TWO TREATISES Tending to awaken Secure Sinners. Viz.

  • 1. The Terror of the Day of Judgment, from 2 Cor. 5. 10.
  • 2. The Danger of slighting Christ and his Gospel, from Matth. 22. 5.

By RICHARD BAXTER.

The Gift of the Author.

LONDON, Printed for Jonas Luntley at the Three Bibles in Little Lincolns-Inn-fields. 1696.

To the Ignorant or Careless Reader.

SEeing the Providence of God hath command­ed forth these plain Discourses, I shall hope (upon Experience of his dealing in the like Ca­ses with me) that he hath some work for them to do in the World. Who knows but they were intended for the saving of thy Soul, by opening thine Eyes, and awaking thee from thy Sin, who art now in reading of them! Be it known to thee it is the certain Truth of God, and of high Con­cernment to thy Soul that they treat of, and there­fore require thy most sober Consideration. Thou hast in them (how weakly soever managed by me) an Advantage put into thy Hand from God, to help thee in the greatest Work in the World, even to prepare for the great approaching Judg­ment, and not to slight Christ and his Gospel. In the Name of God, I require thee cast not a­way this Advantage: Turn not away thine Ears or Heart from this warning that is sent to thee from the living God! Seeing all the World can­not keep thee from Judgment, let not all the World be able to keep thee from a speedy and seri­ous Preparation for it. Do it presently, lest God come before thou art ready. Do it seriously, lest the Tempter over-reach thee, and thou shouldst [Page] found among the foolish Self-deceivers when it is too late to do it better. I intreat this of thee on the behalf of thy Soul, and as th [...] und [...]st thy everlasting Peace with God, that [...] would­est afford these Matters thy deepest Consideràti­on. Think on them, whether they are not true and weighty: Think of them lying down and rising up. And seeing this small Book is faln into thy hands, all that I would beg of thee con­cerning it, is, that thou wouldst bestow now and then an Hour to read it, and read it to thy Fa­mily or Friends as well as to thy self: and as you go, consider what you read, and pray to the Lord to help it to thy Heart, and to assist thee in the Practice, that it may not rise up in Judg­ment against thee. If thou have not leisure at other, take now and then an Hour on the Lord's Days, or at Night to that purpose: and if any Passage through brevity (specially near th [...] Beginning) seem dark to thee, read it again and again, and ask the help of an Instructer, that thou mayest understand it. May it but help thee out of the Snares of Sin, and promote the sav­ing of thy Immortal Soul, and thy Comfortable Appearance at the great Day of Christ, I have the thing which I intended and desired. The Lord open thy Heart, and accompany his Truth with the Blessing of his Spirit. Amen.

A Discourse of the Terror of the Day of Judgment.

2 Cor. 5. 10, 11.‘For we must all appear be­fore the Judgment-Seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his Body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the Terrors of the Lord, we perswade Men.’

IT is not unlikely that some of those Wits that are taken more with things new than with things ne­cessary, will marvel that I choose so common a Subject, and tell me that they all know this alrea­dy. But I do it purposely upon these following Con­siderations. 1. Because I well know it is these com­mon Truths that are the great and necessary things which Mens everlasting Happiness or Misery doth most de­pend upon. You may be ignorant of many Controver­sies and in [...]eriour Points, without the Danger of your [...]ouls, but so you cannot of these Fundamentals. [...]. Because it's apparent by the Lives of Men, that few know these common Truths savingly, that think they know them. 3. Because there are several Degrees of knowing the same Truths, and the best are imperfect in Degree; the principal Growth in Knowledg that we should look after, is not to know more Matters than: [...] [Page 2] knew before, but to know that better and with a clearer Light and firmer Apprehension, which we da [...]kly and slightly knew before. You may more safely be with­out any Knowledg at all of many lower Truths, than without some [...]arther Degree of the Knowledg of those which you already know. 4. Besides, it is known by sad Experience, that many perish who know the Truth, for want of the Consideration of it, and making use of what they know, and so their Knowledg doth but condemn them. We have as much need therefore to teach and help you to get these Truths which you know, into your Hearts and Lives, as to tell you more. 5. And indeed, it is the Impression of these great and Master-Truths, wherein the Vitals and Essentials of God's Image upon the Soul of Man doth consist: and it is these Truths that are the very Instruments of the great Works that are to be done upon the Heart by the Spirit and our selves. In the right use of these it is that the principal Part of the Skill and holy Wisdom of a Christian doth consist; and in the diligent and constant Use of these lieth the Life and Trade of Chri­stianity. There is nothing amiss in Mens Hearts or Lives, but is for want of sound Knowing and Believing, or well using these Fundamentals. 6. And moreover, methinks in this Choice of my Subject, I may expect this Advantage with the Hearers, that I may spare that Labour that else would be necessary for the Proof of my Doctrine: and that I may also have easier Access to your Hearts, and have a suller Stroak at them, and with less Resistance. If I came to tell you of any thing not Common, I know not how far I might expect Belief from you. You might say, These things are uncertain to us, or all Men are not of this Mind. But when every Hearer confesseth the Truth of my Doctrine, and no Man can deny it, without denying Christianity it self; I hope I may expect that your Hearts should the sooner receive the Impression of this Doctrine, and the sooner yield to the Duties it directs you to, and the easier [Page 3] let go the Sins which from so certain a Truth shall be discovered.

The Words of my Text, are the Reason which the Apostle giveth both of his perswading other Men to the Fear of God, and his Care to approve to God his own Heart and Life. They contain the Assertion and Description of the Great Judgment, and one Use which he makes of it. It assureth us that judged we must be, and who must be so judged, and by whom, and about what, and on what Terms, and to what End.

The meaning of the Words, so far as is necessary, I shall give you briefly. We all, both we Apostles that preach the Gospel, and you that hear it, must, willing or unwilling, there is no avoiding it, appear, stand forth, or make your appearance, and there have your Hearts and Ways laid open, and appear as well as we. Before the Judgment-seat of Christ, i. e. before the Redeemer of the World, to be judged by him as our Rightful Lord. That every one, even of all Mankind, which are, were, or shall be, without Exception; may receive, that is, may re­ceive his Sentence, adjudging him to his due; and then may receive the Execution of the Sentence, and may go from the Bar with that Reward or Punishment that is his due according to the Law by which he is judged. The things done in his Body, that is, the due Reward of the Works done in his Body; or as some Copies read it, The things proper to the Body, i. e. due to the Man, even Body as well as Soul, according to what he hath done, whether it be Good or Bad; i. e. this is the Cause to be tried and judged, whether Men have done well or ill, whilst they were in the Flesh, and what is due to them accor­ding to their Deeds. Knowing therefore, &c. i. e. be­ing certain therefore that these Things are so, and that such a terrible Judgment of Christ will come, we per­swade Men to become Christians and live as such, that they may then speed well, when others shall be destroy­ed; or as others, Knowing the Fear of the Lord, that is, the true Religion, we perswade Men.

[Page 4] Doct. 1. There will be a Judgment. Doct. 2. Christ will be the Judg. Doct. 3. All Men shall there appear. Doct. 4. Men shall be then judged according to the Works that they did in the Flesh, whether Good or Evil. Doct. 5. The End of Judgment is, that Men may receive their final Due by Sentence and Execution. Doct. 6. The Knowledg and Consideration of the terri­ble Judgment of God, should move us to perswade, and Men to be perswaded to careful Preparation.

The ordinary Method for the handling of this Sub­ject of Judgment should be this. 1st. To shew you what Judgment is in the General, and what it doth contain: and that is, 1. The Persons. 2. The Cause. 3. The Actions. 1. The Parties are, (1.) The Accu­ser. (2.) The Defendant. (3.) Sometime Assistants. (4.) The Judg. 2. The Cause contains, (1.) The Accusation. (2.) The Defence. (3.) With the Evi­dence of both. (4.) And the Merit. The Merit of the Cause is as it agreeth with the Law and Equity. 3. The judicial Actions are, I. Introductory, 1. Ci­tation. 2. Compulsion, if need be. 3. Appearance of the Accused. II. Of the Essence of Judgment, 1. Debate by, (1.) The Accuser. (2.) Defendant, called the Disceptation of the Cause. 2. By the Judg. 1. Exploration. 2. Sentence. 3. To see to the Exe­cution: But because this Method is less sutable to your Capacities, and hath something humane, I will reduce all to these following Heads.

1. I will shew what Judgment is.

2. Who is the Judg: and why.

3. Who must be judg'd.

4. Who is the Accuser.

5. How the Citation, Constraint and Appearance will be.

6. What is the Law by which Men shall be judged.

7. What will be the Cause of the Day, what the Accusation, and what must be the just Defence.

8. What will be the Evidence.

[Page 5] 9. What are thos [...] frivolous insufficient Excuses by which the Unrighteous may think to escape.

10. What will be the Sentence, who shall die, and who shall live, and what the Reward and Punishment [...]s.

11. What are the Properties of the Sentence.

12. What and by whom the Execution will be. In [...]hese particular Heads we contain the whole Doctrine of [...]his Judgment, and in this more familiar Method shall [...]andle it.

I. For the first Judgment, as taken largely, compre­hendeth all the sorementioned Particulars; as taken more strictly for the Act of the Judg, it is the Trial of a controverted Case. In our Case note these things following.

1. God's Judgment is not intended for any Discovery to himself of what he knows not already, he knows al­ready that all Men are, and what they have done, and what is their Due: But it is to discover to others and to Men themselves the ground of his Sentence, that so his Judgment may attain its End, for the glorifying [...]his Grace on the Righteous, and for the convincing the Wicked of their Sin and Desert, and to shew to all the World the Righteousness of the Judg, and of his Sen­tence and Execution. Rom. 3. 4, 26. and Rom. 2. 2.

2. It is not a Controversy therefore undecided [...]in the Mind of God, that is there to be decided; but only one that is undecided, as to the Knowledg and Mind of Creatures.

3. Yet i [...] not this Judgment a bare Declaration, but a Decision, and so a Declaration thereupon: the Cause will be then put out of Controversy, and all farther Expectation of Decision be at an End; and with the Ju­stified there will be no more Accusation, and with the Condemned no more Hope for ever.

II. For the second Thing, who shall be the Judg; I answer, The Judg is God himself by Jesus Christ.

[Page 6] 1. Principally, God as Creator.

2. As also, God as Redeemer; the humane Nature of Jesus Christ having a derived subordinate Power. God lost not his Right to his Creature either by Man's Fall, or the Redemption by Christ, but by the latter hath a new farther Right: but it is in and by Christ that God judgeth: For as meer Creator of innocent Man, God judgeth none, but hath committed all Judgment to the Son, who hath procured this Right by the redeeming of fallen Man, Joh. 5. 22. But as the Son only doth it in the nearest Sense, so the Father as Creator doth it remotely and principally.

1. In that the Power of the Son is derived from the Father, and so standeth in Subordination to him as Fountain or Efficient.

2. In that the Judgment of the Son (as also his whole Mediatorship) is to bring Men to God their Ma­ker as their ultimate End, and recover them to him from whom they are faln; and so as a Means to that End, the Judgment of the Son is subordinate to the Father.

From hence you may see these following Truths wor­thy your Consideration.

1. That all Men are God's Creatures, and none are the Workmanship of themselves or any other; or else the Creator should not judg them on that Right.

2. That Christ died for All, and is the Redeemer of the World, and a Sacrifice for All, or else he should not judg them on that Right. For he will not judg Wicked Men as he will do the Devils, as the meer Enemies of his Redeemed Ones, but as being themselves his Subjects in the World, and being bought by him, and therefore become his own, who ought to have glorified him that bought them, 2 Cor. 5. 14, 15. 2 Pet. 2. 1. 1 Cor. 6. 19, 20. 1 John 2. 2. Heb. 2. 9. 1 Tim. 2. 6, 7.

3. Hence it appeareth that all Men were under some Law of Grace, and did partake of some of the Re­deemer's [Page 7] Mercy. Tho the Gospel came not to all, yet all [...]ad that Mercy which could come from no other Foun­ [...]in but his Blood, and which should have brought them [...]arer to Christ than they were, (though it were not [...]fficient to bring them to Belief) and which should [...]ave led them to Repentance, Romans 2. 4. For [...]e neglecting of which they justsy perish, and not [...]eerly for sinning against the Law that was given Man in [...]nnocency: Were that so, Christ would not judg them [...] Redeemer, and that for the Abuse or not Improve­ment of his Talents, as he tells us he will do, Mat. [...]5. per to [...]um.

4. If God will be the Judg, then none can expect [...]y any Shifts or Indirect Means to escape at that Day. For how should it be?

1. It is not possible that any should keep out of Sight, or hide their Sin and the Evil of their Actions, and so delude the Judg: God will not be mocked now, nor deceived then, Gal. 6. 7. they grosly deceive them­selves that imagine any such thing: God must be Omni­ [...]cient and All-seeing, or he cannot be God. Should you [...]ide your Cause from Men and from Devils, and be igno­rant of it your selves, yet cannot you hide it from God. Never did there a Thought pass thy Heart, or a Word pass thy Mouth, which God was not acquainted with: and as he knows them, so doth he observe them. He [...]s not as impersect Man, taken up with other Business, so that he cannot mind All. As easy is it with him t [...] observe every Thought, or Word, or Action of thine, as if he had but that one in the World to observe; and [...]s easy to observe each particular Sinner, as if he had not another Creature to look after in the World. He is a Fool indeed that thinks now that God takes no no­tice of him, Ezek. 8. 12. and 9. 9. or that thinketh then to escape in the Croud: He that found out one Guest that had not on a Wedding-Garment, Mat. 22. 12. will then find out every unholy Soul, and give him so sad a Sa­lutation as shall make him speechless. Joh. 11. 11. For he [Page 8] knoweth vain Man; be seech Wickedness also, and will be not consider it?

2. It is not possible that any should escape at that Day by any Tricks of Wit and false Reasoning in their own Defence. God knoweth a sound Answer from an unsound, and a Truth from a Lie. Righteousness may be perverted here on Earth, by out-witting the Judg; but so will it not be then. To hope any of this, is to hope that God will not be God. It is in vain then for the unholy Man to say he is holy; or for any Sinner to deny, or excuse, or extenuate his Sin; to bring forth the Counterfeit of any Grace, and plead with God any Shells of hypocritical Performances, and to think to prove a Title to Heaven▪ by any thing short of God's Condition: all these will be vain Attempts.

3. And as impossible will it prove by Fraud or Flat­tery, by Perswasion or Bribery, or by any other Means, to pervert Justice by turning the Mind of God who is the Judg: Fraud and Flattery, Bribery and Impor­tunity may do much with weak Men, but with God they will do nothing. Were he changeable and partial, he were not God.

4. If God be Judg, you may see the Cavils of In­fidels are foolish, when they ask, How long will God be in trying and judging so many Persons, and taking an Ac­count of so many Words, and Thoughts, and Deeds? Sure it will be a long Time, and a difficult Work. As if God were as Man that knoweth not things till he seek out their Evidence by particular Signs. Let these Foo [...]s under­stand, if they have any Understanding, that the infi­nite God can shew to every Man at once, all the Thoughts, and Words, and Actions that ever he hath been guilty of. And in the twink of an Eye, even at one view, can make all the World to see their Ways and their Deservings, causing their Consciences and Memo­ries to present them all before them in such a sort, as shall be equivalent to a verbal Debate, Psal. 50. 21, 22. he will set them in Order before them.

[Page 9] 5. If Jesus Christ be the Judg, then what a Com­fort must it needs be to his Members, that he shall be Judg that loved them to the Death, and whom they loved above their Lives, and he who was their Rock of Hope and Strength, and the Desire and Delight of their Souls!

6. And if Jesus Christ must be the Judg, what Con­fusion will it bring to the Faces of his Enemies, and of all that set light by him in the Day of their Visitation? to see Mercy turned against them, and he that died for them now ready to condemn them, and that Blood and Grace which did aggravate their Sin, to be pleaded against them to the Increase of their Misery: How sad will this be?

7. If the God of Love, and Grace, and Truth, be Judg, then no Man need to fear any Wrong. No Sub­tlety of the Accuser, nor Darkness of Evidence; no Prejudice or Partiality, or whatsoever else may be ima­gined, can there appear to the Wrong of your Cause. Get a good Cause and fear nothing: and if your Cause be bad, nothing can deliver you.

III. For the third Point, Who are they that must be judged?

Answ. All the rational Creatures in this lower World. And it seems Angels also, either all or some: But be­cause their Case is more darkly made known to us, and less concerns us, we will pass it by. Every Man that hath been made or born on Earth (except Christ, who is God and Man, and is the Judg) must be judged. If any foolish Infidels shall say, Where shall so great a Num­ber stand? I answer him, That he knoweth not the things Invisible; either the Nature of Spirits and spiritual Bo­dies, nor what Place containeth them, or how; but easily he may know that he that gave them all a Being, can sustain them all, and have room for them all, and can at once disclose the Thoughts of all, as I said before.

[Page 10] The first in Order to be judged are the Saints, Mat. 25. and then with Christ they shall judg the rest of the World, 1 Cor. 6. 2, 3. not in an equal Au­thority and Commission with Christ, but as the present Approvers of his righteous Judgment. The Princes of the Earth shall stand then before Christ even as the Peasants, and the Honourable as the Base; the Rich and the Poor shall meet together, and the Lord shall judg them all, Prov. 22. 2. No Men shall be excused from standing at that Bar, and giving up their Account, and receiving their Doom. Learned and unlearned, young and old, godly and ungodly, all must stand there. I know some have vainly imagined that the Righteous shall not have any of their Sins mentioned, but their Graces and Duties only; but they consider not that things will not then be transacted by Words as we do now, but by clear Discoveries by the infinite Light; and that if God should not discover to them their Sins, he would not discover the Riches of his Grace in the Pardon of all these Sins: even then they must be humbled in themselves that they may be glorified, and for ever cry, Not unto us Lord, but unto thy Name be the Glory.

IV. For the fourth Particular, Who will be the Ac­cuser?

Answ. 1. Satan is called in Scripture the Accuser of the Prethren, Revel. 12. 10. and we find in Joh▪ 1. and other Places, that now he doth practise it even be­fore God: and therefore we judg it probable that he will do so then. But we would determine of nothing that Scripture hath not clearly determined.

2. Conscience will be an Accuser, though espe­cially of the Wicked, yet in some sense of the Righ­te [...]us, for it will tell the Truth to all; and therefore so far as Men are faulty, it will tell them of their Faults. The Wicked it will accuse of unpardoned Sin, and of Sin unrepented of; the Godly only of Sin repented of and [Page 11] pardoned. It will be a Glass wherein every Man: may see the Face of his Heart and former Life, Rom. 1. 15.

3. The Judg himself will be the principal Accuser; for it is he that is wronged, and he that prosecutes the Cause, and will do Justice on the Wicked. God judg­eth even the Righteous themselves to be Sinners, or else they could not be pardoned Sinners. But he judg­eth the Wicked to be impenitent, unbelieving, un­converted Sinners. Remember what I said before, that it is not a verbal Accusation, but an opening of the Truth of the Cause to the view of our selves and others, that God will then perform.

Nor can any think it unworthy of God to be Mens Accuser by such a Disclosure, it being no Dishonour to the purest Light to reveal a Dunghil, or to the greatest Prince to accuse a Traitor. Nor is it unmeet that God should be both Accuser and Judg, seeing he is both abso­lute Lord, and perfectly Just, and so far beyond all su­spition of Injustice. His Law also doth virtually ac­cuse, Joh. 5. 45. but of this by it self.

V. For the fifth Particular, How will the Sinners be called to the Bar?

Answ. God will not stand to send them a Citation, nor require them to make their voluntary Appearance: but willing or unwilling he will bring them in.

1. Before each Man's particular Judgment, he send­eth Death to call away his Soul, a surly Serjeant that will have no Nay: How dear soever this World may be to Men, and how loth soever they are to depart, away they must, and come before the Lord that made them; Death will not be bribed. Every Man that was set in the Vineyard in the Morning of their Lives, must be called out at Evening to receive according to what he hath done: then must the naked Soul alone appear before its Judg, and be accountable for all that was done in the Body, and be sent before till the final Judgment [Page 12] to remain in Happiness or Misery, till the Body be raised again and joined to it.

In this Appearance of the Soul before God, it. seemeth by Scripture, that there is some Ministry of Angels; for Luke 16. 22. it is said that the Angels carried Lazarus, that is, his Soul, into Abraham's Bo­som. What local Motion there is, or Situation of Souls, is no fit Matter for the Enquiry of Mortals; and what it is in this that the Angels will do, we cannot clearly understand as yet; but most certain it is, that as soon as ever the Soul is out of the Body, it comes to its account before the God of Spirits.

2. At the end of the World the Bodies of all Men shall be raised from the Earth, and joined again to their Souls, and the Soul and Body shall be judged to their endless State; and this is the great and general Judg­ment where all Men shall at once appear. The same Power of God that made Men of nothing, will as easily then new-make them by a Resurrection, by which he will add much more Perfection, even to the Wicked in their Naturals, which will make them capable of the greater Misery; even they shall have immortal and in­corruptible Bodies, which may be the Subjects of im­mortal Wo, 1 Cor. 15. 53. John 5. 28, 29.

Of this Resurrection and our Appearance at Judg­ment, the Angels will be someway the Ministers: as they shall come with Christ to Judgment, so they shall sound his Trumpet, 1 Thess. 4. 16. and they shall gather the Wicked out of God's Kingdom, and they shall gather the Tares to burn them, Matth. 13. 39, 40, 41. in the End of the World the Angels shall come forth and sever the Wicked from among the Just, and shall cast them into the Furnace of Fire, Matth. 17. 49, 50.

VI. For the sixth Particular, What Law is it that Men shall be judged by?

[Page 13] Answ. That which was given them to live by: God's Law is but the Sign of his Will to teach us what shall be due from us and to us: before we fell he gave us such a Law as was sutable to our Perfection; when we had sinned and turned from him, as we ceased not to be his Crea­tures, nor he to be our Lord, so he destroyed not his Law, nor discharged or absolved us from the Duty of our Obedience. But because we stood condemned by that Law, and could not be justified by it, having once transgressed it, he was pleased to make a Law of Grace, even a new, a remedying Law, by which we might be saved from the deserved Punishment of the Old. So we shall be tried at Judgment upon both these Laws, but ultimately upon the last. The first Law commanded perfect Obedience, and threatned Death to us if ever we disobeyed; the second Law finding us under the Guilt of Sin against the first, doth command us to re­pent and believe in Christ, and so return to God by him, and promiseth us pardon of all our Sins upon that Condi­tion, and also if we persevere, everlasting Glory. So that in Judgment though it must be first evinced that we are Sinners, and have deserved Death according to the Law of pure Nature; yet that is not the Upshot of the Judgment. For the Enquiry will be next, whe­ther we have accepted the Remedy, and so obeyed the Law of Grace, and performed its Condition for Pardon and Salvation, and upon this our Life or Death will depend. It is both these Laws that condemn the Wic­ked, but it is only the Law of Grace that justifieth the Righteous.

Obj. But how shall Heathens be judged by the Law of Grace, that never did receive it?

Answ. The express Gospel some of them had not, and therefore shall not directly be judged by it; but much of the Redeemer's Mercy they did enjoy, which should have led them to repent and seek out after Re­covery from their Misery, and to come nearer Christ; and for the neglect and abuse of this they shall be judged, [Page 14] and not meerly for sinning against the Law that was given us in pure Innocency: so that Christ as Redeemer shall judg them as well as others; though they had but one Talent, yet must they give an account of that to the Redeemer from whom they received it. But if any be unsatisfied in this, let them remember that as God hath left the State of such more dark to us, and the Terms on which he will judg them; so doth it much more concern us to look to the Terms of our own Judgment.

Obj. But how shall Insants be judged by the Gospel, that were uncapable of it?

Answ. For ought I find in Scripture, they stand or fall with their Parents, and on the same Terms; but I leave each to their own Thoughts.

VII. For the seventh Head, What will be the Cause of the Day to be enqu [...]ed after? what the Accusation, and what the Defence?

Answ. This may be gathered from what was last said, The great Cause of the Day will be to enquire and de­termine who shall die and who shall live, who ought to go to Heaven, and who to Hell for ever, according to the Law by which they must then be judged.

1. As there is a twofold Law by which they must be judged, so will there then be a twofold Accusation. The first will be that they were Sinners, and so having violated the Law of God, they deserve everlasting Death according to that Law: If no Defence could be made, this one Accusation would condemn all the World; for it is most certain that all are Sinners, and as cer­tain that all Sin deserveth Death. The only Defence against this Accusation [...]ieth in this Plea; confessing the Charge, we must plead that Christ hath satisfied for Sins, and upon that Consideration God hath forgiven us; and therefore being forgiven, we ought not to be punished: To prove this we must shew the Pardon un­der God's Hand in the Gospel. But because this par­doning [Page 15] doning Act of the Gospel doth forgive none but those that repent and believe, and so return to God, and to sincere Obedience for the time to come; there­fore the next Accusation will be, that we did not perform these Conditions of Forgiveness; and therefore being Vnbelie­vers, Impenitent and Rebels against the Redeemer, we have no right to Pardon, but by the Sentence of the Gospel are liable to a greater Punishment for this Contempt of Christ and Grace. This Accusation is either true or false: where it is true, God and Conscience, who speak the Truth, may well be said to be the Accusers: Where it is false, it can be only the Work of Satan the malicious Adversary, who, as we may see in Job's Case, will not stick to bring a false Accusation.

If any think that the Accuser will not do so vain a Work, at least they may see that potentially this is the Accusation that lieth against us, and which we must be justified against. For all Justification implieth an actual or potential Accusation.

He that is truly accused of final Impenitency, or Un­belief, or Rebellion, hath no other Defence to make, but must needs be condemned.

He that is falsly accused of such Non-performance of the Condition of Grace, must deny the Accusation, and plead his own personal Righteousness as against that Accusation, and produce that Faith, Repentance and sincere Obedience and Perseverance, by which he fulfilled that Condition, and so is Evangilically Righteous in himself, and therefore hath part in the Blood of Christ, which is instead of a Legal Righteousness to him in all things else, as having procured him a Pardon of all his Sins, and a Right to everlasting Glory.

And thus we must then be justified by Christ's Satis­faction only against the Accusation of being Sinners in general, and of deserving God's Wrath for the Breach of the Law of Works; but we must be justified by our Faith, Repentance and sincere Obedience it self, against the Accusation of being Impenitent, Vnbelievers [Page 16] and Rebels against Christ, and having not performed the Condition of the Promise, and so having no part in Christ and his Benefits.

So that in sum you see that the Cause of the Day will be to enquire, whether being all known Sinners, we have accepted of Christ upon his Terms, and so have Right in him and his Benefits or not? whether they have forsaken this vain World for him, and loved him so faithfully, that they have manifested it, in part­ing with these things at his Command? And this is the meaning of Mat. 25. where the Enquiry is made to be, whether they have sed and visited him in his Members or not? that is, whether they have so far loved him as their Redeemer, and God by him, as that they have manifested this to his Members according to Op­portunity, though it cost them the Hazard or Loss of all; seeing Danger, and Labour, and Cost are fitter to express Love by than empty Compliments and bare Professions.

Whether it be particularly enquired after, or only taken for granted that Men are Sinners, and have de­served Death according to the Law of Works, and that Christ hath satisfied by his Death, is all one as to the matter in hand, seeing God's Enquiry is but the Dis­covery and Conviction of us. But the last Que­stion which must decide the Controversy will be, whether we have performed the Condition of the Gospel?

I have the rather also said all this, to shew you in what sense these Words are taken in the Text, that every Man shall be judged according to what he hath done in the Flesh, whe­ther it be good or bad. Though every Man be judged worthy of Death for sinning, yet every Man shall not be judged to die for it, and no Man shall be judged worthy of Life for his good Works: It is therefore according to the Go­spel, as the Rule of Judgment, that this is meant. They that have repented and believed, and returned to true, though imperfect Obedience, shall be judged to everlasting [Page 17] Life, according to these Works; not because these Works deserve it, but because the free Gift in the Gospel through the Blood of Christ, doth make these things the Con­dition of our possessing it. They that have lived and died Impenitent, Unbelievers and Rebels against Christ, shall be judged to everlasting Punishment, because they have deserved it both by their Sin in general against the the Law, and by these Sins in special against the Gospel. This is called the Merit of the Cause, that is, what is a Man's Due according to the true meaning of the Law, though the Due may be by free Gift. And thus you see what will be the Cause of the Day, and the Matter to be enquired after and decided as to our Life or Death.

VIII. The next Point in our Method is, to shew you, What will be the Evidence of the Cause?

Answ. There is a fivefold Evidence among Men. 1. When the Fact is notorious. 2. The Knowledg of an unsuspected competent Judg. 3. The Parties Confessi­on. 4. Witness. 5. Instruments and visible Effects of the Action. All these Evidences will be at hand, and any one of them sufficient for the Conviction of the guilty Person at that Day.

1. As the Sins of all Men, so the Impenitency and Re­bellion of the Wicked was notorious, or at least will be then. For though some play the Hypocrites, and hide the Matter from the World and themselves, yet God shall open their Hearts and former Lives to them­selves, and to the view of all the World. He shall set their Sins in Order before them, so that it shall be utterly in vain to deny or excuse them. If any Man will then think to make their Cause as good to God as they can now do to us, that are not able to see their Hearts, they will be foully mistaken. Now they can say they have as good Hearts as the best: then God will bring them out in the Light, and shew them to themselves and all the World, whether they were good or bad. Now they will face us down that they do truly [Page 18] repent, and they obey God as well as they can; but God that knoweth the Deceivers will then undeceive them. We cannot now make Men acquainted with their own unsanctified Hearts, nor convince them that have not true Faith, Repentance or Obedience, but God will convince them of it; they can find Shifts and false Answers to put off a Minister with, but God will not so be shifted off. Let us preach as plainly to them as we can, and do all that ever we are able to acquaint them with the Impenitency and Unholiness of their own Heart, and the Necessity of a new Heart and Life, yet we cannot do it, but they will believe whether we will or not, that the old Heart will serve the turn. But how easily will God make them know the contrary? We plead with them in the dark, for though we have the Candle of the Gospel in our hands when we come to shew them their Corruption, yet they shut their Eyes and are wilfully blind; but God will open their Eyes whether they will or not, not by holy Illumination, but by forced Conviction; and then he will plead with them as in the open Light. See here thy own unholy Soul; canst thou now say thou didst love me above all? canst thou deny but thou didst love this World before me, and serve thy Flesh and Lusts, though I told thee if thou [...]idst so thou shouldst die? Look upon thy own Heart now, and see whether it be an holy or an unholy Heart, a spiritual or a fleshly Heart, a heavenly or an earthly Heart. Look now upon all the Course of thy Life, and see whether thou didst live to me, or to the World and thy Flesh. O how easily will God convince Men then of the very Sins of their Thoughts, and in their secret Close [...]s, when they thought that no Witness could have disclosed them! Therefore it's said that the Books shall be opened, and the Dead judged out of the Books, Rev. 20. 12. Dan. 7. 10.

The second Evidence will be the Knowledg of the Judg. If the Sinner would not be convinced, yet it is suffici­ent that the Judg knoweth the Cause; God needeth no farther Witness, he saw thee committing Adultery in [Page 19] secret, Lying, Stealing, Forswearing in secret. If thou do not know thine own Heart to be unholy, 'tis enough that God knoweth it. If you have the Face to say, Lord, when did we see thee hungry? &c. Mat. 25. 44. yet God will make good the Charge against thee, and there needeth no more Testimony than his own. Can foolish Sinners think to lie hid or escape at that Day, that will now sin wilfully before their Judg? that know every Day that their Judg is looking on them, while they forget him, and give up themselves to the World, and yet go on even under his Eye, as if to his Face they dared him to punish them?

3. The third Evidence will be, the Sinners Confession God will force their own Consciences to witness against them, and their own Tongues to confess the Accusation. If they do at first excuse it, he will leave them speech­less, yea and condemning themselves before they have done.

O what a difference between their Language now and then! Now we cannot tell them of their Sin and Mi­sery, but they either tell us of our own Faults, or bid us look to our selves, or deny or excuse their Fault, or make light of it: but then their own Tongues shall confess them, and cry out of the wilful Folly that they committed, and lay a heavier Charge upon them than we can now do. Now if we tell them that we are afraid they are unregenerate, and lest their Hearts are not truly set upon God, they will tell us they hope to be saved with such Hearts as they have: But t [...]en, O how they will confess the Folly and Falseness of their own Hearts! You may see a little of their Case even in despairing Sinners on Earth, how far they are from denying or excusing their Sins. Judas cries out, I have sinned in betraying innocent Blood, Mat. 27. 4. out of their own Mouth shall they be judged. That very Tongue that now excuseth their Sin, will in their Tor­ments be their great Accuser. For God will have it so to be.

[Page 20] 4. The fourth Evidence will be the Witness of others. O how many thousand Witnesses might there be pro­duced, were there need, to convince the guilty Soul at that Day!

1. All the Ministers of Christ that ever preached to them, or warned them, will be sufficient Witnesses against them; we must needs testify that we preached to them the Truth of the Gospel, and they would not believe it. We preached to them the Goodness of God, yet they set not their Hearts upon him; we shewed them their Sin, and they were not humbled: we told them of the danger of an unregenerate State, and they did not regard us: we acquainted them with the abso­lute Necessity of Holiness, but they made light of all: we let them know the Deceitfulness of their Hearts, and the need of a close and faithful Examination, but they would not bestow an Hour in such a Work, nor scarce once be afraid of being mistaken and miscar­rying. We let them know the Vanity of this World, and yet they would not forsake it, no not for Christ and the Hopes of Glory: we told them of the everlasting Felicity they might attain, but they would not set themselves to seek it.

What we shall think of it then the Lord knows, but surely it seemeth now to us a matter of very sad Consi­deration, that we must be brought in as Witnesses against the Souls of our Neighbours and Friends in the Flesh. Those whom we now unfeignedly love, and would do any thing that we were able to do for their good, whose Welfare is dearer to us than all worldly Enjoy­ments. Alas, that we must be forced to testify to their Faces for their Condemnation! Ah Lord, with what a Heart must a poor Minister study, when he consider­eth this, that all the Words that he is studying must be brought in for a Witness against many of his Hearers! with what an Heart must a Minister preach when he re­membreth that all the Words that he is speaking must condemn many, if not most of his Hearers? Do we de­sire [Page 21] this sad Fruit of our Labours? No, we may say with the Prophet, Jer. 17. 16. I have not desired the wo­ful Day thou knowest: No, if we desired it, we would not do so much to prevent it, we would not study, and preach, and pray, and intreat Men, that if it were possible we might not be put on such a Task. And doubt­less it should make every honest Minister study hard, and pray hard, and intreat hard, and stoop low to Men, and be earnest with Men in season and out of season, that if it may be they may not be the Condemners of their Peoples Souls. But if Men will not hear, and there be no remedy, who can help it? Christ himself came not into the World to condemn Men, but to save them, and yet he will condemn those that will not yield to his saving Work: God takes no Pleasure in the Death of a Sinner, but rather that he repent and return and live, Ezek. 18. 23, 32. and yet he will rejoice over those to do them hurt, and destroy them that will not return, Deut. 28. 63. And if we must be put on such a Work, he will make us like-minded. The Holy Ghost tells us that the Saints shall judg the World, 1 Cor. 6. 2, 3. and if they must judg, they will judg as God judgeth; you cannot blame us for it, Sinners: we now warn you of it before-hand, and if you will not prevent it, blame not us but your selves. Alas, we are not our own Masters! As we now speak not to you in our own Names, so then we may not do what we list our selves, or if we might, our Wills will be as God's Will. God will make us judg you and witness against you. Can we absolve you when the righteous God will con­demn you? when God is against you, whose side would you have us be of? we must be either against God or you; and can you think that we should be for any one against our Maker and Redeemer? we must either con­demn the Sentence of Jesus Christ or condemn you: and is not there more reason to condemn you than him? Can we have any Mercy on you, when he that made you will not save you, and he that formed you will [Page 22] shew you no Mercy? Isa. 27. 11. yea when he that died for you will condemn you, shall we be more merciful than God? But alas! if we should be so foolish and unjust, what good would it do you? If we would be False-witnesses and partial Judges, it would not save you; we are not justified if we absolve our selves, 1 Cor. 4. 4. how unable then shall we be against God's Sentence to justify you? If all the World should say you were holy and peni­tent, when God knows you were unholy and impeni­tent, it will do you no good. You pray every Day that his Will may be done, and it will be done: It will be done upon you, because it was not done by you. What would you have us say, if God ask us, Did you tell this Sinner of the need of Christ, of the Glory of the World to come, and the Vanity of this? Should we lie and say we did not? What should we say if he ask us, Did not you tell them the Misery of their natural State, and what would become of them if they were not made new? Would you have us lie to God, and say we did not? Why if we did not, your Blood will be required at our hands, Ezek. 33. 6. and 3. 18. and would you have us bring your Blood upon our own Heads by a [...]ie? yea, and to do you no good, when we know that Lies will not prevail with God? No, no, Sinners; we must unavoi­dably testify to the Confusion of your Faces; if God ask us, we must bear Witness against you and say, Lord, we did what we could according to our weak Abilities to reclaim them: indeed our own Thoughts of everlasting Things were so low, and our Hearts so dull, that we must confess we did not follow them so close, nor speak so earnestly as we should have done: we did not cry so loud, or lift up our Voice as a Trumpet to awaken them (Isa. 58. 1.) we confess we did not speak to them with such melting Compassion, and with such Streams of Tears beseech them to regard, as a Matter of such great Concernment should have been spoken with; we did not fall on our Knees to them, and so earnestly beg of them for the Lord's sake, to have Mercy upon their own Souls as we should have done. But yet we told them the Message of God, [Page 23] and we studied to speak it to them as plainly and as piercing­ly as we could. Fain we would have convinced them of their Sin and Misery, but we could not: fain we would have drawn them to the Admiration of Christ, but they made light of it, Mat. 22. 5. we would fain have brought them to the Contempt of this vain World, and to set their Mind on the World to come, but we could not. Some Compassion thou knowest, Lord, we had to their Souls, many a weeping and groaning Hour we have had in secret, because they would not hear and obey, and some sad Complain [...]s we have made over them in publick: we to [...]d them that they must shortly die and come to Judgment, and that this World would deceive them and leave them in the Dust: we told them that the time was at hand when nothing but Christ would do them good, and no­thing but the Favour of God would be sufficient for their Happiness, but we could never get them to lay it to heart. Many a time did we intreat them to think soberly of this Life and the Life to come, and to compare them together with the Faith of Christians and the Reason of Men, but they would not do it: many a time did we intreat them but to take now and then an Hour in secret to consider who made them, and for what he had made them, and why they were sent into this World, and what their Business here is, and whither they are going, and bow it will go with them at their latter End: but we could never get most of them to spend one Hour in serious Thoughts of these weighty Matters. Ma­ny a time did we intreat them to try whether they were Rege­nerate or not, whether Christ and his Spirit were in them or not, whether their Souls were brought back to God by San­ctification; but they would not try: we did beseech them to make sure Work, and not leave such a Matter as everlasting Joy or Torment to a bold and mad Adventure, but we could not prevail. We intreated them to lay all other Businesses aside a little while in the World, and to enquire by the Direction of the Word of God, what would become of them in the World to come, and judg themselves before God came to judg them, seeing they had the Law and Rule of Judgment before them; but their Minds were blinded, and their Hearts were [Page 14] [...] [Page 15] [...] [Page 24] hardned, and the Profit, and Pleasure, and Honour of th [...] World did either stop their Ears, for quickly steal away the Hearts, so that we could never get them to a sober Considera­tion, nor ever win their Hearts to God.

This will be the Witness that many a hundred Mini­sters of the Gospel must give in against the Souls o [...] their People at that Day. Alas, that ever you shoul [...] cast this upon us! For the Lord's sake, Sirs, pity you [...] poor Teachers if you pity not your selves. We ha [...] rather go 1000 Miles for you, we had rather be scorne [...] and abused for your sakes, we had rather lay our Hands un­der your Feet, and beseech you on our Knees with Tears were we able, than be put on such Work as this. It i [...] you that will do it if it be done. We had rather follow you from House to House, and teach and exhort you [...] if you will but hear us and accept of our Exhortation Your Souls are pretious in our Eyes, for we know they were so in the Eyes of Christ, and therefore we ar [...] loth to see this Day; we were once in your Case▪ and therefore know what it is to be blind, and careless▪ and carnal as you are, and therefore would fain obtain your Deliverance. But if you will not hear, but we must accuse you, and we must condemn you, the Lord judg between you and us. For we can witness that i [...] was full sore against our Wills. We have been faulty indeed in doing no more for you, and not following you with restless Importunity, (the Good Lord forgive us) but yet we have not betrayed you by silence.

2. All those that fear God, that have lived among [...] ungodly Men, will also be sufficient Witnesses against them. Alas, they must be put upon the same Work▪ which is very unpleasant to their Thoughts, as Minister [...] are! They must witness before the Lord that they did as Friends and Neighbours admonish them; tha [...] they gave them a good Example, and endeavoured to walk in Holiness before them. But alas, the most did but mock them, and call them Puritans and pre­cise Fools, and they made more ado than needs for thei [...] [Page 25] [...]lvation: They must be forced to restify, [Lord, we [...]ould fain have drawn them with us to hear the Word [...]nd to read it, and to pray in their Families, and to [...]nctify the holy Day, and take such happy Opportu­ [...]ities for their Souls; but we could not get them to [...]: we did in our Places what we were able to [...]ve them the Example of a godly Conversati­ [...]n, and they did but deride us, they were rea­ [...]er to mark every slip of our Lives, and to observe [...]ll our Infirmities, and catch at any Accusation that was against us, than to follow us in any Work of holy [...]bedience, or Care for their everlasting Peace.] The [...]ord knows it is a most heavy thing to consider now that [...]oor Neighbours must be fain to come in against those [...]hey love so dearly, and by their Testimony to judg [...]hem to Perdition. O heavy Case to think of, that Master must witness against his own Servant! Yea, Husband against his own Wife, and a Wife against [...]er Husband; yea, Parents against their own Children, [...]nd say, [Lord I taught them thy Word, but they would [...]ot learn; I told them what would come on it if they [...]eturned not to thee, I brought them to Sermons, and [...] prayed with them and for them. I frequently [...]inded them of these everlasting Things, and of [...]his dreadful Day which they now see. But youth­ [...]ul Lusts and the Temptations of the Flesh and the Devil led them away, and I could never get them [...]hroughly and soundly to lay it to their Hearts.] O [...]ou that are Parents, and Friends, and Neighbours, [...]n the Fear of God bestir you now, that you may not [...]e put to this at that Day of Judgment. O give them [...]o rest, take no nay of them till you have perswaded [...]heir Hearts from this World to God, lest you be put [...]o be their Condemners: It must be now that you must prevent it, or else never; now while you are with them, while you and they are in the Flesh together, which will be but a little while: Can you but now prevail with them, all will be well, and you may meet them [...]oyfully before the Lord.

[Page 26] 3. Another Witness that will testify against the Un­godly at that Day, will be their sinful Companions, those that drew them into Sin, or were drawn by them, or joined with them in it. O little do poor Drunkards think, when they sit merrily in an Ale-house, that one of them must bear witness against another, and condemn one another! If they thought of this, methinks it should make them have less Delight in that Company: those that now join with you in Wickedness, shall then be forced to witness, [I confess, Lord, I did hear him sweat and curse, I heard him deride those that feared the Lord, and make a Jest of a holy Life: I saw him in the Ale-house when he should be hearing the Word of God, or reading, or calling upon God, and prepar­ing for this Day: I joined with him in fleshly Delights, in abusing thy Creature and our own Bodies.] Sinners, look your Companions in the Face the next time you are with them, and remember this that I now say; that those Men shall give in Evidence against you, that now are your Associates in all your Mirth. Little thinketh the Fornicator and lustful Wanton, that their sinful Mates must then bear Witness of that which they thought the Dark had concealed, and tell their Shame before all the World. But this must be the Fruit of Sin. It's meet that they who encouraged one another in Sin, should condemn one another for it. And mar­vel not at it, for they shall be forced to it whether they will or no; Light will not then be hid: They may think to have some case to their Consciences, by accu­sing and condemning others. When Adam is question­ed for his Sin, he presently accuseth the Woman, Gen. 3. 12. when Judas his Conscience was awakned, he runs to the Pharisees with the Money that drew him to it, and they cast it back in his own Face, See thou to il, what is that to us? Mat. 27. 4, 5, 6. O the cold Com­fort that Sinners will have at that Day, and the little I leasure that they will find in remembring their evil Ways! Now when a Foruicator or a Worldling, or a [Page 27] merry voluptuous Man is grown old, and cannot act all his Sin again, he takes Pleasure in remembring and telling others of his former Folly; what he once was, and what he did, and the merry Hours that he had: but then when Sinners are come to themselves a little more, they will remember and tell one another of these things with another Heart. O that they did but know now how these things will then affect them!

4. Another Witness that will then rise up against them, will be the very Devils that tempted them: They that did purposely draw them to Sin, that they might draw them to Torment for Sin: They can witness that you hearkned to their Temptations, when you would not hearken to God's Exhortations: They can witness that you obeyed them in working Iniquity. But because you may think the Accuser's Testimony is not to be ta­ken, I will not stand on this. Though it is not no­thing where God knoweth it to be true.

5. The very Angels of God also may be Witnesses against the Wicked; therefore are we advised in Scrip­ture not to sin before them, Eccl. 5. 6. 1 Cor. 11. 10. 1 Tim. 5. 21. I charge thee before the Elect Angels, &c. They can testify that they would have been ministring Spirits for their good, when the Wicked rather chose to be Slaves to the Spirit of Maliciousness. The holy Angels of God do many a time stand by you when you are sinning: They see you when you see not them; they are imployed by God in some sort for your good, as well as we. And as it is the Grief of Ministers that their Labours succeed not, so may we suppose that according to their State and Nature it is theirs. For they that rejoice in Heaven at the Conver­sion of one Sinner, may be said to sorrow, or to lose those Joys when you refuse to be converted. These noble Spirits, these holy and glorious Attendants of Christ that shall wait upon him to Judgment, will be Witnesses against rebellious Sinners to their Confu­sion. [Page 28] Sirs, you have all in you naturally a Fear of Spi­rits and invisible Powers: Fear them aright, lest heark­ning to the deceiving Spirits, and refusing the Help of the Angels of God, and wilfully sinning before their Faces, you should cause them at that Day, to the Ter­ror of your Souls, to stand forth as Witnesses against you to your Condemnation.

6. Conscience it self will be a most effectual Witness against the Wicked at that Day. I before told you it will be a Discerner, and force them to a Confession: But a farther Office it hath, even to witness against them. If none else in the World had known of their secret Sins, Conscience will say, I was acquainted with them.

7. The Spirit of Christ can witness against the Un­godly that he oft moved them to repent and return, and they rejected his Motions; that he spoke to their Hearts in secret, and oft set in with the Minister, and often minded them of their Case, and perswaded them to God; but they resisted, quenched and grieved the Spirit, Acts 7. 51. As the Spirit witnesseth with the Spirits of the Righteous that they are the Children of God, Rom. 8. 16. so doth he witness with the Consci­ence of the Wicked that they were Children of Rebel­lion, and therefore are justly Children of Wrath. This Spirit will not alway st [...]ive with Men: at last being vex­ed, it will prove their Enemy, and rise up against them, Gen. 6. 3. Isa. 63. 10. If you will needs grieve it now, it will grieve you then. Were it not a Spirit of Grace, and were it not free Mercy that it came to offer you, the Repulse would not have been so condemning, nor the Witness of this Spirit so heavy at the last. But it was the Spirit of Jesu [...], that came with recover­ing Grace, which you resisted: And though the Wages of every Sin is Death, yet you will find that it will cost you somewhat more to reject this Salvation, than to break the Creator's Law of Works. Kindness, such Kindness will not be rejected at easy Rates.

[Page 29] Many a good Motion is now made by the Spirit to the Heart of a Sinner, which he doth not so much as once observe; and therefore doth not now remember them. But then they shall be brought to his Remembrance with a witness. Many a thousand secret Motions to Repentance, to Faith, to a holy Life, will be then set before the Eyes of the poor, unpardoned, trembling Sinner, which he had quite forgotten: And the Spi­rit of God shall testify to his Confusion. [At such a Sermon I perswaded thy Heart to repent, and thou wouldst not; at soch a time I shewed thee the Evil of thy Sin, and perswaded thee to have forsaken it, but thou wouldst not; I minded thee in thy secret Thoughts, of the nearness of Judgment, and the certai [...]ty and weight of everlasting things, the need of Christ, and Faith, and Holiness, and of the danger of Sinning; but thou didst drown all my Motions in the Cares and Pleasures of the World. Thou harkenedst rather to the Devil than to me; the sensual Incl [...]nations of thy Flesh did prevail against the strongest Arguments that I used: Though I shewed Reasons, undeniable Reasons, from thy Creator, from thy Redeemer, from Nature, from Grace, from Heaven and from Hell; yet all would not so much as stop thee, much less turn thee, but thou wouldest go on; thou wouldest follow thy Flesh, and now let it pay thee the Wages of thy Folly; thou wouldest be thy own Guide, and take thine own Course, and now take what thou gettest by it.]

Poor Sinners, I beseech you in the Fear of God, the next time you have any such Motions from the Spirit of God, to repent, and believe, and break off your Sins, and the Occasions of them: consider then what a Mer­cy is set before you, and how it will confound you at the Day of Judgment, to have all these Motions brought in against you, and that the Spirit of Grace it self should be your Condemner! Alas, that Men should choose their own Destruction, and wilfully choose it! and that the Foreknowledg of these things should not move them to relent.

[Page 30] So much concerning the Witness that will be brought in against the Sinner.

5. The fifth Evidence that will be given against the Sinner will be, The Instruments and Effects. You know among Men, if a Man be found murdered by the high­way, and you are found standing by with a bloody Sword in your Hand; especially if there were a for­mer Dissension between you, it will be an Evidence that will prove a strong Presumption that you were the Murderer; but if the Fact be certain by other Evi­dence, then many such things may be brought for ag­gravation of the Fault.

So a twofold Evidence will be brought against the Sinner from these things. One to prove him guilty of the Fact, the other to aggravate the Fault, and prove that his Sin was very great.

For the former. 1. The very Creatures which Sin­ners abused to sin, may be brought in against them to their Conviction and Condemnation. For though these Creatures shall be consumed with the last destroying Fire, which shall consume all the World; yet shall they have a Being in the Memory of the Sinner, (an esse Cog­nitum;) the very Wine or Ale, or other Liquor which was abused to Drunkenness, may witness against the Drunkard. The sweet Morsels by which the Glut­ton did please his Appetite, and all the good Creatures of God which he luxuriously devoured, may witness against him, Luke 16. 19, 25. He that fared delici­ously every Day in this Life, was told by Abraham when he was dead, and his Soul in Hell, [Remember that thou in thy Life-time receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comfort­ed, and thou art tormented.] Though their sweet Mor­sels and Cups are past and gone, yet must they be re­membred at Judgment and in Hell. [Remember Son] saith Abraham; Yea, and remember he must whether he will or no; long was the Glutton in sinning, and many a pleasant bit did he taste: and so many Evidences of [Page 31] his Sin will lie against him, and the Sweetness will then be turned into Gall.

The very Clothing and Ornaments by which proud Persons did manifest their Pride, will be sufficient Evi­dence against them; as his being clothed with Pur­ple and fine Linen, is mentioned Luke 16. 19.

The very Lands, and Goods, and Houses of Worldlings will be an Evidence against them: Their Gold and Silver, which the Covetous do now prefer before the everlasting Riches with Christ, will be an Evidence against them: James 5. 1, 2, 3, 4. Go to now, ye rich Men, weep and howl for your Miseries that shall come upon you. Your Riches are corrupted, and your Garments Moth­taten; your Gold and your Silver is cankered, and the Rust of them shall be a Witness against you, and shall eat your Flesh as it were Fire; ye have heaped Treasure together for the last Days. Behold, the Hire of the Labourers, which have reaped down your Fields, which is of you kept back by Fraud, crieth; and the Cries of them which have reaped, are entred into the Ears of the Lord of Sabbath. Ye have lived in Pleasure on the Earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your Hearts as in a Day of Slaughter. O that Worldlings would well consider this one Text; and therein observe whether a Life of Earthly Pleasure and fulness of worldly Glory and Gallantry, be as desirable as they imagine, and to what Time and Purpose they now lay up their Treasures; and how they must hear of these things hereafter; and what effect the review of their jovial Days will have upon their miserable con­demned Souls.

2. The very Circumstances of Time, Place, and the like, may evidence against his Condemnation. The Drunkard shall remember in such an Ale-house, I was so oft drunk, and in such a Tavern I wasted my time. The Adulterer and Fornicator shall remember the very Time, the Place, the Room, the Bed, where they committed Wickedness. The Thief and Deceiver will remember the Time, Place, and the Persons they wrong­ed, [Page 32] and the things which they robbed or deceived them of. The Worldling will remember the Business which he preferred before the Service of God; the worldly Matters which had more of his Heart than his Maker and Redeemer had; the Work which he was doing when he should have been praying or reading, or Ca­techising his Family, or thinking soberly of his latter End. A thousand of these will then come into his Mind, and be as so many Evidences against him to his Condemnation.

3. The very Effects also of Mens Sins will be an Evi­dence against them. The Wife and Children of a Drunkard are impoverished by his Sin; his Family and the Neighbourhood is disquieted by him. These will be so many Evidences against him. So will the Abuse of his own Reason, the enticing of others to the same Sin, and hardning them by his Example.

One covetous unmerciful Landlord doth keep an hundred, or many hundred Persons or Families in so great Necessities, and Care and Labour, that they are tempted by it to overpass the Service of God, as having scarce time for it, or any Room for it in their troubled Thoughts; all these miserable Families and Persons, and all the Souls that are undone by this Temptation, will be so many Evidences against such Oppressors.

Yea, the Poor whom they have neglected to relieve when they might; the Sick whom they have neglected to visit when they might, will all witness then against the Unmerciful, Mat. 25.

The many ignorant, worldly, careless Sinners, that have perished under an idle and unfaithful Minister, will be so many Witnesses against him to his Condemnation! They may then cry out against him to his Face, [I was ignorant, Lord, and he never did so much as teach me, catechise me, nor tell me of these things; I was care­less, and minded the World, and he let me go on quiet­ly, and was as careless as I, had never plainly and faith­fully warned me, to waken me from my Security.] And [Page 33] so their Blood will be required at his hands, though themselves also shall perish in their Sins, Ezek. 33. 7, 8.

2. And as these Evidences will convince Men of Sin, so there are many more which will convince them of the greatness of their Sin. And these are so many, that it would too much lengthen my Discourse to stand on them. A few I shall briefly touch.

1. They very Mercy of God in creating Men, in giv­ing and continuing their Being to them, will be an Evi­dence for the Aggravation of their Sin against him. What, will you abuse him by whom it is that you are Men? will you speak to his Dishonour that giveth you your Speech? will you live to his Dishonour who giveth you your Lives? will you wrong him by his own Crea­tures? and neglect him without whom you cannot subsist?

2. The Redemption of Men by the Lord Jesus Christ, will be an Evidence to the exceeding Aggrava­tion of their Sins. You sinned against the Lord that bought you, 2 Pet. 2. 1. When the Feast was pre­pared, and all things were ready, you made light of it, and found Excuses and would not come, Mat. 22. 4, 5, 6. Luke 14. 17, 18. Must Christ redeem you by so dear a Price from Sin and Misery, and yet will you continue the Servants of Sin, and prefer your Slavery before your Freedom, and choose to be Satan's Drud­ges, rather than to be the Servants of God? The Sor­rows and Sufferings that Christ underwent for you, will then prove the Increase of your own Sorrows. As a neglected Redeemer it is that he will condemn you. And then you would be glad that it were but true Doctrine, that Christ never died for you, that you might not be condemned for refusing a Redeemer, and sinning against him that shed his Blood for you. How deeply will his Wounds then wound your Consciences! You will then remember that to this end he both died, rose and revived, that he might be Lord both of the Dead and the Living: And that he therefore died for [Page 34] all, that they which live, should not henceforth live to themselves, but to him that died for them and rose again; Rom. 14. 9. 2 Cor. 5. 14, 15. Mat. 28. 18, 19, 20. 1 Pet. 1. 17, 18. You will then understand that you were not your own, but were bought with a Price; and therefore should have glorified him that bought you with your Bodies and Spirits, because they were his, 1 Cor. 6. 19, 20. This one Aggravation of your Sin will make you doubly and remedilesly miserable, that you trod under foot the Son of God, and counted the Blood of the Covenant, wherewith you were sancti­fied, an unholy thing, Heb. 10. 26, 27, 28, 29. and cru­cified to your selves the Son of God afresh, and put him to open Shame, Heb. 6. 5, 6.

3. Moreover, all the personal Mercies which they received, will be so many Evidences for the Condem­nation of the Ungodly. The very Earth that bore them, and yielded them its Fruits, while they them­selves are unfruitful to God. The Air which they breathed in, the Food which nourish'd them, the Clothes which cover'd them, the Houses which they dwelt in, the Beasts that laboured for them, and all the Creatures that died for their Use: All these may rise up against them to their Condemnation. And the Judg may thus expostulate with them, [Did all these Mercies deserve no more Thanks? Should you not have served him that so liberally maintained you? God thought not all these too good for you, and did you think your Hearts and Services too good for him? He served yours with the weary Labours of your fellow-Creatures; and should you have grudged to bear his easy Yoak? They were your Slaves and Drudges, and you refused to be his free Servants and his Sons: They suffered Death to feed your Bodies, and you would not suffer the short Forbearance of a little forbidden fleshly Pleasure, for the sake of him that made you and redeemed you.]

[Page 35] O how many thousand Mercies of God will then be reviewed by those that neglected them, to the Horror of their Souls, when they shall be upbraided by the Judg with their base Requital! All the Deliverances from Sickness and from Danger; all the Honours, and Privileges, and other Commodities which so much contented them, will then be God's Evidences to shame them and confound them. On this Supposition doth the Apostle reprove such, Rom. 2. 4, 5, 6. Despisest thou the Riches of his Goodness, and Forbearance, and Long­suffering, 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 Judgment of God, who will render to every Man according to his Deeds.

4. Moreover, all the Means which God used for the Recovery of Sinners in the Day of their Visitation, will rise up against impenitent Souls in Judgment, to their Condemnation. You can hear Sermons carelesly and sleepily now: but O that you would consider how the Review of them will then awake you! You now make light of the Warnings of God and Man, and of all the wholesom Advice that is given you, but God will not then make light of your Contempt. O what cut­ting Questions will they be to the Hearts of the Ungodly, when all the means that were used for their Good, are brought to their Remembrance on one side, and the Temprations that drew them to Sin on the other Side, and the Lord shall plead his Cause with their Conscien­ces, and say, [Was I so hard a Master, or was my Work so unreasonable, or was my Wages so contempti­ble that no Perswasions could draw you into my Ser­vice? Was Satan so good a Master, or was his Work so honest and profitable, or was his Wages so desirable, that you would be so easily perswaded to do as he would have you? Was there more perswading Reason in his Allurements and Deceits, than in all my holy Words, and all the powerful Sermons that you heard, or all the [Page 36] faithful Admonitions you received; or all the good Examples of the Righteous, or in all the Works of God which you beheld? Was not a Reason fetch'd from the Love of God, from the Evil of Sin, the Blood of Christ, the Judgment to come, the Glory promised, the Torments threatned, as forcible with you, and as good in your Eyes to draw you to Holiness, as a Reason from a little fleshly Delight or worldly Gain, to draw you to be unholy?]

In the Name of God, Sinners, I intreat you to be­think your selves in time, how you will sufficiently an­swer such Questions as these. You should have seen God in every Creature that you beheld, and have read your Duty in all his Works; what can you look upon above you, or below you, or round about you, which might not have shewed you so much of the Wisdom, and Goodness, and Greatness of your Maker, as should have convinced you that it was your Duty to be devoted to his Will? and yet you have his written Word that speaks plainer than all these; and will you despise them all? will you not see so great a Light? will you not hear so loud and constant Calls? shall God and his Mini­sters speak in vain? And can you think that you shall not hear of this again, and pay for it one Day? you have the Bible and other good Books by you; why do you not read them? You have Ministers at hand; why do you not go to them, and earnestly ask them, Sirs, What must I do to be saved? and intreat them to teach you the Way to Life: You have some Neighbours that fear God; why do you not go to them, and take their good Advice, and imitate them in the Fear of God, and in a holy Diligence for your Souls? Now is the time for you to bestir your selves; Life and Death are before you. You have Gales of Grace to further your Voyage: There are more for you than against you. God will help you: his Spirit will help you: his Ministers will help you: every good Christian will help you: the An­gels themselves will help you, if you will resolvedly [Page 37] set your selves to the Work; and yet will you not stir? Patience is waiting on you: Mercies are enticing you: Scourges are driving you: Judgment stayeth for you: The Lights of God stand burning by you to direct you: And yet will you not stir, but lie in [...]arkness? And do you think you shall not hear of this? Do you think this will not one Day cost you dear?

IX. The ninth part of our Work is to shew you, [...]hat are those frivolous Excuses by which the Vnrighteous may then indeavour their Defence?

Having already shewed you what the Defence must be, that must be sufficient to our Justification;

If any first demand, Whether the Evidence of their Sin will not so overwhelm the Sinner, that he will be speechless and past excuse? I answer, Before God hath done with him, he will be so; but it seems at first his clark Understanding, and partial corrupted Conscience will set him upon a vain Defence. For Mat. 7. 22, 23. Christ telleth us, that [Many will say to me in that Day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy Name, and in thy Name have cast out Devils, and in thy Name have [...]lone many wonderful Works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you, Depart from me ye Wor­kers of Iniquity.] And in Mat. 25. 11. the foolish Virgins cry, [Lord, Lord, open to us.] And ver. 44. [Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when [...]aw we thee an hungred, or thirst, or a Stranger, or Naked, or Sick, or in Prison, and did not minister un­to thee?] And vers. 24, 25. they fear not to cast some of the Causes of their neglect on God himself, [Then he which had received the one Talent came and said, Lord, I knew thou art an hard Man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed; and I was afraid, and went and hid thy Talent in the Earth; lo, there thou hast that is thine.]

[Page 38] It is clear then, that Excuses they will be ready to make, and their full Conviction will be in order after these Excuses, (at least as in their Minds, if not in Words) but what the particular Excuses will be, we may partly know by these Scriptures which recite them, and partly by hearing what the Ungodly do now say for themselves. And because it is for their present Be­nefit that I now make mention of them, that they may see the Vanity of all such Excuses, I will mention them as I now meet with them in the Mouths of Sinners in our ordinary Discourse: and these Excuses are of several sorts; some by which they would justify their Estate; some Excuses of particular Actions; and that either in whole, or in part; some by which they would put by the Penalty, though they confess the Sin; some by which they lay the blame on other Men; and in [...]ome they would cast it upon God himself. I must touch but some of them very briefly.

The first Excuse. I am not guilty of these things which I am accused of. I did love God above all, and my Neighbour as my self. I did use the World but for Necessity, but God had my Heart.

Answ. The All-seeing Judg doth know the contrary, and he will make thy Conscience know it: Look back, Man, upon thy Heart and Life: How seldom and how neglectfully didst thou think of God? how cold­ly didst thou worship him, or make any mention of him? how carelesly didst thou serve him, and think much of all that thou didst therein? Thou rather thoughtest that his Service was making more ado than needs, and didst grudg at those that were more dili­gent than thy self; but for the World, how heartily and how constantly didst thou seek and serve it? and yet wouldst thou now perswade the Judg that thou didst love God above all? He will shew thee thy naked Heart, and the Course of thy former Life, which shall con­vince thee of the contrary.

[Page 39] The Second Excuse. I lived not in any gross Sin, but only in small Infirmities; I was no Murderer, or Adul­terer, or Fornicator, or Thief, nor did I deceive or wrong any, or take any thing by violence.

Answ. Was it not a gross Sin to love the World above God, and to neglect Christ that died for thee, and ne­ver to do him one Hour's hearty Service, but meerly to seek thy carnal self, and to live to thy Flesh? God will open thine Eyes then, and shew thee a thousand gross Sins, which thou now forgettest or makest light of; and it is not only gross Sin, but all Sin, great or small, that deserveth the Wrath of God, and will cer­tainly bring thee under it for ever, if thou have not part in Christ to relieve thee. Wo to the Man that ever he was born that must answer in his own Name for his smallest Offences!

The third Excuse. I did it ignorantly; I knew not that there was so much required to my Salvation. I thought less ado might have served the turn: and that if I look'd to my Body, God would take care of my Soul; and that it was better to trust him what would become of me hereafter, than to trouble my Mind so much about it. Had I known better, I would have done better.

Answ. If you knew not better, who was it long of but your self? Did God hide these things from you? Did he not tell them you in his Word as plainly as the Tongue of Man can speak, That except you were re­generate and born again, you should not enter into the Kingdom of God? John 3. 3, 5. That without Holiness none should see God, Heb. 12. 14. That you must strive to enter in at the strait Gate; for many shall seek to enter, and shall not be able, Luke 13. 24. That if you lived after the Flesh, you should die: and if by the Spirit you mortified the Deeds of the Body, you should live, Rom. 8. 13. That if any Man have not the Spirit of Christ, the same is none of his, Rom. 8. 9. And to be carnally minded is Death; but to be spiritually minded is Life and Peace, Rom. 8. 9. [Page 40] That you must not lay up for your selves a Treasure on Earth, where Rust and Moths do corrupt, and Thieves break through and steal, but must lay up for your selves a Treasure in Heaven, where Rust and Moths do not corrupt, nor Thieves break through and steal, Mat. 6. 19, 20. That you must seek first the King­dom of God and the Righteousness thereof, Mat. 6. 23. and not labour for the Food that perisheth, but for the Food that endureth to everlasting Life, which Christ would have given you, John 6. 27. That if you be ri­sen with Christ, you must seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God, and not the things that are on Earth, Col. 3. 1, 2, 3. Yea your very Conversation should be in Heaven, Phil. 3. 19, 20, 21.

What say you? Did not God tell you all this and much more; and plainly tell it you? Turn to your Bibles and see the Words, and let them witness against you.

2. And could you think with any Reason, that your Souls being so much more precious than your Bodies, you should yet do so much more for your Bodies than your Souls? could you think all the Labour of your Lives little enough for a frail Body that must lie short­ly in the Dirt; and that your Immortal Souls should be no more regarded? Could you think with any Rea­son, that your Souls should do so much for a Life of a few Years continuance, and do no more for a Life that shall have no end?

3. And whereas you talk of trusting God with your Souls, you did not trust him: You did but on that Pre­tence, carelesly disregard them. If you trust God, shew any Word of Promise that ever he gave you to trust upon, that ever an impenitent, carnal, careless Person shall be saved: No; he hath told you enough to the contrary. And could you think that it was the Will of God that you should mind your Bodies more than your Souls, and this Life more than that to come? [Page 41] Why, he hath bid you strive, and run, and fight, and labour, and care, and seek, and use Violence, and all Diligence for the safety of your Souls, and for the Life to come: But where hath he bid you do so for your Bodies? No, he knew that you were prone to do too much for them; and therefore he hath bid you [Care not, and labour not] that is, Do it as if you did it not: and let your Care and Labour for earthly Things be none in comparison of that for heavenly Things. You know God can as well maintain your Lives without your Care and Labour, as save your Souls without it: And yet you see he will not, he doth not: You must plough, and sow, and reap, and thresh, for all God's Love and Care of you, and not say, I will let all alone and trust God. And must you not much more use diligence in much greater Things? If you will trust God, you must trust him in his own Way, and in the use of his own Means.

The fourth Excuse. I was never brought up to Learn­ing, I cannot so much as read: nor did my Parents ever teach me any of these things, but only set me about my worldly Business, and provide Food and Raiment for me: but never once told me that I had a Soul to save or lose, and an ever­lasting Life to provide and prepare for, and therefore I could not come to the Knowledg of them.

Answ. The greater is their Sin who thus neglected you. But this is no sufficient Excuse for you. Hea­ven is not prepared for the Learned only; nor will Christ ask you at Judgment whether you are good Scholars or not, no nor so much as whether you could write or read. But consider well, Was not God's Word so plainly written, that the Unlearned might understand it? Did he not put it into the most fami­liar Stile, though he knew it would be offensive to the proud Scholars of the World, of purpose that he might fit it to the Capacities of the Ignorant? And if you could not read, yet tell me, could not you have learned to read at 20 or 30 Years of Age, if you had [Page 42] been but willing to bestow now and then an Hour to that end? Or at least, did you not live near some that could read? and could you not have procured them to read to you, or to help you? and did you not hear these things read to you in the Congregation by the Minister, or might have done if you would? and if your Parents did neglect you in your Youth, yet when you came to a fuller use of Reason, and heard of the Matters of Salvation from God's Word, did it not concern you to have looked to your selves, and to have redeemed that time which you lost in your Youth, by doubling your Diligence when you came to riper Years? The Apostles gathered Churches among Hea­thens that never heard of Christ before; and convert­ed many thousand Souls that were never once told of a Saviour, or the Way to Salvation, till they had past a great part of their Lives. If you loitered till the latter part of the Day, it behoved you then to have bestirred your selves the more; and not to say, Through the Fault of my Parents, I lost the beginning of my Life, and therefore I will lose all; they taught me not then, and therefore I will not learn now: Have you not seen some of your Neighbours who were as ill edu­cated as your selves, attain to much Knowledg after­wards by their Industry? and why might not you have done so, if you had been as industrious as they? May not God and Conscience witness, that it was because you cared not for Knowledg, and would not be at pains to get it, that you knew no more? Speak truth, Man, in the Presence of thy Judg; was thy Heart and Mind set upon it? Didst thou pray daily for it to God? Didst thou use all the means thou couldst to get it? Didst thou attend diligently on the Word in publick, and think of what thou heardst when thou camest home? Didst thou go to the Minister, or to others that could teach thee, and intreat them to tell thee the Way to Sal­vation? Or didst thou not rather carelesly neglect these Matters, and hear a Sermon as a common tale, [Page 43] even when the Minister was speaking of Heaven or of Hell? It was not then thine unavoidable Ignorance, but thy Negligence.

Yea further, answer as in the Presence of God; Didst tou obey so far as thou didst know? Or didst thou not rather sin against that Knowledg which thou hadst? Thou knewest that the Soul was better than the Body, and everlasting Life more to be regarded than this transitory Life; but didst thou regard it accordingly? Thou sure knewest that God was better than the World, and Heaven than Earth: at least thou wast told of it, but didst thou accordingly value him, and love him more? Thou knewest sure that there was no Sal­vation without Faith, and Repentance, and newness of Life, and yet they were neglected. In a word, ma­ny a thousand Sins which were committed, and Duties that were omitted against thy own Knowledg and Con­science, will marr this Excuse.

The fifth Excuse. I lived not under a powerful Mini­ster to tell me of these things; but where there was no preach­ing at all.

Answ. And might you not have gone where a pow­ [...]ful Minister was, with a little pains? Yea, did not the very plain Word that you heard read, tell you of these things? and might you not have had a Bible your selves, and found them there?

The sixth Excuse. I was a Servant, and had no time from my Labour to mind these matters; I lived with an hard Master that required all his own Work of me, but would al­low me no time for the Service of God. Or else, I was a poor Man, and had a great Charge to look after, and with my hard Labour had much ado to live, so that I had no time for heavenly things.

Answ. 1. Who should be first served, God or Man? What should be first sought after, Heaven or Earth? Did not Christ tell thee, One thing is neces­sary? Luke 10. 41, 42. Was it not as needful to see that you escape Damnation, and get safe to Heaven [Page 44] when this Life is ended, as to see that you had Food and Raiment for your selves and yours?

2. Did you spend no time in Recreation, nor Idle­ness, nor vain talking? why might not that at least have been spent about heavenly things?

3. Could you have taken no time from your rest, or eating, or at other Intermissions? Man's Body will not endure so great Labours as have no Intermission. And why then might not Godliness have been your Ease and Recreation?

4. Or might you not have minded these things ever when you were about your Labour, if you had but a Heart to them?

5. At least you might have spent the Lord's own Day in hearing, reading and pondering of these Mat­ters, when you were forced to forbear your worldly Labours, even by the wholesom Law of the Land. These therefore are all but vain Excuses; and God will shortly make thee speak out and plainly confess, it w [...] not so much for want of Time or Helps, or warning as for want of a Heart to use them well. I should have found some time, though it had been when I should have slept, if my Heart had been but set upon it.

The seventh Excuse. Little did I think to have sen [...] this Day: I did not believe that ever God would be so severe. I thought his Threatnings had been but to keep Men in awe [...] and I suspected either that the Scripture was not his Word, [...] else I thought he would be better than his Word. I thought all that I heard of another Life had been uncertain; and there­fore was loth to let go a Certainty for an Vncertainty, and lose my present Pleasures which I had in hand for the Hopes o [...] that which I never did see.

Answ. He that will not know his Misery by believing▪ to prevent it, shall know it by feeling to endure it. You were told and told again what your Unbelief would bring you to. Did God's Word make Heaven and Earth? doth it support them, and secure them? and [Page 45] [...] not his Word sufficient Security for you to have [...]usted your Souls upon? did you know where was [...]y better Security to be had? and where was any [...]rer Ground for your Confidence? And did you think [...] basely and blasphemously of God, that he would [...]sify his Word, lest such as you should suffer? and [...]at he was fain to rule the World by a Lie? Did God [...]ake the World so easily? and can he not govern it by [...]e and righteous Means? what need God to say that [...]hich he will not do, to awe Sinners? can he not awe [...]em by Truth? is it not just that those should eter­ [...]lly perish, that will entertain such desperate Thoughts [...]f God, and then by such wicked Imaginations encou­ [...]ge themselves in Sin against him?

And for the Truth of Scripture, God did not bid [...]ou believe it without Evidence. He stamped on it [...]e Image of his own Purity and Perfection, that you [...]ight know it by that Image and Superscription, if [...]ou had Eyes to see them: He sealed it by uncontrouled Multitudes of Miracles: He delivered it down to your [...]ands by infallible Witnesses, so that he left you no [...]oom for rational Doubting.

And you knew that the Matters of this World were [...]ot only uncertain, but certainly vain and transitory, [...]nd would shortly come to nothing, and leave you in [...]istress. If it had then been uncertain whether there [...]ere a Glory and Misery hereafter, (as it was not) [...]hould not Reason have taught you to prefer the least Probabilities of an everlasting unspeakable Happiness, [...]efore that which is certainly perishing and vain? These vain Excuses will but condemn you.

The eighth Excuse. I was so enticed and perswaded by [...]inners to do as they did, that I could not deny them: they would never let me rest.

Answ. And were you not as earnestly perswaded by God to forsake Sin and serve him, and yet that would not prevail with you? You could not deny the Devils and Fools, but you could deny God and all his Messen­gers [Page 46] Were not Ministers as earnest with you even Week to repent and amend? What did Men entice you with? with a little deluding fleshly Pleasure for a few Days? And what did God entice you with? with the Promise of endless unconceivable Felicity! And if this were a smaller Matter in your Eyes than the other, then you have had your choice; be con­tent with it, and thank your selves. In your Life-time you had the good things which you chose, and prefer­red before Heaven, and therefore cannot expect to have Heaven besides.

The ninth Excuse. I lived among ungodly Per­sons, that derided all that feared God; so that if I had not done as they did, but had made any more ado to be saved, I should have been the very Scorn of the Place where I lived.

Answ. And was not Heaven worth the enduring of a Scorn? Is not he worthy to go without it that thinks so basely of it? Did not Christ tell you that if you were ashamed of him before Men, he would be ashamed of you before his Father and the Angels of Heaven? Mark 8. 38. He suffered more than Scorns for you: and could not you suffer a Scorn for him and your­selves? seeing you chose rather to endure everlasting Torment, than a little derision from ignorant Men, take that which you made choice of. And seeing so small a Matter would drive you from Heaven, and part God and you, as a Mock, as the Wind of a Man's Mouth, no wonder if you be commanded to Depart from him into everlasting Fire.

The tenth Excuse. I had ungodly Persons to my Parents, or Masters, or Landlord, or Governours, who threatned to undo me, if I had addicted my self to so strict a Life, and if I would not believe and do as they did.

Answ. What if they threatned you with present Death? Did not God also threaten you with everlasting Death, if you were not ruled by him? And whose threatning should you have chiefly feared? Is Man more [Page 47] dreadful than God? Is Death more terrible than Hell? Did not Christ bid you fear not them that can kill the Bo­dy, and after that can do no more; but fear him that is able to [...]estroy both Body and Soul in Hell-fire; yea I say unto you, fear him? Mat. 10. 28. Luke 12. 4, 5. and Isa. 51. 7. Fear ye not the Reproach of Men, neither be afraid of their Revilings. For the Moth shall eat them up like a Garment, and the Worm shall eat them like Wool: but my Righteousness shall be for ever, and my Salvation from Generation to Gene­ [...]tion. Seeing therefore you have chosen rather to suffer from God for ever for your Sin, than to suffer small Matters for well-doing for a Moment, you must ever bear your own Choice. Christ told you before-and, that if you could not forsake all the World and your own Lives for him, you could not be his Disci­ples, Mat. 10. 37, 38, 39. And seeing you thought his Terms too hard, and would needs seek you out a better Service, even take what you have chosen and found.

The eleventh Excuse. I saw so many follow their pleasure and their worldly Business, and never look after these higher things, and so few go the other way, that I thought sure God would not damn so great a Part of the World, and therefore I ventured to do as the most did.

Answ. God will make good his Word upon many or few. Did you doubt of his Will, or of his Power? For his Will he hath told it you in his Word. For his Power he is as able to punish many as one Man. What is all the World to him, but as the Drop of a Bucket, as [...]e Dust of the Ballance? He told you before-hand that the Gate was strait, and the Way to Heaven was narrow, and few did find it; and the Gate to Destructi­on was wide, and the Way was broad, and many did enter in at it, Mat. 7. 13, 14. And if you would not believe him, you must bear what your Unbelief hath brought you to. What if you had twenty Children, or Servants, or Friends, and the greater part of them should prove false to you and seek your Destruction, [Page 48] or prove disobedient, and turn to your Enemy? would you think it a good Excuse if the rest should do the like because of their Example? will you therefore wrong God because you see others wrong him? would you spit in the Face of your own Father if you saw others do so? God warned you, that you should not follow a Multitude to do Evil, Exod. 23. 2. And if yet you will do as most do, you must even speed as most speed. You should not so much consider who they be, as what they do, and whither they go, and wh [...] they forsake, and what they lose, and what strength is in the Reasons that move them to do this. And then you would find, it is God they forsake, it is Sin they choose; it is Heaven they lose, it is Hell they run into and it is no true Reason, but Satan's Delusion and sen­sual Inclination that lead them to it. And should Men be imitated, be they many, or be they few, in such a Course as this?

The twelfth Excuse. I saw so many Faults in those that were accounted Godly, and saw so much Division among them, that I thought they were as bad as others; and among so many Opinions, I knew not what Religion to be of.

Answ. 1. A Spot is soonest seen in the fairest Cloth: And the malicious World useth to make such far work than they are.

2. But suppose all were true that Malice saith of some, you could not say the like by others.

3. Or if you could, yet it was God's Law, and not Mens Faults that was made the Rule for you to live by▪ Will it excuse you that others are bad?

4. And from their diverse Opinions, you should have taken counsel at God's Word, which was right: Did you first search the Scripture impartially, as willing to know the Truth, that you might obey it? and did you pray daily that God would lead you into the Truth▪ and did you obey as much as you knew? Did you joi [...] with the Godly so far as they are all agreed? they an [...] all agreed in the Fundamental Articles of Christianit [...] [Page 49] and in all things absolutely necessary to a holy Life, and to Salvation: that all known Sin is to be forsaken, and all known Duty to be done. Why did you not [...]o far then agree with them? Alas, the Imperfections of the Godly, and the false Accusations of the mali­cious World, will prove but a poor Cover for your wil­ful Ungodliness, and Christ will convince you of the Vanity of these Excuses.

The thirteenth Excuse. The Scriptures were so dark that I could not understand them. And I saw the wisest Men differ so much in the Exposition of them, that I thought it was in vain for me to trouble my self about then. If God would have had us live according to the Scriptures, he would sure have written them plainly, that Men might understand them.

Answ. 1. It is all plainly written according to the Nature of the Subject: But a prejudiced, disaffected, [...]ea or but untaught, disused Soul cannot at first under­ [...]and the plainest Teaching. The plainest Greek or Hebrew Grammar that can be written, will be utterly [...]bscure to him that is but newly entred the English [...]chool; yea after many Years time that he spends in [...]earning. Did you study hard, and pray for God's [...]eaching, and enquire of others, and wait patiently in Christ's School, that you might come to farther Know­ [...]dg by degrees? and were you willing to know even [...]hose Truths that called you out to self-denial, and that [...]id put you on the hardest Flesh-displeasing Duties? [...]ad you done thus, you would have admired the Light [...] the Holy Scripture, and now have rejoiced that ever you saw them, and not have quarrelled at its seeming Darkness. This Word might have made you wise to Sal­vation, as it hath done others, Act. 20. 32. 2 Tim. 3. [...] 5, 16, 17. This Law of the Lord is perfect, converting [...]he Soul; the Testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the Simple; the Statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the Heart; the Commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightning the Eyes. Psal. 19. 7, 8.

[Page 50] 2. So much as is of Necessity to Salvation, is as plain as you could desire. Yet if you be judged by these, you will be condemned: For you did not obey that which was most plain. What Darkness is in such Words as these, Except ye repent, ye shall all perish, Luke 13. 3, 5. Love not the World, nor the things in the World: if any Man love the World, the Love of the Father is not in him, 1 John 2. 15. He that will come after me, let him deny himself? &c. Mat. 16. 24.

3. If there had been nothing that seemed difficult to you, would you not have despised its simplicity, and have thought your selves wise enough at the first Reading, and needed no more?

The fourteenth Excuse. There were so many seeming Con­tradictions in the Scripture, and so many strange improbable things, that I could not believe it.

Answ. The Contradictions were in your fancy, that did not understand the Word which you read. Must the raw unexperienced Learner despise his Book or Teacher, as oft as in his Ignorance he thinks he meets with Contradictions? Did you think God was no wiser than you, and understood not himself, because you un­derstood him not? Nor could reconcile his own Words, because you could not reconcile them? You would needs be a Judg of the Law, instead of obeying it, and speak evil of it rather than do it, Jam. 4. 11.

2. And those things which you called improbable in the Word, were the Wonders of God, of purpose to confirm it. If it had not been confirmed by Won­ders, you would have thought it unproved; and yet now it is so confirmed, you will not believe the Do­ctrine, because the Witness seems incredible. And that is, because they are Matters above the Power of Man: as if they were therefore above the Power of God! You shall at last have your Eyes so far opened, as to see those seeming Contradictions reconciled, and the cer­ta [...]nty of those things which you accounted impro­bable: that you may be forced to confess the Folly of [Page 51] your Arrogancy and Unbelief: and then God will judg you in Righteousness, who presumed unrighteously to judg him and his Word.

The fifteenth Excuse. It seemed so unlikely a thing to me, that the merciful God should damn most of the World to everlasting Fire, that I could not believe it.

Answ. 1. And did it not seem as unlikely to you, that his Word should be false?

2. Should it not have seemed as unlikely that the Governour of the World should be unjust, and suffer his Law to be unexecuted, and the worst to speed as well as the best, and to suffer vile sinful Dust to despise his Mercy, and abuse his Patience, and turn all his Crea­tures against him without due Punishment?

3. Did you not feel Pain and Misery begin in this Life?

4. You saw Toads and Serpents which had never sin­ned: And you would rather live in any tolerable Suf­fering than be a Toad. And is it not Reason that it should go worse with contemptuous Sinners, than with those Creatures that never sinned?

5. Could you expect that those should come to Heaven, that would not believe there was such a State, but refused it; and preferred the World before [...]it? And to be out of Heaven, is to be out of all Hap­piness: and he that is so out of all Happiness, and knows that he lost it by his own Folly, must needs tor­ment himself with such Considerations, were there no other Torments. And as Man is capable of greater Felicity than Brutes, so must he needs be capable of more Misery.

The sixteenth Excuse. The things which God promised in Heaven, and threatned in Hell, were all out of my Sight: and therefore I could not heartily believe them. Had I but once seen them, or spoke with one that had seen them, I should have been satisfied, and have contemned the things of the World.

[Page 52] Answ. Will you not believe till you see or feel? Wa [...] not God's Word sufficient Evidence? would you have believed one from the dead that had told you he ha [...] seen such things? and would you not believe Stephe [...] that saw them? Act. 7. 56. Or Paul that heard and saw them? 2 Cor. 12. 3, 4. Nor Christ that came purpose­ly from Heaven to reveal them? why Flesh and Blood cannot see them: You see not God: will you not therefore believe that there is a God? Indeed, what­ever you imagine, if you would not believe Moses and the Prophets, Christ and his Apostles, neither would you have believed though one had risen from the dead: For God's Word is more credible than a dead Man's: and Christ did rise from the dead to attest it. Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet believed. Noah saw no Rain when he was preparing the Ark: but be­cause he believed, he made ready and escaped, Heb. 11. 7. when the World that would not believe did perish. But seeing God's Word was of no more weight with you, and no Knowledg would serve your turn but by seeing and feeling; you shall see and feel everlastingly to your Sorrow.

The seventeenth Excuse. It was so strict a Law that God would have ruled me by, and the Way to Heaven was so strait and difficult, that I could not endure it. I was not able to deny my Flesh, and live such a Life.

Answ. 1. You were not able, because you were not willing. What was there but your own wicked Hearts that should make such a Life seem grievous to you? Every thing is hard and grievous to him who loaths it, and whose Heart is against it. The chief thing that God called you to, was to love him, and make him your Delight: and are Love and Delight such grievous things? It was not grievous to you to love your Meat, or Drink, or Money: It was no hard matter to you to love a Friend that loved you; no nor to love your Sin, which was your Enemy: and what should make it seem hard to love God, but a wicked Heart? Is not he [Page 53] better and more lovely than all these? And had you but [...]oved him, all the rest of his Service would have seem­ [...]d easy to you. To think of him, to speak of him, [...]o pray to him, to praise him; yea, to deny all and suffer for him, would have been sweet and pleasant to you, so far as you had loved him. It was not God [...]herefore, but your own naughty Hearts that made his Work seem grievous to you, and the Way to Heaven [...]em hard. He told you truly, that his Yoak was easy, [...]nd his Burden light, and his Commandments were not grievous, Mat. 11. 29. 1 John 5. 3. They that tried them found them the very Joy and Delight of their [...]ouls; and why could not you do so?

2. But what if the Way to Heaven had been harder than it was? Was not Heaven worth your Labour? Were you afraid of being a loser by it? Could not God requite your Labour or Sufferings? Doth any re­pent when they come to Heaven, that it cost them so [...]ear to come thither? And is not Hell worse than the [...]ardest Way to Heaven? Seeing you have chosen Hell to save you a Labour and Suffering in this Life, you must have your Choice. And seeing you thought not everlasting Life to be worth so much as God required, that is, the accepting thankfully, and minding, and seeking, and preferring it before this Life, you have one to blame for the loss of it but your selves.

The eighteenth Excuse. It was God that made me of a sensual Nature: He gave me an Appetite to Meat, and Drink, and Ease, and Lust: he gave me that Flesh which [...]uled me; how then can he condemn me, for living according to the Nature which he gave me?

Answ. He gave that Appetite to be exercised mode­rately under the Rule of Reason, for the Preservation and Propagation of Mankind: But did he not also give you Reason to govern that Appetite? and the Revela­tion of his Will to guide that Reason? He gave you your Flesh to be a Servant, and not a Master. Your Beast hath fleshly Appetite without Reason; and there­fore [Page 54] God hath put him under you, who have Reason that you should rule him. Will you let your Beast do what he list, and madly run upon whom he list, and say, you do but let him live according to his Nature which God hath given him? Why God that gave him such a Nature, did intend him to be ruled by a high­er Nature, even by the Reason which he gave to you: and so he did also by your Flesh and sensual Appetite.

The nineteenth Excuse. But I lived among so many Baits which enticed this Flesh, that I could not resist them. My Meat was a Snare to me, my Drink a Snare, my Clothes, my House, my Land a Snare, every Beauty that I saw was [...] Snare: and the better all these were, the stronger was my Snare. If God would not have had my Heart ensnared and drawn from him, he should not have put so many Baits in my way. Yea and they were so near to me, and daily with me, that though I was resolved to forbear them before, yet whe [...] they were brought to my hand, I could not forbear.

Answ. Is this the Thanks that God hath for his Mer­cies? He sent you all these as Favours from his own hand: he wrote his own Name upon them, that in them you might see his Power, and Wisdom, and Goodness, and so be led up to the Consideration of him, that you might fall in love with himself, who was the Fountain, the Life, the End of all. And do you overlook God in the Creature, and live as without him in the World, and dote upon that which should have drawn you to himself, and then lay the Blame on God? If he send a Sutor to speak to you in his Name, and write you a Love-Letter with his own Hand, will you fall in love with the Messengers or the Letter, and neglect the Sender, and then blame him that wrote his Letter on so fair a Paper, or in so neat a Hand, or that sent it by such a comely Messenger? Certainly, these Excuses are too gross, to take with the wise and righ­teous God, or to seem sufficient to a well informed Conscience.

[Page 55] 2. And whereas you speak of the Power of these Objects, was there not much more in God, in Christ, [...]n the promised Glory, to have drawn your Heart ano­ter Way? Why then did not these take as much with you as the other? You could not choose forsooth, but be enticed with such Baits as were fitted to your sensual Appetite, and such things as a Dog, or a Swine may enjoy as well as a Man: but you could choose, when Christ and Glory were offered you: yea you did choose to refuse the Offer, and tread them under Feet by your neglect. When Satan set your Cups, and your Harlots, and your Profits before you on one side; did not God set his Favour and everlasting Happiness on the other side? And was it wise or equal Dealing, to prefer your Lusts before that Glory?

3. Moreover, it was not in the Power of any of those Baits to force your Will, or to necessitate you to choose them. They could be but Baits to entice you, and it was still in your own Choice, whether you would yield to the Enticement, and choose them or not. Shall every Man be false to God that hath any Bait to entice him from him? will you excuse your Child or Friend, if he would be false to you, upon as great En­ticements as these? If a Cup of Drink, or a Whore, or a little Gain, could draw him more than all your Love and Interest, I do not think you would hold him excused.

And whereas you speak of the nearness and continuance of these Allurements, I would fain know, was not God as near you, continually near you, to draw you to himself? Faith might have seen him, though Flesh and Blood cannot. Did he not stand by you when you were in your Cups and lustful Pleasures? Did he not tell you of the Danger, and offer you far bet­ter things, if you would obey him and despise those Baits? But you would hearken to none of this; you should have remembred that he stood over you, and was looking on you, and you should have said as Joseph, [Page 56] Gen. 39. 9. How can I do this great Wickedness, and [...] against God? You had also Scripture near you, and Reason near you, and Conscience near you, as well as the Bait was near you. And therefore this is a vain Excuse.

The twentieth Excuse. It was God that let loose the Devil to tempt me; and he was too subtile for me to deal with; and therefore what wonder if I sinned and were over­come?

Answ. 1. He did nor let loose the Devil to constrain you to Sin. He could but entice, and you might choose whether you would yield. The Devil could neither make you sin against your Will, nor yet necessitate you to be willing.

2. You were a sure Friend to Christ that while, that would forsake him as oft as you were tempted by the Devil. Is that a Friend or a Servant worthy to be regarded, that will disobey you, or betray you as oft as he is tempted to it?

3. Will you excuse your Servant if he leave your Work undone, and follow Cards, or Dice, or the Ale-house, and say I was tempted to it by one that was cun­ninger than I? Shall every Murderer or Thief escape hanging, because the Devil was too cunning for him in his Temptations? Would you have the Jury or the Judg to take this for a good Excuse?

4. And why did you not hearken to God that enticed you the other way? You forget what Helps he afforded you to discover the Wiles of Satan, and to vanquish the Temptation? He told you it was an Enemy that tempted you: and would you hearken to an Enemy? He told you it was a Dream, a Shadow, a painted Plea­sure, a guilded Carcass, a lying Promise, and deceitful Vanity by which you were tempted; and yet would you regard it before your God? He told you that it was your God, your Saviour, your Hope, your everla­sting Happiness that the Tempter would beguile you of: And yet would you be beguiled? He told you, and [Page 57] plainly, and often told you that the Temper would [...]ead you to eternal Fire, and undo you everlastingly be­ore you were aware; and that a fatal Hook was cover­ [...]d with that Bait: And yet would you swallow it?

5. It is plain by all this that it was not your natural Weakness of Faculties that caused you to be over­ [...]me by the Subtilties of the Devil, as a silly Child [...] deceived by a crafty Fellow that overwits him: But it was your Carelesness, Inconsiderateness, your [...]ensual Inclinations, and vicious Disposition, that drew you to a wilful Obeying of the Tempter, and rejecting the wholesom Advice of Christ. This therefore is a [...]rivolous Excuse of your Sin.

The one and twentieth Excuse. But I hope you will not say that all Men have Free Will! And if my Will were not free, how could I choose but sin?

Answ. 1. Your Will was not free from God's Rule and Government. 2. Nor was it free from its natural In­clination to Good in general; for either of these were more properly Slavery. 3. Nor was it free from the Influence of a dark Understanding. 4. Nor free from its own contracted vitious Inclination. 5. Nor freed from the Temptations of the Flesh, the World, and the Devil.

But it was, 1. Free from any natural Determination to Evil, or to any thing that was doubtful. 2. And free from the Coaction or Violence of any. 3. And free from an irresistible Determination of any exteriour Cause, at least ordinarily. So that naturally, as Men, you have the Power or Faculty of determining your own Wills, and by your Wills of ruling your inferi­our Faculties in a great measure; yea, of ruling the S [...]nses and the Phantasy it self, which doth so much to dispose of our Understanding. And if your Wills, which are naturally free, are yet so habitually vitious, that they encline you to do evil, that is not an Excuse, but an Aggravation of your Sin. But of this more under the next.

[Page 58] The two and twentieth Excuse. But I have not Power of my self to do any thing that is good: what can the Crea­ture do? without Christ we can do nothing. It is God that must give me Ability, or I can have none: and if he had given it me, I had not been an Vnbeliever or Impenitent. I can no more believe of my self, than I can fulfil the Law of my self.

Answ. 1. These are the vain Cavils of learned Folly, which God will easily answer in a Word. The Word [Power] is taken in several Senses. Sometime, and most commonly and fitly, for a Faculty or a Strength by which a Man can do his Duty if he will. This phy­sical Power you have, and the worst of Sinners have while they are Men on Earth. Were they actually wil­ling, they might acceptably perform sincere Obedience; and were they dispositively willing, they might actu­ally believe and will. And thus the Ungodly have Pow­er to believe.

Sometime the word [Power] is taken for Autho­rity or Leave, for legal or civil Power. And thus you have all not only Power or Liberty to believe, but also a Command which makes it your Duty, and a Threat­ning adjoined, which will condemn you if you do not.

Sometime the Word [Power] is taken ethically, and less properly, for a Disposition, Inclination, Habit, or Freedom from the contrary Habit or Disposition. And in this Sense it's true, that none but the effectually called have a Power to believe. But then observe, 1. That this is but a Moral, less proper, and not a Phy­sical proper Impotency: And therefore Austin chuseth rather to say that all Men have power to believe, but all have not a Will, or Faith it self; because we use to difference Power from Willingness; and Willingness actuat­eth the Power which we had before. And therefore our Divines choose rather to call Grace a Habit when they speak exactly, than a Power; and Dr. Twiss derides the Arminians for talking of a Power subjected in a [Page 59] Power. 2. Note that this Impotency is but the same thing with your Unwillingness and wilful Blindness in another Word. 3. Note that this Impotency is long of your selves as to the Original, and much more as to the not curing and removing of it. Hath God given you [...]o means towards the Cure of this Disability, which you have neglected? 4. Note that this Impotency is not a just Excuse, but an Aggravation of your Sin. If you were willing to be the Servant of Christ, and yet were not able either because he would not accept you, or because of a want of natural Faculties, or because of some other natural Difficulty which the willingest Mind could not overcome, this were some Excuse: But to be habitually wilful in refusing Grace, is worse than to be meerly actually unwilling. If a Man have so ac­customed himself to Murder, Drunkenness, Stealing or the like Wickedness, so far that he cannot leave it, will you therefore forgive him, or will any Judg or Jury hold him excused? Or rather think him the more un­fit for Mercy? 5. Note also that the want of a super­natural Habit, no nor the Presence of the contrary Habit, do not efficiently determine the Will to parti­cular Acts, much less take away its natural Freedom. 6. And that till Habits attain an utter Predominancy, (at least) there is a Power remaining in the Will to resist them, and use Means against them. Though eventually the perverse Inclination may hinder the use of it.

The three and twentieth Excuse. I have heard from learned Men, that God doth determine all Actions, natural and free, as the first efficient physical immediate Cause: or else no­thing could act. And then it was not long of me that I chose forbidden Objects, but of him that irresistibly moved me thereto, and whose Instrument I was.

Answ. This is a trick of that Wisdom which is Foolishness with God, and to be deceived by vain Phi­losophy.

[Page 60] 1. The very Principle it self is most likely to be false, and those that tell you this do err. Much more, I think, may be said against it than for it.

2. I am sure it is either false, or irreconcileable with God's Holiness, and Man's Liberty and Culpability; so that its a mad thing to deceive your selves with such philosophical Uncertainties, when the Truth which you oppose by it is infallibly certain. That God is not the Author of Sin, but Man himself, who is justly condemned for it, is undoubtedly true: and would you obscure so clear a Truth, by searching into Points beyond humane Reach if not unsound, as you conclude them?

The four and twentieth Excuse. But at least, those learned Divines among us that doubt of this, do yet say that the Will is necessarily and infallibly determined by the practical Vnderstanding, and that is as much unresistibly necessitated by Objects: and therefore whatever act was done by my Vnder­standing or Will, was this necessitated, and I could not help it. They say, Liberty is but the Acting of the Faculty agreea­bly to its Nature: And it was God as Creator that gave Adam his Faculties, and God by providential Dispose, that presented all Objects to him, by which his Vnderstanding, and so his Will were unavoidably necessitated.

Answ. This is of the same Nature with the former; uncertain, if not certainly false. Were this true, for ought we can see, it would lay all the Sin and Mi­sery of this World on God, as the unresistible necessi­tating Cause; which because we know infallibly to be false, we have no reason to take such Principles to be true which infer it. The Understanding doth not by a necessary Efficiency determine the Will, but morally; or rather, is regularly a Condition or necessary Ante­cedent, without which it may not determine it self. Yea the Will by commanding the Sense and Phantasy, doth much to determine the Understanding. As the Eye is not necessary to my going, but to my going right, so is not the Understanding's Guidance necessary to [Page 61] my willing, (there the simple Apprehension may suf­fice) but to my right willing. There are other ways of determining the Will. Or if the Understanding did determine the Will efficiently and necessarily, it is not every act of the Understanding that must do it. If it be so, when it saith, This must be done, and saith it importunately; yet not when it only saith, This may be done, or you may venture on it, which is the com­mon part which it hath in Sin.

I am not pleased that these curious Objections fall in the Way, nor do I delight to put them into vulgar Heads; but finding many young Scholars and others that have conversed with them, assaulted with these Temp­tations, I thought meet to give a Touch, and but a Touch, to take them out of their Way: As Mr. Fen­ner hath done more fully in the Preface to his Hidden Manna, on this last point, to which I refer you. I only add this.

The Will of Man in its very Dominion doth bear God's Image. It is a self-determining Power, though it be biassed by Habits, and needs a Guide. As the Heart and Vital Spirits by which it acteth, are to the rest of the Body, so is it to the Soul. The Light of Nature hath taught all the World to carry the Guilt of every Crime to the Will of Man, and there to leave it. Up­on this all Laws and Judgments are grounded. From Ig­norance and intellectual Weakness, Men commonly fetch Excuses for their Faults; but from the Will they are ag­gravated. If we think it strange that Man's Will should be the first Cause, so much as of a sinful Mode, and an­swer all occurring Objections: it may suffice that we are certain the Holy Majesty is not the Author of Sin; and he is able to make all this as plain as the Sun, and easily answer all these vain Excuses, though we should be una­ble. And if we be much ignorant of the Frame and Motions of our own Souls, and especially of that high self-determining Principle, free-Will, the great Spring of our Actions, and the curious Engine by which God [Page 62] doth sapientially govern the World, it is no wonder, con­sidering that the Soul can know it self but by Reflection, and God gave us a Soul to use, rather than to know it self; and to know its Qualities and Operations, rather than its Essence.

The five and twentieth Excuse. No Man can be saved, nor avoid any Sin, nor believe in Christ, but those whom God hath predestinated thereto. I was under an irreversible Sen­tence before I was born: and therefore I do nothing but what I was predestinated to do; and if God decreed not to save me, how could I help it?

Answ. 1. God's Judgments are more plain, but his Decrees or secret Purposes are mysterious: And to dar­ken Certainties, by having recourse to Points obscure, is no part of Christian Wisdom. God told you your Duty in his Word, and on what Terms you must be judged to Life or Death; hither should you have re­course for Direction, and not to the unsearchable My­steries of his Mind.

2. God decreeth not to condemn any but for Sin. Sin, I say, is the Cause of that Condemnation, though not of his Decree.

3. God's Decrees are Acts Immanent in himself, and make no change on you, and therefore do not ne­cessitate you to sin, any more than his Fore-knowledg doth. For both cause only a necessity of Conse­quence, which is Logical, as the Divines on both sides do confess. And therefore this no more caused you to sin, than if there had been no such Decree. And it's a Doubt whether that Decree be not negative; a willing Suspending of the Divine Will, as to evil; or at most a Purpose to permit it.

The six and twentieth Excuse. If it be no more, yet doth it make my Perdition unavoidable; for even God's Fore knowledg doth so; for if he foreknow it, all the World cannot hinder it from coming to pass.

Answ. Must God either be ignorant of what you will do, or else be the Cause of it? If you foreknow [Page 63] that the Sun will rise to morrow, that doth not cause it to rise. If you foreknow that one Man will murder another, you are not the Cause of it by foreknowing it. So is it here.

The seven and twentieth Excuse. God might have hin­dred my Sin and Damnation if he would.

Answ. And will you wilfully sin, and think to escape because God doth not hinder you? The Prince that makes a Law against Murder, could lock you up, and keep you from being a Murderer. But are you excu­sable if he do not? We are certain that God could have hindered all the Sin and Death, and Confusion, and Misery that is in the Word: and we are as certain that he doth not hinder it (but by forbidding it, and giving Men means against it:) and we are certain that he is Just, and Good, and Wise in all, and not bound to hinder it: And what his Reasons are, you may better know hereafter: In the mean time, you had been bet­ter have looked to your own Duty.

The eight and twentieth Excuse. How could I be sav­ed if Christ did not die for me? He died but for his Elect; and none could be saved without his Death.

Answ. He did die for you, and for more than his Elect, though he absolutely purposed only their Salva­tion. Your Sins crucified him, and your Debt lay upon him; and he so far ransomed you, that nothing but your wilful Refusal of the Benefits could have con­demned you.

The nine and twentieth Excuse. It was Adam's Sin that brought me into this Depravedness of Will, which I can neither cure, nor could prevent.

Answ. 1. If Adam cast away his Holiness, he could no more convey that to us which he cast away, than a Nobleman that is a Traitor, can convey his lost Inheri­tance or Honours to his Son.

2. You perish not only for your Original Sin, but for rejecting the recovering Mercy of the Redeemer: you might have had Christ and Life in him for the accepting.

[Page 64] The thirtieth Excuse. God will require no more than [...] gives. He gave me not Grace to repeat and believe; [...] without his Gift I could not have it.

Answ. 1. God will justly require more than he gi­veth; that is, the improvement of his Gifts, as Mat. 25. shews. He gave Adam but a Power to persevert, and not actual Perseverance: Yet did he justly punish him for want of the Act; even for not using by his own Wll the Power which he had given him.

2. It is long of your self if God did not give you Grace to believe: It was because you wilfully refused some preparatory Grace. Christ found you at a great distance from him, and he gave you Grace sufficient to have brought you nearer to him than you were; you had Grace sufficient to have made you better than you were, and restrained many Sins, and brought you to the means, when you turned your back on them: tho this were not sufficient to cause you to believe, it was sufficient to have brought you nearer to believing; and through your own wilfulness, became not effectual; even as Adam had sufficient Grace to have stood, which was not effectual. So that you had not only Christ offered to you, if you would but accept him; but you had daily and precious▪ Helps and Means, to have cured your Wills, and cau­sed you to accept him; for neglect of which, and so for not believing, and so for all your other Sins, you justly perish.

The one and thirtieth Excuse. Alas, M [...] is a Worn, a dry Leaf! Job 13. 25. a silly foolish Creature, and there­fore his Actions be not regardable, nor deserve so great a Pu­nishment.

Answ. Though he be a Worm, and as nothing to God, and [...] by Sin, yet he is naturally so noble a Creatur [...] [...] [...]age of God was on him, Gen. 12. 26. [...] 1. James 3. 9. and the World made his Serv [...] [...] Angels his Atten [...]ants, Heb. 1. 14. so noble [...] Christ died for him, God takes special care of him; he is capable of knowing and enjoying God, [Page 65] [...] Heaven is not thought too good for him if he will [...]ey. And he that is capable of so great Good, must [...] capable of as great Evil, and his Ways not to be so [...]erlooked by that God that hath undertaken to, be [...] Governour. When it tendeth to Infidelity, the evil will teach you to debase Man, even lower than [...] would do.

The two and thirtieth Excuse. Sin is no Being: and [...]ll Men be damned for that which is nothing?

Answ. 1. It is such a Mode as deformeth God's Crea­te. It is a moral Being. It is a Relation of our [...]tions and Hearts to God's Will and Law.

2. They that say, Sin is nothing, say Pain and Loss [...] nothing too. You shall therefore be paid with one [...]thing for another. Make light of your Misery, and [...], it is nothing, as you did of your Sin.

3. Will you take this for a good Excuse from your [...]hildren or Servants, if they abuse you? or from a [...]hief or a Murderer? shall he escape by telling the [...]dg that his Sin was nothing? Or rather have Death, [...]ich is nothing, as the iust Reward of it?

The three and thirtieth Excuse: But Sin is a transt­ [...] Thing. At least it doth God no harm, and therefore why [...]uld he do us so much harm for it?

Answ. 1. It hurts not God, because he is above [...]rt. No thanks to you if he be out of your reach.

You may wrong him, when you cannot hurt him. [...]nd the Wrong deserves as much as you can bear. If a [...]aitor endeavour the Death of the Prince in vain, [...] Endeavour deserves Death, though he never hurt him. You despise God's Law and Authority; you cause the Blaspheming of his Name, Rom. 2. 24. He calls it a Pressing him as a Cart is pressed with Sheaves, [...]os 2. 13. and a Grieving of him.

3. And you wrong his Image, his Church, the pub­ [...]ck Good, and the Souls of others.

The four and thirtieth Excuse. But God's Nature is so [...]od and merciful, that sure he will not damn his own Crea­ [...]re.

[Page 66] Answ. 1. A merciful Judg will hang a Man for a Fault against Man: By proportion then what is due for Sin against God?

2. All the Death and Calamity which you see in the World, comes from the Anger of this merciful God: why then may not future Misery come from it?

3. God knoweth his own Mercy better than you do; and he hath told you how far it shall extend.

4. He is infinitely merciful, but it is to the Heirs of Mercy, not to the final Rejecters of his Mercy.

5. Hath not God been merciful to thee in bearing with thee so long, and offering thee Grace in the Blood of Christ, till thou didst wilfully reject it? Thou wi [...] confess to thy everlasting Wo that God was merciful; had he not been so merciful, thou wouldst not have been so miserable for rejecting it.

The five and thirtieth Excuse. I would not so torment mine Enemy my self.

Answ. No reason you should. Is it all one to wrong you, and to wrong the God of Heaven? God is the on­ly Judg of his own Wrongs.

The sixth and thirtieth Excuse. All Men are Sinners; and I was but a Sinner.

Answ. All were not impenitent, unbelieving, rebe­lious Sinners, and therefore all are not unpardoned, con­demned Sinners. All did not live after the Flesh, and refuse to the last to be converted as you did. God will teach you better to difference between Sinners and Sin­ners.

The seven and thirtieth Excuse. But if Christ have satisfied for my Sins, and died for me, then how can I justly suffer for the same Sins? will God punish one Sin twice?

Answ. 1. Christ suffered for Man in the Christ of Man; but not in your Person, nor you in him. It was not you that provided the Price, but God him­self: Christ was not Man's Delegate in satisfying, and therefore received not his Instructions from us, nor did [Page 67] on our Terms, but his own. It was not the same thing which the Law threatned, that Christ underwent: for that was the Damnation of the Sinner himself, and not the Suffering of another for him; it cannot there­fore be yours but on Christ's own Terms. He died for thy Sin, but with this intent, that for all that if thou refuse him, thou shalt die thy self. It is therefore no wrong to thee to die, for it was not thou that diedst before, and Christ will take it for no wrong to him: for he will judg thee to that Death. It is for refusing a Christ that died for thee, that thou must perish for ever.

The eight and thirtieth Excuse. But I did not refuse Christ. I believed and trusted in him to the last; and repent­ed of my Sins, though I sometime was overtaken with them.

Answ. Had this been true, thy Sin would not have condemned thee. But there is no mocking God. He will shew thee then thy naked Heart, and convince thousands that thought they believed and repented, that indeed they did not. By thy Works also will this be discovered, that is, by the main bent and scope of thy Life, as Mat. 25. throughout, and Jam. 2.

The nine and thirtieth Excuse. I did many good Works; and I hope God will set those against my evil Works:

Answ. Thy good Works were thy Sins, because in­deed they were not good, being not done in sincerity of Heart for God. The best Man's Works have some In­firmity, which nothing can cleanse but the Blood of Christ, which thou hast made light of, and therefore hast no part in. If all thy Life had been spent in per­fect Works except one day, they would not make satis­faction for the Sins of that Day. For they are but part of thy Duty. Wo to him that hath no better a Savi­our at Judgment, than his own good Works.

The fortieth Excuse. I lived in Poverty and Misery on Earth, and therefore I hope I have had my Suffering here, [Page 68] and shall not suffer in this World and another too.

1. By that Rule all poor Men and Murderers, and Thieves that are tormented and hanged, should be sav­ed. But as Godliness hath the Promise of this Life and that to come, so Impenitency and Wickedness hath the Threatning of this Life and that to come.

2. The Devils and the damned have suffered much more than you already; and yet they are never the nearer a Deliverance. When thou hast suffered ten thousand Years, thy Pain will be never the nearer an end. How then can a little Misery on Earth pre­vent it? Alas, poor Soul, these are but the Foretasts and Beginnings of thy Sorrow. Nothing but Pardon through the Blood of Christ could have prevented thy Condemnation; and that thou rejectedst by Infidelity and Impenitency. His Sufferings would have saved thee, if thou hadst not refused him; but all thy own Suffe­rings will yield thee no Relief.

So much for the answering of the vain Excuses which poor Sinners are ready to make for themselves; where­in I have been so large, as that this part I confess is disproportionable to the rest: but it was for these two Reasons.

1. That poor careless Souls might see the Vanity of such Defences; and consider if such a Worm as I can easily confute them, how easily and how terribly will they be all answered by their Judg?

2. I did it the rather, that godly Christians might the better understand how to deal with these vain Ex­cuses when they meet with them: which will be daily if they deal with Men in this sad Condition.

X. We have done with that part of the Judgment which consisteth in the Exploration or Trial of the Cause: we now come to that which is the Conclusion and Consummation of all; and that is, to shew you what the Sentence will be, and on whom.

[Page 69] And for this, we must go strait to the Word of God for our Light, it being impossible for any Man to have any particular Knowledg of it, if Christ had not there revealed it unto us. Indeed almost all the World do acknowledg a Life after this, where it shall go well with the Good, and ill with the bad. But who shall be then accounted righteous, and who unrighteous, and on what Terms and Grounds, by whom they shall be judg­ed, and to what Condition, they know not.

The Sentence in Judgment will be, 1. Either on those that never had Means to know Christ. 2. Or on those that had.

1. For the former, as it less concerneth us to enquire of their Case, so it is more obscurely revealed to us in the Scripture. It is certain that they shall be judged according to their Use of the Means which they had, Rom. 2. 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16. and the Talents which they received, Mat. 25. But that it ever falleth out that he that hath but the one Talent of natural Helps, doth improve it to Salvation; or that ever they who knew not Christ, are justified and saved without that Know­ledg, (being at Age and Use of Reason) I find not in the Scriptures. I find indeed that [as many as have sin­ned without Law, shall also perish without Law: and as many as have sinned in the Law, shall be judged by the Law Rom. 2. 12. but not that any are justified by the Works of Nature, such as are here said to be without Law.] I find also, that [They have the Work of the Law written in their Hearts, their Conscience also bear­ing witness, and their Thoughts the mean while accusing, or else excusing one another, in the Day when God shall jude the Secrets of Men by Jesus Christ, according to the Gospel] Rom. 2. 15, 16. And I believe it is a just Excuse, and not an unjust which is here meant. But it will be but an Excuse so far as they were guiltless: and that will be but in tanto, and not in toto, in part only; and so not a full Justification. A Heathen's Conscience may excuse him from those Sins which he was [Page 70] never guilty of; but not from all. But no more of them.

2. The Case of those that have had the Gospel, is more plainly opened to us in God's Word. Their Sentence is opened in many Places of Scripture, but most fully in Matth. 25. whence we will now collect it.

There we find that Jesus Christ the Redeemer, as King of the World, shall sit in Judgment on all Men at the last; and shall separate them one from another, as a Shepherd divideth the Sheep from the Goats, and so shall pass the final Sentence. This Sentence is twofold, according to the different Condition of them that are judged. To them on the right Hand, there is a Sentence of Justification, and Adjudication to everlasting Glory: To them on the left Hand, there is a Sentence of Condemnation to everlasting Punish­ment.

The Sentence on each of these containeth both the State which they are judged to, and the Reason or Cause of the Judgment to that State. For as God will not judg any to Life or Death without just Cause, so he will publish this Cause in his Sentence, as it is the man­ner of Judges to do. If you say, Christ will not use a Voice; let it satisfy, that though we know not the man­ner, yet if he do it but by mental Discovery, as he shews Men what shall everlastingly befal them, so he will shew them why it shall so befal them.

1. The Sentence on them on the right Hand, will con­tain, 1. Their Justification and Adjudication to Blessed­ness, and that both as generally denominated, and as par­ticularly determined and described. 2. And the Cause of this Judgment.

1. In general they shall be pronounced Blessed. Sa­tan would have had them cursed and miserable: the Law did curse them to Misery; many a fearful Though hath possessed their own Breasts, lest they should prove at last accursed and miserable: but now they [Page 71] hear the contrary from their Judg. All the Promises in the Gospel could not perfectly overcome those their Fears; all the comfortable Words of the Ministers of the Gospel could not perfectly subdue them; all the tender Mercies of God in Christ did not perfectly subdue them▪ but now they are vanquished all for ever. He that once had heard his Redeemer in Judgment call him blessed, will never fear being cursed more. For he that Christ blesseth, shall be blessed indeed.

The Description of their Blessedness followeth, Come inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the Founda­tion of the World. And also they are called Blessed of the Father. Here is the Fountain of their Blessedness, the Father; and the State of their Blessedness in being the Father's: for I suppose they are called the Blessed of are Father, both because the Father blesseth them, that is, makes them Happy, and because these blessed Ones are the Father's own. And so Christ will publish it to the World in Judgment, that he came to glorify the Father, and will proclaim him the principal Efficient, and ultimate End of his Work of Redemption, and the Blessedness of his Saints; and that himself is (as Me­diator) but the Way to the Father. It is the Father that prepared the Kingdom for them, and from the Foundation of the World prepared it; both for [them] as chosen ones, and for them as future Believers and righteous Ones. It is called a Kingdom, partly in respect to God the King, in whose Glory we shall partake in our Places; and partly metapherically, from the Dignity of our Condi­tion. For so it is that our selves are said to be made Kings, Rev. 1. 6. and 5. 1. 1 Pet. 2. 9. and not that we are properly Kings; for then we must have Sub­jects who must be governed by us.

Thus we see their Blessedness in the Fountain, End and State of Dignity. As to the receptive Act on their Part, it is expressed by two Words; one signifying their first Entrance on it, Come: the other their Pos­session, Inherit: That is, possess it as given by the Fa­ther, [Page 72] and Redeemed by the Son, and hold it in this Te­nure for ever.

The true Believer was convinced in this Life, that in­deed there was no true Blessedness, but this Enjoy­ment of God in the Kingdom of Heaven. The Lord revealed this to his Heart by his Word and Spirit. And therefore he contemned the seeming Happiness on Earth, and laid up for himself a Treasure in Heaven, and made him Friends with the Mammon of Unrigh­teousness, and ventured all his Hope in this Vessel. And now he findeth the Wisdom of that Choice in a rich Return. God made him so wise a Merchant as to sell all for this Pearl of greatest Price: and therefore now he shall find the Gain. As there is no other true Happiness but God in Glory; so is there nothing more sutable and welcome to the true Believer. O how wel­come will the Face of that God be, whom he loved, sought, longed and waited for! How welcome will that Kingdom be which he lived in hope of, which he parted with all for, and suffered for in the Flesh! How glad will he be to see the blessed Face of his Redeemer, who by his manifold Grace hath brought him unto this I leave the believing Soul to think of it, and to make it the daily matter of his delightful Meditation; what an unconceivable Joy in one Moment, will this Sentence of Christ will fill his Soul with? Undoubtedly it is now quite past our Comprehension; though our imperfect Forethoughts of it may well make our Lives a continual Feast.

Were it but our Justification from the Accusations of Satan, who would have us condemned either as Sin­ners in general, or as impenitent, unbelieving Rebels, against him that redeemed us, in special, it would lift up the Heads of the Saints in that Day: After all the Fears of our own Hearts, and the slanderous Accusations of Satan and the World, That we were either impeni­tent Infidels or Hypocrites, Christ will then justify us and pronounce us righteous. So much for the Condition to which they are judged.

[Page 73] 2. The Reason or Cause of this Justification of the Saints, is given us both, 1. In a general Denomination, and 2. In a particular Description. 1. In general, it is because they were righteous, as is evident, Mat. 25. 6. The Righteous shall go into Life everlasting. And in­deed it is the Business of every just Judg to justify the Righteous, and condemn the Unrighteous. And shall not the Judg of all the Earth judg righteously? Gen. 18. 25. God makes Men righteous before he judges them so: and judgeth them righteous because they are so. He that abominateth that Man who saith to the Righteous, Thou art wicked; or to the Wicked, Thou art righteous; who justifieth the Wicked and condemneth the Righteous, will certainly never do so himself.

Indeed he will justify them that are Sinners, but not against the Accusation that they are Sinners, but against the Accusation, that they are guilty of Punishment for Sin: but that is, because he first made them just; and so justifiable, by pardoning their Sin, through the Blood of Christ.

And it's true also, that he will justify those that were wicked; but not those that are wicked: but Judg­ment findeth them as Death leaveth them, and he will not take them for wicked, that are sanctified and cleansed of their former Wickedness. So that Christ will first pardon them before he justify them against the Charge of being Sinners in general; and he will first give Men Faith, Repentance and new Obedience, be­fore he will justify them against the Charge of being Impenitent, Infidels or Hypocrites, and consequently [...]mpardoned, and doubly guilty of Damnation. This twofold Righteousness he will first give Men, and so constiture them just, before he will declare it, and sen­tence them just.

2. The Reason of the Sentence, particularly de­scribed, is from their Faith and Love to Christ, ex­pressed in their Obedience, Self-denial, and forsaking [Page 75] all for him. For I was hungry and ye fed me; I was thir­sty and ye gave me daink; I was a Stranger and ye took me in; naked and ye clothed me: I was sick and ye visi­ted me: I was in Prison and ye came to me. Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it to one of the least of these my Brethren, ye have done it unto me, Mat. 25. 35 to 41. Here is, 1. The causal Conjuction for. 2. And the Cause or Reason it self.

Concerning both which, observe. 1. How it is that Man's Obedience and Self-denial is the Reason and Cause of his Justification. 2. Why it is that God will have the Reason or Cause thus declared in the Sen­tence.

For the first, observe that it's one thing to give a Reason of the Sentence, and another thing to express the Cause of the Benefit given us by the Promise, and judged to us by the Sentence. Man's Obedience was no proper Cause why God did in this Life give Pardon of Sin to us, or a Right to Glory, much less of his giv­ing Christ to die for us. And therefore as to our con­stitutive Justification at our Conversion, we must not say or think that God doth justify us, for, or because of any Works of our Obedience, legal or evangelical. But when God hath so justified us, when he comes to give a Reason of his Sentence in Judgment, he may and will fetch that Reason partly from our Obedi­ence, or our Performance of the Conditions of the new Covenant. For as in this Life, we had a Righteous­ness consisting in free Pardon of all Sin through the Blood of Christ, and a Righteousness consisting in our personal Performance of the Conditions of the Pro­mise, which giveth that Pardon and continueth it to us; so at Judgment we shall accordingly be justified. And as our evangelical personal Righteousness, commonly called inherent, was at first only in our Faith and Repen­tance, and Disposition to obey, but afterward in our actual sincere Obedience, in which Sense we are consti­tutively justified or made righteous here by our Works, [Page 74] in James his sense, James 2. 24. so accordingly a double Reason will be assigned of our sentential Justification; one from our Pardon by Christ's Blood and Merits, which will prove our Right to Impunity and to Glory; the other from our own Faith and holy Obedience, which will prove our Right to that Pardon through Christ, and to the free Gift of a Right to Glory: and To this last is to be pleaded in Subordination to the for­mer. For Christ is become the Author of eternal Sal­vation to all them that obey him, Heb. 5. 9. He there­fore that will be saved, must have a Christ to save him as the Author, and an Obedience to that Christ as the Condition of that Salvation; and consequently both must be declared in the Judgment.

The Reason why the Judg doth mention our good Works rather than our believing, may be because those holy self-denying Expressions of Faith and Love to Christ do contain or certainly imply Faith in them, as the Life of the Tree is in the Fruit: but Faith doth contain our Works of Obedience but only as their Cause. The Works also are a Part of the personal Righteousness which is to be enquired after, that is, we shall not be judged righteous, meerly because we have believed, but also because we have added to our Faith Vertue, and have improved our Talents, and have loved Christ to the hazard of all for his sake. For it is not only or principally for the Goodness of the Work considered in it self, or the Good that is done by it to the Poor; but it is as those Works did express our Faith and Love to Christ by doing him the most costly and hazardous Service; that by Faith we could see Christ in a poor Beggar or a Prisoner, and could love Christ in these better than our worldly Goods or Liber­ties, which we must part with, or hazard by the Works that are here mentioned.

2. The Reasons why Christ will so publickly de­clare the personal Righteousness of Men, to be the Reason or Cause of his justifying Sentence, is because [Page 76] it is the Business of that Day, not only to glorify God's meer Love and Mercy, but eminently to glorify his remunerative Justice; and not only to express his Love to the Elect, as such, but to express his Love to them as faithful and obedient, and such as have denied all for Christ, and loved God above all; and to shew his Justice to Men, and Faithfulness in fulfilling all his Promises, and also his Holiness, in the high Estima­tion of the Holiness of his People. I shall express this in the Words of a Learned Divine (Dr. Twiss against Mr. Cotton, pag. 40.) Was there no more in God's Intention when he elected some, than the Manifestation of the Riches of his glorious Grace? Did not God purpose also to manifest the Glory of his remunerative Justice? Is it no undeniable that God will bestow Salvation on all his Elect, (of ripe Years) by way of Reward, and Crown of Righ­teousness, which God the righteous Judg will give? 2 Tim. 4. 2 Thess. 1. It is great pity this is not considered, as usu­ally it is not, especially for the momentous Consequence there­of in my Judgment. So far he.

So much of the Sentence of Justification which shall be passed by Christ at Judgment upon the Righ­teous.

2. We are next to consider of the Sentence of Condemnation which shall then by Christ be passed on the Unrighteous. Which is delivered to us by Christ, Mat. 25. in the same Order as the former.

The Sentence containeth, 1. The Condemnation it self. 2. The Reason or Cause of it.

The Condemnation expresseth the Misery which they are judged to. 1. Generally in the Denomina­tion, Cursed. 2. Particularly by Description of their cursed State.

To be cursed, is to be a People destinated and adjud­ged to utter Unhappiness, to all kind of Misery with­out remedy.

2. Their cursed Condition is described in the next Words, Depart from me into everlasting Fire prepared for the [...] and his Angels.

[Page 77] 1. Depart: From whom? from the God that made them in his Image; from the Redeemer that bought them by the Price of his Blood, and offered to save them freely, for all their Unworthiness, and many a time intreated them to accept his Offer, that their Souls might live: From the Holy Ghost, the Sanctifier and Comforter of the Faithful, who strove with their Hearts, till they quenched and expelled him. O sad Departing! who would not then choose rather to de­part from all the Friends he had in the World, and from any thing imaginable; from his Life, from himself, if it were possible, than from Christ? Depart: from what? why from the Presence of the Judg, from all farther Hopes of Salvation for ever, from all possibility of ever being saved, and living in the joyful Inheritance of the Righteous. Depart: Not from God's Essential Presence, for that will be with them to their everla­sting Misery, but from the Presence of his Grace in that Measure as they enjoyed it. Depart: Not from your fleshly Pleasures, and Honours, and Profits of the World; these were all gone and past already: and there was no farther need to bid them depart from these: Houses and Lands were gone. Mirth and Re­creations were gone. Their sweet Morsels and Cups were gone. All the Honour that Men could give them was gone before they were set at Christ's Bar to be judged. But from all Expectations of ever enjoying these again, or ever tasting their former De­lights; from these they must depart: not from their Sin, for that will go with them; but the Liberty of committing that part of it which was sweet to them, as Gluttony, Drunkenness, Whoredom, Idleness, and all Voluptuousness; from these they must depart. But this is consequential; it is Christ and the Possibility of Salvation, that they are sentenced to depart from.

But whither must they depart? 1. Into Fire. 2. In­to that Fire which was prepared for the Devil and his Angels. 3. Into everlasting Fire.

[Page 78] 1. Not into a purifying, but a tormenting Fire. Whe­ther elementary or not; whether properly or meta­phorically called Fire, let us not vainly trouble our selves to enquire. It is enough to know, that as Fire is one of the most grievous Tormentors of the Flesh, so grievous will be those infernal Torments to the whole Man, Soul and Body; such as is most fitly represented to us under the Notion of Fire, and of Burning. It is easy for a secure unbelieving Soul to read and hear of it; but Wo and ten thousand Woes to them that must endure it! In this Life they had their good things, when it went harder as to the Flesh with better Men; but now they are tormented, when the Godly are com­forted, as Luke 16. 25.

2. But why is it called a Fire prepared for the Devil and his Angels? 1. What is this Devil that hath Angels? 2. Who are his Angels? 3. When was it prepared for them? 4. Wat it not also prepared for wicked Men? To these in order.

1. It seems by many Passages in Scripture, that there is an Order among Spirits both good and bad; and that there is one Devil that is the Prince over the rest.

2. It seems therefore that it's the rest of the evil Spi­rits, that are called his Angels. And some think that the Wicked who served him in this Life, shall be numbred with his Angels in the Life to come. Indeed the Apo­stle calls him the God of this World, 2 Cor. 4. 4. as is ordinarily judged by Expositors; and the Prince of the Power of the Air, the Spirit that now worketh in the Chil­dren of Disobedience, Eph. 2. 2. And he calleth false se­ducing Teachers the Ministers of Satan, 2 Cor. 11. 15. But that wicked Men are here meant as part of his Angels, is not clear.

3. If it be the Preparation of God's Purpose that is here meant, then it was from Eternity: but if it be any Commination of God as Ruler of the Angels, then was this Fire prepared for them conditionally, from [Page 79] the beginning of that Commination, and was due to them at their Fall.

4. It seems that the Reason why here is no mention of preparing Hell-fire for the Wicked, but only for the Devils, is not because indeed it was not prepared also for the Wicked; but to note that it is the Torment which was first prepared for, or assigned to the Devils, thereby shewing the greatness of the Misery of the Wicked, that the Devil and his Angels must be their Companions: Though some think, as is said before, that the Reason why wicked Men are not mentioned tere, is, because they are part of the Angels of the De­vil, and so included. And some think it is purposely to manifest God's general Love to Mankind, that prepar­ed not Hell for them, but they cast themselves into the Hell prepared for the Devils. But the first seems to be the true sense.

And how apparently Righteous are the Judgments of the Lord! that those Men who would here entertain the Devil into their Hearts and daily Familiarity, should be then entertained by him into his Place of Tor­ments, and there remain for ever in his Society! Though few entertained him into visible Familiarity with their Bodies as Witches do, who so make him their Familiar: yet all wicked Men do entertain him into more full and constant Familiarity with their Souls than these Witches do with their Bodies; how familiar is he in Thoughts, to fill them with Vanity, Lust or Revenge! How familiar is he in their Hearts, to fill them with Covertousness, Malice, Pride, or the like Evils! and to banish all Thoughts of returning to God, and to quench every Motion that tendeth to their Recovery! How familiar is he with them, even when they seem to be worshipping God in the publick Assemblies, steal­ing the Word out of their Hearts, filling them with vain and wandring Thoughts, blinding their Minds that they cannot understand the plainest words that we are able to speak to them, and filling them with a proud [Page 80] Rebellion against the Direction of their Teachers, and an obstinate Refusal to be ruled by them, be the Mat­ter never so necessary to their own Salvation? How fa­miliar are these evil Spirits in their Houses, filling them with Ignorance, Worldliness and Ungodliness, and turning out God's Service, so that they do not pray together once in a Day, or perhaps at all! How famili­arly doth Satan use their Tongues, in Cursing, Swear­ing, Lying, Ribaldry, Backbiting or Slandring! And is it not just with God to make these Fiends their Fami­liars in Torment, with whom they entertained such Fa­miliarity in Sin? As Christ with all the blessed Angels and Saints will make but one Kingdom or Family, and shall live altogether in perpetual Delights; so the Devil and all his hellish Angels and wicked Men shall make but one Houshold, and shall live altogether in perpe­tual Misery. O poor Sinners, you are not troubled now at his Presence and Power in your Hearts! but will you not then be troubled at his Presence and torment­ing Power? As long as you do not see him, let him do what he will with you, it grieves you little or nothing at all; but what will you say when you must see him, and abide with him for ever? O Sirs, his Name is easily heard, but his Company will be terrible to the stoutest Heart alive. He sheweth you a smiling Face when he tempteth you, but he hath a grimmer Face to shew you, when Temptations have conquered you, and Torments must succeed. As those that write of Witches, say, he appeareth at first to them in some comely tempting Shape, till he have them fast tied to him; and then he beats them, and affrights them, and seldom appears to them but in some ugly Hew. Believe it, poor Sinners, you do not hear or see the worst of him, when you are merry about your sinful Pleasures, and rejoicing in your Hopes of the Commo­dities or Preferments of the World: he hath another kind of Voice which you must hear, and another Face to shew you, that will make you know a little [Page 81] better whom you had to do with! You would be afraid now to meet him in the Dark: what will you be to live with him in everlasting Darkness? Then you will know who it was that you entertained and obeyed, and plaid with in your Sins.

3. And as the Text tells us, that it is a Fire prepared for the Devil and his Angels: So it telleth us, that it is an everlasting Fire. It had a Beginning, but it shall have no End. If these Wretches would have chosen the Service of God, they would have met with no Dif­ficulty or Trouble, but what would have had a speedy End. Poverty and Injuries would have had an End: Scorns and Abuses would have had an End: Fasting, Humiliation, Sorrow for Sin, watching and fighting against our spiritual Enemies, would all have had an End. But to avoid these, they chose that Ease, that Pleasure, which hath brought them to that Torment which never will have end. I have said so much of these things already in my Book called the Saints Rest, that I will now say but this much. It is one of the Wonders of the World, how Men that do believe, or think they do believe this Word of Christ to be true, that the Wicked shall go into everlasting Fire, can yet venture on Sin so boldly, and live in it so fearlesly, or sleep quietly till they are out of this unspeakable Danger! Only the commonness of it, and the known Wickedness of Man's Heart, doth make this less won­derful. And were there nothing else to convince us that Sinners are mad and dead as to spiritual Things, this were enough; that ever the greatest Pleasures or Profits of the World, or the most enticing Baits that the Devil can offer them, should once prevail with them to forget these endless things, and draw them to reject an everlasting Glory, and cast themselves despe­rately into everlasting Fire: Yea, and all this under daily Warnings and Instructions; and when it's told them beforehand by the God of Truth himself! For the Lord's sake, Sirs, and for your Souls sakes, if you [Page 82] care not what Ministers say, or what such as I say, yet will you soberly read now and then this 25th Chapter of Matthew, and regard what is told you by him that must be your Judg! and now and then bethink your­selves soberly, whether these are Matters for wise Men to make light of; and what it is to be everlastingly in Heaven, or in Hell-fire.

2. We have seen what is the Penalty contained in the Sentence against the Ungodly: The next thing that the Text directs us to, is the Cause or Reason of the Sentence, ver. 42. For I was hungry, and ye gave me no Meat, &c. The Reason is not given expresly, either for their Sin against the Law of Works, that is, be­cause they were Sinners, and not perfectly innocent nor yet from their Unbelief, which is the great Sin against the Law of Grace: But it is given from their not expressing their Faith and Love to Christ in Works of Mercy and Self-denial. And why is this so?

1. We must not suppose that these Words of Christ do express the whole judicial Process in every Point; but the chief Parts. It is supposed that all Men are convicted of being Sinners against the perfect Law of the Creator, and that they are guilty of Death for that Sin; and that there is no way but by Christ to ob­tain Deliverance. But because all this must be acknow­ledged by the Righteous themselves, as well as by the Wicked; therefore Christ doth not mention this, but that only which is the turning Point or Cause in the Judgment. For it is not all Sinners that shall be finally condemned, but all impenitent, unbeliev­ing Sinners, who have rebelled finally against their Redeemer.

2. And the Reason why Faith itself is not expressed is, 1. Because it is clearly implied, and so is Love to Christ as Redeemer; in that they should have relieved Christ himself in his Members: That is, as it's expressed, Mat. 10. 42. they should have received a Prophet in the [Page 83] Name of a Prophet, and a Disciple in the Name of a Disciple; all should be done for Christ's sake, which could not be, unless they believed in him, and loved him. 2. Also because that the bare Act of Believing is not all that Christ requireth to a Man's final Justification and Salvation; but holy self-denying Obedience must be ad­ded. And therefore this is given as the Reason of their Condemnation that they did not so obey.

We must observe also, that Christ here putteth the special for the general; that is, one way of self-denying Obedience and Expression of Love, instead of such Obedience in general: For all Men have not Ability to relieve those in misery, being perhaps some of them poor themselves. But all have that Love and Self-denial, which will some way express it self. And all have Hearts and a Disposition to do thus, if they had Ability; without such a Disposition none can be saved.

It is the fond Conceit of some, that if they have any Love to the Godly, or wish them well, it is enough to prove them happy. But Christ here purposely lets us know that whoever doth not love him at so high a rate, as that he can part with his Substance or any thing in the World, to those Uses which he shall require them, even to re­lieve his Servants in want and Sufferings for the Master's sake, that Man is none of Christ's Disciple, nor will be owned by him at the last.

XI. The next Point that we come to, is to shew you the Properties of this Sentence at Judgment.

When Man had broken the Law of his Creator at the first, he was liable to the Sentence of Death, and God presently sat in Judgment on him, and sentenced him to some part of the Punishment which he had de­served; but upon the Interposition of the Son, he be­fore the rest, resolved on a Way that might tend to his Recovery; and Death is due yet to every Sinner for every Sin which he commits, till a Pardon do acquit [Page 84] him. But this Sentence which will pass on Sin­ners at the last Judgment, doth much differ from that which was passed on the first Sin, or which is due ac­cording to the Law of Works alone. For,

1. As to the Penalty, called the Pain of Loss, the first Judgment did deprive Man of the Favour of his Creator, but the second will deprive him of the Favour both of the Creator and Redeemer: the first Judgment deprived him of the Benefits of Innocency; the se­cond deprives him of the Benefits of Redemption, the loss of his hopes and possibility of Pardon, of the Spirit, of Justification and Adoption, and of the Benefits which conditionally were promised and offered him; these are the Punishments of the last Judgment, which the Law of Works did never threaten to the first Man, or to any, as it stood alone.

Also the loss of Glory as recovered, is the pro­per Penalty of the violated Law of Grace, which is more than the first loss. As if a Man should lose his Purse the second time, when another hath once found it for him; or rather as if a Traitor redeemed by another, and having his Life and Honours offered him, if he will thankfully accept it and come in, should by his Refusal and Obstinacy, lose this recovered Life, which is offered him; which is an Addition to his former Penalty.

Besides that the higher Degree of Glory will be lost which Christ would bestow on him, more than was lost at first. The very Work of the Saints in Heaven, will to praise and glorify him that redeemed them, and the Father in him; which would not have been the Work of Man, if he had been innocent.

2. As to the Pain of Sense, the last Judgment by the Redeemer will sentence them to a far sorer Punish­ment than would have befaln them, if no Saviour had been offered them, Heb. 10. 29. The Conscience of Adam if he had not been redeemed, would never have tormented him for rejecting a Redeemer, nor for re­fusing [Page 85] or abusing his gracious Offers, and his Mercies; nor for the forfeiting of a recovered Happiness; nor for refusing of the easy Terms of the Gospel, which would have given him Christ and Salvation for the ac­cepting; nor for neglecting any Means that tended to Recovery: no nor for refusing Repentance unto Life, nor for disobeying a Redeemer that bought him by his Blood. As all these are the Penalties of the Re­deemer's Law and Judgment, so is it a sorer Penalty than Conscience would have inflicted meerly for not being perfectly innocent: and they will be far soarer Gripings and Gnawings of the never-dying Worm for the abuse of these Talents, than if we had been never trusted with any after our first Forfeiture. Yea and God him­self will accordingly proportion his Punishments. So that you see that privatively and positively, or as to their Loss and their Feeling, the Redeemer will pass on them a heavier Doom than the Creator did, or would have done according to the first Law to perfect Man.

3. Another Property of the Judgment of Christ is, that it will be final, peremptory, and excluding all farther Hopes or Possibilities of a Remedy. So was not the first Judgment of the Creator upon faln Man. Though the Law of pure Nature knew no Remedy, nor gave Man any Hope of a Redeemer, yet did it not exclude a Remedy, nor put in any Bar against one; but God was free to recover his Creature if he pleased. But in the Law of Grace he hath resolved, that there shall be no more Sacrifice for Sin, but a fearful looking for of Judgment and Fire which shall devour the Adver­sary, Heb. 10. 26, 27. and that the Fire shall be ever­lasting, the Worm shall not die, and the Fire shall not be quenched, Mat. 25. ult. Mat. 13. 42, 50. John 5. 27. Mat. 5. 26. Mat. 3. 12. and Luke 3. 17. Mark 9. 43, 44, 45, 46, 48. He that now breaketh that pure Law that requireth perfect Innocency, (as we have all done) may fly to the Promise of Grace in Christ, and [Page 86] appeal to the Law of Liberty or Deliverance to be judged by that. But he that falls under the Penalty of that Law which should have saved him, as all final Unbelievers and impenitent ungodly Persons do, hath no other to appeal to. Christ would have been a Sanctuary and Refuge to thee from the Law of Works, hadst thou but come into him: But who shall be a Re­fuge to thee from the Wrath of Christ? The Gospel would have freed thee from the Curse of the Law of Works, if thou hadst but believed and obeyed it: But what shall free thee from the Condemnation of the Go­spel? Had there no Accusation lain against thee, but that thou wast in general a Sinner; that is, that thou wast not perfectly innocent, Christ would have answer­ed that Charge by his Blood. But seeing thou art also guilty of those special Sins which he never shed his Blood for, who shall deliver thee from that Accusati­on? When Christ gave himself a Ransom for Sinners, it was with this Resolution both in the Father and him­self, that none should ever be pardoned, justified or saved by that Ransom, that did not in the time of this Life sincerely return to God by Faith in the Re­deemer, and live in sincere obedience to him, and per­severing herein. So that he plainly excepted final In­fidelity, Impenitency and Rebellion from Pardon: He never died for the final Non-performance of the Con­ditions of the New Covenant. So that his Judgment for these will be peremptory and remediless. If you say, Why cannot God find out a Remedy for this Sin, as well as he did for the first? I say, God cannot lie, Tit. 1. 2. He must be true and faithful, as necessarily as he must be God, because of the absolute Perfection of his Na­ture; and he hath said and resolved, that there shall be no more Remedy.

Many other Properties of God's Judgment general there are, as that Righteousness, Impartiality, Inflexi­bility, and the like, which because I would not make my Discourse too long, I will pass over, contenting my [Page 87] self with the mention of these which are proper to the Judgment of the Redeemer according to his own Laws in special.

XII. The twelfth and last thing which I promised to unfold, is, The Execution of this Judgment. Here I should shew you both the Certainty of the Execution, and by whom it will be, and how: but having done all this already in the third Part of the foresaid Book of Rest, I shall now only give this brief Touch of it.

No sooner is the dreadful Sentence past, Go ye cursed into everlasting Fire, but away they must be gone: There is no delay, much less any Reprieve to be expected; and yet much less is there any hope of an Escape. If the Judg once say, Take him Jailor; and if Christ say, Take him Devils, you that ruled and deceived him, now torment him: all the World cannot rescue one such Soul. It will be in vain to look about for help. Alas, there is none but Christ can help you; and he will not, because you refused his help: Nay, we may say, He cannot; not for want of Power, but because he is True and Just, and therefore will make good that Word which you believed not. It is in vain then to cry to Hills to fall on you, and the Mountains to cover you from the Pre­sence of him that sitteth on the Throne. It will be in vain now to repent, and wish you had not slighted your Salvation, nor sold it for a little Pleasure to your Flesh. It will be then in vain to cry, Lord, Lord, open to us; O spare us; O pity us; O do not cast us into these hideous Flames! Do not turn us among Devils! Do not torment thy redeemed ones in this Fire! All this will be then too late.

Poor Sinner, whoever thou art that readest or hearest these Lines, I beseech thee in Compassion to thy Soul, consider how fearful the Case of that Man will be, that is newly doomed to the Everlasting Fire, and is haled to the Execution without Remedy! And what [Page 88] mad Men are those that now do no more to prevent such a Misery, when they might do it on such easy Terms▪ and now have so fair an Opportunity in their hands.

The time was when Repentance might have done thee good: but then all thy Repentings be in vain. Now while the Day of thy Visitation lasteth, hadst thou but a Heart to pray and cry for Mercy, in Faith and Fer­vency through Christ, thou mightest be heard. But then Praying and Crying will do no good, shouldst thou roar out in the Extremity of thy Horror and Amazement, and beseech the Lord Jesus but to forgive thee one Sin, or to send thee on Earth once more, and to try the [...] once again in the Flesh, whether thou wouldst not love him, and lead a holy Life, it would be all in vain Nay, shouldst thou beg but one Hour before you were cast into those Flames, it would not be heard; it would do thee no good. How earnestly did a deceased Gen­tleman, Luke 16. 24. beg of Abraham for one Drop of Water from the Tip of Lazarus's Finger to cool his Tongue, because he was tormented in the Flame: And what the better was he? He was sent to remem­ber that he had his good things in this Life; and that Remembrance would torment him more. And do not wonder or think much at this, that Christ will not then be entreated by the Ungodly. You shall then have a Remember too from Christ or Conscience. He may soon stop thy Mouth, and leave thee speechless, and say, Remember Man, that I did one Day send thee a Message of Peace, and thou wouldst not hear it. I once did stoop to beseech thee to return, and thou wouldst not hear. I besought thee by the tender Mercies of God; I besought thee by all the Love that I had shewed these, by my holy Life, by my cursed Death, by the Riches of my Grace, by the Offers of my Glory; and I could not get thee t [...] for sake the World, to deny the Flesh, to leave one beloved Sin for all this. I besought thee over and over again: I sent many a Minister to thee in my Name: I waited on thee many a Day, and Year, and all would not do: thou wouldst not consider, return and live: and [Page 89] [...]ow it is too late, thy Sentence is past, and cannot be re­ [...]alled: away from me thou Worker of Iniquity, Mat. 7. 22, 23.

Ah Sirs, what a Case then is the poor desperate Sinner left in! How can I write this, or how can you that read or hear it, without trembling, once think of the Condition that such forlorn Wretches will be in! When they look above them, and see the God that hath forsaken them, because they forsook him first; when [...]hey look about them, and see the Saints on one hand whom they despised, now sentenced unto Glory; and the Wicked on the other hand whom they accompa­nied and imitated, now judged with them to everlasting Misery: when they look below them, and see the Flames that they must abide in, even for evermore: and when the Devils begin to hale them to the Execution: O poor Souls! Now what would they give for a Christ, for a Promise, for a time of Repentance, for a Sermon of Mercy, which once they slept under, or made no account of! How is the Case altered now with them! Who would think that these are the same Men that made light of all this on Earth, that so stoutly scorned the Reproofs of the Word, that would be worldly, and fleshly, and drunk, and proud, let Preachers say what they would; and perhaps hated those that did give them warning. Now they are of another Mind; but all too late. O were there any Place for Resistance, now would they draw back, and lay hold of any thing, before they would be dragged away into those Flames! But there is no resisting; Satan's Temptations might have been resisted, but his Executions cannot: God's Judgments might have been prevented by Faith and Prayer, Repentance and a holy Life; but they cannot be resisted when they are not prevented. Glad would the miserable Sinner be, if he might but turn to no­thing, and cease to be; or that he might be any thing rather than a reasonable Creature: but these Wishes are all in vain. There is one Time, and one Way of a [Page 90] Sinner's Deliverance; if he fail in that one, he perishth for ever: all the World cannot help him after that 2 Cor. 6. 2. I have heard thee in a time accepted: and in the Day of Salvation have I succoured thee: Behold now is the accepted Time; behold now is the Day of Sal­vation. Now he saith, Rev. 3. 20. Behold, I stand at the Door and knock; if any Man hear my Voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. But for the time to come here­after, hear what he saith, Prov. 1. 24, 25, 26. Because I have called, and ye refused, I have stretched out my hand and no Man regarded; but ye have set at nought all my Counsels, and would none of my Reproof: I also will laugh at your Calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; when your fear cometh as a Desolation, and your D [...]struction comueth 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 Knowledg, and did not choose the Fear of the Lord; they would none of my Counsels: they despised all my Re­proofs; 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 slay them, and the Prosperity of Fools shall destroy them; but whoso hearkneth to me shall dwell safth and shall be quiet from fear of Evil. I have recited all these Words that you may see and consider, whether I have spoke any other thing than God himself had plainly told you of.

Having said this much of the Certainty of the Exe­cution, I should next have spoke somewhat of the Man­ner and the Instruments, and have shewed how God will be for ever the principal Cause, and Satan and their own Consciences the Instruments in part; and in what manner Conscience will do its part, and how impossi­ble it will be to quiet or resist it. But having spoke so much of all this already elsewhere, as is said before I will forbear here to repeat it, leaving the Reader that desireth it, there to peruse it.

The Vses.

Vse 1. Beloved Hearers, it was not to fill your Fancies with News that God sent me hither this Day: nor to tell you of Matters that nothing concern you: nor by some terrible Words to bring you to an Hour's Amazement and no more: But it is to tell you of things that your Eyes shall see, and to foretel you of your Danger while it may be prevented, that your pre­cious Souls may be saved at the last, and you may stand before God with Comfort at that Day. But because this will not be every Man's Case, no nor the Case of most, I must in the Name of Christ desire you to make this day an Enquiry into your own Souls, and as in the Presence of God let your Hearts make answer to these few Questions which I shall propound and de­ [...]te with you.

Qu. 1. Do you soundly believe this Doctrine which I have [...]ached to you? What say you Sirs? Do you verily be­ [...]ve it as a most certain Truth, that you and I, and [...] the World must stand at God's Bar and be judged to everlasting Joy or Torment? I hope you do all in some [...] believe this: but blame me not if I be jealous whether you soundly believe it, while we see in the World so little of the Effect of such a Belief. I confess I am forced to think that there is more Infidelity than [...]ith among us, when I see more Ungodliness than God­ [...]ess among us: And I can hardly believe that Man [...]at will say or swear that he believeth these things, [...]d yet liveth as carelesly and carnally as an Infidel. I [...]ow that no Man can love to be damned; yea, I [...]ow that every Man that hath a reasonable Soul, hath [...]turally some love to himself, and a fear of a Danger [...]hich he verily apprehendeth: he therefore that liveth [...]thout all fear, I must think liveth without all appre­ [...]nsion of his Danger. Custom hath taught Men to [Page 92] hold these things as the Opinion of the Country; but if Men soundly believed them, surely we should see strange [...] Effects of such a Faith, than in the most we do see. Doth the sleepy Soul that liveth in Security, a [...] followeth this World as eagerly as if he had no greater Matters to mind; that never once trembled at the Thoughts of this great Day, nor once asked his own Soul in good Sadness, My Soul, How dost thou think then to escape? I say, doth this Man believe that he is going to this Judgment? Well Sirs, whe­ther you believe it or not, you will find it true: and believe it you must before you can be safe. For if you do not believe it, you will never make ready. Let me therefore perswade you in the Fear of God to consider, that it is a Matter of undoubted Truth.

1. Consider that it is the express Word of the God of Truth, revealed in Scripture as plainly as you can desire. So that you cannot be unbelieving without denying God's Word, or giving him the Lie, Mat. 13. 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 49, 50. Mat. 25. throughout, Rom. 2. 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 16. and 1. 32. John 5. 28, 29. The Hour is coming in which all that are in the Graves shall hear his Voice, and shall come forth: they that have done good, unto the Resurrection of Life; and they that have done evil, unto the Resurrection of Damnation. Heb. 9. 27. It is ap­pointed to all Men once to die, and after this the Judgment. Rom. 14. 9, 12. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Rev. 20. 12. And I saw the dead small and great stand before God: and the Books were open­ed: and another Book was opened, which is the Book of Life; and the Dead were judged out of those things which were written in the Books according to their Works. Mat. 12. 36, 37. But I say unto you that every idle Word that Men shall speak, they shall give account thereof at the Day of Judgment For by thy Words thou shalt be justified, and by thy Words thou shalt be condemned. Many more most express Texts of Scripture do put the Truth of this Judgment out of all question to all that believe the Scripture, and will [Page 93] understand it. There is no place left for a Contro­versy in the Point: It is made as sure to us as the Word of the living God can make it: And he that will question that, what will he believe? What say you Sirs! Dare you doubt of this which the God of Heaven hath so positively affirmed? I hope you dare not.

2. Consider, it is a Master-part of your Faith, if you are Christians, and a fundamental Article of your Creed, that Christ shall come again to judg the quick [...]nd the dead. So that you must believe it or renounce your Christianity, and then you renounce Christ and all the Hopes of Mercy that you have in him. It's impossible that you should soundly believe in Christ, and not believe his Judgment and Life everlasting: because as he came to bring Life and Immortality to Light in the Gospel, 2 Tim. 1. 10. so it was the End of his Incar­nation, Death and Resurrection, to bring you thither; and it's part of his Honour and Office which he pur­chased with his Blood, to be the Lord and Judg of all the World, Rom. 14. 9. Joh. 5. 22. If therefore you believe not heartily this Judgment, deal plainly and openly, and say you are Infidels, and cast away the hy­pocritical Vizor of Christianity, and le [...] us know you, and take you as you are.

3. Consider that it is a Truth that is known by the very Light of Nature, that there shall be a Happiness for the Righteous, and a Misery for the Wicked after this Life: which is evident,

1. In that we have undeniable natural Reason for it. (1.) God is the Righteous Governour of the World, and therefore must make a difference among his Sub­jcts, according to the Nature of their Ways: which ane see is not done here, where the Wicked prosper, and we Good are afflicted; therefore it must be hereafter. (2.) We see there is a Necessity that God should make Promises and Threatnings of everlasting Happiness or Misery, for the right Governing of the World: for we [Page 94] certainly perceive that no lower things will keep Men from destroying all humane Society, and living worse than brute Beasts; and if there be a Necessity of making such Threats and Promises, then there is certainly a Ne­cessity of fulfilling them. For God needeth no Lie or Means of deceiving, to rule the World.

2. And as we see it by Reason, so by certain Expe [...]rience, that this is discernable by the Light of Nature for all the World, or almost all do believe it. Ev [...] those Nations where the Gospel never came, and have nothing but what they have by Nature, even the most barbarous Indians acknowledg some Life after this and a Difference of Men according as they are here therefore you must believe thus much, or renounc [...] your common Reason and Humanity, as well as your Christianity. Let me therefore perswade you al [...] in the Fear of God to confirm your Souls in the Be­lief of this, as if you had heard Christ or an Angel from Heaven say to you, O Man, thou art hasting to Judgment.

Qu. 2. My next Question is, Whether you do ever so­berly consider of this great Day? Sirs, do you use when you are alone to think with your selves, how certain and how dreadful it will be, how fast it is coming on, and what you shall do, and what Answer you mean to make at that Day? Are your Minds taken up with these Consi­derations? Tell me, is it so or not?

Alas Sirs! Is this a Matter to be forgotten? Is not that Man even worse than mad, that is going to God's Judgment, and never thinks of it? when if they were to be tried for their Lives at the next Assize, they would think of it, and think again, and cast 100 times which way to escape. Methinks you should rather forget to go to Bed at Night, or to eat your Meat, or do your Work, than forget so great a Matter as this.

Truly I have often in my serious Thoughts been rea­dy to wonder that Men can think of almost any thing [Page 95] else, when they have so great a thing to think of. What, forget that which you must remember for ever! forget that which should force Remembrance, yea and doth force it with some, whether they will or not! A poor despairing Soul cannot forget it: He thinks which way ever he goes he is ready to be judged. O therefore Beloved, fix these Thoughts as deep in your Hearts as Thoughts can go. O be like that holy Man, that thought which way ever he went, he heard the Trum­pet sound, and the Voice of the Angel calling to the World, Arise ye Dead, and come to Judgment. You have warning of it from God and Man, to cause you to re­member it; do not then forget it. It will be a cold Excuse another Day, Lord, I forgat this Day, or else I [...]ight have been ready: you dare not sure trust to such Excuses.

Qu. 3. My next Question to you is, How are you [...]ffected with the Consideration of this Day? Barely to think of it will not serve: to think of such a Day as this with a dull and sensless Heart, is a Sign of fearful Stu­pidity. Did the Knees of King Belshazzar knock toge­ther with trembling, when he saw the Hand-writing on the Wall? Dan. 5. 6. How then should thy Heart be afffected that seeth the Hand-writing of God as a Sum­mons to his Bar?

When I began to preach of these things long ago, confess the Matters seemed to me so terrible, that I was afraid that People would have run out of their Wits with Fear; but a little Experience shewed me, that many are like a Dog that is bred up in a Forge or Furnace, that being used to it, can sleep though the Hmmers are beating, and the Fire and hot Iron flam­ing about him, when another that had never seen it, would be amazed at the sight. When Men have heard us 7 Years together, yea 20 Years, to talk of a Day of Judgment, and they see it not, nor feel any hurt, they think it is but talk, and begin to make nothing of it. [Page 96] This is their Thanks to God for his Patience: Because his Sentence is not executed speedily, therefore their Hearts are set in them to do evil, Eccles. 8. 11. As if God were slack of his Promise, as some Men accoun [...] Slackness, 2 Pet. 3. 9. when one Day with him is as [...] 1000 Years, and a 1000 Years as one Day. What [...] we tell you 20 Years together that you must die, wi [...] you not believe us, because you have lived so long, and seen no Death coming?

Three or Four things there be that should bring any Matter to the Heart. 1. If it be a Matter or exceed­ing Weight. 2. If it concern not others only, but our selves. 3. If it be certain. 4. If near.

All these things are here to be sound, and therefore how should your Hearts be moved at the Consideration of this great Day!

1. What Matter can be mentioned with the Tongue of Man of greater moment? For the poor Creture to stand before his Maker and Redeemer, to be judged to everlasting Joy or Torment? Alas! all the Matters of this World are Plays, and Toys, and Dreams to this; Matters of Profit or Disprofit are nothing to it, Matter [...] of Credit or Discredit are unworthy to be named with it; Matters of temporal Life or Death are nothing to it. We may see the poor brute Beasts go every Day to the Slaughter, and we make no great matter of it, though their Life be as dear to them as ours to us. To be judged to an everlasting Death or Torment, this is the great Danger that one would think should shake the stoutest Heart to consider it, and awake the dullest Sin­ner to prevent it.

2. It's a Matter the concerneth every one of your [...]selves, and every Man or Woman that ever lived upon the Earth, or ever shall do; I am not speaking to you [...] the Affairs of some far Country that are nothing to you but only to marvel at; which you never saw, not ever shall do: no, it is thy own self, Man or Woman that hearest me this Day, that shalt as surely appear be­fore [Page 97] the Judgment-seat of Christ, as the Lord liveth, and as he is true and faithful; and that is as sure as thou livest on this Earth, or as the Heaven is over thee. That Man that heareth all this with the most careless blockish Heart, shall be awakened and stand with the rest at that Day; that Man that never thought of it, but spent his time in worldly Matters, shall leave all and there appear; that Man that will not believe these things to be true, but make a Jest ofthem, shall see and feel that he would not believe, and he also shall be there; the Godly that waited in Hope for that Day, as the Day of their full Deliverance and Coronation, they shall be there; those that have lain in the Dust these 5000 Years shall rise again, and all stand there. Hearer, whoever thou art, believe it, thou maist better think to live without Meat, to see without Light, to escape Death, and abide for ever on Earth, than to keep away from that Appearance. Willing or unwil­ling thou shalt be there. And should not a Matter then that so concerneth thy self, go near thy Heart, and awake thee from thy Security?

3. That it is a Matter of unquestionable Certainty, I have partly shewed you already, and more would do if I were preaching to known Infidels. If the careless World had any just Reason to think it were uncertain, their Carelesness were more excusable. Methinks a Man should be affected withthat which he is certain shall come to pass, in a manner as if it were now in doing, 1 Thess. 5. 2. Ye perfectly know that the Day of the Lord so cometh, &c. saith the Apostle.

4. This day is not only certain, but it is near; and therefore should affect you the more. I confess, if it were never so far off, yet seeing it will come at last, it should be carefully regarded: But when the Judg is at the Door, James 5. 9. and we are almost at the Bar, and it is so short a time to this Assize, what Soul that is not dead will be secure?

[Page 98] Alas Sirs! what is a little time when it is gone? how quickly shall you and I be all in another World, and our Souls receive their particular Judgment, and so wait till the Body be raised and judged to the same Con­dition? It is not 100 Years in all likelihood, till ev­ery Soul of us shall be in Heaven or Hell: and it's like, not half or a quarter of that time, but it will be so with the greater part of us; and what is a Year or two or 100? how speedily is it come? how many a Soul that is now in Heaven or Hell, within 100 Years dwelt in the Places that you now dwell in, and sat in the Seats you now sit in? And now their time is past, what is it? Alas, how quickly will it be so with us! You know not when you go to Bed, but you may be judged by the next Morning; or when you rise, but you may be judged before Night: but certain­ly you know that shortly it will be; and should not this then be laid to Heart? Yea the general Judgment will not be long: For certainly we live in the End of the World.

Qu. 4. My next Question is, Whether are you ready for his dreadful Judgment when it comes, or not? Seeing it your selves then must be tried, I think it concerns you to see that you be prepared. How often hath Christ warned us in the Gospel, that we be always ready, be­cause we know not the day or Hour of his coming? Matth. 24. 44, 42. and 25. 13 1 Thess. 5. 6. and told us hos sad a time it will be to those that are unready, Mat. 25. 11, 12. Did Men but well know what a Meeting and Greeting there will be between Christ and an unready Soul, it would sure startle them, and make them look about them. What say you, beloved Hea­rers, are you ready for Judgment, or are you not? Me­thinks a Man that knoweth he shall be judged, should ask himself the question every day of his Life; am I ready to give up my Account to God? Do not you use to ask this of your own Hearts? unless you be careless [Page 99] whether you be saved or damned, methinks you should, and ask it seriously.

Qu. But who be they that are ready? how shall I know whether I be ready or not?

Answ. There is a twofold Readiness. 1. When you are in a safe Cafe. 2. When you are in a comfortable Cafe, in regard of that Day. The latter is very desirae­ble, but the frist is of absolute Necessity: this therefore is it that you must principally enquire after.

In general, all those, and only those are ready for Judgment, who shall be justified and saved, and not condemned when Judgment cor [...]es; they that have a good Cause in a Gospel-sense. It may be known before hand who these are; for Christ judgeth, as I told you, by his Law. And therefore find out whom it is that the Law of Grace doth justify or condemn, and you may certainly know whom the Judg will justify or conemn; for he judgeth righteously.

If you further ask me who these are; remember that I told you before that every Man that is personally righteous by fulfilling the Conditions of Salvation in the Gospel, shall be saved; and he that is foun un­righteous, as having not fulfilled them, shall perish at that Day.

Qu. Who are those?

Answ. I will tell you them in a few Words, lest you should forget, because it is a Matter that your Salvation or Damnation dependeth upon.

1. The Soul that unfeignedly repenteth of his for­mer sinful Course, and turneth from it in Heart and Life, and loveth the Way of godliness which he hated, and hateth the Way of Sin which he loved, and is be­come throughly a new Creature, being born again and sanctified by the Spirit of Christ, shall be justified: but all others shall certainly be condemned.

Good News to repenting converted Sinners: but sad to impenitent, and him that knows not what this means.

[Page 100] 2. That Soul that feeling his Misery under Sin, and the Power of Satan, and the Wrath of God, doth be­lieve what Christ hath done and suffered for Man's Res [...]auration and Salvation, and thankfully accepteth him as his only Saviour and Lord, on the Terms that he is offered in the Gospel, and to those Ends, event to justify him, and sanctify and guide him, and bring him at last to everlasting Glory; that Soul shall be justi­fied at Judgment: and he that doth not, shall be con­demned.

Or in short, in Scripture-phrase, He that believeth shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be condemmd, Mar. 16. 16.

3. The Soul that hath had so much Knowledg of the Goodness of God, and his Love to Man in Creation, Redemption, and the following Mercies, and hath had so much Conviction of the Vanity of all Creatures, as thereupon to love God more than all things below, so that he haththe chiefest room in the Hearts, and is pre­ferred before all Creatures ordinarily in a time of trial; that Soul shall be justified at Judgment, and all others shall be condemned.

4. That Soul that is so apprehensive of the absolute Soveraignty of God as Creator and Redeemer, and of the Righteousness of his Law and the Goodness of his holy Way, as that he is firmly resolved to obey him before all others, and doth accordingly give up him­self to study his Will, of purpose that he may obey it, and doth walk in these holy Ways, and hath so far mortified the Flesh, and subdued the World and the Devil, that the Authority and Word of God can do more with him than any other, and doth ordina­rily prevail against all the Perwasion and Interest of the Flesh, so that the main Scope and Bent of the Heart and Life is still for God; and when he sinneth he riseth again by true Repentance; I say, that Soul, and the only, shall be justified in Judgment, and be saved.

[Page 101] 5. That Soul that hath such believing Thoughts of the life to come, that he taketh the promised Blessed­ness for his Portion, and is resolved to venture all else upon it, and in hope of this Glory, doth set light comparatively by all things in this World, and waiteth for it as the End of the Life, choosing any suffering that God shall call him to, rather than to lose his hopes of the Felicity, and tus perservereth to the End: I say, that Soul, and none but that shall be justified in Judg­and escape Damnation.

In these five Marks I have told, you truly and briefly, who shall be justified and saved, and who shall be condemned at the Day of Judgment. And if you would have them all in five Words, they are but the Description of these five Graces, Repentance, Faith, Love, Obedience, Hope.

But though I have laid these close together for your use, you left you should think that in so weighty a Case I am too short in the Proof of what I so determine of; I will tell you in the express Words of many Scripture-Texts, who shall be justified, and who shall be con­demned.

[John 3. 3. Except a Man be born again, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. Heb. 12. 14. Without Holiness none shall see God. Luke 13. 3, 5. Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Acts 26. 18. I send thee to open their Eyes, and turn them from Darkness to Light, and from the Power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of Sins, and an Inheri­tance among the sanctified by Faith that is in me. John 3. 15, 16, 17, 18, 19. Whoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting Life: he that believeth on him, is not condemned; he that believeth not, is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the Name of the only begotten Son of God; and this is the Condemnation, that Light is come into the World, and Men loved Darkness rather than Light, be­cause their deeds were evil. John. 5. 28, 29. The Hout [Page 102] is coming, in which that are in the Graves shall hear his Voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good to the Resurrection of Life, and they that have done evil to the Resurrection of Damnation. Mar. 25. 30. Cast the unprofitable Servant into outer Dark­ness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of Teeth. Luke 19. 27. But those mine Enemies which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither and slay them before me. Mat. 22. 12, 13. Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having on a Wedding-Gar [...]ent? And he was speechless. Then said the King to the Se [...]ants, bind him Hand and Foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer Darkness, &c. Mat. 5. 20. For I say unto you, that except your Righteousness exceed the Righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no wise enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Mat. 7. 21. Not every one that saith, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven; but he that doth the Will of my Father which is in Heaven. Heb. 5. 6. He is become the Author of eternal Salvation to all them that obey him. Rev. 22. 14. Blessed are they that do his Commandments, that they may have right to the Tree of Life, and may enter in by the Gate in­to the City. Rom. 8. 1, 13. There is then no Condem­nation to them that are in Christ Jesus, that walk not after the Flesh, but after the Spirit. For if ye live af­ter the Flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the Deeds of the Body, ye shall live. Rom. 8. 9. If any Man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. Gal. 5. 18. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the Law. Gal. 6. 7, 8. Be not de­ceived, God is not mocked: for whatsoever a Man soweth, that shall he also reap: for he that soweth to the Flesh, shall of the Flesh reap Corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap Life Everlasting. Mat. 6. 21. For where your Treasure is, there will your Heart be also.] Read Psal. 1. and ma­ny other Texts to this purpose, of which some are [Page 103] cited in my Directions for Peace of Conscience: Dir. 11. p. 115, 116.

And thus I have told you from God's Word, how you may know whether you are ready for Judgment, which is the fourth thing that I would advise you to enquire after.

O Sirs, what shift do you make to keep your Souls from continual Terrors, as long as you remain unready for Judgment? How do you keep the Thoughts of it out of your Mind, that they do not break your Sleep, and meet you in your Business, and haunt you every way you go, while Judgment is so near, and you are so unready? But I shall proceed to my next Question.

Qu. 5. And in the last place, to those of you that are not yet ready, nor in a Condition wherein you may be safe at that Day; my Question is, How are you re­slved to prepare for Judgmet for the time to come? Will you do no more than you have done hitherto? Or will you now set your selves with all your Might, to prepare for so great a Day? methinks you should be now past all Demurs, Delays, or farther Doubtings about such a Business; aud by the Consideration of what I have said already, you should be fully resolved to lose no more time, but presently awake, and set upon the Work. Methinks you should all say, We will do any thing that the Lord shall direct us to do, rather then we will be unready for this final Doom. O that there were but such Hearts in you, that you were truly willing to follow the gracious Guidance of the Lord, and to use but those sweet and reasonable Means which he hath prescribed you in his Word, that you may be ready for that Day! Alas, it is no hard matter for me to tell you, or my self, what it is that we must do if we will be happy; and it is no very hard▪ matter to do it so far as we are truly willing; but the Difficulty is to be truly and throughly willing to this Work. If I shall tell you what you [Page 104] must do for Preparation, shall I not lose my Labour? Will you resolve and promise in the Strength of Grace, that you will faithfully and speedily endeavour to pra­ctise it, whoever shall gainsay it? Upon hope of this, I will set you down some brief Directions, which you must follow, if ever you will with Comfort look the Lord Jesus in the Face at the Hour of Death, or in the Day of Judgment.

The first Direction is this, See that your Souls be sincrely established in the Belief of this Judgment and everlasting Life: For if you do not soundly believe it, you will not seri­ously prepare for it. If you have the Judgment and Belief of an Infidel, you cannot have the Heart or the Life of a Christian. Unbelief shuts out the most of the World from Heaven: see that it do not so by you. If you say you cannot believe what you would: I an­swer, Feed not your Unbelief by Wilfulness or Unreaso­nableness; use God's Means to overcome it, and shut not your Eyes against the Light, and then try the Issue, Heb. 3. 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19.

The second Direction. Labour diligently to have a sound Vnderstanding of the Nature of the Laws and Judg­ment of God. On what Terms it is that he dealeth with Mankind: and on what Terms he will judg them to Life or Death: and what the Reward and Punishment is. For if you know not the Law by which you must be judged, you cannot know how to prepare for the Judg­ment. Study the Scripture therefore, and mark who they be the God promiseth to save, and who they be that he threatneth to condemn. For according to that Word will the Judgment pass.

The third Direction. See that you take it as the very Business of your Lives, to make ready for that Day. Un­derstand that you have no other Business in the World, but what doth necessarily depend on this. What else [Page 105] have you to do, but to provide for everlasting, and to use Means to sustain your own Bodies and others, of purpose for this Work, till it be happily done? Live therefore as Men that make this the main Scope and Care of their Lives; and let all things else come in but on the by. Remember every Morning when you awake, that you must spend that Day in Preparation for your Account, and that God doth give it you for that end. When you go to Bed, examine your Hearts, what you have done that Day in the Preparation for your last Day: And take that time as lost which doth nothing to this end.

The fourth Direction. Vse frequently to think of the Certainty, Nearness and Dreadfulness of that Day, to keep Life in your Affections and Endeavours, lest by Inconsiderate­ness your Souls grow stupid and negligent. Otherwise, be­cause it is out of the sight, the Heart will be apt to grow hardned and secure. And do not think of it slightly, as a common thing, but purposely set your selves to think of it, that it may rouze you up to such Affections and Endeavours as in some measure are answerable to the Nature of the thing.

The fifth Direction. Labour to have a lively Feeling on thy Heart, of the Evil and Weight of that Sin which thou art guilty of, and of the Misery into which it hath brought thee, and would further bring thee if thou be not delivered, and so to feel the Need of a Deliverer. This must prepare thee to partake of Christ now; and if thou partake not of him now, thou canst not be saved by him then. It is these Souls that now make light of their Sin and Misery, that must then [...] them so heavy, as to be pressed by them into the internal Flames. And those that now feel little need of a Saviour, they shall then have none to save them, when they feel their Need.

[Page 106] The sixth Direction. Vnderstand and believe the suf­ficiency of that Ransom and Satisfaction to Justice, which Christ hath made for thy Sins and for the World, and how freely and universally it is offered in the Gospel. Thy Sin is not uncurable or unpardonable, nor thy Misery re­mediless; God hath provided a Remedy in his Son Christ, and brought it so near thy Hands, that nothing but thy neglecting, or wilful refusing it, can deprive thee of the Benefit. Settle thy Soul in this Belief.

The seventh Direction. Vnderstand and believe, that for all Christ's Satisfaction, there is an absolute Necessity of [...]ound Faith and Repentance to be in thy own self, before thou canst be a Member of him, or be pardoned, adopted or justified by his Blood. He died not for final Infidelity and Impe­nitency, as predominant in any-Soul. As the Law of his Father which occasioned his Suffering, required perfect Obedience or Suffering: So his own Law, which he hath made for the Conveyance of his Benefits, doth require yet true Faith and Repentance of Men them­selves, before they shall be pardoned by him; and sincere Obedience and Perseverance, before they shall be glorified.

The eight Direction. Rest not therefore in an unrenew­ed, unsanctified State; that is, till this Faith and Repen­tance be wrought on thy own Soul, and thou be truly broken off from thy former sinsul Course, and from all things in this World; and art dedicated, devoted and resigned unto God. Seeing this Change must be made, and these Graces must be had, or thou must certainly perish: in the Fear of God, see that thou give no ease to thy Mind till thou art thus changed. Be content with nothing till this be done. Delay not another Day. How canst thou live merrily, or sleep quietly in such a Condition, as if thou shouldst die in it, thou shouldst perish for ever? Especially when thou art every Hour uncertain whether thou shalt see [Page 107] another Hour, and not be presently snatch'd away by Death. Methinks while thou art in so sad a Case, which way ever thou art going, or whatever thou art doing, it should still come into thy Thoughts, O what if I should die before I be regenerate, and have part in Christ!

The ninth Direction. Let it be the daily Care of thy Soul, to mortify thy fleshly Desires, and overcome this World; and live as in a continual Conflict with Satan, which will not be ended till thy Life do end. If any thing destroy thee by drawing away thy Heart from God, it will be thy carnal Self, thy fleshly Desires, and the Allurements of this World, which is the Matter that they feed up­on. This therefore must be the earnest. Work of thy Life to subdue this Flesh, and set light by this World, and resist the Devil, that by these would destroy thee. It is the common Case of miserable Hypocrites, that at first they list themselves under Christ as for a Fight, but they presently forget their State and Work; and when they are once in their own Conceit regene­rate, they think themselves so safe, that there is no farther Danger; and thereupon they do lay down their Arms, and take that which they miscall their Christian Liberty, and indulge and please that Flesh whch they promised to mortify, and close with the World which they promised to contemn, and so give up themselves to the Devil, whom they promised to fight against. If once you apprehend that all your Religion lieth in meer Believing, that all shall go well with you, and that the Bitterness of Death is past, and in a forbearance of some disgraceful Sins, and being much in the Exercise of your Gifts, and in external Ways of Duty, and giving God a cheap and plausible Obedience in those things only which the Flesh can spare; you are then faln into that deceitful Hypocrisy, which will as surely condemn you, as open Profaneness, if you get not out of it. You must live as in a Fight, [Page 108] or you cannot overcome. You must live loose from all things in this World, if you will be ready for another. You must not live after the Flesh, but mortify it by the Spirit, if you would not die, but live for ever, Rom. 8. 13. These things are not indifferent, but of flat Necessity.

The tenth Direction. Do all your Works as Men that must be judged for them. It is not enough (at least in point of Duty and Comfort) that you judg this Pre­paration in general to be the main Business of your Lives, but you should also order your particular Actions by these Thoughts, and measure them by their Respects to this approaching Day. Before you venture on them, enquire whether they will bear weight in Judgment, and be sweet or bitter when they are brought to Trial; both for Matter and Manner, this must be observed. O that you would remember this when Temptations are upon you, when you are tempted to give up your Minds to the World, and drown your selves in earthly Cares: Will you bethink you soberly whether you would hear of this at Judgment, and whether the World will be then as sweet as now, and whether this be the best Pre­paration for your Trial? When you are tempted to be drunk, or to spend your precious time in Ale-houses, or vain unprofitable Company, or at Cards or Dice, or any sinful or needless Sports; bethink you then, whe­ther this will be comfortable at the reckoning? and whether time be no more worth to one that is so near Eternity, and must make so strict an Account of his Hours? and whether there be not many better Works before you, in which you might spend your time to your greater Advantage, and to your greater Com­fort when it comes to a review? When you are temp­ted to Wantonness, Fernication, or any other fleshly Intemperance, bethink you soberly, with what Face these Actions will appear at Judgment, and whether they will be then pleasant or displeasant to you. So [Page 109] when you are tempted to neglect the daily Worshipping of God in your Families, and the catechising and teach­ing of your Children or Servants, especially on the Lord's Day, bethink your selves then, what account you will give of this to Christ, when he that entrusted you with the Care of your Children and Servants, shall call you to a reckoning for the Performance of that Trust?

The like must be remembred in the very manner of our Duties. How diligently should a Minister study; how earnestly should he perswade; how unweariedly should he bear all Oppositions and ungrateful Returns; and how carefully should he watch over each particular Soul of his Charge (as far as is possible) when he remem­ber that he must shortly be accountable for all in Judg­ment? and how importunate should we all be with Sin­ners for their Conversion, when we consider that we our selves also must shortly be judged? Can a Man be cold and dead in Prayer, that hath any true Apprehension of that Judgment upon his Mind, where he must be ac­countable for all his Prayers and Performances? O re­member, and seriously remember, when you stand be­fore the Minister to hear the Word, and when you are on your Knees to God in Prayer, in what a manner that same Person, even your selves, must shortly stand at the Bar of the dreadful God! Did these Thoughts get throughly to Mens Hearts, they would awaken them out of their sleepy Devotions, and acquaint them that it is a serious Business to be a Christian. How careful should we be of our Thoughts and Words, if we believ­ingly remembred that we must be accountable for them all! How carefully should we consider what we do with our Riches, and with all that God giveth us? and how much more largely should we expend it for his Service in Works of Piety and Charity, if we believingly re­membred that we must be judged according to what we have done, and give account of every Talent that we receive? Certainly the believing Consideration of [Page 110] Judgment, might make us all better Christians than we are, and keep our Lives in a more innocent and profi­table Frame.

The eleventh Direction. As you will certainly renew your Failings in this Life, so be sure that you daily renew your Repentance, and fly daily to Christ for a renewed Pardon, that no Sin may leave its sting in your Souls. It is not your first Pardon that will serve the turn for your latter Sins. Not that you must purpose to sin, and purpose to repent when you have done, as a Remedy: for that is an hypocriti­cal and wicked Purpose of Repenting, which is made a Means to maintain us in our Sins; but Sin must be avoid­ed as far as we can; and Repentance and Faith in the Blood of Christ must remedy that which we could not avoid. The Righteousness of Pardon in Christ's Blood is useful to us only so far as we are Sinners, and cometh in where our imperfect inherent Righteousness doth come short; but must not be purposely chosen before Innocency: I mean, we must rather choose as far as we can, to obey and be innocent, than to sin and be par­doned, if we were sure of Pardon.

The twelfth Direction. In this vigilant, obedient, penitent Course, with Confidence upon God as a Fa­ther, rest upon the Promise of Acceptance and Re­mission, through the Merits and Intercession of him that redeemed you: Look up in hope to the Glory that is before you, and believe that God will make good his Word, and the patient Expectation of the Righteous shall not be in vain. Chearfully hold on in the Work that you have begun: and as you serve a better Master than you did before your Change, so serve him with more Willingness, Gladness and Delight. Do not en­tertain hard Thoughts of him, or of his Service, but rejoice in your unspeakable Happiness of being admit­ted into his Family and Favour through Christ. Do not serve him in drooping Dejection and Discourage­ment, [Page 111] but with Love, and Ioy, and filial Fear. Keep in the Communion of his Saints, where he is chearfully and faithfully praised and honoured, and where is the greatest visible Similitude of Heaven upon Earth; especially in the Celebration of the Sacrament of Christ's Supper, where he seals up a renewed Pardon in his Blood, and where unanimously we keep the Remem­brance of his Death until he come. Do not cast your selves out of the Communion of the Saints, from whom to be cast out by just Censure and Exclusion, is a dread­ful Emblem and Fore-runner of the Judgment to come, where the Ungodly shall be cast out of the Presence of Christ and his Saints for ever.

I have now finished the Directions, which I tender to you for your Preparation for the Day of the Lord; and withal my whole Discourse on this weighty Point. What Effect all this shall have upon your Hearts, the Lord knows; it is not in my Power to determine. If you are so far blinded and hardned by Sin and Satan, as to make light of all this, or coldly to commend the Doctrine, while you go on to the End in your carnal worldly Condition as before; I can say no more, but tell thee again that Judgment is near, when thou wilt bitterly bewail all this too late. And among all the rest of the Evidence that comes in against thee, this Book will be one which shall testify to thy Face before An­gels and Men, that thou wast told of that Day, and in­treated to prepare.

But if the Lord shall shew thee so much Mercy as to open thy Eyes, and break in upon thy Heart, and by sober Consideration turn it to himself, and cause thee faithfully to take the Warning that hath been give thee, and to obey these Directions, I dare assure thee from the Word of the Lord, that this judg­ment which will be so dreadful to the Ungodly, and the Beginning of their endless Terrour and Misery, will be as joyful to thee, and the Beginning of thy Glory. The Saviour that thou hast believed in and sincerely [Page 112] obeyed, will not condemn thee, Psal. 1. 5, 6. Rom. 8. 1. John 3. 16. It is part of his Business to justify thee before the World, and to glorify his Merits, his Kingly Power, his Holiness, and his rewarding Justice in thy Absolution and Salvation. He will account it a righ­teous thing to recompense Tribulation to thy Trou­blers, and Rest to thy self; when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven with his Mighty Angels, in flam­ing Fire, taking Vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting Destruction from the Presence of the Lord, and from the Glory of his Power: Even then shall he come to be glorified in his Saints, and to be admired in all them that believe in that Day; even because his Servants Testimony, and his Spi­rits among them was believed, 2 Thess. 1. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. That Day will be the great Marriage of the Lamb, and the Reception of thee, and all the Saints into the Glory of thy Beloved, to which they had a Right at their first Consent and Contract upon Earth: And when the Bride­groom comes, thou who art ready shalt go into the Mar­riage, when the Door shall be shut against the sleepy neg­ligent World; and though they cry, Lord, Lord, open to us, they shall be repulsed with a Verily I know you not, Mat. 25. 10, 11, 12, 13. For this Day which others fear, mayest thou long, and hope, and pray, and wait, and comfort thy self in all Troubles with the Remembrance of it, 1 Cor. 15. 55, 56, 57, 58. 1 Thess. 4. 17, 18. If thou wert ready to be offered to Death for Christ, or when the time of thy Departing is at hand, thou mayest look back on the good Fight which thou hast fought, and on the Course which thou hast finished, and on the Faith which then hast kept, and mayest confidently conclude, that henceforth there is laid up for thee a Crown of Righteousness, which the Lord the Righteous Judg shall give thee at that Day; and not to thee only, but unto all them also that love his Appearing, 2 Tim. 4. 6, 7, 8. Even so, come Lord Jesus, Rev. 22. 20.

FINIS.

The Danger of slighting Christ and his Gospel.

Mat. 22. 5.‘But they made light of it.’

THE blessed Son of God, that thought not enough to die for the World, but himself also be the Preacher of Grace and Salvation, doth comprize in this Parable the Sum of his Gospel. By the King that is here said to make the Marriage, is meant God the Father that sent his Son into the World to cleanse them from their Sins, and espouse them to himself. By his Son for whom the Mar­riage is made, is meant the Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, who took to his God-head the Nature of Man, that he might be capable of being their Redeemer when they had lost themselves in Sin. By the Marriage is meant the Conjunction of Christ to the Soul of Sinners, when he giveth up him­self to them to be their Saviour, and they give up them­selves to him as his redeemed Ones, to be saved and ruled by him; the Perfection of which Marriage will be at the Day of Judgment, when the Conjunction between the whole Church and Christ shall be solemnized. The Word here translated Marriage, rather signifieth the Marriage-Feast; and the meaning is, that the World is invited by the Gospel to come in and partake of Christ and Salvation, which comprehendeth both Pardon, Justification and Right to Salvation, and all other Privileges of the Mem­bers [Page 114] of Christ. The Invitation is God's Offer of Christ and Salvation in the Gospel; the Servants that invite them are the Preachers of the Gospel, who are sent forth by God to that end; the Preparation for the Feast there mentioned, is the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and the enacting of a Law of Grace, and opening [...] Way for revolting Sinners to return to God. There is a mention of sending second Messengers, because Go [...] useth not to take the first Denial, but to exercise his Patience till Sinners are obstinate. The first Persons in­vited are the Jews; upon their obstinate Refusal they are sentenced to Punishment; and the Gentiles are invited, and not only invited, but by powerful Preach­ing, and Miracles, and effectual Grace compelled, that is, infallibly prevailed with to come in. The Num­ber of them is so great, that the House is filled with the Guests; many come sincerely, not only looking at the Pleasure of the Feast, that is, at the Par­don of Sin, and Deliverance from the Wrath of God, but also at the Honour of the Marriage, that is, of the Redeemer, and their Profession by giving up themselves to an holy Conversation: but some come in only for the Feast, that is, Justification by Christ, having not the Wedding-garment of sound Resolution for Obedience in their Life, and looking only at themselves in believ­ing, and not to the Glory of their Redeemer: and these are sentenced to everlasting Misery, and speed as ill as those that came not in at all; seeing a Faith that will not work, is but like that of the Devil; and they that look to be pardoned and saved by it, are mistaken, as James sheweth, ch. 2. 24.

The Words of my Text contain a Narration of the ill Entertainment that the Gospel findeth with many to whom it is sent, even after a first and second Invitation They make light of it, and are taken up with other things. Though it be the Jews that were first guilty they have too many followers among us Gentiles to this Day.

[Page 115] Doct. For all the wonderful Love and Mercy that God hath manifested in giving his Son to be the Redeemer of the World, and which the Son hath manifested in redeeming them by his Blood; for all his full Preparation, by being a sufficient Sacrifice for the Sins of all; for all his personal Excellencies, and that full and glorious Salvation that he hath procured; and for all his free Offers of these, and frequent and earnest Invitation of Sinners: yet many do make light of all this, and prefer their worldly Enjoyments before it. The ordinary Entertainment of all is by Contempt.

Not that all do so, or that all continue to do so who were once guilty of it: for God hath his Chosen whom he will compel to come in. But till the Spirit of Grace overpower the dead and obstinate Hearts of Men, they hear the Gospel as a common Story, and the great Mat­ters contained in it go not to the Heart.

The Method in which I shall handle this Doctrine is this.

1. I shall shew you what it is that Men make light of.

2. What this Sin of making light of it is.

3. The Cause of the Sin.

4. The Use of the Doctrine.

1. The thing that carnal Hearers make light of, is, 1. The Doctrine of the Gospel it self, which they hear regardlesly. 2. The Benefits offered them therein: which are, 1. Christ himself. 2. The Benefits which he giveth.

Concerning Christ himself, the Gospel, 1. Declareth his Person and Nature, and the great things that he hath done and suffered for Man; his redeeming him from the Wrath of God by his Blood, and procuring a Grant of Salvation with himself. Furthermore, the same Go­spel maketh an Offer of Christ to Sinners, that if they will accept him on his easy and reasonable Terms, he will be their Saviour, the Physician of their Souls, their Husband and their Head.

[Page 116] 2. The Benefits that he offereth them, are these. 1. That with these blessed Relations to him, himself, and Interest in him, they shall have the Pardon of all their Sins past, and be saved from God's Wrath, and be set in a sure way of obtaining a Pardon for all the Sins that they shall commit hereafter, so they do but obey sincerely, and turn not again unto the Rebellion of their Unregeneracy. 2. They shall have the Spirit to become their Guide and Sanctifier, and to dwell i [...] their Souls, and help them against their Enemies and conform them more and more to his Image, and heal their Diseases, and bring them back to God. 3. They shall have Right to everlasting Glory when this Life is ended, and shall be raised up thereto at the last; besides many excellent Privileges in the Way, in Means, Preservation and Provision, and the Foretaste of what they shall enjoy hereafter: all these Benefits the Gospel offereth to them that will have Christ on his reasonable Terms. The Sum of all is in 1 John 5. 11, 12. This is the Record that God hath given us eternal Life, and this Life is in his Son: He that hath the Son hath Life, and he that hath not the Son hath not Life.

II. What this Sin of making light of the Gospel is? 1. To make light of the Gospel, is to take no great heed to what is spoken, as if it were not a certain Truth, or else were a Matter that little concerned them, or as if God had not written these things for them. 2. When the Gospel doth not affect Men, or go to their Hearts▪ but though they seem to attend to what is said, yet Men are not awakened by it from their Security, nor doth it work in any measure such holy Passion in their Souls, as Matters of such everlasting Consequence should do; this is making light of the Gospel of Sal­vation. When we tell Men what Christ hath done and suffered for their Souls, and it scarce moveth them▪ We tell them of keen and cutting Truths, but nothing will pierce them; we can make them hear, but we [Page 117] cannot make them feel; our Words take up in the Porch of their Ears and Fancies, but will not enter in­to the inward Parts; as if we spake to Men that had [...]o Hearts or Feeling; this is a making light of Christ [...]nd Salvation. Acts 28. 26, 27. Hearing ye shall hear, [...]nd shall not understand; seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For the Heart of this People is waxen gross, and their Ears are dull of hearing, their Eyes [...]re closed, &c.

3. When Men have no high Estimation of Christ and Salvation, but whatsoever they may say with their Tongues, or dreamingly and speculatively believe, yet [...]n their serious and practical Thoughts, they have a higher Estimation of the Matters of this World, than [...]hey have of Christ and the Salvation that he hath purchased; this is a making light of him. When Men [...]ccount the Doctrine of Christ to be but a Matter of Words and Names, as Gallio, Acts 18. 4. or as Festus, Acts 25. 19. a superstitious Matter about one Jesus who was dead, and Paul saith is alive: or ask the Preachers of the Gospel as the Athenians, Acts 17. 18. What will [...]is Babler say? This is a Contempt of Christ.

4. When Men are informed of the Truths of the Gospel, and on what Terms Christ and his Benefits may be had, and how it is the Will of God that they should [...]i [...]ve and accept the Offer; and that he commandeth them [...]o do it upon Pain of Damnation; and yet Men will [...]ot consent, unless they could have Christ on Terms of their own: they will not part with their worldly Con­ [...]ents, nor lay down their Pleasures and Profits, and Ho­ [...]our at his Feet, as being content to take so much of [...]hem only as he will give them back, and as is consi­stent with his Will and Interest, but think it is a hard [...]aying, that they must forsake all in Resolution for Christ; this is a making light of him and their Salvation. When Men might have part in him and all his Benefits [...] they would, and they will not unless they may keep [...]he World too; and are resolved to please their Flesh, [Page 118] whatever comes of it; this is a high Contempt of Christ and everlasting Life. Mat. 13. 21, 22. Luke 18. 23. you may find Examples of such as I here describe.

5. When Men will promise fair, and profess their Willingness to have Christ on his Terms, and to forsake all for him; but yet do stick to the World and their sin­ful Courses; and when it comes to Practice, will not be removed by all that Christ hath done and said: this is making light of Christ and Salvation. Jer. 4 [...]. 5. compared with 43. 2.

III. The Causes of this Sin are the next thing to be enquired after. It may seem a Wonder that ever Men that have the use of their Reason, should be so sottish [...] to make light of Matters of such Consequence. But the Cause is;

1. Some Men understand not the very Sense of the Words of the Gospel when they hear it, and how [...] they be taken with that which they understand not? Though we speak to them in plain English, and study to speak it as plain as we can; yet People have so estrang­ed themselves from God, and the Matters of their own Happiness, that they know not what we say; as if we spoke in another Language, and as if they were under that Judgment, Isa. 28. 11. with stammering Lips, and with another Tongue will he speak to th [...] People.

2. Some that do understand the Words that we speak▪ yet because they are carnal, understand not the Matt [...] for the natural Man receiveth not the things of the Spi­rit of God, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned, 1 Cor. 2. 14. They are earth­ly, and these things are heavenly, John 3. 12. Th [...] things of the Spirit are not well known by bare hearsay but by a spiritual Taste, which none have but those th [...] are taught by the Holy Ghost, 1 Cor. 2. 12. that we ma [...] know the things that are given us of God.

[Page 119] 3. A carnal Mind apprehendeth not a Sutableness in these spiritual and heavenly things to his Mind, and therefore he sets light by them, and hath no mind of them. When you tell him of everlasting Glory, he [...]eareth you as if you were perswading him to go play [...]ith the Sun: they are Matters of another World, and [...]ut of his Element; and therefore he hath no more De­ [...]ight in them than a Fish would have to be in the fairest [...]eadow, or than a Swine hath in a Jewel, or a Dog [...]n a piece of Gold: They may be good to others, but [...]e cannot apprehend them as sutable to him, because [...]e hath a Nature that is otherwise inclined: he savour­ [...]th not the things of the Spirit, Rom. 8. 5.

4. The main Cause of the slighting of Christ and [...]alvation, is a secret Root of Vnbelief in Mens Hearts. Whatsoever they may pretend, they do not soundly [...]nd throughly believe the Word of God: they are [...]aught in general to say, the Gospel is true; but they ne­ [...]er saw the Evidence of its Truth so far as throughly to [...]erswade them of it; nor have they got their Souls [...]ttled on the Infallibility of God's Testimony, nor con­ [...]dered of the Truth of the particular Doctrines reveal­ [...]d in the Scripture, so far as soundly to believe them. [...] did you all but soundly believe the Words of this Gospel, [...]f the Evil of Sin, of the Need of Christ, a [...]d what [...]e hath done for you, and what you must be and do if [...]ver you will be saved by him, and what will become of [...]ou for ever if you do it not; I dare say, it would [...]re the Contempt of Christ, and you would not make [...] light of the Matters of your Salvation. But Men do [...]t believe while they say they do, and would face us [...]own that they do, and verily think that they do them­ [...]lves. There is a Root of Bitterness, and an evil Heart [...] Unbelief, that makes them depart from the living [...]od, Heb. 2. 12. and 4. 1, 2, 6. Tell any Man in this [...]ngregation, that he shall have a Gift of 10000 pounds, [...]he will but go to London for it; if he believe you, he [...]ll go; but if he believe not, he will not: and if he [Page 120] will not go, you may be sure he believeth not, supposing that he is able. I know a slight Belief may stand with a wicked Life: Such as Men have of the Truth of a Prog­nostication, it may be true and it may be false; but a true and sound Belief is not consistent with so great Neglect of the things that are believed.

5. Christ and Salvation are made light of by the World because of their desperate hardness of Hea [...]. The Heart is hard naturally, and by Custom in sinning made more hard, especially by long abuse of Mercy, and neglect of the means of Grace, and resisting the Spirit of God. Hence it is that Men are turned into such Stones: and till God cure them of the Stone of the Heart, no wonder if they [...]eel not what they know, or regard not what we say, but make light of all; [...] hard preaching a Stone into tears, or making a Rock to tremble. You may stand over a dead Body long enough, and say to it, O thou Carcase, when thou hast [...] rotting and mouldred to Dust till the Resurrection, God will then call thee to account for thy Sin, and cast thee into ever­lasting Fire, before you can make it feel what you say▪ or fear the Misery that is never so truly threatned▪ When Mens Hearts are like the High-way that is trodd [...] to hardness by long custom in Sinning, or like th [...] Clay that is hardned to a Stone by the heat of thos [...] Mercies that should have melted them into Repentance▪ when they have Consciences seared with an hot Iro [...] as the Apostle speaks, 2 Tim. 4. 2. no wonder then [...] they be past feeling, and working all Uncleanness wi [...] greediness, do make light of Christ and everlasting Gl [...]ry. O that this were not the Case of too many of [...] Hearers! Had we but living Souls to speak to, the [...] would hear, and feel, and not make light of what [...] sa [...]. I know they are naturally alive, but they [...] spiritually dead, as the Scripture witnesseth, Ephes. 2 [...] O if there were but one spark of the Life of Grace them, the Doctrine of Salvation by Jesus Christ wo [...] appear to them to be the weightiest Business in [...] [Page 121] World. O how confident should I be methinks, to pre­vail with Men, and to take them off this World, and bring them to mind the Matter of another World, if I spake but to Men that had Life and Sense and Reason; but when we speak to Blocks and dead Men, how should we be regarded? O how sad a Case are these Souls in, that are fallen under this fearful Judgment of s [...]i­ritual Madness and Deadness! To have a blind [...], and an hard Heart, to be sottish and sensless, [...] [...]4. 12. John 12. 40. lest they should be converted, and their Sins should be forgiven them.

6. Christ and Salvation are made light of [...]y the World, because they are wholly enslaved to their Sense, and taken up with lower things: the Matters of ano­ther World are out of sight, and so far from their Sen­ses, that they cannot regard them; but present things are nearer them, in their Eyes, and in their Hands: there must be a living Faith to prevail over Sense, be­fore Men can be so taken with things that are not seen, though they have the Word of God for their Security, as to neglect and let go things that are still before their Eyes. Sense works with great Advantage, and there­fore doth much in resisting Faith where it is. No won­der then if it carry all before it, where there is no true and lively Faith to resist, and to lead the Soul to high­er things: this Cause of making light of Christ and Sal­ [...]ation, is expressed here in my Text; One went to his [...]arm, and another to his Merchandize: Men have Hou­ [...]es and Lands to look after: they have Wife and Chil­dren to mind, they have their Body and outward Estate [...]o regard; therefore they forget that they have a God, [...] Redeemer, a Soul to mind; these Matters of the World are still with them. They see these, but they [...] not God, nor Christ, nor their Souls, nor everlasting Glory. These things are near at hand, and therefore work [...]aturally, and so work forcibly; but the other are thought [...]n as a great way off, and therefore too distant to work [...]n their Affections, or be at the present so much regard­ed [Page 122] by them. Their Body hath Life and Sense; and therefore if they want Meat, or Drink, or Clothes, will feel their Want, and tell them of it, and give them no rest till their Wants be supplied; and there­fore they cannot make light of their bodily Necessi­ties: but their Souls in spiritual Respects are dead, and therefore [...]eel not their Wants, but will let them alone in their greatest Necessities; and be as quiet when they are starved and languishing to Destruction, as if all were well and nothing ailed them. And hereupon poor People are wholly taken up in providing for the Body, as if they had nothing else to mind. They have their Trades and Callings to follow, and so much to do from Morning to Night, that they can find no time for Matters of Salvation. Christ would teach them, but they have no leisure to hear him: the Bible is be­fore them, but they cannot have while to read it: A Minister is in the Town with them, but they cannot have while to go to enquire of him what they should do to be saved: And when they do hear, their Hearts are so full of the World, and carried away with these lower Matters, that they cannot mind the things which they hear. They are so full of the Thoughts and Desires, and Cares of this World, that there is no room to pour into them the Water of Life: The Cares of the World do choak the Word, and make it become unfruit­ful, Matth. 13. 22. Men cannot serve two Masters, God and Mammon, but they will lean to the one, and de­spise the other, Matth. 6. 24. He that loveth the World, the Love of the Father is not in him, 1 Je [...] 2. 15, 16. Men cannot choose but set light by Christ and Salvation, while they set so much by any thing on Earth. It is that which is highly esteemed among Men, is abominable in the Sight of God, Luke 16. 15. O this is the Ruine of many thousand Souls! It would grieve the Heart of any honest Christian, to see how eagerly this vain World is followed everywhere, and how little Men set by Christ, and the World to come; [Page 123] [...] compare the Care that Men have for the World, [...]ith the Care of their Souls; and the time that they [...]y out on the World, with that time they lay out [...]r their Salvation: To see how the World fills their [...]ouths, their Hands, their Houses, their Hearts; [...]d Christ hath little more than a bare Title: to come [...] their Company, and hear no Discourse but of the [...]orld; to come into their Houses, and hear and see no­ [...]ing but for the World, as if this World would last [...]r ever, or would purchase them another. When I [...]k sometime the Ministers of the Gospel how their [...]bours succeed, they tell me, People continue still the [...], and give up themselves wholly to the World, so that [...] mind not what Ministers say to them, nor will give any [...] Entertainment to the Word, and all because of the delud­ [...]g World. And O that too many Ministers themselves [...]d not make light of that Christ whom they preach, [...]eing drawn away with the Love of this World! In a [...]ord, Men of a worldly Disposition do judg of things, [...]cording to worldly Advantages; therefore Christ [...] slighted, Isa. 53. 3. He is despised and rejected of Men; [...] hide their faces from him, and esteem him not, as see­ [...]g no Beauty or Comeliness in him, that they should desire, [...]n.

7. Christ and Salvation are made light of, because [...]en do not soberly consider of the Truth and Weight of [...]ese necessary things. They suffer not their Minds [...] long to dwell upon them, till they procure a due [...]steem, and deeply affect their Heart; did they be­ [...]eve them, and not consider of them, how should they [...]ork? O when Men have Reason given them to think [...]nd consider of the things that most concern them, [...]nd yet they will not use it, this causeth their Con­ [...]mpt.

8. Christ and Salvation are made light of, because [...]en were never sensible of their Sin and Misery, and ex­ [...]am Necessity of Christ and his Salvation: Their Eyes [...]ere never opened to see themselves as they are; nor [Page 124] their Hearts soundly humbled in the Sense of their Con­dition: if this were done, they would soon be brough [...] to value a Saviour. A truly broken Heart can no mo [...] make light of Christ and Salvation, than a hungr [...] Man of his Food, or a sick Man of the Means th [...] would give him case: but till then, our Wo [...] cannot have Access to their Hearts. While [...] and Misery is made light of, Christ and Salvati [...] will be made light of; but when these are perceiv [...] an intolerable Burden, then nothing will serve the [...] but Christ. Till Men be truly humbled, they [...] venture Christ and Salvation for a Lust, for a lit [...] worldly Gain, even for less than nothing: but wh [...] God hath illuminated them, and broken their Hea [...] then they would give a World for a Christ; then th [...] must have Christ, or they die; all things then are Loss [...] Dung to them in regard of the excellent Knowledg of [...] Phil. 3. 8. When they are once pricked in their Hear [...] for Sin and Misery, then they cry out, Men and Breth [...] what shall we do? Acts 2. 37. When they are awake [...]ed by God's Judgments, as the poor Jaylor, [...] 16. 29. then they cry out, Sirs, what shall I do to [...] saved? This is the Reason why God will bring Men [...] low by Humiliation, before he bring them to Salvat [...].

9. Men take occasion to make light of Christ, [...] the Commonness of the Gospel; because they do hear [...] it every Day, the frequency is an Occasion to dull th [...] Affections; I say, an Occasion, for it is no just Cau [...] Were it a Rarity, it might take more with them; [...] now, if they hear a Minister preach nothing but th [...] saving Truths, they say, We have these every Day; the make not light of their Bread or Drink, their Hea [...] or Life, because they possess them every day; they ma [...] not light of the Sun, because it shineth every day; least they should not, for the Mercy is the greater: [...] Christ and Salvation are made light of, because th [...] hea [...] of them often; This is, say they, a good plain [...] Se [...]mon: Pea [...]ls are trod in the dirt where they are [...]; [Page 125] they loath this dry Manna, Prov. 27. 7. The [...]ull Soul loaths the Hony-comb; but to the Hungry Soul [...]very bitter thing is sweet.

10. Christ and Salvation are made light of, because of this disjunctive Presumption, either that he is sure enough theirs already, and God that is so merciful, and [...]hrist that hath suff [...]red so much for them, is surely re­solved to save them, or else it may easily be obtained at [...]ny time, if it be not yet so. A conceited Facility to [...]ave a part in Christ and Salvation at any time, doth occasion Men to make light of them. It is true, that Grace is free, and the Offer is universal, according to [...]he extent of the preaching of the Gospel; and it is [...]rue that Men may have Christ when they will; that is, when they are willing to have him on his Terms: but he that hath promised thee Christ, if thou be willing, hath not promised to make thee willing; and if thou art not willing now, how canst thou think thou shalt be willing hereafter? If thou canst make thine own Heart willing, why is it not done now? Can you do it better when Sin hath more hardned it, and God may have given thee over to thy felf? O Sinners, you might do much, though you are not able of your selves to come in, if you would now subject your selves to the working of the Spirit, and set in while the Gales of Grace con­tinue! But did you know what a hard and impossible thing it is to be so much as willing to have Christ and Grace, when the Heart is given over to it self, and the Spirit hath withdrawn its former Invitations, you would not be so confident of your own Strength to believe and repent; nor would you make light of Christ upon such foolish Confidence. If indeed it be so easy a Mat­ter as you imagine for a Sinner to believe and repent at any time; how comes it to pass that it is done by so few, but most of the World do perish in their Impeni­tency, when they have all the Helps and Means that we can afford them? It is true, the thing is very reasona­ble and easy in it self to a pure Nature; but while Man [Page 126] is blind and dead, these things are in a sort impossible to him, which are never so easy to others. It is the easiest and sweetest Life in the World to a gracious Soul to live in the Love of God, and the delightful Thoughts of the Life to come, where all their Hope and Happi­ness lieth: But to worldly carnal Hearts it is as easy to remove a Mountain, as to bring them to this. How­ever, these Men are their own Condemners: for [...] they think it so easy a Matter to repent and believe, and so to have Christ and Right to Salvation, then have they no excuse for neglecting this which they thought so easy. O wretched impenitent Soul! what mean you to say, when God shall ask you, Why did you not repent and love your Redeemer above the World, when you thought it [...] easy that you could do it at any time?

IV. Vse 1. We come now to the Application. And hence you may be informed of the Blindness and Folly of all carnal Men: how contemptible are their Judgments that think Christ and Salvation contemptible: and how littl [...] Reason there is why any should be moved by them, or discouraged by any of their Scorns or Contradictions.

How shall we sooner know a Man to be a Fool, than if he knows no difference between Dung and Gold? Is there such a thing as madness in the Word, if that Man be not mad, that sets light by Christ and his own Sal­vation, while he daily toils for the Dung of the Earth▪ And yet what pity is it to see that a Company of poor ignorant Souls will be ashamed of Godliness, if such Men as these do but deride them! Or will think hardly of a holy Life, if such as these do speak against it! Hearers, if you see any set light by Christ and Salvation, do you set light by that Man's Wit, and by his Words, and hear the Reproaches of a holy Life, as you would hear the Words of a Mad-man; not with regard, but with a Compassion of his Misery.

[Page 127] Vse 2. What wonder if we and our preaching be de­spised, and the best Ministers complain of ill success, when the Ministry of the Apostles themselves did succeed no better? What wonder if for all that we can say or do, our Hearers still set light by Christ and their own Salva­tion, when the Apostles Hearers did the same? They that did second their Doctrines by Miracles. If any Men could have shaken and torn in pieces the Hearts of Sin­ners, they could have done it: If any could have laid them at their Feet, and made them all cry out as some, What shall we do? it would have been they. You may see then that it is not meerly for want of good Preachers that Men make light of Christ and Salvation: the first News of such a thing as the Pardon of Sin, and the Hopes of Glory, and the Danger of everlasting Misery, would turn the Hearts of Men within them, if they were as tractable in spiritual Matters as in temporal: But alas, it is far otherwise. It must not seem any strange thing, nor must it too much discourage the Preachers of the Gospel, if when they have said all that they can de­vise to say to win the Hearts of Men to Christ, the most do still slight him; and while they bow the Knee to him, and honour him with their Lips, do yet set so light by him in their Hearts, as to prefer every fleshly Pleasure or Commodity before him. It will be thus with many: let us be glad that it is not thus with all.

Vse 3. But for closer Application. Seeing this is the great condemning Sin, before we enquire after it into the Hearts of our Hearers, it beseems us to begin at home, and see that we who are Preachers of the Go­spel be not guilty of it our selves. The Lord forbid that they that have undertaken the sacred Office of reveal­ing the Excellencies of Christ to the World, should make light of him themselves, and slight that Salva­tion which they do daily preach. The Lord knows we [Page 128] are all of us so low in our Estimation of Christ, and do this great Work so negligently, that we have cause to be ashamed of our best Sermons; but should this Sin prevail in us, we were the most miserable of all Men. Brethren, I love not Censoriousness; yet dare not be­friend so vile a Sin in my self or others under pretence of avoiding it, especially when there is so great Neces­sity that it should be healed first in them that make it their Work to heal it in others. O that there were no cause to complain that Christ and Salvation are made light of by the Preachers of it! But, 1. Do not the negligent Studies of some speak it out? 2. Doth not their dead and drowsy Preaching declare it? Do not they make light of the Doctrine they preach, that do it as if they were half asleep, and feel not what they speak themselves?

3. Doth not the Carelesness of some Mens private Endeavours discover it? What do they for Souls? how slightly do they reprove Sin? how little do they when they are out of the Pulpit for the saving of Mens Souls?

4. Doth not the continued Neglect of those things wherein the Interest of Christ consisteth discover it? 1. The Churches Purity and Reformation; 2. Its Unity.

5. Doth not the covetous and worldly Lives of too many discover it, losing Advantages for Mens Souls for a little Gain to themselves? and most of this is because Men are Preachers before they are Christians, and tell Men of that which they never felt themselves. Of all Men on Earth, there are few that are in so sad a Con­dition as such Ministers: and if indeed they do believe that Scripture which they preach, methinks it should be terrible to them in their studying and preaching it.

Vse 4. Beloved Hearers; the Office that God hath called us to, is, by declaring the Glory of his Grace, to [Page 129] help under Christ to the saving of Mens Souls. I hope you think not that I come hither to Day on any other Errand. The Lord knows I had not set a Foot out of Doors, but in hope to succeed in this Work for your Souls. I have considered and often considered, what is the matter that so many thousands should perish when God hath done so much for their Salvation; and I find this that is mentioned in my Text is the Cause. It is one of the Wonders of the World, that when God hath­so loved the World as to send his Son, aud Christ hath made a Satisfaction by his Death sufficient for them all, and offereth the Benefits of it so freely to them, even without Money or Price, that yet the most of the World should perish; yea the most of those that are thus called by his Word! Why here is the Reason, when Christ hath done all this, Men make light of it. God hath shewed that he is not unwilling; and Christ hath shewed that he is not unwilling that Men should be re­stored to God's Favour and be saved; but Men are actu­ally unwilling themselves. God takes not pleasure in the Death of Sinners, but rather that they return and live, Ezek. 33. 11. But Men take such pleasure in Sin, that they will die before they will return. The Lord Jesus was content to be their Physician, and hath provided them a sufficient Plaister of his own Blood: but if Men make light of it, and will not apply it, what wonder if they perish after all? This Scripture giveth us the Reason of their Perdition. This sad Experience tells us the most of the World is guilty of. It is a most la­mentable thing to see how most Men do spend their Care, their Time, their Pains for known Vanities, while God and Glory are cast aside: That he who is all, should seem to them as nothing; and that which is nothing, should seem to them as good as all; that God should set Man­kind in such a Race where Heaven or Hell is their certain End, and that they should sit down, and loiter, or run after the childish Toys of the World, and so much forget the Prize that they should run for. Were it but [Page 130] possible for one of us to see the whole of this Business, as the All-seeing God doth; to see at one View both Heaven and Hell which Men are so near, and see what most Men in the World are minding, and what they are doing every Day, it would be the saddest sight that could be imagined. O how should we marvel at their Mad­ness, and lament their Self-delusion! O poor distracted World! what is it that you run after? and what is it that you neglect? If God had never told them what they were sent into the Word to do, or whi­ther they were going, or what was before them in another World, then they had been excusable; but he hath told them over and over, till they were weary of it. Had he left it doubtful, there had been some excuse; but it is his sealed Word, and they profess to believe it, and would take it ill of us if we should question whe­ther they do believe it or not.

Beloved, I come not to accuse any of you particu­larly of this Crime: but seeing it is the commonest Cause of Mens Destruction, I suppose you will judg it the fit­test Matter for our Enquiry, and deserving our greatest Care for the Cure. To which end I shall, 1. Endeavour the Conviction of the Guilty. 2. Shall give them such Considerations as may tend to humble and reform them. 3. I shall conclude with such Direction as may help them that are willing to escape the destroying Power of this Sin. And for the first, consider,

1. It is the Case of most Sinners to think themselves freest from those Sins that they are most enslaved to; and one reason why we cannot reform them, is, because we cannot convince them of their Guilt. It is the Na­ture of Sin so far to blind and besool the Sinner, that he knoweth not what he doth, but thinketh he is free from it when it reigneth in him, or when he is commit­ting it: it bringeth Men to be so much unacquainted with themselves, that they know not what they think, or what they mean and intend, nor what they love or hate, much less what they are habituated and disposed [Page 131] to. They are alive to Sin, and dead to all the Reason, Consideration and Resolution that should recover them, as if it were only by their sinning that we must know they are alive. May I hope that you that hear me to Day, are but willing to know the Truth of your Case, and then I shall be encouraged to proceed to an enquiry. God will judg impartially; why should not we do so? Let me therefore by these following Questions, try whe­ther none of you are Slighters of Christ and your own Sal­vation. And follow me, I beseech you, by putting them close to your own Hearts, and faithfully answering them.

1. Things that Men highly value will be remembred, they will be matter of their freest and sweetest thoughts; this a known Case.

Do not those then make light of Christ and Salvation, that think of them so seldom and coldly in compari­son of other things? Follow thy own Heart Man, and ob­serve what it daily runneth out after; and then judg whether it make not light of Christ.

We cannot perswade Men to one Hour's sober Con­sideration what they should do for an Interest in Christ, or in Thankfulness for his Love, and yet they will not believe that they make light of him.

2. Things that we highly value will be Matter of our Discourse: The Judgment and Heart will command the Tongue: Freely and delightfully will our Speech run after them: this also is a known Case.

Do not those then make light of Christ and Salvation, that shun the mention of his Name, unless it be in a vain or sinful Use? Those that love not the Company where Christ and Salvation is much talk'd of, but think it troublesom precise Discourse; that had rather hear some merry Jests, or idle Tales, or talk of their Riches or Business in the World: When you may fol­low them from Morning to Night, and scarce have a sa­voury Word of Christ, but perhaps some slight and weary mention of him sometimes; judg whether these make not light of Christ and Salvation. How seriously [Page 132] do they talk of the World, Psal. 144. 8, 11. and speak Vanity! but how heartlesly do they make mention of Christ and Salvation?

3. The things that we highly value, we would secure the Possession of, and therefore would take any conve­nient Course to have all Doubts and Fears about them well resolved. Do not those Men then make light of Christ and Salvation, that have lived 20 or 30 Years in Uncertainty whether they have any part in these or not, and yet never seek out for the right Resolution of their Doubts? Are all that hear me this Day certain they shall be saved? O that they were! O had you not made light of Salvation, you could not so easily bear such Doubtings of it; you could not rest till you had made it sure, or done your best to make it sure. Have you no Body to enquire of, that might help you in such a Work? Why you have Ministers that are purposely appointed to that Office. Have you gone to them, and told them the Doubtfulness of your Case, and asked their Help in the judging of your Condition? Alas, Ministers may sit in their Studies from one Year to another, before ten Persons among 1000 will come to them on such an Er­rand! Do not these make light of Christ and Salvation? When the Gospel pierceth the Heart indeed, they cry out, Men and Brethren, what shall we do to be saved? Acts 16. 30. and [...]. 6. trembling and astonished Paul cries out, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And so did the convinced Jews to Peter, Acts 2. 37. But when hear we such Questions?

4. The things that we value, do deeply affect us, and some Motions will be in the Heart according to our Esti­mation of them. O Sirs, if Men made not light of these things, what working would there be in the Hearts of all our Hearers? what strange Affections would it raise in them to hear of the Matters of the World to come! How would their Hearts melt before the Power of the Gospel! what Sorrow would be wrought in the Discovery of their Sin! what Astonishment at the Con­sideration [Page 133] of their Misery! what unspeakable Joy at the glad Tidings of Salvation by the Blood of Christ! what Resolution would be raised in them upon the Disco­very of their Duty! O what Hearers should we have if it were not for this Sin! Whereas now we are liker to weary them, or preach them asleep with Matters of this unspeakable Moment. We talk to them of Christ and Salvation, till we make their Heads ake: Little would one think by their careless Carriage, that they heard and regarded what we said, or thought we spoke at all to them.

5. Our Estimation of things will be seen in the dili­gence of our Endeavours. That which we highliest va­lue, we shall think no pains too great to obtain. Do not those Men then make light of Christ and Salvation, that think all too much that they do for them, that mur­mur at his Service, and think it too grievous for them to endure? that ask of his Service, as Judas of the Oint­ment, What need this waste? cannot Men be saved without so much ado? this is more ado than needs. For the World they will labour all the Day, and all their Lives; but for Christ and Salvation they are afraid of doing too much. Let us preach to them as long as we will, we cannot bring them to relish or resolve upon a Life of Ho­liness. Follow them to their Houses, and you shall not hear them read a Chapter, nor call upon God with their Families once a Day; nor will they allow him that one Day in seven which he hath separated to his Service. But Pleasure, or worldly Business, or Idleness must have a part. And many of them are so far hardened, as to reproach them that will not be as mad as themselves. And is not Christ worth the seeking? Is not everlast­ing Salvation worth more than all this? Doth not that Soul make light of all these, that thinks his Ease more worth than they? Let but common Sense judg.

6. That which we most highly value, we think we cannot buy too dear: Christ and Salvation are freely given, and yet the most of Men go without them, because [Page 134] they cannot enjoy the World and them together. They are called but to part with that which would hinder them from Christ, and they will not do it. They are called but to give God his own, and to resign all to his Will, and let go the Profits and Pleasures of this World, when they must let go either Christ or them; and they will not. They think this too dear a Bargain, and say they cannot spare these things; they must hold their Credit with Men; they must look to their Estates, how shall they live else? they must have their Pleasure, whatso­ever becomes of Christ and Salvation: As if they could live without Christ better than without these: as if they were afraid of being Losers by Christ, or could make a saving Match by losing their Souls to gain the World. Christ hath told us over and over, that if we will not forsake all for him, we cannot be his Disciples, Luke 14. 33. Far are these Men from forsaking all, and yet will needs think that they are his Disciples indeed.

7. That which Men highly esteem, they would help their Friend's to as well as themselves. Do not those Men make light of Christ and Salvation, that can take so much care to leave their Children Portions in the World, and do so little to help them to Heaven? that provide outward Necessaries so carefully for their Families, but do so little to the saving of their Souls? Their ne­glected Children and Friends will witness, that either Christ, or their Childrens Souls, or both were made light of.

8. That which Men highly esteem, they will so dili­gently seek after, that you may see it in the success, if it be a Matter within their reach. You may see how many make light of Christ, by the little Knowledg they have of him, and the little Communion with him, and Communication from him; and the little, yea, none of his special Graces in them. Alas, how many Ministers can speak it to the Sorrow of their Hearts, that many of their People know almost nothing of Christ, though [Page 135] they hear of him daily, nor know they what they must do to be saved! If we ask them an account of these things; they answer as if they understood not what we say to them, and tell us they are no Scho­lars, and therefore think they are excusable for their Ignorance. O if these Men had not made light of Christ and their Salvation, but had bestowed but half so much Pains to know and enjoy him, as they have done to understand the Matters of their Trades and Callings in the World, they would not have been so ig­norant as they are: they make light of these things, and therefore will not be at the Pains to study or learn them. When Men that can learn the hardest Trade in a few Years, have not learned a Catechism, nor how to understand their Creed, under twenty or thirty Years Preaching, nor cannot abide to be question­ed about such things; doth not this shew that they have slighted them in their Hearts? How will these Despisers of Christ and Salvation be able one Day to look him in the Face, and to give an account of these Neglects?

Thus much I have spoken in order to your Convicti­on. Do not some of your Consciences by this time smite you, and say, I am the Man that have made light of my Salvation? If they do not, it is because you make light of it still for all that is said to you. But because, if it be the Will of the Lord, I would fain have this damning Distemper cured, and am loth to leave you in such a desperate Condition, if I knew how to remedy [...]it, I will give you some Considerations, which may [...]move you, if you be Men of Reason and Understanding, to look better about you; and I beseech you weigh them, and make use of them as we go, and lay open your Hearts to the Work of Grace, and sadly bethink you what a Case you are in, if you prove such as make light of Christ.

Consider, 1. Thou makest light of him that made not light of thee who didst deserve it. Thou was [...] wor­thy [Page 130] of nothing but Contempt. As a Man, what art thou but a Worm to God? As a Sinner, thou art far viler than a Toad: yet Christ was so far from making light of thee and th [...] Happiness, that he came down into the Flesh, and lived a [...]ife of Suffering, and offered himself a Sacrifice to the Justice which thou hadst provoked, that thy miserable Soul might have a Remedy. It is no less than Miracles of Love and Mercy that he hath shewed to us: and yet shall we slight them after all?

Angels admire them, whom they less concern, 1 Pet. 1. 12. and shall redeemed Sinners make light of them? What barbarous, yea devilish, yea worse than devilish Ingratitude is this? the Devils never had a Saviour of­fered them, but thou hast, and dost thou yet make light of him?

2. Consider the Work of Man's Salvation by Jesus Christ is the Master-piece of all the Works of God, wherein he would have his Love and Mercy to be mag­nified. As the Creation declareth his Goodness and Power, so doth Redemption his Goodness and Mercy; he hath contrived the very Frame of his Worship so, that it shall much consist in the magnifying of this Work; and after all this, will you make light of it? His Name is Wonderful, Isa. 9. 6. He did the Work that none could do, John 15. 24. Greater Love could none shew than this, John 15. 13. How great was the Evil and Misery that he delivered us from! the Good procur­ed for us! all are Wonders from his Birth to his Ascen­sion; from our new Birth to our Glorification, all are Wonders of matchless Mercy. And yet do you make light of them!

3 You make light of Matters of greatest Excellency and Moment in the World: you know not what it is that you slight; had you well known, you could not have done it. As Christ said to the Woman of Samaria, John 4. 10. hadst thou known who it is that speaketh to thee, thou wouldst have asked of him the Waters of Life: had they known, they would not have crucified [Page 137] the Lord of Glory, 1 Cor. 2. 8. So had you known what Christ is, you would not have made light of him; Had you been one Day in Heaven, and but seen what they possess, and seen also what miserable Souls must endure that are shut out, you would never sure have made so light of Christ again.

O Sirs, it is no Trifles or jesting Matters that the Go­spel speaks of. I must needs profess to you, that when I have the most serious Thoughts of these things my self, I am ready to marvel that such amazing Matters do not overwhelm the Souls of Men: that the Great­ness of the Subject doth not so overmatch our Under­standings and Affections, as even to drive Men beside themselves, but that God hath always somewhat allayed it by the distance; much more that Men should be so blockish as to make light of them. O Lord, that Men did but know what everlasting Glory, and ever­lasting Torments are; would they then hear us as they do? would they read and think of these things as they do? I profess I have been ready to wonder when I have heard such weighty things delivered, how People can forbear crying out in the Congregation; much more, how they can rest till they have gone to their Ministers and learned what they should do to be saved, that this great Business might be put out of doubt. O that Hea­ven and Hell should work no more on Men! O that Everlastingness should work no more! O how can you forbear when you are alone, to think with your selves what it is to be everlastingly in Joy or in Torment! I wonder that such Thoughts do not break your Sleep; and that they come not in your mind when you are about your Labour! I wonder how you can almost do any thing else! How you can have any Quietness in your Minds! How you can eat, or drink, or rest, till you have got some Ground of everlasting Consolations! Is that a Man or a Corps that is not affected with Matters of this Moment? that can be readier to sleep, than to trem­ble, when he heareth how he must stand at the Bar of [Page 138] God! Is that a Man, or a Clod of Clay, that can rise and lie down without being deeply affected with his ever­lasting Estate? that can follow his worldly Business, and make nothing of the great Business of Salva­tion or Damnation; and that when they know it is hard at hand. Truly Sirs, when I think of the Weight of the Matter, I wonder at the very best of God's Saints upon Earth, that they are no better, and do no more in so weighty a Case. I wonder at those whom the World accounteth more holy than needs, and scorns for making too much ado; that they can put off Christ and their Souls with so little; that they pour not out their Souls in every Supplication; that they are not more taken up with God; that their Thoughts be not more serious in preparation for their Account. I won­der that they be not an hundred times more strict in their Lives, and more laborious and unwearied in striving for the Crown, than they are. And for my self, as I am ashamed of my dull and careless Heart, and of my slow and unprofitable Course of Life; so the Lord knows, I am ashamed of every Sermon that I preach: when I think what I have been speaking of, and who sent me; and that Mens Salvation or Damnation is so much concerned in it. I am ready to tremble, lest God should judg me as a Slighter of his Truth, and the Souls of Men, and lest in the best Sermon I should be guilty of their Blood. Methinks we should not speak a Word to Men in Matters of such Consequence, with­out Tears, or the greatest Earnestness that possibly we can: were not we too much guilty of the Sin which we reprove, it would be so. Whether we are alone, or in Company, methinks our End, and such an End, should still be in our Mind, and as before our Eyes; and we should sooner forget any thing, and set light by any thing, or by all things, than by this.

Consider, 4. Who is it that sends this weighty Mes­sage to you? Is it not God himself? Shall the God of Heaven speak, and Men make light of it? You [Page 139] would not slight the Voice of an Angel or a Prince.

5. Whose Salvation is it that you make light of? Is it not your own? Are you no more near or dear to your selves, than to make light of your own Happiness or Mi­sery? Why Sirs, do you not care whether you be saved or damned? Is Self-love lost? Are you turned your own Enemies? As he that slighteth his Meat doth slight his Life; so if you slight Christ, whatsoever you may think, you will find it was your own Salvation that you slighted. Hear what he saith, Prov. 8. 36. All they that hate me, love Death.

6. Your Sin is greater, in that you profess to believe the Gospel which you make so light of. For a professed Infidel to do it, that believes not that ever Christ died, or rose again, or doth not believe that there is an Heaven or Hell, this were no such marvel; but for you that make it your Creed, and your very Religion, and call your selves Christians, and have been baptized into this Faith, and seemed to stand to it, this is the Wonder, and hath no Excuse. What! believe that you shall live in endless Joy or Torment, and yet make no more of it, to escape Torment, and obtain that Joy. What! believe that God will shortly judg you, and yet make no more Preparation for it. Either say plainly, I am no Christian, I do not believe these wonderful things, I will be­lieve nothing but what I see; or else let your Hearts be affected with your Belief, and live as you say you do be­lieve. What do you think when you repeat the Creed, and mention Christ's Judgment, and everlasting Life?

7. What are these things you set so much by▪ as to prefer them before Christ, and the saving of your Souls? Have you found a better Friend, a greater and surer Happiness than this? Good Lord! what Dung is it that Men make so much of, while they set so light by ever­lasting Glory! What Toys are they that they are daily taken up with, while Matters of Life and Death are ne­glected! Why Sirs, if you had every one a Kingdom in your Hopes, what were it in comparison of the ever­lasting [Page 140] Kingdom? I cannot but look upon all the Glory and Dignity of this World, Lands and Lordships, Crowns and Kingdoms, even as on some brainsick beggarly Fel­low, that borroweth fine Clothes, and plays the Part of a King or a Lord for an Hour on a Stage, and then comes down, and the Sport is ended, and they are Beggars again. Were it not for God's Interest in the Authority of Magistrates, or for the Service they might do him, I should judg no better of them. For as to their own Glory, it is but a Smoak: what matter is it whether you live poor or rich, unless it were a greater Matter to die rich than it is? You know well enough that Death levels all: what Matter is it at Judgment, whether you be to answer for the Life of a rich Man, or a poor Man? Is Dives then any better than Lazarus? O that Men knew what a poor deceiving Shadow they grasp at, while they let go the everlasting Substance! The strongest and richest, and most volup [...]uous Sin­ners, do but lay in fuel for their Sorrows, while they think they are gathering together a Treasure. Alas, they are asleep, and dream that they are happy; but when they awake, what a Change will they find! Their Crown is made of Thorns: their Pleasure hath such a Sting as will stick in the Heart through all Eternity, except un­feigned Repentance do prevent it. O how sadly will these Wretches be convinced ere long what a foolish Bargain they made in [...]elling Christ and their Salvation for these Trifles! Let your Farms and Merchandize then save you if they can, and do that for you that Christ would have done. Cry then to thy Baal to save thee. O what Though [...]s have Drunkards and Adulterers, &c. of Christ, that will not part with the basest Lust for him! For a piece of Bread, saith Solomon, such Men do transgress, Prov. 28. 21.

8. To set so light by Christ and Salvation is a cer­tain Mark that thou hast no part in them, and if thou so continue, that Christ will set as light by thee: those that honour him he will honour, and those that despise him [Page 141] shall be lightly esteemed, 1 Sam. 2. 30. Thou wilt feel one Day that thou canst not live without him. Thou wilt confess then thy need of him: and then thou mayest go look for a Saviour where thou wilt, for he will be no Saviour for thee hereafter, that wouldst not value him, and submit to him here. Then who will prove the Loser by thy Contempt? O what a thing will it be for a poor miserable Soul to cry to Christ for Help in the Day of Extremity, and to hear so sad an Answer as this! Thou didst set light by me and my Law in the Day of thy Prosperity, and I will now set as light by thee in thy Adversity. Read Prov. 1. 24 to the end. Thou that, as Esau, didst sell thy Birth-right for a Mess of Pottage, shalt then find no Place for Repentance, though thou seek it with Tears, Heb. 12. 17. Do you think that Christ shed his Blood to save them that continue to make light of it? and to save them that value a Cup of Drink, or a Lust, before his Salvation? I tell you Sirs, though you set so light by Christ and Salvation, God doth not so: He will not give them on such Terms as these: He valueth the Blood of his Son, and the everlasting Glory; and he will make you value them, if ever you have them. Nay, this will be thy Condem­nation, and leaveth no Remedy. All the World cannot save him that sets light by Christ, Heb. 2. 3. Luke 14. 24. None of them shall taste of his Supper, Mat. 10. 37. Nor can you blame him to deny you what you made light of your selves. Can you find fault if you miss of the Salvation which you slighted?

9. The time is near when Christ and Salvation will not be made light of, as now they are. When God hath shaken those careless Souls out of their Bodies, and you must answer for all your Sins in your own Name; O then, what would you give for a Saviour! when a thousand Bills shall be brought in against you, and none to relieve you, then you will consider, O Christ would now have stood between me and the Wrath of God: had I not despised him, he would have answered all. When you see the World [Page 142] hath left you, and your Companions in Sin have deceiv­ed themselves and you, and all your merry Days are gone; then what would you give for that Christ and Sal­vation that now you account not worth your Labour? Do you think when you see the Judgment set, and you are doomed to everlasting Perdition for your Wicked­ness, that you should then make as light of Christ as now? Why will you not judg now, as you know you shall judg then? Will he then be worth ten thousand Worlds, and is he not now worth your highest Estimati­on, and dearest Affection?

10. God will not only deny thee that Salvation thou madest light of, but he will take from thee all that which thou didst value before it: He that most highly esteems Christ, shall have him and the Creatures so far as they are good here, and him without the Creature hereafter, because the Creature is not useful; and he that sets more by the Creature than by Christ, shall have some of the Creature without Christ here, and neither Christ nor it hereafter.

So much of these Considerations, which may shew the true Face of this heinous Sin.

What think you now, Friends, of this Business? Do you not see by this time what a Case that Soul is in that maketh light of Christ and Salvation? What need then is there that you should take heed lest this should prove your own Case? The Lord knows it is too com­mon a Case. Whoever is found guilty at the last of this Sin, it were better for that Man he had never been born. It were better for him he had been a Turk or Indian, that never had heard the Name of a Saviour, and that never had Salvation offered to him: For such Men have no cloak for their Sin, John 15. 22. Besides all the rest of their Sins, they have this killing Sin to answer for, which will undo them. And this will aggravate their Mi­sery, That Christ whom they set light by, must be their Judg, and for this Sin will he judg them. O that such would now consider how they will answer that Question [Page 143] that Christ puts to their Predecessors, Matth. 23. 33. How will ye escape the Damnation of Hell? or Heb. 2. 3. How shall we escape if we neglect so great Salvation? Can you escape without a Christ? or will a despised Christ save you then? If he be accursed that sets light by Father or Mother, Deut. 27. 16. what then is he that sets light by Christ? It was the heinous Sin of the Jews, that among them were found such as set light by Father and Mother, Ezek. 22. 7. but among us, Men slight the Fa­ther of Spirits. In the Name of God, Brethren, I be­seech you to consider how you will then bear his Anger which you now make light of? You that cannot make light of a little Sickness or Want, or of natural Death, no not of a Tooth-ach, but groan as if you were undone, how will you then make light of the Fury of the Lord, which will burn against the Contemners of his Grace? Doth it not behove you beforehand to think of these things?

Hitherto I have been convincing you of the Evil of the Sin, and the Danger that followeth: I come now to know your Resolution for the time to come. What say you? Do you mean to set as light by Christ and Salvati­on as hitherto you have done? and to be the same Men after all this? I hope not. O let not your Ministers that would fain save you, be brought in as Witnesses against you to condemn you. At least, I beseech you put not this upon me. Why Sirs, if the Lord shall say to us at Judgment, Did you never tell these Men what Christ did for their Souls, and what need they had of him, and how nearly it did concern them to look to their Salvation, that they made not light of it? we must needs say the Truth: Yea Lord, we told them of it as plainly as we could; we would have gone on our Knees to them, if we had thought it would have prevailed; we did intreat them as earnestly as we could to consider these things: they heard of these things every day; but alas, we could never get 'em to their Hearts: they gave us the hear­ing, but they made light of all that we could say to them. [Page 144] O sad will it prove on your side, if you force us to such an Answer as this.

But if the Lord do move the Hearts of any of you, and you resolve to make light of Christ no more: Or if any of you say, We do not make light of him; let me tell you here in the Conclusion, what you must do, or else you shall be judged as Slighters of Christ and Sal­vation.

And first, I will tell you what will not serve the turn.

1. You may have a notional Knowledg of Christ, and the Necessity of his Blood, and of the Excellency of Salvation, and yet perish as Neglecters of him. This is too common among profest Christians. You may say all that other Men do of him. What Gospel-Pas­sages had Balaam? Jesus I know, and Paul I know, the very Devils could say, who believe and tremble, Jam. 2. 19.

2. You may weep at the History of his Passion, when you read how he was used by the Jews; and yet make light of him, and perish for so doing.

3. You may come desirously to his Word and Ordi­nances. Herod heard gladly; so do many that yet must perish as Neglecters of Salvation.

4. You may in a fit of Fear have strong Desires after a Christ to ease you, and to save you from God's Wrath, as Saul had of David to play before him; and yet you may perish for making light of Christ.

5. You may obey him in many things, so far as will not ruine you in the World, and escape much of the Pollutions of the World by his Knowledg; and yet neglect him.

6. You may suffer and lose much for him, so far as leaveth you an earthly Felicity; as Ananias, the young Man. Some Parcels of their Pleasures and Profits ma­ny will part with in Hope of Salvation, that shall perish everlastingly, for valuing it no more.

[Page 145] 7. You may be esteemed by others a Man Zealous for Christ, and loved and admired upon that account, and yet be one that shall perish for making light of him.

8. You may verily think you selves, that you set more by Christ and Salvation than any thing, and yet be mistaken, and be judged as Contemners of him: Christ iustifieth not all that justify themselves.

9. You may be zealous Preachers of Christ and Sal­vation, and reprove others for this neglect, and lament the Sin of the World in the like Expression as I have done this Day; and yet if you or I have no better Evi­dence to prove our hearty Esteem of Christ and Salva­tion, we are undone for all this.

You hear, Brethren, what will not serve the turn; will you now hear what Persons you must be if you would not be condemned as Slighters of Christ? O search whe­ther it be thus with your Souls or no.

1. Your Esteem of Christ and Salvation, must be greater than your Esteem of all the Honours, Profits or Pleasures of this World, or else you slight him: No less will be accounted sincere, nor accepted to your Salvation: Think not this hard, when there is no Com­parison in the Matters esteemed. To esteem the great­est Glory on Earth before Christ and everlasting Glory, is a greater Folly, and Wrong to Christ, than to e­steem a Dog before your Prince, would be Folly in you, [...] a Wrong to him. Scripture is plain in this, Matth. 10. 37. He that loveth Father or Mother, Wife, C [...]ildren, House, Land, or his own Life more than me, is not worthy of me, and cannot be my Disciple, as Luke 14. 26.

2. You must manifest this Esteem of Christ and Sal­vation in your daily Endeavours and seeking after him, and in parting with any thing that he shall require of you. God is a Spirit, and will not take an hypocriti­cal Profession instead of the Heart and spiritual Service which he commandeth. He will have the Heart or no­thing; and the chief Room in the Heart too. These must be had.

[Page 146] If you say that you do not make light of Christ, or wil [...] not hereafter, let me try you in these few Particulars [...] whether indeed you mean as you say, and do not dissem [...] ­ble.

1. Will you for the time to come make Christ and Sal­vation the chiefest Matter of your Care and Study [...] Thrust them not out of your Thoughts, as a needless o [...] unprofitable Subject; nor allow it only some running sligh [...] Thoughts, which will not affect you. But will yo [...] make it your Business once a Day to be think you sober­ly when you are alone, what Christ hath done for you and what he will do if you do not make light of it and what it is to be everlastingly happy or miserable and what all things in this World are in comparison o [...] your Salvation? and how they will shortly leave you [...] and what mind you will be then of, and how you wil [...] esteem them? Will you promise me now and then [...] make it your Business to withdraw your selves from the World, and set your selves to such Consideration as these? If you will not, are not you Slighters o [...] Christ and Salvation, that will not be perswaded soberly to think on them? This is my first Question to pu [...] you to the Trial, whether you will value Christ o [...] not.

2. Will you for the time to come, set more by th [...] Word of God, which contains the Discovery of thes [...] excellent things, and is your Charter for Salvation, an [...] your Guide thereunto? You cannot set by Christ, bu [...] you must set by his Word: Therefore the Despisers o [...] it are threatned with Destruction, Prov. 13. 13. Wi [...] you therefore attend to the publick preaching of th [...] Word? will you read it daily? will you resolve t [...] obey it whatever it may cost you? If you will not d [...] this, but make light of the Word of God, you sha [...] be judged such as make light of Christ and Salva­tion, whatever you may fondly promise to you [...] selves.

[Page 147] 3. Will you for the time to come esteem more of the Officers of Christ, whom he hath purposely ap­pointed to guide you to Salvation? and will you make [...]se of them for that end? Ala [...], it is not to give the [...]ster a good Word, and speak well of him, and pay [...] his Tithes duly, that will serve the turn: It is for [...] Necessity of your Souls that God hath set them in [...] Church; that they may be as Physicians under Christ, or his Apothecaries to apply his Remedies to [...]our spiritual Diseases, not only in publick, but also in [...]vate: That you may have some to go to for the re­ [...]ving of your Doubts, and for your Instruction where you are ignorant, and for the help of their Ex­ [...]rtations and Prayers. Will you use hereafter to go [...] your Ministers privately, and solicite them for Ad­ [...]ice? and if you have not such of your own as are fit, [...] Advice from others; and ask them What you shall do [...] be saved? how to prepare for Death and Judgment? and [...]ill you obey the Word of God in their Mouths? If you will not do this much, nor so much as enquire of those that should teach you, nor use the Means which Christ hath established in his Church for your help, [...]our own Consciences shall one Day witness, that you [...]ere such as made light of Christ and Salvation. If [...] of you doubt whether it be your Duty thus to ask [...]ounsel of your Teachers, as sick Men do of their Phy­ [...]cians, let your own Necessities resolve you; let God's [...]press Word resolve you: see what is said of th [...] [...]icst [...] of the Lord, even before Christ's coming, when [...]uch of their Work did lie in Ceremonials; Mal. 2. 5, [...]. My Covenant was with him of Life and Peace: and I [...] them to him (to Levi) for the fear wherewith he feared [...], and was afraid before my Name. The Law of Truth was [...] his Mouth, and Iniquity was not found in his Lips; he walked with me in Peace and Equity, and did turn many [...]way from Iniquity. For the Priests Lips should keep Know­ [...]dg, and they should seek the Law at his Mouth: for he is the Messenger of the Lord of Hosts.

[Page 148] Nay, you must not only enquire, and submit to their Advice, but also to their just Reprehensions and Church Censures: And without proud Repining submit to the Discipline of Christ in their Hands, if it shall be used in the Congregatio [...]s whereof you are Mem­bers.

4. Will you for the time to come make Conscience of daily and earnest Prayer to God, that you may have a Part in Christ and Salvation? do not go out of Doors till you have breathed out these Desires to God; do not lie down to rest till you have breathed out these Desires: say not, God knoweth my Necessity without so often praying; for though he do, yet he will have you to know them and feel them, and exercise your D [...]sires, and all the Graces of his Spirit in these Duties: It is he that hath command [...]d to pray continually, though he know your [...] without, 1 Thess. 5. 17. Christ him­self spent whole Nights in Prayer, and encourageth us to this Course, [...] 18. 1. If you will not be perswad­ed to this much, how can you say that you make not light of Christ and Salvation?

5. Will you for the time to come resolvedly cast away your known Sins at the Command of Christ? If you have been proud or contentious, or malicious and revengeful, be so no more. If you have been Adulterers, or Swearers, or Cursers, be so no more. You cannot hold these, and yet set by Christ and Sal­vation.

What say you? Are you resolved to let them go? If not, when you know 'tis the Will of Christ, and he hath told you such shall not enter into his Kingdom, do not you make light of him?

6. Will you for the time to come serve God in the dearest as well as the cheapest Part of his Service; not only with your Tongues, but with your Purses and your Deeds? shall the Poor find that you see more by Christ than this World? shall it appear in any good Uses that [Page 149] God calls you to be liberal in, according to your Abili­ties? Pure Religion and undefiled before God is this, to visit the Fatherless and Widows in their Affliction, Jam. 1. ult. Will you resolve to stick to Christ, and make sure this Work of Salvation, though it cost you all that you have in the World? If you think these Terms too dear, you make light of Christ, and will be judged accordingly.

7. Will you for the time to come make much of all things that tend to your Salvation; and take every help that God offereth you, and gladly make use of all his Ordinances? Attend upon his strengthening Sacraments, spend the Lord's own Day in these holy Imployments. Instruct your Children and Servants in these things, Deut. 5. 6, 7. get into good Company that set their Faces Heaven-ward, and will teach you the way, and help you thither: and take heed of the Company of wicked Scorners, or foolish, voluptuous, fleshly Men, or any that would hinder you in this Work. Will you do these things? Or will you shew that you are Slighters of Christ by neglecting them?

8. Will you do all this with Delight, not as your Toil, but as your Pleasure? and take it for your highest Honour that you may be Christ's Disciples, and may be admitted to serve and worship him; and rejoice with holy Confidence in the sufficiency of that Sacrifice by which you may have Pardon of all your Failings, and right to the Inheritance of the Saints in light? If you will do these things sincerely, you will shew that you set by Christ and Salvation; else not.

Dearly Beloved in the Lord, I have now done that Work which I came upon; what Effect it hath, or will have upon your Hearts, I know not, nor is it any further in my Power to accomplish that which my Soul desireth for you. Were it the Lord's Will that I might have my wish herein, the Words that you have this Day heard should so stick by you, that the Secure should [Page 150] be awakened by them, and none of you should perish by the slighting of your Salvation. I cannot now fol­low you to your several Habitations, to apply this Word to your particular Necessities: but O that I could make every Man's Conscience a Preacher to himself, that it might do it, which is ever with you; that the next time you go prayerless to Bed, or about your Bu­siness, Conscience might cry out, Dost thou set no more by Christ and by Salvation? that the next time you are tempted to think hardly of an holy and diligent Life, (I will not say to deride it as more ado th [...] needs) Consci­ence might cry out to thee, Dost thou set so light by Christ and thy Salvation? that the next time you are ready to rush upon known Sin, and to please your fleshly De­sires against the Command of God, Conscience might cry out, Is Christ and Salvation no more worth, than to cast them away, or venture them for thy Lasts? that when you are following the World with your most eager [...]esires, forgetting the World to come and the Change that is a little before you, Conscience might [...]ry ou [...] to you▪ Is Christ and Salvation no more worth than so? That when you are next spending the Lord's Day in Idleness or vain Sp [...]rts, Conscience might tell you what you are doing. In a Word, that in all your Neglects of Duty, your sti [...]ing at the supposed Labour or Cost of a godly Life, yea in all your cold and lazy Prayers and Performances, Conscience might tell you how unsutable such Endeavours are to the Reward; and that Christ and Salvation should not be so slighted. I will say no more but this at t [...]is time, it is a thousand Pities that when God hath provided a Saviour for the World, and when Christ hath suffered so much for their Sins, and made so full a Satisfaction to Justice, and purchased so glorious a Kingdom for his Saints, and all this is offered so freely to Sinners, to lost unworthy Sinners, even for nothing, that yet so many Millions should everlastingly perish because they make light of [Page 151] their Saviour▪ and Salvation, and prefer the vain World an [...] their Lusts b [...]fore them. I have delivered my Message the Lord open your Hearts to receive it: I have perswa [...]ded you with the Word of Truth and Soberness; th [...] Lord perswade you more effectually, or else all this i [...] lost.

FINIS.

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A Scriptural and Rational Account of the Christian Religion; particular­ly, concerning Justification only by the Propitiation and Redemption of the Lord Jesus Christ. By Sir Edward Harley, Knight of the Bath. Printed for J. Luntley at the Bibles in Little Lincolns Inn-fields.

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