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The Vain Youth Summoned to Appear at Christ's Bar. OR, AN ESSAY To Block up the Sinful Wayes OF YOUNG PEOPLE, By Most Solemn Considerations, Re­lating to that JUDGMENT unto which they are hastening. In a Lecture-SERMON, Preached at York, in the Province of Main; June 25, 1701.

By SAMƲEL MOODEY, Pastor of the Church of CHRIST there.

The Second Edition Enlarged.

Prov. IX. 12.

If thou be Wise, thou shalt be Wise for thy self: But if thou Scornest, thou alone shalt bear it.

BOSTON in NEW-ENGLAND, Printed & Sold by Timothy Green, at the North End of the Town, 1707.

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TO THE READER.

IT was a Signal Favour of God to His People Israel, that He raised up of their Sons for Prophets, and of their Young Men for Nazarites. This has the Lord done for His People in New-England: Of which the Author of this Sermon is One, and not the Least Instance.

Some of his Friends having desired me to give my Attestation to what is here­with Emitted, I can with much freedom of Spirit do it: For I have Perused it with great satisfaction. It is Evident that the Author has an Earnest and Holy De­sire to Promote the Salvation of Souls; Especially of the Young Generation. It is an Happy Omen to a Land, when Young Preachers do so. The Spirit Breathing in this Discourse, Debaseth Man, Exalts Grace, and layes CHRIST [Page] in the Foundation of all. It must needs be a Singular Joy to me, when I see any of those Scholars who have sometimes had their Education under me, doing so. And I do the more Rejoyce, in that whereas I did my self Publish Two Sermons on this very Text, Preached in Cambridge Twelve Years ago, I see another, and One of my Academical Children Concurring in the same De­sign. I Hope and Pray that as the First Impression of this Practical Discourse found General Acceptance, that this Second E­dition of it, will be likewise Blessed to the Spiritual Benefit of many Readers, and add to the Pious Authors Crown in the Day of CHRIST.

Increase Mather.
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THE Vain YOUTH Summoned to Appear at Christs Bar.

ECCLESIASTES, XI. 9.

Rejoyce, O Young Man, in thy Youth, and let thy Heart Cheer thee in the Days of thy Youth, and Walk in the Wayes of thy Heart, and in the Sight of thine Eyes: But Know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into Judgment.

THE Invaluable worth of Gods Word, may be Argued from the Infinite Excellencies (par­ticularly the spotless Purity) of the Glorious Author, Eph. 6.17. It may [Page 2] also be strongly inferred from the Blessed Effects thereof, 2 Tim 3.15, 16, 17. And that from a Child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee Wise unto Salvation, through Faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by In­spiration of God, and is profitable for Doctrine, for Reproof, for Correction, for Instruction in Righteousness: That the Man of God may be Perfect, throughly furnished unto all Good Works. But they are of special Use to Young Folks, Prov 1.4. They give Sub­tilty to the Simple; To the Young Man Know­ledge and Discretion. They Exhort Young Men to be Sober; And Teach Young Women to be Sober-minded also: Chaste and Good in their Place, Tit. 2 4, 5.6. And that their Adorning (without) should be in [...] Apparel; with Shamef [...]ness and Sobriety: And (within) the Ornament of a Meek and Quiet Spirit, which is in the sight of God of great Price, 1 Tim. 2 9. 1 Pet. 3.3, 4. In a word, The Sacred Oracles do sufficiently abound with Examples, Pre­cepts, Exhortations, Motives, Directions, Solemn Warnings, and Severe Reproofs; together with Promises and Threatnings: All which have a direct Tendency to the Reclaiming inconsiderate Youth from the [Page 3] deadly Evil of a Vain Conversation, and Encouraging them to walk in the New and Living way; that when the Great Judge shall Appear to the shame of others, they may be comforted.

Our Text is a most Pungent Reprehen­sion of Young Folks, for the Vanity of their Hearts, and Extravagancy of their Lives. It seems plainly to be Levelled a­gainst the Uncoverted: And they are bid to Solace themselves with Jovial frames in their Pernicious wayes, at their utmost Peril: Rejoyce O Young Man, &c. q. d. Well, Vain Youth (seeing thou art set upon it) Trifle away the bright and pleasant Morning of thy short Day; and the Golden Spring-season of that One Year more than thou mayest be let alone in Gods Vineyard: But yet I Solemnly Declare, (and take notice of what I say) thou shalt for all thy Fleshly Lusts, those of the Eye, and the Pride of Life, be Judg'd Impar­tially, Condemned Irreversibly, and Pu­nish'd Eternally: Be it known to the Flesh-pleasing Wanton, that if he WILL Gratify his Youthful Lusts, instead of Fleeing them; whither he will or no, he MUST and SHALL Hear of these things in the Great Audit DAY. But to pre­vent [Page 4] all this, will you Open your Hearts to Receive this very Solemn Truth;

DOCTRINE. That GOD would have Young People to Know, that if they indulge themselves in Sinful Pleasures, He will call them to an Account for all their Youthful Vanities.

There be Three PROPOSITIONS in the Doctrine: [I.] There are many Sin­ful Pleasures, in which Young People are prone to Indulge themselves. [II.] For all these Youthful Vanities, God will call them to an Account. [III.] This is a Truth, which God would have Young People to Know.

PROPOSITION I.

There are many Sinful Pleasures, in which Young People are prone to Indulge them­selves. The very Foundation of our Na­ture is laid in Corruption, Psal. 51.5. A Nature not only stained with the Guilt of Adams first Sin, who was our Represen­tative, and in whose Loins we then were; but wholly depraved, and full of the Seeds [Page 5] of all manner of Sin: which is discovered by the Actions of Little Children. A Stub­born and Disobedient Heart, must needs be the cause of those cross fits, which are com­mon to Children before they can speak or go alone. And does not the Pride and Ma­lice of their hearts appear, in the words and actions even of Sucking Babes?

These Early Fruits of Pride, Malice, En­vy, Revenge, &c. are Actual Sins, tho' of Ignorance. And if they are not against Light, yet neither are they for want of Light; for we find by sad Experience, that as soon as the light begins to discover mo­ral Good & Evil, it does rather irritate the Corruptions of the heart, and inflame their Desires after forbidden Fruit, than bear down and overcome them. Indeed, the early instructions and restraints of Godly Parents, have no small influence on some Children; not only to prevent the out-breaking of much Evil, but also to the sea­soning of their Hearts with Grace betimes. Yet how many are there that break all bands & bounds, taking their swinge in all kinds of Youthful Vanities! Who as they in­crease in Dayes & Years, go on from one sinful Pleasure to another; and many, ma­ny are the wicked Practices that Corrupt [Page 6] Youth, thro' the Temptations of a Subtil Devil, & an Ensnaring World, are hurried into: Yet not against their will; for the most wicked and deceitful courses are very agreeable to an Heart deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, Jer. 17.9.

I shall undertake to speak particu­larly of the various wayes of the Hearts of Young Men and Women; only give a few Hints, leaving it with their own Consci­ences, to tell them more at Large, what have been their several Pleasant Walks, in the Garden of Sinful Delights.

There is the way of Ʋncleanness; in Heart, Lip, & Life; with others, or alone: The way of Lying; for Sport, or to Excuse their other faults; and sometimes one a­gainst another, out of meer Malice & Re­venge. The way of Pride; in ambitious, self-conceited thoughts, boasting expressi­ons, & inordinate imitation of the newest Fashions. In short; There are the ways of Swearing, Sabbath-breaking, Disobedience to Parents, Drinking, & Stealing, that are very pleasing in the Eyes of Vain Youth; insomuch, that the wise man does not think it enough in the close of this Chap­ter to call them Vain, Childhood and Youth (saith he) are Vanity.

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PROPOSITION II.

For all these Youthful Vanities, God will call Young People to an Account. When God at first made man, He gave him a Law, to be the Rule of his Life; annexing Promi­ses and Threatnings to that Holy, Righte­ous & Good Law. And tho' by our Apostasy, we have rendred our selves unable to keep the Law of God; yet, tis nevertheless bind­ing; especially to them who have it not only written on their Hearts, as even the Heathen are said to have, Rom. 2 14, 15 but more fully, and less darkly in their Bi­bles; with the addition of the Gospel, by which the Law is Established, Rom. 3.31. God hath not lost His Right to our Obedi­ence, because we have lost our Power of O­beying: And being Rational Creatures, we must of necessity, be accountable to Him who is our Law-giver and Judge, Rom. 14.10.12. We shall all stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ. So then every one of us shall give Account of himself to God Even that GOD who is ready to Judge the Quick and Dead; 1 Pet. 4, 5. i. e. All that ever have had, or shall have a being in the world, from the First Man Adam, to the Last Child that shall be Born. And as this Judgment shall be U­niversal [Page 8] with respect to Persons, viz Youth as well as Children & Infants below them, and Middle, with Old Age above them; so it shall be Universal with respect to the Works done in the Body, Eccl. 12.14. For God shall bring every Work into Judgment, with every Secret thing, whether it be Good or Evil. And surely, Wanton, Proud, Malicious, and all Sinful words, are to be reckoned a­mong those Works: Not so much as an I­dle Word shall escape the Reckoning Day, Mat 12.36 Yea, God knows all the wicked & Vain Thoughts of men, Job 42.2. Psal 94.11. And does most certainly keep an exact Account of them; and will call to a strict Reckoning for them, on that Day, when the Small as well as the Great shall stand be­fore God; and the Books being Opened, they shall be Judged one of those things that are written in the Books, according to their works, Rev. 20.12. Nor should the distance of this Great Day make it less awful to any of us: For there will be a Day of Particu­lar Judgment, which shall unalterably de­termine our Final & Everlasting Estate, as soon as our Souls are separated from our Bodies, Heb. 9.27. Which may be the case of the Youngest of us all, within a very few Dayes or Hours; before the next Sabbath, [Page 9] yea, before we see the light of another Day. And truly the General Judgment may be nearer than we imagine. The Lord may come unlook'd for, & surpriz Young Ones in the midst of their Carnal Mirth & Jollity, before they are aware, to cut them asunder, and appoint them their Portion with Hypocrites, who shall for ever weep, wail, and gnash their teeth, Mat. 24 48, — And as Young Folks are wilful & uncontroleable in their Wickedness; resolved that the Lord shall not Rule over them: whom all the Commands, Promises & Threatnings of the Law and Gospel can nothing move; and with whom all the means & methods that God is using, are altogether ineffectual for their reclaming: So it shall be as fruit­less for them to use any Endeavours for an Escape from Gods Tribunal: Heb 2.3. How shall we Escape, if we neglect so great Salvation? As there is no darkness nor shadow of Death, where the workers of Iniquity may hide them­selves from the presence of God Now, Job 34 22. so it shall be utterly in vain for them Then, to say to the Mountains & Rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the Face of Him that sits on the Throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; when the Great Day of His intolerable Wrath is come, Rev. 6.16, 17. [Page 10] Thus, because Young Men will indulge themselves in Sinful Pleasures, GOD will call them to an Account for all their Youthful Vanities.

PROPOSITION III.

This is a Truth which GOD would have Young People to Know. Young Men Re­joyce in their Youth, as if they were made for nothing but Merriment; and their Hearts Chear them in the Days of their Youth, just as if it were alwayes to be Spring-time with them. They can Read, and Medi­tate on the former part of our Text with Delight. How pleasing is the Counsel, in the sense their wanton Hearts would have it taken in? Words could scarce fit them better. Walk in the ways of thine Heart, & in the sight of thine Eyes: This is what they would have! But God would have them to Read, and solemnly to Consider the whole Verse. They must take this stinging BƲT with the rest; Know thou, that for all these things, God will bring thee into Judgment.

For the further Illustration of this Third Proposition, it may be Enquired, What it is for Young Men to Know this Truth? Why God would have them to know it And, [Page 11] Whence it is that they are so Unwilling to Know it?

Quest I. What is it for Young Men to Know this Great Truth?

Answ. In Gen. It is more than barely to Know that such a Truth is written in their Bibles: It is to Realize the Truth of it, and to Think much upon it. Yea, it is to Know (as the word in Scripture, frequent­ly signifies,) so as to be Affected with it & to act accordingly. For Vain Youth to Know, that for all these things they must come to Judgment, in the sense of our Text, is for them to Know it, not only Notionally, with a Speculative, Barren, Unpractical Know­ledge; but Feelingly, with a Knowledge that is Heart-affecting and Operative.

More Particularly.

1. For Young Men to Know aright, is for them firmly to Believe the Truth of this. All-concerning Doctrine, of a Judgment to come. To Realize it to themselves, that they must certainly, and may quickly Dye: For God often shortens the dayes of them who are Wicked Overmuch, and Foolish, Eccl 7.17▪ Those who indulge themselves in Youthful Lusts often Dye in Youth, Job 36.14. And after Death comes the Judgment, Heb 9.27. To Know aright, is to Believe all this; and [Page 12] further, to Realize the Second Coming of Christ to Judgment; when He shall Descend from Heaven, with a Shout, with the Voice of the Arch-Angel, and with the Trump of God; whose Voice shall Raise the Dead, 1 Thes 4.16. And that when He comes with Clouds, E­very Eye shall see Him; and those also who Pierced Him; — (Have not Young men done so by their Sins?) And all the Kindreds of the Earth shall wail because of Him, Rev. 1.7 Neither shall so much as one Proud, Un­chast, Disobedient, or Vain Thought, Word or Action, escape Unaccounted for, in that Day of Reckoning. Thus to Know is mote than to Hear and Read these things; It is to Believe and Realize them.

2. For Young Men to Know this Truth, as they should, is for them with frequency and seriousness of Soul, to Consider of it. It's not enough to Believe, that, if we indulge our selves in Sin, God will Judge and Condemn us for our Sins; but we must take it into solemn Consideration: If it be an Article of our Faith, it must be the Subject of our Meditation. We should be often thinking of, and with the greatest seriousness Re­volving in our minds, this Eternal Con­cern of our Souls. Hence we find Know­ing and Considering frequently joyned to­gether [Page 13] in Scripture; Thus, 1 Sam. 25.17: and Isa. 1.3. Israel does not Know. My Peo­ple do not Consider. Not to Consider of this Truth, is not to Know it aright. Again, Isa. 41.20. That they may See, and Know, & Consider. So that when God bids Young Men Know, what the Latter End of a Vain Life will be, He would have them to take it into most serious Consideration: And it will be their wisdom so to do, Deut. 32.29. O that they were Wise; that they Ʋn­derstood this; that they would Consider their Latter End! And not only to Consider what it shall be; but withal to think how they shall be able to hold up their heads in that Day! What they shall have to say for themselves! How they can bear to hear (and yet hear they must) that dreadful Sentence, Go ye Cursed into Everlasting Fire, prepared for the Devil and his Angels. And further, to consider what it will be to lie in Hell among Devils, and Damned Men and Women for ever! And thus to con­sider would affect their Hearts; which also is included in Knowing aright. But this brings us to the Third Particular, under the First Enquiry.

3. For Young Men to Know the Great Truth before us in the sense of our Text, is for them [Page 14] to be deeply Affected with it, and Concerned a­bout it. To Know, is in this sense also fre­quently taken in Scripture: Thus, 1 King. 8.38 Job 13.23. Make me to Know my Transgression and my Sin. And yet nearer to the present purpose, does that fervent Prayer of Holy David seem to be, Psal. 39.4. Make me to Know mine End, i. e. so as to lay it to heart. It was an Affectionate Know­ledge that he there desired. So Ezek 16 2. Cause Jerusalem to Know her Abominations. God would have her to lay to Heart her Sins; to be deeply Affected with them, and Sorrowful for them, when he speaks of her Knowing them. So that, Know thou, &c. in our Text, is as much as if God had said, And wilt thou indeed, Vain, Foolish Young Man? — Art thou resolved to wallow in the mire of Sin? Then I would have thee to Know, by Believing and Considering, — Yea, let it sink into thy Heart, and fill thy Soul with trembling, that I will most sure­ly, and shortly too, call thee to a most strict and solemn Account, for all thy Youthful Vanities; and thou shalt find them to be Dear bought Pleasures: — And if Young Men did know this Great Truth thus Af­fectionately, they would soon come to know it Practically which is the Fourth & Last [Page 15] Thing intended in this right Knowledge, of which we are speaking.

4. To Know this Truth aright is to Know it Practically. For Young Men to Know, that if they indulge themselves in Sinful Plea­sures, God will call them to an Account for all their Youthful Vanities, is for them to act as men who do Realize the Truth hereof; as those who have frequently taken it into serious Consideration, laid it to Heart, and have been deeply Affected with it. This, in General, is to Know the Truth before us Practically, even to Practice ac­cording to such a Knowledge.

But, more Particularly.

This Practical Knowledge includes, or comprehends these Three things in it; viz Faith, Repentance, and New Obedience.

1. To Know this Truth Practically, is to be driven thereby out of our selves, to JESƲS CHRIST in the way of Faith. When the Young Man does consider, that he has been a great Sinner; this or that gross Sin his Conscience charges him with; and he hears God calling, as it were from Heaven to him, and saying, O Vain Young Man! I will shortly reckon with thee for all thy Sinful Delights: I have them every one written down in my Book. Being deeply affected [Page 16] herewithal (which we supposed under the Third Particular) he looks about him for a way of Escape; saying within-himself, How shall I avoid this terrible Account, with the dreadful Condemnation and Eternal Mise­ry that is Consequent thereon? As the Jaylor, Act 16 30 What must I do to be Saved? And now, if the Lord in His Free Love & Infinite Mercy save from flying to the strong Hold of Self-Righteousness for Safety, which is as natural and common, as it is dangerous and fatal I say, if it please God, by such a word as that, Isa. 64.6. All our Righteousnesses are as filthy Rags; to discover the Vanity hereof; and withal, to make discovery of JESUS CHRIST as the Only & Alsufficient Saviour, Act. 4 12 Neither is there Salvation in any other; for there is no other Name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be Saved. And as there Is no other Saviour, so there Needs no other: For He is Able to Save to the uttermost, all that come unto God by Him; seeing He ever lives to make Intercession for them, Heb. 7.25. Who came into the world to Ransom lost Souls from Sin and Wrath, Mat. 1.21. Job. 6.38. 1 Thes. 1.10. Whose Arms are always open to receive all that come aright unto Him, how vile soever they have been. [Page 17] Who never did nor will He, in any wise cast out such as do come, Joh. 6 37 Then the Poor, Convinced, Trembling Sinner, is Enabled by the mighty Power of God (even the Exceeding Greatness of that Power where­by Christ was raised from the Dead, Eph. 1.19) to consent that Christ shall be his Saviour, and to accept of Him on his own Terms: And this is true Faith, Joh. 1.12. Put to as many as Received Him, to them gave [...] to become the Sons of God; even to [...] that Believed on His Name. And this is Practically to Know the Great Truth contained in our Text; and when we come thus to Know it, we Know it as God would have us to do; whose very end in laying before us the danger of those Sin­ful Ways in which we have been walk­ing, is to drive us to Christ, by whom a­lone we may Escape that danger. Thus to Believe in Christ, is Practically to Know the Truth in hand: which in the First Thing.

2. The Next thing included in a Practical Knowledge of the Truth before us, is Repentance. This Grace never fails to follow or rather to accompany Saving Faith But to imagine that Godly Sorrow for Sin goes before Faith, is the dangerous mistake of many poor Souls, who think they must mourn for sin [Page 18] to fit them for Christ; and when they think they have so done, they hope Christ will accept of them; and to Him they go; (if it might be called going to Christ;) but with the Young Man in the Gospel, too full of themselves to have any room left for Jesus Christ, Mat. 19.20. Its true, a Soul must be Humbled before it can Believe, but that Humiliation which goes before Faith, has not a drop of Godly Sorrow for Sin in it. No, it consists rather in the sense of an hard Heart, that can't mourn for Sin; yea, that is empty of all Good, and full of nothing but Sin; unworthy of the least crumb of Mercy, so much as to be stayed from going down to the Pit for one single Day. So that the Humbled Soul comes to acknowledge, (and how Evident is it?) that nothing but Free Grace can help it. Yea, after all its Sighs & Groans, and ear­nest Cries for Mercy, if God should kick it away from His Footstool (where it lies prostrate, with its mouth in the Dust) into the Bottomless Pit, yet God is Righteous! This is that Humiliation which goes be­fore Faith: But brokenness of Heart for Sin follows after: To our sense, feeling & observation it does so; tho' it does really accompany faith, being infused with it [Page 19] into the Penitent Believing Soul. Thus tis a sense of the Love of God in Christ to a most vile, wretched Sinner, that breaks the Heart, fills it with shame and sorrow; yea quite melts it down into Penitential Tears, which now at the first discovery of the Everlasting Love of GOD, the Father of Mercies, thro' a sweet JESUS, do flow free­ly from that newly Created Principle of Life in the Soul, as Waters from a Living Spring. Search the Scriptures, and see if it be not so? Ezek. 16 63. That thou mayest Remember and be Confounded, and never Open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified towards thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord God. Mark the Con­vexion; Then ashamed, when I am pacified. You know that without (or, which is all one, before) Faith, it is impossible to please God, (Heb 11.6) by Repentance or any act of Obedience: But being United to Christ by Faith, the Soul derives Vertue & Strength from the full Fountain of Life, to mourn for Sin, even all Sin, as the greatest Evil; as against GOD and CHRIST. Oh, that ever I should offend & grieve a GOD so Good, whom I now see to be my Loving Friend & Father in Christ! And He Loved me, while I was polluted in my Blood▪ and [Page 20] kicking against His Bowels, Ezek. 16 6, 8. And when I passed by thee, & saw thee polluted in thine own Blood, I said unto thee, Live: — And thy time was the time of Love. 1 Joh. 4.19. We Love Him because He first Loved us. Ungrateful Wretch that I am! that ever I should make the Lord of Angels, to stand and knock at the Door of my Heart, til His Head was filled with Deu & His Locks with the Drops of the Night, Cant. 5.2. And all this after He had Loved me, and Dyed for me, that He might wash me from my Sins in His own Blood! Thus the Soul melts, when Christ speaks Peace, by the sweet still Voice of His Spirit. And this is true Repentance, taken in a more restrained sense; for largely taken it includes New Obedience; and Faith also is necessarily implied in it: But we are speaking of these Graces distinctly; and New Obedi­ence is the Third and Last thing compre­hended in this Practical Knowledge.

3. Saving Faith, & that Repentance which is unto Life, will be fruitful in Good Works. The Soul that has tasted the bitterness of Sin, cannot now drink in Iniquity like Wa­ter, as heretofore it has done. And who ever has had a sight of Christ, by Faith▪ & tasted that the Lord is Gracious, will be [Page 21] testifying his Thankfulness by Sincere, Con­stant and Universal Obedience. He will not allow himself in the Omission of any known Duty: his failings & short comings, backwardness to, and Spiritual Deadness in Duty, is a Burden which rather than any thing in the World, he would get rid of. And he is still endeavouring to press forward. All that he has Done he thinks not worth looking on; he does as it were forget it, thro' the earnest Desire that he has to those things which are before; even those further Degrees of Obedience, which he presses after, Phil. 3.13, 14. And this is New Obedience; and this is Practically to Know the Great Truth before us; And thus would God have Young Men to Know it; Eccl. 12.13, 14. Fear God, and keep His Commandments, — For God shall bring every Work into Judgment, with every secret thing; whether it be Good, or whether it be Evil. Seeing we look for Christs coming to Judg­ment, what manner of Persons ought we to be, in all Holy Conversation and Godli­ness? Thus much in Answer to the First Question.

Quest. II. Why would God have Young Men to Know that they must come to Judg­ment?

[Page 22]Answ. 1. That so they may Live and be to His Glory. Vain Youths do nothing but Dishonour God, before they come to the Knowledge, of which we have been speak­ing. Now, this Vain, Ungodly Life, is quite beside, and contrary to the great End for which we are Made, Preserved and Re­deemed. But the thorough Knowledge of this Truth, would set us upon Glorifying God; and this is one great reason why God would have us to Know it. But they who are most concerned in this Text and Doctrine, cannot, as yet, feel the strength of such a Motive. Therefore,

2. The Lord Respects our own Everlasting Good and Advantage herein. He looks down from Heaven and sees the Generality of Young Men and Women merrily posting along the Broad Way that leads to De­struction and Eternal Damnation, and out of Pity & tender Compassion He calls after them to make a stop, and seriously to Con­sider whither they are going, and what the End of this Course will be? Whether it would not be better for them to turn quite about, and to get in at the Strait Gate, & walk on in the Narrow Way, tho' some­thing more Difficult, since it leads to Ever­lasting Life and Glory? Mat. 7.12, 14. [Page 23] Enter ye in at the Strait Gate, for Wide is the Gate, and Broad is the Way that leadeth to Destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because Strait is the Gate, & Narrow is the Way which leadeth unto Life, and few there be that find it. Thus God Blessed for ever, who can no wise be profited by His Creatures, would have us Know this Truth for our own Good, Job 5.27. & 22.2.

Quest. III. Whence is it, that Young Men are so unwilling to Know, that they must come to Judgment; and their Hearts and Lives be Exposed to Publick View then?

Answ. 1. It is partly thro' the Temptations of Satan, their Potent, Subtil and Malicious adversary. This Roaring Lion makes it his business to devour Souls, 1 Pet. 5.8. And he knows that if he can keep the thoughts of Death, Judgment and Eterni­ty cut of the minds of Young People, he shall obtain his Ends. And great is the Advantage, and many are the Devices that he has to take Young Ones off from the Consideration of their Latter End, 2 Cor. 2.11. He will tell them, its too soon yet; they may delay a little longer: He makes some believe that Religion is attended with innumerable & insuperable Difficul­ties: O how harshly will the Devil repre­sent [Page 24] a Godly Life to them! And on the o­ther hand, How will he set forth the Plea­sures of Sin! He knows how to bait his hook, according to the Constitutions, Call­ings & present Employment of Young People. And if he cannot Wholly shut out Religion, he will perswade them that a Little is E­nough. If they comply with some Duties, why may they not be excused as to others, that have more of Self-denial in them? Or if they take up with the whole Form of God­liness, without the Power of it, he has them fast still: If they have had some sad thot's about their Sins, he will make that pass with them for thorough Repentance; and a Vain Confidence to be saved by the Blood of Christ (tho' never washed in that Foun­tain; nor heartily sensible of their Need, yea & extream Necessity of being sprink­led with it every Day) for true Justifying Faith: And if they have some good wishes, and external performances, this, saith the Father of Lies, is true Gospel Obedience. If he can't get them to be openly Profane, they may be prevailed with to be Secret­ly Wicked; and one Sin lived in, loved & allowed of (he knows) will Effectually undo them. He may sometimes for bear Tempting to Grosser Immoralities, lest [Page 25] their False Peace should be disturbed, and so his strongest Hold weakned. But who can trace this Old Subtil Serpent? Thus, its partly from the Devil and Satan.

2. Its partly also through the Evil Exam­ples and Solicitations of wicked Companions. And how prevalent are Evil Examples! It is exceeding natural for us to be drawn a­way thereby: Why else is that Prohibition given, Exod. 23.2. Thou shalt not follow a Multitude to do Evil? Sad Experience assures us that it is too true with respect to the present Rising Generation. Young Men do see, that, for the most part, those who are Young like themselves do take their swing in Youthful Vanities, and are little con­cerned about the Practical Knowledge of the Truth in hand, so as to Believe, Repent, and Obey the Gospel. If some few are in good earnest for Religion they are Ob­jects of Scorn, as too Precise, if not down­right Hypocrites. But this is not all; the Devils Children will Tempt one another; and draw by Solicitations as well as Ex­ample. They will urge for a Combination in wickedness, Prov. 1.13, 14. We shall find all precious Substance: Cast in thy Lot with us. Prov. 7.22, 23. With much fair speech she cau­sed him to yield; with the flattering of her lips [Page 26] she forced him: He goeth after her straight­way, as an Ox goeth to the slaughter, or a Fool to the Correction of the stocks; till a Dart strike thro' his Liver; as a Bird hasteth to the snare, & knoweth not that it is for his Life. And Oh! How hard is it for a Poor Grace­less Young Man or Maiden, (tis of and to such I am speaking) to withstand these pleasing Solicitations! And how many are undone for ever by Evil Company! Yet others won't take warning. Thus, you see Satan is not the only Destroyer of men! They prove, as it were, Devils to one a­nother. It is much thro' the Evil Exam­ples & Perswasions of Companions in Sin that this truth is unknown, unthought of.

3. It is partly also, yea principally from them­selves, that Young Persons come short of their Duty, while they rush into Sin. The hearts of Vain Youths are naturally full of Enmity against God, and therefore cannot be sub­ject to His Law, Rom. 8 7. We have hearts by Nature bent to Evil, only to Evil, & that continually, Gen. 6.5. There are many Youthful Lusts that keep multitudes from knowing the things that belong to their Peace, in the day of them: Gen. 8.21. The imagination of mans Heart is Evil from his Youth. Were it not for Inward Corruption, [Page 27] it would be easy to resist and repel the as­saults of Temptation. We are for the most part, of our selves inclined to do that which Satan & Others tempt us to. Thus by our own Lusts, we are enticed and drawn away, Jam. 1.14. Our worst Enemy is in our own Bosoms, conspiring with Satan in shed­ding the Blood of our precious and immortal Souls! This may be Written on the Graves of all those Vain Youths that go on and Dye in their Sins, Hos. 13.9. Thou hast Destroyed thy self.

APPLICATION.

USE; Only by way of EXHORTA­TION: To such as are Young. O Remem­ber now thy Creator, (who will be thy Judge) Even now, in the Dayes of thy Youth, while the Evil Dayes come not, nor the Years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them, Eccl. 12.1. Thou art in the midst of Plea­sures. Profits and Honours: Thou hast a merry Heart and a pleasant Countenance: It is Spring-time with thee, and a serene Morning: There are a Thousand Beautiful Objects before thine Eyes: All thy Senses may be gratified: To-morrow may be [Page 28] be as this Day, and much more abundant. Thou dost promise thy self a long Sum­mer, fruitful in all kinds of Heart-chearing, and Flesh-pleasing Delights. Now who shall dare to break in upon thee, to inter­rupt thy Joy, & spoil thy Cheer; to block up thy wayes, or present any mournful Ob­ject before thine Eyes! BUT Know thou that for all these things thou must come to Judgment. If Young Men will indulge them­selves in Sinful Pleasures, God will call them to an Account for all their Youthful Vani­ties: And this is a Truth that God would have Young Men to Know: Hear it then, and Know it for thy Good: Believe it, & Realize the Truth of it: Consider of it fre­quently, fixedly, even till thou art deeply & duely affected with it; and then it will influence thy Conversation: And so thou wilt come to Know it Practically also, by going to Christ in the way of Faith, repent­ing of thy past Sins, & yielding New Obe­dience for the future. This, you have heard, is a right Knowledge▪ Be Exhorted thus to Know the Truth before us; Or, (which is all one) to be truly Reli­gious.

It is necessary that we add Motives to Enforce this Exhortation.

[Page 29]

MOTIVE I.

The Time of Youth is the very best Season that ever you can have, to set about this Work in. For now, ordinarily, the Heart is most tender, the Affections most lively & flowing, the Conscience most wakeful, and the Will most pliable to the motions of the Holy Spirit; which are now also most frequent & powerful. Worldly in­cumbrances, in Youth, are not so many; the habits of Sin not so deeply rooted, as they will come to be by long Custom, after which it will be next to impossible success­fully to Engage in this work: Jer. 13.23. Can the Ethiopian change his Skin, or the Leopard his Spots? Then may ye also do Good, that are accustomed to do Evil Yet, let not Old Sin­ners be discouraged; for, if they will now put an end to all Delayes, & Cry mightily to God; all things are possible with Him, Mat. 19.29. But, Oh! It is the greatest Folly in the world, to let the time of Youth slip; which is on all these accounts, and many more, the Choisest season in which to secure and Interest in Christ, & a Title to the Kingdom of Heaven. Early Seekers shall be sure Finders, Prov. 8.17. Those that Seek me Early shall Find me. And will not [Page 30] this move you to Remember your Creator in the Dayes of your Youth, before the Evil Dayes come? Eccl 12.1. In the Concerns of the present Life. Wise men will take the first fair season to prosecute their Designs; and he is accounted a man void of Understand­ing, who, having a business of great im­portance to accomplish, yet will busy him­self about Trifles▪ and neglect one oppor­tunity after another, wherein he might easily secure his Life, Honour or Estate ly­ing in extream hazard. But how much more Unwise are they who have a blessed Season in their hands to secure their Eternal In­terest, & yet neglect it? Prov. 17.16 Where­fore is there a Price in the hand of a Fool to get Wisdom, seeing he hath no Heart to it? Our own & others Prudence & Diligence in matters of this vain World, will Con­demn our Negligence and Folly in things of Eternal weight & moment, 1 Cor 9.25. Now they do it to obtain a Corruptible Crown; but we an Incorruptible. Shall I then prevail with you to set about this work, now in the Morning of your Age▪ because this is most certainly the Best Time.

MOTIVE II.

As Youth is the Fittest Season, so it may [Page 31] be the Only Time that ever we shall have, in which to get an Interest in Christ, and make our Peace with God. We have not the least assurance that we shall live past our Youth: And after this present, uncertain Life, there will be no work to be done for our Souls, Eccl. 9 10 Whatsoever thy hand finds to do, do it with thy Might; for there is no Work, nor Device, nor Knowledge, nor Wisdom in the Grave, whither thou goest. Does it not then stand us in hand to be up and doing, now, even now, before it be too late? If it were a matter of Indifferency, that might be done, or let alone, the Case were otherwise: But it is a work that must be done, or we for ever undone: And Now is the time, and for ought we know, the Only time; and shall we yet sit still, as if we had nothing to do? On! There are many now in Hell who sinned away their Youth, which was to them the Only time lamenting their un­accountable Madness, with inexpressible an­guish of Soul▪ Have we not followed Younger than our selves to the Grave? And whose turn it may be next God only knows; who hath kept it secret in His own Breast, for this very End, that we might be always ready, Luk 12 40. Be ye therefore Ready; for the Son of Man cometh, at an Hour when [Page 32] ye think not. Suppose you were Condemned to Die at a Humane Bar, and sent back to Prison till the Day of Execution, which we will suppose to be only with the Judge; the Sentence to be performed when he should give Order: Suppose now the Judge should send a Messenger to assure you that if you would humbly acknowledge the vileness of the Fact committed, & Petition for your Life, it should be granted on your Request? Would you say▪ I'll take it into Consideration; there is no haste; I may not be Executed this Twelve-month yet; and if I get a Pardon before that Day, all will be well? O Unconverted Young Man, or Woman, this is thy very Case! Thou are under a Sentence of Condemnation; Joh. 3.18. He that Believeth not is Condemned al­ready: But, as yet, thy Judge is, by His Ambassadours, intreating thee to seek for a Pardon, 2 Cor 5 20. Now then, we are Am­bassadours for Christ, as tho' God did beseech you by us, we Pray you, in Christs stead, be ye Reconciled to God. Now Pardon & Peace may be had, if you seek in Earnest. And will you not be in Good Earnest, when tis for your Life, even the Eternal Life of a Soul, which He who went to the Price of it, declares to be more worth than a World? [Page 33] And if you defer but till To-morrow, it may be too late, Prov. 27.1. Art thou not then worse than Distracted to venture the loss of so Precious a Treasure on so Extream an Uncertainty as is a frail brittle Life, the slender Thread whereof, thou art by thy De­layes, every Day provoking God to cut a­sunder? Oh! That you would know the things of your Peace, in this the Day of them, before they are hidden from your Eyes! Luk 19 42.

READER, If, after thou hast put off from the shore of this world, & Launched into the boundless & bottomless Ocean of Eternity, where God shall Rain Fire and Brimstone upon thee, in a horrible Tem­pest, Psal 11.6. And all the Billows of His Enraged Fury shall roll over thy Soul, to swallow thee up in the Gulf of Despair; If then, I say, when thou shalt be sick of thy foolish Bargain in letting go Eternal Joyes for Vanishing Pleasures, thou mighted Re­cant, & return back again, I would not be so Earnest with thee: But thou are going the way whence thou shalt not return, Job 10 21 And many Dye in Youth, Job 36 14 And some that live past their Youth are, by the Righteous Judgment of a Soveraign God shut up under Unbelief, Isa 6 9. Thou thinkest of Repenting hereafter; but what [Page 34] if Christ should then say to thee, as to them, Luk. 19 42. Now the things of thy Peace are hidden from thine Eyes? Truly if thou Delayest I fear it will come to this, e're long, or worse.

MOTIVE III.

Is it not Infinite Mercy, that thou hast any Time and Space to Repent, Means and Seasons of Grace? Rev. 2.21. I gave her space to Repent. Luk. 13 7. Behold these Three Years I come, seeking Fruit on this Fig-tree. Consider how many Thousands & Millions have been, and are in the world that ne­ver, so much as once, heard the Joyful Sound of the Gospel, or any News of a Saviour. Multitudes, Multitudes, that no man can number, do Perish for lack of Vision: Rom 11:22▪ Behold the Goodness and Severity of God: Towards others Severity; but towards thee Goodness; if thou despise not the Riches of His Goodness, Forbearance & Long-suffering, which leadeth thee to Repentance: And after thy hard­ness & impenitent Heart, treasurest not up unto thy self Wrath, against the Day of Wrath, and Revelation of the Righteous Judgment of God. Will not the Thunders of Sinai Fright thee from Sin; nor the smiling Beams of Love on Mount Sion Draw up thy Soul to Christ?

[Page 35]Our Great Master (the God of Abra­ham) has sent me this Day to Woo you for His Only Son JESUS, the Anti-type of Isaac: I knew before I came that you were Naturally Averse to the March; and I therefore begg'd of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ to send me Good speed this Day; while I am now managing a Heart-winning Argument; Even the Lo­ving kindness of the Father of Mercies to you; and the Love (stronger than Death) of His Dear Son; who by the Ministry of His Word, and the Motions of His Spirit is waiting for your Answer. Will you go? The most you can Lose is a Mortal Crown; the least you shall Gain is an Inheritance in­corruptible, Ʋndefiled, that shall never fade a­way. God is drawing thee with Cords of a Man; with Bands of Love Hos. 11.4. And that, not common Love only, in such fruits of His Bounty as the Heathen world is favoured withal; but Gospel Grace, which teaches us to Deny Ʋngodliness, and worldly Lusts, and to live Soberly, Righteously, and Godly in this Present, Evil World. Ungrate­ful Sinner! Thou hast had more Merciful Kindness, and Long-suffering Patience Expended on thee in a few Sabbaths, than whole Nations have had in many Ages. [Page 36] Oh! That ever an Offended GOD should thus be first in seeking Reconciliation with Rebellious Sinners! With ƲS, and not with Fallen Angels? With ƲS, and not with the most of Fallen Mankind! With ƲS still, when the Treaty is Ended with Multitudes! Astonishing Grace! Stupid Sinners, that are no more affected with it! Tis a Mercy in­deed to have a space to Repent: But a greater Mercy to have a Heart to improve it.

MOTIVE IV.

Forego Sinful Pleasures we must, if we Resolve to be truly Religious: But there are sweeter Delights that we shall have in Ex­change. Prov. 3.17▪ Wisdoms wayes are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. Psal. 63.5. My Soul shall be satisfied, as with Marrow and Fatness. Psal▪ 36▪ 8 9. They shall be abundantly satisfied with the Fatness of thine House; and thou shalt make them drink of the River of thy Pleasures. For with thee is the Fountain of Life: In thy Light shall we see Light. What is the very Cream and Quintessence of all Flesh-pleasing delights, in comparison of that Spiritual, Heavenly Joy, which at times, and commonly at our first Conver­sion, diffuseth it self all over the Renewed [Page 37] Soul? Mat. 9.2. Be of Good Cheer; Thy Sins be Forgiven thee Rom. 8.16 The Spirit, it self beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the Children of God. 1 Pet. 1 8. Believing we Rejoyce with Joy unspeakable & full of Glory. This is now wonderful (yet no more strange than true) that we might have a more plea­sant Flight to the Paradise of Angels, than our slide can be, down the Hill of world­ly Pleasure, to the Valley of the shadow of the Second Death, the place of Dragons! Its true, Gracious Souls often walk in sha­dy Valleys; yet, even then what Evil need they fear? The Lord is with them, Psal. 3 4. And if Weeping endure for a Night, JOY will come in the Morning, Psal. 30 5. Indeed, it is so: I have no design to delude thee: If, the most of thy Life-time, thou should'st be greatly troubled, yet, Read Psal. 37.37. The Latter End will be Peace. In a word; The Worst of Religion is better and more eligible than Sins Best: Otherwise Moses made an unadvised choice, rather to suffer Affliction with the People of God, than to enjoy the Pleasures of Sin for a season: Esteeming the Reproach of Christ, greater Riches than the Treasures of Egypt, Heb 11.25. And will not all this move you to change your Course? Believe others Experiences: or rather be­lieve [Page 38] GOD, and make tryal, whether it be not so of a Truth. What tho' thy carnal Reason & corrupt Will do contradict this truth; cannot He who causes the Light to shine out of Darkness, Enlighten thy mind, renew thy will, and so change the whole frame and temper of thy Soul, that thou shalt come to take sweet delight in those Duties of Self-denial that are now an in­tolerable Burden to thee? Was it ever heard that any truly Converted man did repent his Choice? Or dost thou think in thy own Conscience, that it will grieve thee in a Dying hour that thou hast broken off from Sinful Companions, & spent much time in Praying, Reading & searching thy heart, while others have been Drinking. Sport­ing, & Studying variety of Diversions, to pass time away? Did ever Dying Man or Woman, with they had spent less time in Duties of Religion, and more in Sin & Va­nity? Now, one would think, you should be willing to do that which you may be sure before hand you shall never Repent of: Godly Sorrow worketh Repentance unto Sal­vation, not to be Repented of, 2 Cor. 7.10.

MOTIVE V.

To turn from Sin to God, is the way to [Page 39] have all things, Temporal and Spiritual, go well with you while in this World. Hereby you shall have better Security in the Promise of God, never to want Food or Raiment, or any thing that is really Good for you; than if you were now put into Possession of an Estate worth Ten Thousand a Year. So that I may say to you, Believe in Christ, and you are made for this life, in a more sure and better sense, than he is said to be so, who has a great Estate befallen to him: For, Riches certainly make themselves wings, Prov. 23 5. But the Promise of God is surer than Heaven & Earth, Mark 12.31. Psal. 84▪ 11▪ The Lord will give Grace and Glory, and no Good thing wilt He wit hold from them that walk uprightly. Mat 6▪ 33▪ Seek First the Kingdom of God, and the Righteousness there­of, and all these things shall be added. He that spared not His own and Only Son, but delivered Him up for us, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Rom 8.32. Nor shall you meet with on Temptation or Affliction, more than you shall have real need of, 1 Pet. 1.6. All which coming, not from the Wrath of an Enemy; but the tender Love of a Father, Heb. 12▪6 7. shall be turned into Choice Mercy, working to­gether for your Good, Rom 8.28. And in­crease [Page 40] the weight of your Eternal Crown of Glory, 2 Cor. 4.17. In a word; God will never leave you nor forsake you, at any time: Yea, He will take Effectual care also, that you shall never utterly depart a­way from Him, Jer. 32.40. Until, having guided you by Counsel, He shall bring you safe to Glory, Psal 73.24. And if this will not move us, what will? It's as much our Inte­rest as it is our Duty to be Religious, and that in our Youth too, Lam. 3.27. It is good for a man to bear the Yoke in his Youth. Yea, every Circumstance of our Condition, from our Conversion to our Dissolution, shall be so wisely and graciously ordered, that it could not be so well if it had been other­wise in one particular, 2 Sam. 23, 5.

MOTIVE VI.

This is the way to Dye in Peace and Comfort: A Godly Life will make a Death-bed Easy. The different Ends that men make, are according to different Lives that they lead. If we never saw, we may doubt­less have heard of the Lamentable Condi­tion of some Vain▪ Wretches on a Death-bed; how intolerable the lashings of their awakened Consciences have been then, who [Page 41] have indulged themselves in the Pleasures of Sin while health lasted. Call Time a­gain! Call Time again! was the Despairing Out cry of One: Of Another, I have had a short Moment of Pleasure, and I must to Hell for ever! Wishing but for this mitigation, That he might by Frying behind the Fire in the Chimney, and not in Hell. It's true, Wicked men may Dye Peaceably, or rather Securely; their Consciences being fast a­sleep till they awake in Flames: And, on the other hand, the Godly may Encounter with many Fears, and Temptations, and Terrors on a Death-bed; but, at furthest, the Soul is at perfect Liberty, as soon as it has broke Prison from its mortal Body; and many times, Enjoyes a blessed Serenity of mind a considerable time before its depar­ture. These were some of the Death-bed Expressions of a Gracious Young Woman who lately departed from us; Sweet Jesus! When shall I come to thee? My Soul longs to be with thee! Which I suppose the repeated some Scores of times: And being asked by her Husband whether she could be willing to leave him, and the Children, and all? Freely can I leave all the World, said she, that I may go to CHRIST. It is a thousand times harder (added she) to Secure an Interest in [Page 42] Christ, than it is to Dye: And if you make Re­ligion your business, it will be but a little while before we shall meet again: If I were to continue with you (she went on) we would strive who should run fastest in the ways of God: But I know I shall Dye, and go to Sweet JESƲS. — And such Examples are to be heedfully minded, Psal. 37.37. Mark the Perfect Man, and behold the Ʋpright; for the end of that Man is Peace. Would we then Dye in hope and comfort? (For Dye we must;) This is the only way for us so to do; Make we it our only business to se­cure a part in CHRIST, who has taken a­way the sting of Death, and perfumed the Grave, 1 Cor. 15:55, —

MOTIVE VII.

In the Last Place, Be Exhorted, O Young Man, to Know, that if thou Indulgest thy self in Sinful Pleasures, GOD will call thee to an Account for all thy Youthful Vanities; because the right Knowledge of this Truth, is the Only way to be Acquitted at the Bar of Christ, in the Great Day of Judgment. Vain Young People, they deserve to be Judged and Condemned to suffer the Vengeance of Eternal Fire: But by Faith, Repentance, [Page 43] and New Obedience, they may escape this dreadful Sentence. If we Believe in Christ for Justification, who shall Condemn us, or lay any thing to our Charge? Rom. 8.33, 34. But, if we get not the Judge to be our Friend, we shall never be able to stand in the Judgment. Read over that twofold Sentence, of Absolution & Condemnation, Mat. 25.34, 41. Come ye Blessed, and, Go ye Cursed: Which of these would ye have pronounced to you? (For one of them hear you must) You'll readily answer, Oh, I hope I shall in that Day stand among the Sheep, at Christs Right Hand, to hear that Joyful Sentence, Come, ye Blessed of my Father, in­herit the Kingdom prepared for you, from the Foundation of the World. But then, like the wise Virgins, you must now get the Oyl of Grace, in the Vessels of your Hearts, with your Lamps of Profession, Mat. 25.4. You must Believe Heartily, Repent Un­ [...]ignedly, and Obey Sincerely; and all this [...]eedily too, or your case will be formida­ [...]e in that Day; and your Lodging among Devils, where the Worm Dyeth not, and the [...]ire is not Quenched, Mark 9.48. Read & Tremble at thy dreadful Doom; When the word Jesus shall be Revealed from Heaven, with his Mighty Angels, in flaming Fire, taking [Page 44] Vengeance on them that Know not God, & that Obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; Who shall be Punished with Everlasting De­struction, from the Presence of the Lord, and from the Glory of His Power, 2 Thes. 1.7, — Oh! To be thrust away from all the Good Company in the whole World, & chained down in a dark Prison (if it were only the Darkness of the Place, that might fill thee with Horrour) and the Iron Gates thereof Bar'd, Bolted & Lock'd, by Him that Shuts, & no man Opens: and there to lie on a Bed of Flames; and suck in smoke of burning Brimstone, for thy common breath! To drink of the Wine of Gods wrath, out of the Cup of His Indignation! And thus to be Tormented Day and Night, without a moments respite! And tho' thy Con­science shall Justify God, yet, through Ex­tremity of Anguish, thy Mouth shall Ever­lastingly Curse and Blaspheme Him. And, all this while, to have thy Conscience up­braiding thee of wilful Folly, as the cause of thy Ruine: — As Reuben to his Bre­thren, — Spake I not unto you, saying, Do not Sin! — I might have been now (wilt thou then think) walking the Golden Streets of New Jerusalem, in Company with Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, and Holy Martyrs of [Page 45] JESUS: Yea, have been Equal to Angels; and joyning in Consort to sing the Song of Moses, & the Lamb, who is now leading such as I once scorned, to Fountains of Living Water; and fulfilling that Promise to His Disciples, I will not drink henceforth of this Fruit of the Vine, until that Day when I drink it New with you, in my Fathers Kingdom, Mat. 26.29. And Christ Himself shall, Ten Thousand times over, bid them welcome to His Fathers House & Table, and that River of Pleasures that is at His Right Hand for ever-more. Thus, it shall be another Hell in the midst of Hell to think What a Kingdom thou hast Sold for a Song! There shall be weeping, wailing, and gnashing of Teeth, when thou shalt see Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob in the Kingdom of God; and thy self thrust out! You may make a poor shift without God & Christ, Pardon & Grace, now a little while; but what will you do in that Day? Do the very Devils tremble at the forethoughts of it, and shall sensless Sinners be nothing moved! Is there a Door of Hope opened this Day, by the Gospel, and will you not make your Escape? Are you resolved to see the worst of it; in hopes you shall be able to bear the wrath of an angry Judge? Poor Worm! Never [Page 46] think so: If thy strength were the strength of Mountains, and thy flesh of Brass, thou could'st never bear up under it; Nah 1 6. Who can stand before His Indignation? Who can abide in the Fierceness of His Anger? His Fury is poured out like Fire; and the Rocks are thrown down by Him. How can thy heart en­dure, when God shall thus deal with thee? And how dost think to wear out an end­less Eternity in the Place of Dragons? Sup­pose thou wert cast Naked into a deep Pit, full of Toads, Serpents, Vipers & Adders, that would crawl over thy Flesh, and in at thy Mouth: — Or, Suppose thy self shut up, but for one Night, in an House haunted with Evil Spirits; how terrible would Either of these be? Yet, nothing to what thou art like to Endure throughout the Endless Age of Eternity: And all be­cause thou wilt not believe the Report of these things, till there be no Remedy. What would the Damned in Hell give for the Opportunities you now Enjoy! Might they be sent back again into the world, & tryed once more, for a few Months or Dayes, to hear Sermons, read Good Books, and make their Prayers to God; how Zealously would they improve every inch of Time? But they know it shall never be [Page 47] granted them. They foolishly let slip their Season; and will you do so too? You must not, then, think it hard to be Damned at last, after you have had fair Warning, and wholesome Counsels; with which I shall Conclude.

COƲNCEL I.

Begin with Consideration. Commune with your own Hearts, Psal. 4.4. Take some time every Day, solemnly to Consider what you were made for: What you have been do­ing ever since you came into the world: And what the End of a Sinful, Merry Vain Life will be: Yea, think, and think again: What it will be to Live in Heaven of Hell for ever. Consideration is the First step towards Conversion; Psalm 119.59. I thought on my ways, and turned my Feet unto thy Testimonies. The Prodigals return be­gan here, Luk. 15.17. And when he came to himself, he said within himself, How many hired Servants of my Fathers have Bread enough and to spare, and I Perish for Hunger: I will arise now and go to my Father: If men were once come to themselves, they would no longer act like men beside themselves: And it is by Serious Consideration, that we must be brought to our right mind. [Page 48] Be perswaded then to follow this Direction, you that are Young, if it were but a Quarter of an Hour in a Day, to set fix­edly on this work; and, one would think, that were a small matter to do for a Good God, and a Precious Soul. Some, I hope, will do more, but, Oh! that others might be brought thus far; even to think seri­ously on ETERNITY, or some other a­wakening Subject for one Quarter of an Hour in a Day: Better think of it now than in Hell, where the Consideration of Endless Eternity, does more than double their present misery. Oh! Little did I think (says a Damned wretch to himself) that it would come to this! Oh! That I had but Considered my ways, while I was in the way, before I came to this Endless End! Why thou that Readest these Lines, mayest answer the Call of God, Hag. 1.5. Thus saith the Lord, Consider your Wayes. The great advantage of Consideration is this, that it represents things, both past & future, as present. Thus the Convinced Sinner does think with himself; Such and such a Sin I committed so many Dayes, Months, or Years past, and then it troubled my Conscience for the present, but because Sentence was not speedily Executed, therefore [Page 49] my Heart was fully set in me to do Evil, Eccl. [...].11. But now I see my Sins all to stand in the Light of His Countenance; and an once provoked God is as angry with me still for those unrepented of Abominations that I long ago committed, as if I were now in the very act. On the other hand; Con­sideration looks forward, and brings pale Death, that King of Terrors, and the cold Grave, that dark, silent House within plain view. Suppose thou wert now on thy Sick-bed given over by the Physicians, and thy sorrowful Friends weeping at thy Bed-side, and taking thee by the cold hand, while thou art gasping for Life: Yea, Suppose thy self a Dead Corpse, nailed up in a Coffin, carried on the Shoulders of men to the Pits brink; then lowered down into the Grave, ready to shut her mouth upon thee; the Worms soon feeding upon thy Body; and thy Soul, in the mean time, appearing Naked before thousands of An­gels, that always attend Christ the Judge: and so go on to the Resurrection, & last Ge­neral Judgment; and by fixed Consideration thou mayest bring all these things as it were before thine Eyes: and by this first step thou wilt be prepared to go on in the use of all other means of Grace. But we are fallen on,

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COƲNSEL II.

Be Advised and Directed with unwearied Diligence, to attend on, and improve all Ap­pointed Means of Salvation. Read Good Books; Especially the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make wise unto Salvation, through Faith which is in Christ Jesus, 2 Tim. 3 15 Lose no opportunity of waiting at the Posts of Wisdoms Doors, Prov. 8.34. For Faith comes by Hearing, Rom. 10▪ 17. Let no trivial Excuses, arising from the Foulness or Coldness of the Weather, or from tolerable Illness of Body, keep thee at home, when it is said to thee (at least by the silent Language of others Good Ex­ample) Come, Let us go up to the House of God. And Fervent Zeal will keep thee Warm; and Pardon of Sin will make thee Well! Multitudes have bewailed their too Seldom; few ever their too Frequent attend­ing the Publick Ministry. And think of the Sabbath before it comes: Look on it as a Soul market-day: Cry mightily to the Father of Lights, from whom every Good and Perfect Gift comes down, that He would please to assist the Minister, & accompany the Word to thy Soul: Improve every Sabbath, as if it were to be thy last: Take [Page 51] heed how thou hearest; and take pains to remember what thou hearest: Beg hard for a Blessing after Publick Duties are o­ver: Set thy self every day in the week, to call to mind as much as may be of the last Sermons that sounded in thy Ears; still lifting up thy Heart to God for a Blessing. Be often in the Field, or Closet, Medita­ting. Praying, Bemoaning thy self, and seeking most Earnestly after Christ. Be­wail thy wants; Especially thy want of Faith; the want of which very few see: and yet they must see, and bitterly bewail it, if ever they come to Christ aright. Ac­quaint some Experienced Christian or Mi­nister with thy Case; and be not ashamed to ask Advice, lest the Son of Man be ashamed of thee, before His Father, and before the An­gels. The Publick Ministry may not reach thy case so particularly, as we may come at it by Private Conference: And mayest thou not Eternally Perish, thro' thy neg­lect in this one Point. But we pass on to,

COƲNSEL III.

Cherish the Motions and Strivings of Gods spirit with you, in the use of Means. God is won't to move on the Hearts of Sinners, [Page 52] at the same time when the Word is sound­ing in their Ears, or the Rod laid on their Backs. Oh! Improve such Opportunities: All Endeavours in the use of Means will nothing avail, unless the Holy Spirit Co-work by internal Operation: And when He is pleased so to do; when we find good Motions, Inclinations and Purposes wrought in our hearts, while we have been Reading, Hearing, Praying, or Exercised in Meditation, let us look on them to be the Strivings of the Holy Ghost; and be­ware of Quenching the Spirit, 1 Thes. 5.19. If we have always hitherto resisted the Holy Ghost; let us never do so any more. These are golden Season; let's therefore improve them while we may; for God has said, that His Spirit shall not alwayes Strive with man, Gen 6.3. But what will become of us, if the Spirit should, by our grievous Opposition, & bold Transgression, be provoked totally and finally to leave us? Our case will be little better than that of the Damned, already in Hell: Isa 6.9.10▪ Hear ye indeed, but Ʋnderstand not, — Make the Heart of this People fat, make their Ears heavy, and shut their Eyes: lest they see with their Eyes, and hear with their Ears, & understand with their Heart, and Convert and [Page 53] be Healed. If it once come to this, thou art a gone Man! Oh! How dangerous is it to put away, or wear off Convictions? But, To Cherish the Divine Breathings, is the ready way to Conversion. Let it be thy De­sire and Prayer that God would strike home, and take His own way to bring thee to Heaven, tho' by the Gates of Hell! If thou art not sufficiently humbled; beg of Him that He would not spare as a Spirit of Bondage, that in due time thou mayest also Experience His sweet Operations as the Comforter: For, altho there be no gra­cious Qualifications going before Faith, yet, the Spirit does ever convince & pierce, so as to humble the Soul, before He works Faith: After which Preparation-work, we should also cherish & comply with the Motions & Strivings of the same Blessed Spirit, encouraging and perswading us to believe in Christ.

COƲNSEL IV.

Avoid and Abstain from those things that would render the Ʋse of Means, & the Strivings of the Spirit there withal ineffectual. As, Evil Company; the willing practice of known Sin; giving ear to Carnal Reason, and Sa­tans [Page 54] Temptations: How often have hope­ful beginnings been brought to worse than nothing by Evil Company! Shun it there­fore, and strive to get and be among the Sober and Godly: For the Wise man tells us, that to walk with Wise men is the way to be Wise our selves; but a Companion of Fools shall be Destroyed, Prov. 13.20. There is no hope of you, O Vain Young Men, unless you may be prevailed with to take your leave of Sinful Companions, and avoid the occasions of Sin. You'll say, This is a hard Lesson! But what is it that makes it so? If GOD were your Father, you would find but little delight in the Society of His bitter Enemies. If you were the Loyal Subjects of CHRIST, and led by His SPI­RIT, your Confaederacy with Traytors & Rebels, such a will not have this Man to Rule over them, would not be so strong, as the Objection supposes it now to be. Did you ever see a Sheep accompany the Swine that wallow in the Mire; or if fall [...]n in, un­willing to get out again? O you had need Cry to God▪ that He would change your Hearts▪ and then your Course & Company would soon be changed. But in the mean time you must deny your selves as to this vicious Inclination of your vain Hearts to [Page 55] Bad Company; Yea, thou your former Companions should have you in Derision. Would any man living be so Foolish, as to be Laugh'd out of the use of necessary means for supporting and defending his Life; or Destroy himself to gratify a Fools humour? Remember, the Kingdom of Hea­ven suffereth Violence, and the Violent take it by Force. If ever you be saved, you must strive against the Wind & Tide of Evil Ex­amples without, & Vile Affections within. Consider then, who & what has been hither­to a hindrance of your Conversion; and a­void those Persons, Things & Practices, as you would save your Souls: If I gain not this Point, I lose all my Labour; and you lose your precious Souls for ever: Tis, as we use to say, a desperate case! Forsake the Foolish & Live; or if you keep them Com­pany, their way leads down to Hell. What shall I say to you in this case? Do this one thing; The next time thou art Enticed by Sinners, and as it were compelied to consent; only ask them who thus act the part of Satan, Whether they will stand & answer for themselves and thee too at Christs Bar? And if they can give thee no Security in this matter, thou hast a just Plea for thy Non-compliance with their Solicitations.

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COƲNSEL V.

Be Exceeding Cautious, lest you should mistake Convictions, followed with Ex­ternal Reformation, for Sound and Through Conversion. Conversion is a great work, and mistakes about it are as common, as they are dangerous, and of dreadful Con­sequence. Nothing more usual than for men to think themselves in a Good Estate, before they have any Saving good wrought in them; not only Deceiving others, but their own Souls, Jam. 1.26. And, Oh! How awfully sad is this Self-deceit! For a man to think, because by the Word, or some solemn Providence, he has been Awakened, Startled, and Convinced of Sin, and here­upon has been brought to leave this and that old trade of Sin; and to practice many External Duties, and that with some joy and delight; as Herod heard John gladly, and did many things: And those Self-deceivers of old, Ezek. 31.33. Isa. 58. begin. To conclude that all is well on no better grounds than these, is a dreadful Delusion of Satan, and our own deceitful Hearts. I would not lay a stumbling-block in the way of any Upright heart; but I cannot be Faithful to God and your Souls, if I don't [Page 57] Warn you of this Danger; For to think we are Converted when we are not, is the ready way never to be Converted. But you will ask, How shall I know when the Work is indeed wrought? I Answer, When you have so Endeavoured to use the Means, perform Duties, and mortify your Sins, as that you have found by sad Experience, your utter Inability to act, speak or think any thing aright, (for men will never believe but they can do something that is Good, till they have tryed) and when hereupon, you have seen the absolute Necessity of the Almighty Power of GOD to work Faith in you, Eph. 1.19. And that not only the Deed, but the Will also is the work of His own Good Pleasure: And when you have found your selves thus Spiritually Dead, and unable to think so much as one Good Thought, you have also found and felt the Eternal Father drawing you to Jesus Christ, and enabling you to lie at His Feet for Mercy, acknowledging that it would be Just with Him to deny you the least crumb or drop, to satisfy your Spiritual Hunger and Thirst; yea, and to throw you into Everlasting Burnings: And then, while you have been Crying for Mer­cy, or Groaning under Misery, God has [Page 58] of His meer Love, stretched forth His Hand & lifting you up from the very Dust of Self-loathing and Deep-abasement of Soul; and discovering Christ to you, has enabled you to Embrace Him, as the Only and Alsufficient Saviour; As more Preci­cious than Rocks of Diamonds, or Moun­tains of Gold, 1 Pet. 2.7. Ʋnto you there­fore which Believe, He is Precious. If you have found it thus; and when you find also that you fetch strength from the Lord Je­sus Christ to perform Duties; and an in­ward new Disposition of Soul, sensibly to acknowledge Him when you have done, as Psal. 115▪ 1. Not to us, Not to us O Lord; but to thy Name be Glory for thy Mercy, &c. Then you may conclude, you are Created a New, in Christ Jesus, to Good Works We (saith the Apostle) are of the circum­cision, who Worship God in the Spirit; Rejoyce in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the Flesh. In a word; We may conclude we are Converted, when we come, by Super­natural Light, to see so much of the Worlds Vanity, Christ's Beauty, Sins Deformity, and Heavens Glory; that the bent and by as of our Hearts, the stream and currant of our Thoughts shall be towards things Spiritual and Eternal. But if we would not be [Page 59] mistaken, we must after all our Searchings, Pray with the Psalmist, Psal. 139 23, 24. Search me O' God, and see if there be any Wicked way in me; and Lead me in the way Everlasting.

COƲNSEL VI.

I would advise you to set about this Great Work Presently, without any further Delay. Begin this Day: the Present-time, you have heard, is the Best time, and may be your Only Time: You have put off long enough already: Tis a wonder of mercy that you are yet on this side of Hell: that yet God is Commanding you, and Beseeching you to accept of His Son, and Salvation thro' Him; 2 Cor. 6.20. Now then we are Am­bassadours for Christ, as tho' God did Beseech you by us; We Pray you, in Christs stead, be ye Reconciled to God: Now Christ is willing to receive you: He will in no wise cast you out, if you Now come unto Him, Joh. 6▪ 37. But you can have no assurance that Christ, and Pardon may be had to-morrow, 2 Col. 6.2. Behold, Now is the Accepted time, Now is the Day of Salvation: Nor is it very likely that you will have any Desire to seek Him Hereafter, if you neglect to do it Now; the same Discouragements that [Page 60] you have to Day, you may have in greater force To-morrow, and next Day, and next Week; if you should live, which is most uncertain. You must therefore Re­solve, by the help of God, which He is ready to afford, that you will break thro' all Discouragements, and forthwith begin to work out your Salvation with Fear and Trembling. Don't go into Vain Company as soon as you are departed hence, left you forget these things, or lose a sense of them. But rather get alone, and begin with (the Practice of the First Counsel) Consideration: Realize it to you selves, when alone, that there is a Heaven of un­conceiveable Glory above, and an Hell of unutterable Torment below; and think with your self, In one of these places, I must be as long as the ETERNAL has a Being: and that according as I improve, or mis­pend my time here, even that little inch of fleeting time, that God may yet indulge me withal. And so go on from Conside­ration to Prayer, and the other foremen­tioned Means and Directions. Beg of God of Bless these Counsels to you, as knowing how soon you will forget them, and how certainly neglect to put them in practice, if left to your self. Improve Sab­baths [Page 61] especially; Pray hard for Converting Grace, before, in, and after every Sermon you hear: Thus, Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call on Him while He is near, Isa 55.6. Truly Repent, and God will a­bundantly Pardon, ver. 7. Only remember, in must be NOW God will have it so: Thus saith the Lord, return ye Now every man from his Evil way, Jer. 18.11. To Day, if you will hear His Voice, Heb. 3.7. But not one Promise in the whole Bible that assures you, if you seek To-morrow you shall find: but on the contrary, tis said in Prov. 1.24, 28▪ Because I have Called, and ye Re­fused, — Therefore shall they Call on Me, but I will not Answer. No time like the Pre­sent: Now or Never.

COƲNSEL VII.

Finally. When you have done all that may or can be done, before or after Conversion, Re­nounce all your own Righteousness as Eiliby Rags, in Point of Justification; Casting your selves at the Foot of Christ, waiting for Mercy, Free Mercy; Pleading only the Merit of Christs Blood, and your own Wretched Helpless Circumstances. I would solemnly Advise, Intreat and Warn you to beware of put­ing [Page 62] Duties, Endeavours, and moving Af­fections in the room of CHRIST: Oh! When we are warm and lively in any Du­ty, and then find something within us, saying, as it were, unto us, Now thou hast done well; now God will love, accept of, and save thee! Let us Reject all such mo­tions of Spiritual Pride; — and say with our selves, God might justly Damn me for the many Sins of this Duty, if I had none other; — Yea, for this particular Sin of Privy Pride, that has now been stirring in my Heart. God be Merciful to me a Sinner, is more becoming Language, for a vile Lump of Corruption, than, God I thank thee, I am not as other men, &c. Come as with a Rope about thy Neck and say;

O GOD, Most High! I have Affronted thee to thy Face: I have Deserved Hell a Thousand times over: I have made nothing of Abusing thy Kindness, and grieving thy Spirit, and kicking against the tenderest Bowels of thy Love: tis a Wonder of Wonders that I am out of Hell! Much more, that I should be once more invited to come to thee for Pardoning Mercy! LORD, I come at thy Call, and am ready to Subscribe any Terms; Only give me Grace to perform them; and all for the sake of [...] more Honoured thee by His [Page 63] Righteousness, than any Sinner ever Dishonoured thee by his Iniquity; So that thou can'st loss nothing by Receiving me to Mercy!

Thus READER, With-draw thy self, when thou hast finished a few Lines more; and Throwing thy self down in the Dust, Address the Throne of Grace, in behalf of thy Poor, Perishing Soul; and never fear: — It shall never be said, that the Compassionate JESUS, the Merciful King of Israel, who Pray'd and Dy'd for His very Murderers; did yet, after He had spared thee in thy Re­bellion so long, at last take the advan­tage to hang thee up, as a Monument of His Wrath when thou hast thus put thy self into His Hands, Joh. 6.37. Him that Cometh to me, I will in no wise Cast out. Only, since Christ hath so long waited on Thee, be willing to seek and wait a little while for HIM: Cant. 3.4. It was but a Little that I passed from them, but I found Him. And having once found Him, He is thine for Ever: And having CHRIST, thou Possessest All Things: Thou can'st Desire no more, Col. 3.11. CHRIST IS ALL.

THE END.
[Page]

BOOK'S Printed and Sold by Timothy Green, at the North End of Boston. VIZ.

MEditations on DEATH. Delivered in several Sermons, on divers Texts. Singular Obedience the Property of a True Christian. These two by J. Mather, D.D.

A Caution against Coveteousness.

A Young Follower of a Great Saviour.

The Greatest Concern in the World.

The Religion of the Closet.

The Best Ornaments of Youth.

The Impenitent Sinner disarm'd of his Plea for his Impenitence.

Also now a Printing, and may shortly to be Sold, by Timothy Green, a Small Book, Entituled, The Spirit of Life, Entring into the Spiritually Dead. An Essay, to bring a Dead Soul into the way wherein the Quickning Spirit of God and of Grace is to be hoped and waited for: And to Pro­phesy over the Dry Bones in the Valley of Death, such Words of the Lord, as use to be the Vehicles of Life unto them.

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