The Morning Seeker: Shewing the Benefit of being Good betimes.



Laid open in Several SERMONS

By John Ryther Minister of the Gospel.

Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near, Isa. 55.6.
O God, thou art my God, early will I seek thee. Ps. 63.1.

LONDON, Printed by E. T. and R. H. for Dorman Newman at the Kings-Arms in the Poultry, 1673.

TO THE Honourable and truly Religious THE Lady Dorothy Norcliffe OF Langton in York-shire; The Lady Elizabeth Bright, The Lady Katharine Wentworth, and the rest of her Vertuous Daughters.


I Have long waited for an opportunity to acknow­ledge the many and great Obligations I have been under by your Ladiship, and your Family, since Providence put such a Price into my hand as [Page]the mercy of your Acquain­tance; and this is one reason a­mong many others why I Dedi­cate these poor papers to you & yours.2 Joh. 1.5. When I considered how John wrote to the Elect Lady, and her Children walking in the Truth,One observs that St. John who was the be­loved Disci­ple avas of a Noble stock, in which re­gard he was so known of the High Priest that he did not fear the Jews, so as the other Disciples did. Where Nobility is enamelled with grace, it renders it far mere illustrious and splen­did. I was much encouraged thereunto. Besides upon these accounts I could not but lay hold of the present opportuni­ties. 1. The Care that I know you have many years conscien­tiously spent in the Education of those tender Branches, the Lord hath honoured you with. O what glory might have been raised up to God, if in the Fami­lies of Honour and Quality there had been such diligence in train­ing up their Posterities, in the fear of that God, whom it is a great [Page]Honour to serve! 2. The great success that crowned your Ladi­ships endeavours herein, (that the Lord let you see your dear Chil­dren set upon seeking the Lord betimes,) that so many morning seekers in such a Family (as I must confess I have not elsewhere known) while the dew of Gods blessing upon your Education lay upon these Branches; how did they while young grow up in Holy Affections and Desires after the Wayes and Truths of God! 3. And all this much in a time when the Power of Godli­ness in many great Families was much discouraged (if not de­cry'd) though Gospel duties, reading the Word, praying in Families, a strict observation of Sabbaths did grow in to reproach [Page]and contempt in many Houses: yet all that time the Lord helped you to Resolve with an Honour­able, and holy person of Old, I and my house will serve the Lord. Josh. 24.15.4. The great encouragement that you have given, not only to me the meanest of those Servants of God acquainted with your Family, but that you have given to many more in a dark and gloo­my day. O how many Families have you and yours refreshed in a day of straits I and is it any dis­honour to testifie this before this uncharitable world? 5. The Lord honouring you with soli­dity of judgment, these giddy reeling times; that in dayes and times when erroneous notions and principles, as well as corrupt practices have overspread many [Page]Families, you have been preserv­ed in the truth, and have taken great care that your Children should, while they were young, be trained up in the truth, as it is in Jesus. If I had no more rea­sons for my present tender of these poor endeavours to you and yours, are not these enough? But I am afraid you will say here is more than enough said: though not so much as might. I did not know upon serious thoughts how such a design as this might tend to encourage or promote good beginnings and breathings after God in your Family. And though, through the rich mercy and grace of God, you be not a tender young plant in the Courts of God, but grown up in the Grace and Knowledge of our [Page] Lord Jesus Christ; yet here may be some thing presented to your children that may prove through a blessing from above of use to them, as to their further progress in the good wayes of God. I re­membred one thing, when I thought of this Dedication, how oftenWhen I had the hap­piness of being con­versant with them. some of them did employ me to buy or acquaint them with what Books they should buy proper and useful for them; and who are fitter to Dedicate an useful Book to, than such? (if God will so please to make this poor Treatise.) There are Lambs (your Ladiships know) in the flock of Christ, that need carry­ing, as well as those that are with young, that need leading; there are Babes in Christs School who have need of milk, as well as [Page]stronger Christians that need stronger meat. If this may be milk, sincere milk that any of Gods new born Babes may grow thereby, yea, any of your Chil­dren may grow up in grace there­by, this will be the rejoycing of the Author. Now Madam, that God would cause your House to grow, who hath made a sure Co­venant with you and yours, and that the dew of Heaven, as well as fatness of the Earth may be the portion of you and yours, is the prayer of

Your Ladiships in all Humble and due Observance, John Ryther.
Decem. 9. 1672.

To all Young Ones whose hearts are set to seek the Lord before it be too late, who are and desire still to be Morning Seek­ers.

WHen I considered the dangers that such a day, as we live in, exposes your precious Souls to, I was willing for your Souls sakes to contribute my Mite to that Work which so many Reverend and Worthy Servants of Christ had gone before me in: Yet we living in a sleepy Age, and knowing we have sleepy hearts, we must be often calling on; and the more Calls, and the more Cryers, the more are Souls stirred and startled. I have sadly observed se­veral things since I with others of the [Page]Lords Servants have been under this present day and dispensation.

1. That our great hopes and expecta­tions, that we have had of the Lords effectual working upon the hearts of Young Ones, have often met with great disappointments; and many of the poor Ministers of Christ have been like the Troops of Tema, Job 6.19, 20. and the Company of Sheba, waiting for some good issue of the travel of their Souls, but they were con­founded, because they had hoped they were ashamed; and is not this cruelty, to crush our hopes and cross our expecta­tions, who travel for you, and all in hope Christ might be formed in you? Will it be your gain if we lose our prayers, our tears, our studies, our pains? Will this be profitable to you, if all our designs for your good be made by your selves miscar­rying designs?

2. That it is a great reproach to the wayes of God, and name of God, when such, as have been for a time forward for God, do go back again. How hath the Name of God been blasphemed many [Page]times by the miscarriages of such? And how may it be said of many Young Ones, as was said of that Fig-tree Jesus Christ cursed,Mat. 21.20. How soon is this Fig-tree wi­thered away! Where is your Zeal, your Affections, your Love, your fervency for God, for his Ordinances, for Duties, for Worship, that once seemed to move upon your Spirits? O consider of it young men, that the wayes of God have been evil spoken of by your means. And I may say to you as the Prophet to them, This hath been by your means. Mal. 1.9.

3. The going back of such I have ob­served is a great stumbling-block to o­thers, a great discouragement to others to own the wayes of God. O say such poor Souls, shall not I prove as others have done? make a fair flourish for a year or two, bear green leaves, and pro­mising buds and blossoms, but yet for all that brings forth no fruit to perfe­ction? And therefore such poor Souls rather sit still, seeing so many that have been in a fair way of profession, back­slide and apostatize before them.

[Page] 4. Many poor Sinners have been hardned in their Atheism, Profaneness and contempt of the wayes of God by seeing you fall off after that you have made some progress in the wayes of God. Do not they conclude at the sight of such miscarriages, that their conditi­ons are good,Deut. 29.19. though they walk in the imaginations of their own heart? Do not they cry Peace, Peace to their own Souls, though they walk in Soul-undo­ing and destroying courses? Take two young men, One of them falls under some conviction of sin, under the Mi­nistry of the Word, upon this Convicti­on he launches out into a visible Profes­sion, owns the wayes of God, Hears, Prays, Reads, repeats Sermons, &c. The other of them continues sinning on still, senseless of his Soul, kicks against the pricks still, but he cryes, his Com­panion will return to him again, this is but for a fit, a little melancholy, or to please some party or other. Well, in a little time it proves thus, the Profes­sing young man becomes profane again, returns with the dog to his vomit,2 Pet. 2.22. and [Page]with the Sow after once washing to her wallowing in the mire, returns to his Onions and Garlick again: O how this doth now harden the other poor Sinner in his dangerous and damnable state, and makes him venture his Soul to live and lye, and dye in it!

5. I have observed such Young Men that once have tasted some thing of the Word of God, and have laid under Convictions of Sin, when they have fallen off and lost them, they have grown harder after than before; they have like the wicked men we read of, grown worse and worse:1 Tim. 3.13. Such have out­stripped others in sin. As Iron often heated proves harder, so it is with such poor Souls; and is not this a sad sight to see him a Drunkard, a Swearer, a Reviler, a Scoffer at the wayes of God, who once was a praying Young Man? One that worshipt with those he now scoffs at and reviles? If one had told thee while thou wert a praying, a pro­fessing Young Man, that thy Praying, thy Hearing, thy repeating Sermons, would have ended thus, would not [Page]thou have said as Hazael did to the Prophet,2 Kings 8.13. Is thy Servant a Dog? O but have not a few years produced too many such instances?

6. I have observed, that as soon as many Young Ones have set forth under Convictions of a need of Christ to seek after him, they many times have fal­len into erroneous notions. When Sa­tan cannot keep poor Souls in profane practices, he then will labour to poy­son them with pernicious Principles. And as the Devil hath his Nurseries to debauch Young Ones in their Practices, so he hath his Nurseries to poyson them with pernicious Principles. No sooner doth a Young Man become sober and serious, but there are persons that are ready to drop their poyson upon them; and so many poor Souls are set wrong at the very first setting out.

7. I have observed Young Ones to be like foolish Children, Hos. 13.13. as the Pro­phet sayes, to stay long in the place of breaking forth; Especially Young Ones under Godly Education, nursed [Page]up in Godly Families: How long is it often before the work be a through-work upon their Spirits? Alas, how do their Convictions come and go, for months, if not for years some times, not hear­ing of them; and then another while Conscience being a Boanarges to them, thundring forth the terrours of the Lord to them. One while they are murder­ed, another while they walk and make a dreadful noise in the Conscience. Here poor Soul, thou may see thy danger in delaying thy great work of seeking in thy prime and flower of thy youth.

8. I have observed a great deal of pride grow up with the Profession of Young Ones. O how often hath this been the mortal bane and poyson of many of their Souls! How many have upon this Rock split their Convictions, their Profession, their Expectations with their Souls for ever? Have not many poor Young Seekers been over-set by carrying too much sail? Ʋpon their supposition of acquired gifts and parts how have they prided themselves? un­till as the Poets say of young Narcissus, [Page]that he fell in love with his own shadow untill he pined away. Have not many Young Seekers fallen into a Consum­ption by self-love, and setting too high a price upon themselves? Nay, hath not this sin caused the Lord to suf­fer some of them to fall into some visible gross evil, that might keep them little and low in their own eyes all their dayes? Many have got a halt at the first setting out, that they might be kept from self-exaltation.

9. I have observed an untractable Spirit grow up with Young Ones, to their Superiours and Guides, which is a dangerous evil. Doth this become young Travellers, nay indeed any Tra­vellers to cast off their Guides? or to think they can get to their journeys end, without observing the Counsels, Conduct, and the directions of such as are set over them in the Lord? Are Ministers set over you to be your Guides, are Pa­rents, are Masters set over you to be your Guides,1 Pet. 5.5. and will you prove untra­ctable to these? This is a great provo­cation to the Lord, which occasioned [Page]that Exhortation of Peter's, You younger submit your selves to the elder. As it particularly relates to Mi­nisters, so it may refer to others. At what door came in Erroneous Princi­ples,Heb. 13.17. at first, and Licentious Practices? Was it not at this, when persons refused to obey and submit to them that were set over them in the Lord?

10. I have observed that Satans grand Designs and Engines are laid so as (if it be possible) to prevent Jesus Christ having a Young Off-spring. The Devil would not have Christ have any Nurseries, any Young Nurseries, where any tender Plants should be set and wa­tered, that they might become Trees of Righteousness. Therefore he hath his Nurseries to debauch and corrupt them; like Herod, he is all for killing Christ in the cradle. O this puts him upon that rage and wrath in pursuing poor Souls, as soon as their Convictions be­gin to stir in them. As Pharaoh pur­sued Israel, when he saw them attempt­ing an escape; so doth Satan follow poor Young Ones as soon as ever they look [Page]out of their miserable Captivity under which they are in their natural estates and conditions.

11. I have observed that the Lords effectual working upon the hearts of Young Ones, is, and hath been a token of some approaching appearance of God on the behalf of a People or a Nation. It argues God hath still some work there, some thing to do there, that he would not leave that place and people. He doth not beget Children for the mur­therer, he doth not use to beget Chil­dren and send away the breasts from them. And on the contrary when Con­version-work ceases, O then some heavy blow comes! Some National stroak is at the door! When the Harvest is inn'd, then the labourers are called home, and this portends a storm. Ambassadours calling home looks like a War.

12. I have observed the sad and doleful heart-breaking lamentations of many Godly Parents over the Souls of their dear and dead Children, many Families mourning over their dead. [Page]There was a great cry throughout the Land of Aegypt when the First-born was dead.Exod. 11.6. O what a cry hath gone through the Land for the Souls of poor dead Children! One Family crying, Lord, this dear Child is dead, his Soul is dead while he lives;1 Tim. 5.5. (as is said of some, while they live in plea­sures are dead) and that which cuts poor Parents to the heart, is this, they fear they shall ere long hear such a cry for their Childrens Souls, as was in the night time in the great Plague some times, Cast out your dead, cast out your dead. O then sayes one Family, LORD, how many have we to cast out? So many Chil­dren, and so few of them made a­live to God, so few that have Christ formed in their precious Souls? O you Young Ones that are the Seed of Godly Parents, if you miscarry to all Eternity, your Parents Tears and Frayers, I must tell you, will be as so much oyl to make Hell flames burn so much the more vehemently upon you. If you that are Children of the [Page]Kingdome by Education, be shut out, this will aggravate your condemnati­on dreadfully.

13. I have observed that the wan­dring of such Young Ones, in the by­wayes of Sin, as have sprung from, and have been nursed up in Godly Families, have rolled much reproach upon Gods Covenant. If the reproach was only upon their Persons, it would not be so laid to heart; though for a Son to be an occasion of reproach to his Fa­ther and Family is sad: but that which goes deeper is, the Covenant of God is reproached. The world say, they see no difference betwixt the posterity of the Godly and the Ʋngodly, and this is an over-whelming consideration to them. And O Young Ones, is neither the Name of God, nor the Name of your tender Parents, nor your Families, nor your immortal Souls precious in your eyes? How may that Endictment be drawn up against you?Mic. 7.6. The Son disho­noureth the Father, and the Daughter riseth up against her Mother.

Lastly, I have sadly observed, a spi­rit of stubbornness and rebellion hath taken possession of many Young Ones towards their dear and tender Pa­rents;2 Tim. 3.2. which indeed is a sin of the highest rank,Rom. 1.30. therefore reckoned a­mong ihe sins of the later times: and so on the contrary obedience to Parents is reckoned among the most Religious Duties.Lev. 19. [...]. You shall fear every man his Mother, and his Father, and keep my Sabbaths, I am the Lord your God. Yea, in the punishment of this sin we may read the heinousness of it, the Rebellious Son was to be stoned to death under the Law;Deut. 21.18, 19, 20, 21. and sure the sin is not less now in Gospel-times than it was then.

Now Young Men, these were some of those Observations I have made, that tendered my heart towards the ever­lasting good of your immortal Souls, and prevailed with me to put these papers into your hands, hoping the Lord may in some measure succeed [Page]them with his blessing, which is and shall be the hearty Prayer of

Your unfeigned Souls Friend and Servant in the Ministry of the Gospel, J. R.
Decem. 9. 1672.

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Prov. 8.17.‘I love them that love me, and they that seek me early shall find me.’

THat young Inquirers af­ter the Lord Jesus Christ may be en­couraged in their fol­lowing on to know him, notwithstanding the temptations they meet with with­out them, and within them, this Text of Scripture is very considerable.

The Words are the Promise of Christ, to young Seekers, by way of encouragement, to continue, and hold on in seeking him.

1. We have the Persons to whom [Page 2]the Promise is made, They that seek me early, they that seek me in the morn­ing (so the word) because that which is done in the morning, is always done most vigorously, the Spirits being more raised, and lively. Therefore we read of the morning, as an espe­cial praying time, as a time of wor­ship, I direct my prayer unto thee in the morning, Prov. 15.14. The word is u­used. Psal. 130.6. and will look up — and at another time (says he) my soul waits for thee, more than they which wait for the morning, Psal. 130.6. (viz.) than the Watchmen that give notice of the morning,Tempus matuti­num He­braeis dici­tur Boker à Bokkar: Est quaere­re magis conatu, & studio (Pro. 15.14.) It sig­nisies to seek by su­ing and praying, by asking di­rection and counsel of them that are able to give it. that they may offer up their Sacrifice (says Mr. Ainsworth.) These are the Persons under the Pro­mise, that seek him in the morning of their time, in their youth.

2. We have the Person that makes this Promise, They that seek me (viz.) Jesus Christ. It is apparent all over the Chapter, that is meant of Christ, who is here called Wisdom, who indeed is the Wisdom of the Father. I need not take up time in proving this, the very Text carries its own Evidence in it. O Poor Soul! Christ himself is [Page 3]your Encourager, what ever Dis­couragements you meet withall, and this he doth by his own Promise.

3. Here is the Promise it self, they shall find me. They are poor mour­ning Seekers, early Seekers, and young Seekers, but they shall be sure, and certain finders. They shall not seek, as God threatned them, in the Pro­phet, they shall seek me, with their Herds, and their Flocks, Hosea 5.6. and shall not find me. They shall not seek, and be disappointed, they shall not seek and go without, but they shall find me; who ever miss of Christ, of all the Persons in the World, they shall not miss of him. O what Encouragement is here to young Seekers of Christ! [This word in the Text we have ren­dred thus; (Job 8.5.) If thou would seek God betimes, if thou wouldest morn­ing God: Shahar (diluculare Deum diligenter, sedulò & magno studio quae­rere.)

The Observations are these.

1. That young Inquirers after Christ [Page 4]are much upon his heart.

2. That Morning Seekers shall be sure, and certain Finders.

3. That usually in Souls morning lookers after Christ, they meet with much discouragement. This is strongly implied, because Christ gives them this Promise, by way of Encouragement. We will begin with this last.

Let us enquire a little what these Discouragements are; what are great Hindrances of poor morning Seekers.

1. From within, there are discou­ragements. 2. From without.

1. Discouragements from within. 1. Strong Corruptions; for as soon as ever the Soul begins to look out, and enquire after Jesus Christ, then doth Corruption begin to work more strongly, than it did before. [...] corruption is more strong in young ones than in others, and up­ [...] this occasion (says the Soul) Will [...] poor soul get over this moun­ [...] [...] Jesus Christ? Alas! there is [...] Lust betwixt me and Ch [...], [...] shall I not one day perish [Page 5]by the hand of Saul? Will not these Sons of Zerviah be too strong for me? O now says the poor Soul my Ene­mies are strong and lively, (as David said) and thrust sore at me. O poor Soul! what though thy Corruptions be strong, yet thy Redeemer is strong: he is stronger than the strong man arm­ed, and that promise answers this dis­couragement.

He shall bring forth Judgment unto Victory: Isaiah 42.3. though thou be but a poor smoak-ing flax, and bruised reed, yet thou shalt have the day over all thy Corruptions; and will not such a day of Victory call for a day of thanks­giving? I have read of a Victory call­ed Victoria Hallelujetica, upon this: The Saxons here in England being to engage the Britains, the Leader of the Britains being aGerma­nus who came over from France to subdue the P [...]la­gian He­resie. Godly Bishop, having his Army in some Dales and Valleys, ordered them to crie Hallelu­jah, which they did, and through the Eccho of the voyce in the Valleys, the Enemy thought there was many more of them, than there was, and through fear fled. O poor discoura­ged [Page 6]soul! thou shalt have such a Victo­ry over thy Corruptions, as thou wilt for ever sing Hallelujah in Heaven for.

2. Discouragement from within is weakness of Grace. O! says the poor soul, can such a weak Creature as I ever be able to seek Christ, through so many difficulties? every sin is too hard for me, every duty too hard for me, I may as well give over praying, and hearing, and contending against my sin, for I find my self so weak, I am ever and anon foyled. O poor soul! dost not thou know the Promise is made to truth of Grace, and not only to the strength of grace: bruised Reeds are within the Promise, as well as strong Cedars; the Lambs are under the Promise of his Bosome; the weak of the flock this good Shepherd hath promised to strengthen; the days of small things he will not despise; weak ones are neither cast out, nor cast off, because of weakness, if they be Chil­dren.

3. Discouragement is sense of their own vileness and unworthiness. O [Page 7]poor young ones! at first setting out after Christ they are under their Hu­miliations for Sin, a great piece of which Humiliation lies in the sense of their own Unworthiness; thus it was with the poor Prodigal, at his first coming home to his Father's House; Lord, Luke 15.19. I am not worthy to be called thy Son; and as the Samaritan, I am not worthy thou should come under my Roof: O says such a poor soul, Lord wilt thou be found of such a wrech as I; such a vile wrech as I?

O poor soul! dost thou not know that all sinners that come unto him, though vile, though wretched, though miserable, are to be welcomed by him? And this as he is commissiona­ted by the Father;John 6.37, 38. He will in no wise cast out them that come unto him; and the strength and stress of all lies here, this is the will of my Father. Now Christ will be sure to act obediential­ly, and faithfully to his Commission received of his Father.Luke 14.21. Poor Souls! were not the poor Gentiles, who were Christ's Guests, vile, Hedge­way sinners? High-way sinners? the [Page 8]blind, and maimed? yet how doth Christ welcome such Guests to his Ta­ble? Are you viler than these? Alas poor souls! you that are under the sense of your own vileness, you come right to Christ unworthy of a Pardon, of a good look, of a good word; as they came with Ropes about their necks to the King of Israel; he usu­ally accepts and pardons such.

4. Discouragement from within is sense of former lost, and buried Convi­ctions. While we are under Ordinan­ces, or we are under Afflictions, O how ordinary is this! and we are af­fected with these Convictions. But one Temptation or other, either within, or without, meets thee, and the Conviction presently is buried; the Soul hears no more of it, it may be for a year, or two; but if the Lord have a gracious design upon thee, he causes thy Convictions to rise again, and walk again; and O then the soul is troubled, and discouraged: Alas! this Conviction is come again, but will it not die, as the last did? It will not stay long.

O poor Soul! yet this hath usually been the way of God to cause the second Convictions, or the Return of convictions to do their work through­ly: O how many souls have found it so! Though truly it is a wonder of mercies, when first Convictions are smothered and extinguished, that God ever blows them up, and kindles them again.1 Sam. 3.7. God often doth with young Seekers, as he did with young Samuel, calls him again, and again, though we lie down, and sleep again, and again; it is said, he knew not the word of the Lord, for he was young.

5. Discouragement is, fears of Non­perseverance, that young ones meet with from within. O say these poor souls, what will become of us poor low Shrubs, when we see such tall and strong Cedars fall? Shall we ever be able to hold on in our way? Shall we run and not be weary, walk, and not faint? We shall never be able to continue to the far end, to run the Race with patience that is set before us.

O poor Soul! thy Perseverance in [Page 10]the ways of God is Jesus Christs Pro­mise, Purchase, and Charge. 1. He hath promised it,Isaiah 40.31. they that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, even so as they shall run and not be weary; nay if they cannot, he hath promised to carry them;Isaiah 40.11. he carries the Lambs in his Bosom, and can any pull them out of his Bosom? If none can pull them out of his hand, much less can any pull them out of his heart. 2. Perseverance is Christ's Purchase; did he die for you, and will he lose you? Will he pay the Price, and let another carry away the Purchase? Did not he die for Glory, as well as Grace? and Happiness as well as Holiness? No, no, not a soul that his blood is gone for, can be a miscarrying soul. 3. Your Perseve­rance is Christ's charge, he hath under­taken for it to his Father:John 6.37. none that thou hast given me shall be lost, but I will raise it up at the last day.

2. They have Discouragement from without as well as from within, and both meeting together is a great damp to the young Seeker. The dis­couragements [Page 11]from without are from these Causes.

1. From Satan; As soon as he sees they look Christ-ward, and Heaven-ward, he begins then to torment them; though while they were his Bondslaves, they were all the time quiet. As when the Children of Israel were to go out of the Egyptian Capti­vity, then Pharoah with all his Host pursues them; so when a soul is going out of his spiritual house of Bond­age, Satan with all his might and main labours to reduce them. It is the observation of one upon the Church, the Woman in the Revelati­ons, that all the while she was breed­ing, the Dragon did not meddle with her; but when she comes to be deli­vered, then he casts a flood after the woman to destroy both her and her man-child. So all the while a poor soul is under some Breathings and desires only after Christ, Satan doth not much tempt, or disturb it: but when it comes to bring forth Christ, and answer his Convictions, with a change of Conversation, O then he [Page 12]casts a whole flood of Temptations and discouragements after it. And, alas! this proceeds from his envy to the good of your souls. He is the en­vious one, and his envy puts him up­on laying discouragements before you: O who can stand before Envy? O poor soul! the Lord will look after thee, while thou art looking after him. Poor soul! be of good cheer, thy Temptations argue his Rage, and his Rage being great argues his time of rule in thy soul is like to be short.

2. Discouragement without pro­ceeds from the Persecution that at­tends the Profession of the Gospel. While the Sun did shine upon the Gos­pel, it had many friends: but when it is brought under the Clouds of Per­secution, many go away from Christ; as he said unto them, Will you also go away? There was I remember a Law, that the first year of marriage, none should go to War: O but may young ones say, what a discourage­ment it is to us, as soon as ever we de­sire to be married to Christ in a pro­fession of the Gospel, we must be Suffe­rers, [Page 13]and must go to War with Perse­cutions. Well, poor Souls! be not discouraged; you shall not go to war on your own cost; The Lord the great Captain of your Salvation will renew your strength, and you shall run and not be weary, walk and not faint; though Persecutions meet you in the way, Jesus Christ hath his strict Charge, and he will look after them in a suffering day.

3. Discouragement from without is the Opposition they meet with from carnal Relations, such as are Encmies to the Cross of Christ. Many times such do mightily oppose these ways they are ignorant of, which is a great discouragement.

And Satan many times helps on the rage of such, and stirs up their wrath; but yet for all this, poor soul, be not discouraged, when thy way pleases the Lord he can make thine Enemies at Peace with thee, much more thy Re­lations. God many times has turned the heart of Relations about, as he did Esau's heart to his Brother Jacob, when pursuing of him; but if not, [Page 14]there is a Friend nearer than a Bro­ther (viz.) the Lord Jesus Christ, he will be a friend in the day of Adver­sity. Nay often it is observed, that as cold water makes fire burn so much the hotter; so Grace gains by oppo­sition, by the cold water of discou­ragement burns so much the brighter. Thy opposition will drive thee more to look up to him, where thy strength lies, and so may be a great preservati­on to thee.

4. Discouragement from without is from the miscarriages of such as do profess the Lord Jesus Christ. Many that call upon the name of Christ, do not depart from iniquity, but walk loosely, deal unrighteously betwixt man and man, dishonour their Profes­sion by an unsuitable Conversation. Others, they have more grosly back­sliden from God; and whereas for­merly they have been praying men in their Families, hearing men, frequent­ing the means of Grace, somewhat strict in their lives; now they have thrown off all these, and become like other men, as vain as other men, nay [Page 15]as prophane as other men, and this is a great discouragement.

O poor Soul! notwithstanding this Discouragement, yet go on; for the ways of the Lord are the same, and if thou follow on to know the Lord, thou wilt find sweetness in his Ordinances and Truth notwithstanding this.


Is it so that young Seekers, early Seekers meet with Discouragement? Word of Use is Caution. O let young ones take heed in their first looking out after Christ,

1. Of consulting with flesh & blood; this will occasion you to yield to Discouragements. It is said of Paul, Gal. 1.16. he consulted not with flesh and blood. The worst counsel in the World will flesh and blood give in the case of a mans soul. Alas poor young man! will flesh and blood say, what art thou going to do? Art thou able to deny thy self of the delights and plea­sures of Youth? Art thou able to cut off a right hand, to put out a right [Page 16]eye, to cut the throat of a beloved Isaac, to let out the hearts blood of a constitutional Lust? Can thy tender years indure such hard things, as Re­ligion is like to be attended with? Canst thou bear the scoffs and jeers of the World, the oppositions and displeasure of thy dearest Relations? And thus will flesh and blood follow thee: But alas! what is this to a poor soul that sees its precious soul lie at stake, and is in danger? Cannot, will not this soul reply to all these reaso­nings of flesh and blood, Get you be­hind me Satan? What are the great­est severities in the World to a man that sees and feels he is a lost soul for ever, if he have not a Christ?

2. Take heed in your first seekings out, and meeting with discourage­ments, that you pore not unbeliev­ingly upon your discouragements. It is true, there ought to be sitting down, and counting the cost, for the want of which many poor souls after Profession have backsliden; but the poor young ones may pore too much upon their discouragements, may look [Page 17]too much to the dark side of the Cloud, and say as the Prophet's man did; Alas Master, what shall we do?2 Kings 6.15. And the Propher prayed and his eyes were opened, and then he saw the Mountains full of Horsemen and Cha­riots, and now he crys out, More are they that are with us, than they that are against us. O thus it is with ma­ny young ones! they cry, Alas what shall we do? And are utterly discou­raged until God come and open their eyes.

3. Take heed you young Seekers under your discouragements of be­lieving diabolical suggestions, that shall be cast into your hearts against the ways of God: O! Satan will be e­ver suggesting one thing or other into your hearts; that Christ is a hard Master, that his Commandments are grievous, that the burdens of the command of the Cross are intolerable, and that in the way to Christ are Moun­tains and Hills inaccessible, too high for such short breathed Creatures to ascend or travel over: And O how many poor souls by such suggestions [Page 18]have been exceedingly discouraged in their pursuits after Christ! O but this is dangerous to take counsel of an E­nemy: would any of you do so in other Cases?

4. Caution to young Seekers un­der discouragements, Take heed of giving over seeking, because you find not at first what you seek: This poor souls are very prone to. Why should I wait on the Lord any longer? (said that King.) O so say many poor souls, why should we seek Christ any longer? Pray any longer? Hear any longer? Solomon advises in this case, dig for Wisdom as for hidden treasure, and seek her as silver. They that dig in such Mines as Gold and Silver, do not give over, because they find not it first: O no! it lies deep, and they must search with great pains and pa­tience. The poor woman sought her lost Groat till she found it: O conti­nue seeking to the far end, till you find: O it is very dangerous to give over, you see the Promise is, you shall find.

5. Caution to young Seekers: O [Page 19]take heed when you are under dis­couragements, you do not murmure against God in your Hearts, and say as those poor Israelites did, would to God we had never come out of Egypt; what was the matter? They meer now with great difficulties and dis­couragements, and their hearts fell a murmuring, which in the New Testa­ment is called a going back in their Hearts: O this doth much disho­nour God; as if he could not in his own everlasting arms, carry poor souls over all their difficulties.

6. Caution, Let young Seekers take heed of drawing up hasty conclusions against themselves, because of present discouragements; which they are very prone to do.

O how many poor souls rashly con­clude, for their part, they are cut off, and their hope is lost; as David: Psal. 10.7, 11. but he said in his haste, all men are lyars: so say many poor souls, I doubt Preach­ers will be found lyars, and flatterers unto me: Alas, did not poor Jeremy, Jer. 15, 18. under this discouragement, break out into that sad conclusion against God, [Page 20] Wilt thou be a lyar unto me, and altoge­ther as waters that fail? So say poor young ones; alas, how should such weak worms, as we are, get through such difficulties, and discouragements? and as it is said of the Children of Is­rael, in their Travel to the Good Land, so may it be said of young Travellers, Their Souls were discouraged because of the way. Numb. 21.4.

2. Ʋse, Is it so that morning Seek­ers of Jesus Christ meet with great discouragements? then it is an Use of Direction, what shall poor young In­quirers do under all their discourage­ments? Young Travellers you know stand in need of direction, and so do young Inquirers after Christ.

1. Direction, Under your discou­ragements be often looking up to Christ, Rev. 1.11. as the Alpha and Omega of the whole Work (viz.) as the Author of it, and finisher of it. Did you ever un­derstand the Glorious Name and Ti­tle of Christ, I am the Alpha and the Omega; what is the meaning of this? it notes out the Deity and Eternity of Christ, he is the first and the last (so the [Page 21]most Interpreters) but there seems to be something more in it, it notes also the Stability and Omnipotency of Christ to execute threatnings, and per­form promises,Isa. as you may see in the places quoted in the Margin, That Christ who hath begun a good work, is the Omega of it, he will finish it. Now do you look up to Christ to this very end, under this very notion and title; Lord Jesus the work is thine; the hands of Zerubbabel (as was said in that day) hath laid the foundation, and the hands of Zerubbabel must finish the building; Lord, the foundation stone, Grace, was of thy laying, and so must the Top-stone of Glory also: Do you thus say to Christ, when you look up to him? We have the direction expresly given us by the Apostle,Heb. 12.2. Look up to Jesus as the author and finisher of our Faith. Beza reads, the Captain of our faith and looking. The word signifies, such a looking, as calls off the eye from all other objects that represent the difficulty of the race; and should not young Souldiers look to their Cap­tain? In the greatest discouragements [Page 22]that we can be under, we must look to him; therefore God sayes, he hath given him for a Leader and Com­mander to the people.Isa. 55.4. He is called the Captain of our Salvation, alluding to Joshua the great Captain of the Old Testament, under whose Conduct the children of Israel marcht to the Good Land. Well then poor Soul, do you look to him for finishing the whole work: This made Paul so confident of the poor Philippians, 1 Phil. 6. being confident of this very thing, that he who hath begun a good work in you, will per­form it until the day of Christ.

2. Direction to young Seekers, under all their discouragements, is this, Be sure a good foundation be laid: if there be not a good foundation, your discouragements will sink you, or else spoyle all your convictions. You know they which built upon the sand, when discouragements beat in upon them, then the house fell; but it was not so with the house upon the Rock;Luk. 6.48. why, what was the matter? the house that fell, digged not deep enough to lay the foundation; and [Page 23]we read of the Seed that withered, be­cause it had not depth of earth:Mat. 13.6. O but now a good foundation laid will bear you up under all your discouragments. And what is the reason of the Apostasie of young ones, who once have been warm in the wayes of God; alas, the foundation at first was not well laid.

If it be asked what I mean by young ones laying a good foundation, I an­swer, there is a two-fold foundation in this sense, First, there is a founda­tion as to state, as to the state of an immortal soul, and thus Christ is the foundation; there is no other founda­tion for the hopes of eternal salvation to be bottomed and built upon; an­other foundation can no man lay (says the Apostle) and therefore the Rock the wise builders built upon was Christ: O then be sure to let young ones get an interest in Christ, be built upon him, be bottomed upon him, and then they will weather all their dis­couragements comfortably.

2. There is a foundation as to Prin­ciples, and Doctrinals, after which young ones should look in their first [Page 24]seeking after Christ; therefore we read of being built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief Corner Stone; this foundation was the Principles, and the Doctrine of the Apostle; there­fore we read of the twelve names of the Apostles of the Lamb, being writ­ten upon the twelve foundations of the New Jerusalem; and alas, how of­ten do souls miscarry for want of Go­spel Principles? I never knew an un­principled Professor, but at one turn or other he would desert the Lord Je­sus. You young ones may have stir­ring desires, some stirring affection and convictions, but alas many times you neglect Principles. When you meet with a discouragement, you will fall back, if you be not laid in with Prin­ciples. Do not fish begin to stink first in the head? If the Leprosie was in the head, the High Priest was to pro­nounce him utterly unclean. When Satan cannot keep youth in profane­ness, then he will labour to poyson them with Erroneous Principles.

[Page 25]3. Direction, to young inquirers af­ter the Lord Jesus Christ, is this, Ac­quaint your selves with the promises of the Gospel, and the way of Faith. Mostly young ones over-look believ­ing, they follow humbling work so fast; it is a piece of admirable skill to put them both together, humbling work, and believing work. O but hard work is this to be humbled un­der the sense of sin, and believe for the pardon of it, at the same time. Usually young Converts sorrow is too legal; they are the sweetest tears for sin that flow from faith's eyes; they shall look upon him whom they have pierced, and mourn. Young Seekers are all for mourning, and little study the way of believing; but go to the Promise, and acquaint thy self with the fulness, and freeness, and sutableness, and un­changeableness of the Promises; these would be great helps to you in seek­ing after Christ. Let young ones ac­quaint themselves with two or three things in Promises.

1. That Gospel Promises run to weak Grace. They are prone to que­stion [Page 26]whether the Promise belong to them or no; why so? O they are such weak Creatures, have so little strength against sin, so little power against cor­ruption: O but can thou say, Lord, here is truth of Grace, and Lord, I walk before thee with a true and per­fect heart? O poor Soul, I tell thee the Promises run to uprightness in heart and truth in the inward parts.

2. Let Young Ones acquaint them­selves with this, that Gospel Promises look over all unworthiness in their objects. If thou be the object of Gods love, Promises overlook all thy unwor­thiness, how is his love free else? there­fore we see the Promises running down to the vilest of sinners. O how doth this temptation of unworthiness stand in the way of many a Soul to Christ? and hath kept many a Soul and Christ a long time at distance? but we may see this answered in the Pro­mise.

3. Let them know that the accom­plishment of Promises doth not de­pend upon any thing in the Creature, but in God himself; this hath been a [Page 27]great temptation, to look for some qualifications in themselves, and so they have been spinning some webb out of their own bowels; but alas, this can never be a garment to them! God accomplishes his Promises for his own Names sake.

4. Let Young Seekers,2 Cor. 1.20. under their discouragements, know, that all the Promises are Yea and Amen in Christ Jesus (viz.) they all receive in him a full ratification and accomplishment; so that he is undertaker to see them all have their performance.

5. Let Young Ones, under their discouragements, know, that Gospel Promises will carry the Soul through all difficulties they can meet with in their way; there is that in a Promise, that will hold up the head, when rea­dy to sink in the very swellings of Jor­dan; this made Jacob plead so hard with God, in his difficulty, that old Promise, Lord, did not thou say, thou wouldst do me good: therefore when Joshua had such hard service to go up­on, in the conquest of the Land of Canaan, he gave him that Promise, I [Page 28]will never leave thee, and Abraham when to leave his Country, I am God all-sufficient.

4. Direction to Young Seekers un­der their discouragements; study well the Righteousness of Christ. This is very hard with young ones, to get out of self: O how many years are poor Souls before they get off the bottom of their own Righteousness? they are prone to seek some things in them­selves, as Israel of old, who sought to obtain Righteousness in a way of works, but could not; every tempta­tion, every objection is too hard for a poor Soul, until it get acquaintance with the Righteousness of Christ; but now when a Soul can call the Lord Je­sus, by that Name, The Lord my Righ­teousness, Jer. 23.6. in this Name every tempta­tion, every objection, every doubt is answered in the Righteousness of Christ. His Righteousness is opposed to our guilt: If it be thy nakedness that is thy objection, it is answered in Christ's Righteousness, for it is the best robe; if it be thy deformity, here it is answered, Christ's Righteousness is a [Page 29]Believers comeliness; thou art comely with the comeliness that I have put up­on thee; this is the beautiful garment that a Believer puts on to go into the presence of God withall, and now all deformity is covered. The poor In­fant in its blood, thus was covered, and rendred comely. Is it thy filthi­ness, that becomes an objection? here it is answered, the blood of Christ is cleansing blood; who loved us, and washed us in his blood.

5. Direction to young Seekers un­der discouragements; Let Jesus Christ hear often from you; when should Je­sus Christ hear from you, but when discouragements are upon you? these are to send you to Christ, these are to bring you upon your knees. We read of the Spouse crying to Christ; 2 Cant. 14. where was she? in the secret place of the stairs, the Text tells us, in a discou­raged, persecuted condition; yet says Christ, Thy voice is sweet, and thy coun­tenance comely. O poor Soul! under all thy discouragements, Christ loves to hear from thee. O but will he hear such a poor, stubborn, brutish crea­ture, [Page 30]as I have been? Yea, I have heard Ephraim bemoaning himself; poor Ephraim was discouraged, and yet goes to God, and cryes, Lord I have a bru­tish heart, Lord I have a stubborn heart, as a Bullock unaccustomed to the yoke;Jer. 31.18. yet Lord turn thou me: here was his Prayer, and O how this took, and melted the heart of God, that his bowels broke forth, Is Ephra­im my dear Son?

6. Direction to young Seekers, un­der their discouragements; pore not upon thy discouragements too much. O how ordinary is this! This is to look upon the black and dark side of the cloud; what, is there not a bright side? Many poor Souls by doing thus, have entred into great temptations; you lead your selves into temptations by this means; but this hath been cautioned against in the former use, therefore I shall not enlarge upon it here.

2. Observation from this Text, we observed, was this, That Young Seekers, or Morning Seekers are much upon the [Page 31]heart of Christ. It is evident in the Text, it being a Promise, by way of encouragement to such poor Souls; O they are so much on his heart, he would not have them discouraged: O he knows they are soon discoura­ged; therefore they are upon his heart to encourage them.

1. He doth encourage them by ac­cepting of their weak beginnings; when a Scholar is a young beginner, he is soon discouraged, but when he sees his Master takes notice, and ac­cepts in good part what he doth, this doth much encourage him; and so a young Apprentice: Thus it is with a poor Soul at its first enquiring after Christ; when it sees the Lord accepts and takes in good part its weak moti­ons after Christ, its weak affections, and desires, O it is encouraged; will the Lord accept of any thing such a poor Creature doth? have I any of­fering that can find favour in his sight? what, such a poor Soul, that am but of yesterday, that am but newly begun to peep out of my profaneness? who have but newly turned my back on the [Page 32]sinful vanities of youth? This was typed out in Gods acceptance of the first fruits, though never so small; we read the sheaf of their first fruits of their harvest was to be given to the Priest,Lev. 23.11, 13. and he was to wave it before the Lord, that it might be accepted. If it be but a poor sheaf, it is accept­ed though thou carried out precious Seed weeping; and it may be hast not gotten thy sheaves to return with, yet peradventure thou hast gotten one sheaf;Lev. 2.14. Well, carry that to Christ, thy High Priest, to wave before the Lord, it may be accepted for you: Yea, if it be but a handful of green ears you bring to the Lord, a few green de­sires, and affections, they shall be ac­cepted with the Lord. We read of a glorious work begun in the day of Zachary, Zach. 4.10. in the building of the Tem­ple, and great discouragements the In­struments of that Glorious Work met withall; there was a mountain in the way, but all is encouraged by this, The hands of Zerubbabel (saith God) hath laid the foundation, and the hands of Zerubbabel shall finish the building. [Page 33]For who hath despised the day of small things? saith the Lord; there were some poor beginnings, and God would not discourage them. So I say in this case, who hath despised the day of small things? what though convicti­ons be but small, affections small, grace small? yet God accepts of this day of small things, and thus encourages them.

2. Jesus Christ doth encourage young Seekers, by perswading their hearts that they shall find favour and grace in the sight of God sooner or later. Did he ever say to the House of Jacob, seek ye my face in vain? O no sayes the poor Soul, I am under a Promise, they that seek shall find, therefore the poor Soul is of good courage. O though a person doth meet with discouragements, yet sayes the Soul, I shall find, though I digg long first, cry long first, seek long first, yet the good hope to speed at last becomes a great encouragement: and the contrary is as great a discourage­ment. Why should I wait on the Lord any longer, pray any longer, hear any [Page 34]longer, seek any longer? this weakens and enfeebles the Soul exceedingly. What kept up Jacob in wrestling all night, but a secret hope, and sweet perswasion that he should for all the opposition he met withall, come off conquerour, and at last get the bles­sing? How is it with your souls, young ones, as to this thing? are you per­swaded your praying, seeking, will not be in vain? O this is a great encou­ragement.

3. The Lord Jesus Christ doth en­courage young Seekers after him, by making the yoke of Christ easier to them every day than other. Every yoke or burden is hardest at first. O! poor Souls are ready to say of the yoke of Christ, at first, as they did of the yoke of Circumsion; wherefore put you upon us a yoke, that neither we nor our Fathers are able to bear? O but this yoke of Christ is made more easie to the soul every day than other. Now an Apprentice, or a Scholar, when he finds his work casier and ea­sier to him, O then how is he encou­raged to go on it? O now (saith the [Page 35]soul) I find that Scripture true, Christs yoke is an easie yoke, Mat. 11.28. and his burden is a light burden; and that word I now find to be true, and none of his Com­mandments are grievous. Now it may here be demanded, How doth Christ make his yoke to young Seekers easier every day than other?

1. By an increase of love in them to Christ. As love grows up in the Soul, difficulties are not dreadful; the dread of them is taken off; when the spark is blown into a vehement flame, what difficulty can stand before it? Who can stand before envy? But here it may be said, who can stand before love? Many waters cannot quench it. Is not love the greatest conquerour in the world? How evident is this in mens love to their lusts! O what de­sperate adventures do poor Sinners make to get to their lusts! As David's worthies did break through an Host for the water of the well of Bethlehem, so do thousands of Sinners, for love to their sins, break through a whole Host of Convictions, Reproofs, Admoniti­ons, Counsels, and all for love to their [Page 36]sins. And so love to Jesus Christ, as it increases, the commands of Christ are pleasant; the wayes of wisdome are wayes of pleasantness; we take plea­sure to serve such as we love.

2. Christ makes his yoke easier eve­ry day than other, and so encourages young Seekers, by making Duty a de­light. So long as Duty is a burden, there will be grievousness in it, but when it once is matter of delight and priviledge, O then it grows easie. De­light makes every thing easie, though difficult in it self. Alas, a poor Soul at first, looks upon the yoke of Christ as a task, as Scholars have their tasks at first; but after delight in them, Prayer now becomes a delight, and the Soul can say as the Spouse did, I sit down un­der his shadow with great delight. Com­munion with God is a great delight; reading and hearing is a great delight; and now these duties go sweetly and easily on.

3. He makes his yoke an easie yoke, by giving them to see a difference be­twixt this yoke, and the yoke of Sa­tan. And now sayes the poor Soul, the [Page 37]yoke of Satan would have prest me down to Hell, I should have drawn my self damned in the Devils yoke, and O now how heavy do I feel it! My sins are gone over my head as a burden, yea, as too heavy a burden for me to bear. O now when a poor sinner compares yokes and burdens, O how easie doth Christ's yoke become!

4. The Lord Jesus Christ doth en­courage young Seekers, by giving them hearts to wait upon him, and sweetly and secretly renewing their strength in waiting on him. While there is a waiting Spirit, there is en­couragement; this was the great en­couragement of Jacob's Soul, a wrest­ling frame was kept up in him. Where­ever a Soul continues a waiter and wrestler, there is hope it will come off conquerour; therefore we read of that blessed Promise,Isa. 40.30, 31. The youths shall faint, and the young men shall utterly fall, but they that wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength; strength comes in upon your waiting. You young waiters, he will not let you wait upon him for nothing, if your [Page 38]hands wax weak he will strengthen them, there shall be a secret invisible strength sent in, that shall still keep you waiting. O but may Souls say, we shall be weary after a while for all this. O no poor Souls you shall run and not be weary, walk and not faint: a poor young runner shall hold on, and hold out. That word in the Psalms is of the like comfort,Psal. 27. ult. to waiters, Wait on the Lord and be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thy heart. I say, wait on the Lord. O but sayes the poor Soul, I am discouraged, I know not what to do, I shall sink under them; wait on the Lord, and what then? the Lord will strengthen thee in waiting against all thy temptations, both with­in and without; the Lord is good to them that wait for him; and thou shalt find it so.

5. The Lord doth encourage the souls of young Seekers by giving them tastes of his love; for many times, at first conversion he gives more of it than he doth afterwards; this is to encourage Souls, and draw them on more to love him and seek him, and follow after [Page 39]him. When the Prodigal came newly home, at his first return, O how he treated him! Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him, and a ring on his hand, and shooes on his feet. If the Lord should not give young Seekers some sweet tastes of his love, they would be discouraged in seeking after him: But now they that taste how good and gracious the Lord is, they come unto him.

6. The Lord Jesus doth encourage the Souls of young Seekers by passing by, and pardoning their infirmities in their approaches to him, and graci­ously accepting, and owning what is his. There is something of Gods, and something of their own in every duty, and a great deal of their own to a lit­tle of Christs, a great deal of dross to a little silver, a great deal of water to a little wine; and O sayes the poor young Seeker, I am discouraged, will the Lord accept of such an offering as this? If thou shouldst offer this to thy Governour would he accept of it? O poor Soul see what he sayes, I have eaten my honey with my honey comb; [Page 40]not only the honey but the comb; be­cause of the dross he doth not refuse all; he knows how to separate the comb from the dross, the infirmities of a duty from any thing of the spirit in a duty; he will pick out what is his own, and pardon what is thine.

7. The Lord Jesus doth encourage the Souls of young Seekers, by help­ing them to believe the precious Pro­mises made to them. There are not more precious Promises made to any sort of sinners, or sort of people, than to young Seekers after Christ. Is not this a precious Promise in the Text? Of all persons you shall not be disap­pointed, you shall seek and find; [...]. 40.11. He shall carry the Lambs in his bosome, and gather them with his arm, and shall gent­ly lead them that are with young. O what a Soul-reviving-Promise is this! are not Lambs weak creatures? but in his bosome shall they get both warmth and strength. The old Proverb shall not hold in this case, The weakest go by the walls; if they cannot go, he can carry them, and not carry them on his back, but in his bosome, which [Page 41]is the easiest carriage, and the safest carriage. O what a sweet shepherd is this, that nourishes his Lambs in his bosome! And is not that also a rich and glorious Promise, A bruised Reed shall he not break, nor shall he quench the smoaking flax, until he bring judge­ment unto victory. O poor Soul, can there be greater encouragements than in this Promise? What is a weaker thing than a bruised Reed? what is a poorer thing than smoaking flax? soon extinguished, soon trodden out; but the Lord will make weak ones strong, weak Grace shall be victorious Grace, (thou art a poor weak worm, it may be) the Lord chooses things that are not, to confound things that are.

8. The Lord encourages such as are young Seekers of him, by watering the buddings of his own Grace in their Souls. Grace is so tender a plant, that it will live in no soyle where it is not well watered; it can­not be in any soyle but it must be wa­tered. He takes notice of the bud­dings of the Pomegranate, or the [Page 42]opening of it. When a poor soul be­gins first in its openings to desire after Jesus Christ, in its faith, in its love to Christ, O then these are watered with precious quickning influences from above, which makes them spring up and grow apace; he breaths upon his young plants, Blow O south mind that the spices may flow out; these breath­ings are influences from the Spirit.

1. Reason, why the Lord Jesus Christ doth encourage young Seekers, be­cause in their first setting out to seek Christ, they meet with most tempta­tions. O now when Satan is like to lose his prey, how doth this greedy Lion roar? when he sees he is like to be dis­appointed, how doth he follow the Soul with wrath and rage? Now the greater the rage of Satan is against poor Souls, the more bowels hath Christ yearning towards them; as it is his great office to succour those that are tempted. When Christ was born in Je­rusalem, there was a great uproar. O poor Soul! thou wondrest what is the matter, there is an uproar, a tumult in thy own Spirit, a combate within, and [Page 43]thou begin'st to be restless in Spirit, & look'st up to God in this condition. O what if Christ be forming in thy soul?

There are two things make Satan bestir himself against morning Seek­ers;

1. It is his envy: he is the envious one, he envies the good and happiness of every poor Soul, therefore he pur­sues thee.

2. His pride that his dominion should be lessened, that he should lose a subject, this makes him rage.

2. Reason, why the Lord Jesus Christ doth encourage poor morning Seek­ers, because he will allure them after himself. This is the method of Jesus Christ, to allure by encouragements young Converts. This the Lord did with the people of Israel, Hos. 2.15. Therefore I will allure her into the Wilderness, per­swade her: and sometimes it is called drawing, with loving kindness have I drawn thee. A poor Soul, by being encouraged is allured after Christ spo­ken as some Expositors say after the manner of Lovers, that give one ano­ther presents, not only pledges, but as [Page 44]baits to allure and inflame further af­fections.) Every encouragement the morning Seeker hath from Christ, the more doth his love burn after Christ.

3. Reason, why the Lord Jesus doth encourage morning Seekers after Christ, because this is the will of the Father, and whatsoever is his Fathers will, is his will: they run into one ano­ther, I and my Father is one. Joh. 36.37. Thus he ar­gues in that famous place, I will in no wise cast out them that come unto me; why, this is the will of my Father; God will have young Seekers encou­raged; who ever be cared for in the family, the Children must.

4. Reason, because they are soonest discouraged. O if poor Souls at the first work get not some little taste of love, some comfort and refreshment, alas their souls faint within them. That is the reason he will carry the Lambs in his bosome, they are soon wearied, cannot go, are prone to be tired, and sit still; O but this tender hearted Shepherd shall carry them, that is the reason of that Promise, he shall not quench the smoaking flax, (viz.) he shall [Page 45]not carry it roughly, but tenderly to­wards Souls, under weak beginnings of Grace. The smoaking flax is soon put out, and the bruised Reed is soon broken; so is a poor weak young be­ginner in Grace soon discouraged; but the Lord shall not do it (viz.) he will do the contrary for it, he will strengthen, he will encourage it.

5. Jesus Christ doth encourage young morning Seekers after himself, because it is his own work in their Souls, and he that begins a good work will carry it on. Jesus Christ must needs encourage the breathings of his own Spirit in the Soul; he is tender of his own begettings: every Creature that begets, seeks to maintain that life, so doth Jesus Christ. The work of Rege­neration is called the New Creature, it is of his Creation; we are his work­manship created to good works in Christ Jesus. God will encourage his own workmanship.


Is it so that poor morning Seekers [Page 46]are encouraged by Jesus Christ?

1. It informs us then of the love of Christ, that it runs to the weakest of Believers, as well as the strongest of Believers, to those that are in the low­est form in Christs School, as well as those that are in the highest, to the weakest of the flock, as well as the strongest, to the youngest children, as well as the eldest. There are three sorts of Christians, as John ranks then, Fa­thers, young Men, Joh. 12.13. and little Children.

2. It informs us of the evil and sin of the desponding frame of heart which is often found with young Seek­ers (viz.) if they seek a little and find not at first, then they are discontented, and discouraged, and then why should I wait any longer, seek any longer, pray any longer, mourn any longer, hear any longer? O this is an evil frame of heart, you see Christ is very loth you should be discouraged.

1. This desponding and being dis­couraged, argues much shortness and impatience of spirit in you, that you are not willing to let the Lord alone with the management of his own [Page 47]work. He that believes makes not hast: Psal. 40.1, 2. A poor Soul may be too impatient af­ter comfort, and discoveries of love; but David came to this frame of heart, to wait patiently upon the Lord, then the Lord heard his cry, and delivered him out of the horrible pit.

2. Doth not this speak much pride to be in the heart? What is it but pride, that you are not willing to wait? Alas poor Souls, should not you say as the Church did, I will put my mouth in the dust, if there may be hope. What is non-subjection to the will of God but pride?

3. It informs what is Ministers du­ties, and Believers duties. This was the charge of Christ to Peter, and in him to the Gospel Ministry succeeding him, feed my Lambs. Joh. 21.15. There are some that concern themselves too little with the Lambs of Christ, they are so taken up with the Hee-goats of the flocks, that they forget there are Lambs in the flock, that there are Hinds in the flock, poor timorous creatures startled with any thing, for so are the Hinds. Can we write after a better Copy than our [Page 48]Lord and Master hath set us? He car­ries the Lambs in his bosome, and should not substitute Shepherds do so? He took little children in his arms, and should not we do so? And this is also the duty of others, Fathers and Mothers, when you see any thing of Jesus breaking out, any desires, any good inclinations, any convictions of sin; O you should encourage these be­ginnings, this is Christ-like, and the contrary is Devil-like, Herod-like, which undoubtedly was stirred up by Satan to kill Christ in the cradle (viz.) while young, to seek for the life of the young Child; Pharoah-like to throw the Male Children into the River; Pharisee-like neither to enter your selves, nor let others enter. Masters, how should they encourage their Ser­vants, when they see any thing of Christ appear in them. The day is com­ing, you & your servants will stand be­fore the Lord to give an account how you have carried it towards them, whe­ther you have encouraged them or no; and I am afraid the evidence of some Servants will be received against their [Page 49]Masters. Are not such Masters mon­sters, rather than Masters, as shall way­lay the salvation of a servants Soul? Would not the rich man have pre­vented the coming of his brethren to hell? What can there be any love to Souls in hell? (Expositors tell us, that their going thither would have added to his torments, because by his exam­ple they had sinned.) O will not this add to your torments, and misery in another world, that you have been the occasion of so many poor Souls miscarrying under your roof?

4. It informs us of the infinite con­descention of Jesus Christ, that he will look after poor young enquirers, af­ter poor morning Seekers. Is not this condescention even to admiration, to carry Lambs in his arms, to nourish poor Lambs in his own bosome? that he should trouble himself with such poor sinful worms? May not such souls say, how is it Lord that thou should manifest thy self to us, and not to the world, and not to the rest of my bro­thers, and not to the rest of my sisters, and not to the rest of my relations?

[Page 50]2. Ʋse. Is it so that the Lord Jesus Christ is the encourager of poor morn­ing Seekers after himself? Then it is a word of Comfort to young Seekers. Be of good cheer, as they said to the blind man, for the Lord calleth; for the Lord encourages you. O all you morning Seekers, be of good courage, and wait on the Lord, and he will strengthen your hearts; I say wait upon the Lord.

1. Be of good comfort, you are the travail of Christs Soul, and therefore he will look after you. His suffering was his travail. O the pangs and throwes of a travailing woman! We say such have hard labour. O you poor young Converts, inquirers after Christ, he hath had hard labour for you. O the pangs of his Fathers displeasure, that he hath endured, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Here was one bitter pang, and his Soul was sorrowful unto death: There was an­other pang, and throwes came upon him so fast, that he died travailing for the Salvation and Redemption of poor Sinners. Therefore we read that sweet [Page 51]word, He shall see his Seed; Isa. 53.10, 11. he shall have Seed come out of his sufferings, which are called the travail of his Soul. And is not this a great com­fort? He will surely encourage his own travail: O poor Souls he hath travailed for you; therefore he will encourage you.

2. Second word of Comfort to young Seekers is this, you are his joy, his delight, He shall see the travail of his Soul, and be satisfied, (viz.) it shall be matter of great contentation and delight to see his sufferings issue, in the bringing forth a Seed and Rem­nant, that shall be saved. As one de­lights in his children, so doth Christ in his young Seekers, Behold, Heb. 12.13. I and the Children thou hast given me (which is spoken of Christ, and quoted out of the Prophets.) He rejoyces, you see, in his Seed. O what joy was there when the young prodigal returned home to his Father's. The whole pa­rable preaches this Doctrine. A man delights in his youngest children. As a man delights in his nursery, so doth Jesus Christ in his garden; he hath his young nursery.

[Page 52]3. Word of Comfort to young Seekers, He hath accommodated Pro­mises to suit with the conditions of such. O what a care had Christ of such, that he would give Promises on pur­pose to such? As to their weakness in Grace, he would strengthen such poor bruised reeds; as to the dispensations of God, which they fear they are not able to keep pace with, He shall carry the Lambs in his bosome; they cannot go they are so weak, he shall carry them. As for the temptations within or without, Out of the mouths of Babes and Sucklings, he shall ordain strength, to still the enemy, and the avenger. There is not any condition, but you may find a Promise accommodated for that condition.

4. Word of Comfort to morning Seekers, You are Christs charge; Be­hold I and the Children thou hast given me. Heb. 1.13. Spoken of Christ. Now upon the Fathers donation, and the Sons acceptation they begin to be his charge; therefore he is the great Trustee for poor Souls. He stands engaged to give his Father an account of them all at the last day; and will [Page 53]not Christ be faithful to his trust? nay to the trust God the Father hath com­mitted to him? Therefore he loses not a soul. They pass under the hand of him that tells them again; all that God the Father hath told out to his Son, the Son tells back again to God the Father.

5. Word of Comfort to morning Seekers is this, This argues the great love God bears to your Souls, to call you betimes, to call you while you are young. O how many go down to Hell, while the milk is in their breasts and marrow in their bones! though young in years, yet old in sin, &c. O at what a rate do some young ones sin? How expert are they grown in that cursed trade? And that thou should'st be called to seek after Christ in thy young dayes, O what a comfort is this! Here is one taken and another left.

O but sayes a poor Soul, Alas! I can get no comfort, as yet I am a poor troubled Soul, much cast down and dejected.

They that sow in tears shall reap in [Page 54]joy; it is thy seed-time now, there­fore thou must not expect a crop pre­sently, the Seed must lie in the ground. Let your Seed-prayers, and Seed-tears lie in Gods hand a while; Light is sown for the Righteous, and joy for the upright in heart.

O but sayes a poor Soul, I am fol­lowed with temptations, since that I begun to seek after Christ, and I know not what to do.

Poor Soul, his rage is great, because his time is short; now thou art com­ing out of captivity to him, he is pur­suing thee to reduce thee to the old house of bondage; thy temptations do argue, the Lord Jesus Christ is a­bout casting out of Satan; therefore he is angry.

O but I am a poor needy creature;Psal. 40. ult. well, but doth not the Lord think of thee?

O but I am a weak Creature.

He will perfect strength in weakness, out of the mouth of Babes, Heb. 5.3. &c.

O but I am an ignorant Creature.

Well, he can have compassion on the ignorant, and them that are out of the way.

The last Ʋse is of Exhortation to Young Ones, to seek the Lord be­times, and make supplication to him. If thou seek early after God, the Word is, Thou shalt find him. Remember your Creator in the dayes of your youth,Job 8.5. The word Seeking we find u­sed in seve­ral places: Significat quaerere diligenter & cum cura. Daresh est summo ju­dicio quae­rere. So Eccl. 1.13. &c. Leave all for Christ, sell all for the pearl of price. Seek him while he is to be found.

The third Observation we are now come unto from the words, is this:

That morning Seekers shall be sure and certain finders.

They that seek me early shall find me; to be sure such find me; whoever miss of me, they shall not.

1. By morning Seekers is meant,Job 8.5. Shahar aurare seu diluculare signifies di­ligently to seek, or rise timely in the morn­ing. Prov. 11.27. one that seeks the Lord betimes. So Job phrases it, If thou seek the Lord, and make supplication unto him. To re­member our Creator in the dayes of our youth. Our youth is our morn­ing time to seek Christ in; our age is our afternoon: now it is not so good seeking in the middle of the day, nor in the afternoon, as it is in the morning.

2. By morning Seekers are meant, such as do earnestly seek the Lord Je­sus: [Page 56]Are there any poor Souls that do more earnestly seek the Lord Jesus than such as give up themselves betimes to Christ? Hos. 6.15. In their affliction they will seek me early; (viz.) they will seek me earnestly, they will seek me in the morning; because what is done in the morning is done with most vigour and fervency. O! morning Seekers, how vigorously in Soul do they seek the Lord Jesus? they do not seek like So­lomons sluggard, as though they cared not whether they found or no; but they seek with all their heart, which we read a Promise made to;Jer. 29.13. And you shall seek me, and find me, when you shall search for me with all your hearts.

3. By a morning Seeker of Christ, is meant a soul that the Lord is visit­ing with the day of his power. The morning is the beginning of the day, so the morning is the beginning of the work of Grace.Hos. 6.3. The morning of a day of Grace we read of; the Go­ings of God prepared as the morn­ing. The morning light is gradual, so is the dawnings of the day of Grace upon the Soul;Pro. 4.18. as that word is, The [Page 57]path of the Just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the per­fect day. There is the dawning of the day, and the perfect day. When the day-star from on High first ariseth in the soul; this is the morning Seeker, it had not light to seek by, until the day-star arose in the heart; and now morning light is come in to let the soul see the misery of its dark and un­done estate without Christ. O now it is a seeker in this light after the Lord Jesus, &c.

4. By a morning Seeker is meant, a Soul waiting for more appearances, more arisings of the day-star in and upon the Soul:Psal. 130.6. As David saith, My Soul waiteth for the Lord, more than they that wait for the morning; more than the watchmen that wait for the morning. And thus, as soon as poor Babes in Grace are begotten to Christ, they are children of the light. All young Converts are children of the light; they are looking out for more light, more light of Grace, and more light of Comfort. Thus doth a poor morn­ing Seeker wait for light to shine into his dark heart.

[Page 58]5. By a morning Seeker is meant, a poor Soul that stands upon the watch­tower of Observation, taking notice of the first breakings in of light: as the watchmen waited for the first peep and dawning of the day, that they might offer the sacrifice appointed for the morning. So a poor morning Seek­er is one that observes the first con­victions that dawn upon it, the first light of the spirit that shines into it; and it stands by the crevise and will not away; but here is such an Ordi­nance, that God first convinced me by, first illuminated me. And thus the Soul keeps an observation of the gra­dual breakings in of light.

6. By morning Seekers is meant, a poor Soul in its first breathings, out of the desires and wants of the Soul to Christ; Psal. 5.3. My voice shalt thou hear in the morning. In the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. Here is the morning, a time for prayer. I will order my prayer in the morn­ing. In the morning of a begun work of Grace, O what directing is there of prayer to God? A praying Soul is a [Page 59]morning Seeker. Alas! the Soul pray­ed not before, but now a day of Grace hath visited it, it may be said of him, behold he prays.

7. By morning Seekers is under­stood, a Soul that looks out for some encouragement by way of answer to prayer. In the morning will I direct my prayer and look up (the word sig­nifies, diligently to look out for something that is coming towards us.) O! a morning Seeker enquires for some answer to prayer, some encouragement to animate it in its pursuits after Christ.

8. Lastly, By a morning Seeker is meant, one that seeks with hope and joy, that seeks chearfully in expecta­tion to find. The Spirits are most chearful in the morning. O how it glads the poor weary Centinel to think of the approaching day! Thus it is with a poor Soul seeking Christ; O thinks this Soul, sorrow may con­tinue for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

Reasons why early and morning Seek­ers shall be sure and certain finders.

1. Reason, why early or morning [Page 60]Seekers shall be sure and certain find­ers, because such are importunate Seekers, and it is importunate pray­ing, that is prevailing prayer with God; therefore we read that Parable teaching Souls how to seek; for his im­portunity he arose and gave him;Luke 11. the word is (Impudence;) there is a holy Impudence that will not be said nay. O! this God loves in all Seekers, but especially in morning Seekers, they are usually importunate.

1. Young Seekers have strong cor­ruptions to combate with. The cor­ruptions of youth are strong; and when strong corruptions meet with strong convictions, how should a prin­ciple of Grace live in the Soul but by importunate seeking Christ? The stronger the corruption, the more im­portunate the wrestling of the Soul under it; strong corruptions where there is a begun work of Grace, cause the soul to put forth strong crys and supplications.

2. Usually morning Seekers are im­portunate Seekers, because they have strong temptations. We read of John [Page 61]writing to young men,1 Epist. of Joh. 2.14. I write unto you young men, because you are strong, and have overcome the wicked one. Then young Seekers are combatants not on­ly with their own corruptions, but the wicked ones temptations. Paul, when a messenger of Satan was sent him to buffet him, what did he do? He be­sought the Lord thrice, (viz.) fre­quently or importunately. Tempta­tions will put upon importunate Seek­ing the Lord Jesus, where there is a principle of Grace in the Soul. O are not young mens temptations stronger than others? The temptations of young men to vain company, O how hard to overcome is this! hath not this one temptation been the Rock that many a young man hath split his Soul on for ever? Solomon setting out the sinful state of youth, being led by the strange woman, sayes, I discerned a young man void of understanding; but where was he?Prov. 7.7. The Text tells you, amongst the Simple Ones.

3. Morning Seekers are importu­nate Seekers, they are in their first love. Love will be importunate; I re­member [Page 62]the kindness of thy youth, Jer. 2.2. and the love of thine Espousals. Their af­fections are strong.

4. Morning Seekers are importunate seekers, their convictions are strong. Now where there are strong convicti­ons, there will be importunate Seek­ing; morning convictions are strong convictions. O now the power of the Lord takes hold of the heart; and conviction is born in upon the Soul, that it stoops under it. Thus Ephraim as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke;Jer. 31.19, 20. I was ashamed, yea confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth. O what strong convictions are here! and what now doth poor Ephraim do? He mourns and prays, Turn thou me, and I shall be turned.

5. Morning Seekers are importu­nate Seekers, their oppositions are greater and stronger than others; op­positions within and without. Now where there is a principle of Grace, when under opposition, it will seek so much the more importunately after Christ. The Disciples discouraged the poor woman of Canaan, saying, Send [Page 63]her away; a great discouragement, but she cryed the more: Opposition meet­ing with Grace doth but prove like cold water upon good coales, make them burn the brighter. Usually at thy first looking out after Christ, op­position will meet thee; but then let such opposition send you to Christ.

2. Reason, why morning Seekers shall be certain finders, because they are diligent Seekers, and the Promise runs unto diligent seeking; He that comes unto God, Heb. 11.6. must believe that God is, and that he is a rewarder of such as diligently seek him. It is not the sloth­ful Seeker that shall be the certain finder; no, no, the desire of the slug­gard kills him.

1. Morning Seekers are diligent Seekers, now they see the worth of what they seek, none can seek dili­gently but such. O now they seek the Lord Jesus in the sense of the worth of him. When we know the worth of that we seek, we will seek dili­gently. Ask these Seekers what Christ is worth, and they will tell you ten thousand worlds; he is the pearl of [Page 64]price, chiefest of ten thousands.

2. Morning Seekers are diligent seekers, because now they are con­vinced of the worth of their Souls, for the good of which they seek. Persons will never seek diligently, until they come to see the preciousness of their immortal souls. Can a man be too di­ligent in the business of his Soul? Did ever you hear of any repented them of their diligence in working out of their salvation with fear and trem­bling when they came to die? Have you ever known any who have cryed out, what a fool was I, to pray so much, to live so holily, to take up so much of my time about my immortal soul? Ask a poor Soul, why it is so diligent at first seeking Christ, and it will tell you, I never saw the worth of my Soul before, I am now seeking out for my Soul, and if I do not find, I am a lost, undone Soul to all Eternity.

3. Morning Seekers are diligent Seekers, because they now know the evil dayes are coming upon them,Eccl. 12.1. in which they will be unfit to seek him; dayes of sickness, dayes of affliction, it [Page 65]may be, temptations and tryals; they seek while it is to day, because when night comes, there will be no seeking.

4. They know there is a day in which he will not be found,Isa. 99.6. Seek the Lord while he may be found, and call upon him while he is nigh. O sayes the morning Seeker, the time is coming when it will be too late, the gate of Mercy will be shut, the bridge of Mer­cy drawn, and the Soul is afraid of delaying, and dallying upon that ac­count.

5. Morning Seekers are diligent Seekers, because they are convinced now of the great need of Christ. O now they see, and say they are undone and lost for ever, if they miss of the Lord Jesus. What makes persons di­ligent in seeking but when they see a need of what they seek? Do not they need a Christ, that see they are undone to all Eternity if they have not a Christ?

3. Reason, why morning Seekers will be certain finders; the Promise runs to them: what plainer than this word in my Text, They shall find me, [Page 66]They that seek shall find. He never said to the Seed of Jacob, seek ye my face in vain. And he is faithful that hath promised. Let this encourage you, that you are under a Promise.


Is it so that morning Seekers shall be sure and certain finders? Then it is a word of Inquiry;

Why, or what should be the rea­son so many poor morning Seekers are complaining they find not him whom their Souls love? as the Spouse did, I sought him, but I found him not. And so many poor Souls are complaining, I sought Christ so long, but I know not that I have found him to this day.

1. Reason, why Jesus Christ is not at present found of morning Seekers, he will exercise their Graces by it; he had a design upon the Spouse to exer­cise her Grace, by withdrawing from her.

1. Sayes Christ, I will try whether this poor Soul love me or no; Love is a waiting Grace; whether this poor [Page 67]Soul can wait, and enquire; Saw you him whom my Soul loves?

2. Christ by this tryes their faith; faith will continue seeking, though at present it doth not find.Isa. 8.17. I wait upon the Lord who hides his face from the house of Jacob.

2. The Lord Jesus is not found at present of morning Seekers, to draw out their Souls in longings after him. The more a poor seeker of Christ seems to be denied, the more is his Soul enflamed with ardent desires. Thus did Christ with the Spouse when he had withdrawn himself; the watch­men smote her, took away her veil from her: Yet her Spirit was raised the more after Christ to enquire after him. Thus often it is with morning Seekers after Christ.

3. The Lord Jesus is not at present found of morning Seekers, because he will let the Soul see it is only his free Grace that must be adored and admi­red in finding Christ. Morning Seek­ers would be sacrificing else to their nets, and dosing incense to their own drags, and stroaking self upon the [Page 68]head, and saying, this is my praying, this is my mourning, this is my being early up in the morning. O now he will have the Soul know, that it is of the riches of his Grace, that he is found of those that seek him.

4. Jesus Christ is not found at pre­sent of morning Seekers, because he will try whether their hearts be up­right with himself. Many poor Souls begin to seek Christ, but it is but for a time, temporary seekers, and after­wards they are offended with one thing or other, then they draw back; that is a note of a rotten heart. I dare say thou wert never right at heart Christ-ward that turnest off, and look­est back, upon some offence taken against Christ. I doubt there be many hypocritical Seekers; it is no wonder if such be not finders.

5. Jesus Christ is not at present found of morning Seekers, because they are many times too legal in their seeking him; I mean, they seek him too much in a way of works, as Israel of old did. Now he would acquaint poor Souls with the way of faith, to [Page 69]seek him in a way of believing; this is the only way of seeking Christ.

2. Word of Inquiry.

If that morning Seekers shall be cer­tain finders of Christ, then how comes it to pass, that so many of them after a while give over, turn their backs on the way of God, and apostatize from that they once profest? O how many young ones who have begun in the Spirit, and yet have ended in the flesh, as we might judge!

1. Many young Seekers have turn­ed off from seeking Christ, because they were never truly numbled for sin. In their first seeking him, some transient convictions it may be they had, but never truly humbled for sin, O young ones look to this, or else all your affections and desires will come to nothing; you will see no worth in Christ, no need of Christ, if you be not truly humbled for sin.Mat. 13.5, 6. We read of that ground that had no root, and what became of it? it withered. That house that digged not deep to lay the foundation, what became of it?Luk. 6. ult. it fell, and great was the fall of it.

[Page 70]2. Many young Seekers go off from seeking Christ, because they never see any real worth and excellency in Christ. They have had it may be some flashes of affection, but they never see Christ to be distinctly precious to their poor Souls. Have you ever seen him to be the pearl of price, the chiefest of ten thousand? Can such souls, who have fallen really in love with Christ fall off again? Did thou ever see Christ a spiritual Christ? It may be thou hast lookt upon him as a carnal Christ, and hast known him, as the Apostle saith, after the flesh; made only a notional Christ of him, or an historical Christ of him; O then it is no wonder if thou fall off from seeking of him.

3. Many morning Seekers turn off from seeking Christ, because profession grows too hot for them, because of the heat of the day. O it is fine tra­velling in the morning, but after a while, the Sun gets up, and then it is with them, as with that ground which by and by was offended when perse­cution arose. Travellers take in, in the heat of the day; so I doubt do many [Page 71]poor young ones, that have set fairly out after Christ.

4. Many poor young Seekers fall off from Christ, because they never truly and really closed with him. Alas! it is not your seeking Christ, but your closing in with Christ, will pre­serve you from falling off. Have you chosen the Lord Jesus, and received him? Closing with him, is called,Job. 1.12. re­ceiving of him, to as many as received him. A poor Soul may be a seeker of Christ, that is not a receiver of Christ.

5. Many morning Seekers of Christ fall off again, because they come after Christ with some reserve. If you will be thus seekers of Christ, you shall fall off at one time or other, (viz.) I mean, if you will reserve any lust. Thus the young man came on to some terms with Christ, but the market soon fell, when he was told, he must sell all; and Judas followed Christ with a reserve; usually reserves are sinners ruine: Turn from all iniquity (said the Prophet) lest it be your ruine.

6. Many morning Seekers fall off again, because they seek him for them­selves, [Page 72]and not for himself; and many do thus, that are not aware of it: this is but to bring forth fruit to your selves (as Ephraim is charged with.)Hos. 10.1. Do you see any loveliness in Christ, any comliness in him? Is he a plant of Re­nown to you? Many seek him for loaves, though in a more refined sence than there spoken of, for his comforts, for his discoveries of love, for his smiles,Mr. Ru­therford. I am more taken (sayes one) with my Lords manifested love, than with himself. This is to love him for what comes from him; for his tokens.

7. Many morning Seekers fall off again, because they let other lovers in process of time steal away their hearts. Many in the dayes of their youth have sought after Christ, but after a while the heart hath been strangely and insensibly gone, affecti­ons lost, Christ not in all his thoughts, why, what is the matter? The world it may be hath won in upon the soul, or gaming, or some other sin; and now the Soul falls off, as new suiters come on. O poor young ones, you will have many suiters, many will court [Page 73]you, and then you will be in danger.

3. The next word of Inquiry;

If that morning Seekers shall be sure finders, how comes it to pass, the Lord Jesus hath so few Seekers? One would think Jesus Christ would be thronged after; as in the dayes when he was in the flesh, they thronged about the door where he was. Alas! poor Souls, you may throng about Or­dinances, and Meetings, and yet ne­ver come near Christ. We read of a whole crowd about Christ, and yet but one poor Woman touched him to draw vertue from him. You may crowd about Christ in an Ordinance, and yet draw not one drop of vertue from him.

1. Hindrance to young ones seek­ing Christ, they are not convinced of the misery of their distant state from Christ; if young ones or old ones were convinced of this, if all were convinced throughly of their misery of lying out from Christ, O what cry­ing, what mourning, what running, nay, what roaring after Christ would there be? One poor young man would [Page 74]run up and down, crying, none but Christ, none but Christ. Another would run to every Ordinance, en­quiring (with the Spouse) saw you him whom my Soul loves? And ano­ther would run to a poor Minister with this cry, Sir, I am an undone soul, if there were no more souls in the world, if a Christ be not my portion. Another would cry, what shall I do to be saved? Methinks I see how the stung Israelites run up and down when the fiery Serpents had stung them, crying, O where, where is the brazen Serpent, that I may get a look at him and be healed? So would poor Souls convinced of their misery do.

1. Poor Soul, that lies in thy di­stance from Christ, did thou ever see thy misery?

First, Thy misery of guilt, as thou art an unpardoned Soul. Is not guilt a miserable thing to lie upon a poor Creatures conscience? Ask the Devils and they will tell thee, if guilt be not an intolerable burden: Ask the damned spirits, and they will preach to thee, the misery of unpardoned [Page 75]guilt. Nay, if thou could talk with a despairing Soul, O what terrible things would it tell thee, of the mi­sery of unpardoned guilt! O poor young man, hast thou found out the way to a pardon and leave out Christ? Angels could never find out such a way. Or dost thou think to carry guilt into Glory with thee? Must any be saved, but such as God hath par­doned? If thou didst see the misery of guilt, thou would'st be a Seeker, and a morning Seeker after Christ? All pardons are purchased and drawn up and preached in his name: They are purchased; we have redemption, and remission of sin; but how come they in? through his blood; And they preached Repentance and Remission of Sins in his Name, beginning at Jeru­salem.

2. Poor Soul, hast thou seen the misery of thy distant state, as thou art under the power of sin, as every soul is that is out of Christ? And O what a sad sight is a young person in under the power of strong corruption? Is it no­thing to thee that thou art a slave to [Page 76]sin, serving divers lusts and pleasures? But when was this they did so? the Apostle tells us, before the loving kindness of God their Saviour did appear.Tit. 3.4, 5. Would'st thou have power against sin? It may be thy Soul goes to thy prayers for it, to thy duties for it, to thy resolutions and purposes for it; the best way is to close with Christ, for there can be no power against sin that can subdue it, until closure with Christ. While thou art under the power of sin, it doth what it will with thee; it Kings it, and Lords it, that thou obey'st it in the lust thereof.

Secondly, Hast thou seen the mise­ry of thy distant state, as thou art un­der enmity to God, and God under enmity to thee?

1. The enmity of thy side; O what a piece of misery is it, to be under the power of enmity? this is a piece of the misery of the damned, they have an inveterate enmity against God, that if such a thing were possible, they would dethrone God; like some, we read in their distress,Isa. 8.21. Curse their God, and their King, and look upward. Is [Page 77]not this misery indeed, to be an ene­my to the God of all thy mercies, to be an enemy to him thou daily livest upon, nay, cannot live one moment without? And such a monster art thou. I have read of one that killed her Child, while it smiled; so would'st thou do. Art not thou spurning Gods tender bowels every day? but now by seeking Christ, or closing with Christ this enmity is done away.

2. Enmities on Gods side; God an enemy to thee, and can there be greater misery than this? what, he thy enemy, that thou art every day pro­voking, and can upon every provoca­tion, in a moment turn thee into Hell? Every one fears having great ones for their enemies, but what sayst thou to the great God, who is thine enemy? If ever poor sinners were convinced of this, O what seeking Christ would there be for reconciliation?

3. Hast thou seen the misery of thy distant state, as thou art a vassal to Sa­tan, for so is every one out of Christ; and is this nothing to thee? Wert thou in Algier, what Letters wouldst thou send [Page 78]to thy friends! setting forth thy dole­full slavery to affect their hearts, to send over thy redemption-money? But alas! what is a Turk to the Devil? the one reaches the Body, the other the Soul. Poor Soul out of Christ, the Devil is thy patron, and wilt not thou groan to be delivered? Why are not Souls morning Seekers after Christ? Alas! they see not the misery of be­ing under the power of Satan. Now want of powerful convictions in these three things while you lye in a di­stant state from Christ, is the first cause why he hath so few Seekers.

2. Hinderance to young Seekers af­ter Christ, is, their beloved lusts, and darling corruptions: they are willing to part with some, but not all their lusts; there is an Isaac, that causes laughter, they cannot think of cut­ting the throat of it; there is a Ben­jamin, they cannot tell how to let that go; there is a Dalilah they are loth to lose; there is an Herodias they cannot endure to part with;Mat. 13.45, 46. a right hand they will needs keep, and hide. O no, poor young man, thou must sell [Page 79]all, if thou wilt seek and find this pearl of price. We read of the young man, and he was very fair and like to fall in with Christ; Mark 10.22. Jesus Christ begins to strike at his right hand, and he pulls it in, and Christ and he parts up­on this occasion. Herod was fair, but when John gets a blow at his Herodias, Herod gets a blow at Johns head, and strikes it off. O poor sinner, if thou resolve for Christ, thou must resolve against thy darling sin.

3. Hinderance to young Seekers af­ter Christ, is, their entanglement by wicked company. They come to Or­dinances, and are convinced, that sin will be bitter to them in the latter end; and they see no way but that liv­ing and dying in such courses they are lost for ever. Well, one would think some good would spring and grow out of such convictions; but alas! the next time they come in their evil company, they have absolutely lost all; one would not think these were the young men that were so af­fected at Sermons: Now it may be, you may see in their hands instead of [Page 80]their Bibles, their Cups; and in their mouths hear instead of their prayers, their oaths. Well, young men, know for all this God will bring you into judgement.

1. Wilt thou poor Soul rather part with a precious Christ, than with thy base company? O unworthy Soul of Christ's bowels! to prefer thy sinful Companions before thy Blessed Jesus; as those poor Souls preferred Barabbas before Jesus. What wilt thou love a drunkard, a swearer, an unclean wan­ton before Jesus Christ?

2. Wilt thou rather part with an immortal precious Soul, than part with thy wicked company? O how many have been damned by this one sin! how many thousands of Souls have been cast away for ever upon this rock! while other sins have slain their thousands, this hath slain ten thou­sands. O how many company-keepers are now in Hell!

3. Then canst thou look upon them when thou comest to dye, and thy conscience filled with guilt and hor­rour? canst thou then look upon them [Page 81]with delight? Canst thou sport thy self with thinking or discoursing how many times you have been drunk to­gether, how many times you have violated the Lords day together, how many nights you have spent all ga­ming together? If your Companions should come in, when you are upon a death bed, and say, Come be of good cheer, remember such a bout, and such a bout, how merry we were. O will not this be as a dagger to stab through your heart, will not this wound like a sword in the bones? Remember the young mans doleful ditty in the Proverbs; and thou mourn at last when thy flesh and thy body is consumed, and say,Prov. 5.11, 12, 13. How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised re­proof?

4. Will not your wicked examples one to another here, be aggravations of one anothers torments in another world?

5. Poor Souls, if you will go to Hell for company, you shall have com­pany enough there. What company is there there? There is the Devils com­pany, [Page 82]and wicked Spirits company. As blessed Doctor Preston said in a good sence, so here may be said in a sad sence, I shall change my place, but not my company: So thou mayest say, thou must change Earth for Hell, but not thy company, there is wicked com­pany enough there.

4. Fourth hinderance to young Seek­ers after Christ is a spirit of slothful­ness; they indulge themselves too much in their own ease, as the Spouse did, but this provoked Christ, and he did withdraw upon it. Poor Sinner, what man that hath been industrious, that by pains and care hath gotten an estate, afterwards repents him­self, but rather looks back upon his diligence with delight? So, did you ever hear of any when they were to dye, that ever cryed out, O that I had not spent so many dayes in the service of God! O that I had never taken such pains in seeking after Christ! But you have heard of many on the con­trary, that have cryed, O that I were to live over my dayes and time again! would I ever be so careless of an im­mortal [Page 83]Soul? would I ever indulge my carnal sloth at that rate I have done? would I miss so many precious seasons of Grace for my Soul as I have done?

1. Poor Soul, do not many strive and never win into the harbour? had not thou need cast off thy sloth then?

2. Work out thy salvation with fear and trembling; who then would give way to flesh?

3. It is a business of eternal conse­quence, who would be slothful in a business of such great concernment?

4. All our diligence is little enough; therefore God calls for violence in the case, to take heaven by violence, this is honourable.

5. The fruit of diligence will be peace upon a death bed.2 Pet. 3.14. Be diligent is Peters exhortation; but what mo­tive doth he use? That you may be found of him in peace.

5. Fifth hinderance to young Seekers after Christ is hope of a longer lease of their lives, they hope there is no such hast: Some years hence, when they have gotten an estate in the [Page 84]world, then they will look after these things; but why should they be so early with Christ? will not two seven years hence serve? and thus they de­lay their seeking after Christ.

1. It is worth considering; what if thou do live longer and be hardened in sin? While Plants are tender they may be dealt with, but when they are grown, they are too sturdy. Alas poor Sinner! thou mayst be hereafter a sturdy sinner, an hardned sinner, an Atheist, a Scoffer, a Persecutor, what if God shall give thee up after thou hast refused to hearken unto him, and say of thee,Psal. 81.11, 12. as of Israel of old, But Israel would have none of me, so I gave them up to their own hearts lusts.

2. Is it not worth considering, whe­ther the motions of the Spirit be not irrecoverably forfeited by such Souls as delay seeking after Christ upon hope of a longer day. There have been Souls that have irrecoverably forfeited the Spirits gales; and then what a sad condition would thy poor Soul be in? God hath said, his Spirit shall not alwayes strive with man.

[Page 85]3. What if while thou art hoping for a longer day, God should send thee a summons, by the black Serjeant Death, to tell thee, this night shall thy Soul be taken away? It was so with him, while he was saying, Soul, take thine ease, thou hast goods laid up for many years.

4. What if thy day of Grace should be over, and Christ wooe no more, tender himself no more, but his abu­sed love turn into incensed wrath?

5. Consider, how thy puts off, and delayes have grieved Christ. Hast not thou wearied out the Lord Jesus, while he hath stretched his arm all the day long?

6. Consider, how your delays will sting you upon a death bed, or in an­other world. O how often was I call­ed, and yet delayed! The remembrance of every delay, will go to your hearts like a dagger, and bleed in your con­science for ever.

6. Sixth Hinderance to morning Seek­ers after Jesus Christ, is, perswasions of Christs unwillingness to receive them, or be found of them, because of their [Page 86]unworthiness. This very case discou­rages many a poor Soul from seeking after Christ; they have taken in hard thoughts of God and Christ. And O how doth Satan now haunt the Soul, taking all opportunities to blow up their unbelieving jealousies against Christ.

1. Poor Soul, would Jesus Christ wooe thee, if he were not willing to be found of thee? Would he knock, if he were not willing to come in upon thy opening? Would he hold out his Golden Scepter for thee to kiss, if he were not willing to be reconciled to thee?

2. Poor Soul, would he wait if he were not willing? What speaks his great patience and long suffering to­wards thee, but his willingness to be found of thee? Why doth he not only knock, but stand and knock; Behold, I stand at the door and knock: Rev. 3.20. He is not yet gone from your doors, which notes his willingness to be in.

3. Poor Soul, would he complain of poor Sinners unwillingness to receive him, if he were not willing? If it stick [Page 87]not on the sinners side, there then is no ground for complaining on Christs side. O the sad complaints and groans that have proceeded from Christ up­on this account! You will not come unto me, that ye might have life. He was grieved because of their unbelief, and hardness of their hearts.

4. Poor Soul, would the Lord Jesus Christ send his voice behind thee, so often prompting thee on to seek after Christ, if he were not willing? O how doth the voice still keep behind thee, in Ordinances, in Afflictions whisper­ing to thee thy duty? We read of the Spirit, saying, Come, as well as the Bride saying Come; it is the Spirit of God is the great maker up of the match, betwixt the Soul and Christ; and this argues Christ is willing, be­cause he sends his messenger so often to thee upon the errand.

5. Poor Soul, would the Lord Jesus Christ have been so willing to come a Salvation-errand into the world, if he were not willing to be found of Sinners? What was Christs errand from Heaven unto Earth? He came [Page 88]to seek Souls, to seek and to save that which was lost; He came not to call the Righteous, but Sinners to repen­tance. Would he seek you, if not wil­ling to save you? O let not Christ lose his pains, by your harbouring unbe­lieving jealousies of his love!

7. Seventh hinderance to morning Seekers after Jesus Christ, is, they hope they may repent upon a death bed, or sick bed, after they have spent their youthful time in sin and vanity; this is very incident to all, but especially to young persons.

1. Poor Soul, what if the grim Ser­jeant Death serve a Writ on thee un­awares? If thou be struck on a sud­dain where then will be thy repen­tance? Dost thou know the manner of thy death, any more than the time of death? What if thou poor young man, who hast slighted so many warn­ings, shouldst have none given thee when the great stroak comes? What if the Lord come upon thee in an hour thou lookedst not for him.

2. What if thou be given up to a seared conscience, on a sick bed, or [Page 89]death bed? A seared conscience at any time is sad, but most sad on a sick bed; have not many died seared and hard­ned in sin, yea in their very youth? But as they lived so they died, with­out sense or feeling of their sad and sinful state.

3. Poor Souls, what if your repentance then will not go with God? I think sin­ners, you may well have such jealousies, that your repentance is hypocritical, while it is thus forced and extorted from you, by reason of your fears and horrours that now walk in your con­sciences. There is a great deal of coun­terfeit repentance that God will not take when you come to die; late re­pentance is seldome true: and is it not a pitty (as one observes) to play the Courtiers with your own Souls? They do all things late, they go to bed late, and rise late, and dine late, and sup late, and worst of all, repent late.

4. What if thy poor Conscience should now cry, it is too late, thou shouldst have done it sooner? Many have thus cryed out, O no there is no [Page 90]mercy for them, they have stood it out too long, and now they cannot expect any thing at Gods hand, but a righteous sentence of separation for ever from his comfortable face.

5. Poor Soul, how will it sting thee to consider thou might often have done it in a fitter time, when thou put it off. Is not a time of health the fittest time for repentance? O now how will the consideration of thy many calls, and many refusals lie heavy upon thee!

8. Eighth hinderance to poor morning Seekers against Christ, is the prejudice that Satan labours to fill their Souls with against Christ; this is very inci­dent to young persons, to take up pre­judices against the Lord Jesus Christ.

1. Satan labours to prejudice them by the paucity and fewness of those that seek after Christ; they are but a few, and why should you go from the way the multitude walks in? O poor Sinner, would you be pleased to con­sider it is Christs own Doctrine, There be few that shall be saved; why should then this be a stumbling block unto you? Have you a mind to go to Hell [Page 91]for company? Many are the travellers that go hells beaten road, broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there be that find it.

2. Satan prejudices many times young ones by the meanness and con­temptibleness of those that are Seek­ers of the Lord Jesus Christ. This peo­ple that know not the Law are ac­cursed; few of the Rulers believed on him; not many wise Nobles, &c. The Poor receive the Gospel. O poor Souls, know they are most honour­able that are so in the account of God, and not of man.Isa. 43.4. Since thou wert preci­ous in my sight, thou wert honourable: The Righteous is more excellent than his neighbour. They that honour God, God will honour.

3. Satan labours to fill Souls with prejudice against Christ, by present­ing them with the difficulties they shall meet withal. It is true, you may meet with discouragement in the way, but you shall have the breaker up go before you, and he will make the way easie, and crooked wayes streight, and rough wayes shall become plain.

[Page 92]4. Satan labours to fill Souls with prejudice against Christ from the ma­nifold infirmities that attend his fol­lowers; and indeed this is a great ob­jection, that all Seekers after Christ do not walk so closely as they ought. Well poor Soul, know, the wayes of God are the same, and Jesus Christ is the same, though it is sad there should be so much ground for this stumbling block lying in your way.

5. Satan labours to fill them with prejudice against Christ, from the Cross that attends them; and the Cross of Christ hath been a Rock of offence to many poor Souls. Well but poor Soul, there is a Crown annexed to the Cross, they that suffer with him shall raign with him. Unto you I ap­point a Kingdom; who were they? Such as continued with him in great temptations.

The next Ʋse. If morning Seekers be sure and infallible finders, then it is a word of Caution.

First, Take heed of giving over, of being too short breathed in seeking of Christ; He that believes makes not [Page 93]hast. To set on this Caution which is of great concernment to every poor Soul that hath set out to seek Christ, although it was hinted the last Obser­vation, I will enlarge it now.

1. If you give over, your hearts were never truly in good earnest in the work. It may be you had some flashes of affection, or some gripes and pangs of conviction, that for the pre­sent startled you, but yet your hearts were not truly in good earnest in the work. Ah poor Soul, that truly sees its need of Christ, the real worth and excellency that is in him, its real mi­sery without him, this Soul will never give over untill it hath found him, whom its Soul loveth. Is that love in good earnest, that because it meets discouragements, gives over the pur­suit of the object? The Spouse was in good earnest, therefore gives not over, but still keeps up her enquiries after Christ, Saw you him whom my Soul lo­veth.

2. If you give over you lose the prize; if the racers give over they lose;1 Cor. 9.24. therefore we have that Caution, So [Page 94]run as you may obtain. Is not this sad to be runners and losers, seekers and missers at last? Poor Souls, if you give over you will go without; He that continues to the end, the same shall be saved. We are to run with patience the Race set before us; to run it, and not give over.

3. If you give over, and so sit down short of Christ, it will aggravate your guilt and condemnation. What, you that once were so forward in the ways of God; what, you that once gave such good hopes you were truly in love with Jesus Christ; what, you that were once praying young men and women, and nigh the Kingdom, as that Scribe we read of in the Gospel,Luke 13.26. and to give over? O how will this aggravate your miscarriage! and you your selves shut out, this aggravates all.

4. If you give over seeking, you will fall either into persecution or pro­faneness; usually this is the end of such. When young men, while they have been Apprentices, and under convi­ctions, they have sought Christ, but [Page 95]afterwards fall off again, they ordina­rily prove, either Persecutors of the wayes of God, or else Profane; this is in judgement upon them. God suf­fers them to fall into these things, pu­nishing sin with sin; and very sad hath been the end of such. Would you ever think this hopeful praying young man would prove a drunkard, a swearer, a prodigal? If you give over seeking Christ, this I doubt will be your end.

5. If you give over seeking Christ, this will be a great discouragement to others; you weaken the hands of o­thers; they will be afraid when they see you so sadly drawn back, that they should do so too; you hinder others seeking after Christ.

6. If you give over seeking Christ, you cloath your Ministers with shame; and is this the love you have formerly profest to them? O how once you were endeared to those spiritual Fa­thers! How could you have pulled out your very eyes for them, when they were first instrumental to do your souls good; and is this your kindness unto them, to put them unto shame? [Page 96]Disappointments bring shame; Make me not ashamed of my hope, sayes Da­vid. O many Ministers had hopes of you, and prayed for you, and have hoped you would be their Crown and Rejoycing (as Paul said) and what now prove their shame? O how near this will go to the hearts of Godly Mini­sters! Have not they said of you, as Paul said of them, We live, if you stand fast in the Lord.

Secondly, If morning Seekers be sure and infallible finders, then take heed of a discouraged frame of heart in seeking Christ; this is Satans work, to discourage poor Souls, to lay stum­bling blocks in their way, and tell them there is no hope, no; Christ will never be found of such as they are, hope is perished from the Lord. O take heed I say of this frame of heart; you know what they said to the poor blind man, Be of good cheer, the Lord calleth thee: So do I say unto you poor morning Seekers, be not discou­raged, the Lord will be found of you.

1. A discouraged frame of heart will open a door to hard thoughts of [Page 97]God. Usually discouraged Souls are jealous and suspicious Souls of God; and alas! this will weaken you ex­ceedingly in your seeking after Christ. O what a hard thought was that, My God hath forgotten, my God hath for­saken.

2. A discouraged frame of heart grieves the Spirit of God; what, seek Christ with a discouraged frame of heart? can this be pleasing to the Spi­rit of God, who is the Comforter?

3. A discouraged frame of heart opens a door to consult with Satan, he loves to be fishing in troubled wa­ters, and ordinarily he sits by discou­raged Souls, helping them to conclude against Christ and their own Souls; it is a very dangerous thing to be drawn in to consult with Satan.

4. A discouraged frame of heart will weaken your endeavours in your pursuits after Christ; the joy of the Lord is a believers strength, but dis­couragements weaken exceedingly.

5. A discouraged frame of heart in seeking Christ, reflects upon Christ, as though he were unwilling to be found [Page 98]of poor sinners: This is dishonour­able to Christ, dishonourable to his de­sign of coming into the world; was it not to save Sinners? dishonourable to his Promises; hath not he promised, He will not break the bruised Reed, nor quench the smoaking Flax?

Thirdly, If morning Seekers shall be sure and certain sinders, then take heed of delaying to seek the Lord Je­sus; do not put off Christ; take heed of this, because that you are young, and hope you have time before you. O this many times is a Rock that splits thousands of Souls; they say they will seek Christ at a more convenient time.

1. Take heed of losing your morn­ing, for the present time is only yours. Alas poor Soul! if thou layest not hold of the fore-lock of thy present time, thou mayest be undone for ever. O how the Lord calls on us to im­prove our present time; Work while it is to day, and if you will hearken to his voice, while it is to day; walk in the light, while you have the light; now is the acceptable time.

2. Take heed of losing your morn­ing. [Page 99]You young ones, you know not how short your morning may be; and when mornings are short, persons had need be up and doing. How many young ones have been cut off in their morning, in the prime of their time, in the flower of their youth, gone to the Grave in a moment, while the milk was in their breasts, and marrow in their bones?

3. Take heed you lose not your morning; it will be harder work to seek Christ afterwards, when you have delayed time after time: after you have lost the forenoon of your lives, it will be hard redeeming the after­noon. O how rare a thing is it to see a person wrought on in their after­noon? not but some have been met with; but this is not so ordinary.

1. The more guilt there is upon the Soul, the harder it will be to seek out after Christ; the longer thou delayest, the more guilt thou contractest upon thy Soul. O what complaints have such Souls uttered. O that I had come to Christ sooner! but will he now re­ceive me to mercy, who have stood [Page 100]out so long? Had I fallen in with Christ upon his first offers, and tenders, it had been more easie to have thought he would have accepted me. And thou wilt find this a strong objection upon thee; the heavier load of guilt upon thy Soul, the heavier thou wilt find it to draw to Jesus Christ.

2. It will be harder for you to seek after Christ, after you have delayed, because the sense of your unkindness to Christ will fill your Souls when you are awakened. What, stand out against Christ, after so many knocks, after so many calls, after so many offers, and invitations? Thus it was with the Spouse when she arose to open to her Beloved, there was a little myrrhe left upon the handles of the lock, and then her bowels were moved, (viz.) She was filled with shame and sorrow that she should use Christ so unkindly.

3. The more a Spirit of sloth takes possession on the Soul, the harder it is to shake off.

4. Take heed of losing your morn­ing, for a dark night is fast approach­ing upon you, in which you cannot [Page 101]seek Christ, in which you cannot work; it is bad seeking any thing in the dark. I may say unto you as the Prophet to them, Give Glory to God before he cause darkness, Jer. 13.16. and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountaion. This is the Doctrine that our Lord Jesus Christ preacht himself; Work while it is to day, for night comes when no man can work.

1. Poor Souls, what if a night of ju­dicial darkness, and blindness come upon you? What if God give you over to a dark heart? He suffered some we read of to walk in the wayes of their own heart.

2. What if a night of temptation come upon you? It is ill seeking Christ under temptation.

3. What if a night of death come upon thee, then thy seeking Christ is at end; there is no work in the grave where thou goest. What though young men, you be now in your morning, God can cause your Sun to set at noon­day, and bring a night upon you be­fore you are aware; therefore lose not your morning.

[Page 102]5. Take heed you lose not your morning; your morning discoveries and manifestations will be your even­ing supports and consolations; the evening of our lives is our declining time, our old age. And O what a mercy is this, to be laid in with com­fort when that comes! What a sad thing is that, to see one gray-headed, and forsaken of God? As David pray­ed, many have cause to pray, forsake me not when I am gray-headed. If you seek him in your youth, he will sit by you when you are old. O that is a sad Text, and the sinner an hundred years old shall be accursed. O but there are ma­ny gracious Souls that have sought him while they were young, that comfort themselves with his loving kindness of old, that remember the sweet love­stories, and passages betwixt Christ and their poor Soul, and at last go off the stage of this life triumphing. To see an old Christian go comfortably to hea­ven, leaning over the staff of the Pro­mise, and telling of nothing but his youth experiences of Christ, O what a sight is this! And on the other side, [Page 103]to see an old man, who hath nothing to remember, but what a drunken wretch he hath been, what a wicked company-keeper he hath been, what an unclean filthy wretch he hath been, what an oppressor of other men he hath been; and such stories he can tell you all day: O what a dreadful thing is this!

6. Take heed you lose not your morning; when God doth awaken you, and get you out of your bed of sin and sloth, it will grieve, and cut you to the very heart, that you got up no sooner, that you have lost so much time already. O how many Souls have been deeply wounded with the sense of their lost time? O what com­plaints have such Souls groaned out, That I should be so long in the service of sin and Satan, O that I should spend so many years in gratifying the lusts of the flesh, in making provision for the flesh, and all that while put a slight upon the Lord Jesus Christ, as not be­ing worth seeking.

4. Caution, If morning Seekers shall be sure and certain finders of Christ, [Page 104]then let them take heed of hasty and rash concluding against Christ and their own Souls; this is an infirmity that young Seekers are mightily prone to in their first convictions. O sure Je­sus Christ will not be found of such poor sinful, vile Creatures as we are: we have been such Ephraims, such Bul­locks unaccustomed to the yoke, such Sons of Belial, so stubborn even from our youth up, we cannot think he would be found of us, though we should seek him.

1. First, O poor Soul, do you think Christ doth not matter his word? If under your temptations you should think he does not matter your Soul, yet think he matters his word. Can­not you say, remember the Word, Lord, upon which thou causest me to hope. Do you think Christ is indif­ferent, whether his Promises be ac­complished or no? No, no, not one Jota of his Promise shall fail. You may be discouraged, but the Promise is in reference to bruised reeds and smoak­ing flax.Ite. 42.4. It is said, He shall not be dis­couraged, nor fail; you may, but he shall not.

[Page 105]2. Secondly, why, Souls, should you think he will not accept of you, are not your names in his Commission? He was sent to seek and save such as are lost; and are not you lost Souls? Lost in your selves, lost prodigals. This my Son was lost: and do you think he will not then accept of you?

3. Thirdly, why think you so hard­ly of Christ, doth not Christ call such? He came not to call the Righteous, but Sinners to Repentance. Be of good chear poor Soul, the Lord calls on thee, as was said to the poor blind man. But something of this nature will fall in upon another use; there­fore I will forbear now.

5. Branch of the Caution; then let morning Seekers take heed they do not sit down short of Christ. Why, if he will be found of us, should we sit down short of him? As it is said in that case, so may I say in this; a Pro­mise being left us of entring into his Rest, let us not seem to rest short of it. There are many things morning Seek­ers are prone to rest in on this side Christ. You may take up in your com­mon [Page 106]convictions, in your constitu­tional affections, in your acquired gifts and parts, in your restraining grace, in a form of profession, and so miss of Christ for ever.

1. First, take heed of resting short of Christ, many thousands have done so. We read of the Scribe that an­swered Christ discreetly, and Jesus said unto him, Thou art nigh unto the King­dome of God: But alas, he was short of Christ for all this. And also the young man in the Gospel rested short of Christ; and also the foolish Vir­gins, and the Children of the King­dom we read of came short of Christ.

2. Secondly, take heed morning Seekers you do not rest short of Christ; this will aggravate your misery ex­ceedingly in missing of him. What, you that were within a little of Christ miss him! What, you that were in so fair a way for Christ, you who set out so hopefully in the morning of your day! O for poor Souls in Hell, to sing such doleful ditties, I was once convinced of my sin, and I was once convinced of my misery without Christ, and I [Page 107]was once convinced of the excellency of Christ; But O my corruptions were too strong for my convictions! and so my poor Soul sat short of the Lord Je­sus Christ. To miscarry within a little of harbour, within sight of land; O what a cutting aggravation is this to poor Seamen, when almost at their Port? So many Souls have done, they have been almost perswaded to be­come Christians, yet they have rested short of Christ.

3. Thirdly, take heed, morning Seekers, that you rest not short of Christ. Satan, if it be possible, will keep you short of Christ: this is Satans de­sign, if he can but perswade the Soul to take up in something on this side Christ, in some notion, some opinion. Hence it is, as soon as young people come under any convictions of sin, and when any good Seed is sowen in the Soul, then comes Satan with his Tares. Then they get, it may be, some notion or opinion whereby Satan does divert them, and hinder them from closing with Christ: And when they are gotten hither, here they rest. [Page 108]Thousands have been eternally un­done this way.

3. Ʋse. Is it so, that morning Seek­ers shall be sure and certain finders of the Lord Jesus Christ? then it is an Ʋse of


To set upon the duty, and work in good earnest, to loyter no more of your morning away, to trifle no more of your precious time away: but that you may have the comfort of the Pro­mise, O that you may be found in obedience to the precept; if you would find, you must seek. O poor Souls, do not you hear him Call? Call upon him while he is near, seek him while he is to be found. What, is not the Lord Jesus worth seeking? he is then worth nothing.

1. Motive to seek the Lord in your morning; now is your seeking time; seeking will not alwayes be in season. You must do things in their proper season; there is a time for eve­ry purpose, now is the acceptable time, now is the day of Salvation. Now acquaint thy self with God, and be at [Page 109]peace, was good counsel by Jobs friend. Now is thy only time to seek acquaintance with Christ. Poor Sin­ner, there is a time in which God will not be found; For this shall the Godly pray unto him in a time when he will be found.

1. There is a day coming, in which the Spirit of God will leave striving with you, and then seeking will be out of season. Can you seek, if the Spirit strive not? What is that which puts poor Sinners upon seeking of Christ, but the strivings and convicti­ons of the Spirit?

2. There is a day coming wherein the things that concern your peace will be hid from your eyes. Thus God told Jerusalem, But now the things that concern your Peace are hid from your eyes. You will be judicially har­dened.

3. There is a day coming, in which Gods bowels will be shut up in dis­pleasure against you. You are harden­ed against God, and God against you. O that is a terrible Text, I will not an­swer when you call. What will God [Page 110]then do?Prov. 1.25, 26. I will laugh at your Calami­ty, and mock when your fear comes.

4. There is a day coming when or­dinances shall be ineffectal to you. God sayes, Make the beart of this peo­ple fat. O dreadful word, to have Or­dinances given to harden, and not to soften!

5. There is a day coming, that death and hell shall look ghastly upon you; and will this be a seeking time? Will not Christ tell you, O poor Sin­ner, this is but a force? Now when you see no way but damuation before you, now you seek after me: this is only to serve your own ends of Christ. O poor Souls, be perswaded to seek Christ before these dayes come upon you.

2. Motive in the morning of your dayes to be seeking the Lord Jesus Christ, such Souls shall live; in him you may have life, life is only to be had in him, therefore he is called a Believers Life. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life; and he is called the Living Stone. You will not come to me that you might have life. The [Page 111]poor Sinner is dead, while he lies at distance from Christ; thou mayst have gifts and parts, as dead bodies may be stuck with flowers, and strawed with herbs, but this is but dubbing the dead; all this while there is no life in the man, it is only he that hath the Son hath life.

1. First, They that seek Christ have living influences from Christ; he is the head, that sends living influences into all his members. O what a supply of influences is to be had from Jesus Christ! You must seek all you have from him; it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell, 2 Pet. 2.4, 5. and this as believers head. And we read of be­lievers being called Lively Stones, active for Jesus Christ; not only Chri­stians, but lively Christians. How comes this to pass? being built up in him, united to him, as the superstru­cture is to the foundation, the living Stone sends up living influences into all that are built upon him; therefore he is the Vine, that by his communica­ting influences doth keep Souls, not only living, but thriving.

[Page 112]2. Secondly, He communicates liv­ing comfort to such as seek him. That is a precious Prophecy concerning Christ, Psal. 22. The meek shall eat and be satis­fied, they shall praise the Lord that seek him, your heart shall live for ever. They shall eat by Faith the Lord Jesus Christ and be satisfied, (viz.) be comforted in their Soul. Who? The poor, meek, humble Seekers of Christ, in the sense of their own vileness, who have been cast down in the sense of their own unworthiness; for by the meek are meant such. What then? They shall live for ever; Gen. 4.5.27. not be rejoy­ced and comforted for a while; for this is meant, by the heart living, it shall be revived and comforted. O but may the poor Soul say, this comfort will not last. O yes,Psal. 69.33. Their heart shall live for ever. The like Promises we have in other places.

3. Thirdly, They that seek Christ have living Graces from him; we re­ceive of his fulness, Grace for Grace; all we have must be in a way of seeking; not only Grace at the first effusion, when he sayes to the Soul live, but [Page 113]the lively exercises of Grace are from him. The Spicknard gives a pleasant smell, (viz.) the Graces of the Spirit, Faith, and Hope, and Love, and Zeal, they are all exercised; they put forth lively acts. What is the matter? the King is at the Table.

3. Motive to seek the Lord Jesus in the morning of your day; your Rest must be found in Christ. O whither will not a poor burdened sin-ladened Soul go for Rest! O what will not a poor distressed Sinner do in hope to obtain Rest! Rivers of Oyl, and thou­sands of Rams, if it were possible to expiate their sin: Nay, they will not stick at their first-born. What is the reason the blind Papists appoint so many Penances, so many Pilgrims, so many Fasts and Scourgings, but they hope these are expiatory? But, alas, all this will but be seeking that they will never find. If you will have the desirable mercy of Soul Rest, you must go to him for it,Mat. 11.29 Come unto me all ye that are weary and laden and you shall find rest for your Souls. The verse be­fore sayes, I will give it, this, you shall [Page 114]find it. But might the poor Soul say, Lord, if we seek it here, shall not we miss of it? No, you shall be sure to find it.Isa. 11.10. To him shall the Gentiles seek; and what then? And his rest shall be glorious. Some Interpreters it is true take it for his Church, which is Christs Rest, it shall be glorious. Others carry it, his rest, the rest which he shall give, it shall be glory. It shall be the glory of a Soul to seek and find rest from him. What is it you young ones would have? is it this true spiritual rest and peace? never think to have this short of Christ.

4. Motive to seek the Lord Jesus Christ in the morning of your day; you know not what your evening may prove, or your mid-day may prove. What if you should have an afternoon filled up with afflictions? do you know what God will fill up your day with­all?

1. What if God should fill up your day with temptations? Will it not then repent you that you sought him not in the morning? If you should be exercised with that one dismal [Page 115]thought, that the day of Grace is over, O how it will grieve you that you looked out so late after Christ! O what a wretch am I to be so much be­hind with Christ, and my own Soul! And O how many objections will such a thought cast in thy way!

2. What if God fill up thy day with sharp tryals, with weakness of body, losses in thine outward estate? Will this be so fit a time to seek Christ in, when thou wilt have enough to do to bear up under these tryals? O then how will thy poor Soul wish, thou had been laid in better for such rainy days? How will thy poor Soul then grieve that thou made a friend of Christ no sooner against such a day as this?

3. What if God towards the even­ing of thy day take away from thee the advantages thou once had for thy poor Soul? It may be when thou wert young thou livedst in some Godly Fa­mily, which is no small advantage, as little as young persons matter it. It may be thou livedst amidst some god­ly acquaintance, it may be thou liv­edst under some powerful Soul-search­ing [Page 116]Ministry, these helps may be re­moved from thee, or thou from them, and O then how thou wilt be grieved, that thou sought Christ no sooner, that now thou hast no more acquaintance with him.

4. What if God should give thee but a little warning or time to look about thee for thy Soul, if thou should die in four or five dayes time; and then review thy lost time, and look over thy life again? O how will it grieve thee that thou struck no sooner in with Christ! that now thou hast all thy work to do for Eternity, that might have got it down long agoe. Now thy work to do, and no time to do it in. Formerly thou hadst time, and wantedst a heart, and now thou hast a heart to it, and wantest time.

5. Seek Christ in the morning of your day, and you shall dye trium­phing at night. You shall go glori­ously off the stage of this present life. Should not we be often remembring our latter end? Is it not said of Je­rusalem, Lam. 1.14. she came wonderfully down, because she considered not her latter [Page 117]end? Is not this to be a wise Virgin? to get your lamps and your vessels stored with Oyl, that when the Bride­grome comes, and the midnight-cry calls, you may go out chearfully to meet him. Is not this wisdome in Gods Book, O that my people were wise, Deut. 32.29. that they did consider their latter end. And who is it that hath an abundant entrance into the Kingdom of God, but the diligent Believer and Seeker? Add all diligence that you may be found of him in peace. 1 Pet O how many have died with this sad and doleful note in their mouths, O it is now too late. Had I sought Christ sooner, there had been hope; but I cannot believe he will accept of such a refuser of a day of Grace, and tenders of Grace, as I have been.

Lastly, O seek Christ in the morning of your day; others may be drawn to seek him with you, and say as they did to the Daughter of Jerusalem when she had sought him diligently, Tell us where thy Beloved is gone, that we may seek him with thee. Your being up in the morning to seek Christ may [Page 118]draw others on, and O what mercy would this be?Yob 23.3.

But by this time methinks I hear some poor Soul say, O that I knew where to find him, I would come even to his seat: but alas, young travellers must have some directions, and so must young Seekers; how shall we then, say poor Souls, seek Christ?

1.Luk. 2.45. Be sure you seek him sorrowing, as the Parents of Christ after the flesh sought him, Thy Father and I sought thee sorrowing. Sorrowing under the sense of sin. So must you seek him. True mourners are the finding Seekers, O that is a sweet word,Jet. 31.9. They shall come with weepings, and with supplications will I lead them. Jer. 50.4. They shall go weeping, seeking the Lord their God. Thus Souls must go to Christ in a through sense of their condition. Who were they that sought to the Brazen Serpent, but they that were stung with the fiery Serpent?

2. Seek Christ with a high appre­tiation of Christ. Mat. 13.4 [...]. Who will seek him, that doth not esteem him to be the pearl of price? But when the Merchant man had found the pearl [Page 119]of price, he sold all to buy it. Why did the Spouse so seek Christ through all difficulties? He was to her the white and ruddy one, the chief­est of ten thousands. Prov. 3.13. We read of the happiness of the man that finds wis­dome; why so? this wisdom is Christ, and the merchandize thereof is better than that of Gold, &c.

3. Seek Christ sincerely. We read of some that turned feignedly to the Lord. O take heed of seeking of him feignedly. If your hearts be not right, God will discover them. Simon Ma­gus would be a Seeker, yet he was dis­covered, we was in the gall of bitter­ness, and bond of iniquity.

4. Seek him perseveringly, if you would seek him so as to find him. She sought her lost groat, untill she found it. But this hath been largely insisted on before.

5. Seek the Lord Jesus Christ through all opposition, as the Spouse did when they took her veil from her, and the watchmen smote her; yet she gave not over.

The End of the first Sermon.
Isaiah 55.6.‘Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near.’

THe words are the Call of Christ to poor Gen­tile Sinners. It is clear, the Prophet in the pre­ceding verse is prophe­sying of Christ; and when he had spoke of Christ, 1. Under the notion of a leader, 2. Under the notion of a witness, 3. Under the notion of a Saviour, (so is meant by calling a Nation that knew him not, and their running to him, and God glorifying him, viz. as the Messiah, and Saviour of poor Gen­tiles, as well as Jewes) then the Pro­phet [Page 122]gives these poor Gentiles a Call, which is the words of my Text.

1. In the Text we have a Call, or Exhortation to a duty.

2. We have a Motive or Argument backing that Call.

1. The Call is, Seek the Lord.

2. Motive is implyed in that, while he may be found. There is an especial season for the performance of this duty; if let slip, your Souls will repent it to all Eternity.

Let us inquire a little, what is meant by this Call, Seek the Loed.

1. Here is this implyed in it. This people and the Lord were strangers. This is the description of a Gentile; He is a stranger to the Lord, Eph. 2.12. and to the Covenant of Promise. Souls who lye far from acquaintance with God; there­fore expressed by another word,Luk. 15.13. to be in the far Country: So the Prodigal was, which was the Gentile, for the elder Brother was the Jew. Now then by seek the Lord is meant, get into ac­quaintance with him. Seek acquain­tance with him, as a Saviour, as a Lea­der. He had been spoke of under these [Page 123]notions, and set out to them.

2. Seek the Lord (viz.) the willing­ness of the Lord to be found of poor Gentile Sinners. He would never else have given them such a Call. He first calls, he is first in the motion, who lov­ed us first: the business doth not stick at Gods door, but at ours.

3. Seek the Lord, (viz.) accept of the offers of grace while he holds them forth to you in the Gospel. This is the great Duty called to in the Text. The Text then runs thus: There is both in time, and out of time, for your poor Souls; there is an especial season of Grace you have; and upon this de­pends the Eternal happiness and feli­city of your poor Souls. Let that slip, and your Souls are undone for ever. Lay hold of this especial time, and you are happy for ever. This is the meaning of the Text, I will not always strive with you, will not always call on you, will not always wait with offers of pardoning grace; therefore before I call in my Scepter, O do you seek me.

Observations are these.
  • [Page 124]1. The Lord Jesus is willing to be found of poor Gentile Sinners.
  • 2. There are especial times of finding the Lord Jesus while he is to be found.
  • 3. It is the duty of every poor Soul to observe his especial times, to seek Christ in.
  • 4. There is a day and time in which Christ will not be found.

1. The Lord Jesus is willing to be found of poor Gentile Sinners. I must keep close to my Text; and it speaks of such as have been before hinted.

1. Let us make inquiry what a Gen­tile Sinner is? In the general take this Answer.

A Gentile Sinner is the worst of Sinners; the vilest of Sinners: thus the Apostle describes them,Gal. 2.15. We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles: They were reckoned the greatest sinners.Mark 16.15. Preach the Gospel to every Creature (viz.) Gentiles, as though they were not worthy the [Page 125]name of men and women. That we may set off the Free Grace of God in Christ to poor Sinners, let us see a Scripture-map of Gentilism, or Gentile Sinners, that Christ is thus willing to be found of.

1. They are said to be Idolaters. Howbeit, then when ye knew not God, Gal. 4.8, 9. ye did service unto them, who were no Gods. While they were in Heathen­isme, that is Gentilism; God is willing to be found of such. What though you have been Idolaters? yet such may have mercy from God.Jer. 14.22. In that black Catalogue of Sinners, Idolaters are reckoned among the Corinthians, such were some of you. Idols are called the vanities of the Gentiles.

2. Gentiles were poor slaves.Tit. 3.3. For we our selves were sometimes foolish, dis­obedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, &c. They were servants to their lusts: their lusts did Lord it over them. Know you not you are Ser­vants to him whom you obey? Yet of these poor Souls Christ is willing to be found. O do not say then, I am a poor Gentile, too great a Sinner ever [Page 126]to find favour from the hands of God.Luk. 15.15. The prodigal Gentile was a slave joyn­ed to a Citizen to keep Swine, and yet God took him to be a Son; out of the field into the house.

3. Gentiles are poor hood-winkt blind Souls. Call in the blind and the halt; (viz.) the poor Gentiles now become the Lord Jesus Christs guests, and the Jewes are rejected. The God of this world hath blinded their eyes: they go muffled in ignorance of God and Christ from day to day: yet God is willing to be found of them. They are such muffled Creatures,Acts 17. that they are said to feel after God.

4. A Gentile is a poor perishing Soul. The poor man that was wound­ed, and lay perishing of his wounds, is the poor Gentile,Luk. 10.30. that Jesus Christ is the good Samaritan to, and binds up his wounds, and pours oyl into them. We may say we are all poor Assyrians ready to perish, and yet Christ is wil­ling to be found of such.Joh. 3.10. Whosoever believes on him, Jew or Gentile, might not perish, but have everlasting life. Doth thy poor Soul say as the poor prodi­gal [Page 127]did, and I perish for hunger? O Je­sus Christ is willing to be found of such.

5. A Gentile is a poor Soul that lies far from God. They are the inhabi­tants of the far Countrey.Eph. 2.13, 14. You who were a far off, are brought nigh by the blood of Jesus. He is there speaking of Gentiles. They are said by the Pro­phet to be far from Rightcousness. Isa. 46. ult. Well poor Souls, Christ is willing to be found of such. Alas, Sir, sayes a poor Soul, I am a great way from Christ: O so were Gentiles; there was a wall of partition betwixt Christ and them; yet Christs blood took it away, melt­ed down the stones in this partition wall.

6. A Gentile is a poor Soul with­out hope. Without Christ, Eph. 2.12. Without hope of being sa­ved with­out Christ. without hope, can thou be worse? Yet Christ is willing to be found of such. Alas, sayes a poor Soul, I have no hope. Thou art a Gentile, a poor hopeless Soul. Because they are without Pro­mise, they are without hope. The Heathens feigned when all was gone, yet Hope was in the bottom of Pan­dora's box, implying that Hope is a good refuge in calamity.

[Page 128]7. A Gentile is one that is a blas­phemer of the name of God.Rom 2.24. Christiani sanctè vix­issent, si Christus sancta do­cuisset. For the name of God is blasphemed through you. They did take all occasions to speak evil of God, for the infirmities of his followers. If Christ had taught them better, they would have lived better, was the brand of Gentiles, cast upon Christ in Tertullians time. Paul tells us he was a Blasphemer, and yet obtained mercy. It is the spirit of a Gentile to speak evil of his Name, because of the miscarriages of his followers.

8. A Gentile is one that seeks only after earthly things. An earthly spirit is the spirit of the Gentiles. After these things, Mat. 6.32. saith Christ, do the Gen­tiles seek. It may be many poor Souls have made the comfort of the Crea­ture their Summum Bonum; never sought after any thing for their Souls in all their lives: Yet Christ calls such to seek him; yea is willing to be found of such. What though thou hast been a poor earth-worm all thy dayes? yet if now thou seek the Lord, there is hope for thee; if thy heart be in good earnest for Heaven.

Take these Scriptural descriptions of Gentiles, to set off the Free grace of God to the worst of Sinners.

1. Reason, why Jesus Christ is wil­ling to be found of poor Gentile Sin­ners.

1. Because this was the end of the Fathers donations; Christ is the great gift of his Father. Now surely the Lord would never have parted with such a gift as his own Son, but he had some great end in such a gift. Well, what was the Fathers design? He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever be­lieves in him might not perish but have eternal life: That Gentile sinners might not perish to all eternity.Eph. 2.18. Therefore we read of such Souls being made nigh by the blood of Jesus; and through him we have both Access, (viz.) both Jews and Gentiles, to the Father, &c. Many poor Souls are under Objections con­cerning the willingness of God to shew them mercy. Do you think that the Lord would have parted with his own Son for you, if he had not been wil­ling to shew you mercy? The Pro­phet tells us,Isa. 42.6. He is given for a Covenant [Page 130]to the people, for a light to the Gentiles.

2. Reason, why Jesus Christ is wil­ling to be found of poor Gentile sin­ners, this is evident from the invitati­ons that he gives them to come in to him. O what an invitation is this very Call of my Text to such? O how do the affections of Christ sparkle in his invitations? 1. Consider his invitati­ons are free: There is no merit on our side, there is no such thing, as worthi­ness in the Creature. Christ moves freely from Arguments springing up in his own bowels; My Creature will be lost else, this poor Soul will be undone for ever else: And as Hester said in that case, so sayes Christ, How can my heart endure to see this evil come upon my people and kindred? So, O sayes Je­sus Christ, how can my heart endure to let this poor Soul go to Hell, and eternally perish? And thus his heart works freely in his invitations towards poor Sinners. 2. His invitations are affectionate invitations: invitations mixed with entreaties. I beseech you be reconciled unto God. Christ doth not only invite, but becomes a suppliant [Page 131]to the sinner. He comes to the Sin­ner, which is obstinate and inexorable, and upon his knees begs the Soul for his sake, for its own sake, to accept of terms of mercy and reconciliation. 3. They are importunate invitations. He doth not invite with an indiffe­rency of Spirit, whether we accept of his terms or no, but he invites in good earnest, and sets on invitations with pressing arguments, sometimes taking an argument from the Souls danger, if it close not with his invitations, sometimes an argument from the Souls duty, and sometimes an argument from the Souls benefit and profit; these are importunate invitations. 4. His in­vitations are daily and incessant invi­tations. Poor Sinners are daily invi­ted, Christ is an every dayes Solicitor and Suitor; he waits to be gracious: If you deny him to day, he comes a­gain to morrow; he doth not cast off for every present denyal. 5. His in­vitations are universal; therefore thou mayst say as he did, I am invited also. O poor Sinner, God hath not exclu­ded thee if thy unbelief exclude thee [Page 132]not. 6. His invitations are upon the most solemn preparations that ever was: All things are ready. Hath he invited and prepared his guests, and doth not this argue his willingness to entertain?

3. Reason, why the Lord Jesus Christ is willing to be found of Gentile Sin­ners, because upon this account the Father enters into a Covenant with the Son to reward him. There was a Covenant struck betwixt Christ and his Father, that upon his undertaking the great work of Mans Redemption, he would exalt him and glorifie him. I will glorifie thee. The Rewards of Christ for Redemption-work seem to consist in these things.

1. The conversion of Souls.Isa. 49.6. Is it a small thing thou raise the Tribes of Israel? I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles: as if Christ should stand with his Father and say, But Lord what will become of the poor Gentile part of the world? Must they all dye in their sins and be damned? O the heart of Christ was inflamed with love after the salvation of poor [Page 133]Sinners. Well, now the Lord gives him a Patent for Gentiles as well as Jews; a Patent of Free Grace:Tit. 1.2. this is covenanted for, betwixt God the Fa­ther and the Son: this is the promise of Eternal Life before the world be­gun. He shall see the travil of his Soul, and shall be satisfied.

2. His exaltation is promised. So he shall sprinkle nations, (viz.) con­vert them: Sprinkle them with his blood: an allusion to the blood of the Paschal Lamb, when the destroyer was to pass over.Isa. 52.15. And Kings shall shut their mouths at him: Shall all be si­lent at the setting up of his Dominion; they shall be convinced of his Kingly Office and Dignity: Not a word to say against the Lord Jesus as King.Isa. 53 ult. He shall conquer them, and deliver the Elect out of their hands. Therefore sayes another Text, He shall divide a portion with the great: Some read it, I will give him a portion among the great: He shall have his day of vi­sible greatness among them. Others read it, He shall divide the Mighty as a prey: This will be Christs work when he comes forth in Majesty, to prey up­on all that stand in his way to his King­dome, [Page 134]whether persons or things. Now this clearly demonstrates the point in hand; because God Covenants for this with him upon his undertaking Redemption and Salvation-work.


Is it so, that the Lord Jesus is wil­ling to be found of Gentile Sinners? Then,

1. It informs us of the unspeakable love of Jesus Christ to poor Sinners. O how is it commended to us! In this, that while we were Sinners he died for us; greater love than this hath no man.

1. Is there not love in this, to be willing to be found of such as have been professed Enemies, proclaimed Traytors? The Lord hath proclaimed us upon our first apostasie to be Tray­tors and Rebels to him; but yet he hath sent out a proclamation of Peace; and look to that blessed proclamation, and lay hold of it by a hand of faith; or,Isa. 27.5. Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me, and he shall make peace with me. You see here [Page 135]is the proclamation to lay hold on. And so poor Souls, upon their falling in with Christ are at peace. Is not here love, shining love to poor dark Gen­tiles? Let us see the Proclamation re­newed.Isa. 55.1, 2 I am found of them that asked not for me, I am found of them that sought me not. I said, behold me, behold me, unto a Nation that was not called by my Name. I have spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, (viz.) to a company of poor obstinate Jews, and lo therefore I turn to the Gentiles. Behold, here I am, here I am; so some read it, as Christ holding out terms of Mercy, Life and Salvation to poor Sin­ners. If a man find his Enemy, sayes Saul, will he let him go well away? O the love of Christ to Gentiles which were enemies!

2. Is there not love in this, to call these first to look after him? Is not this preventing love? Did I look after him, said poor Hagar, who here sees me? Alas, if the Lord had never found me out, I had never found him. He is called a Shepherd that seeks out his Sheep. O here do we run into corners [Page 136]from this good Shepherd, untill he fol­low us! O what love is this!

3. Is there not love in this, to tell us there is a time coming when it will be too late to seek him? See how free and ingenuous, as I may say, Divine Love is; it tells us the worst, that we might be awakened to look about us. If you neglect but a while, follow your sins for a while, set out your day of Grace for a while, then it will be over, and the bowels of the Lord will be shut up in displeasure against you; and then you will say, as he upon his death-bed, I have told you, now all is too late, all is now too late. Is there not great love in warning Souls of danger before it comes?

4. Is there not love in this, that the Rejection of the Jews, the Cutting off them should be the grafting in of the Gentiles? O that such wild Olives should be partakers of the sweetness of the fat Olive! that ever such bram­bles should be inoculated into Christ! Rom. 11.33. This raised up the spirit of Paul into a frame of admiration. The casting a­way of the Jews, was the reconciling of the world.

[Page 137]5. There is love in this, that Christ was so willing to come as his Fathers Gift, as a Commander and Leader to his People, as the words before speak. See how Christs heart ecchoes to the heart of the Father in the work of the Salvation of poor Sinners! In the vo­lume of thy Book it is written, I come to do thy will, O God.

2. Ʋse. O then let us a little admire the condescention of Christ in this thing, that he is so willing to be found of poor Gentiles. It is no wonder, if upon the head of this Divine Mistery be written a verily, Verily he took upon him not the nature of Angels, Heb. 2.16. but the Seed of Abraham. That he should o­verlook them Glorious Creatures; that Mercy should come to poor Gen­tiles over the head of Angels; how few take notice of this?1 Pet. 1.12. Angels de­sire to look into these deeps; and yet we do not look into them with an eye of holy inspection and heavenly admi­ration.

3. Another word is this, If Christ be willing to be found of poor Gentile Sinners, it is then a Call to such to seek [Page 138]him. Seek him while he may be found. May not I say to poor Sinners, as God argues the case with those Jews by the Prophet Ezekiel, Why will ye dye O ye house of Israel? So, why do poor Gen­tile Sinners neglect seeking the Lord Jesus? Is not this to go carelesly the ready way to your Eternal destructi­on? Is not this the rode to your Ever­lasting ruine? And will not the Lord say to you one day, as the Prophet to them, Your destruction is of your selves?

1. Motive to seek the Lord. He first is suitor to you, and seeks you; And is not this a mighty motive? This is that great loadstone that should draw the hearts of poor Sinners much in love with Christ: He loves them first: Who loved us first. Christ is first in the motion. He came to seek and to save that which is lost. Take that Parable of the Prodigal, his Father sent after him into the far Country, sought him out, This my Son was lost, and is found. Nay, Christ is the Shepherd of the Gentiles, and he seeks out his sheep in a dark and gloomy day. Alas, what is the Gospel but Christ sending after [Page 139]poor Sinners to wooe them, to accept of terms of Grace and Mercy?

2. Motive to seek the Lord Jesus. His seeking you cost him dear. He laid down his life for his sheep. He sought you, and where did he find you? He found you slaves, and he must pay your ransome for you. I have found a ransome for him. His death is our ransome. We were prisoners and captives, and could not be redeemed at a lower rate than Christs blood.

3. Motive. He comes from the Fa­ther to seek you. The verses going be­fore are a Prophecy of Christ proceed­ing from the Father. I have given him for a witness. And frequently when he is spoken of to poor Gentile Sin­ners, then he is said to come by way of donation. I have given him a light to the Gentiles. He comes and brings commendations of his Fathers love to poor Sinners. He is called the faithful and true witness of God.

4. Motive. He came from Heaven to seek you. O what Glory he left to come and mind your Eternal concerns upon earth! I cannot, nay, what Man [Page 140]or Angel can tell you what he forsook to seek you? He stript himself of all his Glory, of all his Royal Robes, to wash your feet, to wash you all over. He left his Throne. I remember it is storied of a King, that found a sheep in a ditch, and sate down on hands and knees, and pulled it out with his own hands. The Sheep is thy own Soul, this King is the Lord Jesus, the Ditch is thy Natural Condition in which thou hadst perished to all Eternity, if he had not come from Heaven to have pull'd thee out.

5. Motive. He seeks as impatient of denyal. He is an importunate Seeker, he will not be said nay; seeks like a beggar that will not be gone from your doors. Christ will not be gone from the door of thy heart, he stands and knocks; he doth not knock as he passes by, but stands waiting for thy coming out to accept of him, and close with him; Therefore he beseeches, wooes, waits to be Gracious. He comes in Ordinance after Ordinance, Provi­dence after Providence, Motion after Motion, and Day after Day: What [Page 141]sayest thou poor Soul, wilt thou now close with me? And as he did, Wilt thou be made whole, to the Leper? And O how loth to go away! when will it once be?

6. Motive. He is a Seeker that is grieved when he is denyed. He was grieved because of their unbelief, and the hardness of their hearts. You cannot grieve Christ worse than deny him, when he comes to make out love to your Souls, and you slight him.

7. Motive. He seeks poor Sinners in their proper months.Jer. 2.24. In their months one shall find them: Christ knows the months to find Sinners in. All these Motives are taken from Christ, as the great seeker of Souls.

3. Ʋse is of Reproof, 1. to such as neglect to seek the Lord, that seek him not at all. Yet they are Seekers, but not Seekers of the Lord. Gentiles are Seekers, after these things the Gentiles seek. They seek good trading, good livelihoods, &c. But alas, this is all they seek after. Nay,Lev. we read of some that seek after Wizards, they are so far from seeking after God. But the Lord [Page 142]sayes, he will set his face against such. Do you think, poor Seamen, and you their wives, that this is the way to have good voyages, to go to ask the Devil his Counsel? Some seek their lusts,Prov. 23.30. like Solomons drunkard they say, they will seek it yet again. But all this while they seek not the Lord. O how few seek to the Lord? What are these poor Souls seeking, but the living a­mong the dead?

1. See the danger of such as seek not the Lord. Such poor Souls see no worth in the Lord; and are not such to be reproved? If Christ be not worth seeking, he is worth nothing. When we see the worth of any thing, we will seek after it. The object we seek, must be some good. O how neglecters to seek Christ do undervalue Christ!

2. They never see a want of him. We seek not, that we want not. O but now when the poor Soul doth see its need of him, then it doth with the Spouse seek him. Poor Gentiles, they sit still. It is the Character of a Gen­tile to sit in darkness, Ʋnto you who sat in darkness a great light shined, (viz.) [Page 143]to Gentiles. They have no mind to rise off from their seat.

3. It will aggravate the condemna­tion of such, that Christ sought them, and they would not be found of him. How often would I have gathered thee, &c.

But there are a company of poor souls that object, what have we to do with Christ, such poor Sinners as we are?

O poor Souls, the great Promise is to such; To it shall the Gentiles seek: Isa. 11.10. All poor Sinners must betake them­selves to this Glorious Ensign. The root of Jesse shall stand for an Ensign of the people, to it shall the Gentiles seek.

But we are dark Creatures?Luk. 1.79. He came to give light to them that sate in dark­ness, and in the shadow of death, and guide our feet in the wayes of peace.

Another Ʋse is of Inquiry, If Christ be so willing to be found of Gentile Sinners, what then may be the reasons why poor Sinners do not seek the Lord Jesus? O how few Seekers hath the Lord Jesus! Sinners, it is true, are Seekers, but it is of the living among the dead.

[Page 144]1. Poor Sinners ignorance of the worth of Christ: who will or can de­sire after an unknown good? As he said to the woman, If thou knewest the gift of God, Mat. 13.44, 45, 46. thou would ask living water, and he would give it thee: So do I say, If Souls knew the worth of Christ, they would cry, None but Christ, none but Christ. Nothing without Christ, no­thing below Christ, would satisfie their Souls. The Merchant man could not be satisfied with goodly Pearls, after he had come to know there was a Pearl of Price; then all the goodly Pearls were out-shined by the Pearl of great Price, and now he is resolved upon any terms to have Christ. He sells all. O what difference betwixt this person and the young man in the Go­spel, who when Christ bid him sell all, went away sorrowful? O this broke the bargain betwixt him and Christ: He knew not the worth of Christ. It may be Christ is not much valued by you now, but ask your hearts the question, O my Soul, what will Christ be worth upon a death-bed? What will Christ be worth when thy Soul is filled with [Page 145]horrour of thy own guilt? When thou art a Magor Misabib to thy self? Nay, it may be to all that are round about thee? When thy heart is made to me­ditate terrour? Could thou ask the damned in Hell what Christ would be worth to them, what they would give, if it could be procured, for one offer of Christ in good earnest? It may be they might better inform thy judge­ment. If you did converse with awa­kened dying guilty consciences, or with poor damned Souls, they might tell you something of the worth of Christ, or with Souls deeply groan­ing under guilt at first Conversion, or with poor tempted Souls: These four sorts of persons can tell you what ap­prehensions they have of the worth of Christ. When men know the worth of a commodity, it will go hard but they will obtain it. O what will a Malefactor judge a Pardon worth! So doth a poor self-condemned Sinner judge of Christ.

2. Poor Sinners seek not after the Lord, because they are lockt up under infidelity and unbelief. We read of [Page 146]being concluded and shut up under un­belief, as close prisoners under lock and key (in arctâ custodiâ) they are in Satans close custody.

1. Poor Sinners believe not Christs willingness to embrace and entertain their poor Souls upon closure with him. Untill poor Sinners be con­vinced of this, they can never make out after Christ. Therefore it is we read of Christs invitations, and asse­verations, entreaties, promises; all to demonstrate his willingness to be found of sinners, when they seek him. Alas, poor sinners take up false con­ceptions of Christ; they think his heart is hardned against them, and his bowels shut up in displeasure, and they take him for their adversary, and all this is their unbelief; and so are hindred from looking out after Christ.

2. Poor Sinners believe not the Fa­thers willingness to shew them mercy. Many Souls stick here, though Christ hath told them, he hath declared his Fathers Name, and would declare it to poor sinners. O what pains doth Christ take to convince of his Fathers [Page 147]good will!Joh. 6.37, 38. This is the will of him that sent me.

5. Poor Sinners believe not an in­dispensible necessity to close with Christ. They do not see their Souls lost for ever without a Christ. And this brings me to the next particular.

3. Poor Sinners seek not after the Lord Jesus, because they are not throughly convinced of their misery without Christ. Peter did not cry out, Master save me or I perish, until he be­gun to sink: So poor Souls cry not after Christ, seek not after Christ, until they see themselves in a perishing sink­ing condition. Persons may fall under some convictions of their misery, but alas, they are [...]lighty convictions, and so wear off the next temptation that comes upon their Soul: But when the conviction gets to the heart, then it is hopeful. When they were prickt to the heart, then they cryed out, Men and Brethren, what shall we do? There are many convictions that get no far­ther than the head. But now when a sense of misery is clapt to a mans heart, it will make him look out after Christ. [Page 148]Let me shew poor Sinners something of their misery without Christ.

1. You are without hope; and is not this the height of misery? Hope doth yield the Soul some relief in the saddest condition; but to be without hope, is to be in Hell above ground. What is it that makes Hell, Hell? they have no hope of ever coming forth, from the pit there is no redemption. If a man be in Algier, hope keeps up his heart, that he shall be redeemed one day: But there is not one priso­ner of hope in all hell among all the damned.

2. Without Christ you are condemn­ed men already. There is no condem­nation to them that are in Christ Jesus. Then it follows, they that are out of Christ Jesus, are under the sentence of condemnation. What a miserable con­dition doth a poor condemned crea­ture think himself to be in, and can­not rest night nor day but thinking of his execution? This is the case of a poor Soul out of Christ; though the Soul be not convinced of it.

3. The misery of a Soul out of Christ [Page 149]is in this, it is eternal misery. The eternity of the misery is the sting of Hell, and the very emphasis of dam­nation. To be miserable a thousand years, and then to come out of it, the very thoughts of a better estate would be some kind of ease to the oppressed mind: but their misery is like to be endless; and this compleats the mise­ry. It is called everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, &c. 2 Thes. 1.8. This brings me orderly to the next head.

4. Poor Sinners seek not out to the Lord Jesus, because they are not con­vinced throughly of a future state of the Soul. They are not under the powerful sense of the Souls immortali­ty. Who will seek out to Christ, if they be not convinced that the Soul is an immortal being? Christs errand from Heaven to Earth is in vain, his whole series of suffering is in vain, his whole undertaking of the work of mans redemption in vain, if there be no future state of the Soul: But be­cause we live in a time and day that Atheism doth abound, let me offer by way of conviction some few Argu­ments [Page 150]to prove the future state of the Soul. Alas, men look not out after Christ, because they are not taken up with Eternity.

1. Argument is taken from Christs death,1 Thes. 1.10. which was to deliver from wrath to come. Then there is such a thing as wrath to come, which could not be if there were no future state of the Soul.

2. Argument of a future state is from the horrour that wicked men feel sometimes in their consciences, when they are awakened. O what Magor Misabibs are they to themselves some­times! Crying out, Wo is them that ever they were born, to sin such wrath upon their own heads. These are the sparks of Hell that are gotten into the Conscience in this life, this is the gnawing of that worm that never dyes.

3. Argument is taken from the wishes of the wicked that they might dye the death of the Righteous, as Balaam desired.

4. Argument is taken from the suf­ferings of Saints. What will it profit a man to gain the whole world, and lose [Page 151]his own soul? which is brought in to the Disciples to caution them against Apostasie. O, say poor believers, we may lose our Souls, and therefore we may not apostatize from God, and therefore they will suffer the loss of all. The poor people of God make a sad bargain of it, if they suffer, and yet there should be no reward.

5. Argument is taken from the great desires that sometimes Believers have to be dissolved, as Paul did; which, if there were no enjoyment of God af­ter, would greatly be to believers loss, because they enjoy something of God here.

6. Argument is taken from the great joy that many Saints have had in their passage into another world. How have they gone off the stage of this present life with triumph, and died boasting and glorying in God?

7. Argument is taken from Saints Communion with God. If there be such a thing here, then much more hereafter; what we enjoy here is but a drop to the Ocean.

8. Argument is taken from mens [Page 152]natural unwillingness to dye. Certain­ly there some thing follows death, that the Soul cannot endure to think on. It is true, the dissolving of the mar­riage-knot betwixt such two dear lo­vers, as Soul and Body, is tedious to think of, yet there is some preappre­hensions of eternity, that trouble the Soul, that it cannot think of death with any quiet or comfort.

9. Argument is taken from the end of Christs appointments. God hath appointed the means of Grace in refe­rence to the salvation of poor Souls. That thou may save thy own Soul, and them that hear thee.

10. Argument from the endeavours of Satan, seeking whom he may devour (or drink up, as the word is.) Satan would spare his pains, if there were no future state of the Soul. Now it is no wonder if poor sinners seek not the Lord Jesus, when they lay not their souls under the convictions of the state of the Soul after death.

5. Poor Sinners seek not after the Lord Jesus Christ, because they are di­verted by their worldly enjoyments [Page 153]and employments. We read of some that made excuses, and all their excu­ses were from their worldly business, they could not come. I have observed that young persons who have been under some notable convictions, and resolutions to close with Christ, and seek after Christ, if ever they have aba­ted and cooled in their first love, it hath been when they have entred up­on the world, changed their conditi­ons, set up for themselves; the world hath stoln their hearts from God. O how sad is this! The world broke the bargain betwixt Christ and the young man in the Gospel.

O but sayes a poor Soul, I know not how to seek Christ: I am a poor Gen­tile Sinner that have sate in darkness, and am in my dark state of Gentilism to this day, and how shall I seek the Lord Jesus that is, you say, thus wil­ling to be found of me?

1. Seek the Lord betimes. If you would be speeding Seekers of Christ, Job 8.5. you must not be loyterers; there is but in time and out of time. Make no delay therefore, poor sinner, in seek­ing [Page 154]the Lord Jesus Christ; take the pre­sent time by the fore-lock. While it is to day, hearken to his voice: Now acquaint your selves with God. We must take hold of the present time. They that seek me early shall find me; (shall morning me, the Hebrew is.) We must in our seeking give the morning to God. It is observable, in the morn­ing Jacob got the blessing; in the morning the Lord looked through the cloud, and discomfited the Aegyptian Host: Nay, Christ himself is called the Hinde of the morning, the morning-star; and all to teach us to seek him in the morning. The first fruits were to be dedicated to the Lord; the firstling of every Creature was to be offered up in Sacrifice to the Lord: but the firstling of an Ass being so dull a Crea­ture, God would not accept it in sa­crifice.

1. We should seek the Lord early, because the present time is the only time to seek the Lord in. Now is the acceptable time. now is the day of salvation, &c. Upon this monosylable Now depends Eternity (sayes one.) [Page 155]There is a present time, and a present Truth for us to lay hold on. It was a good saying of him when invited to dinner to morrow, sayes he, I have not promised myself a [to morrow] this many years. Who knows, sayes Solo­mon, what to morrow may bring forth? What is in the womb of to morrow? What if thy death, nay, thy damna­tion should be in the womb of ano­ther day? We read of death and what was at the heels of death? and Hell immediately followed him.

2. Seek the Lord early; you can­not promise your selves any more sea­sons of Grace. If God should prolong your lives, your day of Grace may have its sun-set on a sudden; and alas, what good will your lives do you, when you are wrapt up in gross dark­ness? May not you say already, Woe unto us our day goeth away! Alas, there is a night coming when no man can work.

3. Seek the Lord early; If you have your lives lengthened, your means of Grace continued, yet you cannot pro­mise your selves any more gales of the [Page 156]Spirit of God to breath upon you. And alas, what will Gospel Ordinances sig­nifie to you, without the spirits influ­ences breathing in them? What is the most precious Ministry you can sit un­der, if not influenced from the Lord, by the efficacy of his own Spirit?

4. Seek the Lord early; you have loytered long, you have slept much of your day of Grace away alrea­dy. He that sleeps in harvest is a Son that causeth shame; but he that ga­thereth in summer is a wise Son. O what a harvest of the Gospel have we slept in! O what a spirit of deep sleep and slumber hath fallen upon us! O that we may all take that counsel, Ʋp and be doing, and the Lord will be with you. Up and be seeking Christ early.

5. The longer you neglect to seek the Lord Jesus, the more difficult it will be for you. Your very sloth will take away your hearts: the more a man sits still, the less mind he hath to stir. Sitting is a pleasing posture; it is the description of Gentile Sinners, they sit in darkness; they are pleased with their dark state: And it is hard [Page 157]when we have indulged our sloth, to stir up our selves to lay hold of God.

2. Seek the Lord earnestly as well as early. It is said of Christ, he prayed earnestly, when in his agony; and we read of striving to enter in at the strait gate. Strive to an agony; put your Souls into an agony: So we must seek Christ, having our Souls in an agony. Poor Souls, it may be, fall under some general convictions of their sins, and they are now put upon seeking the Lord; but alas, it is with a kind of indifferency of spirit, as though they cared not whether they found him or not. We should seek the Lord with Jacobs resolution; I will not let thee go except thou bless me. 2 Cant. 1.2, 3, 4. The Spouse by night sought Christ: in a night of persecution (some refer it to that night of persecution by Antiochus Epiphanes) yet she gives not over seeking; but did she find him? No, she found him not. Now she might have fallen un­der some temptation to give over, why should I wait upon the Lord any longer? O no, but she falls now upon an earn­est search and enquiry after him, and now she finds him.

[Page 158]3. Seek the Lord under the sense of a promise (viz.) believingly. They that seek shall find. If we have not our practice bottomed in our seeking of Christ upon some promise, we shall have no comfort in it. But now when the Soul sayes, I will go a seeking Christ, but I will carry a promise with me; O this is very comfortable! Ʋn­to him shall the Gentiles seek; and, in him shall the Gentiles trust. This is the Great Magna Charta of the Gentiles; thou must not seek to thy own Righ­teousness. We read of seeking that way.Isa. 42.2. You must not trust in your selves, but in his Name shall the Gentiles trust. If you know not where to trust, come hither,Mat. 12.18. and here place your trust. Many Souls seek Christ, but their eye of faith is not up to the promise in their seeking of him.

4. We are to seek the Lord in a through sense of our lost condition without him. Many Souls seek Christ, but they do it not in a sense of their undone condition. It is the lost Soul that is the right seeker of Christ. Christ seeks such Souls, and such Souls seek [Page 159] Christ; then they are like to meet. That which is promised of the Jews Return holds good here;Jer. 50.5. Going and weeping, seeking the Lord their God, &c. It will make you seek him weeping, if you were but convinced, you were lost to all Eternity, undone for ever, irrecoverably miserable, if you find not Christ. The first-step to seek Christ, is to be convinced of ones lost condi­tion. O now the Soul falls inquiring after Christ; If you see him whom my Soul loves, tell him, I am sick of love.

5. Seek Christ perseveringly. Thus the Spouse did seek Christ untill she found him; as the woman sought her lost groat until she found it. The watch­men smote the Spouse, and took away her veil from her, yet she gives not o­ver seeking her beloved. The watch­men, either the Ministerial watch­men, or the Magisterial, upon the City walls, they took away her veil (viz.) a token of subjection to Christ; yet she perseveres still seeking Christ. Ja­cob wrestled until the break of day: He was a persevering wrestler, and then came the blessing.

[Page 160]6. We must seek Christ as appoint­ed by the Father to entertain poor Gentile Sinners. Therefore we see the Commission of Christ is to carry it ten­derly towards poor Gentiles, smoak­ing flaxes, and bruised reeds. The Fa­ther hath put this work upon him, to treat with poor Gentiles about their everlasting Salvation: and therefore we must seek Christ distinctly, under a distinct notion, as the Father hath commissioned him. Poor Sinners get some confused notions and apprehen­sions of Christ, and upon these notions they seek Christ: but all this while they are ignorant of Christs being sent as the Fathers Commissioner to treat with poor Sinners about the things that concern their peace. Several words the Spirit of God hath bestowed upon this thing, noting to us that it is a mat­ter of such great concernment.

1. He hath set him forth to be a propitiation,Rom. 3.25. or fore-ordained him to this end and purpose.

2. God hath chosen him, My Ser­vant whom I have chosen.

3. God hath called him.Isa. 42.6.

[Page 161]4. God hath anointed him to this purpose.

5. God hath sent him; now we should consider all these, and seek him as one thus sent by his Father to treat with poor Sinners.

7. We must seek whole Christ in all his Offices. As you have received the Lord Jesus Christ, so walk you in him. This is whole Christ; as Prophet, Priest, and Lord. And thus should poor Gentile Sinners seek the Lord Jesus.

The second Observation is this:

That there are especial times for Sin­ners to find the Lord Jesus Christ in. Seek the Lord while he may be found.

We read David pointing out such a time, For this shall every one that is Godly pray unto thee in a time, Psal. 32.6. when thou wilt be found: or, in a finding time (so we should read it;) Others read it in a time of hitting, when Gods judgements go abroad, and the Lord hits the consciences. But David had been confessing his sins, and the Lord forgives him, and the sense of this for­giveness [Page 162]raises his heart so, that he breaks out thus, the Godly shall pray unto thee in such a time, in an especial time.Luk. 19.41, 42. O Jerusalem hadst thou known in this thy day! It was an especial time in which they might have found the Lord, he so sweetly offering himself to them in the Gospel. Solomon tells us,Eccl. 8.5, 6. A wise mans heart discerneth time and judgment; because to every pur­pose there is a time and judgment; there­fore the misery of man is great upon him. So in this case, there is a time, an espe­cial time to put your Spiritual purpo­ses into execution, to seek the Lord Jesus in: Therefore that was good Counsel,Job 22.20, 21. Now acquaint thy self with God, and be at peace, and thereby good shall come upon thee. Now seek the Lord. There are some especial Nows that we should all improve and lay hold on.2 Cor. 6.2. Now is the acceptable time, now is the day of salvation, &c. I pas­sed by thee, and saw thee in thy blood, and then it was a time of love, &c.

The great question will be, what are these especial times, in which Christ is willing to be found?

[Page 163]1. When he offers himself in the tenders of the Gospel. O Jerusalem, hadst thou known in this thy day. It was a peculiar time in which the Lord Je­sus was preached to them. Now Christ is willing to be found of you. What is the Gospel but Christ seeking out his Sheep, his voice calling in his Sheep; Christ following poor sinners with invitations and entreaties, that they would return unto him and live? We read of the Shepherd seeking out his sheep. Would Christ offer him­self, but that it is an especial time of love? O poor Souls, take heed as you reject these offers. 1. These of­fers of Christ are a fruit of his blood; if he had not died, he never had been tendred to you; and for you to re­fuse these offers, is for you to reject his purchase, nay, for you to tread his blood under-foot, and account the blood of the Covenant an unclean thing. And O how must this needs provoke the Lord, as is said in the pa­rable of the Supper, when they all had refused, the Lord was angry, and re­solved that none of them should taste [Page 164]of his Supper. 2. These offers are of­fers of life and salvation; O then take heed of rejecting them. You will not come to me that you may have life. Now is an especial time, you may have life. If a poor condemned Malefactor should but have his life offered him, O how would he be transported with joy! And this is the case of every poor sinner out of Christ; he is under a sen­tence of condemnation, and Christ comes and offers them their lives. O then as we value the lives of our pre­cious Souls, let us not reject the offers of Christ. 3. The offers of Christ are unasked, unsought for by us, therefore it is now an especial finding time. Thou poor sinner dost not come forth and ask a Christ, and cry for Christ, and lament after Christ. O no, but Christ came out to offer himself to thy poor Soul, when thou lay dying and perishing in thy blood, then he said unto thee unasked, Live. 4. The offers of Christ are not only of his Grace but of himself: He offers not only what he hath, but what he is, to thy Soul. But my people would have [Page 165]none of me. He that hath the Son, hath life. There must be an union with the Son, a closing with the person of Christ, as well as with the promise of Christ. Now this is more than to offer Grace, yea, than to offer Heaven to poor sinners. Therefore it is we read of the marriage of the Kings Son: and shall we despise such a match as this? God forbid. 5. Surely this is a find­ing time in an especial manner, he offers with entreaties, and invitations to accept. He doth not make an offer and away, as careless whether poor sinners accept or no: but he follows his offers with arguments, if by any means he might prevail with poor Souls, before it be too late. 6. He offers all he hath. O will neither his person nor his benefits take with the Souls of poor sinners? All he hath may be yours; If he have pardoning mercy, it is yours; if he have sancti­fying mercy, it is yours; if he have comforting mercy, it is yours. He in­terests you in all his fulness upon your closure with him: He bestows upon you a large joynture upon your mar­riage [Page 166]with him. All is yours. Then certainly this is an especial finding time.

2. The second especial finding time is, when the Spirit breaths upon sin­ners in their attendances upon God. We read of a certain season in which the Angel came down and moved the waters. There are some certain sea­sons that the Spirit of God doth breath more freely upon poor sinners than at other times; and these times we are to make an especial improvement of. The Spirit of God, it is said, came up­on Sampson by times. Certain briezes, if you will give me leave to call them so, that come from Heaven at certain times. The wind blows where it listeth. O but poor Souls, be sure you lose not these winds; when they stand fair for Heaven, do not let them slip; lose not a gale for Eternity, for they are espe­cial finding times. 1. These gales once gone, and they are irrecoverable. There is no buying a wind for Hea­ven, if you would give all the world for it: one fair gale lost, and thy poor Soul may lye wind-bound unto thy [Page 167]very dying day. 2. These gales once gone, and your hearts harden. Sinners hearts harden, as the gales of the spi­rit of God are abused, and so suspend­ed. And O what a sad case will it be for a poor Sinner to lye upon a death­bed crying out, this heart of mine, as very a stone as it is, as hard, as it is now, once was breathed upon by the Spirit to close with Christ, but I sinned all those precious breathings from my Soul, and so by degrees hardned for Hell apace. 3. These winds will not alwayes blow upon you, the wind will not alwayes stands here. Say so when under the Spirits breathings. The wind will not alwayes hold thus fair for Heaven; it will not alwayes blow in this quarter. My Spirit shall not al­wayes strive with man. You must not think of having a trade-wind for Hea­ven. 4. These gales must you give an account for. Why did not you move with such a fair wind, when you had it? This question one day will be ask­ed your precious Souls. O what an­swer will you give in that day? Did not my Spirit strive with you? but [Page 168]you resisted it, and vexed it, and quenched it. Every motion you ever had and slighted, will come in as an evidence against you another day. 5. These gales once gone will fill your Souls with horrour that you have lost them; that you were in so fair a way for closing with Christ, and yet miss of him; so nigh the Kingdom, and never come at it. O how it grieves a man to miscarry, that had once a fair wind! O had I but taken the opportunity of a wind, how happy had I been! Who can think of it, but with dread, to look back upon all the motions that you have lost, all the breathings you have lost, and to say under the sense of all these being lost, Now your Souls are lost too?

3. Especial finding time is in a time of universal calamities and judgments upon nations. When the deluge is a­broad upon the face of the earth, then he is willing to ask Souls to let them have room in himself.Psal. 32.6. For this shall every one pray unto thee in a time when thou wilt be found (and observe what follows) Surcly in the floods of great [Page 169]waters they shall not come nigh thee. Some Expositors take it of a finding God in a time of general trouble and calamity. Therefore we have that sweet counsel, Seek ye the Lord, Zeph. 2.3. seek meekness if that you may be hid in the day of the Lords anger. When the Lords Judgements are abroad, he calls upon poor Sinners to sue to him, after an especial manner. O poor sinners, How can your hearts endure, or your hands be made strong in the day that I shall deal with you? (saith the Lord.) You will be like the man-slayer that had no City of Refuge to fly to, when the avenger of blood was upon him: And was not this a very sad case? Well may it be said to such, What will you do in the day of your Visitation? and where will you leave your Glory? Isa. 10.2, 3. and whither will you flee for help? God would never have given that especial counsel, when he was to march in his anger through Israel, therefore prepare to meet thy God O Israel, if he did not aime, it should be an especial time of finding him. O what a Christ seeking, nay finding time was the plague, when [Page 170]death and danger faced you every day, nay every hour? when the Grave and Hell opened their mouths wide to swallow you?

4. Another especial time of finding, is, a time of personal affliction: when sinners months are upon them, in their months one shall find her, Jer. 2.24. spoken of the wild Ass. So it is with a poor Sinner. He cannot be tamed, cannot be brought to hand, brought to the hand of Christ: but when affliction is upon the sinner, O then it is an Ephraim; Thou chastisedst me and I was chastised, Jer. 37.18, 19. as a Bullock unaccustomed to the yoke; but yet the Lord tamed the Bullock. Manasseh as wild as he was, was thus tamed, and brought to seek the Lord, when he was in the bryars and fetters. Now is a time for the sinner to return from iniquity:Job 36.9. (so Job hath it) In their affliction they will seek me early.

5. Another especial time of finding Christ, is, when the Soul is under the sense of its bewildred, lost estate and condition; O then the Soul looks out after Christ; sees it is undone without Christ, a perishing lost Soul for ever. [Page 171]This put the Prodigal upon returning to his Father, and I perish by hunger. The Lord allures the Soul into the wil­derness, it knows not what to make of its condition, it is in a wilderness of doubts and objections, but yet Christ now is found of it, and speaks com­fortably unto it. Now the Soul doth as the four Lepers in the gate of Sama­ria; they were under the sentence of death in their own apprehensions, and therefore they conclude they could but dye: So they resolve to go into the Assyrian Camp; rather than dye in the Gate they would dye in the Field. Thus sayes a poor Soul, I can but dye, therefore I will go out to Christ, and if I dye I will dye at his foot, if I perish I perish. Now this is a time wherein the Lord is found of poor Souls.

6. Another especial time, is a time of violent and fierce assaults and tem­ptations from Satan. Paul looked up­on this time to be an especial praying time. Paul besought the Lord thrice: 2 Cor. 12.7, 8. and it was an answering time, my Grace is sufficient for thee. Satan, he is the [Page 172]great Seeker after Souls, seeking whom he may devour. O now the Soul runs from Satan to Jesus Christ, to take san­ctuary in Christ. Some poor Souls have cause to bless God for their tem­ptation-experiences, upon this very account that Satan's assaults have ha­stened them to Christ. Thus God out­shoots Satan in his own bow.

7. When the Soul meets with dis­appointments from the Creature, this is another especial finding time. The poor Church speaks as a disappointed people;Hos. 6.1. Come let us return unto the Lord. We have been big-bellied with expectations and hopes from the Crea­ture, but all proves but a tympany: come therefore say they, let us return unto the Lord; He will not disappoint us. The Lord was resolved to make up a hedge of disappointments against the poor Church, and now she resolves what to do.Hos. 2.7. I will return to my first Husband, it was better with me then than it is now. Disappointments have been the occasion of the conversion of many. The Prodigal would fain have filled his belly with the husks the [Page 173]Swine did eat; here was his desire: no man gave him to eat; here was his disappointment. And what then does he resolve on? O then he resolves to arise and go to his Father.


Is it so, that there are some especial times of finding Christ? then it is a word of counsel. O then let no such times slip you! Lay hold of the fore­lock of your especial times. There is time and opportunity, and we distin­guish betwixt them: opportunity is time filled up with seasons of Grace. O be sure then poor Souls you redeem opportunities. It is the same counsel that the Apostle gives them,Eph. 5.15, 16. Redeem the time; and the reason is very co­gent, for the dayes are evil. A man hath a fair wind; he hath waited long for it; and now it is come about, he will not neglect it. O when the wind presents, be sure then you take it! O poor Soul, hast thou not laid long without a wind for Heaven? Well, now it is come about. O then im­prove [Page 174]it. O poor Soul, put not off these precious gales; say not, come a­gain to morrow.

1. These especial seasons and times you must be accountable for. And can you answer it before the Great God, Sinners, that you did trifle with those seasons that did concern your immor­tal Souls? God puts every Sermon up­on account, every Sabbath upon ac­count, every Motion, nay, every Con­viction upon account; they are all bookt down in Gods book of Remem­brance; and though you have forgot­ten them, yet he hath not. O what horrour will fill your Souls, and what confusion of face will be upon you, when you shall be called to an account for all your especial times of finding Christ? 2. These especial times of finding Christ, are not all persons pri­viledges. He hath not dealt with all people as with you. How many parts of the world that never were enriched with the tenders of Gospel-grace as you have been, but lie in the rubbish of ignorance and ungodliness? Nay, how many that have lived under the [Page 175]sound of the Gospel, and yet the Go­spel is hid to them,2 Cor. 4.3. and such souls are lost? And shall your Souls be privi­ledged above others in the being un­der these especial seasons, and you not improve them? 3. These especial times if you let slip, you will be hard­ned and rivetted in your sins. After men have sinned away the day of Grace, O then they grow worse and worse. Then their poor Souls do swim down the stream of all manner of prophaneness. Have you not often observed it, that after sinners have worn off their Convictions they have been more careless, more prophane, more resolute in their course of sin? 4. These especial times if you let them slip, it may be, you shall never have such times again. My Spirit shall no more strive with man. His bowels will be shut up in displeasure against you. You may out-live the breathings of the Lord upon your Souls. And O if God should awaken you, and cause you to reflect upon what hath past be­twixt God and your Souls, O then it may be you will cry out, O that it [Page 176]were with me as in months past! O for one of the Motions of the Spirit of God I have sleighted! O for one of the Convictions I have murdered! 5. These especial times will exceed­ingly aggravate your sin, in standing out against Christ. A woe was written upon the head of Capernaum and Beth­saida. O when Christ shall say, what have you to say for your selves? was not I tendred unto you? was not I offered with all the benefits of my death? but you would none of me. O now how will such poor Souls run to the rocks, yea be fit to creep into the holes of the ragged rocks for the Majesty of the Lord?

2. Word is a word of direction. What shall we do by way of improve­ment of these especial times, or how shall we improve them?

1. Would you improve these espe­cial finding times? Then 1. Lament sensibly over your lost time. Lapsed time goes to the heart of a poor con­vinced sinner: nothing doth cut so deep, as the consideration of trifling away golden seasons of Grace. It was [Page 177]the charge the Lord brought in a­gainst Jezabel, I gave her space to repent, but she repented not. O for a poor soul to reflect upon the time that is past, then it will cry as Job did in that case, O that it were with me as in months that are past! O that I might enjoy one of the dayes of the Son of Man, that I have so slighted! The Apostle tells us of some who for the time might have been Teachers of others, but alas they had lost their time. If you lose but a tide-time, you can fret at that, and be impatient: O how many tide-times have you lost for Eternity? Eve­ry appointment of Christ, in which the Spirit of Christ breaths, is a tide-time. O how many market-dayes for Hea­ven have your Souls lost? And can you remember them, and not lament over them?

2. Would you improve these espe­cial finding times? Consider then, you cannot mis-improve, neglect these, but you put a sleight upon Christ. O how dangerous is this to put a sleight upon the Lord Jesus, when he is willing to be found of you! What a sleight was [Page 178]that they put upon Christ, when they made all their excuses, they could not come! when Christ tenders himself and is refused. Therefore he complained, but my people would have none of me. For the Lord Jesus Christ to leave the bosome of his Father, the Glory of Heaven, and be clothed in, and mar­ried to our nature, and be made a curse for us, and after all this to be slighted by a company of poor sinners; O what monstrous ingratitude is this! Would we slight a Relation, a Friend, an Ac­quaintance thus? Is not this to be highly uncivil to Jesus Christ? O how do poor sinners put their incivilities upon Christ!

3. Would you not mis-improve these especial finding times? then consider how this grieves Christ. When he came nigh the City, he wept over it; what was the matter? this was the conside­ration that did draw tears from Christs eyes, that they had enjoyed an espe­cial time, and day of Grace in which Christ was willing to have been found of them. O that thou hadst known in this thy day, &c. We read also of [Page 179]those that refused the tenders of Christ, the master of the house was angry at them. O take heed of angring Christ, poor sinners, in this respect. Kiss the Sun lest he be angry. What if he be,Ps. 2. ult. and you perish from the way? When his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are they that trust in him. O who can stand before the wrath of the Lamb? Yea, what can cover us from the wrath of the Lamb? O what ingratitude is this, to grieve him for loving you, to requite him evil for good! Is this your kindness to your friend? Will you thus requite the Lord, O you foolish Souls? Do you thus answer his love in coming from heaven upon your errand? It is said, the Lord Je­sus Christ was grieved because of their unbelief, and the hardness of their hearts. You would not willingly grieve a Relation, a Father, a Mother; and will you grieve Christ?

4. Direction. Would you not mis­improve these especial finding times? then live in the consideration of what depends upon them. Upon these times depend your eternal conditions: up­on [Page 180]on these monosyllables depends eter­nity; upon these Nows, these present gales, and seasons of Grace. We say of some business, that we are very soli­citous about, there is much depends upon it. It is a matter of grand im­portance. This is the case; thy lay­ing hold of these special times, is a bu­siness of great moment, as much as your immortal Souls are worth. O that every time you prayed, you might say, this is for eternity: and every time you heard a Sermon, O poor Soul, this is for eternity. As that great Painter said, propter aeternitatem pingo: So should every poor sinner say of his duties. Write Eternity upon the head of them. I have read of one that liv­ed many years in a Cave under the earth among multitudes of Gnats, to the wonder of many; he was insensi­ble of their disturbances: and the rea­son given is this, he was come thither to contemplate eternity. So do I say, the consideration and contemplation of eternity would make you forget the world and the comforts of it, when you make your approaches to God.

[Page 181]5. Would you not mis-improve these especial finding times? O then live much in the consideration of the worth of your Souls. You cannot slight the seasons of Grace, but you slight your own Souls. O that that word were daily before you, What shall it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul? It is one of the first considerations usually that sets a poor sinner upon looking out after Christ, What will become of my Soul, if I dye in this condition? Am I not eternally undone? and then what am I better for all the trash I have gathered together? What gain­eth it the Hypocrite, when the Lord shall take away his Soul? 1. Consider your Souls are Heaven-born Souls, from above, breathed in by God; and will you slight them? 2. A spiritual being. 3. An immortal being. 4. A being that cannot be satisfied with any sublunary objects. 5. A Soul ca­pable of Communion with God here. 6. Capable of the fruition of God hereafter.

3. Ʋse, is a word of examination, [Page 182]or inquiry. Are there some especial times and seasons in which Christ is willing to be found? Then have ever your poor Souls found Christ in these times? Is not this an inquiry worth following? By being found of Christ, I mean as the word explains it, closed with Christ. When Christ and a poor Soul meets, a poor Soul takes Christ, and accepts of him upon the terms of the Gospel, and Christ takes a poor Soul: for as there is a taking and re­ceiving of Christ, so there is a receiving on Christs side.

1. If your Souls have found Christ, then you have seen your Souls in a lost, and bewildred condition, this my Son was lost, and is found. He was bewildred in his far Country, but now his return was his finding time. Christ usually meets with the Soul in the wil­derness, I will allure her into the wil­derness, and speak comfortably to her. Hof. 2.14. O how is a poor Soul at its first find­ing Christ bewildred and lost, cannot tell what to make of his condition, sees nothing but misery before it, sees nothing but Hell gaping upon him, [Page 183]cryes out, it is undone, and without hope!

2. If you have found Christ, then you will sell all, part with all for him.Mat. 13.44. You read of the Merchant man that when he had found the Pearl of price, he sold all to purchase it. Some take it, he sold all his sins he so dearly lov­ed before, parted with them: Some take it, he parted with all his own Righteousness, which we are naturally as loth to part with as our Sins. O thus did Paul, when he accounted all things dung and dross in comparison of the excellency of Christ Jesus my Lord. They that have found the Lord Jesus, they do not stand with him. We read, this was that which caused the young man in the Gospel to leave Christ, he could not part with all, he had great pos­sessions. Now you are like to be try­ed, whether you have found Christ or no. If you have found the Lord Jesus Christ, you have not only been convinced of sin, and so seen your lost condition; but you have been con­vinced of Righteousness. There are many poor Souls that stick at their [Page 184]convictions of sin, and get no further, and prove like foolish children, that stay long in the place of breaking forth: but all this while throws and pangs are put upon the Soul to pre­pare for the birth, yet the Soul hath not closed with Christ. The poor sin­ner is but now like a man convinced of his disease, and sees his misery, but is at an utter loss for a remedy. O but now the convictions of the Righteous­ness of Christ to pardon, and freely justifie the sinner, this is the remedy. A sight of sin, without a sight of Christ is no converting work. You may be convinced of your sins, and dye in them, and go to Hell in them. When the poor Prodigal was found, O then the best Robe (viz.) Christs Righte­ousness was to be fetcht forth and put upon him. Now poor Soul, did thou ever take thy flight to Christs Righte­ousness, to be found in him? When the poor Infant we read of, was found out in its blood, what did God? sayes the Text, he cast his skirt over it, (viz.) the skirt of the robe of his righteous­ness.

[Page 185]4. If you have found Christ you will now know how you part with him. I found my Beloved (sayes the Spouse.) O but it was after long seeking! And now doth she hold him with as slack a hand of faith as she did? O no, I will hold him, and will not let him go. O now the Soul resolves nothing shall se­parate him from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

5. If you have found Christ, you will commend him unto others, and set him off to others, that they may seek him also. Thus did the Spouse, This is my Beloved; and she commends him in every part, from Top to Toe. And what is the fruit of this setting forth the excellency of Christ? We will seek him with thee. Lovers will be commending one another. O how dost thou speak of Christ? doth thy Soul tell others what a Beloved thy Beloved is? what a blessed Christ, thy Christ is? and say, this is my Be­loved, and this is my Friend?

We are now come to the third Ob­servation:

It is the especial duty of poor sinners to observe those times in which Christ will be found: seek him while he may be found, &c.

There is but in time, (we say) and out of time. Mariners will observe their winds, and be sure not to neglect them, be it night or day if they be present. Merchants will observe their Marts, and not neglect them, that they may buy the Commodities at the best hand. Nay, we read of other Creatures ob­serving their times; to stir up poor, careless, stupid man. The Ant ob­serves her time, and in Summer layes up for Winter; and the Prophet says, The Swallow and the Stork know their appointed times, Jer. 8.7. and observe the time of their coming. O how doth God com­plain of man, that his misery is great upon him, because he knows, not his time?Eccl. 8.6. By observing of them, we are to understand laying hold of them, ta­king these times by the fore-lock, and improving them to the utmost advan­tage for the spiritual good of your im­mortal Souls. We read therefore that excellent Counsel of the Apostles Re­deeming [Page 187]the time: An allusion to Mer­chants, that observe their Mart-times, who will be sure not to neglect them. Every poor believer, and every poor sinner ought to be observers of the times in this sence. They should ob­serve when the Lord strives and breaths with their poor Souls in his Ordinances. They should observe how the Lord allures and draws their hearts after himself. Therefore it is we have such especial times pointed at by the finger of God, that poor sin­ners might not miss of them. God points at them in the word that they may be observed. Now acquaint thy self with God. There is but a Now for it, a present time for it: this lost,Job 21.22. and thy Soul is lost for ever. You must not think to put it off and say to morrow: No, the Lord sayes Now; and should not you say, Lord, why not Now? O do not say, come again at a more con­venient time. Christs time is the most convenient time, and this is Christs time. Now is the accepted time, &c. 2 Cor. 6.2. See how the finger of Free Grace points out the time. O poor Soul, now [Page 188]thou mayst be accepted of God, and laid in his bosome: Now his heart is open, now his arms are widened, ex­pecting thy running in thither; and if thou miss of this accepted time, thou wilt for ever be rejected of God. Now or never is the language of Christ in an Ordinance.Heb. 3.7, 8. Hearken to his voice while it is to day. See still how God points at the present time. While it is to day. It may be you may be dead to mor­row; why may not I say, damned to morrow? Who knows what to mor­row may bring forth?Luk. 12.36. We read of opening to Christ immediately. O poor sinners, you should not delay the business, but strike in with Christ while he is beseeching of you.

1. Reason. Poor Sinners should be observers of Christs times. This the Lord calls to; and if we do not this, we turn a deaf ear to this blessed charmer. O what a pity it is, that a poor Soul should be deaf to Christ? As though Christ only preached hell and damna­tion, and his Fathers displeasure. And alas, poor sinners, it is the quite con­trary; he preaches Heaven to you, [Page 189]Salvation to you. This day, saith he, poor Sinner, salvation is come unto thy house. If you will not come to him, he will come to you with his Salvation. This makes me remember that sweet call of Christs in the Prophet,Isa. 46. ult? Hearken unto me ye stout-hearted that are far from Righteousness. O poor Gentile Sinners, that are afar off from me, nay, that do oppose me: yet sayes he, I bring near my Righteousness. One would have thought it would have been, You stout-hearted I bring near my wrath, I bring near my judgements: O no but Gods thoughts are not as our thoughts. He calls such to accept of his Righte­ousness, and his Salvation, and shall we be deaf to such calls? What a call is that, Hearken to his voice while it is to day? Christ calls to poor Sinners, that they would lay hold of their espe­cial times.

2. This is complained on by God. The Calls of God, and the complaints of God do both speak it. And O this hath been complained on of old. O what a complaint was that of Christ against Jerusalem, O that thou hadst [Page 190]known in this thy day, &c! And this complaint came from Christ weeping. He came nigh the City; and wept over it. Surely it is some notable Sermon Christ preaches, now he weeps: O this was it, that Jerusalem did not know her day.Mat. 23.37. And at another time, How often would I have gathered thee as a Hen gathers her Chickens under her wings, but she would not be gathered. I would have gathered them into me, gathered them out of their sins, ga­thered them out of the world; my armes were stretched out to that very end, but they observed not their ga­thering times. Alas, what are the sea­sons of Grace but Christs gathering times? He sees, poor Souls are like a Lamb in a large place, and they will wander and wander untill they drop into the Pit, whence there is no Re­demption, if Christs compassions do not gather them.

3. We are to observe our especial times in which Christ will be found, else we receive the Grace of God in vain.2 Cor. 6.1, 2. Paul writing upon this subject, We beseech you (sayes he) as workers [Page 191]with him that you receive not the Grace of God in vain; and then follows, I have heard thee in an accepted time, &c. He had been in the preceding Chap­ter speaking of the Ministry of Recon­ciliation, now sayes, We beseech you that you receive not this Grace, (viz. of the Ministry of Reconciliation) in vain; which you will do, if you observe not that now is the accepted time, that now is the day of salvation. The end of Christ is frustrated if you observe not these times in which he is willing to be found, for he offers himself in order to acceptation. O how sad would this be for so many Sermons of Christ, of his Love, of the Riches of Grace, to be in vain! For Christ to say, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain.Isa. 49.4. It is spoken in the person of Christ. Is it not a pity free Grace should spend its breath in vain? O what will sinners have to say or answer the Lord, when the Lord Jesus shall say to them, O how many Sermons of my own Love, of my Fathers Love, did I preach to you, but who hath believed my re­port? [Page 192]All these were in vain. I could not be credited by you, though I came from the bosome of the Father to preach all these things unto you.

4. Sinners are to observe those espe­cial times in which Christ is to be found, because upon these especial times depends Eternity. The eternal condition of a poor Soul depends up­on one of these Nows. That very mo­tion of the Spirit of God, which it may be thou slightest, or that very Ser­mon it may be thou refusest to hear, or upon the very conviction thou smo­therest with thy worldly enjoyments or employments, it may be upon these very times did depend your eternal conditions. That Sermon thou was not at, might have been the means of thy Conversion. As I close with these Calls of Christ, fall in with these mo­tions of the Spirit of Christ, so it will be with my Soul to all Eternity. O did but sinners think of this one thing, this one Truth, how serious would it make them in their observation of such times? Now this is for eternity, this motion, this striving of the Spirit [Page 193]of God with my poor Soul. If any of you were going to Sea on a voyage, and all that you were worth depend­ed upon that voyage, and if you mis­carried you were undone, wives and children undone, O how careful would you be to observe your time, your winds, your markets? This is the case; thou art engaged in a voyage that all thou art worth is concerned in, nay infinitely more than thou art worth, even thy precious Soul; and if thou miscarry in this voyage thou art un­done, even undone to all Eternity. O then what a mad man art thou that observest not what may tend to the security of thy great venture (viz.) thy precious Soul? Observe then thy gales for this voyage; it is either a making or a marring voyage.

5. Sinners are to observe Christs times, when he is willing to be found, because these times lost will aggravate the condemnation of poor Souls. Christ hath not tendred himself so to all as he hath done to you. O how many Souls have lived and died without the ten­ders of Christ? How many that ne­ver [Page 194]heard of a Christ? as they said, We have not so much as heard of an Holy Ghost. How many that sit in dark­ness, and the shadow of death? How many parts of the world that are the dark places of the earth, full of the habita­tions of Cruelty? You do not hear such Sermons in India as you do in Eng­land; you do not hear Christ so preach­ed and tendred at Guiny, at Jamaica. Suppose those poor Indians and Na­tives that you converse with there, should know what you have heard of Christ here, and what you have pro­fessed of Christ here, they would cer­tainly, seeing no more of Christianity, no more of likeness to Christ among you, certainly they would say, this Christ is an Impostor, and this Chri­stianity a cheat, a delusion to gull the world withal. Therefore upon this account it is that a woe was denoun­ced against Chorazin and Bethsaida; If I had never spoken unto you, sayes Christ, you had not had sin. O Sirs, if Christ had never been preached to you, never been tendred to you, ne­ver beseeched you, never wooed you, [Page 195]you had been under less guilt: but now your sin remains; and how can you escape, who have neglected so great salvation? You may think to escape, you may think you have some back door to creep out at; but alas, how can you escape (as Christ said to the Pharisees) the damnation of Hell?

6. These times of Christs being wil­ling to be found will not last alwayes. O what stronger reason to observe them! My Spirit shall not alwayes strive with man. You think, poor Sinners, that I will alwayes wait on you, al­wayes wooe you, alwayes beseech you: O no poor Sinners, times are coming on that my Bowels will be shut up in displeasure against you, my Bridge of Mercy shall be drawn, and my Gate of Mercy shall be shut, and then what will you do? O poor Sin­ners, what standing will there be with­out in that day? what crying, Lord, Lord open unto us? Do you think to have a trade-wind to heaven? do you think the wind will alwayes blow fair in your voyage for Eternity? The time is coming that the Lord Jesus (as [Page 196]it is said of those Angels) will keep the winds in his hands,Rev. 7.1. and not suffer them to blow on a poor Soul. That was good Counsel of our dear Lord, work while it is day, the night comes wherein no man can work. Your day will not alwayes continue, the night comes. May it not be said by many poor Sinners, Woe unto us, our day go­eth away? And alas poor Sinners, the night is no time for working in.

7. Reason. There are no Christ find­ing times beyond this life. No Christ-finding times in the Grave, whither we are all going. That is excellent counsel,Pecl. 9.10 what thou findest to do, do it with all thy might. Now is the doing time, this present time is only the do­ing time: and the reason is very co­gent, for there is no work in the Grave whither we go: then it is past time to work for Heaven, to work for an in­terest in Christ. O that word is a sad word, it is past time. As the Tree falls so it lies to all Eternity; there is no turning of it on the other side. O then poor Souls had need look to it, and make sure when they fall, they fall [Page 197]right, that they fall Heaven-ward. When you die, then all the tenders of Christ cease.

8. Reason. Because it is not long that Christ will call, that Christ will offer himself to be found of you. The Mart-dayes for your poor Souls will not long continue; the shadows of the evening are stretched upon us, the Sun of the Gospel declines apace. Time is short; Gospel-time is short, life-time is short, liberty is short; God is cutting us short. O now how should we observe the finding times of Christ! It is said,2 Kings 10. [...]. the Lord began to cut Israel short: but now the Lord hath been cutting England short a great while; cutting us short of Trading, of Liber­ties, of Priviledges; and all that we may observe the times of Christ, in which he is willing to be found. The Angel within a little time will swear, Time shall be no more.


Is it so, that Sinners should observe these times of Christ? 1. It doth in­form [Page 198]us of the great stupidity and senselesness that is upon the Souls of poor Sinners naturally. They go on in the neglects of Christ untill the Lord Jesus meet them, and stop them. They do not consider. Nay, it was the com­plaint of the Lord against his own people, that they were worse than brutes,Isa. 1.3, 4. The Oxe knows his owner, and the Ass his masters crib; and yet my peo­ple do not know, they do not consider. O the bruitishness of our hearts! The Turtle and the Crane observe the time of their coming, &c. The Psalmist cautions us, be not as the Horse and as the Mule, that want understanding. O may not every poor Sinner, when God comes to convince at first the Soul, say, Surely I am more brutish than any man?

2. It informs us that it is not the having times of Christs offering him­self, but it is the observing of these times, that we are especially to look after. It is indeed a great Mercy to have them, but it is a greater to ob­serve them. We may say in this case as in that, who is wise, will observe these things, and the prudent shall know them. [Page 199]There are many poor Souls who are now in Hell, that have lived under the Calls of Christ, under the offers of Christ. What say you to Chorazin and Bethsaida? You may hear Christ forty years together preached; nay, you may profess Christ; nay, you may fol­low Christ for loaves many years, and after all this be Cast-awayes; nay, a man may preach Christ, and at last be a Cast away.

3. It informs us, that the Spirit of God doth not alwayes breath alike, and strive alike. The Spirit of the Lord came upon Sampson by times: and the Angel came down at a certain season. The wind of the Spirit blows by gusts many times upon poor Souls, it blows where it listeth, and it blows when it listeth: It may be, not in that Ordinance thou expectedst most, but in that Ordinance thou expectedst least. Or ever I was aware my Soul made me (sayes a poor Creature) like the chariot of Aminadab. There is a set time to favour Zion: So there is a set time for the Spirit of God, both to con­vince and comfort the poor Soul.

[Page 200]4. It informs us, that in every poor Sinners miscarriage to all Eternity, there is room to justifie God. We must not think to lay it at Gods door, as too many would do; but we must lay it at our own doors.Hos. 13.9. O Israel, thou hast destroyed thy self. Perditio tua ex te will be the Motto written upon Sin­ners backs in Hell. Will not God say to them,Jer. 4.18. These things have your own wayes and doings procured unto you? O then will not every poor guilty Soul, cry out, O! O my self was the cause of all these! O how often did Christ wooe me, invite me, call on me, beseech me to be reconciled to him? but wretch that I was, hard hearted wretch that I was, I had no room for him, my heart was shut against him, I shut him out of my heart, and now for ever I must justify him for shutting me out of his Heaven.

5. It informs us what a great evil it is to put off Christ when he is willing to be found. O how many say of Christ, and to Christ, as he did to Paul, Come at a more convenient time and I will hear thee. They are too busie [Page 201]with the world, they have no leisure, no time, and they desire to be excused. O what if the Lord say to such, as he did to them, They shall not taste of his Supper? O Sinners, do you think Christ will be thus dallied with, to say to morrow, to morrow, and Christs voice is to day, to day? Do you think Christ can be mocked or deceived? It is true, the Gospel is called the word of his Patience; but do you think it is impossible to weary his Patience? Do not we read the Prophet com­plaining of the Jews, You have wearied man, and will you weary God also? Isa. 7.13. O Sinner, dost thou know what thou doest to delay thy striking in with Christ? What if God take thee at thy word when thou sayest, Depart from me, for as yet I desire not the knowledge of thy wayes? What if God should re­solve, as Moses said to Pharaoh, I will never see thy face more? Where wert thou then? and what a sad condition would thy poor Soul be in then?

2. Ʋse. Is it so that poor Souls should observe Christs times in which he is willing to be found? then it is a word [Page 202]of Reproof to such as put off Christ, that observe not these times. May not the case be expostulated with such poor Souls, as God did with the peo­ple of Israel by the Prophet Ezekiel, why will you dye O house of Israel? O poor Sinners, why do you neglect such great salvation? why do you dally and delay in a business of infinite mo­ment and eternal consequence? Is the salvation of an immortal Soul a jesting matter? are Heaven and Christ indif­ferences? O why then poor Souls should ye not arise from your sloth, and shake your selves, and resolve to have a Christ how dearly soever you come by him? May not Christ say to poor Sinners that loyter in their mo­tion Heaven-ward, as was said to them, why stand you idle all the day long?

1. Are not such poor Souls to be re­proved? This is the highest ingrati­tude and unthankfulness in the world; that Christ should make offers, and be willing to be found, and you put a slight upon him, and you not observe them. Is this your kindness to your friend? Will you thus requite the Lord [Page 203]O foolish people and unwise?

2. Are not such Souls to be repro­ved? This speaks great infidelity and unbelief. Is not this the reason why Christ and poor sinners make not a closure, they do not believe he is wil­ling to receive them, to embrace them, to pardon them. This cross-iron bolt and bar of unbelief lies betwixt Christ and a poor Soul, and was it not this that grieved Christ? He was grieved because of their unbelief, and hardness of their heart. Their Souls were doubly bolted against the Lord Jesus. O poor sinners, after all Christ hath promised, all he hath suffered, all he hath done, that you should slight Christ, when he is willing to be found of you, is not this sad?

3. Are not such to be reproved? You will observe times for your world­ly secular advantages; you will ob­serve a Summer season to go into the Countrey for the air, if your bodies need it; you will observe times to take physick in; you will observe your winds to sail in; you will observe your marts and fairs; you will observe your [Page 204]Change-time, and all this for your out­ward advantage: and alas, you neglect your especial times and seasons for your Souls. All these things are but your outward concernments, but there are things that concern the peace of your immortal Souls, and how do you look after them?

3. Ʋse. Is it so that the Lords find­ing times ought to be observed by poor Sinners? Then it is a word of ex­hortation to poor Sinners, that they would take especial notice of such times; that it may not be said of you, as is said in that case Job speaks, The Lord passed by on my left hand, and on my right hand, and I perceived him not. For God to be near a poor Soul in an Ordinance, in a motion of the Spirit, and the Soul see him not, for the eyes of the Soul to be held that it knows him not, O how sad is this! O delay not to lay hold of Christ at such times.

1. Your delayes will provoke and displease Christ. Christ loves that Souls should close with him without delays. We read of some that delayed the matter, and fell to framing excuses, [Page 205]and the Lord was angry with them, and said, They should not taste of his Supper. The Spouses delay to open to Christ so displeased him, that he did withdraw from her, and she paid dear­ly for her delay. Now did he stand waiting, untill his locks were filled with the drops of the night?

2. Your delays are dishonourable to Christ. They dishonour him, as though he were not to be trusted, when he calls for Souls to close with him, to open to him immediately, as though there were no great danger, as though it were but a dallying, jest­ing matter, and you could do it when you would, even at your leisure.

3. Your delayes will prove dan­gerous to your own Souls. We say there is danger in delay; and O how true is that in Soul cases! What if God shut up his bowels in displea­sure? What if he will be gracious no more in visiting you, in breathing up­on you, in knocking at your doors? What if the Lord do withdraw from you, and say he will wait no more upon you, strive no more with you, [Page 206]but pass that Sentence upon you, Let them alone, let them wander like a Lamb in a large place. O poor Sinners, you are in danger of all this, and much more by your delayes to observe Christs times of being willing to be found.

4. Your delayes will make your falling in with Christs finding times, a great deal more difficult. Yea every day it will be more difficult than o­ther. Sin and corruption will grow stronger, Satans temptations will be more violent. The longer a Soul is held in a snare, the faster it is.

1. It will be more difficult, you will have fewer motions of the Spirit to call you out, and thrust you out to close with Christ. Delay to answer the Spirits breathings, doth put him upon withdrawing. When poor Sin­ners have so often quenched the Spi­rit, the Spirit lets them alone, and strikes sparks of holy motions and re­solutions there no more.

2. It will be more difficult, your selves will have less heart to it. The longer a poor Soul lies snoring in the [Page 207]bed of sin, the less mind he hath to get up. And indeed such souls sel­dome get up, untill the cry of fire, fire (I mean hell fire) get into their Consciences. The longer a man sits upon a seat, the stiffer he is, and the unfitter he is to stir and rise; so it will be in this case.

3. It will be the more difficult, be­cause guilt is every day more con­tracted. The more guilt, the less mind to close with those times in which Christ is willing to be found. It is with a Soul in this case, as it was with our first Parents; they were afraid, when they saw they were na­ked, and they hid themselves. Guilt is for running away from God.

4. It will be more difficult, Satan will be stronger with his opposition. His temptations and objections will get faster hold of you. If you had sought Christ sooner, if you had early in the morning looked after him, hap­ly he might have been found of you: but now sayes Satan, it is too late; your day of Grace is past; now his bowels are shut up in displeasure a­gainst [Page 208]you. Such objections will make dreadful work with poor guil­ty Souls. O it must needs be sad when Satans objections get into our Consciences.

5. It will be the more difficult, be­cause the sense of former delayes will fill the heart for the present with jea­lousies, and misgivings of God and Christ. Alas, I have stayed too long, I doubt it is now past time; will he be found of me, at this time of the day? will he receive me that come so late? will he not tell me there is no room for one that hath dallied and de­layed so long? O such jealousies will exceedingly hinder the Souls falling in with Christ.

5. Your delayes, to observe Christs times in which he is willing to be found, may in time bring a hardness of heart upon you; and O how sad would this be? Take heed your hearts be not hardned through the deceitfulness of sin. You think you can close with Christ another time as well as this, in another Ordinance as well as this, in another duty as well [Page 209]as this; and alas, in a little time you come to be hardned by your delayes.

We are come now to the fourth and last Observation in the Text.

There is a day and time in which Christ will not be found, as well as a day and time in which Christ will be found.

Though Christ offer himself to poor Sinners now, yet he will not alwayes do so; his Golden Scepter of Free Grace will not alwayes be held out: As there is a time to hold it out, so there is a time to take it in. Though he call long, wait long, knock long, yet he will not alwayes stand at your doors.Luk. 12.36 Therefore we read of open­ing to him immediately. He will mark the door and be gone. We read of a very sad judgement upon Israel: They should come and seek the Lord with their Herds,Or he hath made him­self free from them. Dutch. but shall not find him, for he hath withdrawn himself from them. O what a sad case was that of the Spouse to seek her belo­ved, and could not find him! but yet at last she recovered a sight of him: but it is far sadder to seek him and never [Page 210]find him, but for a poor Soul to be sealed up [...] lost Soul to all eternity. We read of Esau seeking the birth­right, yea with tears,Heb. 12.17. Gen. 27.36. but yet could not find it. Christ lamented over Jerusalem under this consideration, but now they are hid from thine eyes; now it is past time.

But the great inquiry will be this; What are these times in which Christ will not be found? For as we have up­on this Text shew'd the times in which Christ will be found, so we must shew the contrary, the times in which Christ will not be found.

1. When Souls are shut up, and seal­ed up under obduracy and judicial hardness of heart. Give me leave to distinguish betwixt a natural obdura­cy of heart, and a judicial obduracy of heart; betwixt being under hardness of heart, and being shut up under it. This shutting up, and giving up is an Act on Gods part; so he gave up to their own lusts;Psal. 81.12. Rom. 1.23 I gave them over to the arbitration of their own hearts: Some read it, The Lord past an Act of Tradi­tion upon them. And now their time [Page 211]and day of Grace is over; now the Soul is delivered up to the Gaoler, and is shut up close prisoner, sentence is past upon him, and cannot be recalled. But poor souls know this, you first reject God, and refuse the sweet offers and tenders of the Lord Jesus Christ; you put God upon this by your sinning a­gainst him: So the people of Israel did, for God waits long, and wooes long, and exercises great patience before he thus give up poor sinners.

2. Time in which Christ will not be found, is, when poor Souls seek him, but they seek him feignedly; as it is said of the children of Israel, Jer. 3.10. they turned to him feignedly. Poor Souls should seek the Lord with their whole heart; and to such seeking there is a promise;Jer. 29.1 [...] And you shall seek me and find me, when you search for me with all your hearts: there­fore it is, the Lord hath called for the heart in our seeking of him; My Son give me thy heart; not thy tongue, nor thy head, nor thy hand; but thy heart. The kidneys were offer'd in sacrifice to the Lord, to teach us he regards the inwards, the integrity of our hearts in [Page 212]our sacrifices. Christ loves to be sought to in good earnest with all your hearts. The divided heart was found faulty.

3. When poor Souls seek him sloth­fully. We are to seek him diligently. We read, to teach us this lesson, that the Ass, the firstling of an Ass was not of­fered to God in sacrifice, and Snails, those slow-paced creatures were un­clean creatures. We should not be slothful in seeking Christ. Will he be found of the sluggard? When the Spouse sought Christ in Bed, he would not be found of her. The Spouse at another time indulged her self in her sloth, and then Christ would not be found.

4. Another time in which Christ will not be found, is, when you have griev'd and quenched the motions of his spirit: now he will withdraw from you and will not be found; then he sayes, his spirit shall not alwayes strive with man.

When do poor Sinners grieve the Spirit that Christ will not be found? 1. When they refuse him, though he hath stood long knocking at their doors and waited upon them. Thus we see he did by the Spouse, he waited [Page 213]long, untill his locks were silled with the dew of the night, and yet she o­pened not to Christ; and you see how ill Christ took this, and did withdraw upon it. O poor Soul, how long hast thou made Jesus Christ stand and wait? But know he will not always thus wait.

2. When we believe not his willing­ness to receive us, then we grieve him and cause him to withdraw. He was grieved because of their unbelief, and the hardness of their hearts, saith the Text. It was said of Israel by the Lord,Num. 14.17. how long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all my signs and wonders? Unbelief puts God to his How-longs: Therefore the Prophet complains, personating Christ, who hath believed our report, &c. Must it not needs grieve him when you do not believe him? 1. He promises to you mercy and pardon, poor sinners, upon your coming over to close with him; and would it not grieve any, to have the most serious and solemn pro­mises slighted? To be look'd upon as a person unfaithful, this takes Gods good name from him; his name is faith­fulness: [Page 214]Is not he faithful who hath pro­mised? 2. He is sent from his Father to declare, this is the heart of the Fa­ther also; and this must needs grieve him that you should not credit his Fa­ther; that he should come from Hea­ven to Earth with such an errand, and cannot be trusted. If you ask, but how comes he to be so well acquainted with his Fathers heart?1 Joh. 18. He tells us, he lay in his Fathers bosome, therefore he can tell best how it beats toward poor sin­ners. 3. He hath sealed with an oath; As I live sayes the Lord, I delight not in the death of a sinner. O surely the Lord would gladly have poor sinners to be­lieve his love. As one sayes, O happy man, for whose sake the Lord swears; O unhappy man that will not trust a swearing God! The oath of God is for confirmation of Gods good will to poor Souls. O how must it then grieve him that he cannot have his oath be­lieved? 4. O how it grieves him now he hath sealed this love with his blood! Herein Divine Love is commended to poor sinners, that while Enemies Christ died for them. 5. It must needs [Page 215]grieve him, not to believe him after so long waiting upon them. Now when we have thus griev'd him, he will with­draw, & not be found of poor finners.

5. Time in which Christ will not be found of poor Souls, is, when in a time of mercy & prosperity we have slight­ed him, and yet in a time of judgment and calamity seek him, but only seek him by being affrighted at his judge­ments. Israel forgat God in their Pro­sperity, and how did God take it? and he said, I will hide my face from them, Psal. 32.20. I will see what their end will be. God now in a time of judgment will not be found of them, because in a time of prosperity they had slighted him. Therefore we read the Prophet Jeremy threatning Israel, that the Lord will give them his back and not his face in the day of their calamity. Jer. 8.17. Now O what a dreadful thing is this in a time of ca­lamity and common judgment, to have no God to look upon a people! To go to him at such times is not to make him our choice, but only to make him our refuge: and if we make him not our choice in a time of prosperity, can we [Page 216]expect he should be our refuge in a time of calamity? What a sad word was that, Go to the Gods whom you have served, and see if they can deliver you.


Are there times in which Christ will not be found? 1. It informs of the folly of poor souls that trifle in seeking Christ. O why should we dally in a matter of such moment, a matter of eternal con­sequence? Be not deceived poor sin­ners, Christ will not alwayes wait upon you, not always be willing to be found of you. The time is coming that his bowels will be shut up in displeasure, that he will be gracious no more, that his mercies will be clean gone for ever­more. O then why do you trifle now? will the gates of mercy alwayes stand open? will Christs arms always be held wide open? 1. Here is great folly in trifling in seeking Christ, it is a matter of eternal consequence. There is no trifling in great cases. We say we must be serious, it is a matter of great con­cernment. O! Soul-concernments are great concernments. If I miscarry (says a man) in this design, I am undone. O [Page 217]then he will be mighty watchful and careful: So sayes a poor Soul, if I mis­carry in this great business, if I miss of Christ, I am undone, yea to all eternity undone. 2. O the great folly of trifling in seeking Christ! This is all the time you have to seek him in. When a man hath a work allotted to him, and he must do it in such a time, else it can never be done, O what folly it is to trifle that time away allotted for that work! and this is the case; this present life-time is your allotted time to seek Christ, to get acquaintance with Christ; and after the hour-glass of this present time be out, you will never have more time for this work. There is no work in the grave whither you go. I often tell you the grave is too dark a shop to do any Soul-work in. 3. O the folly of trifling in seeking of Christ! ere long it will be past time. Is not this great folly, to tri­fle when time goes so fast away? If you were like to have a long day, you might say something, sinners, for your trifling: but to have a short day, and a great deal of work, and to triflle any of it away, this must needs be great fol­ly. We read of time being short.

[Page 218]2. It informs us of this, that though God wait long, yet he will not wait always; my spirit shall not always strive with man. You may weary God as the Prophet says, You have wearied man, and will you weary God also? He will be gone from your doors, after long stand­ing and long knocking.

3. It informs of the wisdome of such poor Souls as seek him in a day and time when he will be found; wisdom observes to take its fittest times and sea­sons. There is much in timing actions. O now this Soul and heavenly wisdom is all for observing its seasons. Here the foolish Virgins miss'd it sadly; they did not observe their seasons for getting oyl into their lamps. 1. Is not this wis­dom to seek the Lord while he may be found? this will lay you in against the most tremendous and terrible dispen­sations that can come upon earth. Wis­dom appears much in foresight, and in laying something in for a rainy day. O poor souls, you know not what rainy days hang over your heads; what ter­rible clouds cover the face of the hea­vens, and what shakings of earth and [Page 219]heaven may come. Therefore it is wis­dom to seek Christ before such dayes come, that the Lord may not be a ter­rour to us in an evil day. Therefore it is that Jesus Christ is prophesied of to be a covert from rain and from storm, and a refuge. He is the only City of refuge to fly to, when pursuers are abroad. 2. Is it not wisdom to seek Christ while he may be found? this will fit you for death. Is it not great wisdom to con­sider our latter end? This is that which God wished his own people might do. Was not it wisdom in the five wise Virgins, that they prepared for the Bridegrooms approaching? O how much wisdom appears in this! It is the property of a fool to say, non pu­târam, I had not thought. O how ma­ny then have died fools, saying, I ne­ver thought an interest in Christ was so difficult a thing to obtain; I never thought of any times in which Christ would not be found. 3. Is it not great wisdom to seek Christ while he may be found? your eternal happiness depends upon it. Is it not wisdom to provide for eternity? every man thinks it wis­dom [Page 220]to provide for his own family; what then is it to provide for his own Soul? 4. Is it not wisdom to do that now, which else your Souls will repent to all eternity? Wisdom consists in preventing after-repentings. O how many Souls are repenting the loss of their time in hell! and saying, O if they were to live on earth again, and had their opportunities to seek Christ again, they would never be such loyterers and sluggards in the matters of their Souls. 5. Is it not wisdom to do that which you came into the world to do? Was not this to seek the Lord while he may be found, to look about for your salvation? Did you come into the world to eat and drink and rise up to play? What, needed you immortal souls for such sensual employments? 6. Is it not wisdom to do that God gives you time on purpose it might be done? Why doth God exercise so much patience? Why doth he hover over Souls, and continues thus to be gracious, but that he would still have them seek the Lord Jesus. 7. Is it not wisdom to do that now, which we have only means now to do [Page 221]it in? No means of seeking Christ after this life; no means then of acquain­tance with God. Now our dayes are filled up with means and Gospel ad­vantages to this end.

2. Ʋse. Is it so, that there are times in which Christ Jesus will not be found? then it is a word of Exhortation, to improve your present time in seeking Christ; Redeem the time. The Apostle gives us the exhortation, to walk as wise and not as fools, redeeming the time be­cause the dayes are evil. 1. Time is pre­cious. It is a precious commodity in hell, sayes one, where a damned Soul would give all the world for one inch of time. It is precious time, for it is fil­led up with precious advantages for precious souls. It is precious, it is your working-day for eternity. O then while he is to be found seek him. 2. You must be judged according to the pre­cious opportunities you have now for your Souls. The word, sayes Christ, that I speak, shall judge you at the last day. 3. Seek him in your present day, it will lie heavy upon you that you lost so much time in which you might have [Page 222]sought Christ. O how doth it cut to the heart to consider, what a day a poor sinner once had, only he wanted a heart to look after Christ. O what wringing of hands will there be in hell one day under this very consideration! 4. Seek him in your present day, if others had enjoy­ed such Golden Scepter-seasons, they would have kissed the Scepter, and have submitted to the terms of the Lord Jesus, they would have believed, they would have repented, yea, in sack-cloth and ashes, as is said of Tyre and Si­don. 5. Seek him in your present day, the damned Souls that have lost him for ever, if God should priviledge them to have another day of Grace to seek Christ in, O how would they seek him! how would they mourn for him! Would they hear as you do? pray as you do? sweal a way their time upon which eter­nity doth depend as you do? Would they mis-improve precious seasons for their souls as you do? If you did but know what the loss of an immortal Soul meant, is it possible you could sleep away, play away Sermons of Christ, Heaven and Salvation? 6. Seek him in your present day, your Enemies seek you because you seek him. To be sought after by Enemies and found by them, as you must reckon of one time or other; and yet not to find Christ, O how sad is this! Methinks our enemies should stir us up to lay hold of all seasons to seek Christ. Could you young ones, or old ones, go to prison and have not yet found him whom [Page 223]your Souls love? Can you suffer, and not have found Christ?

3. Ʋse. Is it so, that there are times in which Christ will not be found? It is then a word of terrour to all such as live in their neglects to seek the Lord Jesus Christ. What, poor Souls, if his bowels shall cease yearning towards your Souls? What if they should be shut up in displeasure? If the Lord Jesus Christ should strive with you no more, O what a danger­ous condition were your Souls in then!

1. Your danger that live in neglects of Christ is much in this, your offers and tenders of Christ will never be forgotten by you in an­other world. O they will stick by your Con­sciences in hell! Nothing will aggravate poor sinners condemnation so, as this, they slighted the offers of life and salvation by Christ. How can you escape, if you neglect such great salvation? It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon, than for Chorazin and Bethsaida. Why so? the one had Christ preached and offered to them, and so had not the other.

2. There is no possibility for your escape that neglect to seek Christ; whoever escape you cannot. How can you escape, &c. O poor Souls, can you contend with the wrath of an Omnipotent God? Can your hearts endure, or your hands be made strong in that day he shall deal with you? If you cannot escape it, nor con­tend with it, O how miserable are you! This is a great piece of hell that you are in already.

[Page 224]3. You that neglect Christ now, must never come under a possibility of a tender of Grace after death. If there could but be hope in hell of a possibility of a tender of Grace, this poor hope would relieve the Souls that are in that pit of misery. A very peradventure, or it may be would be some comfort to them, if they might ever come under the tenders of Christ again. No, their condition is now unalter­ably stated for ever.

4. You that neglect Christ now, know, this is a degree of despight to the Spirit of Grace. And is not this a dangerous thing?Heb. 10.29. That Text in the Hebrews will tell you so. Is not this to use Christ despightfully? and O how can Christ bear these sleights time after time?

5. You that neglect Christ now, are every moment under condemnation. There is now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. Then others are under condemnation. O now what if death should smite thee in this condi­tion? Would not thy poor Soul, sinner, be struck dead and damned at a blow? O then see thy danger and tremble to continue in it. Continue no longer in thy neglects of Christ, but seek the Lord while he may be found, and call upon him while he is near.


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