas, that I must leave you where you were! in your ignorance or looseness, or in your liveless formality and customary devotions! However, I will sit down and bemoan my fruitless lobours, and spend some sighs over my perishing hearers.

Oh distracted sinners! What will their end be? What will they do in the day of visitation? Whither will they fl [...]e for help? Where will they leave their glory? Esay 10. 3. How powerfully hath sin bewitched them? How effectually hath the god of this world blinded them? How strong is their delusion? How uncircum­cised their ears? How obdurate their hearts? Satan hath them at his beck: but how long may I call, and can get no answer? I may di­spute with them year after year, and they will give me the hearing, and that is all. They must and will have their sins, say what I will. Though I tell them there is death in the cup, yet they will take it up. Though I tell them 'tis the broad way, and end­eth in destruction, yet they will on in it. I warn them, yet cannot win them. Some­times I think, the mercies of God will melt [Page 85] them, and his winning invitations will over­come them: but I find them as they were. Sometimes that the terror of the Lord will per­swade them: yet neither this will do it. They will approve the word, like the Sermon, com­mend the preacher: but they will yet live as they did. They will not deny me, yet they will not obey me. They will flock to the word of God, and sit before me as his people, and hear my words: but they will not do them. They value and will plead for Ministers; and I am to them as the lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice: yet I cannot get them to come under Christs yoke. They love me, and will be ready to say they will do any thing for me: but for my life I cannot per­swade them to leave their sins, to forgoe their evil company, their intemperance, their unjust gains, &c. I cannot prevail with them, to set up prayer in their families and closets: yet they will promise me, like the forward son, that said, I go sir, but went not. Mat. 21. 30. I cannot perswade them to learn the principles of religion, though else they will die without know­ledge. Iob 36. 12. I tell them their misery; but they will not believe, but 'tis well enough. If I tell them particularly, I fear for such rea­sons their state is sad, they will judge me cen­sorious: or, if they be at present a little awaken­ed, are quickly lull'd asleep by Satan again, and have lost the sense of all.

Alas for my poor hearers! Must they perish at last by the hundreds, when Ministers would so fain save them? What course shall I use [Page 86] with them that I have not tried? What shall I do for the daughter of my people? Ier. 9. 7. O Lord God, help. Alas, shall I leave them thus! If they will not hear me, yet do thou hear me. Oh that they might yet live in thy sight! Lord save them, or else they perish. My heart would melt to see their houses on fire about their ears, when they were fast in their beds: and shall not my soul be moved within me to see them falling into endless perdition? Lord have compassion, and save them out of the burning. Put forth thy divine power, and the work will be done: but as for me, I cannot prevail.

Shewing the Marks of the Vnconverted.

WHile we keep aloof in generals, there is little fruit to be expected. It is the hand fight, that does execution. David is not awakened by the Prophets hovering at a di­stance, in parabolical insinuations: he is forced to close with him, and tell him home, Thou art the man. Few will in words deny the necessity of the new birth; but they have a self-delu­ding confidence, that the work is not now to do. And because they know themselves free from that gross hypocrisie, that doth take up Religion meerly for a colour to deceive others, and for the covering of wicked designs, they are confident of their sincerity, and suspect not that more close hypocrisie (where the greatest [Page 87] danger lies) by which man deceiveth his own soul. Iames 1. 26. But man's deceitful heart is such a matchless cheat, and self-delusion so reigning and so fatal a disease, that I know not whether be the greater, the difficulty, or the displicency, or the necessity of the undeceiving work that I am now upon. Alas for my un­converted hearers! They must be undeceived, or undone. But how shall this be effected? Hi [...] labor, h [...]c opus est.

Help O all-searching light, and let thy discern­ing eye discover the rotten foundation of the self-deceiver, and lead me O Lord God, as thou didst thy Prophet, into the chambers of imagery, and dig through the wall of sinners hearts, and dis­cover the hidden abominations that are lurking out of sight in the dark. O send thine Angel before me, to open the sundry wards of their hearts, as thou didst before Peter, and make even the Iron­gates to fly open of their own accord. And as Jonathan no sooner tasted the honey, but his eyes were enlightened: so grant, O Lord, that when the poor deceived souls, with whon I have to do, shall cast their eyes into these lines, their minds may be illuminated, and their consciences convinced and awakened, that they may see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and be converted, and thou maist heal them.

This must be premised, before we proceed to the discovery, that it is most certain men may have a confident perswasion, that their hearts and states be good, and yet be unsound. Hear the Truth himself, who shews in Laodicea's [Page 88] case, that men may be wretched and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, and yet know it not: yea they may be confident they are rich and increased in grace. Rev. 3. 17. There is a generation, that is pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness. Prov. 30. 12. Who better perswaded of his case, than Paul, while yet he remained unconver [...]ed? Rom. 7. 9. So that they are miserably deceived, that take a strong con­fidence, for a sufficient evidence. They that have no better proof, than barely a strong per­swasion, that they are converted, are certainly, as yet, strangers to Conversion.

But to come more close, as it was said of the adherents of Antichrist, so here, some of the Unconverted carry their marks in their fore­heads, more openly; and some in their hands, more covertly. The Apostle reckons up some, upon whom he writes the sentence of death, as in these dreadful catalogues, which I beseech you to attend with all diligence. Eph. 5. 5, 6. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God. [...]et no m [...]n deceive you with vain words, for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedince. Rev. 21. 8. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the ab [...]minable, and murderers, and whore­mongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burn­eth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. 1 Cor. 6. 9, 10. Know you not, that the [...] us shall not inerit the Kingdom of [Page 89] God? Be not deceived, neither fornicatours, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor re­vilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the Kingdom of God. See Gal. 5. 19, 20, 21. Woe to them that have their names written in these bed­rolls: such may know, as certainly, as if God had told it them from Heaven, that they are un­sanctified, and under an impossibility of being saved in this condition.

There are then these several sorts, that, past all dispute, are unconverted, they carry their marks in their foreheads.

1. The Vnclean. These are ever reckoned a­mong the goats, and have their names in, whoever be left out, in all the forementioned catalogues. Eph. 5. 5. Rev. 21. 8. 1 Cor. 6. 9, 10.

2. The Covetous. These are branded for i­dolaters, and the doors of the Kingdom are shut against them by name. Eph. 5. 5. Col. 3. 5. 1 Cor. 6. 9, 10.

3. Drunkards, not only such as drink away their reason, but withal, yea above all, such as are too strong for strong drink. The Lord fills his mouth with woes against these, and declares them to have no inheritance in the Kingdom of God. Esay 5. 11, 12, 22. Gal. 5. 21.

4. Liars. The God that cannot lie hath told them, that there is no place for them in his Kingdom, no entrance into his hill; but their portion is with the Father of lies (whose chil­dren they are) in the lake of burnings. Psal. 15. [Page 90] 1, 2. Rev. 21. 8, 27. Iohn 8. 44. Prov. 6. 17.

5. Swearers. The end of these men without deep and speedy repentance, is swift de­struction, and most certain and unavoidable condemnation. Iames 5. 12. Zech. 5. 1, 2, 3.

6. Railers and Backbiters, that love to take up a reproach against their neighbour, and fling all the dirt they can in his face, or else wound him secretly behind his back. Psal. 15. 1, 3. 1 Cor. 6. 10. 1 Cor. 5. 11.

7. Thieves, Extortioners, Oppressors, that grind the poor, over-reach their brethren, when they have them at an advantage: these must know, that God is the avenger of all such. 1 Thess. 4. 6. Hear O ye false and purloining and wastful servants: Hear O ye deceitful tradesmen, hear your sentence. God will cer­tainly hold his doors against you, and turn your treasures of unrighteousness into treasures of wrath, and make your ill-gotten silver and gold, to torment you like burning mettal in your bowels. 1 Cor. 6. 9, 10. Iames 5. 2, 3.

8. All that do ordinarily live in the prophane neglect of Gods worship, that hear not his word, that call not on his name, that restrain prayer before God, that mind not their own nor their families souls, but live without God in the world. Iohn 8. 47. Iob 15. 4. Psal. 14. 4. Psal. 79. 6. Eph. 2. 12. & 4. 18.

9. Those that are frequenters and lovers of evil company. God hath declared, he will be the de­struction of all such, and that they shall never enter into the hill of his rest. Prov. 13. 20. Psal. 15. 4. Prov. 9. 6.

[Page 91]10. Scoffers at religion, that make a scorn of precise walking, and mock at the messengers and diligent servants of the Lord, and at their holy profession, and make themselves merry with the weaknesses and failings of professours. Hear ye despisers, hear your dreadful doom. Prov. 19. 29. 2 Chron. 36. 16. Prov. 3. 34.

Sinner, consider diligently, whether thou art not to be found in one of these ranks: for if this be thy case, thou art in the gall of bitter­ness and bond of iniquity; for all these do carry their marks in their foreheads, and are undoubt­edly the sons of death.

And if so, the Lord pity our poor Congre­gations. Oh how little a number will be left, when these ten sorts be set out! Alas on how many doors, on how many faces must we write, Lord have mercy upon us! Sirs, what shift do you make to keep up your confidence of your good estate, when God from Heaven declares against you, and pronounces you in a state of damnation? I would reason with you, as God with them; How canst thou say I am not polluted? Ier. 2. 23. See thy way in the valley, know what thou hast done. Man, is not thy conscience privy to thy tricks of deceit, to thy chamber pranks, to thy way of lying? Yea are not thy friends, thy fa­mily, thy neighbours witnesses to thy pro­phane neglects of Gods worship, to thy cove­tous practices, to thy envious and malicious carriage? May not they point at thee as thou goest, There goes a gaming prodigal; there goes a drunken Nabal, a companion of evil­doers; there goes a railer, or a scoffer, a loose [Page 92] liver? Beloved, God hath written it as with a Sun-beam, in the book out of which you must be judged, that these are not the spots of his children, and that none such (except renew­ed by converting grace) shall ever escape the damnation of hell.

Oh that such of you would now be perswa­ded to repent and turn from all your trans­gressions, or else iniquity will be your ruine! Ezek. 18. 30. Alas for poor hardened sinners! Must I leave you at last where you were? Must I leave the tipler still at the ale-bench? Must I leave the wanton still at his dalliance? Must I leave the malicious still in his venome? And the drunkard still at his vomit? However you must know, that you have been warned, and that I am clear of your blood. And whether men will hear, or whether they will forbear, I will leave these three scriptures with them, either as thunderbolts to awaken them, or as searing Irons to harden them to a reprobate sense, Psal. 68. 21. God shall wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of such a one, as goeth on still in his trespasses. Prov. 29. 1. He that being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. Prov. 1. 24. &c. Because I have called, and ye refused, I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded, &c. I will mock at your calamity —when your destruction cometh as a whirl­wind.

And now, I imagine, many will begin to bless themselves, and think all is well, because they cannot be spotted with the grosser evils a­bove [Page 93] mentioned. But I must further tell you, that there are another sort of unsanctified per­sons, that carry not their marks in their fore­heads, but more secretly and covertly in their hands. These do frequently deceive themselves and others, and pass for good Christians, when they are all the while unsound at bottom. Many pass undiscovered, till death and judg­ment bring all to light. Those self-deceivers seem to come even to Heaven-gate with confi­dence of their admission, and yet are turned off at last. Mat. 7. 22. Brethren Beloved, I be­seech you deeply to lay to heart, and firmly to retain this awakening consideration: That Multitudes miscarry by the hand of some secret sin, that is not only hidden from others, but (for want of observing their own hearts) even from them­selves. A man may be free from open pol­lutions, and yet die at last by the fatal hand of some unobserved iniquity: And there be these eleven hidden sins, by which souls go down by numbers to the chambers of death. These you must search carefully for, and take them as black marks (where-ever they be found) discovering a graceless and unconver­ted estate. As you love your lives read them carefully, with a holy jealousie of your selves, lest you should be the persons concerned.

1. Gross Ignorance. Ah how many poor souls doth this sin kill in the dark, Hos. 4. 6. while they think verily they have good hearts, and are in the ready way to Heaven! This is the murderer that di [...]patches thousands in a silent manner, when (poor hearts!) they [Page 94] suspect nothing, and see not the hand that mischiefs them. You shall find whatever ex­cuses you have for ignorance, that 'tis a soul­undoing evil. Esay 27. 11. 2 Thess. 1. 8. 2 Cor. 4. 3. Ah would it not have pitied a man's heart to have seen that woful spectacle, when the poor Protestants were shut up a multitude together in a barn, and a butcher comes with his inhumane hands warm in humane blood and leads them one by one blindfold to a block, where he slew them (poor Innocents!) one after another by the scores in cold blood? But how much more should our hearts bleed, to think of the hundreds in great congregations, that ignorance doth butcher in secret, and lead them blindfold to the block? Beware this be none of your case. Make no pleas for igno­rance. If you spare that sin, know that that will not spare you. Will a man keep a mur­derer in his bosome?

2. Secret reserves in closing with Christ. To forsake all for Christ, to hate father and mo­ther, yea and a mans own life for him, this is a hard saying. Luke 14. 26. Some will do much, but they will not be of the religion that will un­do them; they never come to be entirely devoted to Christ, nor fully to resign to him. They must have the sweet sin. They mean to do themselves no harm. They have secret ex­ceptions for life, liberty, or estate. Many take Christ thus hand over head, and never consider his self-denying terms, nor cast upon the cost; and this error in the foundation marrs all, and secretly ruines them for ever, Luke 14. 28. Mat. 13. 21.

[Page 95]3. Formality in Religion. Many stick in the bark, and rest in the outside of religion, and in the external performance of holy duties; Mat. 23. 25. and this oft times doth most effectually deceive men, & doth more certainly undo them, than open looseness, as it was in the Pharisees case. Mat. 21. 31. They hear, they fast, they pray, they give alms, and therefore will not believe but their case is good: Luke 18. 11. whereas resting in the work done, and coming short of the heart-work, and the inward power and vitals of re­ligion, they fall at last into the burnings, from the flattering hopes, and confident perswasions, of their being in the ready way to Heaven. Mat. 7. 22, 23. Oh dreadful case, when a man's re­ligion shall serve, only to harden him, and ef­fectually to delude and deceive his own soul!

4. The prevalency of false ends in holy duties. Mat. 23. 5. This was the bane of the Pharisees. Oh how many a poor soul is undone by this, and drops into hell, before he discerns his mi­stake! He performs good duties, and so thinks all is well, and perceives not that he is acted by carnal motives all the while. It is too true, that even with the truly sanctified, many car­nal ends will oft times creep in; but they are the matter of his hatred and humiliation, and never come to be habitually prevalent with him, and to bear the greatest sway. Rom. 14. 7. But now when the main thing that doth ordi­narily carry a man out to religious duties, shall be some carnal end, as to satisfy his conscience, [Page 96] to get the repute of being religious, to be seen of men, to shew his own gifts and parts, to a­void the reproach of a prophane and irreligious person, or the like, this discovers an unsound heart. Hos. 10. 1. Zech. 7. 5, 6. Oh Christians, if you would avoid self-deceit, see that you mind, not only your acts, but withal, yea a­bove all, your ends.

5. Trusting in their own righteousness. Luke 18. 9. This is a soul-undoing mischief. Rom. 10. 3. When men do trust in their own righte­ousness, they do indeed reject Christ's. Be­loved, you had need be watchful on every hand, for not only your sins, but your duties may undo you. It may be you never thought of this, but so it is, that a man may as certainly miscarry by his seeming righteousness, and sup­posed graces, as by gross sins; and that is, when a man doth trust to these as his righteous­ness before God, for the satisfying his justice, appeasing his wrath, procuring his favour, and obtaining of his own pardon for this is to put Christ out of office, and make a Saviour of our own duties and graces. Beware of this O pro­fessours; you are much in duties, but this one fly will spoil all the ointment. [...]en you have done most, and best, be sure to go out of your selves to Christ, and reckon your own righteousness, but rags. Psal. 143. 2. Phil. 3. 8. Esay 64. 6. Neh. 13. 22.

6. A secre [...] enmity against the strictness of re­ligion. Many moral persons, punctual in their formal devotion, have yet a bitter enmity a­gainst preciseness, and hate the life and power of religion. Phil. 3. 6. compared with Act. 9. 1. [Page 97] They like not this forwardness, nor that men should keep such a stir in religion. They con­demn the strictness of Religion, as singularity, indiscretion, and intemperate zeal; and with them a lively preacher, or zealous Christian, is but a heady fellow. These men love not ho­liness, as holiness, (for then they would love the height of holiness,) and therefore are un­doubtedly rotten at heart, whatever good o­pinion they have of themselves.

7. The resting in a certain pitch of Religion. When they have so much as will save them, (as they suppose,) they look no further, and so shew themselves short of true Grace, which will ever put men upon aspiring to further perfection. Phil. 3. 12, 13. Prov. 4. 18.

8. The predominant love of the World. This is a sure evidence of an unsanctified heart [...] Mar. 10. 37. 1 Iohn 2. 15. But how close doth this sin lurk oft-times, under a fair covert of forward profession? Luke 8. 14. Yea such a power of deceit is there in this sin, that ma [...] times, when every body else can [...] mans worldliness and covetousness, he c [...]not see it himself, but hath so many colours, and excu­ses, and pretences for his eagerness on the world, that he doth blind his own eyes, and perish in his self-deceit. How many professours be there, with whom the world hath more of their hearts and affections than Christ? who mind earthly things, and thereby are evidently after the flesh, and like to end in destruction? Rom. 8. 5. Phil. 3. 19. Yet ask these men, and they will tell you confidently, they prize Christ [Page 98] above all, God forbid else! and see not their own earthly mindedness for want of a narrow observation of the workings of their own hearts. Did they but carefully search, they would quickly find that their greatest content is in the world; Luke 12. 19. and their great­est care and main endeavour to get and secure the world, which are the certain discoveries of an unconverted sinner. May the professing part of the world take earnest heed, that they perish not by the hand of this sin unobserved. Men may be, and often are kept off from Christ, as effectually by the inordinate love of lawful comforts, as by the most unlawful courses, Mat. 22. 5. Luke 14. 18, 19, 20, 24.

9. Reigning malice and envy against those that dis­respect them, or are injurious to them. 1 Iohn 2. 9, 11. O how do many that seem to be religious, re­member injuries, and carry grudges, and will return men as good as they bring, rendring e­vil for evil, loving to take revenge, wishing evil to them that wrong them, directly against the rule of the Gospel, the pattern of Christ, and the nature of God. Rom. 12. 14, 17. 1 Pet. 2. 21, 23. Neh. 6. 17. Doubtless where this evil is kept boiling in the heart, and is not hated, resisted, mortified, but doth habitually prevail, that person is in the very gall of bitter­ness, and in a state of death. Mat. 18. 34, 35. 1 Iohn 3. 14, 15.

Reader, doth nothing of this touch thee? art thou in none of the forementioned ranks? Oh search, and search again; take thy heart solemnly to task. Woe unto thee, if after all [Page 99] thy profession, thou shouldest be found under the power of ignorance, lost in formality, drowned in earthly mindedness, envenomed with malice, exalted in an opinion of thine own righteousness, leavened with hypocrisy, and carnal ends in Gods service, imbittered a­gainst strictness: this would be a sad discovery, that all thy Religion were in vain. But I must proceed.

10. Vnmortified Pride. When men love the praise of men, more than the praise of God; and set their hearts upon mens esteem, applause and approbation, it is most certain, they are yet in their sins, and strangers to true conver­sion. Iohn 12. 43. Gal. 1. 10. When men see not, nor complain of, nor groan under the pride of their own hearts; it's a sign they are stark dead in sin. Oh how secretly doth this sin live and reign in many hearts, and they know it not, but are very strangers to them­selves! Iohn 9. 40.

11. The prevailing love of Pleasure. 2 Tim. 3. 4. This is a black mark. When men give the flesh the liberty that it craves, and pamper, and please it, and do not deny and restrain it: when their great delight is in gratifying their bellies, and pleasing their senses; whatever ap­pearance they may have of Religion, all is un­sound. Rom. 16. 18. Tit. 3. 3. A flesh-pleasing life cannot be pleasing to God. They that are Christs, have crucified the flesh, and are careful to cross it, and keep it under, as their enemy. Gal. 5. 24. 1 Cor. 9. 25, 26, 27.

12. Carnal security, or a presumptuous and un­grounded [Page 100] confidence, that their condition is already good. Rev. 3. 17. Many cry peace and safety, when sudden destruction is coming upon them. 1 Thess. 5. 3. This was that which kept the foolish Virgins sleeping, when they should have been working; upon their beds, when they should have been at the markets. Mat. 25. 5, 10. Prov. 10. 5. They perceived not their want of Oyl, till the bridegroom was come; and while they went to buy, the door was shut. And oh that these foolish virgins had no successours! Where is the place, yea where is the house almost, where these do not dwell? Men are willing to cherish in them­selves, upon never so slight grounds, a hope that their condition is good, and so look not out after a change, and by this means perish in their sins. Are you at peace? Shew me up­on what grounds your peace is maintained. Is it a Scripture peace? Can you shew the distin­guishing marks of a sound believer? Can you evidence that you have something more than any Hypocrite in the world ever had? If not, fear this peace, more than any trouble; and know, that a carnal peace doth commonly prove the most mortal enemy of the poor soul, and while it smiles and kisses and speaks it fair, doth [...]atally smite it as it were under the fifth rib.

By this time methinks I hear my reader cry­ing out with the Disciples, who then shall be saved? Set out from among our congregations all those ten ranks of the prophane on the one hand; and then besides take out all these twelve sorts of close and self deceiving Hypocrites on [Page 101] the other hand, and tell me then whether it be not a remnant that shall be saved. How few will be the sheep that shall be left, when all these shall be separated, and set among the Goats? For my part, of all my numerous hear­ers, I have no hopes to see any of them in Heaven, that are to be found among these two and twenty sorts, that are here mentioned, except by sound conversion they be brought into another condition.

Application. And now conscience do thine office. Speak out, and speak home to him that heareth or readeth these lines. If thou find any of these marks upon him, thou must pronounce him utterly unclean. Levit. 13. 44. Take not up a lie into thy mouth: speak not peace to him, to whom God speaks no peace. Let not lust bribe thee, or self-love, or carnal prejudice blind thee. I sub-poena thee from the Court of Heaven, to come and give in evi­dence. I require thee in the name of God to go with me to the search of the suspected house. As thou wilt answer it at thy peril, give in a true report of the state and case of him that readeth this book. Conscience, wilt thou altogether hold thy peace at such a time as this? I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us the truth. Mat. 26. 63. Is the man converted, or is he not? Doth he allow him­self in any way of sin, or doth he not? Doth he truly love, and please, and prize and de­light in God above all other things, or not? Come, put it to an issue. How long shall this soul lie at uncertainties? Oh Conscience bring [Page 102] in thy verdict. Is this man a new man, or is he not? How dost thou find it? Hath there passed a through and mighty change upon him, or not? When was the time, where was the place, or what was the means, by which this through change of the new birth was wrought in this soul? Speak Conscience. Or if thou canst not tell time and place, canst thou shew scripture evidence, that the work is done? Hath the man been ever taken off from his false bottom, from the false hopes, and false peace wherein once he trusted? Hath he been deep­ly convinced of sin, and of his lost and undone condition, and brought out of himself, and off from his sins, to give up himself intirely to Jesus Christ? Or dost thou not find him to this day under the power of ignorance, or in the mire of prophaneness? Hast not thou ta­ken upon him the gains of unrighteousness? Dost not thou find him a stranger to prayer, a neglecter of the word, a lover of this pre­sent world? Dost not thou often catch him in a lie? Dost not thou find his heart fermented with malice, or burning with lust, or going after his covetousness? Speak plainly to all the forementioned particulars: canst thou acquit this man, this woman, from being any of the two and twenty sorts here described? If he be found with any of them, set him aside, his portion is not with the Saints. He must be converted and made a new creature, or else he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.

Beloved, be not your own betrayers, do not deceive your own hearts, nor set your hands to [Page 103] your own ruine, by a wilful blinding of your selves. Set up a tribunal in your own breasts. Bring the word and conscience together. To the law, and to the Testimony. Isai. 8. 20. Hear what the word concludes of your estates. O follow the search, till you have found how the case stands. Mistake here, and perish. And such is the trea­chery of the Heart, the subtilty of the tempter, and the deceitfulness of sin, Ier. 17. 9. 2 Cor. 11. 3. Heb. 3. 13. all conspiring to flatter and deceive the poor soul, and withal so common and easie it is to be mistaken, that it's a thousand to one, but you will be deceived, unless you be very careful, and thorow, and impartial in the enquiry into your spiritual conditions. Oh therefore ply your work: go to the bottom: search as with candles: weigh you in the bal­lance; come to the standard of the Sanctuary: bring your coin to the touch-stone. You have the archest cheats in the world to deal with: a world of counterfeit Coin is going: happy is he, that takes not Counters for Gold. Satan is master of deceits: he can draw to the life: he is perfect in the trade: there is nothing but he can imitate. You cannot wish for any Grace, but he can fit you to a hair with a counterfeit. Trade warily: look on every piece you take: be jealous: trust not so much as your own hearts. Run to God to search you and try you, to examine you and prove your reins. Psal. 26. 2. Psal. 139. 23, 24. If other helps suffice not to bring all to an issue, but you are still at a loss, open your cases faithfully to some God­ly and faithful Minister. Mal. 2. 7. Rest not, [Page 104] till you have put the business of your eternal welfare out of question. 2 Pet. 2. 10. O search­er of hearts, put thou this soul upon, and help him in the search.

Shewing the miseries of the unconverted.

SO unspeakably dreadful is the case of every unconverted soul, that I have sometimes thought, if we could but convince men, that they are yet unregenerate, the work were up­on the matter done. But I sadly experience, that such a spirit of sloth and slumber (Rom. 11. 8. Mat. 13. 15.) possesses the unsanctified, that though they be convinced; that they are yet un­converted; yet they oft-times carelesly sit still: and what through the avocation of sensual pleasures, or hurry of worldly business, or noise and clamour of earthly cares, and lusts, and affections, Luke 8. 14. the voice of con­science is drowned, and men go no farther than some cold wishes, and general purposes of repenting and amending. Act. 24. 25.

It's therefore of high necessity, that I do not only convince men, that they are unconverted; but that I also endeavour, to bring them to a sense of the fearful misery of this estate.

But here I find my self a ground at first put­ting forth. What tongue can tell the heirs of Hell sufficiently of their misery, unless 'twere Dives his, that was tormented in that flame? [Page 105] Luke 16. 24. Where is the ready writer, whose pen can decypher their misery, that are with­out God in the world? Eph. 2. 12. This cannot fully be done, unless we knew the infinite ocean of that bliss and perfection which is in that God, which a state of sin doth exclude men from. Who knoweth (saith Moses) the power of thine anger? Psal. 90. 11. And how shall I tell men, that which I do not know? Yet so much we know, as one would think would shake the heart of that man, that had the least degree of spiritual life and sense.

But this is yet the more posing difficulty, that I am to speak to them that are without sense. Alas, this is not the least part of man's misery upon him, that he is dead, stark dead in trespasses and sins. Eph. 2. 1.

Could I bring Paradise into view, or repre­sent the Kingdom of Heaven to as much ad­vantage, as the tempter did the Kingdoms of the world and all the glory thereof to our Sa­viour: or could I uncover the face of the deep and devouring gulf of Tophet in all its ter­rors, and open the grates of the infernal furnace, alas he hath no eyes to see it. Mat. 13. 14, 15. Could I paint out the beauties of holiness, or glory of the Gospel to the life; or could I bring above board the more than diabolical de­formity and ugliness of sin; he can no more judge of the loveliness and beauty of the one, nor of the filthiness and hatefulness of the other, than the blind of colours. He is alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in him, because of the blindness of his [Page 106] heart. Eph. 4. 18. He neither doth nor can know the things of God, because they are spi­ritually discerned. 1 Cor. 2. 14. His eyes can­not be savingly opened, but by converting grace: Act. 26. 18. he is a child of darkness, and walks in darkness, 1 Iohn 1. 6. yea the light in him is darkness. Mat. 6. 2. 3

Shall I ring his knell, or read his sentence, or sound in his ear, the terrible trump of God's judgments, that one would think should make both his ears to tingle, and strike him into Bel­shazar's fit, even to appale his countenance, and loose his joints, and make his knees smite one against the other? Yet alas! he perceives me not: he hath no ears to hear. Or shall I call up all the daughters of musick, and sing the song of Moses, and of the Lamb? yet he will not be stirred. Shall I allure him with the joyful sound, and the lovely song and glad tidings of the Gospel? with the most sweet and inviting calls, comforts, cordials of the divine promises, so exceeding great and precious? it will not af­fect him savingly, unless I could find him ears, Mat. 13. 15. as well as tell him the news.

Shall I set before him the feast of fat things, the wine of wisdom, the bread of God, the tree of life, the hidden Manna? he hath no ap­petite for them, no mind to them. 1 Cor. 2. 14. Mat. 22. 5. Should I press the choicest grapes, the heavenly clusters of gospel priviledges, and drink to him in the richest wine of Gods own cellar, yea of his own side, or set before him the delicious honey-comb of Gods testimonies, Psal. 19. 10. alas he hath no taste to discern [Page 107] them. Shall I invite the dead to arise and eat the banquet of their funerals? No more can the dead in sin, savour the holy food wherewith the Lord of life hath spread his table.

What then shall I do? shall I burn the brim­stone of hell at his nostrils? or shall I open the box of Spikenard, very precious, that filleth the whole house of this universe with its perfume, Mark 14. 3. Ioh. 12. 8. and hope that the savour of Christs ointments, and the smell of his gar­ments will attract him? Psal. 45. 8. Alas! dead [...]in­ners are like the dumb idols, they have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not; they have ears, but they hear not; noses have they, but they smell not; they have hands, but they handle not; feet have they, but they walk not, neither speak they through their throat. Psal. 1. 5, 6, 7. They are destitute of all spiritual sense and motion.

But let me try the sense that doth last leave us, and draw the sword of the word: yet lay at him while I will, yea though I choose mine arrows out of Gods quiver, and direct them to the heart, nevertheless he feeleth not; for how should he, being past feeling? Eph. 4. 19. So that though the wrath of God abideth on him, and the mountainous weight of so many thousand sins, yet he goes up and down as light, as if nothing ailed him. Rom. 7. 9. In a word, he carries a dead soul in a living body, and his flesh is but the walking cossin of a cor­rupted mind, that is twice dead, Iude 12. rot­ting in the slime and putrefaction of noisome lusts. Mat. 23. 27, 28.

[Page 108]Which way then shall I come at the mise­rable objects that I have to deal with? who shall make the heart of stone to relent, Zech. 7. 12. or the liveless carcase to feel and move? That God that is able of stones to raise up chil­dren unto Abraham, Mat. 3. 9. that raiseth the dead, 2 Cor. 1. 9. and melteth the moun­tains, Nah. 1. 5. and strikes water out of the flints, Deut. 8. 15. that loves to work like him­self, beyond the hopes and belief of man, that peopleth his Church with dry bones, and plant­eth his orchard with dry sticks; he is able to do this. Therefore I bow my knee to the most high God, Eph. 3. 14. and as our Saviour pray­ed at the sepulchre of Lazarus, Iohn 11. 38, 41. and the Shunamite ran to the man of God for her dead child: 2 Kings 4. 25. so doth your mourning Minister kneel about your graves, and carry you in the arms of prayer to that God, in whom your help is found.

O thou all-powerful Iehovab, that workest, and none can let thee; that hast the keys of [...]ell and of death: pity thou the dead souls that lie here in­tombed, and roll away the grave-stone, and say, as to Lazarus when already stinking, Come forth. Lighten thou this darkness, O inaccessible light, and let the day-spring from on high, visit the dark­some region of the dead to whom I speak: for thou canst open the eyes that death it self hath closed. Thou that formedst the ear, canst restore the hearing. S [...]y thou to these ears, Ephatah, and they shall be opened. Give thou eyes to see thine excel­lencies [...] a taste that may relish thy sweetness; a sent that may savour thine oin [...]ments, [...] a feeling [Page 109] that may sense the priviledge of thy favour, the burden of thy wrath, the weight intolerable of un­pardoned sin: and give thy servant command to prophesie to the dry bones, and let the effect of this prophesie be, as of thy Prophet's, when he prophesied the valley of dry bones, into a living army, exceed­ing great. Ezek. 37. 1. &c. The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley, which was full of bones. He said unto me, prophesie upon th [...]se bones, and say unto them; O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord: Thus saith the Lord God unto these bones; Behold I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live, and ye shall know that I am the Lord. So I prophesied as I was com­manded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and [...]ehold a shaking, and the bones came together bone to his bone. And when I behold, Loe the si­news and the flesh came up upon them, and covered them above, but there was no breath in them. Then said he unto me; Prophesie unto the wind, prophesie son of man, and say to the wind; Thus saith the Lord God, C [...]me from the four winds, O breath, and breath upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.

But I must proceed, as I am able, to unfold that misery, which I confess no tongue can un­fold, no heart can sufficiently comprehend. Know therefore that while thou art uncon­verted,

[Page 110]1. The infinite God is engaged against thee.

It is no small part of thy misery, that thou art without God. Eph. 2. 12. How doth Micah run crying after the Danites, You have taken away my gods, and what have I more? Iudges 18. 23, 24. Oh what a mourning then must thou lift up, that art without God, that canst lay no claim to him, without daring usurpation! Thou must say of God, as Sheba of David; We have no part in David, neither have we inheritance in the son of Iesse. 2 Sam. 20. 1. How pitiful and piercing a moan is that of Saul, in his extremity; The Philistines are upon me, and God is departed from me? 1 Sam. 28. 15. Sinners, what will you do in the day of your visitation? whither will you flee for help? where will you leave your glory? Esay 10. 3. What will you do when the Phi­listines are upon you? when the world shall take its eternal leave of you, when you must bid your friends, houses, lands, Farewel for e­vermore? What will you do then, I say, that have never a God to go to? Will you call on him, will you cry to him for help? alas he will not own you; Prov. 1. 28, 29. he will not take any knowledge of you, but send you packing, with an I never knew you. Mat. 7. 23. They that know what 'tis to have a God to go to, a God to live upon, they know a little what a fearful misery it is, to be without God. This made that holy man cry out, Let me have a God, or nothing. Let me know him and his will, and what will please [...]im, and how I may come to en­joy him, or would I had never had an understanding to know any thing, &c.

[Page 111]But thou art not only without God, but God is against thee. Ezek. 5. 8, 9. Nah. 2. 13. Oh if God would but stand a neu [...]er, though he did not own, nor help the poor sinner, his case were not so deeply miserable. Though God should give up the poor creature to the will of all his enemies, to do their worst with him; though he should deliver him over to the tor­menters, Mat. 18. 34. that devils should tear and torture him to their utmost power and skil; yet this were not half so fearful. But God him­self will set against the sinner, and believe it, 'tis a fearful thing to fail into the hands of the living God. Heb. 10. 31. There's no friend like him, no enemy like him. As much as Heaven is above the earth, Omnipotency above impotency, In­finity above nullity, so much more horrible is it, to fall into the hands of the living God, than into the paws of bears, or lions, yea furies, or devils. God himself will be thy tormenter; thy destruction shall come from the presence of the Lord. 2 Thess. 1. 9. Tophet is deep and large, and the wrath of the Lord like a river of brimstone doth kindle it. Fsay. 30. 33. If God be against thee, who shall be for thee? If one man sin a­gainst another, the Iudge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall intreat for him? 1 Sam. 2. 25. Thou, even thou art to be feared; and who shall stand in thy sight, when once thou art angry? Psal. 76. 7. Who is that god, that shall deliver you out of his hands? Dan. 3. 15. Can Mammon? Riches profit not in the day of wrath. Prov. 1 I. 4. Can Kings, or warriours? No, they shall cry to the mountains [Page 112] and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the Throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb. For the great day of his wrath is come, and who shall be able to stand? Rev. 6. 15, 16, 17.

Sinner, methinks this should go like a dag­ger to thine heart, to know that God is thine enemy. Oh whither wilt thou go, where wilt thou shelter thee? There is no hope for thee unless thou lay down thy weapons, and sue out thy pardon, and get Christ to stand thy friend, and to make thy peace. If it were not for this, thou mightest go into some howling wilderness, and there pine in sorrow, and run mad for anguish of heart and horrible despair. But in Christ there is a possibility of mercy for thee, yea a proffer of mercy to thee, that thou maist have God to be more for thee, than he is now against thee. But if thou wilt not forsake thy sins, nor turn throughly, and to purpose unto God, by a sound Conver­sion; the wrath of God abideth on thee, and he proclaims himself to be against thee, as in the Prophet Ezek. 5. 8. Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I even I am against thee.

I. His face is against thee, Psal. 34. 16. The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them. Woe to them whom God shall set his face against. When he did but look upon the host of the Egyptians, how terrible was the consequence? Ezek. 14. 8. I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign, and a proverb, and will cut him off from the midst of my people, and you shall know that I am the Lord. 2. His heart is against thee: [Page 113] He hateth all the workers of iniquity. Man, doth not thine heart tremble to think of thy being an object of Gods hatred? Ier. 15. 1. Though M [...]ses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be towards this people, cast them out of my sight. Zecb. 7. 8. My soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred me. 3. His hand is against thee. 1 Sam. 12. 15. 4. All his attri­butes are against thee.

First, His justice is like a flaming sword un­sheathed against thee. If I whet my glittering sword, and my hand take hold on judgment, I will render vengeance is mine adversaries, and will re­ward them that hate me. I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, &c. Deut. 32. 40, 41. So exact is Justice, that 'twill by no means clear the guilty. Exod. 34. 7. God will not discharge thee he will not hold thee guiltless, Exod. 20. 7. but will require the whole debt in person of thee [...] unless thou canst make a scripture claim to Christ and his satisfaction. When the enlight­ned sinner looks on justice, and sees the bal­lance in which he must be weighed, and the sword by which he must be executed, he feels an earth-quake in his breast. But Satan keeps this out of sight, and perswades the soul while he can; that the Lord is all made up of mercy, and so lulls it asleep in sin. Divine Justice is very strict; it must have satisfaction to the utmost farthing, it denounceth indigna­tion and wrath, tribulation and anguish, to every soul that d [...]th evil. Rom. 2. 8, 9. It curseth every one that continueth not in every thing, that is written in the Law to do it. Gal. 3. 10. The [Page 114] justice of God to the unpardoned sinner, that hath a sense of his misery, is more terrible, than the sight of the bailiff or creditour to the bank­rupt debtour, or than the sight of the Judge and bench to the robber, or of the irons and gibbet to the guilty murderer. When justice sits upon life and death, oh what dreadful work doth it make with the wretched sinner? Bind him hand and foot, cast him into outer dark­ness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matt. 22. 13. Depart from me ye cursed, into e­verlasting fire. Mat. 25. 41. This is the terrible sentence that justice pronounceth. Why sin­ner, by this severe justice must thou be tried; and as God liveth, this killing sentence shalt thou hear, unless thou repent and be con­verted.

Secondly, The holiness of God is full of anti­pathy against thee. Psal. 5. 4, 5. He is not only angry with thee (so he may be with his own children) but he hath a fixed, rooted, ha­bitual displeasure against thee: he loaths thee, Zech. 11. 8. and what is done by thee, though for substance commanded by him: Esay 1. 14. Mal. 1. 10. As if a man should give his servant never so good meat to dress; yet if he should mingle filth, or poison with it, he would not touch it. Gods nature is infinitely contrary to sin, and so he cannot but hate a sinner out of Christ.

Oh what a misery is this, to be out of the fa­vour, yea under the hatred of God! Eccles. 5. 4. [...]l [...]s. 9. 15. that God can as easily lay aside his nature, and cease to be God, as not to be con­trary [Page 115] to thee, and detest thee, except thou be changed and renewed by grace! Oh sinner, how darest thou to think of the bright and ra­diant Sun of purity, upon the beauties, the glory of holiness that is in God! The Stars are not pure in his sight; Iob 25. He humbleth himself to behold the things that are done in Hea­ven. Psal. 113. Oh those light and sparkling eyes of his! what do they espy in thee? and thou hast no interest in Christ neither, that he should plead for thee. Methinks I should hear thee crying out astonished, with the Bethshe­mites, Who shall stand before this holy Lord God? 1 Sam. 6. 20.

Thirdly, The Power of God is mounted like a mighty Cannon against thee. The glory of Gods power is to be displayed, in the wonderful con­fusion and destruction of them that obey not the Gospel. 2. Thess. 1. 8, 9. He will make his power known in them, Rom. 9. 22. how mightily he can torment them. For this end he raiseth them up, that [...]e may make his power known. Rom. 9. 17. O man, art thou able to make thy party good against thy maker? No more than a silly reed, against the Cedars of God; or a little cock-boat, against the tumb­ling ocean; or the childrens bubbles, against the blustering winds. Sinner, the power of Gods anger is against thee: Psal. 90. 11. and power and anger together, make fearful work. 'Twere better thou hadst all the world in arms against thee, than to have the power of God a­gainst thee. There is no escaping his hands, no breaking his prison. The Thunder of his [Page 116] power who can understand? Iob 26. 14. Unhap­py man that shall understand it by feeling it! If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand. He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength; who hath hardened himself against him, and prospered? Which removeth the mountains and they know it not which overturneth them in his anger. Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble. Which commandeth the Sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the Stars. Behold he taketh away, who can hinder him? who will say unto him, What dost thou? If God will not with­draw his anger, the proud helpers do stoop under him. Iob. 9. 3, 4, 5, 6, &c. And art thou a fit match for such an antagonist? Oh consider this, you that forget God, lest he tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver you. Psal. 50. 22. Submit to mercy. Let not dust and stubble stand it out against the Almighty. Set not briars and thorns against him in battel, lest he go through them, and consume them together: but lay hold on his strength, that you may make peace with him. Esay 27. 4, 5. Wo to him that striveth with his maker. Esay 45. 9.

Fourthly, The wisdom of God is set to ruine thee, He hath ordained his arrows and prepared the instruments of death and made all things ready. Psa. 7. 11, 12. 13. His counsels are against thee, to contrive thy destruction. Ier. 18. 11. He laughs in himself, to see, how thou wilt be taken and en­snared in the evil day. Psal. 37. 13. The Lord shall laugh at him, for he seeth that his day is coming. He sees how thou wilt come down mightily in a [Page 117] moment; how thou wilt wring thine hands, and tear thine hair, and eat thy flesh, and gnash thy teeth for anguish and astonishment of heart, when thou seest how thou art fallen remedilesly into the pit of destruction.

Fifthly, The Truth of God is sworn against thee. Psal. 95. 11. If he be true and faithful, thou must perish if thou goest on. Luke 13. 3. Unless he be false of his word, thou must die, except thou repent. Ezek. 33. 11. If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful, he cannot deny himself. 2 Tim. 2. 13. That is, he is faithful to his threatnings, as well as promises, and will shew his faithful­ness in our confusion, if we believe not. God hath told thee, as plain as it can be spoken; That if he wash thee not, thou hast no part in him. Iohn 13. 8. That if thou livest after the flesh, thou shalt dye; Rom. 8. 13. That except thou be con­verted, thou shalt in no wise enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; Mat. 18. 3. and he abideth faithful, he cannot deny himself. Beloved, as the im­mutable faithfulness of God in his promise and oath, afford believers strong consolation; Heb. 6. 18. so they are to unbelievers, for strong consternation and confusion. O sinner, tell me, what shift dost thou make to think of all the threatnings of Gods word, that stand upon re­cord against thee? Dost thou believe their truth, or not? If not, thou art a wretched infidel, and not a Christian; and therefore give over the name and hopes of a Christian. But if thou dost believe them, O heart of steel that thou hast, that canst walk up and down in quiet, when the truth and faithfulness of God in en­gaged [Page 118] to destroy thee: that if God Almighty can do it, thou shalt surely perish, and be dam­ned. Why man, the whole book of God doth testify against thee, while thou remainest un­sanctified: it condemns thee in every leaf, and is to thee, like Ezekiel's roll, written within and without with lamentations, and mourning, and wo: Ezek. 2. 10. and all this shall surely come upon thee, and overtake thee, Deut. 28. 15. except thou repent. Heaven and earth shall pass away; but one jot, or tittle of this word shall never pass away. Mat. 5. 18.

Now put all this together, and tell me, if the case of the Unconverted be not deplorably mi­serable. As we read of some persons, that had bound themselves in an oath, and in a curse to kill Paul: so thou must know, O sinner, to thy terror, that all the attributes of the infinite God are bound in an oath to destroy thee: Heb. 3. 18. O man what wilt thou do? whither wilt thou fly? If Gods Omnisciency can find thee, thou shalt not escape. If the true and faithful God will save his oath, perish thou must, except thou believe and repent. If the Almighty hath power to torment thee, thou shalt be perfectly miserable in soul and body to all eternity, un­less it be prevented by thy speedy Conversion.

II. The whole creation of God is against thee. The whole creation (saith Paul) groaneth and travelleth in pain. Rom. 8. 22. But what is it that the creation groaneth under? Why, the fearful abuse that it is subject to, in serving the lusts of unsanctified men. And what is it that the creation groaneth for? why, for freedom [Page 119] and liberty from this abuse; for the creature is very unwillingly subject to this bondage. Rom. 8. 19, 20, 21. If the unreasonable and inanimate creatures had speech and reason, they would cry out under it, as a bondage unsufferable, to be abused by the ungodly, contrary to their natures, and the ends that the great Creatour made them for. It is a passage of an eminent Divine; The liquor that the drunkard drink­eth, if it had reason as well as a man, to know how shamefully 'tis abused and spoiled, it would groan in the barrels against him, it would groan in the cup against him, it would groan in his throat, in his belly against him. It would fly in his face, if it could speak. And if God should open the mouth of the creatures, as he did the mouth of Balaam's ass, the proud mans garments on his back would groan against him. There is never a creature, but if it had reason to know how 'tis abused, till a man is converted, 'twould groan against him. The land would groan to bear him, the air would groan to give him breathing, their houses would groan to lodge them, their beds would groan to ease them, their food to nourish them, their cloaths to cover them, and every creature would groan to give them any help and com­fort, so long as they live in sin against God. Thus far he. Methinks this should be a terrour to an unconverted soul, to think, that he is a burden to the creation. Luke 13. 7. Cut it down why cumbereth it the ground. If the poor inanimate creatures could but speak, they would say to the ungodly, as Moses to [Page 120] Israel; Must we fetch you water out of the rock, ye rebels? Numb. 2. 10. Thy food would say, Lord, must I nourish such a wretch as this, and yield forth my strength for him, to dishonour thee withal? No, I will choak him rather, if thou wilt give me Commission: The very air would say, Lord, must I give this man breath, to set his tongue against Heaven, and scorn thy people, and vent his pride and wrath, and filthy communi­cation, and helch out oaths and blasphemy against thee? No, if thou wilt but say the word, he shall be breathless for me. His poor beast would say, Lord, must I carry him upon his wicked designs? No, I will break his bones, I will end his dayes rather, if I may have but leave from thee. A wicked man the earth groans under him, and hell groans for him, till death satisfies both, and unburdens the earth, and stops the mouth of hell with him. While the Lord of Hosts is against thee, be sure the Hosts of the Lord are against thee, and all the creatures as it were up in arms, till upon a mans conversion, the controversie being taken up between God and him, he makes a covenant of peace with the creatures for him. Iob 5. 22, 23, 24. Hos. 2. 18, 19, 20.

III. The roaring Lion hath his full power upon thee. 1 Pet. 5. 8. Thou art fast in the paw of that Lion, that is greedy to devour, in the snare of the devil, led captive by him at his will. 2 Tim. 2. 26. This is the spirit that worketh in the chil­dren of disobedience, Eph. 2. 2. His drudges they are, and his lusts they do. He is the ruler of the darknes of this world: Eph. 6. 12. that is, of ignorant sinners, that live in darkness. You [Page 121] pity the poor Indians, that worship the Devil for their God; but little think that 'tis your own case. Why 'tis the common misery of all the unsanctified, that the Devil is their God. 2 Cor. 4. 4. Not that they do intend to do him homage and worship; they will be ready to de­fy him, and him that should say so by them; but all this while they serve him, and come and go at his beck, and live under his government. His servants you are, to whom you yield your selves to obey. Rom. 6. 16. Oh how many then will be found the real servants of the Devil [...] that take themselves for no other than the children of God? He can no sooner offer a sinful delight or opportunity for your unlawful advantage, but you embrace it. If he suggest a lie, or prompt you to revenge, you readily obey. If he forbid you to read, or pray, you hearken to him, and therefore his servants you are. Indeed he lies behind the curtain, he acts in the dark, and sinners see not who setteth them on work: but all the while he leads them in a string. Doubtless the liar intends not a service to Satan, but his own advantage: yet 'tis he that stands in the corner unobserved, and putteth the thing into his heart. Act. 5. 3. Iohn 8. 44. Questi­onless, Iudas when he sold his master for mony, and the Caldeans and Sabeans when they plun­dered Iob, intended not to do the Devil a plea­sure, but to satisfie their own covetous thirst: yet 'twas he that acted them in their wicked­ness. Iohn 13. 27. Iob 1. 12, 15, 17. Men may be very slaves and common drudges for the Devil, and never know it: nay they may please [Page 122] themselves in the thoughts of a happy liberty. 2 Pet. 2. 19.

Art thou yet in ignorance, and not turned from darkness to light? why thou art under the power of Satan. Act. 26. 18. Dost thou live in the ordinary and wilful practice of any known sin? Know that thou art of the Devil. 1 Iohn 3. 8. Dost thou live in strife, or envy, or ma­lice? Verily he is thy father. Iohn 8. 40, 41. Oh dreadful case! However Satan may provide his slaves with divers pleasures; Tit. 3. 3. yet it is but to toll them into endless perdition. The Serpent comes with the apple in his mouth, Oh but (with Eve) thou seest not the deadly sting in his tail [...] He that is now thy tempter, will be one day thy tor­menter. Oh that I could but give thee to see how black a master thou servest, how filthy a drud­gery thou dost, how merciless a tyrant thou gra­tifyest, all whose pleasure is, to set thee on work to make thy perdition and damnation sure, and to heat the furnace hotter and hotter, in which thou must burn for millions of millions of ages.

IV. The guilt of all thy sius lies like a moun­tain upon thee. Poor soul! Thou feele [...]t it not, but this is that which seals thy misery upon thee. While unconverted, none of thy sins are blotted out: Act. 3. 19. they are all upon the score a­gainst thee. Regeneration and remission are ne­ver separated: the unsanctified are unquestiona­bly unjustified, and unpardoned. 1 Cor. 6. 11. 1 Pet. 1. 2. H [...]b. 9. 14. Beloved, it's a fearful thing to be in debt, but above all in Gods debt: for there is no arrest so formidable as his, no prison so horrible as his. Look upon an enlight­ned [Page 123] sinner, who feels the weight of his own guilt, and oh how frightful are his looks, how fearful are his complaints! His comforts are turned into Wormwood, and his moisture into drought, and his sleep departeth from his eyes. He is a terrour to himself and all that are about him, and is ready to envy the very stones that lie in the street, because these are senseless, and feel not his misery; and wishes, he had been a dog, or a toad, or serpent rather than a man, because then death had put an end to his misery, whereas now it will be but the beginning of that, which will know no ending.

How light soever you may make of it now, you will one day find the guilt of unpardoned sin to be a heavy burden. This is a milstone that whosoever falleth upon it shall be broken, but upon whomsoever it shall fall, it shall grind him to powder. Mat. 21. 44. What work did it make with our Saviour? it pressed the very blood (to a wonder) out of his veins, and broke all his bones: and if it did this in the green tree, what will it do in the dry?

Oh think of thy case in time. Canst thou think of that threat without trembling, Ye shall die in your sins? Iohn 8. 24. Oh better were it for thee to dye in a gaol, dye in a ditch, in a dungeon, than dye in thy sins. If death, as it will take away all thy other comforts, would take away thy sins too, it were some mitiga­tion. But thy sins will follow thee, when thy friends leave thee, and all worldly enjoyments shake hands with thee. Thy sins will not dye with thee, 2 Cor. 5. 10. Rev. 20. 12. as a pri­soners [Page 124] other debts will; but they will to judg­ment with thee, there to be thine accusers; and they will to Hell with thee, there to be thy tor­mentors. Better to have so many fiends and furies about thee, than thy sins to fall upon thee and fasten in thee. Oh the work that these will make with thee! Oh look over thy debts in time. How much art thou in the books of e­very one of Gods laws? How is every one of Gods commandments ready to arrest thee, and take thee by the throat, for innumerable bonds that it hath upon thee? What wilt thou then do, when they shall altogether lay in against thee? Hold open the eyes of conscience to con­sider this, that thou maist despair of thy self, and be driven to Christ, and fly for refuge, to lay hold upon the hope that is set before thee. Heb. 6. 18.

V. Thy raging lusts do miserably enslave thee. While unconverted, thou art a very servant of sin: it reigns over thee, and holds thee under its do­minion, till thou art brought within the bond of Gods covenant. Iohn 8. 34, 36. Tit. 3. 3. Rom. 6. 12, 14. Rom. 6. 16, 17. Now there's no such Tyrant as sin. Oh the filthy and fear­ful work, that it doth engage its servants in! Would it not pierce a mans heart to see a com­pany of poor Creatures drudging and toiling, and all to carry together faggots and fuel for their own burning? Why, this is the imploy­ment of sins drudges. Even while they bless themselves in their unrighteous gains, while they sing and swill in pleasures, they are but trea­suring up wrath and vengeance for their erer­nal burning; they are but l [...]ying in Powder and [Page 125] bullets, and adding to the pile of Tophet, and flinging in oyl to make the flames rage the fier­cer. Who would serve such a master, whose work is drudgery, and whose wages is death? Rom. 6. 23.

What a woful spectacle was that poor wretch possessed with the legion? would it not have pityed thine heart to have seen him among the tombs, cutting, and wounding of himself? Mark 5. 5. This is thy case, such is thy work. Every stroke is a thrust at thine heart. 1 Tim. 6. 10. Conscience indeed is now asleep; but when death and judgment shall bring thee to thy senses, then thou wilt feel the raging smart and anguish of every wound. The convinced sinner is a sensible instance of the miserable bon­dage of sin. Conscience flies upon him, and tells him what the end of these courses will be: and yet such a slave is he to his lusts, that on he must, though he see it will be his endless perdi­tion: and when the temptation comes, lust gets the bit in its mouth, breaks all the cords of his vows and promises, and carries him head­long to his own destruction.

VI. The furnace of eternal vengeance is heated ready for thee. Esay 30. 33. Hell and destruction open their mouths upon thee, they gape for thee, they groan for thee, Esay 5. 14. waiting as it were with a greedy eye, as thou standest upon the brink, when thou wilt drop in. If the wrath of a man may be, as the roaring of a Li­on, Prov. 19 12. more heavy than the sand; Prov. 27. 3. What is the wrath of the infinite God? If the burning furnace heated in Nebu­chadnezars [Page 126] fiery rage, when he commanded it to be made yet seven times hotter, were so fierce as to burn up even those that drew near it, to throw the three children in: Dan. 3. 19, 22. How hot is that burning oven of the Almighty's fury? Mal. 4. 1. Surely this is seventy times seven more fi [...]rce. What thinkest thou, O man, of being a faggot in Hell to all eternity? Can thine heart indure, or can thine hands be strong, in the day that I shall deal with thee, saith the Lord of hosts? Ezek. 22. 14. Canst thou dwell with e­verlasting burnings? Canst thou abide the con­suming fire? Esay 33. 14. When thou shalt be as a glowing Iron in Hell, and thy whole body and soul shall be as perfectly possessed by Gods burning vengeance, as the fiery sparkling iron, when heated in the fiercest forge? Thou canst not bear Gods whip: how then wilt thou endure his scorpions? Thou art even crushed, and ready to wish thy self dead, under the weight of his finger: how then wilt thou bear the weight of his loins? The most patient man that ever was, did curse the day that ever he was born, Iob 3. 1. and even wooe death to come and end his misery, Iob 7. 15, 16. when God did but let out one little drop of his wrath. How then wilt thou endure, when God shall pour out all his vials, and set himself against thee to torment thee? When he shall make thy conscience the tunnel, by which he will he pou­ring his burning wrath into thy soul for ever; and when he shall fill all thy powers as full of torment, as they be now full of sin? When im­mortality shall be thy misery, and to die the [Page 127] death of a bruit, and be swallowed into the gulf of annihilation, shall be such a felicity, as a whole eternity of wishes, and an Ocean of tears shall never purchase? Now thou canst put off the evil day, and canst laugh and be merry, and forget the terror of the Lord: 2 Cor. 5. 11. but how wilt thou hold out, or hold up, when God shall cast thee into a bed of torments, Rev. 2. 22. and make thee to lie down in sorrows? Esay 50. 11. When roarings and blasphemy shall be thine only musick, and the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation, shall be thine only drink? Rev. 14. 10. When thou shalt draw in flames for thy breath, and the hor­rid stench of sulphur shall be thine only perfume? In a word, when the smoak of thy torment shall ascend for ever and ever, and thou shalt have no rest night nor day, no rest in thy conscience, no ease in thy bones, but thou shalt be an exe­cration, and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach for evermore? Ier. 42. 18.

Oh sinner, stop here; and consider. If thou art a man and not a senseless block, consider. Bethink thy self where thou standest: why up­on the very brim of this furnace. As the Lord liveth and thy soul liveth, there is but a step be­tween thee and this. 1 Sam. 20. 3. Thou know­est not, when thou liest down, but thou maist be in before the morning: thou knowest not when thou risest but thou maist drop in before the night. Darest thou make light of this? wilt thou go on in such a dreadful condition, as if nothing ailed thee? If thou puttest it off, and [Page 128] sayest, this doth not belong to thee; look a­gain over the foregoing Chapter, and tell me the truth, are none of those black marks found upon thee? Do not blind thine eyes, do not de­ceive thy self: see thy misery while thou maist prevent it. Think what 'tis to be a vile cast-out, a damned reprobate, a vessel of wrath, into which the Lord will be pouring out his tormen­ting fury, while he hath a being. Rom. 9. 22.

Divine wrath is a fierce, Deut. 32. 22. de­vouring, Esay 33. 14. everlasting, Mat. 25. 41. unquenchable fire; Mat. 3. 12. and thy soul and body must be the fuel upon which it will be feeding for ever, unless thou consider thy ways, and speedily turn to the Lord by a sound conversion. They that have been only singed by this fire, and had no more but the smell thereof passing upon them, Oh what a­mazing spectacles have they been. Whose heart would not have melted, to have heard Spira's outcries, to have seen Chaloner that monument of justice, worn to skin and bones blaspheming the God of Heaven, cursing himself, and con­tinually crying out, O torture, torture, torture, O torture, torture, as if the flames of wrath had al­ready took hold of him? To have heard Rogers crying out, I have had a little pleasure, and now I must to Hell for evermore; wishing but for this mi­tigation, that God would but let him lie burning for ever behind the back of that fire (on the hearth) and bringing in this sad conclusion still, at the end of whatever was spoken to him to af­ford him some hope, I must to Hell, I must to the furnace of Hell, for millions of millions of ages. Oh [Page 129] if the fears and fore thoughts of the wrath to come be so terrible, so intolerable, what is the feeling of it!

Sinners, 'tis but in vain to flatter you; this would be but to toll you into the unquencha­ble fire: know ye from the living God, that here you must lie, with these burnings must you dwell, till immortality die, and immutability change, till Eternity run out, and omnipotency is no longer able to torment, except you be in good earnest renewed throughout by sanctify­ing grace.

VII. The Law dischargeth all its threats and curses at thee. Gal. 3. 10. Rom. 7. Oh how dreadfully doth it thunder? It spits fire and brimstone in thy face. Its words are as drawn swords, and as the sharp arrows of the mighty. It demands satisfaction to the uttermost, and cries, Justice, Justice. It speaks bloud, and war, and wounds, and death against thee. Oh the execrations, and plagues, and deaths, that this murdering-piece is loaded with! (read Deut. 28. 15, 16. &c.) and thou art the mark at which this shot is levelled. O man, away to the strong hold, Zech. 9. 12. away from thy sins: haste to the sanctuary, the City of refuge, Heb 6. 18. even the Lord Jesus Christ; hide thee in him, or else thou art lost without any hope of recovery.

VIII. The Gospel it self binds the sentence of e­ternal condemnation upon thee. Mark 16. 16. If thou continuest in thine impenitent and uncon­verted estate, know, that the Gospel denoun­ceth a much sorer condemnation, than ever [Page 130] would have been for the transgression only o [...] the first covenant. Is it not a dreadful case, to have the Gospel it self fill its mouth with threats, and thunder, and damnation? To have the Lord to roar from mount Sion against thee? Ioel 3. 16. Hear the terrour of the Lord: He that believeth not shall be damned. Except ye repent, ye shall all perish. Luke 13. 3. This is the condem­nation, that light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light. John. 3. 19. He that believeth not, the wrath of God abideth on him. John 3. 36. If the word spoken by Angels was sted­fast, and every transgression and disobedience recei­ved a just recompence of reward: how shall we e­scape, if we neglect so great salvation? Heb. 2. 2, 3. He that despised Moses law, died without mer­cy: Of how much sorer punishment shall he be thought worthy, that hath trampled under foot the son of God? Heb. 10. 28, 29.

Application. And is it true indeed? is this thy misery? yea 'tis as true as God is. Better open thine eyes and see it now, while thou maist remedy it, than blind and harden thy self, till, to thy eternal sorrow, thou shalt feel what thou wouldest not believe: and if it be true, what dost thou mean to loyter, and linger in such a case as this?

Alas for thee poor man, how effectually hath sin undone thee, and depraved thee, and despoi­led thee even of the reason to look after thine own everlasting good! Oh miserable Caitiff, what stupour and senselesness hath surprised thee! Oh let me knock up and awake this sleep­ [...]r. Who dwells within the walls of this flesh? [Page 131] Is there ever a soul here, a rational understan­ding soul? Or art thou only a walking ghost, a senseless Iump? Art thou a reasonable soul, and yet so far brutified, as to forget thy self im­mortal, and to think thy self to be as the beasts that perish? Art thou turned into flesh, that thou savourest nothing but gratifying the sense, and making provision for the flesh? Or else ha­ving reason to understand the eternity of thy fu­ture state, dost thou yet make light of being e­verlastingly miserable? which is to be so much below a brute, as it is worse to act against rea­son, than to act without it. Oh unhappy soul, that wast the glory of man, the mate of Angels, and the image of God! that wast Gods repre­sentative in the world, and hadst the supremacy amongst the creatures, and the dominion over thy makers works! Art thou now become a slave to sense, a servant to so base an idol, as thy belly? for no higher felicity, than to fill thee with the wind of mans applause, or heaping to­gether a little r [...]fined earth, no more suitable to thy spiritual, immortal nature, than the dirt, and sticks? Oh why dost thou not bethink thee, where thou shalt be for ever? Death is at hand. The Iudge is even at the door. Iames 5. 9. Yet a little while, and time shall be no longer. Rev. 10. 5, 6. And wilt thou run the hazard of conti­nuing in such a state, in which if thou be over­taken, thou art irrecoverably miserable.

Come then, arise, and intend thy nearest con­cernments. Tell me wither art thou going? What, wilt thou live in such a course, wherein every act is a step to perdition? and thou dost [Page 132] not know, but the next night, thou maist make thy bed in Hell? Oh! if thou hast a spark of reason, consider, and turn, and hearken to thy very friend, who would therefore shew thee thy present misery, that thou mightest in time make thine escape, and be eternally happy.

Hear what the Lord saith; Fear ye not me saith the Lord? Will ye not tremble at my presence? Ier. 5. 22. Oh sinners, do you make light of the wrath to come? Mat. 3. 7. I am sure there is a time coming, when you will not make light of it. Why, the very Devils do believe and tremble. Iames 2. 19. What, you more hardened than they? Will you run upon the edge of the rock? will you play at the hole of the Asp? will you put your hand upon the Cockatrice den? Will you dance about the fire, till you are burnt? or dally with devouring wrath, as if you were at a point of indifferency, whether you did escape it, or endure it? Oh madness of folly! Solomon's mad man, that casteth firebrands, and arrows, and death, and faith, am I not in jest? Prov. 26. 18. is nothing so distracted as the wilful sinner, Luke 15. 17. that goeth on in his unconver­ted estate without sense, as if nothing ailed him. The man that runs on the Cannons mouth, that sports with his blood, or lets out his life in a frolick, is sensible, sober and serious, to him that goeth on still in his trespasses. Psal. 68. 21. For he stretcheth out his hand against God, and strengtheneth himself against the ALMIGHTY. He runneth upon him, even upon his neck, upon the thick bosses of his buckler. Job. 15. 25, 26. Is it wisdome to play with the second death, or to [Page 133] venture into the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone, Rev 21. 8. as if thou wert but going to wash thee or swim for thy recreation? Wilt thou as it were fetch thy vieze, and jump into e­ternal flames, as the children through the bon­fire? What shall I say? I can find out no ex­pression, no comparison whereby to set forth the dreadful distraction of that soul, that shall go on in sin.

Awake, awake, Eph. 5. 14. oh sinner: arise and take thy flight. There is but one door that thou maist fly by, and that is the strait door of conver­sion and the new birth. Unless thou turn un­feignedly from all thy sins, and come in to Jesus Christ, and take him for the Lord thy righte­ousness, and walk in him in Holiness and new­ness of life, as the Lord liveth, it is not more certain that thou art now out of Hell, than that thou shalt without fail be in it, but a few days and nights from hence. Oh set thine heart to think of thy case: Is not thine everlasting mi­sery or welfare, that which doth deserve a little consideration? Look again over the miseries of the unconverted. If the Lord hath not spoken by me, regard me not. But if it be the very word of God, that all this misery lies upon thee, what a case art thou in? Is it for one that hath his senses to live in such a condition, and not to make all possible expedition for preven­ting his utter ruine? O man, who hath bewitch­ed thee, Gal. 3. 1. that in the matters of the present life thou shouldst be wise enough to fore­cast thy business, foresee, thy danger, and pre­vent the mischief; but in matters of everlasting [Page 134] consequence shouldst be slight and careless, as if they little concerned thee? Why, is it nothing to thee to have all the attributes of God enga­ged against thee? Canst thou do well without his favour? Canst thou escape his hands, or en­dure his vengeance? Dost thou hear the creati­on groaning under thee, and Hell groaning for thee, and yet think thy case good enough? Art thou in the paw of the Lion, under the power of corruption, in the dark and noisome prison, fetter'd with thy lusts, working out thine own damnation, and is not this worth the conside­ring? Wilt thou make light of all the terrours of the law, of all its curses, and thunderbolts, as if they were but the reports of the childrens pop-guns, or thou wert to war with their pa­per pellets? Dost thou laugh at Hell and de­struction, or canst drink the envenomed cup of the Almighties fury, as if it were but a common potion?

Gird up now thy loins like a man, for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Iob 40. 7. Art thou such a Leviathan, as that the scales of thy pride should keep thee from thy makers com­ing at thee? Wilt thou esteem his arrows as straw, and the instruments of death as rotten wood? Art thou chief of all the children of pride, even that thou should'st count his darts as stubble, and laugh at the shaking of his spear? Art thou made without fear, and contemnest his barbed irons? Iob. 41. Art thou like the horse, that paweth in the valley, and rejoyceth in his strength: he goeth out to meet the armed men? Dost thou m [...]k at fear and art not affrighted, [Page 135] neither turnest back from Gods sword? when his quiver ratleth against thee, the glittering Spear and the shield? Iob. 39. 21, 22, 23. Well, if the threats and calls of the word will not fear thee, nor awaken thee, I am sure death and judgment will. Oh what wilt thou do when the Lord cometh forth against thee, and in his fury falleth upon thee, and thou shalt feel what thou readest? If when Daniel's ene­mies were cast into the den of Lions both they and their wives, and their children, the Lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces, ere ever they came at the bottom of the den: Dan. 6. 24. what shall be done with thee, when thou fallest into the hands of the living God? when he shall gripe thee in his iron arms, and grind and crush thee to a thousand pieces in his wrath?

Oh do not then contend with God. Repent and be converted, so none of this shall come up­on thee. Esay 55. 6, 7. Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the un­righteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord and he will have mercy on him, and to our God for he will abundantly pardon.

Containing Directions for Con­version.
Mark 10. 17. And there came one, and kneeled to him, and asked him; Good Master, what shall I do, that I may inherit eternal life?

BEfore thou readest these Directions, I advise thee, yea I charge thee before God, and his holy Angels, to resolve to follow them, (as far as conscience shall be convinced of their agreeableness to Gods word, and thy estate,) and call in his assistance, and blessing that they may succeed. And as I have sought the Lord, and consulted his oracles, what advice to give thee; so must thou enter­tain it, with that aw, reverence, and purpose of obedience, that the word of the living God doth require.

Now then attend. Set thine heart unto all that I shall testify unto thee this day, for it is not a vain thing, it is your life. Deut. 32. 46. This is the end of all that hath been spoken hitherto, to bring you to set upon turning, and making use of Gods means for your Conversion. I would not trouble you, nor torment you before the time with the forethoughts of your eternal misery, but in order to your making your escape. [Page 137] Were you shut up under your present misery, without remedy, it were but mercy (as one speaks) to let you alone, that you might take in that little poor comfort, that you are capa­ble of, here in this world. But you may yet be happy, if you do not willfully refuse the means of your recovery. Behold, I hold open the door unto you: arise and take your flight. I set the way of life before you, walk in it, and you shall live, and not die. Deut. 30. 19. Ier. 9. 16. It pities me to think, you should be your own murderers, and throw your selves head­long, when God and men cry out to you, as Peter in another case to his Master, Spare thy self. A noble Virgin, that attended the Court of Spain, was wickedly ravished by the King; and hereupon exciting the Duke her Father to revenge, he called in the Moors to his help: who, when they had executed his design, mi­serably wasted and spoiled the Countrey: which this Virgin laying exceedingly to heart, shut her self up in a Tower belonging to her Fathers house, and desired her Father and Mother might be called forth: and bewailing to them her own wretchedness, that she should have occa­sioned so much misery and desolation to her Countrey, for the satisfying of her revenge, she told them, she was resolved to be avenged upon her self. Her Father and mother be­sought her to pity her self, and them: but no­thing would prevail, but she took her leave of them, and threw her self off the battlements, and so perished before their faces.

Just such is the willful destruction of ungodly [Page 138] men. The God that made them beseecheth them, and cryeth out to them, as Paul to the distracted Jaylor, when about to murder him­self, Do thy self no harm. The Ministers of Christ forewarn them and follow them, and fain would hold them back. But alas! No ex­postulations, nor obtestations will prevail; but men will hurl themselves into perdition, while pity it self looketh on.

What shall I say? would it not grieve a per­son of any humanity, if in the time of a reigning plague he should have a receipt (as one well) that would infallibly cure all the Countrey, and recover the most hopeless patients, and yet his friends and neighbours should dye by the hundreds about him because they would not use it? Men and brethren, though you carry the certain symptoms of death in your faces, yet I have a receipt that will cure you all, that will cure infallibly. Follow but these few di­rections, and if you do not then win Heaven, I will be content to lose it.

Hear then, O sinner, and as ever thou wouldst be converted and saved, embrace this following counsel.

Direct. I. Set it down with thy self as an un­doubted truth, that it is impossible for thee ever to get to Heaven, in this thine unconverted estate. Can any other but Christ save thee? And he tells thee he will never do it, except thou be re­generated and converted. Mat. 18. 3. Iohn. 3. 3. Doth not he keep the keys of Heaven? And canst thou get in without his leave, as thou must, if ever thou comest thither in thy natural [Page 139] condition, without a sound and through reno­vation?

Dir. II. Labour to get a thorow sight and lively sense and feeling of thy sins. Till men are weary and heavy laden, and pricked at the heart, and stark sick of sin, they will not come to Christ in his way, for ease and cure, nor to purpose enquire, What shall we do? Mat. 11. 28. Act. 2. 37. Mat. 9. 12. They must set themselves down for dead men, before they will come un­to Christ, that they may have life, Iohn 5. 40. Labour therefore to set all thy sins in order be­fore thee. Never be afraid to look upon them, but let thy spirit make diligent search. Psal. 77. 6. Enquire into thine heart, and into thy life. Enter into a thorow examination of thy self, and of all thy wayes, Psal. 119. 59. that thou maist make a full discovery; and call in the help of Gods spirit, in the sense of thine own ina­bility hereunto: for it is his proper work to convince of sin. Iohn 16. 8. Spread all before the face of thy conscience, till thine heart and eyes be set abroach. Leave not striving with God, and thine own soul, till it cry out under the sense of thy sins, as the inlightened Jaylour, What must I do to be saved? Acts 16. 30. To this purpose

Meditate of the Numerousness of thy sins. Da­vid's heart failed when he thought of this, and considered that he had more sins than hairs. Psal. 40. 12. This made him to cry out upon the multitudes of Gods tender mercies. Psal. 51. 1. The loathsome carcase doth not more hatefully swarm with crawling worms, than an un­sanctified [Page 140] soul with filthy lusts. They fill the head, the heart, the eyes and mouth of him. Look backward, where was ever the place, what was ever the time, in which thou didst not sin? Look inward, what part or power canst thou find in soul or body, but it is poison­ed with sin? What duty dost thou ever perform, into which this poison is not shed? Oh how great is the sum of thy debts, who hast been all thy life long running upon the books, and never didst, nor canst pay off one penny? Look o­ver the sin of thy nature, and all its cursed brood, the sins of thy life. Call to mind thine Omissions, Commissions, the sins of thy thoughts, of thy words, of thine actions; the sins of thy youth, the sins of thy years &c. Be not like a desperate bankrupt, that is afraid to look over his books. Read the records of con­science carefully, these books must be opened sooner, or later. Rev. 20. 12.

Meditate upon the aggravations of thy sins, as they are the grand enemies against the God of thy life, against the life of thy soul: in a word they are the publick enemies of all mankind. How do David, Ezra, Daniel and the good Levites aggra­vate their sins, from the consideration of their injuriousness to God, their opposition to his good and righteous Laws, the mercies, the warn­ings that they were committed against. Nehem. 9. Dan. 9. Ezra. 9. Oh the work that sin hath made in the world! This is the enemy that hath brought in death, that hath robbed and enslaved man, that hath blacked the devil, that hath digged hell; Rom. 5. 12. 2 [...] 2. 4. [Page 141] Iohn 8. 34. this is the enemy that hath turned the creation upside down, and sown dissension between man and the creatures, between man and man, yea between man and himself, set­ting the sensitive part against the rational, will against judgment, lust against conscience; yea worst of all, between God and man, making the lapsed sinner both hateful to God, and a hater of him. Zech. 11. 8. O man, how canst thou make so light of sin? This is the traitour, that sucked the blood of the Son of God, that sold him, that mocked him, that scourged him, that spat in his face, that digged his hands, that pierced his side, that pressed his soul, that mangled his body, that never lest, till it had bound him, condemned him, nailed him, cru­cified him, and put him to open shame. Esay 53. 4, 5, 6. This is that deadly poison, so powerful of operation, as that one drop of it, shed upon the root of mankind, hath corrupt­ed, spoiled, and poisoned, and undone his whole race at once. Rom. 5. 18, 19. This is the common butcher, the bloody executioner, that hath killed the Prophets, that hath burnt the Martyrs, that hath murdered all the A­postles, all the Patriarchs, all the Kings and Po­tentates, that hath destroyed Cities, swallowed Empires, butchered and devoured whole Na­tions. Whatever was the weapon that 'twas done by, sin was it that did the execution. Rom. 6. 23. Dost thou yet think it but a small thing? If Adam and all his children could be digged out of their graves, and their bodies piled up to Heaven, and an inquest were made, [Page 142] what matchless murderer were guilty of all this blood: it would be all found in the skirts of sin. Study the nature of sin, till thy heart be brought to fear and loath it. And meditate on the aggravations of thy particular sins, how thou hast sinned against all Gods warnings, a­gainst thine own prayers, against mercies, a­gainst corrections, against clearest light, a­gainst freest love, against thine own resolu­tions, against promises, vows, covenants of better obedience, &c. charge thy heart home with these things, till it blush for shame, and be brought out of all good opinion of it self. Ezra 9. 6.

Meditate upon the desert of sin. It cryeth up to Heaven: it calls for vengeance. Gen. 18. 20. Its due wages is death, damnation. It pulls the curse of God upon the soul and body. Gal. 3. 10. Deut. 28. The least sinful word, or thought, laies thee under the infinite wrath of God Almighty. Rom. 2. 8, 9. Mat. 12. 36. Oh what a load of wrath, what a weight of curses, what a treasure of vengeance have all the mil­lions of thy sins then deserved! Rom. 2. 5. Ioh. 3. 36. Oh judge thy self that the Lord may not judge thee. 1 Cor. 11. 31.

Meditate upon the deformity, and defilement of sin. 'Tis as black as hell, the very image and like­ness of the Devil drawn upon thy soul. 1 Iohn 3. 8, 10. It would more affright thee, to see thy self in the hateful deformity of thy nature, than to see the devil. There is no mire so un­clean, no vomit so loathsome, no carcase or carrion so offensive, no plague or leprosie so [Page 143] noisom as sin, in which thou art all enrolled, [...] covered with its odious filth, whereby [...] art rendred more displeasing to the pure and holy nature of the glorious God, than the most filthy object, composed of whatever is hateful to all thy senses, can be to thee. Iob 15. 15, 16. Couldst thou take up a toad into thy bosom? Couldst thou cherish it and take de­light in it? Why, thou art as contrary to the pure and perfect holiness of the divine nature, and as loathsome as that is to thee, Mat. 23. 33. till thou art purified by the blood of Jesus, and the power of renewing grace.

Above all other sins, fix the eye of Conside­ration on these two. 1. The sin of thy nature. 'Tis to little purpose to lop off the branches, while the root of original corruption remains un­touched. In vain do men lave out the streams, when the fountain is still running, that fills up all again. Let the axe of thy repentance (with David's) go to the root of sin. Psal. 51. 5. Study thy natural pollution; how universal it is, how deep, how close, how permanent it is, till thou dost cry out with Paul's feeling, upon thy body of death. Rom. 7. 24. Look into all thy parts and powers, and see what unclean vessels, what styes, what dunghills, what sinks they are become. Heu miser, quid sum? vas f [...]erquilinii, concha putredinis, plenus foetore & horrore. August. Solil. c. 2. The heart is never soundly broken, till throughly convinced of the heynousness of original sin. Here fix thy thoughts. This is that, that makes thee back­ward to all good, prone to all evil; Rom. 7. 15. [Page 144] that sheds blindness, pride, prejudices, unbe­lief into thy mind; enmity, unconstancy, ob­stinacy, into thy will; inordinate heats and colds into thy affections; insensibleness, be­nummedness, unfaithfulness into thy consci­ence, slipperiness into thy memory, and in a word hath put every wheel of thy soul out of order, and made it of an habitation of holi­ness, to become a very hell of iniquity. Iames 3. 6. This is that that hath defiled, corrupted, perverted all thy members, and turned them into weapons of unrighteousness, and servants of sin; Rom. 6. 19. that hath filled the head with carnal and corrupt designs, Mic. 2. 1. the hands with sinful practices, Esay 1. 15. the eyes with wan­dring and wantonness, 2 Pet. 2. 14. the tongue with deadly poison; Iames 3. 8. that hath opened the ears to tales, flattery, and filthy communi­cation, and shut them against the instruction of life; Zech. 7. 11, 12. and hath rendred thy heart a very mint and forge of sin, and the cursed womb of all deadly conceptions; Mat. 15. 19. so that it poureth forth its wickedness without ceasing, 2 Pet. 2. 14 even as naturally, freely, unweariedly, as a fountain doth pour forth its water, Ier. 6. 7. or the raging Sea doth cast forth mire and dirt. Esay 57. 20. And wilt thou yet be in love with thy self, and tell us any longer of thy good heart? O never leave meditating on this desperate contagion of o­riginal corruption, till with Ephraim thou be­moan thy self, Ier. 31. 18. and with deepest shame and sorrow smite on thy breast as the publican, Luk. 18. 13. and with Iob abhor thy self and re­pent [Page 145] in dust and ashes. Iob 42. 6. 2. The particu­lar evil that thou art most addicted to. Find out all its aggravations. Set home upon thy heart all Gods threatnings against it. Repentance drives before it the whole herd; but especially sticks the arrow in the beloved sin, and singles this out, above the rest, to run it down. Psal. 18. 23. Oh labour to make this sin odious to thy soul, and double thy guards, and thy reso­lutions against it, because this hath, and doth, most dishonour God, and endanger thee.

Dir. III. Strive to affect thy heart with a deep sense of thy present misery. Read over the fore­going Chapter again and again, and get it out of the book into thine heart. Remember when thou liest down, that for ought thou knowest, thou maist awake in flames, and when thou risest up, that by the next night thou maist make thy bed in hell. Is it a jesting matter to live in such a fearful case? to stand tottering upon the brink of the bottomless pit, and to live at the mercy of every disease, that if it will but fall upon thee, will send thee forth­with into the burnings? Suppose thou sawest a condemned wretch hanging over Nebuch [...]d­nezar's burning fiery furnace by nothing but a twine thread, which were ready to break every moment: would not thine heart tremble for such a one? Why, thou art the man. This is thy very case, O man, woman, that readest this, if thou be yet unconverted. What if the thred of thy life should break? (Why, thou know­est not but it may be the next night, yea the next moment) where wouldst thou be then? [Page 146] whither wouldst thou drop? verily, upon the crack but of this thred, thou fallest into the lake, that burneth with fire and brimstone, where thou must lie scalding and sweltring in a fiery ocean, while God hath a being, if thou die in thy present case. And doth not thy soul tremble as thou readest? Do not thy tears bedew the paper, and thy heart throb in thy bosom? Dost thou not yet begin to smite on thy breast, and bethink thy self, what need thou hast of a change? Oh what is thy heart made of! Hast thou not only lost all regard to God, but art without any love and pity to thy self?

Oh study thy misery, till thy heart do cry out for Christ, as earnestly, as ever a drown­ing man did for a boat, or the wounded for a Chirurgeon. Men must come to see the dan­ger, and feel the smart of their deadly sores and sickness, or else Christ will be to them a phy­sician of no value. Mat. 9. 12. Then the man­slayer hastens to the City of refuge, when pur­sued by the avenger of blood. Men must be even forced, and fired out of themselves, or else they will not come to Christ. 'Twas di­stress and extremity, that made the prodigal think of returning. Luke 15. 16, 17. While Laodicea thinks her self rich, increased in goods, in need of nothing, there is little hope. She must be deeply convinced of her wretched­ness, blindness, poverty, nakedness, before she will come to Christ for his gold, raiment, eye­salve. Rev. 3. 17, 18. Therefore hold the eyes of conscience open, amplify thy misery, as much as possible. Do not fly the sight of it, for [Page 147] fear it should fill thee with terrour. The sense of thy misery is but, as it were, the suppura­tion of the wound, which is necessary to the cure. Better fear the torments that abide thee now, than feel them hereafter.

Dir. IV. Settle it upon thine heart, that thou art under an everlasting inability ever to recover thy self. Never think thy praying, reading, hear­ing, confessing, amending will do the cure. These must be attended; but thou art undone if thou restest in them. Rom. 10. 3. Thou art a lost man, if thou hopest to escape drowning upon any other plank, but Jesus Christ. Act. 4. 12. Thou must unlearn thy [...]elf, and renounce thine own wisdom, thine own righteousness, thine own strength, and throw thy self wholly upon Christ, as a man that swimmeth casteth himself upon the water, or else thou canst not escape. While men trust in themselves, and establish their own righteousness, and have con­fidence in the flesh, they will not come savingly to Christ. Luke 18. 19. Phil. 3. 3. Thou must know thy gain to be but loss and dung, thy strength but weakness, thy righteousness rags and rottenness, before there will be an effectual closure between Christ and thee. Phil. 3. 7, 8, 9. 2 Cor. 3. 5. Esay 64. 6. Can the liveless car­case shake off his grave-cloths, and loose the bonds of death? Then maist thou recover thy self, who art dead in trespasses, and sins, and under an impossibility of serving thy maker (acceptably) in this condition. Rom. 8. 8. Heb. 11. 6. Therefore, when thou goest to pray, or meditate, or to do any of the duties, to which [Page 148] thou art here directed; go out of thy self, call in the help of the spirit, as despairing to do any thing pleasing to God, in thine own strength. Yet neglect not thy duty, but lie at the pool, and wait in the way of the spirit. While the Eunuch was reading, then the Holy-Ghost sent Philip to him. Act. 8. 28, 29. When the disciples were praying, Act. 4. 31. when Cor­nelius and his friends were hearing, Act. 10. 44. then the Holy-Ghost fell upon them and filled them all. Strive to give up thy self to Christ. Strive to pray, strive to meditate, strive an hundred and an hundred times, try to do it as well as thou canst, and while thou art endeavouring in the way of thy duty, the spi­rit of the Lord will come upon thee, and help thee to do, what of thy self thou art utterly un­able unto. Prov. 1. 23.

Dir. V. Forthwith renounce all thy sins. If thou yield thy self to the ordinary practice of any sin, thou art undone. Rom. 6. 16. In vain dost thou hope for life by Christ, except thou depart from iniquity. 2 Tim. 2. 19. Forsake thy sins, or else thou canst not find mercy. Prov. 28. 13. Thou canst not be married to Christ, except divorced from sin. Give up the traitour or you can have no peace with Heaven. Cast the head of Sheba over the wall. Keep not Dalilah in thy lap. Thou must part with thy sins, or with thy soul. Spare but one sin, and God will not spare thee. Never make ex­cuses: thy sins must die, or thou must die for them. Psal. 68. 21. If thou allow of one sin, though but a little, a secret one, though thou [Page 149] maist plead necessity, and have a hundred shifts and excuses for it, the life of thy soul must go for the life of that sin; Ezek. 18. 21. and will it not be dearly bought?

O sinner, hear and consider. If thou wilt part with thy sins, God will give thee his Christ: is not this a fair exchange? I testify unto thee this day, that if thou perish, it is not because there was never a Saviour provided, nor life tendered: but because thou preferredst (with the Jews) the murderer before a Saviour, sin before Christ, and lovedst darkness rather than light. Iohn 3. 19. Search thy heart there­fore with candles, as the Jews did their houses for leaven, before the passeover: labour to find out thy sins. Enter into thy closet, and consider, What evil have I lived in? what duty have I neglected towards God? what sin have I lived in against my brother? and now strike the darts through the heart of thy sin, as Ioab did through Absalom's. 2 Sam. 18. 14. Never stand looking upon thy sin, nor rolling the morsel under thy tongue: Iob 20. 12. but spit it out as poison, with fear and detestation. Alas, what will thy sins do for thee, that thou shouldst stick at parting with them? They will flatter thee, but they will undo thee, and cut thy throat while they smile upon thee, and poison thee while they please thee, and arm the justice and wrath of the infinite God against thee. They will open hell for thee, and pile up fuel to burn thee. Behold the gibbet that they have prepared for thee. Oh serve them like Haman, and do upon them the execution, [Page 150] they would else have done upon thee. Away with them, crucify them, and let Christ only be Lord over thee.

Dir. VI. Make a solemn choice of God for thy portion and blessedness. Deut. 26. 17. With all possible devotion and veneration avouch the Lord for thy God. Set the world with all its glory, and paint, and gallantry, with all its pleasures and promotions on the one hand, and set God with all his infinite excellencies and perfections on the other, and see that thou do deliberately make thy choice. Iosh. 24. 15. Take up thy rest in God. Iohn 6. 68. Set thee down under his shadow. Cant. 2. 3. Let his promises and perfections turn the scale against all the world. Settle it upon thy heart, that the Lord is an all-sufficient portion, that thou canst not be miserable, while thou hast a God to live upon. Take him for thy shield and ex­ceeding great reward. God alone is more than all the world. Content thy self with him. Let others carry the preferments and glory of the world, place thou thy happiness in his favour, and the light of his countenance. Psal. 4. 6, 7.

Poor sinner, thou art fallen off from God, and hast engaged his power, and wrath against thee. Yet know that of his abundant grace, he doth offer to be thy God again in Christ. 2 Cor. 6. 17, 18. What sayest thou man? Wilt thou have the Lord for thy God? Why, take this counsel, and thou shalt have him. Come to him by his Christ. Iohn 14. 6. Renounce the idols of thine own pleasure, gain, reputation: [Page 151] 1 Thess. 1. 9. let these be pulled out of the Throne, and set Gods interest upmost in thine heart. Take him as God, to be chief in thine affections, estimations, intentions; for he will not endure to have any set above him; Rom. 1. 25. Psal. 73. 25. In a word, thou must take him in all his personal relations, and in all his essential perfections.

First, In all his personal relations. God the Father must be taken for thy Father. Ier. 3. 4, 19, 22. O come to him with the Prodigal, Fa­ther I have sinned against Heaven, and in thy sight, and am not worthy to be called thy Son: but since of thy wonderful mercy, thou art pleased to take me, that am of my self a dog, a swine, a devil to be thy child, I solemnly take thee for my father, I commend my self to thy care, and trust to thy providence, and cast my burden on thy shoul­ders. I depend on thy provision, and submit to thy correction, and trust under the shadow of thy wings, & hide in thy chambers, & fly to thy name. I renounce all confidence in my self [...] I repose my confidence in thee, I depose my concernments with thee. I will be for thee, and for no other. Again, God the Son must be taken for thy Saviour, for thy Redeem­er, and righteousness. Iohn 1. 2. He must be accepted, as the only way to the Father, and the only means of life. Heb. 7. 25. Oh then put off the raiment of thy captivity, on with the wed­ding garment, and go and marry thy self to Jesus Christ. Lord, I am thine, and all that I have, my body, my soul, my name, my estate. I send a bill of divorce to my other lovers: I give my heart to thee. I will be thine undividedly, thine [Page 152] everlastingly. I will set thy name on all I have, and use it only as thy goods, as thy loan, during thy leave, resigning all to thee. I will have no King, but thee: reign thou over me. Other Lords have had dominion over me: but now I will make men­tion of thy name only, and do here take an oath of fealty to thee, promising and vowing, to serve, and love, and fear thee, above all competitours. I disa­vow mine own righteousness, and despair of ever being pardoned and saved for mine own duties, or graces, and lean only on thine all-sufficient sacri­fice and intercession for pardon, and life, and ac­ceptance before God. I take thee for mine only guide and instructour, resolving to be led and directed by thee, and to wait for thy counsel, and that thine, shall be the casting voice with me. Lastly, God the Spiri [...] must be taken for thy Sanctifier, Rom. 8. 9, 14. Gal. 5. 16, 18. for thine Advocate, thy Counseller, thy Comforter, the teacher of thine ignorance, the pledge and earnest of thine inheritance. Rom. 8. 26. Psal. 73. 24. Iohn 14. 16. Eph. 1. 14. Iohn 14. 26. Eph. 4. 30. Awake thou Northwind, and come thou South, and blow upon my garden, Cant. 4. 16. Come thou Spirit of the most high; here is a house for thee, here is a temple for thee. Here do thou rest for ever; dwell here, and rule here. Loe I give up the possession to thee, full possession. I send thee the keys of my heart, that all may be for thy use, that thou maist put thy goods, thy graces into every room. I give up the use of all to thee, that every faculty, and every member, may be thine instrument, to work righteousness, and do the will of my Father, which is in Heaven.

[Page 153]Secondly, In all his essential perfections. Con­sider how the Lord hath revealed himself to you in his word: will you take him as such a God? O sinner, here's the blessedst news that ever came to the sons of men. The Lord will be thy God, Gen. 17. 7. Rev 21. 3. if thou will but close with him in his excellencies. Wilt thou have the merciful, the gracious, the sin-pardoning God, to be thy God? O yes (saith the sinner) I am undone else. But he further tells thee, I am the holy, and sin-hating God. If thou wilt be owned as one of my people, thou must be holy, 1 Pet. 1. 16. holy in heart, holy in life. Thou must put away all thine iniquities, be they never so near, never so na­tural, never so necessary to the maintaining thy fleshly interest. Unless thou will be at de­fiance with sin, I cannot be thy God. Cast out the leaven: put away the evil of thy doings: cease to do evil: learn to do well, or else I can have nothing to do with thee. Esay 1. 16, 17, 18. Bring forth mine enemies, or there is no peace to be had with me. What doth thine heart answer? Lord, I desire to have thee as such a God. I desire to be holy, as thou are holy, to be made partaker of thy holiness. I love thee, not only for thy goodness and mercy, but for thy holiness and thy purity. I take thy holiness for my happiness. Oh! be to me a fountain of holi­ness: set on me the stamp and impress of thy holi­ness. I will thankfully part with all my sins a [...] thy command. My willful sins I do forth­with forsake; and for my infirmities, that I cannot get rid of, though I would; I will strive [Page 154] against them, in the use of thy means. I detest them, and will pray and war against them, and never let them have quiet rest in my soul. Be­loved, whosoever of you will thus accept the Lord for his God, he shall have him.

Again, he tells you; I am the All-sufficient God. Gen. 17. 1. Will you lay all at my feet, and give it up to my dispose, and take me for your only portion? Will you own and honour mine All-sufficiency? Will you take me as your happiness and treasure, your hope and bliss? I am a Sun and shield, all in one: will you have me for your All? 1 Gen. 15. Psal. 84. 11. Now what dost thou say to this? Doth thy mouth water after the Onions and Flesh-pots of Egypt? Art thou loth to exchange thy earthly happiness, for a part in God: and though thou wouldst be glad to have God and the world too, yet thou canst not think of having him, and nothing but him, but hadst rather take up with the earth below, if God would but let thee keep it, as long as thou wouldst? This is a fearful sign. But now if thou art willing to fell all for the pearl of great price; Mat. 13. 46. if thine heart an­swer, Lord, I desire no other portion but thee. Take the corn, and the wine, and the oyl whose will, so I may have the light of thy countenance. I pitch upon thee for my happiness. I gladly venture my self on thee, and trust my self with thee. I set my hopes in thee; I take up my rest with thee. Let me hear thee say, I am thy God, thy salvation, and I have enough, all I wish for. I will make no terms with thee, but for thy self. Let me but [Page 155] have thee sure, let me be able to make my claim, and see my title to thy self; and for other things, I leave them to thee. Give me more, or less, any thing, or nothing, I will be satisfied in my God. Take him thus, and he is thine own.

Again, he tells you; I am the Soveraign Lord. If you will have me for your God, you must give me the Supremacy. Mat. 6. 24. I will not be an underling. You must not make me a second to sin, or any wordly interest. If you will be my people, I must have the rule o­ver you. You must not live at your own list, will you come under my yoke? Will you bow to my government? Will you submit to my discipline, to my word, to my rod? Sinner, what sayst thou to this? Lord I had rather be at thy command, than live at mine own list. I had rather have thy will to be done, than mine. I ap­prove of and consent to thy laws, and account it my priviledge to live under them. And though the flesh rebel, and often break over bounds, I am resolved to take no other Lord but thee. I willingly take the oath of thy supremacy, and acknowledge thee for my leige Soveraign, and resolve all my days to pay the tribute of worship, obedience, and love, and service to thee, and to live to thee as the end of my life. This is a right accepting of God.

To be short, he tells you; I am the true and faithful God. If you will have me for your God, you must be content to trust me. 2 Tim. 1. 12. Prov. 3. 5. Will you venture your selves upon my word, and depend on my faithfulness, and take my bond for your security? Will you be content to follow me, in poverty, and reproach, & affliction [Page 156] here, and to see much going out, and little coming in, and to tarry till the next world for your preferment? Mat. 19. 21. I deal much up­on trust, will you be content to labour, and suf­fer, and to tarry for your returns, till the resur­rection of the just? Luke 14. 14. The womb of my promise will not presently bring forth; will you have the patience to wait? Heb. 10. 36. Now beloved, what say you to this? Will you have this God for your God? Will you be content to live by faith, and trust him for an un­seen happiness, an unseen Heaven, an unseen glory? Do your hearts answer, Lord, we will venture our souls upon thee, we commit our selves to thee: we roll upon thee, we know whom we have trusted: we are willing to take thy word: we will prefer thy promises, before our own possessions; and the hopes of Heaven, before all the enjoyments of the earth. We will wait thy leisure. What thou wilt here, so that we may have but thy faithful promise for Heaven hereafter? If you can in truth, and upon deliberation, thus accept of God, he will be yours. Thus there must be, in a right Conversion to God, a closing with him suitable to his excellencies. But when men close with his mercy, but not with his sin-hating holiness and purity; or will take him for their benefactor, but not for their Soveraign; or for their Patron, but not for their portion, this is no thorow, and so no sound Con­version.

Dir. VII. Accept of the Lord Iesus, in all his offices, with all his inconveniences, as thine. Up­on these terms Christ may be had. Sinner, [Page 157] thou hast undone thy self, and art plunged into the ditch of most deplorable misery out of which thou art never able to climb up. But Jesus Christ is able and ready to help thee, and he freely tenders himself to thee. Heb. 7. 25. Iohn 7. 37. Be thy sins never so many, never so great, of never so long continuance, yet thou shalt be most certainly pardoned and saved, if thou dost not wretchedly neglect the offer, that in the name of God is here made unto thee. The Lord Jesus calleth to thee, to look unto him and be saved, Esay 45. 22. to come unto him, and he will in no wise cast thee out. Iohn 6. 37. Yea he is a suiter to thee, and be­seecheth thee to be reconciled, 2 Cor. 5. 20. he cryeth in the streets, he knocketh at thy door, he wooeth thee to accept of him, and life with him: Prov. 1. 20. Rev. 3. 20. if thou diest, 'tis because thou wouldst not come to him for life. Iohn 5. 40. Now accept of an offered Christ, and thou art made for ever. Now give up thy consent to him, and the match is made, all the world cannot hinder it. Do not stand off because of thine unworthi­ness. Man, I tell thee, nothing in all the world can undo thee, but thine unwillingness. Speak man, art thou willing of the match? Wilt thou have Christ in all his relations to be thine, thy King, thy Priest, thy Prophet? Wilt thou have him with all his inconveniences? Take not Christ hand over head: but sit down first, and count thy cost. Wilt thou lay all at his feet? Wilt thou be content to run all ha­zards with him? Wilt thou take thy lot with [Page 158] him, fall where it will? Wilt thou deny thy self, take up thy Cross, and follow him? Art thou deliberately, understandingly, freely, fix­edly detetermined to cleave to him in all times, and conditions? If so, my soul for thine, thou shalt never perish, Iohn 3. 16. but art passed from death to life. Here lies the main point of thy salvation, that thou be sound in thy co­venant-closure with Jesus Christ, and therefore if thou love thy life, see that thou be faithful to God and thy soul here.

Dir. VIII. Resign up all thy powers and facul­ties, and thy whole interest to be his. They gave their own selves unto the Lord. 2 Cor. 8. 5. Present your bodies as a living Sacrifice. Rom. 12. 1. The Lord seeks not yours, but you. Resign there­fore thy body with all its members to him, and thy soul with all its powers, that he may be glorified in thy body and in thy spirit, which are his. 1 Cor. 6. 20. In a right closure with Christ, all the faculties give up to him: The Judgment subscribes, Lord thou art worthy of all acceptation, chief of ten thousand. Happy is the man, that findeth thee. All the things that are to be desired, are not to be compared with thee. Prov. 3. 13, 14, 15. The Understanding lays aside its corrupt reasonings and cavils, and its preju­dices against Christ and his ways. It is now past questioning and disputing, and casts it for Christ against all the world. It concludes, it's good to be here, and sees such a treasure in this field, such value in this pearl, as is worth all. Mat. 13. 44. Oh here's the richest bargain that [...]ver I made [...] here's the richest prize that ever man [Page 159] was offered: here's the soveraignst remedy that ever mercy prepared: he is worthy of my esteem, worthy of my choice, worthy of my love, worthy to be em­braced, adored, admired for ever more. Rev. 5. 12. I approve of his articles: his terms are righteous and reasonable, full of equity and mercy. Again, the Will resigns. It stands no longer waver­ing, nor wishing, and woulding, but is per­emptorily determin'd. Lord, thy love hath over­come me thou hast won me, and thou shalt have me. Come in Lord, to thee I freely open. I consent to be saved in thine own way, thou shalt have any thing, thou shalt have all, let me have but thee. The Memory gives up to Christ: Lord, here is a store-house for thee. Out with this trash; lay in thy treasure. Let me be a granary, a reposi­tory of thy truths, thy promises, thy providences. The Conscience comes in; Lord, I will ever side with thee. I will be thy faithful register. I will warn when the sinner is tempted, and smite when thou art offended. I will witness for thee, and judge for thee, and guide into thy ways, and will never let sin have quiet in this soul. The Affecti­ons also come in to Christ. O saith Love, I am sick for thee. O saith Desire, now I have my long­ing. Here's the satisfaction I sought for. Here's the desire of nations. Here's bread for me, and balm for me, all that I want. Fear bows the knee with aw and veneration; Welcome Lord: to thee will I pay my homage. Thy word and thy rod shall command my motions. Thee will I reverence and adore, before thee will I fall down and worship-Grief likewise puts in, Lord thy displeasure and thy dishonour, thy peoples calamities, and mine own [Page 160] iniquities shall be that, that shall set me abroach. I will mourn when thou art offended, I will weep when thy cause is mounded. Anger likewise comes in for Christ: Lord nothing so enrages me, as my folly against thee, that I should be so befooled and bewitched, as to hearken to the flatteries of sin, and temptations of Satan against thee. Hatred too will side with Christ. I protest mortal enmity with thine enemies, that I will never be friends with thy foes. I vow an immortal quarrel with every sin. I will give no quarter, I will make no peace. Thus let all thy powers give up to Jesus Christ.

Again, thou must give up thy whole interest to him. If there be any thing, that thou keep­est back from Christ, it will be thine undoing. Luke 14. 33. Unless thou wilt forsake all (in preparation and resolution of thy heart) thou canst not be his disciple. Thou must hate Fa­ther and Mother, yea and thine own life also in comparison of him, and as far as it stands in competition with him. Mat. 10. 37. Luke 14. 26, 27, 28, &c. In a word, thou must give him thy self, and all that thou hast, without re­servation, or else thou [...] have no part in him.

Dir. IX. Make choice of the Laws of Christ as the rule of thy words, thoughts and actions. Psal. 119. 30. This is the true Converts choice. But here remember these three rules. 1. Thou must choose them all. There is no coming to Hea­ven by a partial obedience. Read Psal. 119. 6, 128, 160. Ezek. 18. 21. None may think it e­nough to take up with the cheap and easie part of religion, and let alone the duties that are [Page 161] costly, and self-denying, and grate upon the interest of the flesh. You must take all, or none. A sincere Convert, though he makes most conscience of the greatest sins, and weightiest duties; yet he makes true conscience of little sins, and of all duties. Psal. 119. 6, 113. Mat. 23. 23. 2. For all times, for prosperity, and for adversity; whether it rain, or shine. A true Convert is resolved in his way: he will stand to his choice, and will not set his back to the wind, and be of the religion of the times. I have stuck to thy testimonies. I have enclined my heart to perform thy statutes alway, even to the end. Thy testimonies have I taken, as an heritage for ever. Psal. 119. 31, 111, 117, 44, 93. I will have respect unto thy statutes continually. 3. This must be done, not hand over head, but deliberately and understandingly. That disobedient son said, I go sir, but he went not. Mat. 24. 30. How fairly did they promise: All that the Lord our God shall speak unto thee, we will do it; and it's like they spake as they meant, but when it came to tryal, it was found that there was not such a heart in them, as to do what they had promised. De [...] 5. 27, 29. If you would be sincere in closing with the laws and ways of Christ, First, Study the meaning, and the lati­tude and compass of them. Remember, that they are very spiritual: they reach the very thoughts, and inclinations of the heart; so that if you will walk by this rule, your very thoughts, and inward motions must be under government. Again, that they are very strict and self-denying, quite contrary to the grain of [Page 162] your natural inclinations. Mat. 16. 24. You must take the strait gate, the narrow way, and be content to have the flesh curbed from the li­berty that it desires. Mat. 7. 14. In a word, that they are very large: for the commandment is exceeding broad. Psal. 119. 66. Secondly, rest not in generals, (for there's much deceit in that) but bring down thy heart to the particular com­mands of Christ. Those Jews in the Prophet seemed as well resolved as any in the world, and call God to witness, that they meant, as they said. But they stuck in generals. When Gods command crosses their inclination, they will not obey. Ier. 42. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. com­pared with ch. 43 v. 2. Take the Assemblies lar­ger Catechism, and see their excellent and most compendious exposition of the Command­ments, and put thy heart to it. Art thou resol­ved, in the strength of Christ, to set upon the conscientious practice of every duty that thou findest to be there required of thee, and to set against every sin that thou findest there forbid­den? This is the way to be sound in Gods sta­tutes, that thou maist never be ashamed. Psal. 119 80. Thirdly, Observe the special duties that thy heart is most against, and the special sins that 'tis most inclin'd unto, and see whether it be truly re­solved to perform the one, and forgo the other. What sayst thou to thy bosom sin, thy gain­ful sin? What sayst thou to costly, and ha­zardous, and flesh-displeasing duties? If thou haltest here, and dost not resolve by the grace of God to cross thy flesh, and put to it, thou art unsound. Psal. 18. 23. Psal. 119. 6.

[Page 163]Dir. X. Let all this be compleated in a solemn Covenant between God and thy soul. Psal. 119. 106. Neb. 10. 29. For thy better help therein, take these few Directions.

First, set apart some time, more than once to be spent in secret before the Lord.

1. In seeking earnestly his special assistance, and gracious acceptance of thee.

2. In considering distinctly all the terms or con­ditions of the Covenant, expressed in the form here­after proposed.

3. In searching thine heart, whether thou art sincerely willing to forsake all thy sins, and to re­sign up thy self, body and soul unto God, and his service, to serve him in holiness and righteousness all the days of thy life.

Secondly, Compose thy spirit into the most serious frame possible, suitable to a trans­action of so high importance.

Thirdly, Lay hold on the Covenant of God, and rely upon his promise of giving grace and strength, whereby thou maist be enabled to per­form thy promise. Trust not to thine own strength, to the strength of thine own resolu­tions, but take hold on his strength.

Fourthly, Resolve to be faithful, having en­gaged thine heart, opened thy mouth, and sub­scribed with thine hand unto the Lord, resolve in his strength never to go back.

Lastly, Being thus prepared, on some con­venient time set apart for the purpose, set upon the work, and in the most solemn manner possible, as if the Lord were visibly present be­fore thine eyes, fall down on thy knees, and [Page 164] spreading forth thine hands towards Heaven, open thine heart to the Lord in these, or the like words.

O Most dreadful God, for the Pas­sion of thy Son, I beseech thee ac­cept of thy poor Prodigal now prostra­ting himself at thy Door: I have fallen from thee by mine iniquity, and am by nature a son of Death, and a thousand­fold more the child of Hell by my wicked Practice: But of thine infinite Grace thou hast promised Mercy to me in Christ, if I will but turn to Thee with all my Heart:The Terms of our Communion, are either from which, or to which. Therefore upon the Call of Thy Gospel, I am now come in, and throwing down my weapons, submit my self to thy Mercy.

And because thou re­quirest,The Terms from which we must turn, are Sin, Sa­tan, the World, and our own Righteousness, which must be thus renounced. as the Condition of my Peace with Thee, that I should put away mine Idols, and be at defiance with all thine Enemies, which I ac­knowledge I have wickedly sided with against Thee, I here from the bottom [Page 165] of my heart renounce them all, firmly Covenanting with Thee, not to allow my self in any known Sin, but Conscien­tiously to use all the means that I know thou hast prescribed, for the Death and utter Destruction of all my Corruptions. And whereas I have formerly inordi­nately and idolatrously let out my af­fections upon the World, I do here re­sign my Heart to Thee that madest it, humbly protesting before thy Glorious Majesty, that it is the firm resolution of my Heart, and that I do unfeignedly de­sire Grace from Thee, that when thou shalt call me hereunto, I may practise this my resolution through thy Assistance, to forsake all that is dear unto me in this world, rather than to turn from thee to the ways of sin; and that I will watch against all its Temptations, whether of Prosperity, or Adversity, lest they should withdraw my Heart from thee: beseeching thee also to help me against the Temptations of Satan, to whose wicked Suggestions I resolve by thy Grace never to yield my self a Servant. And because my own righteousness is but menstruous rags, I renounce all con­fidence therein, and acknowledge that I am of my self a hopeless, helpless, un­done [Page 166] done creature, without righteousness, or strength.

And forasmuch as thou hast of thy bottomless Mercy offered most Graciously to me wretched sinner,The Terms to which we must turn, are either ultimate or me­diate. to be a­gain my God through Christ, if I would accept of thee: I call Heaven and Earth to record this day, that I do here solemnly avouch thee for the Lord my God,The ultimate is God, the Fa­ther, Son and Holy Ghost, who must be thus ac­cepted. & with all possible veneration, bow­ing the neck of my soul un­der the feet of thy most Sa­cred Majesty, I do here take thee the Lord Iehovah, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for my portion, and chief good, and do give up my self, body and soul for thy servant, promising and vowing to serve thee in holiness and righteous­ness all the days of my life.

And since thou hast appoint­ed the Lord Jesus Christ,The me­diate Terms are either principal, or less principal. the only means of coming unto thee,The principal is Christ the Me­diatour, who must thus be embraced. I do here upon the bended knees of my soul ac­cept of him as the only new and living way, by which sinners may have access to thee, and do here so­lemnly [Page 167] join my self in a marriage-Co­venant to him.

O blessed Jesus, I come to thee hun­gry and hardly bestead, poor and wretched, and miserable, and blind, and naked, a most loathsome polluted wretch, a guilty condemned Malefactor, unworthy for ever to wash the feet of the servants of my Lord, much more to be solemnly married to the King of Glory: but sith such is thine unparal­lel'd love, I do here with all my power accept thee, and do take thee for my Head and Husband, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, for all times and conditions, to love, and ho­nour, and obey thee before all others, and this to the death. I embrace thee in all thine Offices: I renounce mine own worthiness, and do here avow thee to be the Lord my Righteousness: I re­nounce mine own wisdom, and do here take thee for mine only Guide: I re­nounce mine own will, and take thy will for my Law.

And since thou hast told me that I must suffer if I will reign, I do here Covenant with thee to take my lot, as it falls, with thee, and by thy Crace assisting to run all hazards with thee, [Page 168] verily supposing that neither life nor death shall part between thee and me.

And because thou hast been pleased to give me thy holy Laws,The less Princi­pal are the Laws of Christ, which must be thus observed. as the rule of my life, and the way in which I should walk to thy Kingdom; I do here willingly put my Neck under thy Yoak, and set my shoulder to thy burden; and subscribing to all thy Laws, as holy, just, and good, I solemnly take them as the rule of my words, thoughts, and actions; promising that though my flesh contradict and rebel, yet I will en­deavour to order and govern my whole life according to thy direction; and will not allow my self in the neglect of any thing that I know to be my Duty.

Only because through the frailty of my flesh, I am subject to many failings; I am bold humbly to protest, That un­allowed miscarriages, contrary to the setled bent and resolution of my heart, shall not make void this Covenant, for so thou hast said.

Now Almighty God, searcher of hearts, thou knowest that I make this Covenant with thee this day, without any known guile, or reservation, be­seeching thee, that if thou espiest any [Page 169] flaw or falshood therein, thou wouldst discover it to me, and help me to do it aright.

And now Glory be to thee, O God the Father, whom I shall be bold from this day forward, to look upon as my God and Father; that ever thou shouldest find out such a way for the recovery of undone sinners: Glory be to thee, O God the Son, who hast loved me and washed me from my sins in thine own blood, and art now become my Sa­viour and Redeemer: Glory be to thee O God the Holy Ghost, who by the finger of thine Almighty power hast turned about my heart from sin to God.

O dreadful Iehovah, the Lord God Omnipotent, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, thou art now become my Cove­nant-friend, and I through thine infi­nite Grace, am become thy Covenant-servant, Amen, So be it. And the Co­venant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in Heaven.

The Author's advice.

THis Covenant I advise you to make, not only in Heart, but in Word; not only in Word, but in Writing; and that you would with all possible reverence spread the Writing be­fore the Lord, as if you would present it to him as your Act and Deed. And when you have done this, set your hand to it. Keep it as a Memorial of the So­lemn Transactions that have pas­sed between God and you, that you may have recourse to it in Doubts and Temptations.

Dir. XI. Take heed of delaying thy Conversion, and set upon a speedy and present turning. I made hast, and delayed not, Psal. 119. 59. Remem­ber, and tremble at the sad instance of the [...]oolish Virgins, that came not till the door of [Page 171] mercy was shut; Mat. 25. and of a convinced Felix, that put off Paul to another season, and we never find that he had such a season more. Act. 24. 25. O come in while it's called to day, lest thou shouldest be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin; lest thy day of Grace should be over, and the things that belong to thy peace should be hid from thine eyes. Now mercy is wooing of thee: Now Christ is wait­ing to be gracious to thee, and the Spirit of God is striving with thee, Now Ministers are calling: now Conscience is stirring: now the Market is open, and Oyl may be had, thou hast opportunity for the buying. Now Christ is to be had for the taking. Oh! strike in with the offers of Grace. Oh! now, or never. If thou make light of this offer, God may swear in his wrath, thou shalt never tast of his Sup­per. Luke 14. 24.

Dir. XII. Attend conscientiously upon the word, as the means appointed for thy Conversion. Iames 1. 18. 19. 1. Cor. 4. 15. Attend, I say, not customarily, but Conscientiously, with this de­sire, design, hope, and expectation, that thou maist be converted by it. Every sermon thou hearest, come with this thought: Oh, I hope God will now come in: I hope this may be the time, this may be the man by whom God will bring me home. When thou art coming to the Ordinan­ces, lift up thine heart thus to God: Lord let this be the Sabbath, let this be the season, wherein I may receive renewing Grace. Oh let it be said, that to day such a one was born unto thee.

Object. Thou wilt say, I have been long a [Page 172] hearer of the word, and yet it hath not been effe­ctual to my Conversion. Answer. Yea, but thou hast not attended upon it in this manner, as a means of thy Conversion, nor with this design, nor praying for, and expecting of, this happy effect of it.

Dir. XIII. Strike in with the Spirit, when he begins to work upon thy heart. When he works convictions, Oh do not stifle them, but joyn in with him, and beg the Lord to carry on con­victions to conversion. Quench not the Spirit: do not out-strive him: do not resist him. Be­ware of putting out convictions by evil com­pany, or worldly business. When thou findest any troubles for sin, and fears about thine e­ternal State, beg of God, that they may never leave thee, till they have wrought off thy heart throughly from sin and wrought it over to Jesus Christ. Say to him, Strike home Lord: leave not the work in the midst. If thou seest, that I am not yet wounded enough, that I am not troubled enough, wound me yet deeper, Lord. Oh go to the bottom of my corruptions: let out the life blood of my sins. Thus yield up thy self to the workings of the Spirit, and hoise thy sails to his gusts.

Dir. XIV. Set upon the constant and diligent use of serious and fervent prayer. He that neglects prayer, is a prophane and unsanctified sinner. Iob 15. 4. He that is not constant in prayer, is but an Hypocrite, Iob 27. 10. (unless the o­mission be contrary to his ordinary course, un­der the force of some instant temptation.) This is one of the first things that Conversion appears in, that it sets men on praying. Act 9. 11. [Page 173] Therefore set to this duty [...] Let never a day pass over thee, wherein thou hast not morning and evening set apart some time for set and so­lemn prayer in secret. Call thy family also to­gether daily and duly, to worship God with thee. Wo unto thee if thine be found amongst the fa­milies that call not on Gods name. Ier. 10. 25. But cold and lifeless devotions will not reach half way to Heaven. Be fervent, and im­portunate. Importunity will carry it. But without violence the Kingdom of Heaven will not be taken. Mat. 11. 12. Thou must strive to enter, Luke 13. 24. and wrestle with tears and supplications, as Iacob, if thou meanest to car­ry the blessing. Gen. 32. 24. comp. with Hos. 12. 4. Thou art undone for ever without Grace: and therefore thou must put to it, and resolve to take no denial. That man that is fixed in this resolution, Well I must have Grace, and I will never give over, till I have a grant. I will never leave seeking, and waiting, and striving with God, and mine own heart, till he do renew me by the power of his Grace; this man is in the like­liest way to win Grace.

Obj. But God heareth not sinners: their praier is an abomination.

Ans. Distinguish between sinners. 1. There are resolved sinners: their praiers God abhors. 2. Returning sinners: these God will come forth to, and meet with mercy though yet afar off. Luke 15. 20. Though the praiers of the unsanctified cannot have full acceptance; yet God hath done much at the request of such, as at Ahabs humiliation, and Ninivehs fast. 1 Kings 21. 29. [Page 174] Ionah 3. 8, 9, 10. Surely thou maist go as far as these, though thou hast no Grace: and how dost thou know but thou maist speed in thy suit, as they did in theirs? Yea, is he not far more likely to grant thee, than them; since thou askest in the name of Christ, and that not for temporal blessings, as they; but for things much more pleasing to him, viz. for Christ, Grace, Pardon, that thou maist be justified, san­ctified, renewed, and fitted to serve him? Turn to those soul incouraging Scriptures, Prov. 2. 1, to 6. Luke 11. 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. Prov. 8. 34, 35.

Is it not good comfort, that he calleth thee? Mark. 10. 49. Doth he set thee on the use of means, and dost thou think he will mock thee? Doubtless, he will not fail thee, if thou be not wanting to thy self. Oh pray, and faint not. Luke 18. 1. A person of great quality, having offended the Duke of Buckingham, the Kings great Favou­rite, being admitted into his presence after long waiting, prostrates himself at his feet, saying, I am resolved never to rise more, till I have obtai­ned your Graces favour, with which carriage he did overcome him. With such a resolution do thou throw thy self at the feet of God. 'Tis for thy life, and therefore follow him, and give not over. Resolve thou wilt not be put off with bones, with common mercies. What though God do not presently open to thee? Is not Grace worth the waiting for? Knock, and wait, and no doubt but sooner or later, mercy will come.

And this know, that thou hast the very same encouragement to seek and wait, that the [Page 175] Saints now in Glory once had: for they were once in thy very case. And have they sped so well, and wilt not thou go to the same door, and wait upon God in the same course?

Dir. XV. For sake thine evil company, Prov. 9. 6. and forbear the occasions of sin. Prov. 23. 31. Thou wilt never be turned from sin, till thou wilt decline and forgo the temptations to sin.

I never expect thy Conversion from sin, un­less thou art brought to so much self-denial, as to fly the occasions. If thou wilt be nibling at the bait, and playing on the brink, and tam­pering and medling with the snare, thy soul will surely be taken. Where God doth expose men in his providence, unavoidably, to tem­ptations, and the occasions are such as we can­not remove, we may expect special assistance in the use of his means. But when we tempt God by running into danger, he will not engage to support us, when we are tempted. And of all temptations, one of the most fatal and pernici­ous, is evil company. Oh what hopeful be­ginnings have these often stifled! Oh the souls, the estates, the families, the Towns, that these have ruined! How many a poor sinner hath been enlightened, and convinced, and hath been just ready to give the Devil the slip, and hath even escaped his snare, and yet wicked company have pull'd him back at last, and made him sevenfold more the child of Hell. In one word, I have no hopes of thee, except thou wilt shake off thy evil company. Christ speaketh to thee, as to them, in another case, If thou seek me, then let these go their way. Iohn [Page 176] 18. 8. Thy life lies upon it: Forsake these, or else thou canst not live. Prov. 9. 6. Wilt thou be worse than the beast, to run on, when thou [...]eest the Lord with a drawn sword in thy way? Numb. 22. 23. Let this sentence be written in Capitals upon thy conscience, A COMPANION OF FOOLS SHALL BE DESTROYED. Prov. 13. 20. The Lord hath spoken it, and who shall reverse it? And wilt thou run upon de­struction, when God himself doth forewarn thee? If God do ever change thy heart, it will appear in the change of thy company. Oh [...]ear, and fly this Gulf, by which so many thousand souls [...] have been swallowed into per­dition. It will be hard for thee indeed, to make thine escape. Thy Companions will be mocking thee out of thy Religion, and will stu­dy to fill thee with prejudices against strictness, as ridiculous, and comfortless. They will be flattering thee, and alluring thee: but remem­ber the warnings of the Holy Ghost: My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If they say, come with us: cast in thy lot among us: Walk not thou in the way with them, refrain thy foot from their path. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. For the way of the wic­ked is as darkness, they know not at what they stumble. They lay wait for their own blood: they lurk privily for their own lives. Prov. 1. 10. to the 18. Prov. 4. 14, to the 19. My soul is moved within me, to see how many of my hearers are like to perish, both they, and their houses, by this wretched mischief, even the haunting of such places, and company, whereby they are [Page 177] drawn into sin. Once more I admonish you, as Moses did Israel, Numb. 16. 26. And he spake unto the Congregation, saying, Depart, I pray you, from the Tents of these wicked men. Oh! fly them as you would those that had the Plague sores running in their foreheads. These are the Devils Panders, and decoys; and if thou dost not make thine escape, they will toll thee into perdition, and will prove thine eter­nal ruine.

Dir. XVI. Lastly, Set apart a day to humble thy soul in secret, by fasting and prayer, and to work the sense of thy sins and miseries upon thy heart. Read over the Assemblies exposition of the commandments, and write down the du­ties omitted, and sins committed by thee against every commandment, and so make a Cata­logue of thy sins, and with shame and sorrow spread them before the Lord. And if thy heart be truly willing to the terms, joyn thy self so­lemnly to the Lord in that Covenant set down in the 9. Direction, and the Lord grant thee mercy in his sight.

Thus I have told thee, what thou must do to be saved. Wilt thou now obey the voice of the Lord? Wilt thou arise and set to thy work? O man, what answer wilt thou make, what excuse wilt thou have, if thou shouldest perish at last through very wilfulness, when thou hast known the way of life? I do not fear thy mis­carrying, if thine own idleness do not at last undo thee, in neglecting the use of the means, that are so plainly here prescribed. Rouze up oh sluggard and ply thy work. Be doing, and the Lord will be with thee.

A short Soliloquy for an unregenerate sinner.

Ah wretched man that I am! what a condi­tion have I brought my self into by sin! Oh! I see my heart hath but deceived me all this while, in flattering me, that my condition was good. I see, I see, I am but a lost, and un­done man; for ever undone, unless the Lord help me out of this condition. My sins! My sins! Lord, what an unclean, polluted wretch am I! more loathsome and odious to thee, than the most hateful Venome, or noisome car­case, can be to me. Oh! what a Hell of sin is in this heart of mine, which I have flattered my self to be a good heart? Lord, how uni­versally am I corrupted, in all my parts, pow­ers, performances? All the imaginations of the thoughts of my heart, are only evil, con­tinually. I am under an inability to, averse­ness from, and enmity against any thing that is good; and am prone to all that is evil. My heart is a very sink of all sin: and oh the in­numerable hosts, and swarms of sinful thoughts, words, and actions, that have flown from thence! Oh the load of guilt that is on my soul! my head is full, and my heart full; my mind and my members, they are all full of sin. Oh my sins! How do they stare upon me! How do they witness against me! Wo is me, my Cre­ditors are upon me: every commandment ta­keth hold upon me, for more than ten thou­sand talents, yea ten thousand times ten thou­sand. How endless then is the summe of all [Page 179] my debts! If this whole world were filled up from earth to Heaven with paper, and all this paper written over within and without by A­rithmeticians: yet, when all were cast up toge­ther, it would come unconceivably short, of what I owe to the least of Gods commandments. Wo unto me, for my debts are infinite, and my sins are increased. They are wrongs to an infi­nite Majesty: and if he that committeth trea­son against a silken mortal, is worthy to be racked, drawn, and quartered: what have I deserved, that have so often lifted up my hand against Heaven, and have struck at the Crown and dignity of the Almighty?

Oh my sins! my sins! Behold a troop com­eth. Multitudes! multitudes! there is no number of their Armies. Innumerable evils have compassed me about; mine iniquities have taken hold upon me; they have set them­selves in array against me. Oh! it were better to have all the Regiments of Hell come against me, than to have my sins to fall upon me, to the spoiling of my Soul. Lord, how am I sur­rounded! How many are they that rise up a­gainst me! They have beset me behind and be­fore: they swarm within me and without me: they have possessed all my powers, and have fortified mine unhappy soul, as a Garrison, which this brood of Hell doth man, and main­tain, against the God that made me.

And they are as mighty, as they be many. The sands are many, but then they are not great: the mountains great but then they are not many. But wo is me, my sins are as many [Page 180] as the sands, and as mighty as the Mountains. Their weight is greater than their number. It were better, that the Rocks, and the mountains should fall upon me, than the crushing and un­supportable load of my own sins. Lord, I am heavy laden: let mercy help, or I am gone. Unload me of this heavy guilt, this sinking load, or I am crushed without hope, and must be pressed down to Hell. If my grief were thorowly weighed, and my sins laid in the bal­lances together, they would be heavier than the sand of the Sea, therefore my words are swallowed up: they would weigh down all the rocks, and the hills, and turn the ballance a­gainst all the Isles of the Earth. O Lord, thou knowest my manifold transgressions, and my mighty sins.

Ah my soul! Alas my Glory! Whither art thou humbled! Once the Glory of the creation, and the Image of God: now, a lump of filthiness, a Coffin of rottenness, replenished with stench and loathsomeness. Oh what work hath sin made with thee! Thou shalt be termed Forsaken, and all the rooms of thy faculties De­solate, and the name that thou shalt be called by is Ichabed, or Where is the Glory? How art thou come down mightily! My beauty is tur­ned into deformity, and my Glory into shame. Lord, what a loathsome Leper am I! The ul­cerous bodies of Iob or Lazarus were not more offensive to the eyes and nostrils of men, than I must needs be to the most holy God, whose eyes cannot behold iniquity.

And what misery have my sins brought upon [Page 181] me! Lord, what a case am I in! Sold under sin, cast out of Gods favour, accursed from the Lord, cursed in my body, cursed in my soul, cursed in my name, in my estate, my relations, and all that I have. My sins are unpardoned, and my soul within a step of death. Alas! what shall I do? Whither shall I go? Which way shall I look? God is [...]rowning on me from above; Hell gaping for me beneath; Conscience smiting me within, temptations and dangers surroun­ding me without. Oh, whither shall I fly? What place can hide me from Omnisciency? What power can secure me from Omnipotency?

What meanest thou O my soul to go on thus? Art thou in league with Hell? hast thou made a covenant with death? Art thou in love with thy misery? Is it good for thee to be here? Alas, what shall I do! Shall I go on in my sinful ways? Why then certain damnation will be mine end: & shall I be so besotted and bemadded, as to go and sell my soul to the flames, for a little Ale, or a little ease; for a little pleasure, or gain, or content to my flesh? Shall I linger any longer in this wretched estate? No: if I tarry here, I shall dye. What then, is there no help? no hope? None, except I turn. Why, but is there any re­medy for such woful misery? any mercy, after such provoking iniquity? Yes: as sure as Gods Oath is true, I shall have pardon, and mercy, yet, if I presently, unfeignedly, and unreser­vedly turn by Christ to him.

Why then I thank thee upon the bended knees of my soul, O most merciful Iehovah, that thy patience hath wa [...]ted for me hitherto: for hadst [Page 182] thou took me away in this estate, I had perished for ever. And now I adore thy Grace, and accept the offers of thy mercy. I renounce all my sins, and resolve by thy Grace to set my self against them, and to follow thee in holiness and righteousness all the days of my life.

Who am I, Lord, that I should make any claim to thee, or have any part or portion in thee, who am not worthy to lick up the dust of thy feet? Yet since thou holdest forth the golden Scepter, I am bold to come, and touch. To despair, would be to disparage thy mercy; and to stand off, when thou biddest me come, would be at once, to undo my self, and rebel against thee, under pretence of humility. Therefore I bow my soul unto thee, and with all possible thankfulness accept thee, as mine, and give up my self to thee, as thine. Thou shalt be Sove­raign over me, my King, and my God. Thou shalt be in the Throne, and all my powers shall bow to thee, they shall come, and worship be­fore thy feet. Thou shalt be my portion, O Lord, and I will rest in thee.

Thou callest for my heart. Oh that it were any way fit for thine acceptance! I am unwor­thy, O Lord, everlastingly unworthy to be thine. But since thou wilt have it so, I freely give up my heart to thee. Take it, it is thine. Oh that it were better! But Lord, I put it into thy hands, who alone canst mend it. Mould it after thine own heart; make it as thou wouldst have it, ho­ly, humble, heavenly, soft, tender, flexible, and write thy law upon it.

Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly: enter in [Page 183] triumphantly: take me up for thy self for ever. I give up to thee, I come to thee, as the only way to the Father, as the only Mediator, the means ordained to bring me to God. I have de­stroyed my self, but in thee is my help. Save, Lord, or else I perish. I come to thee, with the rope about my neck. I am worthy to dye, and to be damned. Never was the hire more due to the servant [...] never was penny more due to the labourer, than death and Hell, my just wages, is due to me for my sins. But I fly to thy merits; I trust alone to the value and virtue of thy Sacri­fice, and prevalency of thine intercession. I sub­mit to thy teaching, I make choice of thy Go­vernment. Stand open ye everlasting doors, that the King of Glory may enter in.

O thou spirit of the most high, the comfor­ter and sanctifier of thy chosen; come in with all thy glorious train, all thy Courtly attendants, thy fruits, and Graces. Let me be thine habi­tation. I can give thee, but what is thine own already: but here with the poor Widdow, I cast my two mites, my soul, and my body, in­to thy treasury; fully resigning them up to thee, to be sanctified by thee to be servants to thee. They shall be thy patients; cure thou their ma­ladies: they shall be thy agents; govern thou their motions. Too long have I served the world; too long have I hearkened to Satan: but now I renounce them all, and will be ruled by thy di­ctates, and directions, and guided by thy counsel.

O blessed Trinity, O glorious Unity, I deli­ver up my self to thee: receive me: write thy name, O Lord, upon me, and upon all that I [Page 184] have, as thy proper goods. Set thy mark upon me, upon every member of my body, and eve­ry faculty of my soul. I have chosen thy precepts. Thy law will I lay before me: this shall be the copy, which I will keep in my eye, and study to write after. According to this rule do I resolve, by thy Grace, to walk: after this law shall my whole man be governed. And though I cannot perfectly keep one of thy Commandments, yet I will allow my self in the breach of none. I know my flesh will hang back: but I resolve, in the power of thy Grace, to cleave to thee, and thy holy ways, whatever it cost me. I am sure I cannot come off a loser by thee: and therefore I will be content with reproach, and difficulties and hardships here, and will deny my self, and take up my Cross, and follow thee. Lord Jesus thy Yoke is easie, thy Cross is welcome, as it is the way to thee. I lay aside all hopes of a world­ly happiness. I will be content to tarry, till I come to thee. Let me be poor, and low, little and despised here, so I may be but admitted to live, and reign with thee hereafter. Lord, thou hast my heart and hand to this agreement. Be it as the laws of the Medes and Persians, never to be reversed. To this I will stand: in this reso­lution, by Grace, I will live, and dye. I have [...]worn, and will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments. I have given my free con­sent, I have made my everlasting choice. Lord Jesus, confirm the contract.


Containing the Motives to Conversion.

THough what is already said of the Necessity of Conversion [...] and of the Miseries of the Unconverted, might be sufficient to induce any consider­ing mind to resolve upon a present turning, or Conversion unto God: yet knowing what a piece of desperate obstinacy and untractable­ness the heart of man naturally is, I have thought it necessary, to add to the means of Conversion, and Directions for a Covenant­closure with God in Christ, some Motives to perswade you hereunto.

O Lord, fail me not now at my last attempts. If any soul hath read hitherto, and be yet untouched, now Lord fasten in him, and do thy work: Now take him by the heart, overcome him, perswade him, till he say, Thou hast prevailed, for thou wast stronger than I. Lord, didst not thou make me a fisher of men? And have I toyled all this while, and caught nothing? Alas, that I should have spent my strength for nought! And now I am casting my last: Lord Iesus, stand thou upon the shore, and direct, how, and where I shall spread my net; and let me so enclose with arguments the souls I seek for, that they may not be able to get out. Now Lord for a multitude of souls! now for a full draught! O Lord God, remember me I pray thee, and strengthen me this once, O God.

[Page 186]But I turn me unto you.

Men, and Brethren, Heaven and earth do call upon you, yea hell it self doth preach the doctrine of repentance unto you. The An­gels of the Churches travel with you, Gal. 4. 19. the Angels of Heaven wait for you, for your repenting and turning unto God. O sinner, why should the devils make merry with thee? Why shouldst thou be a morsel for that devouring Leviathan? Why should harpies and hell­hounds tear thee, and make a feast upon thee, and when they have got thee into the snare, and have fastened their talons in thee, laugh at thy destruction, and deride thy misery, and sport themselves with thy damnable folly? This must be thy case, except thou turn. And were it not better thou shouldst be a joy to Angels, than a laughing-stock and sport for devils? Ve­rily if thou wouldst but come in, the Heavenly Host would take up their anthems, and sing, Glory be to God in the highest; the morning Stars would sing together, and all the sons of God shout for joy, and celebrate this new creation as they did the first. Thy repentance would as it were make holy-day in heaven, and the glorious spirits would rejoyce, in that there is a new bro­ther added to their society, Re. 22. 9. another heir born to their Lord and the lost son received safe and sound. The true penitents tears are indeed the wine that cheereth, both God, and man.

If it be little, that men and Angels would rejoyce at thy Conversion, know that God him­self would rejoyce over thee, even with sing­ing, and rest in his love. Luke 15. 9. Esay 62. 5. [Page 187] Never did old Iacob with such joy weep over the neck of his Ioseph, as thy heavenly Father would rejoyce over thee, upon thy coming in to him. Look over the story of the Prodigal. Methinks I see how the aged Father laies aside his state, and forgets his years: behold how he runneth! Luke 15. 20. Oh the hast that mercy makes! The sinner makes not half that speed. Methinks I see how his bowels turn, how his compassions yern. (How quick-sight­ed is love!) Mercy spies him a great way off, forgets his riotous courses, unnatural rebellion, horrid unthankfulness, debauched practices, (not a word of these) but receives him with open arms, clasps about his neck, forgets the nastiness of his rags, kisses the lips that deserve to be loathed, the lips that had been joined to harlots, that had been commoners with the swine, calls for the fatted calf, the best robe, the ring, the shooes, the best cheer in Heavens store, the best attire in Heavens wardrobe, &c. yea the joy cannot be held in one breast; Luke 15. 6, 9, 23. others must be called to partici­pate, the friends must meet and make merry. Angels must wait, but the Prodigal must be set at the table, under his Fathers wing. He is the joy of the feast: he is the sweet subject of the Fathers delight. The friends sympathize, but none knows the felicity the father takes in his new born son, whom he hath received from the dead. Methinks I hear the musick and the dancing, at a distance. Oh the melo­dy of the Heavenly Choristers! I cannot learn the song, Rev. 14. 3. but methinks I over-hear [Page 188] the burden, at which all the harmonious quire with one consent strikes sweetly in, for thus goes the round at Heavens table, For this my son was dead, and is alive again; was lost and is found. Luke 15. 23, 24, 32. I need not farther explain the parable. God is the Father, Christ the cheer, his righteousness the robe, his graces the ornaments, Ministers, Saints, Angels the friends and servants, and thou that readest (if thou wilt but unfeignedly repent and turn) the welcome Prodigal, the happy instance of all this grace, and the blessed subject of this joy & love.

Oh Rock! Oh Adamant! What not moved yet! not yet resolved to return forthwith and to close with mercy! I will try thee yet once again. If one were sent to thee from the dead, wouldst thou be perswaded? Why hear the voice from the dead, from the dam­ned, crying to thee that thou shouldst repent. I pray thee that thou wouldst send him to my fathers house: for I have five brethren, that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. If one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. Luke. 16. 27, 28, &c. Hear O man, thy Predeces­sors in impenitence preach to thee from the in­fernal gibbets, from the flames, from the rack, that thou shouldst repent. O look down into the bottomless pit. Seest thou how the smoak of their torment ascendeth for ever and ever? Rev. 14. 11. How black are those fiends? How furious are their tormenters? 'Tis their only musick to hear how their miserable patients roar, to hear their bones crack. 'Tis their meat and drink, to see, how their flesh fri [...]h, [Page 189] and their fat droppeth, to drench them with burning metal, and to rip open their bodies, and pour in the fierce and fiery brass into their bowels, and the recesses and ventricles of their hearts. What thinkest thou of those chains of darkness, of those instruments of cruelty? Canst thou be content to burn? Seest thou how the worm gnaweth, how the oven gloweth, how the fire [...]ageth? What sayst thou to that river of brimstone, that dark and horrible vault, that gulf of perdition? Wilt thou take up thine habitation here? Oh lay thine ear to the door of hell. Hear [...]st thou the curses, and the blas­phemies, the weepings and the wailings, how they lament their folly, and curse their day? Mat. 22. 13. Rev. 16. 9. How do they roar, and y [...]ll, and gnash their teeth? How deep are their groans? how feeling are their moans? how unconceivable their miseries? If the shrieks of Korab, Dathan, and Abiram, were so terrible (when the earth clave asunder, and opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and all that appertain'd to them,) that all Israel fl [...]sd at the cry of them: Numb. 16. 33. 34. oh how fearful would the cry be, if God should take off the covering from the mouth of hell, and let the cry of the damned ascend in all its terror among the children of men? And of all their moans and miseries, this is the piercing killing [...]mphasis and burden for ever, for ever. Why as God liveth, that made this soul, thou art but a [...]w hours distant from all this, except thou r [...]p [...]nt and be converteed.

Oh! I am even lost and swallowed up in [Page 190] the abundance of those arguments that I might suggest. If there be any point of wisdom in all the world, it is to repent and come in: if there be any thing righteous, any thing reason­able, this is it. If there be any thing in the world that may be called madness, and folly, any thing that may be counted sottish, absurd, bruitish, unreasonable, it is this, to go on in thine unconverted estate. Let me beg thee, as thou wouldst not wilfully destroy thy self, to sit down, and weigh, besides what hath been said, these following Motives, and let conscience speak, if it be not reason, that thou shouldst repent & turn.

1. The God that made thee doth most graciously invite thee.

First his most sweet and merciful nature doth invite thee, Oh the kindnesses of God, his working bowels, his tender mercies! They are infinitely above our thoughts, higher than Hea­ven, what can we do? deeper than hell, what can we know? Iob 11. 7, 8, 9. He is full of com­passions, and gracious, long-suffering and plenteous in mercy. Psal. 86. 15. This is a great argument to perswade sinners to come in. Turn unto the Lord your God, for he is gracious, and merciful, s [...]w to anger, of great kindness, and repen [...]eth him of the evil. If God would not repent of the evil, it were some discouragement to us, why we should not repent. If there were no hope of mercy, it were no such wonder if the rebel did stand out: but never had subjects such a gra­cious Prince, such piety, patience, clemency, pity to deal with, as you have. Who is a God [...] unto thee that pardoneth iniquity, &c. Mic. 7. 18. [Page 191] Oh sinners, see what a God you have to deal with; if you will but turn, He will turn again, and have compassion upon you, he will subdue your iniquities, and cast all your sins into the depths of the Sea. v. 19. Return unto me, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will return unto you. Mal. 3. 7. Zech. 1. 3. Sinners do not fail in that they have too high thoughts of Gods mercies, but in that 1. They overlook his Iustice. 2. They promise themselves mercy out of Gods way. His mercies are beyond all imagination, Esay 55. 9. great mercies, 1 Chron. 21. 13. manifold mercies, Neh. 9. 19. tender mercies, Psal. 25. 6. sure mercies, Esay 55. 3. everlasting mercies, Psal. 103. 17. Esay 54. 8. and all thine own, if thou wilt but turn. Art thou willing to come in? Why the Lord hath laid aside his terror, erected a Throne of grace, holds forth the golden Scepter: touch and live. Would a merciful man slay his ene­my, when prostrate at his feet, acknowledging his wrong, begging pardon, and offering to en­ter with him into a Covenant of peace? Much less will the merciful God. Study his name Exod. 34. 7. Read their experience, Neh. 9. 17.

Secondly, His soul-encouraging calls and pro­mises do invite thee. Ah what an earnest suiter is mercy to thee! how lovingly, how instant­ly it calleth after thee! how passionately it wooeth thee! Return thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord, and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you; for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger for ever. Only acknow­ledge thine iniquity. Turn O backsliding children, [Page 192] saith the Lord, for I am married unto you: return and I will heal your backslidings. Thou hast plaid the harlot with many lovers, yet return unto me saith the Lord. Ier. 3. 1, 12, 13, 14, 22. As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways, for why will ye die O house of Israel? Ezek. 33. 11. If the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him; in his righteousness that he hath done shall he live. Repent, and turn your selves from all your transgressions, so iniquity shall not be your ruine. Cast away from you all your transgressions [...] and make you a clean heart, and a new spirit, for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God; wherefore turn your selves, and live ye. Ezek. 18. 21, 22, 30, 31, 32.

Oh melting, gracious words! The voice of a God, and not of a man! This is not the man­ner of men, for the offended Soveraign, to sue to the offending, traiterous varlet. Oh how doth mercy follow thee, and plead with thee! Is not thy heart broken yet? Oh that to day ye would hear his voice!

2. The doors of Heaven are thrown open to thee. The everlasting gates are set wide for thee, and an abundant entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven administred to thee. Christ now bespeaks thee (as she her husband) Arise and take possession. [Page 193] 1 Kings 21. 15. View the glory of the other world as set forth in the map of the Gospel. Get thee up into the Pisgah of the promises, and lift up thine eyes westward, and northward, and south­ward, and eastward, and see the good land that is beyond Iordan, and that goodly mountain. Be­hold the Paradise of God, watered with the streams of glory. Arise and walk through the land, in the length of it, and in the breadth of it, for all the land which thou seest, the Lord will give it to thee for ever, if thou wilt but return. Gen. 13, 14, 15, 17. Let me say to thee as Paul to Agrippa, Believest thou the Prophets? If thou believest indeed, do but view what glorious things are spoken of the City of God, Psal. 87. 3. and know, that all this is here tendered in the name of God to thee. As ve­rily as God is true, it shall be for ever thine, if thou wilt but throughly turn.

Behold the City of pure transparent gold, whose foundations are garnished with all man­ner of precious stones, whose gates are pearls, whose light is glory, whose Temple is God. Believest thou this? If thou dost, art not thou worse than distracted, that wilt not take pos­session, when the gates are flung open to thee [...] and thou art bid to enter [...] O ye sons of folly, will ye embrace the dunghils, and refuse the King­dom? Behold, the Lord God taketh you up into the mountain, shews you the Kingdom of Heaven, and all the glory thereof, and tells you; All this will I give you, if you will fall down and w [...]rship me [...] [...]f you will submit to mer­cy, accept my S [...] and serve me in righteous­ness [Page 194] and holiness. O fools, and slow of heart to believe, will ye court the harlot, will you seek and serve the world, and neglect the eternal glory? What, not enter into Paradise, when the flaming sword, that was once set to keep you out, is now used to drive you in? But you will say, I am uncharitable, to think you infi­dels and unbelievers. Why, what shall I think you? Either you are desperate unbelievers, that do not credit it, or stark distracted, that you know and believe the excellency and eter­nity of this glory, and yet do so fearfully neg­lect it. Sure you have no faith, or no reason: and I had almost said, conscience should tell you so, before I leave you.

Do but attend what is offered you. Oh bles­sed Kingdom! A Kingdom of glory, 1 Thess. 2. 12. a Kingdom of righteousness, 2 Pet. 3. 13. a Kingdom of peace, Rom. 14. 17. an everlasting Kingdom. 2 Pet. 1. 11. Here thou shalt dwell, here thou shalt reign for ever: and the Lord shall set thee in a Throne of glory, Mat. 19. 28. and with his own hand shall set the Royal Diadem upon thine head, and give thee a Crown, not of thorns (for there shall be no sinnning, nor suffering there, Rev. 21. 27, 22, 3, 4, 5.) not of Gold, (for this shall be viler than the dirt in that day) but a Crown of life, Iames 1. 12. a Crown of righteousness, 2 Tim. 4. 8. a Crown of glory. 1 Pet. 5. 4. Yea thou shalt put on glory as a robe, 1 Cor. 15. 53. and shalt shine like the Sun in the firmament in the glory of thy Father. Mat. 13. 43. Look now upon thy dirty flesh, thy clay, thy worms-meat: [Page 195] this very flesh, this lump, this carcase shall be brighter than the Stars. Dan. 12. 3. In short, thou shalt be made like unto the Angels of God, Luke 20. 36. and behold his face in righteous­ness. Psal. 17. 15. Look in now, and tell me: dost thou yet believe? If not, conscience must pronounce thee an infidel, for it is the very word of God that I speak.

But if thou say, thou believest, let me next know thy resolutions. Wilt thou embrace this for thy happiness? Wilt thou forgo thy sinful gains, thy forbidden pleasures? Wilt thou trample on the worlds esteem, and spit in the harlots face, and stop thine ears to her flatteries, and wrest thee out of her embraces? Wilt thou be content to take up with present reproach and poverty, if it lie in thy way to Heaven, and to follow the Lord with humble self-de­nial, in a mortified and flesh-displeasing life? I [...] so, all is thine, and that for ever. And art not thou fairly offered? Is it not pity but he should be damned, that will needs go on and perish, when all this may be had for the taking? In a word, wilt thou now close with these proffers? Wilt thou take God at his word? Wilt thou let go thy hold-fast of the world, and rid thy hands of thy sins, and lay hold on eternal life? If not, let conscience tell thee, whether thou art not distracted, or bewitched, that thou shouldst neglect so happy a choice, by which thou mightest be made for ever.

3. God will settle unspeakable priviledges at present upon thee. 1 Cor. 3. 22. Heb. 12. 22, 23, 24. Though the [...]ull of your blessedness shall be deferred [Page 196] till hereafter, yet God will give you no little things in hand.

He will redeem you from your thraldom. Iohn 8. 36. He will pluck you from the paw of the Lion: Col. 1. 13. the serpent shall bruise your heel, but you shall bruise his head. Gen. 3. 15. He shall deliver you from the present evil world. Gal. 1. 4. Prosperity shall not destroy you, adversity shall not separate between him and you. Rom. 8. 35, 37, 38. He will re­deem you from the power of the grave, Psal. 49. 15. and make the King of terrors a mes­senger of peace to you. He will take out the curse from the Cross, Psal. 119. 71. and make affliction the fining pot, the fan, the physick, to blow off the chaff, purify the metal, and purge the mind. Dan. 12. 10. Esay 27. 9. He will save you from the arrests of the Law, and turn the curse into a blessing to you. Rom. 6. 14. Gal. 3. [...]4. He hath the keys of hell and death, and shutteth that no man openeth, Rev. 3. 7. & 1. 18. and he will shut its mouth, as once he did the Lions, Dan. 6. 22, that you shall not be hurt of the second death. Rev. 2. 11.

But he will not only save you from misery, but install you into unspeakable Preroga­tives. He will bestow himself upon you, he will be a friend to you, and a father to you: [...] Cor. 6. 18. he will be a Sun, and a Shield to you: Psal. 84. 11. in a word, he will be a God to you, Gen. 17. 7. and what can be said more? What you may expect that a God should do for you, and be to you, that he will be, that he will [...] She that marries a Prince, expects he [Page 197] should do for her like a Prince, that she may live in suitable state, and have an answerable dowry. He that hath a King for his Father, or friend, expects, that he should do for him like a King. Alas, the Kings and Monarchs of the earth, so much above us, are but like the painted butterflies amongst the rest of their kind, or the fair-coloured palmer-worm a­mongst the rest of the worms, if compared with God. As he doth infinitely exceed the glory and power of his glittering dust, so he will be­yond all proportion exceed, in doing for his favourites, whatever Princes can do for theirs. He will give you grace and glory, and withhold no good thing from you. Psal. 84. 11. He will take you for his sons and daughters, and make you heirs of his promises, Heb. 6. 17. and establish his everlasting Covenant with you. Ier. 32. 40. He will justify you from all, that Law, Conscience, Satan, can charge upon you. Rom. 8. 33, 34. He will give you free access into his presence, and accept your persons, and receive your prayers. Eph. 3. 12. Eph. 1. 6. 1 Iohn 5. 14. He will abide in you, and make you the men of his secrets, and hold a constant and friendly communion with you. Iohn 14. 23. Iohn 15. 15. 1 Iohn 1. 3. His car shall be open, his door open, his store open at all times to you. His blessing shall rest upon you, and he will make your enemies to serve you, and work a­bout all things for good unto you. Psal. 115. 13. Rom. 8. 28.

4. The Terms of mercy are brought as low, as possible, to you. God hath stooped as low to sin­ners [Page 196] as with honour he can. He will not be thought a fautour of sin, nor stain the glory of his holiness: and whither could he come, lower than he hath, unless he should do this? He hath abated the impossible terms of the first Covenant. Ier. 3. 13. Mark 5. 36. Acts 16. 31. Acts 3. 19. Prov. 28. 13. He doth not impose any thing unreasonable, or impossible, as a condition of life upon you. Two things were necessary to be done, according to the tenour of the first Covenant by you. 1. That you should fully satisfy the demands of Iustice, for past of­fences. 2. That you should perform personally, perfectly, and perpetually the whole law for the time to come. Both these are, to us, impossible. Rom. 8. 3. But behold Gods gracious abate­ment in both. He doth not stand upon satis­faction: he is content to take of the surety (and he of his own providing too) what he might have exacted from you. 2 Cor. 5. 19. He de­clares himself to have received a ransom, Iob 33. 24. 1 Tim. 2. 6. and that he expects no­thing, but that you should accept his son, and he shall be righteousness and redemption to you. Iohn 1. 12. 1 Cor. 1. 30. And for the fu­ture obedience, here he is content to yield to your weakness, and to remit the rigour. He doth not stand upon perfection (as a con­dition of life, though he still insists upon it as due,) but is content to accept of sincerity. Gen. 17. 1. Prov. 11. 20. Though you cannot pay the full debt he will accept you according to that which you have, and will take willing for doing, and the purpose for the performance: [Page 197] 2 Cor. 8. 12. 2 Chron. 6. 8. Heb. 11. 17. and if you come in his Christ, and set your hearts to please him, and make it the chief of your cares, he will approve and reward you, though the vessel be marred in your hands.

Oh consider your makers condescension. Let me say to you, as Naaman's servants to him; My father, if the Prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldst thou not have done it? how much rather, when he saith unto thee, wash and be clean? 2 Kings 5. 13. If God had demanded some terrible, some severe and rigorous thing of you, to escape eternal damnation, would you not have done it? Suppose it had been to spend all your days in sorrow in some howling wilder­ness, or pine your selves with famine, or to offer the fruit of your bodies, for the sin of your souls, would you not have thankfully accepted eternal redemption, though these had been the condi­tions? Yea further, if God should have told you, you should have fried in the fire for millions of ages, or been tormented so long in hell, would you not have gladly accepted it? Alas, all these are not so much as one sand in the glass of eter­nity. If your offended Creatour should have held you but one year on the rack, and then come and bid you take your choice, whether you would renounce your sins, accept his Christ, and serve him a few years in self-denial, or lie in this case for ever and ever: do you think you should have stuck at the offer, and disputed the terms, and have been unresolved, whether you were best to accept of the motion? O sinner, return [Page 200] and live: why shouldst thou die, when life is to be had for the taking, and mercy would be beholding to thee (as it were) to be saved? Couldst thou say indeed, Lord I knew that thou wast an hard man, Mat. 25. 24. thou hadst some little excuse; but when the God of Heaven hath stooped so low, and abated so far, if now thou shouldst stand off, who shall plead for thee?

Obj. Notwithstanding all these abatements, I am no more able to perform these conditions, (in themselves so easie) of faith and repen­tance, and sincere obedience, than to satisfy and fulfil the law.

Answ. These you may perform by Gods grace enabling, whereas the other are naturally impossible, in this state, even to believers them­selves. But let the next consideration serve for a fuller answer.

5. Wherein you are impotent, God doth offer grace to enable you. I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded. Prov. 1. 24. What though you are plunged into the ditch of that mi­sery from which you can never get out? Christ offereth to help you out; he stretcheth forth his hand to you, and if you perish, it is for re­fusing his help. Behold I stand at the door, and knock: if any man open to me, I will come in. Rev. 3. 20. What though you are poor, and wretch­ed, and blind, and naked, Christ offereth a cure for your blindness, a cover for your nakedness, a remedy for your poverty: he tendereth you his righteousness, his graces. I counsel thee to buy of me gold that thou maist be rich, and white ra [...] ­ment that thou maisi be cloathed, and anoint thine [Page 201] eyes with eye-salve, that thou maist see, Rev. 3 [...] 17, 18. Do you say, The condition is impossible, for I have not wherewith to buy? You must know, that this buying is without money and without price. Esay. 55. 1. This buying is by begging, and seeking with diligence and con­stancy in the use of Gods means. Prov. 2. 3, 4. God commandeth thee to know him, and to fear him. Dost thou say, yea but my mind is blinded and my heart hardened from his fear? I answer, God doth offer to enlighten thy mind, and to teach thee his fear: that is presented to thy choice. Prov. 1. 29. For that they hated knowledge, and did not chuse the fear of the Lord. So that now, if men live in ignorance and e­strangement from the Lord, it is because they will not understand, and desire not the knowledge of his ways. Iob. 21. 14 If thou criest after knowledge, if thou seekest her as Silver, &c. Then shalt thou understand and the fear of the Lord, and find the know­ledge of God. Prov. 2. 3, 4, 5. Is not here a fair offer? Turn you at my reproof: behold I will pour out my spirit unto you. Prov. 1. 23. Though of your selves you can do nothing, yet you may do all things through his spirit enabling you, and he doth offer his assistance to you. God bids you, Wash you and make you clean: Esay, 1. 16. you say you are unable as much as the Leopard to wash out his spots: Ier. 13. 23. yea but the Lord doth offer to purge you, so that if you be filthy still, 'tis through your own wilfulness. Esek. 24. 13. I have purged thee, and thou wa [...]t not pur­ged. Jer. 13. 27. O Jerusale [...], wilt thou not be made clean? when shall it once be? God doth [Page 202] wait when you will be made clean, when you will yield to his motions, and accept of his of­fers, and let him do for and in you, what you cannot do of your selves. You do not know how much God will do, upon your importunity, if you will but be restless and instant with him. Luke 11. 8. and 18. 5.

If God [...] not bound himself by express promis [...] wicked men, to give them Grace in the d [...]gent use of the means: yet he hath given them abundant encouragement to expect it from him, if they seek it earnestly in his way. His most gr [...]cious nature is abundant encou­ragement. If a rich and most bountiful man should se [...] thee in misery, and bid thee come to his door, wouldst thou not with confidence ex­pect at thy coming to find some relief. Thou art not able to believe, nor repent: God appoints thee to use such and such means, in order to thy obtaining faith and repentance: doth not this argue, that God will bestow these upon thee, if thou dost ply him diligently in prayer, medi­tation, reading, hearing, self-examination, and the rest of his means? Otherwise, God should but mock his poor creatures, to put them upon these self-denying endeavours, and then when they have put hard to it, and continued waiting upon him for Grace, deny them at last. Surely, if a sweet-natured man would not deal thus, much less will the most merciful and gracious God.

I intended to have added many other argu­ments: but these have swoln under my hands, and I hope the judicious reader, will rather look upon the weight, than the number.

The Conclusion of the whole.

And now my brethren let me know your minds. What do you intend to do? Will you go on and dye, or will you set upon a thorow and speedy conversion, and lay hold on eternal life? How long will you linger in Sodom? how long will you halt between two opinions? 1. Kings 18. 21. Are you not yet resolved whe­ther Christ or Barrabas, whether bliss or tor­ment, whether the land of Cabul, 1 kings. 9. 13. or the Paradise of God, be the better choice? Is it a disputable case, whether the Abana and Pharphar of Damascus, be better than all the streams of Eden? or whether the vile puddle of sin, be to be preferred before the water of life, clear as Crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb? Can the world in good earnest do that for you, that Christ can? will it stand by you to eternity? will pleasures, titles, lands, treasures, descend with you? Psal. 49. 17. 1. Tim. 6. 7. If not, had you not need look after somewhat that will? What mean you to stand wavering, to be off and on? Foolish children! how long will you stick between the womb and the world? Shall I leave you at last no farther than Agrippa, but almost perswaded? Why, you are for ever lost, if left here. As good not at all, as not altogether Christians. You are half of the mind to give over your for­mer negligent life, and to set to a strict and ho­ly course: you could wish that you were as some others be, and could do as [...] can do. How [Page 204] long will you rest in idle wishes, and fruitless purposes? when will you come to a fixed, full, and firm resolve? Do not you see how Satan gulls you, by tempting you to delays? How long hath he toll'd you on in the way to perdition? How many years have you been purposing to a­mend? What if God should have taken you off this while?

Well, put not me off with a dilatory answer. Tell not me of hereafter. I must have your pre­sent consent. It you be not now resolved, while the Lord is treating with you, and wooing of you, much less are you like to be hereafter, when these impressions are worn out, and you are har­dened through the deceitfulness of sin. Will you give me your hands? Will you set open the doors, and give the Lord Jesus the [...]ull and pre­sent possession? Will you put in your names into his covenant? Will you subscribe? What do you resolve upon? If you are s [...]ill upon your delays, my labour is lost, and all is like to come to no­thing. Fain I would, that you should now put in your adventures. Come, cast in your lot, make your choice. Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation: to day if you will hear his voice. Why should not this be the day, from whence thou shouldst be able to date thine hap­piness? Why shouldst thou venture a day lon­ger, in this dangerous and dreadful condition? What if God should this night require thy soul? Oh that thou mightest know, in this thy day, the things that belong unto thy peace, before they be hid from thine eyes! Luke 19. 42. This is thy day, and 'tis but a day. Iohn 9. 4. Others have had [Page 205] their day, and have received their doom; and now art thou brought upon the stage of this world, here to act thy part, for a whole eternity. Remember, thou art now upon thy good beha­viour for everlasting. If thou make not a wise choice now, thou art undone for ever. Look what thy present choice is, such must thine e­ternal condition be. Luke 10. 42. Luke 16. 25. Prov. 1. 27, 28, 29.

And is it true indeed? is life and death at thy choice? Yea, 'tis as true as truth is. Deut. 30. 19. Why then, what hinders but that thou shouldst be happy? Nothing doth, or can hinder, but thine own wilful neglect, or refusal. It was the passage of the Eunuch to Philip: See, here is water, what doth hinder me to be baptised? So I may say to thee: See, here is Christ, here is mer­cy, pardon, life, what hinders but that thou shouldst be pardoned, and saved? One of the Martyrs as he was praying at the stake, had his pardon set by in a box (which indeed he refu­sed, deservedly, because upon unworthy terms.) But here the terms are most honourable and ea­sie: Oh sinner, wilt thou burn with thy pardon by? Why do but forthwith give up thy consent to Christ, renounce thy sins, deny thy self, take up the Yoke, and the Cross, and thou car­riest the day; Christ is thing, pardon, peace, life, blessedness, all are th [...]e: And is not this an offer worth the embracing? Why shouldst thou hesitate, or doubtfully dispute about the case? Is it not past controversy, whether God be better than sin, and glory better than vanity? Why shouldst thou forsake thine own mercy, [Page 206] and sin against thine own life? When wilt thou shake off thy sloth, and lay by thine excuses? Boast not thy self of to morrow: thou knowst not where this night may lodge thee, Prov. 27. 1.

Beloved, now the holy spirit is striving with you. He will not always strive. Hast thou not felt thy heart warmed by the word, and been almost perswaded to leave off thy sins, and come in to God? Hast thou not felt some good moti­ons in thy mind, wherein thou hast been war­ned of thy danger, and told what thy careless course would end in? It may be thou art like young Samuel, who when the Lord called once and again, he knew not the voice of the Lord: 1. Sam. 3. 6, 7. but these motions and items are the offers, and essays, and the calls and stri­vings of the Spirit. O take the advantage of the tide, and know the day of thy visitation.

Now, the Lord Jesus stretcheth wide his arms to receive you. He beseecheth you by us. How [...]ovingly, how meltingly, how pitifully, how passionately he calleth you! The-Church is put in­to a suddain extasie upon the sound of his voice, The voice of my beloved! Cant. 2. 8. Oh wilt thou turn a deaf ear to his voice! It is not the voice that breaketh the Cedars, and maketh the mountains to skip like a Calf, that shaketh the Wilderness and divideth the flames of fire, it is not Sinais Thunder; but the soft and still voice. It is not the voice of Mount Ebal, a voice of cursing and terrour; but the voice of Mount Gerizim, the voice of blessing, and of glad tidings of good things. It is not the voice of the Trumpet, nor the noise of War; [Page 207] but a message of peace from the King of peace. Eph. 6. 15. 2 Cor. 5. 18, 20. Methinks it should be with thee, as with the spouse: My soul failed when he spake. Cant. 5. 6. I may say to thee, O sinner, as Martha to her Sister, The master is come, and he calleth for thee. Iohn 11. 28. Oh now, with Mary, arise quickly, and come unto him. How sweet are his invitations! He cryeth in the open concourse, If any man thirst let him come unto me and drink. Iohn 7. 37. Prov. 1. 21. He broacheth his own body for thee. Oh come and lay thy mouth to his side. How free he is! he excludeth none. Whosoever will, let him come and take the water of life freely. Rev. 22. 17. Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither. Come, eat of my bread, drink of the Wine which I have mingled. Forsake the foolish, and live. Prov. 9. 4, 5, 6. Come unto me, &c. Take my yoke up­on you, and learn of me, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Mat. 11. 28, 29. Him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out. John 6. 37. How doth he bemoan the obstinate refusers? O Jeru­salem, Jerusalem, how often would I have gathe­red thy Children, as a Hen gathereth her Chickens under her wings, and ye would not. Mat. 23. 37. Behold me, behold me: I have stretched out my hands all the day to a rebellious people. Easy 65. 1, 2. Oh be perswaded now at last, to throw your selves into the arms of love.

Behold, O ye sons of men, the Lord Jesus hath thrown open the prisons, and now he cometh to you (as the Magistrates once to them Act. 16. 39) and beseecheth you to come out. If it were from a Palace, or a Paradise that [Page 208] Christ did call you, it were no wonder if you were unwilling (and yet how easily was Adam [...]olled from hence?) but it is from your prison, sirs, from your chains, from the dungeon, from the darkness that he calleth, you; Esay 42. 6, 7. and yet will you not come? He calleth you un­to liberty, Gal. 5. 13. and yet will you not heark­en? His Yoke is easie, his Laws are liberty, his service freedome: Mat. 11. 30. Iames 1. 25. 1. Cor. 7. 22. and (whatever prejudices you have against his ways) if a God may be believed, you shall find them all pleasure and peace, and shall taste sweetness and joy [...]unutterable, and take infinite content and felicity in them. Prov. 3. 17. Psal. 119. 165. 1 Pet. 1. 8. Psal. 119. 103, 111.

Beloved, I am loth to leave you. I cannot tell how to give you over. I am now ready to shut up, but fain I would drive this bargain be­tween Christ and you, before I end. What, shall I leave you as I found you, at last? Have you read hitherto, and are not yet resolved up­on a present abandoning all your sins, and clo­sing with Jesus Christ? Alas, what shall I say? what shall I do? Will you turn off all my im­portunity? Have I run in vain? Have I used so many arguments, and spent so much time to perswade you, and yet must sit down at last in disappointment? But it is a small matter that you turn off me: you put a slight upon the God that made you, you reject the bowels and be­seechings of a Saviour, and will be found resi­sters of the Holy Ghost, Act. 7. 51. if you will not now be prevailed with [...] to repent and be converted.

[Page 209]Well, though I have ca [...]ed long and ye have refused, I shall yet this once more lift up my voice like a Trumpet, and cry from the highest places of the City, before I conclude with a mi­serable Conclamatum est. Once more I shall call after regardless sinners, that, if it be possible, I may awaken them. O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the Lord. Ier. 22. 29. Unless you be resolved to dye, lend your ears to the last calls of mercy. Behold, in the name of God I make o­pen proclamation to you. Hearken unto me, O ye Children. Hear instruction, and he wise, and refuse it not. Prov. 8. 32, 33.

Ho every one that thirsteth come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat, yea come, buy wine and milk, without money and without priee. Wherefore do you spend money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat yet that which is good, and let your s [...]ul de­light it self in fatness. Incline your ear and come ye unto me, hear and your soul shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Esay. 55. 1, 2, 3.

Ho every one that is sick of any manner of disease or torment, Mat. 4. 23, 24. or is pos­sessed with an evil spirit, whether of pride, or fury, or lust, or covetousness, come ye to the Physician; bring away your sick. Loe here is he that healeth all manner of sickness, and all man­ner of disease among the people.

Ho every one that is in debt, and every one that is in distress, and every one that is discon­tented, gather your selves unto Christ, and he [Page 210] will become a Captain over you. He will be your protection from the arrests of the Law: He will save you from the hand of justice. Be­hold, he is an open sanctuary to you, he is a known refuge. Heb. 6. 18. Psal. 48. 3. Away with your sins, and come in unto him, lest the avenger of bloud seize you, lest devouring wrath overtake you.

Ho every ignorant sinner, come and buy eye­salve that thou maist see. Rev. 3. 18. Away with thine excuses; thou art for ever lost, if thou continuest in this estate. 2 Cor. 4. 3. But accept of Christ for thy Prophet, and he will be a light unto thee. Esay. 42. 6. Eph. 5. 14. Cry unto him for knowledge, study his word, take pains about the principles of religion, humble thy self before him, and he will teach thee his way, and make thee wise unto salvation. Mat. 13. 36. Luke 8. 9. Iohn 5. 39. Psal. 25. 9. But i [...] thou wilt not follow him, in the painful use of his means, but sit down, because thou hast but one talent, he will condemn thee for a wicked and slothful servant. Mat. 25. 24, 26.

Ho every prophane sinner, come in and live. Return unto the Lord and he will have mercy upon thee. Be entreated, Oh return, come: Thou that hast filled thy mouth with oaths, and execrations, all manner of sins and blasphemies shall be forgiven thee, Mark 3. 28. If thou wilt but throughly turn unto Christ, and come in. Though thou hast been as unclean as Magdalen; yet put away thy Whoredomes out of thy sight, and thine adulteries from between thy breasts, and give up thy self unto Christ, as a vessel of holiness, [Page 211] alone for his use, and then, though thy sins be as scarlet, they shall be as wool, and though they be as crimson, they shall be as white as snow, Luke 7. 37. Hos. 2. 2. 1 Thess. 4. 4. Esay 1. 18.

Hear O ye Drunkards, how long will ye be drunken? put away your wine. 1 Sam. 1. 14. Though you have rolled in the vomit of your sin, take the vomit of repentance, and heartily disgorge your beloved lusts, and the Lord will receive you. 2 Cor. 6. 17. Give up your selves unto Christ, to live soberly, righteously, and godly; embrace his righteousness; accept his government; and though you have been swine, he will wash you. Rev. 3. 6.

Hear O ye loose companions, whose delight is in vain and wicked society, to sport away your time in carnal mirth and jollity with them; come in at wisdoms call, and choose her, and her ways, and forsake the foolish, and you shall live. Prov. 9. 5, 6.

Hear O ye scorners, hear the word of the Lord. Though you have made a sport at god­liness, and the professors thereof; though you have made a scorn of Christ, and of his ways; yet, even to you doth he call, to gather you un­der the wings of his mercy. Prov. 1. 22, 23. In a word, though you should be found among the worst of that black roll, 1 Cor. 6. 9, 10. yet, upon your through Conversion, you shall washed, be you shall be justified, you shall be sanctified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the spirit of our God, ver. 11.

Ho every formal professor, that art but a lukewarm and dough-baked Christian, and [Page 212] restest in the form of godliness, give over thy halving, and thy halting; be a throughout Christian, and be zealous and repent, and then though thou hast been an offence ot Christ's stomach, thou shall be the joy of his heart. Rev. 3. 16, 19, 20.

And now bear witness, that mercy hath been offered you. I call heaven and earth to record a­gainst you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing, therefore chuse life, that you may live. Deut. 30. 19. I can but wooe you, and warn you: I cannot compel you to be happy: if I could, I would. What an­swer will you send me with to my master? Let me speak unto you as Abraham's servant to them; And now if you will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me. Gen. 24. 49. Oh for such a happy answer, as Rebekah gave to them! Gen. 24. 57, 58. And they said, we will call the damsel, and enquire at her mouth. And they called Rebekah, and said unto her. Wilt thou go with this man? and she said I will go. Oh that I had but thus much from you! Why should I be your accuser, Mat. 10. 14, 15. who thirst for your salvation? Why should the pas­sionate pleadings and wooings of mercy be turned into the horrid aggravations of your obstinacy and additions to your misery. Judge in your own selves: Do you not think their condemnation will be doubly dreadful, that shall still go on in their sins, after all endeavours to recall them? Doubtless, it shall be more tole­able for Tyre and Sid [...]n, yea for S [...]dom and Go­morrah; in the day of Iudgment, than for such. Mat. 11. 22. 24.

[Page 213]Beloved, if you have any pity for your pe­rishing souls, close with the present offers of mercy. If you would not continue and in­crease the pains of your travelling Ministers, do not stick in the birth. If the God that made you have any authority with you, obey his command and come in. If you are not the de­spisers of grace, and would not shut up the doors of mercy against your selves, repent and be converted. Let not Heaven stand open for you in vain. Let not the Lord Jesus open his wares, and bid you buy without money and without price, in vain. Let not his Ministers, and his Spirit, strive with you in vain, and leave you now at last unperswaded; lest the sen­tence go forth against you, The bellows are burnt, the lead is consumed of the fire, the founder melteth in vain. Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the Lord hath rejected them. Ier. 6. 29, 30.

Father of Spirits, take the heart in hand that is too hard for my weakness. Do not thou have end­ed, though I have done. Half a word from thine effectual power, will do the work. O thou that hast the key of David, that openest when no man shutteth, open thou this heart as thou didst Lydia's, and let the King of glory enter in; and make this soul thy happy captive. Let not the tempter harden him in delays. Let him not stir from this place, nor take his eyesfrom these lines, till he be resolved to forg [...] his sins, and to accept of life upon thy self-denying terms. In thy name O Lord God did I go forth to these labours, in thy name do I shut them up. [Page 214] Let not all the time they have cost, be but lost hours: let not all the thoughts of heart, and all the pains that have been about them, be but lost labour. Lord put in thine hand into the heart of this Reader, and send thy Spirit, as once thou didst Philip, to joyn himself to the Chariot of the Eunuch, while he was reading thy word. And though I should never know it while I live, yet I beseech thee Lord God, let it be found at that day, that some souls were con­verted by these labours: and let some be able to stand forth and say, that by these perswasions, they were won unto thee. Amen. Amen. Let him that readeth say Amen.


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