A CALL TO THE Unconverted TO Turn and Live, AND Accept of Mercy while Mer­cy may be had, as ever they would find Mercy in the day of their extremity: From the Living God.

By his unworthy Servant RICHARD BAXTER.

To be Read in Families where any are Unconverted.

London, Printed by R. W. for Nevil Sim­mons Book-seller in Kederminster, and are to be sold by him there; and by Nathaniel Ekins, at the Gun in Pauls Church-Yard. 1658.

The Reason of this Work.

IN that short ac­quaintance I had with that Reve­rend, Learned ser­vant of Christ, Bi­shop Vsher, he was oft from first to last importun­ing me to write a directory for the several ranks of Professed Christi­ans, which might distinctly give each one their portion: beginning with the Unconverted, and then proceeding to the babes in Christ, [Page] and then to the strong: and mix­ing some special helps against the several sins that they are addicted to. By the suddenness of his mo­tion at our first congress, I per­ceived it was in his mind before: And I told him, both that it is abundantly done by many alrea­dy; and that his unacquainted­ness with my weakness, might make him think me fitter for it then I was. But this did not satis­fie him, but still he made it his re­quest. I confess I was not moved by his Reasons, nor did I appre­hend any great need of doing more then is done in that way: nor that I was likely to do more. And therefore I parted from him without the least purpose to an­swer his desire. But since his death, his words oft came into my mind: and the great Reve­rence I bore to him, did the more incline me to think with some [Page] complacency of his motion. And having of late intended to write a Family Directory, I began to apprehend how congruously the forementioned work should lead the way; and the several con­ditions of mens souls be spoken of, before we come to the several Relations. Hereupon I resolved by Gods assistance to proceed in the order following. First, to speak to the impenitent Uncon­verted sinners, who are not yet so much as purposing to Turn, or at least are not setting about the work. And with these I thought a wakening Perswasive was a more necessary means then meer Directions. For Directi­ons suppose men willing to obey them: but the persons that we have first to deal with, are wilful and asleep in sin, and as men that are past feeling, having given themselves over to sin [Page] with greediness, Ephes. 4.19. My next work must be for those that have some purposes to Turn and are about the work, to Di­rect them for a through and true Conversion, that they miscarry not in the birth. The third part must be Directions for the younger and weaker sort of Chri­stians, that they may be stablish­ed, built up, and persevere. The fourth part, Directions for lapsed and back-sliding Christi­ans, for their safe recovery. Be­sides these there is intended some short Perswasives and Directions against some spec [...]al errours of the times, and against some com­mon killing sins. As for Directi­ons to Doubting troubled Con­sciences, that is done already. And the strong I shall not write Directions for; because they are so much taught of God already. And then the last part is intended [Page] more specially for Families as such, Directing the several Re­lations in their Duties. Some of these are already written: whe­ther I shall have life and leisure for the rest, God only knoweth. And therefore I shall publish the several parts by themselves, as I write them: and the rather, be­cause they are intended for men of different states, and because I would not deter them by the bulk or price, from reading what is written for their benefit. The use that this part is published for, is 1. For Masters and Parents to read often in their Families, if they have servants or children that are yet unconverted. 2. For all such Unconverted persons to read and consider of themselves. 3. For the richer sort that have any pitty on such miserable souls, to give to the unsanctified that need them: (if they have not [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] fitter at hand to use and give) The Lord awake us to work while it is day for the saving of our own and others souls, in subserviency to the Blessed God, the Maker, the Redeemer and the Sanctifier of souls.

Rich. Baxter.

To all unsanctified per­sons that shall read this Book; Especially of my Hearers in the Burrough and Parish of Kederminster.

Men and Brethren,

THE Eternal God that made you for a life Ever­lasting, and hath Redeemed you by his only Son, when you had lost it and your-selves, being mindful of you in your sin and misery, hath indited the Gospel and sealed it by his Spirit, and commanded his Mi­nisters to preach it to the world, that [Page] pardon being [...] offered you, and Heaven b [...]ing [...]ot before you, he might call you off from your fleshly pleasures, and from following after this deceitfull world, and acquaint you with the life that you were Cre­ated and Redeemed for, before you are dead and past remedy. He send­eth not you Prophets or Apostles, t [...]at receive their message by imme­diate Revelation; but yet he calleth you by his ordinary Ministers, who are Commissioned by him to preach the same Gospel which Christ and his Apostles first delivered. The Lord standeth over you, and seeth how you forget him and your latter end, and how light you make of Everlasting things, as men that understand not what they have to do or suffer: He seeth how bold you are in sin, and how fearless of his threatnings, and how careless of your souls, and how the works of Infidels are in your lives, while the [Page] belief of Christians is in your mouths. He seeth the dreadful day at hand, when your sorrows will begin, and you must lament all this with fruitless cries in torment and desperation, and when the remem­brance of your folly will tear your hearts, if true Conversion now prevent it not; in comparison of your sinful miserable souls, the Lord that better knows your case then you can know it, hath made it our duty to speak to you in his name, (2 Corinth. 5.19.) and to tell y [...]u plainly of your sin and mi­sery, and what will be your end, and how sad a change you'l shortly see, if yet you go on a little longer. Having bought you at so dear a rate as the blood of his Son Iesus Christ, and made you so free and general a promise of pardon, and grace, and everlasting glory, he commandeth as to tender all this to you, as the gift of God, and to intreate you to consider [Page] of the necessity and worth of what he offereth. He seeth and pittieth you, while you are drowned in worldly cares and pleasures, and eagerly following childish toyes, and wasting that short and precious time for a thing of nought, in which you should make ready for an everlast­ing life: and therefore he hath commanded us to Call after you, and tell you, how you lose your la­bour, and are about to lose your souls, and to tell you what greater and better things you might cer­tainly have, if you would hearken to his Call, (Isaiah 55 1, 2.3.) We believe and obey the voice of God; and come to you daily on his message, who hath charged us to preach and be instant with you in season and out of season, and to lift up our voice like a Trumpet, and shew you your transgressions and your sins, Isa. 58.1. 2 Tim. 4.1, 2. But, wo and alas! to the grief of [Page] our souls, and your own undoing, you stop your ears, you stiffen your necks, you harden your hearts, and break our hearts, and send us back to God with groans to tell him that we have done his message, but can do no good on you, nor scarcely get a sober hearing. O that our eyes were as a fountain of tears, that we might lament our ignorant careless people; that have Christ before them, and pardon, and life, and heaven before them, and have not hearts to know and value them! that might have Christ, and grace, and glory, as well as others, if it were not for their wilful negligence and con­tempt! O that the Lord would fill our hearts with more compassion to these miserable souls, that we might cast our selves even at their feet, and follow them to their houses, and speak to them with our bitter tears: For long have we preached to many of them as in vain; we study [Page] plainness to make them understand; and many of them will not under­stand us. We study serious piercing words, to make them feel, but they will not feel. If the Greatest mat­tter would work with them, we should awake them: If the sweet­est things would work, we should en­tice them and win their hearts: if the most dreadful things would work, we should at least affright them from their wickedness; if Truth and Certainty would take with them, we should soon convince them: if the God that made them, and the Christ that bought them might be heard, the ease would soon be altered with them: if Scripture might be heard, we should soon pre­vail: if Reason, even the best and strongest Reason might be heard, we should not doubt but we should speedily convince them: if expe­rience might be heard, even their own experience, and the experience [Page] of all the world, the matter would be mended. Yea if the Conscience within them might be heard, the case would be better with them then it is. But if nothing can be heard, w [...]at then shall we do for them! If the dreadfull God of Heaven be slighted, who then shall be regarded? If the inestimable Love and blood of a Redeemer be made light of, what then shall be valued? If Heaven have no desiderable Glory with them, and everlasting Ioys be nothing worth; If they can jest at Hell, and dance about the bottom­less pit, and play with the consu­ming fire, and that when God and man do warn them of it; What shall we do for such souls as these?

Once more in the name of the God of Heaven, I shall do the M [...]ssage to you which he had commanded us, and leave it in these standing lines to convert your or condemn you; to change you, or to rise up in Iudge­ment [Page] against you, and to be a witness to your faces, that once you had a serious Call to Turn. Hear all you that are the drudges of the world, and the servants of the flesh and Satan! That spend your daies in looking after prosperity on earth: and drow [...] your consciences in drink­ing, and gluttony, and idleness, and foolish sports; and know you sin, and yet will sin, as if you set God at de­fiance, and bid him do his worst and spare not! Hearken all you that mind not God, and have no heart to holy things, and feel no savour in the Word or Worship of the Lord, or in the thoughts or mention of eternal life! that are careless of your im­mortal souls, and never bestowed one hour in enquiring, wha [...] case they are in, whether sanctified or unsanctified, and whether you are ready to appear before the Lord! Hearken all you that by sinning in the light, have sinned your selves [Page] into Atheism and Infidelity, and do not believe the Word of God. He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear the Gratious and yet Dread­ful Call of God! His eye is all this while upon you. Your sins are re­gistred, and you shall surely hear of them all again: God keepeth the Book now; and he will write it all out upon your Consciences with his terrors: and then you also shall keep it your selves. O Sinners, that you knew but what you are do­ing! and who you are all this while offending! The Sun it self is dark­ness before the glory of that Maje­sty which you daily abuse and care­lesly provoke The sinning Angels were not able to stand before him, but were cast down to be tormented Devils. And dare such silly worms as you, so fearlesly offend, and set your selves against your Maker! O that you did but a little know, what a case that wretched soul is [Page] in, that hath engaged the Living God against him! The word of his mouth that made thee can unmake thee: the frown of his face will cut thee off, and cast thee out into utter darkness. How eager are the Devils to be doing with thee that have tempted thee▪ and do but wait for th [...] word from God, to take and use thee as their own? and then in a moment thou wilt be in Hell. If God be against thee, all things are against thee: this world is but thy prison, for all that thou so lovest it: thou art but reserved in it to the day of wrath (Job 21.30) Thy Iudge is coming, thy soul is even going. Yet a little while, and thy friends shall say of thee, He is dead! and thou shalt see the things that now thou didst despise, and feel that which, now thou wilt not be­lieve. Death will bring such an Argument as thou canst not answer; An Argument that shall effectual­ly [Page] confute thy Cavils against the word and ways of God, and all thy self-conceited dotages. And then how soon will thy mind be changed? Then be an unbeliever if thou canst; stand then to all thy former words which thou wast wont to utter against the Scriptures, or against a holy and a heavenly life. Make good that cause then before the Lord, which thou wast wont to plead against thy Teachers, and against the people that feared God. Then stand to thy old opinions, and contemptuous thoughts of the diligence of the Saints: Make ready now thy strongest Reasons, and stand up then before the Iudge, and plead, like a man, for thy fleshly, thy unworldly, and ungodly life. But know that thou must have one to plead with that will not be outfaced by thee, nor so easily put off as we thy fellow Creatu [...]es. O poor deceived wretch­ed soul! there is nothing but a slen­der [Page] vail of flesh betwixt thee and that amazing sight, which will quickly silence thee, and turn thy tune, and make thee of another mind! As soon as Death hath draw this curtain, thou shalt see that which will quickly leave thee speechless. And how quickly will that day and hour come? When thou hast had but a few more merry hours, and but a few more pleasant draughts and morsels, and a little more of the honours or riches of the world, thy portion will be spent, and thy pleasures ended and all is then gone that thou settest thy heart upon; of all that thou soldst thy Saviour and Salvation for, there's nothing left, but the heavy reckoning. As a thief, that sits merrily drinking the money in an Ale-house which he hath stoln, when men are riding in post haste to apprehend him; so is it with you. While you are drowned in cares or fleshly pleasures, and making [Page] merry with your own shame, death is coming in post haste to seize upon you, and carry your souls to such a place and state, as now you little know or think of. Suppose when you are hold and busie in your sin, that a messenger were but coming post from London to apprehend you, and take away your lives: though you saw him not, yet if you knew that he was coming, it would marr your mirth, and you would be thinking of the haste he makes, and hearkning when he knocked as your door: O that you could but see what haste death makes, though yet it have not overtaken you! No post so swift! No messenger more sure! As sure as the Sun will be with you in the morning, though it hath many thou­sands, and hundred thousand miles to go in the night; so sure will death be quickly with you, and then where is your sport and pleasure! then will you jest and brave it out! [Page] Then will you jear at them that warned you? Then is it better to be a Believing Saint, or a sensual Worldling? And then whose shall all those things be that you have gathered? (Luke 12.19, 20, 21.) Do you not observe that dayes and weeks are quickly gone; and nights and mornings come apace and spee­d [...]ly succeed each other? You sleep; but your damnation slumbereth not: You linger; but your judg­ment this long time lingreth not: (2 Pet. 2.3, 4, 5.) to which you are reserved for punishment (2 Pet. 2.8, 9.) O that you were wise to understand this, and that you did consider your latter end! Deut. 32.29. He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear the Call of God in this day of his salvation.

O careless sinners, that you did but know the Love that you un­thankfully neglect, and the preci­ousness of the blood of Christ which [Page] you despise! O that you did but know the Riches of the Gospel! Oh that you did but know, a little know, the certainty, and the glory, and blessedness of that everlasting life, which now you will not set your hearts upon, nor be perswaded first and diligently to seek! (Heb. 11.6. & 12.28. Matth. 6.33.) Did you but know the endless Life with God which, you now neglect, how quickly would you cast away your sin: how quickly would you change your mind and life, your course and company, and turn the stream of your affecti­ons, and lay out your care another way? How resolutely would you scorn to yield to such temptations as now deceive you and carry you away? How zealously would you bestir your selves for that most bles­sed life? How earnest would you be with God in Prayer? How diligent in hearing, and learning, and enqui­ring? How serious in meditating on [Page] the Laws of God? (Psal. 1.2.) How fearful of sinning in thought, word, or deed? and how careful to please God, and grow in Holiness? O what a changed people you would be! And why should not the certain Word of God be believed by you, and prevail with you, which open­eth to you these glorious and eternal things?

Yea let me tell you, that even here on earth, you little know the difference between the Life which you refuse, and the Life which you choose? The Sanctified are conver­sing with God, when you dare scarce think of him, and when you are conversing but with earth and flesh. Their Conversation is in heaven, when you are utter strangers to it, and your belly is your God, and you are minding earthly things, Phil. 3.18, 19.20. They are seeking after the face of God, when you seek for nothing higher then this world. They [Page] are busily laying out for an endless life, where they shall be equal with the Angels, (Luke 20.36.) when you take up with a shadow, and a transitory thing of nought. How low and base is your earthly, fleshly, sinful life, in comparison of the noble spiritual life of true Be­lievers? Many a time have I looked on such men with grief and pitty, to see them trudge about the world and spend their lives, and care, and labour, for nothing but a little food and rayment, or a little fading pelf, or fleshly pleasure, or aiery honours, as if they had no higher things to mind. What diffe­rence is there between the lives of these men, and of the beasts that perish, that spend their time in working, and eating, and living but that they may live? You taste not of the inward heavenly pleasures which Believers taste and live upon. I had rather have a little of their [Page] comforts, which the fore-thoughts of their Heavenly inheritance doth afford them, though I had all their Scorns and Sufferings with it, then to have all your pleasures and treacherous Prosperity: I would not have one of your secret gripes and pangs of conscience, and dark and dreadfull thoughts of death, and the Life to come, for all that ever the world hath done for you, or all [...]hat you can reasonably hope that it should do. If I were in your Vnconverted Carnal state, and knew but what I know, and belie­ved but what I now believe, me­thinks my life would be a foretaste of Hell: How oft should I be thinking of the Terrours of the Lord, and of the dismal day that's hasting on! Sure Death and Hell would be still before me: I should think of them by day, and dream of them by night; I should lie down in fear, and rise in fear, and live in [Page] fear, lest death should come before I were Converted. I should have small felicity in any thing that I possessed; and little pleasure in any company, and a little joy in any thing in the world; as long as I knew my se [...]f to be under the Curse and wrath of God. I should be still afraid of hearing that voice, Luke 12.20 [Thou fool, this night shall thy soul be required of thee.] And that fearfull sentence would be written upon my conscience, Isa. 48.22. and 57.21. [There is no Peace saith my God, to the wicked.] O poor sinners! it is a joyfuller life then this that you might live, if you were but willing, but truly willing to hearken to Christ and come home to God. You might then draw near to God with boldness and call him your Father, and com­fortably trust him with your souls and bodies. If you look upon Pro­mises, you may say, they are all [Page] mine. If upon the curse, you may say, [From this I am delivered!] When you read the Law, you may see what you are saved from: when you read the Gospel, you may see him that Redeemed you, and see the course of his Love, and holy Life, and sufferings, and trace him in his temptations, tears and blood, in the work of your salvation: You may see death conquered, and Heaven opened, and your Resurrection and Glorification provided for in the Resurrection and Glorification of your Lord. If you look on the Saints, you may say, [They are my Bre­thren and Companions.] If on the unsanctified, you may rejoyce to think that you are saved from that state. If you look upon the heavens, the Sun, and Moon, and Stars innumerable, you may think and say, [My Fathers face is infi­nitely more glorious: Its higher matters that he hath prepared for [Page] his Saints: Yonder is but the out­ward Court of Heaven. The blessedness that he hath promised me is so much higher, that flesh and blood cannot behold it.] If you think of the grave, you may remember that the Glorified Spi­rit, a Living Head, and a Loving Father, have all so near Relation to your dust, that it cannot be for­gotten or neglected, but will more certainly revive, then the plants and flowers in the spring; because that the soul is still alive that is the Root of the Body, and Christ is alive that is the Root of both. Even death, which is the King of fears, may be remembred and enter­tained with joy; as being the day of your deliverance from the rem­nants of sin and sorrow, and the day which you believed, and hoped, and wa [...]ted for, when you shall see the blessed things which you had heard of, and shall find by present joyful [Page] experience, what it was to choose the better part, and to be a sincere be­lieving Saint. What say you sirs, is not this a more delightfull life to be assured of Salvation, and ready to die, then to live as the ungodly that have their hearts overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness, and the cares of this life, and so that day comes upon them una­wares? Luke 21.34, [...]6. Might you not live a comfortable life, if once you were made the Heirs of Heaven, and sure to be saved when you leave the world? O look about you then, and think what you do, and cast not away such hopes as these for very nothing. The flesh and world can give you no such Hopes or Comforts.

And besides all the misery that you bring upon your selves, you are the troublers of others as long as you are Vnconverted. You trouble Magistrates to rule you by their [Page] Laws. You trouble Ministers by resisting the light and guidance which they offer you: Your sin and misery is the greatest grief and trouble to them in the world. You trouble the Common-wealth, and draw the Iudgements of God upon us: Its you that most disturb the holy peace and order of the Chur­ches, and hinder our Vnion and Re­formation, and are the shame and trouble of the Churches where you intrude, and of the places where you are. Ah Lord! How heavy and sad a case is this, that even in England where the Gospel doth abound, above any other Nation in the world, where Teaching is so plain and common, and all the helps we can desire are at hand; when the sword hath been hewing us, and Iudgement hath run as a fire through the Land; when deliver­ances have relieved us, and so many admirable mercies have engaged us [Page] to God and to the Gospel, and an ho­ly life, that yet after all this, our Cities, and Towns, and Countries should abound with multitudes of unsanctified men, and swarm with so much sensuality as everywhere to our grief we see. One would have thought that after all this Light, and all this experience, and all these Iudgements and Mercies of God, the people of this Nation should have joyned together as one man to Turn to the Lord; and should have come to their godly Teachers, and lamented all their former sin, and desired him to joyn with them in publike Humiliation, to confess them openly, and beg pardon of them from the Lord; and should have craved his Instruction for the time to come, and be glad to be Ruled by the Spi­rit within, and the Ministers of Christ without, according to the Word of God. One would think that after such Reason and Scri­pture [Page] evidence as they hear, and af­ter all these means and mercies, there should not be an ungodly per­so [...] lest among us, nor a worldling, o [...] a drunkard, or a hater of Re­formation, or an enemy to holiness be found in all our Towns or Coun­treys. If we be not all agreed about some Ceremo [...]ies or Forms of Go­vernment, one would think that be­fore this, We should have been all agreed to live a holy and hea­venly l [...]fe, in obedience to God, his word and Ministers, and in Love and Peace with one another. But alas, how far are our people from this course! most of them in most places do set their hearts on earthly things, and seek not first the Kingdom of God, and the righteou [...]ne [...]s hereof; but look at holines [...] as a needless thing: Their Families are prayerless, or else a few hea [...]tl [...]ss l [...]feless words must serve instead of hearty fervent dai­ly [Page] prayers: their children are not taught the knowledge of Christ, and the Covenant of Grace, nor brought up in the nurture of the Lord, though they fa [...]sly promised all this in their Baptism. They instruct not their servants in the matters of sal­vation, but so their work be done they care not. There are more oaths and [...]n [...]ses and ribbald or railing speeches in their families, then gra­cious words that tend to edification. How few are the Families that fear the Lord and enquire at his Word and Ministers, how they should live, and what they should do, and are willing to be taught and ruled, and that heartily look after ever­lasting Life? And those few that God hath made so happy, are com­monly the by-word of their neigh­bours; when we see some live in drunkenness, and some in pride and worldliness, and most of them have little care of their salvation; though [Page] the cause be gross and past all con­troversie, yet will they hardly be convinced of their misery, and more hardly recovered and reformed: But when we have done all that we are able to save them from their sins, we leave the most of them as we find them. And if according to the Law of God, we cast them out of the Communion of the Church, when they have obstinately rejected all our admonitions, they rage at us as if we were their enemies, and their hearts are filled with malice against us; and they will sooner set them­selves against the Lord, and his Laws and Church, and Ministers, then against their deadly si [...]s. This is the dolefull case of England. We have Magistrates that countenance the ways of Godliness; and a happy opportunity for Vnity and Refor­mation is before us, and faithfull Ministers long to see the right or­dering of the Church▪ and of the [Page] Ordinances of God; but the power of sin in our people doth frustrate almost all. Nowhere almost can a faithfull Minister set up the unque­stionable Discipline of Christ, or put back the most scandalous impe­nitent sinners from the Communion of the Church, and participation of the Sacraments, but the most of the people rail at them, and revise them; as if these ignorant careless souls were wiser then their teachers, or then God himself; and fitter to rule the Church then they. And thus in the day of our visitation, when God calls upon us to Reform his Church, though Magistrates seem willing, and faithful Ministers are willing, yet are the multitude of the people still unwilling, and sin hath so blinded them and hardned their hearts, that even in these days of Light and Grace, they are the ob­stinate enemies of Light and Grace, and will not be brought by the Calls [Page] of God, to see their folly, and know what is for their good. O that the people of England knew at least in this their day the things that be­long unto their peace, before they are hid from their eyes! Luke 19.42.

O f [...]ol [...]sh miserable souls! (Gal. 3.1.) who hath bewitched your minds into such madness, and your hearts into such a deadness, that you should be such mortal enemies to your selves, and go on so obstinate­ly towards damnation, that neither the word of God, nor the perswasi­ons of men can change your minds, or hold your hands, or stop you till you are past remedy! Well, sinner [...]! this life will not last alwayes, this patience will not wait up [...]n you still. Do not think that you shall abuse your Maker and Redeemer, and serve his enemies, a [...]d debase your souls, and trouble the world, and wrong the Church, and reproach the [Page] godly, and grieve your Teachers, and hinder reformation, and all this upon free cost. You know not yet what this must cost you; but you must shortly know, when the righ­teous God shall take you in hand, who will handle you in another man­ner then the sharpest Magistrates, or the plainest dealing Pastors did, unless you prevent the everlasting torments by a sound conversion, and i [...] speedy obeying of the Call of God. He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear, while mercy hath a voice to Call!

One desperate Objection (which I have after touched, but with too much brevity) I find sticks close to the hearts of many ungodly men. They think that God doth not so much care what men think or say, or do, as we perswade them, and therefore they care so little them­selves. For the convincing of such Atheistical men as these, I shall pro­pound [Page] these following Question,

1. Dost thou think God careth whether thou be a man or not? If not, Who made thee, and preserveth thee? If he do then sure he careth whether thou behave thy self as a man. No man is so foolish as to make any instrument, or build an house, or a ship, and not to care when he hath done, whether it be good for the use he made it for? Do not for shame then impute such folly to the God of Wisdom, as if he made so noble a creature as man, and en­dowed him with such noble facul­ties, and all for nothing; and ca­reth not what becometh of him when he hath done. Why should God give thee a mind that can know him; and a heart that can love him, if he cared not whether thou know him, and love him or not? Do you not see that in the course of [...]ature every thing is fitted to its use? The beasts know not God, nor [Page] are capable of loving him, beca [...]se they were made for no such use; but thy capacity shews that thou wast made for God, and for a life to come.

2. Dost thou think that God is everywhere present, and infinite, and Al-sufficient? If not, thou dost not believe that he is God; And it is u [...]re [...]sonable to imagine that God hath made a world that is greater and more extensive or comprehen­sive then himself: for none can com­municate more then he hath. But if thou a [...]t forced to confess that God is everywhere, and as sufficient for every single m [...]n as if he had never another creature to regard, you must need [...] confess then that he is not careless of the hearts and wayes of the Sons of men: For they are things that are still before his eyes. It is base and blasphemous thoughts of God, as if he were li­mited, absent or insufficient, that [Page] makes men think him so regardless of their hearts and ways.

3. Dost thou think that God careth what becomes of thy bo­dy? Whether thou be sick or well? whether thou live or die? If not, then how comest thou by thy life, and health, and mercies? If they come from any other fountain-tell us from whence; Is it not to God that thou prayest for life and health? Darest thou say to him, I will not depend upon thee? I will not be beholden to thee for the life and mercies of another day? If so, then thou art a blinded Atheist. But if thou think God cares for thy body, canst thou think he cares not more for thy soul? If he must regard to fur­nish thee with mercies, he will sure have a regard whether thou Love and Live to him that gave them.

4. Dost thou believe that God is the Governour of the world or [Page] not? If not, then there can be no rightfull Government. For as no Iustice of Peace can have Power but from the Soveraign, so no So­veraign can have power but from God, nor be a lawful Governour but under him. And then all the world would be turned into confusi­on. But if thou must needs confess that God is the Governour of the world, what an unwise, unrighteous Governour wouldst thou make him, if thou think that he regardeth not the hearts and ways of those whom he doth govern? This still is but to deny him to be God.

5. If God do not care so much what is in our hearts, or what we do, Why then would he make a Law for our hearts, and words, and ways? Would he command us that which he doth not care for? Would be so strictly forb [...]d us sin, if he were indifferent, whether we sin or no? Would he promise eternal life to the [Page] holy and obedient, if he care not whether we be holy and obedient or no? would he threaten Hell to all that are ungodly, if he care not whe­ther we were godly or not? Darest thou say that the Almighty Holy God is fain to rule the world by a Lie, and to deceive men into obedi­ence? Yea the very Law of nature it self doth contain not only precepts of our duty, but the Hopes and fears of a Life to come, w [...]thout which the world could not be governed! And certainly they are no deceits, by which are infinite Wisdom, and Pow­er, and Goodness doth govern the world.

6. If God did not much regard our hearts and lives, why doth he make all the world to be our Ser­vants? Doth he give us Sun, and Moon, and Stars, the earth and all the creatures to attend us, and serve us with their lives and vir­tues, and yet doth he not care for [Page] our hearts or service? This is as foolish as to say, that he hath made all the world in vain, and careth not for it now he hath made it.

7. If he cared not for the frame of our hearts and lives, he would not have sent his Son to Redeem us, and to cleanse us from all iniquity, and sanctifie us a peculiar people to himself, Tit. 2.14. Surely the price that was paid for sinners, and the wonderful design of God in our Redemption, doth shew that he makes not light of sin, and that he is won­derfully in love with holiness.

8. If God did not regard our hearts and lives, he would not have made it the office of his Ministers, to call us daily to Repentance and an holy life; Nor commanded them to make such a stir with sinners to win them unto God; He would not have appointed all his Ordinances, publick and private also to this end. Doth God command all this [Page] ado, for a thing that he regards not?

9. Nor would he punish the world with Hell hereafter, or so many dreadful judgements here, as thousands feel, if he cared not what they think or do? Methinks men that are so often groaning under his rod, should feel that he looks after their hearts and wayes.

10. And how can the Holy Ghost be our Sanctifier, if God be so indifferent whether we be clean or unclean? Dare you think that the Holy Ghost doth take upon him a needless work?

11. Methinks you might per­ceive even in the malice of the Tempter, that God is holy, and hateth iniquity, and his Word is true that telleth us of the eternal punishment of sin. This Scripture tells us of the Angels fall, and that many of them are become De­vils by their sin, and are malicious [Page] enemies of mans salvation. And do you not easily perceive it to be true? How come they else to be such importunate Tempters of men: which we feel, alas, by too much ex­perience? Or if this evidence be not palpable enough to convince the Infidel, How come they to make so many bargains with Conjurers and Witches, to draw them from God and Salvation, as they have done? How come they to appear in terrible shapes to so many as they have done, and still upon designs that declare their own dejected base Condition, and their enmity to God and man, and their eager desire to engage men in a way of sin? If any Infidel will not believe that really there have been Witches and Appariti­ons, and consequently that there are Devils who are miserable and malicious spirits; who by sin are cast out of the favour of God, and would draw men into their miserable [Page] case, let them come and reason the case with me, and I shall quickly tell them of so many, sure undeny­able instances, and give them so much proof of the truth of it, as shall leave them nothing to say against it, [...]less they will still say, [We will not believe.] Yea so much, as that I will not be beholden to the vilest Atheist or Infidel to be­lieve it, if he will not quite renounce his Reason, but give it leave to see the Light.

12. Lastly, if yet you think that God (the Soveraign Ruler of the world, that is everywhere present and preserveth all) doth care so little what men are, or what they do, whether they are holy or unholy, obedient or disobedient to his Laws, then methinks that you your selves, and all the rest of your fellow-crea­tures should little care. Two Que­stions therefore I must here propound to you. 1. Do not you care what [Page] men say of you, or do to you? Are you contented that men slander you and abase you, or set your houses or Towns on fire, or destroy your cattle, or wives and children, and imprison, wound or kill your selves? If you will make a great matter of what men say or do against you, can you be so mad (for it is no bet­ter) as to think that the Omnipo­tent, Holy God should little regard what's said or done against himself, and against h [...]s servants, and that by such silly worms as men, that are his workmanship? Did not selfish­ness make you blind and partial, you would know, that one sin against God, deserves more punishment, then ten thousand thousand times as much, against such silly things as you. Do you make no matter of difference between a bad servant and a good? an obedient, and a dis­obedient child? a Son that would lay down his life for you, and a Son [Page] that longs for your death that he may have your Lands? between a faithful friend and a deadly enemy? If you do not, you are not men but something else in humane shape. If you do, then you are somewhat worse then men, if yet you would have the Blessed God to make no great dif­ference between those that love him above all the world, and those that regard him not; between the Holy and unholy soul.

And 2. I would ask you, Whether you would have the Rulers of the world to take no care what men say or do, or would you not? If not, then you would have all the world turned loose, and you would have every man that is poorer then you, have leave to rob you: and every man that hateth you, have leave to beat you or to kill you: and every man that liketh your house, or lands, or goods, or cattle, to have leave to take them from you; and every man to defile your [Page] wives or daughters that hath a mind to it? And so we should see whether it is that Infidelity leads men. But if you like not this, then you are most unreasonable, if you would have Magistrates to be regardful of mens actions, and not God. If Magistrates must hang men for wronging you, and the Eternal Majesty must not punish them for wronging him, and breaking his Laws, which is infinitely a greater matter. As if you would have a Constable punish men, and the King or Iudge to have no regard of it. For Kings are under God, as Constables are under Kings; and a thousandfold lower.

The truth is, wicked men are fallen so far from God to themselves, that they are as gods to themselves, in their own esteem, and besides themselves they know no God: and therefore any wrong that is done against them, or any good that is [Page] done for them, they would have re­garded; but the wrong and disobe­dience that is against God, they would have nothing made of. And they have such narrow blasphemous thoughts of God, as if he were a fi­nite creature like themselves, that can be but in one place at once; that makes them so blaspheme his Provi­dence, and think he minds not Good or Evil, and will not reward the godly or punish the ungodly; but [...]ere like the Idols of the Heathen, that have eyes and see not, ears and hear not, and hands without an exe­cutive power. But when the Me­morial Book of God is opened, which is written for them that fear the Lord, and think upon his name, and when the Lord shall say of them, These are mine, as he is making up his Iewels, and spareth them as [...] man spareth his Son that serveth him, then shall (those Infidels) [...]turn (to their wits) and the [Page] righteous shall return from their fears and sufferings, and shall dis­cern between the Righteous and the Wicked, between those that served God, and those that served him not, Mal. 3.16 17, 18.

Another Objection I find most common in the mouths of the un­godly, especially of late years. They say, [We can do nothing with­out God; We cannot have grace if God will not give it us: and if he will, we shall quickly Turn: If he have not predestinated us, and will not Turn us, how can we Turn our selves or be saved? It is not in him that wills, nor in h [...]m that runs;] And thus they think they are excused.

I have answered this formerly, and in this book; but let me now say this much. 1. Though you cannot cure your selves, you can hurt and poison your selves. Its God that must sanctifie your hearts; but who cor­rupted [Page] them? Will you wilfully take Poison because you cannot cure your selves? Me think you should the more forbear it. You should the more take heed of sinning, if you cannot mend what sin doth marr. 2. Though you cannot be converted without the special Grace of God, yet you must know that God giveth this Grace in the use of his holy means which he hath appointed to that end; and common grace may enable you to forbear your gross sin­ning (as to the outward act) and to use those means. Can you truly say that you do as much as you are able to do? Are you not able to go by an Ale-house door, or to shut your mouths and keep out the drink; or to forbear the company that hardneth you in sin? Are you not able to go to hear the word, and think of what you heard when you come home, and to consider with your selves of your own condition, and of everlasting [Page] things? Are you not able to read good Books from day to day, at least on the Lords day, and to convers [...] with those that fear the Lord? You cannot say that you have done what you were able. 3. And therefore you must know that you can forfeit the Grace and help of God by your wilful sinning or negligence, though you cannot without Grace turn to God. If you will not do what you can, its just with God to deny you that grace by which you might do more. 4. And for Gods Decrees, you must know that they separate not the end and means, but tie them together. God never decreed to save any but the sanctified, nor to damn any but the unsanctified. God doth as truly Decree from everlasting whether your Land this year shall be barren or fruitful, and just how long you shall live in the world, as he hath Decreed whether you shall be saved or not. And yet you would [Page] think that man but a fool that would forbear plowing and sowing, and say, If God have Decreed that my ground shall bear corn, it will bear it, whether I plough and sow or not. If God have decreed that I shall live, I shall live, whether I eat or not; but if he have not, it is not eating that will keep me alive. Do you know how to answer such a man, or do you not? If you do, then you know how to answer your selves; for the case is alike▪ Gods Decree is as peremptory about your bodies, as your souls. If you do not, then try first these conclu­sions upon your bodies, before you venture to try them on your souls: see first whether God will keep you alive without food or rayment, and whether he will give you corn with­out tillage and labour, and whether he will bring you to your journeys and without your travel or carriage: and if you speed well in this, then [Page] try whether he will bring you to heaven without your diligent use of means, and sit down and say, we cannot sanctifie our selves.

And for the point of Free-will which you harp so long upon, Di­vines are not so much disagreed about it, as you imagine. Augustine as well as Pelagius, Calvin as well as Arminius, the Dominicans as well as the Iesuits, all do generally maintain that man hath Free-will; but the Orthodox say, that Free-will is corrupted and disposed to evil. Epiphanius condemned Ori­gen for saying that man had lost the image of God, and makes it a point of Heresie. And yet one may truly say, that man hath lost Gods image, and another may truly say that he hath not lost it. For there is a twofold image of God on man; the one is Natural, and that is, Our Reason and Free-will, and this is not lost. The other is Qua­litative [Page] and Ethical, and this is our Holiness, and this is lost, and by Grace restored; No man of brains denyeth that man hath a will that's Naturally free; Its free from vio­lence, and its a self determining Principle. But it is not free from evil Dispositions. It is Habitually averse to God and Holiness, and en­clined to earthly fleshly things. It is enslaved by a sinful byas. This no man me thinks that it a Christian should deny; and of the Aged, I see not how an Infidel can deny it. Alas, we easily confess to you, that you have not this Spiritual Moral-Free will, which is but your right Inclination, and your Habitual Willingness it self. If you had a will that were freed from wicked Inclinations, I had no need to write such Books a [...] this to perswade you to be willing in a case which your own salvation lyeth on. To the grief of our souls, we perceive after all [Page] our preaching and perswasions, that the ungodly have not this spiritual free wil. But this is nothing, but your willingness it self, & inclination to be willing, and therefore the want of it is so far from excusing you, that the more you want it (that is, the more you are wilful in sin) the worse you are, and the sorer will be your punish­ment. And our preaching and per­swasion, and your Hearing and Con­sidering, are the appointed means it get this Moral power or Freedom, that is, to make you truly willing.

Well, Sirs, I have but three re­quests to you, and I have done. First, that you will seriously read over this small Treatise: (and if you have such as need it in your Families, that you would read it over and over to them: and if those that fear God would go now and then to their ignorant neighbours, and read [...]his or some other Book to them of [...]his subject, they might be a mean [...] [Page] of winning of souls.) If we cannot intreate so small a Labour of men for their own salvation, as to read such short Instructions as these, they set little by themselves, and will most justly perish. Secondly, when you have read over this Book, I would intreate you to go alone, and ponder a little what you have read, and bethink you, as in the sight of God, whether it be not true, and do not neerly touch your souls, and whether it be not time for you to look about you. And also I intreate you, that you will upon your knees beseech the Lord that he will open your eyes to understand the truth, and turn your hearts to the Love of God, and beg of him all that saving grace that you have so long neglect­ed, and follow it on from day to day, till your hearts be changed. And withall that you will go to your Pa­stors (that are set over you to take care of the health and safety of your [Page] souls, as Physitians do for the health of your bodies) and desire them to direct you what course to take, and acquaint them with your spiritual estate, that you may have the bene­fit of their Advice, and Ministerial help. Or if you have not a faithful Pastor at home, make use of some other, in so great a need. Thirdly, When by Reading, Consideration, Prayer and Ministerial Advice, you are once acquainted with your sin and misery, with your Duty and Remedy, delay not, but presently forsake your sinful company and courses, and turn to God, and obey his Call. A [...] you love your souls, take heed that you go not on against so loud a Call of God, and against your own knowledge and consciences, lest it go worse with you in the day of Iudgement, then with Sodom and Gomorrah. Enquire of God, as a man that is willing to know the truth, and not to be a wilful C [...]ea­ter [Page] of his soul. Search the holy Scri­ptures daily, and see whether these things be so or not: try imparti­ally whether it be safer to trust to Heaven or Earth, and whether it be better follow God or man, the Spirit, or the flesh, and better live in Holiness, or sin; and whether an unsanctified estate be safe for you to abide in one day longer. And when you have found out which is best, Resolve accordingly, and make your choice without any more ado. If you will be true to your own souls, and do not love ever­lasting torments, I beseech you as from the Lord, that you will but take this reasonable advices. O what happy Towns and Countreys, and what a happy nation might we have, if we could but perswade our neigh­bours to agree to such a necessary motion! What joyful men would all faithful: Ministers be, if they could but see their people truly hea­venly [Page] and holy! This would be the Vnity, the Peace, the Safety, the glory of our Churches: the happi­ness of our neighbours, and the comfort of our souls. Then how comfortably should we preach Ab­solution and Peace to you? and de­liver the Sacraments which are the Seals of Peace to you? And with what Love and Ioy might we live among you? At your death-bed, how boldly might we comfort and encourage your departing souls? and at your Burial, how comfort­ably might we leave you in the grave, in expectation to meet your souls in heaven, and to see your bo­dies raised to that glory?

But if still the most of you will go on in a careless, ignorant, fleshly, wordly, or unholy life, and all our desires and labours cannot so far pre­vail as to keep you from the wilful damning of your selves, we must then imitate our Lord, who delight­eth [Page] himself in those few that are his jewels, and in the little Flock that shall receive the Kingdom, when the most shall reap the misery which they sowed. In nature excellent things are few: The world hath not many Suns or Moons: Its but a little of the earth that's gold or silver. Prin­ces and Nobles are but a small part of the Sons of men. And it is no great number that are Learned, Iudici­ous or wise here in the world; And therefore if the gate being strait, and the way narrow, there be but few that find salvation, yet God will have his glory and pleasure in those few. And when Christ shall come with his mighty Angels in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the Gospel of our Lord Iesus Christ, his coming will to be glorified in his Saints and admired in all true be­lievers, 2 Thes. 1.7, 8, 9, 10.

And for the rest, as God the Fa­ther [Page] vouchsafed to create them, and God the Son disdained not to bear the penalty of their sins upon the cross, and did not judge such suffering vain, though he knew that by re­fusing the Sanctification of the Holy Ghost, they would finally destroy themselves; so we that are his Mi­nisters, though these be not gather­ed, judge not our labour wholly lost (see Isa 49 5.)

Reader, I have done with thee (when thou hast perused this Book) but sin hath not yet done with thee (even those that thou thoughtest had been forgotten long ago) and Satan hath not yet done with thee (though now he be out of sight;) and God hath not yet done with thee, because thou wilt not be perswaded to have done with the deadly reigning sin. I have written thee this perswasive, as one that is going into another world, where the things are seen that here I speak of; and as one that knoweth [Page] thou must be shortly there thy self. As ever thou wilt meet me with Comfort before the Lord that made us, as ever thou wilt escape the ever­lasting plagues prepared for the fi­nal neglecters of salvation, and for all that are not sanctified by the Holy Ghost, and love not the com­munion of the Saints, as members of the Holy Catholick Church, and as ever thou hopest to see the face of Christ thy Iudge, and of the Ma­jesty of the Father, with Peace and Comfort, and to be received into glo­ry, when thou art turned naked out of this world, I beseech thee, I charge thee, to hear and obey the Call of God, and Resolvedly to Turn, that thou maist Live. But if thou Wilt not, even when thou hast no true Reason for it, but Be­cause thou wilt not: I summon thee to answer' it before the Lord, and require thee there to bear me witness that I gave thee warning; [Page] and that thou wast not condemned for want of a Call to Turn and Live, but because thou wouldst not believe it, and obey it: which also must be the Testimony of

Thy serious Monitor Rich. Baxter.

The Contents.

  • A Preface to the Un­sanctified, exhorting them to turn, and an­swering some Obje­ctions.
  • The text opened, p. 1. to 9.
  • Doct. 1. It is the unchangeable Law of God that wicked men must Turn or Die, p. 9.
  • Proved, p. 11.
  • Obj. God will not be so unmerciful as to Damn us: Answered, p. 14, 15.
  • The Use, p. 22.
  • Who are wicked men, and what Con­version is; and how we may know whether we are wicked or Converted p. 27. to p. 45.
  • Applyed, p. 45. to p. 70.
  • [Page] Doct. 2. It is the Promise of God that the wicked shall live if they will but Turn; that is, unfeignedly and throughly Turn, p. 70.
  • Proved, p. 77.
  • Doct. 3. God taketh pleasure in mens Conversion and salvation; but not [...] their death or damnation: He had rather they would Turn and Live; then go on and Die, p 85.
  • Expound­ed, to p. 93.
  • Proved, p. 93. to p. 103.
  • Doct. 4. The Lord hath confirmed it to us by his Oath, that he hath no Plea­sure in the death of the wicked, but that he Turn and Live: that he may leave man no pretence to doubt of it, p. 103.
  • Vse. Who is it then that takes pleasure in mens sin and death? Not God, nor Ministers, nor any good men, p. 106.
  • Doct. 5. So earnest is God for the Con­version of sinners, that he doubleth his commands and exhortations with vehemency, Turn ye, Turn ye, Applyed. p. 120.
  • Some Motives to obey Gods Call and Turn, p. 126.
  • Doct. 6. The Lord condescendeth to reason the case with Unconverted sinners, and to ask them, Why they [Page] will die? p. 152.
  • A strange Disputation. 1. For the Question. 2. The Disputants. Wicked men will die, or destroy them­selves, p. 154.
  • Vse. The sinners cause is certainly un­reasonable, p. 163.
  • Their seeming Reasons confuted. p. 175,
  • Qu. Why are men so unreasonable and loth to Turn, and will destroy them­selves? p. 200. answered.
  • Doct. 7. If after all this men will not turn, it is not long of God that they are condemned, but of themselves, even of their own wilfulness. They die because they will die, that is, be­cause they will not turn, p. 209.
  • Vse 1. How unfit the wicked are to charge God with their Damnation. It is not because God is unmerciful, but because they are cruel and mer­ciless to themselves, p. 225.
  • Obj. We cannot convert our selves; nor have we Free-will. Answered, p. 235. (and in the Preface.)
  • Vse. 2. The subtilty of Satan; the de­ceitfulness of sin; and the folly of sin­ners; manifested, p. 238,
  • Vse. 3. No wonder if the wicked would hinder the Conversion and Salvation [Page] of others, p. 240.
  • Vse 4. Man is the greatest enemy to himself, p. 241.
  • Mans destruction is of himself, proved, p. 242.
  • The hainous aggravations of self-de­stroying, p. 257.
  • The concluding Exhortation, p. 263.
  • Ten Directions for those that had rather Turn then Die, p. 273. to the end.

These Books following of the same Authors, are also Print­ed for Nevil Simmons Book-sel­seller in Kederminster.

TRue Christianity, or Christs Abso­lute dominion, and mans necessary self-resignation and Subjection, in two Assize Sermons preacht at Worcester, in 12o.

A Sermon of Judgement preached at Pauls, before the Honorable Lord Major and Aldermen of the City of London, Decem. 17. 1654. and now enlarged, in 12o.

Making light of Christ and Salvation [...]oo oft the Issue of Gospel Invitations, manifest in a Sermon preached at Law- [...]eace Iury in London, 8o.

The Agreement of divers Ministers of Christ in the County of Worcester for Ca­techizing or personal Instructing all in their several Parishes that will Consent thereunto, containing 1. The Articles of our Agreement. 2. An Exhortation to the people to submit to this necessary work. 3. The Profession of Faith and Catechism, in 8o.

Guildas Salvianus, the Reformed Pa­stor, shewing the nature of the Pastoral [Page] work, especially in private instruction and Catechizing, in 8o.

Certain Disputations of Right to Sacra­ments, and the True Nature of Visible Christianity, 4o.

Of Justification: four Disputation [...] clearing and amicably defending the Truth, against the unnecessary Oppositi­ons of divers Learned and Reverend Bre­thren, 4o.

A Treatise of Conversion preached and now published for the use of those that are strangers to a true Conversion, especi­ally the grosly Ignorant and Ungodly▪ 4▪

One sheet for the Ministry against the Malignants of all sorts.

A Winding-sheet for Popery.

One sheet against the Quakers.

A second sheet for the Ministry, Justi­fying our Calling against Quakers, Seek­ers and Papists, and all that deny us to be the Ministers of Christ.

Directions to Justices of Peace, espe­cially in Corporations, to the discharge of their duty to God, written at the request of a Magistrate, and Published for the use of others that need it.

The Crucifying of the world, by the Cross of Christ: With a Preface to the Nobles, Gentlemen, and all the Rich, e­recting them how they may be Richer.

A CALL TO THE Unconverted.

Ezek. 33.11.

Say unto them, 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?

IT hath been the astonishing wonder of many a man as well as me, to read in the holy Scrip­pture how few will be saved, and that the greatest part [Page 2] even of those that are called, will be everlastingly shut out of the Kingdom of Heaven, and be tor­mented with the Devils in Eternal fire. Infidels believe not this when they read it, and therefore must feel it. Those that do believe it, are forced to cry out with Paul Rom. 11.33. Oh the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and know­ledge of God! How unsearchable are his Iudgements, and his waies past finding out! But nature it self doth teach us all to lay the blame. of evil works upon the doers; and therefore when we see any hainous thing done, a prin­ciple of justice doth provoke us to enquire after him that did it, that the evil of the work may return the evil of shame upon the au­thor. If we saw a man killed and cut in pieces by the way, we would presently ask, Oh who did this cruel deed? If the town were wilfully [Page 3] set on fire, you would ask, What wicked wretch did this? So when we read that the most will be fire­brands of hell for ever, we must needs think with our selves, How comes this to pass? and who is it long of? Who is it that is so cruel as to be the cause of such a thing as this? And we can meet with few that will own the guilt. It is indeed confest by all that Satan is the cause: but that doth not re­solve the doubt, because he is not the principal cause. He doth not force men to sin, but tempt them to it, and leave it to their own wills whether they will do it or not. He doth not carry men to an Ale­house, and force open their mouths, and pour in the drink, nor doth he hold them that they cannot go to Gods service, nor doth he force their hearts from holy thoughts. It lieth therefore between God himself and the sin­ner: [Page 4] One of them must needs be the principall cause of all this mi­sery, which ever it is: For there is no other to cast it upon; And God disclaimeth it. He will not take it upon him. And the wicked disclaim it usually, and they will not take it upon them. And this is the Controversie that is here ma­naging in my text.

The Lord complaineth of the people; and the people think it is long of God. The same contro­versie is handled Chap. 18. where Verse 25. they plainly say, that the way of the Lord is not equal, and God saith, It is their wayes that are not equal. So here they say, Verse 19. If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how shall we then live ▪ As if they should say, If we must die and be miserable, how can we help it? As if it were not long of them, but God. But God in my [Page 5] text doth clear himself of it, and telleth them how they may help it if they will, and perswadeth them to use the means, and if they will not be perswaded, he lets them know that it is long of themselves; and if this will not satisfie them, he will not therefore forbear to punish them: It is He that will be the Judge; and he will Judge them according to their wayes; They are no Judges of him or of themselves; as wanting authority, and wisdom, and impartiality: Nor is it their cavilling and quarrelling with God that shall serve their turn, or save them from the execu­tion of Justice which they murmur at.

The words of this Verse con­tain, 1. Gods purgation or clear­ing of himself from the blame of their Destruction. This he doth, not by disowning his Law, that the wicked shall die, nor by disown­ing [Page 6] his Judgement and Execution according to that Law; or giving them any hope that the Law shall not be executed; But by profes­sing that it is not their death that he takes pleasure in, but their re­turning rather, that they may live: And this he confirmeth to them by his Oath. 2. An express Ex­hortation to the wicked to Re­turn; wherein God doth not on­ly Command, but perswade, and condescend also to reason the case with them, Why they will die? The direct end of this Exhortati­on is, That they may Turn and Live. The Secundary or reserved ends, upon supposition that this is not attained, are these two. First to convince them by the means which he used, that it is not long of God if they be miserable. Secondly to convince them from their manifest wilfulness in reje­cting all his commands and per­swasions, [Page 7] that it is long of them­selves: and they die even because they Will die.

The substance of the Text doth lie in these observations follow­ing.

  • Doct. 1. It is the unchangable Law of God that wicked men must Turn or Dye.
  • Doct. 2. It is the promise of God, that the wicked shall live if they will but Turn.
  • Doct. 3. God taketh pleasure in mens Conversion and Salvation, but not in their death or dam­nation. He had rather they would return and live, then go on and die.
  • Doct. 4. This is a most certain truth, which because God would not have men to question, he hath confirmed it to them solemnly by his Oath.
  • Doct. 5. The Lord doth redouble [Page 8] his commands and perswasions to the wicked to Turn.
  • [...]ct. 6. The Lord condescendeth to reason the case with them, and asketh the wicked, Why they will die?
  • Doct. 7. If after all this the wic­ked will not turn, it is not long of God that they perish, but of themselves: their own wilfulness is the cause of their damnation, they therefore die, because they will die.

Having laid the Text open be­fore your eyes in these plain pro­positions, I shall next speak some­what of each of them in order; though very briefly.

Doct. 1. IT is the unchangeable Law of God that wic­ked men must Turn or Die.

If you will believe God, believe this: There is but one of these two wayes for every wicked man, either Conversion or Damnation. I know the wicked will hardly be perswaded either of the truth or Equity of this. No wonder if the Guilty quarrel with the Law. Few men are apt to believe that which they would not have to be true: And fewer would have that to be true which they apprehend to be against them. But it is not quar­relling with the Law, or with the Judge, that will save the Malefa­ctor. Believing and regarding the Law might have prevented his death: but denying and accusing [...]t will but hasten it. If it were not [Page 10] so, an hundred would bring their reasons against the Law, for one that would brind his reason to the Law: and men would rather choose to give their reasons why they should not be punished, then to hear the commands and reasons of their Governours which require them to obey. The Law was not made for you to Judge, but that you might be ruled and Judged by it.

But if there be any so blind [...] to venture to question, either the Truth or the Justice of this Law of God, I shall briefly give you that Evidence of both, which not thinks should satisfie a reasonable man.

And first, if you doubt whether this be the word of God or not, besides an hundred other texts, you may be satisfied by these few. Mat. 18.3. Verely I say unto you, except ye be converted and become [Page 11] as little children, ye cannot enter in­to the Kingdom of Heaven. John 3, 3. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again he can­not see the Kingdom of God 2 Cor. 5.17. If a man be in Christ, he is a new creature: Old things are past away, behold all thing are become new. Colos, 3.9.10. Ye have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him. Heb. 12.14. Without holiness none shall see God. Rom. 8.8, 9. So then they that are in the flesh can­not please God. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. Gal. 6.15. For in Christ Iesus neither Circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumci­sion, but a new creature. 1 Pet. 1.3. According to his abundant grace he hath begotten us again to a lively hope. Verse 23. Being born [Page 12] again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever, 1 Pet. 2.1, 2. Wherefore lay­ing aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and evil speakings, as new born babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby. Psalm 9.17. The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the Nations that forget God. Psalm 11.5. And the Lord loveth the righteous, but the wicked his soul hateth.

As I need not stay to open these Texts which are so plain, so I think I need not add any more of that multitude which speak the like: If thou be a man that dost believe the Word of God: here's already enough to satisfie thee, that the wicked must be converted or con­demned. You are already brought so far, that you must either con­fess that this is true, or say plainly▪ [Page 13] you will not believe the Word of God. And if once you be come to that pass, there is but small hopes of you: look to your selves as well as you can; for its like you will not be long out of Hell. You would be ready to flie in the face of him that should give you the lie: and yet dare you give the lie to God? But if you tell God plainly you will not believe him, blame him not if he never warn you more, or if he forsake you and give you up as hopeless. For to what purpose should he warn you if you will not believe him? should he send an Angel from hea­ven to you, its seems you would not believe. For an Angel can speak but the Word of God: and if an Angel should bring you ano­ther Gospel, you are not to re­ceive it, but to hold him accursed, Gal. 1.8, 9. And surely there is no Angel to be believed before the [Page 14] Son of God, who came from the Father to bring us this Doctrine, If he be not to be believed, then all the Angels in heaven are not to be believed. And if you stand on these terms with God, I shall leave you till he deal with you in a more convincing way. God hath a voice that will make you hear. Though he intreat you to hear the voice of his Gospel, he will make you hear the voice of his condemn­ing Sentence, without intreaty. We cannot make you believe against your wills: but God will make you feel [...]gainst your wills.

But let us hear what reason you have, why you will not believe this word of God, which tells us that the wicked must be Converted or condemned? I know your rea­son; it is because that you judge it unlikely that God should be so unmerciful: you think it cruelty [Page 15] to damn men everlastingly for so small a thing as a sinful life. And this leads us up to the second thing, which is to justifie the Equity of God in his Laws and Judgements.

And first I think you will not deny but that it is most sutable to an immortal soul, to be ruled by Laws that promise an immortal reward, and threaten an endless punishment. Otherwise the Law should not be suited to the nature of [...]he subject; who will not be fully ruled by any lower means, then the Hopes or Fears of ever­lasting things: As it is in case of temporal punishment; if a Law were now made that the most hai­nous crimes shall be punished with an hundred years captivity, this might be of some efficacy, as be­ing equal to our lives. But if there had been no other penalties before the flood, when men lived eight [Page 16] or nine hundred years, it would not have been sufficient, because men would know that they might have so many hundred years im­punity afterward. So is it in our present case.

2. I suppose you will confess that the promise of an endless and unconceivable glory is not unsuit­able to the wisdom of God, or the case of man. And why then should you not think so of the Threatning of an endless and unspeakable mi­sery?

3. When you find it in the Word of God that so it is, and so it will be, do you think your selves fit to contradict this Word? Will you call your Maker to the Barr? and examine his Word upon the accusation of falshood? will you sit upon him and judge him by the Law of your Conceits? Are you wiser, and better, and righteouser then he? Must the God of hea­ven [Page 17] come to School to you to learn wisdom? Must infinite wis­dom learn of folly? and infinite Goodness be corrected by a swi­nish sinner, that cannot keep himself an hour clean? Must the Almighty stand at the Bar of a worm? Oh horrid arrogancy of sensless dust! Shall every mole, or cold, or dung-hill, accuse the Sun of darkness, and undertake to illuminate the world? Where were you when the Almighty made these Laws, that he did not call you to his counsel? Surely he made them before you were born, without desiring your advice: and you come into the world too late for to reverse them: if you could have done so great a work, you should have stept out of your Nothing­ness, and have contradicted Christ when he was on earth, or Moses before him, or have saved A [...]am and his sinful progeny from the [Page 18] threatned death, that so there might have been no need of Christ! And what if God withdraw his patience aud sustentation, and let you drop into Hell while you are quarrelling with his Word, will you then believe that there is a Hell?

4. If [...] such an evil that it requireth the death of Christ for its expiation, no wonder if it de­serve our everlasting misery.

5. And if the sin of the Devils deserved an endless torment, why not also the sin of man?

6. And me thinks you should perceive, that it is not possible for the best of men, much less for the wicked to be competent Judges of the desert of sin. Alas we are all both blind and partial. You can never know fully the desert of sin, till you fully know the evil of sin; and you can never fully know the evil of sin, till you fully know, [Page 19] 1. The Excellency of the soul which it deformeth. 2. And the excellency of holiness which it doth obliterate. 3. And the reason and excellency of the Law which it violateth. And 4. the excellency of the Glory which it doth de­spise. And 5. the excellency and office of Reason which it treadeth down. 6. No nor till you know the infinite Excellency, Almighti­ness and Holiness of that God against whom it is committed. When you fully know all these, you shall fully know the desert of sin. Besides, you know that the offendor is too partial to judge the Law, or the proceedings of his Judge. We judge by feeling, which blinds our reason. We see in common worldly things that most men think the cause is right which is their own: and that all is wrong thats done against them: and let the most wise, or just, im­partial [Page 20] friends perswade them to the contrary, and its all in vain. There's few children but think the Father is unmerciful, or dealeth hardly with them, if he whip them. There's scarce the vilest swinish wretch, but thinketh the Church doth wrong him if they excommunicate him: Nor scarce a Thief or Murderer that is hang­ed, but would accuse the Law and Judge of cruelty, if that would serve turn.

7. Can you think that an un­holy soul is fit for heaven? Alas, they cannot love God here, nor do him any service which he can ac­cept. They are contrary to God, they loath that which he most loveth; and love that which he abhorreth: They are uncapable of that imperfect Communion with him, which his Saints do here partake of. How then can they live in that perfect love of him, [Page 21] and full delights, and Communion with him, which is the blessedness of heaven? You do not accuse your selves of unmercifulness, if you make not your enemy your bosom Counseller; or if you take not your swine to bed and board with you; no nor if you take away his life, though he never sinned. And yet will you blame the absolute Lord, the most wise and gracious Soveraign of the world if he condemn the Uncon­verterted to perpetual misery?


I Beseech you now, all that love your souls, that instead of quarrelling with God and with his Word, you will presently stoop to it, and use it for your good. All you that are yet unconverted in this Assembly, take this as the [Page 22] undoubted truth of God: You must ere long be converted or con­demned. There is no other way, but Turn or Dye. When God that cannot lye hath told you this; When you hear it from the Maker and Judge of the world its time for him that hath ears to hear. By this time you may see what you have to trust to. You are but dead and damned men, except you will be converted. Should I tell you otherwise, I should deceive you with a lye. Should I hide this from you, I should undoe you, and be guilty of your blood, as the verses before my Text assure me, Ver. 8. When I say to the wicked, O wicked man thou shalt surely dye, if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall dye in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. You see then, though this be a rough unwelcome Doctrine, its such as [Page 23] we must preach, and you must hear. It is easier to hear of Hell then feel it. If your necessities did not require it, we would not gall your tender ears with truths that seem so harsh and grievous. Hell would not be so full, if people were but willing to know their case, and to hear and think of it. The reason why so few escape it, is be­cause they strive not to enter in at the strait gate of Conversion, and to go the narrow way of holines [...] while they have time: and they strive not because they be not wakened to a lively feeling of the danger they are in: and they be not wakened, because they are doth to hear or think of it; and that is partly through foolish ten­derness, and carnal self-love, and partly because they do not well believe the Word that threatneth it. If you will but throughly be­lieve this truth, me thinks the [Page 24] weight of it should force you to remember it; and it should follow you, and give you no rest till you are converted. If you had but once heard this word by the voice of an Angel, Thou must be Con­verted or Condemned; Turn or Die: would it not stick in your mind, and haunt you night and day, so that in your sinning you would remember it, and at your labour you would remember it, as if the voice were still in your ears, Turn or Die. O happy were your souls if it might thus work with you, and never be forgotten, or let you alone, till it have driven home your hearts to God. But if you will cast it out by forgetfulness or unbelief, how can it work to your Conversion and Salvation? But take this with you to yo [...]r sorrow; though you may put this out of your minds, you can­not put it out of the Bible; but [Page 25] there it will stand as a sealed truth which you shall experimentally know for ever, that there is no other way but Turn or Die.

O what's the matter then that the hearts of sinners be not pierced with such a weighty truth! A man would think now, that every Unconverted soul that hears these words, should be pricked to the heart, and think with themselves, This is my own case; and never be quiet till they found themselves converted. Believe it Sirs, this drowsie careless temper will not last long. Conversion and Con­demnation are both of them awakening things; and one of them will make you feel ere long. I can foretel it as truly as if I saw it with my eyes, that either Grace or Hell will shortly bring these matters to the quick, and make you say, What have I done? What a fool­ [...] wicked course have I taken! [Page 26] The scornful, and the stupid state of sinners will last but a little while. As soon as they either Turn or Die, the presumptuous dream will be at an end, and then their wits and feeling will re­turn.

BUT I foresee there are two things that are like to harden the unconverted, and make me lose all my labour, except they can be taken out of the way: and that is the misunderstanding of these two words, [The Wicked] and [Turn.] Some will think with themselves, Its true, the wicked must Turn or Die: but wh [...]'s that to me? I am not wicked, though I am a sinner, as all men be. Others will think, Its true tha [...] we ma [...] Turn from our evil waies: but I am Turned long ago; I hope this is [Page 27] not now to do. And thus while wicked men think they are not wicked, but are already Converted, we lose all our labour in perswading them to Turn. I shall therefore be­fore I go any further, tell you here who are meant by [the wicked] and who they be that must turn or die; and also what is meant by Turning, and who they be that are truly converted: And this I have purposely reserved for this place, preferring the Method that fits my end.

And here you must observe, that in the sense of the Text, a wicked man, and a converted man are contraries. No man is a wick­ed man that is converted; and no man is a converted man that is wicked: So that to be a wicked man, and to be an unconverted man, is all one. And therefore in opening one we shall open both.

[Page 28]Before I can tell you what ei­ther Wickedness or Conversion is, I must go to the bottom, and fetch up the matter from the begin­ning.

It pleased the great Creator of the world, to make three sorts of living creatures: Angels he made pure Spirits without flesh: and therefore he made them only for Heaven, and not for to dwell on earth. Bruits were made flesh without immortal souls: and therefore they were made only for earth and not for Heaven. Man is of a middle nature between both, as partaking of both flesh and Spirit; and therefore he was made both for Earth and Heaven. But as his flesh is made to be but a servant to his Spirit, so is he made for earth but as his passage or way to Heaven, and not that this should be his home or happiness. The blessed state that man was [Page 29] made for, was to behold the Glo­rious Majesty of the Lord, and to praise him among his holy Angels; and to love him and be filled with his Love for ever. And as this was the End that man was made for, so God did give him means that were fitted to the attaining of it. These means were principally two. First the right Inclination and Disposition of the mind of man. Secondly the right ordering of his life and practice. For the first, God suited the Disposition of man unto his End; giving him such knowledge of God as was fit for his present state, and an Heart Disposed and Inclined to God, in holy Love. But yet he did not fix or confirm him in this condition; but having made him a free agent, he left him in the hands of his own free-will. For the second, God did that which belonged to him; that is, he gave man a perfect Law, re­quiring [Page 30] him to continue in the Love of God, and perfectly to obey him. By the wilful breach of this Law, man did not only for­feit his hopes of everlasting life, but also turned his heart from God, and fixed it on these lower fleshly things: and hereby did blot out the spiritual Image of God from his soul. So that man did both fall short of the Glory of God, which was his End, and put himself out of the Way by which he should have attained it; and this both as to the frame of his heart and of his life. The holy In­clination and Love of his soul to God, he lost; and instead of it, he contracted an Inclination and Love to the pleasing of his flesh, or carnal-self by earthly things; growing strange to God, and ac­quainted with the creature: And the course of his life was suited to the Bent and Inclination of his [Page 31] heart: he lived to his carnal self, and not to God: he sought the creature for the pleasing of his flesh, instead of seeking to please the Lord. With this Nature or Corrupt inclination we are all now born into the world: For who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Iob 14.4. As a Lyon hath a fierce and cruel nature be­fore he doth devour; and as an Adder hath a venemous nature be­fore he sting; so in our very infan­cy we have those sinful Natures or Inclinations before we think, or speak, or do amiss. And hence springeth all the sin of our lives. And not only so; but when God hath of his mercy provided us a Remedy, even the Lord Jesus Christ to be the Saviour of our souls, and bring us back to God again, we naturally love our pre­sent state, and are [...]oth to be brought out of it, and therefore [Page 32] are set against the means of our Recovery; and though custom have taught us to thank Christ for his good will, yet carnal self perswadeth us to refuse his Remedies, and to desire to be excused when we are commanded to take the Medicines which he offereth, and are called to forsake all, and follow him to God and Glory.

I pray you read over this leaf again and mark it; for in these few words, you have a true De­scription of our natural state; and consequently of a wicked man. For every man that is in this state of corrupted nature, is a wicked man, and in a state of death.

By this also you are prepa­red to understand what it is to be Converted, to which end you must further know, That [Page 33] the mercy of God, not willing that man should perish in his sin, provided a Remedy, by caus­ing his Son to take our Nature, and being in one person God and man, to become a Media­tor between God and man, and by dying for our sins on the Cross, to ransom us from the curse of God, and the power of the Devil; and having thus Redeemed us, the Fa­ther hath delivered us into his hands as his own. Hereupon the Father and the Mediator do make a New Law and Covenant for man; not like the first which gave life to none but the perfectly obe­dient, and condemned man for every sin: but Christ hath made a Law of Grace, or a Promise of Pardon and Everlasting life to all that by true Repentance and by Faith in Christ are Converted un­to God. Like an Act of Oblivion which is made by a Prince to a [Page 34] company of Rebels, on condition they will lay down arms and come in, and be loyal subjects for the time to come.

But because the Lord knoweth that the heart of man is grown so wicked, that for all this men will not accept of the Remedy, if they be left to themselves, therefore the Holy Ghost hath undertaken it as his office to in­spire the Apostles, and seal up the Scripture by Miracles and Wonders, and to illuminate and convert the souls of the Elect.

So that by this much you see that as there are three persons in the Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, so each of these persons have their several works, which are eminently ascribed to them.

The Fathers works were to Create us, to Rule us [...] his [...]a­tional [Page 35] creatures, by the Law of Nature, and Judge us thereby: And in mercy to provide us a Re­deemer when we were lost, and to send his Son, and accept his Ransom.

The works of the Son for us were these, To Ransom and Re­deem us by his Sufferings and Righteousness; to give out the Promise or Law of Grace, and Rule and Judge the world as their Redeemer, on terms of Grace, and to make intercession for us, that the benefits of his death may be communicated; and to send the Holy Ghost (which the Fa­ther also doth by the Son.) The works of the Holy Ghost for us are these: to indite the Holy Scriptures, by inspiring and guid­ing the Prophets and Apostles, and sealing the Word by his Miracu­lous gifts and works; and the il­luminating and exciting the ordi­nary [Page 36] Ministers of the Gospel, and so enabling them and helping them to publish that Word: and by the same word Illuminating and Con­verting the souls of men. So that as you could not have been rea­sonable creatures, if the Father had not Created you, nor have had any access to God, if the Son had not Redeemed you; so neither can you have a part in Christ, or be sa­ved, except the Holy Ghost do san­ctifie you.

So that by this time you may see the several causes of this work. The Father sendeth the Son: the Son Redeemeth us, and maketh the Promise of Grace: the Holy Ghost inditeth and sealeth this Go­spel: the Apostles are the Secre­taries of the Spirit, to write it: the Preachers of the Gospel do proclaim it, and perswade men to obey it. And the Holy Ghost doth make their preaching effectual, by [Page 37] opening the hearts of men to en­tertain it. And all this to repair the image of God upon the soul: and to set the heart upon God again, and take it off the creature and carnal self, to which it is re­volted; and so to turn the current of the life into an heavenly course, which before was earthly: and all this by the entertainment of Christ by Faith, who is the Physitian of the soul.

By this which I have said, you may see what it is to be Wicked, and what it is to be Converted. Which I think will be yet plainer to you if I describe them as consisting of their several parts: and for the first, a wicked man may be known by these three things.

First, he is one who placeth his chief content on earth, and loveth the creature more then God, and his fleshly prosperity above the heavenly felicity: He savoureth [Page 38] the things of the flesh, but neither discerneth nor savoureth the things of the Spirit: though he will say, that Heaven is better then earth, yet doth he not really so esteem it to himself. If he might be sure of earth, he would let go heaven, and had rather stay here, then be removed thither. A life of perfect holiness in the sight of God, and in his love and praises for ever in heaven, doth not find such liking with his heart, as a life of health, and wealth, and honour here upon earth. And though he falsly profess that he loveth God above all, yet indeed he never felt the power of Divine Love within him, but his mind is more set on the world, or fleshly pleasures, then on God. In a word, who­ever Loveth earth above heaven, and fleshly prosperity more than God, is a wicked unconverted man.

[Page 39]On the other side, a Converted man, is illuminated to discern the Loveliness of God: and so far believeth the Glory that is to be had with God, that his heart is taken up to it, and set more upon it, then on any thing in this world. He had ra­ther see the face of God and live in his everlasting love and praises, then have all the wealth or pleasure of this world. He seeth that all things else are vanity; and nothing but God can fill the soul; and therefore let the world go which way it will, he layeth up his treasure and hopes in heaven, and for that he is resolved to let go all. As the fire doth mount up­ward, and the Needle that is touched with the load-stone still turneth to the North: so the Converted soul is enclined unto God. Nothing else can satisfie him, nor can he find any Content [Page 40] and Rest but in his Love. In a word, All that are Converted, do Esteem and Love God beetter then all the world, and the Heavenly felicity is dearer to them then their fleshly prosperity. The proof of what I have said you may find in these places of Scripture, Phil. 3.18, 21. Mat. 6.19, 20, 21. Col. 3.1, 2, 3, 4. Rom. 8.5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 18, 23. Psal. 73.25, 26.

Secondly, a wicked man is one that maketh it the principal busi­ness of his life to prosper in the world, and attain his fleshly ends. And though he may read; and hear, and do much in the outward duties of Religion, and forbear disgraceful sins, yet this is all but upon the by, and he never makes it the trade and principal business of his life to Please God and attain everlasting glory, but puts off God with the leavings of the world, and gives him no more [Page 41] service then the flesh can spare: for he will not part with all for hea­ven.

On the contrary, a Converted man is one that makes it the prin­cipal care and business of his life to Please God, and to be saved, and takes all the blessings of this life but as accommodations in his journey towards another life; and useth the creature in subordinati­on unto God: he loveth an holy life, and longeth to be more holy: he hath no sin but what he hateth, and longeth, and prayeth, and striveth to be rid of. The drift and bent of his life is for God; and if he sin, it is contrary to the very bent of his heart and life, and therefore he riseth again, and la­menteth it, and dare not wilfully live in any known sin. There is nothing in this world so dear to him, but he can give it up to God, and forsake it for him and the [Page 42] hopes of glory. All this you may see in Col. 3.1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Mat. 6.33, 20. Luk. 18.22, 23, 29. Luk. 14.18, 24, 26, 27. Rom. 8.13. Gal. 5.24. Luk. 12.21. &c.

Thirdly, the soul of a wicked man did never truly discern and relish the mystery of Redemption, nor thankfully entertain an offered Saviour, nor is he taken up with the love of the Redeemer, not willing to be ruled by him as the Physitian of his soul, that he may be saved from the guilt and power of his sins, and recovered unto God: but his heart is insensible of this unspeakable benefit, and is quite against the healing means by which he should be recovered. Though he may be willing to be carnally Religious, yet he never resigneth up his soul to Christ, and to the mo­tions and conduct of his Word and Spirit.

On the contrary, the Converted [Page 43] soul having felt himself undone by sin, and perceiving that he hath lost his peace with God, and hopes of heaven, and is in danger of everlasting misery, doth thank­fully entertain the tidings of Re­demption, and believing in the Lord Jesus as his only Saviour, resigneth up himself to him for wisdom, righteousness, sanctifica­tion and redemption. He taketh Christ as the Life of his soul, and liveth by him, and useth him as his salve for every sore, admiring the wisdom and Love of God in this wonderful work of mans Re­demption. In a word, Christ doth even dwell in his heart by faith, and the life that he now liveth is by the Faith of the Son of God, that hath loved him and gave him­self for him. Yea it is not so much he that liveth, as Christ in him. For these, see Iohn 1.11, 12. & 3.19, 20. Rom. 8.9. Phil. 3.7. [Page 44] 8, 9, 10. Gal. 2.20. Ioh. 15 2, 3.4. 1 Cor. 1.20. & 2.2.

YOU see now in plain terms from the Word of God, who are the wicked, and who are the Converted. Ignorant people think that if a man be no swearer, not curser, nor rayler, nor drunkard, nor fornicator, nor extortioner, nor wrong any body in their deal­ings, and if they come to Church, and say their prayers, these cannot be wicked men. Or if a man that hath been guilty of drunkenness, or swearing, or gameing or the like vices, do but forbear them for the time to come, they think that this is a Converted man. Others think, if a man that hath been an enemy and scorner at godliness, do but approve it, and joyn himself with those that are godly, and be [Page 45] hated for it by the wicked as the godly are, that this must needs be a Converted man. And some are so foolish as to think they are Converted, by taking up some new and false opinion, and falling into some dividing party, as Ana­baptists, Quakers, Papists, or such like. And some think, if they have but been affrighted by the fears of Hell, and had Convicti­ons and Gripes of Conscience, and thereupon have purposed and pro­mised amendment, and taken up a life of Civil behavour, and out­ward Religion, that this must needs be true Conversion. And these are the poor deluded souls that are like to lose the benefit of all our perswasions; and when they hear that the wicked must Turn or Die, they think that this is not spoken to them, for they are not wicked, but are Turned alrea­dy. And therefore it is that Christ [Page 46] told some of the Rulers of the Jews, who were graver and civiler then the common people, that Pub­licans and Harlots do go into the Kingdom of God before them, Mat. 21.31. Not that an harlot or gross sinner can be saved without Con­version; but because it was easier to make these gross sinners per­ceive their sin and misery, and the necessity of a change, when the civiler sort do delude themselves by thinking that they are Con­verted already, when they be not.

O Sirs, Conversion is another kind of work then most are ware of: Its not a small matter to bring an Earthly mind to Heaven, and to shew man the amiable excellen­cies of God, till he be taken up in such Love to him, that never can be quenched; to break the heart for sin, and make him flie forre­fuge unto Christ, and thankfully [Page 47] embrace him as the l [...]fe of his soul, to have the very drift and bent of the heart and life to be changed, so that a man renounceth that which he took for his felicity, and placeth his felicity where he never did before, and liveth not to the same end, and driveth not on the same design in the world, as for­merly he did: in a word, he that is in Christ, is a new creature; old things are past away, behold all things are become new, 2 Cor. 5.17. He hath a new understanding, a new will and resolution, new sor­rows, and desires, and love, and delight, new thoughts, new spee­ches, new company (if possible) and a new conversation. Sin that before was a jesting matter with him, is now so odious and terrible to him, that he flies from it as from death. The world that was so lovely in his eyes, doth now appear but as vanity and vexation: God [Page 48] that was before neglected, is now the only Happiness of his soul; be­fore he was forgotten, and every lust preferred before him; but now he is set next the heart, and all things must give place to him: and the heart is taken up in the at­tendance and observance of him: and is grieved when he hides his face, and never thinks it self well without him. Christ himself that was wont to be slightly thought of, is now his only hope and re­fuge, and he liveth upon him as on his daily bread; he cannot pray without him, nor rejoyce without him, nor think, nor speak, nor live without him. Heaven it self that before was lookt upon but as a tolerable reserve, which he hoped might serve turn as better then hell, when he could not stay any longer in the world, is now taken for his home, the place of his on­ly Hope and Rest, where he shall [Page 49] See, and Love, and Praise that God that hath his heart already. Hell that before did seem but as a bug­bear to frighten men from sin, doth now appear to be a real misery, that is not to be ventured on, nor jested with. The works of ho­liness which before he was weary of, and seemed to be more ado then needs, are now both his re­creation and his business, and the trade that he lives upon. The Bible which was before to him but al­most as a common book, is now as the Law of God, as a Letter writ­ten to him from heaven, and sub­scribed with the name of the Eter­nal Majesty; it is the Rule of his thoughts, and words, and deeds; the commands are binding, the threats are dreadful, and the pro­mises of it speak life to his soul. The godly that seemed to him but like other men, are now the excel­lentest and happyest on earth. And [Page 50] the wicked that were his play-fel­lows are now his grief: and he that could laugh at their sin, is readyer now to weep for their sin and misery, Psalm 16.3. & 15.4. Phil. 3.18. In short, he hath a New End in his thoughts, and a New Way in his endeavours, and there­fore his Heart and life is New. Before his Carnal Self was his End; and his pleasure, and world­ly Profits, and Credit were his Way: and now God and everlast­ing Glory is his End: and Christ, and the Spirit, and Word, and Or­dinances, Holiness to God, and Righteousness and Mercy to men, these are his Way. Before Self was the chief Ruler, to which the mat­ters of God and Conscience must stoop and give place: and now God in Christ, by the Spirit, Word, and Ministry is the chief Ruler, to whom both Self, and all the matters of Self must give place. [Page 51] So that this is not a change in one or two, or twenty points; but in the whole soul: and the very end and Bent of the Conversation. A man may step out of one path into another, and yet have his face the same way, and be still going to­wards the same place: but tis ano­ther matter to turn quite back again, and take his journey the clean contrary way to a contrary place. So it is here. A man may turn from drunkenness to thrifti­ness, and forsake his good fellow­ship, and other gross disgraceful sins, and set upon some duties of Religion, and yet be going still to the same End as before, intending his carnal Self above all, and gi­ving it still the Government of his soul. But when he is Converted, this Self is denyed and taken down, and God is set up, and his face is turned the contrary way: and he that before was addicted to [Page 52] himself, and lived to himself, is now by Sanctification devoted to God, and liveth unto God: be­fore he asketh himself, what he should do with his time, his parts, and his estate; and for himself he used them: but now he asketh God what he shall do with them, and he useth them for him. Before he would Please God so far as might stand with the Pleasure of his flesh, and Carnal Self, but not to any great displeasure of them. But now he will please God, let Flesh and Self be never so much displeasd. This is the great change that God will make upon all that shall be saved.

You can say, that the Holy-Ghost is your Sanctifier, but do you know what Sanctification is? Why this is it that I have now opened to you: and every man and woman in the world must have this, or be condemned to ever­lasting [Page 53] misery. They must Turn or Dye.

Do you believe all this Sirs, or do you not? Surely you dare not say you do not: For tis past doubt or denyal: These are not Controversies, where one learned pious man is of one mind, and another of another: where one party saith this, and the other saith that: Papists, and Aanbaptists, and every Sect among us that de­serve to be called Christians, are all agreed in this that I have said: and if you will not believe the God of Truth, and that in a case where every sect and party do be­lieve him, you are utterly unex­cusable.

But if you do believe this, how comes it to pass that you live so quietly in an unconverted state? Do you know that you are Con­verted? and can you find this wonderful change upon your [Page 54] souls? Have you been thus born again and made anew? Be not these strange matters to many of you? and such as you never felt upon your selves? If you cannot tell the day or the week of your change, or the very Sermon that Converted you, yet do you find that the work is done? and such a change indeed there is? and that you have such hearts as are before described? Alas, the most do fol­low their worldly business, and little trouble their minds with such thoughts. And if they be but re­strained from scandalous sins, and can say, I am no whore-monger, nor thief, nor curser nor swearer, nor tipler, nor ex [...]ortioner, I go to Church and say my prayers, they think that this is true Conversion, and they shall be saved as well as any. Alas this is foolish cheating of your selves. This is too much contempt of an endless glory: and [Page 55] too gross neglect of your immor­tal souls. Can you make so light of Heaven and Hell? Your corpses will shortly all lye in the dust, and Angels or Devils will presently seize upon your souls, and every man and woman of you all, will shortly be among other company, and in another case then now you are; you will dwell in those houses but a little longer: you will work in your shops and fields but a lit­tle longer: you will sit in those seats, and dwell on this earth but a little longer: you will see with those eyes, and hear with those ears, and speak with those tongues but a little longer, till the Resur­rection day: and can you make shift to forget this? O what a place will you be shortly in of Joy or Torment! O what a sight will you shortly see in Heaven or Hell! O what thoughts will shortly fill your hearts, with unspeakable [Page 56] Delight or Horrour? What work will you be employed in? to Praise the Lord with Saints and Angels, or to cry out in fire unquenchable with Devils? And should all this be forgotten? And all this will be endless and sealed up by an unchangeable decree: Eternity, Eternity, will be the measure of your Joyes or sorrows, and can this be forgotten? And all this is true Sirs, most certain true: when you have gone up and down a little longer, and slept and awak't a few tunes more, you'l be dead and gone, and find all true that now I tell you: and yet can you now so much forget it? You shall then remember that you heard this Sermon, and that this day, from this place, you were re­membered of these things: and perceive them matters a thousand times greater then either you or I could here conceive: and yet [Page 57] shall they be now so much for­gotten?

Beloved friends; if the Lord had not awakened me to believe and lay to heart these things my self, I should have remained in the dark and selfish state, and have pe­rished for ever: but if he have truly made me sensible of them, it will constrain me to compassio­nate you, as well as my self: If your eyes were so far opened as to see Hell, and you saw your neigh­bours that were Unconverted dragg'd thither with hideous cries, though they were such as you ac­counted honest people on earth, and feared no such matter by themselves; such a sight would make you go home and think of it, and think again; and make you warn all about you as the damned worldling in Luke. 16.28. would have had his Brethen warned, lest they come to that place of tor­ment. [Page 58] Why, faith is a kind of sight; it is the eye of the soul; the Evidence of things aot seen: If I believe God, it is next to see­ing: And therefore I beseech you excuse me, if I be half as earnest with you about these matters, as if I had seen them. If I must die to morrow, and it were in my power to come again from ano­ther world and tell you what I had seen, would you not be willing to hear me, and would you not be­lieve, and regard what I should tell you? If I might preach one Ser­mon to you after I am dead, and have seen what is done in the world to come, would you not have me plainly speak the truth, and would you not crowd to hear me? and would you not lay it to heart? but this must not be; God hath his appointed way of teaching you by Scripture and Mi­nisters: and he will not humour [Page 59] Unbelievers so far as to send men from the dead to them, and to al­ter his establisht way: if any man quarrel with the Sun, God will not humour him so far as to set him up a clearer light. Friends, I be­seech you regard me now, as you would do if I should come from the dead to you: for I can give you as full assurance of the truth of what I say to you, as if I had been there and seen it with my eyes: For its possible for one from the dead to deceive you: but Jesus Christ can never deceive you: the Word of God delivered in Scri­pture, and sealed up by the Mi­racles and holy workings of the Spirit, can never deceive you. Believe this, or believe nothing. Believe and obey this, or you are undone. Now as ever you believe the Word of God, and as ever you care for the salvation of your souls, let me beg of you this rea­sonable [Page 60] request, and I beseech you deny me not: that you would without any more delay, when you are gone from hence, remem­ber what you heard, and enter in­to an earnest search of your hearts, and say to your selves, [Is it so indeed, must I Turn or Die? Must I be Converted or Condemned? Its time for me then to look about me, before it be too l [...]te. Oh why did I not look after this till now? Why did I venturously poste off, or flubber over so great a business? Was I awake, or in my wits? Oh blessed God, what a mercy is it that thou didst not cut off my life all this while, before I had any certain hope of eternal life? Well, God forbid that I should neglect this work any longer. What state is my soul in? Am I C [...]nverted, or am I not? Was ever such a change or work done up­on my soul? Have I been illumi­nated by the Word and Spirit of the [Page 61] Lord, to see the odiousness of sin, the need of a Saviour, the Love of Christ, and the Excellencies of God and Glory? Is my heart broken or humbled within me for my former life? Have I thankfully entertained my Saviour and Lord, that offered himself with pardon and life to my soul? Do I hate my former sinful life, and the remnant of every sin that is in me? Do I flie from them as my deadly enemies? Do I give up my self to a life of Holiness and Obe­dience to God? Do I love it, and de­light in it? Can I truly say that I am dead to the world and carnal self, and that I live for God and the Glory which he hath promised? Ha [...]h Heaven more of my Estima­tion, and Resolution, then Earth? And is God the dearest and the Highest in my soul? Once I am sure I lived principally to the world and fl [...]sh, and God had nothing but some heartless services which the [Page 62] world could spare, and which were the leavings of the flesh. Is my heart now turned another way? Have I a new design, and a new end, and a new train of holy affect [...]ons? Have I set my hopes and heart in heaven? And is it now the scope, and design, and bent of my heart and life, to get well to heaven, and see the glorious face of God, and live in his ever­lasting Love and Praise? And when I sin, is it against the very ha­bitual bent and design of my heart? And do I conquer all gross sins, and am I weary, and willing to be rid of mine infirmities? This is the state of a Converted soul. And thus must t [...] be with me, or I must perish. Is it thus indeed with me, or is it not? Its time to get this doubt re­solved, before the dreadful Iudge re­solve it. I am not such a stranger to my own heart and life, but I may somewhat perceive whether I am thus Converted or not: if I be not, [Page 63] it will do me no good to flatter my soul with false conceits and hopes. I am resolved no more to deceive my self; but to endeavour to know truly off or on, whether I be Con­verted, yea or no; that If I be, I may rejoyce in it, and glorifie my gracious Lord, and comfortably go on till I reach the Crown: and if I am not, I may set my self to beg and seek after the Grace that should con­vert me, and may turn without any more delay: For if I find in time that I am out of the way, by the help of Christ, I may turn and be recovered; but if I stay till either my heart be forsaken of God in blindness and hardness, or till I be catcht away by death, its then too late. There is no place for Repen­tance and Conversion then; I know it must be now or never.]

Sirs, this is my request to you, that you will but take your hearts to task, and thus examine them, [Page 64] till you see if it may be, whether you are Converted or not? and if you cannot find it out by your own endeavours, go to your Mi­nisters, if they be faithful and ex­perienced men, and desire their as­sistance. The matter is great; let not bashfulness nor carelesness hinder you. They are set over you to advise you, for the saving of your souls, as Physitians advise you for the curing of your bodies. It undoes many thousands that they think they are in the way to salvation, when they are not; and think that they are Converted when it is no such thing. And then when we call to them daily to Turn, they go away as they came, and think, that this con­cerns not them; for they are turn­ed already, and hope they shall do well enough in the way that they are in, at least if they do pick the fairest path, and avoid some of [Page 65] the foulest steps, when alas, all this while they live but to the world, and flesh, and are strangers to God and Eternal life, and are quite out of the way to Heaven. And all this is much, because we cannot perswade them to a few se­rious thoughts of their Condition, and to spend a few hours in the examining of their states. Is there not many a self-deceiving wretch that heareth me this day, that ne­ver bestowed one hour or quarter of an hour in all their lives, to ex­amine their souls, and try whether they are truly Converted or not? O merciful God, that will care for such wretches that care no more for themselves! and that will do so much to save them from Hell, and help them to Heaven, who will do so little for it them­selves. If all that are in the way to Hell, and in a state of damnati­on, did but know it, they durst not [Page 66] continue in it. The greatest hope that the Devil hath of bringing you to damnation without a re­scue, is by keeping you blindfold, and ignorant of your state, and making you believe that you may do well enough in the way that you are in. If you knew that you are out of the way to heaven, and were lost for ever if you should die as you are, durst you sleep another night in the state that you are in? durst you live another day in it? Could you heartily laugh or be merry in such a state? What! And not know but you may be snatcht away to hell in an hour! Sure it would constrain you to forsake your former company and cour­ses, and to betake your selves to the waies of Holiness, and the Communion of the Saints. Sure it would drive you to cry to God for a new heart, and to seek [Page 67] help of those that are fit to coun­sel you. Theres none of you sure that cares not for being damned. Well then, I beseech you present­ly make enquiry into your hearts, and give them no rest, till you find out your condition, that if it be good, you may rejoyce in it, and go on: and if it be bad, you may presently look about you for re­covery, as men that believe they must Turn or Die. What say you, Sirs? Will you resolve and pro­mise to be at this much labour for your own souls? Will you fall upon this self examination when you come home? Is my request unreasonable? Your consciences know it is not. Resolve on it then before you stir: Knowing how much it concerneth your souls, I beseech you for the sake of that God that doth command you, at whose Bar you will short­ly all appear, that you will not de­ny [Page 68] me this reasonable request. For the sake of those souls that must turn or dye, I beseech you de­ny me not; even but to make it your business to understand your own Conditions, and build upon sure ground, and know off or on whether you are Converted or no, and venture not your souls on negligent security.

But perhaps you'l say, What if we should find our selves yet un­converted; what shall we do then? This question leadeth me to my se­cond Doctrine, which will do much to the answering of it, to which I shall now proceed.

Doct. 2. IT is the Promise of God, that the wicked shall Live if they will but Turn; Vn­feignedly and throughly Turn.

The Lord here professeth that [Page 69] this is it that he takes pleasure in, that the wicked Turn and Live. Heaven is made as sure to the Converted as Hell is to the Uncon­verted. Turn and Live, is as cer­tain a truth, as Turn or Dye. God was not bound to provide us a Sa­viour, nor open to us a door of hope, nor call us to Repent and Turn, when once we had cast our selves away by sin. But he hath freely done it to magnifie his Mer­cy: Sinners, there's none of you shall have cause to go home, and say I preach desperation to you. Do we use to shut up the door of Mercy against you? O that you would not shut it up against your selves! Do we use to tell you, that God will have no mercy on you, though you Turn and be San­ctified? When did you ever hear a Preacher say such a word? You that bark at the Preachers of the Gospel, for desiring to keep you [Page 70] out of Hell, and say that they Preach Desperation; tell me if you can, when did you ever hear any sober man say, that there is no hope for you, though you Repent and be Converted? No; it is the clean contrary that we daily pro­claim from the Lord; and who­ever is born again, and by Faith and Repentance doth become a new creature, shall certainly be saved: and so far are we from perswading you to despair of this, that we perswade you not to make any doubt of it. It is Life and not Death, that is the first part of our Message to you: our Com­mission is to offer salvation, cer­tain salvation: a speedy, glorious, everlasting salvation, to every one of you: to the poorest beggar as well as the greatest Lords: to the worst of you: even to drunkards, swearers, worldlings, thieves, yea to the despisers and reproachers of [Page 71] the holy way of salvation. We are commanded by the Lord our Master, to offer you a pardon for all thats past, if you will but now at last Return and Live: we are commanded to beseech and in­treate you to accept the offer and Return; to tell you what prepa­ration is made by Christ; what Mercy stayes for you; what Pati­ence waiteth on you; what Thoughts of kindness God hath towards you; and how happy, how certainly and unspeakably happy you may be if you will. We have indeed also a Message of wrath and death, yea of a two­fold wrath and death: but neither of them is our principal Message: we must tell you of the wrath that is on you already, and the death that you are born under, for the breach of the Law of works; but this is but to shew you the need of Mercy, and pro­voke [Page 72] you to esteem the grace of the Redeemer. And we tell you nothing but the truth which you must know: for who will seek out for Physick that knows not that he is sick? Our telling you of your misery is not it that makes you miserable, but driveth you out to seek for mercy. It is you that have brought this death upon your selves. We tell you also of ano­ther death, even remediless, and much greater torment, that will fall on those that will not be Con­verted. But as this is true, and must be told you, so it is but the last and saddest part of our Mes­sage. We are first to offer you Mercy if you will Turn: and it is only those that will not Turn, nor hear the voice of Mercy, that we must fore-tell damnation to. Will you but cast away your transgres­sions, delay no longer, but come away at the Call of Christ and be [Page 73] Converted, and become new crea­tures, and we have not a word of damning wrath or death to speak against you. I do here in the name of the Lord of Life proclaim to you all that hear me this day, to the worst of you, to the greatest, to the oldest sinner, that you may have mercy and salvation, if you will but Turn. There is mercy in God, there is sufficiency in the sa­tisfaction of Christ, the promise is free, and full, and universal; you may have Life, if you will but Turn. But then, as you love your souls, Remember what Turn­ing it is that the Scripture speaks of. It is not to mend the old house, but to pull down all, and build anew, on Christ the Rock and sure foundation. It is not to mend somewhat in a Carnal course of life, but to mortifie the flesh, and live after the Spirit. It is not to serve the flesh and the world in a [Page 74] more reformed way, without any scandalous disgraceful sins, and with a certain kind of Religious­ness. But it is to change your Ma­ster, and your Work, and End, and set your face the contrary way, and do all for the life that you ne­ver saw, and Dedicate your selves and all you have to God. This is the change that must be made if you will live.

Your selves are witnesses now, that it is Salvation and not Dam­nation that is the great Doctrine I preach to you, and the first part of my message to you. Accept of this, and we shall go no further with you, for we would not so much as affright or trouble you with the name of damnation, without necessity.

But if you will not be saved, there's no remedy, but Damnation must take place. For there is no middle place between the two: [Page 75] You must have either Life or Death.

And we are not only to offer you Life; but to shew you the Grounds on which we do it, and call you to believe that God doth mean indeed as he speaks: that the Promise is true, and extendeth Conditionally to you as well as others, and that Heaven is no fancy, but a true felicity.

If you ask where is our Com­mission for this offer; among an hundred Texts of Scripture, I will shew it you in these few.

First, you see it here in my Text, and the following verses, and in the 18. of Ezek. as plain as can be spoken. And in 2 Cor. 5.17, 18, 19, 20, 21. you have the very sum of our Commission, [If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are past away; [...]ehold all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath [Page 76] reconciled us to himself by Iesus Christ, and hath given to us the Mi­nistry of Reconciliation, to wit, that God was in Christ Reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and hath committed unto us the word of Re­conciliation: now then we are Am­bassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christs stead, be ye reconciled un­to God; for he hath made him to be sin for us who knew no sin, tha [...] we might be made the Righteousnes of God in him.] So Mark 1 [...]. 15, 16. Go ye into all the word and preach the Gospel to every crea­ture; He that believeth (that [...] with such a Converting faith as [...] expressed) [and is baptized shall [...] saved; and he that believeth [...] shall be damned.] And Luke 2 [...] 46, 47. [Thus it behoved Chri [...] to suffer, and to rise from the de [...] the third day, and that Repentan [...] [Page 77] (which is Conversion) and Re­mission of sins, should be preached in his name among all Nations.] And Acts 5.30.31. The God of our Fathers raised up Iesus, whom ye flew and hanged on a tree; him hath God exalted with his right hand, to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give Repentance to Israel and for­giveness of sins. [And Acts 13.38, 39. Be it known unto you there­fore men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins; and by him all that believe, are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the Law of Moses] And lest you think this offer is re­strained to the Jews, see Gal. 6.15. [For in Christ Iesus neither Circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new crea­ture.] And Luke 14.17. [Come, for all things are now ready;] and ver. 23, 24.

[Page 78]You see by this time that we are commanded to offer Life to you all, and to tell you from God, that if you will Turn you may Live.

Here you may safely trust your souls: for the Love of God is the Fountain of this offer, Iohn 3.16. and the blood of the Son of God hath purchased it: the faithful­ness and truth of God is engaged to make the promise good: Mi­racles have sealed up the truth of it: Preachers are sent through the world to proclaim it; the Sa­craments are instituted and used for the solemn Delivery of the mercy offered, to them that will accept it: and the Spirit doth open the heart to entertain it, and is it self the earnest of the full possessi­on. So that the truth of it is past controversie, that the worst of you all, and every one of you, if you will but be Converted, may be Saved.

[Page 79]Indeed if you will needs believe that you shall be saved without Conversion, then you believe a falshood: and if I should preach that to you, I should preach a lie: this were not to believe God, but the Devil and your own deceitful hearts. God hath his promise of Life, and the Devil hath his pro­mise of Life: Gods promise is, [Return and Live] The Devils promise is, [you shall live whether you turn or not] The word of God is as I have shewed you. [Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye cannot enter into the Kingdom of heaven, Matth. 18.3. Except a man be born again, he can­not enter into the Kingdom of God, John 3.3, 5. Without holiness none shall see God, Hebrews 12.14.] The Devils word is, [You may be saved without being born again and Con­verted: you may do well enough without being holy; God doth but [Page 80] frighten you; he is more merciful then to do as he saith: he will be better to you then his word.] And alas, the greatest part of the world believe this word of the Devil, be­fore the word of God; just as our first sin and misery came into the world. God said to our first pa­rents, [If ye eat ye shall Die] And the Devil contradicteth him, and saith, [Ye shall not Die] and the woman believed the Devil be­fore God. So now the Lord saith [Turn or Die.] And the Devil saith, [You shall not die, if you do but cry God mercy at last, and give over the acts of sin when you can practise it no longer.] And this is the word that the world believes. O hainous wickedness to believe the Devil before God!

And yet that is not the worst: but blasphemously they call this a Believing and Trusting God, when they put him in the shape of Sa­tan, [Page 81] who was a lyar from the be­ginning, and when they believe that the word of God is a lye, they call this a Trusting God, and say they Believe in him, and Trust on him for salvation: Where did ever God say, that the unregene­rate, unconverted, unsanctified shall be saved? Shew such a word in Scripture. I challenge you, if you can. Why this is the Devils word; and to believe it is to believe the Devil, and the sin that is com­monly called Presumption: and do you call this a believing and trust­ing God? There is enough in the Word of God to comfort and strengthen the hearts of the sancti­fied; but not a word to strengthen the hands of wickedness, nor to give men the least hope of being saved, though they be never sancti­fied.

But if you will Turn and come into the way of Mercy, the Mercy [Page 82] of the Lord is ready to entertain you. Then Trust God for salvati­on boldly and confidently, for he is engaged by his word to save you. He will be a Father to none but his children, and he will save none but those that forsake the world, the Devil, and the flesh, and come in to his family to be members of his Son, and have Communion with his Saints. But if they will not come in, it is long of themselves: His doors are open: He keeps none back: He never sent such a message as this to any of you: [Its now too late: I will not receive thee though thou be Con­verted.] He might have done so, and done you no wrong: but he did not: he doth not to this day; He is still ready to receive you, if you were but ready unfeignedly and with all your hearts to Turn. And the fulness of this truth will yet more appear in the two follow­ing [Page 83] Doctrines, which I shall there­fore next proceed to, before I make any further application of this.

Doct. 3. GOD taketh Plea­sure in mens Con­version and Salvation: but not in their Death or Damnation: he had rather they would Return and Live, then go on and die.

I shall first teach you how to understand this; and then clear up the truth of it to you.

And for the first, you must ob­serve these following things. 1. A simple willingness or complacency is the first act of the will, following the simple apprehension of the un­derstanding, before it proceedeth to compare things together. But the choosing act of the will is a following act, and supposeth the comparing practical act of [Page 84] the understanding: and these two acts may often be carried to con­trary objects, without any fault at all in the person.

2. An unfeigned willingness may have divers degrees. Some things I am so far willing of, as that I will do all that lieth in my power to accomplish it: and some things I am truly willing another should do, when yet I will not do all that ever I am able to procure it, ha­ving many Reasons to disswade me there from; though yet I will do all that belongs to me to do.

3. The will of a Ruler, as such, is manifested in making and execu­ting Laws: but the will of a man in his simple natural capacity, or as absolute Lord of his own, is ma­nifested in desiring or resolving of events.

4. A Rulers will as Law-giver is first and principally that his Laws be obeyed: and not at all [Page 85] that the penalty be executed on any, but only on supposition that they will not obey his precepts. But a Rulers will, as Iudge, supposeth the Law already either kept or broken: and therefore he resol­veth on rewards or punishments accordingly.

Having given you these neces­sary Distinctions, I shall next ap­ply them to the case in hand, in these following Propositions.

1. It is in the glass of the word a [...]d creatures that in this life we must know God: and so according to the nature of man we ascribe to him Vnderstanding and will, re­moving all the imperfections that we can, because we are capable of no higher Positive conceptions of him.

2. And on the same grounds we do (with the Scripture) distin­guish between the acts of Gods will, as diversified from the respects of [Page 86] the objects, though as to Gods es­sence they are all one.

3. And the boldlyer; because that when we speak of Christ, we have the more ground for it from his hu­mane nature.

4. And thus we say that the simple Complacency, Will or Love of God is to all that is Naturally, or Morally good, according to the nature and degree of its goodness. And so he hath pleasure in the Conversion and Salvation of all, which yet will never come to pass.

5. And God as Ruler and Law-giver of the world, hath so far a Practical Will for their salvation, as to make them a free Deed of Gift of Christ and Life, and an act of Oblivion for all their sins, so be it they will not unthankfully reject it; and to command his Messen­gers to offer this Gift to all the world, and perswade them to ac­cept [Page 87] it. And so he doth all that as Law-giver or Promiser belongs to him to do for their salvation.

6. But yet he resolveth as Law-giver, that they that will not turn shall dye: And as Iudge, when their day of grace is past, he will execute that Decree.

7. So that he thus unfeignedly willeth the Conversion of those that never will be Converted, but not as Absolute Lord, with the ful­lest efficacious Resolution, nor as a thing which he resolveth shall un­doubtedly come to pass, or would engage all his power to accom­plish. It is in the power of a Prince to set a guard upon a Murderer to see that he shall not murder and be hanged. But if upon good rea­son he forbear this, and do but send to his subjects, and warn and in­treate them not to be murderers, I hope he may well say that he would not have them murder and be [Page 88] hanged; he takes no pleasure in it, but rather that they forbear and live. And if he do more for some, upon some special reason, he is not bound to do so by all. The King may well say to all the Murderers and Felons in the Land, [I have no pleasure in your death, but rather that you would obey my Laws and live: but If you will not, I am resolved for all this that you shall die.] The Judge may truly say to the Thief or Murderer, [Alas man, I have no delight in thy death: I had rather thou hadst kept the Law, and saved thy life; but seeing thou wilt not, I must condemn thee, or else I should be unjust.] So though God have no Pleasure in your damnation, and therefore calls upon you to Return and Live, yet he hath Pleasure in the demonstration of his own Iustice, and the executing his Laws, and therefore he is for all this fully re­solved, [Page 89] that if you will not be Con­verted, you shall be Condemned. If God were so much against the death of the wicked, as that he were resolved to do all that he can to hinder it, then no man should be Condemned: whereas Christ telleth you that few will be saved. But so far God is against your damnation, as that he will teach you, and warn you, and set before you life and death, and offer you your choice, and command his Mi­nisters to intreate you not to damn your selves, but accept his Mer­cy, and so to leave you without excuse; but if this will not do, and if still you be Unconverted, he professeth to you, he is resolved of your damnation, and hath com­manded us to say to you in his name, Verse 8. O wicked man, thou shalt surely die! And Christ hath little less then sworn it over and over, with a Verily, verily, [Page 90] except ye be Converted, and born again, ye cannot enter into the Kingdom of heaven, Matth. 18.3. Iohn 3.3. Mark, that he saith, [You cannot] It is in vain to hope for it, and in vain to dream that God is willing of it; for it is a thing that cannot be.

In a word you see then the meaning of the Text, that God the great Law-giver of the world doth take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they Turn and Live; though yet he be resolved that none shall Live but those that Turn; and as Iudge, even delighteth in Justice and manifesting his hatred of sin; though not in their misery which they have brought upon themselves in it self considered.

2. And for the proofs of the point, I shall be very brief in them, because I suppose you easily be­lieve it already.

[Page 91]1. The very gracious nature of God proclaimed Exod. 34.6. & 20.6. and frequently elsewhere, may assure you of this, that he hath no Pleasure in your death.

2. If God had more pleasure in thy Death then in thy Conversi­on and Life, he would not have so frequently commanded thee in his word, to Turn; he would not have made thee such promises of Life, if thou wilt but Turn; he would not have perswaded thee to it by so many Reasons. The tenour of his Gospel proveth the point.

3. And his Commission that he hath given to the Ministers of the Gospel, doth fully prove it. If God had taken more plea­sure in thy damnation, then in thy Conversion and Salvation, he would never have charged us to offer you Mercy, and to teach you the Way of Life both publikely and privately, [Page 92] and to intreate and beseech you to turn and live; to acquaint you with your sins, and foretell you of your danger, and to do all that possibly we can for your Conver­sion; and to continue patiently so doing, though you should hate us, or abuse us for our pains. Would God have done this, and appoint­ed his Ordinances for your good, if he had taken Pleasure in your death?

4. It is proved also by the course of his providences. If God had rather you were damned then Converted and Saved, he would not second his word with his works, and entice you by his daily kindness to himself, and give you all the mercies of this life which are his means to lead you to Repentance, Rom. 2.4. and bring you so often under his rod, to force you into your wits; he would not set so many examples [Page 93] before your eyes; no nor wait on you so patiently as he doth from day to day, and year to year. These be not signs of one that taketh pleasure in your death. If this had been his delight, how easi­ly could he have had thee long ago in Hell? How oft before this could he have catcht thee away in the midst of thy sins, with a curse, or oath, or lye in thy mouth, in thy ignorance and pride, and sensuality? when thou wast last in thy drunkenness, or last de­riding the waies of God, how ea­sily could he have stopt thy breath, and tamed thee with his Plagues, and made thee sober in another world! Alas, how small a matter is it for the Lord Almighty to rule the tongue of the prophanest railer, and tye the hands of the most malicious persecutor, or calm the fury of the bitterest of his ene­mies, and make them know that [Page 94] they are but worms? If he should but frown upon thee, thou wouldst drop into thy grave. If he gave Commission to one of his Angels to go and destroy ten thousand sinners, how quickly would it be done! How easily can he lay thee on thy bed of languishing, and make thee lie roaring there in pain; and make thee eat the words of reproach which thou hast spo­ken against his Servants, his Word, his Worship and his holy Waies? And make thee send to beg their prayers whom thou didst despise in thy presumption? How easily can he lay that flesh under gripes and groans, and make it too weak to hold thy soul, and make it more loathsom then the dung of the earth? That flesh which now must have what it loves, and must not be displeased though God be displeas­ed; but must be humoured in meats, and drink, and cloaths, whatever [Page 95] God say to the contrary, how quickly would the frowns of God consume it? When thou wast passionately defending thy sin, and quarrelling with them that would have drawn thee from it, and shewing thy spleen against the reprover, and pleading for the works of darkness; how easily could God have snatcht thee away in a moment, and set thee before his dreadful Majesty, where thou shouldst see ten thousand times ten thousand of glorious Angels wait­ing on his throne? and have cal­led thee there to plead thy cause, and asked thee, What hast thou now to say against thy Creator, his Truth, his Servants, or his holy waies? Now plead thy cause, and make the best of it that thou canst. Now what canst thou say in excuse of thy sin? Now give account of thy worldliness and fleshly life, of thy time, of all the mercies thou hast [Page 96] had. O how thy stubborn heart would have melted, and thy proud looks be taken down, and thy countenance be appaled, and thy stout words turned into speechless silence, or dreadful cries, if God had but set thee thus at his Bar, and pleaded his own cause with thee, which thou hast here so ma­liciously pleaded against! How easily can he at any time say to thy guilty soul, [Come away and live in that flesh no more till the resurre­ction] and it cannot resist? A word of his mouth would take off the poise of thy present life, and then all thy parts and powers would stand still: and if he say unto thee, [Live no longer: or live in Hell] thou couldst not dis­obey.

But God hath yet done none of this; but hath patiently forborn thee, and mercifully upheld thee; and given thee that breath which [Page 97] thou didst breath out against him, and given those Mercies which thou didst sacrifice to thy flesh, and afforded thee that provision, which thou spentest to satisfie thy greedy throat; he gave thee every minute of that time, which thou didst waste in idleness, or drunken­ness, or worldliness: and doth not all this Patience and Mercy shew that he desired not thy damnati­on? Can the candle burn without the oyl? Can your houses stand without the earth to bear them? As well as you can live an hour without the support of God. And why did he so long support thy life, but to see when thou wouldst bethink thee of the folly of thy waies, and return and live? Will any man purposely put arms into his enemies hands to resist him? or hold the Candle to a Murderer that is killing his chil­dren, or to an idle servant that [Page 98] Plaies or sleeps the while. Surely it is to see whether thou wilt at last Return and Live, that God hath so long waited on thee.

5. It is further proved by the sufferings of his Son, that God taketh no pleasure in the death of the wicked: would he have ran­somed them from death at so dear a rate? Would he have astonished Angels and men by his condescen­sion? Would God have dwelt in flesh, and have come in the form of a servant, and have assumed hu­manity into one person with the Godhead, and would Christ have lived a life of suffering, and dyed a cursed death for sinners, if he had rather taken pleasure in their death? Suppose you saw him but so busie in preaching and healing them, as you find him in Mark 3.21. or so long in fasting, as in Mat. 4. or all night in prayer, as in Luk. 6.12. or praying with th [...] [Page 99] drops of blood trickling from him instead of sweat, as Luke 22.44. or suffering a cursed death upon the Cross, and pouring out his soul as a sacrifice for our sins: Would you have thought these the signs of one that delighted in the death of the wicked?

And think not to extenuate it by saying that this was only for his Elect. For it was thy sin, and the sin of all the world that lay upon our Redeemer, and his sacrifice and satisfaction is sufficient for all, and the fruits of it are offered to one as well as another: but it is true, that it was never the intent of his mind to pardon and save any that would not by faith and re­pentance be Converted. If you had seen and heard him weeping and bemoaning the state of a dis­obedient impenitent people, Luke 19.41, 42. or complaining of their stubborness, as Mat. 23.37. [Page 100] Oh Ierusalem, Ierusalem, how oft would I have gathered thy chil [...]ren together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not? Or if you had seen and heard him on the Cross praying for his persecutors, [Father for­give them, for they know not what they do] would you have suspected that he had delighted in the death of the wicked; even of those that perish by their wilfull unbelief? When God hath so loved (not only loved, but so loved) the world, as to give his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, (by an effectual faith) should not perish, but have everlasting life: I think he hath hereby proved against the malice of men and devils, that he takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but had rather that they would Turn and Live:

6. Lastly, if all this will not yet satisfie you, take his own [Page 101] word, that knoweth best his own mind, or at least believe his oath: but this leadeth me up to the fourth Doctrine.

Doct. 4. THE Lord hath con­firmed it to us by his Oath, that he hath no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that he Turn and Live: that he may leave man no pretence to question the truth of it.

If you dare question his word, I hope you dare not question his oath. As Christ hath solemnly protested, that the unregenerate and Unconverted cannot enter in­to the Kingdom of heaven, Mat. 18.3. Iohn 3.3. So God hath sworn that his pleasure is not in their death, but in their Conver­sion and Life. And as the Apostle saith, Heb. 6.13, 16, 17, 18. Be­cause [Page 102] he can swear by no greater then himself, he saith, As I live, &c. For men verily swear by the greater, and an oath for confirmati­on is to them an end of strife; where­in God willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of Promise the immutability of his counsel, confirm­ed it by on oath, that by two im­mutable things, in which it was im­possible for God to lye, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us, which we have as an Anchor of the soul both sure and stedfast. If there be any man that cannot reconcile this truth with the Doctrine of Predestination, or the actual damnation of the wic­ked, that's his own ignorance: he hath no pretence left to deny or question therefore the truth of the point in hand: For this is con­firmed by the Oath of God, and therefore must not be distorted [Page 103] to reduce it to other points: but doubtful points must rather be re­duced to it, and certain truths must be believed to agree with it, though our shallow brains do hard­ly discern the agreeement.


I Do now intreate thee, if thou be an Unconverted sinner that hearest these words, that thou wouldst ponder a little upon the forementioned Doctrines, and be­think thy self awhile, who it is that takes pleasure in thy sin and damnation? Certainly it is not God: he hath sworn for his part that he takes no pleasure in it. And I know it is not the pleasing of him that you intend in it. You dare not say, that you drink, and swear and neglect holy duties, and, quench the motions of the Spirit, [Page 104] to please God. That were as if you shou [...]d reproach the Prince, and break his Laws, and seek his death, and say you did all this to please him.

Who is it then that takes Plea­sure in your sin and death? Not any that bear the image of God: for they must be like-manded to him. God knows its small pleasure to your faithful Teachers, to see you serve your deadly enemy, and madly venture your eternal state, and wilfully run into the flames of Hell. Its small pleasure to them to see upon your souls (in the sad effects) such blindness and hard-heartedness, and carelesness, and presumption, such wilfulness in evil, and such unteachableness, and stifness against the waies of life and peace: they know these are marks of death and of the wrath of God, and they know from the word of God, what's like to be [Page 105] the end of them: And therefore it is no more Pleasure to them, then to a tender Physitian to see the Plague-marks break out upon his Patient. Alas, to foresee your everlasting Torments, and know not how to prevent them! To see how near you are to hell, and we cannot make you believe it, and consider it! To see how easily, how certainly you might scape, if we knew but how to make you willing! How fair you are for everlasting salvation, if you would but Turn and do your best, and make it the care and business of your lives: but you will not do it. If our lives lay on it we cannot perswade you to it. We study day and night what to say to you, that may convince you and per­swade you, and yet it is undone: we lay before you the word of God, and shew you the very Cha­pter and verse where it is written, [Page 106] that you cannot be Saved except you be Converted; and yet we leave the most of you as we find you: We hope you will believe the word of God, though you be­lieve not us; and that you will re­gard it when we shew you the plain Scripture for it: but we hope in vain, and labour in vain, as to any saving change upon your hearts. And do you think that this is a pleasant thing to us? Ma­ny a time in secret prayer we are fain to complain to God with sad hearts, [Alas Lord, we have spo­ken to them in thy name, but they little regard us: we have told them what thou bidst us tell them concern­ing the danger of an unconverted state, but they do not believe us: We have told them that thou hast protested, that there is no peace to the wicked, Isaiah 48.22. and 57.21. but the worst of them all will scarce believe that they are [Page 107] wicked: we have shewed them thy word, where th [...]u hast said, that if th [...]y live after the flesh they shall die, Rom. 8.13. but they say they will believe in thee, when they will not believe thee: and that they will trust in thee, when they give no cre­dit to thy word; and when they hope that the threatnings of thy word are false, they will yet call this a hoping in God: and though we shew them where thou hast said, that when a wicked man dyeth all his hopes pe­rish, yet cannot we perswade them from their deceitful hopes, Prov. 11.7. We tell them what a base un­profitable thing sin is; but they love it, and therefore will not leave it. We tell them how dear they buy this pleasure, and what they must pay for it in everlasting torment, and they bless themselves, and will not believe it, but will do as the most do, and because God is merciful, they will not believe him, but will [Page 108] venture their souls, come on it what will we tel [...] them how ready the Lord is to receive them, and this doth but make them delay their re­pentance, and be bolder in their sin. Some of them say they purpose to repent, but they are still the same; and some say, they do repent alrea­dy when yet they are not Convert­ed from their sins. We exhort them, we intreat them▪ we offer them our help; but we cannot prevail with them: but they that were drunk­ards are drunkards still, and they that were voluptuous flesh pleasing wretches, are such still; and they that were worldlings, are wordlings still; and they that were ignorant, and proud and self-conceited, are so still. Few of them will see and confess their sin, and fewer will for­sake it, but comfort themselves that all men are sinners, as if there were no difference between a Converted sinner and an Vnconverted: Some [Page 109] of them will not come near us, when we are willing to instruct them, but think they know enough already, and need not our instruction; and some of them will give us the hearing, and do what their list: and most of them are like dead men that cannot fe [...]l; so that when we tell them of the matters of everlasting conse­quence, we cannot get a word of it to their hearts. If we do not obey them, and humour them in baptizing the children of the most obstinately wicked, and giving them the Lords Supper, and doing all that they would have us, though never so much against the word of God, they will hate us, and rail at us: but if we beseech them but to confess and for­sake their sins, and save their souls, they will not do it. We tell them, if they will but Turn, we will deny them none of the Ordinances of God, neither Baptism to their children, nor the Lords Supper to themselves: [Page 110] but they will not hear us: they would have us to disobey God, and damn our own souls, to please them, and yet they will not turn and save their own souls to please God. They are wiser in their own eyes then all their Teachers; they rage, and are confident in their own way; and if we would never so fain, we cannot change them. Lord, this is the case of our miserable neighbours, and we cannot help it: we see them ready to drop into hell, and we cannot help it: we know if they would un­feignedly turn they might be saved; but we cannot perswade them: if we would beg it of them on our knees, we cannot perswade them to it: if we would beg it of them with tears, we cannot perswade them; and what more can we do?

These are the secret complaints and moans that many a poor Mi­nister is fain to make. And do you think that he hath any Pleasure [Page 111] in this? Is it a Pleasure to him to see you go on in sin, and cannot stop you? to see you so miserable, and cannot so much as make you sensible of it? to see you merry, when you are not sure to be an hour out of Hell? to think what you must for ever suffer, because you will not Turn? and to think what an everlasting life of Glory you wilfully despise and cast away? What sadder thing can you bring to their hearts? and how can you devise to grieve them more?

Who is it then that you Pleasure by your sin and death? It is none of your understanding godly friends: Alas it is the grief of their souls to see your misery; and they lament you many a time when you give them little thanks for it, and when you have not hearts to la­ment your selves.

Who is it then that takes Plea­sure [Page 112] in your sin? It is none but the three great enemies of God, whom you renou [...]ced in your Baptism, and now are turned falsly to serve.

1. The Devil indeed takes pleasure in your sin and death: For this is the very end of all his temptations For this he watcheth night and day: You cannot devise to please him better, then to go on in sin: How glad is he when he sees thee going to the Ale-house or other sin? and when he heareth thee curse, or swear, or rail? How glad is he when he heare [...]h thee revile the Minister that would draw thee from thy sin, and help to save thee? These are his de­light.

2. The wicked also are delight­ed in it: For it is agreeable to their nature.

3. But I know for all this that it is not the pleasing of the Devil that you intend, even when you [Page 113] please him: but it is your own flesh, the greatest and most dan­gerous enemy, that you intend to please. It is the flesh that would be pampered, that would be pleas­ed in meat, and drink, and cloath­ing, that would be pleased in your company, and pleased in applause and credit with the world, and pleased in sports, and lost, and idleness: this is the gulf that de­voureth all. This is the very god that you serve, (for the Scripture saith of such, that their bellies are th [...]ir gods, Phil. 3.18.)

But I beseech you stay a little and consider the business.

1. Quest. Should your flesh be pleased before your Maker? Will you displease the Lord, and displease your Teachers, and your godly friends, and all to please your brutish appetites, or sensual desires? Is not God wor­thy to be the Ruler of your flesh? [Page 112] [...] [Page 113] [...] [Page 114] If he shall not Rule it, he will not save it: you cannot in reason expect that he should.

2. Qu. Your flesh is pleased with your sin: but is your conscience pleased? Doth not it grudge within you, and tell you some­times that all is not well, and that your case is not so safe as you make it to be? and should not your soul and conscience be pleased before that corruptible flesh?

3. Quest. But is not your flesh preparing for its own displeasure also? it loves the bait, but doth it love the hook? It loves the strong drink and sweet morsels, it loves its case and sports, and merriment; it loves to be rich and well spoken of by men, and to be some body in the world: but doth it love the curse of God? Doth it love to stand trembling before his Bar, and to be judged to everlasting fire? Doth it love to [Page 115] be tormented with the Devils for ever? Take all together; for there is no separating sin and hell, but only by faith and true Con­version; if you will keep one, you must have the other. If Death and Hell be pleasant to you, no wonder then if you go on in sin; but if they be not (as I am sure they be not) then what if sin were never so pleasant, is it worth the loss of Life Eternal? Is a little drink, or meat, or ease, is the good words of sinners, is the riches of this world to be valued above the Joyes of heaven? Or are they worth the suffering of Eternal fire? Sirs, these questi­ons should be considered, before you go any further, by every man that hath Reason to consider, and that believes he hath a soul to save or lose.

Well, the Lord here sweareth that he hath no Pleasure in your [Page 116] Death, but rather that you would Turn and Live: if yet you will go on, and Dye rather then Turn, remember it was not to Please God that you did it: it was to Please the world, and to please your selves. And if men will damn themselves to please themselves, and run into endless Torments for Delight, and have not the wit, the hearts, the grace, to hearken to God or man that would reclaim them, what remedy! but they must take what they get by it, and repent it in another manner, when it is too late! Before I proceed any further in the Application, I shall come to the next Doctrine, which giveth me a fuller ground for it.

Doct. 5. SO earnest is God for the Conversion of sinners, that he doubleth his commands and exhortations with vehemency; Turn ye, Turn ye, Why will ye Dye?

This Doctrine is the Applica­tion of the former, as by a Use of Exhortation, and accordingly I shall handle it. Is there ever an Unconverted sinner that heareth these vehement words of God? Is there ever a man or woman in this Assembly that is yet a stranger to the renewing sanctifying work of the Holy Ghost? (It is an hap­py Assembly if it be not so with the most.) Hearken then to the voice of your maker, and Turn to him by Christ without delay. Would you know the will of God? Why this is his will, that you pre­sently [Page 118] Turn. Shall the living God send so earnest a Message to his creatures, and should they not obey? Hearken then all you that live after the flesh: the Lord that gave thee thy breath and being, hath sent a message to thee from heaven; and this is his Message, [Turn ye, Turn ye, why will you die?] He that hath ears to hear let him hear. Shall the voice of the Eternal Majesty be neglected? If he do but terribly thunder, thou art afraid. O but this voice doth more nearly concern thee. If he did but tell thee thou shalt die to morrow, thou wouldst not make light of it. O but this word con­cerneth thy life or death everlast­ing. It is both a Command and an Exhortation. As if he had said to thee, [I charge thee upon the al­legiance that thou owest to me thy Creator and Redeemer, that thou renounce the flesh, the world, and the [Page 119] Devil, and Turn to me that thou maist Live. I condescend to intreate thee, as thou either lovest or fearest him that made thee; as thou lovest thine own life, even thine everlasting Life, Turn and Live; as ever thou wouldst escape eternal misery Turn, Turn, for why wilt thou die?] And is there a heart in man, in a reasonable creature, that can once refuse such a Message, such a Com­mand, such an Exhortation as this? O what a thing then is the heart of man!

Hearken then all that love themselves, and all that regard your own salvation. Here is the joyfullest Message that ever was sent to the ears of man. Turn ye, Turn ye, why will you die? You are not yet shut up under despers­tion. Here is mercy offered you, Turn and you shall have it. O Sirs, with what glad and Joyful hearts should you receive this ti­dings. [Page 120] I know this is not the first time that you have heard it; but how have you regarded it, or how do you regard it now? Hear all you ignorant, careless sinners, the word of the Lord! Hear all you worldlings, you sensual flesh-pleasers; you gluttons, and drun­kards, and whore-mongers, and swearers; you railers and backbiters, slanderers and lyars; Turn ye, Turn ye, why will you die?

Hear all you cold and out-side professors, and all that are stran­gers to the life of Christ, and never knew the power of his Cross and Resurrection, and never felt your hearts warmed with his Love, and live not on him as the strength of your souls, Turn ye, Turn ye, why will you die?

Hear all that are void of the Love of God, whose hearts are not toward him, nor taken up with [Page 121] the Hopes of glory, but set more by your earthly prosperity and delights, then by the Joyes of Heaven; all you that are Religious but a little on the by, and give God no more then your flesh can spare; that have not denyed your carnal selves, and forsaken all that you have for Christ, in the estima­tion and grounded resolution of your souls, but have any one thing in the world so dear to you, that you cannot spare it for Christ, if he require it, but will rather ven­ture on his displeasure then for­sake it, Turn ye, Turn ye; Why will you die?

If you never heard it, or ob­served it before, remember that you were told from the Word of God this day, that if you will but Turn, you may Live; and if you will not Turn, you shall surely die.

What now will you do Sirs? [Page 122] What is your resolution? Will you Turn, or will you not? Halt not any longer between two opi­nions: if the Lord he God, fol­low him: if your flesh be God, then serve it still. If Heaven be better then earth and fleshly plea­sures, come away then, and seek a better Country, and lay up your treasure where rust and mothe [...] do not corrupt, and thieves can­not break through and steal, and be awakened at last with all your might, to seek the Kingdom that cannot be moved, Heb. 12.28. and to employ your lives on an higher design, and turn the stream of your cares and labours another way then formerly you have done. But if earth be better then hea­ven, or will do more for you, or last you longer, then keep it, and make your best of it, and follow it still. Sirs, are you resolved what to do? if you be not, I will set a [Page 123] few more moving Considerations before you, to see if Reason will make you resolve.

Consider first, What preparati­ons Mercy hath made for your sal­vation: and what pitty it is that any man should be damned after all this. The time was when the flaming sword was in the way, and the curse of Gods Law would have kept thee back, if thou hadst been never so willing to turn to God: The time was when thy self and all the friends that thou hast in the world, could never have procured thee the pardon of thy sins past, though thou hadst never so much lamented and re­formed them▪ But Christ hath re­moved this impediment by the ransom of his blood. The time was that God was wholly unre­conciled, as being not satisfied for the violation of his Law: But now he is so far satisfied and recon­ciled, [Page 124] as that he hath made thee a free Act of Oblivion, and a free deed of Gift of Christ and Life, and offereth it to thee, and in­treateth thee to accept it, and it may be thine if thou wilt. For, he was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, and hath commit­ted to us the word of actual reconci­liation, 2 Cor. 5.18, 19. Sinners, we are commanded to do this Mes­sage to you all, as from the Lord, [Come, for all things are ready] Luke 14.17. Are all things rea­dy, and are you unready? God is Ready to entertain you, and par­don all that you have done against him, if you will but come. As long as you have sinned, as wil­fully as you have sinned, as hai­nously as you have sinned, he is ready to cast all behind his back, if you will but come. Though you have been Prodigals, and run away from God, and have staid so long; [Page 125] he is ready even to meet you, and embrace you in his arms; and re­joyce in your Conversion, if you will but Turn. Even the earthly worldling, the swinish drunkard, may find God ready to bid them welcome, if they will but come. Doth not this turn thy heart within thee? O sinner, if thou have an heart of flesh, and not of stone in thee, methinks this should melt it. Shall the dreadful infi­nite Majesty of heaven even wait for thy returning, and be ready to receive thee, who hast abused him, and forgotten him so long? Shall he delight in thy Conversion, that might at any time glorifie his Justice in thy damnation, and yet doth it not melt thy heart within thee, and art thou not yet ready to come in? Hast thou not as much reason to be ready to come, as God hath to invite thee, and bid thee welcome?

[Page 126]But that's not all: Christ hath done his part on the Cross, and made such way for thee to the Father, that on his account thou maist be welcome if thou wilt come. And yet art thou not Rea­dy?

A Pardon is Ready, expresly granted and offered thee in the Gospel. And yet art thou unrea­dy?

The Ministers of the Gospel are Ready to assist thee, to instruct thee, and pronounce the absolving words of peace to thy soul; they are Ready to pray for thee, and to seal up thy pardon by the admini­stration of the holy Sacrament; And yet art thou not ready?

A [...]l that fear God about thee are Ready to rejoyce in thy Con­version, and to receive thee into the Communion of Saints, and to give thee the right hand of fellowship, yea though thou hadst been one [Page 127] that had been cast out of their so­ciety: they dare not but forgive where God forgiveth, when it is manifest to them by thy confession and amendment: they dare not so much as hit thee in the teeth with thy former sins, because they know that God will not upbraid thee with them. If thou hadst been never so scandalous, if thou wouldst but heartily be Converted and come in, they would not refuse thee, let the world say what they would against it. And are all these ready to receive thee, and yet art thou not ready to come in?

Yea, Heaven it self is Ready; the Lord will receive thee into the glory of his Saints: as vile a beast as thou hast been, if thou wilt but be cleansed, thou maist have a place before his throne: his Angels will be ready to guard thy soul to the place of Joy, if thou do but unfeignedly come in. [Page 128] And is God ready, the Sacrifice of Christ Ready, the Promise Ready, and Pardon Ready? are Ministers Ready, and the People of God Rea­dy, and Heaven it self Ready, and Angels Ready, and all these but waiting for thy Conversion; and yet art thou not Ready? What not Ready to live, when thou hast been dead so long? not Ready to come to thy right understanding, (as the Prodigal is said to come to himself, Luke 15.17.) when thou hast been besides thy self so long? Not ready to be saved, when thou art even ready to be condemned? Art thou not ready to lay hold on Christ that would deliver thee, when thou art even ready to drown and sink into damnation? Art thou not ready to be saved from Hell, when thou art even rea­dy to be cast remedilesly into it? Alas man, dost thou know what thou dost! if thou die unconvert­ed, [Page 129] there is no doubt to be made of thy damnation: and thou art not sure to live an hour: And yet art thou not ready to turn and to come in? O miserable wretch! hast thou not served the flesh and the Devil long enough? Yet hast thou not had enough of sin? Is it so good to thee? or so profitable for thee? Dost thou know what it is, that thou wouldst yet have more of it? Hast thou had so many calls, and so many mercies, and so many blows, and so many examples? hast thou seen so many laid in the grave, and yet art thou not rea­dy to let go thy sins and come to Christ? What! after so many convictions, and gripes of Consci­ence: after so many purposes and promises, art thou not yet ready to turn and live? Oh that thy eyes, thy heart were opened to know how fair an offer is now made to thee! and what a Joyful mes­sage [Page 130] it is that we are sent on, to bid thee come: for all things are ready.

2. Consider also what Calls thou hast to Turn and Live. How many, how loud, how earnest, how dreadful, and yet what encourage­ing joyful Calls?

For the principal Inviter, it is God himself. He that commandeth Heaven and Earth, commandeth thee to turn; and presently without delay to turn▪ He commands the Sun to run its course, and to rise upon thee every morning; and though it be so glorious a creature and many times bigger then all the earth, yet it obeyeth him, and fail­eth not one minute of its appoint­ed time. He commandeth all the planets and the orbs of Heaven, and they obey; He commandeth the Sea to ebb and flow, and the whole Creation to keep its course, and all obey him: The Angels of heaven obey his will, when he [Page 131] sends them to Minister to such silly worms as we on earth, Hebrews 1.14. And yet if he command but a sinner to Turn, He will not obey him: He only thinks him­self wiser then God, and He ca­vils and pleads the cause of sin, and will not away. If the Lord Almighty say the word, the Hea­vens and all therein obey him: but if he call but a drunkard out of an Ale-house, he will not obey; or if he call a worldly fleshly sin­ner to deny himself, and mortifie the flesh, and set his heart on a bet­ter inheritance, he will not obey.

If thou hadst any love in thee, thou wouldst know the voice, and say, Oh this is my Fathers Call! how can I find in my heart to diso­bey? For the sheep of Christ do know and hear his voice, and they follow him, and he giveth them eter­nal life, Iohn 10.4. If thou hadst any spiritual life and sense in thee, at [Page 132] least thou wouldst say, this Call is the dreadful voice of God, and who dare disobey? For saith the Prophet, Amos 3.8. The Lyon hath roared, who will not fear? God is not as man that thou shouldst dally and play with him: Remember what he said to Paul at his Conversion [It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks] Act. 9.5. Wilt thou yet go on and despise his word, and resist his Spirit, and stop thine ear against his Call? Who is it that will have the worst of this? Dost thou know whom thou disobeyest and contendest with, and what thou art doing? It were a far wiser and easier task for thee to contend with the thorns, and spurn them with thy bare feet, and beat them with thy bare hands, or put thy head into the burning fire. Be not deceived, God will not be mock­ed, Galat. 6.7. Whoever else be mocked, God will not: you were [Page 133] better play with the fire in your thatch, then with the fire of his burning wrath. For our God is a consuming fire, Hebrews 12.29. O how unmeet a match art thou for God! It is a fearful thing to fall into his hands, Hebrews 10.31. and therefore it is a fearful thing to contend with him or resist him. As you love your souls, take heed what you do. What will you say if he begin in wrath to plead with you? What will you do if he take you once in hand? Will you then strive against his Judgement, as now you do against his grace; faith the Lord, Isa. 27.4, 5. Fury is not in me: (that is, I delight not to destroy you: I do it as it were unwillingly: but yet) who would set the bryars and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them: I would burn them together. Or let him take hold of my strength that he may make peace with me, and he [Page 134] sh [...]ll make peace with me.] Its an unequal combat for the bryars and stubble to make war with the fire.

As thus you see, Who it is that calleth you, that should move you to hear his Call and Turn, so con­sider also, by what instruments, and how often & how earnestly he doth it.

1. Every le [...]f of the blessed Book of God hath as it were a voice, and calls out unto thee, Turn and live, Turn or thou wilt die. How canst thou open it, and read a leaf, or hear a Chapter, and not per­ceive God bids thee Turn?

It is the voice of every Sermon that thou hearest: For what else is the scope and drift of all, but to call and perswade, and intreat thee for to Turn?

3. It is the voice of many a moti­on of the Spirit, that secretly speaks over these words again, and urgeth thee to Turn.

[Page 135]4. It is likely sometime it is the voice of thy own Conscience. Art thou not sometime convinced that all is not well with thee? and doth not conscience tell thee that thou must be a new man, and take a new course, and often call upon thee to Return?

5. It is the voice of the gracious examples of the Godly. When thou seest them live a heavenly life, and fly from the sin which is thy delight, this really Calls on thee to Turn.

6. It is the voice of all the Works of God. For they also are Gods books, that teach thee this lesson, by shewing thee his Greatness, and Wisdom, and Goodness, and Calling thee to observe them, and admire the Creator, Psal. 19.1, 2. The Heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handy work; Day unto Day uttereth Speech, night unto night sheweth [Page 136] Knowledge. Every time the Sun riseth upon thee, it really calleth thee to Turn: as if it should say, [What do I travel and compass the world for, but to declare to men the Glory of their Maker, and to light them to do his work? And do I still find thee doing the work of sin, and sleeping out thy life in negligence? Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light, Ephes. 5.14. The night is spent, the day is at hand: it is now high time to awake out of sleep: Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly as in the day, not in rioting and drunkeness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and en­vying: but put ye on the Lord Iesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof, Rom. 13.11, 12, 13, 14. (This Text was the means of Austins Coversion.)

[Page 137]7. It is the voice of every Mercy thou dost possess. If thou couldst but hear and understand them, they all cry out unto thee, Turn. Why doth the earth bear thee but to seek and serve the Lord? why doth it afford thee its fruits but to serve him? Why doth the air af­ford thee breath, but to serve him? Why do all creatures serve thee with their labours and their lives, but that thou mightest serve the Lord of them and thee? Why doth he give thee time, and health, and strength, but for to serve him? Why hast thou meat, and drink, and cloathes, but for his service? Hast thou any thing which thou hast not received? And if thou didst receive them, its reason thou shouldst bethink thee, from whom, and to what end and use thou didst receive them. Didst thou never cry to him for help in thy distress? and didst [Page 138] thou not then understand that it was thy part to Turn and serve him if he would deliver thee? He hath done his part, and spared thee yet longer, and tryed thee ano­ther and another year: and yet dost thou not Turn? You know the Parable of the unfruitful fig-tree, Luke 13.6, 7, 8, 9. When the Lord had said, Cut it down; why cumbreth it the ground? he was intreated to try it one year longer, and then if it proved not fruitful, to cut it down. Christ himself there makes the applicati­on twice over, ver. 3. & 5. [Ex­cept ye Repent, ye shall all likewise perish.] How many years hath God looked for the fruits of Love and Holiness from thee, and hath found none? and yet he hath spared thee. How many a time by thy wilful ignorance and careles­ness, and disobedience, hast thou provoked Justice to say, Cut him [Page 139] down, why cumbereth he the ground? And yet mercy hath prevailed, and Patience hath forborn the killing damning blow, to this day. If thou hadst the understanding of a man within thee, thou wouldst know that all this calleth thee to Turn. Dost thou think thou shalt still esca [...]e the Iudgement of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to Re­pentance? but after thy hardness and impenitent heart, treasurest up unto thy self wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous Iudgement of God, who will render to every man ac­cording to his deeds, Rom. 2.3, 4.5, 6.

8. Moreover, it is the voice of every affliction to call thee to make haste and Turn. Sickness and pain cry Turn; and poverty, and loss [Page 140] of friends, and every twig of the chastising rod, cry Turn; and yet wilt thou not hearken to the Call? These have come near thee, and made thee feel; they have made thee groan, and can they not make thee Turn?

9. The very frame of thy Na­ture and being it self bespeaketh thy Return. Why hast thou Rea­son, but to Rule thy flesh, and serve thy Lord? Why hast thou an understanding soul, but to learn and know his will, and do it? Why hast thou an heart within thee that can love, and fear, and desire, but that thou shouldst fear him, and love him, and desire after him?

10. Yea thine own engagements by promise to the Lord do call up­on thee to Turn and serve him. Thou hast bound thy self to him by a Baptismal Covenant, and re­nounced the world, the flesh, and [Page 141] the Devil; this thou hast confirm­ed by the profession of Christiani­ty, and renewed it at Sacraments and in times of affliction: And wilt thou promise and vow, and never perform, and Turn to God?

Lay all these together now, and see what should be the issue. The holy Scripture calls upon thee to Turn; the Ministers of Christ do call upon thee to Turn, The Spirit cries Turn, thy Con­science cries Turn: the godly by perswasions and examples cry Turn: the whole world and all the creatures therein that are pre­sented to thy consideration cry Turn: The patient forbearance of God cries Turn: All the Mercies which thou receivest cry Turn; The rod of Gods chastisements cries Turn: Thy reason and the frame of thy nature bespeaks thy Turn­ing: and so do all thy Promises to [Page 142] God. And yet art thou not resol­ved to Turn?

3. Moreover, poor hard heart­ed sinner! Didst thou ever consi­der, upon what terms thou standest all this while with him that calleth on thee for to Turn? Thou art his own, and owest him thy self and all thou hast; and may he not Com­mand his own? Thou art his abso­lute servant, and shouldst serve no other Master. Thou standest at his Mercy, and thy life is in his hand; and he is resolved to save thee up­on no other terms; thou hadst many malicious spiritual enemies, that would be glad if God would but forsake thee, and let them alone with thee, and leave thee to their will: how quickly would they deal with thee in another manner? And thou canst not be delivered from them but by Turning unto God. Thou art fallen under his wrath by thy sin [Page 143] already: and thou knowest not how long his patience will yet wait. Perhaps this is the last year; perhaps the last day; his sword is even at thy heart, while the word is in thine ear; and if thou Turn not, thou art a dead and undone man. Were thy eyes but open to see where thou standest, even upon the brink of hell, and to see how ma­ny thousands are there already that did not turn, thou wouldst see that its time to look about thee.

Well Sirs, look inwards now and tell me, How are your hearts affected with these offers of the Lord? You hear what is his mind, he delighteth not in your death: he calls to you, Turn, turn: its a fearful sign, if all this move thee not, or do but half move thee; and much more if it make thee more careless in thy misery, be­cause thou hearest of the merciful­ness of God. The working of the [Page 144] medicine will partly tell us whe­ther there be any hope of the Cure. O what glad tidings would it be to those that are now in Hell, if they had but such a Mes­sage from God! What a joyful word would it be to hear this [Turn and Live:] Yea what a welcome word would it be to thy self when thou hast felt that wrath of God but an hour! Or if after a thousand, or ten thousand years torment, thou couldst but hear such a word from God, [Turn and Live.] and yet wilt thou now neglect it, and suffer us to return without our errand?

Behold sinners, we are set here as the Messengers of the Lord, to set before you Life and Death▪ What say you? which of them will you choose? Christ standeth as it were by thee, with Heaven in one hand, and Hell in the other, and offereth thee thy choice; [Page 145] which wilt thou choose? The voice of the Lord maketh the Rocks to tremble, Psalm 20. and is it no­thing to hear him threaten thee, if thou wilt not Turn? Dost thou not understand and feel this voice, [Turn ye, Turn ye, Why will ye die?] Why, it is the voice of Love, of infinite Love, of thy best and kindest friend, as thou mightest easily perceive by the mo­tion: and yet canst thou neglect it? It is the voice of pitty and compassion. The Lord seeth whi­ther thou art going better then thou dost, which makes him call after thee, Turn, Turn: He seeth what will become of thee, if thou turn not: He thinketh with him­self, Ah this poor sinner will cast himself into endless torments, if he do not Turn: I must in Iustice deal with him according to my righteous Law; and therefore he calleth af­ter thee, Turn, Turn O sinner! [Page 146] if you did but know the thousandth part as well as God doth, the dan­ger that is near you, and the misery that you are running into, we should have no more need to call after you to Turn.

Moreover, this voice that calleth to thee, is the same that hath pre­vailed with thousands already, and called all to heaven that are now there▪ And they would not now for a thousand worlds that they had made light of it, and not Turned to God. Now what are they possessing that Turned at Gods Call? Now they perceive that it was indeed the voice of Love, that meant them no more harm then their salvation. And if thou wilt obey the same Call, thou shalt come to the same Happiness. There be millions that must for ever lament that they Turned not, but there's never a soul in Heaven that is sorry that they were Converted.

[Page 147]Well Sirs, are you yet resolved, or are you not? Do I need to say any more to you? What will you do? will you Turn, or not? Speak man in thy heart to God, though thou speak not out to me: Speak, left he take thy silence for a denyal. Speak quickly, lest he ne­ver make thee the like offer more. Speak resolvedly, and not waver­ingly; for he will have no Indiffe­rents to be his Followers. Say in thy heart now, without any more delay, even before thou stir hence, [By the Grace of God, I am resolved presently to turn. And because I know my own insufficiency, I am re­solved to wait on God for his Grace, and to follow him in his ways, and forsake my former courses and com­panions, and give up my self to the guidance of the Lord.

Sirs, You are not shut up in the darkness of Heathenism, nor in the desperation of the damned: [Page 148] Life is before you: and you may have it on reasonable terms if you will: yea on free-cost, if you will accept it. The way of God lyeth plain before you; the Church is open to you: the company of the godly is open to you; you may have Christ and pardon, and Holiness, if you will. What say you? Will you, or will you not? If you say nay, or say nothing, and still go on, God is witness, and this Congregation is witness, and your own Consciences are witness, how fair an offer you had this day. Remember, you might have had Christ, and would not. Re­member, when you have lost it, that you might have had eternal Life as well as others, and would not: and all because you would not Turn.

But let us come to the next Doctrine, and hear your Rea­sons.

Doct 6. The Lord conde­scendeth to reason the case with Vnconverted sinners, and to ask them why they will die?

A strange Disputation it is, both as to the Controversie, and as to the Disputants. 1. The Contro­versie or Question propounded to dispute of, is, Why wicked men will damn themselves? Or, Why they will rather die then Turn? Whether they have any sufficient reason for so doing?

2. The Disputants are God and * man: the most Holy God, and wic­ked unconverted sinners.

1. Is it not a strange Thing which God doth seem here to suppose, that any man should be willing to die, and be damned? Yea that this should be the case of all [Page 150] the wicked; that is, of the greatest part of the world; but you will say, This cannot be; for nature desireth the preservation and felicity of it self, and the wicked are more selfish then others, and not less; and therefore how can any man be willing to be dam­ned?

To which I answer, 1. It is a cer­tain Truth. that no man can be wil­ling of any evil as evil, but only as [...]t hath some appearance of good; much less can any man be willing to be eternally tormented. Misery as such is desired by none. 2. But yet for all that it is most true which God here teacheth us, that the cause why the wicked die and are damned, is because they will die and be damned. And this is true in seve­ral respects.

1. Because they will go the way that leads to Hell; though they are told by God and man, whether it goes, and where it ends; and [Page 151] though God hath so often profes­sed in his word, that if they hold on in that way, they shall be con­demned: and that they shall not be saved unless they Turn. Isa. 48.22. & 57.21. There is no Peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked.] Isa. 59 8. The way of Peace they know not; there is no Iudgement in their goings; They have made them crooked paths: Whosoever goeth therein shall not know Peace.] They have the word and the Oath of the living God for it; that if they will not Turn, they shall not enter into his Rest. And yet wicked they are, and wicked they will be, let God and man say what they will; Fleshly they are, and fleshly they will be: Worldlings they are, and Worldlings they will be: though God hath told them that the Love of the world is enmity to God, and that if any man love the world, (in that measure) [Page 152] the love of the Father is not in him, James 4.4. 1 John 2.15. so that consequentially these men are wil­ling to be damned, though not di­rectly: They are willing of the way to Hell, and Love the certain cause of their torment, though they be not willing of Hell it self, and do not love the pain which they must endure.

Is not this the Truth of your case Sirs? You would not burn in Hell: But you will kindle the fire by your sin, and cast your selves into it: you would not be tormented with Devils for ever; But you will do that which will certainly procure it, in despite of all that can be said against it. It is just as if you would say, I will drink this rats-bane, or other poison, but yet I will not die. I will cast my self headlong from the top of a steeple, but yet I will not kill my self; I will thrust this knife into [Page 153] my heart, but yet I will not take away my life. I will put this fire into the thatch of my house, but yet I will not burn it. Just so it is with wicked men; they will be wick­ed; and they will live after the flesh and the world, and yet they would not be damned. But do you not know that the means do lead unto the end? and that God hath by his righteous Law con­cluded that you must repent or perish? He that will take poyson, may as well say plainly, I will kill my self: for it will prove no better in the end: Though perhaps he loved it for the sweetness of the Sugar that was mixt with it, and would not be perswaded that it was poyson, but that he might take it and do well enough: But it is not his conceits, and confi­dence, that will save his life. So if you will be Drunkards, or Forni­cators, or worldlings, or live after [Page 154] the flesh, you may as well say plain­ly, we will be damned: For so you shall be unless you Turn; would you not rebuke the folly of a thief or murderer, that would say, [I will steall, and kill, but I will not be hanged,] when he knows that if he do the one, the Judge in justice will see that the other be done? If he say, I will steal and murder, he may as well say plainly, I will be hanged. So if you will go on in a carnal life, you may as well say plainly, we will go to Hell.

2. Moreover, The wicked will not use those means, without which there is no hope of their Salvation: He that will not eat, may as well say plainly he will not live, unless he can tell how to live without meat; He that will not go his journey, may as well say plainly, he will not come to the end. He that falls into the water and will not come out, nor suffer another [Page 155] to help him out, may as well say plainly he will be drowned; So if you be carnal and ungodly, and will not be converted, nor use the means by which you should be con­verted, but think it more ado then needs, you may as well say plainly, you will be damned. For if you have found out a way to be saved without Conversion, you have done that which never was done before.

3. Yea, this is not all, but the wicked are unwilling, even of salvation it self. Though they may desire somewhat which they call by the name of Heaven, yet Heaven it self, considered in the true nature of the felicity, they de­sire not: Yea their hearts are quite against it. Heaven is a state of perfect holiness, and of continual Love, and Praise to God, And the wicked have no heart to this. The imperfect Love, and Praise, [Page 156] and holiness which is here to be at­tained, they have no mind of: Much less of that which is so much great­er. The joyes of Heaven are of so pure and spiritual a nature, that the heart of the wicked cannot truly desire them.

So that by this time you may see on what ground it is that God sup­poseth that the wicked are willing of their own destruction: They will not turn, though they must Turn or die, they will rather ven­ture on certain misery, then be con­verted; and then to quiet them­selves in their sin, they will make themselves believe that they shall nevertheless escape.

2. And as the Controversie is matter of wonder (that ever men should be such enemies to them­selves, as wilfully to cast away their souls) so are the Disputants too. That God should stoop so low, as thus to plead the case with man; [Page 157] and that man should be so strange­ly blind and obstinate, as to need all this in so plain a case, yea and to resist all this, when their own salva­tion lieth upon the issue.

No wonder if they will not hear us that are men, when they will not hear the Lord himself. As God saith, Ezek. 3.7. when he sent the Prophet to the Israelites, [The house of Israel will not heark­en unto thee: For they will not hearken unto me; For all the house of Israel are impudent and hard­hearted.] No wonder if they can plead against a Minister, or a god­ly Neighbour, when they will plead against the Lord himself, even against the plainest passages of his word, and think that they have Reason on their side. When they weary the Lord with their words, they say, wherein have we wearied him? Mal. 2.17. The Priests that despised his name, durst ask, [Page 158] Wherein have we despised thy name? And when they polluted his Altar, and made the Table of the Lord contemp [...]ible, they durst say Where­in have we polluted thee? Mal. 1.6, 7. But, [Wo unto him (saith the Lord) that striveth with his Maker! Let the Potsheards strive with the Potsheards of the earth; Shall the clay say to him that fa­shioneth it; What makest thou?] Isa. 45.9.

Quest. But why is it that God will reason the Cause with man?

Answ. 1. Because that man be­ing a reasonable creature, is ac­cordingly to be dealt with, and by Reason to be perswaded and over­come. God hath therefore endu­ed them with Reason, that they might use it for him. One would think a reasonable creature should not go against the clearest and greatest Reason in the world, when it is set before him.

[Page 159]2. At least men shall see that God did require nothing of them that was unreasonable; but that whatever he commandeth them, and whatever he forbiddeth them, he hath all the right Reason in the world on his side; and they have good Reason to obey him; but none to disobey. And thus even the damned shall be forced to ju­stifie God. and confess that it was but Reason that they should have turned to him; and they shall be forced to condemn themselves, and confess that they had little reason to cast away themselves by the ne­glecting of his Grace in the day of their visitation.


LOOK up your best and strongest Reasons, sinners, if you will make good your way; You see now with whom you have to deal. What saist thou, Uncon­verted sensual wretch? Darest thou venture upon a dispute with God? Art thou able to confute him? Art thou ready to enter the lists? God asketh thee, Why wilt thou die? Art thou furnished with a sufficient answer? Wilt thou un­dertake to prove that God is mi­staken, and that thou art in the right? O what an undertaking is that! Why, either he or you is mistaken, when he is for your Conversion, and you are against it; He calls upon you to Turn, and you will not; He bids you do it pre­sently, even to day, while it is cal­led [Page 161] to day, and you delay, and think it time enough hereafter. He saith, it must be a total change, and you must be holy, and new creatures, and born again; and you think that less may serve the turn, and that its enough to patch up the old man, without becoming New. Who is in the right now? God or you? God calleth on you to Turn and to Live an holy Life; and you will not; by your disobe­dient lives, it appears you wil not. If you will, why do you not? Why have you not done it all this while? and why do you not fall upon it yet? Your Wils have the com­mand of your lives. We may cer­tainly conclude that you are un­willing to turn when you do not Turn. And why will you not? Can you give any Reason for it that is worthy to be called a Rea­son?

I that am but a worm, your fel­low [Page 162] creature, of a shallow capacity, dare challenge the wisest of you all▪ to reason the case with me, while I plead my Makers cause: And I need not be discouraged, when I know I plead but the cause that God pleadeth, and contend for him that will have the best at last. Had I but these two General Grounds against you, I am sure that you have no good Reason on your side.

1. I am sure it can be no good Reason, which is against the God of Truth and Reason. It cannot be Light that is contrary to the Sun: There is no knowledge in any Creature, but what it had from God, and therefore none can be wiser then God. It were dam­nable presumption for the highest Angel to compare with his Crea­tor. What is it then for a lump of dirt, an ignorant sot, that know­eth not himself, nor his own soul, [Page 163] that knoweth but little of the things which he seeth, yea that is more ignorant then many of his neighbours, to set himself against the wisdom of the Lord? It is one of the fullest discoveries of the horrible wickedness of carnal men, and the stark madness of such in sin, that so silly a mole dare con­tradict his Maker, and call in que­stion the word of God. Yea that those people in our Parishes, that are so beastly ignorant, that they cannot give us a reasonable answer concerning the very Principles of Rel [...]gion, are yet so wise in their own conceit, that they dare questi­on the plainest truths of God, yea contradict them, and cavil against them, when they can scarce speak sense, and will believe them no fur­ther then agreeth with their foolish wisdom.

2. And a [...] I know that God must needs be in the right, so I [Page 164] know the Case is so palpable and gross which he pleadeth against, that no man can have reason for i [...]. Is it possible that a man can have any Reason to break his Masters Laws? and reason to dishonour the Lord of Glory? and reason to abuse the Lord that bought him? Is it possible that a man can have any good reason to damn his own Immortal soul? Mark the Lords question [Turn ye, Turn ye, Why will you die?] Is eternal death a thing to be de desired? Are you in love with Hell? What rea­son have you willfully to perish? If you think you have some reason to sin, should you not remember that death is the wages of sin? Rom. 6.23. and think whether you have any Reason to undo your selves body and soul for ever. You should not only ask whether you love the Adder, but whether you love the sting. It is such a [Page 165] thing for a man to cast away his everlasting happiness, and to sin against God, that no good reason can be given for it: but the more any man pleads for it, the madder he sheweth himself to be. Had you a Lord-ship or a Kingdom offered you for every sin that you commit, it were not reason, but madness to accept it. Could you by every sin obtain the highest thing on earth that flesh desireth, it were of no considerable value to perswade you in reason to commit it. If it were to please your greatest or dearest friends, or to obey the greatest Prince on earth, or to save your lives, or to escape the greatest earthly Misery, all these are of no consideration, to draw a man in reason to the com­mitting of one sin. If it were a right hand, or a right eye that would hinder your salvation, it is the gainfullest way to cast it away, [Page 166] rather then to go to Hell to save it. For there's no saving a part, when you lose the whole. So ex­ceeding great are the matters of Eternity, that nothing in this world deserveth once to be named in comparison with them: Nor can any earthly thing, though it were Life, or Crowns, or King­doms, be a reasonable excuse for the neglect of matters of such higher and Everlasting Conse­quence. A man can have no rea­son to cross his ultimate End. Heaven is such a thing, that if you lose it, nothing can supply the want, or make up your loss; And Hell is such a thing that if you suffer it, nothing can remove your misery, or give you ease and com­fort. And therefore nothing can be a valuable consideration to ex­cuse you for neglecting your own salvation: For saith our Saviour, What shall it profit a man to win [Page 167] all the world, and lose his own soul? Mark 8.36.

Oh Sirs, that you did but know what matters they are that we are now speaking to you of! The Saints in Heaven have other kind of thoughts of these things. If the Devil could come to them that live in the sight and love of God, and should offer them a cup of Ale, or a Whore, or merry com­pany, or sports, to tice them away from God and Glory, I pray you tell me, how do you think they would entertain the motion? Nay, or if he should offer them to be Kings on the earth: Do you think this would tice them down from Heaven! O with what hatred and holy scorn would they disdain and reject the motion! And why should not you do so, that have Heaven opened to your faith, if you had but faith to see it? There's never a soul in hell but knows by [Page 168] this time, that it was a mad ex­change to let go heaven for fleshly pleasure; and that it is not a little mirth, or Pleasure, or worldly riches, or Honour, or the good Will or Word of men, that will quench Hell-fire, or make him a saver that loseth his soul. O if you had heard what I believe, if you had seen what I believe, and that on the credit of the word of God, you would say there can be no reason to warrant a man to damn his soul: You durst not sleep quietly another night before you had resolved to Turn and Live.

If you see a man put his hand into the fire till it burn off, you'l marvail at it: but this is a thing that a man may have Reason for, as Bishop Cranmer had when he burnt off his hand for subscribing to Popery. If you see a man cut off a leg or an arm, its a sad sight; [Page 169] but this is a thing that a man may have good reason for: as many a man doth it to save his life. If you see a man give his body to be burnt to ashes, and to be tormented with strappado's and racks, and refuse deliverance when it is offered: this is a hard case to flesh and blood. But this a man may have good reason for; as you may see in Heb. 11.33, 34, 35, 36. and as many an hundred Martyrs have done. But for a man to forsake the Lord that made him, and for a man to run into the fire of Hell, when he is told of it, and intreated to Turn that he may be saved; this is a thing that can have no Reason in the world, that is Reason indeed, to justi­fie or excuse it. For Heaven will pay for the loss of any thing that we can lose to get it, or for any labour which we bestow for it. But nothing can pay for the loss of Heaven.

[Page 170]I beseech you now let this word come nearer to your hearts. As you are convinced that you have no Reason to destroy your selves, so tell me what Reason have you to refuse to Turn, and live to God? What Reason hath the veri­est worldling, or drunkard, or ig­norant careless sinner of you all, why you should not be as holy as any you know, and be as carefull for your souls as any other. Will not hell be as hot to you as to others? Should not your own souls be as dear to you as theirs to them? Hath not God as much authority over you? Why then will you not be­come a sanctified people as well as they?

O Sirs, when God bringeth the matter down to the very Principles of nature, and shews you that you have no more reason to be undgod­ly, then you have to damn your own souls; if yet you will not [Page 171] understand and Turn, it seems a Desperate case that you are in.

And now either you have Rea­son for what you do, or you have not. If not; will you go on against Reason it self? Will you do that which you have no Reason for? But if you think you have, pro­duce them, and make the best of your matter. Reason the case a little with me, your fellow-crea­ture, which is far easier then to reason the case with God. Tell me man here before the Lord, as if thou wert to die this hour, Why shouldst thou not resolve to Turn this day, before thou stir from the place thou standest in? What Reason hast thou to deny, or to delay? Hast thou any Reason that satisfieth thine own conscience for it? Or any that thou darest own and plead at the barr of God? If thou hast, let us hear them; bring [Page 172] them forth, and make them good? But alas, what poor stuff, what nonsense instead of reason, do we daily hear from ungodly men? But for their necessity I should be ashamed to name them.

1. One saith, If none shall be sa­ved but such Converted and Sancti­fied ones as you talk of, then heaven would be but empty; then God help a great many.

Answ. What! it seems you think that God doth not know, or else that he is not to be belie­ved! Measure not all by your selves; God hath thousands and millions of his sanctified ones: but yet they are few in comparison of the world, as Christ himself hath told us, Matthew 7.13, 14. Luke 12.32. It better beseems you to make that use of this truth which Christ teacheth you; Strive to en­ter in at the strait gate; for strait is the gate, and narrow is the way [Page 173] that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it; but wide is the gate, and broad is the way that lead­eth to destruction, and many they be that go in thereat.] Luke 13.22, 23, 24. [Fear not little flock (saith Christ to his sanctified ones) for it is your Fathers good pleasure to give you the Kingdom, Luke 12 32.

Object. 2. I am sure if such as I go to Hell, we shall have store of company.

Answ. And will that be any ease or comfort to you? Or do you think you may not have company enough in Heaven? Will you be undone for company? Or will you not believe that God will execute his threatnings because they be so many that are guilty? All these are silly unreasonable con­ceits.

Object. 3. But are not all men sinners, even the best of you all?

[Page 174] Answ. But all are not unconvert­ed sinners. The godly live not in gross sin, and their very infirmities are their grief, and burden, which they daily long, and pray, and strive to be rid of. Sin hath not do­minion over them.

Object. 4. I do not see that Pro­fessors are any better then other men; They will over-reach, and oppress, and are as Covetous as any.

Answ. Whatever hypocrites are, its not so with those that are san­ctified. God hath thousands and thousands that are otherwise: Though the malicious world doth accuse them of what they can ne­ver prove, and of that which ne­ver entred into their hearts. And commonly they charge them with heart-sins, which none can see but God; because they can charge them with no such wickedness in their lives, as they are guilty of themselves.

[Page 175]Object. 5. But I am no whore­monger, nor drunkard, nor oppressor, and therefore why should you call up­on me to be Converted?

Answ. As if you were not born after the flesh, and had not lived after the flesh as well as other [...] ▪ Is it not as great a sin as any of these, for a man to have an earthly mind, and to love the world above God, and to have an unbelieving unhumbled heart? Nay, let me tell you more: that many persons that avoid disgraceful sins, are as fast glued to the world, and as much slaves to the flesh, and as strange to God, and a verse to heaven in their more civil course, as others are in their more shameful notorious sins.

Object. 6. But I mean nobody any harm, nor do no harm: and why then should God condemn me?

Answ. Is it no harm to neglect the Lord that made thee, and the [Page 176] work for which thou camest into the world, and to prefer the crea­ture before the Creator, and to neglect the grace that is daily of­fered there? It is the depth of thy sinfulness to be so insensible of it: The dead feel not that they are dead. If once thou wert made alive, thou wouldst see more amiss in thy self, and marvell at thy self for making so light of it.

Object. 7. I think you would make men mad under pretence of Converting them: It is enough to rack the brains of simple people to muse so much on matters too high for them.

Answ. 1. Can you be madder then you are already? or at least can there be a more dangerous madness, then to neglect your everlasting welfare, and wilfully undo your selves? 2. A man is never well in his wits till he be converted: He never knows [Page 177] God, nor knows sin, nor knows Christ, nor knows the world, nor himself, nor what his business is on earth, so as to set himself about it, till he be converted. The Scripture saith that the wicked are unreasonable men, 2 Thes. 3.2. and that the wisdom of the world is foolishness with God, 1 Cor. 1.20. and Luke 15.17. its said of the Prodigal, that when he came to him­self he resolved to Return. Its a wise world▪ when men will disobey God and run to Hell for fear of being out of their wits.

2. What is there in the work that Christ calls you to, that should drive a man out of his wits? Is it the Loving of God, and calling upon him, and comfor­table thinking of the glory to come, and the forsaking of our sins, and loving one another, and delighting our selves in the service of God? are these such things [Page 178] as should make men mad?

3. And whereas you say that these matters are too high for us, you accuse God himself for mak­ing this our work, and giving us his word, and commanding all that will be blessed to meditate in it day and night. Are the matters which we were made for, and which we live for, too high for us to meddle with? This is plainly to unman us, and to make beasts of us, as if we were like them, that must med­dle with no higher matters, then what belongs to flesh and earth. If heaven be too high for you to think on and provide for, it will be too high for you ever to pos­sess.

4. If God should sometimes suf­fer any weak-headed person to be distracted by thinking of eternal things, this is because they mis­understand them, and run without a guide: and of the two I had [Page 179] rather be in the case of such a one, then of the mad unconverted world, that take their distraction to be their wisdom.

Object. 8. I do not th [...]nk that God cares so much what men think, or speak, or do, as to make so great a matter of it.

Answ. It seems then you take the word of God to be false, and then what will you believe? But your own reason might teach you better, if you believe not the Scri­ptures: For you see God set not so light by us, but that he vouchsafed to make us, and still preserveth us, and daily upholdeth us, and pro­videth for us: And will any wise man make a curious frame for no­thing? will you make or buy a Clock or Watch, and daily look to it, and not care whether it go true or false? Surely if you be­lieve not a particular eye of pro­vidence observing your hearts and [Page 180] lives, you cannot believe or expect any paricular providence to ob­serve your wants and trouble, to relieve You. And if God had so little cared for you as you imagine, you would never have lived till now: An hundred diseases would have striven which should first de­stroy you; Yea the Devils would have haunted you, and fetcht you away alive, as the great fishes de­vour the less, and as Ravenous birds and beasts devour others. You cannot think that God made man for no end or use: And if he made him for any, it was sure for himself. And can you think he cares not whether his ends be accomplished, and whether we do the work that we are made for?

Yea by this Atheistical obje­ction you make God to have made and upheld all the world in vain. For what are all other lower Creatures for, but [Page 181] for man? What doth the earth but bear us, and nourish us? and the beasts do serve us with their labours and lives, and so of the rest. And hath God made so glorious a habi­tation, and set man to dwell in it, and made all his servants, and now doth he look for nothing at his hands? nor care how he thinks, or speaks, or lives? This is most un­reasonable.

Object. 9. It was a better world when men did not make so much ado in Religion.

Answ. It hath ever been the cu­stom to praise the times past. That world that you speak of, was wont to say, it was a better world in their fore-fathers dayes, and so did they of their fore-fathers: This is but an old custom; because we all feel the evil of our own times, but we see not that which was before us.

3. Perhaps you speak as you [Page 182] think: Worldlings think the world is at the best when it is agreeable to their minds: and when they have most mirth and worldly plea­sure. And I doubt not but the Devil as well as you, would say, that then it was a better world: for then he had more service, and less disturbance. But the world is at the best, when God is most loved, regarded and obeyed. And how else will you know when the world is good or bad but by this?

Object. 10. There are so many waies and Religions that we know not which to be of, and therefore we will be even as we are.

Answ. Because there are many, will you be of that way that you may be sure is wrong? None are further out of the way, then worldly, fleshly, Unconverted sin­ners. For they do not only err in this or that opinion, as many sects [Page 183] do, but in the very scope and drift of their lives. If you were going a journey that your life lay on, would you stop or turn again, be­cause you met with some cross waies, or because you saw some travellers go the horse way, and some the foot way, and some per­haps break over the hedge, yea and some miss the way? or would you not rather be the more careful to enquire the way? If you have some servants that know not how to do your work right, and some that are unfaithful, would you take it well at any of the rest that would therefore be idle and do you no service because they see the rest so bad?

Object. 11. I do not see that it goes any better with those that are so godly then with other men They are as poor, and in as much trouble as others.

Answ. And perhaps in much [Page 184] more, when God sees it meet. They take not earthly prosperity for their wages. They have laid up their treasure and hopes in ano­ther world, or else they are not Christians indeed. The less they have, the more is behind; and they are content to wait till then.

Object. 12. When you have said all that you can, I am resolved tohope well, and trust in God, and do as well as I can, and not make so much ado.

Answ. 1. Is that doing as well as you can, when you will not Turn to God, but your heart is against his holy and diligent ser­vice? It is as well as you will indeed: but thats your mise­ry.

2. My desire is, that you should Hope and Trust in God: But for what is it that you will Hope? Is it to be saved, if you [Page 185] turn and be sanctified? For this you have Gods promise: and therefore hope for it and spare not. But if you Hope to be saved without Conversion and an Holy Life, this is not to Hope in God, but in Satan or your selves. For God hath given you no such promise, but told you the contrary: but its Satan and self-love that made you such promises, and raised you to such Hopes.

Well, If these and such as these be all you have to say against Conversion and an Holy Life, your All is Nothng, and worse then Nothing: And if these and such as these seem Reasons suffi­cient to perswade you to forsake God, and cast your selves into Hell, the Lord deliver us from such Reasons, and from such blind understandings, and from such sensless hardened hearts. Dare you stand to ever an one [Page 186] of these Reasons at the Barr of God? Do you think it will then serve your turn to say, Lord I did not Turn because I had so much to do in the world, or because I did not like the lives of some professors, or because I saw men of so many minds. O how easily will the light of that day confound and shame such reasonings as these? Had you the world to look after? Let the world which you ser­ved now pay your wages, and save you if it can? Had you not a better world to look after first? And were you not commanded to seek first Gods Kingdom and Righteousness, and promised, that other things should be added to you? Mat. 6.33. And were you not told, that godliness was profitable to all things, having the promise of this life, and of that which is to come, 1 Tim. 4.8. Did the sins of professors hinder you? [Page 187] you should rather have been the more heedful, and learned by their falls to beware, and have been the more careful, and not the more careless: It was the Scripture, and not their lives, that was your Rule. Did the many opinions of the world hinder you? Why, the Scripture that was your Rule did teach you but one way, and that was the right way: If you had followed that even in so much as was plain and easie, you should never have miscarried. Will not such Answers as these confound and silence you? If these will not, God hath those that will: when he asketh the man, Mat. 22.12. Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having on a wedding garment? that is, What dost thou in my Church among professed Christi­ans, without an holy heart and life? What answer did he make? Why the text saith, He was speech­less: [Page 188] he had nothing to say. The clearness of the case, and the Ma­jesty of God will then easily stop the mouths of the most confident of you, though you will not be put down by any thing that we can say to you now, but will make good your cause, be it never so bad. I know already that never a Rea­son that now you can give, will do you any good at last, when your case must be opened before the Lord and all the world.

Nay, I scarce think that your own Consciences are well satisfied with your Reasons. For if they are, it seems then you have not so much as a Purpose to Repent. But if you do purpose to Repent, it seems you do not put much confidence in your Reasons which you bring against it.

What say you yet Unconvert­ed sinners? Have you any good Reason to give, why you should [Page 189] not Turn, and presently Turn with all your hearts? Or will you go to Hell in despight of Reason it self? Bethink you what you do in time; for it will shortly be too late to bethink you. Can you find any fault with God or his work, or wages? Is he a bad Master? Is the Devil whom you serve, a bet­ter? or is the flesh a better? Is there any harm in an holy life? is a life of worldliness and ungod­liness better? Do you think in your Consciences that it would do you any harm to be Converted and live an holy life? What harm can it do you? Is it harm to you to have the Spirit of Christ within you? and to have a cleansed pu­rified heart? If it be bad to be Holy, why doth God say, Be ye holy, for I am holy, 1 Pet. 1.15, 16. Leviticus 20.7. Is it evil to be like God? Is it not said that God made man in his image? Why this [Page 190] Holiness is his Image: This Adam lost, and this Christ by his Word and Spirit would restore to you, as he doth to all that he will save. Why were you Baptized into the Holy Ghost, and why do you Ba­ptize your children into the Holy Ghost as your Sanctifier, if you will not be sanctified by him, but think it an hurt to you to be san­ctified? Tell me truly, as before the Lord, Though you are loath to live an Holy life, had you not rather die in the case of those that do so then of others? If you were to die this day, had you not rather die in the case of a Conveted man, then of the Unconverted? of an holy and heavenly man, then of a carnal earthly man? and would you not say as Balaam, Numb. 23.10. Let me die the death of the Righteous, and let my last end be like his.] And why will you not now be of the mind that you will [Page 191] be of then? First or last you must come to this, either to be Convert­ed, or wish you had been, when it is to late.

But what is it that you are afraid of losing if you Turn? Is it your friends? you will but change them: God will be your friend, and Christ, and the Spirit will be your friend, and every Chri­stian will be your friend. You will get one friend that will stand you in more stead then all the friends in the world could have done. The friends you lose would but have ti­ced you to hell, but could not have delivered you: But the friend you get, will save you from hell, and bring you to his own eternal Rest.

Is it your pleasures that you are afraid of losing? You think you shall never have a merry day again, if once you be Converted. Alas, that you should think it a [Page 192] greater pleasure to live in foolish sports and merriments, and please your flesh, then to live in the Be­lieving thoughts of glory, and in the love of God, and in righteous­ness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, in which the state of grace consisteth, Romans 14.17. If it be a greater pleasure to you to think of your Lands and inheri­tance (if you were Lords of all the Country) then it is to a child to play for pins; why should it not be a greater Joy to you to think of the Kingdom of Heaven being yours, then of all the riches or pleasure of the world? As it is but foolish childishness that makes children so delight in gawds, that they would not leave them for all your Lands: so it is but foolish worldliness, and fleshliness, and wickedness, that makes you so much delight in your houses, and lands, and meat, and drink, and [Page 193] ease, and honour, as that you would not part with them for the heavenly delights. But what will you do for pleasure when these are gone? Do you not think of that? When your pleasures end in hor­rour, and go out with a stinking snuff, the Pleasures of the Saints are then at the best. I have had my self but a little taste of the heavenly pleasures in the fore­thoughts of the blessed approach­ing day, and in the present perswa­sions of the Love of God in Christ; but I have taken too deep a draught of earthly plea­sures (so that you may see, if I be partial, it is on your side;) and yet I must profess from that little experience, that there is no com­parison; there is more joy to be had in a day (if the Sun of life shine clear upon us) in the state of Holiness, then in an whole life of sinful pleasures. I had rather [Page 194] be a door-keeper in the house of God, then to dwell in the Tents of wicked­ness, Psalm 84.10. A day in his Courts is better then a thousand any­where else, Psal. 84.10. The mirth of the wicked is like the laughter of a mad man that knows not his own misery: and therefore So­lomon faith of such laughter, It is mad; and of mirth, What doth it? Eccles. 2.2. And Eccles. 7.2, 3, 4, 5, 6. It is better to go to the house of mourning, then to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men, and the living will lay it to his heart. Sorrow is better then laugh­ter: for by the sadness of the coun­tenance, the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth: It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, then to hear the song of fools: For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool.] All [Page 195] the pleasures of fleshly things, is but like the scratching of a man that hath the itch: It is his disease that makes him desire it; and a wise man had rather be without his pleasure and be troubled with his itch. Your loudest laughter is but like that of a man that is tick­led; he laughs when he hath no cause of joy. And it is a wiser thing for a man to give all his estate and his life to be tickled to make him laugh, then for you to part with the Love of God, and the comforts of Holiness, and the Hopes of Heaven, and to cast your selves into damnation, that you may have your flesh tickled with the pleasures of sin for a little while. Judge as you are men, whe­ther this be a wise mans part. It is but your carnal unsanctified na­ture that makes an holy life seem grievous to you, and a course of sensuality seem more delightful. [Page 196] If you will but Turn, the Holy Ghost will give you another na­ture, and inclination; and then it will be more plesant to you to be rid of your sin, then now it is to keep it; and you will then say, that you know not what a com­fortable life was till now, and that it was never well with you, till God and Holiness were your delight.

Quest. BVT how cometh it to pass that men should be so unreasonable in the matters of their salvation? they have wit enough in other matters. What makes them so loth to be Converted, that there should need so many words in so plain a case, and all will not do, but the most will live and de Vncon­verted?

Answ. To name them only in a few words, the causes are these.

[Page 197]1. Men are naturally in Love with earth and flesh. They are born sinners, and their nature hath an enmity to God and godliness, as the Nature of the Serpent hath to a man: And when all that we can say goes against an habitual in­clination of their natures, no mar­vail if it little prevail.

2. They are in Darkness, and know not the very things which they hear. Like a man that was born blind, and hears an high commendation of the light: but what will bearing do, unless he see it? They know not what God is, nor what is the power of the Cross of Christ, nor what the Spirit of holiness is, nor what it is to live in love by faith: They know not the certainty, and suit­ableness, and excellency of the heavenly inheritance. They know not what Conversion, and an holy mind and Conversation is, even [Page 198] when they hear of it. They are in a mist of ignorance. They are lost and bewildred in sin: like a man that hath lost himself in the night, and knows not where he is, nor how to come to himself again, till the day-light do recover him.

3. They are wilfully confident that they need no Conversion, but some partial amendment, but that they are in the way to heaven al­ready, and are Converted when they are not. And if you meet a man that is quite out of his way, you may long enough call on him to turn back again, if he will not believe you that he is out of his way.

4. They are become slaves to their flesh, and drowned in the world to make provision for it. Their lusts, and passions, and appe­tites have distracted them, and got such an hand over them, that [Page 199] they cannot tell how to deny them, nor how to mind any thing else. So that the drunkard saith, I love a cup of good d [...]ink, and I cannot forbear it. The glutton saith, I love good [...]hear, and I can­not forbear. The fornicator saith, I love to have my lust fulfilled, and I cannot forbear. And the gamester loves to have his sports, and he cannot forbear. So that they are become even captivated slayes to their flesh, and their [...] wilful­ness is become an impotency; and what they would not do, they say they cannot. And the worldling is so taken up with earthly things, that he hath neither heart, nor mind, nor time for heavenly: but as in Phara [...]s d [...]eam, Gen. 41.4. the lean kine did eat up the fat ones; so this lean and barren earth doth eat up all the thoughts of heaven.

5. Some are so carried away [Page 200] by the stream of evil company, that they are possessed with hard thoughts of a godly life, by hear­ing them speak against it; or at least, they think they may venture to do as they see most do: and so they hold on in their sinful waies; and when one is cut off and cast into Hell, and another snatcht away from among them to the same condemnation, it doth not much daunt them, because they see not whither they are gone; poor wretches, they hold on in their ungodliness, for all this; for they little know that their com­panions are now lamenting it in torments. In Luke 16. the rich man in hell would fain have had one to warn his five Brethren, left they should come to that place of torment. Its like he knew their minds and lives, and knew that they were hasting thither, and little dreamt that he was there, yea and [Page 201] would little have believed one that would have told them so. I re­member a passage that a Gentleman yet living told me he saw upon a bridge over Severn:Note: Mr. R. Rowly of S [...]rew bury upon A [...]ham-bridge. A man was driving a flock of fat lambs, and something meeting them and hindring their passage, one of the Lambs leapt upon the wall of the bridge and his legs slipping from under him, he fell into the stream: the rest seeing him, did one after one leap over the bridge into the stream, and were all, or almost all drowned; Those that were behind did little know what was become of them that were gone before, but thought they might venture to follow their companions: but as soon as ever they were over the wall, and falling headlong, the case was altered. Even so it is with Unconverted Carnal men. One [Page 202] dyeth by them and drops into hell, and another follows the same way; and yet they will go after them, be­cause they think not whether they are gone. Oh but when death hath once opened their eyes, and they see what's on the other side of the wall, even in another world, then what would they give to be where they were!

6. Moreover, they have a sub­tile malicious enemy, that is un­seen of them, and playes his game in the dark; and it is his principal business to hinder their Conversi­on, and therefore to keep them where they are, by perswading them not to believe the Scriptures, or not to trouble their minds with these matters; or by perswading them to think ill of a godly life, or to think that its more ado then needs, and that they may be saved without Conversion, and with­out all this stir; and that God is [Page 203] so merciful that he will not damn any such as they; or at least that they may stay a little longer, and take their pleasure and follow the world a little longer yet, and then let it go and repent hereafter. And by such jugling deluding cheats as these, the Devil keeps the most in his captivity, and leadeth them to his misery.

These, and such like impediments as these, do keep so many thousands Unconverted, when God hath done so much, and Christ hath suffered so much, and Ministers have said so much for their Conversion; when their Reasons are silenced, and they are not able to answer the Lord that calls after them, [Turn ye, Turn ye, Why will you die?] yet all comes to nothing with the greatest part of them; and they leave us no more to do after all, but to sit down and lament their wilful misery.

I Have now shewed you the Reasonableness of Gods com­mands, and the unreasonableness of wicked mens disobedience. If nothing will serve turn, but men will yet refuse to Turn, we are next to consider, who it is long of if they be damned. And this brings me up to the last Doctrine, which is;

Doct. 7. THAT if after all this men will not Turn, it is not long of God that they are condemned, but of them­selves, even their own wilful­ness. They die because they will die: that is, because they will not Turn.

If you will go to hell, what re­medy! God here acquits himself [Page 205] of your blood: it shall not lie on him if you be lost. A negligent Minister may draw it upon him; and those that encourage you, or hinder you not in sin, may draw it upon them; but be sure of it, it shall not lie upon God. Saith the Lord concerning his unpro­fitable Vineyard, Isaiah 5.1, 2, 3, 4. [Iudge I pray you betwixt me and my Vineyard: What could have been done more to my Vineyard, that I have not done in it? When he had planted it in a fruit­ful soil, and fenced it, and gather­ed out the stones, and planted it with the choicest Vine: What should he have done more to it? He hath made you men, and endu­ed you with Reason; he hath fur­nished you with all external neces­saries; all creatures are at your service. He hath given you a righteous perfect Law. When you had broke it, and undone your [Page 206] selves, he had pitty on you, and sent his Son by a miracle of conde­scending mercy to die for you, and be a sacrifice for your sins, and he was in Christ reconciling the world to himself. The Lord Jesus hath made you a deed of gift of himself, and eternal life with him, on the condition you will but accept it and return. He hath on this reasonable condition offered you the free pardon of all your sins; he hath written this in his Word, and sealed it by his Spi­rit, and sent it you by his Mini­sters; they have made the offer to you an hundred and an hundred times, and called you to accept it, and to turn to God. They have in his name entreated you, and reasoned the case with you, and answered all your frivolous ob­jections. He hath long waited on you, and slaid your leisure, and suffered you to abuse him to his [Page 207] face. He hath mercifully sustained you in the midst of your sin; he hath compassed you about with all sorts of mercies: He hath also in­termixt afflictions to mind you of you folly, and call you to your wits; And his spirit hath been of­ten striving with your hearts, and saying there, [Turn sinner, Turn to him that calleth thee; Whither art thou going; What art thou do­ing? Dost thou know what will be the end? How long wilt thou hate thy friends, and love thine enemies? when wilt thou let go all and Turn, and deliver up thy self to God, and give thy Redeemer the possession of thy soul? When shall it once be?] These pleadings have been used with thee. And when thou hast delayed, thou hast been urged to make hast, and God hath called to thee, [To day, while it is cal­led to day, harden not thy heart; Why not now without any more de­lay? [Page 208] Life hath been set before you; The Joyes of Heaven have been opened to you in the Gospel: The Certainty of them hath been mani­fested: The certainty of the ever­lasting Torments of the damned hath been declared to you: Un­less you would have had a sight of Heaven and Hell, what could you desi [...] more? Christ hath been as it were set forth crucified before your eyes, Gal. 3.1. You have been an hundred times told that you are but lost men till you come unto him; As oft have you been told of the evil of sin, of the vanity of sin, the world, and all the pleasures and wealth it can afford; of the short­ness and uncertainty of your lives, and the endless duration of the Joy or Torment of the life to come. All this, and more then this have you been told, and told again, even till you were a weary of hear­ing it, and till you could make the [Page 209] lighter of it, because you had so often heard it; like the Smiths dog, that is brought by custom to sleep under the noise of the ham­mers, and when the sparks do fly about his ears: and though all this have not converted you, yet you are alive, and might have mercy to this day, if you had but hearts to entertain it. And now let Reason it self be Judge; whether it be long of God or you, if after all this you be unconvert­ed and be damned. If you die now, it is because you will die. What should be said more to you? Or what course should be taken, that is liker to prevail? Are you able to say and make it good, We would fain have been convert­ed and become new creatures, but we would not; we would fain have forsaken our sins, but could not; we would have changed our company, and our thoughts, and our discourse, [Page 210] but we could not. Why could you not if you would? What hindered you, but the wickedness of your hearts? Who forced you to sin? or who did hold you back from Duty? Had not you the same teaching, and time, and liberty to be godly as your godly neigh­bours had? Why then could not you have been godly as well as they? Were the Church-doors shut against you? or did you not keep away your selves? or fit and sleep, or hear as if you did not hear? Did God put in any exce­ptions against you in his word, when he invited sinners to return, and when he promised mercy to those that do return?] Did he say, [I will pardon all that repent ex­cept thee?] Did he shut you out from the liberty of his holy wor­ship? Did he forbid you to pray to him any more then others? You know he did not. God did [Page 211] not drive you away from him, but you forsook him, and run away your selves. And when he called you to him, you would not come. If God had excepted you out of the general promise and offer of mercy, or had said to you, [Stand off, I will have no­thing to do with such as you: Pray not to me, for I will not hear you: If you repent never so much, and cry for mercy never so much, I will not regard you;] If God had left you nothing to trust to, but de­speration, then you had had a fair excuse. You migh have said, [To what end should I repent and turn, when it will do no good?] But this was not your case. You might have had Christ to be your Lord and Saviour, your Head and Husband, as well as others: and you would not; because you felt not your selves sick enough for the Physitian, and because you [Page 212] could not spare your disease: In your hearts you said as those re­bels, Luke 19.14. [We will not have this man to reign over us.] Christ would have gathered you under the wings of his salvation, and you would not, Mat. 23.37. What desires of your wel-fare did the Lord express in his holy word? With what compassion did he stand over you and say, [O that my people had hearkened unto me, and that they had walked in my waies! Psal. 81.13. O that there were such a heart in this people that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments alwaies, that it might be well with them and with their children for ever! Deut. 5.20. [O that they were wise, that they under­stood this! and that they would con­sider their latter end!] Deut. 32.29. He would have been your God, and done all for you that your souls could well desire; but [Page 213] you loved the world and your flesh above him and therefore you would not hearken to him: though you complemented with him, and gave him high titles, yet when it came to the closing, you would have none of him, Psal. 81.11, 12. No marvel then if he gave you up to your own hearts lusts, and you walked in your own counsels.] He condescended to reason and plead the case with you, and ask you [What is there in me or my service that you should be so much against me! What harm have I done thee sinner! Have I deserved this unkind dealing at thy hand? Many mercies have I shewed thee; for which of them dost thou thus de­spise me? Is it I, or is it Satan that is thy enemy? Is it I, or is it thy carnal self that would undo thee? Is it an holy life, or a life of sin that thou hast cause to fly from? If thou be undone, thou procurest this to thy [Page 214] self by forsaking me the Lord that would have saved thee: Jer. 2.17. Doth not thy own wickedness correct thee, and thy sin reprove thee; that thou maist see that it is an evil and bitter thing that thou hast forsaken me? Jer. 2.19. What iniquity have you found in me, that you have fol­lowed after vanity and forsaken me? Ier. 2.5, 6.] He calleth out as it were to the bruits to hear the controversie he hath against you [...] Mic. 2.3, 4, 5 Hear O ye mountains the Lords controversie, and ye strong foundations of the earth: for the Lord hath a Controversie with his people, and he will plead with Is­rael. O my people what have I done unto thee? and wherein have I wearied thee? testifie against me: for I brought thee up out of Egypt, and redeemed thee, &c. Hear O heavens, and give ear O earth, for the Lord hath spoken. I have nourished and brought up children, and they have [Page 215] rebelled against me. The Ox know­eth his owner, and the Ass his Ma­sters cr [...]b: but Israel doth not kn [...]w, my people doth not consider! Ah sinful Nation! a people laden with iniquity, a Seed of evil doers! &c. Isaiah 1.2, 3, 4. [Do you thus re­quite the Lord O foolish people and unwise? Is not he thy Father that bought thee? Hath he not made thee and established thee? Deut. 32.6.] When he saw that you forsook him even for nothing, and turned away from your Lord and Life, to hunt after the chaffe and feathers of the world, he told you of your folly, and called you to a more profitable employment, Isa. 55.1, 2, 3. [Wherefore do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken di­ligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight it self in fatness. Enclin [...] [Page 216] your [...] and [...] unto me; hear and yo [...] [...] shall live, and I will make an [...]verlasting Covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David; — 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 upon him: and to our God, for he will abundantly par­don, ver. 6, 7.] And so Isa. 1.16, 17, 18. And when you would not hear, what complaints have you put him to, charging it on you as your wilfulness and stubborn­ness, Ier. 2.12, 13. [Be asto­nished O heavens at this, and be horribly afraid. — For my people have committed two evils, they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters; and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.] Many a time hath Christ [Page 217] proclaimed that free invitation to you, Revel. 22.17. Let him that is a thirst come: and whoever will, let him take the water of life freely.] But you put him to complain after all his offers, [They will not come to me that they may have life, Iohn 5.40.] He hath invited you to feast with him in the Kingdom of his grace, and you have had ex­cuses from your grounds, and your cattel, and your worldly business, and when you would not come, you have said you could not: and pro­voked him to resolve that you should never taste of his Supper, Luke 14.15, to 25.] And who is it long of now but your selves? and what can you say is the chief cause of your damnation, but your own Wills? You would be dam­ned. The whole case is laid open by Christ himself, Prov. 1. from the 20. to the end. [Wisdom cryeth without, she uttereth her [Page 218] voice in the streets, she crieth in the chief place of Concourse, — How long ye simple ones will ye love simplicity, and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn ye at my re­proofs: behold I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. Because I have called and ye refused; I have stretched out my hands, and no man regarded, but ye have set at naught all my counsel, and would none of my reproofs: I also will laugh at your calamity, I will mock when your fear cometh: when your fear cometh as desolation, and your de­struction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you: then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me. For that they hated know­ledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord. They would none of [Page 219] my counsels: they despised all my reproof: Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall stay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. But who so hearkeneth to me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from the fear of evil.] I thought best to recite the whole text at large to you, be­cause it doth so fully shew the cause of the destruction of the wicked. It is not because God would not teach them, but because they would not learn. It is not because God would not Call them, but because they would not Turn at his re­proof. Their wilfulness is their undoing.


FRom what hath been said, you may further learn these fol­lowing things.

1. From hence you may see, not only what blasphemy and im­piety it is, to lay the blame of mens destruction upon God, but also how unfit these wicked wretches are to bring in such a charge against their Maker. They cry out upon God, and say, He gives them not grace, and his threatnings are severe, and God forbid that all should be damned that be not Converted and Sanctified; and they think it hard measure that a short sin should have an endless suffering; and if they be damned, they say, they cannot help it: When in the mean time, they are busie about their own destruction, [Page 221] even cutting the throat of their own souls, and will not be per­swaded to hold their hands They think God were cruel if he should damn them; and yet they are so cruel to themselves that they will run into the fire of Hell; when God hath told them it is a little before them, and neither intreaties, nor threatnings, nor any thing that can be said, will stop them. We see them almost undone: Their careless, worldly, fleshly lives do tell us that they are in the power of the Devil: we know if they die before they are Converted, all the world cannot save them; and knowing the uncertainty of their lives, we are afraid every day lest they drop into the fire. And therefore we intreat them to pitty their own souls, and not to undo themselves when mercy is at hand; and they will not hear us. We in­treat them to cast away their sin, [Page 222] and come to Christ without delay, and to have some mercy on them­selves; but they will have none. And yet they think that God must be cruel if he condemn them. O wilful wretched sinners! It is not God that is cruel to you: it is you that are cruel to your selves. You are told you must Turn or burn and yet you Turn not. You are told that if you will needs keep your sins, you shall keep the Curse of God with them: and yet you will keep them. You are told that there is no way to Happiness but by Holiness, and yet you will not be Holy. What would you have God say more to you? What would you have him do with his Mercy? He offereth it you, and you will not have it. You are in the ditch of sin and misery, and he would give you his hand to help you out, and you refuse his help: he would cleanse you of your sins, [Page 223] and you had rather keep them. You love your lust, and love your gluttony, and sports, and drunken­ness, and will not let them go. Would you have him bring you to Heaven whether you will or no? Or would you have him bring you and your sins to heaven together? Why, that's an impossibility; you may as well expect he should turn the Sun into Darkness. What! an unsanctified fleshly heart be in Heaven; it cannot be: There entreth nothing that is unclean, Revel. 21.27. For what Commu­nion hath light with darkness, or Christ with Belial? 2 Corinth. 6.14, 15. All the day long hath he stretched out his hand to a disobedi­ent and gain saying people, Romans 10.25. What will you do now? Will you cry to God for mercy! why God calleth upon you to have mercy upon your selves, and you will not. Ministers see the [Page 224] poysoned cup in the drunkards hand, and tell him, There is poy­son in it, and desire him to have Mercy on his soul, and forbear, and he will not hear us; drink it he must and will: he loves it, and therefore though Hell come next, he saith, he cannot help it. What should one say to such men as these? We tell the ungodly care­less worldling, It is not such a life that will serve the turn, or ever bring you to Heaven. If a Bear were at your back you would mend your pace; and when the curse of God is at your back, and Satan and Hell are at your back will you not stir, but ask what needs all this ado? Is an immortal soul of no more worth? O have mercy upon your selves! But they will have no mercy on themselves, nor once regard us. We tell them, the end will be bitter. Who can dwell with the everlasting fire? And yet [Page 225] they will have no mercy upon themselves. And yet will these shameless wretches say, that God is more merciful then to condemn them, when it is themselves that cruelly and unmercifully run up­on Condemnation; and if we should go to them with our hats in our hands and intreate them, we cannot stop them. If we should fall down on our knees to them, we cannot stop them; but to Hell they will, and yet will not be­lieve that they are going thither. If we beg of them for the sake of God that made them, and pre­serveth them; for the sake of Christ that dyed for them; for the sake of their own poor souls, to pitty themselves and go no fur­ther in the way to Hell; but come to Christ while his arms are open, and enter into a state of life while the door stands open, and now take mercy while mercy may be [Page 226] had; they will not be perswaded. If we should die for it, we cannot get them so much as now and then to consider with themselves of the matter, and to Turn. And yet they can say, I hope God will be merciful. Did you ever consider what he saith, Isa. 27.11. [It is a people of no understanding; there­fore he that made them will not have mercy on them, and he hath formed them, will show them no favour.] If another man will not cloath you when you are naked, and feed you when you are hungry, you will say he is unmerciful. If he should cast you into prison, or beat and torment you, you would say, he is unmerciful. And yet you will do a thousand times more against your selves, even cast away both soul and body for ever, and never complain of your own unmerci­fulness. Yea and God that wait­ed upon you all the while with his [Page 227] mercy, must be taken to be un­merciful, if he punish you after all this. Unless the holy God of Heaven will give these wretches leave to trample upon his Sons blood, and with the Jews, as it were again to spit in his face, and do despight to the Spirit of grace, and make a jest of sin, and a mock at holiness, and set more light by saving mercy, then by the filth of their fleshly pleasures, and unless after all this he will save them by the mercy which they cast away, and would none of, God him­self must be called unmerciful by them. But he will be justified when he Judgeth, and he will not stand or fall at the bar of a sinful worm.

I know there are many particu­lar cavils that are brought by them against the Lord, but I shall not here stay to answer them parti­cularly, having done it already in [Page 228] in my Treatise of Iudgement, to which I shall refer them. Had the disputing part of the world been as careful to avoid sin and destru­ction, as they have been busie in searching after the cause of them, and forward indirectly to impute it to God, they might have exer­cised their wits more profitably, and have less wronged God, and sped better themselves. When so ugly a monster as sin is within us, and so heavy a thing as punish­ment is on us, and so dreadful a thing as Hell is before us, one would think it should be an easie question, who is in the fault, and whether God or man be the prin­cipal or culpable cause▪ Some men are such favourable Judges of themselves, that they are proner to accuse the Infinite Perfection and Goodness it self, then their own hearts: and imitate their first parents that said, The Serpent tem­pted [Page 229] me, and the woman that thou gavest me, gave unto me, and I did eat;] secretly implying that God was the cause. So say they, [The understanding that thou gavest me, was unable to discern; the will that thou gavest me, was unable to make a better choice; the objects which thou diast set before me, did entice me; the temptation which thou didst permit to assault me, prevailed against me. And some are so loth to think that God can make a self-determining creature, that they dare not deny him that which they take to be his prerogative, to be the determiner of the will in every sin, as the first efficient im­mediate physical cause. And many could be content to acquit God from so much causing of evil, if they could but reconcile it with his being the chief cause of good; as if truths must be no longer truths, then we are able to see [Page 230] them in their perfect order and coherence: because our r [...]velled wits cannot set them right toge­ther, nor assign each truth its proper place, we presume to con­clude that some must be cast away. This is the fruit of proud self-con­ceitedness, when men receive not Gods truths as a child his lesson, in an holy submission to the omni­science of our Teacher, but as Censurers that are too wise to learn.

Object. But we cannot Convert our selves till God Convert us: we can do nothing without his grace: It is not in him that willeth, nor in him that runneth, but in God that sheweth mercy.

Answ. 1. God hath two de­grees of mercy to shew: the mercy of Conversion first; and the mercy of Salvation list: the latter he will give to none but those that will and run, and hath [Page 231] promised it to them only. The former is to make them willing that were unwilling: and though your own willing and endeavours deserve not this grace, yet your wilfull refusal deserveth that it should be denyed to you. Your disabily is your very unwilling­ness it self, which excuseth not your sin, but maketh it the great­er. You could Turn if you were but truly willing: and if your wills themselves are so corrupted, that nothing but effectual grace will move them, you have the more cause to seek for that grace, and yield to it, and do what you can in the use of means, and not neglect it, or set against it. Do what you are able first, and then complain of God for denying you grace if you have cause.

Object. But you seem to inti­mate all this while that man hath free will.

[Page 232] Answer. The dispute about free-will is beyond your capacity; I shall therefore now trouble you with no more but this about it. Your will is naturally a free, that is, a self-determining faculty, but it is vitiously inclined, and back­ward to good, and therefore we see by sad experience that it hath not a vertuous moral freedom. But that is the wickedness of it, which deserveth the punishment. And I pray you let us not befool our selves with opinions. Let the case be your own. If you have an ene­my so malicious, that he falls upon you, and beats you every time he meets you, and takes away the lives of your children, will you excuse him because he saith, [I have not free will, it is my nature; I cannot choose unless God give me grace.] If you have a servant that robbeth you, will you take such an answer [Page 233] from him? Might not every Thief and Murderer that is hanged it the Assize give such an answer, [I have not free-will; I cannot change my own heart: what can I do without Gods grace?] and shall they therefore be acquit? If not, why then should you think to be acquit for a course of sin against the Lord?

2. FRom hence also you may observe these three things together. 1. What a subtile tem­pter Satan is. 2. What a deceit­ful thing sin is. 3. What a fool­ish creature corrupted man is. A subtile tempter indeed, that can perswade the greatest part of the world to go wilfully into ever­ [...]asting fire, when they have so many warnings and disswasives as they have. A deceitful thing is sin [Page 234] indeed, that can bewitch so many thousands to put with everlasting life, for a thing so base and utterly unworthy! A foolish creature is man indeed, that will be so cheated of his salvation for nothing; yea for a known nothing: and that by an enemy, and a known enemy. You would think it impossible that any man in his wits should be per­swaded for a trifle to cast himself into the fire, or water, or into a coal-pit, to the destruction of his life. And yet men will be enticed to cast themselves into Hell. If your natural lives were in your own hands, that you should not die till you would kill your selves; how long would most of you live? And yet when your everlasting life is so far in your own hands under God, that you cannot be undone till you undo your selves, how few of you will forbear your own un­doing? Ah what a silly thing is [Page 235] man! and what a bewitching and befooling thing is sin?

3. FRom hence also you may learn, that it is no great wonder if wicked men be hinder­ers of others in the way to heaven, and would have as many Uncon­verted as they can, and would draw them into sin, and keep them [...] it! Can you expect that they should have any mercy on others, [...]hat have none upon themselves? [...]nd that they should much stick at [...]he destruction of others, that [...]ck not to destroy themselves? They do no worse by others then [...]hey do by themselves.

4. LAstly, you may hence learn, that the greatest enemy to man is himself; and the greatest judgement in this life that [Page 236] can befall him, is to be left to him­self; and that the great work that Grace hath to do, is to save us from our selves, and the greatest accusati­ons and complaints of men should be against themselves; and that the greatest work that we have to do our selves, is to resist our selves; and the greatest enemy that we should daily pray, and watch, and strive against, is our own carnal hearts and wills; and the greatest part of your work, if you would do good to others, and help them to heaven, is to save them from themselves, even from their own blind under­standings, and corrupted wills, and perverse affections, and violent pas­sions, and unruly senses. I only name all these for brevity sake, and leave them to your further considera­tion.

WELL Sirs, now we have found out the great De­linquent and Murderer of souls, (even mens selves, their own wills) what remains but that you judge according to the evidence, and confess this great iniquity be­fore the Lord, and be humbled for it, and do so no more? To these three ends distinctly, I shall add a few words more. 1. Further to convince you. 2. To humble you. And 3. To reform you, if there be yet any hope.

1. We know so much of the ex­ceeding gracious nature of God, who is willing to do good, and de­lighteth to shew mercy, that we have no reason to suspect him of being the culpable cause of our death, or to call him cruel: He made all good, and he preserveth and maintaineth all; the eyes of [Page 238] all things do wait upon him; and he giveth them their meat in due season; he openeth his hand, and satisfieth the desires of all the li­ving, Psalm 145.15, 16. He is not only righteous in all his waies, (and therefore will deal justly) and holy in all his works, (and therefore not the author of sin) but [he is also good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works.] Psal. 145.17, 9.

But as for man, we know his mind is dark, his will perverse, his affections carry him so headlong, that he is fitted by his folly and corruption to such a work as the destroying of himself. If you saw a Lamb lie killed in the way, would you sooner suspect the sheep, or the dog, or woolf, to be the author of it, if they both stood by? or if you see an house broken and the people murdered, would you sooner suspect the Prince or Iudge, [Page 239] that is wise and just, and had no need; or a known Thief or Mur­derer? I say therefore as Iames 1.13, 14, 15. Let no man say when he is tempted, that he is tempted of God, for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth be any man, (to draw him to sin) But every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin when it is finished bringeth forth death.] You see here, that sin is the brat of your own concupiscence, and not to be fathered on God; and that death is the off-spring of your own sin, and the fruit which it will yield you as soon as it is ripe. You have a treasure of evil in your selves as a spider hath of poyson: from whence you are bringing forth hurt to your selves and spinning such webs as en­ [...]ngle your own souls. Your [Page 240] Nature shews, its you that are the cause.

2. Its evident that you are your own destroyers, in that you are so Ready to entertain any Temptation almost that is offered you. Satan is scarce readier to move you to any evil, then you are ready to hear, and do as he would have you. If he would tempt your under­standing to error and prejud [...]ce, you yield. If he would hinder you from good resolutions, it is soon done. If he would cool any good desires or affections, it is soon done. If he would kindle any lust or vile affections and desires in you, it is soon done: if he will put you on to evil thoughts, or words, or deeds, you are so free that he needs not rod or spur: if he would keep you from holy thoughts, and words, and waies, a little doth it; you need no curb. You examine not his suggestions, [Page 241] nor resist them with any resoluti­on, nor cast them out as he casts them in, nor quench the sparks which he endeavoureth to kindle: but you set in with him, and meet him half way, and embrace his motions, and tempt him to tempt you. And its easie to catch such greedy fish that are ranging for a bait, and will take the bare hook.

3. Your destruction is evident­ly long of your selves, in that you Resist all that would help to save you, and would do you good, or hinder you from undoing your selves God would help and save you by his word, and you resist it, it is too strict for you. He would sanctifie you by his Spirit, and you resist, and quench it. If any man reprove you for your sin, you fly in his face with evil words; and if he would draw you to an holy life, and tell you of your present [Page 242] danger, you give him little thanks, but either bid him look to himself, he shall not answer for you; or else at best, you put him off with an heartless thanks, and will not Turn when you are perswaded. If Ministers would privately instruct and help you, you will not come at them; your unhumbled souls do feel but little need of their help. If they would Catechize you, you are too old to be Cate­chised, though you are not too old to be ignorant and unholy. Whatever they can say to you for your good, you are so self-con­ceited and wise in your own eyes, (even in the depth of ignorance) that you will regard nothing that agreeth not with your present conceits, but contradict your Teachers, as if you were wiser then they; you resist all that they can say to you, by your ignorance and wilfulness, and foolish Cavils, [Page 243] and shifting evasions, and unthank­full rejections, so that no good that is offered can find any welcome ac­ceptance and entertainment with you.

4. Moreover its apparent that you are self-destroyers, in that you draw the matter of your sin and de­struction even from the blessed God himself. You like not the contri­vances of his Wisdom: You like not his Justice, but take it for cru­elty: You like not his Holiness, but are ready to think he is such a one as your selves, Psal. 50.21. and makes as light of sin as you: You like not his Truth, but would have his Threanings, even his pe­remptory Threatnings prove false. And his goodness which you seem most highly to approve, you part­ly resist, as it would lead you to repentance; and partly abuse, to the strengthning of you sin, as if you might the freelyer sin, because [Page 244] God is Merciful, and because his Grace doth so much abound.

Yea you fetch destruction from [...]he blessed Redeemer, and Death from the Lord of life himself. And nothing more emboldneth you in sin, then that Christ hath died for you; as if now the danger of death were over, and you might boldly venture: As if Christ were become a servant to Satan and your sins, and must wait upon you while you are abusing him: and because he is become the Physitian of souls, and he is able to save to the utmost all that come to God by him, you think he must suffer you to refuse his help, and throw away his Medicines, and must save you whether you will come to God by him or no: so that a great part of your sins are occasioned by your bold presumption, upon the death of Christ.

Not considering that he came [Page 245] to redeem his people from their sins, and to sanctifie them a pecu­liar people to himself, and to con­form them in Holiness to the image of their heavenly Father and to their head, Mat. 1.21. Tit. 2.14. 1 Pet. 1.15, 16. Col. 3.10, 11. Phil. 3.9, 10.

6. You also fetch your own de­struction from all the providences and works of God. When you think of his eternal fore-know­ledge and Decrees, it is to harden you in your sin, or possess your minds with quarrelling thoughts, as if his Decrees might spare you the labour of repentance and an holy life, or else were the cause of your sin and death. If he afflict you, you repine: If he prosper you, you the more forget him, and are the backwarder to the thoughts of the life to come. If the wicked prosper, you forget the end that will set all reckonings strait, and [Page 246] are ready to think, its as good be wicked as godly. And thus you draw your death from all.

7. And the like you do from all the Creatures and mercies of God to you. He giveth them to you as the tokens of his love, and furni­ture for his service, and you turn them against him, to the pleasing of your flesh. You eat and drink to please your appetite, and not for the glory of God, and to enable you for his work. Your cloathes you abuse to pride. Your Riches draw your hearts from heaven, Phil. 3.18. Your ho­nours and applause do puff you up: If you have health and strength, it makes you more secure and forget your end. Yea other mens mercies are abused by you to your hurt. If you see their honours and dignity, you are provoked to envy them. If you see their riches, you are ready to [Page 247] covet them. If you look upon beauty, you are stirred up to lust, and its well if godliness be not an eye-fore to you.

8. The very gifts that God be­stoweth on you, and the Ordinan­ces of grace which he hath insti­tuted for his Church, you turn to sin. If you have better parts then others, you grow proud and self-conceited: if you have but common gifts, you take them for special Grace. You take the bare hearing of your duty for so good a work, as if it would excuse you for not obeying it. Your Prayers are turned into sin, because you re­gard iniquity in your hearts, Psalm 66.18. and depart not from ini­quity when you call on the name of the Lord, 2 Tim. 2.19. Your prayers are abominable, because you turn away your ear from hearing the Law, Prov. 28.9. And are more ready to offer the Sacrifice of [Page 248] fools, (thinking you do God some special service) then to hear his word and obey it, Eccles. 5.1. You examine not your selves be­fore you receive the Supper of the Lord, but not discerning the Lords body, do eat and drink judgement to your selves, 1 Cor. 11.28, 29.

9. Yea the persons that you converse with, and all their acti­ons, you make the occasions of your sin and destruction. If they live in the fear of God, you hate them. If they live ungodlily, you imitate them: if the wicked are many, you think you may the more boldly follow them; if the godly be few, you are the more emboldened to despise them. If they walk exactly, you think they are too precise; if one of them fall in a particular temptation, you stumble upon them, and turn away from holiness, because that [Page 249] others are imperfectly holy: as if you were warranted to break your necks, because some others have by their heedlesness sprained a sinnew or put out a bone. If an hypocrite discover himself, you say, They are all alike, and think your selves as honest as the best. A Professor can scarce slip into any miscarriage, but because he cuts his finger, you think you may boldly cut your throats. If mini­sters deal plainly with you, you say they rail. If they speak gent­ly or coldly, you ei [...]her sleep un­der them, or are little more affe­cted then the seats you sit upon. If any errours creep into the Church, some greedily entertain them, and others reproach the Christian Doctrine for them, which is most against them. And if we would draw you from any an­cient rooted errour, which can but plead two, or three, or six, or seven [Page 250] hundred years custom, you are as much offended with a motion for Reformation, as if you were to lose you lives by it, and hold fast old errors, while you cry out against new ones. Scarce a difference can arise among the ministers of the Gospel, but you will fetch your own death from it. And you will not hear, or at least not obey the unquestionable Doctrine of any thing that jumps not with your conceits: One will not hear a Minister, because he readeth his Sermon: and another will not hear him, because he doth not read them. One will not hear him, be­cause he saith the Lords prayer: and another will not hear him, because he doth not use it. One will not hear them that are for Episcopacy: and another will not hear them that are against it. And thus I might shew it you in many other cases, how you turn all that [Page 251] comes near you to your own de­struction, so clear is it that the un­godly are self-destroyers, and that their perdition is of themselves.

ME thinks, now upon the con­sideration of what is said, and the review of your own waies, you should bethink you what you have done, and be ashamed and deeply humbled to remember it. If you be not, I pray you consider these following truths.

1. To be your own destroyers, is to sin against the deepest prin­ciple in your Natures, even the principle of self preservation. Every thing naturally desireth or inclineth to its own felicity, well-fare or perfection. And will you set your selves to your own destruction? When you are com­manded to love your neighbours [Page 252] as your selves, it is supposed that you naturally love your selves. But if you love your neighbours no better then your selves, it seems you would have all the world be damned.

2. How extreamly do you cross your own intentions! I know you intend not your own damnation, even when you are procuring it; you think you are but doing good to your selves, by gratifying the desires of your flesh. But alas, it is but as a draught of cold water in a burning feaver, or as the scratching of an itching wild-fire, which increaseth the disease and pain. If indeed you would have pleasure, or profit, or honour, seek them where they are to be found, and do not hunt after them in the way to hell.

3. What pitty is it, that you should do that against your selves, which none else in earth or hell [Page 253] can do! If all the world were com­bined against you, or all the Devils in Hell were combined against you, they could not destroy you without your selves, nor make you sin but by your own consent. And will you do that against your selves which no one else can do? you have hateful thoughts of the Devil, because he is your enemy, and endeavoureth your destructi­on. And will you be worse then Devils to your selves? Why thus it is with you, if you had hearts to understand it: when you run in­to sin, and run from godliness, and refuse to turn at the Call of God, you do more against your own souls, then men or devils could do besides. And if you should set your selves, and bend your wits to do your selves the greatest mis­chief, you could not devise to do a greater.

4. You are false to the trust [Page 254] that God hath reposed in you. He hath much entrusted you with your own salvation: and will you betray your trust? He hath set you with all diligence to keep your hearts: and is this the keeping of them? Prov. 4.23.

5. You do even forbid all others to pitty you, when you will have no pitty on your selves: if you cry to God in the time of your ca­lamity, for Mercy, Mercy; what can you expect, but that he should thrust you away, and say, [Nay thou wouldst not have mercy on thy self: who brought this upon thee but thy own wilfulness?] And if your Brethren see you everlastingly in misery, how shall they pitty you that were your own destroyers, and would not be disswaded?

6. It will everlastingly make you your own Tormenters in Hell to think on it, that you brought your selves wilfully to that misery. [Page 255] O what a griping thought it will be for ever to think with your selves, [That this was your own doing! That you were warned of this day, and warned again, but it would not do. That you wilfully sinned; and wilfully turn­ed away from God: That you had time as well as others, but you abused it: You had Teach­ers as well as others, but you re­fused their instructions: You had holy examples, but you did not imitate them: You were offered Christ, and Grace, and Glory, as well as others; but you had more mind of your fleshly pleasures: You had a price in your hands, but you had not an heart to lay it out, Proverbs 17.16. Can it choose but torment you to think of this your present folly? O that your eyes were opened to see what you have done in the wilful wronging of your own souls! [Page 256] and that you better understood those words of God, Pro. 8, 33, 34, 35, 36. Hear instruction and be wise, and refuse it not: Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors: For who so findeth me, findeth life, and shall obtain the favour of the Lord. But he that sinneth against me, wrongeth his own soul: All they that hate me, love death.]

AND now I am come to the Conclusion of this work; my heart is troubled to think how I shall leave you; lest after this the flesh should still deceive you, and the world and the Devil should keep you asleep, and I should leave you as I find you, till you awake in Hell; Though in care of your poor souls, I am affraid of this, as knowing the ob­stinacy [Page 257] of a carnal heart, yet I can say with the Prophet Ieremy, 17.16. [I have not desired the woful day, the Lord knoweth.] I have not with Iames and Iohn desi­red that fire might come from hea­ven to consume them that refused Jesus Christ, Luke 9.54. But it is the preventing of the eternal fire that I have been all this while en­deavouring: and O that it had been a needless work! That God and conscience might have been as willing to spare me this labour, as some of you could have been. Dear friends! I am so loth you should lie in everlasting fire, and be shut out of Heaven, if it be possible to prevent it, that I shall once more ask you, What do you now resolve? Will you Turn or Die? I look upon you as a Physi­tian on his Patient in a dangerous disease: that saith to him [Though you are far gone, take this me­dicine, [Page 256] [...] [Page 257] [...] [Page 258] and forbear but these few things that are hurtful to you, and I dare warrant your life; but if you will not do this, you are but a dead man.] What would you think of such a man, if the Physitian and all the friends he hath cannot per­swade him to take one medicine to save his life, or to forbear one or two poysonous things that would kill him? This is your case. As far as you are gone in sin, do but now Turn and Come to Christ, and take his Remedies, and your souls shall live. Cast up your deadly sins by Repentance, and return not to the poysonous vomit any more, and you shall do well. But yet if it were your bodies that we had to deal with, we might partly know what to do for you, though you would not consent. You might be held or bound, while the medicine were poured down your throats, and hurtful [Page 259] things might be kept from you. But about your souls it cannot so so, we cannot Convert you against your wills. There is no carrying mad men to Heaven in fetters. You may be Condemned against your wills, because you sinned with your wills: but you cannot be sa­ved against your wills. The wis­dom of God hath thought meet to lay mens salvation or destruction exceeding much upon the choice of their own wills, that no man shall come to heaven, that chose not the way to heaven; and no man shall come to hell, but shall be forced to say, I have the thing I chose: my own will did bring me hither. Now if I could but get you to be willing, to be throughly, and resolvedly, and Habitually wil­ling, the work were more then half done. And alas, must we lose our friends, and must they lose their God, their happiness, [Page 260] their souls for want of this? O God forbid! It is a strange thing to me, that men are so inhuman [...] and stupid in the greatest matters that in lesser things are very civil and courteous, and good neigh­bours. For ought I know, I hav [...] the Love of all, or almost all my neighbours, so far, that if I should send to ever a man in the Town, or Parish, or Country, and request a reasonable courtesie of them, they would grant it me: And yet when I come to request of them the greatest matter in the world for themselves and not for me, I can have nothing of many of them but a patient hearing. I know not whether people think a man in the pulpit is in good sadness or not, and means as he speaks: For I think I have few neighbour, but if I were sitting familiarly with them, and telling them of what I have seen, or done, or known in [Page 261] [...]he world, they would believe me, and regard what I say; But when I tell thee from the infallible word of God, what they them­ [...]elves shall see and know in the world to come, they shew by their [...]ves that they do either not be­leve it, or not much regard it. If I met ever an one of them on the way, and told them, Yonder is [...] Cole pit, or there's a quick­sand, or there are thieves lie in wait for you; I could perswade them to turn by: But when I tell them, that Satan lyeth in wait for them, and that sin is poison to them, and that Hell is not a matter to be jested with: they go on as if they did not hear me. Truly neighbours, I am in as good earnest with you in the Pulpit, as I am in any familiar discourse; and if ever you will regard me, I beseech you let it be here. I think there is never a man of you all, but if my own [Page 262] soul lay at your wills, you would be willing to save it (though [...] cannot promise that you would leave your sin, for it.) Tell me▪ thou Drunkard, that art so crue [...] to me that speaks to thee, that thou wouldst not forbear a few cups of drink, if thou knewest it would save my soul from Hell? Hadst thou rather I did burn there for ever then thou shouldst live so­berly as other men do? If so, may I not say, thou art an unmerciful monster, and not a man? If I came hungry or naked to one of your doors, would you not part with more then a cup of drink to relieve me? I am confident you would: If it were to save my life, I know you would (some of you) hazzard your own. And yet will you not be entreated to part with your sensual pleasures for your own salvation? Wouldst thou forbear an hundred cups of drink [Page 263] man, to save my life if it were in thy power, and wilt thou not do it to save thy own soul? I profess to you Sirs, I am as hearty a beggar with you this day for the saving of your own souls, as I would be for my own supply if I were forced to come a begging to your doors. And therefore if you would hear me then, hear me now. If you would pitty me then, be intreated now to pitty your selves. I do again beseech you, as if it were on my bended knees, that you would hearken to your Redeemer, and turn that you may live. All you that have lived in ignorance, and carelesness, and presumption to this day: All you that have been drowned in the cares of the world, and have no mind of God and eternal Glory: all you that are en­slaved to your fleshly desires of meats and drinks, and sports, and lusts: and all you that know not [Page 264] the necessity of holiness, and never were acquainted with the Sanctify­ing work of the Holy Ghost upon your souls; that never embraced your blessed Redeemer by a lively faith, and admiring and thankfu [...] apprehensions of his love, and that never felt an higher estimation of God and Heaven, and an hear [...]ier Love to them then to your fleshly prosperity and the things below. I earnestly beseech you not only for my sake, but for the Lords sake, and for your souls sakes, that you go not on one day longer in your former condition, but look about you, and cry to God for converting grace, that you may be made new creatures, and may escape the plagues that are a little before you. And if ever you will do any thing for me, grant me this request, to Turn from your evil waies and live. Deny me any thing that ever I [Page 265] shall ask you for my self, if you will but grant me this. And if you deny me this, I care not for any thing else that you would grant me. Nay as ever you will do any thing at the request of the Lord that made you and redeemed you, deny him not this: For if you deny him this, he cares for nothing that you shall grant him. As ever you would have him hear your prayers, and grant your requests, and do for you at the hour of death and day of judge­ment, or in any of your extremi­ties, deny not his request now in the day of your prosperity. Oh Sirs, be­lieve it, Death and Judgement, and Heaven and Hell are other matters when you come near them, then they seem to carnal eyes afar off. Then you would hear such a mes­sage as I bring you with more awakened regardful hearts.

WELL, though I cannot hope so well of all, will hope that some of you are by this time pur­posing to Turn and Live; and that you are ready to ask me, as the Jews did Peter, Acts 2.37. when they were pricked in their hearts, & said, Men and Brethren, what shall we do? How might we come to be truly con­verted? We are willing, if we did but know our duty. God forbid that we should choose destruction, by refusing conversion, as hitherto we have done.]

If these be the thoughts and pur­poses of your hearts, I say of you as God did of a promising people, Deut. 5.28, 29. [They have well said, all that they have spoken; O that there were such an heart in them that they would fear me and keep all my commandements alwaies!] Your Purposes are good: O that there be but an heart in you to perform [Page 267] these purposes! And in hope here­of I shall gladly give you direction what to do, and that but briefly, that you may the easier Remember it for your Practice.


IF you would be converted and saved, labour to understand the necessity and true Nature of Conver­sion: For what, and from what, and to what, and by what it is that you must Turn.

Consider in what a lamentable condition you are till the hour of your conversion, that you may see it is not a state to be rested in. You are under the guilt of all the sins that ever you committed; and under the wrath of God, and the curse of his Law; you are bond­slaves to the Devil, and daily im­ployed in his work, against the [Page 268] Lord, your selves, and others: you are spiritually dead and deformed, as being void of the holy life, and nature, and image, of the Lord. You are unfit for any holy work and do nothing that is truly pleas­ing unto God. You are without any promise or assurance of his p [...]otection: and live in continual danger of his Justice, not knowing what hour you may be snatcht away to Hell, and most certain to be damned if you die in that con­dition. And nothing short of Conversion can prevent it. What ever civilities, or amendments, or vertues are short of true conversi­on, will never procure the saving of your souls. Keep the true sense of this natural misery, and so of the necessity of Conversion on your hearts.

And then you must under­stand what it is to be converted: It is to have a New Heart or Dis­position, [Page 269] and a New Conversa­tion.

Quest. 1. For what must you Turn?

Answ. For these ends follow­ing, which you may attain: 1. You shall immediately be made living Members of Christ, and have inte­rest in him, and be renewed a [...]ter the Image of God, and be adorn­ed with all his graces, and quickned with a new and heavenly life, and lived from the tyrannie of Satan, and the dominion of sin, and be ju­stified from the curse of the Law, and have the pardon of all the sins of your whole lives, and be accepted of God, and made his Sons, and have liberty with bold­ness to call him Father, and go to him by prayer in all your needs, with a promise of acceptance; you shall have the Holy Ghost to dwell in you▪ to s [...]nctifie and guide you: you shall have part in the bro­ther-hood, [Page 270] communion and pray­ers of the Saints: You shall be fit­ted for Gods service, and be freed from the Dominion of sin, and be usefull and a blessing to the place where you live; and shall have the promise of this life, and that which is to come. You shall want nothing that is truly good for you, and your necessary afflicti­ons you shall be enabled to bear; you may have some taste of com­munion with God in the Spirit, especially in all holy Ordinances, where God prepareth a feast for your souls; shall be heirs of heaven while you live on earth, and may for-see by faith the everlasting glory, and so may live and die in peace; and you will never be so low, but your hap­piness will be incomparably greater then your misery.

How precious is every one of these blessings, which I do but [Page 271] briefly name, and which in this life you may receive!

And then 2. at death your souls shall go to Christ, and at the day of judgement both soul and body shall be Justifyed and Glorified, and enter into your Masters Joy: where your happiness will consist in these particulars.

1. You shall be perfected your selves: your mortal bodies shall be made immortal, and the cor­ruptible shall put on incorruption; you shall no more be hungry, or thirsty, or weary, or sick: nor shall you need to fear either shame, or sorrow, or death, or hell. Your souls shall be perfectly freed from sin, and perfectly fitted for the knowledge, and love, and praises of the Lord.

2. Your imployment shall be to behold your glorified Redeemer, with all your holy fellow. Citizens of Heaven: and to see the Glory [Page 272] of the most blessed God, and to Love him perfectly, and be beloved by him, and to praise him everlast­ingly.

3. Your glory will contribute to the glory of the new Jerusalem, the City of the Living God, which is more then to have a private felicity to your selves.

4. Your Glory will contribute to the Glorifying of your Redeem­er, who will everlastingly be mag­nified and pleased in you that are the travail of his soul: and this is more then the Glorifying of your selves.

5. And the eternal Majesty, the living God, will be glorified in your Glory: both as he is magnified by your praises, and as he communi­cateth of his glory and goodness to you, and as he is plea [...]ed in you, and in the accomplishment of his glo­rious works, in the glory of the [...]ew Jerusalem, and of his Son.

[Page 273]All this the poo [...]est beggar of you that is Converted, shall Cer­tainly and E [...]l [...]sly enjoy.

2. You see For what you must Turn: Next you must under­stand, From what you must Turn: A [...]d that is, (in a word) From your Carnal Self, which is the End of all the Unconverted. F [...]om the flesh that would be pleased before God, and would still be enticing you thereto. From the world, that is the bait: And from the Devil, that is the Angler for souls and the deceiver. And so from all known and wilfull sin.

3. Next you must know To what you must Turn: And that is, To God as your End. To Christ as the way to the Father: To Ho­liness as the way appointed you by Christ: And so to the use of all the helps and means of grace afforded you by the Lord.

[Page 274]4. Lastly, you must know By what you must Turn. And that is, by Christ as the only Redeemer, and Intercessor: And by the Holy Ghost as the Sanctifier: And by the Word as his Instrument or Means: And by Faith and Repen­tance as the means and duties on your part to be performed. All this is of necessity.


IF you will be Converted and Saved, be much in secret serious Consideration. Inconsiderateness undoes the world. Withdraw your selves oft into retired secrecy, and there bethink you of the end why you were made, of the life you have lived, the time you have lost, the sin you have committed: of the love, and sufferings, and fulness of Christ; of the danger [Page 275] you are in; of the nearness of death and judgement; and of the certain­ty and excellency of the Joys of Heaven; and of the certainty and terrour of the torments of Hell; and the Eternity of both: and of the necessity of Conversion and an holy life. Steep your hearts in such Considerations as these.


IF you will be Converted and Saved, attend upon the word of God, which is the ordinary means. Read the Scripture, or hear it read, and other holy writings that do apply it constantly: attend on the publike preaching of the Word. As God will lighten the world by the Sun, and not by himself alone without it: So will he Convert and save men by his Ministers, who are the Lights of the world, [Page 276] Acts 26.17, 18. Mat. 5.14. When he hath miraculously humbled Paul, he sendeth him to Ananias, Acts 9.10. and when he ha [...]h sent an Angel to [...]o [...]nelius, it is but to bid him send for Peter, who must tell him what he is to believe and do.


BEtake your self to God in a course of earnest consta [...]t Pray­er: Confess and lament your for­mer lives, and beg his grace to il­luminate and Convert you. Be­seech him to pardon what is past, and to give you his Spirit, and change your hearts and lives, and lead you in his waies, and save you from temptations. And ply this work daily and be not weary of it.


PResently give over your known and wil [...]ul sins. Make a st [...]nd and go that way no further. Be drunk no more: but avoid the place and occasion of it. Cast away your lusts and sinful pleasures with detestation. Curse, and swear, and rail no more: and if you have wronged any, restore, as Zacheus did. If you will commit again your old sins, what blessing can you expect on the means for your Conversion?


PResently, if possible, change your Company, if it have hitherto been bad. Not by forsak­ing your necessary Relations, but [Page 278] your unnecessary sinful compani­ons; and joyn your selves with those that fear the Lord, and enquire of them the way to heaven, Acts 9.19, 26. Psal. 15.4.


DEliver up your selves to the Lord Iesus as the Physitian of your souls; that he may par­don you by his blood, and sanctifie you by his Spirit, by his word and Ministers, the instruments of the Spirit. He is the way, the truth and the life; there is no coming to the Father but by him, Iohn 14.6. Nor is there any other name under heaven, by which you can be saved, Acts 4.12. Stu­dy therefore his Person and Na­tures, and what he hath done and suffered for you; and what he is to you: and what he will be, and [Page 279] how he is fitted to the full supply of all your necessities.


IF you mean indeed to Turn and Live, Do it speedily, with­out delay. If you be not willing to Turn to day, you be not willing to do it at all. Remember, you are all this while in your blood: under the guilt of many thousand sins, and under Gods wrath, and you stand at the very brink of hell; there is but a step between you and death. And this is not a case for a man that is well in his wits to be quiet in. Up therefore present­ly and fly as for your lives: as you would be gone out of your house if it were all on fire over your head. O if you did but know what continual danger you live in, and what daily unspeakable loss you do [Page 280] sustain, and wha [...] a safer and sweeter life you might live, you would not stand tr [...]fl [...]ng, but pre­sently turn. Multitudes miscarry that wilful [...]y de [...]ay when they are convinced that it must be done. Your lives are short and uncertain: and what a case are you in if you die before you throu [...]hly turn! You have staid too long already: and wronged God too long; sin getteth strength and rooting while you de­lay. Your Conversion will grow more hard and doubtful. You have much to do; and therefore put not all off to the last, lest God forsake you, and give you up to your selves, and then you are undone for ever.


IF you will Turn and Live, do it unreservedly, absolutely and universally Think not to capitu­late with Christ, and devide your heart betwixt him and the world; and to part with some sins, and keep the rest; and to let go that which your flesh can spare. This is but self-deluding: you must in heart and resolution forsake all that you have, or else you cannot be his Disciples, Luke 14.26, 33. If you will not take God and Hea­ven for your portion▪ and lay all be­low at the feet of Christ, but you must needs also have your good things here, and have an earthly portion, and God and Glory is not enough for you; it is in vain to dream of salvation on these terms: For it will not be. If you seem never [Page 280] [...] [Page 281] [...] [Page 282] so Religious, if yet it be but a Car­n [...]l Religiousness, and the fleshes prosperity, or pleasure, or safety be still ex [...]epted in your devotedness to God, this is as certain a way to death as open prophaness, though it be more plausible.


IF you will Turn and Live, do it Resolvedly, and stand not still deliberating, as if it were a doubtful case. Stand not wavering as if you were yet uncertain, whether God or the flesh be the better Master: or whether Hea­ven or Hell be the better End; or whether sin or holiness be the bet­ter way. But away with your former lusts, and presently, ha­bitually, fixedly Resolve: Be not one day of one mind, and [Page 283] the next of another; but be at a point with all the world, and Resolvedly give up your selves and all you have to God. Now while you are reading or hearing this Re­solve. Before you sleep another night Resolve. Before you stir from the place Resolve. Before Sa­tan have time to take you off, Re­solve. You never Turn indeed till you do Resolve; and that with a firm unchangeable Resolution.

So much for the Directions.

AND now I have done my part in this work, that you may Turn at the Call of God and Live. What will become of it, I cannot tell. I have cast the seed at Gods command; but it is not in my power to give the in­crease. I can go no further with [Page 284] my message: I cannot bring it to your hearts, not make it work. I cannot do your parts for your, to en­tertain it and consider of it Nor I cannot do Gods part, by opening your heart [...] to cause you to enter­tain it: Nor can I shew you Hea­ven or Hell to your eye-sight, nor give you new and tender hearts. If I knew what more to do for your Conversion, I hope I should do it

But [...] thou that art the gracious Father of Spirits, that hast sworn th [...]n delightest not in the death of the wicked, but rather that they Turn and Live, deny not thy blessi [...]g to the [...]e Perswasions and Directions; and suffer not thine enemies to tri­umph in thy sight; and the great deceiver of souls, to prevail against the Son, thy Spirit, and thy Word. O pitty poor Vnconverted sinners, that have not hearts to pitty or help themselves. Command the blind [Page 285] to see, and the deaf to hear, and the dead to live: and let not sin and death be able to resist thee. Awaken the se­cure; Resolve the u [...]resolved; Con­firm the wavering: and let the eyes of sinners that read these lines, be next employed in weeping over their sins; and bring them to themselves and to thy Son, before their sin have brought them to perdition. If th [...]u say but the word, these poor endeavours shall prosper to the winning of many a soul to their everlasting Ioy, and thine everlasting glory, Amen.


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