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Courteous Reader,

I was the rather inclin'd to make the fol­lowing Discourse publick, because of the loud Clamours which (as I was infor­med) were raised against it, in order to let unprejudic'd Persons, and even the Ob­jectors see what Cause there was for so much Flame and Noise.

Farewell.

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THE Danger of forgetting GOD, describ'd. AND The Duty of considering our Ways explain'd. IN A SERMON On Psalm L. 22. Preach'd at New-York, March 1735.

By GILBERT TENNENT A.M. and Minister of the Gospel at New-Brun­swick in New-Jersey.

NEW-YORK. Printed by John Peter Zenger. 1735.

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THE Danger of forgetting GOD, &c.

Psalm L. 22.

Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in Pieces, and there be none to deliver.

REASON, that peculiar Cha­racteristick of the humane Na­ture by which we are distin­guished from, and advanced above, the brutal Herds, was no Doubt design'd by its great Parent to di­rect and assist us to act with Council and Dis­cretion in our Elections and pursuits, that we might choose a GOOD, worthy of, and satisfactory to our Nature, and pursue Mea­sures proper to attain it, not suffering our selves to be imposed upon by the specious Appearances of present Objects; but that [Page 4]we, as intelligent Creatures, would pierce their Natures, and ponder their Events and Issues; accordingly forming our Determina­tion and Choice respecting them.

It is the Exercise of this noble Power of Reason in Meditation and Reflection which the Text before us recommends to our Practise, in which we have these two general Heads, viz.

I. An important Duty enjoyned. And,

II. An awful Punishment threatned for the Neglect of it.

In the first general Head are included these four following Particulars, viz.

  • 1. The Duty it self.
  • 2. The Subject of it.
  • 3. The Object. And,
  • 4. The Time of Performance, which is Now.

Before I proceed father, let me attempt a brief Explication and Illustration of these Particulars: And,

1. As to the Duty enjoyned, which is Consideration; this includes these three Things following.

  • 1. Knowledge and Understanding: When a Person in receiving a Message from God, understands, both who speaks, and what is [Page 5]spoken: Consider this, is as much as to say, Understand this; so Psal, CXIV. 8. Understand ye brutish among the People, and ye Fools, when will ye be wise? So that the Meaning of the World Consider, is that they would seck to know that Being with whom they had to do that he is an infinitely holy, righteous and jealous God, who will not be mocked with fair Shews and Pretences, but will render to every one according to his Acti­ons, at least in the final Judgment; and al­so that they would labour to know the Na­ture and Importance of the Divine Messages.
  • 2. This Duty of Consideration imports, serious and solemn Deliberation, when the mind of God is not only understood and known, but seriously ponder'd and laid to Heart,; when a Person communes with his own Heart about it: What may be the Weight and Importance of the Matter and Message, what the Advantages of Obedience against it; this was the Psalmist's practice, Ps. CXIX. 95. The Wicked have waited for me to destroy me, but I will consi­der thy Testimonies. It is like that of Joseph, how shall I do this Sin and Wickedness, a­gainst God. Or of Job. What then shall I do when God riseth up, and when he vi­siteth, what shall I answer him? Job. XXXI. [Page 6]14. It was the neglect of this Duty of De­liberation which was the Cause of God's Controversy with, and complaint over the People of Israel, Is. XLIV. 19. Jer. VIII. 6. I hearkned and heard that none considered in their Hearts to say, (why will ye not reason with your own Souls, and say, poor Sinners,) how shall we escape, if we neglect so great a Salvation? And on the contrary, what an unconceivable Happiness shall we be quickly instated in, if we be willing and obedient? And,
  • 3. This Duty of Consideration, imports Submission, and Obedience: The Mind of God is then rightly understood and consi­dered, when it is obey'd, Ezek. XVIII. 28. Because he considereth and turneth away from all his Transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.

2. The Subject of this Duty: Forgetters of God, it will appear by the Law of Contraries who they are that forget God, by considering what it is, to remember him. And,

  • 1. To remember God is to entertain him in our Thoughts. So David remembred God upon his Bed, and meditated on him in the night Watches. Ps. LXIII. 6. Thus God is forgotten when he is cast out of the [Page 7]Thoughts, as it's said of the wicked, that God is not in all their Thoughts. Ps. X. 4.
  • 2. To remember God is to depend upon him, and confide in him, for Council and Support in every Difficulty, Ps. XXV. 15. Mine Eyes are ever towards the Lord, he shall pluck my Feet out of the Net. Thus these who trust in other Things, besides God and make not him their Strength, forget him.
  • 3. To serve and follow him with an honest and sincere Heart; this is what Da­vid gave in Charge to his Son Solomon and thou Solomon my Son, know thou the God of thy Fathers, and serve him with a per­fect Heart, and with a willing Mind. I Chro. XXVIII. 9. it's in this Respect that the Psal­mist said, that his Heart followed hard after God, and that he was continually with him. Ps. LXIII. 8. Ps. LXXIII. 23. Thus these may be call'd forgetters of God, who Worship him not sincerely in the Way of his Institution.
  • 4. To make him the last End of all our Actions, so as to intend and direct every Thing towards his Glory. 1. Cor. X. 31. Thus these forget God, who go no further in their Aims than themselves.

3. The Object of Consideration. This, consider, that God knows and remembers your Iniquities however you conceal and forget them; he is Panopthalmos, all Eye; [Page 8]his Understanding pierces the thickest Vail of obscurity, the midnight Darkness is to him as the Noonday; consider, Sinners, that as God knows your secret Impieties, so he will damn you for them, he will tear you in Pieces, except you repent, the Terrors of an enraged God, are the most proper Ob­jects for secure Sinners to confider upon; because, being selfish, they are more apt to be influenc'd by Fear than Love.

4. The Time when this Duty is to be performed, is Now; now, this Day, this Moment, to Morrow may be too late, and you torn in Pieces.

II. I proceed to consider the second Ge­neral Head, viz. the awful Penalty threat­ned against the Neglecters of the aforesaid Duty; in which are two Things that want Explication, viz.

  • 1. What it is to be torn to Pieces. And,
  • 2. In what Respects none shall be able to deliver.

1. Let us enquire what is the Meaning of this Phrase, torn in Pieces.

1. More Generally, it Notes an utter and irreparable Destruction: It's an awful Me­taphor, taken from a Lion, or Bear's entire­ly devouring it's impotent Prey.

2. More particularly it imports these three Things.

  • [Page 9]1. That God will utterly take his Mercy from them if they take no Warning. Is. XXVII. 11.
  • 2. That God will deal with them in strict Justice, according to the Rigour of his Law, without lessening the least Measure of their merited punishment: This is unspeakably dreadful; for, if God marks Iniquity, who can stand? Ps. CXXX. 3.
  • 3. According to the Power of his Wrath, avenging Jealousy, and Consuming Indigna­tion, of which a Complication of all the Terribles in Nature is but a faint Shadow; for, who knows the Power of his Anger? Ps. XC. 11. Indignation and Wrath, Tribula­tion and Anguish upon every Soul that doth Evil. Rom. II. 8, 9.

Again let us enquire in what Sense it is, there shall be none to deliver. The Meaning no Doubt is, That when the decree'd Ven­geance of God comes forth, it will bring a­long with it sudden and remediless Destruc­tion; and so there can be none to deliver in these three Respects.

  • 1. In Regard of Gods infinite Power; so none can deliver out of his Hands. Is. XLIII. 31.
  • 2. In Respect of Man's Weakness, who is crushed before the Moth; they can neither by Power or Policy escape his Cognisance [Page 10]or Vengeance: He is wise in Heart and mighty in Strength who has hardned himself against him and prospered. Job IX. 4.
  • 3. In Regard of God's Justice, he will not admit of any Intreaty in the Day of his An­ger. Jer. XIV. 11.

The Sum of what has been spoken, is briefly this; That while God is upon a Treaty of Peace with Sinners, there is yet a Door of Mercy opened; and therefore that it highly concerns those whose have hi­therto forgotten God, in Regard of Know­ledge, Dependance and Service, that they would now, without further Delay, consider and lay to Heart their present Danger and Misery while they have the Offers of Mer­cy, lest they be forever deprived thereof, and exposed to the Stroaks of his avenging Severity.

From the Words thus explained, we may observe the following Truths.

1. That the sharpest Messages of God to his rebelious People are usually mixt with gracious Warnings and Entreaties. The Reasons why God deals thus with Mankind, are,

  • 1. To shew, that he hath no Pleasure in their Destruction. Ezek. XXXIII. 11. As also, to express the Greatness of his Mer­cy and Long-suffering.
  • [Page 11] 2. To work upon the Sinners ingenuity, and keep them from utterly dispairing of his Mercy Hos. XI. 4. 8. I drew them with Cords of a Man with Bands of Love. There is a sweet Contemperation between Love and Tenderness in the Invitation and Terror and Authority in the threatning, each assists the other in bringing the Sinner to Christ,; the one guards against Presump­tion, and the other against Dispair, those fatal Obstructions in the Way to Jesus.
  • 3. To render obstinate Sinners inexcusa­ble who will take no Warning. If I had not come, and spoken to them, they had not had Sin: But now they have no Cloak for their Sin, Joh. XV. 22. This is the Con­demnation, that Light is come into the World, and Men loved Darkness rather than Light, because their Deeds were evil. John. III. 19.

Then learn.

1. To admire God's Wisdom and Good­ness in his Dealings with poor Sinners in a Way best suited to their rational Natures, and most effectual either to alarm their Fear, or allure their Love; these two go­verning Passions of the humane Nature.

2. To be overcome by it. O let the Good­ness and Patience of God lead you to Re­pentance. Rom. II. 4. If there be any [Page 12]remains of Ingenuity in you, can you with­stand an intreating God and Saviour!

Some make the first Word of our Text, to be an intreating Particle: As if God had said, O consider this! My Brethren, will not the passionate Entreaties of a gracious God, freely tendering Pardon and Pity, after your numberless Rebellions and cruel Obstinacies, pierce your adamantine Hearts,! and excite you to accept at last, before it be too late, his merciful Offers and kind Warnings! Hear how the holy God mourns over and expostulates with Sinners in other Passages of sacred Writ. Exod. XXXIII. 11. Jer. IV. 14. Deut. V. 29. O! That there were such a Heart in them that they wou'd fear me, and keep my Com­mandments, that it might be well with them, and with their Children forever: When shall they be made clean? When shall it once be? Must he not have a Heart harder than polish'd Brass that can withstand these In­treaties! May not the Heavens and Earth be astonish'd at the Stupidity and Obstinacy of the ungodly World.

Doct. 2. That Forgetters of God are in a dangerous State, every Moment in Hazard of being torn in Pieces; their Condition is dangerous in two Respects.

  • [Page 13]1. In Respect of Sin. And,
  • 2. In Respect of Punishment. And,

1. In Respect of Sin; their forgetting God lays them open to all Manner of Temp­tations to be ensnared and taken, with little or no Reluctance, by Satan and their own Hearts Lusts, as an easy Prey. Here we are told, Jud. III. 7. That the Children of Israel forgot the Lord, and served Baalim and the Groves. Also, Ps. X. 5. it is said of the Wicked, that God is not in all their Thoughts, and therefore that their Ways are grievous. And does not Reason and Experience con­firm this Truth, that the Remembrance of a holy all-knowing God, is the most effectual Restraint from Sin? Was it not this that kept Job in Awe, Job XXXI. 4. Doth he not see all my Ways, and connot all my Steps? And David also, Ps. CXXXIX. that God knew his Rising up and Lying down, and that he could not go from his Presence.

2. In Respect of Punishment: For,

  • 1. It exposes to temporal Judgments; Jer. XVIII. 15, — 17. Because my People have forgotten me, I will scatter them as with an East Wind before the Enemy; I will shew them the Back, and not the Face, in the Day of their Calamity.
  • 2. To spiritual Judgments. Jer. XVII. 5, 6. Cursed be the Man whose Heart departeth [Page 14]from the Lord, for he shall be like the Heath in the Desert; a dry sorry Shrub, fit for no­thing but the Fire.
  • 3. To Eternal Judgments; Ps. IX. 17. The Wicked shall be turned into Hell, and all the Nations that forget God.

This Doctrine may strike Terror into the Consciences of all those that forget God: But who are those? And what Arguments of Terror does this Subject afford to such?

1. Secure Sinners: Had these Men a suitable Apprehension and Remembrance of God, their wretched Security would be sure­ly broken and disturbed.

2. Delaying Sinners; who put the evil Day far from them. Amos VI. who studious­ly avoid the Thoughts of God's Justice, and thereby stab their Souls, and strangle their gasping Consciences! O ye Murderers! Ye are the Forgetters of God, whose doleful Doom (so continuing) is to be torn to Pieces.

3. Prophane Sinners. Ps. X. Your Pro­phaness, it's the fearful Fruit of your for­getting God. Apply to your Consciences this Text, Now consider this, ye that for­get God, lest I tear you in Pieces, and there be none to Deliver. 1 Cor. VI. 4, 10. Know ye not that the Unrighteouess shall not inhe­rit the Kingdom of God? Be not deceived: [Page 15]Neither Fornicators, nor Idolaters, nor Adul­terers, nor Effeminate, nor Abusers of themselves with Mankind, nor Thieves, nor Covetous, nor Drunkards, nor Revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the Kingdom of God. O Drunkards! consider your Dan­ger.

4. Covetous Idolaters and Sensualists; how can it be otherwise, but that these should forget the God of Heaven! Who worship Mammon and their Bellies! You pretend to trust God about your Souls, but you dare not about your Estates: O you Soul deceivers! To you this threatning belongs; now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in Pieces, and there he none to deliver you. See Ephes. 5.5.

5. All Hypocrites and time Servers. Job. VIII. 13. Ezek. 8.12. The Danger and Misery of those who forget God, consists in this, that they fall into his Hands, and are torn to Pieces.

Now how fearful it is to fall into the Hands of the living God, appears from these Six following Consideration, viz.

  • 1. The Depth of his Wisdom.
  • 2. The extent of his Power and Domi­nion.
  • 3. His Spotless Holiness.
  • 4. His inflexible Justice.
  • [Page 16] 5. His infinite Eminence, And,
  • 6. His terrible Jealousie, And,

1. Is it not dreadful to fall into the Hands of God because, of his deep and un­searchable Wisdom? To which every Thing is naked and open, which brings to Light the hidden Things of Darkness. 1. Cor. 4.5. Remember the great God knows the Number and Heinousness of our most disguis'd Impieties and how to Proportion his Judgments to them Ps. L. 21, 22.

2. Is not it terrible because of the Ex­tent of his Power? He is wise in Heart, and mighty in strength: Who hath har­dened himself against him, and hath pros­pered? Job. IX. 4. God hath an absolute Empire over all Nature, he can easily arm the most contemptible of his Creatures with Vengeance to humble the Proudest of his Enemies! Witness, the Squadrons of Frogs, of Lice that were sent to humble that haughty Monarch Pharoah. — And,

3. Does not his untainted Holiness incline him to hate Sin infinitely, Hab. I. 13. and therefore kindle the Flames of his Wrath a­gainst such who commit it? When the Prophet had a Sight of God and his Glory, and heard the Seraphims proclaim his Holi­ness, saying, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord [Page 17]of Hosts, the whole Earth is full of his Glo­ry; he presently replied, Wo is me, for I am undone, because I am a Man of unclean Lips; — for mine Eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts, Is. VI. 3, 5.

4. Is it not fearful to fall into the Hands of God, because of his strict and inflexible Justice? Which inclines him to render to every Man according to his Works, to mark their Iniquities, and increase their Punish­ments, according to the Number and Aggra­vations of their Sins: Who then is able to stand before this holy LORD GOD? Ps. CXXX. Ps. III. 1 Sam. VI. 20.

5. Is not it terrible to fall into the Hands of God, on Account of his infinite Eminence? Shall not his Excellency make you afraid, and his Dread fall upon you? Job. XIII: II. Shall not Destruction from God be a Terror to you? And can you be able to endure by Reason of his Highness? Job XXXI. 23. A mean Man's Anger is but lightly esteemed, but the Frowns of the great are much fear­ed. If the Wrath of a Temporal King be as Messengers of Death, what then must be the Wrath of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, that high and lofty one, that inhabi­teth Eternity: Jer. X. 6, 7. For as much as there is none like unto thee, O LORD, who art great, and thy Name is great in Might; [Page 18]Who would not fear thee, O King of Nations? What will you Forgetters of God do? When he will tear you in his Wrath, take you by the Neck, and shake you in Pieces? Set you up as a Mark, for the Arrow of his Indigna­tion to pierce, cleave your Reins assunder, and pour out your Gall upon the Ground, break you with Breach upon Breach, and run upon you like a Giant? Job. XVI. 9, 12, 13, 14.

6. Because of his burning Jealousy. Cant. VIII. 6. Jealousy is cruel as the Grave, the Coals thereof are Coals of Fire, which have a most vehement Flame. Nah. I. 2. You Fo­getters of God, remember that God will be to you as a Lion, as a Leopard by the Way will he observe you; he will meet you as a Bear that is bereaved of her Whelps, and will rent the Caul of your Heart. Hos. XIII. 7, 8.

On the contrary, be intreated to remem­ber God, and entertain him in your Thoughts and Affections. Now there are these Things of God which ye ought to remember, if you would approve your selves to him, viz.

1. His Omniscience: That his all-seeing Eye is continually beholding you, even in your retired Recesses; this would be a great Preservative against Sin. Ps. CXXXIX.

2. His Word: This you should hide in [Page 19]your Hearts, lest you Sin against him, ac­cording to the Practice, Ps. CXIX. II.

3. His Works, whether of Creation, Re­demption, or Providence. And,

  • 1. Of Creation; on every of which are visibly engraven bright Images of their Au­thor's Perfections; especially of his infinite Wisdom and almighty Power, in their For­mation and Order. — Rom. I. — How manifold are thy Works, O God, in Wisdom hast thou made them all.
  • 2. Of Redemption; in which all the Per­fections of the Deity conspiring shine with inexpressible. Beauty and ravishing Harmo­ny, to the Astonishment of the whole Hea­vens, and all the intelligent enlightned Creation. But above the Rest gracious Love appears with unrivalled Lustre and peculiar Triumph (sicut Luna inter Astra minora) as the Moonamong the lesser Stars.
  • 3. Of Providence; the precious Passages of which, respecting either your Souls or Bo­dies, ought to be carefully remembered. Ps. XXXIV. 4, 6. I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my Fears.

4. His People; the Peace and Welfare of God's Church and People, ought to lie near your Hearts. If I forget thee O Jerusalem, let my right Hand forget her Cunning. Ps. [Page 20] CXXXVII. 5. The Afflictions of Joseph should press us heavily. Amos VI. 6.

5. The Ordinances of God; Is. LXII I. For Zion's sake I will not hold my peace until the Righteousness thereof go forth as Brightness, and the Salvation thereof as a Lamp that burneth. Upon this Account David thought the Tabernacles of God amiable, and long'd for his Courts, Ps. LXXXIV.

That you may be induced to take this Course, consider

  • 1. The woful Ingratitude there is in for­getting God, who has so often and so graci­ously remembered you; this was the awful Aggravation of Israel's Sin, that they forgot their Saviour. Ps. CVI. 21.
  • 2. Consider how long ye have already forgotten him, and let that Suffice, lest the Lord Complain over you, as he did of Old, Jer. II. 32. That his People had forgotten him Days out of Number.
  • 3. Consider the dreadful Consequence of this Practice, that it will cause God to abhor you. Deut. XXXII. 18, 19. And tear you in Pieces, as our Text asserts.
  • 4. The great Advantages of Remembring God, by this the Psalmists Souls was filled as with Marrow and Fatness, Ps. LXIII. 5, 6.

[Page 21] Now if you wou'd be kept from forget­ting God, you must observe these Two Di­rections, viz.

  • 1. Forsake your Bosom Lusts, for they are the Causes of your forgetting God, Hos. II. 13. She went after her Lovers, and for­gat me, saith the Lord.
  • 2. Seek the Sanctified use of Prosperity, otherwise you are like to forget God, Hos. XIII. 6. According to their Pasture, so were they fill'd, they were filled, and their Heart was exalted, therefore have they for­gotten me, saith the Lord.

Doct. 3. That solemn and speedy Consi­deration is necessary to prevent the Sinner's Ruine: Consideration is in two Respects necessary, both in Regard of Command and Mean. And,

1. Gods commanding Authority to which we (who are dependant Creatures) shou'd stoop without the least Reluctance obliges us to it, in the Text under our present Me­ditation.

2. It's necessary in respect of Mean. For,

  • 1. Consideration, hath a natural and ex­cellent Tendency to prevent the Commission of Sin, which is the meritorious cause of Man's Destruction, and that two Ways.
    • 1. By stripping tempting Objects of their false Guises and ensnaring Charms. Con­sideration [Page 22]represents the Honours, Profits, and Pleasures, of the World, That sordid Trinity, which infatuated Mortals with such fond and eager Passion court and adore in a just Light, viz. To be in a great Mea­sure but imaginary, uncertain, unsatisfacto­ry, perishing and ensnaring, and therefore not worthy of the high Esteem, and pas­sionate Pursuit of an immortal Spirit; being beneath its noble Nature, and too narrow to satiate its enlarg'd Desires. And,
    • 2. By representing the dangerous Conse­quences of a sinful Course to the Mind, which must needs check our Inclinations that Way; it allays the brutish Pleasures of these stolen Sweets to think of the soure Sauce which follows them. The Lord a­scribes his Peoples Rebellion to their In­consideration. Is. I. 2.3. Hear O Hea­vens, and give ear O Earth, for the Lord hath spoken; I have nourish'd and brought up Chil­dren, and they have rebell'd against me, the Ox knoweth his Owner, and the Ass his Masters Crib, but Israel doth not know, my People doth not consider.

      It is not so much Peoples Ignorance, as their Inconsiderateness, which is the sad Source of their woful Disorders: ‘If Sin­ners did but seriously think, (says Stak­house,) that at the Revelation of the righ­teous [Page 23]Judgement of God he will pour out Indignation and Wrath, Tribulation and Anguish upon every Soul of Man that doth evil, Rom. II. 5. They durst no more run into these Perpetrations deliberately and in cold Blood, than pretend to stop a Thunder Bolt as it comes roaring from the Clouds.’

  • 2. Consideration hath a Tendency to con­vince of Sin, not only of the evil of a sin­ful Act, but of the Danger of a sinful State, which is a necessary Preparative to Conver­sion, and Salvation. Luke XV. 15.17. When the Prodigal came to himself, i. e. came to consider and reflect upon his Way, and the Danger of it, he soon cry'd out. I perish, and then resolved to go to his offend­ed Father.
  • 3. Consideration hath a Tendency to excite to Holiness, the only sure Path to eternal Happiness, by representing to the Mind the Reality, Beauty, and Perfection of these unseen and eternal Things, which the good God has promised to all these that love and serve him, CXIX 29. I thought on my Ways (said the Psalmist) and turn'd my Feet to thy Testimonies.

Use I. If it be so, that serious and speedy Consideration is so necessary a Mean to pre­vent the Sinners utter Destruction, then sure­ly, [Page 24]these have little Respect to their own Souls, who will not be at the pains to con­sider what their Case is, and what is like to be the End of their present Course! And yet Alas! This is the Condition of the most: They seldom enquire what their present State is or consider what will be the End of their Way, they are secure, Thoughtless and Indolent about their everlasting con­cerns, Jer. VIII. 6. And truly this persist­ed in is a deadly Token of a damnable and desperate Case, as our Text asserts.

Use II. Be entreated in the Fear of God to consider your Case and Way, and that speedily, ask your Souls these three Ques­tions.

  • 1. What you have been doing? And so reflect upon your past Practices.
  • 2. What you are now doing? Are you repenting and obeying the Gospel or not? Or only carrying a dead hypocritical Form?
  • 3. What you should do to be saved? Sal­vation is your great Interest, which you should be most intent about and earnest u­pon: Whithout such Enquiries there can be no Repentance, and without Repentance no Salvation. Jer. VIII. 6. Acts II. 37. Luke XXXIII. 3.

Now in order to excite you to this Duty of Consideration, and that speedily, think upon these Particulars.

[Page 25] 1. God calls you to it; and will you not obey your Creator? Hag. I. 5. Now there­fore, thus saith the Lord, consider your Ways.

2. This is the most effectual Mean to pro­cure your Conversion, and prevent your ru­ine, Ezek. XVIII. 28. Because he considereth and turneth away from all his Transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live; lest I tear you in Pieces, and there be none to deliver: These Words insinuate, that if they did consider and repent, they would not be torn in Pieces. The People of Nini­veh were in a very dangerous Condition, near the Brink of utter Destruction: — Yet when they considered the Prophet Jonah's Warning, humbled them­selves and reformed, the Lord repented of the Evil he threatned to inflict upon them. Jonah III.

3. It is pleasing to God when Sinners take Warning from him, and consider their Sin and Danger; so soon as the Prodigal came to himself, and thought of returning to his Father, while he was yet a great Way off, his Father ran to meet him. — Hence the Lord graciously expostulates with those Sinners, in Is. I. 18. Come now and let us Reason together, saith the Lord: Though your Sins be as Scarlet, they shall be as white [Page 26]as Snow; though they be red as Crimson, they shall be as Wool.

4. It Suits the Design of our Being; the intended Use of our Reason: What was our Reason given us for? but to exercise it in Consideration upon the most important Subjects! Can we dream, that it was con­ferred on us mainly to direct us how to play to Advantage Domitian's Game, to catch Flies, to amass the winged Trifles of the present World?

Again, consider now, O Sinner!

1. Because thy Happiness is of the last Importance, and the Seasons of Securing it are very short and contracted; alas! they insensibly waste away, and being once ex­pired, can never be recalled. Gen. VI. 3. Luk. XIX. 41.42.

2. Because uncertain; therefore while you have the Light, walk in it; work while the Day lasts, Joh. IX. 4. For the Night com­eth in which no Man can work.

3. You must give a strict Account to God for every Season of Mercy you enjoy, for e­very divine Warning. Rev. II. 21. The Lord complains of Jezabel, I gave her a Space to repent of her Fornications, and she repented not.

4. You can't too soon, but you may when it is too late, you may shed Tears in vain, [Page 27]with Esau and Judas, when God is departed from you; you may seek God with unhappy Saul, and get no Answer from him. 1 Sam XXVIII. 15. O how sorely was this Man distressed, when God had utterly forsaken him, and would answer him no more either by Prophets or Dreams? And in the mean Time his implacable and potent Enemies pour'd in upon him like a Flood, and no Re­fuge opened for his Rescue and Escape! In like manner unspeakably acute and dread­ful will be the Anguish and Distress of fi­nally impenitent and inconsiderate Sinners, in the Day of the Lord's cruel Wrath and fierce Anger (which shall burn as an Oven and consume the proud and wicked as dry Stubble) for then all their false Friends and Refuges will fail them, and their Enemies environ them to destroy them, and the Judgments of God arrest them suddenly and terribly, like Thunder and Lightning, and that in Troops like Showers of fiery Hail, from which they shan't obtain a hiding Place, tho' they cry to the Hills and Moun­tains for it. Is. XIII. 9. Mal. IV. 1. Rev. VI. 16.

5. The most perish by neglecting the pre­sent Seasons; few deny absolutely, but ma­ny delay, Felix like; go thy Way for this Time, Acts XXIV. 25.

[Page 28] 6. You have delayed too long already, let the Time past suffice you, wherein you wrought the Will of the Gentiles, when ye walked in Lasciviousness, Lusts, Excess of Wine, Revellings, Banqetings, — 1 Pet. IV. 3

7. The sooner you turn to God, the more Good you are like to do, and the clearer E­vidences obtain of a good State. It is a no­ble Sign of the Truth of Grace, when we turn from Sin in its Strength: Young Con­verts have a large Field of Usefulness open­ed before them, which it is their Honour and Interest as well as Duty to improve. Dan. XII. 3.

If you will not consider now, when it is like to be so much to your Advantage, you shall hereafter, to your inexpressible Tor­ment, when your benum'd Consciences shall be roused out of its Iron Slumbers, and scourge your guilty Souls with the Fruitless Remembrance of your past Iniquities and Follies, when it is too late to get them can­celled, or the offended God appeased.

If you ask me, what we shall consider u­pon? I answer, pray consider, —

  • 1. What is the great Design of your Be­ing? — Is it not to glorify and enjoy God?
  • [Page 29] 2. How little your past and present Course answers that Design.
  • 3. O! cousider what infinite Dangers you are exposed to, while in this Christless unre­conciled Condition. — Also think upon,
  • 4. The Shortness and uncertainty of Life; is it not a Vapour that appears only for a little Time, and then vanishes away. James IV. 14.
  • 5. The Preciousness of your Souls: Is it not of a spiritual Nature? — And ever­lasting Duration? — Is the whole World sufficient Recompence for it? Matth. XVI. 29.
  • 6. The Vastness of Eternity; especially the horrible Scene of the divine Vengeance. Who can dwell with devouring Fire?With everlasting Burnings? Is. XXXIII. 14.
  • 7. The Aggravated Damnation of all those who sin against Light and Love: This is the Condemnation, that Light is come into the World, and Men loved Darkness rather than Light, because their Deeds were Evil, Joh. III. 19. How shall we escape, if we neglect so great Salvation? Heb. II. 3. He thot being often reproved, hardeneth his Neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without Remedy. Prov. XXIX. 1. God shall wound [Page 30]the Head of his Enemies; and the hair Scalp of such a one as goeth on still in his Trespasses. Ps. LXVIII. 21.

I conclude with the Words of the Prophet Hosea, Chap. VII. 1, 2, 13. When I would have healed Israel, then the Iniquity of Eph­raim was discovered: — And they consider not in their Hearts that I remember all their Wickedness. — Wo unto them, for they have fled from me; Destruction unto them, because they have transgressed against me: Though I have redeemed them, yet they have spoken Lies against me.

FINIS.

ERRATA.

Pag. 13. Line 18. for connot read count.

Pag. 14. Line 29. for Unrighteouess read Unrighteous.

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