Solemn Warning TO THE Secure World, FROM The GOD of terrible Majesty. OR, The Presumptuous Sinner Detected, his Pleas Consider'd, and his Doom Display'd. Being an ESSAY, in which the strong Proneness of Mankind to entertain a false Confidence is proved; The Causes & Foundations of this Delusion open'd and consider'd in a great Variety of Particulars; The Folly, Sinfulness and dangerous Consequences of such a presumptuous Hope expos'd, and Direc­tions propos'd how to obtain that Scriptural and Rational Hope, which maketh not ashamed. In a DISCOURSE from DEUT. xxix. 19, 20, 21.

By Gilbert Tennent, M. A. Minister of the Gospel a$ N. Brunswick N. Jersey.

Incidit in Scyllam cupiens vitare Charybdin.

Joel ii. 1.

Blow ye the Trumpet in Zion, sound an Alarm in my holy Mountain: Let all the Inhabitants of the Land tremble.

BOSTON, N.E. Printed by S. KNEELAND and T. GREEN, for D. HENCHMAN in Cornhill, MDCCXXXV.



Candid Reader,

I Am sensible that the Subject insisted on in the following Sheets, is none of the most grateful and pleasing to corrupt and degenerate Nature, and therefore, if I have aim'd at my own Ho­nour, I have pursued a wrong Method to at­tain or secure it, in chusing this so grating and disgusting a Subject, and in treating upon it in such a po$$|ed Stile: But, if it is not the most pleasing, I dare be bold to assert that it is one of the most sutable, necessary and profita­ble; considering the general and lamentable Security that prevails so exceedingly among the Children of this Generation.

Although the unjust Censures of ungodly People, are often­times so far from being afflictive to me, that they afford Mat­ter of Consolation, Mat. 5.12. They can't please me better, than by giving me the Honour of an unjust Abuse; except they turn to the blessed JESUS. On the contrary their Praises make me suspicious (with one of the Ancients) that I have done something amiss; yet, as to the Detracters and Aspersers themselves, I cannot but be sorrowful for the Sin [Page ii]they coutract, and the Danger they inour, by their unjust Reproaches! To prevent both which, I thought it needful to propose an Answer to some general Objections, which, I fore­saw, wou'd (according to humane Probability) be level'd a­gainst the following Composura.


1. Perhaps some may object against the Matter of it, as well as against the pointed Manner of Expression, that both are too terrible.

A. What I have advanc'd, I think I have prev'd by plain Scripture Evidence. I hope the Objector will have more Modesty than to find Fault with the sacred Oracles, because they don't sute his Plate; but if waving that antiquated, tho' graceful Vertue, he will fall soul on the holy Scriptures, I wonder not that he censures me; and as I wonder not at his Reflections against my self, so I mind them not any other­wise, than so as to esteem them, as a Pearl in my Crown, as a Badge of Honour, and a Cause of Triumph. But more par­ticularly, the Truth is, Such be the Miseries of presumptuous and impenitent Sinners, in this, and especially in the next World, that what I have offer'd comes far short of an equal, much less of an excessive Description of them. It is a just and receiv'd Maxim that Heaven and Hell don't admit a Hyperbole. Indeed a Cherub's Tongue or Quill cou'd scarce expand or display them sufficiently. Conceive of GOD perfectly, and then you may perfectly conceive of and describe his Anger. But this is impossible for a finite Understanding, as Zophar informs us, Job 11.7, 8, 9. Canst thou by search­ing find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto Perfection? It is high as Heaven what canst thou do? Deeper than Hell, what canst thou know? The Measure thereof is longer than the Earth, and broader than the Sea! Friend, thou shalt know by Experience, either by a sound Conviction here, or by a dreadful Condemnation hereafter, that I have nor equal'd, much less exceeded the Sorrows and Pains of the damned State, in the Description I have given of them.

As to the sharpness of the Stile, I shall only offer this brief Apology, that the Nature of the Subject treated of, and the Security of the World require it, and instead of retracting it, I cou'd wish it were much more pointed, it falls so far short of my Desire this Way; and tho' I freely acknowledge that planting and watering are nothing to Purpose, that the most solemn Matter, and acrid Stile, will not avail without the divine Benediction; yet in the mean time, I believe that God [Page iii]ordinarily uses Instruments, most suted to the Work he designs to accomplish: Blunt Instruments (in my Opinion) are not suted to pierce hard Hearts, or alarm secure Souls.

But to give a satisfactory Reply, to this Objection com­plexly consider'd, if possible, I shall offer to your Consideration the Sentiments of some great Lights of the Protestant Church upon this Head, with some of the Reasons they advance to confirm them by. Dr. Stillingfleet in one of his Sermons upon that Text, 2 Cor. 6.11. Knowing the Terror of the Lord, we perswade Men; hath these Words, That if this “Reason does not perswade Men, there is no Reason to expect any other should, if almighty Power cannot a­waken us, if infinite Justice can't affright us, if a Judg­ment to come can't make us tremble, and eternal Misery leave no Impression upon us, what Arguments or Me­thods ”can we imagine wou'd reclaim us from our Sins?

Bishop Hopkins in his Sermon upon Heb 10.30. hath these very memorable Expressions, pag 367, 8. There are “two principal Attributes of God, which the Scripture propounds to us as the most powerful and efficacious Motives to restrain us from Sin; and they are his Mercy and his Justice: Mercy tho' it be a soft yet it is a strong Argument to encourage us to Purity and Holiness, Rom. 2.4. He that can encourage himself in his Wickedness, upon the Consideration of the infinite free Grace of God, doth spurn these very Bowels that yern towards him, and strikes at God with his golden Scepter, yea tears abroad those Wounds that were at first opened for him, and casts the Blood of his Saviour back again in his Face. But because Ingenuity is perished from off the Earth, and Men are more generally apt to be wrought upon by Ar­guments drawn from Fear, than Love, therefore the Scripture propounds to us the dreadful Consideration of the Justice of God, array'd in all the Terrible Circum­stances of it, that if Mercy won't allure us, Justice may affright us from our Sins. As those who are to travel through Wildernesses and Desarts, carry Fire with them to terrify wild and ravenous Beasts, to secure themselves from their Assaults, so doth the great God who hath to deal with brutish Men, Men more savage than the wild Beasts; he kindles a Fire about him, & appears to them all in Flames and Fury, that so he might fright them from their hold Attempts, who otherwise wou'd be ready to run upon his Neck, and the thick Bosses of his Buckler, [Page iv]Job 15.26. There is a strange Dullness and Stupor seiz'd us that we can no longer keep waking then we are shook, and therefore as we use to apply Fire and burning Coals to Lethargick Persons to awaken them, so we have need to heap Coals of Fire upon Men's Heads, to speak with fiery Tongues, and thunder Wo and Wrath, and Judgments against them, that we may rouse the secure and stupid World, and scorch them in­to ”Life and Sense.

Learned Mr. Boyle hath these Expressions, in his Trea­tise upon the Torments of Hell, pag. 255. That the fore­thoughts “of future Punishments are the most likely ”Means to excite our Endeavours to prevent it.

He adds a weighty pungent Reason to confirm his Senti­ments. For (says he) this is an Argument suted to one “of the strongest Passions of humane Nature, our Fears. Nay it's almost the only Argument that sensual and se­cure Sinners seem at first capable of being affected and mov'd by. If we endeavour to reclaim them to their Duty, by setting before them the endearing Obligations of divine Love: This is an Argument that may indeed touch an ingenuous Mind, but it's likely to make little Impression upon an unthankful and stupid Heart. If we wou'd entice them to the Paths of Holiness, by proposing to them the spiritual Joys that attend them, alas, they neither understand nor relish them. If we would win and attract them by displaying the Glories of Heaven before their Eyes; the Objects are too Sublime and Spiritual for their gross Affections to aspire to: So that we have no Argument so proper as this, to set before them the Torments of Hell. For these are the most easily under­stood and conceiv'd, and if seriously believ'd and consi­der'd, they carry the most irresistable Force to awaken the Consciences of the most stupid Sinners, and convince them of the Necessity of flying from the Wrath to come. For who can dwell with devouring Fire? Who can dwell with everlasting Burnings? This is an Argument that reaches the Principle of Self-Preservation, so deeply rooted in our Natures, that strongly prompts us to flee with all possible Speed, from what we apprehend to be the greatest and most certain Evil. So that if any Ar­gument can make Impression on an obdurate Sinner, it must be this drawn from the Prospect of the eternal Vengeance, as hardest Metals are soonest melted by ”the Fire.

[Page v]

I might easily add a Number more of great Names and Ar­guments, but to avoid Prolixity, and also because this Objec­tion is afterwards consider'd, I shall proceed to another Ob­jection which is this.

Possibly some may object against the Method, that it is perplex'd and consus'd.

I answer, That perhaps the Prolixity of the Discourse, and the Numerousness of the Heads contained in it, makes is ap­pear more so than it really is, when the whole Frame, and Relation of the several Parts to each other is complexly con­sider'd. Again, I confess that my Design was rather to pro­fit a plainer Order of Men, than to please Criticks and curi­ous Persons, whose most notable Talent is to condemn all, but what they do themselves. If I know any thing of my own Heart, my Scope was rather to wound the Heart, than to tickle the Fancy.

If any should object against the Prolixity of the following Discourse, I answer, That the Matter treated of is various, tho' the main Scope and principle Subject is but one; and many of the Heads are succinctly and briefly handled, so that I hope the well inclined Reader will be rather diverted by a grateful Variety, than surfeited and tir'd by a tedious Pro­lixity; and that the principal Points treated of may be found with more Ease and Expedition, I have annex'd an Index, by consulting which the Reader may turn to what sutes his In­clination best.

If any should again object, that considering the Meanness of the whole Composure, that it is but a piece of Pride and Presumption (in so critical and censorious an Age) to expose so young a Production to publick Light; I desire those Gen­tlemen to consider, whether they are not too bold and preci­pitant in passing such a hasty Judgment upon the secret Springs of another's Actions, which it's God's Prerogative and his only (who is Cardiognostos, the Searcher of the Hearts) to know immediately and infaliibly? And pray let them consider, that all Men have not the same Taste, Trahit sua quemq; Voluptas: Men's Fancies as their Features are va­rious, and Fancy through our sad Degeneracy has too much the Ascendant over our Judgment: Others may admire what you disdain. Pro Captu Lectoris habent sua Fata Libelli. Books have their different Fates according to their Readers Fancies.

Further, Is it not necessary that every Member of Christ's mystical Body, should labour to advance the Interest of his Kingdom, according to their Capacity and Opportunity? [Page vi]But more especially those of a publick Character? The Widow's Mite was kindly accepted and put into the Treasury, tho' ve­ry small, and the Donor commended, Mark 12.42, 43 We don't find that those poor People who cou'd not bring Gold and Silver, and Purple, if they did but bring Goats Hair, and Badgers Skins, for the Service of the Temple; I say, we don't find that such, and their Offerings were rejected, no, but on the contrary, they were accepted, Exod. 35.5, 6, 23. If so, then perhaps a melanoholy Prospect of the dangerous Security, that the Generality of Mankind are involv'd in, with an earnest Desire after their Conviction, Conversion and Salvation, will be found at the general Judgment to be the principal Occasion of the Composure and Publication of the following Sheets. I profess that when I preach'd at Amboy the Substance of this Tract, in the same Order and Diction, that it now appears in to publick View, I had no Thoughts of ever letting it see a brighter Light, than the Audience that first heard it, but that it should sink with o­thers of the like Tendency, I had preach'd there, and in other Places which I am pastorally related to, in a dark Obscurity and silent Oblivion. But some Opposition being made against some Things I had deliver'd, and being desir'd to give a Copy of what I had preach'd, while I was transcribing the origi­nal Paper, the Sutableness of the Subject, to the present secure State of the most of the gospeliz'd World, presenting it self to my Mind, had some Influence upon me; I was inclin'd to think, that were these Heads already propos'd, further en­larg'd upon, with the Addition of some others, they might be serviceable in the Hand of Christ, to awaken and direct some weaker People, who were destitute of better Helps Now after having enlarged the Discourse, I was induc'd by the Importunity of some Friends, to permit it's Publication, & the rather by this Consideration, that if it should please Almighty God to call me off the fleeting Stage of Time, by Death, I might leave a small, a poor Man's Legacy, to my Hearers at Amboy, N Brunswick, and other Places, either to convince or condemn the Impeni­tent, and to support and direct such as had learned of the Father, to know the Truth as it is in Jesus.

I am not insensible that those very Persons, for whose Good and Benefit this Tract was principally compos'd, and to whom it is especially directed, are like to be most displeas'd with the Matters contain'd in it; for many Men are so in Love with their delusive Ease, that they are willing and fond to purchase it at the dearest Rate, even at the Cost of their present and future Happiness; and as they are willingly ig­norant [Page vii]of their present Danger, and future Misery; so they hate and oppose the most direct and awakening Methods to correct the one, and prevent the other; and the$efore I wou'd carnestly b$g these few Requests, of the Christless and presump­tuous Reader, for Chrisi's sake, and for his own Soul's sake, (1.) That he would read the whole before he condemn a Part. (2.) That he would weigh the Composure, and it's several Parts, not in the Scales of Fancy, or Prejudice, but in the Balances of Scripture, and right Reason. And (3.) That he be earnest with God by humble Supplication, for Light and Direction. But I know not how to finish this prefatory Discourse, without the Addition of a particular Address to those of my Hearers, that are yet in a State of Sin and Security.

Beloved Brethren, You have often heard your Danger de­scrib'd, you have had many a Call, by the Word, and Pro­vidence of God, as well as by your own Consciences, and are you not awaken'd yet? O strange! O mournful! Others have been (through Grace) convinc'd and chang'd effectual­ly by the Means you enjoy, and won't these be a Witness a­gainst you at the Tribunal of Christ? What will you be able to say in your own Vindication? Then won't Blushing and Confusion cover you, and guilty Silence be your Answer? What, does the Word prove a Savour of Life unto Life to o­thers, and of Death unto Death to you? O dreadful! What do you intend to do dear Brethren? Will you sleep for ever? Will you sleep till Death and Hell awake you? Or do you think that you may go to Heaven in this Slumber of carnal Security? If you do you shall find your selves miserably mista­ken! as is fully prov'd in the following Tract. Be not d$|ceiv'd Brethren, The Kingdom of Heaven suffers Violence, and the violent (and they only) take it by Force, Matth. 11.12. Let me address you as the Prophet Elijah did the People of Israel, 1 Kings 18.21. How long halt ye between two Opinions? If the Lord be God follow him: but if Baal then follow him. Or as the Shipmaster to Jonah, who was fast asleep in the midst of a great Tempest, Jonah 1.5. What meanest thou, O Sleeper? Arise, call upon thy God, if so be he will think upon us that we perish not, Verse 6. It's a just and pertinent Note of Mr. Henry, upon this Pas­sage of Scripture, ‘That those who sleep in a Storm may “ ”well be ask'd what they mean?’ Brethren, You sleep in a greater Storm then Jonah did; that only concern'd the B$dy, but this the precious Soul; that a temporal, but this an eternal Death. Y$u are (whether you know it or not [Page viii]sensibly) every Moment ready to be swallow'd up by the boi­sterous Billows of God's justly incensed Ire, and the Vessel of your Souls like to be broken by a dreadful Inundation of kis vindictive Fury and Revenge: Deut. 32.41, 35. Rom. 12.19 And yet will you sleep, what Metal are you “made of? What God do you fear? Or are you deal to ”all the Menaces of Heaven? Will not the Terrors of an eternal God, and an eternal Hell make you afraid? What mean you? Are you yet wholly lost to Sense, to Reason, and to Conscience? Are you degenerated into Beasts? Or petrified into Stones? Are you cover'd with the Leviathan's Scales that no Arrow from the Bow of God will pierce you! Mayn't the Example of Jonas's Fellow Mariners make you a­sham'd? Jonah 1.5. Then the Mariners were afraid, and cry'd every Man to his God, and cast forth the Wares that were in the Ship, into the Sea, to lighten it of them. But perhaps you mock at Fear, and are not affrighted, though the Heavens look black, and God's Lightnings and Thun­ders, from blazing, trembling Sinai, flash and groan, and rore hideously! Tho' God's Law condemn you, and your own Consciences tell you, that you shall surely perish, if ye die in the same State you are now in, yet you holdly, or ra­ther shall I say impudently, or stupidly brave it out in the Face of an angry Heaven! And run upon the thick Bosses of God's Bucklers, and are not afraid when God's great Ordnance is level'd at your naked Bosom. You won't be perswaded by any Importunity to cast these Goods out of the Ship, (as the Mariners did) which will if retain'd sink it in Death. I mean your darling Lusts which you must forsake or perish. Mat. 5.29. Again, the affrighted Mariners cry'd every one to his God, Ver. 5. Why don't you awake poor Souls, and cry every one of you to God, with the utmost Vehemence, as the Disciples of Christ did in a Storm, when the Waves were like to overwhelm the Vessel, Lord, save us we perish! Mat. 8.25. Or as Peter's Hearers, Acts 2.37. Men and Brethren, What shall we do to be saved? Sirs, Suffer me to acost you in the Language of Paul to the Ephe­sians, Chap. 5.14. Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the Dead, and Christ shall give thee Light; for the Time past of our Life may suffice us, to have wrought the Will of the Gentiles. 1 Pet. 4.3. Awake to Righteous­ness and sin not: for some have not the Knowledge of God: $word$ speak this to your Shame. 1 Cor. 15.34. And especially knowing the Time, that now it is high Time to awake out of Sleep. But I can't in Regard of you add [Page ix]the Apostle's Reason, Rom. 13.11. For now is your Salvati­on nearer than when ye believed. No Brethren! I am oblig'd in Faithfulness to God, and Love to you, to tell that inasmuch as you did not, and now do not believe, that your Damnation is nearer than when ye first heard the Gospel of Christ, and Salvation by his Blood; because of your unbe­lieving Obstinacy and presumptuous Security.

Awake, Awake Sinners, stand up and lock where you are hastning, least you drink of the Hand of the Lord, the Dregs of the Cup of his Fury; the Cup of trembling, and wring them out, Isai. 51.17. Awake ye Drunkards, and weep and howl, Joel 1.5. For what can ye expect (so con­tinuing) but to drink of that Cup of Trembling I but now mention'd.

Awake ye prophane Swearers, and remember ye will not get a drop of Water to cool your cursing cursed Tongues in Hell, when they and you shall flame in the broad burning Lake, Luke 16.24. God has said he will not hold you Guiltless, that take his Name in vain, Exod 20.7.

Awake ye unclean Adulterers, and Whoremongers, and remember that without a speedy Repentance, your dismal a­bode shall be ever with unclean Devils, the Soul of a God shall be aveng'd upon you, Jer. 5.8, 29.

Awake ye Sabbath Breakers, and reform; or God will break you upon the Wheels of his Vengeance, and torture you eternally upon the Rack of his Justice, Nehem. 13.16, 17, 18.

And let all other sorts of prophane Sinners be entreated to awake out of Sleep and consider their Danger.

Awake ye covetous griping Nabals, and read what the Apostle James says to you, Chap 5.1 to 6. Go to now, ye rich Men, weep and howl for the Miseries that shall come upon you. The Rust of your Gold and Silver shall be a Witness against you. Ye have lived in Pleasure upon Earth, and been wanton, you have nourished your Hearts as in a Day of Slaughter. Here we may Note by the Way, that those who live like Beasts here, and will not be induc'd by any Perswasive to repent, reform and act like Men, shall howl like Beasts hereafter, without being heard or pitied 1 Cor. 16.13. Prov. 1.26.

Awake ye secure Moralists, and lifeless, sapless Formalists, who are Strangers to the Power of experimental Raligion: Remember your shadowy Appearances, can't deceive the Rein trying God, Gal. 6.7. Nor your dry Leaves of h$$$ky spiritless Duties, secure your guilty Souls, from an astonish­ing [Page x]overwhelmning Inundation of his high and terrible Dis­pleasure, Mat. 5.20.

Awake ye base backsliding Hypocrites, and cruel Apos­tates, who once made a Profession of Religion, then better Things were expected of you, but ye have wickedly deceiv'd our Expectation, and ye will in the End as miserably de­ceive your own, if ye yet foolishly entertain any Hopes of Heaven, in the State and Course you are now in; Remember the Blackness of Darkness is reserv'd for such cowardly trai­terous Runasadoes and Deserters, seeing you are ashamed of Christ, and of his Words, in this adulterous and sinful Ge­neration, of you also shall the Son of Man be asham'd, when he comes in the Glory of his Father with the holy Angels, Mark 8.38 Hypocrites must be cut asunder. Mat 24.51. Backsliders shall eat of the Fruit of their own Ways (their wicked Ways, and bitter, bitter Fruits they'd b$) and they shall be filled with their own Devices, d'ceiv'd and damn'd by them, Prov. 14.14 Mat 14.44, 45. 2 Pet 2.21, 22. For if they have escaped the Pollutions of the World, through the Knowledge of the Lord and Savi­our Jesus Christ, they are again intangled therein and o­vercome, the latter end is worse with them than the be­ginning: It had been better for them not to have known the Way of Righteousness, than after they have known it, to turn from the holy Commandment deliver'd unto them. But it is happened unto them, according to the true Pro­verb, the Dog is turned to his own Vomit again, and the Sow that was washed to her wallowing in the Mire. Such Apostates for all their specious Shews and Shams, were but wasnen Dogs and Swine at best; that is, their Hearts were not chang'd effectually, they had and do yet retain base Qua­lities, like those bruit Creatures, but now mention'd: Such Backsliders do jour Contempt on Christ, and the Gospel of his Grace, by bringing a bad Report upon them, they do as it were by turning their Backs upon Religion, profess to the World, that they have found some Evil in God's Ways: By this the venerable Name of God is dishonour'd, his Ways reproach'd, his People griev'd, and the Hand of his Ene­mies, the Wicked, strengthned. 1 Tim. 6 1. Rom 2.24. Psalm 25.3. Thus seeing your Sin is a complicated Evil, you must expect an aggravated Punishment. Heb. 10.26, 27, 28. If we sin wilfully after we have received the Knowledge of the Truth, there remaineth no more Sacri­fice for Sin, but a certain fearful looking for of Judgment, and the fiery Indignation of God to consume the Adversaries. [Page xi]Here you may observe that enlighten'd Persons are they only, that are like to commit the Sin against the Holy Ghost, a Sin which shall not be pardoned in this, nor in the next World Heb. 6.4, 5, 6. Neither ignorant Persons, nor gra­cious Persons are capable of committing the unpardonable Sin, not the first, because it must be committed against Light and Knowledge, which they want, Heb. 10.26. Nor the second, for it must be attended with Malice, Heb. 10.29. Which they are secured against, 1 John 3.9. & 5.18. Isai. 59.21. Jer. 32.40. In short, a voluntary Desertion of the Profession of Religion, is a terrible Step towards the unpardonable Sin. O! Let such consider with trembling Hearts, if it is not too late, the Scriptures I have mention'd under this Head, as al­so these that follow. But if any Man draw back, my Soul shall have no Pleasure in him: But we are not of them that draw back unto Perdition. Luke 9.62. No Man hav­ing put his Hand to the Plow, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God. And if they be not fit for the King­dom of God they must be fit for the Kingdom of the Devil. O terrible Portion! Therefore repent & do your first Works. O remember whence you are fallen! and where you are a falling! Otherwise Christ will come against you quickly, in a Way of just Judgment, and fight against you with the Sword of his Mouth. Rev. 2.5, 16. With the Sword of his Wrath. Prov. 29.1.

Awake every of you that are yet in a Christless uncon­vinced State! Are you not asham'd to sleep all the Day in Sloth, while some are trembling, troubled and distress'd about their Souls, who are not greater Sinners than your selves? Nay, perhaps not near so great; what sleep? while others are crying Night and Day with Tears, and heavy Groans to God, for pardoning Mercy, who have no more precious Souls than you. Sleep! While others are labouring hard and taking Heaven by Storm! What sleep! While some are travelling fast to the heavenly Jerusalem, and rejoycing in the Way with Joy unspeakable and glorious. What will ye draw the Curtains of a carnal Security, and false Hope about you, and sleep to Death and Hell, even when the me­ridian Sun of the Gospel shines full in your Face, and Life and Immortality is brought to Light, and God, & Christ, his Ministers, Word, Providences, and your own Consciences, are ringing a loud Alarm, a Peal of Thunder in your Ears to a­wake you! That you may consider your Ways, and turn your Feet to God's Testimonies. Will you sleep with Fire in your Bosoms? (the unpardon'd Guilt of Sin) with the Curse of [Page xii] God upon your Souls, the Heavens frowning upon you, and shut against you, the burden'd Earth travelling under you, and Hell yauning wide to devour and consume you! Mayn't I say to you as Moses to Israel, Deut. 29.4. Yet the Lord hath not given you a Heart to perceive, and Eyes to see, and Ears to hear, unto this Day. O! Is it not to be fear'd that God in Justice has lest you to a Spirit of Slumber? Be­cause you shut your Eyes against the Light, John 3. That you should sleep and never awake. Jer. 51.57. And I will make drunk her Princes, and her wise Men, and her Rulers, and her mighty Men; and they shall sleep a perpetual Sleep, and not awake, saith the King, whose Name is the Lord of Hosts. Prov. 6.9. How long wilt thou sleep, O Sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy Sleep?

O Sinners! If ye wou'd but take Warning in Time, and turn to God, how pleasing would this be to the Heart of Christ? Luke 15.5. How pleasing to the great God? Jer. 31.19, 20. Luke 15.20. To the holy Angels? Luke 15.10. To the Bridegroom's Friends? Either pious Ministers or private Christians. Luke 15.24 As the Conversion of Sinners is the Joy and Crown of godly Ministers, 1 Thes. 2.19. So their cruel Obstinacy and Stupidity, cannot on the contrary, but be their Grief & Sorrow. O! This makes them go with aking Hearts, and cry, and moan to God and Man, Who has believed our Report, and to whom is the Arm of the Lord revealed, Isai. 53.1. Wo is me! I am as those that ga­ther the Summer Fruits, as the Grape gleanings of the Vin­tage: There is no Cluster to eat, my Soul desired the first ripe Fruit. The good Man is perished out of the Earth; and there is none upright among Men, Mic. 7.1, 2. Pity your poor mourning Ministers, and pity your own Souls, by endeavouring to turn to God speedily. If there be any Con­solation in Christ, if any Comfort of Love; if any Fellow­ship of the Spirit, if any Bowels and Mercies, fulfil ye my Joy. But it wou'd introduce the greatest Comfort into your own Souls, Gal. 6.16. Then God wou'd rejoyce over thee with Joy: He will rest in his Love, and joy over thee with Singing, Zeph. 3.17. Now that you and others may be a­waken'd out of your Security and directed to Christ, I have compos'd the following Discourse, which I now commit into your Hands, earnestly praying that you wou'd read it atten­tively, consider it solemnly, and pray over it earnestly, that it may be bless'd to you: I leave this with you as a Warning from the great God, to convince or condemn you, as a Testi­mony for Truth, a Witness for or against you, as you improve [Page xiii]it. May the God of Mercy and Power, direct the Truths contain'd in it, to your Hearts, and seal them on your Consci­ences; by them convince you of your Danger, and turn you to himself But let no pious experienc'd Christian needlesly terrify themselves by applying another's Portion. The Mise­ries hereaster describ'd are the proper Possession and Inheri­tance of graceless presumptuous Sinners; they do not belong to you poor Lambs of Jesus, who have been so far convinc'd of the malignant Nature, and dreadful Consequences of Sin both in Heart and Life, that ye have unreservedly and reso­lutely clos'd with Christ, and do afterwards bring forth Fruits meet for Repentance, such as crowns your Profession and Experiences. Is not your principal Care and Sorrow exercis'd about your Souls? If it be so, there is another Por­tion prepared for you, by your heavenly Father, a Portion of numerous and everlasting Blessings, Pardon, Peace, Joy, Glo­ry, which I have given a short Description of in a Use of Consolation in the following Discourse. If any get good by this Treatise, I beg that they wou'd remember me when they are near God especially, implore Heaven that I may be made through Mercy, faithful and fruitful to Christ, to the Death. Now that some poor Souls may be deeply convinc'd of their lost Condition, and guided to Jesus, by the following Discourse, in the earnest Desire and Prayer of

Your Servant for CHRIST's sake, Gilb. Tennent,

Just Reprinted, And to be Sold by Daniel Henchman in Cornhill.

THE Sincere Convert: Discovering the small Number of true Believers and the great Diffi­culty of saving Conversion. Newly Corrected and Amended. By THOMAS SHEPARD, sometime of Emanuel College in Cambridge, since Minister of the Gospel in New-England.

A Guide to CHRIST: Or the Way of directing Souls that are under the Work of Conversion. Compiled for the Help of young Ministers: And may be serviceable to private Christians, who are in­quiring the Way to Zion. By SOLOMON STODDARD, A. M. Pastor of the Church in Northampt n. With an Epistle prefixed, by the Rev. Dr. INCREASE MATHER.


The Presumer Detected, AND His Doom Display'd.

DEUT. XXIX. 19, 20, 21.

And it come to pass when he heareth the Words of this Curse, that he bless himself in his Heart, saying, I shall have Peace, though I walk in the Imagination of mine Heart, to add Drunkenness to thirst: The Lord will not spare hini, but then the Anger of the Lord, and his Jealousy shall smoak against that Man, and all the Curses that are written in this Book shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his Name from under Heaven. And the Lord shall separate him unto Evil, out of all the Tribes of Israel according to all the Curses of the Covenant, that are written in this Book of the Law.

FORASMUCH as a great Part of Mankind securely sleep in Sin, and betray them­selves into irreparable and endless Ruin, by vain and presumptuous Hopes of Mercy. I thought it my Duty to essay a corrosive Remedy to correct (if it shall please the most high God to crown so feeble an En­deavour with his successful Smiles) the Malignity of this flagrant and pernicious Evil, by detecting he general Grounds, and exposing the numerous Dangers of such fatal Delusions and destructive Mistakes.

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To this End I have chosen the Text now mention'd, in which we have the$e three Particulars.

  • 1. The Wickedness of the presumptuous Sinner detected, he walke after the Imagination of his Heart, and adds Drunkenness to Thirst.
  • 2. His confident Security notwithstanding described, he blesseth himself in his Heart, saying, he shall have Peace.
  • 3. His dreadful Doom from the righteous GOD display'd, in the 20 & 21 Verses.

And first we have a summary Detection, or a Discovery of his Wickedness in two Particulars.

1. He walks after the Imagination of his Heart, he fol­lows the pernicious Swing of his corrupt Affections and labours to gratify his vain and sinful Humours and vile De­sires. This Charge is more general.

2. He adds Drunkenness to Thirst: This is more par­ticular. Presumptuous Sinners not only pursue the inor­dinate Gratification of their sensitive Appetites and brutish Passions in the General, but they are also under (for the most part) the Dominion and Tyranny of some darling Lust in particular, which they against Light and Knowlege pay a peculiar Veneration to. Eph. 2.2, 3. Rom 2.3. The presumptuous Sinner adds Drunkenness to Thirst. That is, saith Mr. Pool, ‘Not only to satisfy his Thirst, his Con­cupiscence “and Inclination to Wickedness, but even to exceed it, as Drunkards out of meer Wantonness, or In­clination to get drunk; and as filthy Persons commit Lewdness with others more than their natural Inclination desires, and their Strength can well bear; meerly from a wicked Mind and contempt of GOD, and because they will do so. Or the Words may be rendred, saith he, to add Thirst to Drunkenness, and so the Sense may be this, that when he hath multiplied his Sins, and made himself as it were drunk with them, yet he is not satisfied therewith, but still whets his Appetite and provokes ”his Thirst after more.’ In short, the Words plainly de­note a course of Sin: A presumptuous Sinner adds Sin to Sin, goes on in a Course of Wickedness of one kind or o­ther, either open or secret Lest any be mistaken, it must be acknowleged that all presumptuous Persons are not guilty of Prophanen$ss or Immorality, no, no; some of them make a fair Shew in the Flesh, are regular in their external Conduct, and have the strict Form of Godliness, though they are destitute of the Power of it: Witness the [Page 3]foolish Virgins, whose Profession and Behaviour had such an Appearance of Goodness, that the wise were much mista­ken in their Opinion concerning them. Mat. 25.

3. His confident Security; he blesseth himself in his Heart, even when he hears the Words of the Curse. Psal. 36.2. He flattereth himself in his own Eyes until his Iniquity be found to be hateful. Though God curses him, yet he blesseth himself. O Madness without Peer or Parallel! Hast thou an Arm like God, or canst thou thunder with a Voice like him, Job 40.9. He blesseth himself in his Hearts he flat­ters himself against all Scripture and Reason with the Hopes of Impunity, though he persists in his Impiety in his Heart; no wonder, seeing that the Heart of every natural Man is as foolish as false; as deceitful as wicked, Rom, 1.21. Jer. 17.9. Perhaps the Word Heart here may sighify the Privacy as well as Stability and Firmness of his false Confi­dence.

1. The Privacy, if he doth not say in Words, yet he be­lieves it in his Heart, that he shall escape God's Vengeance: But indeed some are arrived at that Degree of shameless Impudence, that they confine not their foolish and false Con­fidence to their vain Imaginations, but express it in Speech and Action.

2. The Stability of it; their false Hope has deep root­ed Residence in their Hearts, they love their Delusions, and would as soon part with their Hearts, as part with them, Jer. 8.5. Job 18.14. Tho' he hears the Words of the Curse, and so can't plead Ignorance, although God's faithful Servants, frequently and plainly discover the false Founda­tions of his Hope; and solemnly denounce the Judgments of God, both in Time and Eternity, against him, yet in the Face of the most glaring Light, his false Confidence conti­nues firm and unshaken; and he is no more mov'd than the Earth under him; he vainly imagines that the Almighty is not so strict and severe as he is represented to be accord­ing to his Word by godly Ministers, and therefore con­cludes be shall have Peace, and be finally secured from the Arrests of God's flaming Jealousy, and be introduc'd into a State of Peace and Pleasure. But

3. Let us look into the dreadful Doom of this sinful and secure Person, as it's display'd or describ'd in our Text: A Doom suted to the greatness of his Impiety, who so boldly affronts the Almighty as to call in Question his Veracity, and give the Lye to eternal Truth, Gen 3.4. And as the Sin is great, so there is scarce a more dreadful Threatning [Page 4]in all the Book of GOD denounced against such as are guilty of it, nay, is it not a compendious Epitome of all the rest that are dispers'd through every minatory Vein and Page of sacred Scripture. O! methinks it might like the Hand writing on the Wall, strike every presumptuous Sin­ner that reads or hears it, into Belshazzar's Fit, make their Faces gather Blackness, their Ears tingle, their Hearts qui­ver in their Bodies, and their trembling Knees smite each other.

But more particularly, there are these horrible Ingredi­ents included in the Bowels of it.

1. The Lord shall not spare him: The Time of his Pro­bation and Reprieve which he so prodigally wastes, and dis­ingenuously abuseth, shall be contracted, and no Mixture of Mercy extended in Judgment. Isai. 27.11. Tho' he spares himself and will not suffer the Thoughts of that Damnati­on which be is with much Labour and Travel working out to disturb his carnal Ease, yet the righteous God won's spare him, but his whole Vengeance shall light upon that Man, he shall drink the Dregs of the Cup of his Indignation, Psal. 75.8. The Almighty will deal with him in strict Justice, without remitting a Grain Weight of the Punish­ment his Sins deserve. An awful Example of God's righte­ous Severity against obstinate and presumptuous Offenders we have in the Dispersion and other unhappy Circumstan­ces of the jewish Nation, which the Apostle admonisheth the Gentiles to take Warning by. Rom. 11.21, 22. For if God spared not the natural Branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.

2. The Anger of the Lord and his Jealousy (which is his fiercest Anger) shall smoak against him as the Smoak of a Furnace. This shews the Blackness of Darkness, the Hor­rors of that Damnation these presumptuous Wretches shall be ingulphed in.

2. His Jealousy shall smoak against that Man. Jealousy is one of God's glorious Properties, in the second Command­ment of his Law; he calls himself a jealous God, visiting the Iniquity of the Fathers upon the Children to the third and fourth Generation. The Nature of Jealousy is describ'd, Prov. 6.34, 35. For Jealousy is the Rage of a Man, there­fore he will not spare in the Day of his Vengeance, he will not regard any Ransom, neither will he rest content, though thou givest many Gists. And further, in Cant. 8.6. Jealou­sy is cruel as the Grave, the Coals thereof, are Coals of Fire, which have a most vehement Flame. Again, the Prophet [Page 5] Nahum speaks excellently concerning it, Chap. 1. ver. 2. God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth, and is furious, the Lord will take vengeance on his Adversaries, and he reserv­eth wrath for his Enemies. God's jealousy (first) suppo­seth a wrong offer'd to his Majesty by the presumers Sin.


2. Includes his Resolution to repair and revenge it, by inflicting such Punishments as are adequate to the hainous nature of the Offence. Isai. 1.24. Ah! I will ease me of mine Adversaries, I will avenge me of mine Enemies.

3. The exercise (to speak after the manner of Men) of his Glorious Attributes to that awful end. Solomon in­forms us, Prov. 6.34. that jealousy inflames Men's anger, and thereby excites their power to exert it's utmost efforts. Now when this passion is ascrib'd to God, we may ra­tionally infer something so like this as will consist with the persection of his Nature, viz. That all his Attributes will be engag'd and concern'd in compleating the misery and Damnation of presumptuous and impenitent Sinners: His Wisdom in projecting it; His Power in inflicting it; and His Unchangeableness in continuing it.

O Sinner! think how horrible will thy Case be, when all that is in God will be stirred up against thee, Isal 42.13. The Lord shall stir up his jealousy like a Man of War; He shall cry, yea roar; He shall prevail against his Enemies. If but a few drops of God's Anger was so piercing that it made patient Job utter the most dolorous Complaints, yea, even curse the day of his Birth, Job 6.2, 3, 4. Oh that my Grief were throughly weighed, and my Calamity laid in the Balances together! For now it would be heavier than the sand of the Sea: therefore my words are swallowed up: For the Arrows of the Almighty are within me, the Poison whereof drinketh up my Spirit. The Terrors of God do set themselves in Array against me. How wilt thou bear the fiery Showers of it? Canst thou endure that Wrath that makes even the very Devils tremble and rore and cry out, torment us not before the Time. James 2.19. Matth. 8.29.

3. All the Curses that are written in the Book of God: The Curses of God, the Curses of Christ, the Curses of the Law, the Curses of the Gospel, the Curses of Time and Eter­nity, shall lie upon him, not only light on him to terrify him, but abide on him, to sink him into the Lake of Fire, to lanch his wretched Soul, gripe and gnaw his guilty Con­science, and prey on his damned Body throughout endless [Page 6]Ages, if he continue in that State and Course. Mark 9.44. Gal. 3.10. Mat. 23. and 25.41. These Words in our Text, viz. That Man, carry an Emphasis with them, and seem to signify, that the presumptuous Sinner shall be made the Object of God's peculiar Displeasure. The Mark and Butt of his vindictive Fury, and amazing Severity; he shall be made a Spectacle of Shame and Horror, a Magor Missabib, a Terror to himself and others. Jer. 20.4. Job 18.14. That Man though he hid himself in this World under false Guises and Pretexts, and would not apply the Threats of God to himself, he shall be pointed out, and pointed at in the next, like a Monster as he is, by the Hand of Justice, and made a Monument of Wrath, a Vessel of Ven­geance and a Burnt Sacrifice to the divine Indignation Rom. 9.22. Luke 19.27. But those mine Enemies which would not that I should reign over them, bring them hither and slay them before me. O Horrors! Horrors! Horrors!

4. His Name shall be blotted out. The Memory of the Righteous, blossoms in the Dust, they shall be had in ever­lasting Remembrance, Psal. 112.6. But the Name of the Wicked quickly rots and perisheth in a silent Oblivion, or is remembred with Disdain and Abhorrence.

5. He shall be separated unto Evil, both moral and pen$l.

1. Moral. Having oppos'd and quench'd the Motions of the blessed Spirit, and abus'd the Means of Grace which were us'd to reform and reclaim him, God will judicially give him up to the Government of his vile Affections, that he may (being freed from former Restraints) work all Uncleanness with Greediness, Rom 1.24, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32. And say to him as in Rev. 22.11. Let him that is filthy be filthy still; he that is unjust let him be unjust still. And

2. Having thus fill'd up the Measure of his Iniquity, he shall be given up to penal Evil, the Reward of his Impie­ty; He shall eat the Fruits of his own Ways, and be fill'd with his own Devices, Prov. 1.31.

He shall be cut off from all Happiness and from the very least Hopes of attaining it, and mark'd out for inex­pressible and endless Misery without any Hopes of a Reme­dy for ever. And

Lastly, All this according to the Curses of the Covenant of Grace, which are the most terrible.

But what is to be understood by the Curses in general? And why are the Curses of the Gospel the must terrible in particular? I answer, The Curse includes all the Punish­ments which divine Justice has annex'd to the Violation [Page 7]of the divine Law. The Forfeiture of all the Mercies, which are the peculiar Lot of God's chosen, and the Posses­sion of all the Miseries of an absent God, both in Body and Mind, which are but begun upon the Wicked here, but shall be consummated in Hell. Now the Curses of the Gospel are the most terrible for these two Reasons,

  • 1. Because that from the Gospel there is no Appeal: From the Law we may appeal to the Gospel, but when we abuse the Remedy, our Case is desperate. Acts 4.12.
  • 2. The Curses of the Gospel are Judgments proportion'd to the heinous Quality and crimson Hue of that Offence which pours Contempt upon the most beautiful and bright Appearances of divine Goodness and Philanthropy that ever the humane Nature was honour'd with: That Sin surely can admit no parallel, which flights the Love that justly astonish'd all the angelick Hosts, and excited them to express their grateful Resentments with chearful Ho­sannah's. Luke 2.14. Now if that Sin be without a Rival, must not the Punishment grasp'd in the Curse be suted to it's Nature? For will not the Judge of all the Earth do right? How terrible therefore will be the Case of all those m$serable Souls, who shall finally fall under the Rebukes and Revenges of abused Love? See Heb. 10. from 27, to 32. That Almighty gracious God that now sits enthron'd on a Seat of Mercy, holding out the Scepter of Salvation will by his unbare Arm, and Iron Rod crush the presumptuous Abusers of his condescending Grace into Powder Mat. 21.44. Luke 20.18. The Kings Arrows shall be glutted with your Blood. Psalm 2.12. Kiss the Son lest he be angry, and ye perish from the Way, when his Wrath is kindled but a little: blessed are all they that put their Trust in him. What thinkest thou of this, O presumptuous Sinner! Is not every Word of this divine Text big with Horror! Look here you bold Rebel, here is the glittering brandishing Sword of the terrible God held before thee, which, if thou turn not speedily, shall stab thee through with eternal Death.

O presumptuous secure Sinners, hear, hear, hear your dreadful and eternal Doom! Be affected with the Thoughts of it, and fly for Refuge before it's too late, too late!

If it should be inquired, what is the Reason that the Sin and Punishment of presumptuous Souls is propos'd in the singular Number in this Text? I answer,

1. Negatively, That it is not with any Design to signify that they are small in Number; for this would contradict [Page 8]a Multitude of plain Scriptures. Rev. 3.17. Prov. 30.12. There is a Generation which are pure in their own Eyes, and yet are not cleans'd from their Filthiness. But

2. Positively. for this Reason; that what is express'd may be more particularly apply'd, for Generalia non pun­gunt, Generals don't pierce or sting. Thus the Commands are express'd in the singular Number, that every one that reads or hears, may attend to, and apply them to himself particularly, as if directed to him by Name.

From the Words of our Text complexly consider'd, we may observe the following Position or Doctrinal Conclu­sion; which seems to grasp their principal Scope. Viz.

That those who go on in a Course of Sin, and yet expect Peace, are foolish, miserable and cursed Creatures.

In treating upon which, I would propose the following Order.

  • 1. Shew what it is to go on in a Course of Sin.
  • 2. Prove that some who are guilty of this do notwithstanding expect Peace.
  • 3 Discover some of the Grounds of that false Hope or Expectation
  • 4. Discover the Folly, Miseries and cursed Estate of such foolish and deceived Souls.


I return to the first general Head, which was to shew what it is to go on in a Course of Sin. In Order to explain this more clearly, let me consider it both negatively and positively And

First, Negatively. By it I don't understand those Infirmi­ties which are unavoidable by humane Nature in its cor­rupt and degenerate State; viz such as these following

  • 1. The. Stirrings of inward Corruptions, not indulg'd, Rom 7 I have a Law in my Members warring against the Law of my Mind.
  • 2. Defects in the Degrees of Christian Graces, either in Respect of Habit or Act A Person may have true, and yet but weak Faith: Lord, I believe, help my Unbelief, Mark 9.24.
  • 3. In the Duties of Religion; Coldness, Deadness, Wan­drings of Heart in Prayer, Praises, involuntary and lament­ed, For all our Righteousness is as filthy Rags, Isai. 64.6. [Page 9]Very imperfect and so unable to bear the Quest and Judg­ment of a holy and righteous God. Nor
  • 4. Every Fall into gross Sins against Light, if this be (first) against the general Byass of the Heart, Rom. 7 Or (secondly) thro' strong Temptations, as David's awful Fall. Or, (Thirdly) thro' Surprize, as it was in Peter's Case, when he denied his Lord. Nor
  • 5. Tho' the same Sin be sometimes repeated, Heb. 12.1. Psalm 85.8. & 65.3. Jer. 3.1. But this ought to be un­derstood with the following Cautions.
    • 1. That then a Christian is under great Decays. Rev. 2.4. Or
    • 2. Under strong Temptations, as I prov'd before. And
    • 3. That their Hopes are much shatter'd and their Com­forts remov'd Psalm 51.8, 11, 12. They are as a Bone broken or dis-jointed, as in a Compass well touch'd with a Loadstone, the Flower-de-luce bends freely and steadily towards the North-Pole, and if it be forc'd to another Point of the Compass contrary to it's natural and general Byass, it trembles and quivers till it comes to it's wonted Place again, and then rests. The Case is even so with a gracious Soul, when thro' the Violence of Temptation, they have sinned against their God. O how do your Hearts tremble and never rest until they re-obtain the Smiles of their Father's Face, and a Sense of his pardoning Love.
    • 4. Their Mourning is great when recover'd as David, Psalm 51. And Peter, who is said to weep bitterly, Mat. 26.75.
    • 5. Their Care is increas'd about Holiness afterwards. Enlarge my Heart, and then will I run the Ways of thy Com­mandments, Psalm 119.32.

2. Positively. It supposes Heart Love to, and implies the general Practice of some Sin or other. It will be much the same as to their Confusion and Condemnation (without intervening Repentance and Reformation) whither it be secret or open, whither a worldly, carnal, or ambitious Lust. The most in Youth indulge some unclean Lust, which be­ing long practis'd against Light, hardens the Heart, grieves the Holy Spirit, and strengthens the Devil's Possession of the Soul: This I believe is one great Reason why so many are Gospel proof, and sit like so many Stocks and Stones unconcern'd in hearing the most awful Truths; nay, some by this unclean Course of Living, are come to that Prodigy of Madness and Effrontery as to out do the Devils, to laugh [Page 10]at those Things at which the Devils tremble. They have a Whores Forehead that refuses to be asham'd, Jer. 3.3. The Apostle Peter long ago prophesied of this Crew of hardy Mortals that are thus madded against God and their own Souls. 2 Pet. 3.3. So that their brutish Wickedness, tho' it shall (without Repentance) compass their Damnation, yet doth it in the mean time confirm the Truth of the Scriptures. 2 Pet. 2.9, 10. But when married many chuse another Master, they serve the World with much Fidelity and Care; and under the Pretence of providing for their Families, loose the Opportunities of Mercy, and so starve and damn their Souls.

But I proceed to consider the second Thing propos'd, which was, To prove that some who are guilty of a Course of sinning, do notwithstanding expect Peace Both Scripture and Reason prove this, our Text is a plain Evidence of this terrible Truth. And further, John 8.33. We be Abra­ham's Seed. But I may answer this in the Words of Christ, Ver. 39 If ye were Abraham's Children, ye would do the Works of Abraham. We be not born of Fornication; we have one Father even God, Ver. 41. But I may say to you, as the Lord Jesus did to them, Ver. 44. Ye are of your Fa­ther the Devil, and the Lusts of your Father ye will do. 1 Cor. 6.9. Be not deceived, 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.

The Apostle's Caution against Deceit, Be not deceived, plainly supposes, that these vile Persons that were guilty of the unworthy Actions and Villanies mention'd, yet not­withstanding expected Salvation; which false and foolish Conceit he labours, not only in this, but in several other Places of his Writings, to tear up by the Roots; as parti­cularly, Gal. 6.7, 8 Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for whatsoever a Man soweth, that shall he also reap, For he that soweth to his Flesh, shall of his Flesh reap Corruption. These Words suppose this, that tho' Men sow to the Flesh, yet that they are prone to expect another kind of Harvest, viz A spiritual and eternal This Expectation the Apostle asserts to be not only false & unreasonable, but a down-right mocking of the great God, Mat. 7.21, 22, 23. Not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the King­dom of Heaven; but he that doeth the Will of my Father [Page 11]which is in Heaven. Many will say to me in that Day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy Name? and in thy Name cast out Devils? and in thy Name done many wonderful Works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: Depart from me ye that work Iniquity. By these Verses we are instructed that many wicked People, will not on­ly retain their false Hopes in this World, but even have the Impudence to plead their wretched Performances with Christ himself in the next, but to very little Purpose. Joh. 9.40. Are we blind also? said the Pharisees to Christ, and yet many of them were very wicked, neglected the weigh­tier Matters of the Law, Judgment, Righteousness, Mercy; and for a Pretence made long Prayers, to prey upon the poor Widows, for which our Lord told them they should receive the greater Damnation, Mat. 23.14. So many life­less Formalists, if they have a pretty deal of Knowledge, and are advanc'd in Years, especially disdain to have the Goodness of their State question'd; they are apt to say with the proud Pharisees, Are we blind also? To such I would return Christ's Answer, If ye were blind, ye should have no Sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your Sin re­maineth. If you saw your Blindness, your Sins would not be so great, you would be in the Way to get them par­doned, and your dangerous State chang'd. You know the foolish Virgins had a strong, tho' false Hope, which they held to the Death: Now tho' they were outwardly well polish'd, yet it is reasonable to suppose that they indulg'd some secret Wickedness; for as Mr. Shepard saith, ‘As “every Dog hath his Kennel, and every Swine hath his ”Swill, so every unconverted Man hath his Lust.’ Bloody Ahab and Balaam the Conjurer could call God their God. The Prophet Amos in the 6th Chapter of his Book, 1, 3, 4, and 5. Verses, shews that there were some that put the evil Day far off, and caus'd the Seat of Violence to come near, that fared sumptuously, and liv'd merrily, that eat Calves out of the Stall, and chanted to the sound of the Viol; these he says, were at Ease in Zion, and from whence could this false Ease flow, but from their false Hope; therefore the Prophet pronounces a Curse upon them, Wo to them that are at Ease in Zion.

2. Reason and Experience prove this. Look over the World and into thy own Heart, and see if Congregations be not made up of the following sorts of Persons.

  • 1. Fleshly People that serve their unclean Lusts, and walk after the Flesh.
  • [Page 12]2. Worldly: Such as make it their principal Business to get and secure the World; their Thoughts and Affections, Speeches and Actions, are most about the Earth.
  • 3. Prophane Drunkards, Whoremongers, Swearers, Sab­bath-Breakers, Cheats.
  • 4. Sluggards and careless Galeo's. Now han't these Men and Women the Plague sore upon them? I mean the Brand of God's Curse and Condemnation, plain and visible Signs of a damnable State. For he that is in Christ has crucified the Flesh, with it's Affections and Lusts, Gal. 5.24. He that loves the World, the Love of the Father is not in him, 1 John 2.15. If we say we have Fellowship with him, and walk in Darkness, we lie, and do not the Truth, 1 John 1.6. and 3.6. He that committeth Sin is of the Devil. So then, because thou art neither hot nor cold, I will spue thee out of any Mouth, Rev. 3.16. And yet notwithstanding all God's Threats, the most of these People are easy going on very merrily in these Paths of Death, to the dark and gloomy Chambers of an eternal Hell. From whence should this Stillness flow? but that they hope to be saved, whatever God has said to the contrary: The World are going on rejoycing, as if they were all assured of their Salvation. Ask them whether they hope to be saved, and they will tell you, Yes: And the far greater Part can give no scrip­tural Reason of this Hope; the most foul mouth'd Russi­an will profess his Hopes of Salvation. O merciful God and Father, convince the secure deceiv'd World, of their Folly and Danger, in entertaining Hopes of Happiness, without any scriptural Foundation.

I proceed to consider the third general Head, which was To inquire into the Grounds of their Expectation of Peace and Impunity. And

1. Ignorance is one Cause or Ground, which is fourfold.

1. They are ignorant of God. They have unjust Con­ceptions of his Attributes, his Justice, Mercy, Truth. I hope I shall be saved says one, for God is a merciful God. Answer, It's true he is so, beyond the Conception or Ex­pression of any Man or Angel: But he may be so, and you damned for your Impenitence notwithstanding God's Mercy tho' it be great, yet it's vouchsafed according to the Truth of his Word, and the Holiness of his Nature. If God extended special Mercy to an impenitent unconvert­ed Soul, so continuing he would deny his Truth and wrong his Justice, and so cease to be God. Behold O [Page 13]Christless Creature! Thy Hopes of Heaven are bottom'd on Blasphemy: Thou think'st that God i$ such a one as thy self, but he will reprove thee, and set thy Sins in Order before thine Eyes. Psalm 50.21, 22. Thou hast heard of God by the hearing of the Ear, but thine Eye never saw what a holy, just and jealous God he is: Otherwise thy false Hopes would be soon shaken, and thou would'st loath thy self in Dust and Ashes. Job 42.5, 6.

2. They are ignorant of themselves. Some will say they have a good Heart, tho' they be not so precise in their Practice as others, if they happen to do any unworthy base Action, why they'l say they don't mean any Harm, they are no Hypocrites. I would not desire a better Evidence, of a Man's graceless & damnable State than this, Jer. 2.25. For it discovers gross Ignorance of themselves, had they a Discovery of their own Hearts, they would rather speak in the Language of Jeremiah, Chap. 17.9. That their Hearts are deceitful and desperately wicked. Or of Paul, Rom. 7.24. O wretched Man that I am, who shall deliver me from this Body of Sin and Death? This is the Language of enlighten'd Souls, they are apt to think that there is none in the World who have so bad Hearts as they.

3. Of the Law in it's spiritual Extent. Thy Commands, said the Psalmist, are exceeding broad, Psalm 119, 96. They take chief Notice of their overt Actions; whereas it is the special Care of a Child of God to watch the inward Motions of his Soul, and to labour after Conformity to the law of God in them, Rom. 7.22.

4. They are ignorant of the Evil of Sin. Many have very mean and unjust Conceptions of the vile and detesta­ble Nature of Sin, not at all proportion'd to its Heinous­ness; they are apt to think that there is no great Evil in it, because many commit it with confident Hopes of Im­punity, and why may not they escape as well as others? They see a great many as bad as themselves and worse (as they imagine) live securely. Surely think they, God is not so unmerciful as to condemn such vast Numbers of Mankind! But must God be esteemed unmerciful because he only extends Mercy in a Way that is worthy of his Nature? Or because he punishes the Dispisers of it? Con­cerning the Evil of Sin, let me propose these few Par­ticulars following to your Consideration.

  • 1. Is there no Evil in that which transgresses such a ho­ly righteous Law, which is the Transcript of the divine Nature, and exactly suted to the Condition of our Being? [Page 14]So being duly observ'd, it doth really advance all the true Interests of particular Persons or Communities, Rom. 6.12. 1 John 3.4.
  • 2. Is there not a great Evil in that which offends such a gracious God, which (to speak after the Manner of Men) is an oppressing Burden to him? Isai. 43.24 Thou hast made me to serve with thy Sins, thou hast wearied me with thine Iniquities. Amos 2.13. Behold I am pressed under you as a Cart is pressed that is full of Sheaves. Is there not a Cont$ariety in it's Nature to all the Perfections of God, a Wrong to his Justice, an Offence to Holiness, a Contempt of his Authority, an Affront to his Sovereignty, a Provocation of his Power, and an Abuse of his Mercy? Is not that an infinite Evil, which is oppos'd to such an in­finite Good? By Sin the Creature neglects the Homage, and rejects the Allegiance, which is due by all the Laws of Nature and Reason, to his Creator, Preserver, and Bene­factor by Sin. By Sin haughty Dust flies in the Face of God; defies his awful Sovereignty, tramples upon his Good­ness and Mercy, and spurns against the Bowels of conde­scending Grace and Pity. What a horrid Spawn of the most infandous Impieties is grasp'd in the Bowels of this Monster; Rebellion, Madness, Ingratitude and a Train of other Evils' too tedious to be here enumerated.
  • 3. Is there little Evil in that which ruins such a preci­ous Soul as Men possess? Ezek 16.6. Rev. 3.17. Rom. 6.23. The Wages of Sin is Death. The just Recompense of the least Offence is eternal Death: Can that be a small Evil which deserves such an infinite Punishment? Will not the Judge of all the Earth do right? Gen. 18.2$. Can that Evil be little which nothing else cou'd make Sa­tisfaction for, but the Blood of the Son of God? Rom. 5.22. The unspeakable Anguish our Lord Jesus bear, both in his Body and Soul, in the Garden, and on the Cross, are sufficient Evidences of the great Evil of Sin. Can that Evil be little which is the Fountain and bitter original of all the Calamities, Pains and Pressures we either feel or fear? Neither doth the Number of Trans­gressors lessen the Offence, but rather augment it, Jer. 5.7 9. The Truth and Justice of God are free from the least Sha­dow of Change or Blemish, James 1.17. Deut. 32.4. He is a Rock, his Work is perfect: for all his Ways are Judg­ment, a God of Truth, and without Iniquity, just and right is he O secure presumptuous Sinner! didst thou but see the holy dreadful God enrag'd against thee, thy Heart [Page 15]and Life full of noisome Abominations, and the Curses of God's violated Law as Flashes of Lightning shot from the Heavens ready to scorch thy guilty perishing Soul, and the fierce Vengeance of an angry God like a fiery slaming Thunderbolt ready to smite thee dead; it would make thy Heart tremble in thy Breast, and cause thee to cry out with the most dolorous Lamentations, O wretched lost Soul that I am, What shall I do to be saved? Acts 2.37. Smite these Men and Women holy Lord of Hosts, and let them see their damnable Estate, come almighty Spirit and breathe Life into these dead: Bow the Heavens O God, and let the Blind see thy Justice and thy Grace, that the Lame may leap as a Hart, and the Tongue of the Dumb sing. In the Wilderness let Waters break out, and Streams in the Desert, Isai. 35.

2. Negligence. Want of Examination of their State, or Partiality in it. Some Men being doubtful of the Bad­ness of their State, because of their wicked Actions, do not care to look into their Bosoms, for Fear of some pre­sent Uneasiness, but will trust that it is good without Tryal They would not do so in receiving Money, tho' it were but a small Sum, they wou'd view a fourteen peny Bill carefully to see whither it had the Signers Names, be­fore they wou'd accept it: We may see by this what a small Price many put upon their Souls. Or they are par­tial in the Examination of themselves, come prepossess'd to the Work, having pass'd Judgment that their State is good before Tryal, and to confirm this hasty and errone­ous Judgment, they'l bring the Signs of Grace in the Word, somewhat lower than they are, and advance their Experiences something higher, and thus they'l make them meet one Way or other. Or they'l try themselves only, by some of the lowest Signs of Grace, (and that but lax­ly too) and pass by others; and these Men are so con­ceited of and confident in their own Judgment, that they don't care to call in the Help of experienc'd Ministers, in this arduous Affair, as the primitive Christians did, Acts 2.$7. Ay but Friends, If you had a just Value for your Souls, and your Understandings were opened as theirs were, you would be afraid of being mistaken in a Matter of such vast Concern and Importance. Distrustful of your own Judgment as they were, apply your self for Direction to some faithful Minister, or judicious and experienc'd Christian. You'l bring your Deeds for Land to the Law­yers to be search'd by them, for Fear of some Flaw or [Page 16]Defect that you can't discover; and why don't you take as much Care about your Souls, as you do about your Estates. Open your Case as it really is to an honest Soul searching-Minister this wou'd be very pleasing to them, and it may be very profitable to you. It's a com­mon Maxim (and a very true one) that Men are apt to be partial in their own Case. This is as applicable to the Concerns of the Soul, as of the Body. It's a pity that Men who are so curious in their Searches after the Know­lege of other Things, should be so willingly ignorant of themselves, which is indeed the most necessary and profi­table Knowlege; without it we can't obtain the saving Knowlege of God, or an Interest in his Love, Jer. 2.19, 22. Thou that boastest of thy Knowlege of Tongues and Arts, pray remember the Heathen Proveth, Gnosthe Seauton, Know thy self; which thou can'st not obtain without im­partial Self-Examination.

4. Self-Love. Men by Nature are Lovers of themselves, more than Lovers of God.

Now this Self-Love excites them to think the best of themselves. They know there is some Difficulty in com­ing to Christ, therefore they are inclin'd to hope this is over on the Account of their Ease; but Friends, seeing that your Conceit can't make your State good, if it be bad, is it not better to endure som present necessary and temporary Trouble, while there's Hopes of getting your State remedied, than to endure eternal Pains wihout Hope or Possibility of Recovery? But this is the Condemnation, that Light is come into the World, and Men love Darkness rather than Light, because their Deeds are Evil. For eve­ry one that doeth Evil hateth the Light, neither cometh to the Light, lest his Deeds should be reproved, John 3.19, 20.

4. Inconsideration. Thoughtlesness about themselves as to their State towards God and Eternity. Though the most of People are very earnest and thoughtful in the Pursuit of their carnal Pleasures, and temporary Gain; yet they are very indolent and careless about the Affairs of their eternal Happiness. They are so hurried about the Honours, Profits and Pleasures of the World, that they have no Time to seek and Interest in an endless Life. O strange Madness, unworthy of the rational Nature! but remember, O inconsiderate Soul that awful Threat of the terrible God! Psalm 50.22. And may it be to thee, as the Hand-writing on the Wall to Belshazzer. What Mat­ter of Lamentation is it that Men who have so noble [Page 17]Powers of Reason and Reflection, should exercise them mostly on Things of Light and temporary Moment and Consequence! Blessed Lord Jesus, alarm these Thoghtless and unconcern'd Creatures, incline them to bend their Minds upon eternal Things.

Consideration is undoubtedly the beaten Road to Renova­tion, it exalts Reason to it's due Preheminence, sets it upon the Throne of the Soul, and makes it wield the golden Scepter over the Senses, and so checks the furious Course of the unbridled Passions to Sin. By this Reason is excited to shake it self like a fetter'd Samson, and tear in Pieces the Cords of Sensuality wherewith it was bound. Considera­tion hath three Things especially in it. (1.) Knowlege and Understanding, when one in receiving a Message from God, understands both who speaks and what is spoken: It's the same with that, Psalm 94.8. (2.) Serious Delibe­ration, concerning the Weight and Importance of God's Messages, the Benefit obtain'd by obeying them, and the Danger incurr'd by slighting them. Gen. 39.9. Job 31.14. Isai. 44.19. (3.) Submission and Obedience. Ezek. 18.28.

5. Pride. Natural Men are of the Humour of Simon the Sorceror, Acts 8.9. He gave out that himself was some great one. So unconverted People (tho' some of them have the Wit not to speak it in Words) yet this is the Language of their Carriage and Behaviour, that they are great ones; this is what they would give you to un­derstand, that they are no mean Persons; nay so far from that, that they are even Wonders in the World; Every one as excellent Calvin observes, "carries a Kingdom in his Breast". There is this or that excellent Property, Attain­ment, or Atchievement, which they imagine they possess in a Degree superior to almost any other: This makes them swell like Toads with Pride: Hence they become impati­ent of Reproof or controul; when God's faithful Servants tell them of their Wickedness, they reject it with Disdain. as Hazael did Elisha's Message, 2 Kings 8.13. What is thy Servant a Dog? He cou'd not believe that he was so mean and vile as the Prophet inform'd him: Thus it is with many graceless People; there be such high Tho'ts and carnal Reasonings in them, which nothing but God's Power can subdue, 2 Cor. 10.5. Hence it is so difficult to perswade Men of their damnable State, Rev. 3.17. Thou thinkest thou art rich and increased in Goods, and knowest not that thou art poor, blind, miserable, and naked. [Page 18]Luke 18.11. The Pharisee stood and pray'd thus with himself. God I thank thee, I am not as other Men are, Extortioners, Unjust, Adulterers, or even as this Publican. If any Body had told this conceited Blade nothing but the very Truth, viz. That he was in a lost perishing State, wou'd he not have huffed them and scorn'd their Words? Yes no Doubt, as much as some of his Stamp do at this Day, reject the Counsel of God against themselves, Luke 7.50. But if na$$al Men have Keenness of natural Wit and ac­quir'd Le$$ning this exceedingly increases their Pride, and strengthens their false Confidence. But let them know that the Strength of one's Confidence does not prove the Truth of it. I would beg of such People in the Name of God, this one Favour, that they would read and consider the following Scriptures, Mat. 25.8, 11, 12. John 8.54, 55. 1 Cor. 1.20, 21, 26, 27. And 3.18.

6. Prosperity. Some imagine that because they are in­creased in Wealth, their Labours attended with Successes, therefore God loves them, and their State is good. Thus Ephraim, Hos. 12.8. Yet I am become Rich, I have found me out Substance, in all my Labours, they shall find no Ini­quity in me. As if he should say, it cannot be that there is Iniquity in my Way, since I am so bless'd and succeed­ed in my Labours. But let such remember the Words of Solomon, Eccl. 9.1. That no Man knoweth Love or Hatred, by all that is before him. That is, no Man can know whether he is the Object of God's Love or Hatred by his outward Circumstances. The common Blessings of Provi­dence are promiscuously conferr'd, Mat. 5.45. For he maketh his Sun to rise on the Evil, and on the Good, and sendeth Rain on the Just and on the Unjust. Oftentimes the worst of Men enjoy the most of these temporary and fading Possessions. Psalm 73.6, $, & 3.4. Pride compass­eth them about as a Chain, and Violence $overeth them as a Ga$ment, their Eyes stand out with Fatness, they have more than Heart could wish. Job 21.7, — 13. Wherefore do the Wicked live, becom$ old? Yea, are mighty in Power? Their seed is established in their Sight with them. Their Houses are safe from Fear, neither is the Rod of God upon them. They send forth their little ones like a Flock, and their Children dance. They take up the Trimbr$l and Harp, and rejoyce at the Sound of the Organ. If many prosperous Per­sons would be so kind to themselves as to inquire how they came by their Wealth, and what Effects it has had upon them it might perhaps check their boasting, and con­vince [Page 19]them that it is not the Fruit of God's Love, but of his Anger? Mal. 2.2. Isai. 1.5. Why should ye be stricken any more, ye will revolt more and more. Is not a Person in a desperate Case, when he is given up by skilful Physici­ans, who having try'd many Medicines, to no Purpose, forbear giving any more physical Prescriptions, but leave him as Hopeless to follow the Guidance of his diseas'd Ap­petite? Is not this the very Case of many prosperous Peo­ple? Pray consider the following Particulars. Is not Wealth given in God's Anger?

  • 1. When it's acquir'd by fraudulent Measures, Zech. 5.4. Or
  • 2. When it does not come in answer to Prayer, Matth. 6.11. Or
  • 3. When it has not these Effects upon the Possessors.
  • 1. When it does not make them humble, Gen. 32.10. 1. Chron. 17.16. Nor
  • 2. Thankful, Psalm 116.2. Nor
  • 3. Charitable, 1. Chron. 29.13, 14. Luke 19.8. 1 Tim. 6.17, 18. But on the contrary Proud, Sensual, Penurious. Jer. 2.31. Wherefore say my People, We are lords, we will come no more unto thee. Deut. 32.15. Hab. 1.15, 16. Jam. 2.13. He shall have Judgment without Mercy, that hath shewed no Mercy.

7. False and erroneous Conceits of all the christian Gra­ces, Affections, Privileges, Performances; and particularly,

1. Of Conviction. Some take it to be only a Convicti­on of the Judgment, or Assent of the Mind, to the doctri­nal Truths of Religion. So they will confess we are born in a bad State by Nature, but they won't own that they are in a bad and damnable State at present, and that thou must be sensible of before you come to Christ savingly, Luke 15.17. And I perish with Hunger. Or

2. That it consists in some Qualms of Conscience. Some Trouble and Fear about some gross actual Offences, which like a Sea Sickness soon goes over, and wears off by De­grees, then they are Easy; and some of them will wallow in the same Lusts again, like a Dog licking up his Vomit, a Pet. 2.21, 22. But true Conviction must be of the State and Heart Corruptions, as well as of actual Sins, occasioning great Perplexity and Distress; What shall I do? As a Man stab'd with a Spear asketh for a Remedy. Acts. 2.37. ‘“Those that have been often convicted, have never been ”convicted, says Mr. S$oddard.

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3. Conversion: Which many take to be only some Trou­ble of Conscience, and an outward Reformation following it, both which may be without a Spark of saving and convert­ing Grace. Acts 24.25. 2 Pet. 2.20. Rom. 2.17, 18, 19, 20. Conversion is a universal efficacious and internal Change, which spreads through all the Powers and Passions of the Soul; the Understanding is illuminated with a Beam of hea­venly Light, Acts 26.18. What high Thoughts of God, what sweet Meditations of Christ, what humble Thoughts of themselves, have these inlighten'd Souls? Gen. 18.27. Phil. 3.8. What Pliableness in their Wills to the Will of God. He will make his People willing in the Day of his Power, Psalm 110.3. Lord, What wilt thou have me to do? said convinced Saul. What strong Proneness in their Affections towards God and Heaven, Psalm 73.25. How tender are their Consciences, easily sensible of the least Offence, as the Eye is of the smallest Dust. Heb. 9.14. How holy and heavenly their Lives! Rom. 6.14. Col. 3.1, 2, 3.

4. Of Repentance: Which many take to be a legal Sor­row, with some Care after Reformation. But had not Judas and Ahab a slavish mercenary Sorrow? Some People think that if they do but mourn (whatever Principle it be from) when they have committed some gross Crime, and take some Care afterwards for a while to avoid it, that they are true Penitents; but O Friend, this is far from true Repen­tance! thy mourning must be from Love. Psalm 51. Thy Hatred must be universal and implacable, 2. Cor. 7.11. And there must be a thorow Reformation after it. For it is he that confesseth and forsaketh Sin, that shall find Me$cy. Without this you may go on sinning and repenting alter­nately, or by turns, and notwithstanding be damned at last eternally, Rev. 21.8. & 22.15.

Of Faith: Which some understand to be an historical Assent to the Truths of Christianity, or a believing that they shall be saved by the Mercy of God. But if one should ask them these three Questions concerning their Faith.

  • 1. How they got it?
  • 2. How they keep it?
  • 3. What Effects it has upon their Hearts and Lives? They would be like the Man without the Wedding Gar­ment, Speechless, or speak nothing to the Purpose; they have got it they don't know how; may be in a Night Dream; they don't know when they were without it, they keep it without Difficulty, they are strong Believers [Page 21]about their Souls; but as to their Bodies and Estates, they dare not trust without the greatest Anxiety, even the Pro­vision of a few Weeks; they still go on in the old Course as worldly and carnal as ever: To such I would say in the Words of the Apostle, James 2.19. Thou believest that there is one God, thou dost well, the Devils believe also and tremble. If your Faith don't work by Love, and overcome the World, it is but a Fiction of your own Brain, or a De­lusion of the Devil. Obj. Though he slay me, yee will I trust in him, Job 13.15. I trust in God, I shall be saved through Christ. How know you that you trust in God? What, trust with a whole Heart and a wicked Life, that you shall be saved? This is trusting in the Devil: Christ hath said that such unrenewed Creatures as you are, shall not enter into his Kingdom, John 3.3, 5. But the Devil says you shall Now you trust in the Devil, that he will prove faithful, and Christ false; trusting that you shall be saved without complying with the Terms of the Gospel is noto­rious Blasphemy, as shall afterwards be made appear. What will you trust upon? Will you build your trust upon the Word of a damned Fiend? I am sure you have no Word of Promise in all the Scripture to trust upon, while you are in a carnal State. All the Promises are you, and Amen, in Christ Jesus, 2 Cor. 1.20. Eph. 2.12. Obj. It's true, I have no Righteousness of my own, but Christ has died to save Sinners: He has so, but what sort of Sin­ners? Not such hardned Rebels, prophane Esau's, so$ssing Ishma$l's, or churlish griping Nabal's, as you are, without a Reformation: No, no, it's the penitent Prodigals, hum­ble distress'd sinking Souls. He came to seek and save the lost Sheep of the House of Israel, such as see them­selves so. He invites the heavy laden Soul to him, Mat. 11.28. Whatever Christ has done or suffer'd shall never avail to the Salvation of impenitent Persons as such. Ex­c$pt ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish, Luke 13.3, 5. You do but prophane the Saviour's Blood who pretend to an Interest in it, and yet go on in a Course of Sin, for you do declare to the World that their is no Power in his Death to slay Sin. Hear ye deceived Souls what the Author to the Hebrews speaks to you, Chapt. 10.28 — 32.

6. Sanctification. Some unconverted People imagine they are sanctified because of the inward Combat they have with Sin, that Struggle which is between their Con­science and their Lusts, they conceive to be the Contests between the Flesh and Spirit, which the Apostle speaks [Page 22]of, Rom. 7. But to correct this frequent but fatal Mis­take; pray observe, that there is a great Difference be­tween them, especially in these four Particulars. Name­ly, Their Causes, Matter, Manner and Consequences.


1. In their Causes. The Contest of a natural Man is occasioned by one or other of the following Particulars.

  • 1. By the Light of Nature, which represents the Dan­ger of Sin in some Measure, and so restrains from the Com­mission of it, Rom 2.14, 15.
  • 2. A pious Education, which strengthens Reason's Influ­ence, by insinuating into the concupiscible Passions a Love to Piety.
  • 3. By the common Illuminations of the Holy Spirit, which give additional Force to the Former, by affording a clearer View of the penal Fruits of Sin, 2 Pet. 2.
  • 4. By the natural Temperament of the Body, which cre­ates an Aversion to some particular Evils; as for Instance, Some are naturally of a mild Disposition; now this streng­thens their Aversion to a Contest with the Sin of rash Anger.
  • 5. By the natural Discord there is between different Vices. i. e. Covetousness opposes Prodigality, and gives directly contrary Injunctions. The Graces of the Spirit are all harmonious, but different Lusts are jarring and dis­cordant, every of them labours for Mastery and Dominion, and therefore oppose each other in Quest of it, as really as they unitedly oppose the Grace of Jesus, as their common Enemy.
  • 6. Not only by the servile Fear of Punishment from the righteous God, Gen. 20.34. But also by the Fear of the Penalties of humane Laws, which are without doubt a Re­straint upon some.

But the spiritual Combat of God's Children against Sin arises from the New Nature in them, which is carried forth with an unconstrain'd steady Proneness towards those Things that are Evil, as such, Gal. 5.16, 17. Rom. 7.22. 2 Cor 7.11.

2. In the Matter of the Conflict, which in the Ungodly is gross or scandalous Evils, such as are condemn'd by the Law of Nature, such as are like to wound their Character. Exod. 1.17. Rom 2.14, 15. Or such as cross their Custom or Temperament. Is it not common for some ungodly Peo­ple to lash out Anathema's against those Sins in others, which they themselves have little or no inclination to commit, while in the mean time, they indulge others as bad or worse, Rom 2.3. But the Combat of regenerate [Page 23]Persons is against all Sins whatsoever; internal as well as external, small as well as great; those that are fashionable as well as such as are more scandalous. The gracious Soul not only hates all Sin in general, and every Tenden­cy to it, but his darling Lusts in particular, is the Object of his special Abhorrence. Psalm 119.104. 1 Thes. 5.22. Psalm 18.23.

3. In the Manner, respecting unconverted People the Combat is between different Faculties; as for Example, between Conscience and the corrupt Inclinations of the Will, or between Reason and Passion. 1 Kings 21.2, 4, 6. Mat. 7.22, 23, 24. But the Combat of converted Persons is between the different Parts of the same Power or Faculty, viz The renewed against the unrenewed, Gal 5.17. The gracious Soul with Joseph opposes Sin with Love Argu­ments; how shall I do this Sin and great Wickedness a­gainst God, Gen. 39.9. But the unrenewed Soul opposes it with Arguments arising from slavish Fear; if I do this I shall be damned, lose my Credit, and hurt my Estate. The natural Man seeks only the Restraint of Sin, Gen. 20.6. But the spiritual Man seeks the utter Destruction of it in Heart as well as in Practice, in Habit and Act, Root and Fruits, Rom. 6.6.

4. In the Consequences. The Contest of natural Men often consists with a Course of Sin, Rom 2.15. And 1.21, 22, 24, 28. compared. But that of gracious Souls always effects this, that tho' they be guilty of Sins of Infirmity, yet the Course and Tenor of their Lives is pious and holy, 1 John 3.9. They are upright in their Aims, earnest in their De­sires, and uniform in their Endeavours after a universal Con­formity to all the Precepts of the divine Law. Prov. 11.3. Psalm 119.6, 8, 20, 24. The spiritual Conflict for the most part prevents gross Acts of Sin, Psalm 18.23. which the other admits, Matth 23.23.24. Again, the spiritual Conflict hinders the Consummation of Sin, mars the precious Consultation, the present Complacency, and the consequent Obstinacy. Gal. 5.17. Matth. 26.75. Whereas the other admits them all, 2 Pet. 3.5. O presumptuous Sinner $word$ if thou didst but impartially compare thy self with what has been offer'd under this Head (should God's Spirit concur) thou might see as clear as the Day thy deceiv'd and un­done State, and that thy strivings against Sin, are but the Work of a natural Conscience; arm'd perhaps with a good Education and external Revelation, the common Commo­tions of the Holy Spirit, and selfish Motives. Is it possi­ble [Page 24]that Sin should thus govern over thee, if you had the indwelling Presence of the Holy Spirit? No, no. Rom. 6.14. It's a Delusion to think so, and a very destructive one too. 1 John 1.6. How can'st thou imagine thou art sanctify'd when you neither make Advances in Holiness, nor $curn for the want of it? Are not such in the Gall of Bitterness? Psalm 84.7. Acts 8.23.

6. Of Love: Both to God and his People. And

1. Of Love to God. They think they always lov'd God ever since they can remember; if we ask them, Did you ever hate God? No, say they; this shews plainly that they are blind, Rev 3.17. For there is great Malice and Rancour in the Heart of every natural Man against the most High God, which they must see and bewail if their Eyes were opened, Rom 7.8. If they lov'd God they would love his Laws, his Image, the Duties of his Worship, John 14.15. 1 John 5.3. And concerning their hating of God, pray read, Exod. 20.5. Numb. 10.35. Deut. 7.10. and 32.41. Job 15.25, 26. Psalm 29.8. & 68 1 & 81.15. & 139.21. Prov. 8.36. John 15.18, 23, 24 Rom. 1.30. & 8.7.

2 As to the People of God: Some by the Force of a re­ligious Education, and enlightned Conscience, have a fearful Respect to good Men; this King Herod, tho' a great Man and not very good, express'd to a faithful Minister, John the Baptist, who had reprov'd him sharply, Mark 6.20. He heard him gladly, tho' he was a Boanerges: This was a great deal better than the Practice of our haughty Rakes, who fly from the Light, because their Deeds are evil. Wicked People may love good Men because of their Re­lation to them, or for their Eloquence, Candour, Courtesy, Honesty, when they don't in the mean time heartily relish their strict Holiness; but that Love to the People of God, which is genuine and sincere, is chiefly for their Holiness, and is universal to all pious Persons whatever Denomina­tion they bear, and gradually increases in Degrees, pro­portionable to the Degrees of Piety we see in Persons.

7. Hope. They think that every Body is obliged to hope he shall be saved, whether he has Reason or not; this their Lips and Lives compar'd, too sadly verify; but this Hope has Blasphemy and Devil Worship in it, as I shall prove under the fourth Head.

8. Sincerity. They say, if one does but pray sincerely he shall be accepted. It is true, if the Sincerity be of the right Kind. Sincerity is twofold, moral and spiritual. The [Page 25]first flows from selfish Nature, seeking it's own Preservati­on or Benefit, acted either by slavish Fear or mercenary Love. The second from Grace, from the new Nature, transcendent Love to God for himself, and Aims at his Glory.

If thou hast never seen thy Hypocrisy and bewail'd o­ver it, and yet, if you don't watch against it, thou art a cursed Hypocrite this very Moment: A great many blind­ed Souls will talk of Sincerity that know nothing of it.

9. Charity. This they think consists in hoping that all shall be saved, or the most part of People under the Gos­pel, tho' God says the contrary expresly. Strait is the Gate, and narrow is the Way that leads to Life, and sew there be that find it, Mat. 7.14. When our Lord was ask'd whither there are few that be saved, he gave this Answer, Many shall seek to enter in, and shall not be able, Luke 13.24. Many are called but few chosen, Mat. 12.16. In the Parable of the Sower, but one in four received the Word savingly. Now is it Charity to believe that God is a Liar? O Shame! But I'll tell you what your pretended Charity flows from, viz. Gross Ignorance of the holy Scriptures, and a Work of God's Grace upon your own Souls: Want of unfeigned Love to Mankind, Sloth, Cowardize: One or all of these are the Fountains of your Charity. If you had ever felt the Pangs of the New-birth in your selves, you would not judge of others so lightly; but it's natural for Men to weigh others in the same Scales they do them­selves. If the Love of God and Souls burn'd in your Breasts, would you suffer People to go securely to Dam­nation, and never tell them their Danger? If we should pity and help our Neighbours Ox in distress, much more their precious Souls: How can true Love dwell in those Men that do not?

Obj. 1. I have no Business with them, says one, let eve­ry Tub stand on his own Bottom. Vile Man, thou speak'st in the Language of bloody Cain, Gen. 4.9. Am I my Brother's Keeper? and proves thy self to be as void of Grace as he.

Obj. 2. This is the Minister's Work, says another, to re­prove and detect Men. It is so I confess peculiarly, and wo to them if they do it not; but every Christian is a Member of Christ's mystical Body, and therefore should seek after the good of the whole, as they have Opportu­nity and Capacity. 1 Cor. 12.25, 26, 27.

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Obj. 3. I hope the most of People are pious; Ay, and what's the Reason, if you thought otherwise you would condemn your self? But Friend, thou speak'st in the Lan­guage of cursed Corah, All the Congregation are holy, eve­ry one of them, Numb 16 3.

Obj. 4. But we must not judge. It's true we must not judge rashly, we should not judge any Man's State to be ei­ther good or bad without good Grounds from their Speech or Actions; neither are we to judge of People's final State by their present, tho' a Person be in a bad State at present he may he chang'd before Death, by the earnest Use of appointed Means. This is the rash Judgment the holy Scriptures forbids, and all unreasonable groundless Jealou­sies among Christians on the Account of their different Sentiments about the circumstantial Points, or smaller Matters of Religion. But the Lord Jesus has given us Li­berty to judge the Tree by the Fruit, Mat. 12.33. Again, By their Fruits we are told, we shall know them, Mat. 7.20. And he also reproves the Pharisees for omitting the weigh­tier Matters of the Law, Judgment, Mercy, Faith, Mat. 23.23. The Apostle John confirms this, in these Words, We know that we are passed from Death to Life, 1 John 3.14. And that the whole World lyeth in Wickedness, 1 John 5.19. You must not judge, you must not judge; this is all the Shield that some Hypocrites have to screen themselves from the Arrows of a just Reproof: But what's the Reason that the worst of Men should thus disclaim against a scriptural and rational Judgment? Why it's this, they themselves are guilty, they have built on a rotten sandy Foundation, and therefore don't care to be search'd, for fear it should disturb their pleasant Dream. They are therefore as much afraid of being discover'd, as a Thief is of having his House search'd when he has stolen Goods in it. Stand off, let them alone, they'l shift for themselves; this is the Language of their Carriage: But O Sinner, if ever God convinces thee of thy Hypocrisy, thou wilt like such faithful Deal­ing.

2. Wrong Conceptions of, or a false Dependance on the Motions of the Affections. Let us speak a few Words of these three, viz. Fear, Desire, Delight. And

1. Hast thou trembled at the Word of God? So did heathen Felix.

2. Hast thou Desire after the Bread that came down from Heaven? So had the carnal Jews, John 6.54.

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3. Hast thou Delight in serving God? So had those Hypocrites mention'd, Isai. 58.1, 2. Read, Heb. 6.4. and tremble to think what awful Advances a Christless Person may make towards Christianity, and yet for ever perish. That Fear which is saving must be filial and effectual to restrain from a Course of Sinning.

The Desire must be transcendent above all other Things, Psalm. 73.25. The Delight must be genuine, for the sake of Religion it self, and not the outward Benefits that may attend it.

But because too many (it's to be fear'd) rest upon this feeble Foundation. let it be consider'd, that there may be strange but ineffectual Commotions excited among the inferiour Passions of the Soul by the following Causes.

  • 1. By the common Operations of the Holy Spirit, which many do partake of who perish everlastingly. These a­larm the Conscience and move transient Affections, Heb. 6.4, 5, 6. Hos. 6.4. O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? For your Goodness is as the morning Cloud, and as the early Dew it goeth away.
  • 2. By the Instructions and Rebukes of a natural Consci­ence, representing the base Nature, damning and dreadful Fruits of Sin. Rom. 2.14, 15. & 6.21. What Fruit had ye then in those Things of which ye are now ashamed, for the End of those Things is Death.
  • 3. By the Solemnity or Novelty of the Subjects treated of. New Things tickle the curious Fancy, and so raise a short liv'd Pleasure, which is either much lessen'd or totally ex­tinguish'd by Custom. So grave and solemn Subjects, ei­ther of Love or Terror, when they are handled with just­ness of Thought, and energy of Expression, how can they but excite agreable Commotions when the blessed God is represented in Paints of Light, agreeable to the Greatness and Goodness of his Nature, and the Instances of his con­descending Compassion to Mankind, as enthron'd on Love, and holding forth the Scepter of Salvation; when the Lord Jesus who is the Rose of Sharon, the Beauty of Heaven, the Wonder and Delight of the Angels, is represented in his personal and mediatorial Excellencies, how can even gracele. Persons keep from sending forth some Salies of Desire?

    So I may say of Piety, when the Scene of practical Re­ligion is opened with all it's radiam Beauty & solemn Majesty, when its Conformity to the Perfections of the Deity, & to the Law of Nature and Reason is discover'd, as well as it's Sub­serviency [Page 28]to promote our truest and greatest Interests, both in this and the future World: What Soul is so sordid and sunk into Brutality, as not to feel the Impressions of it? But especially when the painful Passions of a bleeding God for rebellious Dust, are discoursed of with a decent Pathos and Concern: Won't this affect, at least in a natural Way, any Men that are not wholly lost to all Sense of Huma­nity; but alas! what is this to Salvation? Does not any. Tragedy sooth and strike the tenderest Passions?

  • 4. By the Speaker's Eloquence, which is apt to open the Springs of Passion, when he delivers divine Mysteries with Sublimity of Sentiment, beautiful Diction and graceful Action, with what gentle Violence do such Discourses in­sinuate themselves into the Affections; but these natural Commotions are as transient as ineffectual. John 5.35. He was a burning and a shining Light, and ye were willing for a Season to rejoyce in his Light. Many of Ezekiel's Hear­ers were pleased with his Eloquence, but not reform'd, Ezek. 33.32. And lo, thou art to them as a very lovely Song of one that hath a very pleasant Voice, and can play well on an Instrument: For they hear thy Words, but they do them not.
  • 5. By carnal Apprehensions of divine Mysteries, as tho' they suted our corrupt Inclinations, John 4.15. & 6 34.
  • 6. By remarkable Appearances of God, either in Judg­ment or Mercy, by his Word or Rod. So we are inform­ed, that when God stew Israel, then they sought him, Psalm 78.34. While the wasting Hand of God was upon them, they made sute to his Majesty with an Appearance of Devotion; but it was only a Shew and Pretence, as the following Verses assert, 36, 37. Nevertheless, they did flat­ter him with their Mouths, and lied unto him with their Tongues, for their Heart was not right with him, neither were they stedfast in his Covenant. When Jehovah appear­ed on Sinai's Mount, attended with all the Ensigns of asto­nishing Majesty and awful Glory, it had very considerable Impressions on the People of Israel; they quickly sent divine Moses on an Embassy to the Almighty to enquire after Directions concerning their future Conduct, which they express'd a Resolution to observe; but fail'd in the Performance of it. Exod. 20.18. Deut. 5.24, — 29. O Sinner be warn'd by what has been now offer'd, not to trust to, and confide in these fading Flowers of floating fleeting Passions, which produce not the solid Fruits of Righteousness.
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3. Of the Privileges of Christians, such as these follow­ing.

  • 1. Good Parentage. But alas! this is a poor Egyptian Reed to lean upon. The pious Examples of good Parents will increase your Confusion and Damnation without you improve them. A Heathen could say, and that very just­ly, Quae avi et proavi, et quae non fecimus, ipsi vix ea nostra voco.
    What our Ancestors worthily have done,
    It's mean and sordid to call them our own.
    I don't call those Things ours, said he, which our Fore­fathers have done.
  • 2. Good Education. Tho' this may excite People to have some Love to Religion; Train up a Child in the Way he shall go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it. But alas! this is a poor Religion, and yet it's all that some have; these Men had they been born in Turkey would doubtless have embrac'd the Mahometan System with equal Ease; but true Christians are not born of Blood, nor of the Will of the Flesh, nor of the Will of Man, but of God, John 1.13.
  • 3. Baptism and the Lord's Supper. Some are so unwise as to think they are regenerated by Baptism, when their Lives prove the contrary. But the Case is so with some, that if they can't find it there, they don't know where else to seek for it, it must have been wrought then upon them they think, for they don't know of any other Time when any such Work was wrought in them: Ay, this would be an easy Way of Regeneration indeed; but we are inform'd by the Apostle to the Galatians, That neither Circumcision, nor Uncircumcision availeth any thing, but the new Creature, Gal. 6.15. Some will plead in the Day of Christ's appearing that they have eaten and drunk in his Presence, and that he has taught in their Streets, but to no avail, Luke 13.26, 27.
  • 4 Some rest upon the good Opinion of others, because they have a good Name among the living, are in Esteem and Reputation with the godly. Alas! this is no sure Ground to bottom your Confidence upon, for many have a Name to live that are dead, Rev. 3.1. It's much safer to observe the Apostle's Injunction, Gal. 6.4. But let every Man prive his own Work and then he shall have rejoycing in him­self, and not in another.
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4. Some depend upon their Performances, or Righteous­ness, Negative, Positive, Comparative. And

1. Their negative Righteousness: Their abstaining from gross and open Immoralities, Luke 18.11. Or

2. If they be defective in this, they rest perhaps upon their positive Righteousness: Some Virtue or other which they think they excel in: As for Instance, may be that of Ho­nesty; some will say, that are otherwise loose in their Con­versation, that they have never wrong'd a Man of a peny in their Life: This is well so far, if it is true, for indeed there are too few that are free from open or covert Fraud; but is it sufficient? Mat. 5.20. Nay, some are so blind and vain as to think and say, they do all they can in God's Service: O what a shameless Falshood is this? What! Do you read and hear God's Word, pray, meditate, speak of divine Things as often as you can, or ought? Do ye all the Duties of Justice, Mercy, Charity that you owe to your Neighbours Souls and Bodies? Do you endeavour to keep your Hearts continually from vain and vile Tho'ts? Your Lips from all indecent Speeches? And your Lives from all forbidden Actions? Surely your Consciences, if you have any lest, will witness the contrary, James 3.2. Your Blind­ness & gross Ignorance of your selves proves the Badness of your present State, Rev. 3.17, 18. Thou thinkest thou art rich, and increased in Goods, and knowest not that thou art poor, and blind, and miserable, and naked.

3. Some are more refined Hypocrites, and do depend upon their comparative Righteousness, with the Pharisee, I thank thee that I am not as other Men are, Extortioners, Unjust, A. dulterers, or even as this Publican, Luke 18.11. Other Men's Lives are not the Standard or Scale by which we shall be weighed, but the divine Law. You may be better than thousands, and yet be damned for all. Except your Righteousness exceed the Righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of God, Mat. 5.20.

But because Dependance upon our own Righteousness is an Error of pernicious Consequence, a Defect in the ground Work; For no other Foundation can any Man lay, save that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ, 1 Cor. 3.11. And al­so because it's an Error very difficultly discovered; many that are guilty of it in Fact, will deny it in Words; there­fore I think it highly necessary before I proceed any fur­ther to essay an Answer to this Question; How may we know whether we rest in our own Righteousness, or not?

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Ans. 1. Those rest in their own Righteousness, who be­ing yet in a State of Nature, unacquainted with a saving Change of Heart, believe that their Performances or reli­gious Privileges interests them in the divine Promises, Phil 3.7, 8. Those Things, meaning his Performances and Privileges, which he had before mentioned, which he for­merly counted Gain, thought thereby to gain Happiness, while he was unconverted, now since he knew Christ, he counts them Loss; knowing that if he continued resting on them for Salvation by Way of Purchase, he should have perished for ever, been a lost Man to all Eternity. He therefore renounces in point of Dependance his former Duties and Privileges, esteems them Dung and Dross; cleaves to, and relies upon a naked Jesus, 1 Cor. 1.30.

2. All such as have not been slain Dead by the La$, rest on their own Righteousness, Rom. 7.9, 10. Such as have never been made throughly sensible of their forlorn help­less State by Nature, Matth. 5.3. Acts 2.37. Such as have but a Semi-Conviction, they see that their Course of Life wants Amendment; this they endeavour to accom­plish in their own Strength, and having obtained some more freedom from the gross Pollutions of the World, there they rest contented, tho' they be ignorant of experi­mental Religion. 2 Pet. 2.20. Rom. 5.4, 5. John 8.54, 55. Of whom ye say, He is your God, and yet ye hame not known him.

3. Such as never were sensible of their own Dependance upon their Duties and Privileges, and of the great Difficul­ty of quitting that destructive Dependance. If one should ask some Formalists, whether ever they rested on their Duties, they would answer, no; God forbid that they should believe any such Doctrine, as the Merits of Works. What do you think them Papists, they scorn your Words. Or perhaps some would reply thus; that they neither have, nor do depend upon any thing they have done, for they know, that when they have done all, they are but unpro­fitable Servants, Luke 17.10. O unhappy deceived Souls! this is a plain Evidence that ye are yet in Darkness and Death, Rom. 10.3. For they being ignorant of God's Righ­teousness, and going about to establish their own Righteousness, did not submit themselves to the Righteousness of God. That is, being ignorant (at least as to their own Souls feeling Experience) of the absolute Necessity and Sufficiency of the Mediator's Righteousness, called the Righteousness of God, because it is of his Contrivance, Ordination and Ac­ceptance, [Page 32]and labouring to obtain Justification by the Deeds of the Law, or upon the Account of their civil, moral and religious Actions; they did not submit themselves to the Righteousness of God, did not yield to the Terms of the Gospel, and accept the Offer of Justification by Faith in Christ Jesus, but rebelliously stood it out against the Tenders of God's pure and rich Grace. O! it's a great Stoop to a proud haughty Sinner, and such we are all by Nature, to come to Christ as a helpless, hunger-starv­ed Beggar, and to sue for an Alms of meer Mercy: The Truth is, it's so much against the Grain, that thousands will rather be damned than do it. What should Persons of their Worth and Character lay aside (as to Dependance) all the many Duties they have done, be contented to be strip'd naked and bare of them, and be intirely beholden to free Grace in the Matter of Justification? No, that's below them, they'l rather run the risk of Damnation upon their own Bottom, and beggarly Stock. All those Persons that would most sacrilegiously halve their Justification and Sal­vation between Christ and themselves, are Rebels against God's Righteousness, they submit not themselves to it, as the Apostle expresseth it. What is more common among some People than that Saying, If we do our Part, God will certainly do his: O stupid Ignorance, horrid Arro­gance, and base Blasphemy! Is not this a sharing and halving with a Witness, the Honours and Purchase of our Happiness between Christ and our selves? How contrary is this perverse Doctrine and Practice to the current of the holy Scriptures? Eph. 2.8. Rom. 9.16. Tit. 3.5. Rom. 3.23, 24, 28. And 4 5.

But there be other graceless Persons that having had the Privilege of a religious Education, can chatter by Rote more orthodoxly about this Matter, tho' their State to­wards God be not a whit better. If they are ask'd, Whe­ther they have rested upon their own Righteousness? They can tell you, Yes; all by Nature rest on their Works; they have learn'd so from their Parents, and heard others talk so, or read it in good Books: But what avails all this? We must not only renounce the Merits of Works in Doctrine, but in Practice, by actually going out of our selves and our own Righteousness to Christ, Phil. 3.7, 8. which is not to be effected without an antecedent prepa­ratory Sense of our Self Dependance, Mat. 16.24. Mark 8, 34 Luke 15.17. Acts 2.37.

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4. Such as are contented with the very Performance of religious Duties, without obtaining the Presence of Christ in them. A gracious Soul w$$l not be contented with the Duty done, without Fellowship with Jesus in it, this is his Mark. One Thing have I $esired of the Lord, (saith the Psalmist) that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the House of the Lord all the Days of my Life, to behold the Beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his Temple, Psalm 27.4. Cant. 3.1, — 6. Psalm 63.8. Cant. 5.4,—7.

5. Such as labour not to get their whole Heart fixed upon God in the Duties of Piety, rest in them; such as take not special Notice of their inward Coldness, Stupidity and Wandrings of Heart, and are not grieved for such Indispo­sitions, for this is surely the Plaint and Practice of the Godly, Rom 7. Psalm 119.10. With my whole Heart have I sought thee, O let me not wander from thy Command­ments. Psalm 86.11. Unite my Heart to fear thy Name Psalm 80.18 & 119 25, 37, 40, 50.

6. Such Persons as are embolden'd in Sin by the Duties of Religion, rest in them; and this I fear is the Case of many: Otherwise how could Persons that are but very broken in their Lives, go on with such Courage and Confidence in their Way, notwithstanding what may be said to them of the Danger of it. This doubtless is the Cause when Con­science chides and checks them for the Breach of any of God's Laws, they take a Vomit of Prayer, (lik. a sick Dog) confess their Fault, mourn over it, and resolve to do so no more, and perhaps for a little Spurt take more Pains to avoid it in Practice; then the Storm is over, all is clear a­gain in their Notion; they imagine their Sin is pardoned; surely God won't be so cruel as to condemn such sincere Penitents as they, just for a few Frailties, seeing every one has his Failings; N$no sine Crimine vivit. What dost thou conceit O Hypocrite! that one may have Communion with God in Duties, and live such a sensual, carnal, worldly Life as thou dost? Thou art strangely mistaken if thou dost: Hear what the Apostle John tells thee, 1 John 1.6. If we say we have Fellowship with him, and walk in Dark­ness, we lie, and do not the Truth. James 1.26. He that bridles not his Tongue, his Religion is vain.

7. Such as cannot appeal to God concerning their Sinceri­ty in divine Worship: Rom. 1.9. God is my Witness, whom I serve with my Spirit in the Gospel of his Son.

8. Such as get no Strength by them to resist Sin with Magnanimity and Success, and to endure Affliction with Com­posure [Page 34]and Calmness, rest in them. Isai. 40.31. But they that wait on the Lord shall renew their Strength, they shall mount up with Wings as Eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and walk and not faint. Gen. 39.9. James 1.2, 3. Luke 21.19. I have insisted the longer on this Head, because a Mistake here is of dreadful Importance, Debile Funda­mentum fallit Opus, a rotten Foundation ruins the Fabrick: And thus it is when we build upon any thing that's ours, Isai. 64.6. James 3.2 & 2.10. Gal. 3.10. Acts 4.12. Dan. 9.18.

8. Some on false Reasonings and Pretexts, such as these following,

  • 1. There's none of you all Perfect. It's true a Perfection of Degrees cannot be attain'd in this Life, so that all sinful Inclinations or Motions should be entirely eradicated out of the Soul, not as tho' already attained, Phil. 3.12. But notwithstanding a Perfection of Parts is attainable; we may thro' Grace get every Part of the Soul in some measure changed, and the Frame of all the Christian Graces infus­ed, the Dominion of Sin broken, both in Heart and Life, in Love and Practice, Rom. 6.14. and advance by the growth of these Graces, nearer and nearer to Perfection. Grow in Grace (saith the Apostle) and in the Knowlege of the Lord Jesus, 2 Pet. 3.18. Now these Things, O Hy­pocrite, you want, and therefore that Plea can't excuse thee or hide thy Shame.
  • 2. But all are Sinners: yes, but all are not unconverted Sinners. Some through the Goodness of God are Peni­tent; now there is as great a Difference between these two, as between Heaven and Hell, for they are doom'd by the great Judge of Heaven to these two very distant Places of Abode.
  • 3. All have their Failings: Yes, but do you call your gross Wickedness Failings? Your Covetousness, Carnality, habitual Passion &c. Friend, you may palliate your Crimes as you please, but remember, if you go on in a Course of any known Sin, you are at present in a State of Death, 1 John 3.8. And by and by you shall appear before an impartial God, who will judge according to Truth, and sentence you to that Damnation you deserve, without sin­cere Repentance prevent, Rev. 21.
  • 4. But I don't justify my Faults: ay and yet commit them; why then you condemn your selves and sign your own Mittimus, and own the Justice of God, in your De­struction, Rom. 2.3. And thinkest thou this, O Man, that [Page 35]judgest them that do such Things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the Judgment of God? And if thou dost justify them against thy Conscience, thou fightest against the God that made thee, wages War with Heaven and thy own Mind, and therefore art damned already, Rom. 14.23.

Obj. 5. There's no Body certain of Salvation.

Ans. This is a great Falshood, as may appear by these Considerations following.

1. If Certainty or Assurance of Salvation were unattain­able, to what Purpose then should we be enjoined by God to give Diligence to make our Calling and Election sure, 2 Pet. 1.10. And

2. To what Purpose should so many Signs and Characters of saving Grace be laid down in the Word, and we comman­ded to examine our selves, and prove our selves? 1 Cor. 11, 28. But the Apostle Paul thought strange of the contrary Opinion, Know ye not, says he, that Christ is in you, except ye be Reprobates, 2 Cor. 13.5. As if he should say, It's a strange Thing indeed, if you don't know your gracious State.

3. To what $urpose then is the Spirit of Adoption which testifies with our Spirits that we are the Sons of God? Rom. 8.16. The new Name, the hidden Manna, which none knoweth but him that hath it, Rev. 2.17. But he that hath it knows it.

4 How came the ancient Christians to obtain it, if it be not attainable, and to call the contrary the Spirit of the World? 1 Cor. 2.12. It's well known by Men of any Letters that this, the Body of the Protestant Churches have given their unanimous Suffrage to, and that the contrary is the darling Notion of the Antichristian Romish Church. But what is the Reason you so strenuously oppose the Doc­trine of Assurance? Possibly it's this, thou art a Stranger to a Work of God's Grace in thy own Soul, and to pre­serve thy false Peace, thou thinkest that every Body is like thy self; this is some of thy Charity, who art apt to accuse others as censorious Judges: but how can we know? How can we know? I can't see: Friend, it's no Wonder you can't see, when you are blind, 1 Cor. 2.14. Rev 3.17. But whe­ther you can or not, others through Grace can, as clearly as ever they saw the Sun in his meridian Bloom and Beau­ty, without an intercepting Cloud: The Sun remains no less bright and orient, tho' some Batts or Moles should reproach him and say, he wants Light. But if you want to know how these Things can be, get coverting Grace; it's to little [Page 36]Purpose to attempt to paint the beautiful Colours of the Morning to a Man born blind. You don't know that you have Grace, how do you know that which is not, you are so humble as to question your State, sometimes when you are forc'd to it by the Gnawings of a guilty Mind, perhaps for some gross Offences; but your Humility must lead you further before ever your Heart be changed, even to condemn your present State as Christless, Luke 15.24.

6. Well if our State be bad, we can't change it our selves. It's true, we can't; but we can seek a Change after some sort, and if we do not we perish deservedly; from him th$t hath not shall be taken away even that he hath; that is, he that improveth not the Gifts that God has given him, shall be condemned. This the Parable of the Talents con­firms; if the impotent Man had not continued at the Pool, it's probable he would have missed Healing.

7. But we must wait God's Time: yes, but in God's Way, otherwise you wait for the Devil instead of God: There's no Promise in all the Book of God without sin­cere asking.

8. I design to turn to God afterwards. This is the rot­ten Plumb with which many stop the Mouths of their accus­ing Conscience, and so sleep in Death, and dream of Happi­ness, while they are possessed by Satan, and led Captive by him at his Will, in those Paths which lead to the Ch$m­bers of Hell, Eph. 2.2. But Friend, thy promising to turn to God afterwards, supposes that you imagine you have Power to repent when you think fit, which is very False and Groundless. Art thou certain, O Sinner, that thou shalt live one Day longer! May be God will say to thee, as to the rich Man in the Gospel, This Night thy Soul shall he required of thee: What Horrors would possess thy guilty unprepared Soul, if the pale ghastly Messenger should Ar­rest thee, & deliver his awful Summons that you must appear immediately before the great and holy God, to give an Account of thy Stewardship! Would not the Frame of thy present Projects be broken, and you sunk in inexpressible Amazement? While thy Soul sat trembling on thy livid Lips, going to leap it knows not where, like that Pagan, Dubius morior quo vada$ nescio; thy Eye strings breaking, and thy Blood chilling in thy frozen Veins: Many have been thus surpriz'd, and why may'st not thou among the rest? However, Time to come thou knowest is uncertain, and wilt thou lay the Weight of thy Salvation upon an Uncertainty? You would not do so about thy temporal [Page 37]Affairs. But suppose you should have a longer Time, and you wilfully abuse this is there any Promise that God will give you the Grace of Repentance then? No, but Threat­nings to the contrary, Prov. 29.1. And Chap. 1.22, to 29. Thy resolving afterwards and not now is Hypocrisy, 1 Pet. 4.3. And you know their Doom. By this Delaying you are guilty of Rebellion against God, by disobeying his po­sitive Commands, Heb. 3.15. 2 Cor. 6.2. And preferring the Devil and thy Lusts before him, by serving them first. By this thou harden'st thine own Heart, strengthen'st the Devil's Possession, and grievest the Holy Ghost, Heb. 3.15, 16. And 4.7. Acts 8.23. Prov. 3.28

9. If one ask some People concerning the Reasons of their Hope, they'l say, they have no Learning, they can't express their Minds as they would, but they have good Thoughts; so you may Friend, and have very bad Actions, thro' the general Course of your Life; it is not by thinking well, but doing well that you can reasonably expect Hap­piness, 1 John 3.7, 8. Heb. 12.14. Balaam the Wizard had good Thoughts and Wishes as well as you, and re­mained a Wizard still. But you have no Learning you say, more is the Pity, if you had Opportunities to obtain it; but it is not School learning that I ask thee about, but that which Christ teaches every believing Soul. Your Answer, Friend, supposes that you believe that all the dif­ference between godly Ministers and graceless People consists in naked, barren Speculations: I confess indeed there have been and yet are too many such lifeless Ministers who preach like the old Pharisees their Predecessors with­out Authority, and without Effect, their cold Sermons that freeze and languish on their Lips, are like a Parrot's Prat­tle; but Christ will preserve (let Earth and Hell do their worst) a Number of faithful Soul-searching Ministers in his Church to the End of Time, who know the Truth as it is in Jesus, and speak to others out of the Treasures of their Souls Experience, and who find their Speeches bless'd by the promised Presence of the Lord Christ to the Convicti­on and Conversion of precious Souls: what tho' you see some Hirelings seeking with eager and impatient Haste their Gain from their Quarter, looking after the Fleece as their principal Mark, notwithstanding all their specious Pretences, yet it is cruel and unjust to charge the whole with the Faults of some. If there was a saving Work of God's Spirit in thee, you would be able to speak some­thing [Page 38]of it, if your Gifts be so mean, why can you talk so freely about other Things.

10. But some will further plead that they have but poor Memories: What then do you think that all a Christian's Skill in discoursing about experimental Christianity lies in the Strength of his Memory? If you do, you are mista­ken, for every one that comes to Christ is learned of the Fa­ther, John 6.45. Now as the Instructions of God are more powerful and refreshing, so they are more permanent and abiding than the Lessons of any Man or Angel, John 5.25. Jer. 15.16. God's Word was sweeter to the Psal. mist than Honey, and more precious than refined Gold, Psalm 19.10. And 119. Verses 103, 127. Again he informs us, that God's Commands made him wiser than his Enemies, for they were ever with him, Psalm 119.98. The Instructi­ons of Creatures are transient, like the Impressions of a Seal upon Water? but God's Teachings are durable, like the Impressions of a Seal upon Wax, or like the Engravings of a Signet, or Sculptures on Marble, Exod. 18.11. H$g. 2.23. O Man, if thou had ever felt the Power of con­verting Grace, all thy Knowlege of Religion would not consist in barren Speculations attain'd by the Force of thy natural Understanding, and retain'd by the Strength of thy Memory, but there would be some indelible Impressions writ on the Tables of thine Heart, 2 Cor. 2.3.

11. If I thought much on these Things you tell me, I should grow Crazy. Friend, thou art much mistaken; I perswade thee to walk in the Paths of true Wisdom. Is not the Fountain of Wisdom, the blessed God, the best Judge in this and all other Cases? He informs us that his Fear is the beginning of Wisdom, and that those have a good Un­derstanding who depart from Evil, Job 28.28. With what Front can you talk of your Fear of being distracted, when ye are so already, Luke 15.17. And when he came to him­self; which supposes that he was without the Exercise of his Reason before his Conviction of Sin, and Conversion to God. Prov. 1.22 How long ye simple ones, will ye love Sim­plicity, and the Scorners delight in their Shorning, and Fools hate Knowledge? Would you not count him a mad Man who would drink Poison in Sport, or knowingly rush his naked Bosom upon the sharp Point of a drawn Sword? This you do daily. Fools make a Mo$k at Sin, Prov. 14.9. Would you not reckon him a mad Man, who being justly condemned by the supreme Magistr$te to be burnt for Murder or Treas$n that would $$$gh or dance all the Way [Page 39]to the Stake and Faggots, as if he was going to a Wedding or to receive a Crown? This is the Practice of thousands of graceless Sinners, they rejoyce all the Way to Hell.

A wise Man

  • (1.) proposes such an End in the Enjoy­ment of which he may be happy.
  • (2.) Pursues proper Measures to attain it.
  • (3.) Improves the right Season of using these Means.

But you Christless Souls either, 1. Propose such an End as can't make you happy in it's Enjoyment: Such as the airy Honours, brutish Pleasures, or transient Profirs of Time and Sense, the Trinity which the presumptuous World court, caress and adore. Or

2. If you propose God to be your last End, as you pre­tend, yet you do not use proper Means to come to the En­joyment of him, you walk not in the Way of Holiness, which is the only Path to eternal Happiness, Heb. 12.14.


3. You foolishly neglect the present most seasonable Op­portunities of improving Means to secure that End, which deserves your most earnest Labour, and highest Love and Esteem; contrary to the Prophet's Advice, Isal 55.6. Seek ye the Lord, while he may be found, call upon him while he is near. The brute Creatures may shame thee of thy for­did Neglect, Jer. 8.7, 8, 9. Yea the Stork in the Heaven knoweth her appointed Times, and the Turtle, and the Crane, and the Swallow observe the Time of their coming, but my People know not the Judgment of the Lord. How do ye say, We are wise? Jer. 8.8. You are commanded to learn Wis­dom of the Ant, Prov. 6.6. & 30.25. who in the Summer Season with great Industry prepares Food for the approach­ing Winter; but alas! too many are like the indolent Gras­hopper, who spend the Summer Season in singing, which the Ant busily improves in gathering to it's Winter Store: They spend their Days in Jollity and Merriment, which others improve to better Purposes; and so are found un­prepared for that Eternity which puts a final Period to their groundless Mirth, and turns it into everlasting Sorrow.

But what if some foolish ignorant Enemies of God and Righteousness should call you a crazy Person, for your ne­cessary Concern about your Salvation, which they are apt to do, because of their Blindness and Blockishness in such Matters, 1 Cor. 2.14. and their Spite against God's Image, Rom. 8.7. Is it not better to be called a Fool, than to be one? Are not the Hopes of an eternal Weight of Glory [Page 40]and Crown of Life, able to support you under such frothy Sufferings by unreasonable Men? If with the Camelion you will change your Colours for this, and bend with the Willow to every adverse Blast, thou art an hypocritical Time-server, unfit to be a Disciple of the holy Jesus, Mat 10.37, 38, 39.

12. If I should pore so much on these melancholly Matters, I should certainly fall into Dispair. Did not you hear of such and such that fell into this dreadful Gulph, God keep me from that terrible Sin? Answer. But pray, Friend, what makes thee so mighty zealous against this Sin, more than the contrary Extreme, Presumption? which is more than equally fatal: O Dispair! God keep me, is a terrible Sin. What Dispair! have Mercy upon us! But Friend, without such Flame and Heat, let us talk a little soberly of the Matter, and inquire into the Reasons of thy great Aversion against this Evil.

Don't it proceed from Love to thy own Ease, more than Zeal for God's Honour? Yes it does; and if ever thou comest to know thy self, thou wilt confess it: My Reason is this? If it was only upon the Account of the Sin you had this great Aversion, you would equally abhor Pre­sumption, because it's equally Derogatory to the divine Honours, as will appear under the fourth Head. But why sayest thou that you should certainly fall into Dispair, if you thought much on these Things? Why some have dispaired by thinking upon them: Well, what tho' some ignorant Persons thro' the violent Temptation of the Devil have dispaired, does this necessarily infer that thou shalt also?

2. It's their Sins that occasions their Dispair, not their Sorrow for Sin, and religious Meditation.

3. What though some did Miscarry, is this enough to beat thee off from all Endeavours after Repentance and Holiness? Some have dispair'd about the World, for the Sorrow of the World worketh Death, 2 Cor. 7.10. Will you therefore quite forsake all Care about the World up­on this Account? I suppose not. Why then will you do it in a Matter of greater Weight and Concern? Are not many Vessels lost at Sea, and yet the Merchants won't leave trading.

I seel a shivering in me when I read or hear such Ser­mons as this, now if I did not put away such melancholly Thoughts, my Uneasiness would increase, & I should certain­ly sink into Dispair! O deceived Soul! What you call me­lancholly Thoughts are the Motions and Convictions of [Page 41]the Holy Spirit, John 16.8, 9. the Calls of Christ which thou labourest to quench and murder. If these were im­proved and increased by Meditation and Supplication, the Issue (in all Probability) would be thy Conversion and Salvation, Joel 2.13, 14. But the Way thou takest, how­ever Right it may seem in thine own Eyes, ends in Death. For there is a Way which seems right to a Man, but the End thereof are the Ways of Death, Prov. 14.12. Yea some Formalists are so blind in this Matter, that having conceived (tho' without a Foundation) a good Opinion of their present State, mistake the Convictions of the Holy Spirit, for the Temptation of the Devil, and so under a Notion of opposing the Devil, they fight against God: When God and their own Consciences tells them the Truth, viz. That their State is damnable, because they want a sound Conviction, and the Experiences of God's special Love. They look upon it to be an Insinuation of the Devil, and so oppose it, and thereby ruin themselves.

But how knowest thou, O Sinner! that thou should'st certainly fall into Dispair, by thinking solemnly about thy Soul's State? Which of the three thousand that were con­victed by Peter's Sermon fell into Dispair? Nay, it's so far from this, that a necessary Sorrow for Sin, and Concern for thy Salvation is the Way to prevent a final and fatal Dis­pair, as being a Compliance with the positive Commands of God. Plow up the fallow Ground of your Hearts, Jer. 4.3. Rent your Hearts and not your Garments, Joel 2.13. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep, let your Laughter be turned into Mourning, and your Joy into Heaviness, Jam 4.9. A neces­sary Preparative for Conversion & Salvation. Luke 15. Acts 2. Rom. 7. But by putting the evil Day far off, thou prepa­rest the Way for endless Dispair, by grieving the Holy Spirit, Heb. 10.26. Hos. 6.1, 3. The Reason why thou art so much afraid of Dispair, is because it is so painful to Nature, and Presumption so Easy, a sweet Poison: O poor Sinner! be informed that on this very Account thou art in much more Danger of being ruin'd by Presumption than Dispair. The holy Scriptures that afford us an histo­rical Account of above four thousand Years, yet inform us of but two that perished by Dispair, viz Cain and Judas. Now if thou believest and considerest that but the small­est Number are saved, how many Millions must have pe­rished in that Time by Presumption.

While many labour to avoid one extreme, they split upon another, Incidis in Scyllam cupions vitare Charybdin: [Page 42]

He that Charybdis pointed Cliffs would fly,
Does often by the Scylla wounded lye.

I have been the longer upon this Head, because it is so commonly made use of by wicked People to guard them­selves against all necessary Sorrow for Sin: That ravenous Lyon the Devil, makes great use of this to betray Souls in­to remediless Ruin.

13 But I must serve God with a cheatful Heart, must not I? Yes, yes, Friend; you may rejoyce when you have Reason for it; when your Peace is made with God, Eccl. 9.7. Go thy Way, eat thy Bread with Joy, and drink thy Wine with a merry Heart, for God now accepteth thy Works. When thou art reconciled to God, and thy religious Services are accepted, then may'st thou eat thy Bread with Joy, but before this you have no Reason to rejoyce, but on the con­trary, great Cause of Sorrow and Mourning, Hos. 9.1. Re­joyce not, O Israel, for Joy, as other People: For thou hast gone a whoring from thy God. Before you taste the Sweet­ness of redeeming Grace, and pardoning Love, what Rea­son of Rejoycing? You may say with Solomon, of Laughter, it is mad, and of Mirth what doth it? Eccl. 2.2.

‘“Your taking Comfort to your selves, or a Minister's speaking Comfort to you before you are soundly con­vinced and effectually changed, is like sowing the ”Ground before it is plow'd.’ As Bishop Brownrig has justly observed.

But has not pious People the most Reason to rejoyce? Yes they have, but what is that to thee, till thou be such thy self? Light is sown for the Righteous, and Gladness for the upright in Heart, Psalm 97.11. Tho' they have not always a present Harvest, for those Sins of Infirmity will blast their Evidences, which thou pass$st lightly over. Why art thou cast down, O my Soul, and why art thou disquieted in me? Psalm 42.5.

O secure Sinner, consider I beseech thee in the Name of that God who made thee, that awful Threat of the Son of God, Wo to you that laugh now, for ye shall mourn and weep, Luke 6.25. O Man or Woman whosoever thou art, who go on in a Course of carnal Mirth and Jollity, before thy Peace is made with God, remember thou art under the heavy Curse of the Lord Jesus Christ, which shall be by and by consummated in thy utter Ruin, except thou repent and reform For while you say, Peace, Peace, sudden Destruction shall come upon you like travail upon a [Page 43]Woman with Child. It would be a much wiser Course for you to labour to sow in Tears that you may reap in Joy, Psalm 126.5.

But if thou wilt contrary to all Reason and Scripture, obstinately persist in thy Course of groundless Mirth, and Jollity; then let me address you in the Words of Solomon, Eccl. 11.9. Rejoyce O young Man in thy Youth, and let thy Heart cheer thee in the Days of thy Youth, and walk in the Ways of thy Heart, and in the Sight of thine Eyes: but know thou that for all these Things God will bring thee into Judg­ment. Pursue the corrupt Dictates of thy vain Imaginati­ons, and gratify thy sensitive Appetite to the utmost. Quicquid libet licet. Swim in Pleasures and dream of Hap­piness; but know as from God that this Course (without Repentance) will prove thy Ruin. Thou hast to do with a God that will not let thy Wickedness go unpunished.

There are many People who if you begin to talk of Religion, especially that which is experimental (they can bear with doctrinal and polemical Matters pretty well) are immediately struck dumb, like the Man without the Wedding Garment, they lose the Use of their Tongues for a Season, but when the Subject of Discourse is changed, and some political or worldly Affair comes upon the Board, then the Creatures are mightily refresh'd, then they begin to understand what is spoken, and breathe in their own Element, they find the Use of their Tongues imme­diately, and begin to be so warm and zealous, that partly out of sincere Affection to the Subject of Discourse, or De­sire to shew their Wit and Eloquence, that they hardly give another Time to speak. This Man has a bright No­tion, and that Woman has a pert Turn, which they travail in great Pain to bring to the Birth, but cannot get oppor­tunity: Is this thy Ease, O Man! then thou art a Stran­ger to the living God, Matth. 12.35.

14. But I pray to God often, and God has promised to hear those that ask in his Son's Name; ask and ye shall receive, knock and it shall be opened. In Answer to this, I pray thee in the Name of that God who made thee, and who will by and by judge thee in Righteousness, that you would solemnly consider the following Particulars: viz. That your Prayers and other Duties are cursed. I know you are apt to gnash your Teeth at this, and to say, as some of your own Mould did long ago, away with such a Fellow from the Earth, that speaks after this Manner, Acts 22.22. Or complain with that unhappy Man that was bereaved of his [Page 44]Ephod, They have taken away my gods, and what have I more? Judges 18.24. Miserable and deceived Souls! you make a Christ of your graceless Prayers as the carnal Jews did of old, Rom. 10.3. For they being ignorant of God's Righteousness and going about to establish their own, they did not submit themselves to the Righteousness of God. But this Reed of Egypt won't support your sinking Souls from endless Ruin. Now, to understand what I have ad­vanced, consider that there are two Things, of which all Duties are constituted, the Matter and the Manner: The Matter is the Substance of the Duty, the Manner is the Way of Performance, the Principles from which, the End or Design for which, the Manner in which a Person acts. As for Example, in charitable Gifts; when one gives sea­sonably to proper Objects, the Matter of this Duty is good, because it is commanded, but the Manner may be and often is at the same time very Evil and Wicked; in­stead of Love to God, Desire of Obedience to his Com­mand and the Illustration of his Glory, Compassion to the Indigent; Pride and Ostentation, or a natural Greatness of Mind, Generosity of Disposition, or a mercenary View to compensate some Crimson Guilt they have contracted, and ingratiate themselves into the divine Favour, are the corrupt Fountains from which this guilded Action glides: But indeed the Spirit of the World possesses the Children of this Generation to that Degree of Baseness that they are in no great Danger (many of them) of being Guilty of performing this Duty in a wrong Manner; for they lay aside both Matter and Manner.

But to prove that their Prayers are cursed, besides what has been spoken, consider these following Particulars.

  • 1. That the Prayers of the Wicked are an Abomination to the Lord, Prov. 15.8. Is not he that hates God wick­ed? But every unconverted Soul does so, tho' the most of them won't acknowledge it, Rom 8.7. John 3.6. Now is not Abomination a high Degree of Hatred, and what is God's Hatred but his Curse?
  • 2. Whatsoever is without Faith is Sin, Rom. 14.23. But no unconverted Sinner has saving Faith, 2 Thes. 3.2. It's impossible to have this radical Grace, and yet be unconver­ted, for Faith works by Lov$ Gal. 5.6. Therefore their Prayers are Sin, at least in the Manner of Performance: Now is not Sin the Object of God's Hatred, the procuring Cause of his Curse and Vengeance? Hab. 1.13.
  • [Page 45]3. Our Lord Jesus informs us, Luke 6.43. That a cor­rupt Tree bringeth not forth good Fruit. Then it must needs bring forth bad, there's no Medium; this is explain'd in the following Verses. Now is not every unconverted Man a corrupt Tree, in a metaphorical Sense? John 3.6. All their good Actions, little else but the Shew of Good­ness, "Splendid Sins," as Austin of old justly observed; until a Man be severed by the Sword of the Law and Spi­rit in a sound Conviction from the wild Olive, the first Adam, and implanted by Faith in the second Adam, all their Fruits are but wild Grapes; their Vine is of the Vine of Sodom, and of the Fields of Gomorrah, their Grapes are the Grapes of Gall, their Clusters are bitter; their Wine is the Poison of Dragons, and the cruel Venom of Asps, Deut. 32.32, 33. It's true, there is such an Appearance of Good­ness in these Performances of Unbelievers, that they often deceive themselves with these lifeless Husks, but God who is a pure Spirit will accept of to Worship but that which is suted to his Nature, John 4.24. God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in Spirit and in Truth.
  • 4. The Prophet Isaiah in the first Chapter of his Book, Verses 11, 12, 13, 14. confirms beyond reasonable Contra­diction what I have advanc'd under this Head; he shews that these religious Services which were even of divine In­stitution under the jewish OEconomy were notwithstand­ing abominable and loathsom to God, because of the Peo­ple's Wickedness that performed them, as the Verses before cited, with that which immediately follows, do make evi­dent.
  • 5. The Prayers of unconverted People are Idolatry, when they pretend to worship God, they worship them­selves: that which is the last End of a Worshiper is his chiefest Good, for the last End and the chief Good are convertible Terms. Now Christless People aim at their own Interest, as their last End in divine Worship, the main Springs of their religious Services are mercenary & selfish; Self bears the Ascendant in their Breasts above the Glory of God: Phil. 2.21. For all seek their own, not the Things which are Jesus Christ's. When our Lord informs us that we must deny our selves, and take up his Cross in Order to be his Disciples, Matth. 16.24 Mark 8.34. Luke 9.23. This necessarily presupposes that Self governs unrenewed Persons. Are not the terrible Execrations [Page 46]grasped in our Text directed like a pointed Thunderbolt a­gainst such guilty idolatrous Creatures?
  • 6 Mockery. Hof. 7.14. And they have not cried unto me with their Heart, when they howled upon their Beds. It is pertinently observed by Mr.Henry on this Text, ‘That “ Moses is said to cry to God when he spake not a Word, only his Heart prayed with Faith and Fervency, Exod. 14.15. But those made a great Noise and said much, and yet did not cry to God, because their Heart was not right with him, not subjected to his Will, devoted ”to his Honour, or employed in his Service.’ Hence the same excellent Person observes, "That those do not "pray to God at all, that do not pray in the Spirit. The Expression shews how displeasing to God their Prayes were, like to the Howlings of Dogs or Wolves to us, for to these Creatures it's probable the Expression alludes: It's very likely that Saul pray'd thousands of times when he was a Pharisee, but not Notice was taken of those Prayers; but so soon as he was convicted, Ananias was commanded to go to him; Go to Saul of Tarsus, for behold he prayeth, Acts 9.2. Yes, yes, he prayed now after another Manner than when he was a secure Pharisee; I'll warrant you, his Heart quiver'd in his Body, and the Tears trickled down his Cheeks amain. If he was such a weep­ing Preacher afterwards as he informs us, Acts 20.31. no doubt these crystal Fountains were open'd then at his Conviction.
  • 7. Again. I might add that the Prayers of the Wicked are like Offering of strange Fire, for which God severely punished the Sons of Aaron with sudden and awful Death, Lev. 10.1, 2. If there be any Warmth in your Devotion, it proceeds not from the Coals of God's Altar, but Sparks of your own kindling, Isai. 50.11. O thou unconverted Man or Woman, God might justly strike thee dead im­mediately with the Spear of his Vengeance as he did Na­dah and Abihu, for thy Offering of strange Fire before the Lord in these graceless Prayers which you think so much of and rest upon! And now what do you think O Man! Will such Prayers, or other religious Duties as these are intitle you to any Promise of Mercy? No surely.
  • 8. But we are expresly inform'd that natural Men and Women are excluded from having (at present) any interest in the Promises of the New Covenant. Eph. 2.12. 2 Cor. 1.20. Reason also confirms what the Scripture vouches: The Promises give a claim of right to the Benefits of the Covenant. Now in any conditional Contract, how can the [Page 47]Party contracting have an interest in the benefits of the Contract until he complies with the terms upon which these benefits are suspended? But supposing an uncon­verted Man by the improvement of his Powers to the highest Pitch (which I believe was never done by any of them) could on that account lay claim to the Promises of Salvation, then these Consequences must necessarily follow,
    • 1 That Salvation is of Works, contrary to the tenor of the holy Scriptures, Eph. 2.8. We are sav'd thro' Grace, and that not of our selves, it is the gift of God: thro' his Mercy hath be saved us, and not by works of Righteousness which we have done. Tit. 2.5. Not of Works lest any man should boast. Rom. 3.27, 28 Who hath made thee to differ from another? 1 Cor. 4.7. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. The Covenant of Grace would be nothing else but the Old Covenant of Works, new vamp'd and furbish'd.
    • 2. The spotless Sovereignty of God stain'd, his Will de­pendant on the fickle Creatures Nod.
    • 3. The fulness and perfection of christ's Satisfaction mar'd, and the orient beauties of redeeming. Grace vail'd, and the Creature have cause of boasting and thanking himself for his Salvation, more than his Redeemer.

Again, Would it not be a shrewd reflection upon the untainted Holiness of the blessed God to annex the Pro­mises of Happiness to the deform'd and wretched perfor­mances of his Enemies, which are so far from being able to bear their own weight in the Court of Justice, that they are (because of the corrupt manner of performance) the objects of his infinite abhorrence? If the Church's Righteousness is call'd filthy Rags, Pillars of Smoke, Isai. 64.6. Cant. 6.3. tho' they proceed from faith and love, how vile and base then are the performances of such who are void of these two noble and necessary Graces, and possess'd of two very opposite qualities, viz unbelief and hatred, 2 Thes. 3.2. Rom. 8.7. How canst thou there­fore, O Man! apply to thy self these Promises? Ask, and thou shale receive &c. what sort of asking and seeking is there meant? is it not by Faith? and from Love? and a new Nature? Yes surely, for it is not every one that sayeth, Lord, Lord, that shall enter into the kingdom of Hea­ven. Many shall seek to enter, but shall not be able, Mat. 7.21. Luk. 13.24. Now how canst thou ask with Faith, or from Love, and a new Nature, who art dead in Sin? Eph. 2.1. and whilst destitute of these noble and [Page 48]necessary Graces? I would not have thee to conceit that thy earnestness flowing from Self-love (which thou vainly callest Sincerity) will intitle thee to the Promises of Salva­tion; there is no Warrant for this in all the Book of God, as I have prov'd before; but alas! I fear thousands rest on this sandy Foundation, being born under a Covenant of Works. They still reatin a tincture of it, and expect Justification by it: That Covenant was written on the tables of Man's Heart, whereas the Coventant of Grace is entirely owing to divine Revelation; not the least Signa­ture of it on the Hearts of graceless Men, not the feast Glimpse be wrayed by the Law of Nature, therefore they can't understand it till they be inlightened by the Holy Ghost, and therefore according to the Proveth, Ignoti aulla Cupido, There is no Desire after an unknown Thing. But it may be objected it this be the Case, why then out Prayers signify nothing at all. I deny the Consequence, and indeed by thy Objection if you speak as you think, you prove your self to be a mercenary graceless Person: May not your Prayers be useful and necessary, though not meritorious? If they intitled thee to Happiness, they wou'd include a Merit of Congruity; for Shame, would a Protes­tant plead for the Merits of Works? The Duties of an unconvereted Person, if earnestly and perseveringly per­formed, do lay them under a Probability of Mercy, Joel 2.14. 2 Tim. 2.25. Acts 8.22. This peradventure is a sufficient Motive of Action in a Matter of such Weight as our eternal Happiness is: Are not Men mov'd by a meer probability of obtaining what they seek, to earnest Labours in Matters of infinitely smaller Moment and Consequence? The Farmer willingly endures great Fatigue in cultivating his Land, and after all he is not sure of a Crop: The Ma­tiner exposes himself to infinite Toil and Hazard, in tra­versing the foaming Deep, for that perishing Gain which he is not sure of obtaining; and so it is in other Occupa­tions. It not the Wisdom of God exceedingly display'd in annexing but a Peradventure of Mercy to the religious Performances of Christless People in the following Con­sideration. Our Way to the heavenly Jerusalem lies be­tween these two dangerous Rocks, viz Presumption and Despair; the first on the right hand, and the other on the lest; one of which we are in great Danger of being ruin'd by; now to preserve us from Presumption on the one hand, and prepare us by a necessary Poverty of Spirit, for the Mediator's Righteousness, there is but a Probability at­tending [Page 49]the Endeavours of Unbelievers, and to preserve from Dispait on the other, and excite necessary Motion, there is a probability, for hope is the Spring of Motion: When all Hope expires, motion ceases, but awful fear is a very necessary Companion of conditional Hope in graceless Peo­ple, in order to humble them, and strip them of their own Righteousness, and so to prepare them as objects of Mercy for the Righteousness of the Lord Jesus, Phil. 3.9. Mat. 5.3. The Church of England confirms what I have offer'd under this Head in her 13th Article.

15. Pretext. If one is speaking about the necessity of a found and deep Conviction, in order to obtain the New Birth and Eternal Salvation; Some Hypocrites will im­mediately reply, that the Spirit has different ways of working, and produce that text, Joh. 3.8. That the Wind bloweth where it listeth, &c Hence they inser, tho' falsely, that they themselves are in a good State, tho' they can give no account how they came by it; and thus they se­curely rest in a damnable Condition. In answer to this, it is confess'd,

1. That God has a variety of Seasons in which:

2. Various Instruments by which he works upon Sinners Hearts, Psalm 110.3. 1 Cor. 3.5. And

3. That different Persons seel Pains under Conviction, different both in Measure and Duration. But what then? God's Work is substantially the same in all, as God is One, Ezek. 11.19. Every one must see so much of the Evil, and seel so much of the Bitterness of Sin, and the Insuffici­ency of his own Righteousness, as to be heartily willing to forsake them, and actually embrace a naked Jesus, Rom. 5.20. John 1.12. They must see and seel so much of the Misery of their lost and undone State as will make them restless and distressed until they obtain Pardon, Rom. 8.15. Are not the Terms of Mercy equal and uniform? Where is there any Exception mention'd in the Scriptures, that any one who comes not up to them shall be saved? Is not the blessed God consistent with himself? Now this may shew thy Falshood and Hypocrisy in pretending to true Christianity, when thou hast never been struck dead by the Law, Rom 7.9, 10, 11, never experienc'd a power­ful and universal Change of Heart and Life, which every one must feel or be damned eternally; that Hope which maketh not ashamed, is built upon Experience, and is at­tended with a Sense of Christ's Love; and the sanctifying Influences of the Spirit, Rom. 5.4, 5. 1 Pet. 1.3. Hath be­gotten [Page 50]us again to a lively Hope. 1 John 3.3. And every Man that hath this Hope in him, purifieth himself even as he is pure. Neither does that Text before alledged, viz. John 3.8. enervate but rather establish what I have offered; that the Holy Spirit in the Conversion of the Elect works

1. Arbitrarily, as an absolute Sovereign and free Agent, both as to the Persons to whom he grants his blessed Influ­ences, as well as in Respect of the Season and Measure of them, 1 Cor. 12.11. The Wind bloweth where is listeth.


2. Mysteriously, as to the manner of his Operations. Hence it's said, Ye know not whence it comes, or whether it goes: Thus he that experienceth a work of Conversion is not able to declare or express with words fully to another what he feels in himself, either as to the Order or Degree of the Spirit's Operations; yet this very Scripture asserts that the Holy Spirit works powerfully and sensibly; we can feel the Wind, and hear the sound of it: tho' the Causes of Conversion be hid, its Effects are patent and evident: When the Soul is made to grieve for Sin, and groan under a burden of Corruption, to pant and gasp after Christ, and cry, Abba, Father; then we hear the sound of the Spirit, and know he is at work. But,

9. Presumptuous Sinners offer many pretexts to palliate their Sins, both of Commission and Neglect, by which their native horrors are lessen'd in their apprehension, and their false hopes confirm'd; as particualrly,

1. For Drunkenness: Tho' this be a very monstrous Evil, that sinks a Man beneath his Species, by divesting him of, and dethroning his reason: and therby levelling him with the Brute Creation. I say, tho' it breaks the Constitution, wastes the Estate, wounds the Conscience, makes a Man an easy prey to his greatest Enemies, the Devil and his lusts; tho' it be as contrary to our temporal as eternal Interest, equally opposite to the Law of Nature and of God: A Sin which is the Shame and reproach of humane Nature, bereaving it of its native grandeur and dignity, making Men worse Fools than Brutes or Idiots, because their folly is the effect of their vicious Choice; whereas the other was the lot of their Creation. Prov. 20.1. Luk. 21.34. Eph. 5.18. Yet alas! this monstrous Evil is too frequent and flagrant in this part of the World at this Day. But if notwithstanding all the Warnings God gives you by his Word and Rod, you will still continue in your shameless Vomit, adding Drunkenness to T$$g$, and yet e$p$ct P$$ce: [Page 51]Remember that all the Curses that are written in this Book will be upon you, and your Names shall be blotted out from under Heaven. God will make you drunk with the Wins of his Wrath, and cause you to staggar and reel into Hell: He will make you spue and fall that you shall never rise again. Jer. 25.27, 28. 2 Cor. 6.9, 10. Hear ye Sons of Shame and Death, what the great God says to you, Psal. 75.8. For in the hand of the Lord there is a Cup and the Wine is red, it is full of mixture, he poureth out of the same, but the dregs thereof all the wicked of the Earth shall wring them out and drink them. Deut. 32.42. I will make mine Arrows drunk with Blood. But notwithstanding the sordid nature, destructive and damning Consequences of this Sin, daring Sinners have the front to advance some Pleas to paliate it, and thereby they strengthen their false Confidence.

1. Some will alledge, that they have Wealth sufficient to bear out such Expence, and therefore why may'nt they enjoy their own? they don't wrong any body.

Answ. You wrong your selves, and that in your dearest Interests, your Souls, Honours, Bodies, Estates; you pro­digally exhaust your Substance, blemish your Character, mar your Reason, the grand Characteristick of the humane Nature, by which we are distinguish'd from, and advanc'd above the brutal Herds; sear your Consciences, and weaken your Constitutions: And is not this very base and heinous? Hos. 7.11. 2 Tim 3.13. And is not thy Prodigality as great a wrong to thy near Relatives? who have an Inte­rest in thy Substance, as thy Wickedness in it is their Grief and Vexation? And is it not a wrong to the Poor and Needy, who have (in soro poli, in the sight of God) a right to some part of thy Estate? What, does the Bulk of thy Estates (which can add no real or intrinsick Worth to the Possessor) give thee a Letter of Licence to violate the Laws of God and Nature, as well as thy own Constitu­tion? Will Reason vouch such a claim of Right, and prove the Patron of Rebellion and Suicide or Self-Murder, on such a Foundation, which is a strong excitement to the contrary Virtues: does not encrease of Wealth (being, God's free Gift) encrease our Obligations to God? And can that which augments our Obligations to God and his Service, utterly dissolve them? And is this reasonable? Accurate Mr. Flavel in his Treatise of Personal Reforma­tion proposes this Question to such Persons, which I be­lieve you will not easily answer: ‘Whether you think [Page 52] “that spending the r$$uncancy or overplus of your Estates in Excess and Drunkenness be the very End that God aim'd at in bestowing such Things upon you with such a bountiful Hand, and whether the Expence of it this way will please Him, $s well as if you sed the Hungry, and cloath'd the Naked with it? and brought the Blessing of those that are ready to perish upon you and ”your Families?’

2. Others will alledge that it was Trouble occasion'd their first falling into this Course being Melancholly and oppress'd with Grief upon the account of their Spiritual or Worldly Concerns; they drunk excessively to support their drooping Spirits; this being frequently repeated, in­duc'd a habit which they can't break.

Ans. This method as to the Soul, is Murder, and in re­gard of temporal Trouble, it's Madness.

1. I say, in respect of the Soul, it's Murder, for thereby God's Authority is contemn'd, and the Motions of his Spi­rit quench'd; which its both our Duty and Interest to comply with & observe. 2 Thes 5.19. Quench not the Spirit. The Metaphor alluded to in this Place of Scripture is that of Fire, to which God's Spirit is frequently compared in the sacred Oracles, because of the analogical or like Ef­fects he produces in the Hearts of his own, as a Fire does upon gross Bodies, dissolving their native Hardness into in­genuous Sorrow for Sin, Psalm 51.4, 17. consuming their Corruption, Isai. 44 and enflaming their Affections with the pure and chaste Flame of divine Love, Cant. 2.5. Now as Fire may be quenched two Ways, either by neglecting it, or casting Water upon it; so may the common Motions of the Holy Ghost be quenched, either by neglecting to com­ply with them, and so slighting them, contrary to that Di­rection, Isai. 55.6. or positive Acts of Sin against them which is a piece of the most effronted Wickedness, and God daring Impiety: To such we may apply the Words of devour S$$phen to the obstinate Jews, Acts 7.51. Ye stiff­n$cked and uncircumcised in H$art and Ears, ye do always r$sist the Holy Ghost, as your Fathers did, so do ye. If those t$at r$sist a lawful M$gistrate in the just Ex$cution of h$s Office, shall receive to themselves Damnation, Rom. 13. Won't a double Damnation be your Portion (so con$$nuing) who resist the King of Kings and Lord of Lor$s, off ring Salvation to you in the most $$$descending Manner possible? Isai. 30.18. Rev. 3.20. Heb 10.28, 29. Is it not the most hor$ible Mu$$er thus to destroy your [Page 53]own Souls? But miserable Man! this Method you take for a Cure, does but increase the Disease and render it worse; your Case will be as bad as that of Ephraim, Hos 5.3. When Ephraim saw his Sickn$s$, and Judah his Wou$l, then went Ephraim to the Assyrians, and sent to King Jareb, yet he would not cure you, nor heal you of your Wound. In­stead of going to the Creator, they apply'd to, and confi­ded in the Creature; but to no Purpose. Hear and trem­ble at the Judgment that the righteous holy God threat­ned to inflict upon that wicked People for flying to wrong Physicians in their Distress, in the following Verse, For I will be to Ephraim as a Lyon, and as a young Lyon to the House of Ju$ah; I, even I, will tear and go away, and none shall resoue him. Remember Sinner, it will take thee a great deal of Pains to get thy Conscience murder'd, and thereby obtain compleat Furniture for Hell and the Devil. For the Way of Transgressors is hard, Prov. 13.15. And is not that a fine Portion, worthy of thy Sweat and Labour? Perhaps before thou gett'st thy Conscience fear'd, even by this Course, that it will scare thee so with it's ghastly Groans, that you'l be obliged to choak it with a Halter, as thy great Grandfather Judas did before thee: But alas! this will but open it's Mouth the wider in the other World to thy eternal Grief and Anguish.

2. As to temporal Concerns, it's Madness, because in­stead of curing the Disease, it makes it more desperate by increasing it's Cause. It's true, it gives some present Ease by unbending and relaxing the labouring Mind from it's Burden of anxious Cares for a very little time, by intoxicating and clouding the rational Powers, and giving the Ascen­dant to the inferiour and brutish Passions, but as soon as this Paroxsym or Fit of Madness is over, the Force and Fumes of the Liquor exhausted and settled, and Reason again enthroned, and freed from the tyrannical Encroach­ments and rebellious Mutinies of Sense; the Disease re­turns with double Violence, for the Cause of their Misery is augmented by a needless Diminution of their Substance, and Addition of new Guilt; so that like Paul's Vessel they are between two Waves in great Danger of being sunk and shipwreck'd, Acts 27.41. Poor Souls! if you went to God in your Troubles and humbled your selves before him, confessing your Sins as the meritorious Cause of your Sufferings, peradventure he would pity and pardon you, Joel 2.12, 13, 14. This would be a blessed Issue of your Troubles indeed? Believe it Friend, God's Love can [Page 54]sweeten the bitterest Cups of Calamity and Affliction, and keep the Soul calm and serene in the midst of the greatest Disasters and Difficulties, Psalm 46.2, 3. Application to Gud in Trouble is what he justly expects of you, Hos. 5.15. And it's often his gracious Design in sending them to a­larm you out of your enchanted Slumbers, and drive you to himself. Does he not send Afflictions as Physick to purge away your Filth? As a Fan to winnow away your Chaff? As a Furnace to consume your Dross? Isai. 27.9. And is not Application to God in Affliction the surest and speediest Way to find Relief. Psalm 37.5. Com­mit thy Way unto the Lord, trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass. Psal 91.1, 1. He that dwells in the secret Place of the most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. He shall cover thee with his Feathers, and under his Wings shall thou trust. But alas! What a sad Infatuation has Sin $rought upon Men's Understandings! That though they retain a natural Desire after Happiness, Who will shew $s any Good? Psalm 4.6. Yet the most concert and pur­sue wrong Measures, to attain it, they forsake God the Center of the Soul, and wander endlesly in vain Pursuits after empty Creatures, Jer. 2. When one is found by Ex­perience defective, they grasp after another; thus they travel in mazy Labyrinths to no Purpose: The best of Creatures have but a limited Goodness, and so can never satisfy the expanded Wishes of a rational immortal Spirit: None but the bl$ssed God himself who is an Ocean of all desireable Perfections and Excellencies can give it a Ful­ness of Rest and Delight. Psalm 116.7. Hos. 2.7. The Soul can find no more Satisfaction over all the flow­ry Fields of sensitive Delights, than Noah's Dove upon the deluge Waters; but Christ is an Ark in which wearied Doves may rest. Mat. 11.28.

As to what you object about the habitualness of your Sin, and therefore your Inability to abstain from it; I an­swer, That though contracted Habits be hard to be broken, yet they may by the meer Strength of Nature; they may in­cline but can't so$c$ the Will. The Jews had a very vicious Habit of Idolatry, yet after the babylonish Captivity they re­formed from that darling Lust, tho' in the mean time they indulged other Wickednesses, Rom. 2.

3. If any should alledge (tho' there are but few so Vul­gar as to speak it, whatever they think) that they find so much Pleasure in this Practice that they don't know how to leave it. Answer, What true Pleasure can there be in [Page 55] Excess, which creates an unnatural Ferm$nt, and thereby oppresses Nature, and induces a Train of noisom and de­structive Diseases, which often occasions Pain and puts a fatal Period to human Life? If there be any Pleasure in such Excesses, it's a very inconsiderable, transient, irratio­nal and delusive One, only the Gratification of a vicious diseas'd Appetite, by which the Distemper is increas'd, and God offended. But pray compare your pretended Plea­sures with the manly Delights of Temperance, which taste sweetest, and last longest, because they preserve Nature in it's just Elevation and Element; and compare those ima­ginary Pleasures with the real Pains of Body and Mind here, and the endless Sorrows of the next State, which that Practice occasions, and see whether they will ballance them.

4. Some plead that it's not so much Love to the Liquor as to good Company and Conversation that makes them go to such Places; as also that their Business calls them there. Answer, Is good Company no where else to be found but in Taverns? I doubt these are not the proper Places to find such as are truly good, for those will endeavour to a­void Places of Temptation as much as possible, 1 Thess. 5.22. To pray that we may not be led into Temptation, as we are directed, Matth. 6.13. and yet to run afterwards unnecessa­rily into it, is not this $word$ put a Jest upon the Almighty, and endanger our own Safety? Does not Joseph and Jeho­saphat witness this? As to the Pretence of Business, it's but a Pretence with the most; Business for the most part may be done elsewhere, but if some Business requires thy Presence in a Tavert, is Drunkenness a necessary Qualifi­cation to manage $word$ with Discretion?

5. Some may advance this Excuse, that they are oblig'd to resort to such Places sometimes, and drink an extraor­dinary Glass, lest they should incur the odious Charge of Phanatism. This is just what ancient Salvian says of the People of his Time, Coguntur esse mali$ne viles habantur, “They are forc'd to be wicked, lest they be esteemed ”mean and vile.’ The Rev. Mr. Flavel gives a very good Answer to this Excuse in the following Words: ‘“Gentlemen I assure you, says he, that Phanaticks (as you call them) have Reason to thank you for the Honour and Justice you have done them, in acknowleging them to be none of the Men of your hellish Society, but Per­sons of a more sober and honourable Character: And I appeal to your Reason, says he, Whether it, would not [Page 56]be more for your Honour to wear the unjust Title of a ”Phanatick, than the just Censure of a drunken Sot.’

2. For Worldly mindedness: They'l immediately trump up that text of Scripture, 1 Tim. 5.8. that if any provide not for those of his own House, he is worse than on Infidel. They deal with pious Ministers, and private Christians, who meddle with them about this matter, as the Devil did with our Saviour, ‘that damn'd Fiend came with a “ ”Bible under his Arm, and Scripture in his Mouth;’ as Mr. Burket expresseth it; and tells our Lord it's written; Mat. 4.6. The Passage refet'd to by the Devil, is that of the Psalmist, Psal 91.11 For he shall give his Angels charge ever thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. The scope of which is only to shew; that God by the ministration of Angels, would afford Protection to his People in all lawful ways; but the Devil extended, and apply'd this falsely to all unlawful and presumptous ways; therefore he advis'd our Saviour to cast himself down from the Pinacle, and yet expect the Angelick Protection. So these Misers, follow­ing their black Master's example; do pervert that sacred Scripture before mention'd, which only requires a mode­rate careless Care for their own and their Families Sup­port; yet this Text they'l rack on the Tenter's, in order to Patronize their idolatrous anxiety about the World, they's faithful drudgery to Mammon, which is to that de­gree, that it often interrupts their Family and Closet Devotion. These Nahals get up early to Worship their God; I mean the World: they have no time to Worship the God of Heaven in their Families; no, no, that might give some interruption to their more weighty Affai$s, which is to get a large Estate: Therefore the Service of Jehovah must bend and bow to their Friend Mammon, whom they most heartily affect. Thro' the Day their Brains are rack'd with a vast variety of Proj$cts, how to put every thing to the best Advantage; the Feet of many are tired with motion, and their Hands with action in their Lord's Service; however in the mean time one thing they don't forget, unless a great hurry of Business prevent, which is to fill their Bellies at proper Seasons, and that perhaps without sear, Jade ver. 14 When the Even comes on the Labouring Men repair to their Beds, and the Gen­try to their Bottles for Refreshment, so that the Service of God is miserably neglected; One is too much fatigued, and the other's Head is fill'd with Matters of greater Con­cern, he w$n$s to tell a merry, or prophane Story $word$ his [Page 57]Friends for their Edification; and some are so zealous in this Affair that they can't sleep in the proper Season, but imitate their Brethren the Bats, by waking in those dark times, when others take their rest according to stated or­der of Nature, and after their midnight Revels are snooring in deep Sleep, when Phebus has bless'd the Earth with his benign Rays, and run a cousiderable part of his diurnal Circuit; I say, they are Sleeping when honest Men are a­bout their necessary Labours; but Darkness is the fittest vail to shreen those brutish Actions which would blush before the Light, and the Day.

2. But I have a large Family, I must provide for them: Well who hinders thee; but pray do this in God's way. Seek first the Kingdom of God, Mat. 6.33. Let your care be moderate; be careful for nothing, Phil. 4.6. I must provide for my Family; and will you under this pretence lose the Opportunities of Mercy? and so damn your Souls in order to get a Snare, I mean a large Estate for your Children. You have a better prospect of getting ne­c$ssary Sustenance for your Family, secur'd in God's way, than in any other; for Godliness hath the Promise of this Life, as well as the Bl$ssing of the next, 1 Tim. 4.8. The Successes of all our Projects and Labours are the issues of a wise and all-governing Providence; it's God's Blessing that makes Rich, Prov 10.22. Without this the most blooming Attempts prove abortive: If the Lord watch not the City, the Watchers watch in vain, Psal. 127.1. It's in vain without the Smiles of Providence to tise up early, or to sit up late, or eat the bread of Carefulness. Psal. 127.2. For the Race is not to the Swift, nor the Battle to the Strong, Eccl. 9.11. If all Events be thus under the direction of Providence, then surely the most easy and certain Method to Advancement is to get an Interest in the lasting Favour and Friendship of that God who sits at the Helm of Government, and rowls the unerring Wheels of Providence, so as to illustrate his Glory, and advance his People's Happiness. Non caeco impetu volvuntur rotae: The Wheels of Providence are not governed by a blind Fortune, or Chance. You must provide for your Families; who has ever heard you say, you must provide for your Souls? Is not that Provision a matter of infinitely greater importance? O! that you were as sensible of your Souls wants as you are of your Bodies, it would be happy for you. But if you had a necessary, rational and parental Aff$ction to the Souls of your Children, you would express it otherwise [Page 58]by Instructing them in the knowledge of the great Prin­ciples of Christianity, exciting and entreating them to practical Piety, and confirming your seasonable Instructi­ons by pious Examples. Children have Eyes as well as Ears, to see what you do, as well as hear what you say: If they don't hear you Pray and Read God's Word in your Families; in short, unless they see you Pious in the course of your Conversation, how can they think you are any other wise then in Jest when you speak to them a­bout Religion, when they see you make a Jest of it your selves. Some Men are like Nebuchadnezar's Image, whose Head was of Gold, but its Feet, partly of Iron and partly of Clay; they hold perhaps found Opinions respecting Religion, but have a base Earthly Practise, Dan. 232, 33. It's an awful Expression of famous Hopkin's ‘That some “Men talk as if Angels sat on their Tongues, but in their ”Lives they are Devils.’

You that are Heads of Families, if after your own Conversion to God, you might be a mean (thro' Grace) by your good Instruction and Example, of their Spiritual Life, to whom you have been an Instrument of a Natural Life, would not this be better than $o provide them an Estate, at the Expence of your own, and their Salvation". But alas! it's matter of great Lament$tion! that many Parents are worse to their Children than the Sea Monsters: These irrational Animals by an instinct of Nature, draw out their Breasts to their Young, Lam. 4.3. But you who have Reason and Revelation, besides that natural tender­ness, do not feed your Children out of the Breasts of both Testaments: You give them Learning, you say, and what should you do more? There is much more to be done, than just to learn them to Read, and then leave them to themselves, like the cruel Ostrich, as I have shewn before.

Pretext 3. But I get an Estate that I may do good with it in the World: Ay, this is a guilded Pretext. But what Good do you do now with what you have? Little or nothing perhaps, some insignificant trifles not worth mentioning, no ways proportioned to your Ability; But you'l say, you han't it to spare; ay, and you would have less to spare if your Possessions were ten times greater, for your greedy Desires would increase more than in Proporti­on to the Increase of your Wealth; you would be but a Beggar then: For as Seneca well observes, ‘Compare the “richest Misers Possessions with his Desires, and he is a [Page 59] ”Beggar.’ Remember the poor Widow's Mite, and be ashamed of thy Hypocrisy. But shall I tell thee thy View in labouring to get a large Estate? Pride is one Motive, you want to be a little demi god in the World, a sort of an independant Being, by having many depending on thee, courting thy Smiles, and trembling at thy Frowns, caressing thee by all the humble Arts of Endearment, hanging on thy Lips, and listning to thy Haughty, and per­haps but Shallow Discourses, with the profoundest Silence, as to Apollo's Oracles. A second is Luxury, that you may live with more Ease, Gaiety and Voluptuousness, in order to compass a comparative Happiness here, a sort of Turks Paradise. And would you have a Happiness in this World? Well thought of indeed; for if you don't get it in this, you are not like to get it in the next by your present Course, 1 John 2.25.

4. Pretext. I am in debt, and must not I labour to pay my Debts? Yes, yes, Friend, there's no doubt of it, but in the mean time, you should consider that you are in debt to the great God, both to his Mercy and Justice. Does not your Life and Being, and all your Supports in both freely flow from the forfeited Springs of his unmerited Goodness? And are you not in debt to his Justice, by break­ing his Law, and slighting his Gospel, affronting his Ma­jesty and abusing his Mercy? You are perhaps afraid of the Sheriff or other civil Officers siezing of you, and putting you in a temporal Prison; but miserable Soul, unless you get your Debts discharged, the Judgment that is past a­gainst you revers'd by the meritorious Passion of Jesus, un­less you get reconcil'd to your Adversary, the Almighty God, while you are in the Way, quickly the grim Serjcant Death will arrest you, and you shall be cast into the Pri­son of Hell, where you shall not come out till you pay the uttermost Farthing, Matth. 5.25, 26. O Friend! Is there not more Reason to be afraid of being bound in these hea­vy Chains of Darkness and Death, than any other Con­finement. You who through eager Desire and Labour to secure this World, neglect the Concerns of another, are like the Dog in the Fable, ‘who having a piece of Beef “in his Mouth, and seeing the Shadow of it in the Water, dropt the piece that was in his Jaws, and catch'd at the ”Shadow.’

5. Pretext. Say what you will, I must mind the main Chance. Ay! is this World then the main Chance, the chief Business we should pursue and esteem? Why then [Page 60] hug it, and make much of it, scrape and gnaw your Dog's Bone as much as you will; I believe no Child of God (when he is himself) will begrudge you your Portion.

6. Pretext. I only seek a moderate Support, says another, Ay, I suppose you'l say so: There's hardly any Body world­ly minded, if their Sayings were worthy of Credit, but their Actions gives their Lips the Lie. It's as impossi­ble to perswade a Worldling that he is such a One (with­out preventing Grace) as to wash an Ethiopian white. But pray Friend, if your worldly Care is so m$derate, why do you run so fast, why are you so prodigiously vext at small Disappointments, and complain more $b$ut the Scar­city of Money than about the Absence of Christ, and the decay'd State of Religion? Why do you sometimes neg­lect the Duties of Piety in your Haste? Why are you as hot as Fire when your temporal Interest is touched, but as cold as a Stone about the Interest of Christ's Kingdom? According to those awful Prophesies, Phil. 2.21 That in the latter Days, Men shall be Lovers of themselves, more than Lovers of God. And 2 Tim. 3.2. For Men shall be Lovers of their own selves, Covetous, Boasters, Proud, Un­thankful, Unholy.

3. For their Carnality, Presumers alledge David's Fall: In answer to this, it ought to be consider'd,

  • 1. That was through strong Temptation.
  • 2. Not repeated.
  • 3. That his Repentance was very great, Psalm 51.
  • 4. That the Judgments of God pursued him for it.

A gracious Person honestly labours against all Filthiness of the Flesh and Spirit, 2 Cor. 7.1. As a living Spring will not long continue mudied, but is still working out the impure Mixtures that defile it. Christ is the Pattern which a devout Soul copies after, him he follows though it be haud passibus Aequis, at a distance. 1 John 2.3. He that saith he abideth in him, ought himself so to walk, even as he walked. Heb. 12.12. He will not follow any others, any further than they followed Christ, 1 Cor. 1.1. 1 Pet. 221. But the presumptuous Sinner copies after the Blots of pious People; Noah, Lot, David, Solomon, Peter, did so and so, and yet were saved, and therefore why should I doubt the goodness of my present State, or future Happiness, though I be guilty of this or that Failing, Drunkenness, Whoredom, Covetousness, habitual Passion, &c. I would not desire a plainer Sign of a presumptuous Sinner doom'd to D$ath, and posting to H$ll, than this. 2 Pet. 2.10. These shall be es­pecially [Page 61] punished, who walk after the Flesh, in the Lust of Un­cleanness. We are expresly told that neither Fornicators, nor Alulterers, nor Effeminate, nor Abusers of themselves with Man$ind, shall inherit the Kingdom of God, 1 Cor. 6.9, 10. Gal. 5.19, 20, 21. That such God will judge, that is condemn or damn, for so the Word crinei is sometimes rendred, 1 Cor. 11.29. Heb. 13.4. Is it not lamentable that these Falls of God's People which were recorded for the Support of distress'd disponding Penitents in their Re­turn to God, and as Beacons and Warnings to excite us to avoid the like Offences, should be abused and perverted to a very contrary Design, as Enducements to Sin, & Supports to a false Confidence. ‘But if you must needs cut your “ Throats because others have cut their Fingers, who can ”help you?’ Many can fall with pious People, but they can't rise with them by Repentance and Reformation.

Excuse 2. It's but a trick of Youth, a Foible, to kiss a pretty Maid. Answer, It's the common Practice of wicked People to transser the Names of Vertue, and put them up­on Vice, in order to lessen it's Horror, lest their guilty Consciences should be shock'd, and so mar the Pleasure of their brutish Enjoyments, by beholding it in it's native Dress: In like manner do they represent Vertue under the odious Characters of Vice, that being thus arrayed in a Fools or Knaves Coat, they may with the greater Liberty point the Arrows of their Anger and Disdain against it; but these artful Guises are as far from altering their distant and opposite Natures, as they will be from securing the Contriver and Users of them, from the punishment their Crimes, and the Extenuation of them demerits. He that hideth his Sins shall not prosper. Prov. 28.13.

But to shew that Uncleanness is no Foible, but a very no­torious abominable and destructive Evil, pray consider these following Particulars, viz. That it emasculates and darkens the Mind, emaciates and dishonours the Body, hardens the Heart, and sears the Conscience, wastes the Sub­stance, wounds the Reputation, and damus the Soul. Prov. 6.32, 33. But whose committeth Adultery lacketh understand­ing; he that doth it, destroyeth his own Soul, a wound and deshonour shall he get, and his reproach shall not be wiped a­way. 2 Cor. 6.18. He that committeth Fornication sinneth against his own Body. Read those Places of Scripture, Jer. 5.8 9, 23, 29 E$h. 5 $,—7. Prov. 5.5,—12. Prov. 2 16, 2$ Jud. 7. N$$$h. 25 1, 4. Prev. $.32, 33.

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Excuse 3. It's what almost all practise, and especially People of the best Sense and Fashion. Answ Tho' it must be confess'd that there is too great reason to fear that this Sin is too common and flagrant in this perverse Age; yet there is reason to hope that a considerable Number are pre­serv'd from the Infection. As to what you offer further that the People of Sense and Fashion practise this. I answer, That it's to be fear'd the Assertion has too much Truth in it, viz. That many of those who make a gay and great Appearance and splendid Figure in the World, who would be esteemed indeed the only Men of Sense (as if their Judgment must of necessity be proportioned to the bulk of their Estates, the heighth of their Imaginations, or the lostiness of their Looks) are guilty of it. But supposing them to be possess'd of a large Stock of natural Wit and acquired Learning, as it's confess'd some of the Devil's Children have; but not so much as many of them conceit neither: Some of Satan's Brats are meer Dunces, tho' they would all be esteemed Solomon's: I say, do they shew their Wit in rejecting the Government of Reason, and the Laws of God, in the pursuit of brutish Pleasures? But what patronage can you get from them? Must not every Man answer for his own Sins? Ezek. 18.4. Dan. 12.13. If they have much Wit and Knowledge, and live in defiance of it, does it not heighten their Sin? and won't, it their Condemnation? Joh. 3.19. Can the common­ness of any Vice lessen it's malignant qualities? Can it be imagin'd that respect of Persons will be shewn to Peo­ple according to their Civil Distinctions here, at the Ge­neral Judgment? No surely, the most of the great Ones will be in a most woful plight in that Day. See Rom. 6.15, 16. Their Rank and Quality does not free them from the common Vicissitudes of Fortune in this World, Sickness and Death shews no respect to their Greatness; and when enter'd the Grave the Worms feed as freely on their Hearts, as the Heart of a Beggar; and then People are as free with their (mostly) infamous Characters, as the Worms are with their pamper'd Bodies. Now if their Creatness can't help them in this World in the foresaid respects, how much less in the next?

Excuse 4 Some will pretend that they are induc'd to this Sin by a kind of Necessity, for they are not able they say to maintain a Wife credibly, but when they get their Sub­stance increas'd by Trading, then they intend to marry and reform. In answer to this, I would propose these Six Queries.

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Quer. 1. If those Remedies which God has appointed, and which if faithfully us'd might prove sufficient pre­ventives of this Vice, such as Fasting, Prayer, Temperance in Earing and Drinking, Diligence in the Business of our particular Calling, and the avoiding all the Incentives to this Vice, such as lewd Company, prophane Books, wanton Pictures, &c have not been try'd; is it not meer sham and notorious Hypocrisy to pretend Necessity in such a Case? But remember God will not be mock'd.

Quer. 2. Seeing all our Successes are under the Divine Direction; is the affronting of God's Majesty and the Viola­tion of his Laws a right Method to obtain his Successful Smiles? But if any should obtain Success in such a way, it's attended with the Curse of God, Mal. 2.2. Now is it not better to want such success, than have it? However you may dream at present, I'm sure you'l think so in the issue

Quer. 3 Is not a little with Peace of Conscience in God's appointed way of Marriage, better than a great a­bundance in his Wrath, attended with inward disquiet? The Psalmist answers this Question in the Affirmative, Psal. 37.16.

Quer. 4 Is not the Practice of Wickedness the way to D$s$redit and Shame? 1 Sam 2.30. For them that honour me, I will honour, and they that despise me, shall be lightly esteemed. Rom. 6.21. What fruit had you then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is Death.

Quer. 5. Is it not highly probable that a habit of Un­cleanness before Marriage will ensnare you after it, to your own, and your Family's ruin and dishonour? Prov. 2.18, 19. For there is no bounds to Lust, but Grace and the Grave.

Quer. 6. Is it not very likely that if you persist wilfully in any known Sin, that God will forsake you, desist striv­ing with you, and deny you in Justice, that Grace without which you cannot reform Rev. 22.11.

4. In behalf of Sweating: Some will alledge these following Pleas,

1. They Swear to the Truth. What then, one may Swear vainly to confirm what is true, and that they do when they Swear unnecessarily and customarily, in common Discourse: This customary Swearing gradually wears off the dread of God's Majesty, and inse$$$$ly leads to Fal­shood and Perjury; an Evil that makes those Monsters that [Page 64]commit it ridiculous, for who wou'd not suspect him that suspects himself. Was there ever a greater Monster in Nature, than the rash Sweater? A Man that perhaps pro­fesses much Wit, and Penetration, one that thinks (probably) that all the sober part of the World are Fools, in compa­tison of his Wisdom; and yet in one of his witty Flights, he sells his Soul to the Devil for nothing, for a Sin that is neither attended by Pleasure or Profit, and is very de­sious that Beelzebub should have his Bargain immediate­ly, which he expresses in his strange Acts of Devotion, praying that God would damn (horesco refrens) him, or the Devil take him: Friend, you need not be so earnest with God to damn you; without Doubt his Holiness, his Justice, his Truth will oblige him to grant you your Pe­tition without much Importunity; you need not fear but he will seal your Mittimus for Tophet, and cast such Ver­mine as you are among the Devils your Companions; there you shall have cursing enough, and be obliged to gnaw your Tongues for Pain; those wretched Instruments by which you have reflected so much Dishonour upon the God that made you: One would think your other Wickedness would be enough to procure you that Portion, without much other Labour, and is this your great Wisdom! Is Hell such a comfortable Place? And is the Devil such a beneficent Master and pleasant Companion? I believe if you felt but one single Gripe of the Damned's Torments, ‘if “ ”GOD and the Devil had a Blow a piece at you;’ as Hopkin's expresseth it, you would not think so It affords Matter of the greatest Surprize, and decpest Sorrow, to consider that some who go under the Name of Christians should outdo the very Pagans, those Devil-worshipers, in this horrible Heaven daring, God-provoking, Soul-damning Wickedness! As I am informed, the Indians about us have no swearing Words in their Language: But some silly Creatures, when they get a little worldly Pelf, a fashiona­ble Coat, a bob Wig, and a Banjan, the Devil himself can scarcely outdo some of them in Pride; with these Accou­trements, they not only huff and strutt it over their Fel­low Creatures, some of whom are perhaps in all valuable respects their Superiours, but even enter the Lasts with Omnipotence! and defy their Maker; they disgorge the soam of their envenom'd Malice against the most high God! by gracing (as they foolishly imagine) their smutty Speeches with horrid Imprecations! They are no mean Mortals: When they have got such extraordinary Trappings, the [Page 65] Laws of Nature and Religion (in their notion if their Lives may be allowed to interpret their Sentiments) are beneath their soaring Fancies, which are busied with Matters of greater Importance, viz. Catching of Flies; as it's storied of a Roman Emperor: No, no, they leave the Restraints of Religion (which they count Shackles) to Persons of a vulgar Mould. Thus as the Wise Man observes, The Pros­perity of Fools destroy them, Prov. 1.32.

Plea 2. But perhaps some may plead, that they don't Swear, only attest what they say by their Faith and Truth. I answer, This includes not only prophase Sweating, but Idolatry also in its bosom: If a necess$$$ lawful Oath be a part of God's Worship, as it certainly is. Deut. 6.13. Isai. 45.23. Jer. 12.16.2. Cor. 1.23. Heb. 6.16. Rev. 10.6. Then it's Idolatry to give this part of divine Wor­ship to the Creature, which is due only to the Creator. The design of an Oath is an appeal to God, concerning the Truth of what we speak: Now when this is done with Solemnity, God is glorified; for by this appeal we acknowledge the Perfections of his Nature, particularly, his Omniscience, Omnipresence, Justice. Now when any Swear by a Creature (which Faith and Truth are) we as­cribe to Creatures the Attributes of God; this the Lord highly resents, Jer. 5.7. How shall I pardon thee for this? Thy Children have forsaken me, and sworn by those that are no God's. Consider O Sinner! God will not hold them guiltless that take his Name in vain: The Curse shall enter into the Swearers House, and there rest, Zech. 5.4.

Plea 3. Some will say they mean no harm, it's only a Custom they have got, which they can't easily leave. Answer, Whatever they mean, they do harm by break­ing God's positive Law, contemning his Authority, and exposing themselves thereby to his Curse and Vengeance, for he has said, he will not hold them guiltless that take his Name in vain; and surely he will make good his Word to their Confusion, except they repent. As for the Pre­text of Custom, it's so far from lessening, that it very much heightens their Wickedness. If a Man convicted of Felony, and arraigned at the Bar, should plead in his own De­fence that he was so us'd to Thieving, he could not help it; would this alleviate his Crime? or save his Neck from the Halter? No certainly, the Judge would be apt to answer, as it's storied of one, ‘that if he, meaning the “Criminal, was accustomed to Stealing, he himself had a custom of Condemning such, and that therefore he must [Page 66] ”Dye.’ Vicious Habits are acquir'd by frequent Acts, and therefore do exceed single Facts, as much in heinous­ness as in the number of Acts of which they are formed; a Fountain exceeds all the Streams that flow from it. To conclude this Head, it's very surprizing! that Men who pretend to Manners should offer such an incivility in Con­versation as to treat with dishonour and contempt the Name of One whom all the sober part of Mankind esteen and revere, and therefore can't but suffer by the insolent Affronts that are cast upon him; such a Practise is no less than an unmannerly and cruel 'Persecution of those we Converse with; if they be not Men quite abandon'd to all sense of honestly and honour.

5. For Sabbath Breaking, some will alledge that the strict Observation of the Sabbath is Ceremonial. Aye! it's Ceremonial I suppose in your esteem or opinion to keep from talking Worldly Discourse on the Lord's Day: O carnal Creature! consider that awful Speech of the Great God by his Prophet Isaiah, Isai. 58.13. which will ei­ther convince thee, or condemn thee: Is it not moral and rational that the whole of that Day which is set apart for the Worship of God should be spent in it? It's true the Works of Necessity and Mercy are lawful to be done on Sabbath Days; but is thy chattering Worldly, or worse Discourse, either of them? But I suppose when you are kept a pretty while in hearing of a Sermon, and other parts of Divine Worship, from your darling the World; you are out of your Element, like a Fish out of the Wa­ter panting for breath; and may be you gave several gasps in the Meeting House, to setch your breath, which was al­most spent. I mean that your greedy hearts went several times after your Covetousness while you presented your Bodies before God, Ezek. 33.31. But as soon as ever you come out of the Church Door, and may be before it, there must be a word of Refreshment about your God Mammon, then it goes pleasantly: Ha! you breathe in your own Air, but if you are kept from speaking your own Language, what a Weariness is it. Mal. 1.13. Ye said also what a weariness is it, and ye have snuffed at it, saith the Lord. You esteem that Day a Burden, which is the Queen of Days to others; "So Ignatius stiles it in his Epistle to the Magnesians." How highly did the Psalmist value a Day in God's Courts, even above a thousand elsewhere Psal. 84.10 But O! how few are of this Divine Temper at this Day! It's matter sufficient to alarm all our Mourn­ing [Page 67]Powers! and make our sostest Passions bleed! to see how horribly the Sabbath is prophan'd in this Part of the Land! and especially by such whose Duty it is to shew a better Example: This Day which should be spent in a faithful attendance upon the Duties of Divine Worship, is spent by some in travelling about Worldly Business, or Visiting, or Walking for Diversion: Won't the jealous God revenge such Heaven daring Impieties? Ezek. 20.13, 16, 24. Lam. 1.7. Ezek. 22.8, 14. But to render those inexcusable who wilfully persist in this perverse practise, let me add a few Words more under this Head to prove the Morality of the Sabbath. And

  • 1. The Command concerning it, is put among the Mo­ral Precepts, and confirm'd by such Reasons as are Moral and perpetually binding.
  • 2. It's essentially necessary at all times to promote the publick Worship of God; as the very Opponents of this Truth confess.
  • 3. It was engraven on Tables of Stone, to shew its perpetual duration.
  • 4. Instead of being abolish'd, it's confirm'd in the New Testament, Mat. 17.18, 19.
  • 5. A Sabbath was instituted from the Creation of the World, Gen. 2.2, 3. H$b. 4.34.
  • 6. A Sabbath was observ'd after the Fall before the Law was given upon Mount Sinai, Exod. 16.19. to the 31st verse.

6. As to the neglect of Family Worship, some will ra­ther question the Divinity, or necessity of that Duty, than their own Carnality, and Hypocrisy; which is very unrea­sonable: as will appear by the following Particulars. That this Duty is a part of Instituted Worship is evident,

1. From the Examples of pious Familles: Adam after the Fall Sacrificing and prescribing Sacrifices to his Chil­dren, Cain and Abeb. Of Noah Sacrificing after the Flood. Of Abraham teaching his Posterity, Gen. 17.19. Of the Jaylor, Acts 16.31, 33. Of Cornelius, Act. 10.2. Of Joshua, 24th Chapter of his Book and 15th verse. Of Daniel, Dan 6.10. This was shadowed forth by the Morning and Evening Sacrifice, which was under the Jew­ish EOconomy continually offer'd to God.

2. By Precept: When we are commanded to say, Our Father, Mat. 6.9. which Prayer being plural in the man­ner of expression, supposes more than one present. We are commanded to pray with all Prayer, Eph. 6.18. But [Page 68]this is one kind of Prayer. Hence it was that the Fami­lies of Christians were call'd Churches, or Churches in their Houses, Rom. 16.5. Phil. 4.22. 1. Cor. 16.19. Col. 4.15. We are commanded to pray without ceasing, 1. Thes. 5.17. The Servants of Solomon are said to stand continually before him, tho' it was only at stated times. David's comfortable Speech to Mephibosheth, that he should eat bread at his table continually, 2. Sam. 9.7. signifies only his eating there at set times, otherwise his Speech would have been big with terror and punishment instead of comfort. So Jehoiachin King of Judah is said to eat bread continually in the presence of the King of Babylon all the days of his Life, Jer. 52.33. Sure no body can be so vain as to imagine that he are every minute; then indeed his Life would not have lasted long at that rate of gormandizing. So then this Command of God concern­ing Praying without ceasing, at least signifies our being always in a praying Frame, and more especially our punctual observance of the stated Seasons of Prayer.

3. By the Divine Threatning for the neglect of it. Jer. 10.25. I will pour out my fury upon the Heathen that know me not, and upon the Families that call not on my Name. Observe here the dangerous Condition of Prayerless Fami­lies, they are the Objects of God's Indignation: Pour out thy fury upon the Heathen.

2. The neglect of this Duty is a Pagan Practise: Upon the Heathen. Truly 'tis worse than that of the Meho­mitans, for they Pray five times a Day.

3. The neglect of Family Religion is a plain Evidence of gross Ignorance, and want of acquaintance with God. We may without breach of Charity under the patronage of this precious Scripture call those People Heathens, who neglect this Duty; and indeed they are so in fact, tho' perhaps they are Christians in Name, who neglect this Duty totally or frequently, and yet have had Opportunity of being instructed concerning its necessity and usefulness. Where we have a Tent God should have an Altar, upon which should be offered spiritual Sacrifices.

4. Don't Reason confirm what I have advanc'd on this Head? Is there no Family Sins to be confessed, no Family Mercies to be implored and acknowleged? Is not this Practice of excellent Tendency, not only to your selves, but also to your Children and Servants? Therefore we are bid to train up a Child in the Way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it, Prov. 22.6. How will [Page 69]you be able to give an Account of the Charge committed to you before the great God, who neglect to instruct, admonish and pray with your Children and Servants: If they perish through your neglect of Instruction, either by Precept or Practice, are you not guilty of their Blood? O Friends! consider if in that great Day of God, when you shall ap­pear before the flaming Tribunal of the Lord Jesus, would it not be terrible to hear some of your Children and Servants accusing and cursing you, as the Instruments of their Ruin, thro' your vile Neglect of this Duty, and other wicked Practices? And this indeed is likely enough to be your Case, if you don't alter your Course.

If it be objected, 1. That such a Course of praying wou'd be formal: I answer, It's your own Fault if it be so. I am sure that praying frequently, if with necessary Caution and Solemnity is the appointed Way and Mean to obtain vital Religion, Matth. 7.7. Luke 11.9. I suppose indeed that this Duty is coldly and superficially performed by some carnal People, and no better can be expected of them while they remain in that State, unless it be some Sparks of their own kindling, Isai. 50.11. And sometimes under the bidings of Christ's Face, true Christians may languish in their Devotion, which Sloth may much increase: By Night on my Bed I sought him, Cant. 3.1. which is much to be lamented! But does this make the Duty, in it self con­sider'd, the less worthy of the Esteem of conscientious Persons? This Argument militates as much against stated hearing of the Word, reading the Scriptures, spiritual Con­ferences, which are commanded Duties, Heb. 10.25 Rom. 10.14, 15. John 5.39. Isai. 8.20. Acts 17.11. Mal. 3.16. We don't undervalue natural Food because we partake of it frequently, or because others abuse it.

Object. 2. I pray now and then when I am in a good Frame. O Hypocrite! I doubt thy Frame is little worth; that which don't come in God's Way, (I mean in the Way of earnest Seeking) it is generally either a Delusion of the Devil, or at best some transient Sorrow, occasioned by the gnawing of thy natural Conscience for some Wickedness thou hast committed, such as the Pagans have as well as thou, Rom. 2.

Object. 3. If any should object that he wants Ability; let him ask Wisdom of God, who gives liberally and up­braids not, and it shall be given him, James 1.5.

Object. 4. But if any should alledge that their Families are so imbarrass'd with Difficulties that they can't perform it with Conveniency. I answer, That he who observes the [Page 70]Wind shall not sow, Eccl. 11.4. Through many Tribulations we must enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, Acts 14.22. while there is a tempting Devil, and an alluring wicked World, there will be Hindrances in the Way of Duty, and Furtherances to Evil; he that will not endure Difficulties and Death it self for Truth and Duty, is no Disciple of Christ Jesus.

Object. 5. I should be scoffed at, if I should carry on Fa­mily Religion. And what then, that is but a light Suffer­ing for the precious Jesus; if your Head was to be laid on the Block for this Practice, which is much more, you would run the Risk of it, if you were a Child of God. Remember Daniel: If you profess not Christ before Men, how do you think he will profess you before his Father and the holy Angels?

7. For neglecting to hear the Word of God, some will offer the following Pleas.

1. The Minister is an odd sort of a Man, he speaks of no­thing but Hell and Damnation. Answer, Was not John the Baptist a terrible Preacher? Behold the Ax is laid to the Root of the Tree, every Tree, saith he, that bringeth not forth good Fruit shall be $own down and cast into the Fire, Mat. 3.10. O Generation of Vipers. Mat. 12.34. Was not Christ himself an awful Preacher? It's true he pronounced Blessings upon his Disciples, and so do his faithful Ministers, Mat. 5. But how many bitter Curses did he thunder out against the Pharisees, that self righteous Generation, that built upon their own Works? Mat. 23.13,—17 In the Compass of four Verses, he denounces sour Curses upon them. With what Solemnity and Frequency did our bles­sed Lord inculcare the grizly Horrors and endless Pains of the damned World! Mat. 8.12. Was not this the Practice of the Apostles? Knowing the Terrors of the Lord, we per­swade Men, 2 Cor. 5.11. Upon which Text, learned Stil­lingfleet justly observes, That if the Terrors of God and Eternity will not perswade Men to forsake their vicious Courses, nothing else will. The great Necessity of using Terror appears from the following Considerations.

1. The Holy Spirit begins with Conviction John 16.8, 9. Now should not Ministers follow the Order of the Holy Spirit's Operations on the Soul? Does not natural Reason teach this, and Men's Practice in other Affairs? In Build­ings, don't Men dig deep, and lay the Foundation first? For that ancient Proverb is most just, Stabit Opus melius$st bene fixa Basis, The Superstructure will stand the better if [Page 71]the Foundation be well laid. To preach Comfort to Men before a sound Conviction, is as ridiculous as if a Mason should pretend to erect a fair Fabrick in the airy Regions. Do not Men plow the Ground before they sow it? This Similitude the Holy Spirit uses in the Word, Jer. 4.3. Plow up the fallow Ground of your Hearts, and sow not a­mong Thorns. Would it not be very ridiculous for a Hus­bandman to sow his Ground before he plowed it, or to cast Seed upon a flinty Rock? It's every whit as ridicu­lous for Ministers to preach Comfort to unconvinced Souls. There is no Peace saith my God to the Wicked, Isai. 48.22.

2. Unconverted People have a clearer Notion of Pain, both bodily and mental, than of the Pleasures and Com­forts of a pious Life, for they have had the Experience of the one, but not of the other; they have no just Notion of the ravishing Sweets of Religion, either in this Life or that to come; for a Stranger doth not intermeddle with those Joys, Prov. 14.10. Now is not a Person more apt to be affected with those Things he knows, than with the Things he knows not?

3. Unconverted People are govern'd by selfish Princi­ples, fill'd with Hatred against the good God; as I prov'd before. How then can it be reasonably expected that such Persons will be much moved by Love Arguments when they are without that noble generous Passion in any De­gree of Eminence towards God? Is not Love Loves Load$ stone? A Man never loves God truly and transcendently until he feels the warm Beams of God's Love glowing in his Breast: We love him because he first loved us, 1 John 4.19. As the Sun shining upon Glass has it's Rays reflected or retorted, so a Believer's Love to Christ is nothing but his own reflected. It's true, ungodly People may have some transient Motion of the Affections when they hear a Love Subject passionately handled, but these Affections are like the morning Cloud and early Dew, Hos. 6.14. & 13.3.

Object. 2. But such a Minister is uncivil in his publick Discourses, he does not treat Mankind with Manners and Discretion. In answer to this, Let me crave leave to in­form you, that one can hardly call a wicked Man out of his Name: Won't you allow us the Liberty to learn Manners in Christ's School? Is not his Word the best Directory for the Manners of Christians? I hope you won't have such a hardy Front as to call Christ and his Apostles unmanner­ly Persons, and why should you any that follow their Ex­amples? Pray read and consider what Epithets of Shama [Page 72]and Ignominy our Lord and his Servants gave those Men; Christ call'd wicked Persons, blind Guides, Fools and Blind, Mat. 23.16, 17. Hypocrites, 23. Serpents, & a Generation of Vipers, 33. Foxes, Luke 13.32. Whited Walls, Acts 23.3. The Apostles called them Dogs, Phil. 3.2. Beware of Dogs, beware of evil Workers, Rev. 22.15. For without are Dogs, and Sorcerers, and Whoremongers, and Murderers, and Idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a Lie. Yea Beasts, 1 Cor. 15.32. The Ox and the Ass is preserr'd be­fore you in some Respects, Isai. 1.3.

Object. 3. Ministers should endeavour to draw People by Degrees by a mild winning Way, they should offer Milk to Babes: Yes, yes, this is the Way to gain them to them­selves, but not to Christ. Your Advice Friend, is the old Story over again, pray hear what God says of it, Isai. 30.9, 10 That this is a rebellious People; lying Children that will not hear the Law of the Lord, which say to the Seers, See not, and to the Prophets, Prophesy not unto us right Things; speak unto us smooth Things, prophesy Deceits Is it proper think you for a Physician to act according to the Humour and Advice of a distemper'd Patient? If one that is in a Lethargy, a little before he falls into his Fits should advise his Physician, that whatever he did, besure to give him easy Medicines; do you think that a Man of any Sense or Conscience would follow that Direction? I think not. Thus Christless Persons are all of them before their Conviction in this lethargick Sleep, which they don't care to be roused out of, because of the Pain occasioned by such an Alarm. Suppose a Man were sleeping securely and dreaming pleasantly, while the House was a Fire over his Head, would it not be a Deed of Mercy, to awake such a Person? Yes, I suppose you'l allow this. Now suppose you your selves endeavour'd by a sudden Alarm to rouse that Man (for I charitably presume you would allow the Exercise of some Zeal to save a Man's Life from the de­vouring Flames) you would not surely go to whisper in his Ear some soft round about Discourse, that his House was you feared not in the best Condition possible, it might per­haps take Damage if suitable Care were not taken to pre­vent it. I say would you go thus about the Bush with the poor Man in a Time of such Danger? No, I believe not: I fancy you would take a rougher Method, without Ceremony or Grimace. Now what if this Man should re­turn your Courtesy and Kindness to him in Distress with a Blow on your Face, while the poor Creature was but half [Page 73]awaked out of his sweet Sleep, being ignorant of his good Design: The Case applies it self. This truly is much the Condition and Carriage of a secure Christless World. If a Person that was cachextick or under a bad Habit of Body, should advise the Physician to give him Elixirs and Cor­dials continually, because he had a natural Aversion a­gainst Physick, either Emetick or Cathartick; should the Physician observe this Direction, and would it effect a Cure? If one that had an old Ulcer, or a mortify'd Leg or Arm, would pray the Chyrurgeon to lay by his Probe and Saw, for he could not bear to see those Instruments, they always terrify'd him, but if he must shew them at any Time, to let the World know that he had a good Set of Tools, and thereby establish his Character, that he would intreat him that this should be but seldom, and that he would keep them at a due Distance, and in the mean time, use emolient lenitive Medicines; would it be proper to ob­serve these Directions think you, to avoid the groundless Charge of Cruelty, & incur deservedly that of Murder or Fraud?

Object 4. But you'l object, that Milk should be offer'd to Babes: Yes, yes, by all Means, I have nothing against it, but I hope you don't think any are Babes before they are born; I dare be bold to say, if you were regenerated by the Holy Ghost, & so Babes in Christ, you would love the Doctrines of Conversion, Faith, Repentance, as the Child the Breast, for these are the first and great Principles of practical Religion. But how can you think you are Babes when you are unacquainted with the Pangs of the New-Birth. Nay, perhaps instead of the experimental Know­ledge of this great and noble Change, you are apt to questi­on whether such a Thing be attainable; whether the No­tions of People about it don't consist very much, if not al­together in Fancy, Melancholly or Enthusiasm; and may be in your great Wisdom you are apt to fleer or smile at the mentioning of such a Change; and yet in the mean time, you pretend to believe that Christ speaks of Truth, John 3.9. I pray you reconcile your Faith and your Wis­dom together if you can, and see if the one be not Ficti­on and the other Madness and Malice. But is there not Children in another Sense? Yes, yes, there be Babes in Knowlege, and such are you for all your Conceit; other­wise you would not slight and disgust those Doctrines and Methods of Application, which have the directest Ten­dency to promote your Happiness. But suppose we should humour you for Gain, and tell you pleasant and smooth [Page 74]Stories, and if we spoke any Terror to the Wicked now and then by the by, we should immediately upon the Heels of it, before the Wound was half opened, apply a healing Plaister, and so daub with untempered Mortar, Ezek. 13.10, 11. Because, even because they have seduced my People, saying Peace, and there was no Peace. And one built up a Wall, and others daub it with untempered Mortar, say unto them that daub with untempered Mortar; that it shall not stand. I say, if we should sow Pillows under every Arm-Hole, ver. 18. by a short, general and undistinct Applicati­on of our publick Discourses, contrary to Paul's Direction to Timothy, 2 Tim. 2.15. And labour to heal the Wounds of the Daughter of Zion slightly, Jer. 6.4. & 8.11. They have healed also the Hurt of the Daughter of my People slightly, saying, Peace, Peace, when there is no Peace, for Fear any poor Souls should be convicted and saved from the Wrath to come. You would be apt to say, O that is a fine Minister indeed, he is not always thundring about Hell and Damnation, he is a Man of Sense and Learning, I believe he shews the Way to Heaven with Moderation, he does not lead People into a Wilderness, and there leave them; you would court such a Man's Conversation which you would find according to your Hearts Desire, worldly and vain, may be a little Religion spoken of by Chance, and that of the doctrinal and controversial Parts (not the experimental, they'l take care to avoid that) of Religion, and that offered with haughty, or light Air, which leaves no lasting Impression on the Audience; these are the fine Men that the World is bless'd with, Hosannah, Hosannah! O the Blindness and Madness of an infatuated World! Such Soul Murderers, and dry Nurses are the only Men fit to be esteemed and caressed! You would fly the Compa­ny of a faithful Minister, as you would do a Lyon; be­cause his pious Discourses gall you, and you are afraid poor Souls of being converted. But I say, suppose we should tell you such pleasant Tales, would this alter the Nature of Things? No I believe not, the Nature of God and divine Truth remain invariable; for all our Notions this Method would only expose us to the awful Charge of Blood-guiltiness, and you and us both, to an unexpected and therefore aggravated Dammation, Ezek 33.8.

Object. 5. Perhaps some will say, that it's dangerous to hear such Men that preach Terror: Why what Danger I pray; is there Danger of your $$ing convicted of your damnable State, and your being converted to God? Are [Page 75]you afraid of this? if you are, you are Fools for your Pains.

Object. 6. No, I am not afraid of that, but I am afraid of being drove into Dispair; such a Time when I was in the Meeting, the Sermon struck me with such Terror that my very Blood chill'd in my Veins; I could hardly keep from trembling. Very well Friend, I am glad to hear that the Word of God had reach'd you; I wish you had trembled thoroughtly, and improved it for your Salvation, Isai. 66.2. Friend, you need not be so much afraid of being drove in­to Dispair; you are in much more Danger of the contra­ry Extreme, Presumption, as I have shewn before in ano­ther Part of this Discourse.

Object. 7. I am not so much afraid my self, I don't much mind such Fellows (Acts 17.18. what will this Babler say?) as some poor weak People; they are in great Dan­ger of being hurt by such Men: Ha, you are a charitable Man then as you suppose! but it's the backward Way, a blind, bloody Charity. Some now a days are like the Pha­risees of old, who would neither enter into the Kingdom of Heaven themselves, nor suffer those that are entring to enter, Mat. 23.13. But pray remember the Words of So­lomon, Prov. 26.12. Seest thou a Man that is wise in his own Conceit, there is more Hope of a Fool than of him.

Object. 8. Such a Way of preaching Terror, Terror, I am sure will never do any Good. I answer, that a blind Man can't judge of Colours well; stay till you be brought home to Christ your self, and be the Means under God of bring­ing others to him, and then you'l have other Thoughts of this Matter. The Apostle informs us that by the Foolish­ness of preaching God saves them that believes, 1 Cor. 1.21. By that way of preaching which is judged Foolishness by a carnal World; for in the Wisdom of God, says the Apostle in the forecited Place, the World by Wisdom knew not God.

Object. 9. He's a weak Man say some: Well be it so, tho' in the mean time, the most of People are but poor Judges of ministerial Accomplishments, which is too evi­dent from the sudden Admiration and Applause some Quacks and Petty-Forgers in Divinity, that have neither Grace nor Learning, have gain'd from the unthinking Po­pulace: I say, suppose they are weak in Gifts, yet if they are sincere, and preach the sound Truths of Christ, though not with such bright Eloquence and rhetorical Diction (which Varnish perhaps they designedly conceal) as some [Page 76]others, they should not be despised; wholesome Food is not to be slighted for the want of curious Sauce; it's a Sign of a distempered vitiated Palate when the Sauce is liked better than the Meat.

Object 10. But some Men preach new and strange Doc­trine, that Men must be convicted and converted, or new born! Ay, Is this new Doctrine? It is as old as Alam, he after his woful Fall was convicted; when God came into the Garden in the cool of the Day, he heard his Voice and was afraid, and strove to hide him, being ashamed of his Nakedness, and therefore endeavour'd to cover it with (but sorry Vail) Fig-leaves: This is the very Practice of a convinced Soul at this Day; Alam's Posterity follow their degenerate Parent's Footsteps, when they hear God's Voice by his Word they are afraid; for his Word is like a sharp two-edged Sword, which pierces to the dividing of Joynts and Marrow, Heb 4.12. This Sword goes out of Christ's Mouth, Rev. 1.16. & 19.15. God's Word is as a Hammer and as Fire, which break the Rock in pieces, Jer. 23.29. I say, when this is brought home to Sinners Hearts, it can't but create Fear and Pain; then does the convinced Soul fly from God as Adam, instead of flying to him: Some endeavour to drown the Voice of God and Conscience with a Harry and Noise of worldly Business, as Cain laboured to divert the Reflections of his guilty Mind by building of Cities: Some fly to Diversions, as troubled Soul to his Fiddle, to drive away those Ghosts which damp their Mirth and appale their Jollity; some drink away their Troubles; I fear too many get their Wounds skin'd over by these Methods, I now mentioned: so that they go on in their merry jovial Course again: But if these Expedients don't prevail, but still their Wretch­edness is discovered, then they'l endeavour with all Speed to patch and sew together the Fig-leaves of their Pray­ers, and Charity, good Thoughts, and Hinesly to hide their Shame. But if God has designed Mercy for you, he'll shew you the Insufficiency of such poor Props to lean a sinking Soul upon. What, are these strange and new Doctrines that have been inculcated from the earliest Times, and are urged all over the Book of God? Deut. 30.10. Jer. 4.3, 4, 14. Joel 2.13. Acts 2.37. John 3.3. and a thou­sand more Places of Scripture I might mention to the same Purpose, if there was any Necessity.

Object 11. But a great many understanding People speak against this way. What then; so it ever has been, and [Page 77]will be, Act. 28.22. Gal. 4.29. 2 Tim. 3.12. 1 Cor. 1.26, 27. Is Truth to be weighed by the multitude or paucity of its Friends, or Opponents? or in the Sanctua­ry's Scales, and Ballances of right Reason? If you be­lieve this or that because the generality do so, especially the Men of Figure and Fashion, your Faith is but Histo­rical and Humane, and of no avail; for as we should not follow a multitude to do Evil, Exod. 23.2. So we should not follow a multitude to believe lies, or with the blind­ed Papists, pin our Faith upon another's Sleeve. It becomes a wise Man to search impartially into the grounds of his Faith, and having found them sufficient, he should stand as a Rock, impregnable, against the furious incursion of all the Waves that may assay I him.

Object. 12. But I doubt like that Minister at all. May be it's because he disturbs your false Peace, and tells you your Wickedness. There is one Micajah by whom we may inquire of the Lord; but I hate him, for he doth not pro­phesie good concerning me, but evil, 2 Kin. 22.8. My Friends, if you consulted your own Interest, you would not suffer Fancy, or a groundless Prejudice, to turn the Scale of your Judgment. If he is a faithful Man, you should not slight him for that which deserves your esteem; I mean his Warmth and Fidelity in his Master's Service. Pray remember the words of the Lord Jesus, He that des­piseth you, despiseth me, Luk. 10.16. But if you will persist in this unreasonable Practice, it will in the issue turn to your loss and his gain. But if he is a Time server, a Flatterer, a carnal Worldly Man, he is not worthy of your love, Joh. 10.5.

Object. 13. But I can read at Home, I have very good Books. Have you so; then you have reason to be thank­ful for that Priviledge; but is there no other times to read these good Books but the time of publick Worship? Should one Duty prevent another? If it may suffice to stay at Home and read good Books, than why are publick stated Meetings enjoyn'd? Heh. 10.25. and to what purpose was a Ministry appointed? which is to continue to the end of Time, Eph. 4.11, 12, 13. Mat. 28.19. If we might ordinarily obtain Happiness without a Gospel Ministry, would not this inser an unworthy Reflection upon the Wisdom of Christ the Legislator, that he has ap­pointed an unnecessary Order of Men? Why are we in­form'd (if reading is sufficient) in the 10th of the R$$ns, ver. 14.15. That Faith somes by Hearing? and that we [Page 78]can't hear without a Preacher; and that he can't Preach without he be sent Why did the blessed God direct Cor­nelius by his Angel to send to Joppa for Peter, and learn Instruction of him? Acts 10.5, 6. Could not the Lord have Instructed him by an Angel? Yes surely; but it was his Pleasure (for our Instruction) to do otherwise, to which we should without murmuring submit. Did not the Lord also send Ananias to Saul to teach him the things that concern'd his Happiness? Act. 9.11. Could not the Almighty have instructed him after the same miraculous manner he convinc'd him? Yes doubtless, but it was his Pleasure to do otherwise, 1 Cor. 1.21. Those that won't seek Happiness in the stated Gospel Order which God has established, he is not like to find it. 2 Cor. 10.5. Prov. 29.18. Small trifling Excuses will keep some from hearing the Word: A little Rain, or Cold: But these petty Difficulties would not hinder them from travelling much further to a Fair, or Market, or Vendue, to secure a good Bargain: What did I say, a had Bargain it is sure­ly, when you barter Truth and Conscience for unjust Gain, striving at the Cost of your Salvation to get things below their real worth.

Object. 14 I took Physick that Day, and so I could not come. Answ. Why did you take the prophylactick or preventing Physick on the Sabbath, rather than on any other Day? Could you not have delay'd Bleeding, and taking of Physick till Monday with Safety? (I except immergent Cases) yes you might; but was it not to save this method; and so prevented your selves of an Op­portunity of Hearing the Word. Is not this a pretty Con­trivance now? a sensible notion! Ay, I suppose those that it, think so; for they have fav'd one Day for their Friend Mammon, which would otherwise have been lost in going to Meeting. Some People think it's all clear Gain that they can by hook and by crook scrape off the Lord's Time or Worship: but will they (cunning Fel­lows!) think so at last? When they lose their Souls by the Bargain. For are not they guilty of Rebellion, and Theft? by prophanely breaking the positive Law of God; and hypocritically stealing the Time dedicated to his sacred Service, and appropriating of it most sacrilegiously to their civil Business? Don't such a practice argue that we value the Business and carnal Comfort of this transitory Life, above the Service of, or Communion with God? and [Page 79]if so, how can ye expect to enjoy the God, whose Autho­rity and Love ye thus disdain.

Object. 15. Some Friends came to see me, whom I was under Obligation to, and whom therefore I could not in civility leave. Answ. The Pretext is plausible, the poi­sonous Pill is guilded, and will suit a distempered Palate well; but consider in answer to it the following Queries.

Quer 1. Are those Friends, who keep you from seek­ing God's Favour and Friendship in his appointed time and way? Quer. 2. Are you under such Obligations to any Mortal, as you are to God? Should not you therefore be more afraid of displeasing him, and damning your own Souls, than of disobliging an unreasonable Creature?

Quer. 3. Why can't you take your Friends with you to Meeting, if they will go? if not, is it not better to leave them, than to go to Hell with them out of Compliment?

Quer. 4. Is not more regard and reverence due to God, than to any Creature? Therefore is it not the best Man­ners to serve Him first? Quer. 5. Is Feasting and carnal Merriment a proper Means to prepare the Soul, for fellow­ship with God here, or hereaster? Quer. 6. Do you think in your own Conscience, that your excuse will be accepted by a holy and righteous God.

Object 16. I'm asham'd to go in such poor Cloaths as I have. Answ. 1. This shews Pride, (for you have no rea­son to be asham'd of any thing but Sin, and will one Sin excuse another? 2. Will the badness of your Coat or Cap, or Gown, hinder your profiting by the Word and Ordi­nances, if you attend? no surely; a bad Heart is more like to do that Heb. 4.2.3. May you not be carried off by Death before you get new Cloaths? 4. Does God regard Apparel? Jam. 2.1, 2, 3. How can you think then that such a pretext will excuse you? 5. If you are Poor in this World in Purse, and Apparel, should not you the rather seek God in his appointed way, that you may ob­tain Spiritual and Eternal Robes and Riches, that you ben't Poor in both Worlds?

Object. 17. The Meeting is far off. Answ. Don't you go as far about Business, or Diversion in the Week time? And is not the Salvation of your Souls a matter of greater Consequence, than any Worldly Business? deserving greater Pains, Travel, and Labour to secure it?

Object. 18. I must stay at Home one part of the Day, at least, to take a nap, for I am us'd to it. Answ. Quer. 1. Is Sleeping the way to keep the Sabbath holy? Then [Page 80]Sluggards are well off, they must needs be very pious People. Prov. 26.14. Quer. 2. Is it a natural or spiri­tual Rest that God principally requires in the Fourth Command? If the Sanctification of the Sabbath consists chiefly in a natural Rest or Cessation from Labour, then your Ox or Ass can keep it as well as you, Quer. 3. Whi­ther such Indolence don't shew a manifest and notorious disregard to God's Authority, as well as to your own Hap­piness. Quer. 4. Can't you watch a few Hours upon a Lord's Day for your poor Souls? If you won't, Sleep on; and take your Rest, till Death and Holl awake you. Mat. 26.45. Quer. 5. Will your custom in Sloth, alter or lessen its vile and heinous Nature?

Now your indifferency about hearing God's Word, proves to your Faces that you are the Sons of Death; for those that are born of God hunger after the Word, as a Child after the Breast. 1 Pet. 2.2. How amiable are thy Tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts; my Soul longeth; yea even sainteth for the Courts of the Lord, Psal. 84.1, 2. But if you chance to be there, which is perhaps but seldom; your Soul longs, and even saints to get out again, that you may get Home to pay some De­votion to your Bellies, I mean to swill them with warm Food, and seed your hungring Souls with some zealous, worldly or idle Discourse. What a different frame is this from that of the Psalmist; and yet you are fine Christians in your own notion: I warrant you would storm, and huff, and fret, and grind your Teeth with anger and dis­dain, if any body would be so faithful as to tell you the Truth, viz that you are in a damnable Condition: but O remember the holy Lord Jesus will revenge your slight­ing of his precious Word and poor Servants; you may think as light of this as you please, when your Bellies are full, and Death and Sickness seems afar off, and you among your graceless jolly Companions: But by and by you will see things with other Paints of Light, a fable Scene will open (if you continue in your old course) that shall fill your Souls with everlasting horror and con­fusion, without hopes of remedy. Remember you haughty Wretches, the jealous God will grind you to Powder, ex­cept ye repent and reform, Luk. 13.

8. For Passion: Some will plead (1.) that text, Eph. 4.26. this is borrow'd (says Mr. Henry) ‘from the Septua­gent “Translation of Psal. 4.4. where we render it, Stand in awe and sin not: Here is an easy Concession, [Page 81]saith he, for as such, we should consider it rather than as a Command; If we would be angry and Sin not, we must be angry at nothing but Sin: But if our Spirits have been rufled by insolent Affronts, they should be quick­ly ”calm'd, for Anger only rests in the bosom of Fools, Ecc$. 7.3.’ Anger is sinful, (1.) When it is without just provocation given, either for no Cause, or for no good or great and profitable Cause. Some will be all in Flames and Fury for the least trifling Offence, and perhaps for none at all, but what their own brooding jealous Minds groundlesly project, ‘like the Clouds (as Hopkins very “justly represent it) that break into Thunder and Light­ning, when all the Fire and Sulphur is bred only in their ”own Bowels’. (2.) When it exceeds due Bounds, ei­ther as to Degree or Duration, when it comes to be outra­gious and revengeful, seeking the Hurt of those we are offended with, this is Murder, Mat 5.22, 23. & 15.19. Such Persons tread the Steps of bloody Cain; their raging Anger is kindled from the Gulph beneath, Jam. 3.6. Also it's sinful when it continues long: Hence we are commanded not to let the Sun go down on our Wrath, Eph. 4.26. for then it degenerates into Malice and Rancour. (3.) When it's without any good Design, meetly to shew an arbitrary Authority and gratify an arrogant brutish Passion, then it's base and criminal: For one that is lawfully angry seeks to reclaim the Offender, and clear himself, 2 Cor. 7.11. Tho' I confess somewhat is to be allowed on the Account of Men's Temperaments, yet it is certain that powerful Chris­tianity alters Men's wolfish, swinish and Lyon Qualities, and makes them like those of the Lamb and Dove, John 21.15. Cant. 2.14. Why should not the Power of sinful Anger be broken by converting Grace, as well as of Un­cleanness, and other base Affections? Surely he that is in Christ has crucified the Flesh with the Affections and Lusts, Gal 5.24 Rom. 6.14. Neither will the Instance of Jo­nah's foolish and peevish Passion, which was but once that we read of, and that doubtless bitterly bewail'd, paliate or excuse your Course of Passionateness. That Man or Wo­man who is ordinarily guilty of this Wickedness upon al­most every Temptation, is in a State of Sin and Death, whatever Pretences they have to Religion it matters not, for no evil Habit of any Kind whatsoever is consi$$ent with true Grace and divine Life, 1 John 3.6. He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly, Prov. 14.17. They have never been in the School of J$$$$, otherwise they would have [Page 82]learned Meekness of him, Mat. 11.29 Can it be thought that the Dove of Heaven, the Bird of Paradise, will dwell in an angry Bosom? How soon will some Men be angry, blaze and foam, when any trifling Business respecting their Family concerns, is out of Order, by the Neglect of any of the Servants, who at other Times perhaps, can hear the great God dishonour'd with Temper and Calmness? Is not this a plain Evidence of their hypocrify and damnable Condition? Seneca calls rash Anger ‘a short Phrensy or “ ”Madness’, and indeed it is so; it is such a Phrensy as rends the Nerves of civil Society and taints all it's Sweets with Marah's Waters. The Instances of some of the Pa­gans Moderation may serve to shame many pretended Christians, and confound their salse Hopes: ‘When So­crates “was provoked by one of his Servants, he said, Sir­rah, ”I would beat you if I were not angry’. Remarkable is that also of Philip King of Macedon when the Athenians sent their Ambassadors to him, they were received with this Complement, Tell me Gentlemen, said King Philip, what I shall do to oblige the Athenians? Demochares one of the Ambassadors told him, that he would take it for a great Obligation if he would be pleased to hang himself; while the Standers by were filled with Indignation, the King sent the Ambassadors back with this Message; that it's worse to speak such Things than to hear and forgive them.

Object 2. Such a Man has wronged me, and does not ask Forgiveness. What then, you ought to forgive him never­theless; otherwise how can you pray the Lord's Prayer, Forgive us our Trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us; you pray for God's Vengeance upon you in this Petition, if you still retain some Rancour and Enmity against your Neighbour? Again, Forgiveness is necessary to obtain Pardon of God, Mat. 6.14, 15. & 18.35. Indeed there is some difference between Forgiveness and full Re­conciliation; though we should bear no angry Resentments against an Offender, but on the contrary Thoughts of Peace, Love and Benevolence: If thine Enemy thirst give him drink. Overcome Evil with Good, Rom. 12.20, 21. Yet it's against the Law of Prudence to receive him suddenly into wonted Familiarity. The prudent Man foresees Evil and hid$s himself. Prov. 22.3.

9. The next Particular that I would speak of, is that of Charity; but before I propose the Pleas of some graceless People about the Neglect of this Duty, let me offer a [Page 83]Word concerning it's Necessity and Excellency, which al$ tho' it be a Digression, is nevertheless a necessary one.


$word$. To make charitable Distributions of the good Thing$ of Providence which we enjoy, for the Relief of the Po$$ and Indigent, is necessary by the positive Law of God; To do good and to communicate forget not, for with such Sacrisi­ces God is well pleased, Heb. 13.16. Cast thy Bread upon the water, Eccles, 11.1. ‘Cast your Seed upon low Pla­ces;" so some understand it, alluding to the Husband­man “(saith Mr. H$nry) who spares some of the Bread-Corn he has for his Family to sow his Land, knowing ”that without this he can have no Harvest another Year.’ This Text certainly imports our giving to such who are not able to requite us. ‘This for that, is rather a Truck “than a Benefit," says Seneca; we should send our Gifts a Venture, as Merchants do that trade by Sea, they won't sink intirely in the Waters: Indeed the Consci­ence of giving with a good Design, is a present Recom­pence.”’

2. By the Nature of God: Which is our Honour, our Duty and Interest to imitate. God is love, 1 John 4.8. both essentially and communicatively; his Being is Love, and his Ways of Providence express much Goodness and Bene­ficence to Mankind in general, and to his People in parti­cular; He makes his Sun to rise upon the Evil and the Good, and sendeth Rain on the Just and Unjust, Mat. 5.45. Acts 4.17. Psalm 103.13.

3. By the Law of Nature and Humanity. That Men by the Constitution of their Nature are framed for Society, ap­pears beyond Controversy, from their natural Propensity to communicate their Notions and Ideas to one another, the Necessity they labour under of mutual Solace and Support, also from their common Wants and Fears. Now that Offi­ces of mutual Love and Beneficence are the Cement of So­ciety, the Bands and Sinews by which it is preserved is as evident,

4. By the Example of Jesus in that peerless and tran­scendent Prodigy of his dying Affection to a lost World, Col. 3.12, 13.

5. This Duty is excellent in it's Nature, 1 Cor. 13.1. Though I speak with the Tongues of Men and Angels, and have not Charity, I am become as sounding Brass, or a tink­ling Cymbal; all my Pretences are vain.

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6. It's excellent in it's Effects and Rewards; this is the Way to invite Strangers to fall in Love with Christianity. The ancient Christians were very famous for this Practice, and saw the blessed Fruits of it. Also it's an Excitement to others to shew us the like Courtesy in our Necessity. It's pleasing to God: when sutably performed; for what is done to the least of Christ's Members, he takes it as done to himself, Mat. 25.40. It introduces Peace (that Hower of all the Blessings of Life) into our Breast here, and us into the Kingdom of Peace and endless Life hereafter; hence we are bid to make Friends of the Mammon of Un­righteousness, that when we fail, they may receive us into everlasting Habitations, Luke 16.9. Blessed are the merci­ful, for they shall obtain Mercy, Mat. 5.7. and on the con­trary, He that won't shew Pity to others in Distress, shall cry himself and not be $eard, Prov. 21.13. Mat. 18.23, $word$ 3$. But notwithstanding what has been advanced, some will frame the $ollowing Excuses.

Excuse 1. What I have is my own, and I have it for my own Use, Shall I take my Bread and my Flesh, and give it to I know not who? This is Nabal's Plea, 1 Sam. 25.11. Hold Friend, you are mistaken; though you have a civil Right to what you possess, yet the original and sovereign Claim of Right belongs to God, whose Tennant and Stew­ard thou art, and to whom you must quickly be accounta­ble for the Use thou hast made of those Talents the great Lord of the Universe intrusted thee with, whether thou hast brought forth Fruits unto thy self or him? Luke 16.2. Whether thou hast used thy Estate to feed thy own and thy Childrens Pride and Luxury, or to refresh the Bowels of the Poor and Needy? O Man! if those Bottles of the Heavens, I mean the Clouds, had their Waters for themselves, the Earth would soon be as Iron, and thou pe­rish for want of Bread! but thou feest how they refresh the parched Earth with their balmy Dews and refreshing Show|$rs: Are the Heavens thus indulgent to the labouring Earth, and shall thy Bowels be as Brass, void of compassi­onate Relentings towards the Indigent, who are Bone of thy Bone, Gen. 29.14. What does the Sun get by travelling his steady Circuit round the Globe?

Excuse 3. But I am Poor: What then? the less is re­quired indeed, but yet something is necessary to be given to the distressed, in Propertion to what God has given thee; the poor Widow gave her two Mites, Mark 12.42.

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Excuse 3. I should be despised if I did not give as much as others. Friend, Remember it's to God you must ap­prove your self, 2 Tim. 2.15. The Judgment of one God and one Conscience in our Favour is infinitely better than the Applause of the whole Earth, and will make the Mind firm and impregnable amidst all the Storms of Re­proach and Ignominy; if you will not suffer with Christ, you shall not reign with him: No Cross, no Crown.

Excuse 4 My Children may want it, I must buy Lands for them; I have Taxes to pay, and a great many Things to do with the little I have. Friend, your feeding the Hungry, and cloathing the Naked, instead of hindring your making necessary Provision for your Children, will secure their Support, by bringing the Blessing of Heaven upon your Labours, for what you give to the Poor you lend to the Lord, Prov. 19.17. which he will repay with Interest. But further, let me tell you in the Words of the wise Man, Eccl. 11.4. He that observeth the Wind shall not sow, and he that regardeth the Clouds shall not reap. ‘If we stand “magnifying every little Difficulty and seeming Danger, we shall never do the Work God requires of us; if the Husbandman should decline sowing for every flying Cloud, and reaping for the sake of every blast of Wind, he would make but a poor Account of his Husbandry at the Years end. Now the Duty of Charity is as necessary as that of Sowing and Reaping, and attended with infi­nitely greater Advantages; and those Discouragements from selfish Nature, which obstruct the Performance of it, are like flying Clouds, or passing Blasts, which a re­solute ”Mind will easily encounter and Surmount.’

Excuse 5. I am in Debt, how can I be charitable?

1. It's to be seared that many run themselves into Debt by taking Money at Interest in order to purchase great Estates for their Children, they join House to House, and Farm to Farm, Isai. 5.8. and like the Horse Leach are ne­ver satisfied; they with eager and impatient Haste seek great Things, contrary to the Prophet's Advice to Barak, Jer. 45.5. Embarass themselves in Difficulties at present to obtain that End; now while they are under these Emer­gencies which they have unnecessarily involved themselves in, they think they are free from the Obligations to chari­table Actions, as if one Sin would excuse another.

2. Perhaps thy Debts are inconsiderable compar'd with thy Estate: There be scare any Men of Business and Trade in the World, but what are in Debt, less or more, [Page 86]and perhaps continue so during Life; for as soon as one Debt is paid, another is contracted: So that at this rate you'l never find a time for Charity. This is a vile deceit, but God won't be mock'd: but if thou art really Poor and in Debt, and knowest not well how to pay it, do Justice, love Mercy, Mich. 6.8. Hos. 12.6. The blessed God won't have Robbery for a Burnt Offering; where there is a wil­ling mind, God accepts according to what a Man hath, and not according to what he hath not, 2 Cor. 8.12. Be­cause David had it in his Heart to build the Temple, tho' he did not put his Design in Execution for want of Oppor­tunity, yet it was accepted as done, 1 Kin 8.18. But it must be in the mean time confess'd, that having the abso­lutely necessary Supports of Life, we should venture the Abridgement of the accessory and addtional Comforts of it, much more the extravagancies of pompous Apparel and delicious Meats and Drinks, by supplying the Wants of our indigent Brethren, by supporting humane Nature in distress.

Excuse 6. But this Man, or that Woman is not an Ob­ject of Charity, a great many go about that are meet Cheats. Answ. A greedy Mind will always have an Ex­cuse ready to protect the Purse. But more particularly, I confess that wise Caution is necessary in the choice of the Object; and a special regard should be shewn in our cha­ritable Donations to Pious Persons: We should express re­spect to all, but especially to those that are of the Hou­shold of Faith, Gal 6.10. But you should consult more with the Divine Oracles in such Cases than with your Con­vetous Hearts; otherwise you'l never do much Good in the World. What tho' you happen to miss the right Ob­ject after necessary Examination, you'l not miss the Re­ward, if your design be Pious. Mar. 10.42. There be a number of Professors in this Age, that carry large Lamps, but there's little of the Oyl of Charity in them; in regard of the talking, praying parts of Religion, thay make a blazing appearance; they are very ready in these Duties, for they are cheap, and touch not the Pocket, but tell them there is this or that to be done for the poor Saints, or Church of God, and their Hearts sink within them, like their great Grandfath: 1 Nabal's, 1 Sam. 2.5. their Zeal languishes like an expiring Candle in the Socket, they begin to grow sorrowful, like the Young Man in the Gospel, Mit 19.22. Then they hycocritically with they could do any thing, but—. Now with what Face can these Men talk of [Page 87]Religion, or imagine they have any true Grace in their Hearts, if this be customary. Jam. 2.14, 15, 20. Jam. 1.27. O thou Earth-Worm! thou discoverest thy rotten­ness and hypocrisie in this, for all thy pretended Devotion; thy Faith has not overcome the World, 1 Joh. 5.4. Hear and consider, O Deceiver! what the Great God speaks to thee in those Scriptures, Jam 2.13. He shall have Judg­ment without Mercy, that hath shewed no Mercy. Prov. 21.13. Matth. 45. ver. 41. to the end.

If some warm Blades give two Pence, or a Groat, or Six Pence to a poor Christian, they think they have dis­charged a good Conscience: I believe they have indeed banish'd it, and given it a Bill of Divorce. If they were not stone-blind, could they imagine that that was suffici­ent Charity which was not at all proportion'd, neither to the ability of the Giver, or the wants of the Receiver; may be fifty times as much would be counted little, if spent upon their own, or their Childrens Lusts or Super­fluities. I believe, since the Creation of the Earth, there never was a more merciless, selfish Age than this, but there­by the Scripture is verified, as I have before made evi­dent.

10. Another cause of the Security and false Hope of wicked People, is the Devil; the God of this World has blinded the eyes of those that believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel should shine unto them, and they should be saved, 2 Cor. 4.4. The Devil has many artful and poli­tick Methods to compass the ruin of Mankind, and among others, this one of very fatal tendency, viz that he en­deavours by all the sly and subtle Measures of Insinuation to strengthen the groundless hopes of secure Souls: This method he us'd with our grand Parent, Eve, Gen. 3.4. and found it wofully successful, even to the total overthrow of Man's innocency and happiness: And the Serpent said unto the Woman, Ye shall not surely die: The same Path that crafty and malicious Enemy of Mankind travels with almost equal Success as to Individuals, and less difficulty in his dealings with Adam's degenerate Posterity. When God's faithful Servants tell wicked People, that if they continue impenitent, they must expect nothing but God's fierce Vengeance; Satan insinuates a very contrary Lesson: You shall not perish; God is merciful: Christ has dy'd for Sinners; what, an't you Christians? Believers? Bap­tized Persons? Don't believe these precise Fellows. Now when the solemn inclosure of the penalty is remov'd [Page 88]from the Precept, Sin, which is transgression of it, be­comes less formidable, and thereby Sinners are induc'd to make bold with it, to their Cost, as Flies that sport them­selves with their wanton Flights about a Candle, till they drop down dead.

11. Another cause of the delusive hopes of many, is the bad Advice of wicked People: Some of whom are busy, and successful Factors for the Devil, in helping him to accomplish his bloody Designs against themselves&others: Some like the perverse Pharisees of old, will neither enter into the Kingdom of Heaven themselves, nor suffer those that are entering to enter; Matth. 23.13. Wo unto you Scribes and Pharisees, Hypocrites. The Psalmist David was very sensible of the bad influence of wicked Society, and there­fore he abandons them with the utmost Indignation; De­part from me ye workers of Iniquity, for I will keep the Commandments of my God, Psal. 119.115.

Some wicked Wretches will endeavur to jeer and laugh Men out of their Salvation, but there be none that have common Sense would be thus fool'd out of an Estate. If some Imps of the Devil see any concern'd about their Sal­vation, they'l give them such a Salutation as this; What are you beginning to be precise too? There's no need of so much pains and bustle to get to Heaven. Cant. 5.9. God is very merciful; I tho't you was a Man of more Judgment, than to be bewitched by such People: Away with such melancholy Whims, you'l be fit for Bedlam by and by if you go on at this rate; Drink a Glass of Wine, Brother, and serve God with a cheerful Heart: What do you think none will be sav'd but a pack of such canting precise Fellows? God help the World then indeed, what will become of the most of your honest Neighbours, and the greatest part of the Earth at this Rate? What needs all this Sorrow, you have never wronged any Body, or com­mitted Murder or Treason: You know there is no Body of Sense that minds those fantastical Enthusiasts Answ. O Murderer! I may say to thee as the Apostle to Elimas, Acts 13.10. O full of all Subtilty, and all Mischief, thou Child of the Devil, thou Enemy of all Righteousness; wilt thou not cease to pervert the right Ways of the Lord? Consider, as thou wilt answer it to the great God, these few Queries in Ans­we to thy pernicious, though crafty Harangue.

1. If we should not be precise, as thou scoffingly terms Christian Circumspection and strict Holiness; why are we commanded to walk circumspectly, Eph. 5.15. Does not [Page 89]the original Word Acriboos signify strictly, or precisely? Wherefore are we commanded to be holy as God is holy, perfect as he is perfect? 1 Pet. 1.15.16. Mat. 5.48.

2. If there be no need of so much Pains about Religion, why are we commanded to fight? 2 Tim. 6.12. to run? Heb. 12.1. to wrestle? Eph 6.12. to strive? Luke 13.24. in order to obrain Happiness? Do not these Metaphors im­port the utmost Intenseness? Why are we inform'd that the Kingdom of Heaven suffers Violence, and the Violent take it by Force? Mat. 11.12. and that many shall seek to enter and shall not be able, Luke 13.24.

3. Is Conformity to the Will of a wise God the Way to Folly? Then white is black, and black is white: And is not this the Will of God, even our Sanctification? 1 Thes.4.3. Is it Folly to secure the greatest Good by the seasonable and earnest Use of appointed Means? Then God grant, I ever may be such a Fool! I know you have a great Con­ceit of your Wisdom! All ungodly Men have some of the Devil's Pride; and perhaps the Father don't much outdo some of his Children in this; but remember those Words of the Apostle, 1 Cor. 3.19. For the Wisdom of the World is Foolishness with God: For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own Crafriness

4. As to the Paucity of the saved, it has been before consider'd; the holy Scriptures do evidently declare that the far greater Part of Mankind, nay of those that live un­der the Gospel, shall be damned eternally; neither does this eclipse the Mercy of God, as some carnal People ima­gine no, but on the contrary, the distinguishing Nature of God's Mercy magnifies it exceedingly in the Thoughts of the redeemed, as many thousands have experienc'd. God might have pass'd by the fallen Race of Man, as he did by the fallen Angels, and damned them to eternal Pains for the Rebellion of their pro parent and soederal Head, Adam, and made his righteous Severity triumph in their endless Woes; therefore it's wondrous Grace (which does indeed astonish all the Heavens!) that any of Adam's guilty Race should be saved from Hell and Death!

5. Thy calling the Work of God's Spirit in changing and renewing the Heart, Enthusiasm, is the Fruit either of thy Ignorance or Malice, or of both complexly, contrary to the tenor of the holy Scriptures, which expresly assert such a Change to be absolutely necessary, as I have prov'd before, as well as contrary to the united Testimony of the protestant Churches; in this Speech thou belchest forth [Page 90]thy serpentine Venom against the Apostles and all the faith­ful in every Age, both before and after Christ's coming, for all of them experienc'd this Work of God which thou ignorantly or invidiously callest Enthusiasm; and the Reason why thou ascribest to the Devil the Work of the Spirit of God, is because it detects thy Hypocrisy, scorch­es and pains thee with it's Warmth. But O Man! are you not afraid of blaspheming the Holy Ghost after this Manner, lest thy Sins never be forgiven thee either in this World, or that to come, Heb. 10.26.

6. What tho' this or that Person has never been guilty of Overt Fraud, Murder or Treason; supposing they had never been guilty of any gross Immorality; what does not that Fountain of Iniquity, that Spawn of Sin, that Body of Death, that Seed Plot of Corruption which we are born with, afford sufficient Cause for the deepest Sorrow? Yes it does; and if ever thy Understanding be inlightened, thou wilt feel this Truth, John 3.6. Psalm 51.5. Job. 14.4. Isai. 48.8. Rom. 7.24 & 3.9. Are there not many who have not committed the Crimes mention'd ex­ternally, who are yet guilty of them in a spiritual Sense? Has not every unconverted Sinner (of adult Years) wrong­ed himself, been guilty of Soul-Murder, by not improving the Opportunities of Salvation? Also are they not all guil­ty of Rebellion against the King of Heaven by disobeying his Laws? and don't those Sins require great Sorrow?

As to the last Particular of the Charge; consider these Places of Scripture, John 7.48, 49. Have any of the Rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? but this People who know not the Law are cursed. 1 Cor. 1.26, 27. Not many wise Men after the Flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called, but God hath chosen the foolish to confound the wise, the weak to confound the mighty. Acts 28.22. But as concerning this Sect, we know that it is every where spok $ against. The People of God are called the Congregation of the Poor, Psalm 84.19. But to proceed, ungodly Peo­ple will further object against those that have the Life of Christianity, in order to seduce convinced Souls, and pre­judice others against Piety, either

1. That they are imprudent or immoderate in their Zeal: Graceless People are for much Moderation, as they miscall it, in the Cause of God and Religion; but as to their worldly Interest, which they like much better, they will drive like Jehu; their pretended M.deration in religious Affairs, is nothing alse in plain English, but that Luks­warmness [Page 91]which God hates, Rev. 3.16. Let it be consider'd that Prudence is two-fold, carnal or spiritual: Carnal Pru­dence aims at Self-interest as it's principal Mark: and forms it's whole Scheme so as to advance it; that it's al­ways imprudent in those People's Esteem, which indangers their Honour or worldly Interest, James 3.15. Phil. 3.19. 2. Spiritual Prudence has for it's main Mark, the Glory of God, and the Interest of his Church; which the Person that is possess'd of this noble Quality, eyes and pursues in all his Transactions, whatever becomes of his own Ho­nour, and worldly Interest. A sincere Soul will venture that, and stand for Christ's Interest in all Weathers. Acts 21.13. When the Apostle Paul is said to become all Things to all M$n, to gain some;$ I suppose his Compliance was not in any Thing really criminal, or with a covert View, to gain them to his own Interest, but to Christ's. I suppose every one that believes the Scriptures will own that this Apostle excelled in the Vertue of Prudence to a great degree of Eminence, and yet he could not keep the People still and quiet where he preach'd: There was generally an Uproar and Tumult among the People, where he declared his Master's Truths. Acts 13.45, 50.14.4, 5, 19 & 16.20. & 17.2, 5, 6. & 18.6. & 19.8, 9, 29. I suppose there is the same Rancour and Malice in natural Men's Hearts against God and his Truths now that there was then, only that it is under some Restraint in some by their Education, but Education does not change the Heart. Can it be imagined but that graceless Persons, when the Word is closely, powerfully and successfully spoken, will growl (many of them) and shew their Teeth, if they don't bite; for Christ did not come to send Peace on Earth, but a Sword, Mat. 10.34, 35, 36. Luke 12.51 to 54 But there be some so prudent in our Age, that they have found out a new Way to Heaven, a Way which Christ and his Apostles ne­ver trod; for they pretend to go there without bearing the Cross of Christ; but except they lay aside this per­verse shifting off the sweet and precious Cross of Jesus, tack­ing about with every blast, they'l never come into the Ha­ven of the blessed; For he that lives godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer Persecution, 2 Tim. 3.12.

The Prudence of many is nothing else, but that carnal selfish Craft which God disdains, 1 Cor. 3.19, 20. It's bet­ter I think to act so as to have the Apostle's Testimony. That in Simplicity and godly Sincerity, not in fl$shly Wisdom, we have had our Conversation in the World, 2 Cor. 1.12. Or

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2. To draw away People from vital Christianity, they will say, that such as are pious are foolish, as Festus said of Paul, Acts 26.24. Paul thou art beside thy self; much Learning doth make thee mad. So the Wicked treated the Prophets of the old Testament to prejudice People against them: Wherefore came this mad Fellow unto thee; said the Captains of the Host to Jehu, concerning the Prophet, 2 Kings 9.11. Also Hos. 9.7. The Prophet is a Fool, the spiritual Man is mad, for the Multitude of thine Iniquities, and the great Hatred. Which of the Prophets, said dying Stephen, have not your Fathers persecuted? Acts 7.52. And was not the blessed Jesus deemed foolish, not only by the ma­licious Pharisees, but by his own Relations? John 10.20. And many of them said, He hath a Devil, and is mad, why hear ye him? Mark 3.21. And when his Friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him, for they said, He is be­side himself. Wicked People are apt to say of pious. Chris­tians, I believe some of them are sincere, they mean well, but they are weak: But if one of your own Crew that has no Learning, and hardly common Sense, that is pretty well rigg'd with fashionable Apparel, begins to squirt some pet­ty Puns and pert Squibs against living Religion, O that is a Man of Sense and Learning! a pretty, a very pretty Fellow. Your Concession that some Christians are sincere is extorted from your gall'd Consciences by the shining Holiness of their Lives, Mark 6.20. The latter flows freely from your stupid Ignorance, or serpentine Malice. 1 Cor. 2.14. The natural Man cannot understand the Things of the Spirit of God, for they are Foolishness to him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. Gen. 3.15. Rom. 8.7. O conceited Hypocrite! Hear thy Doom from God, Isai 5.21. Wo unto them that are wise in their own Eyes, and prudent in their own Sight. Verse 20. Wo unto them that call Evil Good, and Good Evil, that put Darkness for Light, and Light for Darkness; that put Bit­ter for Sweet, and Sweet for Bitter. Or

3. They'l object, that they are Hypocrites, and endea­vour to prove this Charge by their Weeping in divine Ser­vice, and strict and sober Life. O! the malicious Madness of the ungodly World, who would make those Things to be Signs of Hypocrisy, which are the great Evidences of Sincerity! By this Method they would make Christ an Hypocrite; for he was a Man of Sorrows and acquainted with Grief; he mourned and wept often; but never laugh­ed, that we read of, Luke 19.41. Also the mourning Pro­phet [Page 93] Jeremiah, O that my Head were Waters, and mine Eyes a Fountain of Tears, Jer. 9.1. And the Apostle Paul, Acts 20.31, 19. Therefore watch. Remember that by the space of three Years I ceased not to warn every one Day and Night with Tears. Yea and all true Penitents are bid to turn unto God with Fasting, and with Weeping, and with Mourning, Joel 2.12. We are informed that all Tears shall be wiped away, Rev. 7.17. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the Throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living Fountains of Waters, and God shall wipe away all Tears from their Eyes. But pray, how shall Tears be wip­ed away from the dry Eyes of those that have not wept? What will those hard hearted dry eyed Christians do with God's Book and Bottle, Psalm 56.8. Put thou my Tears in­to thy Bottle; Are they not all in thy Book? However you slight the Tears of poor Penitents, the great God takes no­tice of them; 2 Kings 20.5. I have heard thy Prayer, I have seenthy Tears; behold I will heal thee! Jer. 31.18. I have heard Ephraim bemoaning himself. We are informed how wrestling Jacob prevail'd with his God, Hos. 12.4. He wept and made Supplication unto him. Holy Paul was not of your grumbling Temper and Disposition, as to the Tears of others; no, he was pleased with and mindful of Timothy's Tears, 2 Tim. 1.4. Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy Tears, that I may be filled with Joy.

You'l say perhaps, what can't they be sincere without Weeping in publick, I weep my self sometimes in private: O Pharisee! I believe that's but seldom, and that when you are under the gnawings of a guilty Conscience, or some worldly Trouble; but pray Friend, are your Tears thus at your Beck, that you can open and shut those Fountains when you please? Then indeed they are Crocodile Tears, little worth, and your selves very Hypocrites, for all your pretended Sincerity. Or

4. They'l object thus, I don't like those People that weep so in the Worship of God; it looks very childish and effeminate. Answ. The Reflection is hardy and pro­phane, for by this you would represent Christ, his Prophets and Apostles, as a mean spirited dastardly Company, void of a generous Greatness of Mind. King David was a Man of a brave and gallant Spirit, as appears by his mar­tial and heroick Exploits recorded in sacred Scripture; and yet how oft did he weep and mourn for Sin. Psalm 42.3. His Tears were his Meat. But what is the Reason thou dost not like those that weep in divine Service? You'l [Page 94]say perhaps, that it hinders their Elocution, or that it seems hypocritical; no, no, it does not hinder but help their Speech. As to the second Particular, I have before consi­der'd it, only let me add one Word; Though I confess it is our Duty to conceal from others Observance as much as is possible our Brokenness, yet we must not quench the inward Motions of the Holy Spirit; when the blessed God is thawing our frozen Hearts by his Word and Spirit, should we suppress his Work, oppose his Love Motions for Fear some carnal People should call us Hypocrites, and so be guilty of real Murder and fighting against God to avoid the groundless Charge of Hypocrisy, and incur the awful Displeasure of an holy and almighty God, to evite the Scoffs and Taunts of silly blind Worms?

But sh$ll I venture to tell you the true Reason of your Disgust at such Things, why it is this; thou art a hard­ned Sinner thy self, thy stony Heart was never removed, and a Heart of Flesh given thee, according to that new Co­venant Promise, Ezek. 36.26. Thou knowest a Stone is dry, insensible, impenetrable, but Flesh is tender, soft and flexible, easily susceptive of the least Impressions. Now because thou wantest the Heart of Flesh thy self, and seest others broken in the Service of God, it pains thee by de­tecting thy Stupidity; this Pain you like not, and there­fore to prevent the Effect, you reflect against the Cause. When a short Discourse upon Morality is preached with swelling Diction, and graceful Cadence (Jude Verse 16. Their Mouth speaketh great swelling Words, having Men's Persons in Admiration because of Advantage) without any Life or Energy: O then you'l say, that's a fine Sermon indeed, because it has scorched thy guilty Conscience no more than a painted Fire would thy Body! O hard heart­ed Hypocrite! If thou knew the soul-ravishing Sweets which the Children of God enjoy in their Meltings of Heart by the Presence of their Master and Father, thou would'st not snuffle and fret at their Contrition, Psal 51.17. but bewail thy own Obstinacy; they have more Comfort in their Tears, than thou hast in all thy carnal Mirth and Jollity.

As to what you object about the Strictness of their Lives, consider the Words of the Apostle Peter, 1 Epist. 4.4. Wherein they think it strange that you run not with them to the same Excess of Riot, speaking Evil of you. I suppose you find your selves so guilty of gross Wickedness, that through the Greatness of your Charity and Vertue which [Page 95]you boast of (though groundlesly) you are apt to think that these that do appear more reformed, do but appear to be so. Or

4. Some will charitably alledge to forward the foresaid Design, that they are all Knaves in their Hearts; this Man will tell one Story, and the other another; I had some Dealings with such a Man, one of the Saints, and he bit me; another tells an awful Story of the Fraud, or other Wickedness of one of the New-born; then they all laugh, ha! ha! ha! I thought so, I believe they are all alike if they were but discovered, a pack of Rogues; ho! is this your large Charity that would grasp in the Heathens in it's Bosom? Yes, yes, you'l extend your Charity to all the Sons of Belial, for like rejoyces in like: But remember the Word of God mentioned by the wise Man, Prov. 24.24. He that sayeth to the Wicked thou art righteous, him shall the People curse; Nations shall abhor him. None are ex­cluded from your blind and graceless Charity; but the pro­per Objects of true Charity, viz. pious People, them you don't like, especially if they are very strict, holy and faith­ful, you watch for their halting, Jer. 20.10. as the Cat does for poor Mouse; you search their Practice as nar­rowly as Laban did Jacob's Stuff, and when you find any Thing that will bear a Reflection, then you rejoyce and spread it abroad among your Kindred, (2 Sam. 1.20. Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the Streets of Askelon, lest the Daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.) But what are the Reasons of this Joy?

1. Malice; that old Enmity God put between the Seed of the Woman, and the Seed of the Serpent, Gen 3.15. A Man that bears Malice against another rejoyces in his Dis­grace.

2. Another is this, it gives Ease to your guilty Consci­ences which were gall'd by their just Reproofs, or holy Life. But to answer your Charge more fully.

3. It must be confess'd, that as there always has been, so there will be Hypocrites in the visible Church to the End of Time, chaff mix'd with the Wheat till the last winnow­ing Season comes, and the Son of Man takes the Fan of Judgment in his Hand, and makes a thorough and final Separation: But what then? Is it not unjust to infer a ge­neral or universal, from a particular? Is it not contrary to the Laws both of Reason and Religion? Ex particulari non licet sylogizari Prov. 17.15. He that justifieth the Wic­ked and he that condemneth the Just, even they both are an [Page 96]Abomination to the Lord. But it's thy unhappiness, Friend, to be under that Curse of the Almighty, mention'd Isai. 5.20. Wo unto them that call Evil Good, and Good Evil, that put Darkness for Light, and Light for Darkness, that put Bitter for Sweet, and Sweet for Bitter. Ver. 23. Which justi­fy the Wicked $or $eward, and take away the Righteousness of the Righteous from him. But you shew your foolish, tho' invenom'd Spite, by charging the whole Body of Chris­tians because of the Enormities of some Hypocrites; be­cause there was a Judas among the Apostles, were they therefore all Judases? But we need not wonder at thy Folly, when we consider that as it was of old, so it is now, he that was born after the Flesh, persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, Gal. 4.25. Cain's Club won't be left altogether unoccupied while any of his cruel Brood are on this side Hell.

2. Some pious Persons through Unwatchfulness, or Neg­ligence, are sometimes betray'd by Surprize into those Fail­ings, which they bitterly bewail; but they may, and do obtain pardon of a gracious and merciful God, of those unindulged and involuntary Defects and Infirmities upon the Exercise of true Repentance, Jer. 3.1. Tho' God may visit their Transgressions with the Rod, and their Iniquity with Stripes: Nevertheless his Lovingkindness he will not utterly take away, or suffer his Faithfulness to fall, Psalm 89.31 to 35. Isai. 54.7, 8. John 10.27, 28. Rom. 11.29. Yet they will never obtain pardon of a merciless World; The Moon though it be a bright Body, is not without her Spots; these Blemishes wicked People represent in an un­just and glaring Light, after the Example of their Father, who was a Liar and a Murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the Truth, John 8.44. But is it their Failings you detest? No, no, unless it were in something that con­cerned your worldly Interest; it is their Piety that you are offended with, and shoot at with your barbed Arrows of Reproach, under the specious Pretext of this or that Fault, real or imaginary, which you charge them with, 1 John 3.12. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his Brother: And wherefore slew he him? but because his own Works were evil, and his Brother's righteous. Indeed you are angry because they are not worse than they are; if it were their Sins you only found fault with, as you pretend, why don't you find fault with your own Crew who are ten times worse? No, no, these are your Brethren in Ini­quity, Children of the same Father and Family, these must [Page 97]be spared and an Apology framed to palliate, the$$ $$$nson Guilts, and Bear Skins put upon Christians (as $$thcient. Times by the Pagans) that the Dogs may bark at them, bait, and worry them; but because some pious People ‘“break their Shins, as Mr. Banter observes, will you break ”your Necks?’ And does this look like Prudence in such wise Men as you imagine your selves to be?

3. Wicked People will class among the Pious, such as they will not own, and then accuse them with their Faults, which is very unjust and deceitful, Psalm 37.12. The Wic­ked plotteth against the Just, and gnasheth upon him with his Teeth. And

4. Sometimes the Sons of Belial do devise notorious Falshoods against God's People in order to blacken their Character, Jer. 18.18. Come and let us devise Devises against Jeremiah.

The 12th Particular. Another Cause of the false Hope of many is the daubing of unconverted Ministers.

1. By their false Preaching, or by their preaching those erroneous, nature soothing, but Soul damning Doctrines of Free-Will, universal Grace, and universal Redemption, by which ignorant self conceited graceless Sinners are held fast in the Chains of the Devil, & excited to erect a Babel on their own Bottom and Foundation which may rea$$ the Heavens. O! astonishing Madness, can such a sandy Fa­brick bear the Shocks of God's impartial Judgment? May the holy God confound the Language of those arrogant Mortals, which is so directly contrary to the Language of his sacred Oracles, and of his People's repeated Experien­ces. Eph. 2.1, 8, 9. Rom. 5.6. Rom. 1.16. 2 Cor. 3.5 Matth. 11.25, 26. Acts 13.48. John 10.26. & 17.9, 11 24. Rom. 8.29, 30. & 9.11, 12, 13. Eph. 1.3, 4, 11 1 Pet. 1.2. Jude ver. 4. Rom. 7.18. Or,

2. By concealing the contrary Truths of Christ, altho' they say they believe them, through vain Pretexts; what is this but holding the Truth in Unrighteousness, Rom. 1.18. Perhaps they'l object that the preaching of such (generally) despised Truths, would do more hurt than good. ‘What is “this but to impeach the Wisdom of God, and arraign it ”at our Bar, and preser our Craft before it,’ as the reve­rend and learned Calvin well observes in his Institutions. To what Purpose were these Truths indicted by the Holy Ghost, if not to be preached and made known; yea and in­sisting on such Subjects, whatever is muttered to the con­trary, is sometimes crown'd with remarkable Successes. [Page 98]Let me crave leave to insert a Passage here to this Purpose, which I heard of the reverend and pious Mr. Moody of York in New-England; ‘He told me, That famous Mr. Stoddard “of Northampton, after some considerable Time of Coldness and Unsuccessfulness in his publick Labours, hose that Text, John 10.26. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my Sheep. From which Words he rais'd this Obser­vation, That one Reason of Men's not receiving the Lord Jesus Christ, was their non Election. This Sermon he informed me (tho' upon so grating and displeasing a Subject) was followed with a very remarkable out pour­ing ”of the Holy Spirit, to the Conviction of many.’ What though the Fan of Christ's Word separate some light Chaff from the Wheat, is the Wheat any thing the worse for that? Tho' some Men of corrupt Minds, loose or formal Lives be offended and leave our Assemblies, is this any other Treatment than Christ himself met with? His Doctrine was so severe that many disgusted it, and forsook him, John 6.65, 66, 67 From that Time many of his Dis­ciples went back and walked no more with him. Matth. 15.12, 13. Then came his Disciples and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended? But he answered and said, Every Plant which my heavenly Father hath not plan$$ shall be rooted up. John 6.60. This is an hard say­ing, Who can bear it? 2 Tim. 3.5. Having a Form of Godli­ness, but denying the Power of it, from such turn away. Luk. 13.17 Whose Fan is in his Hand, and he will throughly surge his Floor, and will gather the Wheat into his Garner, but the Chaff he will burn with unquenchable Fire. 2 Tim. 4.3, 4. For the Time will come, when they will not endure sound Doctrine, and they shall turn away their Ears from the Truth, and be turned to Fables. And must Christ's Mi­nisters desist preaching Truth, in order to humour the Peo­ple, I think not. Gal. 1.10. Or do I seek to please Men, for if I yet please Men, I should not be the Servant of Christ. Jer. 5.30, 31. A wonderful and a horrible Thing is commit­ted in the Land, the Prophets prophesy falsly, and the Priests bear rule by their Means, and my People love to have it so, and what will ye do in the end thereof?

If any should again object, that treating upon such Truths in the Infancy of Churches, is unseasonable: In ans­wer to this, I would propose the following Queries.

  • Query 1. Did not Christ and his Apostles preach them in the Infancy of the Gospel Church?
  • [Page 99]Query 2. Are they not fundamental or principal Truths of Christianity? And do not Artificers first lay the Foun­dation?
  • Query 3. Are they not a part of God's Counsel? And should not Ministers deliver the whole Counsel of God, as they have Ability and Opportunity?
  • Query 4. Does it not look like a shuffling of Christ's Cross, a slavish mercenary Fear of incurring the People's Anger, for a Minister who statedly labours in a Place, to conceal those Truths of God for many Years standing?
  • Query 5 Has not the Practice of delaying and consult­ing with Flesh and Blood in such Matters a visible Ten­dency to eradicate those Truths out of the Christian Church in process of Time, when the People know not whether their Ministers believe them or not?

3 By their soft and smooth Way of Preaching; some Ministers being what God witnesseth of the false Prophets of old; Foxes in the Deserts, Ezek. 13.4. Crafty and co­vetous Creatures; they know the Way to insinuate them­selves into the People's Affections, and thereby obtain Ho­nour and Gain of them, is to suit their Sermons to their Hu­mours; now the general Inclinations of poor ignorant graceless People, is to hear of nothing but Love, Peace, Promises, Comforts, Isai. 30.18 Speak to us smooth Things. They want Preachers only to scratch the I$ch of their Cu­riosity with quaint Notions, and smooth Stories, 2 Tim 4.3. And such Chapmen they too often meet with through the Iniquity of the Times, (O Tempora, O Mores) who by seigned Words make Merchandize of them; there has been too many such in all Ages, Ezek 13.10, to 17. Those Prophets that Jehovah complains of in the Places of Scrip­ture now quoted, with so solemn an Emphasis, ‘They “gave out, Lana Vaticinia et Verba Lactis, comfortable ”Words and milky Words,’ as Mr. Greenhill terms it in his Paraphrase; They cryed Peace, Peace; the downy Pil­lows of the false Prophetesses were soft enough to make Sinners sleep in utramvis Aurem, on both sides of the Head. But will not the jealous holy God tear down such deceit­ful Daubings, with their Authors and Abettors, by the Storms of his inflamed Vengeance!

Were not God's Prophets of old (and is there not as much need of it now? he is stone blind that sees it not) bid to cry out and not to spare, to shew God's People their Transgressions, and the House of Jacob their Sins? Are not Ministers called the Salt of the Earth? Has not [Page 100]Salt a biting, painful Quality? I can't but believe that much of that Salt is turned into Sugar (in our Times) Job 33.23. Matth. 7.22, 23. & 5.13. Ye are the Salt of the Earth, but if the Salt have lost his Savour wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and to be trodden under Foot of Men. Is not the Word (when duly preached and blessed) quick and pow­erful, sharper than any two edged Sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder Soul and Spirit, Joynts and Marrow, Heb. 4.12. Acts 2.37.

4. By their general and undistinguishing way of Preach­ing. In the Application of their Discourses some will often class their Audience into one common mass, which Proteus like, often changes Shapes; for perhaps in one and the same Sermon, they'l speak to them as if they were all Converted People;&all of a sudden again, may be but a few moments after, they'l address them as Unconverted; and if they happen to drop a few awakning Expressions against some gross Immorali­ties, immediately (as tho' they were afraid poor Sinners would be convinc'd of their undone state) they advance a daub of untempered Mortar in great haste, I mean misapply'd Com­fort; and so they plaister and smooth it over to make all easy again, Ezek. 13.22. They strengthen the Hands of the Wicked that he should not return from his wicked way, by pro­mising him Life.

What does this perverse dealing mean? Is it fear of convicting themselves, or of the People's Anger? or igno­rance, that makes these Men go on at this bloody rate? How solemnly does the Great God speak against the false Pro­phetesses that labour'd to deceive the Jewish Nation, Ezek. 13.18, 19, 20. Wo to the Women that sow Pillows to all Arm holes: And will ye pollute me among my People for handfuls of Barley and pieces of Bread, to slay the Souls that should not die, and to save the Souls that should not live. If they make any particular Application at all, perhaps it's to make the Hearts of the righteous sad, and strengthen the Hands of the Wicked, Ezek. 13.22. especially if they have offended them, and that may be by telling them no­thing but the very truth. Have there not been such in the World that have bit with their Teeth, and cried Peace, and prepar'd War against such as did not put into their Mouths, Mic. 3 5. Ministers may preach till they're gray headed, nay to Dooms-Day, before ever they be the means of bring­ing one Soul to Christ, at this rate.

[Page 101]

Should not those that serve at God's Altar follow hi^$ directions in dividing the Word of Truth aright? 2 Tim. 2.15. in giving every one his Portion in Season, Luk. 12.42. Shewing difference between the clean and unclean? Ezek. 22.26. Lev. 10.10. Ezek. 44.23.

2. By their Lives, (1.) Light or loose Carriage, frothy, chaffy, jocose Discourse. Zeph. 3.4. Her Prophets are light and treacherous Persons. Eph. 5.4. Should not those that bear the Vessels of the Lord be clean? Isai. 52.11.

(2.) Through the neglect of that precious Duty of Exa­mination, or enquiring into the State of their Flocks. Prov. 27.23. Be thou diligent to know the state of thy Flocks, and look well to thy Herds. Act. 20.20. And how I have kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shew'd you, and have taught you publickly and from house to house. Too few it's to be sear'd use the necessary plainness of Nathan to David, Thou art the Man, 2 Sam. 12.7. or of John the Baptist to Herod concerning his Herodias.

O! that God would excite Ministers to be more painful in this part of their Work: Some thro' Grace have found this Method attended with rich Successes. It's true, the Practice is imbarrass'd with many Difficulties and Discou­ragements; but what then, God will support his faithful Servants in their Work, and sweeten their Labours by his presence here, and afterwards more fully recompence them in the uninterrupted enjoyment of his Majesty: If Souls are worth Christ Blood, they are well worth our Pains. What tho' we should be requited with hatred and reproach by some, is the Disciple above his Master, or the Servant a­bove his Lord? Are these trifling Sufferings to be compar'd with the eternal Weight of Glory? 2 Cor. 4.17. Blessed be God that the faithful Servants of Jehovah, who turn many to Righteousness, however they are traduc'd and flighted here, will shine as the Brightness of the Firmament, and as the Stars for ever and ever, Dan. 12.3.

(3.) By a groundless and cruel Charity, either fondly believing that such Persons are true Christians, who only have the form of Christianity, but are strangers to experi­mental Religion. 2 Tim. 3.5. Rom. 5.4, 5. which (not­withstanding of it's fair face) hath a very pernicious ten­dency, because it deprives them of the opportunity of la­bouring by private Conversation to detect and convince Such Men of their damnable Estate: but on the contrary makes them the unhappy Instruments, probably by discourse, of confirming People in their delusions; Or 2. by carry­ing [Page 102]themselves towards such by Speech and Practise, as tho' they did believe it, when they do not, thro' a mer­cenary love to them, for what they get of them, or slavish fear of incurring their displeasure, if they told them the truth, which is much worse than the former; because by it they counter-act their own Consciences; the former may be the fruit of ignorance, but this of selfish craft and sordid meanness of Spirit.

(4) By their lax and promiscuous admission of unworthy Guests to the Holy Sacrament, by which the Ordinance is prophan'd. Mat. 7.6. Give not that which is holy to Dogs; precious Souls endanger'd and deceiv'd, 1 Cor. 11.29. Perhaps the People have a high opinion of their Minister's Judgment, and therefore they think themselves safe if they have it in their favour, which they'l doubtless conclude when they are admitted to such a sacred Ordinance by him: Let these Ministers preach as plainly and pungently about unconverted People as they can, will such People apply it to themselves, no, they'l imagine he means others.

But I hasten to

The 13th Particular, that strengthens the false hopes of some wicked People, and confirms them in their wicked Courses, is the wicked Examples and Customs of the greatest Number where they dwell, and especially of the Grandees; those that are famous for their Wit, Learning, or Wealth. Many unthinking irreligious People are altogether for the Religion that is in fashion, be it what it will; they square their Conduct according to the Customs of the Places they live in; according to that Proverbial saying, Cum sueris Rome, Romano vivito more. Cum su$ris alibi vivito more Loci. When we are at Rome, we must do as the Romans do When they are in a Place where Religion is honour'd, then they put on a religious Cloak for gain; follow Christ in Profession and outward Performances, for the Loaves; but when they happen to be in a Place where Piety is dis­countenanc'd, especially by the Men of Figure and Distin­ction; as alas! it is in too many at this Day; then they are apt to say of it, as the cruel Jews of Jesus, away with it, away with it, crucify it, crucify it. Poor Wretches! they won't stand one brunt for Christ, his precious Cross they fly from as a Scare crow, and therefore can't be his Disciples, Luk. 14.27. But if ever they have felt the power of Piety, or the Sweetness of Christ's Love, they would not thus twist with every Wind, and sail with the Tide, tho' it were to Tophet's Culph, and turn with the Times; [Page 103]as that Chancellor in England, who being asked how he had kept in favour, during such different Reigns; he re­ply'd, Natus sum ex salice non ex quercu: I am of the plia­ble Willow, not of the stubborn Oak; no, they would ra­ther fall as Victims to the Rage of Men, or be sent up as Holocausts or Burnt Offerings to God, than forsake any known Truth or Duty of Religion: True Piety would in­spire them with the brave and generous Resolution of magnanimous Joshua, Josh. 24.15. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this Day whom you will serve: But as for me and my House we will serve the Lord. I am determined in this Matter, cost me what it will; whe­ther you will concur with me or not. O that God would effectually perswade us to entertain such a Resolution and Temper of Mind; it's such a purpose and practise as well becomes a great Mind: It shews a sneeking Meanness and Baseness of Spirit to follow the Customs of Places blindfold whether good or bad; and to come into mercenary and servile Compliances, is unworthy of the rational Nature; but if you will be damned for Fashion sake, or Company sake, who can help you? Pray read and consider what Se­neca speaks on this Head; ‘Let us not follow like Beasts, “said he, but rather govern our selves by Reason than Example. It fares with us in humane Life as in a rout­ed Army, one stumbles first, and then another falls up­on him, and so they follow one upon the Neck of ano­ther, till the whole Field become one Heap of Miscarri­ages, and the Mystery is, that the Number of the Multi­tude carries it against Truth and Justice, so that, saith he, we must leave the Crowd if we would be happy; for the Question of a happy Life is not to be decided by Vote; nay, so far from this, that the Plurality of Voices is still an Argument of the wrong Side: The common People, says he, content themselves with what is usual, never examining whether it be good or not; by the com­mon People is intended the Man of Title, as well as the clouted Shoe, for I do not distinguish them, said he, by ”the Eye, but by the Mind.’

But I proceed to consider the fourth General proposed, which was to shew the Folly, Misery and cursed State of such deceived Persons. And

1. More generally: Are not those who trust in their own Hearts, Fools? Yes surely. Prov. 28.26. He that [Page 104]trusteth in his own Heart is a Fool, yea a cursed Fool, Jer. 17.7. Now do not all presumpruous Persons trust in their own Hearts? Prov. 12.15. The Way of a Fool is right in his own Eyes; but he that hearkneth to Counsel is wise. Also, Prov. 14.12. & 16.25. & 21.2. Presumptuous Per­sons have nothing else to trust to but their deceived Hearts; for both Scripture and Reason opposeth their groundless Confidence.

2. Is it not a Folly to believe Lies, and expect Protecti­on by them? This is the very Case of presumptuous Souls, Isai. 28.15. For we have made Lies our Refuge, and under Falshood have hid our selves. Pray read and consider what God saith in the 17. Verse, Judgment also will I lay to the Line, and Righteousness to the Plumet, and the Hail shall sweep away the Refuge of Lies, and the Waters shall over­flow the hiding Place. The Prophet informs them that this tottering Fabrick would fall and bury the Builder in it's Ruins, the Waters should overflow it; every other Refuge but Christ shall be overwhelm $word$; as every thing else be­side the Ark was in the Flood of Noah, even the highest Mountains were covered, the Ark rested on lofty Ararat.

It is strange to consider what a prodigious pitch of Se­curity and Presumption Sinners may arrive at. Isai. 28.15. We have made a Covenant with Death, and with Hell are we at Agreement, when the overflowing Scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us. See they are as secure and unconcerned about the Approaches of Death, as tho' they had made an Agreement with it upon a valuable Consideration, that it should not come till they sent for it, and as little afraid are they of Hell: What is the Reason of this? Why, they made Lies their Refuge, they trusted to and depended upon these false and sandy Props, which the faithful Servants of God told them would deceive them, but which they themselves and their soothing false Prophets looked upon as $$$tantial Fences: But what was the Issue of this vain Confidence and foolish Dependance, I have before considerd.

3. Is it not a Folly to pretend to feed upon Ashes? This presumptuous Sinners do, Isai. 44.20. They put a grand Cheat upon themselves by pretending to feed their precious Souls with their delusive Hopes, which can no more nourish or support them than Ashes the Body; and yet they will fully persist in this Self-deceit, and will not be undeceived, or say, Is there not a Lie in my right hand? They will not be perswaded, many of them, so much as to [Page 105]suspect the Goodness of their present Condition, by the most rational and passionate Addresses of God's Servants! but hold fast their Delusions in their right hand, with a strong and eager Gripe, as their chief Good! and he that would assume the Boldness for their Benefit, to strike them on the Fingers to make them quit their Hold, would perhaps get their Fist in his Face as the Reward of his Labours, which they would call Impertinency, Pride, or some other Nick-name; but surely Self suspicion is the first Step to Conversion: Is there not a Lie in my right hand?

4. Is it not a Folly to entertain that with Complacency, which instead of doing us any real Service, will do us the greatest Injury possible; if your false Hopes would save you, I would neither trouble you nor my self in telling you the Danger of them; but instead of this, they will six you more in the Snare of the Devil, heighten your Sin, se­cure and aggravate your Damnation, while you say, Peace, Peace, sudden Destruction shall come upon you, as travail upon a Woman with Child, 1 Thes. 5.3. Your false Hopes indeed may put you out of Fear, but they increase your Danger, by making you unapprehensive of it, unconcern'd about it, and so negligent of the earnest Use of those Means which are necessary to obtain an Escape. Zech. 1.11. Amos 6.1. They keep you from a sound and deep Con­viction of your lost Estate, which is absolutely necessary to a saving Conversion, Luke 15.17. Acts 2.37. The whole need no Physician (in their own Imagination) but the Sick, Matth. 9.12. Mark 2.17. Luke 5.31. The Lord Jesus came not to call the Righteous (self-righteous Phari­sees, whole hearted People) but Sinners, Sin sick, broken hearted Penitents, Mark 2.17. Psalm 5.17. I know it is hard for you, poor Souls, to quit your sweet Delusions and to come under the Blows of God's Hammer, Jer. 23.29. Job 11.20. But the Eyes of the wicked shall fail, and they shall not escape, and their Hope shall be as the giving up of the Ghost. When a Godless Sinner is dying, it is with great Reluctance and Regret, he quits his Life; his Soul is torn away from him against his Will; indeed it is so only with such as are awakned, as for others, they die like Lambs, tho' they are damn'd as Wolves, Psalm 49.14. They go off quietly to their own Place, and never awake till they get beyond all Hope among the damned Spirits. But tho' it be hard, yet it's absolutely necesslary, as I prov­ed before; What Folly is it to trust to that which will [Page 106]fail us in Eternity. Job 8.11, 12, 13, 14. So are the Paths of all that forget God, and the Hypocrites Hope shall perish, whose Hope shall be cut off, and whose Hope shall be a Spi­der's Web: Can the Rush grow without Mire? Can the Flag grow without Water? In these Verses Bildad compares the Hope of Hypocrites to a Rush and a Spider's Web: Now to illustrate the Folly and Unprofitableness of entertaining presumptuous Hopes, I shall a little inquire into the Rea­sons of these Similitudes. And

1. A Rush$ resembles a Hypocrite's Hopes in these three Things.

  • 1. As the Rush grows up out of the Mire and Water, so the presumptuous Sinner's Hopes springs from unworthy Conceptions of God, false Apprehensions of himself, and other base Originals before mention'd, and is generally attended with an earthly or unclean Practice.
  • 2. Tho' the Rush has a beautiful Appearance, yet it's hol­low and good for nothing; Hence the Proverb of any Thing that's insignificant, Not worth a Rush: So the Hy­pocrite, tho' he has a fair Outside, yet he has a hollow Heart, and an unprofitable Practice: In short, He is a worthless Creature, fit for little else but to cumber the Ground in this World, and to serve for Fewel in the next, and his Hope is as insignificant as himself.
  • 3. Tho' it looks green and gay, it soon withers, sooner than the Grass: So your Confidence, tho' it seems strong at present, will quickly vanish and leave you bereaved. And

2. A Spiders Web resembles a Hypocrite's Hope in four Particulars,

  • 1. In respect of its Original: As the Spider weaves her Web out of her own Bowels; so the Hypocrite builds his Hope upon those frames of Heart which are but Sparks of his own kindling, those Performances, which are the fruits of his own power, those Conceptions of the Almighty which are the birth of his corrupt fancy. Thus you see he weaves his hope out of his own Bowels; it's a Creature of his own coining and framing: Whereas the true Christian, as Mr. Henry observes, "is like the laborious Bee, he fetcheth in all his Comforts from the heavenly dew of God's Word.
  • 2. In respect of the Pleasure he takes in it: The Spider is pleas'd with it's Web, flies to it as a House of Defence, as well as sports in it as a place of Pleasure; and do not presumptuous Sinners flatter and please themselves with [Page 107]the hopes of Heaven, and fly to their false Confidence, as a secure refuge?
  • 3. In respect of the use he makes of it: Doth not the crasty Spider make use of it's Web as an ensnaring Engine to catch any suitable Prey which comes within it's reach? and thus do not presumptuous Hypocrites cheat and impos$ upon many with their specious pretences?
  • 4. In respect of it's weakness: The Spider's Web tho' it's artfully woven, and consists of a great many Threads, it is extreamly weak; so is the Presumer's hope, notwith­standing the conceit he has of it, it is as insufficient to bear the winnowing of Christ's Fan, as the Spider's Web is to bear the Strokes of a Broom; their hopes shall cer­tainly fail and perish, and they with them, when they ex­pect the most comfort from them.

But the sinfulness and folly of indulging and retaining presumptuous Hopes will appear more fully by the follow­ing Particulars,

  • 1. It's Mockery: Be not deceiv'd, God is not mocked, for what a man sows, that shall be also reap, Gal. 6.7. What madness and impudent effontry is it to mock such an Omnipo­tent God, who can in a moment speak you dead or damned, who can immediately blow you with the breath of his Indignation as light Chaff to Hell, and burn you with un­quenchable Flames. Job 4.9. By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed.
  • 2. Blasphemy. Rev. 2.9. By denying God's veracity; tho' the Almighty has told them that such who commit the Wickedness they are guilty of (so continuing) shall perish everlastingly. 1 Cor. 6.9. Gal. 5.19, 20, 21. yet they be­lieve they shall be saved, tho' God has expresly reveal'd that without the New Birth there is no Salvation; that no duty or priviledge, opinion or practice will avail with­out it, John 3.3, 5. Gal. 6.15. Yet they expect Happi­ness tho' they are Strangers to this Work, and indeed seek not earnestly after it; what is this but confronting the Al­mighty! Flying in the Face of God, challenging him to do his Worst, by calling him, implicitly, a Liar! Won't God's revenging Severity burn against those bold Blas­phemers, his Jealousy smoak agains them, and all the Curses of his Book be upon them, and their Name be blotted out from under Heaven? If God will not hold them $uiltless that take his Name in vain, Exod. 20.7. And that be will by no means clear the Guilty, Exod. 34.7. What will the holy God do to those that wound, rend and tear [Page 108]his Being, by denying one of his glorious Attributes! Re­member O Sinner, Is is a fearful Thing to fall into the Hands of the living God! Thou hadst better be under the united Rage of all the Devils in Hell, and Men on Earth, than seel the Iron Gripes of one GOD, for their Power and Anger is finite, but God's is infinite and eternal! Heb. 10.30, 31. But may be you'l say, I don't deny God's Truth, or expect to be saved without Conversion. Answer, Perhaps thy Falshood and Fraud would appear, if I should but ask thee two Questions; as first, Whether your Peace be made with God? May be after much Reasoning, you would confess the Truth, that it was not. And yet if I should ask you another Question; Do you think that you should be saved if God carried you off by Death in this State? Yes you would say, you hope so, through God's Mercy. O Hypocrite! thou hast belched forth Blasphemy and Idolatry in this one Sentence: You hope that through the Mercy of God, he will prove a Liar, and falsify his Trust; this is the Meaning of thy Speech, O Sinner! it's big with Horror and insandous Baseness! Art thou not afraid that God will stab thee dead immediately with the Spear of his Vengeance! Or cause the Earth to open it's Mouth and swallow thee up quick, as it did proud rebel­lious Corah and Company, Numb 16.32. Again, there is Idolatry in thy Speech; thou hast unjust Apprehensions of God's Mercy, as if he would make it triumph in the Ruin of his Truth. Psalm 50.21.
  • 3. Devil Worship. I suppose that when you speak of the Pagans worshiping the Devil, you little think your selvas are guilty of the same horrible Wickedness. The Truth of this Charge appears by the following Consideration, viz. That Faith, as all confess is an Act of Worship, but you believe the Devil the Father of Lies and Deceit, ra­ther than the faithful God who is Truth it self. When God tells you in his Word, which shall stand, when the Hea­vens and the Earth shall shake, that if you continue in this State and Course, you shall be damned. And the Devil tells you, you shall not; now you believe Satan the Ene­my of your Souls, and discredit the God that made you by his Power, fed and preserved you by his kind Providence. Thus you worship the Devil, O miserable Souls! how great is your Sin and Folly? And how compleat and hor­rible will be your Misery, when you shall be sent to enjoy the gloomy gods you adore? Matth. 25.41.
  • [Page 109]4. Hypocrisy; by professing Christ in Word, and in Works deny him; you bow the Knee in Pretence as the Jews did of old, and then crucify him in Practice; you salute him with a hail Master, as Judas your Predecessor in Impiety, and then betray his Interest; you come to God with your Lips; while your Hearts are far from him, Matth. 15.8. & 27.29. & 26.49. I know the prophane Herd of Mankind imagine themselves to be far from Hypocrisy, be­cause they say, they shew what they are; they do so in­deed demonstrate themselves to be the genuine Children of their Father the Devil, John 8.44. But at the same Time they declare their Wickedness as Sodom without Shame or Blushing, Isai. 3.9. The shew of their Countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their Sin as So­dom, they bide it not: Wo unto their Souls. Jer. 6.15. Were they ashamed when they had committed Abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among those that sall, at the Time that I visit them, they shall be cast down, saith the Lord. Jer. 8.12, 13. I say at the same Time, they declare their Wickedness, they profess Christianity, and expect Salvation by it, and yet while they are Christians in Pretence and Profession, they are incarnate Devils in Practice: Now is not this notori­ous Hypocrisy, to profess one Thing and do another, to look one Way and row another, to pretend Friendship to Christ and at the same Time stab his Interest, dishonour his Name, and discredit his Truth by your impious Speeches, and b$$tish Lives. And besides what has been offered un­der this Head, it ought to be consider'd, that all who want spiritual Sincerity must needs be Hypocrites: I con­fess indeed that prophane Sinners are not of the most po­lish'd Kind. However though these seem to be at Vari­ance, yet they are Children of the same Father and Family, and like to inherit the same Portion. Hear your Doom from God ye Hypocrites! Matth. 24. last. And shall cut him asunder, and shall appoint him his Portion with Hypo­crites, where shall be weeping and gnashing of Teeth. Hear you deceitful rotten hearted Professors, who despise weeping here for Sin, remember (that so continuing) ye shall weep in Hell, where there is no Hope: Here peni­tential Tears for Sin attended with a Reformation from it, probably would be a mean of obtaining Pardon, Joel 2.12, 14. But there, poor Souls, your Tears will be like Esau's shed in vain! there you will gnash your Teeth, i. e when you are shut up in the Gulph of everlasting Misery, then [Page 110]you will be filled with Self-revenge and Indignation a­gainst your own Madness in hypocritically slighting such a Happiness as was tendred to you by the Son of God, that you would even tear your selves in pieces if you could. Can you without shivering think upon that aw­ful Scripture? Matth 22.12, 13. Then said the King to his Servants, bind him Hand and Foot, and take him away, and cast him into utter Darkness.
  • 5. Murder.
    • 1. You murder your own Souls, thro' the Misapplication of the Portions of God's Word, as particularly by applying the Promises when you should apply the Threatnings. You snatch at the Children's Bread, when you have no right to it. Now as a R$medy misapplied hurts rather than heals, so it is in this Case, you turn those Means of Grace which were designed for the Salvation of Men, in­to a Savour of Death unto Death, and to be a Means of your Damnation, 2 Cor. 2.16. Thus you imbrue your Hands in your own Blood; God will by no Means clear such barbarous Butchers, so continuing. But
    • 2 They also murder others, partly perhaps, by neglect­ing the seasonable Instruction of such as they are under a Relation to, Prov. 22.6. And partly by their contradic­tory Practice; Jo$b's Voice with the Hands of Esau, a Saint abroad, at Home a Devil. May not this be a great Stumbling Block to those that know their perverse Pranks. Perhaps such a Stumbling Block as some of their own Re­lations may fall over, and never $i$e again. O if these Men had any true Love to God, their own Souls, or the Souls of their Relatives, would they not either lay down their Lamps or reform their Lives.
  • 6. Infidelity. They do not believe whatever they pre­tend. God's holy Word, the Lord Jehovah, points out their Condition as plainly as the Nose upon a Man's Face, and yet they won't believe, consider and apply it. Jer. 8.6. I hearkned and heard, but they spake not right, no Man repented him of his Wickedness, saying, What have I done? Every one tu$ne$h to his Course, as the Horse rus$eth into the Ba$$$. Heb. 4.2. But the Word preached did not profit them, not b$ing mixed with Faith in them that heard it$$ The Eye that sees others, sees not itself. Hear pre­sum$tuous Sinners what God speaks to thee, Mark 16.16. He that beli veth not shall be damned And 1 John 5.10. He that believeth not, hath made him a Liar.
  • [Page 111]7. Fraud. O presumptuous Sinners! you are guilty of Self deceit, of Soul deceit: To cheat another in any tem­poral Matter is a villanous and very criminal Evil, justly exposing the nocent Person to Shame and Contempt, as well as to the Lash of the civil Law; it is a Sin which is the Dishonour of Humanity, extremely prejudicial to all the Interests of Society; yet as bad as it is, it is not so mon­strous and unnatural as to cheat our selves, and that in a Matter of infinitely greater Moment: Our Neighbour's Loss is temporary and reparable, but this is irreparable and eternal. As Suicide, or Self murder is justly accounted more unnatuaal and monstrous than the Murder of another, so is this Self deceit, which tho' it affords some present false Ease, yet persisted in, introduces the Soul into a La­byrinth of endless Anguish, Luke 6.25. Remember, O De­ceiver! that God's Curse is upon you, Mal. 1.14. Cursed be the Deceiver.
  • 8. A Confederacy with the Devil. Those Spirits having broken the Law of their Creation, are now justly deprived of the Happiness they were once instated in, and reserved in Chains of Darkness for the Judgment of the great Day, 2 Pet. 2.4. Knowing their Doom to be irrevocable, and that some of the lapsed and degenerate Race of Adam are advanced to that heighth of Happiness they had forfeited by Sin: They are fill'd with Rage and Malice against God, which not being able to execute upon him immedi­ately, they therefore labour to displease him mediately by seducing that darling Creature, whom he hath been pleased to honour, with such distinguished, as well as undeserved Love. This is the grand Design these malicious Spirits are in pursuit of and imploy all their Power and Policy about, 1 Pet. 5.8. 2 Cor. 2.11. Now when Men embrace their false, though subtle Insinuations against their own Souls, believing their Suggestions concerning the Goodness of their present State, or the Certainty of their future Hap­piness against the plain Testimony of the holy Scriptures, as the presumptuous Sinner doth: Is not this a notorious Confederacy with these infernal Ghosts against God, and his own Soul.
  • 9. By this you not only secure but heighten your Damnati­on; it may indeed help you to some present Ease, but alas! this transitory Delight will soon expire in easeless and end­less Pain. Your presumptuous Hopes makes you thought­less of the Misery you are making fast Approaches to. Now the less you expect such a Portion, the greater will [Page 112]be your Pain; for ‘Surprisals, as Dr. Stillingfleet well “observes, confound Men's Thoughts, daunt their Spirits, ”and betrays the Succour that Reason offers.’ What a great Disappointment, think you, was it to the foolish Vir­gins, who had such strong Hopes of Happiness, as Death it self could not shake, to have the Marriage Chamber­door shut against them, Matth. 25.12. Instead of ascending the flowry Hills of Paradice, to be sunk into the Depths of Hell; and would not the same Disappointment strike you with the same Surprize? For God's sake, consider, that the Strength of your Hopes does not prove their Truth or Goodness: This you may learn from the sad Instance of the foolish Virgins; but alas! how difficult is it to per­swade deceived Souls, to quit their false Confidence; when they are with Ephraim settled on their Lees, like Wine which has done working, in which there is little or no Motion, Jer. 48.11. One may as well pull a Bear by the Tooth as meddle with some of them. It is as easy without sovereign Grace intercept, to shock the Earth of it's Foundations, as to overthrow their vain Confidence. They have often heard Threatnings, and therefore are used to them, and hardned by them. All the Thunders from Sinai, and Curses from Mount Ebal, are no more to them than the Cracks of Children's Squibs or Potguns; no, no: they have heard of these Things long ago; now the Fre­quency of hearing the most awful Truths, lessens their Terror; Custom deadens and stupifies the Passions, or makes their Motion more faint and languid; ‘like Mariners at “Sea, they are much afraid of Storms at first, but afterwards ”they grow more hardned and unconcerned,’ as one ex­presseth it. Gospel Sinners will in process of Time grow hardy and fearless, under the most awakening Sermons; like the Smith's Dog, that will lie and take his Rest near the Anvil, when the glowing Sparks are flying about like Hail: What should such Men as they begin their Religion now, no they scorn it; it's proper only for weak, silly Peo­plethat know no better to be frighted by Terror, but it is beneath men of their Sense to be startled at such Trifles, as God's fierce Vengeance and an everlasting Hell; ah! but for all your Haughtiness, if but one Curse, or the Guilt of one Sin was brought home in it's native Weight and Terror to your Conscience, it would make you trem­ble like a Leaf shaken with the Wind. Prov. 18.14 A wounded Spirit who can bear? Guilty Gaal thought the Shadows of the Mountains were Men, Judges 9.36. But [Page 113]none besides the Almighty can perswade presumptuous Sinners to forsake their pleasant, though pernicious Dreams and Delusions. Grant gracious God, that poor bewildred, benum'd and deceived Souls may be convinced of their Sin, Folly and Misery, in entertaining groundless Confi­dences about their present and future State.

Having before considered the Folly and Sinfulness of the presumptuous Sinner's Hope and Practice; let us now in­quire into the Miseries of his Estate and Condition, while under those Delusions. These for Order's sake may be dis­tinguished into two Kinds, viz. Privative and Positive; His privative Miseries are principally these two, viz. Loss of the Image of God, and Communion with God.

As to the first of these, Every presumptuous Sinner is deprived of the Image of God, which is the greatest Beau­ty, the highest Excellency and Ornament of the humane Nature; because the nearest Resemblance of the Divine. Those moral Excellencies that once the humane Soul pos­sess'd, it's now bereaved of, until it be sanctify'd by the Holy Spirit, and made nigh by the Blood of Jesus, Eph. 2.12, 13. Eccles. 7.29. But to understand more fully the Extent of this Loss, let me propose a few Particulars con­cerning the Nature of that Image, innocent Man was ho­noured with: What was it but the Conformity of Man to God, or the Resemblance he bare in his Measure of the di­vine Excellencies and Perfections? This Resemblance ap­peared in three Things.

  • 1. In the Nature and Essence of the Soul, for it's Spiri­tuality, Invisibility, Immortality and Simplicity, are faint Emblems of such like Properties and Perfections, which shine with a superiour Lustre in the divine Nature, Acts 17.28, 29. This may be called the natural Image of God in Man, which can't be lost while the Soul endures; but there is little Reason to glory in that, because the Devils possess it as well as wicked Men.
  • 2. In the Faculties of the Soul, in the Conformity of all i'ts Powers and Passions to the Nature and Will of God, in those divine Gifts and Excellencies with which the Soul was cloathed, such as Wisdom in the Understanding, or a perfect Knowlege of Things divine and humane, Col. 3.10. which appeared in Adam's giving Names to all the Crea­tures, suited to their different Natures; without this he would have been unfit to manage and sustain the Go­vernment of the inferiour Creatures which he was ad­vanc'd to. [Page 114]

    Sanctity in the Will; by which it is inclin'd to love and pursue after God and Goodness, to hate and avoid Evil, and the Appearance of it: Not only to perform with De­light and Pleasure the Homage due to God, but also the Duties of Justice and Mercy due to Man, Eph. 4.24. ca­pable to perceive what was true, and inclinable to embrace what was good.

    Order and Harmony amongst the Affections; both as to the Nature of their Objects, and their Degrees of Intense­ness, their silent and steady Submission to the superiour Powers, without that Reluctance or Discord which Sin has since introduced, this may be called the moral Image of God.

  • 3. There was also this accessory Part of God's Image, viz. The Power of Government over the inferiour Creatures, wherewith our first Parents were invested by God, Gen. 1.26. which may be called the civil or political Image of God; as being a Representation and Shadow of this glori­ous Sovereignty; Adam was as it were God's Vice Roy up­on Earth; but this Privilege as well as the moral Image is lost by Sin; the Beasts revolt from their wonted Sub­jection, and want to avenge their Maker's quarrel with Mankind. To conclude this Head, let me mention a few Expressions of the learned and elequent Dr. Bates in his Harmony: ‘He enjoyed, saith he, (speaking of Adam in “his innocent State) Nature in it's original Purity, crown'd with the Benediction of God before it was blasted with the Curse, the World was all Harmony and Beauty, be­coming the Goodness of the Creator; the Earth was liberal to Adam of all it's Treasures; the Heavens of their Light and sweetest Influences; he was seated in Eden, a Place of so great Beauty and Delight, that it re­presented the celestial Paradise, which is refresh'd with Rivers of Pleasure. But his supreme Happiness consist­ed in the Exercise of his most noble Faculties on pro­per ”Objects.’ See what we have lost by Sin! If we could with Niobe weep incessantly; nay, could we shed chrystal Seas of Grief; if all our moisture were spent in the bitterest Lamentations; Were our Heads Waters and our Eyes Fountains of Tears; nay, were our Tears turn'd into Blood; it were too little to bewail our fatal, fatal Less! Wo is us, the Crown, the sparkling Diadem is fallen is fallen from our Heads; our Hearts, and we are justly left bereaved of our primitive Innocency, Happiness and Beauty; and were it not that the God of Pardons and [Page 115]Compassions had opened a Scene of redeeming Love in JESUS! to restore apostate Man to some degree of his primitive Honour and Excellency, we should have had a whole Eternity to spend in fruitless Esau like Com­plaints, without the very least Glimpse of Hope to allay their Bitterness: But you presumptuous Sinners not hav­ing embrac'd JESUS the Angel of the Covenant, nor ex­perienc'd the Power of converting Grace, are still lan­guishing under the Ruins of Adam's Apostacy, destitute of the Image of the holy God, without which you can never enjoy him, who is infinite in Purity & glorious in Holiness, Heb. 2.14. Isai. 6.3. Exod. 15.11. While you want God's Image, are not you deprived of your greatest Ho­nour, your highest Excellency, and sweetest Enjoyment? What greater Honour than to be like the pure and holy God, and what greater Happiness than by this Conformi­ty, to enjoy the refreshing Smiles of his reconciled Face? Is it not a sinful Want, because occasioned through our own Default? Adam being the Representative and federal Head of his whole Posterity; the Covenant being not only made with him personally, but with us in him; his Actions being of a publick Nature and Concern, we sin­ned in him, and fell with him in his first Transgression, Rom 5.12, 18, 19.

O Sinner! all the other Wants thou complainest so much about are inconsiderable and trifling, when compar'd with this! they are but temporary and momentous, but the Consequences of this are durable and eternal: Many of these are but imaginary, or not so necessary, but that you may live, and perhaps comfortably without having them supply'd: But this Want is not only real, but of ab­solute Necessity to be remedy'd; otherwise your Persons and Services will never be accepted, Heb 12.14. Isai 1. You are apt to be deeply sensible of, and much affected with other Wants, & perhaps make great Complaints about small Mat­ters; but alas! Friends, these are but Summer Brooks, when compared with this immense Ocean. This! this! deserves your most manly Thoughts and Reflections, your greatest Care and your deepest Sorrows. Think upon, and apply to thy guilty Conscience that solemn Threatning of the holy God, Ezek. 16.23. And it come to pass after all thy Wickedness, Wo, Wo, unto thee saith the Lord God.

2 Presumptuous Sinners are deprived of Fellowship and Communion with God: alas! miserable Souls, you know not what it means experimentally: I confess if you have [Page 116]Learning, you may talk something about it by Rote, cold­ly and by guess, as the blind Man shoots at the Mark; but you do not know feelingly what it is to receive the Emanations of God's special Love into your Bosoms; the pure and precious, and Soul ravishing Streams of those Waters of Life, that gently flow from the Throne of God and the Lamb, descending into and satiating of your long­ing panting Souls, and flowing in you as a Well of Wa­ters, springing up to eternal Life, John 4.14. Psalm 23.2. And exciting the most flamy passionate Commotions of Love, Desire, Delight and Gratitude. Cant. 2.5. & 8.6. and 5.5, 6. & 2.3. & 5.16. You know not unhappy Souls, what it is to drink of the divine Nector, and living Waters, or to feed upon the hidden Manna, and ambrosial Sweets, that attend the presence of the descending God.


1. How should you have Communion who yet retain your Enmity against him? Amos 3.3. Can two walk together except they be agreed? There can be no Communion with­out Reconciliation, if ever the Friendship was broken, which is the present Case; and though you are not willing to allow this Charge, your Practice proves it, your quarrel­ing with God's Image, viz. strict Holiness, shews your Disgust at the Original or Prototype, your slighting of, and contending with God's Children, shews you hate their Father, 1 John 4.20.

2. Where there is Communion, there is also a Communi­cation of such Things that are peculiar to one, as if com­mon to both; this appeared eminently among the primi­tive Christians, Acts 2.44, 45. As the blessed God free­ly communicates his precious and permanent Love to his People, Jer. 31.3. So his People are willing to spend and be spent for him; they take joyfully the spoiling of their Goods, knowing that in Heaven they have a better and an enduring Substance, Heb. 10.34. And count not their Lives dear that they may win Christ; defend and promote his Interest, Acts 20.24.

3. Where there is Communion, there is also a friendly and familiar Conference; Christ speaks to his People by his Word and Spirit, and they know and hear his Voice with great Desire and longing, Cant. 5.2. & 4 5, 6. and follow him, John 10.4.5. And they speak their Hearts to him, by Sighs, Tears, Groans, Prayer and Praise, Ez$k 9.4. Isai 35.10 Psalm 42.3. Isai. 38.5. Psalm 38.9. Rom. 8.26. Job 22.26, 27. Psalm 22.23. They cry to [Page 117]him with a Child like Love, and humble Boldness, Abba, Father, Father, dear Father, Rom. 8.15. But O how far are you from this, instead of the Suffering Death, may be you are not willing to suffer Reproach for his Truth, but will rather truckle & shift, & come into carnal Compliances. Per­haps instead of Willingness to suffer the Loss of your Goods by Persecution (which Loss is indeed the greatest Gain) that you count it all lost that you give to a poor diftressed Member of Christ's Body mystical; you part as difficultly with a small Matter out of your Purses, or Pocket-Books for charitable and pious Uses, as with the Blood out of your Veins. Is it likely that such Earth-Worms should have Communion with the Almighty? As to that familiar Converse with God I but now mentioned; you are per­haps such Strangers to it your selves, that if any made use of it in your Hearing you would, may be, suspect them, quarrel with them, and condemn them under the guilded Pretext of making too bold with the Almighty; as if Chil­dren might not speak in their own Language, O strange! It appears also that you are destitute of Communion with God, because you want Conformity to God in Heart and Practice, 1 John 1.6. 2 Cor. 6.14, 15. Now how great is this Misery, unhappy Sinner! whilst thou livest in a State of Estrangement from God who is the Fountain of Happiness, the God of Consolation, with him is the Foun­tain of Life, Psalm 36.9. Yea his Lovingkindness is better than Life, Psalm 63.3. All our Springs are in God, Psalm 87.7. So that in keeping at a Distance from him, thou dwellest far from thy own Life and Happiness.

Now in Order to get thy Heart affected with this wo­ful Want, Defect and Loss, consider solemnly these follow­ing Particulars.

  • 1. Thou hast no true Comfort in Difficulties, no Covenant God to go to, thou must bear thy Burden alone; is not thy State doleful? Can you be contented in such a Con­dition? But on the contrary, what a blessed Privilege is it to have such a compassionate Friend to make our Moan to in all our Distresses, and with the strongest Assurances of obtaining Succour from him, Psalm 12.5. Isai. 65.24. Hab. 2.3.
  • 2. Can those that want Communion with God here, rea­sonably expect to enjoy him hereaster? No surely. If Strangers had not Admittance into the jewish Temple, Num. 1.51. which was but an obscure Type of Heaven how much less will they be introduced into Heaven it self?
  • [Page 118]3. It's a Resemblance of the Punishment of the damned Angels, and damined Souls, for these abandoned wretched Spirits have no Enjoyment of God's gracious Presence, in that burning Lake, wherein they are ingulphed. Indeed thy outward sensual Enjoyments blunt the Edge of thy pre­sent Misery, but quickly thou wilt be stript bare of all thy earnal Comforts, for ever bereaved of the Bones and Husks, in which thou confided and triumph'd, and thy na­ked Soul shall feel the Fierceness of his Revenge; the un­allayed Horrors of an ever absent God, unless thou repen­test. Does not universal Nature mourn, when the Sun has hid his rosie Face, but for a small Time in an Eclipse, and appears in a funeral Dress? What then think you, must the Mourning of the damned be, who are shut up in thick Darkness, and deprived of all Hopes of ever en­joying God?
  • 4. How awful will be the Appearance or Approach of Death to you while you remain in such a Condition? Won't pale Death terrify your secure Consciences, and put you in great Disorder? What can ye expect but that fearful and amazing Sentence, Depart from me ye cursed, into everlasting Fire, prepared for the Devil and his Angels, I know you not, Matth. 25.41. & 7 23.

Is not the gracious Presence of God the Quintessence of all desireable Comforts? O! what inexpressible Misery is it to be without God! (who as he is the best Friend at all Times, so he is the only Friend at some Times) it is bad in Life, worse at Death, and worst of all in Hell. Eph. 2.12. But

I proceed to consider the posi$ive Miseries of presump­tuous Sinners.

1. You are under the Power of Sin, Eph 2.2, 3. Rom. 3.9. John; 6 Rom. 6.20. For when ye were the Ser­vants of Sin, ye were free from Righteousness. In their un­converted Estate, the Apostle informs them, that they were Drudges to Sin, and free from Righteousness, not by a Liberty given, but taken, Rom. 8.12. For the Law of the Spirit of Life which is in Christ Jesus has made me free from the Law of Sin and Death. Here he asserts his pre­sent Freedom through the Covenant of Grace in Jesus, from the Guilt and Power of Sin, which necessarily sup­poses his former Bondage to both, while in a State of Na­ture. While Men remain in this sad and doleful Condi­tion, they are by repeated Transgressions against Light and Love, contracting new Guilt, and thereby aggravating [Page 119]their Damnation, Rom. 2.4, 5. Or despisest thou the Riches of his Goodness and Forbearance, not knowing that the Good­ness of God leadeth thee to Repentance, but after thy Hard­ness and impenitent Heart treasurest up unto thy self Wrath against the Day of Wrath, and Revelation of the righteous Judgment of God. But your whole Lives and all your Ac­tions, are not only rainted with, and under the Dominion of Sin, but your Souls in all their Faculties are corrupted and governed by it; your Minds are darkned and aliena­ted from the Life of God through Ignorance, Acts 26.18. Eph. 4.18 & 5.8. The bright and beauteous Morning Star never felt (in a saving Way) the warming and en­lightening Beams of the Sun of Righteousness, ushering the joyful Dawn of an everlasting Day into the glooming Hemisphere of their beclouded Souls: And is not this dark Condition a State of extreme Danger, and awful Horror? John 12.35. He that walketh in Darkness know­eth not whither he goeth. Let there be never so many Dan­gers in the Way, they can't be discerned in the dark; they are like to be felt before they are seared; Is not this the Reason of the great unconcernedness and presumptu­ous Security of the ungodly World, they see not, alas! they see not their Danger, that the pale Horse is just at their Back with Death upon him, and Hell following after him, Rev. 6.8. Otherwise they would weep rather than laugh, mourn rather than rejoyce, tremble and cry out where­ever they are, rather than sing and be jovial, according to the common Course of this World, Eph. 2.2. Eccles. 2.2. O Man! Can'st thou be easy in this dark and doleful Con­dition, which is so exceeding dangerous, that thou know­est not but that the next Hour (or in a few Hours at least) thou may'st be in Hell, past all Hope; thou knowest not but that this Day or Night, Sickness and Death may snap the feeble Thread of thy momentary Life, trip up the He$ls of thy false Hope, and sink thy wretched Soul among the De­vils? Is it not dangerous to have the Guide and Leader among the Faculties blinded and vail'd with a Muffler of Ignorance and Darkness? If the Blind lead the Blind, are they not like to fall both together into the Ditch, Luke 6.39.

2. A State of Darkness is a State of awful Horror, the Horrors of Death! The Horrors of Hell! The Horrors of Sir! and the Curse environ you! and not the least Grain [Page 120]of solid Comfort, or Glimpse of sure Hope while you so re­main, Eph. 2.12. to support your sinking Souls.

I assure you Friends, if God should open your Eyes, you would be astonished at your past and present Stupidity! O Man! thou art in a worse Condition than the poor Egyp­tians, when they were encompassed with thick Darkness; for that Darkness was but temporary, external, palpable; but thine is internal, insensible to thee, and will prove eternal, unless Repentance opens a brighter Seene: Their's lasted but three Days, but perhaps thine has lasted twen­ty, thirty, sorty, fisty or sixty Years: They were afflicted with their's, Enod. 10.16. But perhaps you are contented with thine; thy Case is worse than that of Paul and his Fellow-Mariners, when they were almost shipwreck'd, Acts 27.20. and neither Sun or Stars appeared in many Days.

1. Their Danger and Distress only respected the tempo­ral Life, but thine, the eternal.

2. They were very apprehensive of their Danger, Verse 20. All Hopes we should be saved was then taken away; but may be your false Hopes were never shock'd at the Founda­tion yet. Isai. 57.10. Thou art wearied in the Greatness of thy Way, yet saidest thou not, there is no Hope, thou hast sound the Life of thy Hand, therefore thou wast not grieved. So, many Persons now a Days, if their Conscience checks them, they can soon cure themselves by their Prayers, they find the Life of their Hand, they depend upon their Do­ings for Justification and Salvation, this strengthens their false Hope, and keeps them from being sufficiently griev'd; but the Fig leaves of a Man's own Righteousness, will be found to be a very defective Robe, Isai. 27.20. For the Bed is shorter than that a Man can stretch himself on it, and the covering narrower, than that he can wrap himself in it.

3. They us'd with Earnestness, proper Means to obtain Relief, Acts 27.16, 17, 18. but you sleep in Sloth in infi­nitely greater Danger.

4. The Continuance of their Danger was but for a few Days, but thine is like to last to Eternity at the Rate thou goest on.

5. Though the Vessel was tossed like a Tennis-Ball by the impetuous Winds and Waves, much as the Psalmist describes that Case, Psalm 107. & 26.7. Yet they had An­chors to cast out in their Distress, Verse 29. They cast sour Anchors out of the Stern, and wished for the Day. But tho' thou be in the Sea of God's Wrath, and ready to be blown [Page 121]every Moment by the furious Gusts of his, Indignation into Hell, thou hast not one Anchor to cast out in thy Distress; no true Hope fixed within the Vail, Heb. 6.19. Epb. 2.12. The Anchor thou trustest to (I mean thy false Hope) is hollow, drossy and brickle, it won't hold thy Stormstead Soul during one Blast of the breath of God's Indignation: Surely all his Billows shall go over thee, except thou gettest another Anchor of sound Metal, Psalm 42.7. Job 18.14. His Confidence shall be rooted out of his Tabernacle: and it shall bring him to the King of Terrors I

6. Those distressed Mariners wished for the Day, but may be you are so far from wishing the Day-break of Con­viction, that you put away the evil Day far off, and fly from the Light because your Deeds are evil, Amos 6.3. John 3.19, 20.

7. Those People were so distressed about their Danger and Misery, not only because of the Storm, but also be­cause the Lights of Heaven were blown out, and that they wanted the Sun's Warmth, and the Direction of the Stars (for they had not then found out the Virtue of the Load-Stone, that they eat nothing (no stated Meals) for four­teen Days together, Verse 33. And thou perhaps hast hardly ever fasted one Day, or may be scarce missed a Meal about thy Soul Concerns, though thou hast continu­ed in the Valley of the Shadow of Death these many Years; never having felt one Heart changing, Life giving Ray from the Son of God the Sun of Righteousness; or never beheld by an Eye of Faith the Morning-Star of Salvation: O shame! See Joel 1.14, & 2.5. Matth. 9.15. Luke 5.35.

More particularly, the Mind is darkned and blinded in it's Apprehension of Things, Eph. 4.18. as well as errone­ous in it's Judgment concerning them. Isai. 5.20. Wo to them that call evil good, and good evil.

3. It's Reasonings are frequently false and carnal, though often crafty and subtle, 2 Cor. 10.5. Luke 16.8.

4. It's Designs and numerous Projects, selfish, mean and mercenary, 2 Tim. 3.2, 4. James 3.15.

5. The Thoughts vain and vicious, Jer. 4.14. They are continually Evil, either as to Matter or Manner, Gen. 8.21. Presumptuous Sinners do vainly imagine that God does not take such strict Notice of their Actions, nor is so se­vere in punishing them; as his faithful Servants represent him to be. Psalm 34.7, 10, 11. Jer. 4.4. Psalm 50.21. These Things thou hast done and I kept Silence; thou thought­est [Page 122]that I was altogather such a one as thy self, but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine Eyes Let such Sinners remember the Text that I am speaking from, If you walk after the Imaginations of your Heart, and yet expect Peace; all the Gurses that are written in the Book of God shall lie upon you.

6. The Memory is corrupted, forgetful of Good, and re­tentive of Evil, Jer. 4.14.

7. The Conscience is wofully depraved, Tit. 1.15 Unto the Pure all Things are pure, but to the defiled and unbeliev­ing is nothing pure. Mat. 6.22. The Light of the Body is the Eye, if thine Eye be evil, thy whole Body is full of Darkness, if theresore the Light that is in thee be Darkness, how great is that Darkness? But

2. As your Understandings are filled with Ignorance and Darkness, so your Wills are possessed of Obstinacy and Fro­wardness in Evil, John 5.40. Amos 6.10. and Aversion to God, Psalm 14.34. Isai. 48.4. Because I know thou art obstinate, thy Neck an Iron Sinew, and thy Brow Brass. The Wills of presumptuous Sinners have a strong Prone­ness to Sin, and a great Aversion against that Law by which it is restrained and condemned, Rom 5.7. & 7.11. Mal. 3.14. In short the Will is

1. Perverse in it's Inclinations, Zech. 7.11. But they re­fused to hearken, and pulled away the Shoulder, and stopped their Ears that they should not hear. Hos 11.7. And my People are bent to backsliding from me, though they called them to the most High, none at all would exalt him.

2. As the Will is perverse in it's Inclinations, so it's ob­stinate in it's Designs, Jer. 8.5, 6. I hearkened and heard but they spake not aright; no Man repented him of his Wick­edness, saying, what have I done? Every one turneth to his Course, as the Horse rusheth into the Battle. They hold fast Deceit, they refuse to return. Also Jer. 2.25. I have loved Strangers and after them will I go.

3. Foolish in it's Choice: choosing either real Evil, or but apparent Good, Jer. 2.12, 13. Be astonished, O ye Heavens at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the Lord. For my People have committed two Evils, they have forsaken the Fountain of living Waters and hewn out unto themselves Cisterns, broken Cistorns, that can hold no Water,

4. Inordinately eager in it's Enjoyments, Eph. 4.11. Who being past feeling have given themselves to work all Unclean­ness with Greedivess.

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3. The Affections are wholly averse to the Pursuit of God and divine Things, Isai. 30.10. 2 Tim 4.3, Job. 21.14. Averse to the Law of God and Obedience to it, Rom. 8.7. Jer. 6.17. & 7.26. And on the contrary fix'd on sensitive Delights, Gal 5.24. 1 Tim. 5.6.

4. The Life is framed according to the Customs of the World, the corrupt Desires of the Heart, and Examples of Prede­cessors, Rom. 12.2. Eph 2.2. 2 Pet. 2.12. Jer. 16.12. Zech. 1.4. John 8.33. But in the mean time, lest any be mistaken, know. that all unconverted and presumptuous Sinners are not equally guilty of outward Abominations, no, no, there are some who by Reason of their mild Tem­per, good Education, and the common Motions of the Ho­ly Spirit, make a more guilded Appearance, and faiter shew in the Flesh than others, and yet are in the same woful State with the Prophane, Rom. 2.17, 18, 19, 20. Rev. 3.17. Some presumptuous Sinners are visibly dead, others seem to themselves and others to live, John 9.40, 41. Matth. 25.2, to 8. See Friends what a lamentable Dis­order Sin has brought into the Soul's Faculties, how has it clouded the Mind, and hardned the Heart, Ezek. 36.26. sear'd and stupify'd the Conscience, 2 Tim. 4.2. Is not your Case lamentable, who dwell under the Dominion of such a Tyrant, who is worse than the very Devil himself? For is it not Sin that made him who was once a glorious Angel, a deformed Devil? Is it not Sin that has cloathed him with all his hellish Qualities of Rage and Spite, a­gainst God and all Goodness? Does not the Tyrant Sin enslave? Tit. 3.3. pollute? Prov. 13.5. poison? James 3.8. Deut. 32.33. wound? Isai. 1.6. infatuate? Luke 15.17. plague? 1 Kings 8.38. And will it not destroy and damn your precious Souls for ever, unless Repentance in­tervene and prevent the fatal Blow? Luke 13.3. O there­fore confess it with David, Psalm 51.7. Behold I was sha­pen in Iniquity, and in Sin did my Mother conceive me. Mourn over it, with holy Paul, Rom. 7.24. O wretched Man that I am, who shall deliver me from this Body of Sin and Death! Without this hereditary and contagious Cor­ruption, the bitter Fountain from which all our actual Evils proceed, the Enemy could not have so much Power over us to entice and seduce us, Matth 4.10. Therefore we have Reason to ascribe our actual Sin and Ruin, not so much to Satan, and the Allurements of the World, as to this Sin that dwells in us, Rom. 7.20.

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And now, Friends, Can you imagine that such unclean Creatures, even pieces of Pollution as you are, over whose Hearts and Lives, Sin, both original and actual, reigns and governs, who are covered with Bruises and putrifying Sores, from the Crown of your Heads to the Soles of your Feet, Isai. 1.5, 6. can possibly be admitted to the immediate and eter­nal Embraces of an infinitely pure and holy God, in the State and Case you are in; no poor Sinners, Be not de­ceived, God is not mocked, Gal. 5.6. Without Holiness no Man shall see the Lord, Heb. 12.14. Hab. 1.3. Thou art of purer Eyes than to behold Evil.

2. You are in the Possession of Satan. It's true, the De­vil is not your Lord or Master, de Jure, or by lawful Right, but he is de Facto, in Fact, he hath usurp'd the Pos­session of your Souls, and obtain'd it partly by your own Consent, and partly by God's judicial Tradition; While the strong Man armed keeps his Palace, his Goods are in Peace, Luke 11.21. Mr. Henry observes upon this Place of Scrip­ture, ‘That the Heart of every unconverted Sinner is the “Devil's Palace where he resides and rules. Eph. 2.2. That all the Faculties of the Soul are his Goods, being employed by him in the Service of Sin, that there is a kind of Peace in an unconverted Soul, while the Devil as a strong Man keepeth it; the Sinner, saith he, hath a good Opinion of himself, is very secure and mer­ry, has no doubt concerning the Goodness of his State, nor any dread of the Judgment to come; he flatters himself in his own Eyes, and cries Peace to himself. Before Christ came, all was in Peace, because all went one Way, but the Preaching of the Gospel disturb'd the ”Peace of the Devil's Palace, Mat. 10.34. Rom. 7.9.’ For I was alive without the Law once, but when the Commandment came, Sin revived and I died. The Apostle here shews, that while he was unconvinced, he was in a deep Slumber, indulg­ing a false Hope, & retaining a false Peace, but when the Commandment came, when the Law was brought home to his Soul and Conscience, by the almighty Power of the Holy Spirit, Sin revived in his View and Apprehension, and he died, lost that false Peace, and false Hope he be­fore indulged, Rom. 7.11. Is not this a lamentable Con­fideration! that the Devil thus erects his Throne in all pre­sumptuous unconverted Sinners Hearts, and there sways his wicked Scepter! and has all the Powers and Passions of the Soul to lacque to his Nod, and observe the least Inti­mations of his Pleasure, with the prosoundest Submission [Page 125]and Alacrity, like the Centurions Servants; that he should be thus strongly intrenched in this Garrison, with all the Bulwarks and Barriers, of Ignorance, Ambition, Presump­tion and Prejudice, Rev. 3.17.2. Cor. 10.5. John 5.40. So that none but the Lord Jesus Christ can dispossess him, and spoil him of his Armour; and this he doth by Storm, Luke 11.22. firing the great Guns of his broken Law, and the dreadful Curses of his slighted Gospel, from Sinal and Mount Ebal; For the Law was a Schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, Gal. 3.24. The Devil won't quit an inch of Ground, with his Will, he won't leave the Fort totally, till it be all in a Flame about his Ears. It is true, he may make a voluntary Retreat (having lest strong Guards be­hind) for a little Season, only with Design to lead the Sinner into a dangerous Ambush; and obtain a stronger Possession by changing his Coat, or Colour of black in­to white; instead of a black he becomes a white Devil; that is, he suffers his deluded Slaves and Vassals to quit the Pollutions of the World, and rest in a Form of Piety, then the Room is garnished, Luke 11.24, 25, 26. How woful must the Case of such possessed Souls be, considering their King and Commander, the Devil, is a powerful, politick, malicious and deceitful Enemy?

1. Powerful. It is in respect of this, that he is called a strong Man armed; Principalities, Powers, and Rulers of the Darkness of this World, that is of darkned People in it, Eph. 6.12.

2. Politick. In Regard of his Policy, he is called a Serpent, the old Serpent, Rev. 12.9. Hence we read of his Devices, Eph. 6.11. which are many indeed, and de­ceive the whole World, Rev. 12.9.

3. In regard of his Malice: He is call'd the great Dra­gon, Rev. 12.9. a roaring Lion, going about seeking whom he may devour, 1 Pet. 5.8. Rev. 12.12. Wo to the inha­bitants of the Earth and of the Sea, for the Devil is come down, having great Wrath, because he knoweth he hath but a short time. These once glorious, but now miserable, miserable Spirits, having lost, thro' Sin, their primitive innocency and happiness, and all hopes of being reinstated into the divine Favour, are possess'd of a settled rancour against the blessed God; and they having, no sufficient power to make him feel the effects of their revenge, He being infinitely exalted above the reach of their rage; they therefore, endeavour to glut, or rather gratify their Malice and excite his Displeasure, by labouring to betray that race [Page 126]of Creatures which it pleased God to advance above them­selves. 2 Pet. 2.4. Jude. ver. 6. 1 Pet. 5.8. The malici­ous Devil is a more cruel Task Master than the Egyptian Pharoab: His Service is the basest Slavery, he has no pity upon his Drudges, gives them no rest, hurries them some­times to such dishonourable Actions, as shorten their Lives, and makes their Death unlamented; There Name is blotted out from under Heaven; either quite extinct and forgot, of remembred with abhorrence.

4 A deceitful Enemy. Rev. 12.9. He makes it his bu­siness to cheat and deceive: He promises fine things to his Votaries, but never performs; for he was a Liar and a Murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the Truth, Joh. 8.44. The Devil's Baits are all a Shame: Was it not so in his tempting of our Lord? Matth. 4. He shew­ed him all the Kingdoms of the World, and said unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. O Hell hatch'd Impudence! and de­ceit! fit for none but him that express'd it. What! the Creator to worship a Creature! and that of the vilest M$uld; by a sinful Degeneracy! for Corruptio optimi, est, pessima. The best things being corrupted, grow the worst: And what was his offer of Satan, but a meer Shadow, a Phantasm? For its very probable he shew'd Christ only an airy Map of the World's Splendor and Gaiety, labouring thereby to strike the sancy; for it can't be reasonably imagined that any Mountain is so high as to afford a prospect of all the numerous and spacious King­doms of the Universe; and what humane sight could extend so far at one View? It's likely there was a juggle and cheat in the Offer, and such are Satan's Baits generally. O! that we could imitate the Lord Jesus in rejecting his Temptations with abhorrence! sending him away in haste, and shutting our Ears against his falacious Charms, Matth. 4.10. Get thee hence Satan. All you unconverted presump­tuous Sinners, that are here present before God, are pos­sessed with the Devil: May be you would be afraid to see the Devil in any bodily shape; but alas! poor Souls, you have him Night and Day in your Hearts! O! all­powerful and most compassionate Lord J$sus, who came from thy Father's Bofom to destroy the Works of the De­vil. eject by thy Word and Spirit these Devils out of these possessed Souls, that are now in thy House of Prayer.

3. You are under the Guilt of Sin; which is thy liable­ness to punishment upon the account of the Law thou hast [Page 127]broken. Joh. 3.18. He that believeth not is condemned al­ready; which signifies, saith Mr. Henry,

1. ‘“ A certain Condemnation; they are as sure to be condemned in the Judgment of the Great Day, as if ”they were condemned already.’

2 ‘“A present Condemnation: The Curse has already seiz'd them; the Wrath of God is now sastned upon ”them’

3 ‘“A Condemnation grounded upon former Guilt. He is condemned already; for he lies open to the Law for all his Sins, the condemning power of the Law stands in full force against all presumptuous Sinners, because they have no interest in the Provision made by the Gos­pel;”’ not having comply'd with its Terms. Rom. 3.19. For we know that whatsoever the Law sayeth, it saith to those that are under the Law, that every mouth may be stop'd, and the whole World may become guilty before God. Consi­der, O Sinner! how many Sins hast thou committed, in Thought, Word and Action! Are not thy Sins in number as the Stars in the Firmament? The Drops of Water in the Ocean? the Sands upon the Sea-shoar? the Hairs upon thy Head? Sins against the Law and Gospel; Sins against Knowledge, against Mercy, against Vows, Purposes, Promises, Warnings and repeated Engagements; and that not one of them Pardoned, or ever shall, 'till thou quit thy presump­tuous Hope, and get thy Heart changed: Consider seriously, how many thy Sins in Thought must be, when they keep pace with the winged Moments, and every of them evil, till you be converted to God. Not only thy vain, vile and presumptuous Thoughts are evil, Jer 4.14. O Jerusalem! wash thy Heart from wickedness; how long shall vain Tho'ts lodge within thee, Matth. 15.19, 20. but also thy Thoughts upon God, and Christ, and Piety, are sinful as to the man­ner, and in strict Justice deserve eternal Damnation, Luk. 6.43. For a good Tree bringeth not forth corrupt Fruit, weither doth a corrupt Tree bring forth good Fruit, Matth. 7.17, 18 And God saw that the Wickedness of Man was great on the Earth, and that every Imagination of the Tho'ts of his Heart was only evil continually, Gen. 6.5. And remember the Wages of Sin is Death. Rom. 6.23. How many are thy Sins of Neglect & Omission, which are base and damnable; for he that knoweth to do good, and deeth it not, to him it is Sin, Jam. 4.17. Sin with a wit­ness, heinous, highly aggravated Sin. Matth. 25.25, 26. Oh! how numerous are thy Sins of Commission. Search [Page 128]your past Lives, and see with horror and regret the vile Abominations you have committed! Don't you remember Sinner, this and that time you broke the Laws of God? You finn'd presumptuously. Jer. 8.9. They were as fed Horses in the morning, every one neighed after his weighbours Wife. Shall I not visit for these things, saith the Lord? and shall not any Soul be avenged on such a Nation as this! Gal 5.19, 20, 21. Rom. 1.28, 29, 30, 31, 32. And remember that for Sins of Presumption, there was no Sacrifice to be offer'd under the Law, Deut. 17.12. Numb 15.30, 31. Hear and tremble! at what the jealous God speaks by the Prophet Ezekiel, the 24th. Chapter of his Book, 12, 13, and 14 verses. She hath wearied her self with lies, and her great scum went not forth out of her; her scum shall be in the Fire. In thy filthiness is lewdness: because I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged from thy filthiness any more, till I have caused my fury to rest upon thee. I the Lord have spoken $word$, it shall come to pass, and I will do it, I will not go back, neither will I spare, neither will I repent; according to thy ways, and according to thy doings shall they judge thee, saith the Lord God.


1. She had wearied her self with Lies; trusted to, and depended upon false props, such as fail'd her in extremity; and she had wearied God with her false and ineffectual purposes of Amendment and Reformation, like Felix.

2. She was unreformed by the methods of Cure. God had us'd means to reclaim her, but neither the Word or Rod, Food or Physick, had any saving influence; Her Scum, i.e. her Wickedness was not remov'd, she was not thoroughly purg'd, notwithstanding all the means used with her; but in her filthiness was lewdness; she was obstinate and im­pudent, abus'd the good Prophets, and despis'd their Warnings and Threats, hut hug'd the Daubers in her bo­som, who prophesied Peace, Peace, and Plenty, much Wine and Strong Drink, as honest Mr. Cradacet observes. Math. 23.37. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killest the Prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy Children together, even as a Hen gathereth her Chick us under her wings, and ye would not. How were Jeremiah and Mic$j$h abus'd, Jer. 20 2, 10. 1 Kin. 22 8, 24. 1 Kin 17.3 & 19 2. Luk. 11.49, 50, 51. While in the mean time, the filthy tho' numerous gang of Baal's Priests were caress'd and honoured. And as the Jewish Nation were thus abusive to the true Prophets, so were they hardned,

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[...] ‘“than reform'd by Afflictions, they growl'd and snarl'd at the Stone, gnaw'd and bit the Chain wherewith they were bound, like a mad Dog; murmur'd against, and quarrel'd with the Almighty and one another, but espe­cially with the faithful Servants of God, that were fre­quently a sounding with an ungrateful knell, Death and ”Destruction in their Ears.’ Now because they were ob­stinate in Sin, God gives them up to Destruction, ceas$th striving with them, and causeth his fury to rest upon them: Thou shalt not be purged any more, till I cause my fury to rest on thee. This Sentence he ratifies by his Truth. Whether this be not the Wickedness that many now a days under the Gospel commit; I leave it to God and your own Consciences to judge and determine: And if this be your Sin, why you should not expect the same Pu­nishment, I can see no reason, seeing the Nature of God and Moral Evil remains the same invariably and eternally. O Sinner, thou hast not only broke the blessed Law of God by innumerable Transgressions, but has slighted the precious Gospel of the Son of God, in which are the highest triumphs of pure Grace and pardoning Love, that a God could express, or a Creature receive. Not only wounded thy self by Sin, but rejected the remedy for Sin; a Balsom provided by infinite Cost, and Expence of the rich Treasures of amazing Mercy and condescending Ma­jesty! Joh. 5.40. & 3.20. Eph. 3.18, 19. Joh 1.14. Will not your abus'd Privileges hasten and heighten your Damnation? Rom 2.8, 9. Indignation and Wrath upon every Soul of Man that doth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile. You have not only perhaps abus'd Afflictive but also comforting and prosperous Providences, in­stead of being led by the Goodness of God to Repentance and Reformation, as it is both your Duty and Interest; you have despis'd it; and after the hardness of your impe­nitent Heart treasur'd up to your selves Wrath against the Day of Wrath, and the revelation of the righteous Judg­ment of God, Rom. 2.4.7. I say, instead of being led by God's Goodness to Repentance, Gratitude and Reforma­tion; you have been led perhaps to Pride, Luxury, Obsti­nacy and Self-dependance. Deut. 32.15. But Jeshurun waxed fat and kicked; thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick: Then he forsook God which made him and lightly esteemed the r$ck of his Salvation Some translate the word Jeshurun,—Upright. It seems this People had the Name of Piety before their Prosperity, but then they justly lost [Page 130]it, their inside was turned outward, then they shew'd in Act, what they had in Heart before, viz. Sensuality, Pride, &c. The Rattle Snake in the Winter time, keeps very still and harmless; but when he begins to feel the warm beams of the Sun, he shews his speckled Skin, and makes a ter­rible rattle with his Tail, artfully moving his horrible Head that's inviron'd with his Body, ready to give any Body that would molest him a mortal gripe with his inve­nom'd Tusks. Observe what is asserted of Jeshurun.

1. They waxed fat and thick, big and unwelldy, unfit for business, and unconcern'd about it; stupid and indolent, indulging themselves in the inordinate use of sensual gra­tifications, as if they had no other God to adore and serve, but their Bellies: Thus the Prosperity of Fools destroy them, Prov. 1.22.

2. They kick'd; grew insolent and arrogant, listing up the heel against God himself, when he, check'd them, ei­ther by his Prophets or Providences, as an untam'd Heifer or Bullock unaccustom'd to the Yoke, Jer. 31. When a poor Horse that has hardly any thing but Skin and Bones, is put into a rank Pasture, by and by he begins to be fat and wanton, and capers about at an unaccountable rate, worse a great deal than Horses that have always been kept in pretty good Case, quite forgetting former Poverty, one cannot come near them to put the Bridle on them, but he's ready to get his Heels in his Face; he's in danger of his Life or Limbs that would come close to such Creatures; they leer and kick so strangely. Is not this a just Emblem of the Carriage of some Men in their Prosperity. Prov. 19.29 & 9, 12. Isai 29.20 Prov 4.9. But such as kick at Instruction and Reproof, should remember that they kick against the Pricks, Act 9.5. Prov. 29.1. and that their fading grandure won't be able to protect them from the arrests of Vengeance.

But may be some will frame Evasions to p$liate their Guilt, or utterly deny the Charge. Such I would answer in the words of God by Jeremiah, Chap. 2 ver. 22, 23. For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine Iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord God See thy way in the valley, Know what thou hast done? Your Iniquities are seal'd up among God's treasures; as In­dictments are put up in a Bag in a civil Court of Judica­ture, to be open'd at the Grand Assize, Deut. 32.34. Joh 21.19. And all your Pleas will never he able to justify your Conduct; no, for your Sin is written with a pen of [Page 131]Iron, and with the point of a Diamond, both in the Book of God's Remembrance, and in the Book of your Consci­ence, with such indelible Characters as nothing but the Blood of Jesus can extinguish and deface. Hearken unto me ye stour hearted that are far from Righteousness, Isai. 46.12. Is not the Case so as I have described it? Have you not been long under the Hammer, and not yet broken? Long in the Furnace, and not yet melted and refined? Un­der the milder Aspects and more indulgent Smiles of Pro­vidence, have you not been elated with Pride; or emerg'd in carnal Security, and pernicious obstinacy against Advice and Counsel? And perhaps in the mean time paying your Devotion to your own Ingenuity and Industry, as the Au­thors of the Successes that attended your essays. Hab. 1.16. Therefore they sacrifice to their Net, and burn incense to their Drag. And perhaps instead of relieving the Poor, grind­ing their Faces, gathering all you can into your Drag, and rejoycing in your unjust Gain. Hah. 1.15. Jer. 1.15. The Apostle gives a doleful description of the Wickedness of Unconverted and Presumptuous Sinners. Rom. 3. from the 10th to the 19th. ver. There is none righteous, no not one: There is none that understandoth, there is none that seeketh after God They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable, there is none that doeth good, no not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swist to shod blood. Destruction and misery are in their ways, and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes. But besides these Sins mentioned, let me tell thee, O presumptuous Sinner! that thy natural Actions are all of them sinful and abo­minable: I mean, thy eating, drinking, sleeping; be­cause not done with a design to honour God, 1 Cor. 10.31. Also thy civil Actions, the labours of thy particular Calling: for the support of thy Self and Family. Prov. 21.4. A high Look, and a proud Heart, and the Plowing of the Wicked is Sin. Their Labours are good and necessary as to the Matter, but sinful in the Manner, because not done with a view to God's honour; and also thy reli­gious Services, as I have before designedly prov'd in this Discourse.

But let me mention in the last place, Original Sin, the hereditary Leprosy, Pollution, and Deformity of thy Na­ture, which is more awful (tho' least consider'd by thee, [Page 132]because of thy blindness) than all the Evils before spoken of, because it's the corrupt Fountain from which they all issue and proceed. Now as the Spring is more than all the Streams that flow from it, so is this greater than all actual Transgressions. Rom 7.24. O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of Sin and Death! What sayest thou to all this Charge! O Man, dost not thou feel yet, and groan under thy Misery! Why the guilt of innumerable Sins lie like Mountains of Lead up­on thy wretched Soul, a weight enough to sink all the Angels of Heaven into the depths of Hell, if imputed to them, and laid on them: And yet dost thou not tremble! Remember that the Wages of Sin is Death, Rom. 6.23. The Guilt contracted by one vain Thought, is infinite, because the Sin is committed against an infinite God, and therefore cannot be remov'd but by an infinite Atone­ment; — Shouldst thou Pray, were it possible, a Million of Years, Weep an Ocean of Tears, and wear thy self to a Skeleton by Fasting, and other mortifying Duties, it would not compensate the wrong offer'd to God by that vain Thought, for Justice requires an exact proportion be­tween the Guilt contracted and Satisfaction paid; Ten Thousand Rivers of Oyl will not do, nor the first Fruits of thy Body for the Sin of thy Soul, Mich. 6.7. If it be so, then what shall become of thee, who has com­mitted so many Abominations! The Lives of all the Angels in Heaven, and all the Men on Earth, would not be sufficient to repair the injury thou hast offer'd to the Divine Majesty, for the reason before mentioned. O dost thou not feel thy misery yet! I suppose not, for cast a Mountain upon a dead Man, and he feels it not! O Gra­cious God! Smite in Mercy the guilty Consciences of these secure Sinners, let them be distress'd, blessed Jesus, with a sense of their Guilt and Sin, until they find the sweetness of thy pardoning Love, and atoning Blood.

4. Presumptuous Sinners are under the Wrath of God, Eph. 2.2, 3. We are by Nature Children of Wrath. It is the dreadful Portion and Inheritance you are born to, until you be new Born, John 3.3, 6, 36. He that believeth not the Son, shall not see Life, but the Wrath of God abideth on him. O Friends, consider, it's not the Wrath of Men, which (tho' they are never so potent) is but trifling comparatively, but the Wrath of a God, whose Wisdom is unsearchable, whose Power is infinite, and whose Exis­tence is unchangeable and eternal; it's not a transient, [Page 133]fading, fleeting Passion, but permanent and abiding Wrath; and that not at a Distance, but upon you. It's true, you feel but little of the Effects of it now, but you shall very quickly; Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish, Luke 13.3, 5 You shall not see Life, you shall not have a Prospect of that Life Christ has putchased by his Death, unless it be to aggravate your Loss of it; all that Wrath you made your selves liable to by the Violation of the Law, if not removed by the Grace of the Gospel, is bound upon you: Old Debts lie undischarged, and new ones contracted; something done almost continually to fill up the Measure; and nothing to empty it; thus the Wrath of God abides; for it's treasured up against the Day of Wrath, Rom. 2.5. The Psalmist informs us that God is angry with the Wicked every Day, Psalm 7.11. And who are wicked, if presumptuous unconverted Sinners are not? As God's Mercies are fresh and new every morning to his People, so his Anger is renewed and impregnated every morning against the Wicked, because of their repeated Provocations; God hates and loaths them in their greatest Bloom of Honours and prosperous Successes, when they are caress'd by a mercenary, flattering and sycophantick Crew, that have a Dependance on them, and make Mer­chandise of them; and to that End pay their cringing De­votions, not so much to their Persons, as to their Bags or Bills; I say God loaths them even in the Time of their greatest Gaiety, Advancement and superficial Devotion, Prov. 13.5. Zech. 11.8. But to awake you out of your deep and dead Sleep, consider, O Sinners! that the Wrath of God which you are under and exposed to, has these fol­lowing Qualities, viz. It's incomprehensible, terrible, unavoidable, intolerable and eternal.

1. It's incomprehensible. It is utterly impossible for the Mind of Man to conceive it, or his Tongue to express it: Who knows the Power of thine Anger? even according to thy Fear, so is thy Wrath, Psalm 90.11. It is impossible for the most winged, soaring Fancy in its utmost Flight and Projection, to reach the Extent of God's Anger, it is as incomprehensible, as its Cause efficient: God himself, our God is a consuming Fire to the Workers of Iniquity, Heb. 12.29. Damned Sinners really seel in Hell, more than they feared on Earth; the strongest, brightest and boldest Images which are used in Scripture to convey to our Minds the damned's Torments, fall exceeding short of the Hor­rors of that infernal Furnace; even as all the Scriptural, [Page 134]or any other Metaphors that can be formed to represent the Happiness of Heaven, do faint and languish before the Beauty and Brightness of that celestial Paradise, in this World; because it is a Time of Tryal and Probation; there be but small Effusions of God's Anger; hence Men entertain mean Thoughts of it, and the more indulge their vicious Courses, Eccl. 8.11. Because Sentence against an evil Work is not executed speedily, therefore the Heart of the Sons of Men is fully set in them to do evil. This Abuse of God's Goodness and Patience, is surely the basest Ingratitude, the most prodigious Madness, for thereby they treasure up to themselves Wrath against the Day of Wrath, Rom. 2.5. Austin's Observation upon this Head is very excellent; ‘“If no Sin were punished here, saith he, no Providence would be believed, if all Sins were punished here, no fu­ture ”Judgment would be expected.’

2. God's Wrath, which thou art exposed to, O presump­tuous Sinner! is severe and terrible. Lam. 1.12. Isai. 13.9. Behold the Day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with Wrath and fierce Anger. Therefore they were bid to howl because the Day of God was at Hand, Verse 6. With the froward God will shew himself froward, Psal 18.26. As Sin­ners have a Day now which they mispend and abuse, think­ing to carry all before them; so God has a Day in which he will avenge all those Injuries and Affronts; the great God laughs at your foolish Confidence; for he knows that his Day is coming, Psalm 37.3 a Day in which his severe Justice will have a solemn Triumph. God's Wrath hath a consuming Fierceness, it makes an easy Prey of guilty and impenitent Sinners as the burning Flame doth of dry Stubble. The Word Jealousy in our Text, imports God's fiercest Anger, his revenging Severity; his Jealousy shall smoke against that Man. He that duly considers that God being wrong'd by the Creatures Sin is bound by his Justice and Truth to vindicate his own Honour, and the Authority of his Laws, by inflicting the Punish­ments annex'd to the Violation of them; Punishments ex­actly proportioned to the Delinquents Crimes, both in Re­gard of their Multitude and Heinousness: For inflexible Justice and inviolable Truth, will not loose one Grain Weight of a full Compensation paid by the Sinner, per­sonally, or a Surety in his Room and Stead; now presump­tuous Sinners not having comply'd with Christ's Terms, those Conditions of Self-denial, and taking up his Cross, Matth. 16.24. upon which redeeming Love and Grace is [Page 135]offered, can have no Interest in or saving Benefit by the great Sacrifice of Christ's Blood, while they continue in this State, therefore full Satisfaction will be required of them personally. I say, he that considers the Multitude and Aggravations of his own Sins of Neglect and Commission, original and actual, against Love and Light, Purposes and Promises, and the Exactness of divine Justice suiting the Penalty according to the Number and Quality of the Of­fences, must needs confess that God's Wrath is exceeding terrible. O Sinner! Sinner! for Christ's sake consider! that it is the Wrath of an infinite, just, jealous and tremen­dous God, who is cloathed with irresistable Power and stern Majesty and Wrath, that shall fully avenge the Quarrel of abusel Mercies. Zech. 7.11, 12, 13. Yea, they made their Hearts as an Adamant Stone, lest they should hear the Law, and the Words which the Lord hath sent in his Spirit by the former Prophets, therefore came great Wrath from the Lord of Hosts. Therefore it came to pass, that as he cried, and they would not hear; so I would not hear, saith the Lord of Hosts. It is observable here, that as those unhappy Peo­ple gave a deaf Ear to God's Intreaties by his Servants, so the Almighty suited their Punishment to their Sin: He gave a deaf Ear to their Prayers; they hardned their Hearts as an Adamant Stone, as a Diamond, which is said to be the hardest of Stones to be wrought upon; what is so inflexible as a presumptuous Sinner's Heart, for by go­ing on in an impenitent Course, they add to a natural, which is common to all Unbelievers, Ezek. 36.26. an acquired Hardness. Can the Ethiopian change his Skin, or the Leopard his Spots, then may ye also do good that are ac­customed to do evil? Jer. 13.23. And thereby provoke the righteous God to inflict a judicial and penal Hardness, which is a most tremendous Judgment, Isai. 6.9, 10. And he said, Go and tell this People, hear ye indeed, but under­stand not, and see ye indeed, but perceive not; make the Heart of this People sat, and their Ears heavy, and shut their Eyes, lest they see with their Eyes, and hear with their Ears, and understand with their Hearts, and convert and be healed. Hof. 4.17. Ephraim is joined to Idols. This Man and that Wo­man obstinately cleaves to their Lusts, after frequent Warn­ings & Intreaties, let them alone to my Curse & Vengeance; let them go on in their Sin and Security, I will use no more means to reclaim them, Prov. 29.1. He that being often reproved, hardneth his Neck, shall sudd$nly he destroyed & that without Remedy. Rev. 22.11. He that is unjust, let him be unjust [Page 136]still, he that is filthy, let him he filthy, still For God's Spirit shall not always strive with Man, Gen. 6.3. Wo unto thee Sinner, if thou be thus forsaken of God, it had been better for thee if thou hadst never been born! It may indeed seem easy at pre­sent to be left without Controul to the pernicious Swing of thy corrupt Desires, as it seems pleasant to the Ox to he Stall-fed, or to be put into a fat Pasture, little dream­ing of the Knife that shall quickly terminate his Delights: But alas! unhappy Souls, it will be bitter and fatal in the Issue, when the jealous God will smite you dead eternally with the Ax of his flaming Wrath, Matth. 3.10. Then you shall eat of the bitter Fruit of your own Ways, and be filled with your own Devices, Prov. 1.31.

3. It is unavoidable Wrath, if ye continue in your pre­sumptuous Impiety; you can't fly from it, but by flying to Jesus, the City of Refuge, the precious Zoar, by the Wings of a sincere Desire and strong Affection. Indeed there is a safe Shelter for poor storm-stead, moneyless Sinners, un­der the balmy Wing of our redeeming God Immanuel! Isai 55.1. Matth. 1$.28. Mal 4.2. But unto you that fear my Name, shall the Son of Righteousness arise with Heal­ing under his Wings, and ye shall go forth, and grow up as Calves of the Stall. In and through the blessed Lamb of God, the fatherless may find Mercy, and the weary rest. Hos. 14.3, 4. Matth. 12.21. In the Shadow of this al­mighty Jesus, penitent returning Prodigals may find a se­cure and refreshing Protection from all the burning drops of God's stormy Vengeance. Isai. 32.2. & 33.16. Psalm 36.7, 8, 9 & 91.7. But such as neglect this Salvation, how can they, how should they escape the Wrath of a jea­lous and justly enraged God? Heb. 2.3. Heb. 10.28, 29. If those that despised Moses Law died without Mercy, of how much sorer Punishment think ye shall he be thought worthy of, who hath trodden under Foot the Son of God? God will surely render Vengeance to such guilty Rebels: Hath he not sworn that they shall not enter into his Rest, Psalm 95.10, 11 They shall no more escape the just Wrath of the Almighty, without the Condition before mentioned, than a travailing Woman her Pains. 1 Thess 5.3. For when they shall say, Peace, Peace and Satety, then sudden Destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a Woman with Child, and they shall not escape. Which Way can they avoid Jehovah's Anger!

1. Not by Flight, for God is omnipresent: If they should take the Wings of the morning, and flee to the utmost Ends of the Earth or Sea. If we ascend to the heighth of Heaven, [Page 137]or descend into the depths of Hell, there his right arm would find us, Psalm 139.7, 8. Nor

2. By Frauds. The most dark and obscure Recesses can't screen us from the Cognisance of that God who is all Eye, Panopthalmos, to whom Darkness is as the Light, and Midnight as the Noon-day; All Things are naked and open to the Eyes of him with whom we have to do, Heb. 4.13. O presumptuous Sinner! the Thoughts of this might justly strike thee with the utmost Horror, Shame and Con­fusion! when thou art a going about thy Closet curtain Wickedness, that the holy God is looking on thee during the whole Scene of thy brutish Uncleanness, with the utmost Hatred and Abhorrence, Hab. 1. that thy own Conscience keeps the black Records of thy Villanies which shall be opened before the holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, before the vast Assembly of holy Angels and Saints, wicked Men and Devils, to thy Confusion and Damnation. Then shall the secret Things of Darkness be brought to light, Rom. 2.16. 2 Pet. 2.10. Neither will Lies and Deceit secure thee, because God is infinite in Knowledge: Who can by searching find out God, or know the Almighty to Perfection? Job 11.7. Nor

3. By Power; for he is omnipotent, infinite in Strength. Hast thou an Arm like God, or canst thou thunder with a Voice like him, Job 40.9. Isai. 42.13. The Lord shall go forth as a mighty Man, he shall stir up Jealousy like a Man of War, he shall cry, yea roar, he shall prevail against his Enemies, he is wise in Heart, and mighty in Strength: Who has hard­ned himself against him, and prospered? Which removeth the Mountains, and they know it not, which overturneth them in his Anger, which shaketh the Earth out of her Place, and the Pillars thereof tremble, which commandeth the Sun and it riseth not, and sealeth up the Stars: Which alone spread­eth out the Heavens, and treadeth on the Waves of the Sea, Job 9.4, — 8. The most potent and crafty Men that ever the Earth bore are infinitely unequal to contend with God, either by Dispute or Combat: The Lord Jehovah acts both in the Kingdoms of Nature and Providence with absolute Sovereignty, according to the Counsel of his good Pleasure, Eph. 1.11. When it pleased the all powerful God, the Heavens and the Earth must start out of their native no­thing, and appear in their present Frame and Order; an incontestible Proof of the Infinity of his Wisdom, and Al­mightiness of his Power; indeed these divine Perfections are written in very legible Characters upon every Leaf [Page 138]of the great Volume of Creation, the Heavens, and Earth, and Sea, and all the different Ranks of Beings they con­tain, during the divine good Pleasure; the inanimate Parts of the Creation, observe and keep their stated Order; the Earth rests on its Axis, the Sun and Moon run their wonted Ciroles; but by the least beck of his Will, Nature's Laws are broken and reversed; the massy ponderous Globe of Earth totters at its deep Foundations, and the overlasting Mountains are scattered. Hab. 3.6. The Sun is vail'd with Sable, and forgets to shed his beamy Light and Warmth, or stands still in the midst of Heaven, and all the Creation groan and mourn, and appear in a funeral Ar­ray, as in the Time of our Lord's Crucifixion; and in Jo­shua's Time, did not the Sun still? Josh. 10.12, 13. Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon, and thou Moon, in the Valley of Ajolon. O Sinner! How can'st thou stand it out with this God, who has all the Powers in Heaven and Earth at his Back!

4. The Wrath of God is intolerable, such as can't be en­dured without the most exquisite Anguish, such as would soon indeed consume the Sinner, and reduce him to no­thing, were it not that the righteous God supports and continues their Being to lengthen out their Pains, that his Justice may receive Satisfaction: Were it not that God upholds them with one Hand, while he scourges them with the other, they would soon cease to be; the Wrath of God when it touches the Conscience but lightly in this World, makes Men rage like Madmen, and roar like Bulls in a Net, Isai. 51.20. Was it not so with both the Spira's, and John Child? What will it be when all their false Hopes and carnal Comforts are entirely removed, and they shut up in endless Dispair and Horror. If we can't bear a wounded Spirit, Prov. 18.14. How shall we bear to be broken in the Place of Dragons? Psalm 44.19. If you can't bear the light touches of God's Finger, in a short Fit of Sickness, how will you endure the Weight of his unbeared Arm, the fierce Lashes of his iron Rod? If the gentle. Whip daunts and appalls you, won't being scourged with Scorpions confound you! Can your Heart en­dure or your Hands be strong in the Day that God shall deal with you? Ezak. 22.14. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring Fire? Who among us shall dwell with ever­lasting Burnings, Isai. 33.14. The Prophet Nahum gives a very elegant. Description of the Fierceness and Intolera­bleness of God's Anger towards the Wicked, in the first [Page 139]Chapter of his Book, from the second to the seventh Verse, pray read those Verses: In them we have a very beautiful and magnificent Display of God's glorious, though terrible Majesty, his inflexible Justice, irresistible Power, and awful Severity to the damned World.

5. God's Wrath is eternal to such presumptuous Sinners as sin away the Seasons of Grace. It lasts as long as God endures, Matth. 25.41, 46. Rev. 14.11. And the smoke of their Torment ascendeth up for ever and ever, and they have no Rest, Day nor Night. When millions of Years are e­lapsed, their Torments are but a beginning! O if there were any Hopes of being freed from those inexpressible Pains, when as many thousands of Years are spent as there be Grains of Sand by the Sea-shore, or Drops of Water in the great Ocean, it would give a sensible Allay to their Torments; this would be a dreadful Portion, the very Thoughts of it is sufficient to make ones Heart tremble an their Body, and their Blood chill in their Veins! but e­ven this! even this! cannot be obtained from an inexora­ble provoked God; no these damned Wretches, shall ne­ver, never, never come out of their burning Brimstone Vaults. And

6. In all this boundless Space of infinite Duration, not one Moment's Ease or Intermission! O awful! O terrible! Eternity! Eternity! Eternity! our Thoughts are lost in Obscurity & Darkness, when we think of thee. What finite Understanding can grasp thee? Secure presumptuous Sinners, what say you to this? Can you stand the Shocks of the Al­mighty's Fury? Can you endure the burning Vials of God's Wrath to be poured forth into the Vessels of your Souls throughout a never ending Eternity? Why don't you, poor Souls, tremble and quake, and cry mightily to God for pardoning and converting Grace? For as sure as your Souls are in your Bodies, so sure shall you burn and fry as Brands and Faggots in those everlasting Flames of God's Wrath and Jealousy, unless you quit your false Hopes, and get a Change of Heart and Life!

O Man! if thou art but under a small fit of bodily Sickness, how slowly do the Minutes roll, one Night seems to be as long as a Week, and a Week as long as a Month; Time seems to fleet with such a heavy Wing, even tho' thou hast thy Friends weeping over thee, or sympathizing with thee, a Physician to attend thee to pro­ject and pursue thy Cure, and some refreshment in $word$ and Drinks, and among other Comforts, this is none of the [Page 140]least, that thou hast hope of freedom from thy present Malady, that thy Pain will expire, and you enjoy suc­ceeding Health and Ease: This! This! supports thy Spirits, and abates the sharpness of thy Pain. But, O Friend! how much more tedious will the Day of Eternity be, when instead of pity, which is a cheap and univer­sal "Lenitive to Persons in Misery. Solamen est miseris— God, Angels, and Saints will laugh at thee, and rejoyce in thy Damnation. Prov. 1. That God, who now offers you Pardon and Pity with the most condescending im­portunity; that Jesus who now courts you by the most endearing Methods to embrace his Love, and thereby ob­tain your own Life and Happiness, will then laugh at the deserved ruin thou hast brought upon thy self, by thy ob­stinate refusal of his Mercy, and a course of Impiety. Isai. 30.18, Rev. 3.10. Prov 1.26. And Saints and An­gels will see such justice and impartiality in God's pro­ceedings against you, that they can't but approve and seal his damnatory Sentence against you, and rejoyce that his Justice has so bright a display in your Destruction. 1 Cor. 6.2. For do ye not know that the Saints shall judge the World. You shall have no Friend in Heaven or in Earth, and as few in Hell; instead of those Comforts and Refresh­ments I mention'd, to have the ministration of malicious Devils using all their power and craft to increase your Pain; and instead of Hope, to be rack'd with black Despair; knowing certainly that your Pains will never have a Period. Good God! is not this solemn and terrible! O! how can unhappy Souls who are yet in a presumptuous unconverted state pretend to believe this, and yet live in Security? You would do a great deal to prevent being burnt alive in this World; I'm perswaded you wou'd serve (as a bond slave) a severe Master, your whole Life, to escap­this Death! O! won't you do that which is much less to escape the fiery Oven of God's Vengeance, which will burn to Eternity? whereas the other flame will soon expire, viz. Will you not serve Jehovah from your Hearts? who is indeed a beneficent Master, and most indulgent Father, whose Service is real Liberty, Joh 8.36. But be­sides what has been offer'd concerning the awful qualities of God's Wrath, in order to awaken, if it be possible, se­cure Sinners, let me propose the five following Particu­lars, which serve to heighten our Conceptions of the ter­rors of it. And,

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1. God's Wrath is terrible because of his Highness and tremendous Majesty. Job. 13.11. Shall not his excellency make you afraid, and his dread fall upon you? And Job 31.23. Destruction from God was a terror to me, and by reason of his highness I could not endure. Is not Men's anger fear'd according to their Degree and Character? Thus we are inform'd by Solomon, Prov. 16.14. That the wrath of a King is as Messengers of Death. The eminent Dignity of his displeasure, than of the anger of such who are of an inserious Order, and less distinguish'd Fi­gure. Now if the Wrath of a temporal King be as a messenger of Death, how much more terrible is the Wrath of him who is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, the high and lofty One that inhabiteth Eternity, whose Name is holy, Isai. 57.15. For as much as there is none like unto thee, O Lord, thou art great and thy Name is great in Might, who would not fear thee, O King of Nations, Jer. 10.6, 7. Men's Wrath is trivial and of short Duration, it must needs ex­pire with their fleeting Breath, though they may possibly wish an immortal Revenge, yet their transitory fading Life will not admit such a malicious Prosecution; but the Wrath of God is permanent and eternal. Jer. 10.10. But the Lord he is the true God, he is the living God, an$ an everlasting King, at his Wrath the Earth shall tremble, and the Nations shall not be able to abide his Indignation. So terrible will be the Majesty of God to Man, at the general Judgment, that all Nature will faint before him, Rev 20.11. And I saw a great white Throne, and him that sat on it, from whose Face the Earth and Heaven fled away. And,

2. Because of his Holiness and spotless Purity, Exod. 15.11. He cannot look on Sin with any Complacency and De­light, but with the utmost Abhorrence and intenss Hatred. Hah. 1.13. How will then the presumptuous and ungodly Sinner stand before this Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts? Isai. 6.3. 1 Sam 6.20 Pasl. 1.5. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the Judgment, nor Sinners in the Congregation of the Righteous: Surely the Wind of his Indignation shall hurl them into the burning fiery Lake. Psal. 1.4. Matt. 25.26. Rev. 20.14.

3. Because of the depth of his Wisdom, whereby he per­lectly knows the Nature, Number, and Aggravations of your Sins, and how to proportion Punishments according to their Guilt and Heinousness Psal. 44.20, 21. Can't [Page 142]his infinite Understanding project, as easily as his Power compass, such Methods and Measures, such Tortures as will keep you in an inexpressibly exquisite and eternal Rack?

4. Because of the infinity of his Power and Sovereignty. Job 9.4. He is wise in heart, and mighty in Strength. The most high God is the absolute Sovereign of the Universe, He has the whole Creation under his controul, He manages the Globe with utmost ease&pleasure, &brings about all those Revolutions in the Kingdoms of Nature, Grace & Provi­dence, which yield both surprize & delight to the inquiring Mind. A very ample confirmation thereof, the Psalmist gives in the 29th Psalm; in it we have a very beautiful and poetical description of God's Power, ver. 4. The Voice of the Lord is powerful, the Voice of the Lord is full of ma­jesty, it breaks the Cedars, and makes Lebanon and Sirion skip like a young Unicorn; divides the flames of fire, and shakes the wilderness of Kad$sh. Thunderbolts and Earth­quakes cause very terrible Convulsions in the frame of Na­ture, tares Trees; levels their proud and lofty Tops, and $osses the Earth of it's Axis, makes it reel and stagger like a drunken Man, so that Men's fix'd Estates enter into the Lift of their Moveables. Men often want power to inake others feel their angry Resentments, otherwise their anger would be much more formidable than it is; but God's Power is of equal extent with his Wisdom, infinite, and incomprehensible, Psal. 62.11. He can speedily issue all the Counsels of his Mind, maugre the fiercest opposi­tion of Men and Devils. Isai 46.10. My Counsel shall stand, and I will do all my Pleasure. And

5. The Sufferings that the Lord Jesus bore, shew the in­tolerableness and severity of God's Anger: Did it not extort a crimson Shower from all the pores of his blessed Body! in the Garden of Gethsemane? Luk. 22.44. and a grievous outcry on the Cross! enough to rend the Earth and Heavens! Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani: My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Matth. 27.46. Now if God did not spare his own Son, when he only stood in a Sinner's room or stead, being personally spotless and inno­cent, Heb 7.26. How much less will he spare you who continue in Sin and sl$ght his love? If God's anger ex­torted Tears and Blood from Christ's Body, and heavy Groans from his oppressed Heart; My Soul, said he, is Sor­rouful, even to Death. Mat. 26.38. tho' he was guiltless and supported by his Divine Nature; how will it prey upon you, who shall be fill'd with Guilt and cover'd [Page 143]with Shame! Persons of such a feeble frame and texture, and utterly destitute of all Succour! O! think solemnly of this before it is too late! before the Sun of Mercy sets, and an everlasting Evening spreads its sable. Wings over you, and hide you in utter Darkness, and eternal Death, where you shall never enjoy the least glimpse, or dawn of Light and Day. Rev. 14.10. 2 Pet. 2.17. But

5. Presumptuous Sinners are in a state of Death; tho' they be naturally alive, and perhaps very chearful and jo­vial, Amos 6.3, 4, 5. yet they are dead Men and Women: not only dead, legally, Joh. 3.18. doom'd by the Law to eternal Death, or an everlasting Separation of their Souls and Bodies from the gracious presence of God, Psal. 9.17. Joh. 3.36. but spiritually dead, void of a principle of di­vine Life, Eph. 4.18. being alienated from the Life of God. Eph. 4.2, 8 Col 1.21. Say what you will against this great and awful Truth, you have the Signs and Characters of Death upon you; which having a tendency by the blessing of God to convince you of, and humble you for your present Misery, I shall endeavour to insist upon them a little particularly. And

1. A dead Man is without Sense or feeling. So are you without the necessary sense, and apprehension of your dan­ger: So our Text affirms; They expect Peace, tho' they walk after the imaginations of their Hearts. Would you not conclude one to be Dead naturally, if a Person beat upon him with a Hammer, or stab'd him with a Sword, and yet he felt it not! This alas! Dear Friend is thy very Case: How often has the threats of God's Law, which as Fire and a Hammer breaks the rocky Hearts of God's Elect in pieces, Jer. 23.29. been denounc'd in thy hearing, without any saving effect? thy Heart remaining whole within thy iron Breast! How often has the two-edged Sword of God's Word been pointed at thy Bosom, and yet thou remainest unconcern'd, almost as a Stone: If there was the least spark of Life in thee, wouldst thou endure such a weight of Guilt, as is enough, if it were imputed to them, to sink Thousands into Hell, and yet go so lightly under it, as if nothing ail'd thee! As if thou did not bear one single grain weight; no, no, Sinner: as sure, as God lives, thou art D$ad: If thine Eyes which are shut with blindness and seal'd with Death, were but open'd, thou wouldst soon feel the Sword of God in thy Heart, and c$y out wit$ the most dolorous and heavy Groans. What shall I do to be saved? Act. 2.37. O poor lost Sinner that I [Page 144]am where shall I fly for rest and refuge? Merciful and Gra­cious God, pity, pity, and pardon me.

2. Without Breath. Where there is any natural Life, there is Breath, Psal. 104.29. Ezek. 37.5. So where there is any spiritual Life, there is longing and breathing after God. Lam. 3.56. Hide not thine Ear at my breathing, at my cry, after Righteousness, Matth. 5.6. after Christ, Cant. 5.6. My Soul fail'd when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him Also the 4th & 5th verses. My beloved put in his Hand by the hole of the Door, and my bowels were moved for him; I rose up to open to my Beloved, and my Hands drop'd with myrrh, and my Fingers with sweet smelling myrrh upon the handles of the Locks. But thou art without trans­cendant and effectual desires after Christ and Heaven, Job 21.12, 13, 14. Rev. 3.16: Thou canst not speak (and have truth on thy side) in the Language of devout Asaph, Psal. 73.25. Whom have I in Heaven but thee, and there is none on Earth that I desire besides thee. No, thy religious desires, if thou hast any, are but lazy, inconstant, ineffectu­al, Balaam like wishes, Numb. 23.10. Let me dye the Death of the Righteous, and let my last End be like his. Yes, yes, he wanted to dye their Death, because he knew it was a transition to endless Joys, and never fading Pleasures; but not to live their Life, because of the Difficulties that at­tend it, thro' the Corruption of Nature. Are not presump­tous Sinners the very brood of Balaam, his faithful Fol­lowers in this absurd and fruitless practise?

3. Without Strength. Can a dead Man move or act? So unregenerate Sinners are in a helpless forlorn State, Rom. 5.6. as unable to remedy their Misery, as they are insensible of it, 2 Cor. 3.5. Thou can'st no more change thy self, than a dead Man can raise himself out of his Grave; you are like the dry Bones the Prophet speaks of, Ezek. 37.4. in respect of Ghostliness, Insensibility, Im­potency: Could these Bones put Sinews and Flesh upon themselves? No, it was God only, that by his Word and Spirit could put a Shaking among them, and Breath into them. So it is God alone that can convince thee soundly of thy Misery, and breathe divine Life into thy Soul. Mi­serable Man! thou lieft polluted in thy Blood and Gore, in a helpless and loathsom State, and there you must lie and perish eternally. No Man, no nor Angel can help thee, unless the God that made thee, whose Law thou hast broken, and whose Love thou hast so disingenuously abus'd, pities thee, and says to thee in thy Blood, Live, [Page 145] Ezek. 16.6. O Sinner! Sinner! Sinner! What a woful State is this? to be miserable and yet insensible of it! to be miserable and unable to remedy it! or so much as aright to desire an Escape. Let all the Patrons of Free-Will, those Painters of degenerate Nature, talk to Eter­nity, they will never be able to invalidate this solemn Truth.

4. A dead Man is without Motion. Life is the Spring of Motion; Life and Motion are inseperable, both in Grace and Nature; in him we live and move, Acts 17.28. Col. 2.1. Indeed graceless Persons may move about the outward Du­ties of Religion, but not spiritually from right Principles, and for right Ends, viz. Supreme Love to Christ and the Glory of God. Deceive not thy self, O Man! with Sparks of thy own kindling in this Matter, lest thou lie down in eternal Sorrow, Isai. 50.11. I mean, with mercenary, self­ish, slavish, lanquid Motions of the Soul towards Christ: Motions chiefly occasioned through the Desire of Happi­ness, or Fear of Misery.

5. A dead Man is destitute of Sight; he sees not, his Eye-strings are broke, his Eye-lids closed. Thus it is with thee, O presumptuous Sinner! Rev 3.17. 1 Cor. 2.14. Thou hast Eyes but seest not, Isai. 43.8. Bring the most beautiful and orient Colours to a dead Man, and will he be affected with them? No, no; how should he? he sees them not. So it is with you, when God's Servants en­deavour to paint before you the fair Flowers of the celes­tial Paradise, the blooming Beauties of the heavenly Eden, with a scriptural Pencil, why are you no more affected with them than in hearing a Romance, perhaps not so much? And has not the Description of Hell's Horrors as little Influence on your Fear, as the other on your Love? Is it possible, O Sinner! that you should sit so unconcern­ed in hearing such Truths that are of eternal Weight and infinite Moment, if you had a just Apprehension of their Nature and Consequences? No surely. I may say to thee as the blessed Jusus to the Woman of Samaria, John 4.10. If thou knewest the Gift of God (which is Christ) thou wouldst have asked, and he would have given thee living Water.

6 Hearing. Cry as lond as you will in the Ears of the Dead, and can they hear? No, that almighty Voice (and no other) which raised a dead Lazarus can awake them; and thus it is with presumptuous $nconver$ed Sinners, Isai. 6.$.10. They are like the deaf Adder that won't [Page 146]listen to the Charmer's Voice, charming never so wisely, Psalm 58.5. But when the Day of God's Power comes, then the Dead hear the Voice of the Son of God, and those that hear shall live. Psalm 110.3. John 5.25. & 10.27, 28. If it were not for the Hopes of this almighty Power going with the Word, the Ambassadors of Christ could have no more Hopes of perswading Sinners to embrace the Son of God, than of perswading those that are natu­rally dead to arise and quit the Graves in which they lie entombed.

7. A dead Man has no Taste. So poor presumptuous Sinners, you have no abiding Relish for the heavenly Man­na; you taste not the Sweetness of Christ and divine Things, for you are soon weary of, or but indifferent about the Use of those Means whereby they are obtained; such as hearing of the Word, Prayer, Meditation, pious Con­ferences. Or you rest securely in the Husk, or outside of these Duties, Rom 2.17,—20. Ay, but living gracious Persons taste the Sweetness of them, and of the precious Promises, 1 Pet 2.3, 7. 2 Cor. 7.1. 2 Pet. 1.4. They are ravish'd with the dear Love of the Lord Jesus, his very Name yields balsamick Sweetness to their Hearts, Cant. 2.3. & 1.3.

8. A dead Man is void of Beauty. O what a sudden and strange Alteration does Death make on the most come­ly and beautiful, their ruby Cheeks and Lips soon turn pale and livid; and that Face that charm'd the Beholders, now strikes them with a ghastly Horror. It is pertinently ob­served by Mr. Flavel on this Subject, ‘That although “ Abraham had a very tender Respect to his Wife Sarah when alive, yet when dead, he wanted her to be bu$ed ”out of his Sight,’ Gen. 23.4. She then wanted her wonted Charms, whatever, natural, civil or religious Ac­complishments: Unbelievers have (as it is confess'd some of them make a fairer Shew in the Flesh, than some others that are far better than they in other Respects; they are mild, affable, candid, courteous, just and regular in their external Conduct, and observant of the outward Duties of Religion) yet for the Want of good internal Principles they are loathsome, both to God and good Men, Deut. 32.19. Zech. 11.8. Psalm 15.4. ‘“These Ornaments, as accurate Mr. Flavel observes, are but just like. Roses to ”adorn a dead Corps.’ As to your outward Performances and Attainments which you rest in and are proud of, pray remember those two Places of Scripture, and may the Al­mighty [Page 147]grant that they may be as a Sword in your Bowels, making you continually uneasy, until your Sins be pardon­ed, and your Hearts changed, they are these following, Gal. 6.15 Matth. 5.20. Read and consider them, and pray over them.

9. Void of Fear. Hang a dead Man over the most ter­rible Precipice and flaming Furnace, he fears not, let the Danger be never so great and imminent; whereas one that had any Life, or Sense, would shiver to see these Things at a Distance. Now are not many presumptuous Sinners as void of Fear, though they are exposed to vastly greater Dangers: It may be justly said of many of them, as Job speaks of a fierce Horse in the Time of Battle, Job 39.22, 23. He mocketh at Pear, and is not affrighted, nei­ther turneth he his Back from the Sword, the Quiver rattleth against him, the glittering Spear and the Shield, he swallows up the Ground with Fierceness and Rage, neither believeth he that it is the sound of the Trumpet. Some obstinate Sin­ners are carried with such vehement Passion in Pursuit of their beloved Lusts, and are so hardned by them, that tho' God's Servants, and their own Consciences represent the Wormwood and the Gall, the Pain and Anguish, the Possession of every abhorred Evil, and the Loss of all de­sireable Good, their Sins will cost and produce, let them hang up the dreadful Sword of God, and blow the terrible Trumpet of his Judgments, describing the fatal Issue that will certainly succeed such Practices continued in; yet these Sinners will not believe or desist the Pursuit of their impious and impenitent Courses, but rather mock at Fear, and slight the rattling of the Quiver, Spear and Shield; and thereby act more foolishly than Balaam's Ass. What remains for such ef$ronted Rebels, but to leave them to seel what they will not fear, Prov. 29.1.

10 Speechless So presumptuous Sinners cannot speak the Language of Canaan, unless it be by rote; they are in­deed generally very awkward in this Matter; It is true, they may learn to speak something at the second Hand, by reading practical Books, and hearing others talk about Religion; but these Lessons not being learned by the Ho­ly Spirit, they are apt to forget them, and so to be $word$ Loss; or if they don't, their Speeches are but cold like themselves, when they would pronounce Shibboleth, they are apt to mince it and say Sibboleth. And it is admira­bly strange to see how they will discover themselves some­times, or the Badness of their State to a judicious Christian [Page 148]by that very Discourse by which they would appear to be religious, or obtain their favourable Opinion of their Pie­ty. Prov. 20.5. If we may not have a satisfactory, tho' sallible, Knowlege of the present State of those we con­verse withal, how shall we exercise a special Regard to such that are true Christians, as we are enjoined? Is not the spiritual Man said to judge all Things, 1 Cor. 2.15.

11. Dead Men neither hunger nor thirst; neither do pre­sumptuous Sinners hunger after Christ and Holiness; but on the contrary, hate them whatever they pretend: How can they love Christ who slight and abuse his poor Members. Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? Acts 9.4. How is it possible that those should truly love Holiness, who under­value and scoff at such in whom it shines, and seek to quarrel with them; the more holy and zealous a Man is, the less they like him; is this like hungring after Righ­teousness? Moderate Men, that is lukewarm People, they like very well, because they are of the same Mould with themselves, but it is the Property of living and gracious Persons to hunger after Righteousness, Matth. 5.6. and after the Lord Jesus, Psalm 42.1, 2. & 63.1, 2, 8. & 84.2.

12. Dead Men are gnaw'd by Worms: So wicked Men are stung and grip'd by their guilty Consciences a little here, but what are these gentle murmurings (which yet they don't like to hear, and therefore use all the Arts of Diversion to extinguish) to its loud roarings, stinging gripes, and fierce scourges, whereby it will lash and torture the Soul in the World of Spirits, where all the opium of Stu­pidity, Atheism, and all sensitive Delights, which give some allay and diversion to its Censures here, will be for ever remov'd. And now presumptuous and secure Sinners; let me address you in the Language of Paul to the Ephesi­ans, Chap. 5.14. Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the Dead, that Christ may give thee light. O will you sleep the sleep of eternal Death! Will you continue in Sin and Security, till you awake in Flames! Horrible! Fierce! Devouring! Consuming! Suffocating! and Ever­lasting Flames! Endless! Easeless! remediless Torments! O Holy and blessed Jesus! Seize these stupid, breathless Souls by thine Almighty Power; Open their Eyes that are shut with blindness, and seal'd with Ignorance; Open their Hearts that are lock'd with unbelief and prejudice: Speak to them, Gracious God, by thy Word and Spirit, as thou once did to a dead Lazarus, that they may hear and live: Merciful Father, thy poor Messengers cannot per­swade [Page 149]the Dead to live, they will be deaf to all our en­treaties, and still abide in Death, notwithstanding our utmost Importunities, unless thou concur; but Gracious God, tho' they are too hard for us, they are not for thee; thy glorious Power and rich Grace can make a speedy and saving alteration on them; Turn them! turn them! Al­mighty and most dear Father! and give them divine Life.

6. Under the Curse. O! Presumptuous Sinner! thou art under the Curse of that Law which thou hast broken. Gal. 3.10. Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things that are written in the Book of the Law to do them. You are under the Curse of that Gospel you have slighted. Joh. 3.18. He that believeth not is condemned already. Mar. 16.16. He that believeth not shall be damned. God the Fa­ther, and the Lord Jesus in whom you pretend to trust, Curse you: Our Text asserts, that all the Curses that are written in the Book of God, shall lie upon you, and that you are cursed, according to all the Curses of the Co­venant: And 1 Cor. 16.22. If any Man love not the Lord Jesus Christ let him be Anathema Maran atha; ac­cursed till that Jesus whom they slight, comes in his own and his Father's Glory, to publish their contempt of his Ways, Truths, Servants. In the 23d. Chapter of Matthew you may read what Curses Christ himself pronounced upon presumptuous Sinners.

But in order to awaken secure Souls, give me leave to be more particular under this Head.

1. O Presumptuous Sinner! thou art under a Universal Curse in Body and Soul, in the Gists of Nature and Provi­dence, in thy Priviledges and Performances: And first, thy Body in all its Parts is Cursed, Deut. 28.15, 16, 17, 18. Cursed are thy Eyes, which are Windows to let in Tempta­tions to Sin: Cursed is thy Heart which burns with base and filthy Lusts; Cursed are thy Hands which are polluted with Wickedness, perhaps with Bribery and Cruelty; Cursed are thy Feet which are swift to carry thee forwards in wicked Courses; Cursed is thy Tongue, which hath us'd deceit, both with God and Man, the Poison of Asps is under thy Lips. Read Rom. 3. from ver. 11, to 20.

2. Thy Soul is Cursed in all its Powers and Passions. Isai. 3.9. The shew of their Countenance doth witness against them, and they declare their Sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Wo to their Souls, for they have rewarded Evil unto them­selves. More particularly,

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Thy Understanding is Cursed, Isai. 5.20, 21. Art thou Ignorant in a Land of Light, in the midst of Opportunities of obtaining Knowledge; this heightens thy Guilt, Isai. 27.11 This is a People of no understanding; therefore he that made them will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will shew them no favour. And 2 Thes. 1.7, 8, 9. When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven with his mighty Angels in flaming Fire, taking Vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlast­ing Destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. Joh. 3.19, 20 And this is the Con­demnation that Light is come into the World, and Men loved Darkness rather than Light, because their Deeds were Evil; for every one that doth Evil hateth the Light, neither cometh to the Light, lest his D$eds should be reprov'd

Hast thou Knowledge? why thy Knowledge abus'd will increase thy Damnation, Luk 12, 47. And that Servans which know his Lord's will, and prepar'd not himself, nei­ther did according to his Will, shall be beaten with many strices. Jam. 4.17. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doth it not, to him it is Sin. Sin exceedingly aggravated Thy Knowledge thus abus'd, makes thee but more like the Devil, thy Master; who is an intelligent, but wicked Spirit: thy Subtilty is under the crafty Ser­pent's Curse, whose Seed thou art; upon thy Belly thou go$st, and carest of the Dust, and feedest on Ashes; for a de$ei$ful Heart b$th turned thee aside, and thou knowest not that there is a Lye in thy right Hand, Isai 44.20 Thou think st thou art rich and increased in Goods; and knowest n$t that thou art p$or, and blind, and miserable and naked, Rev. 3.17. Thou art wise to do Evil, but to do Good thou hast no knowledge, J$r. 4.22. Thy Will is under the Curse of Obstinacy, Joh 5.40. Thou hast been as the deaf Adder under all the Thunders of the Law, & Charms of the Gos­pel; thou hast been as little affected (to any purpose) when the beautiful Landskip of Heaven, and the flam­ing Tophet has been opened to thee, as a blind Mole would be, if a curious Picture was held before it: but hast contented thy self with Bal$am's wishes, or Judas's for­tows, without any saving closure with Jesus Christ, Joh 1.11.

Thy Cons$i$nce is Cursed with blindness and pollution. Tit. 1.15 But unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure, but even their Mind and Conscience is defiled. It is not yet purged from dead Works to serve the living God. [Page 151]Heb. 9.14. Is not thy Love accursed, which has been more set upon the momentary Enjoyments of Sin & Sense, than upon the blessed Jesus? 1 Cor. 16.12. Cursed is thy Desire, which has been more for Earth than Heaven. Psal. 4.6. There be many that say, who shall shew us any good. Cursed is thy Delight; which has been taken up with the practise of wickedness, while the Duties of Piety have been wearisom to thee, Eph. 4.15. Mal. 1.13 Cursed is thy Hatred; which instead of being fix'd upon Sin and Im­piety, has been terminate upon God and his People, and the practice of Holiness, Rom 8.7. Prov. 29.27. An un­just man is an abomination to the just, and he that is upright in the way is an abomination to the wicked. Isai. 59.15. Yea truth faileth, and he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey Cursed is thy Sorrow: which is either that Worldly grief about temporal Losses and Difficulties, which works Death, 2 Cor. 7.10 Or if spiritual, as to its ob­ject, namely, upon the account of Sin, its ineffectual to re­form thee from it in Heart and Life; it's like the sorrow of Cain, Judas, Esau, Ahab. Cursed is thy Shame: which wanders from its right object; thou art asham'd to own the despised Truths and Ways of Christ and Piety in religious Places, or before irreligious Persons, that are great in Wealth and Power; but thou art not asham'd perhaps in the mean time, to declare thy Sin as Sodom: Thus thou gloriest in thy Shame, and art asham'd of thy Glory, Phil. 3.19. Cursed is thy Fear; which is more concern'd about the displeasure of Man, whose breath is in his Nostrils, whose foundation is in the Dust, who are crush'd before the Moth, Isai 2.22. Job 4.19. than the displeasure of a great and dreadful God, whose Power is equal to his An­ger, Dan. 9.4. Psal. 62.11. More occupied about those things which are seen and temporal, than about those things which are unseen and eternal, namely the Bread that perisheth, than that which endures for ever, John 6. The loss of worldly Possessions in this, more than the loss of an everlasting Crown in the next Life; contrary to the directions of the Lord Jesus, Mat. 10.28. Mat. 6.24, 25, 26, 32.

3. The Gists of Nature, are accursed to thee; as Beauty, Health, Strength, Wit, Knowledge; because abus'd to Sin.

And 1. What avails the external Beauty of the Body, without the internal splendor of Holiness upon the Soul, is it not very vain and momentary. Psal. 39.11. Despis'd by God, 1 Sam. 16.7. Do not even some Beasts, as well [Page 152]as the most wicked Men, excel in it; does it not allure thee to Unchastity, or Pride, Prov 13.30. and is it not there­fore accursed to thee. Many People that dote upon their Beauty, either real or imaginary, are like a loathsome Car­rion in the account of an Holy God. 2. Does not your Health beget carnal Security, suppress pious Meditation, obstruct your Repentance and Conversion, by exciting you to put the evil Day far off, Amos 6.3, 4, 5. And there­fore is not your Health accursed to you? What avails Health of Body, while the Soul is Sick unto Death, Eph. 4.18. This is your woful Case.

3. Your Strength is what God regards not. Job 36.19. Psal. 147.10. It's common to Beasts, and unable to sustain you in distress, Psal. 33.16. It gives occasion to vain Glory, and is spent by you in the Service of Sin. Eph. 4.19. 1 Job. 2.16. and is therefore accursed to you.

Your Gifts of Mind, whether natural or acquired, preg­nant natural Wit, or Learning, stir up your Pride and Self confidence, and thereby obstruct your embracing Je­sus, and the Truth as it is in him, 1 Cor. 8.1. 1 Cor. 1.22, 23, 26. 2 Cor. 10.5. and therefore are accursed to you.

4. The Gists of Providence: Riches, Honours, Plea­sures, Authority, are accursed to you. Mal. 2.2. If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give Glory unto my Name, saith the Lord of Hosts. I will even send a Curse upon you, and I will curse your Blessings, yea I have curs'd them already, because you do not lay it to heart. This includes all the gists of Nature and Providence which I have mentioned. Psal. 11.6. Upon the Wicked he shall rain Snares, Fire and Brimstone, and a horrible Tempest shall be the portion of their Cup. So that whatever their Condition be in this World, it is a snare to their Souls; their Prosperity lifts them up, and makes them contemn God, Job 21. Their Adversity makes them murmur a­gainst him, Jer. 8.21. Are ye Rich? Cursed are ye in the City and in the Field. Cursed is your Baskes and your Store, the fruits of your Body, and the fruits of your Land, the increase of your Kine, and the flocks of your Sheep, Deut. 28.16, 17, 18. In the fulness of thy sufficiency thou shalt be in want, Job 20.22. Thy Table is a snare and a trap to thy Soul; every Morsel thou eatest is cursed, Psal. 69.22. Is not thy Wealth food for thy proud and sensual Lusts? Is it not the Devil's Bait, by which he leads thee captive to Sin, the thorn by which he torments thy earthly anxious Soul? It's strange to see Men growing proudes [Page 153]and prouder as their Debts increase: yet alas! it's too common; for the most do not behave themselves as Ste­wards for, and Tennants under God, in the management of their Substance; but as absolute Lords of what they possess, as if no Account were to be given of their Dis­bursements: But if any imagine so, they will find them­selves under a grand mistake. Luk. 16.1, 2 But let the ungodly know that their Prosperity thus abused and per­verted, serves but to fatten them for the Slaughtering Knife of God's Vengeance. Isai. 34.2. Jer. 12.3. Prov 1.32, Art thou honour'd by Men? Alas! what is this! while the Soul of a God hates and abhors thee! Psal. 11.5. and 10.3. Rev. 3.16 His Sword shall be bathed in Hea­ven, and it shall come down upon the People of his Curse to Judgment, Isai 34.5. Art thou in Authority, vested with a Civil Power of governing others, and yet governest not thy self? Remember the abuse of your Authority will ex­pose you to the greater Vengeance. Job 12.19, 21. Your Honour and Authority serve but to lift you upon a higher Pinacle, that you may get a greater and more fatal fall: Quo altiora eveuntur Lapsa graviore ruunt. Are you Afflicted? it's a doleful presage of your Damnation; a small drop of that scalding Ocean of Wrath which shall burn your Souls to Eternity in that dismal Gulph, where the Worm of your accusing, upbraiding and condemning Consciences shall never dye; and the Fire with which you shall be cover'd as with a Sheet of Lightning, shall never be quenched. Mark 9.44 unless you repent and reform. Psal. 7.12, 13. If ye turn not, he will whet his Sword, he hath bent his how and made it ready. Dost thou Rejoyce? Wo to thee, thou shalt mourn by and by with­out hope, and grind and gnash thy Teeth with Devils without End. Luk. 6.24, 25 But wo unto you that are Rich, for ye have received your Consolation: Wo unto you that are full, for ye shall hunger: Wo unto you that laugh now, for ye shall mourn and weep. Art thou Secure? thy sinful Slumber shall end in awful roarings, if not merciful­ly prevented by convincing and converting Grace, 1 Thes. 5.3.

5. Your religious Priviledges are also accursed to you by your abuse of them. Matth 11.21, 22. Wo unto thee Chorazin, wo unto thee Bethsaida; it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of Judgment than for you. The Word is a savour of Death unto Death to you, 2 Cor. 2.16. and the Sacraments Seals of Damnation, 1 Cor, 11.29.

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That the Performances of presumptuous Sinners are ac­cursed, I have prov'd before in this Discourse by several Reasons, which I shan't now resume. And to conclude this Head, let me aduce a few Scriptures more to confirm what has been offer'd under it, concerning the Universality of that Curse which rests upon unconverted presumptuous Sinners. Deut. 27.28. Chapters. Mat. 23. Rev. 8.13. Amos 6.1. Heb. 6.8. Isai 3.9, 11. Ezek. 16.23. Isai. 30.1. Isai. 45.9. Mich 2.1. Jud. 11. Hab. 2.6. Jer. 11.3. & 17.5. Psal. 119.21. Jer. 48.10. Job 24.8. Mal. 3.9.

2. Without intervening Repentance, you shall be under a judicial Curse. Matth. 25.41. What sorrow and asto­nishment shall possess presumptuous Sinners! when Zion's King, the exalted Lord Jesus shall arise from the Seat of Beauty and Throne of Majesty, which he now adorns, and where he's now admir'd and ador'd with the highest Ho­nours, deepest Reverence and strongest Affections by all the Hosts above, and descend visibly with a shout from the Third Heavens (attended with all the State and Gran­dure of a God, appearing in his own, and in his Father's Glory, encompass'd with Millions of Saints and Angels) to the middle Regions of the Air, and there be enthron'd on a body of blazing Light. Rev. 1.7. Behold he cometh with Clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him, and all the Kindreds of the Earth shall wai$ because of him. Luk. 9.26. For whosoever shall be ashamed of me, and of my words, of him shall the Son of Man be ashamed when he shall come in his own Glory, and in his Fathers, and of the Holy Angels. 1 Thes. 4.16. For the Lord himself shall descend from Heaven with a Shout, with the Voice of the Arch Angel, and with the Trump of God. And 2 Thes. 1.7, 8, 9 When the Lord Jesus shall be re­vealed from Heaven with his mighty Angels in flaming Fire, taking Vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall be punished with everlasting Destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.

What inexpressible Anguish must possess the Wicked, when being raised out of their Graves, and their wretch­ed Bodies and Souls shall be united, not to enjoy their former lawless Delights, but to feel the Doom they have thereby deserved! With what Reluctance shall these mi­serable Caitiffs be drag'd by the Devils to the dread Tri­bunal, to receive their final Sentence from the Judge of [Page 155]the whole Earth? They shall call to the Hills & Mountains to cover them, but in vain, nothing shall be able to hide them from the Face of the Lamb that sits upon the Throne, Rev 6.16. What Fear must needs possess their Hearts, what Shame cover their Countenances when they shall look on that Lord Jesus whom they have so affronted and offended, arrayed with infinite Power, great Glory and stern Majesty? What a magnificent and solemn Descrip­tion does the Prophet Daniel give of the Judge's Appear­ance, and the judicial Process, Dan. 9.10 I beheld till the Thrones were cast down, and the ancient of Days did sit, whose Garment was white as Snow, and the Hairs of his Head like the pure Wool, his Throne was like the fiery Flame, and his Wheels like burning Fire, a fiery Stream issued and came forth from before him; thousand thou­sands ministred unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him, the Judgment was set and the Books were opened; viz. of God's Precepts, Remembrance, and their own Consciences, in which will be found nothing but what was in Ezekiel's Roll, Mourning and Lamentation and Wo, Ezek. 2.10. It is probable the Apostle John alludes to this in the first Chapter of his Revelations, Verses 13, 14, 15, 16. In the midst of the seven Candlesticks, one like unto the Son of Man, cloathed with a Garment down to the Foot, and girt about the Paps with a golden Girdle; his Head and his Fairs were white like Wool, as white as Snow, and his Eyes were as a Flame of Fire, and his Feet like unto fine Brass, as if they burn'd in a Furnace, and his Voice as the sound of many Waters, and he had in his right hand seven Stars, and his Countenance was as the Sun shineth in his Strength. Yea, so terrible will be the Majesty of the incarnate God, that universal Nature shall languish in his Presence, the Heavens and Earth shall flee from his Face. Rev. 20.11. And I saw a great white Throne, and him that sat on it, from whose Face the Earth and Heaven fled away. How shall ungodly Sinners then stand before him in Judgment, and hear their secret Wickedness open­ly exposed, 1 Cor. 4.5. and their Persons publickly sen­tenced and cursed, Matth. 25.41. Go ye cursed into ever­lasting Burnings, prepared for the Devil and his Angels. What Words can be conceived more full of Horror than these? They were wont in their life time to bid God de­part from them, Job 21.14, 15. Therefore now they shall be commanded to depart from God, and all their unseason­able Pleas for Acceptance will be fruitless, Matth. 7.22, 23. As they loved Cursing, so it shall come upon them; [Page 156]for they must depart with a Curse into Fire! prepared Fire! Isai. 30.33. Everlasting Fire! to dwell with the Devil and his Angels, their sworn Enemies! procurers of their present Misery, who will doubtless triumph in their Pains, and use all their hellish Art to aggravate them af­ter the fatal Sentence is pronounced, which will extort piteous Groans and loud Laments from all the damned's inmost Bosoms; then will succeed the universal Conflagra­tion, which will put the whole Frame of Nature into the utmost Confusion and Disorder. Some learned Mon, par­ticularly, Dr. Stilling fleet, and Mr. Burnet, have observed, ‘“That it is highly probable there will be a great Analo­gy between the two Deluges, that which has been by ”Water, and that which will be by Fire’: And so doubt­less there will: As to the former the Windows of Heaven were opened above, and the Abyss below, which concur­ring, occasioned the Inundation of the Earth; so that the Conflagration Showers of liquid Fire shall be rained down upon the Earth, as God did once upon Sodom and Gomor­rah, Zeboim and Admah, and the sulphureous Matter which is hid in the Heart of the Earth; these Fountains of of Fire which have fed Etna and Vesuvius being opened and enflamed, will set the whole Earth and visible Hea­vens on Fire: What a rueful Plight must the damned be in then? How will they yell and roar after they have re­ceived their dreadful Doom, when such a Scene of Horror is opened before them, and they shall see the World breaking forth into Flames every where around them, and feel it trembling underneath them? For the Vapours that are confined in it's Bowels seeking vent, and meeting with Obstructions, will cause the whole Globe (it's probable) to reel and stagger like a drunken Man; what a melan­cholly Prospect must it be for these undone Creatures to hear the great Ocean roar with the most hideous Mur­murs, to see the Lights of Heaven veil'd with Darkness, and in the mean time the Air to blaze with portendous Comets? Think solemnly, O presumptuous Sinners, how shall you endure to hear the loud and terrible Blast of the Arch-Angel's Trumpet, which shall reach the utmost Ends of the Earth and Sea, and pierce the silent Recesses of the darksom Grave, and alarm it's sleeping Inhabitants out of their iron Slumbers? Will not the horrible Cracks and Thunders of the groaning dissolving Heavens, the asto­nishing Convulsions of the trembling burning Earth, re­turning to it's original Chaos, the roarings of millions of [Page 157]damned Men and Women, hopeless of Escape from that Wrath with which they shall be clad, as with a Coat of flaming Sulphur, daunt your Spirits, confound your Confi­dence, and sink your abandon'd Souls into the dreadful Gulph of endless Desperation?

3. Extreme and terrible; especially in the next Life: Then this Curse shall be more bitter to thee, than the Jealousy Water to the adulterous Woman, which made her Belly to swell, and her Thigh to rot; so that she be­came a Curse among her People: It shall come into thy Bowels like Water, and like Oyl into thy Bones; it shall cover thee as a Garment, and gripe thee as a Girdle, Numb. 5.27. Psalm 109.18, 19. For then ye shall be deprived of that personal Beauty, and moral Excellency, which the People of God shall then be adorned with When the Lord appeared upon the Mount of Transfigura­tion, his Countenance shone as the Sun, and his Garment was bright as the Light, Matth. 17.2. What an amazing Splendor then and dazling Brightness, must proceed from the Bodies of the glorified, which shall be conform­ed to the Body of Jesus, Phil. 3.21. And what supe­riour Beauty must shine in their Souls, when their Graces are perfected, and the most excellent Dispositions conti­nually excited towards God and Goodness. But instead of these, it's highly probable, that those whom God curses shall be covered with a Deformity suitable to their Abject and most wretched State; having their corrupt Dispositions much increased and enraged, and their moral Varnish quite removed: they shall appear like Devils incarnate, Matth. 25.28, 29.

2. Damned Souls shall be bereaved of the gracious Pre­sence of the blessed God, whose Loving kindness is better than Life, Psalm 63.3. And all the delightful Enjoyments of the heavenly World; which the brightest Images in the whole System of Nature, are not able to convey ade­quate Ideas of to our Understandings, in this embodied State; for here we see darkly as through a Glass, 1 Cor. 13.12. Eye hath not seen, nor Ear heard, neither hath is en­tred into the Heart of Man to conceive what God hath laid up for those that love him, 1 Cor. 2.9. The Believer's beholding of the various and transcendent Perfections of the glorious God, and the blessed Jesus, eternally engaged to advance his Happiness, must necessarily create an agre­able Wonder and rapturous Pleasure; when all the dark Scenes of Providence shall be opened, and the Beauties of [Page 158]redeeming Grace displayed, must not every pious Breast be filled with a joyous Transport? What reciprocal Mo­tions of a strong and steady Affection to God must needs result from the uninterrupted Communications of divine Love? but alas! these unhappy Souls whose woful Fate it shall be to be cursed by Christ judicially at the grand Assize, shall be plunged into the Damnation of Hell, and there eternally bereaved of the aforesaid Enjoyments, and perpetually racked with very contrary and tormenting Pas­sions; such as Sorrow, Hatred, Despair, Horror. The Un­derstandings of the Wicked will be enlarged, many of their former Mistakes shall be corrected by sad Experience, their Minds being freed from the Obstructions of gross Bodies, will doubtless be more keen in their Operations and Conceptions of the heigth of that Happiness they have forfeited, and the depths of that Misery they have incurred: Now proportionable to their Apprehensions of the Greatness of their Misery, will be their bitter Reflecti­ons upon the procuring Causes of it. Your Consciences which now for the most part sleep in your sinful and se­cure Bosoms, shall then be awakened with a Vengeance against you, whose Rebukes will indeed be hard to be en­dured, but impossible to be avoided: In this World they had many Arts to extinguish it's just Reflections, worldly Projects and Labours, sensitive Pleasures, carnal Counsel, and a false Confidence, which they industriously improved for that End, and perhaps attained it to their content; the Amusements of this life, or the Hopes of a better (tho' against all Scripture and Reason) made them easy and un­concerned, tho' in the midst of Danger; but now when all these carnal Comforts and groundless Hopes are for ever, and at once removed, the Soul strip'd naked of those Dependencies in which it used to trust and triumph, how will it sink into the depths of Sorrow, the Horrors of Dis­pair Especially

1. When the Memory suggests the Greatness of that Glory they have lost; some Beginnings of which they have seen at the general Judgment, when the Persons of the Righteous were honoured with the most joyful Congra­tulations, and their Bodies ad$$$$'d with the brightest Splen­dors, shining like so many Stars about the Son of Righte­ousness, advanced to the greatest State and Magnificence, seated on resplendent Thrones near the Son of God, the great Judge of the whole Earth, Luke 15.28 Then shall you see Abraham. Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of God, and you your selves shut out.

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2. When the Memory suggests the frequent Offers of that Happiness they enjoyed under the Gospel of Christ, and the importunate Intreaties of God himself, and his faithful Servants, that they would accept of them, Hos. 11.8. How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? How shall I deliver thee, Israel? How shall I make thee as Admah? How shall I set thee as Zeboim? Mine Heart is turned within me, my Repen­tings are kindled together. As also the frequent Warnings they had, both by the Word and the Rod, of the Danger that would ensue their Refusal; How shall we escape?

And (3) That contrary to all the Laws of Reason and Gratitude, they obstinately refused the offers of Life, a­bus'd the Opportunities of Mercy, embrac'd their own Ruin with open Arms, sondly sought after naked Destructi­on, and were laborious in the pursuit. Will not these Considerations aggravate the Misery of the Damned? and awake all their painful Passions? As Particularly,

1. Their Sorrow: When the damned consider, and are forc'd to confess that they perish deservedly, and that their Destruction is just, being but the natural and necessary Consequence of their own voluntary and vicious Choice: Will not Grief in all it's awful Forms fill all the darksome Regions of the Damned with heavy Groans and dolorous Complaints? O wretched Soul that I am, who have been deaf to Instruction, and despised Reproof, who have court­ed Destruction, and made a League with Death! Cursed be the Day that ever I was born! Once Mercy was in my Offer, but I slighted my own Happiness, and barter'd it away for Trifles of no Moment or Duration, like Judas and Esau, and now it is gone, gone for ever! The Sun of Salvation is set, and never will rise more, and I am lest in Darkness and in Death, justly bereaved of that Mercy I despised! When unfortunate Esau miss'd but a tempo­ral Blessing of his Father, He cried out with an exceeding great and bitter Cry, Bless me, even me, O my Father, Gen. 27.38. Now what extreme Agonies do you think will possess you (continuing impenitent) when instead of a Blessing you shall have a bitter Curse, and all your petiti­oning shall be as vain as Esau's.

The Causes of Sorrow, as Dr. Bate's justly observes, ‘“is the Loss of some valued Good, or the Sense of some ”present Evil.’ Now proportioned to the Greatness of the Causes must be their Effects. How deep then must be the Sorrow of the Damned, who are deprived of the [Page 160]greater Good, God himself, and exposed to the greatest penal Evil, his Anger and highest Displeasure?

2. Your Shame: Is not the Cause of Shame, the know­ledge of ones faults, and their folly and degeneracy in them. Tacita sudent precordia culpa;

"The Guilt which from unseen Pollution springs,
"Pale sweating horror in their Bosom brings.

and the more publickly your Crimes are expos'd to others observance, does it not sharpen the piercing stings of your shameful reflections? What shame then must cover the Faces, and perplex the Hearts, of presumptuous Sinners? when they appear before the flaming, and severe Tribu­nal of a holy, jealous God? and hear the whole Series of their past Wickedness which they here labour'd to conceal, (and were easy if they could accomplish that design) there open'd in all its aggravated Circumstances to the hatred and contempt of a vast Assembly of Spirits. Shall not the Damned retain some sense of this throughout Eternity?

3. Their hatred and self revenge; when they remember the condescending Methods that Mercy us'd with them, the court the Great God made to them for their Salvation, which they by their cruel and presumptuous Obstinacy ren­der'd ineffectual, they will be ready to tear out their own Hearts, or dig out their bowels, if they could effect it.

4. Their Fear: They shall not only be tormented with the remembrance of past Mercies abus'd, and with the sense of present Pains, but with the fears of future Miseries, for they shall have a sure Prospect of the Eternal and un­interrupted duration of their present Torments. Rev. 14.10, 11. The same shall drink of the Wine of the Wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture, into the cup of his Indignation, and be shall be tormented with Fire and Brimstone, in the presence of the holy Angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their Torments ascendeth up forever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night. All the Afflictions of this Life are allay'd and tem­per'd with some Mercies, and desirable Enjoyments; but in Hell, which is the proper center of Misery, there will be Misery without any mixture of pity or Mercy: All the groans of the Damned cannot incline the Compassions of a justly offended and inexorable God Isai. 37.11. Then farewell Hope and Happiness, and all Good for ever! Another additional ingredient or circumstance of [Page 161]the Damned's Torments, will be the Place where they are inflicted, a Place where the thickest darkest and in­tensest Heat for ever reign, a Place where not the least dawn of Light is allowed those forlorn Wretches, unless what serves to discover the Instruments of their Pain, a Place where damned Men and Devils are blended toge­ther in one promiscuous Throng, and the former perpe­tually exposed to the cruel Tyranny of the latter; Who among us shall dwell with devouring Fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting Burnings?

4. The Curse will be irrevocable and eternal, except they repent: Go on a little longer in your vicious Cour­ses, in slighting God's Love, breaking his Law, and quench­ing the Motions of his blessed Spirit, and your Case will be past Remedy; for God's Spirit shall not always strive with Men, Gen 6.3. Hence we are bid to call upon him while he is near, to seck him while he may be found, Isai. 55.6. which intimates plainly that if he be not sought while he is near, while he strives with us by his Spirit, he may be sought afterwards but in vain; though his Mercy wait long, yet it will not wait always, his abused Patience will have a Period, and perhaps quickly with thee.

O presumptuous Sinner! if thou perfistest any longer in thy Impiety, thou may'st expect that Christ will give thee that final Curse, which he gave the Fig-free, Mark 11.13, 14, 20, 21. Let never Fruit grow on thee more. And say to thee as to Ephraim of old, Ephraim is joined to Idols, let him alone, Hos. 4.17. And to those mentioned, Rev. 22.11. Let him that is filthy be filthy still. Because I have purged them, and they were not purged, therefore I will not purge them any more, till I cause my Fury to rest on them, Ezek. 24.13. If this happens to be thy Case, then wo to thee that ever thou wast born! Pray consider that the Time of God's gracious Visitation (wherein he offers Mer­cy) does not always last so long as a Man's Life, nay that it frequently thro' their Obstinacy expires before it. The longest Period of Patience that we find afforded to any, was that which the old World was made the Subject of, which contained the Space of one hundred and twenty Years, Gen 6.3$ 1 Pet. 3.19, 20. Yet this was not the sixth Part of the Time they usually liv'd before the Flood; ten or twelve Years are longer to us, than one hundred and twenty was to them, compating the different Ages Men ordinarily liv'd to then, and now. Now if the Curse [Page 162]may be rendred through Men's Obstinacy irrevocable in this World, it will surely be eternal in the next; this the holy Scriptures are very full and express in asserting. See Isai 33.14. Dan. 12.2. Mark 18.8. 2 Thess. 1.9. Heb. 6.2. Mark 9.43, 44. Jude 13. Rev. 14.11. If it be objected, that the Words Eternity, or, ever and ever, only signifies a limited Space of Time: It is true, they do so in some Places of Scripture; but it is as true that in many other Places they signify an endless: Duration, as where Eternity is ascribed to God, Psalm 9.7. & 29.10. and 146.10. and eternal Happiness to pious Persons. It would be as ridiculous as blasphemous, to say, that God shall live but for a few Ages, and is absurd to imagine that the Godly should be happy but for the same Space. Now in the narrow Compass of one Verse, we find the same Eternity ascribed to the Torments of the Damned, as to the Happiness of the saved; These shall go away into everlasting Punishment, but the righteous into Life eternal, Matth 25.46. which not only the Identity of Expression, but the Antithesis, or Law of contraries obliges us to be­lieve is of the same Extent: If we may limit the Duration of the one, we may with equal Reason the other. But it is objected, that it's contrary to the Justice and Good­ness of God to inflict an infinite Punishment for a finite Offence: In answer to this, let the following Particulars be consider'd.

1. That though Sin be finite subjectively in respect of the Person, by which, and the Time in which it is com­mitted, yet it is infinite in regard of it's Object, for it is committed against an infinite God, an Affront to infinite Sovereignty, a Disparagement of infinite Wisdom, and an Abuse of infinite Love, and therefore deserves in Justice an infinite Punishment. In short, Sin is a most pregnant and complicated Evil, containing in it a direct Contradicti­on to, and vile Reflection upon all the Perfections of the Deity, an unnatural Revolt from his Government, which we are bound to obey by the strongest Ties of Reason and Gratitude, because of his creating, preserving, providing and redeeming Love, and that upon the meanest Exist­ments, the shadowy Honours and perishing Profits of a vain World, and the brutish Pleasures of Sense. Is it not a Maxim in all Courts of Judicature, that the Offence in­creases in its Heinousness in proportion to the Dignity of the Person offended; for if no Distinction of Persons be allowed respecting the civil Authority with which they [Page 163]are invested, then all Order and Government is destroy­ed, and a Babylonish Anarchy introduced in its Room. ‘“If it be thought just and lawful among Men (as Mr. Stackhouse observes) for very great and outragious Crimes to inflict such Punishments upon Offenders that the civil Government may be preserved, as shall affect the whole Duration of their Lives, (which is all of their Beings we have any Power over) it can't sure be thought unjust in God to inflict such Punishments upon Sinners as shall affect the whole Duration of their Beings, because there is manifestly in this Case as great a Difference in their ”Crimes, as in the Duration of their Punishments.’

2. It is rational and agreable to the divine Wisdom that such Penalties should be annexed to the Breach of the di­vine Laws, as do over ballance all Incentives to Vice, that the Subject's Obedience may be effectually secured, the Sovereign's Honour inviolably maintain'd, and the Ends of Government obtained. But temporary Punishments are not sufficient to procure this Obedience, therefore the De­nounciation of eternal is necessary.

The second Proposition which only needs Proof, may be thus confirm'd: If through the obstinate Pravity of Men's Natures, and the numberless Enticements to Sin, the Denounciation of eternal Punishments has but little Influence on the most; how much less would a Punish­ment of a vastly shorter Duration. It is a just Observati­on of Dr. Tillotson and Mr. Jenkins, ‘That if the Law “be good and necessary, and cannot so effectually be o­bey'd without a severe Punishment to enforce it, the Se­verity of the Punishment is so far from being a Cruelty, that it's a just and wise Provision to secure Obedience to the Law, and to procure the Benefit designed by it's ”Institution.’

3. Men have brought into their Natures a Disposition to sin eternally. It is very probable, that were they allow­ed to live here for ever, they would act as perversly as they do at present (unless the Almighty changed them by that Grace which they had forfeited, by their sinful Obstinacy) nay worse, if worse can be, than the Pitch some have come to; if they knew they should be indulg­ed with so long a Duration here; for then all the Re­straints which are drawn from the Brevity and Uncertainty of their Time, as well as from the Terrors of Death, and that State of Rewards which immediately ensues it, (which gives some Check to the most) would be entirely removed. [Page 164]The Saying of Gregory upon this Head is remarkable, ‘Ir “becomes the Justice of our Judge (saith he) that they who in this Life would never be without Sin, should ”in the next never be without Punishment.’

4. God does but deal with Men in this Case according to their Choice. Is it not reasonable that the Almighty having made Creatures that are capable of moral Service, should give them a Law to direct them in it, enfore'd by such Rewards and Punishments, as are suitable to excite to the Obedience of it, or deter them from Disobedience? Now if the Penalty be no greater in weight or duration than the Reward, who can with any reason find fault? especially considering that none shall be obliged to endure it, but such as voluntarily choose the way that leads to it; if you don't like the Wages of Sin, pray avoid the Work; but if you will choose your own ruin, who can you blame but your selves? It's but equal, that those who slight an endless Life, should be punished with an endless Death.

5. It's necessary for the preservation of the divine Ho­nour, and agreable to the Order God has established of communicating his Favours, that Criminals who expect his Mercy, should sue for it, repent of, and reform from their Wickedness; but the Damned are so far from this, that they will perpetually increase their Abominations; for their Enmity against God, which is now in a great measure con­ceal'd, shall be then enflam'd by the severity of their Tor­ments; their impatience to endure them, and inability to avoid them. This will excite them to belch forth bold Blasphemies against the blessed God, with the most fierce and furious transports of implacable, tho' impotent Malice; that if their power were equal to their desire, they would tear him from his Throne Rev. 16.10, 11. They gnaw'd their Tongues for pain, and blasphem'd the God of Heaven, because of their pains and sores, and repented not of their Deeds. In Hell, we are told by the Lord Jesus, will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, Mat. 8.12. Intense Indigna­tion, as well as great Sorrow. Now if the wickedness of the Damned continue, will not God's irrefragable Justice incline him to continue their deserved Punishment?

7 Thy Case is extreamly dangerous, tho' thou art not sensible of it: Thou are like a Man sleeping on the top of a Mast in the miast of the Sea, Prov. 23.34. Every moment in danger of Death. Would it not make your Heart ake, and your Bowels bleed to see a poor Creature securely slumbering on the Round top of a Vessel in the time of a [Page 165]Storm, when the Sea being vext with the Winds, rowls Mountains high? or would you not be affected with the sight of one hanging over a burning Furnace by a small Thread? or walking fearlesly on the brink of a fatal Pre­cipice without the least discovery of the neighbouring dan­ger? every step ready to tumble into a violent and cruel Death? O Friend, this is thy very case! Thou art every moment in danger of being sunk in the Sea of God's Wrath! and if wallowed up with the Billows of his Indignation! Tho' thou art secure and unconcerned, thou hangest over the Gulph of Hell by the slender Thread of thy Life, yea thou fearlesly walkest upon the narrow Line of Life, just by the brink of the eternal Furnace: The terrible Sword of God's Justice hangs over thy Head, as it were by a Hair, ready to pierce thy Bowels, and bathe it self in thy Gore. Is this a case to Sleep in? to Laugh in? and to take thy Ease? Amos 6.1. Wo to those that are at ease in Zion. Come Friend, in the Name of the Great God my Lord and Master, let me tell thee a little more of thy danger and misery. The Holy God hates thee, as thou dost a Toad. Psal. 7.11. Jer. 12.8. The whole Trinity is against thee, while thou continuest in this State: God the Father, for thy slighting the marvellous Projects of his Grace and Love in the Lord Jesus. Heb. 10.26,—32. God the Son, for your making light of the Blessings he bought with his Blood. Mat. 22.3, 7. And God the Holy Ghost, for your resisting and quenching his good motions. Act 7.51. All God's Attributes are engag'd to Damn you, so con­tinuing. If there is Power, or Truth, or Justice in God, ye shall perish except ye repent. Luk. 13.3. Mat. 22.13. Then said the King to the Servants, bind him hand & foot, and cast him into utter darkness, there shall be weeping and gnash­ing of teeth. Matth. 13.30. Gather together the Tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them. All the Hosts of God, whether in Heaven or on Earth are against thee: The very Stars in their Courses fought against Sisera, Judg. 5.20 The holy Angels must needs resent the dishonours offered to their offended Master, and therefore they are sometimes the Executioners of his righteous Judgments a­gainst the Wicked. 2 King. 19.35. 1 Chron. 21.30. Psal. 35.5. The Earth groans under thee, while thou art a stranger to God. Rom. 8.22. The very bruit Creatures revolt from their subjection to sinning Man, and thereby avenge the quarrel of their injur'd Lord. Poor presump­tuous Sinner! thou hast no Friend in Heaven or Earth [Page 166]that is able to stand by thee and succour thee in thy di­stress? You can look no where, but where there is oc­casion of fear and sorrow: If ye look backwards, there is a doleful Landskip opens to your view, of a Life spent in vain, a Life spent in offending the Author of it, and thereby procuring an endless Death: If ye look forward, what can be more terrible than to behold your gradual advances to a Place of inexpressible Misery: If you look upward, Heaven is shut and seal'd against you; behold a flaming Cherub (viz the Justice of an incensed God) guards that Celestial Eden from such Intruders: If ye look down-ward, Hell from beneath is mov'd to meet you at your coming, Isai. 14.9. If you look inward, what can you see but Sin and Security? The dreadful Presages of your endless Misery! Whatever conceit you have of your Wit, or Wealth, you are nevertheless wret hed, poor, blind, mise­rable and naked, Rev. 3.17. Brethren, if ye had all the Mines of Peru and Mexico, and yet wanted the Graces of the Spirit, that try'd Gold, you are wretchedly Poor. Mayn't a Man be justly called Poor that has no Bread to eat, or House to cover him, no Shelder to throud from the Rain? This is thy Case; thou hast no Interest in the Bread of Life, the Heavenly Manna, Prov. 14.10 Rev. 2.17. no Interest in the House not made with Hands, eter­nal in the Heavens, whose builder and maker is God, Heb. 11.10 Blind without any saving knowledge of God or your Selves, or the Truth as it is in Jesus. Eph. 4.21. 2 Cor 11.10. 1 Cor 2.14 and sentenc'd to all Evil, as out Text asserts: N$ked, without any right to the precious Robe of the Redeemer's Righteousness, Isai 61.10 with­out any Shelier to protect you from the storms of God's Indignation, Psal 69.24. Heb 10.27. Without God and without Christ, without Hope, without the Covenants of Pro­mise, Eph. 2.12. Every leaf in the Bible spits Fire and Venom in thy Face, for there's not a Promise in all the Book of God for you, so continuing, 2 Cor. 1.20.

Object. I hope I shall be sav'd for all your threats, tho' I ben't Converted, and so precise as you talk of.

Ans. My threats; they are not mine, but the threatnings of the God that made you. If you are sav'd without Con­version, then the Truth of God must fail, Joh. 3.3. Gal. 6.15. But if in the face of Light you will obstinately hold your false Confidence, then remember, Rebel, that all the Curses that are in this Book, shall lie upon thee; as our Text affirms. God's Anger and Jealousy shall smoke [Page 167]against you, and your Names shall be blotted out from under Heaven!

Object. 2. I can't believe these hard things.

Why then you are an Infidel, you will give your Maker the Lye, when you won't believe his Word: But your unbelief won't render the Faith of God without effect, Rom. 3.3. If you won't believe, you must be put to the ex­pence of having your wilful Mistakes corrected by sad and hopeless Experience, by feeling what you would not cre­dit, accomplish'd in your Destruction. But I don't wonder you won't believe that which tends to distrub the false Ease you so inordinately affect, and as greedily, as foolishly la­bour to retain to your cost.

Again, the Devil your Father is as unwilling you should believe these threats, as you are your selves; for he knows that if you were sensible of your danger, you would labour more to escape it than you do at present, and so be in a more likely way to get out of his Clutches.


USE. I. Of Consolation to the People of God, who have good scriptural Evidences of their Hope, who have been brought to Christ by a sound Conviction, and Conversion of the whole Soul, and whose course of Life is Holy and Heavenly; blessed are ye of the Lord, rejoyce and be exceeding glad, for ye are delivered from those Curses I mentioned, and invested with the contrary Bles­sings and Benefits, by Christ's being made a Curse for you; and thus has deliver'd you from the Curse of the Law, Gal. 3.13. Sing O Heavens! and be joyful O Earth! and break forth into singing, O Mountains! for the Lord hath comforted his People, and will have Mercy upon his offlicted, Isai 49.13. There is no Condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, Rom. 8.1. Sin shall not have dominion over you, for ye are not under the Law, but under Grace, Rom. 6.14. Ye are brought from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that ye might receive forgiveness of Sins, and an Inheritance among them that are sanctified, Act. 26.18 For God who commanded the Light to shine cut of dark­ness, hath shined in your Hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, 2 Cor. 4.6. As a thick Cloud God has blotted out your transgressions for his own Names sake, Isai. 44.22. To them that fear God's Name has the Sun of Righteousness arisen [Page 168]with healing under his Wings. Mal. 4.2. O how should ye love and serve that Holy Jesus, that hath purchased so great things for you at so dear a rate. Remember precious Souls to your eternal Comfort,

1. That you are under a universal Benediction: Blessed are you in Body and in Soul, and in all their Parts and Powers; blessed are your Eyes, for they see, and your Ears for they hear, and your Heart, for it understands, and loves the things that belong to your Peace: Blessed are your Bowels that are fill'd with compassionate relentings towards the poor and needy; your Hands which are open to sup­ply the Indigent, and your Feet that freely and frequently carry you to the beds of Spices (the Assemblies of the faithful) where you may meet and serve your Jesus. Blessed are your Minds with beams of Divine Light, in that you see the Holiness, and other Perfections of God, the amiableness of Religion, the beauty of Jesus, the horrors of Sin and Hell, the necessity and excellency of Holiness and eternal Happiness affectionately & effectually. Blessed are you who know the Truth as it is in Jesus, who know these things and do them. Joh. 13.17. Blessed are your Wills that have heartily, unreservedly, deliberately, and resolvedly clos'd with Christ. Joh 1.12. Luk 9.23, 24. Blessed are your tender Consciences that so readily smite you for the least Offences. Blessed are your Affections that flow with an easy and eager proneness towards Christ and Holiness. Blessed is your Love, in that you can say with Peter, Lord Jesus thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee, Joh 21.17. Your Desires; that you can say with Asaph, Whom have I in Heaven but thee, or on Earth that I desire besides thee Psal. 73.25. Your Delights; that you can say with David, One Day in thy Courts is worth a thou­sand elsewhere, Psal 84.10 Blessed is your Hatred, which is fix'd upon it's right Object, Sin; and your Dislike, that it's plac'd on wicked People, tho' never so great and pros­perous. Psal. 15.4. Do not I hate them that hate thee. Blessed are you in your Enjoyments, for they come through the Gracious Covenant, swiming in the Ocean of Christ's Blood, and are sanctified to you by the Holy Spirit.

Your God spreads a Table for you in the Wilderness before the face of your Enemies: Let your Conversation be without Coveteousness, and be content with such things as ye have; for he hath said, he will never heave thee nor forsake thee, Heb. 13.5. Your God will supply all your need, Phil. 4.19. All God's Providences are blessed to you, [Page 169] Rom. 8.28. Are you Afflicted? It's a fatherly Chastise­ment, Heb. 12.6, 7. Are you Prosperous? It's a presage of your endless Happiness: All things are yours, whether Prosperity, Poverty, Life, Death, things present or things to come; and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's, 1 Cor. 3.22, 23. Every thing shall work together to advance your Happiness; Paul and Apollos is your's: The Word is a favour of Life unto you, and the Sacraments Seals of Sal­vation, Rom. 8.28. Thus all your Enjoyments and Privi­ledges are bless'd; and if God is for you, who shall be a­gainst you, Rom. 8.31. Your Performances also meet with a gracious acceptance; for tho' they are in themselves but Pillars of Smoke, they are nevertheless persum'd with Myrrh and Frankincense, and all the Powders of the Mer­chant, Cant. 3.6. Do you mourn, poor Souls? blessed of Christ are you, for you shall by & by rejoyce world without end, Mat. 5.4. Light is sown for the Righteous, and joy for the upright in Heart, Psal. 97.11. As your Blessings are universal, so,

2. They shall be final and perpetual. Tho' your Hus­band may hide his Face from you for a moment, because of your miscarriages, yet he will return with everlasting loving kindness, Isai. 54.7, 8. Psal 89.32, 33.

3. Your Blessings shall be as publick and solemn as they are lasting and durable. Ye shall be honoured with that glorious Benediction mentioned by the Evangelist, Math. 25. Come ye blessed of my Father &c. before the face of God and Angels; and Men and Devils, reprobate and damned Angels, will be fill'd with Indignation at your joyful and solemn reception, but shan't be able by all the efforts of their malice, to make your Crown twinkle, for your state of Happiness shall be Eternal, it shall last as long as God endures. Mat. 25.46. And,

4. Exquisitely sweet and ravishing; being receiv'd by your dearest Jesus with the tenderest Congratulations, the sweet­est Smiles, and most joyful Triumphs, you shall ascend into $word$ Seat of the blessed, the Imperial City of the most high God, after the general Judgment, when you have seen with pleasure (because God's Justice is thereby honoured) all the damned Hosts of Angels and Men justly sentenc'd to their cursed Tophet, then shall you ascend the high and holy Hills of the Heavenly Paradise, with God the Father, Son and Spirit, and his holy Myriads of triumphing Angels, with Hearts brim full of joy and gladness, and your Lips breathing forth sweet and continual Hosannah's: the loud and harmonious Accents of which shall strike the [Page 170]Concave of the Heavens, when your joyous Squadrons, hav­ing the mighty God for their Guide and General, shall with august Port and regular Array advance to, and arrive at the Regions of the blessed; the golden pearly Gates of that celestial City of the great King will open of their own accord to give easy access to that blessed throng of Angels and Elect Persons, when the redeemed of God shall come with Crowns on their Heads to Zion, that Para­dise of Pleasure, where sorrow and sighing shall fly away: Their pace thither will doubtless be very speedy, having such an eager Wing as Love & Joy will form. It's highly probable that the very sight of the New Jerusalem at a distance will fill their Hearts with the most pleasing Sen­sations; as when the Italians came within sight of their native Shoar, they made the Heavens ring with Shouts and joyful Acclamations, crying out aloud, Italie, Italie, Itali­am, Italiam Leto clamore Salutant. But when you are come to your happy Mansions, what Seraph's Tongue can describe the Pleasures that shall then possess your Souls, when you shall have a safe and secure retreat from all the boisterous Winds and Waves of Sin & Sorrow which beat upon you, and rowl'd over you in this tempestuous and troubled Ocean: and shall on the contrary be unspeakably ravish'd with the uninterrupted views and enjoyments of the blessed God, and the dear and transcendently lovely Lord Jesus; when your Love and Joy shall be perfected, and your Souls eternally satisfyed with the continual Ema­nations of the Divine Affection, the Conversation & Social Worship of holy Angels and blessed Saints throughout Eternity.

USE. II. Of Exhortation. But I turn me to offer a Word more to those Presumptuous Souls that have no In­terest in this Happiness Friends, I hope I may say with Moses, that I have this Day (according to my capacity) set Death & Life before you, the Blessing & the Curse: What do you think, will you or will you not, pluck out your right Eye, and cut off your right Arm? If you will still delay, or deceive your selves, then Hear O Heavens! and give Ear, O Earth! let all the Creation blush and be ashamed at your obstinacy! He that hath an Ear to hear, let him hear! O Earth! Earth! Earth! Hear the Word of the Lord, Jer. 22.29. I call God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost to witness against you: I call the Sun in the Firmament to witness your bold and vile affront offered to God and his Christ; would not even that obedient and [Page 171]glorious Creature shrow'd his brighter beauty with a blush­ing Vail at the fight of your perverseness and obstinacy, if he could be made sensible of it I call the Elect Angels that are in this Meeting House, to appear before Christ in the Day of his coming to Judgment, and witness your Mur­derous neglect of Christ and your Souls: I charge your Consciences to bear witness of this against your selves, and against one another. I need not call the Devils, for they will readily enough accuse you before Christ, when he shall be seated on his starry Throne, and you arraign'd at his dread Tribunal. Hear me, O Presumptuous Sinners! I adjure you by the most high God! that ye persist no longer in these Paths of Death: Hate me, and abuse me as much as you please, I don't mind your Reproaches, they are a Pleasure to me in this Life, and they will add to my Crown in the next: Only pity your own Souls. O ye Sons and Daughters of Shame and Death, bear with my Importunity a little longer, for by and by the Sun of Mercy will set upon you, and you will hear nothing but the loud roarings of the Devils, and the hideous Shrieks & Groans of the Damned, instead of Ministers: You Worldly minded Fleshly People; you Prophane Rebels; you Heathen Mo­ralists, and Pharisaical lifeless Formalists; consider I be­seech you, that it's dreadful to fall under the Curses of the Law, but more terrible to be expos'd to the Curses of the Gospel. It's awful to be Cursed by your Creator, but it's more so to be Cursed by your Redeemer O Sinners! will you Sleep quietly on the Battlements of Hell? on the brim of the Eternal Furnace? Prithy lay your Ear to that Pit of Dragons, and hear how heavily the Damned groan, how piteously do they lament and moan over their for­mer Presumption, which is now turn'd into endless Des­pair: Hear how loudly they roar, how frightfully they screech and yell; see how they rage and soam, and gnash their teeth with desperate madness; and look how the malicious Devils torment and rack those forlorn damned Caitiffs; many of which had the same Priviledges which thou now enjoyest, and doubtless had as strong hopes of escaping this misery as thou hast at present; how soon! how soon! may'st thou be amongst them?

Consider, O Sinner! what a variety of Methods the gracious God has us'd with you to reduce you to your Duty and Allegiance; to reclaim you from your Sin and Ruin; and how ineffectual they have been through your obstinacy and pres$$ption! How many Mercies has the good God [Page 172]heap'd upon you? which instead of drawing you to Re­pentance (as according to the Laws of Reason and Grati|$ude they should, Rom. 2.4) have been abus'd by you to the encrease of your former Wickedness; thereby treasur­ing up to your selves Wrath against the Day of Wrath, and Revelation of the righteous Judgment of God, Rom. 2.5. How often has the Word of the living God been spoken to you, but in vain, Isai. 53. Isai. 65.2. Think on these following Scriptures, and tremble under the just and sad apprehensions of thy Sin and Danger. Prov. 1.21, 24, 25, 26. 2 Cor. 4.3, 4. But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost, in whom the God of this World hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God should should shine upon them. Isai. 6.2, 10. Go and tell this 'People, hear ye indeed, but understand not, and see ye indeed, but perceive not; make the Heart of this People fat, and make their Ears heavy, and shut their Eyes, lest they see with their Eyes, and hear with their Ears, and under­stand with their Hearts, and convert and be healed.

The Intreaties of a God and Saviour have had little or no Power upon you; what wretched Shifts did ye use to keep those Soul alluring and Heart melting Addresses of the condescending God, and wooing Redeemer from pierc­ing your very Souls, and captivating your hard Hearts to the Obedience of Christ? Must you not have iron Bow­els, and Hearts of Steel and Adamant, that can withstand such passionate Intreaties as these following? Ezek. 33.11. Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no Plea­sure in the Death of the Wicked, but that the Wicked turn from his Way and live: Turn ye, turn ye, from your evil Ways; for why will ye die, O House of Israel? Deut. 32.29. O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end. Deut 5.29. O that there were such an Heart in them, that they would sear me, and keep all my Commandments always, that it might be well with them and their Children for ever. Ezek. 18.30. Repent and turn your selves from your Transgressions, so Ini­quity shall not be your Ruin. Micah 6.3. O my 'People, What have I done unto thee, and wherein have I wearied thee? Testify against me. What Reluctance does the gra­cious God express in giving up with a sinful People, Hos. 11.7, 8. My 'People are bent to backsliding from me, though they called them to the most high, none at all would exalt him. How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? How shall [Page 173]I deliver thee, Israel? How shall I make thee as Admah? How shall I set thee as Zeboim? Mine Heart is turned with­in me, my Repentings are kindled together. How affection­ately also are the Intreaties and Complaints of the Lord Jesus, Matth. 11.28. John 7.37. If any Man thirst let him come unto me and drink. Matth. 23.37. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the Prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee: How often would I have gathered thy Children together, as a Hen gathereth her Chickens un­der her Wings and ye would not. John 5.40. Ye will not come unto me that ye might have Life, Luke 19.41, 42. And when he was come near it, he behold the City and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known in this thy Day, the Things which belong unto thy 'Peace, but now they are hid from thine Byes. How long have you kept the Lord Jesus pleading for Admission, Rev. 3.20. without the Doors of your worthless sinful Hearts, even till his blessed Head was wet with the Dew, and his Locks with the Drops of the Night, Cant. 5.2. While in the mean time, you rea­dily embrac'd his and your own Enemies; his Tears, his Groans, his Wounds, his Blood, (which are great Argu­ments to love with an ingenuous Spirit, Quot Vulnera tot Ora) has not effectually softened your stony Hearts; may not he say in Justice concerning you, But those mine Enemies which would not that I should reign over them, bring them hither and slay them before me, Luke 19.27. How often have the Ministers of Christ intreated you with Tears in their Eyes, and Sorrow in their Hearts: Now then we are Ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: We pray you in Christ's stead, be ye re­conciled to God, 2 Cor. 5.20. I beseech you therefore. Bre­thren, by the Mercies of God, that ye present your Bodies a living Sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable Service, Rom. 12.1. If there be therefore any Conselation in Christ, if any Comfort of Love, if any Fellow­ship of the Spirit, if any Bowels and Mercies, fulfil ye my Joy, Phil. 2.1, 2. We then as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the Grace of God (the Gospel of Grace) in vain. For behold, now is the accepted Time, behold now is the Day of Salvation, 2 Cor. 6.1, 2. But has not these Intreaties been in vain to you? Have you not almost broke their Hearts with your presumptuous Obstinacy on this Account? They are obliged to com­plain with Isaiah, that they labour in vain, and spend their Strength for m$ght, Isai, 49.4. And with Mi$all, Wo is me, [Page 174]for I am as when they have gathered the Summer Fruits, as the Grape gleanings of the Vintage, there is no Cluster to eat; my Soul desired the first ripe Fruit. The good Man is perished out of the Earth, and there is none upright among Men, Micah 7.1, 2. All the Affl$ctions of the World are not so heavy on the Hearts of faithful Ministers, as this, that they travail and are in Pain, and yet bring forth no­thing but Wind, Isai 26.18. And has not the Denoun­ciation of God's Threatnings had as little Effect upon your Fear, Security and false Confidence, as the other upon your Love. When you have heard the Words of the Curse, have you not said in your Hearts, if not with your Lips, that you shall have Peace notwithstanding? For God's sake apply to your Consciences the latter part of our Text: But has the Rod of God reformed you? No, the Lord has stricken them, but they have not grieved, thou hast con­sumed them, but they have refused to receive Correction, they have made their Faces harder than a Rock, they have re­fused to return, Isai. 3 I charge and beseech you before God, and his eb$ct Angels! by all the Curses of the bro­ken Law, and despised Gospel! by all the Threats of an angry God! by all the Agonies of a crucified Christ! by all the Blossings purchased by his dying P$ssion; that you quit your presumptuous Confidence, which will fail you in your Extremity, Job 11.20. But the Eyes of the Wicked shall fail, and they shall not escape, and their H$p$ shall be as the giving up of the Ghost. And that you labour to take to Heart the Concerns of your poor Souls before it be too late, too late; and fly to Christ for R fuge.

If any ask for Directions to know how they may com­ply with the foresaid Entreaty? I would offer these fol­lowing.

1. Examine and search into your present State, see what is the Course of your Lise, and the Grounds of your Hope To perswade you to the performance of this Dury, consider

  • 1. It is the positive Command of God. 2 Cor 13.5. Z$ph 1.1, 2.
  • 2. It is the first S$$p towards Conversion and Salvation, Jir. 3.13. Luke 15.17.
  • 3. Without it we shall be mistaken about our State, & the Consequences of such a Mistake are very dangerous and damning, as I have before exp$$$$'d in the doctrinal Part of this Discourse. Is not this sufficient to excite any con­fiderate Person to make a solemn and impartid Inquiry [Page 175]into his State and Actions? While a Person is unacquaing­ed with himself, he is fixed in a State of Death, and there remains no Probability of his Conversion and Salvation. It is easier to bring the openly prophane to Repentance than such Pharisaical and deceived Sinners, Matth. 21.31. Rev. 3.15. O let not the blessed God have cause to complain of us, as of the obstinate Jews, Why then is this People of Jerusalem sliden back, by a perpetual Backsliding? They hold fast Deceit, they refuse to return. I bearkened and heard, but they spake not aright: no Man repented him of his Wickedness, saying, What have I done? Every $word$ turned to his Course, as the Horse rusheth into the $word$ Jer. 8.5, 6.

Having found upon Inquiry that your present $$$te is bad, the Grounds of your Hope to be one or other of these sandy Foundations I mentioned before. Then

2. Judge your selves, that ye not judged, 1 Cor. 11.31. Condemn your present State, as Graceless, Christless, and Damnable, Luke 15.17. See thy Way in the Valley, Know what thou hast done, Jer. 2.23. Then

3. Endeavour to obtain a deep Sense of your present Misery; This is frequently recommended in the holy Scriptures, Jer. 4.3, 4. Jeel 2.12, 13. Jam. 4.8, 9. Psalm 34.19. & 51.17. & 38.4, 5, 6. All that are savingly changed do once at least feel the Spirit of Bondage to fear, Rom. 8.15. & 7.9, 10. Acts 9.6. & 16.29. & 2.37. And indeed this is many Ways necessary

  • 1. To make us willing to forsake Sin (which separates between Christ and us) by discovering it's Danger and causing us to taste of it's Bitterness.
  • 2. To embrace Christ. Until a Man has this Sight and Sense of the vile Nature and horrible Consequences of Sin, he will never deny himself, nor heartily forsake his Darl­ing Lusts, and hasten to Christ, as the only Door of Hope, and Rock of Refuge, with vehement desire and labour; and so esteem every thing as dross and dung in comparison of him; all which is absolutely necessary to Salvation, Luk. 3.23. Gal. 5.24. Isai. 32.2. Isai. 26.4. Isai 55.1, 2. Rev 22.17 Mitth. 11.28. Act 14.27. This sense of your Sin and Misery which I would urge you to labour for, contains these things in it,
    • 1. An affecting apprehension of Sin, actual and original; as also of the Misery of your present State in four Particu­lars, viz. the Certainty, Severity, E$$$pity and Equity of it.
    • 2. Fear of Punishment.
    • 3. Sorrow for Sin.
    • 4. Despair [Page 176]pair of Help in your Selves, or any other besides Christ.
    • 5. Shame because of your Impieties.
    • 6. Hatred against Sin.

These I design to treat of, in the order now proposed, and I intreat you for Christ's sake to Examine your selves by them, conscienciously, and impartially, as in the Pre­sence of the Great GOD.

But I return to consider the first Particular proposed, Every Person that is savingly convinced, has an affecting Apprehension,

1. Of the Sins of his Life, both as to the Malignity of their Nature, and their damning Effects. An enlighten­ed Soul sees more Deformity in Sin, than in any Punish­ment due for it. O how odious and loathsome does it appear in their View, that they think no Words sufficient to express the Baseness of it's Nature? Sin becomes by the Commandment exceeding sinful, Rom 7.13. i. e. the Law being applied to the Conscience, by the Holy Spi­rit, feelingly, discovers the odious Nature of Sin, 1 Tim. 1.13. Gen. 34.30.

2. The Pollutions of his Nature; that corrupt and un­clean Original, from which all actual Evils proceed, Psalm 51.1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Unconvinced and presumptuous Sinners take little Notice of their Heart Corruptions, they are apt to think that their Hearts are indifferent good, their principal Concern is to get and keep the outside clean, if they could but get that managed, they are apt to think they would be pretty well off, Psalm 36.2. O but when God enlightens the Mind, their Sentiments are quickly altered, they are made to behold with Surprize and Confusion, innumerable Iniquities in their Hearts, which lay before hid and concealed from their Observance: Not only their actual Sins appear in their Scarlet Dress, and hideous Aggravations; as ranged in Batallia against them to condemn and confound them, Psalm 50.21. But their original Corruption stands ready like a Lyon rampant, with open Mouth to devour them, Eph. 2.2, 3. It asto­nishes them to see so many Evils in their Hearts, which they as little dreamed were there before God enlighten­ed them, as Hazael, that he should commit those Barbari­ties the Prophet Elisha foretold, 2 Kings 8.13. And Ha­zach said, But what is why Servant a Dog that he should do this great Thing? And as it astonishes them, so it afflicts them exceedingly, and makes them cry out, O! what a Wretch, a Monster in Sin am I! Never was there such a [Page 177]Creature on God's Earth before, 1 Tim 1.15. This is a faithful Saying, and worthy of all Acceptation, that Christ Jesus came inco the World to save Sinners, of whom I am chief. Observe, not was but am chief. At present I see I am one of the greatest of Sinners. How will such con­vinced Souls complain of their Hearts, which before they used to applaud; O my Heart! my Heart! never Man or Woman had such a Heart as mine, they would he willing to change Hearts with any Body, were it possi­ble to be done, for they are apt to think that there is some peculiar Wickedness, and mystery of Iniquity in their Hearts, which is not in any others; this makes them complain to God in the Language of the inspired Apostle, in his Epistle to the Romans, Chap 7.23, 24. O wretched Man that I am, who shall deliver me from this Body of Death. You know one may see many Motes, or Atoms by a Sun Beam shining through a Crevice into a House, which they can't perceive by the light of a Candle, now the Light of a natural Conscience which is all the inward Illumination, that many unconverted People have abiding in them, is no more in comparison of the special inlightening Influences of the Holy Ghost, than the Light of a Candle to the Sun.

3. Of his lost, undone, and miserable State at present. Luke 15.17. It is not enough to say, we are all in a lost State by Nature, alas! no it will not do, it will not do! You must see that you are this Moment in an undone Condition. Luke 15.24. This my Son was dead and is a­live again, was lost, and is sound. He was not only lost really, but he saw that he was lost, and was much affect­ed with his doleful Condition, before he was found by his Father; and it is such only that Christ came to seek and save, Matth. 15.24. Luke 15.4, 6. Matth. 18.11. comp-Luke 18.10, to 15. It is such only whom Jesus carries on his Shoulder to the Sheepfold, and lavs in his Arms. Luke 15.4, 5. Isai 40.11. He shall feed his Flock like a Sheep-herd: He shall gather the Lambs with his Arm, and carry them in his Bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. Matth 11.28. Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. It is not said. Come unto me you vain, airy, high minded, hard hearted People, and I will give you rest; no, they must be in a­nother Condition, before they be prepared for it: have their Wills bowed, their Hearts broken and distress'd for Sin. Particularly,

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1. They must have a Sight of the Certainty of their Misery, if they die in the State they are in at present. A convinced Sinner sees and knows that if he is removed by Death, in his present Condition, he shall as surely die as God lives, as surely die eternally, as he at present lives naturally, as certainly be separated from God's gracious Presence in Eternity, by the judicial Curse of Christ, as his Soul shall be separated from his Body in Time, by the stroke of Death. While People are in a State of Blind­ness and Security, they are apt to ftatter themselves with the Hopes of Mercy, though they keep the old Heart, and go on in the old Course, as that bold prophane Rebel in our Text, I shall have Peace though — But true Peace and Safety was not a whit the nearer him, because he dreamed of it, and groundlesly expected it; nor Destructi­on the further from him, because he as foolishly as impi­ously disdain'd it. Too many, I fear follow this Man's Practice, and think, if they don't say, though I be not so precise in my Life, and have not got such a Change of Heart as some Saints pretend to, yet I hope to be saved as well as any of them; this is natural to unconvinced Sinners, and those unhappy Creatures will labour to prop up their false Hope, by all means possible. As particu­larly,

1. By a false Application of the Promises; like Wasps they draw Poison out of the sweetest Flowers. And

2. They encourage themselves by the Falls of pi­ous People, and by many other Methods before mention'd. If one convinces some People by the dint of Scripture and Reason, that the most of Mankind are in a bad State at present, and does but say, that if they die in that State they shall be damned, they are presently surptiz'd, and imagine you to be a strange sort of a rash unmerciful Creature, and quickly reply with much comnpassionate Zeal for the good of Mankind! You must not judge, God is merciful; you can't tell what he will do with such People. Ans Poor silly Souls, your are rather Objects of Pity than Anger! you seem to have Zeal, but alas, it is without Knowlege! Rom. 10.2. Instead of it's being for God, it is against him; this general groundless Charity, has a direct Tendency to strengthen your own and others false Hopes, and keep the World in a dangerous Security; and this is privately the Reason, at least as to your selves, why it is so wide. In short, your Speech is either the Speech of an Ignoramus, a Fool, or an Infidel, either of [Page 179]one that does not know the plain Current and dirst of the Scriptures, or of one that cannot know through the Defect of a natural Understanding, or of one that will not believe through Prejudice. Your must not judge. Ans. But may not we mention God's own Judgment as it is plainly reveal'd to us in his Word, if we may not, then we may shut up our Bibles. God is merciful. Ans. He is so, but will he shew mercy contrary to his Word? If so, then what will become of his Truth? O the Blindness of the ungodly World! But it is again objected, Your don't know what God will do. Ans. Yes in this Particular we do, for he has told us, in as plain a Manner as can be ex­press'd in his Word, what he will do; that without we believe, and are born again, and live a holy Life, we shall be damned, Mark 16.16. John 3.3, 5. Heh 12.14. And must we not believe God's Word? I assure you it $word$ the Devil's Cause you are defending, by your painted Anti­scriptural Chariy. The Truth is, by your Way of arguing, your prove your selves to be in a State of Blindness and Death, Rev. 3.17. But on the contrary, such as are tru­ly convinced, are obliged to cast away all the Rubbish upon which they built their Hopes before; their Mouths are shut, and all their old carnal Pleas are silenc'd by which they were wont to extenuate their Sins, or justify their State, Rom 7.8, 9, 11, 13. & 3.19.

2. Of the Severity of it: That it is Misery unallayed with the least mixture of Ease, or Intermission. The Seve­rity of the Damned's Misery is set forth to us by several very dreadful similitudes in the Scriptures. Such as

1. That of a Worm gnawing upon a Body, Isai. 66.24. Mark 9.44 comp which signifies the biting Reproaches of the Sinner's guilty Conscience, which will ‘cleave to “ and prey upon the damned Soul, as Worms upon a dead Body: This Worm never dies, the Soul that is it's Food is immortal, and the Worm is bred in it, and one with it. Damned Sinners will be for ever accusing, condemn­ing and upbraiding themselves with their own Folly, in ”resecting the Happiness offered them to Eternity.’

2. By that of a Furnace, Matth. 13.42. And shall cast them into a Furnace of Fire; there shall he wailing and gnashing of Teeth. Let us consider a little the Analogy, and Disagreement, between a Furnace and Hell.

1. A Furnace is a Place prepared for Torment, Dan 36. So Tophet is ordained of old, yea for the King it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large, and the Pile there of is Fire [Page 180]and much Wood, the Breath of the Lord like a Stream of Brimstone doth kindle it, Isai 30.33. Rev 21.8.

2. A Furnace heated very hot, as Nebuchadnezzar's was, in very terrible to such as are to be cast into it, for their Wickedness: But alas! Nebuchadnezzar's Furance heated seven Times, nay seventy times seven were it possible, in but an obscure Figure of the Damned's Tormenzs, in that Lake which burns with Fire and Brimstone, which is the second Death! Rev. 21.8. For an earthly Furnace, though terrible, soon puts a Period to the Lives of the Pa­tients, and consequently to their Sufferings, which must needs expire with their Life; but the Damned's Torments shall never terminate, though they are always dying, yet they shall never die. Miserable Souls they are, unconcei­vably tormented with a dying Life, and a living Death. Again, an earthly Furnace does but affect the Body, and is subject to Decays, it may be either quenched, or will abate through want of Fuel; but Hell's Furnace affects both Soul and Body and all it's Parts and Powers, and that without Intermission or End, Rev. 14.11. And how can there be want of Fuel seeing the Breath of a God kindles the Flames, Isai. 30.33. Nay, God himself is the Fuel that shall torment the Damned most. Hence it is said to be a fearful Thing to fall into the Hands of the living God, Heb. 10.31.

3. By Darkness, utter Darkness, Blackness of Darkness for ever, Matth. 8.12. Jude 5, 15. Natural Darkness is uncomfortable, but it hath and End, and is succeeded with Light; so it was in Egypt; and also they may enjoy some Comforts in the Time of it; but this is without Comfort, and without End; they shall never see Light more, nei­ther natural, spiritual, nor artificial.

2. Men may be in spiritual Darkness and saved for all, Isai. 50.10. But the Gulph of Hell excludes all Light and Hope. Now convinced Sinners have an awful Appre­hension of this, their Rest is broken by it, Sleep departs from their Eyes, and Slumber from their Eye-lids, in a great Measure; and even that little they have is very much disturb'd, with frightful Visions of a dreadful God, and an eternal Hell. Job complains of this in the seventh Chapter of his Book, Verse 14. Thou scarest me with Dreams, and terrifiest me through Visions. Even in the Day time their waking Thoughts present horrible Images of the burning fiery Furnace, and of those damned Creatures, that are rolling there on flaming Beds, and roaring hide­ously [Page 181]through the Acuteness of painful Anguish! Some­times bewailing their own Madness, and sometimes dis­gorging their impotent Rage against God!

3. The convinced Sinner has an affecting Apprehension of the Eternity of his Misery, that it will never, never End! O this heightens the Severity of it, and makes it intolerable, terrible, incomparable, unconceivable, inex­pressible, and miserable Misery! How can a Person that has a Sight of this keep from crying out with the most doleful Accent, Great and good God! what shall I do to be saved? Men and Brethren, What shall I do to be sa­ved? Acts 2.37. Most holy Lord God! My Heart and Flesh trembles because of thee, and I am afraid of thy Judg­ments. Psalm 119.120. Whither, blessed God, shall I hasten for Relief and Succour?

4. They have a Sight of the Equity of their Misery; that it takes it's Rise from their Sins, and is but the just Wages and Reward of their Iniquities; that they have brought it upon themselves, by their wilful Obstinacy a­gainst Light; they know in their own Consciences, that they were not forced to sin as they have done, that they have neglected those Duties of Religion, they might have performed, that God may justly take up the ancient Com­plaint against them, O Israel thou hast destroyed thy self, Hos. 13.9. What could I have done more to my Vineyard, that I have not done? respecting outward Means: And yet when I looked for Grapes, behold wild Grapes! Isai. 5. In short, every thing seems to condemn such a Soul; when they look to the Trees or Flowers, or brutal Herds, these Creatures they see, though void of the Conduct of Rea­son, yet by a natural Instinct, answer the Designs of their Being; but they themselves, though endowed with ratio­nal Powers, have lived in Opposition to theirs. In short, there is nothing within the whole Verge of Nature, the Heavens, Earth and Sea, but what when considered, serves to increase their Pains! The Sun runs his appointed Cir­cle without the least Variation; the proud angry Ocean keeps within his stated Bounds, and observes his stated Ebbs and Flows; the blustring Winds and pregnant Clouds follow divine Direction, Psalm 135.7. He causeth the Vapours to ascend to the Ends of the Earth, he maketh Lightnings for the Rain, he bringeth the Wind out of his Treasuries. Psalm 148. There is an agreeable Harmony and ready Submission to the divine Pleasure, in all the Works of God; Men and Devils only excepted! from [Page 182]whom only the most could be reasonably expected: but if they turn their Eye from the Book of Nature, the Works of God, to the Book of Scripture, the Word of God, they can find no Comfort there for them, but almost every Page wounds them deeper, pricks them like a Nail, Eccl. 12.11. stabe them like a two-edged Sword, Heb. 4.12. Rev. 1.16. bruises them like a Hammer, Jer. 23.29. scorches them like Fire, Jer. 20.9. and frights them as Claps of Thun­der and sudden Flashes of Lightning does the timorous, Luke 10.18. But I proceed to consider a

2. Particular included in that Concern I would urge you to attain, which is Fear; a necessary Consequent of the former: A convinced Sinner is exceedingly afraid least the fierce Anger of God overtake and consume him, be­cause of his many and multiplied Transgressions! Isai 6.5. Then said I, wo is me, because I am a Man of unclean Lips, for mine Eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts. Psalm 119.120. My Flesh trembleth for Fear of thee, and I am afraid of thy Judgments. Rom. 7.24. O wretched Man that I am, who shall deliver me from the Body of this Death! O Sinner! if such holy Men of God, as I have now men­tioned, were seized with such Fear and Anguish upon the Account of their Sins of Infirmity, what Reason hast thou to cry out, because of all thy base Abominations, thy pre­sumptuous and crimson Iniquities Suppose one that had slain a Man at a Venture, under the legal O Economy, saw the Avenger of Blood close at his Heels, ready to slay him, would he not flee with Fear and great Haste to the City of Refuge in order to save his Life? Is it not much more so think ye with a convinced Sinner, for the Life of his Soul, his poor precious Soul lyes at Stake; when he is made to see that he is guilty of Soul Murder, and be­holds the destroying Angel of God's Vengeance, ready to give him the fatal Blow, when he beholds the Bow of Justice bent, arm'd with the pointed Arrows of Death rea­dy to pierce his unarmed, shelterless Soul, and make it bleed to eternal Death? Won't he labour with more Fear and Haste, to obtain an Escape?

3. Sorrow for Sin, and it's threatned Punishment, 2 Sam, 24.10. This Sorrow must be

  • 1. A great Sorrow, such as breaks the Heart for, and from Sin, Zech. 12.10. Joel 2.12, 13. Isai. 66.2.
  • 2. A Gospel Sorrow for Sin, as it is contrary to God, Psalm 51.4. Against thee, thee only have I sinned. He had sinned against Uriah and Bathshebe, against his own [Page 183] Soul, his Body, his Family, his Kingdom, and against the Church of God; every of these Considerations, no doubt, swell'd the Tide of his Grief; but the principal Accent of his Sorrow, was that he had offended a gracious God A true penitent mourns over Sin, more because of it's vile Nature, and the Wrong thereby offered against a great and good God; then the Punishment which follow it, either in this or the next Life. Cain and Judas were grieved for the penal Fruits of Sin. In the mean time, I freely con­fess, that a legal Sorrow, or a Sorrow principally flowing from slavish Fear, is much better than none at all, because as I shewed before, it is a necessary Preparative for Con­version to God. Before the Fire begins to burn brightly, there is much Smoke, but where there is much Smoke, there is some Sign of Fire.
  • 3. A sorrowing Sorrow. The true Penitent mourns that he can mourn no more; when he considers the Number and heinousness of his Sins, he is afflicted that his Grief is so small, his Tears so few, he wishes with the mourning Prophet Jeremiah, that his Head were Waters, and his Eyes a Fountain of Tears.

4 An effectual Sorrow. Such as

  • 1. Imbitters Sin, makes those Lusts which were once sweet to the Taste, as Gall and Wormwood, Jer. 2.19.
  • 2. Such as restrains from Sin. I kept my self from mine Iniquity, Psalm 18.23. It is not like that of Pharaoh and Saul, who were somewhat grieved for Sin, for a little time; but their Sorrow was as the morning Cloud, soon pass'd over, wore away speedily, and they returned again to Folly, Exod 9.27, 28. compared with 34, 35. 1 Sam. 26.21.
  • 3. Such as is frequently renewed, for Sins of Infirmity; when the Penitent contrary to the general Byass of his Heart, by the Force of Temptation, or surprize, falls into Sin, his Sorrow is renewed for it; he hastens with an ak­ing Heart, and weeping Eyes, to the Blood of Sprinkling for Relief, and is not satisfied until he get a Sense of God's pardoning Mercy. Psalm 38.17, 18. My Sorrow is continually before me. I will declare mine Iniquity, I will be sorry for my Sin. That the Penitent's Sorrow is daily renewed for Sin, the Pattern of Prayer our Lord has left to guide us in that Duty, fully confirms: there we are directed to make daily Confessions of Sin. This necessarily supposes
    • 1. That there will be daily Sins to confess.
    • [Page 184]2. It inforces the Necessity of confessing them. If we must confess them, why not mourn over them? But I hasten to the
  • 4. Particular which is, Dispair of Help in our selves, or any other besides Christ. Luke 15. Acts 2.37. Men and Brethren. What shall we do? These are the Words of Men under the greatest Anxiety, and reduced to a great Loss and Strait!
    • 1. They saw something must be done, What shall we do?
    • 2. They were willing to do any thing to obtain Peace and Pardon, and that immediately; they were not for ad­journing their Convictions, to a more convenient Season, with Felix, no, they saw their Compliance must be now or never. Unconvinced Sinners will stand halting and halving between two Opinions; they are apt to think the Terms of the Gospel are hard forsooth! they are not wil­ling to pluck out their right Eye, or cut off their right Arm: Aye, but when God opens a Sinner's Eyes, and lays as it were his Neck on the Block, then he will buckle to any Terms; much more to these easy and rational ones, proposed to us in the Gospel. Psalm 110.3. Acts 9.6. And he trembling and astonished, said, Lord, What wilt thou have me to do?
    • 3. They were at a Loss what to do! They were even at their Wits end; in the greatest Plunge and Maze! like Persons lost in a pathless howling Wilderness, among the most savage Beasts of Prey, Lyons, Bears, Tygers, Vultures, and that knew not which way to travel to obtain an es­cape? and therefore they ask'd direction with the most anxious Importunity, Men and Brethren, What shall we do? Their Query is much like that of a Mariner, or Passenger, in the time of a violent Storm, in the dead of the Night, when the Sea being vex'd with tempestuous Winds, rolls Mountains high, so that he can hear nothing but the noise of the boisterous Winds, and angry Waves; in the mean time the Heavens are black with Clouds, and no Star ap­pears; and the labouring Vessel springs a Leak, present Death presents it self, in all it's hideous Shapes; the disturb'd Deep opens it's murmuring Mouth, to swallow him up quick, and bury him alive in a warrey Grave; and he can sue at present no way of escape: With what agony of the most sensible Passion, would such a Man implore relief? O! what shall I do? Or it's like that of a Man, that is mortally stab'd; or one that has drunk deadly Poi­son, [Page 185]and feels it working in his bowels, how would such Persons cry out with the utmost yehemence to a Physician, what shall I do? But perhaps some may object, that was in old times, when People were very ignorant, but now Men of Sense and good Education, know their Duty, that there is no need now of applying to others for direction, in such matters, and making a great phus and ado about Conversion; that it looks silly, and hypocritical to do so; indeed some weak ignorant People, may apply themselves to Ministers, if they will; but as for my self, I know my Duty, no Priest can pardon my Sins. Take an answer to thy Objection in the following Queries.

Quer. 1. Are we not now in these Gospel times born in a state of spiritual Blindness and Death, as well as those that liv'd in the days of Methuselab, or in the times of the Apostles?

Quer. 2. Will a good Education enlighten any Person in the saving knowledge of divine Truths, without the special concurrence of the Holy Spirit? I think not. How did Moses complain over Israel, that notwithstanding their peculiar Privileges, they were void of saving knowledge? Deut. 29.4. Yet the Lord hath not given you a Heart to perceive, and Eyes to see, and Ears to hear, unto this day And is not that as awful a Speech of the Lord Jesus, Matth. 13.14, 15. And in them is fulfilled the prophesy of Isaias, which saith, by hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand: and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive. For this people's Heart is waxed gross, and their Ears are dull of hearing, and their Eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their Eyes, and hear with their Ears, and understand with their Hearts, and should be converted, and I should heal them. O it's to be fear'd! many of this Generation are under that dreadful Judgment of a penal obduracy, and judicial blindness! and it's well if the pre­sent Objector be not in the same woful Condition. 2 Cor. 4.3, 4 But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost; in whom the god of this World hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

Well, but we are instructed by the Means of Grace we enjoy, that we should believe and repent; this some that heard the Apostles did not know, before they heard their advice.

Answ. It's true, I confess, that good Education, and Gos­pel Priviledges, deserves our esteem, and demands improve­ment, [Page 186]upon the greatest peril for neglect; they are servi­ceable in their Place, but not saving, without the special blessing of Christ. Gal. 6.15. 1 Cor. 3.6, 8.

Quer. 3. Tho' natural People have the advantage of hear­ing of Faith & Repentance, can they Believe or Repent now savingly because of that, by their own power, more than in the Apostles times? the Scriptures declare the contrary, in Cor. 3.5. Phil. 2.13. Job 1.13. Act. 5.31. Ezek. 36.26. Joh. 15.5.

Quer. 4. Is not Conviction and Conversion the same in substance now, that it was of old? if they be not, you must prove how, and where, the terms of Salvation were altered, which I don't see how you can do, without producing a new Bible.

Quer. 5. What use would you make of that memorable instance of Peter's Hearers, who were so deeply concern­ed about their Souls, and made such earnest application for direction? Was not what was written aforetime writ­ten for our learning, Rom. 15.4.

But you'l say, there's no need of such a stir and phus about Conversion, that it looks silly and hypocritical.

Answ Miserable Souls! it's true, you don't see the need of it. Cant. 5.9. otherwise you would not live so uncon­cern'd as you do. But blessed be God there are some who see it. If there be not a necessity of earnest labour, then,

Quer. 6 Why are we commanded to Strive to enter in at the strait Gate? Luk. 13.24. To give all diligence to make our Calling and Election sure to us, and inform'd, that the Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence, and that the violent take it by force? 2 Pet. 1.5. Matth. 11.12.

As to what you object against making a phus, or stir, I Answer, That such who are truly convinc'd will, and do endeavour as much as they can, to conceal their concern from such scornful, graceless Creatures as you are, for they know you are unacquainted with such things, and therefore disgust the very appearance of them; but is it not natu­ral for a sick Man to complain of his Maladies, and seek direction and relief of such from whom he can with rea­son expect it? Truly, convinc'd Sinners make no more stir then needs must: Pray consider, they are upon a Rack of most exquisite pain. Whosoever thou art that complains of them, thou would make as great, if not greater moan, thy self, if thy Soul were in their Soul's stead: for all thy pride and stoutness, and thy present unjust reflections a­gainst God's People, wou'd be an addition to thy pain.

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But you object, that it looks silly and hypocritical $$$$is leads me to the next Query,

Quer. 7. Whether this bold Censure does not flow from ignorance of a special Work of God's Spirit in thy self, and enmity against God and his People? But you'l allow that weak, ignorant People, may make application to o­thers for direction, then

Quer. 8. Whither by your own rule, you should not come among the first? seeing that great Pride is a sign of great Ignorance, both of God, and a Man's self. Does not Solomon that mirrour of Wisdom, inform us, that a Fool is wiser in his own conceit, than seven Men that can render a reason.

Quer. 9. Whether Self denial be not a term of Christia­nity? and whether the denial of our own Wisdom (in point of dependance) be not a necessary part of it? The Scrip­ture vouches both. Mar. 8.34. 1 Cor. 3.18.

But you'l object, that a Priest can't pardon Sin.

I answer, Truths may be spoken with a disdainful Air, and a bad design. It's true, neither a Priest nor a Fryar can pardon Sin, but in the mean time, its as true that they may counsel Sinners for their good, tho' they can't convert them; and it's equally certain,

  • 1. That they are commanded to inquire into the state of their Flocks; as I've prov'd before.
  • 2. That the People are commanded to make application to them, Matth 8.4. Mal. 2.7. And
  • 3. That this is confirm'd by the ever memorable and har­monious example of three Thousand at once, who did not talk after your saucy petulent manner; and what was the principal reason of this? why they were prick'd at the Heart, that was the reason; and thy whole $eartedness, Sinner, is the cause of thy impudence!

Quer. 10. Is not your aversion to this duty, owing to one or other, or all of the following Causes? as,

  • 1. Slavish fear, through Guilt: Be not you afraid (speak truly) that a Godly Minister, or private Christian, if you opened your Case to them, would disturb your Peace; your false Peace I mean: I doubt this is the case; if so, you are just like a Person that has got an old Ulcer, he's a­fraid of the Surgeon's Incision Knife or Lancet. Or,
  • 2. Pride; that you think it below you, to stoop so far, as to open your Soul's case, to a godly Minister, or private Christian, and ask their advice: If this be your case, you are no Disciples of Jesus, otherwise you would have learn­ed [Page 188]the lesson of Humility of him. Matth. 11.29. Surely if you had been under the Hammer of Conviction, a found and special Conviction, your haughty Hearts would have been humbled. Or,
  • 3. Indifferency and unconcernedness about your Souls O! if you had but a sight of your Soul's danger, and pre­ciousness, you would spare no pains to find relief.
    • 1. You wou'd pray to God, with tears, and gr$ans, that can't be uttered. Ananias was commanded by God to go to Saul of Tarsus, and this reason is given for it, Behold be prayeth, Act. 9.11. Mr. Henry's Note upon this is very pertinent, "It's not said, he says his Prayers, but he Prays." Aye with many tears, and heavy groans, no doubt. Psal. Rom. 8.26. That order of Men which he was now to be a Member of, are commanded to weep between the Porch and the Altar, Joel 2.17. This direction bles­sed Paul observ'd aftewards, as he himself relates, Act 20. and no doubt he begun it now: He did not pray after the cold Pharisaical manner he us'd to do, no, there's no notice taken of these dry, dead Prayers; but when he is con­vinced, then we hear of Saul, and that from God himself, Behold be Prays!
    • 2. You wou'd confer with pious People about divine things. Mal. 3.16, 17. You would resort to them. Act. 4.23. And perform the Duties of Social Worship with them Cant. 6.1. Those that are now a terror to you, because of their strictness, whose Conversation you are shy of, wou'd be the desire of your Eyes, and the delight of your Heart; yea you would court their Company, which is now so wearisome to you. Psal 16.3.
    • 3 Instead of being afraid of too much Trouble, which is your present miserable case, you would be afraid your Trouble was too little; afraid the Wound was not deep enough; and that your Troubles would go over before you got to Christ. — But as to your indifference, pray con­sider for Christ's sake, that dreadful passage of Scripture, Rev. 3.15, 16. I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot: So then be­cause thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot; I will spue thee out of my mouth. How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God follow him, but if Baal then follow him.

And now having remov'd an Objection which lay in the way, I return to consider further of the nature of Despair, that Self despair, I mean, which is necessary to Conversion [Page 189]and Salvation; which contains these two things especially in it,

  • 1. A Heart affecting apprehension of our own inability to help our selves out of that complicated Misery, which Sin has brought Mankind into, by any means whatsoever that we can use; whether Prayers, Tears, or any other Performances Phil. 3.9. A Person that is convinc'd, flies to his Duties directly, hoping for succour; and if he gets rest in them, without Communion with Jesus, he turns Formalist, which it's to be feared too many do, and so pe­rish! These are the fine Christians, the World admire most! But if God has a design of Mercy for the convin­ced Person, he will shew him the defects of his Duties; and that they can't entitle him to any Promise of God; then he begins to be Sick of them, and loaths both him­self and them.
  • 2. They have an affecting view of the emptiness, impo­tency, and insufficiency of all other Creatures, to help them; whether in Heaven, or Earth, or in Hell. Now when a Sinner is strip'd of all these Dependencies, he is exceed­ingly bereav'd, and distressed! Affectionate Mr. Doolittel expresses the frame of such a disconsolate Soul, (I think inimitably,) in his Body of Practical Divinity, Page 191, 193. in these words, ‘Wo is me, a sinful Sinner, a mise­rable “Sinner, a lost undone Sinner, a wretched condemn­ed Sinner! What shall I do? The holy God condemns me$$$; his righteous Law condemns me; the Angels in Heaven condemn me; the Devil's in Hell condemn me; and wo is me that ever I was born! My own Conscience my bosom Friend condemns me? Whither shall I go? What shall I do, that I may be delivered from my Misery? Act. 16.30. O my Soul, what a Case am I in? In Misery, and can't help my self? In Misery, and cannot all the Creation help me? What shall I do, I am miserable, and must I be miserable? Is there no Hope? is there no Help? for a poor distress'd Sinner! O all ye Angels of God, behold what a miserable Man I am! thou Sun and Moon, and all ye Stars of Heaven, to what a miserable Creature do you communicate your Light and Influence? How is it that the Earth does not cleave asunder and swallow me alive, to let me down to the Damned, as my deserved and proper Place? Let all the Creation look and see, if I ben't a forlorn and a ”miserable Sinner.’ I have added what I judg'd further necessary to be mentioned concerning the nature of this [Page 190]Despair under the fifth direction, to which I refer the Reader.

5. Shame. A convinced Sinner is cover'd with shame as a Garment, because of his spiritual Nakedness: H$ sees himself void of real good, strip'd of original Righteousness, and possess'd of all manner of evil; Rev. 3.17. Rom 7.18. And therefore he is humbled in the dust, blushes, and mourns with penitent Ephraim, Jer. 31.19. Surely after that I was turned, I repented, and after that I was instruct­ed, I smote upon my thigh, I was asham'd, yea even confound­ed; because I did bear the reproach of my Youth. With Ezra, Chap. 9.6. O my God, I am ashamed, and blush to list up my face to thee my God, for our Iniquities have in|$reased over our Heads, and our trespasses grown up unto the Heavens. With Daniel, Chap. 9.7. O Lord, Righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as it is this day. With the Publican, who stood afar off, and wou'd not so much as list up his Eyes to Heaven, but smote upon his Breast saying, God be merciful to me a Sinner, Luk. 18.13. With the Prodigal, Luk 15.18 Father I have sinned against Hea­ven, & before thee, & am no more worthy to be call'd thy Son: make me as one of thy hired Servants. With Mary, who in the sense of her Sin, being asham'd to come before Jesus, stood behind him weeping, Luk. 7.38. With Job, they abhor themselves in dust and ashes. Job. 42.6. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the Ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Where­fore I abhor my self, and repent in dust and ashes. It's ob­servable here, that while Job was at a distance from God, under no immediate impressions of his Purity and Majesty, he pleaded hard in his own vindication, but when he came to have a near view of God, in that Glass he saw himself, and that with loathing and abhorrence. So the Prophet, Isai. 6.5. Ezek. 6.9.

6. Hatred against Sin, and that,

1. Universally. Psal. 119.104. Habitual and prevail­ing love to any Sin, is inconsistent with the truth of Grace. The Hypocrite speaks of some beloved Sin, as Naaman the Syrian, 2 King. 5.18. In this thing the Lord pardon thy Servant: But the true Penitent in the language of Joseph the Israelite, Gen. 39.9. How can I do this great Wickedness, and Sin against God.

2. Implacably and constantly. Those who hate Sin but by fits, mock God, deceive themselves, and give the De­vil the stronger possession of their Souls. Matth. 12.43, [Page 191]44, 45. If you ask what means you should use to obtain the aforesaid sense of your Misery?

1. Read the Holy Scriptures, which give you a dreadful Map of it; and that frequently and considerately, having first implor'd divine direction and assistance.

2. Read pious Writings, and such especially as are most searching and awakening. I would recommend in a spe­cial manner to your perusal, Mr. Shepherd's Sound Believer, Mr. Mead's Almost Christian, Mr. Dyke upon the Deceitful­ness of the Heart, Mr. Flavel's Saint indeed, Mr. Isaac Am­brose upon Hell's Horrors, Mr. Samuel Moodey on the Dole­ful State of the Damned, and Mr. Alleine's Alarm.

3. Hear faithful Ministers; for Daubers and Time ser­vers are not like to profit you. Jer. 23.9, 21, 22, 32. 'Twas the observation of a worthy writer, ‘that our first “Parents lost Paradise by hearing a Sermon, but it was ”from the Devil.’

Now in order to get your Consciences awakened, and your Hearts chang'd by hearing the preached Word, take these Directions.

1. Be busy with God in the Morning upon your bend­ed Knees before you go to hear, cry mightily to Jehovah that he would direct the Speaker to your Case, and that he would seal it by his Power: Beg of God that he would give you a hungring Heart after the Bread of Life offered to Sinners by the preached Word, Psalm 42.1, 2. Spend the Sabbath Morning in Prayer, Reading, Meditati­on, and keep sending Groans to God all the Way you are going to his House; this would make the Word sweeter to you than Honey from the Comb, and more precious than refined Gold.

2. In the Time of Hearing, hearken to what is spoken with Attention and Reverence, Acts 16.14. It is hard to hit a Bird on the Wing, so it is difficult to strike a wan­dring Hearer.

3. Hear with Faith, Heb. 4.2. We should receive what is agreable to the holy Scriptures as a Message from God, Psalm 89.15. John 10.4. 1 Thes. 2.13.

4. With Application; and take care that ye apply a right Portion; otherwise the Word will hurt you rather than help you; instead of Physick or Food, it will be­come Poison. You have no Interest in the Promises or Comforts of the Gospel, till you comply with the Terms of it, therefore apply them not, they are Children's Bread, they are Food for Christ's harmless Lambs, and chaste [Page 192]Doves, not for unclean Goats, crafty Foxes, or cruel. Wolves: Apply the Threatnings to your selves, for they are your Portion while you remain in this State; this is the Way to be awakened out of your deep Sleep.

5. With Submission & Obedience, Jam. 1.22, 24 Again, in the Time of Hearing it would be serviceable, I think, to send up to God some sudden ejaculatory Petitions for Light and Help. But

3. After Hearing, pray don't talk of this or that Per­son's Cloaths, or any worldly Matters, but talk of Jesus, as the Disciples did when they were going to Emmaus, and it's probable you will find the Benefit of it as they did. The Sheep chews it's Cud, but the Wolf, the Fox and Swine, do not. Meditate on what you have heard, and confer about it with others, this would be both a profita­ble and pleasant Way of spending sacred Time; it would bring to your Remembrance Things you had forgot, and fix what you retained the deeper in your Memory, and so prevent the Devil (that grand Bird of Prey) stealing all the Seed of the Word from you; unless we digest the Meat we eat, it is not like to nourish us; and when you get Home to your Houses, go into your Closets, and cry to the Father of Mercies for a Blessing on what you have heard, that the Truths of God, may abide in the Imagi­nation of the Thoughts of your Hearts, and appear in the Fruits thereof in your Practice, to the Honour of the most high God, your present Peace and future Happiness.

4. Direct. If you are under any Convictions about the Badness of your State in general, or of any of your Acti­ons in particular, Hold not the Truth in Unrighteousness, strangle not your Convictions by Delays, or any other of those Methods before mentioned, lest you feel the Force of divine Vengeance, Rom. 1.18. O consider! that this Practice of quenching the Spirit is,

  • 1. An ungrateful Practice. Is this the Way you requite Jehovah for his unmerited and forfeited Goodness, in of­fering Salvation to you, and inviting you to accept of it? That instead of accepting his Love motions, you labour to strangle and murder them, O monstrous Ingratitude! Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish People and unwise? Is not he thy Father that hath bought thee? Hath he not made thee and established thee? Deut. 32.6.
  • 2. A rebellious Practice. It is a bold breach of God's positive Precept, 1 Thess. 5.19 and that against the kindest Expressions of Love and Mercy; when the great [Page 193] King of Heaven, whom you have offended by innumerable Transgressons, comes and offers you a free Pardon, and works Inclinations in your Hearts to receive it; you by this Practice do as it were maliciously fly in the Face of God, and insolently kick against his Bowels of Pity; O abhorred Wickedness!
  • 3. A mad Practice. For by this you enter the Lists with the almighty Jehovah; you fight with the sovereign Ma­jesty of Heaven and Earth! And what think you is like to be the Fruit of this unequal Contest? Isai. 27.4. Who would set the Briars and Thorns against me in Battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together. Is it not the Perfection of Madness to contend with one that is infinitely stronger than your selves? Isai. 45.9. Wo unto him that striveth with his Maker: let the Potsherd strive with the Potsherds of the Earth.
  • 4. A murderous Practice. It is Murder, Soul Murder, wilful Soul Murder; when you stifle and quench these Convictions about the Danger of your State, or Wicked­ness of your Actions, which the good God with much La­bour and Love has kindled in your Consciences, Ezek. 32.8, 9. & 33.11. One may be guilty of Murder by preventing Life, as well as by destroying it when formed. Thus those Women who expell their Conceptions by un­just Methods, lest their Wickedness should be brought to light, are undoubtedly guilty of Murder in the Sight of God; and much more those who suppress the beginning. Convictions of Sin. O! will ye be guilty of this inhu­mane and unpa alell'd Barbarity against the blessed God, against your selves, against your poor Souls? Will you imbrue your Hands in your own Blood? Won't this cry from the Earth to God against you? Gen. 4.10.
  • 5. A Practice grieving to God. Eph. 4.30. O do not cause him to withdraw his gracious Presence, by your un­kind Neglect of, or Opposition to his Love motions, or by refusing to hearken to his Counsels, and rebelling a­gainst his Government!
  • 6. Destructive to your selves. Prov. 1.21,—33 & 29 1. It destroys your Peace both in Health and Sickness, in Life, at Death, and in Eternity Isai. 57.20, 21. But the Wicked are like the troubled Sea, when it cannot rest, whose Waters cast up Mire and Dirt. There is no Peace saith my God unto the Wicked. Your oppre$$$d Consciences will trouble you in Health, according to the Scripture now mentioned, but at Death probably much more, then will [Page 194]they give you (in all likelihood) ghastly Gripes for your bloody barbarous Wickedness, in strangling their repeated Cries, and thereby murdering your own Souls, but if not on Earth, they will in Hell repay you the Wages of your Blood guiltiness. Isai 3.11. Wo unto the Wicked, it shall be ill with him: for the Reward of his Hands shall be given him. Matth. 8.12. & 13.42, 50. By opposing the Convictions of the Spirit, you will cause him to withdraw, and that for ever, Gen. 6.3. Now without his Help you can neither perform the Duties of Religion to Acceptance, or conquer the Corruptions of your Nature, and resist the Temptati­ons of Satan to purpose; all which is necessary to Salva­tion, Rom. 8.13.
  • 7. Pleasing to your mortal Adversaries. Nay, it is no less than a cruel Conspiracy with Satan the grand Enemy of your Souls, for thereby you consent to and conceal his Intreagues, and so shew that you love Death, Prov. 8.36.
  • 8. But if on the contrary you cherished the Motions of the Holy Spirit, the Issue would probably be your Con­version and Salvation. Isai. 55.7. But notwithstanding these Arguments, some are so cruel as to labour to extin­guish Soul-troubles, by indirect and unlawful Methods. What may be the Causes of this abhorred God provoking, Soul damning Wickedness?

1. One Reason is this, the Fire is too hot for some, it scorches and pains them, and therefore they endeavour to get rid of it as soon as they can; like Felix who when he was brought into a Fit of Trembling by Paul's preaching, he wanted to hear no more of it at present, but said he, when I have a more convenient Time, I will call for thee, Acts 24.25.

2. Some through fear of Discredit, or loss of worldly Goods, 2 Tim. 4.10.

3. Some out of Love to present Ease, or other Lusts. ‘“As Men put out the Fire when they have a Mind to go to Bed, as Mr. Keach observes. Do not Men (says the same Author) quench the Fire when the Pot boils o­ver; even so when the Fire of the Spirit is so hot and strong, that it is like to boil out a beloved Lust, which they prized for it's profitableness, like a right Hand, or for Pleasures, like a right Eye, then they hasten to lessen the Fire, and like Judas think there need not be so much waste, 'Now what a vile thing (says Mr. Pol-whole) is this, to quench the Fire of the Spirit, rather than the Scum and Filthiness of Sin should be work'd [Page 195] ”and boiled out thereby.’ See how God threatens such, Ezek. 24.6, 11, 13. But on the contrary,

5. Labour to increase them by considering in the most folemn Manner, the following Particulars.

  • 1. The Curse, the Indignation of God which you are exposed to, Gal. 3.10. John 3. And all your other Mi­series which I before described. Consider this, ye that for­get God, lost I tear you in Pieces, and there be none to deli­ver you, Psalm 50.
  • 2. Think upon the Offers you have of Redemption from them in the Gospel of Christ.
  • 3. O think upon their short Duration and uncertain Continuance; our Time and golden Opportunities are soon elapsed, and impossible to be recalled, Fronte capella­ta post est Occasio calva. What is our Life, but as a Vapour which appeareth but for a little time, & then vanisheth away? James 4.14. Therefore be intreated poor unconverted Sinners to call upon God while he is near, and seek him while he may be found, Isai. 55.6. For behold, now is the accepted Time, behold, now is the Day of Salvation, 2 Cor. 6 2.
  • 4. O think, and think again, upon the Vastness of that Eternity of Pain and inexpressible Misery, which infallibly ensues your vile Abuse of Time! O Eternity! Eternity! thou infinite Abyss of unconceivable and endless Time, what humane Understanding can grasp thee! Our very Thoughts in their most aspiring Flights are mazed and lost in conceiving of thee!
  • 5. Dwell upon the Thoughts of the unsatisfactory and fading Nature of all temporal Things. The Fashion of this World p$sseth away, saith the Apostle, James 1.11. They can't help thee in thy greatest Extremity. As
    • 1. Under deep Convictions of Conscience offer a Man Money to be easy, and it would increase his Pain. O! it's just like offering a hungry Man Stones instead of Bread.
    • 2. At Death. How little Comfort can a Man take of his Poss$ssions, which he is going to bid an eternal Fare­wel to, and which cannot any whit mitigate or allay his Pain; will it be a Comfort then for a Man to think that he has been such a trusty Drudge to Mammon, or other Lusts? I believe not. And
    • 3. What Comfort will such Things yield at the general Judgment? At these three Periods all the Sinner's Floods of earthly Waters fail, and cannot yield one drop of Com­fort to the thirsly Soul. O but the Springs of Grace yield [Page 196]Sweets, their crystal Streams not only follow and refresh us here, in all the Difficulties we are exposed to in this parched Desart, but do accompany us to the eternal World, and there yield a more full and lasting Delight. Rev. 22.1. And he shewed me a pure River of Water of Life, clear as Crystal, proceeding out of the Throne of God and of the Lamb.
  • 6. Consider seriously the dreadful Danger of Apostacy from any good Beginnings you have; as it is expressed in those awful Places of Scripture, Matth. 12.43, 44, 45. Heb 10.26, 38, 39. 2 Pet. 2.18, 19. Jude 12. Luke 9.62. Remember Lot's Wife.

Direct. 6. You must dispair wholly; not of God, as if he either could not, or would not help you, for he is great in Power, and rich in Mercy, Jer. 32.17, 18 Psalm 43.5. Exod. 34.6, 7. nor of the Mediator, as if he were not sufficient to relieve and save you; for he is the Wis­dom and Power of God, 1 Cor. 1.24. In him are Treasures of Wisdom, and a Fulness of Power, even the Fulness of the Godhead bodily, Col. 1.19. Eph. 1.7. Col. 2.9. But of your selves. And particularly,

  • 1. Of your own Wisdom. Hence it is said, that we must become Fools, that we may be wise, 1 Cor. 3.18. i. e. we must be sensible of our Inability to direct or guide our Steps in the Way to Life, and therefore feel the Want of Christ as a Prophet, to instruct and teach us those Things that belong to our Peace and Salvation, Lord, What will thou have me to do? said convinced Paul, Acts 9.6. Who­soever hath heard and learned of the Father cometh unto Jesus, and those only, John 6.45.
  • 2. Of your own Power. Because without Christ ye can do nothing, John 15.4, 5. While you are in your unre­newed State, ye are dead in Sin, Eph. 2.1, 3, 5. unable so much as to think a good Thought, 2 Cor. 3.5. It is God that works both to will and to do in any, and that of his own good Pleasure, Phil 2.13.
  • 3. Of your own Righteousness; whether natural, civil, moral, religious, privative or positive; as utterly insuffi­cient to purchase and procure your Redemption: you are more than ten thousand Talents indebted to divine Justice, and you have not one single Mite to pay it with, Matth. 18.24, 25. Your own Privileges and Performances which you formerly counted Gain, you must now count no better than Loss and Dung, Phil. 3.5, — 9.
  • [Page 197]4 And of all Things else, besides God and the only Mediator, 1 Tim. 2.5. without whom there is no Salvati­on, Acts 4.12. John 14.6.
  • 5. You should so dispair of all those Things mentioned, as to condemn your selves, 1 Cor. 11.31. I have sinned against Heaven and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy Son, Luke 15.17, 18, 19.
  • 6. And rest satisfied with any, even the most abject Condition in which it shall please God to place you. Ver. 19. Make me as one of thy hired Servants. This Dispair which I have mentioned, is many Ways necessary, in as much as on the one hand, God will not grant us Pardon without it, Gal. 5.4. Rom. 10.3. And on the other hand, without it we are not willing to seek Salvation only with God and the Mediator; for it is natural to us to seek it rather any way else than in Christ where it is only to be. found, until we be stormed out of all our false Refuges, Hos. 5.13. Luke 15.14, — 17. But more particularly,
    • 1. It is honourable to God and the Mediator, when we seek all from God, and ascribe all the Glory to him, 1 Cor. 15.10. Psalm 115.1. and nothing to our selves, 2 Cor. 3.5. It is reasonable that the blessed Jesus should consult his own Honour, as well as his People's Happiness in his Dealings with them: Now this is the most effec­tual Method to secure it, which at once removes all Cause of Boasting from the Creature, and puts the Crown of our Happiness upon the Head of free Grace.
    • 2. Profitable to us. As it is highly conducive to illus­trate the divine Honours, so to subserve our great Inte­rests, it checks aspiring Arrogance, excites us to almost an invincible Patience, and inspires us with the most inge­nuous Gratitude, 2 Cor. 5.7. Luke 15.19. Psalm 116.34. Rom. 7.24 Now that you may obtain this salutary Dis­pair, which is so contrary to your former Presumption, and so necessary to your eternal Salvation; think with your selves that you are universally corrupted and depraved; He that is born of the Flesh is Flesh, John 3.6. That in you, that is in your Flesh, there dwells no good, Rom. 7.18. That you are dead in Sin, possess'd with, and govern'd by the Devil, under God's Curse and Wrath, Ezek 37.2, 3. Eph. 1.1, 2. Acts 26.18. John 6.70. & 3.3. That you can do nothing that is spiritual, good and acceptable to God, nothing by which ye can lay claim to Happiness, either by a Merit of Congruity or Condignity, i. e. either by the intrinsick Worth of your Work, or by Virtue of [Page 198]any Promise of God, Rom. 5.6. Eph. 2.12. As more particularly, you can no more believe savingly, than you can toss the Earth off from it's Axis, or raise the Dead; for saving Faith is the Gift of God, Eph 2.8. the Fruit of the Spirit, Gal. 5.22. only given to the Elect, and wrought in them by the Power that raised the Dead, Tit. 1.1. 2 Thess. 3.2. Eph. 1.19, 20.

2. You cannot repent savingly: You have a Heart which you can no more break than you can draw Waters out of a Flint: Repentance is Christ's Gift, Acts 5.31. It is God's Prerogative, and his only to give an Heart of Flesh, Ezek 36.26. You will say, then why does God require these Things of us? I answer, that though you have lost your Power of obeying through your own Default, and voluntary Apostacy; yet God has not lost his Power of commanding the Creatures; Sin cannot invalidate the Cre­ator's Claim of Right: But what if you could do much more than indeed you can, what could this do towards your Salvation, seeing all your Performances are imperfect? Isai. 64.7. James 3.2. Matth. 25.5. And that the Law requires an absolute and perfect Obedience, both extensive and intensive, in Thought, Word and Action, and curses for the least Failute, Gal. 3.10. Matth. 22.37.

Obj. But such as enjoy the Gospel are not under the Law, but under Grace. Ans. The Assertion, if taken uni­versally, is false: It is not the enjoying Gospel Privileges, but a Compliance with Gospel Terms that frees any from the Curse of the Law, Rom 8.1 & 6.14, 17.

Again consider, that if you could perform commanded Duties perfectly, which in this Life is unattainable, is not this a Debt you owe to God as your Creator, Preserver and Benefactor? Now how can the Payment of one Debt discharge another: How can this remove the Guilt of your original Trespass? Gen. 2.17. Rom. 5.12.

Direct 7. Be not hasty and impatient in labouring to get rid of your Troubles; any how, right or wrong. If a Woman should endeavour to provoke her Travail-Pains before the proper Season, she would be in great Danger of destroying both the Child and her self: Wait God's appointed Time, in his appointed Way. Consider, God has waited long upon you, for that which was nothing but your Duty: And is it not reasonable that you should wait upon him without Grudging for that which is pure Mercy, for that which you can no Ways merit? If ever you obtain an Interest in God's pardoning Love, you won't [Page 199]think much of your Labour in seeking it: The Harvest will sufficiently recompence all the Pains you have been at, if they had been ten thousands times more.

Direct 8. Try carefully the Comforts you get by the Word; if they don't excite you to Humility, Thankful­ness, Holiness in Heart, and Heavenliness in Conversation and Practice; trust them not; and particularly, beware ye mistake not, in taking a natural Ease for a spiritual: Some People when they are in Troubles, will weep much, which gives Vent to their Grief; and this alas! the poor Souls foolishly imagine to be spiritual Consolations!

Direct. 9. Don't be satisfied with the bare Performance of Duties, unless ye find Christ in them, for these are the Way to Rest, and not the resting Place it self. Beware of being satisfied with your own Resolves, to be, and do better; rest not upon them, which it is to be feared, many do, and so perish, Acts 24.25.

Direct. 10. Shun the Company of ungodly People; I mean unnecessary Conversation with them: Forsake the foolish and live, and walk in the way of understanding. Prov 9.6. Remember and imitate the memorable Pattern of the Psalmist's practice, Depart from me ye evil doers, for I will keep the commandments of my God, Psal. 119.115. Bad Company has been the ruin of Thousands, of whom once better things were expected. Prov. 13.20.

Direct. 11. Associate your selves with pious Persons: For as Solomon observes, Prov. 13.20. He that walks with wise men shall be wise, but a companion of fools shall be destroy'd. And if you are under Troubles, open your Case to them, or to some godly Minister. Act. 2.37. Be not asham'd to do this: It's your Duty, and your Honour; and as it will be pleasing to them, so it's likely it will be very profitable to you. Alas! many poor Souls thro' bashfulness, and the Temptations of the Devil together, do themselves great injury, deprive themselves of much comfort, and necessary direction, by concealing the distress'd Circumstances of their present Condition from the Friends of God; a little Spark is like to be blown up to a Flame if it had vent; whereas on the contrary, if it be confin'd entirely to their own bosoms, it's in danger of being smother'd: but in the mean time, least you be misguided, see that these Persons you open your Hearts to, have the evident signs of power­ful and experimental Christianity; and pray examine the Directions they give you by the written Word.

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Direct. 12. Open your Case to God by fervent and im­portunate Supplication: Cry to him Day and Night for pity and pardon: Change me, O God, and I shall be changed, Draw me, and I will run after thee, Cant. 1.4. Confess your Sins with shame and sorrow, in the Prodigal's and Publican's Language, and the demerit of them: ‘I confess “most high God! thou mightest have honour'd thy Justice in my Destruction, long ago, and have sent me quick to Hell: How strange and astonishing is thy Patience! O ”that it might lead me to Repentance!’ Confess your impotency to help your selves, and bewail over the mul­tiply'd defects of all your sacred Services, and plead with God for Mercy to this effect: ‘Gracious Jehovah, thou “hast been found of those that fought thee not; O! wilt thou not be found of those that endeavour to seek thee? I confess, most Holy God! that I deserve to be for ever separated from thy gracious Presence, and that I can do nothing to merit thy Favour; but I beg for Mercy through the Redeemer's Blood: Lord if thou wilt thou canst make me clean: O make me an Iustance of ”thy free Grace, a Monument of thy Mercy to all Eternity.’ Plead the Encouragements that Christ has given to the weary and heavy laden Soul, and to such as see themselves in a lost state, if thou art in such a condition:

To conclude; I shall only add two Motives to excite your Compliance with the Exhortation and Directions, viz. The Necessity of it, and the Advantages you are like to get by it.

  • 1. The Necessity; which is absolute.
  • 2. The Advantages; which are great.

1. The Necessity is absolute both in respect of the com­mand and mean. Jer. 8.7. for without it you shall perish in your delusions. Isai 44.20. Job 11.20. Without it God will tear you in Pieces. Hos. 13.7. I will be unto them as a Lion, as a Leopard by the way will I observe them: I will meet them as a Bear bereaved of her Whelps, and I will rent the Caul of their Heart. A Lyon is a terrible, majestical, strong, just, and generous Creature: When the Lyon roars the Beasts of the Forest tremble, Amos 3.8. He triumphs over his Prey, as if he challeng'd any to attempt it's rescue; and none indeed dare pretend to it, he being the King of Beasts; so with God is terrible Majesty, Job 37.22. and everlasting Strength, Psal. 96.6. Honour and Majesty are before him: Strength and Beauty are in his Sanctuary, Job 9.19. and Job 12, 13, 14, 16. Psal. 29.4. The Voice of the Lord is powerful, the Voice of the Lord is full of majesty. Joel 3.16. [Page 201] The Lord also shall roar our of Zion, and utter his Voice from Jerusalem, and the Heaven; and Earth shall shake. When Jehovah speaks the Earth trembles, and it's deep Founda­tions move; when he is wroth all Nature is in the utmost disorder, Psal. 18.7, 15. He bows the Heavens and comes down, makes Darkness, Clouds and Cherubs, his Pavilion; rides swiftly upon the wings of the Wind, and easily dis­sipates his Enemies; by shooting barbed Arrows, burning Thunderbolts, and blazing Lightnings (at them Psal. 18.13, 14 The Hills melt like Wax at the presence of the Lord, of the Lord of the whole Earth, Psal. 97.5. When God but touches the Mountains they smoke, Psal. 144.5. The everlasting Mountains are scatterred, and the perpetual Hills do bow, Hab. 3.6. Yea he weighs the Mountains in Scales, and the Hills in a Balance! Gasps the great Ocean in the hollow of his Hand! and meets out the Heavens with a Span, Isai. 40.12. The Pillars of Heaven tremble and are astonished at his reproof, Job 26.11. Who then can stand before this great and dreadful God? Dan 9.5. Who shall take the Prey from him? whose Strength is infinite and everlasting! Hos. 5.14. For I will be unto Ephraim as a Lyon: and as a young Lyon to the House of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away, I will take away and none shall rescue him.

It's observ'd of the Lyon that he will not fall upon any Creature unless he be much provok'd, and that he will not destroy those that submit to his mercy. So indeed God's Patience is great, otherwise the World wou'd soon become a terrible Theatre, an Acaldema, a Field of Blood, a Scene of Desolation and Horror; but being abus'd, it will have a dreadful Period, abus'd Mercy will turn into inflam'd Severity; Wrath will break forth upon you suddenly, un­less you in time submit to mercy. Luk. 12.39, 40. 2 Pet. 3.10. And as a Leopard by the way will I observe them. A Leopard is a very quick sighted (Lynx Visu) swift, and sub­tle Creature, Hab. 1.8. He waits by the Road, and as some say hides his Head that he may the more securely and suddenly seize his Prey: Thus if you persist in a sinful Security, you may expect that God will employ his Wis­dom as well as his Power against you to hasten & heighten your deserved ruin; he will watch over you for evil, and not for good, Jer 44.27 Catch you, and seize you by the way, with the gripe of his Justice, when you are going fearlesly and securely on, little dreaming of such a blow; so he did Pharcoh that haughty Monarch, in all his martial [Page 202]Pomp and bravery, and suddently entomb'd all his Honours in the deep. I will meet them as a Bear bereav'd of her Whelps. A Bear is naturally a fierce Creature, 2 King. 2.24. But being bereav'd of her Young whom she great­ly affects, 2 Sam. 17.8. she is exceedingly enrag'd, Prov. 17.12. which shews with what enflam'd severity God will meet the impenitent and presumptuous Sinner, as a roaring Lyon, and as a be$eaved Bear, and he will make you feel (so continuing) with a witness the fruits of his Wrath, for he will rent the Caul of your Heart. To awake you & ex­cite you, if possible, to comply with the Exhortation and Directions, I shall attempt to open and explain what is contained in this terrible Phrase of rending the Caul from the Heart, and what is importted by it. The expression is most awful and solemn! It informs us,

1. That God will slay his Enemies, Luk 19.27. Isai. 1.24. The Heart being a vital and one of the most noble Parts, a violent Death must needs ensue its Sepe­ration; for it is in the Body of Man, like the main Spring in a Watch, when that's remov'd all it's motion ceases.

2. Tear them in Pieces. Hos. 5.14 For I will be to Ephraim as a Lion; and as a young Lion to the house of Judah: I even I will tear and go away; I will take away and none shall rescue him. Psal. 50.22. Now consider this ye that forget God (which all presumptuous Sinners do) least I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver.

3. That God will pluck out their Hearts: This is ne­cessary in order to seperate the Caul from them.

4. By this expression of rending the Heart, some under­stand the spiritual Plagues and Judgments God inflicts up­on his Enemies. So Mr. Henry, ‘He will send such Judg­ments “upon them as shall prey upon their Spirits, and consume their Vitals, such as will fill the Soul with ”confusion and tear it in pieces.’ And to this purpose speaks Arius, Montanus, and Mr. Burroughts. Luther thus glosseth upon the words, ‘The Lord will do as a Lion “doth; He more immediately will strike out their Hearts with spiritual Plagues; and as for their Estates, and Bo­dies, he will leave them to other Beasts: Their Hearts were grown fat, they had a film about their Hearts; and Instruction could not get to their Hearts; but God ”will tear that Caul, that Film from off their Hearts.’ So that the expression seems to import,

1. The removal of their presumptuous Stupidity; that hard­ness and insensibility which Presumers have contracted by [Page 203]a long course of sinning, shall then be speedily, totally, and eternally removed: the Caul shall be rent from the Heart; those who are now past feeling, Eph. 4.19. whom all the threats of a God will not pierce, or alarm, but still they sit like stupid Blocks, and unconcerned Stones, in hearing the most dr$adful menaces, shall be fill'd with the most exquisite Pain! when those Threatnings they now despise shall be put in execution! for then Sinners! presuming Sin­ners! the Caul shall be rent from your Hearts, & all your painful Passions which are now frozen and congeal'd, shall then be set in a perpetual commotion. Mat 8.12. Chap. Chap 25.30 Luk. 13.28.

2. The suddenness of those Judgments God inflicts upon presuming, ungrateful, impenitent Sinners; as a Garment is suddenly rent in the Hands of a strong Man: How se­cure soever you are in your own imagination, yet surely you are set in slippery Places from which except ye turn speedily, you shall have a certain, sudden, and eternal downfal, among Devils and Damned Spirits! Psal. 73.18, 19, 20. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment; they are utterly consumed with terror; as a dream when one awaketh; so O Lord, when thou awakest thou shalt despise their image. Upon this last verse learned M$sculus thus glosseth, page 535.

‘“ Uritus similitudine omnium aptissima, somnii, viz. Dor­mientis; & imaginis: ita ut similitudine sominii depingat, quam sit inanis impiorum feli citas, quibus inhac Vita instar dormientium tantisper bene est, dum veluti in vanitate sua, et felicitatis opinione dormiunt, et inter somniendum imaginem quandam felicitatis imperitis ac carnalibus hominibus, non ifsam felicitatem objiciunt, quam illi pro tempore quidem suspi$iunt & admirantur: verum mox soluto vane felicita tis s$mnio, solvi qu$q; ceperit inanae illius spectrum, non pos­su$$ aliud, quam ut quos antea suscipibant tum incipiant in ”corde contemnere.

The Psalmist useth the mostapt similitude of sleep, and an image: in order to represent the vanity of the ungodly's happiness, with whom it is only well for a little time, in this Life, like People asleep, while they slumber in their vanity and conceit of happiness; and in their sleep carry be­fore them but a certain i­mage, or shadow of happi­ness, to amuse the igno­rant and ungodly; which they for a time behold, and admire, but the dream of happiness being broke and it's image vanish'd, they can't bt contemn those whom they before admir'd

[Page 204]

Hear you Presumers what God says to you, Deut. 32.35. To me belongeth Vengeance, and Recomp$$se, their Foot shall slide in due Time, for the Day of their Calamity is at Hand, and the Things that shall come uponthem make haste. Jer. 32.12. Wherefore their Way shall be unto them as slippery Ways i$ Darkness, they shall be driven on all fall therein, for I will bring Evil upon them. Con$$$ider O Presumer, that provoked Justice $ies in Ambush to give thee a sud­den and therefore a terrible Surprize! Jer. 44.27. Dan. 9.14.

3. The Irresistibility of them, or their$ uncontroul'd Force and Violence. O Sinner! thou canst no more with­stand the Execution of God's Justice, "than a Lamb can make it's Part good against a Lyon, no more than a feeble Rag is able to prevent its being torn, when in the Hands of an enraged Giant.

4. The Acuteness of the Pain ocasioned by them. Would it not cause intolerable Pain to have one of your Arms broke and crushed to pieces, and while the Bones jarred and $isped against each other, to have it pulled off by the Shoulder Blade, to have not only the Bones di­joynted and broken, the fleshy Parts torn in pieces, but the sinewy, those most sensible Parts rent asunder; but yet it is more terrible to be wounded at the Heart, for a Stab there is mortal! But is it not still more dreadful to have the Breast dug and opened, and the Heart that Seat of Life, and Spring of Motion, violently tore out of it, having first broke all these vital, bleeding Chords, by which it was united to the Body, and then to have the Pericordium (or Skin that covers it) fleed off and the Caul rent from it? But be assured Brethren, that this though a bo$$$ and very terrible Image, is but an obscure Resemblance of the Almighty's Jealousy, and the Pains produced by it, in the miserable Subjects of his Indignati­on; for it infinitely surpasses any finite Mind, in it's utmost Stretch of Thought to frame adequate or equal Ideas of it. Psalm 90.11. Who knows the Power of thine Anger? ac­cording to thy Fear, so is thy Wrath. The Damned must be always scorched with Flames that shall never expire! The Damned must be always griped with a Worm that shall never die. ‘The Damned must ever ever drink “the rankest Venom that can be squeezed out of all the ”Curses ever God denounced; as I proved before.’ But I proceed to consider the second Motive.

[Page 205]

2. Motive, Which should excite your Compliance with the former Exhortation and Directions, viz. The Advan­tages you are like to obtain thereby. And

1. By $word$ you may obtain Pardon, Jer. 31.18, 19, 20. Luke 15.17, — 25. Isai. 61.1, 2, 3. & 44.3. & 55.1. John 6.37. And is not this a great Privilege? How just is the Psalmist's Observation concerning it, Psalm 32.1. Blessed is he whose Transgression is forgiven, whose Sin is covered. It he not blessed in Body and Soul, in Time and for ever after it.

2. By this you may obtain Peace, which is the natural Consequent of the former, a valuable and precious Bene­fit, upon which the Comforts of humane Life very much depend, Rom. 2.10. & 8.6. Prov. 3.17. And

3. The divine Benediction upon all your Enjoyments here; which maketh rich, and adds no Sorrow with it, Prov. 10.22. And finally, a Crown in the next Life, which fadeth not away: Which may God grant us the Pri­vilege of enjoying for Christ's sake. Amen.


An INDEX, Or an Account of the Order of the Principal Heads contain'd in the preceeding Discourse.

  • THE Introduction. Page 1
  • Division pa. 2
  • Explication. pa. 2 to 8
  • Doctrine. pa. 8
  • Method. pa. 8
  • First General Head, whrein is shewed both Negatively and Posi­tively, what it is to go on in a Course of Sin, in 7 Particulars. pa. 8 to 10
  • Second General Head, which proves that some who go on a course of Sin do notwithstanding expect Peace. pa. 10
  • Third General Head, which enquires into the Grounds of their Ex­pectation of Peace and Impunity, and 1. Ignorance is one Ground, which is fourfold, 1. Of God. 2. Of themselves. 3. Of the Law in it's spiritual Extent. 4. Of the Evil of Sin, which is o­pen'd in Three Particulars. pa. 12. to 14
  • 2. Negligence 3. Self Love 4. Inconsideration. pa. 15, 16
  • Under which Head is shewn the Nature of it's opposite, viz. Inconsideration in Three Particulars, with some of it's advanta­geous Consequences. pa. 16, 17
  • 5. Pride. 6. Prosperity. Three Signs of Wealth given in Wrath. 7. False and erroneous Conceits of these Four Particulars, viz. The Christian's Graces, Affections, Priviledges, Performances; and First, of the Christian Graces in these Nine Instances following 1. Conviction. 2. Conversion. 3. Of Repentance. 4. Of Faith. 5. Of Sanctification. Under which Head the difference between the Combat with Sin that is in the Regenerate and Unregenerate is open'd in Four Particulars. 6 Of Love. 7. Of Hope. 8. Sin­cerity. 9. Charity. Four Objections against the Scriptural notion of Charity answer'd. pa 17 to 26
  • 2. Of the Affections in Three Particulars, Fear, Desire, Delight. Six Causes among the Affections opened. p. 26 to 28
  • 3. Of the Priviledges of Christians in four Particulars. pa. 29
  • 4. Of their Performances or Righteousness, Negative, Positive, Com­parative. Eight Signs of dependance upon our own Righteous­ness propos'd. pa. 30 to 34
  • 8. Some depend upon false Reasonings or Pretexts. Such as these Fifteen following, 1. There's none of you all perfect. 2 All are Sinners. 3 All have their Failings. 4. I don't justify my self. 5. There's no Body certain of Salvation. Four Considerations propos'd to invalidate this Pretext. 6. If our state be bad we can't change it 7. We must wait God's time. 8. I design to turn to God afterwards. 9. I have no learning. 10. I have a bad Memory. 11. If I thought much on such melancholy mat­ters I should grow Crazy. Ungodly Sinners prov'd to be Fools [Page]from. Three Considerations. 12. If I should pore much on these Things, I should certainly fall into Despair. 13. But I must serve God has promised to hear those that ask in his Son's Name. In answer to this the sinfulness of Presumers Prayers is opened in 8 Particulars. Three bad Consequences of that opinion, viz. that the Prayers of ungodly People entitle them to the Promises proposed; and the reasonableness of the contrary Doctrine opened. 15. The Spirit has different ways of working. All these Pre­texts are answer'd. pa. 34 to 50
  • 9. Presumptuous Sinners offer many Excuses and Pretexts to paliate their Sins. And 1. For Drunkenness 5. 2. For Worldly-mind­edness 6. 3. For Carnality 4. 4. For Swearing 3. 5. For Sabbath breaking 1. Under which Head the Morality of the Sabbath is prov'd by six Reasons. 6. For the Neglect of Family Worship 5. The necessity of this Practise confirm'd by four Considerations. 7. For neglecting to hear the Word 18. 8. For Passion 2. Under this Head the nature of sinful Anger is ex­plained in three Particulars. 9. For the neglect of Charity 6. Under this Head is shewn the excellency of Charity in six Parti­culars. pa. 50 to 87
  • 10. Another Cause of the Security and false Hope of wicked Peo­ple is the Devil. pa. 87
  • 11. The bad Advice of wicked People. Their common Objecti­ons answered in many Particulars. pa. 87 to 97
  • 12. The daubing of unconverted Ministers; their fraud and fal­lacy expos'd, in many Particulars. pa. 97 to 102
  • 13. Bad Examples. pa. 102, 103
  • Fourth General Head, wherein is shew'd the Folly, Misery, and Cursed Estate of Presumptuous Sinners. 1. The Presumer's folly is discover'd in four Particulars. The Resemblance of their Hope to a Rush in three Particulars: To a Spider's Web in four, explain'd. 2. The sinfulness of their Hope expos'd in 9 Particulars. 3. Their Miseries open'd in 9 Particulars, Two Privative, and Seven Positive: The Privative Miseries of Presumptuous Sinners are, 1. Loss of the Image of God; the nature of that Image explain'd in three Particulars. 2. Loss of Communion with God. Three Signs of Communion with God propos'd, and four Parti­culars of the Misery of those who want it explain'd. Their Po­sitive Miseries, 1. They are under the power of Sin; the spread of Sin over all the Faculties of the Soul explained, and the horrors and dangers of this State describ'd in many Particulars. 2. In the Possession of Satan, the qualities of this Enemy ex­plain'd in four Particulars. 3. Under the Guilt of Sin, the hei­nous qualities of the Presumer's Sins expos'd, as also the nature of his Condemnation therefor, explain'd in three Particulars. 4. Un­der the Wrath of God. The qualities of this described in six Particulars, viz. that it is, 1. Incomgrehensible. 2. Terrible. 3. Unavoidable, either by slight, force, fraud. 4. Intolerable. 5. Eternal. 6. Continual. The dreadful Nature of God's Wrath [Page]further Illustrated by 5. Considerations, 1. By that of his high­ness and tremendous Majesty. 2. Of his Holiness, and spotless Purity. 3. By the depth of his Wisdom. 4. The Infinity of his Power. 5. The weight of Christ's Sufferings. 5. In a state of Death. This Truth confirm'd illustrated, by the description of 12 Resemblances between Presumptuous Sinners and Dead Men. 6 Under the Curse. Four Properties of this described, viz. that it is, 1. Universal. 2. Judicial. 3. Extreme and terrible. 4. Irrevocable and Eternal. The Eternity of the Damned's Tor­ments prov'd by five Arguments. 7. In extreme Danger, in many respects. pa. 103 to 167
  • USE. I. Of Consolation; wherein is shewed the happy State of gracious Persons. Particularly that their Blessings are and shall be, 1 Universal. 2. Perpetual. 3. Exquisitely sweet and ravish­ing. pa. 167 to 170
  • USE. II. Of Exhortation. p. 170 to 174
  • Twelve Directions propos'd to alarm, and guide Secure Sinners to Christ. The first Direction urges the necessity of Self-Examina­tion, by three Arguments. The second the necessity of Self-judg­ing. The third the necessity of endeavouring after a deep sense of their Misery; by two reasons. The qualities of this sense of Sin describ'd, or the nature of Conviction open'd, in six Particu­lars, viz. That it includes, 1. An affecting apprehension of Sin, 1. Actual. 2. Original. 3. Of the misery of their present State, in four Particulars, viz. 1. The Certainty of it. 2. The Severity of it. 3. The Eternity of it. 4. The Equity of it. 2. Fear of Punishment. 3. Sorrow for Sin; it's qualities describ'd, in four Particulars. 4. Self Despair; it's nature succinctly opened; and an Objection against Application to godly Ministers under Soul distress answered by 10 Queries. 5. Shame. 6. Harred against Sin, it's qualities describ'd in two Particulars. The third Di­rection also shews how to attain that Sense or Conviction of Sin. The right manner of hearing the Word open'd, in 5 Particulars, The fourth Direction disswades from strangling Convictions, by 8 Arguments, and discovers three of the general. Causes of this Practise. The fifth Direction excites to labour after the increase and augmentation of Convictions by six Considerations. The sixth Direction urges the Necessity of Self-Despair by two Reasons, and explains it's nature in six Particulars. The seventh Direction disswades from impatient Haste, in labouring to get rid of Soul troubles. The eighth Direction excites to a strict Exa­mination of the Comforts convinced Persons obtain. The ninth Direction disswades from $esting upon the bare performance of Duty. The tenth Direction disswades from unnecessary Conver­sation with ungodly People. The eleventh Direction and advises to associate with pious People. The twelfch Direction advises to open your Case to God. Two Motives to excite Compliance, viz. 1. The necessity of it. 2. The Advantages obtained by it pa. 174 to the end.
THE Nature of Regene …

THE Nature of Regeneration OPENED, And it's Absolute Necessity, In Order to SALVATION, Demonstrated, IN A SERMON From JOH. III. 3. ALSO The Nature of Adoption, With its Consequent Priviledges, Explained. IN A SERMON From 1 JOH. III. 1.

By the Reverend Mr. John Lennent, Late Minister of the Gospel in Freehold, New Jersey.

An Expostulatory ADDRESS to Saints and Sinners. Added as an APPENDIX, to the first of these Discourses: By GILBERT TENNENT, A. M. Minister of the Gospel at New-Brunswick, in New-Jersey

Isai. 1.18.

Come now and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your Sins he as Scarlet, they shall be as white as Snow; though they be red like Crimson, they shall he as Wool.

Eph. v. 1.

Be ye followers of God, as dear Children, and walk in love.

BOSTON: N. E. Printed in the Year. 1735.


A prefatory Discourse to the following Sermons, with a Relation of some Memoirs of their Author's Conversion and Character.

PARDON me, candid Reader, if notwith­standing the Nearness of my Relation to the Author of the following Sermons, for the Honour of the most hight GOD, and the Glory of his free Grace, I do his Memory the Justice, and the World the Service, (I mean such as were nto per­sonally acquainted with him) as to at­tempt without the Paint of Flattery, a modest Descripti­on of his real Characer.

I am aware that Relatives are apt to be suspected of Partiality, in the Relations they give of those they are bound to by thy Tyes of Nature; because through the Strength of their natural Affection, their Judgment is apt to be byassed, and their byassed Judgment as apt to mis­guide their Tongue, or Pen, into hyperbolical Mistakes in their Narratives.

I freely confess there is some Reason for this Suspicion in the general; but is it not possible for a Relative to get his Mind freed from those partial Byass$s, so as to observe plain Matters of Fact, with Modesty and Imparti­ality. Or must their Reason and Senses be rendred whol­ly and inviolably Useless, in such Matters as concern those they are related to. Sure I am, they have an Advantage above Strangers in this, that they can with more Ease in­spect into the secret and more retired Passages of their Re­lations Lives, not to say that it has been the Practice of some great Men (whose Example those of a m$aner Order are apt to follow pro Viribus) to favour the World with [Page ii]an Account of their Relations Lives and Characters; whose Names, if it were needful, I could mention.

I confess I am unequal to the Task I am engaging in, but a Regard to God's Honour, and the good of Mankind, invite me to attempt it.

Once more, to remove the former Suspicion, I can with the utmost Solemnity assure the Reader, that what I shall offer, shall be much below what I might in Justice assert.

But to proceed,

The Reverend Author of the following Sermons, was blessed by God (from whom every good Donation flows) with a quickness of Apprehension, copiousness of Fancy, and fluency of Expression. As to acquired Parts, he made no contemptible Progress in the Knowlege of the learned Languages; as also in philosophical and theological Studies, considering his Years and Opportunities; which those Reverend Gentlemen, before whom he pass'd his Tryals, gave honourable Testimony to, by such an Ap­probation of his publick Performances, as was suited to his distinguished Merit. But particularly, he excelled in the polemical and casuistical Parts of Divinity; he was well known to be$a keen Disputant, and an expert Cassuist. But that which crowned his other Attainents, and made them appear with Beauty and Lustre, in the Eyes of all judicious Beholders, was his undisguised and eminent Chris­tianity It pleased the God of all Grace some considera­ble. Time before his Entrance into the publick Ministry, to work a special Work of his pure Grace in his Heart, which in Concurrence with his peculiar natural and acqui­red Endowments, rendred him a prepared and polished Shast, for the ministerial Work. Give me leave, candid Reader, to relate a few Passages concerning the Manner of his Conversi$n to God.

His Conviction of Sin, and the State of Danger and Mi­sery he was brought into by it, was the most violent in Degree, of any that ever I saw: For several Days and Nights together, he was made to cry out in a most dolo­rous and affecting Manner, almost every Mement; the Words that he frequently used in his Soul-Agony were these, ‘O my poor Soul! O my bloody lost Soul! What “shall I do? Have Mercy upon me, O God, for Christ's ”sake!’ Sometimes he was brought to the very Brink of Dispair, and would conclude, surely God would ne­ver have Mercy upon such a great Sinner as he was; and [Page iii]yet in the mean time, observe Reader! that his Life was unstained with those scandalous. Extravagancies, which too many (alas for it!) in the Bloom of their Youth are ensnared by. His natural Predominant was the Sin of Passion, or rash Anger, and the worst I ever knew him guilty of, was some indecent Heats this Way; which af­terwards he was exceedingly humbled for and watchful against; his Passionateness cost him many a deep Sob, heavy Groan and salt Tear, and after it pleased the bless­ed God to confer his free Grace upon him, he was re­markably altered in this Particular, and gained in a great Measure, the ascendant over it. Now, Reader, consider­ing that the Manner of his Life before his Conve$sion was such, as to be free from gross Enormities, the depth of his Distress under his Conviction, and that in young Years, is the more remarkable, and serves to confute that vain Notion, of some carnal People, that if Persons have not been prophane in their Lives, then they say there no need of deep Convictions, and grea$ Anguish of Soul, in order to a true Closure with Christ. Indeed his Distress was such, as forced him to make an open Confession of his Sins, to almost all that came near him; as also to beg their Prayers at God's Throne in his Behalf; and this he did in such a piteous Manner, with such a dejected frighted Coun­tenance, like that of a Man going to be put on a Rack, or Gibbet, or having his Head upon a Block in order to be chop'd off; and with such dolorous Groans, and vehe­ment Importunity, did he implore Heaven for Relief and Pardon, that even some Strangers who came to see him, were much affected therewith; the Tears trickling down their Cheeks like Hail. At the beginning of his Convic­tion, I endeavoured to heighten it, by representing to him the particular and heinous Aggravations of those Sins, I knew or supected him to be guilty of, in a Dress of Hor­ror; least his Conviction should languish, and he relapse in­to a dangerous Security. But when I perceived that it in­creased to a great Degree, and was attended with vehe­ment longing after Christ, and a Willingness to forsake all for him; I altered the former Method.

I think I had sufficient Evidence of the depth of his Humiliation and Strength of his Desire after Christ, in the following Instances, and many others that might be men­tioned, did I not design Brevity. ‘He profess'd with an “Agony of Passion that he was willing to bear the Tor­ments of Hell, if so he might but get a Sight of Christ, [Page iv]and an Interest in him; be earnestly and frequently beg'd of God, that he would humble him to the Dust, ”yea below the Dust.

One Morning about the break of Day, after great Wrestling through the Night and Day preceeding, he took occasion from the Time of the Day, to speak as sur­prizingly as ever I heard any Mortal about the Morning-Star, longing and praying. ‘that the blessed Jesus, the “true, the bright, the beautiful Morning Star, who had introduced the Light and the Day, into a dark World, ”would appear in Mercy to his poor distressed Soul’; and thus he improved the Time about the Sun's rising, ‘“begging that the Sun of Righteousness would shine up­on his disconsolate, dejected, wretched Soul with Beams ”of Mercy and Salvation’. And thus he improved ma­ny other Occurrences every of which were they here mentioned, would-swell this Paper to too large a Bulk. But to be brief, his Heart seemed to be sick, sore sick with panting after Christ, ready to burst in preces. I have (Glory to God) through the Riches of free Grace, been honoured with the Sight of many a convinced Sin­ner, but never did I behold besides himself, any in such a Rack of acute and continued Anguish, under the dismal Apprehensions of a holy, just, jealous and provoked Deity, impending Ruin and endless Misery.

Now when I perceived such plain Signs of a deep Com­viction, great Humiliation, and earn$st Desire, I altered the former Method as I hinted before, and offered all the encouraging Supports I could gather from every promisory Part of the sacred Scriptures, that I thought related to his Case, that I might minister Comfort to his sick Soul, but in vain. Sometimes after having offered a promisory Scrip­ture, and laboured to perswade him that he had an Inte­rest in it, because the Conditions on which the promised Blessings were suspended, were wrought in him; this would have sometimes so much Influence upon him, that it would prevent his crying out for a few Minutes, (just like a Man drowning in troubled Waters, a small Twig may support for a sow Moments, but the next Surge that comes will beat him off) and then immediately the Tor­rent of his Grief would break forth, in the most doleful Accents, ‘complaining that neither that nor any other “Promise in the whole Bock of God belonged to him; that the Conditions annexed to them were not wrought ”in him.’ The Truth is, his Wound was so deep, [Page v]that none but God's own Arm could heal it. But it pleased the Almighty, after four Days and four Nights, enduring the utmost Agony of Soul Distress, in which space he cried out almost every Moment, after the Man­ner before described, to make his Consolations as conspicu­ous and eminent as his Conviction has been. But by the Way, observe Reader, that for some Time before it pleased the Almighty to shed abroad the Beams of Mercy and Love into his Soul, he was much exercised with sorrowful and piercing Reflections upon his conceived Hypocrisy; he judged and condemned himself to be a Pharisee, a Hypo­crite, for crying out as he had done, and yet the biting of his Conscience, the Sharpness of his inward Pain, and Weight of his Grief was such, that he could not prevent it, therefore he would have all People out of the Room, that he might pray and mourn alone.

One Morning when I went in to see him, I perceived a great Alteration in his Countenance; he that but about an Hour before, looked like a condemned Man, going to be put to some cruel Death, looked upon me with a cheer­ful gladsome Countenance, (so as if a Person oppress'd with Poverty, had the most valuable Diadems, and opulent Kingdoms the Earth affords or contains, conferred upon h$m would look) and spoke to me in these Words, ‘O “Brother! the Lord J$sus has come in Mercy to my Soul, I was begging for a Crumb of Mercy, with the Dogs, and ” Christ has told me he would give a Crumb. Then he desired me to thank God by Prayer, which I did more than once. He also requested me to praise God by sing­ing Part of a Psalm, which I comply'd with, and sung the thirty-fourth. And was it not strange and surprizing Reader, to hear this Person, of whom I have been treat­ing, singing the Praises of God with more Joy, Energy and Clearness, than any of the Spectators, who crowded in upon so extraordinary and solemn and Occasion, especially considering the Time when this happened, viz. between ten and eleven of the Clock in the Forenoon, and that a­boat three of the Clock the same Morning he was Speech­less for some Minutes, and in the Judgment of all the Spectators, expiring, in the Pangs of Death. Yea the Con­solations of God had such a mighty Influence upon him, that about an Hour or two after he went thirty-two Rods upon his own Feet, with but a very little Help to see his Brother, the Reverend Mr. William Tennent, who was then extremely sick, nigh unto Death, deem'd by the [Page vi]most, past all humane Probability of Recovery; for he said, ‘he must see his Brother, in order to tell him, what “God had done for his Soul, that he might praise God ”upon his Account, before he died’: And indeed when he came to the upper Room where his Brother lay (who is yet through Mercy alive, and who has been and is like to be further serviceable to advance the Kingdom of Jesus, in the Hearts fo Sinners) I having him by one Hand, and Mr. Court Van Varhes by the other he had almost sprung out of our Hands, when he came near the H$ad of the Stairs, the Joy of God became so his Strength and Song! When he came to his Brother, he addressed him in these Words, ‘O Brother! the Lord has looked in “Pity upon my Soul, let the Heavens, Earth and Sea, and ”all that in them is, praise God! — But being exposed too soon to the cold Air, he sell into a Fever, and then in some few Hours questioned that eminent Discovery of God's Love; but was in a little time aster comforted, and thenceforward the Course of his Conversation was alter­ed; he had many after Sealings of God's Covenant-Love, but in the Intervals was frequently dejected, and dis­tressed with doubtful Thoughts about his State. Don't expect Reader, that I should relate what aff$cting Im­pressions these extraordinary Occurrences had upon the Hearers and Spectators; only one particular I must not conceal with a Vail of Silence, viz That a certain Person of Distinction, who in Respect of practical Religion was but Galeo-like, being present when my Reverend Brother received these Consolations mention'd, was forced to con­fess, That the Sight of these Things, was enough to con­vince an Atheist of the Reality of Religion".

But to proceed, after these satisfactory Discoveries of the Love of God in Jesus, he became a consciencious Perfor­mer of the Duti$s of Religon, both negative, positive and relative. He was cautious in avoiding all incentives to Vice, as being sensible of his own Weakness, and the Force of Temptations.

He was painful in the Performance of such Duties espe­cially, as were most contrary to Nature's Ease, such as con­stant secret Devotion, and frequent Fasting, the last of which is almost wholly neglected, by the greatest Part of the present Generation, both young and old, which is for a Lamentation!

He was a tender hearted, kind and courteous Relative, of a very sympathetick Spirit, and particularly his dutiful [Page vii]Respects to his reverend and aged Father, his honoured and affectionate Mather, (of whose early Kindnesses he still retained a grateful Sense) merits honourable Mention and cheerful Imitation His great Soul disdained any thing that was mean and trivial, and inclined him to the most noble and generous Actions that were within the Verge of his Power. But not to insist here,

I proceed to consider his Attainments in the christian Graces or Virtues: Now there are these three, viz. Humi­lity, Love to Christ, and Zeal for his Kingdom, in which it pleased God to give him considerable Advances, each of which I shall speak a little of. And

1. He was wont to express himself in the most abasing Strains, viz "That he thought himself, one of the worst of Creatures ever the Creation bore!" Give me leave to mention but a few Instances of his Humility and Modesty.

Was not this a remarkable Evidence of the abasing Sense he had of his own Unworthiness, that, the earnestly upon his dving Bed, desired his Relations, ‘to forbear any “ Funeral-Encomiums upon him when he was gone; for he asserted with some Degree of Passion, that he deserved ”none.’ But this was an Instance of his Modesty and Humility, yet we cannot but think, that we should obey God rather than Man, by labouring to convey the Memoirs of God's peculiar Goodness, expressed to his Servant, to the latest Posterity.

Another Instance was this, when he was admitted to the ministerial Office, in his private Studies, he often took the Bible in his Hand, and walked up and down the Room weeping and mourning over it, because altho' there was such a Treasury of precious Truths contained in that blessed Book, that he understood so little (as he thought) of them. A Sense of the Greatness of the ministerial. Work, and of his own Ignorance and Unfitness for it, (as he conceived) was often a very oppressive Burden to his Spirits.

Again, It was long, even after it pleased God to suc­ceed his Labours, before he could be perswaded to believe that the sovereign Majesty of Heaven, would bless the En­deavours of a Person every Way so mean and unworthy, as he reckoned himself to be; and therefore when Reports were brought to him, of Persons convinced by his Sermons, he could not think for a Time that they were real and speacial, until further Matter of Conviction was offered him, by a Variety of bright and incontestable Evidences,

[Page viii]

As to his Love to the Lord Jesus, it's necessary I should offer one Word: It may be asserted with Truth & Justice: that he had an affectionate Affection to the King of Saints; which he express'd to the surprize and satisfaction of such devout Souls, who had the advantage of hearing his elo­quent, and earnest Prayers. Christ and him crucified, was the mark of his Pursuits, the sacred Centre, to which the various Lines of his Life run, with a delightful proness; of his supreme Love, and highest Admiration! Of Him he would often speak, in the rethorical and rapturous Strains, of Love Language! Upon this most excellent, pre­cious, and delightful Subject, his Tongue was sometimes as the Pen of a ready Writer.

He had also a very flaming Zeal for the promotion and establishament of the Messiah's Kingdom; it was often, often his Petition to God; a Request, which he usually offered, with much Vehemence! ‘Namely, that it would please “the Gracious God, to make him serviceable to his Church in the World; and that he wou'd not suffer him to live only to devour the Alms of it, but rather remove him to ”himself, before he became useless, and unprofitable’: Which Request the Almighty granted, for he was carried off in a throng of Labour and Success; when his Heart was much set upon the Work of God, and his People's Love upon him.

It we consider him in his publick Character: It pleas'd that God in whose hands the Hearts of all Men are, and who can turn them, as he does the Streams of Water, in the South; to stir up in him earnest Longings after the Service of God and his Church in the Ministerial Office; a Station which the Fountain of Gifts, and Father of Spirits, had in a peculiar manner qualified him for; a Station in which he thought he might more eminently dedicate and devote all his Parts and Powers to the Glorious God; in labouring to illustrate his Honour, and advance his People's Interest: With these Desires and Designs, after having pass'd the usual Trials, with uncommon Approbation, he came into the Ministry; in which he laboured as a Workman, that needed not to be ashamed.

His Ministerial Administrations, were attended with three notable qualities, viz Prudence, Pains, and Success.

He behav'd himself in all respects, with such decent caution, but yet attended with such Christian plainness, and [Page ix]manly boldness; that those of his People who lov'd him not (tho' indeed there were but few such) sear'd him.

As to his Pains in the Ministerial Work, the Truth is, his labour was great! tho' his Time was short, his Race was swift and vehement! His Heart was so fix'd upon the Work of God, that there was no perswading him to desist, in the progress of his publick Labours, even then when his Body was much emaciated and weakned by a Consumptive Illness; when it was judg'd by skilful Physicians, very pre­judical to his broken and languishing Constitution. He often preach'd to his dear People, while he was under the power and influence of a burning Fever; which plainly shew'd the flame and servor of his Zeal, and that he had but little regard to his Body; compar'd with the precious Souls of Men, for whom he was willing to spend and be spent.

In his publick Discourses, not to mention the justness of his Method, beauty of Stile, and fluency of Expression, by which he chain'd his not unwilling Hearers to his Lips; he was very awakning and terrible (to Unbelievers) in denouncing and describing, with the most vehement pathos and awful solemnity! the terrors of an offended Deity; the threats of a broken Law, the miseries of a sinful State; and this Subject in the Course of his Ministry, he insifted much upon; because he found it by experience, (with many others) the most effectual and successful mean to alarm secure Sinners: And observe, Reader, he us'd a close distinguishing and detecting method in the Application of his Sermons, which with his pungent mode of Expression, was very piercing and solemn. but as Dr. Watts observes in his Funeral Elegy upon Mr. Gouge, so I may truly say of him, ‘that he knew the pity of Emanuel's Heart, sas well “ ”as the terrors of Jehouvah's Hand. He was as tender and compassionate in his addresses to gracious Souls, as he was awful and awakening to others; he knew as well how to open and apply the Gospel Balsom to silk Souls, as to bran­dish and apply the Law's Lancet to the Secure; and he was as willing to do the one, as the other. But indeed he was very cautious of misapplying the different Portions of the Word to his Hearers, or of setting before them only a common Miss (as he manner of some is) and leaving it to them to divide it among themselves, as their fancy and humour directed them; for he knew well that that was the bane of preaching.

Once more, He was a very successful Minister. When he was under Trials in order to the Ministry, he was much [Page x] exercis'd with doubts, difficulties and distresses, about his Call to that great and awful Trust: but it pleas'd the good God to dissipate these Clouds, and afford to his perplexed anxious mind, abundant Satisfaction respecting this matter, by the numerous Seals which crown'd his pubsick Labours; (for as samous Rutherford observes, "it is not probable "that God will Seal a Blank) so that it may be truly said of him, that the gained more poor Sinners to Christ in that little compas of time which he had to improve in the Mi­nisterial Work, which was but about Three Years and an half, than many in the space of Twenty, Thirty, Forty or Fisty Years. Many Souls have, and will have, reason to bless God to Eternity, that ever they saw him: But tho' he was thus honour'd with the smiles of Heaven, upon his Labours; with the kind regards of a loving, and generous People; who had it been possible, could have pluck'd out their Eyes, and given them to him, Gal. 4.15. A People, who shew'd as much respectful regard, and sympathy, as ever any before them did to a Minister! Yet was he far from being exalted in his own Mind, but through Grace, still retain'd a just, grateful, and humble Sense of God's distinguishing goodness, and his own unworthiness.

But I must hasten to consider the melancholy conclud­ing Period, of this labourious, and successful Scene of Action.

As he drew nearer to his End, his Love to, and Concern for, his People encreas'd; he would often express himself to his Brother, with many tears, in these Words! ‘I am “ griev'd for my poor People! for I fear they will be lest to wander, as Sheep without a Shepherd, or get one that will pull down, what I have poorly endeavoured to build ”up.’ Yea his his Brother (who lay by him) has frequently overheard him, in deep silence of the Night, wrestling with God by Prayer, with sobs and tears (as he understood) for his People! even then when so reduc'd, by the Con­sumption, that he could scarce walk alone; the wasting pains of which lingring and tedious Distemper, he bore with unbucken Patience, and silent Submission to his Father's Pleasure; until it pleas'd God to open a door of escape to his captive Soul, through the ruins of his decay'd Frame.

On Saturday Evening, the last Evening of his Life, he was seiz'd with a violent [pang] of Death, which was thought by the Standers by, to be his last; of which, un­expectedly reviving, and observing a disorder among them, he address'd one of them thus, whom he saw uncommonly [Page xi]affected, with a chearful Countenance; ‘I would not “have you think the worse of the ways of Holiness, be­cause you see me in such Agonies of Distress, for I know there is a Crown of Glory in Heaven for me, which I ”shall shortly wear.’ Afterwards many times in the Night, he earnestly pray'd in these words, ‘Come Lord “Jesus, Come Lord Jesus! O Jesus! why dost thou lin­ger.”’ Sometime before Day, after a little Pause, he ex­press'd with a humble Confidence, the last words of the sweet Psalmist of Israel, 2 Sam. 23.5. ‘Although my “House be not so with God, yet hath he made with me an everlasting Covenant, ordered in all things and sure: ”for this is all my salvation, and all my desire.’ About the break of Day, he call'd his Brother William to Prayer; and earnestly desir'd him, to implore Heaven for his speedy removal; for the said, "He long'd to be gone." About Eight or Nine of the Clock, on the Morning of the Sab­bath, (the Season which he us'd to improve in the most earnest and winged Supplications to the divine Majesty, for his Blessing upon the Church in general, and particularly for that Branch of it, he presided over; it pleas'd his Master to translate him, to that Great Assembly to the Just, the Church of the first born, there to celebrate an eternal Sab­batism, in Praises and Songs of Triumph! instead of his former painful Employments.) A few Minutes before he expir'd, he broke out into the following rapturous Expres­sions (having his Brother William by the Hand) Fare­well “my Brethren, Farewell Father and Mother, Fare­well World, with all thy vain Delights: Welcome God and Father, Welcome sweet Lord Jesus: Welcome Death, ”Welcome Eternity, Amen. A little after he only men­tioned with a low Voice (the strength of Nature being broken) these words, "Come Lord Jesus, Come Lord Je­sus!" and so he fell asleep in Christ. and obtain'd an abun­dant Emrance into the Everlasting Kingdom of his God and Saviour; and has left us to mourn! the Loss the Church of Christ has sustain'd in general, by the dismal gloom of an angry Heaven, in the removal of so prevailing an Intercessor, and faithful Watchman (who could well found an alarm) and his own Congregation and Relations in particular! by the absence of such a painful Pastor, and passionate Friend. What a doleful presage is it to a Land, of impending, ap­ptoaching Calamities, when the Great God looks up such Jewels in his Cabinet! Isai. 57.1.

[Page xii]

He has left us to mourn our own, and the publick Loss; by the removal of such a Guide from us, and Guard from others, in the passionate Language of Elisha, over a depart­ed Elijab, 2 Kin. 9.12. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My Father, my Father! the Chariot of Israel, and the Horsemen thereof: and he took hold of his Cloaths and rent them in two pieces.

He is gone to the Rest of God, and left us behind him in this doleful Desart; to travel and mourn, and hang our Harps on Willows; while he drinks the Joys of Angels, in that Seat of perfect Pleasure, where all tears are wip'd away. For

Jam procul a patria mesti Babylonis ad oras.
Fluminis ad Liquidas mesti Sedemus aquas.
By Babel's Borders sorrowful we sit.
Far from the Country where we Love we wait.

He has left us to mourn, but blessed be God not without Hope, a rational & Scriptural Hope, of meeting in a better Country, where there will be no need of parting any more, and where they happy Inhabitants are perfectly freed from Sorrow, Strise, and Sin. A Country of which a poor In­dian could say,

Illic vera quies, illic sine fine, voluptas;
Gaudia et humani, non referenda sonis.
There Joy unbounded, infinitely glides,
There's Rest and Pleasure, blooming too besides.

Thus did this faithful Servant of God, live, and thus did he die.

Sic Mihi contingat vivere, sicq; more.
Thus let me Live, thus let me Die, O God!
Thus let me triumph, on the shining Road.

It may be with Justice observ'd, concerning him, that he liv'd much desir'd, and died much lamented. His Funeral Herse was well inviron'd by thronging Crouds, and well bedew'd with ornamental tributary Tears.

The Reverend and Ingenious Ms Dickinson of Ellsabeth-Town, compos'd the following, Elogy, to be Inscrib'd on [Page xiii]his Tomb Stone; which is indeed a just and genuine Description of his Character.

Here lies what was Mortal of the Reverend Mr. John Tennent, Nat. Nov. 12th. 1707. Obije April 23.1732.

Who quick grew Old, in Learning, Vertue, Grace;
Quick finish'd well, yielded to Death's Embrace,
Whose moulder'd Dust, this Cabinet contains,
Whose Soul triumphant, with bright Seraph's reigns.
Waiting the time, till Heaven's bright Conclave flame,
And the last Trump, repairs his ruin'd frame.
Cur prematuram mortem, queramur acerbam.
Mors matura V$$it, cum bona vita suit.

But I proceed to speak something of the following Ser­mons, and this I must crave leave to say of them, that tho' they are bereav'd of their Author's finishing Hand, which doubtless would have help'd them to appear with more beauty and lustre, yet as they are, I can't but hope that they will be grateful to all devout and intelligent Persons, and accepted of as Specimens of their Author's Ingenuity and Piety.

The Subjects treated of in them are weighty and momen­tous: The first treats of Regeneration which is the foun­dation of practical Religion, the Soul that animates it, with­out which it is but a dead Carcase; the Source from which it springs. Secondarily, in this Sermon you have the nature of this Change plainly, and succinctly open'd, it's absolute necessity in order to Salvation incontestibly demonstrated, and it's inseperable Characters agreably and justly display'd. In the second you have the Nature of Adoption, the ne­cessary consequent of Regeneration, with its peculiar and no­ble Privileges, solidly tho' briefly discuss'd.

I made choice of these Sermons, not because I deem'd them the best of his Composure, but because best suited to the Subject before treated of.

I beseech the Reader, that he would read them with attention and reflection, and ask the Divine Direction and Benediction upon his pains; for this is the way in which only he has rational encouragement of meeting with sav­ing good and edification.

[Page xiv]

Courteous Reader, I have added an Expostulatory Addres, to, and Lamentation over unconverted Sinners, with some Directions to those that are truly gracious, by Way of Appendix to the first of these Sermons of my Brother's, part­ly because the Discourse concluded abruptly, and princi­pally because I wanted to express a little of the Thoughts, Sorrows and Desires of my Soul, upon that so necessary and precious a Subject; that I might essay to allure the Sinner's Love, as I had attempted in the first Discourse, to strike their Fear; that so by any Means, if it were the good Pleasure of God, I might be an Instrument in his Hand, of gaining some to Christ. I cannot say I have come up to the Dignity and Weight of the Subject; but I can say, I have desired and attempted it. Pray Reader, Be entreated to weigh the Arguments in thy Mind impartially, and then judge if they are not rational? And I beseech thee to remember, for Christ's Sake, that in this World only (which is a State of Probation) there is Time to work out your Salvation in: The Damned in Hell are for ever past it, the Blessed in Heaven are in the perfect Enjoyment of it; therefore call upon God while he is near, seck him while he may be found, Isai. 55.6. Let not unconverted Sinners encourage themselves in Sin, because God delays the Execution of his Justice, for the longer abused Patience waits, the more enflamed and terrible will be the Execu­tions of provoked Anger at last; when Men have filled up the Measure of their Impieties, and thereby ripen'd themselves for the Stroaks of it. Gen. 15.16. Jer. 51.13. Isai 42.14 I have a long Time holden my Peace, I have been still and refrained my self, now will I cry like a travailing Woman, I will destroy and devour at once.

And let not the Saint think his Work is over, because he is converted; this is just as if the Israelites when they had passed through the Red sea, had imagined themselves to be got into Canaan, but they afterwards found an $owl­ing Wilderness to travel through, full of Dangers, Difficul­ries and Enemies, which they must grapple with, before they get to Canaan, and so will you. When the Ship is built, and rigg'd, and launched, and loaded, and begin­ning to move to her Port, the Voyage is but just begun; the Mariners must expect to meet with Storms and hard Labour, before they get to their intended Harbour: Thus it is with you my dear Brethren, Conversion but leads you into that narrow Way, in which you must expect Travel and Labour, and Difficulties of different Kinds. But in [Page xv]the mean time, I confess that Conversion gives you an ha­bitual Fitness to perform the one and sustain the other. Beware of being ensnared by the Amusements of this vain World; remember you will pay dear for all stolen Sweets. Beware of forgetting your first Love. Beware of a covset­ous, slothful or ambitious Spirit, each of which will prove very prejudicial to your Progress, if indulged. Live with­in Sight of your own Country. O! bring forth Fruits for Christ; for what do you stand in the Vineyard but for this? What is the Design of all the Waterings of the Word, and prunings of Providence, but to make you fruitful? Read Isai. 5. Remember the Dignity to which you are advanced, and act worthy of it; you are the Sons of a King, disdain and avoid base sneaking Actions, as unsuitable to your exalted Character. Hasten, Hasten, Hasten, up­on the Wings of Faith, and Feet of Love, to your Rest. Watch ye, stand fast in the Faith, quit you like Men, be strong. 1 Cor. 16.13. I commit you to God and to the Word of his Grace, which is able to make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you, and to give you an Inkeritance among them that are sanctified, Acts 20.32. 1 Pet. 5.10.

And remain Your's In the Dear LORD JESUS, Gilbert Tennent.

New-Brunswick, July 19th. 1734.



IF any ungodly Men with effronted Impudence, will deride the foregoing broken Memoirs, I have given of my Brother's Conversion and Character, it being natural for the Sons of Pride, to laugh at that which through their Blindness and blockish Jgnorance they can't, or through their Malice and Preju­dice against God and Religion, they won't understand; Remember that by your Scoffs, you make your own Bonds and Fetters strong, Isai. 28.22. You cannot by your Virulence hurt the venerable Dead: He is got beyond the Reach of your Rage; and as for my self, I look upon your groundless and invenom'd Calumnies, among my greatest Honours; but if ye desire a further Answer, take it in the Words of Dr. WATTS, in one of his Lyrick Poems.

'Laugh ye Prophane, and swell, and burst,
'with bold Impiety,
'Yet ye shall live, for ever curs'd,
'and wish in Vain to die.

Farewell, G.T.

[Page 1]

Regeneration Opened.


JESUS answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a Man be born again, be cannot see the Kingdom of GOD.

THESE Words are Part of a remarkable Dialogue between Christ and Nicodemus; in which Nicodemus his Fear, Ignorance, and Willingness to be taught, are prin­cipally bewrayed; he was one of the Pharisees, as we are informed from the first Verse of this Chapter, who in Gene­ral were stated Enemies against Christ, and his Gospel; these Pharisees were proud Separatists, who upon the Opinion of their own Righteousness de­spised all others.

As to his Station, he was a Ruler, as the Word Archoon signifies; this Man being in a high and eminent Station, through Fear of incurring the Anger or Displeasure of the Jewish Sanedrim, by openly professing Christ, came to him by Night, Verse 2. Thus we see what Clogs, Hindran­ces, and Impediments, Honour, Grandeur, and Greatness are, in the Way of the Profession and Practice of Truth and Holiness; yet it is evident from the Words of Nico­demus, in the second ver. notwithstanding his Fears to acknowledge openly the Truth of Christ's Mission from the Father, that be had a well grounded Perswasion of it, $$om the Miracles the blesses Jesus had wrought; Rabbi, [Page 2]we know that thou art a Teacher come from God: for no Man can do those Miracles that thou do$st, except God be with him. But certainly it is of vast Consequence and Impor­tance, that the gross Ignorance and strange Stupidity of this learned Man, a Teacher in Israel, concerning the vital Part of Piety, — are so perspicuously detected in our Text and Context. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily —. In the Words are three Things remarkable,

  • 1. A Proposition.
  • 2. An Asseveration.
  • 3. The implicit Occasion of them both.

1. The Proposition in these Words, Except a Man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God. In it there be two Things,

  • 1. The Subject, a Man.
  • 2. The Predi­cate, or that which is spoken concerning the Subject, be born again.

1. As to the Subject, a Man. This indefinite Expressi­on (the Matter so requiring as the present Case is) is equipollent, or equivalent to a universal. It is as much as if he had said every Man, of whatsoever Order, or Cha­racter, or Age, or Nation, Great or Small, Rich or Poor, Noble or Ignoble, Learned or Unlearned, Young or Old, Jew or Gentile, Bond or Free, Male or Female, must be born again, or they cannot see the Kingdom o God. Gal. 6; 15. Heb. 12.14. 1 Pet 1.23. 2 John 1.13. John 3.7. 1 John 2.29. & 3.9. & 5.4.

2. The Predicate; which being complex treats of two Things, viz.

  • (1.) Of Happiness under that Term the Kingdom of God.
  • (2.) The Qualification universally ne­cessary to obtain it, which is being born again; ean me tis gennesthe anwthen. The Greek Word anwthen is generally render'd superne, from above, but the Tenor of our Con­text, especially Nicodemus his Answer to Christ, How can a Man enter the second Time —? Verse 4. sufficiently proves that if signifies as much here as deuteron, or again, our dunatai idein, ton basi$cian tu theou; be cannot see the Kingdom of God; by seeing here I understand possessing, according to that Phrase of the Romans, Hereditatem cer­nere. A Proof of this we have in our Lord's Sermon on the Mount, Matth 5.8. Blessed are the Pure in Heart: for they shall see God; i. e. they shall see him to their Comfort, see him so as to enjoy him, see him as a Friend and Father, and possess him as a satisfying Portion. Cannot, an unregenerate Man is under a threefold Impo­tency, in Regard of the Enjoyment of God's Kingdom.
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1. Natural. He must take this Kingdom by main Force out of the Hands of a just and infinite GOD, if he gets it at all, while he remains in this State. Now what Power has a guilty Worm to do this? Whose Foundation is in the Dust, and who is crushed before the Moth, Job 4.19.

2. Moral. He is a Subject utterly unqualified for the pure Pleasures that Kingdom affords, being universally corrupt, and subject to the Government of Sin and Sense.

3. Judicial. He is disseized of, and seperated from this Inheritance, by the Sentence of Christ the Judge of Quick and Dead; which no Power in Heaven or Earth can re­verse: For He that liveth and was dead, carries the Keys of Hell and Death at his Girdle, Rev. 1.18.

An Unregenerate Person, as such, neither can, nor shall see the Kingdom of Heaven, so as to inherit lit, if there be Power enough in God and Christ to keep him out; for this Christ gives his Word in pawn, which he will surely ac­complish. Now there is a threefold Kingdom made men­tion of in the Holy Scriptures.

1. A Kingdom of God's Providence, establish'd upon the Basis of God's uncontroulable Power, and unsearchable Wisdom, 1 Chron. 29.11. Jacob's God has the reins of Covernment on his Shoulders, He weilds the Eternal Scep­ter, and sits at the sacred Helm.

2. The Kingdom of God's Grace in the Church; built upon Christ the Golden Foundation, the chief Corner Stone: This Kingdom is given to the Branch by God the Father, as the inspired Evangelist testifies, Luk. 1.32.

3. A Kingdom of Glory and Blessedness: Matth. 25.34. Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you — This last mentioned I take to be the Kingdom design'd by Jesus in the Text, viz. that triumphant Quire in which the Saints and Angels sing Eternal Hallelujah's, to the Everlasting King. Heaven is call'd a Kingdom, because in it God rules his Sons and Subjects. God's King­dom is where he reigns: Now he reigns in Righteousness, Heb. 1.8. Thy Throne O God is for ever and ever! a Scep­ter of Righteousness, is the Scepter of thy Kingdom.

2. The Asseveration, Verily, Verily. This Asseveration is a conspicuous Confirmation of the Truth of the Propo­sition, tending clearly to manifest the great Momentous­ness and Importance of it. There be two Things in the Asseveration which serve to establish inviolably the Ve­tacity or Truth of the Proposition, viz.

  • (1.) The Repeti­tion of the Particle Amen.
  • (2.) The Dignity of the [Page 4]Speaker. The Word Amen, rendred Verily in the Text, is twosold, either Prefixed or affixed; when it is prefixed or put before a Proposition, it is the Note of a certain and earnest Affirmation, as in the Words of our Text, Verily, verily. When it is affixed or subsequent to a Pro­position, it notes two Things:
    • Either (1.) The Assent of the Mind, Will, Affections, as at the Conclusion of the Creed and the Lord's Praver.
    • Or (2.) An Asseveration, or certain Affirmation, as the Word Amen, at the End of the Lord's Prayer, signifies not only our Assent to, but Assurance of the Reality and Certainty of the Things therein contained; now the Repetition of this Particle in our Text, like the redoubling of Pharach's Dream, Gen. 41.32. shews us at once the undeniable Certainty and great Weight of the Thing spoken of.

2. The Dignity of the Speaker: Who is it that speaks thus? The blessed and holy Jesus, as our Text informs us; which Name some derive from Temi mitto, a Word that signifies to send, because the Lord Jesus is the bright Angel, the faithful Messenger of the everlasting Covenant; Mal. 3.1. Heb. 3.2. Others from jaw sano, a Word that signifies to heal, because our Lord Jesus was the true Physician, Math. 9.12. Mark 2.17. Basil and Cyril a­mong the Ancients are of this Opinion.

But the Angel explains the true Derivation of it, Mat. 1.21. And thou shalt call his Name Jesus, for he shall save his People from their Sins. And that not only typi­cally, as M$ses and J$shua, and others, but really and truly. Nor (2) only temporally, as those before menti­oned, just from bodily Miseries, but from spiritual and eternal, from Sin and Death, Heb. 2.14. 1 Cor. 15.55, 56, 57. 1 John 3.8. (3.) Neither did he only free his Peo­ple from Misery, as M$ses did Israel out of Egypt,; no, but as his Type Joshua led Israel into Canaan; so does the blessed jesus the Anti-type, introduce his People into a State of endless, uninterrupted, and unspeakably ra­vishing Delight, in the Imperial Paradise, of which the earthly Canaan was but a dark Figure. Now I say, the Dignity of the Person speaking in our Text, gives great Weight and Confirmation to the Truth spoken. Will he who is Truth it self lie? Will he who is the great Pro­phet of his People, co-equal and co eternal with his Fa­ther, the Brightness of his Glory, the Express Image of his Person, Heb 13.4.8. deceive us? I say unto you: I who am the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last; [Page 5]the King of kings, and Lord of lords, and Prince of the Kings of the Earth.

As to the third Particular, the Ground or Occasion of the Words of our Text, imply'd in that Phrase, Jesus answered. It is difficult to find out what were the Words Nicodemus spake, to which Jesus gave answer, there is a Diversity of Opinions about it. Some think that Christ's Words, are a direct Answer to those Words of Nicodemus mentioned in the second Verse; As if Christ had said, Thou lookest upon me as a Prophet only, thou can'st do no otherwise, unless thou wert regenerated. Others think, and that more probably, that from the good Opini­on Nicodemus had of Christ, he asked the Way to Sal­vation; and that our Text is an Answer to that Question.

From the Words thus briefly explained, there arises these two doctrinal Observations, the one imply'd, and the other express'd.

Obser. I. That Man from his very Birth is depraved.

Obser. II. That Regeneration is absolutely necessary in Order to obtain eternal Salvation.

As to the first of these which is this, That Man from his very Birth is depraved.

The Method I design to follow in prosecuting this Doctrine is

  • 1. To prove the Truth of it.
  • 2. Explain the Nature of it.
  • 3. To improve it. And

1. I am to consider the Truth of the Doctrine. This is plain from the Text, for if the first Birth was not viti­ated, what need would there be of a second. The royal Prophet Isaiah upbraids Israel with this, And was called a Transgressor from the Womb, Isai. 48.8. The Psalmist gives Testimony to the same Truth, Psalm 51.5. I was shapen in Sin, not only corrupted with Sin as soon as born, but before, even in our Formation. Job confirms this in the 14th. Chapter of his Book, 4. Verse. Who can bring a clean Thing out of an unclean? not one. Yea, the blessed Jesus makes this the Ground of the Necessity of a Change, in the 7. Verse of our Context, That which is born of the Flesh is Flesh: As if Christ should say, You need not wonder, Nicodemus, at my Inculcation of the Necessity of this inward Change or New Birth; because Men are corrupted from their first Birth. This original [Page 6]Depravity is conveyed to all the Sons of Adam by Gene­ration, unless prevented by a Miracle, as in Christ. The Sickness and Death of Infants are a plain and umanswer­able Proof of this: For the Wages of Sin is Death, Rom. 6.23. Also the baptismal Laver shews this hereditary Contagion and Infection. But

2. I am to explain the Nature of this Depravity. which consists chiefly in these three Things, viz.

  • 1. In a Privation of Good.
  • 2. In an Antipathy to God.
  • 3. In a Propensity to Evil.

1. Then, In every Unregenerate Soul, there is a priva­tion of all good: There is no Spark or signature of that pristine beautiful Image engraven at first on the Soul by God; no reliques of Man's primitive Righteousness, nei­ther in habit or in act, in inclination or motion, that is spiritually good, Rom. 7.18 In my flesh, i. e. in my Nature considered as corrupted, there dwells no good thing. The Soul is depriv'd of it's ancient Ornaments and Furniture; it is left poor without spiritual riches, blind without saving knowledge, naked without spiritual raiment. Rev. 3.17.


2. There is an antipathy to God, his Ways, his People, his Image, Rom 8.7. The carnal mind is enmity to God. This is evident from the Speech and Practise of wicked People, their embittered jeers, and satyrical invectives a­gainst God's People. A Cain hated an Abel, and an Ish­mael an Isaac, and an Bsou a Jacob; and that because of Joh. 3.12. Now this hellish spite is to be found in all natural unregenerate People, till remov'd by the supernatural Change, of which I design to speak afterwards. I now proceed to the

3. Patticular contained in this depravity; which is the Propensity that is in all Unconverted People to every Evil. Prov. 22.15. Foclishnessis bound in the heart of a Child. Indeed there is not an equal propensity in all, to every Sin; no, for some by reason of their natural Temperament, man­ner of Education, or custom, are inclined to one Sin more than some others; yet all Men by Nature are virtually disposed to every Sin; for we are prone to Evil as the Sparks fly upward, Job 5.7. Every Sin is form'd in our Nature; they want only time, opportunity, temptation, and the removal of restraining Grace, to bring them forth into action.

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USE. Hence we are informed (I.) of Man's miserable and deplorable state by Nature, which affords us sufficient matter for the deepest Humiliation, and most doleful Lamen­tation! It's on this account that we are rendred obnoxious to the vindictive Justice of a terrible and holy God. Eph. 2.3. This it that makes our Lives so corrupted, and all our religious Services so defective and depraved.

2. This informs us of the absolute necessity of a univer­sal Change, of Heart as well as Practice, in order to ob­tain Fellowship and Communion with a holy sin hating God here, 1 Joh. 1.6. or the more full Enjoyment of him in the Life to come. How can there be a sweet Commu­nion, and full Enjoyment, without Love? and how can there be Love without Likeness? and pray what Likeness or Resemblance is there between an infinitely pure God, and an Unconverted Sinner, who is a very mass of Pollu­tion and Defilement? How can that God who is glorious in Holiness fix his complacential Love upon that which is the object of his eternal abhorrence? And how can an unrenewed Sinner, who is fill'd with enmity against God, Rom. 8.7. fix his highest Love upon one he hates with an implacable hatred. All which consider'd, complexly shews us the absolute necessity of a $universal Change. Which naturally leads me to the second Observation, which is,

That Regeneration is absolutely necessary in order to obtain Eternal Salvation.

This is evident from the words of our Text, Except a Man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God. Also from Gal. 6.15. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails any thing, but the new Creature. Therefore if any Man be in Christ Jesus he is a new Crea­ture, old things are pass'd away, and all things are become new. Heb. 12.14. Without Holiness no man shall see the Lord. Rev. 21.27. And there shall in no ways enter into it, any thing that defileth, neither whatsoev$r worketh abo­mination, or maketh a lye, but they which are written in the Lamb's book of Life.

In prosecuting this Doctrine, I shall endeavour to observe the following method.

  • 1. Shew Negatively what Regeneration is not.
  • 2. Positively shew what it is.
  • 3. Propose those Reasons that urge the necessity of it.
  • 4. Improve it.
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As to the first propos'd, which was to shew what Rege­meration is not. And,

1. It is not what Nicodemus grosly conceiv'd, a re$entry into the Womb of our Mother. It is surprizing that a Man of so polite Literature, as we have reason to believe Ni­codemus was: A Master, a Teacher in Israel! acquainted with the Law and Word of God, where doubtless he had read frequently such passages as those, Ezek. 36.26 should have such gross conceptions of this Work of God; but hereby are these sayings of God verify'd, 1. Cor 1.21. and 2.14 For in the wisdom of God the World by wisdom knew not God; but the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned Such is the inherent hereditary Contagion of our apostatiz'd Na­ture, that were we born a thousand times in a natural way, it woul not remedy that Malady: This the blessed and holy Jesus plainly and clearly confirms in the 6th. ver. of our Context, That which is born of the flesh. is fl$sh, i.e. it is corrupted and contaminated.

Hence it appears to be a prodigy of incomparable folly for any to boast of and glory in, the grandeur of their Descent and Lineage, seeing that whatsoever is born of the flesh is flesh, and without outward Cultivation, and inward Renovation, must be the Subjects of indelible misety. Neither

2. Is Regeneration a change of the Essence, or being of the Soul: (haec semper eadem phisicae maner) The Soul is not made new as to it's being or substance aut quo ad esse phisicum) other ways a new Soul must be in$$$us'd, which we read not of; but as to it's qualities (aut quo ad esse morale) new qualities or principles of Action are infus'd into the Soul by God, by which it is inclin'd, and sway'd after ano­ther manner, and to another scope, than formerly. Some do talk strangely of this affair, that the substance of the Soul is chang'd, as Flaccus Fliricus, Gregory Nazianzene, and others, "that People are Goded into God, and Christ­ed "into Christ, as their Expressions Theopoiein Christo­poiein import. It's true, the Scripture calls this gracious Change, a participation of the Divine Nature, 2 Pet. 1.4. But this is only to shew (1) the reality and fixedness of this work of Grace, that it is no notion or fancy, but a solid reality. (2) the resemblance it bears to the Divine Perfections. Such Persons are renew'd after God's Image In Knowledge, Righteousess, and Holiness; they have a [Page 9]divine temper and disposition of Soul; the principal by as of their Hearts is towards God and his Service. But tho' they are thus born after God and of God, yet they are not thereby made God. That which is by way of substance or essence in him, is only by way of accident in us. Neither

3. Doth it consist in an outward Profession of Christ, or his Ways. The foolish Virgins had large Lamps, but no Oyl, Matth. 25. A Man may be reform'd from Paganism or Popery, to the Profession of true Christianity, and yet be a stranger to this Work of God. Nor

4. In the enjoyment of outward Priviledges; such as Baptism, the Lord's Supper, and others of the like nature. The Jews of old depended upon these outward Priviledges and Prerogatives, Jer. 1.4. Rom. 10.3. And so do many of the Gospellized World now; but the divinely insipi$ed Jeremiah pungently inculcates the invalidity of outward Ordinances, without the thing signifyed by them, to ob­tain bliss and glory; therefore he puts the circumcis'd Jews, who were uncircumcis'd in Heat, in a paralel Case Yea Christ himself had a Controversy with the Jews upon the same account, he endeavoured to destroy their fond hopes of Heaven grounded upon their outward Priviledges, and for his plain dealing he receiv'd abusive treatment, Joh. 8. The Apostle Paul very plainly sheweth the in­sufficiency of these things without an inward renovation, Gal. 6.15. Neither

5. Doth it consist in an external conformity to the Law of God: For this is something inward, the Workmanship of God in the Heart. A Man may pray, read, hear outwardly, keep the Sabbath, be faithful to his Word, and just in his Dealings, and yet be a stranger to this Work of God in the Soul: For such were some of the Pharisees of old, Phil. 3.6. Mar. 10.20. and yet our ascended Lord and Saviour positively avers, that unless our Righteousness exceed the Righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, we shall in no wise enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, Mat. 5.20. Nor

6. In a restraint of the Old Man. God restrains many whom he never renews: So he did Abimelech a Heathen,, Gen 20.6. One that is not renew'd may avoid gross sins, through fear, shame, or the absence of opportunities, and temptations; or through the influence of Nature's light, the Precepts of Morality, the Doctrines of the Gospel, and the Cill Laws of the Land. The Apostle Peter speaks of some that had escap'd the Pollutions of the World through [Page 10]the knowledge of the Lord Christ, and yet were again intangled in them, 2 Pet. 2.20, 23. Restraining Grace keeps only from the outward acts of Sin, through slavish fear, or some selfish motives; but saving Grace subdues Sin at the root, and raises an irreconcileable hatred in the Soul against it. 2 Cor. 7.11. Nor

7. In common Gifes or motions of the Holy Spirit, which are without distinction confer'd on both the Elect and Re­probate: It is not a Gist of Prayer, Tongues, Utterance, or a faculty of unfolding Scripture Difficulties: Judas had all or most of these, yet was he not born again, but a Son of Perdition, Joh. 17.12. ‘It is not with Men as “with Trees (as one observes) for every bud, blossom, or leaf, argues some life in the Tree, but every ability to Preach or to Pray, does not prove this supernatural ”Life in us.’ Neither does it confist in the common motions of the Holy Spirit, such as some sight of Sin, some grief for it, and wishes after Amendment; personal Afflictions, a prospect of Eternity in Sickness, or other such alarming Occurrences, may cause such like workings. Herod de­lighted to hear John the Baptist, Mark 6.20. Felix trem­bled when he heard Paul preach, Acts 24.25. And A­grippa was almost perswaded, ex eligo, which compar'd with Paul's answer, ver. 29. Acts 26.28. may be justly rendred all to a little: and even wicked Balaam could wish for a happy Death, tho' he did not so well relish a holy Life, Numb. 23.10. Le me die the Death of the Righ$eous, and let my last End be like his. 2 Pet. 2.15.


8. Does Regeneration consist in a partial Change of the Soul, or of some of it's Faculties only; but it is a total Change of the Soul in all its Powers. There may be strange Changes in some of the Faculties, and yet no true Conversion to God; as particularly, (1) There may be great light and knowledge of divine Truths, with an assent to, and perswasion of their veracity, in the mind. 1 Cor. 13.2. And though I have the gift of prophesy, and under­stand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have no Charity (or Love, fo rso the word agape signifies) I am nothing. Also Heb. 6.4. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightned—Rom. 2.17, 18. Here we see the Understanding the directive Power may be so illuminated by the Spirit of God, as to perceive divine Truths with a more clear and affecting view than before, without a saving Change. [Page 11]Also the Will which is a cardinal Faculty of Man's Soul; may be much bow'd, and almost perswaded in some of the Unregenerate, Act. 26.28. Again, the Conscience, ano­ther Power, or as some say, a reflex act of of the Mind, may be much awakened by the terror of God upon the account of Sin, Gen. 4.13, 14. Act. 24.25. Also the Passions may be in some measute chang'd in the Unregenerate: They may have great Sorrow for Sin, 1 Kin. 21.27. Mat. 27.4.5. Joy and delight from divine Objects; Heb. 6.4. Mat. 13.20. and in attendance upon divine Ordinances, Joh. 5.35. Isai. 58.2. Desires after Christ, Mal. 3.2. Joh. 6.34. after Grace, Mat. 25.8. after Heaven, Numb. 23.10 some hatred against Sin, Rom. 2.22. 2 Kin. 10.26, 27, 28. some purposes to forsake it, Numb. 22.17, 18. some Love, to God, Jer. 2.2. Deut. 9.6, 24. compar'd to Christ, Mat. 10.37. to the People of God in general: This the Parable of the wise and foolish Virgins proves, Mat. 25. for it is probable that the foolish would not have associated and dwelt with the wise so as they did, unless they had lov'd them, Gal 4.7. to faithful, Soul searching Ministers in particular, Mark 6.20. some fear of God, Jam. 2.19. Jonah 1.10.16. some zeal for God, 2 Kin. 10.6. Phil. 3.6. Rom. 10.2. some faith in God, Act. 8.13. Joh. 2.23, 24 some dependance and reliance upon God, Mich. 3.11. 2 Chron from ver. 5. to 13 &. 18. compar'd with Deut. 9.6 24. & 1 Kin. 15.3. some confident perswasion of their interest in his special favour and friendship, Mat. 25.7, 11. Joh. 8.33. 2 Chron. 13.10 Numb. 22.18. All these things I have mentioned under this Head, People may have, and yet want regenerating Grace, and so be damned at last. But I proceed to consider the

2. Thing proposed, which was to shew positively what Regeneration is. And

1. More generally, it may be said to be a restauration of God's defaced Image in Man, to some degree of it's pri­mitive beauty and lustre. Our first Parents were made af­ter God's Image, in Knowledge, Righteousness and true Ho­liness, with dominion over the Creatures, Eccl. 7.29. Gen. 1.27. Psal. 8.5. This Image of God consisted in a uni­versal rectitude of the whole Soul, with all its Faculties, Powers and Affections; the Understanding being the guide and governour of the Soul's Faculties, had clear Percepti­ons of the mind and will of God; the Will was subject to the Understanding's directions, having an inherent inclina­tion to will that which the Mind by it's native light, shew'd [Page 12]to be good. The whole train of Passions freely follow'd the guidance of these superiour Powers, without the least reluctance: Thus there was a universal harmony at first a­mong all the Soul's Faculties establish'd by the God of or­der, but Sin has introduced a confusion and Chaos among these Faculties, it has darkened the Understanding, rendred the Will obstinate, and misplac'd the Affections upon dia­metrically opposite Objects, hardned the Heart, stupified the Conscience: Now the blind Will which was before a Subject, usurps the Empire, and hurries the other Powers to a compliance, with its inordinate dictantes. Now Regene­ration is a renewing that gracious Image of God in us which we have lost; for by it the blind Understanding is in some measure enlightened, Act. 26.18. the stony Heart mollify'd, Ezek. 36.26. the disordered Affections rectify'd and fix'd upon the most suitable and noble Objects, God himself as their chief Good and last End.

But more particularly,

A Law Work generally preceeds this Change: Hence the Law is said to be a Schoolmaster to load us to Christ, Gal. 3.24. which I apprehend is wrought in the following manner.

1. There is a discovery of Sin, which the Lord effects by the Law and by the Spirit. Rom. 7.7. I had not known Sin, but by the Law. Before this Christless Sinners are se­cure, like Peter sleeping in this Chains, Acts 12.6. The Spirit of God concurs with the Law. This is one of his first Works with Unconverted Sinners; as is evident from Joh. 16.8. Before he convinces them of Righteousness, he convinces them of Sin; their Eyes are opened, Act. 26.18. Now they see Sin in its loathsome nature, deplorable cir­cumstances, and dreadful consequences; they begin to see the holiness of God, the spiritual latitude of his Law, and their own corrupt nature; then are they apt to cry out, Who can stand before this great and dreadful God! Now, tho' this discovery of Sin begins at a particular Evil, as with the Jews, Act 2.37. yet is proceeds to more; as E­zekiel was led to divers parts of the Temple to see greater and greater abominations, Ezek. 8.6—12, 13.

2. There is an application of the meric of Sin: God convinces the Sinner that all the threatnings belong to him; yea he particularly applits them to himself, as Nathan his parabolical Discourse to David, 2 Sam. 12.7. I am the man, that these Curses are directed against: He hears his Condemnation founded by the Trumpet of the Word; he [Page 13]lees and feels that he is in the utmost distress, environed with dangers, and can at present see no way of escape o­pen'd, Luk. 15.17. He is in the case of the afflicted pur­su'd Israelites at the Red Sea, Exod 14.14, 15. This is that Spirit of Bondage to sear, which ordinarily preceeds the Spirit of Adoption, Rom. 8.15.

3. Compunction, or sharp anguish for Sin. The fight of Sin and Wrath wound the Soul, as tho' it were stab'd with a Sword, Act. 2.37. They have such acute Pains as if a sharp Spear lanc'd their Hearts: it's elsewhere call'd the rending of the Heart, Joel 2.13. When we are greatly griev'd in Soul for Sin, so that it even cuts us to the Heart to think how we have dishonoured God, and disparag'd our selves by it; when we conceive an eversion to Sin, and earnestly desire and endeavour to get clear of the principles of it, and never to return to the practise of it, then we rend our Hearts for it, and then will God rend the Hea­vens, and come down to us with Mercy. Also this Com­punction I am treating of is called breaking up of the fal­law Ground, Jer 4.3. Break up your sallow ground, and sow not among therns: Which represents both the necessity and difficulty of it. ‘An unconvinced Heart, says one, is like “fallow Ground, until'd, unfenc'd, unfruitful of any thing besides Thorns, which is the natural produce of the Soil; which we are bound to get plow'd up by the Word of God, H$b 4.12. otherwise they will choke our at­tempts, ”and blast our hopes.’ Hos. 10.11. It's also compar'd to a taking away the fore-skin of the Heart, Jer. 4.4. Circumcise your selves to the Lord, and take away the fore skins of your Heart, ye men of Judah, and Inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings. i.e. saith Mr. Pool, ‘take away that brawniness and obstinacy that “is upon your Hearts, having to do with God that hath respect unto the Heart. Deut. 10.16. Ezek 44.9. Act. 7.51. least you proceed so far in your obstinacy, that I ”will not be appeas'd’ Jer. 21.12. Ames 5.6.

4. Enquity: When the Apostle Peter's preaching ac­companied with divine energy, had wounded the Jews, this was the necessary effect of it; What shall we do? Act. 2.37.

Thus I thought it necessary to prevent mistakes, to speak first of the which is previous and preparatory to this Change. Now I come to speak somewhat briefly of the Change it self in the several Faculties of Man's Soul, And

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1. The Understanding is renewed in it's several Powers or Acts, a Light from on high shines into it, whereby it's natural Darkness is in some Measure dissipated, so that it hath new Apprehensions of Things. As natural Light was one of the first Things produced in the old Creation, Gen. 1.3. And God said, let there be Light, and there was Light: so spiritual Light is one of the first in the new, 2. Cor. 4.6. Fromerly the Face of Christ was vailed from the Soul, as the Face of Meses from the Israelites, but now he sees something of his peerless Beauty, and tran­scendent Excellency. Christ is to him as the Apple Tree a­mong the Trees of the Woods, as the Rose of Sharon, and the Lilie of the Valley, Cant. 2.1, 2, 3. His very Name is as fragrant Ointment poured forth, and aromatick Spices, Cant. 1.3. All other Enjoyments are as Dross in comparison of him, in the enlightened Sinner's Esteem, Phil. 3.8. Now he sees, the loathsome and abominable Nature of Sin, Rom. 7.13. Now he sees and experience tells him, that there is no true Solace, Contentment or Sa­tisfaction to be had in any sublunary Trisles, he sees that such earthly Enjoyments are empty of solid Good, tran­sient, unsatisfying, and bewitching; contrary to his former Apprehension, Isai. 55.2. 1 Cor. 7.31. Psalm 6. 1 Tim. 6.9, 10. They can find no more Nourishment in them for their hungring Souls, than a starving Man would to in Gravel Stones, Wind, Husks, Ashes, Prov. 20.17. Hos. 12. 1. Luke 15.16. Isai 44.20. That Heart Holiness and Circumspection of Life, which he was apt formerly to ridicule and deride, as needless Preciseness, affected and foolish Singularity, Cant. 5.9. 1 Pet. 4.4. He sees not only necessary, but desireable and lovely, Cant. 6.1. Zech. 8.23. Mal. 3.16, 17. Now he sees clearly that that good Heart, those good Words, good Deeds, good Mean­ings, for which he thought God would spare and re­ward him, deserves nothing less than the revengeful Strokes of God's direful Justice, Isai. 64.6. Phil. 3.7.

2. He has a new Assent, his Understanding being en­lightened to perceive the precious Truths of Christ. he assents to them with a kind of Plerophory, in alively, sensible Manner, Luke 1.1. His Assent is not grounded upon Opinion, Conjecture, or historical Credit, as former­ly; and therefore is not light and superficial, but firm and real; the natural Atheism of his Heart, is in some Measure cured; so that he does not so staggeringly assent to divine Truths as before.

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3. His Judgment is changed. Formerly it was an ab­surd Paradox to him, if he had all the Honours, Profits, Pleasures his Heart could Desire, that he should not be happy then; but now he judges by Experience, that these Things can no more satisfy an enlightened Soul, than an Adamant Stone, or a Puff of Wind, would satis­fy a hungry Person, Formerly he used to think that the New Birth was but a Fancy, a Whim, a Fiction, intro­duced by some hypocondrick, fully, precise People, that imposed upon themselves and others, with Dreams and Notions, the Effects of melancholly Blood, a sickly Constitution, or a disordered Brain; but now he sees and feels an absolute Necessity of it, and that he must be damned without he obtains it, according to the solemn re­doubled Asseveration of the Lord Christ, in our Text. In short, He used to judge of Things by their Appear­ance, by now he judges of them according to what they are in Realigy.

4. His Estimate to Things is changed. He was wont to think highly of the World and the Things of it, how­ever contrarily he might speak, these had the Throne of his Heart; but now he prefers even the Reproach of Christ before them, Heb. 11.26. Thus his Estimate is changed in Respect of Honours, Pleasures, Companions, Gifts, Parts, Privileges, Performances, which would take up more Time than can be well spared at present to ex­plain and illustrate. I proceed therefore to another Par­ticular.

5. His Purposes are changed, he has vastly different De­signs from those he was wont to entertain and indulge be­fore his New Birth; while he was in a State of Security, his principal Scope was to get the World, if possible; to this End he would be frequently, almost continually fram­ing the most artful and suitable Schemes, I and if these did not answer as he would have them, then perhaps his Sleep would be broken, and his Thoughts disturb'd, and he put upon a Rack of impatient Pain. In short, His Purposes were for Sin and Self, but now they are for God and his Soul, now he strives as much daily to get his Heart and Affections deadned to the World, as he did be­fore to secure and advance his Interest in it. Now his anxious Mind is often contriving, what Measures he should take to glorify the blessed God, to subdue abominable Sin, and advance the despised Interest of his dear Lord Jesus.

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6. His Reasonings are changed. He was wont in his State of Sin and Security, to argue for Sin and the World, against Christ and Holiness; from the Mercy and Good­ness of God to Liberty, (so called, but it is really the basest Bondage) in sinning against him, but now it is the greatest Motive to Holiness, and Circumspection

2. The Will is changed. It has got a new Byass and Center of it's Actings; in his unconverted State, himself or the World was the Center, in Reality (notwithstand­ing his fair and false Flams and Flourishes of empty Talk to the contrary) to which he moved, for which he acted with a furious natural Proneness, Psalm 4.6. 2 Tim. 3.2. But now God in Christ is the Center to which all his Actions, whither natural, civil, or sacred, do bend and ter­minate. He aims at God's Glory in all his Actions uni­versally, and singly, the Inclinations of his Will bend towards God freely from an inward and powerful Prin­ciple of Life. 1 Cor. 10.31. Grace is in him as a Well of Water springing up to eternal Life, John 4.14. His Will has an unconstrained Motion. Some under the Views of a vast Eternity, or some afflictive Dispensation, have weak Motions of Heart towards God, Psalm 78.34. But when the Prospect of Danger is removed; the Moti­ons cease, Psalm 78.57. like the Motion of a Clock, when the Spring is removed, but the Motions of a Be­liever's Heart are constant, even when outward Enforce­ments are taken away, Psalm 119.112. because they flow from an inward and vital Cause.

Furthermore, His Will has new Enjoyments: in his State of Unregeneracy, his Life was only a vexatious Wan­dring from Vanity to Vanity, all the Contentment he had was in some worldly Accommodations, or outward Per­formances, Psalm 46. Amos 6.1, 3, 4, 5, 6. Rom. 10.3. But now they are as Husks to him, he can't be satisfied without the Childrens Bread Psalm 119.37. & 106.4. It was an observable Saying of Augustine, Tu secisti Cor “nostrum, et Irrequietum est donec ad te revertatur, i. e. Thou hast made our Heart, and it is Restless till it re­turns ”to thee’ The Sinner in his Security would be contented with the Hu$k and Shell of Duties, but now nothing will satisfy him, but the Presence of Jesus in them; a Sight of the King's Face, a Sense of his special Love. But the cardinal Acts of the Will, are Assent and Dissent, these are the very Hinges upon which it exerts its recep­tive and ex$lusive Faculties, sutable to it's Love or Dislike [Page 17]to the Object proposed, John 1.12. & 5.40. When Christ is offered to the Soul apended to the Pole of the Gospel, on his own Terms of Self denial, and taking up the Cross, the new Born Person is willing to want all than he may have him, to loose all that he may gain him.

3. The Affections of the Soul are changed; such as De­sire, Delight, Fear, Hatred, Joy, Love. New-born Per­sons have frequent and vehement Desires after Communion with, and Conformity to God in Christ here, and the full Enjoyment of him hereaster; arising from a Sight of his Beauty and Excellency, Psalm 42.1, 2. As the Heart pant­eth after the Water Brooks, so panteth my Soul after thee, O God. My Soul thirsteth for God, for the living God; when shall I come and appear before God. Psalm 63.1, 2, 3, 8. My Flesh longeth for thee in a ary and thirsty Land where no Water is; To see thy Power and thy Glory, — Because thy Lovingkindness is better than Life, — my Soul followeth hard after thee. Psalm 84.1, 2. How amiable are thy Tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts! My Soul longeth, yea, even sainteth for the Courts of the Lord: My Heart and my Flesh crieth out for the living God. Cant. 1.2. Let him kiss me with the Kisses of his Mouth: For thy Love is better than Wine Psalm $3.25. Whom have I in Heaven but thee? and there is $on$ upon Earth that I desire be­sides thee. Psalm 119 $word$, 174. O that my Ways were direct­ed to keep thy Statutes! I have longed for thy salvation, O Lord: and thy Law is my Delight. Rev. 22.20. He which testifieth these Things, saith, surely I come quickly. Amen, even so, come Lord Jesus. And as their Desires are after Christ, so their Delight is in him. Cant. 1.4. The King hath brought me into his Chambers: We will be glad and rejoyce in thee, we will remember thy Love more than Wine. Cant. 1.13. A bundle of Myrrbe is my well belo­ved unto me; be shall lie all Night betwixt my Breasts. Cant 2.3. As the Apple-tree among the Trees of the Wood, so is my beloved among the Sons. I sat down under his Sha­dow with great Delight, and his Fruit was sweet to my Taste. Cant. 5.16. His Mouth is most sweet; (i.e. the Communications of his Love by his Word are most De­lightful,) yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my Friend, O Daughters of Jerusalem. And as they delight in him, so they fear to offend him, and that even in the least Things, 1 Thess 5.22 They are apt to cry out when they are tempted, as Joseph, How shall do this great Wickedness and Sin against God, Gen. 39.9. [Page 18]They see the Baseness and feel the Bitterness of Sin, and therefore fear it. Lam 3. Having in Remembrance the Wormwood and the Gall. They seel a Sense of the di­vine Goodness, and therefore fear sinning against it; Hos. 3.5. Asterward shall the Children of Israel return, and seck the Lord their God, and shall fear the Lord and his Goodness in the latter Days. Rom. 2.4. And as they fear Sin, so they hate it universally & irreconcileably. Psalm 119.104. and cannot at any Time sall in Love with it as formerly, 1 John 3.3, — 10. Again the Objects of their Love are changed, God's People, his Laws, his Image, his Ordinances, are the Objects to which their Affections freely flow; now the New born Person Loves sincerely and fervently, those whom he once despised, and pities those whom he once loved and admired, and disdains their Society, their Scoffs and Threatnings, as well as their destructive Gains and perishing insipid Pleasures, Psalm 15.4. & 119.115. 2 Kings 3.14. Psalm 2.1, 4. & 52.6, 7. Isai. 33.15. Psalm 141.4. H$b. 11.24. Now he sees that the People of God are the most excellent Persons on Earth, as much preferrable to others as Jewels, the Sones of a Crown, refined Gold, a royal Diadem, is to common Pebbles, Dross and Rubbish. Mah. 3.17. Zech. 9.16. Lam. 4.2. Isai 62.3. Psalm 16.3. As much excell­ing others, as Wheat does Chaff, Matth. 13.30. Psalm 1.4. Light, Darkness, Matth. 5.14. Eph. 5.8. Cedars and Myrtle trees, the Tares and Thor$s, Psalm 92.12. Isai. 55.13 Matth. 13.38 Cant. 2.2. As much as the most potent Kings, the basest Slaves, Rev. 1.6. Acts 8.23. Isai. 61.1. As much as Lambs, and Doves are preferra­ble in their Qualities to Goats, S$ine, Dogs and Foxes, Hos 4.14. Matth 10.16.& 25.33.& 7.6. 2 Pet. 2.22. Luke 13.32. and Vipers, Matth 3.7. Therefore the New-born Person resorts to God's People, covers their Company (which he before shun'd) that with them he may seek Jesus, Acts 4.23. Cant. 1.7. & 6.1. When the blinded Jaylor came to have his Eyes opened, he soon washed the Wounds he had made before, by many and cruel Stripes, Acts 16.23, 33. Their Love is fixed on God in Jesus, as their highest Good, and last End; as their compleat, satisfying and everlasting Portion, La$. 5.24. Psalm 16.5. & 73.26 which shews it in lively, warm, vigorous Actings, so that the whole Soul feels sometimes the sweet Pains, and refreshful Qualms of a Love sickness after Christ, Cant. 5.8. All the Waters of [Page 19]Affliction cannot quench this Love, but makes it burn more brightly, as Oyl cast into the Fire; Cant 8.6. Set me as a Seal upon thine Heart, as a Seal upon thine Arm: For Love is strong as Death. — Their Sorrow is also changed as to its Objects; they were wont in their carnal and secure State, to mourn principally about worldly Losses, and Disappointments, Psalm 4.6. 2 Cor. 7.10. that either they could not amass and obtain, or retain such a Quantity of worldly Pelf, as their greedy Desires longed for, or their Trouble principally center'd upon the Loss of their Relations or Friends, or their Credit and worldly Comfort, Gen. 27.38. 1 Sam. 15.30. But now they mourn chiefly over their Sins against God, Psalm 51.4. that they are so many, so heinous, that they have con­tinued in Sin so long, Rom 6.21. that they are so inward­ly and universally corrupted by it, Rom. 7.24 and they do not only grieve that they themselves have sinned a­gainst such a good God, but that others also do grievous­ly reproach the Almighty, and affront his Majesty, by contemning his Authority, prophaning his sacred Name, violating his Sabbath, slighting his Word and Ordinances, opposing his Truths, and abusing his People. Ez$k. 9.4. 2 Pet. 2.7, 8. Psalm 119.136. Lam. 4.2. They also mourn an absent God! The withdrawing of his comfortable Presence from them distresses their Spirits; Psalm 42.5. Cant. 3.1, 2, 3. & 5 6, 8. The numerous Crouds of wicked People, the Smallness of the Number of those that are truly Godly, and the little Success of the Gospel of Christ, affords Matter of great Sorrow to New-born Persons, Matth. 7.13. & 20.16. & 22.14. Nahum 7.1, 2. Psalm 3.1. Isai. 53.1.

4. The Conscience is charged: As before it was not able to perform it's Offices, or Functions, viz. to apply, con­vince, or tremble at the Word, but now when the Soul feels the regenerating Influences of the Holy Spirit, what a tender Sense fills the renewed Conscience? For what small Things will it smite, rebuke and check the Sinner? How strongly will it bind to Duty, and bar against Sin? The Consciences of the most of ungodly People are large, secure, and mostly silent; if it be not when they commit gross and notorious Crimes, Titus 1.15. But the Consciences of regenerate Persons being purged from dead Works, Heb. 9.14. do wake and rebuke sharply for small Offences, 1 Sam. 24.5. and puts the Sinner into Distress and Anguish, Gen. 43.21. Now it is the conti­nued [Page 20]Labour of the New-born Person to get and keep a good Conscience, 2 Cor. 1.12. Acts 24.16.

5. The Memory; now it is more apt to embrace and retain divine Things then formerly, Cant. 1.4. Psalm 103.18. & 119.11. The regenerate Person endeavours to lay up the Sayings of Jesus in the Cabinet of his Me­mory, Matth. 26.75. I confess that regenerating Grace does not change the natural Imperfections of the human Constitution, only the moral. If a Person has naturally a weak Memory, it cannot be reasonably expected that Grace will strengthen the natural Faculty, for it's Design is not to heal the Body but the Soul, it only turns the Vein of the Thoughts and Affections on divine Subjects, and helps to perceive better, fundamental Truths, 1 John 2.20, 27. and makes a Person the more desirous to re­tain them, but it don't enlarge or strengthen the Faculty it self ordinarily; a Person may be a strong Christian, have an affectionate Heart, and a holy humble Practice, and yet have but a weak Memory, but in the mean time, it is surely the Practice of New born Persons to pore much upon divine Things, Psalm 1.2 & 104.34 & 119.97, 99. Therefore when they forget precious Truths they have heard explained (their Affections being fixed upon them) they are grived. But

6. Their Conversation is changed: They were wont to be like Moles grovelling in the Earth, now their Mind and Conversation is in Heaven; Phil. 3.20. Heb. 13.14. They are ashamed and blush at their sormer Conversati­on, on, Rom 6.21. They have changed their former Masters, Sin, Satan, and the World, and broke their detestable league with them and Death, Rom. 6.14, 16 to 23 Isai. 28.15, 18. Gal. 5.24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the Flesh, with the Affections and Lusts. The New born Person maintains a continual Conflict with Sin, Gal 5.17. Rom. 7.23. Now he does not only endea­vour to restrain the outward Act, but to crucify the Root of his inward Corruption, Psalm 51. Not only to cut off some Branches, but all, even that Sin which has the strongest S$at in his Constitution, Psalm 18.23. He en­deavours to repress the first Motions of Sin, and to flee the Appearance of Evil, being Diffident of his own Strength, and afraid to offend his God, 1 Thess. 5.22.

But I proceed to the third Thing proposed,

3. To offer Reasons urging the Necessity of Regenera­tions.

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1. The universal Corruption or our Nature shews the in­dispensable dispensable Necessity of renewing Grace; as in the 6 Verse of our Context. For without Holiness no Man shall see the Lord, Heb. 12.14. Rom. 8.13. Is it ressonable to suppose that such a holy God as Jehovah is, who cannot look on Sin but with Abhorrence, should reveive such polluted Wretches as unconverted Sinners are, into his complacential Embraces?

2. Because while unconverted, the Law condemus us, Gal. 3.10. Rom. 3.19. which Sentence cannot be remo­ved any other Ways but by Faith in Christ, Mark 16.16. John 3.18. which no unconverted Person has, for if he had, it would change his Heart and Practice, Gal. 5.6. 2 Thess. 1.11. James 2.14. He may indeed have a his­torical or temporary Faith, but that won't do for Salva­tion, James 2.19, 20

3. Because of the Stability and Firmness of God's Word He who cannot lie hath spoken it, and Heaven and Earth may and shall pass away, but not one Tittle that God hath spoken, shall pass away unaccomplished, Matth. 24.35. Therefore Regeneration is necessary to Salvation.

4. The Consideration of the Nature of the happiness of Heaven, with the Respect that Regeneration hath to it, plainly manifests the Necessity of it. Surely the Nature of future Happiness is pure and spiritual, consisting in the Vision and Fruition of a holy God, who is a Spirit, 1 Cor. 13.12. and in the Society and social Worship of Saints and Angels, and such Pleasures and Employments as the Beau­ty of the Objects and other Circumstances of the Place, may be supposed to imply. Now what Sutableness is there between a carnal unrenewed Mind, and the spiri­tual and pure Pleasures of Heaven? Does not Pleasure spring from the Sutableness, between the Object and the Faculty? What Pleasure then can be expected by the unregenerate in Heaven it self, if they were carried there in their present Condition? (though they may be sure, in the mean time, that while such, they will never have the Tryal, Rev. 21.27. & 22.15.) there is such a Dis­cord between their present Dispositions and the Temper and Entertainments and Employments of Heaven, for these are holy and spiritual, but they are carnal and sensual. This Dr. Scott expresses beautifully, ‘For alas (if we “consider the Matter rightly) how could Souls of their Relish and Complexion, find a proper Employment for [Page 22]themselves in the Regions of Bliss? There are no wanton Amours among those heavenly Lovers, no Ri­vers of Wine, among their Rivers of Pleasure, to grati­fy their boundless Sensuality; no Parasite to flatter their losty Pride, no Miseries to feed their meager Envy, no Mischiefs with which that State abounds, (viz. Praise, Love, Contemplation) are such that they would loath and nauseate them, as too pure and refined for their depraved Appetites; and not improbably (if they had their own Option) desire to fly to Hell for Shelter, to Spirits fo their own Depravity, rather than stay to be tormented in a Heaven so incongrous to their Na­ture”’ So that if these Men would be happy they must either find out a new Heaver, or get new Hearts.

Bishop Beveridge expresses himself thus upon this Head; ‘“Supposing it should please God to take us all up imme­diately into the highest Heavens, and there place us a­round our blessed Saviour; all such as are real Saints among us, as love God above all things, and have pre­par'd their Minds for spiritual Enjoyments, how glad would they be to see their Redeemer, shining in all his Glory? How suddenly would they strike up with the Choir of Heaven, in singing the Praises of him that brought them thither? What infinite Pleasure would they take in the Place, Employment, Company, and every thing they see there? But as for others who are still in their Sins, and mind only Earthly things, how sad and disconsolate would they be? they would wonder to see the Saints so pleasant and joyful; for, as for their parts, they would see nothing there to take delight in; in the midst of Light they would be still in Darkness, and in Sorrow in the midst of Joys, they would not hear the Heavenly Musick, or if they did, it would sound harsh, and be all discords to them: they could not taste these spiritual Dainties, or if they did, they could not relish or find any sweetness in them: they could not see the Face of God, or if they did, they would not be pleas'd but terrify'd and confounded at it; and all this for the want of a true principle of Grace and Holiness, without which a blind Man may as well delight in Pictures, the deaf Man in Musick, or a brute Beast in Metaphysicks, as Men of such tempers, either in Heaven, ”or God himself.’

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Again, Regeneration hath such a relation to our Salva­tion, that it is indeed a part and beginning of it. Gratia est autora Gloriae; Grace is the very dawn of Glory, differ­ing only in degree and duration, from the happiness of Heaven. ‘The truth is (saith Stanhope) God in his Wis­dom “hath so ordered the matter, so admirably contriv'd our Nature and our Duty, that Virtue and Happiness, Grace and Glory are one and the same thing, differing only in the Circumstances and several Prospects we view them under. The good Man begins his Heaven upon Earth, and finishes there what is imperfect here: for the more he masters his sensual Appetites, and gets above the World,— the more he is spiritualiz'd, and ”made meet to be a partaker with the Saints in Light.’

Pray consider seriously that precious, but awful place of holy Scripture, Gal 6.15. It's observable here that the Apostle was speaking of some who desired to make a fair shew in the Flesh, and therefore urg'd the necessity of Circumcision, whom the Apostle inform'd, and assur'd, that in Christ Jesus neither Circumcision nor Uncircumcision avail'd any thing, i. e. to Salvation, but the new Creature. Circumcision was certainly and Ordi­nance of God's own Appointment, a Seal of the Covenant between God and his People, Rom. 4.11. A badge of di­stinction between them and the Infidel Nations, Rom. 3.2. a sign of their original pravity, and of the necessity of in­ward sanctity, Jer. 4.4. Col. 2.13. Yet the Apostle in­forms those who thought they were bound to observe it, that without an internal Change these suppos'd Priviledges would avail nothing, and by a parity of reason (as Dr. Edwards justly observes) ‘he must be interpreted to speak “to us, that our Sacramental Washing in Baptism, our Spiritual Gifts and Endowments, our profound Know­ledge and Learning, our observation of the Ordinances of Christ, and our outward acts of religious Worship, will all avail us nothing unless we have a new princi­ple implanted in us, such as influences our Lives, and ”produces evangelical Obedience.’

But I proceed to the

4. Thing proposed, which was to Improve the Doctrine.


USE. I. It Informs us that the way to be made a Member of the invisible Church is by Regeneration; for there shall i$no wise enter into it any thing that defileth; neither [Page 24]whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's Book of Life, Rev. 21.27.

2. It informs us of the Love of God in revealing that way to us. Hos. 8.12. which shou'd strike our Admira­tion, and awake our Gratitude.

3. It informs us of the Love of Christ in purchasing after such a painful manner, that Life for his People, to which this way leads, 2 Cor. 8.9. For ye know the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for our sakes be became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. 2 Tim. 1.10. Who hath abolished Death, and hath brought Life and immortality to light through the Gospel. That having your Affections dead to, and we an'd from all En­joyments here, your Life may be hid with Christ in God; that when he who is your Life appears, you may appear with him, Col. 3.4.

4. It informs us of the Emptiness and insufficiency of all outward and legal Performances to obtain an actual Inte­rest in the purchas'd Happiness, without good principles of Action; such as a new Heart, and transcendent Love to the divine Majesty. Luk 6.43. For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit: neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Therefore according to the words fo Jesus, if you would have the Fruits good, you must make the Tree good, Mat. 12.33. For God is a Spirit, and therefore will not accept of or be pleas'd with any Worship but that which is agreable to his Nature, Joh. 4.24.

USE. II. Of Examination. Now that you may know your present state and condition, I shall propose some Characters of Regenertion.

Now the first Property of Regeneration is Divine Life. As natural Life is the natural product of Generation, so is a spiritual Life, of Regeneration, Gal. 2.20. 2 Cor. 4.10. Now this Divine Life, has these following Properties, by which it may be known analogous or agreable to the Pro­perties of a natural Life.

1. Breath. Without this a natural Life would soon ex­pire. Psal. 104.29. Thus it is with the spiritual, 1 Pet. 2.2. As new born Babes desire the sincere Milk of the Word: Some render the original Words (Logicon gala) rational Milk, such as is fit for the nourishment, not of the Body, but of the Mind: A true Convert desires the sincere Milk, the pure Word of God, not blended or di­luted with adulterating, depraving, and debasing mixtures. It's the natural property of every king of Life to desire [Page 25]Food suited to it's nature, without which it can't subsist: Now as the natural man chiefly longs after the enjoyments of this World, Psal. 4.6. so does the new born Person after Heavenly Enjoyments. Col. 3.1.

2. Sense. As a natural Life feels what opposeth it, graples with its Enermy, and if stronger, proves victorious: so it is eminently in the divine Life, which having such supernatural Assistances, proves too hard for its Opponents. Gal. 5.17. 1 Joh. 5.4, 18 1 Joh. 3.9.

3. Growth. It's natural for Children to grow fast, if some uncommon accident don't prevent it, and that not in the Head only, for indeed such are distempered with the Rickets, but in all other Part proportionably; so do Babes in Christ grow fast, if not distempered, 2 Thes. 1.3. and that not only in Knowledge, but in Faith, Love, Holiness. 2 Pet. 3.18 1 Cor. 13.11. When I was a Child I spake as a Child, I thought as a Child, when I grew a Man, I put away childish things. So it is with the growing Christi­an. they put away Childish things; and this among the rest, viz. entertaining a fond imagination, that he shall be always dandled on his Father's Knee, or in his Lord's Lap, or always embrac'd in his Husband's Arms: When he was but a Babe in Jesus, he was apt to conclude his Father had quite abandon'd him, if he lost sight of his Face but for a little, if he wanted the sweet sense of his Love he was pevish and dejected; but now he knows better, that he is no to live by Sense but by Faith, Gal. 2.20. Tho' he retains still an earnest desire after Communion with God, yet it is more discreet believing and submissive; and when they can't perceive any growth in themselves after some time, they grieve and mourn. A Child of God not only weeps at his birth afterwards. Mr. Burkett has a very good Observation upon this, ‘that as natural Children “ ”come crying into the World, so no spiritual Child is still-born’ or born dumb. Act. 9.11. We may justly reckon those graceless, and unrenewed Persons, who do not earnestly long and labour after growth, or mourn not for their little proficiency. Heb. 6.1. Phil. 3.14. They that are contented with stinted measures of supposed Grace, in reality have no saving Grace at all. 1 Cor. 15.8. Eph. 3.18.

4. Mation. This is an inseperable property of a natural Life, Act 17.28. When we see anything stand stock still for a considerable time without the least motion, we know it is dead; e. g. when we observe a Statue void of motion [Page 26]with its Eyes fixed, for some space of time, we are soon convinc'd for all its fair face, that it has no Life; so when we behold Professors of Christianity having but an empty form, without the powerful and progressive practice of Piety, 2 Tim. 3.5. Mayn't we judge them, and should not they judge themselves to be (notwithstanding of their fair pretences) dead Idols in a spiritual sense, void of the Life of Jesus.

5. A Generative Faculty, when grown to maturity: So those that have a divine Life labour to communicate it to others. Joh. 4.28, 29. Luk. 22.32. Here we may apply justly that of the Poet, Nascitur indigne per quem non nasci­tur alter. He is unworthy of Life himself, who is not the cause of it to another.

2. Likeness. The Father begets a Son in his own likeness so did the first Adam, Gen. 5.3. and so does the Second, Joh. 3.6. The Image of the first is of the Earth Earthly, 1 Cor. 15.47, 48, 49. For he that is born of the flesh is flesh, Joh. 3.6. i. e. exceedingly corrupt and sinful; not only fleshly but flesh; abstracts denote great degrees of what is spoken, Eph. 5.8. Man by a sinful indulgence of his appetite, Gen. 3.6. prostituted the dominion of his Soul to the tyranny of Sense; so that now before Con­version he is quite sunk in Sensuality; instead of deserving the honourable character of a living Soul as formerly, Gen. 2.7. he now incurs that just, but sarcastical one of Flesh! His Reason and all his noble Powers are so de­graded, unhing'd and corrupted; he acts with such indifferency about Eternal, and with such vigour about Temporal things, as if he had no Soul, but was wholly Flesh, a meer master Beast. But the Image of the Second Adam is Heavenly and Spiritual. 1 Cor. 15.47, 48, 49. For he that is born of the Spirit is Spirit, Joh. 3.6. i. e. his Soul has recovered it's just, tho' lost, Empire over the Senses and brutish Appetites, and is now guided and governed by the influence and direction of the Holy Spirit, Rom. 8.1, 4. As the natural Parent communicates of his Nature to the Child, so those that are born of God are said to partake of the divine Nature, 2 Pet. 1.4. i. e. they have a certain resemblance of the moral, communicable Perfections of the Diety, wrought in them: They are holy as he is holy, 1 Pet. 1.15, 16. Merciful as their Father is merciful, Luk. 6.36. Perfect as their Father in Heaven is perfect, Mat. 5.48. i. e. they endeavour earnestly after perfection of degrees as well as of parts, Phil. 3.13, 14. Eph. 5.1, 2. So long as Men [Page 27]are contrary to God in their generally prevailing Disposi­tions, and course of Action, we may tell them as our Lord the perverse Jews, Joh. 8.44 Ye are of your father the Devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.

3. Love. A Child hath a Love to his Father and Bre­thren, which the Law of Nature teaches, and the likeness that is between them confirms: He is a very Monster in Nature that is void of this Affection! Thus the new born Christian hath,

  • 1. A predominant Love to God in Christ. Psal. 73.25. Mat. 10.37.
  • 2. A permanent Love. Joh. 15.9.10.
  • 3. A panting longing Love. Psal. 84.1, 2.
  • 4. An operative and efficacious Love. 2 Cor. 5.14. Joh. 14.21 Rom. 6.4, 5. And so he has a real, effectual, uni­versal and well grounded Affection to the Children of God, as his Brethren in Christ $word$ Affection don't consist in windy Words, 1 Joh. 3. $word$ 18. Neither is his Love limited to a Party of his own Denomination, Temper or Senti­ments: No, no! that is too narrow a Circle for truly Christian Love, (such a confin'd Affection, is but a natural selfish Party Zeal, which don't deserve the name of Love) which extends it self to all that carry the Image of the holy God, and speak in the Language of Canaan, of what­ever Nation they he, or Denomination they bear; and as he loves all Christians for that of God he sees in them, so consequently his Affection is carried forth with a greates degree of ardor towards such as excel others in Holiness, Humility, and Circumspection; and that not with a fearful but complacential respect. Psal. 16.3. 1 Joh. 4.8. The

4. Character is that Change of the Practice, which I described in the doctrinal Part of this Discourse; which I think is rather an Effect of the New Birth than a Pars of it. It is obeservable that in every Generation, there is a great Change in the old Creation, to which this Work of God is for many and weighty Reasons compared, Eph. 2.10. There was fan admirable Alteration, when the present most beautiful and regular System of Things was produced by the Agency of the Infinite Spi­rit of God, (who moved upon the Face of the Waters) out of the former Disorder, dark Mass, and confused Chaos. So is there not an admirable Change, when a prophane, ignorant sottish Creature is turned into a sober, holy, heavenly Christian? ‘Give me, says Lactantius, a “Man as prophane and abusive, as lend and lascivious, [Page 28]as can be imagined; and with a few Instructions of God, I will make him as meek and innocent as a ”Lamb?’ Could ever any of the Philosophers do this? Lib. 2. In short, such a Change deserves our Admiration more than if a Clod of Earth were turned into a Star of Heaven! This is no less a Change than from Dark­ness to Light, from Death to Life, Eph. 5.8.

And now, Brethren, I pray you for Christ's sake, Ex­amine your selves, whether you have had the Experience of these Things; it's easy to be mistaken in this Mat­ter, and a Mistake is dangerous, Jer. 17.9. Prov 14.12. I shall propose a few Questions to your Consciences, from what I have been treating of, and I beg you would answer them impartially as in the Presence of God.


1. Has Sin been discovered, and applied to your Con­sciences with Power, both in Respect of it's vile Nature, and dreadful Effects, by the Law of God, and the Spi­rit of God, as I before described?

Quest. 2. Have you been made to see your lost and de­plorable State by Nature, so as to be exceedingly dis­tress'd, and put to a Soul afflicting Plunge and Loss, about obtaining Deliverance out of it, and shut up to Christ as the only Door of Hope? Acts 2.37. & 14.27. John 10.7.

Quest. 3 Hast thou O Sinner! been made to inquire after and seek for Relief, with Anguish of Soul? Acts 9.

Quest. 4. Has the Lord Jesus been discovered by his Word and Spirit to your inquiring, burdened, anxious Soul, in his mediatorial Excellency and Sufficiency? Mat. 11.21. Gal. 1.16.

Quest. 5. And have you with Deliberation and Resolu­tion, unreservedly closed with the offered Redeemer, upon the Terms of Discipleship he has specified; viz. of taking up his Cross, denying your selves and following him, John 1.12. Luke 9.23. & 14.26. That is, have you been, and are you willing, and heartily resolved, to quit freely and cheerfully your dearest natural and civil In­terests, your Friends, Relations, Estates, Lives, Liberties, respectively, if called to it, for the Defence of Truth, and readily embrace Shame, Sollitude, Poverty and Death? Are you willing also to abandon your own Righteous­ness, all your religious Performances in Point of Depen­dance, and absolutely, immediately, and freely, forsake all your darling Lusts, and embrace strict Holiness? What [Page 29]sayest thou, Sinner? How is it with thee in these Res­pects, willing or not? What, does that Man say it's hard? I cannot now! Wretched Soul! As the Lord lives thou art a dead Man.

Quest. 6. Are old Things passed away? 2 Cor. 5.17.

As particularly,

  • 1. Is thy old Blindness removed? 1 Pet. 1.4.
  • 2 Thy old Security disturb'd? Luke 11.21.
  • 3. Thy old Hope sapp'd at the Foundation? Rom. 7.9
  • 4. Thy old Enmity against God's People subdued? Cant. 6.1.
  • 5. Thy old carnal worldly Thoughts, Affections and Practice altered, or are they still as they were? Why then I may say to thee as the Apostle Peter to Simon Ma­gus, Acts 8.21, 23. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this Matter: For thy Heart is not right in the Sight of God. I perceive thou art in the Gall of Bitterness, and in the Bond of Iniquity.

Quest. 7. Are all Things made new? 2 Cor. 5.17.

As particularly,

  • 1. Hast thou that new light in the Understanding? Acts 26.18.
  • 2. That Pliableness in the Will? Psalm 110.3. Acts 9.6.
  • 3. That Proness in the Affections God ward, and Hea­ven-ward, which I before described? Col. 3.2.
  • 4. That Tenderness of Conscience?
  • 5. That tenaciousness of Memory respecting divine Things? Psalm 119.98.
  • 6. That Reformation in Practice, which was before de­scribed?

Quest. 8. Have you had that Life of God, that Likeness to God, that Love for God and his People, which was be­fore spoken of?

Quest. 9. Is your Obedience evangelical, universal, con­tinual?

But I proceed to the

III. USE, which is of Conviction and Terror, to those that are not born again; but who are they, and what may afford them necessary Terror?

1. More generally; You are they who cannot with a good Conscience say, Yea, in answer to the nine Questi­ons I proposed before. But more particularly.

  • 1. May Persons make a strict Profession of Piety, and be admitted to, and enjoy religious Privileges, and so pass [Page 30]for Christians, and yet be unconverted? How far then are you from this blessed Change, who even scorn to profess Christ and Piety, who disdain and disclaim the very Name Saint, as a Term of Reproach, a Badge of Dishonour, and grin and show your Teeth (silly Souls) when the very Word is but mentioned in your Hearing? Remem­ber, for this you shall gnash your Teeth in Hell, except ye repent. I suppose you think to be saved without the New Birth, in a Way of your own Contrivance, (O blind Moles!) ay, but then the Devil your dear Father, and your Brethren the Sons of Belial, the whole Crew of prophane unclean Rebels, and venemous Vermine, the burdened Earth now bears, for Hell contains, must be sa­ved along with you, and a pretty Company you would make all together, would you not? A fine Heaven in­deed! How can ye expect that Christ will own you hereafter, when you will not own him here?
  • 2. May People be convinced of Sin, and of their lost and deplorable Condition because of Sin, so as to be in great Distress about it, without being new born? Alas then! What will become of you who are yet secure and asleep in Sin?
  • 3. May Persons be restrained from gross Impieties, and yet be in a State of Death, estranged from this divine Birth? O! What will then become of you, who give a loose to Prophaneness, Swearing, Whoring, Sabbath-breaking, Drunkenness, Uncleanness, Fraud, and the Derision of what is good? Is not Burnings, Burnings from God, Burnings hotter than Sodom's Flame, like to be your Portion?
  • 4. May Persons attain the Form of Piety, and be ex­ternally regular in the Performance of all religious Du­ties, and yet not be new born? Then wretched Sinners! How far are you from this divine Birth, who prophane God's Name, slight his Word and Ordinances, by neglect­ing to attend upon the one, and to seek Preparation for the other, who as fearlesly as prophanely, violate his ho­ly Sabbaths, and neglect many positive Duties of Religi­on? Read that Passage of God's Word, and blush and tremble? Matth. 5.20.
  • 5. May People have great Gists, and good Motions, and want this New birth, I have been treating upon? Then what will become of you, ignorant Souls, especially such of you as are willingly ignorant; how far are you from a sound Conversion to God, which begins to Light [Page 31]and Knowlege? 1 Cor. 4.6. And how far will you be at last from obtaining that Inheritance Conversions qualifies Persons for? Isai. 27.11. 1 Thess. 1.7, 8.
  • 6. May Persons have a partial Alteration upon some or all the Powers of their Souls, and be almost perswaded to be real Christians, and yet be void of the New-Birth, what will become of you hardned Wretches, every of whose Faculties are perhaps altered for the worse, whose Necks are as an iron Sinew, aud whose Brow is Brass? Pharisces, Heathens and Devils out do you in what is good. The Pharisees in most or in all the outward Du­ties of Religion, Philip. 3. The Heathens in their Mo­rality (perhaps) e. g. the Turks or some of them, have have had a greater Concern about their Souls than thou hast: Remember trembling Felix, and be ashamed of thy horrible Stupidity! Yea, the very Devils tremble, and yet thou art Semseless! O Man! Is thy Breast Adamant, or thy Bowels Iron, that thou thus slightest the Terrors of the Almighty, which set themselves in Battle array a­gainst thee, canst thou imagine that thou art new born, or shall be saved in this Condition? No, no: Be not de­ceived, the Devil himself would find as easy an Admissi­on into Heaven, as thou in thy present Codition, as our Text demonstrates.
  • 7. May Persons have a Zeal for Religion, as Jehu and others, and yet be unconverted? O then! What will become of you lifeless, listless, careless Geleos in religious Affairs, who do not care a Straw whether Religion pros­pers or not, if you can but get worldly Prosperity, if you can but with Gehazi get the Changes of Raiment, with Judas carry the Bag, or with cursed Achan get the Wedges of Gold, you care not perhaps, tho' for it, you should betray Christ's Cause, and bring Judgments upon others? But won't such luke-warm, selfish Wretches be spued out of Christ's Mouth? Rev. 3.16. How far are ye poor Souls from this divine Birth?
  • 8. May unconverted Persons come so far as to love God's People, associate with them, and delight in Hearing of God's Word, and attending upon his Ordinances? How far then are those from Regeneration, or the Way to it, who do not come half so far as Hypocrites in this? In­stead of associating with God's People, they carefully avoid their Compary, deride them, and spitefully abuse them, and most contemptuously neglect Opportunities of Hearing God's Word, instead of delighting in it, and that [Page 32]forsooth because the Preacher won't be false to God and Souls, and preach smooth Things according to their Fancy, won't Herod that heard John the Baptist galdly, rise up in Judment at last and condemn the haughty and con­temptuous Wretches of this Generation?
  • 9. May Persons be brought to mourn for Sin, withh Bit­terness and Anguish, and yet be Strangers to the New-Birth, as Ahab and Judas? How far then are those Monsters in Nature from Conversion, who instead of mourning for their Impieties, boast of them, and so glory in their Shame? But what are the Miseries of those and all other Kinds of unconverted Sinners?


  • 1. Ye are blind Men, Acts 26.18. Ye see not the Beauty of Holiness, of Christ and Heaven, otherwise ye would not live as ye do, John 4.10
  • 2. Poor Men, however you swell and strut in worldly Wealth and Grandeur, Rev. 3.17.
  • 3. Mad Men, Psalm 14.1. compared with 10.1. Luke 15.17. You act like distracted Men, in preferring Sin to Holiness, perishing sensual Gratifications, to the pure sinless and everlasting Delights that are at God's right hand. Don't you act like Fools, in preferring your Lusts to God and Christ, your worldly Gain, which lasts but for a M$ment, to an immortal Crown of Life? And does not your Folly and Madness eminently appear, in your daring to affront such a sovereign infinite Majesty, whom you can neither overcome, deceive or avoid, whose lovingkindness is better than life, but whose Anger is worse than Death, and you will find it so in a little Time, when you shall wish for Death as a Sanctuary from it, but shall not obtain your Desire?
  • 4. Dead Men, wholly void of divine Life, Eph. 2.1.
  • 5. Darkned Men, or Men under the Power of Darkness, Eph. 5.8. Col. 1.13. By which Metaphor the Scriptures express all Kinds of Misery, Psalm 23.4. Math. 22.13. Isai. 50.10.
  • 6. Possessed Men, under the Power and Government, and in the Possession of the Devil, his Slaves, his Vassals, Luke 11.21. 1 John 3.8, 10. 2 Tim. 2.26.
  • 7. You are cursed Men, cursed by the God that made you, which none can revoke but himself, and which has declared he will not unless ye repent, Gal. 3.10. Luke 13.3.
  • 8. You are condemned Men, John 3.18.
  • 9. Gulty Men, Mark 4.12. And remember God has said, he will by no means clear the Guilty, Numb. 14.18.
  • [Page 33]10. You are bereaved Men, secluded from and bereaved of all the Notices, and sweet Intimations of God's pecu­liar Favour and Friendship, in this World or the next. You are without God in the World, and what can be worse than this? Eph. 2.12. And as you are justly de­prived of his Love, so you are continually exposed to his Wrath, John 3.36. You are the very Children of the Devil by Imitation and Possession, the Seed of the Serpent, Gen. 3.15. 1 John 3.9, 10. John 8.44.
  • 11. Miserable Men; you are not only void of true Light, Life, Confort, in this World, but of any Interest in the Inheritance of God's chosen in the next, as our Text asserts, and are intitled to a very contrary Portion, Eph. 2.3.
  • 12. Murdering Men, cruel Murderers, Self murderers, Soul murderers, Ezek. 18.31, 32. & 33.11.
  • 12. Ineucusable Men, your eternal Damnation is but the natural and necessary Fruits of your own Wickedness and Obstinacy, in rejecting against your own Souls, God's repeated Warnings and Invitations, and therefore it is but Justice, and that not owing to any rigorous Severity of God, but entiely to your own Cruelty and Barbarity, against your selves, that you should perish, Hos. 13.9. Acts 13.46. And this you will be forced to own at last to God's Honour, and your own Shame, Matth. 22.11, 12. For you have slighted the Remedy provided with infinite Cost for Sin, this will make your Sin inexcuseable, your Damnation unavoidable, and your selves unworthy of Pity, because your Misery is a voluntary Misery, but the Fruits of your own Choice, Psalsm 95.8, 11. Matth 22.3, 5. and 23.37. Prov. 29.1. What unspeakable Pain will your Reflections upon these Things cause in your Confci­ences to Eternity, Mark 9.44. Isai. 66.24. O! think of these Things and apply them to Heart before it is too late, and never rest until you get converting Grace.
[Page 34]

An Expostulatory Mournful Address to the Unconverted, with some Directions to the Regenerate.
Added by Way of APPENDIX, to the Preceeding SERMON.

Dear Brethren,

YOU have heard the Nature and Necessity of Regeneration opened, with it's peculiar and distinguishing Characters described, in the preceeding Sermon; now don't you see that you are without this gracious Change, that you have not been convinced of and humbled for Sin, as was explained, nor distress'd about your lost State, so as to be shut up to Christ, as the only Door or Hope?

Don't you see that you want the Experience of an in­ward, universal and effectual Alteration of all your Fa­culties and Powers, a thorough Change of your Practice? Alas! Are your not yet as carnal, and worldly minded as ever? Don't you yet retain your old Shyness of, and En­mity against God's dear Children, your old Aversion to strict Holiness? Alas! Do ye not retain your old carnal Security, and false Hope of Heaven, whatever has been said to awake and detect you notwithstanding?

O Brethren! What do you design to do? Will ye live contentedly in such a State, in which ye cannot see God's Fa$e in Mercy? Perhaps some may say. I design to turn to God afterwards. Ans. Poor Sinners! This Practice has a [Page 35]manifold Evil in it; it's dishonourable to God, hurtful to others, and prejudicial to your selves.

1. It is dishonourable to God in three Respects.


  • 1. It contains in it bold Rebellion against his Authority, which enjoins you to turn speedily, even to day, Psalm 95.7, 8. Heb. 3.7. 2 Cor. 6.2.
  • 2. A prophane Contempt of his Majesty: For by your Delay, you prefer the Devil, the World, and your Lusts before him; by observing their Commands first, and by giving them the Prime of your Strength and Years; than which what can be more abominable, base and degene­rous? What to prefer the vilest Evil, before the greatest Good! the basest Tyrant, before the best and most benefi­cent Master!
  • 3. Cruel Ingratitude against his Mercy: That instead of improving the morning of your Time in the Service of it's Author; you should abuse it to his Dishonour, in the Service of his stated and implacable Enemy. Miserable Souls! is this the Way you requite the good God for all the multiplied Kindnesses he has vouchsafed upon you? And will ye thus forsake the Fountain of living Waters, and hunt after broken empty Cisterns? Jer. 2.13. Is not Ingratitude a most complicated and atrocious Evil? A very Heathen could say, Si$ingratum dixeris omnia dixeris, If you name Ingratitude, you mention all that is bad.

2. Your Delays are hurtful to others: For what has a more pernicious ensnaring Influence than a bad Example? By this you induce others to sin, encourage them and har­den them in it, and thereby are like to bring them and your selves with them to Destruction, Prov. 2.18, 19. and 13.20. Suppose you your selves should be turned to God afterwards (which is not probable) how could you per­swade those you have debauched, by your irreligious Ex­ample, to embrace that Piety, which they through your criminal Influence, have an inveterate Prejudice against. O! if you had any Love to the Souls of others, and par­ticularly of your own dear Relatives, would ye thus con­spire with the grand Enemy of Mankind, in procuring the Damnation of those you profess an Affection for? But

3. Your Delays are peculiarly prejudicial to your selves, upon many Accounts.

1. They are exceeding perilous, because of a threesold Uncertainty.

[Page 36]
  • 1. Of Life. James 4.13. For what is our Life? It is even a Vapour which appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. There fore we should work while the Day lasts, for the Night cometh when no Man can work.
  • 2. Of the Means of Grace, and Seasons of Salvation. Hence we are commanded to walk in the Light, while we have the Light.
  • 3. Of a Blessing upon these Means Conversion is God's Gift, Ezek 36.26. which he confers in his own appoint­ed Time, not according to our Pleasure, 2 Tim. 2.26. Therefore we should carefully improve every Opportuni­ty, for if we will not with Earnestness perform the out­ward Duties of Religion while we can, it is juft with God to leave us so, that we shall not when we would. Again.

2. Every Delay hardens the Heart more and more, gradually introduces a sinful Custom, and thereby renders Conversion the more difficult, Jer. 13.23.

3. Augments the Number and Heinousness of your Ins­qurties, and provokes the divine Indignation; for one Sin naturally leads to, and disposeth for another, as Deep calleth unto Deep, Psalm 42.7 & 95.8, 9.10, 11.

4. Late Repentance is seldom true and genuine. There is but one Example of this in the holy Scriptures, viz. that of the Thief upon the Cross; neither can it be pro­ved that this Man deferred his Repentance with that View or Expectation, that he should obtain it at last. Read and consider that terrible Scripture, Matth. 24.48, 49.

5. A Purpose of deferring Conversion and Repentance is inconsistent with a sincere Purpose to repent, 1 Pet. 4.3.

6. To delay in Matters of such Moment is the most per­fect Madness. Would not he act like a distracted Man who was bit with a poisonous Serpent, or had drank Poi­son, or was mortally wounded, and yet would tarry some considerable Time before he would send for a Surgeon, take an Antidote, or apply a Balsom?

7. Delays are very contrary to the Practice of God's People, Psalm 119.60. I made haste and delayed not to keep thy Commandments.

8. But if we could be certain of obtaining a sound Con­version at last (which is not attainable, those that wilful­ly delay are then like to be forsaken, Prov. 1.28.) it would be base and disingenuous to treat the Almighty so as is is not lawful to treat any of our Fellow Creatures, [Page 37] Prov. 3.28. and so as we would not have the Almighty to treat us, Psalm 102.3. But to perswade you if possi­ble, to turn to God speedily, and seek converting Grace, consider seriously.

1. That God the Father calls you, Jer. 18.11. Now therefore go to, speak to the Men of Judah and to the Inha­bitants of Jerusalem, Thus saith the Lord, Behold I frame Evil against you, and devise a Device against you: Return ye now every one from his evil Way, and make your Way and your Doings good Ezek. 33.11. Say unto them. As I live saith the Lord God, I have no Pleasure in the Death of the Wicked, but that the Wicked turn from his Way and live: Turn ye, turn ye from your evil Ways; for why will ye die, O House of Israel? I know not a more pierc­ing and moving Text in the whole Scripture than this. O! methinks it is enough to melt a Rock, to make a Heart of Iron move: The Ingemination or Repetition of the Intreaty, Turn ye, Turn ye: And also the Note of Obsecration, O Israel, is very expressive, (1) Of the great Weight of the Matter spoken. (2.) Of the Sincerity and Earnestness of God's Desire after the Happiness of true Penitents, for it seems by the Context, that they question­ed whether they should live, although they did repent and reform, Verse 10. (3) The Stupidity and Obstinacy of Sinners that want so many Warnings, Why will ye die? Why will ye act so unreasonably and unaccountably, as to be wilful Procurers of your own eternal Death? O! Will you not hear the Groans and Complaints of a God?

2. The Lord Jesus calls thee, O unconverted Sinner! (1.) By declaring the Happiness thou mayest attain by Conversion, Matth. 5.8. Blessed are the pure in Heart: for they shall see God. (2.) By expressing the Danger thou art like to incur by the Want of it, John 3.3, 5 (3) By offering the kindest Encouragement to those convinced and distressed Sinners, that konestly, earnestly and perseveringly seek it, Matth. 11.28. John 6.37. John 7.37. In the last Day, that great Day of the Feast, Jesus stood and cry­ed, saying, if any Man thirst, let him come unto me and drink, Rev. 22.17 & 3.20. Behold. I stand at the Door and knock, if any Man will open the Door, I will come in and sup with him and be with me. And (4.) When un­grateful Sinners will not comply with his reasonable, en­couraging, heart affecting, and condescending Invitations, then does the holy Jesus take a mournful Complaint and bewail over their Obstinacy against him, and Cruelty to [Page 38]their own Souls; John 5.40. Ye will not come unto me that ye might have Life! O Sinner! Haft thou an Heart hard enough to wichstand an intreating, woing, dying Sa­vicur? Consider his Sovereignty, and Self sufficiency, that his Happiness cannot admit of Increase or Decay, that it is equally incapable of Addition or Diminution, that thy Goodness cannot extend to him, Psalm 16.2. and wonder at, and comply with, his surprizing Condescension. I think Dr. Watts expresses this Matter in one of his lyrick Poems, with admirable Beauty and Energy of Language after the following Manner.

"Did ever Pity stoop so low,
"Dress'd in Divinity in Blood,
"Was ever Rebel Courted so,
"With Groans of an expiring God.

3. The Holy Spirit the third Person of the adorable Trinity, invites you to turn to God, by the good Inclina­tions he stirs up in you, which if you continue to oppose, he will withdraw for ever, and strive no more with you, Gen. 6.3. And also by his good Word proposed to you, Rev. 22.17. And the Spirit, and the Bride say come, and let him that is athirst, come: and whosoever will, let him take the Water of Life freely. And will you be so cruel and barbarous as to resist to your own Damnation the kind Invitations and compassionate Calls of the God that made you, the Saviour that bought you, and of the Holy Ghost who offers to sanctify you?

4. Does not the Word of God in all it's Branches, whi­ther of Terror or Comfort, alarm or invire you to turn from Sin, to God? And will you withstand all the Al­lurements of the mildest Lenity and Pity, and all the Ar­guments of the most awful Majesty, and just Severity? Have ye no Ingenuity, and are ye lost to fear? What then can be done with you?

5. Does not the Providence of God loudly call you to seek regenerating Grace? Should not God's Mercies lead you to Repentance? Rom. 2. And his Judgments upon your selves or others deter you from Sin, which produces such bitter Effects even in this Life, which are but a small Presage of what must be endured in the next, unless Re­pentance prevent, and especially when you hear of any being removed by Death? O! you have reason to trem­ble and quake, as not knowing but you shall be the next, [Page 39]and yet are so unprepared for it. Are ye so Deaf and Ob­stinate, that ye will not hear, the terrible Trumpet of God's Judgments? Joel 2.1. Blow ye the Trumpet in Zi­on, and sound an Alarm in my holy Mountain: Let all the Inhabitants of the Land tremble

6. Do not the faithful Ministers of God call you again and again, with utmost Earnestness to turn to God, as they are commanded, Isai 58.1. Cry aloud, spare not, life up thy Voice like a Trumpet, and shew my people their Transgressions, and the House of Jacob their Sins. 2 Cor; 5.20. Now then we are Ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ stead be ye reconciled to God. And what abundant Satisfaction would your sincere Conversion yield to their oppressed burden­ed Heart? And will ye have no Compassion either upon them, who travail in Birth for you, till Christ be formed in you, or upon your own Souls? Are ye resolved upon your own Destruction? Why will ye die poor Sinners?

7. Do not your own Consciences, those Harbingers of God in your Bosoms, call you and urge you to turn, and tell you that it is now high time, that ye have served Sin and Satan too long already? Do they not represent to you a dismal Map of those Miseries you shall quickly feel if ye turn not, and will ye be deaf to the Warnings of your own Minds? Don't you know that if your Heart condemns you, God is greater than your Heart and knows all Things? 1 John 3.20. Will not your holding and strangling the Truth in Unrighteousness, prepare Matter for the most painful, tormenting, and never ending Reflecti­ons in the other World, when Conscience however muz­led shall have full Liberty to speak; won't it prey like an old Vulture, upon your Heart-strings then think you?

8. Does not your Reason call you to turn from Sin to Jehovah, by shewing you the Necessity and Equity of this Change? viz. That it is not reasonable to expect the savourable Smiles, and uninterrupted Enjoyment of a righ­teous holy God, without Likeness to him, and that it is but equal you should improve the Powers you have re­ceived from God in his Service, and make some grateful Returns for his unmerited Kindness.

9. Does not the Happiness of Heaven invite you to seek converting Grace, without which ye cannot be a Partaker of it? And are ye willing, miserable Souls, to be for ever separated from the Light and Love, the Joys and Tri­umphs of that blessed State?

[Page 40]

10 Should not the Torments of Hell alarm you to flee from that Place of perfect and miserable Misery, which you cannot escape without converting Grace? The Damned in Hell while they lived here, were careless of their Sal­vation, how deplorable alas is their Condition now! O! What would they give for the like Opportunities, they have had and neglected? Was not this the Complaint of Dives? He wanted some Body to go and tell his Bre­thren, that they might not come into that Place of Tor­ment. Luke 16.23, 24, 27, 28. Hear how Damned Dives, roars and groans, In Hell he life up his Eyes being in Torment, and cryed, and said, Father Abraham, Have Mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the Tip of his Finger in Water, and cool my Tongue, for I am torment­ed in this Flame. I pray thee therefore, that thou wouldest send him to my Father's House, for I have five Brethren, that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this Place of Torment.

11. May not the Necessity of this Change excite you to seek after it? Ye can neither behold God here by an Eye of Faith, or enjoy him hereafter without it, Matth. 5.8. John 3.3, 5. So that it is absolutely necessary You may live a contented happy Life, without much Riches, or great Honours, but you can't taste of true Happiness with­out Holiness, Heb. 12.14. This is the one Thing necessa­ry, which whosoever chuseth possesseth not only the best, but the most necessary Part; the Lord Jesus contemns the Care of many Things before this, Luke 10.41.

12. The Excellency of it: For as much as it restores the defaced Image of God in us (which is the Beauty of our Nature) to some Degree of it's primitive Lustre, and thereby capacitates us to answer the Design of our Being, which is to serve and enjoy our Creator and Redeemer, without this we must be unprofitable here, and miserable hereafter.

13. The Profitableness of it.

1. Does it not advance us unto the highest Honours? 1 Sam. 2.30. Rev 1.5, 6. For thereby Jehovah who is the Fountain of Honour, becomes our Father, the Lord Jesus our Husband, Angels our Guards, and Attendants, and the triumphant and militant Church our Brethren; is it a Matter of no Moment for poor polluted Dust, Heirs of Hell and Wrath, to be cleansed from their De$$r$$ty, and made the Sons of a King, nay to be made Kings and Priests to God? Does not the Apostle John speak with [Page 41]Surprize and Admiration concerning this Privilege? 1 Joh: 3.1. Behold what manner of Love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the Sons of God!

2. Does not Conversion instate us in the purest Plea­sures, even such as result from the Embraces of a God of infinite Excellency, Beauty, and Glory?

3. Does it not intitle us to the most lasting Benefits, the peculiar Favour and Friendship of an omnipotent, omni­present, beneficent and everlasting God, which can't expire, (because of the Invariableness of his Nature and Covenant) so long as God lives? Does not this entitle to a King­dom that hath Foundations perfectly freed from those Variations and Vicissitudes, to which every Thing sublu­nary is exposed, to a House not made with Hands, eter­nal in the Heavens, whose Builder and Maker is God? John 3.3.

14. The Reasonableness of it: Is it not highly rational to secure an infinite Good, Col. 1.12. and to guard against an infinite Evil, both of Sin and Punishment, to preserve a pure peace speaking Conscience, and please that Sovereign Majesty, from whose good Pleasure our Beings and all the Blessings we possess or expect, proceed; upon whose Power and Providence, we have our continued Dependance? Now without converting Grace we cannot obtain those Privi­leges, as has been before proved, wherefore then, O Sin­ner, dost thou not importunately cry to God for, and ear­nestly labour after this Change?

15. The Freeness of it: Is not the Life of the convert­ed, the freest Life? John 8.36. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. Regenerate Persons are made free from their natural Bondage to Sin, Satan, Death, the Law of God as a Covenant of Works, and the Curses threatned for the Breach of that Covenant. But Sinner, while thou art without the New-Birth, thou art a miserable Captive to all these, John 8.34. 2 Tim. 2.26. Gal 4.25. Heb. 2.15. John 3.36. What! Art thou contented with this woful Captivity, to the worst of Tyrants? Art thou contented to be stript of all thy original Raiment, and cloathed with basest Rags, confined in the darkest Dungeon, imprisoned in the Pit wherein is no Water, starved for Want of Bread, wounded and lest half Dead; chained with massy and unweildy! Fetters; this is really the rusul State of every unconverted Sinner, Isai. 64.6. Zech. 9.11. Col. 1.13. Psalm 40.2. & 38.5. Isai. 44.20. & 55.2. Luke 10.30. Acts 8.23. And now [Page 42]when the Morning of Mercy dawns, when the Dove of Heaven descends after the fatal Shipwreck of our first Pa­rents Apostacy, with a peaceful Olive in his Bill, and Life and Immortality is brought to Light. When Zion's King issues out royal Proclamations of Pardon, and the Silver Trumpet of the peaceful Gospel sweetly sounds a joyful Jubilee, proclaims Liberty, Liberty to the forlorn Captives, a valuable, costly and everlasting Liberty, 1 Pet. 1018, 19. When the blessed Lord Jesus offers to open the Prison Doors, and set the Captive free from his Chains. Darkness, Penury and Death, and to heal him with his Wounds, and cloath him with his Righteonsness, won't you accept of this free and invaluably precious Offer? What not ac­cept of Liberty and Life! Be astonished; O Heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid! Dost thou stickle at the Acceptance of such an Offer? Why then, Wretch, thou deservest to be damned, that thou mayest feel the Fruits of thy abhorred Obstinacy! and damned thou shalt be as certainly as Christ is true, except thou repent, John 8.24. Such Self-traitors deserve no Pity, neither from God nor Man.

16. The Safety of it: The converted Person has God to be his Shield and Sanctuary, his sure Refuge, and ex­ceeding great Reward, Psalm 18.1. Isai. 32.2. Gen. 15.1. And who then can hurt them, or make them afraid? Rom. 8.28. Psalm 23.4 & 43.1. & 46.2, 3. How se­cure and pleasant must the Repose of such Persons be? Psalm 3.5, 6. But before this Change you are in Danger of utter Destruction every Minute, and have no Shelter to cover you from the Vengeance of an angry God; why then, poor Sinners, will you not turn to God, and seek converting Grace?

17. The Sweetness and Pleasure of it: As the regene­rate Person's Life is the safest, so it is the sweetest Life, Prov. 3.17. Wisdoms Ways are Ways of Pleasantness, and all her Paths are Peace. Christ's Yoke is easy, and his Burden light. His Commandments are not grievous. Matth. 11.30. 1 John 5.3. It is true there is no small Difficul­ty and Pain that convinced Persons are exposed to, before the Byas of the Heart is turned towards God, and new Qualities infused into the Soul, but when a Person has got his Heart changed, the Power of Sin broken, and a Sense of God's Love, then the Yoke of Christ is easy, he goes on in his Way rejoycing, Acts 5.41. Now their Joys have these remarkable Properties.

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1. They are rational and solid, confirmed by and arising from Consideration and Reflection, and therefore sutable to the Soul, which is the Seat and Foundtain of our Reason. Whereas the Pleasures of Sin, are but a Flash, the Result of a cruel Rape upon the Understanding by Sense, which according to the Order of God and Nature should be it's Subject

2. Spiritual, proceeding from the Father of Spirits, and so adapted to the Soul, which is of a spiritual and imma­terial Nature, but the Pleasures of Sin are gross and sen­sual, only sutable for the Gratification of the lower Pas­sions and Appetites, which Beasts possess in common with Men.

3. Peaceful. Prov. 3.17. They introduce a pleasing Calm into the Soul, Gal. 6.16. Whereas the Pleasures of Sin must needs produce Pain and Disorder, Isai. 48.22. Heb. 12.15.

4. Perpetual: Either in Seed or Fruit, State or Frame, Habit or Act, Psalm 119.165. Whereas the stolen Plea­sures of Sin can't be reflected upon without Shame and Horror, unless by Men of reprobate Minds, and seared Con­sciences, Rom. 6.21.

18. Do not all Things in Nature bend to their own good? The very irrational Animals by a natural Instinct, seek after their own Safety and Welfare, the sick Dog will seek after a purgative Herb to cure himself, the Swallow after Celandine to cure her blind young ones, the wounded Hart after Dittany to heal her. But alas! few poor Sin­ners repair to Christ the great Physician for Eye-salve, to cure their Blindness, Rev 3.18. Few hasten in earnest to the Branch that sprung out of the Stem of Jesse, in Order to get a Leaf from that Tree of Life to heal them, and one great Reason is because they feel not their Sickness and Sores, Matth. 9.12. O might not this Care of those poor Creatures, who are destitute of the Direction of Reason, after their own Safety, excite you who are blessed with that Faculty they want, to hasten to Christ, with the most earnest Sollicitations for converting Grace, without which you must die in your Wounds.

19. May not the common Care of Mankind, about Things of infinitely lesser Weight excite you? What Pains does the Merchant, the Mariner take, to incease his Stock? Does he not spread his Canvas Wings and fly a cross the broad and boisterous Deep, to the Extremities of the Earth, amidst a vast Vicissitude of Dangers, Diffi­culties [Page 44]and Death? Does he not willingly endure the scorching Summer Hearts, and the cold Winter Gusts? Sleep departs from his Eyes, through the Excess and Anxi­ety of his Fears and Cares, and all this to gain or secure a little perishing Pelf Do not Farmers and Tradesmen take much the same Pains, for the most part they rise up early and sit up late, and eat the Bread of Carefulness, under inexpressible Fatigue, and all to secure a little tran­sient and unsatisfying Gain; now will not ye be perswa­ded to take as much Pains about your Souls, $word$ (in seeking of and labouring for converting Grace) as the Generality of Men take about their Bodies and Estates, about an eternal as they about a temporal and transient Good? Will ye not? Will ye not? Unhappy Sinners! O how asto­nishing is your Madness! Holy and blessed God, enlighten the Minds and change the Hearts of these poor Sinners, and turn them from Vanity to thy self.

20 May not the Care of those who are without the Communion of the visible Church about their Salvation and Happiness, alarm and excite you to seek after a Reno­vation? How diligent are the Mahometans who pray no less than five Times every Day statedly? How famous for Morality were some of the Pagans, as particularly Seneca, Cato, Socrates? What did not the Pharisees do, whose Fame was commended before others? Some Histo­rians relate of them that they wore Thorns in the Borders of their Garments, that when they sat down, by the pricking of these they might be remembred of the Law; as also that they used to wear Hats with very deep Brims, to prevent their being insnared by tempting Objects, through the Windows of the Senses; and that even in their Beds, they were wont to hold a Bullet in their Hand, under which by the Bed side was placed a Brass Bowl, that when they begun to sleep, the Bullet falling out of their Hand into the Bowl, might by it's Report awake them to Prayer; and yet the Lord Jesus assures us, That unless our Righteousness exceeds theirs, we shall in no Ways enter into the Kingdom of God, Matth. 5.20. Wherefore that is not only necessary to be done, which they did just­ly, but more, otherwise won't the Lord Jesus tell us, Do not the Publicans so? And these were not altogether negligent, Matth 5.46, 47.

In brief, Every Creature contained within the spacious Verge of the whole Creation, whether in the visible Hea­vens, the Earth or Sea, may excite you; if you look upon [Page 45]the Sun, Moon and Stars, these obey their Creator, while you insolently controul his Authority. If you view the Trees and Plants upon the Earth or Fishes in the great Ocean, those bring forth their Fruit in their Kind, and at­tain the End of their Creation, while you are barren, and live in a continued Opposition, to the grand Design of your Being May not every Pile of Grass, or Flower, or Fruit you behold, be an awakening Monitor to you?

Once more consider I earnestly beseech you, as upon my bended Knees, the few following Motives.

1. That Heaven is the Soul's Center; (for which Con­version is a necessary Preparative) Behold! how every Thing in the great Machine of the World inclines to it's Center; see how the Rivers in the mazy Wandrings, run with speed to the great Ocean, that Fountain and Origi­nal of Waters; how swiftly do the Sparks fly upwards to their Rest, with what Vehemence do ponderous Bodies descend downwards to the Earth! Then may the Sinner say, Is Heaven thy Center, O my Soul! and shall these inanimate Things exceed thee in their Motion? Shall every Thing hasten to it's resting Place but thee? Was it not the Speech of Naomi, to her Daughter in-law the Moabitess? Ruth 3.1. Might we not say this to our poor Souls? Shall I not seek Rest for thee, O my Soul, under the Wings of Christ, in the Bosom of God, by im­ploring of, and labouring for converting Grace?

2. Consider, It is your own Concern: Perhaps one would be slack about another's Busness, who would not be so a­bout his own; now this is your own Business, dear Brethren! whatever you get here goes into your own Trea­sury; here if you are wise you are wise for your selves, but if you scorn Advice, and Instruction, you alone shall bear it, Prov. 9.12.

3. An eternal Concern. Conversion entitles to, and fits for a Kingdom which is not shaken, a Crown which fa­deth not away, 1 Cor. 9.25. Are not worldly Things va­lued according to their Duration and Permanency, and why should not this? In comparison of which, they are but fleeting Shadows, which have no abiding, Eccles. 6.12. 1 Chron. 29.15. 1 Cor. 7.31. What shall a Man give in Exchange for his Soul? If he should gain the whole World and loose his own Soul, he would make but a poor Bargain, Matth. 16.26. Mark 8.36, 37. How much more when Men prophanely fell their Souls for a very incon­siderable Part of it?

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4. Would it not be you greatest Wisdom? Are not those called wise by the God of Wisdom, who consider their latter End? Deut 32.29. And can that be consi­dered to Purpose, without Labour after Conversion to God? No surely, Psalm 119.59, 60. Does not the Want of this Wisdom make Men like to Beasts, nay worse than they? Psalm 49.20. For is it not worse to be like a Beast, than to be one? Is it not a Fools Property to want a Heart. when he has a Price to get Wisdom? Prov 17.16.

5. Will not Salvation fully recompense all your Pains? Certainly there is enough in the heavenly Paradise to make amends for all the Labours, Services and Sufferings of the People of God here on Earth; for Eye hath not seen, nor Ear heard, neither have entred into the Heart of Man (to conceive) Things which God hath prepared for them that love him, 1 Cor. 2.9. There their Prayers will be turned into Praises, their Sighs into Songs, their Tears into Triumphs, their Sorrow into Joy, their Cross into a Crown, their Reproaches into Pearls, their Labour into Rest, their Darkness to Light, their Death to Life and Love,. Rev & 15.3. 1 Pet. 1.8. Heb. 4.9. Rev 21.4, 11, 12, 18, 19, 20, 21, 23. & 22.1, 2. Has the Crown of Righteousness, the Crown of Life, the Crown of Glory, which God hath promised to those that love and prepare for his Appearance, 2 Tim. 4.8. James 1.12. 1 Pet. 5.4 no Influence on the Sinner? Hast thou no Desire after that Place of pure, consummate and ever­lasting Delight, where neither Sighing nor Sorrow have any Access or Residence? Rev 21.4. Why then, thou art worse than Balaam the Conjurer, Numb. 23.10. If you have, then seek converting Grace, else your Desires are like to be as vain as his. Prov. 13.4. Pray observe, That tho' nothing can recompence for the Neglect, and Loss of our Salvation, yet Salvation will recompence for the Neglect and Loss of all other Things, Matth. 16.26. Is it not better to be scoffed at for being too strict and speedy in travelling upon Zion's Road, than to be damned for being too loose and slow?

6. Won't your sinful Sloth (against the Light of your own Minds) in seeking regenerating Grace, aggravate your Punishments in Hell? Luke 10.12, 13, 15. It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah —. Luke 15.22. If I had not come and spoken to them, they had not had Sin; but now they have now Cloak for their Sin.

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7. Is there not Encouragments for earnest Seekers, for true Penitents? Matth. 11.12. The Kingdom of Heaven suf­fereth Violence, and the Violens take it by Force. Let the convinced distressed Sinner read the following Scriptures, John 6.37. & 7.37. Rev 3.20. Isai. 1.18. & 65.24. Luke 7.37, to 48. 2 Chron. 33.11, 12, 13. That Expressi­on of God's astonishing Affection recorded in the Parable of the Prodigal, Luke 15. is enough I think to invite the most obstinate Sinner to turn to God. No sooner did the poor Prodigal begin to turn to his Father, but immediate­ly his Father spied him a great Way off, his Bowels were moved with Compassion towards him, and he hastened to his Relief, Verse 20 Mr. Henry I think glosseth excel­lently upon this Verse. (1.) Saith he, ‘Here were Eyes “of Mercy, and these very quick-sighted; when he was yet a great Way off, his Father saw him, — he look­eth on Men when they are gone astray from him, to see whether they will return to him, and he is aware of their first Inclination towards him. (2.) Here were Bowels of Mercy, and those Bowels turning within him, and yerning at the Sight of his Son, he had Com­passion. Misery is the Object of Pity, even the Misery of a Sinner, though he has brought it upon himself, yet God compssionates him, Hos. 11.8. (3.) Here were Feet of Mercy, and these quick-paced; He runs, this notes how swist God is to shew Mercy. The Prodigal came slowly under a Burden of Shame & Fear, but the tender Father runsto meet him with his Encouragements. (4.) Here were Arms of Mercy, and these Arms stretch­ed out embrace him; he fell on his Neck, though guilty and deserving to be beaten, though dirty and newly come form seeding Swine, — yet thus he thus he takes him in his Arms, and lays him in his Bosom. Thus dear are all true Penitents to God, thus welcome to the Lord Jesus. (5.) Here are Lips of Mercy, and those Lips dropping as the Honey-Comb. He kissed him. This Kiss not only assured him of his Welcome, but sealed ”his Pardon.’ Not a Word of his former Miscarringages is mentioned against him, but on the contrary he is ca­ressed with the highest Honours, treated with the most compassionate Respects, by his indulgent Father; he came home between Hope and Fear, Fear of being rejected, and Hope of being received, but his Father was not on­ly better to him than his Fears, but better than his Hopes. for hes was cloathed with the best Robe, the Righteousness [Page 48]of Christ, had a Ring put on his Hand, had the Earnest of the Spirit given him, and was thereby sealed to the Day of Redemption; and Shoes upon his Feet, was en­dowed with the Preparation of the Gospel, Eph. 6.13. A holy Resolution to follow Christ through all Difficul­ties. Now Brethren, Is not this a powerful and perswa­sive M$tive? Methinks the unconverted Sinnor should reason thus with himself, And is the holy blessed God whom I have so cruelly offended, and whose Authority I have slighted, whose Law I have broken, and whose Love I have abused, making Suit to me for that Allegiance I owe to his Majesty, upon the Performance of which my Life depends? Has the just and righteous God bore with me so long, when I was ripe for the Sickle of his Justice, Joel 3.13. and plead with me so often to fly from my own Death and Ruin? And now after so many Affronts and Refusals, he is yet waiting to be gracious to me, and wanting to be exalted, that he may have Mercy upon me, Isai. 30.18. What the Sovereign, the offended Majesty of Hea­ven in whose Presence the brightest Seraphim vails his Face with his Wings, as being conscious of his compara­tive Deformity, the God to whom it is a condescending Stoop to behold the Things that are done in Heaven! Psalm 113.6. wait upon a Rebel Worm! Rev. 3.20. Is the bles­sed God willing to be reconciled to me after so many hor­rible and grievous Provocations, willing to wash my crim­son Sins, and make them white as Snow, Isai. 1.18. willing to embrace me (vile Monster!) in the Bosom of his un­merited Love and peculiar Affection! Is it possible? Is it possible? O strange! O wonderful! and shalld I? Can I? Dare I withstand such Love any longer? God forbid! God forbid! Lord, my Heart earns after thee, for I see thou art a gracious God, Jonah 4.2. Turn me, turn me, most holy Jehovah, unbare thine Arm, and draw me unto to thee, for now Lord I am weary with sinning against thee; now I want to fear and serve thee, I am grieved at the Heart, O God! that I have served thine Enemies so long; away ye wrethched Tyrants, be gone, for I hate you all! Now Lord, let me come to thee as a poor hun­ger-starved Prodigal; I confess I have sinned against Heaven and against Earth, and am no more worthy to be called thy Son, make me as one of thy hired Servants, Luke 15.18, 19. O pity! pity me, blessed God, who would fain fly under thy Wing for Succour, Is there not Mercy with thee, that thou mayeth be feared, Psalm 1304. [Page 49]Hast thou not been found of those that sought thee not? Lord, wilt thou not be found of me, wretched me, who wants to seek thee, and to abandon all other Lords and Lovers besides thee? Blessed Jesus, I have been long lost and wandring from God, in the Desarts of Sin, and dead in Trespasses: O thou almighty Shephered! bring me a poor stray Sheep, by thy Word and Spirit to thy Fold; lay me on thy Shoulder, or in thy Bosom, Luke 15.4, 5. Isai. 40.11. O let me the poor lost Sheep be found, that the Dead may live, Luke 15.24.

8. Thy Conversion Sinner, would occasion Joy in Heaven and upon Earth; the holy God, and holy Angels, and holy Men, would rejoyce at it, Luke 15.10.24 and your own Soul among the rest would shout with Joy and Tri­umph, Acts 8, 39. None but wicked Men and Devils would be disturbed on that Occasion, and if that will dis­turb them, God grant they may soon be disturbed; let all Hell rage, and soam, let all the Devil's Imps growl or sniker, they cannot hurt thee if thou come over to Jesus, Come then, poor Sinner come! what hinders thee? O almighty Father! Pity and perswade those poor stupid Sinners to come from Darkness and Death to thee.

9. What would you loose by turning to God? Is it dishonourable to be related to the divine Majesty, to the Church of the first born, whose Names are writter in Hea­ven, that august Assembly of perfected Spirits, and to Jesus the Angel and Mediator of the everlasting Convenant? Heb. 12.23, 24. Is it dishonourable to be adorned with the Beauties of Holiness, from the Womb of the Morning, Psalm 110.3. to be conformed to a God of radiant, tran­scendent, and inexpressibly glorious Excellency? Exod 15.11. Is it uncomfortable to partake of the Clusters of Ca­naan, the joyful Soul ravishing Earnests of all the Sweets above? 1 Pet. 1.8. Can it be uncomfortable to entertain Communion with a God of infinite Beauty, infinite Good­ness, infinite Glory, Excellency and All sufficiency, the Fountain of Power and Love. Cant. 1.13 & 21, 3. aud 5.10, to 16. Exod. 34.6, 7. Gen. 17.1. Isai. 42.8. Psalm 16.11. Is it disadvantageous to be entitled to an unalien­able and everlasting Inheritance, extending infinitely be­yond the narrow Circle of created Matter, to be inriched with a Pearl of immense Worth, more valuable than if the vast Volumns of the Heavens, and spacious Globe of the Earth were turned into a Mass of solid Gold? Is it disadvantageous to be cloathed with the chiefest Robe in [Page 50]Heaven's Ward-robe, to have a House perfectly freed from all the Decays of Time, and Wrecks of Matter, built by God himself, to have Treasures that neither Moth nor Rust doth corrupt, nor Thieves break through and steal? Lam. 3.24. 1 Pet. 1.4. Math. 13.46. & 6.20 Rev 3.18. 2 Cor. 5.1. It is a Loss to enjoy the Friendship and Pro­tection of a God of infinite Power and Almightiness, be­fore whom all the Armies of Heaven and Earth, and Hell, are as the small Dust of the Ballance? Isai. 40.15. Gen. 17.1. Is it a Loss to forsake that (viz. Sin) which is the greatest Dishonour of your Nature, and the most malig­nant Poison to you Souls? — Can that be done too soon, which unless it be done, you are undone for ever? I mean turning to God by a sound Conversion, John 3.3. What hinders your Compliance, O Sinner, with the In­vitations of Heaven? You will say perhaps, that Sin is pleasant: Ans. It is true, some Sins do please the Senses, but it is as true, that their Fruits here and in Hell are bitter, Prov. 23.31, 32. And are there not more safe ra­tional and satisfactory Pleasures to be had in serving the most high God, and seeking the Salvation of your poor Souls? Psalm 4.6, 7. & 23.4. & 46.23. Matth. 11.40. 1 John 5.3. Prov. 3.17. Don't say that you shall be re­flected upon among your Neighbours if you turn religi­ous, if so, what then, those Reproaches would reflected Ho­nour upon you, for whatever you think, it is no small Honour and Privilege, to suffer for God and his precious Truths, Phil. 1.29. James 1.2, 3. Matth. 5.10, 11, 12. And if once you obtained converting Grace, you would no more value the unjust Refecttions of wicked People, than the Dust under your Feet. Don't say that you would loose some worldly Advantage by the Profession and Practice of Religion, if you did it would be infinitely more than made up, in the Love and Favour of God here and hereafter. Why then don't you labour poor Sinners, to turn to God? Why will you prefer any temporal En­joyment before the Safety of your Souls? Did it not argue a vile Temper in Esau, to prefer a morsel of Bread before his Birth right, which are both sacred and civil Privileges? Alas! the World and it's Enjoyments are to you as Jael's Milk to Sisera, as Delilah to Samson; is it not a Pity, that Men should be such Enemies to them­selves, as to prefer the disguised Vanities of a fading World to the real and eternal Riches of another, and a bet­ter? Poor Sinners, when you seek for Rest in temporal En­joyments [Page 51]you seek for the Living among the Dead, your laboured Pursuit is as vain, as if Israei had endeavoured to fix his Abode in the Wilderness, among Serpents and Enemies, or as if Noah had made the Ark his Home, when the Waters were fallen, Why stand ye bere (viz in the Market Place) all the Day idle? Matth. 20.6 Have ye no Work to do for the immortal God, and your death­less Souls? Why stand ye so indolent upon the Shore of a vast Eternity, not knowing but the next Tide will sweep you off beyond all Hopes of a Remedy, and sink you in the dark Retreats of Death. Speak therefore in the Language of the poor starving Lepers, who sat at the Gate of Samaria, 2 Kings 7.3, 4 Why sit we here until we die? If we say we will enter into the City, the Famine is in the City, and we shall die there; and if we sit still here we die also. Now come therfore and let us fall unto the Host of the Syrians: if they save us alive we shall live, and if they kill us, we shall but die. If we return to a Course of Sin we shall surely perish, Heb. 12.14. If we abide in our present Sloth and Security, we shall pine a­way and perish for Want of Bread, if we stay here we must starve to Death, as sure as God lives, Luke 15.17. If we go to God for converting Grace and pardoning Mercy, he can but deny us, we can but perish, but if he saves us alive (has Mercy upon us) we shall live; live spiritually, comfortably and eternally. Up then Sinners, Awake, arise and hasten, hasten, hasten to Christ for Life, for Bread, for Mercy: Behold God's Stores are open, the Treasures, Magazine and Ward robe of Heaven is unlocked, Isai. 55.1, 2, 3. Rev. 22.17. Zech. 13.1. And Christ carries the $word$ Rev. 3.7. Apply to the Lord Jesus with the utmost Speed, and most intense Vehemence! May by you will meet with more agreeable and satisfactory, and unexpected Entertainment, as the poor Lepers, Luke 15, 20, to 25. You must resolve with Esther, to venture into the King's Presence, Esth. 4.16. And so I will go in unto the King, and if I perish, I perish. She was resolved to interceed for her People's Safety, though it should cost her her Life; and should not you much more for the eter­nal Safety of your Souls; she met with a favourable Re­ception from an imperious Man, which banished her Fears, and encouraged her Hopes; he held out the golden Scepter which she touched, and offered to answer her Re­quest to the half of his Kingdom, Esth. 5.2, 3. And why shay not the convinced Sinner much more expect to find [Page 52]a gracious Answer from a good God, whose Being is Love, and who delights in Mercy, 1 John 4.8. Mioah 7.18. Seeiog he is now enthroned on Compassion, and holds forth (under the Gospel) the golden Scepter of Pardon, Peace and Pity, Isai 61.1. Heb. 4.16. Luke 2.14. Hence is there not Encouragement that the returning distressed Prodigal may be enabled by God, to touch the Scepter by the Hand of Faith that he may live?

Well Sinners, Are ye become Gospel proof, got beyoud Bow-shet, past all Feeling, that when we represent God's Majesty armed with Vengeance, seared on his dreadful Thorone of Fustice, wreathed with Flames and Lightnings, circled with Clouds of gloomy Horrors, encompassed with Myriads of holy Angels, casting with his unbeat'd and unbroken Arm Thunderbolts of Death, or shooting the barb'd pointed terrible Arrows of his inslamed Indignation, and with the other holding a two-edged hright bunrnished glittering Sword, ready to be thrust into your Hearts, into the innermost Recesses of your unarmed Souls, and yet ye are not moved.

Or on the other hand. When we represent Jehovah seated on a Throne of Love, holding forth the Scepter of Salvation, and with the mildest Grace and most earnest Importunity, inviting, inducing, indearing Condescension, courting worthless Rebels, Captives, Beggars, to accept of refined Gold, Liberty and Life, and that not only with the strongest Arguments, but with Tears, Croans and Blood, and yet you are not affected; O astonishing Stupidity! O Rock! O Adamant! What Measures would you have the great God take with you to reclaim you? Good God! What a wretched Blindness and Obduracy have Men brought upon themselves by Sin? Be asto$$$ed ye Hea­vens, and mourn O Earth! O ye blessed $$gels of God, who r$j$yeed at the bringing of those glad Tidings of Salvation to a desolate World! Here is mourning Work for you, if ye were capable of it, to see the precious Offers of this great Salvation bought with Blood, basely slighted and neglected; but ye are uncapable of Grief, being continually delighted wi$h the bringt Vision of your God, you can't lament with us, or be Partners in our Pains.

O ye blessed Saints of the triumphing Church! be ye astonished at the unparallel'd Madness of an infaruated World, in deceiving their precious Souls, and slighting such $a dear, transcendently excellent, and unspeakably glorious Rideomer. The most of Mankind will nor, a las, [Page 53]they will not earnestly seek aster converting Grace! Can ye mourn with us blessed Souls? No ye are ignorant of our Wo, Isai. 63.16. and continually delighted and ra­vished vished with the Views of your Redeemer's Face, and Beauty: Ye are always drinking the pure, sinless, soul satisfying Sweets of his life giving Love. Ye are always swimming in a calm Ocean of Pleasure, and imbibing the Streams of pure Nectar, that spring from the Throne of God, plucking Apples from the Tree of Life, sitting under the Shadow of God, the King, the Lord of Hosts, breathing perpetual Triumphs, and shouting continual Hosannahs.

O but did ye see the dismal State of Things here, how wretchedly poor sinners deceive themselves, with Dreams and Delusions, with false and foolish Hopes of Happiness, without the Experience of regenerating Grace, and in the mean time affront the God that made them, reject the Redeemer that died for them, and grieve the blessed Spirit, then surely if you had any Room for Sorrow, any Access or Avenue to Grief, you would fill the Heavens with Sobs, Groans and Lamentations, instead of your present Songs of Triumph. But blessed Souls, your Tears are for ever wiped away, those crystal Fountains which run so fast in this Wilderness, must now no more gush and bleed, no they are for ever shut and sealed, and ye have more delightful Work to do, in exalting of and rejoycing in your God and Redeemer! Who then Lord God' of Hosts, shall mourn over a perishing secure, deceived unregenerate World? Why is not the bright Pavement of the great King's Abode, the crystal Canopy of the visible Heavens darkned, to testify it's Sorrow for a perishing deceived World? O thou beautiful Eye of Heaven! whose be­nign Beams create our Days, and make all Nature glad, why dost thou not forget to shine? Why art thou not co­vered with a cloudy Dress? Why coasest thou not to run thy wonted Rounds, in order to lament the wretched pe­rishing World? Wilt thou still lend thy Light to those who love to walk in Darkness, to those who prophanely abuse thy Creatures Goodness; and thou blazing Moon, with all the Ranks of lesser Lights, have ye no Pity upou your Fellow Creatures, who have quenched their once glorious Light in Darkness, and are hastening fast though their Sloth and Delusions to eternal Death; why are ye not. vailed to testify your Grief?

O let all the lower Creation mourn for Man; sinning Man has stained it's Beauty and Glory; but what do I [Page 54]say? My Request is answered, the whole Frame of Na­ture being oppressed with the Sin of Man, travails and groan, Rom. 8.22. Surely it inanimate Creatures were capable of Sense and Sympathy, the Winds would whis­per perpetual Sighs for, and the hard Rooks would break their long Silence, and lament over the cruel Ingratitude which unconverted Sinners are guilty of against God, and the stupid Barbarity which they exercise against their own Souls; the great Ocean and all gliding Rivulets which love to sport in meandrine Circuits round the Glove, would weep their useless Channels dry in doleful Lamentations, the pregnant Clouds would spend all their watery Magazanes in Tears, the blooming Trees would lay down their Honours, and be cloathed with a Winter mournful Garb.

O ye Saints of God! Are your Bawels of Brass and Iron, that they won't move? Don't ye see the miserable State of the World? Look how fast and thick they move (Men of all Ranks and Orders) upon the sable Road, searless and unconcerned, to the dark Chambers of Death and Hell. Very dear Brethern! Are not these miserably miserable Creatures, Objects of Pity? May not your Eye aff$ct your Heart? Or have you forgot to Pity? Are the Fountains of your Sorrow congealed, and have ye no Tears to shed upon this mournful Occasions God forbid! O let Rivers of Water run down your Eyes, because Men, unconverted Men, keep not your Father's Law! but obstinately slight the infinite Love of God, and thereby destroy their own Souls.

And thou my poor Soul, Mours, mourn, mourn! O that my Head were Waters, and mine Eys a Fountain of Tears! that I might suffi iently bewail over these miserable Sinners, whom I can't perswade! Let me, Lord of Hosts, be cloath­ed with Sackoloth, and covered with Ashes, that I may mourn. And now, high, holy and evelasting God, open the Springs of my Sorrow, and let them bleed to Death. Burden my Heart most blessed God, with as great a Weight of Grief, as the Farme of my Nature can bear; because of those deceiyed sluggish Souls, who will not $uit their destructive Delusions, their damning Lusts, and turn to the liying God. If I can do no more, good God! let me mourn; if I may not be indulged the undeserved Privilege of perswading any, any poor Sinner, to turn to thee, my God, then Lord Jesus, let me lament with all my Soul and Heart, with a bitter and perpetual, but sub­missive [Page 55]Mourning Grieve my distressed Soul, and all ye my mourning Passion, awake, awake, awake, and float in an incessant Vein of grieving Grief!

But if any poor Sinner should ask me, how he should seek this Change? I answer more generally,

1. Early. Eccl. 12.1. Prefer nothing to this, let the first of thy Time, Thoughts and Cares be spent about it, When one asked the Lord Jesus leave to go and bury his Father first, he denied it, and would have the first Fruits offered to himself, Matth. 8.21, 22. In Bethesda the Man that first went into the Pool was healed of what­ever Disease he had, John 5.4. The Israelites were ob­liged to offer their first Fruits to God, and a Curse is de­nounced against such as had in their Flook a Male, and vowed a corrupt Thing, Mal. 1.14. Delay not a Moment longer: Don't you know the Deceits of your Enemies. "To day is cunningly stole away in Hopes of to morrow, and when to morrow comes, an ill Devil, as Basil ob­serves, would have that Day for it self, and asks the o­ther morrow for God," and thus not a small Number of unwary Sinners are tolled to Hell by the Threads of their good Resolutions.

2.Earnestly; as the poor Woman for the lost piece of Silver, Luke 15.18. And that

1. Because the Good Conversion entitles us to is of great Moment, and is not to be obtained by small Diligence. It is a great Salvation; now what will not a Man do for the Safety of his Body? Eye for Eye, Skin for Skin, and whatsoever he hath, Job 2.4. How much more should he be ready to lay down all for the Interest of his poor Soul?

2. Because Christ himself could not purchase our Happi­ness without great Labour and Agony. It cost Jesus mournful Tears, bloody Sweat, and mortal Wounds: Now seeing the Purchase was so dear to Christ, can we think to get an Interest in it (by Conversion) without Pains?

3. Because many powerful Enemies endeavour to detain us in a sinful and secure State, which are to be fought with and overcome, which how painful and dissicult a Work it is to perform, is best known by those that have experienced it. The Enemies to be contended with are these three, the World, the Flesh, and the Devil, each of which is too strong for us without supernatural Assist­ance.

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4. Without earnest Labour no Man is converted or saved, ordinarily. Hence we are commanded to strive to enter in at the strait Gate, for we are informed, that the Gate is strait and the Way narrow, which leads to Life, and that few find it, Luke 13.24. Matth 7.13, 14 Three Things in Christ's Metaphor shew the Necessity of Pains, viz. The Gate, the Way, the Travellers.

1. The Gate is strait and difficult (Regeneration is the Gate by which we enter into the Way of Life) upon a twofold Account.

  • (1.) It is hard to find Therefore it is said in the Words, Few there be that find it. Why? be­cause it is above Nature, and only revealed to some by God the Father, John 1.13. Matth. 11.25.
  • (2.) It is hard to be entered into, for this is contrary to Nature, a­gainst the natural Bet and corrupt 'Tendency of the Heart, urges for that Circumcision mad without Hands, the putting off the Body of Sin and Death, Col. 2.11.

2. The Way is narrow in a twofold Respect.

  • (1.) In Regard of Sin. The King's Road to the new Jerusalem is so narrow that it will not hold a Man & unmortified Lust together, it justles out one or both.
  • (2.) In Regard of Punishment, it is ados tethilimine, an afflicted Way, a Way hedged about with Thorns, but blessed be God, not hedged up, the Gate is not only hard to find, and to pass through, like that narrow Passage between two sharp Rocks, viz. Bozer and Seneh, through which Jonathan and his Armour-bearer went, in order to smite the Phili­stines, 1 Sam 14.4. which resemble Presumption upon the one hand, and Despair on the other, between which a true Christian must travel I say the Gate is not only strait, but the Way is difficult, and that not only in Respect of the Corruptions which must be subdued, but also of the Afflictions which must be patiently and chearfully endured; hence it is said that through many Tribulations we must enter into the Kingdom of God, Acts 14.22. 2 Tim. 3.12.

3. The Travellers in this narrow Way are but Few, and was it not so since the Foundation of the Earth? What became of all the antediluvian World, except eight Per­sons? 1 Pet. 3.20. 2 Pet 2.5. What became of the many thousands in the four Cities of the Plain, Sodom, Go­morrah, Zeboim, and Admah? Does not the Apostle Jude inform us, Verse 7 That they are suffering the Vengeance of eternal Fire? Though the Number of Israel be as the Sand of the Sea, yet Mercy is extended but to a Remnant, Rom. 9.27. Rom. 11.5. There is a Remnant according to [Page 75]the Election of Grace, Rom. 11.7. For many are called but few chosen, Matth. 22.14. But

3. Ye must seek converting Grace perseveringly. Be­cause many have perished who have made seemingly good Beginnings, but continued not, they seemed to do some­thing, and suffer something, but not enough, not constantly, therefore their Endeavours proved abortive, Luke 13.24. For many I say unto you will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. The young Man in the Gospel did many Things well, but the World was glued to his Heart, Matth. 19.22. Agrippa was almost perswaded, and therefore but almost saved, Acts 26.28. Observe what the eloquent Apostle speaks to the Galatians, Chap. 3. Ver. 4 Have ye suffered so many Things in vain, if it be yet in vain? A Person starving with Hunger would not be contented with bare asking for Bread, unless he ob­tained what he asked; so Brethren, for Christ's sake, be not satisfied with your praying for Regeneration, except ye get what ye pray for. The Woman that had lost the piece of Silver, sought dilignetly till she found it, Luke 15.8. Go thou and do likewise.

If you desire more particular Direction, I refer you to those mentioned in the close of the first Discourse, and shall only observe by the by, that Men are more willing to hear Directions than perform them, and more willing to perform them than quit Dependance upon them.

But before I conclude, I shall crave leave to offer a Word of Advice to regenerate Persons.

Dear Brethren in Christ Jesus, be entreated,

1. To acknowledge the pure Grace and Goodness of God to you in your Regeneration; which is

  • 1. So distinguishing. May it not affect your Hearts to consider that God has passed by so many thousands of bet­ter natural and acquired Endowments, and revealed him­self and his Son to you? That Prayer of Jesus methinks should dwell in your Thoughts, Matth. 11.25. I thank thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, because thou hast bid these Things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto Babes, even so Father, for so it seemed good in thy Sight. And that of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians, 1 Cor. 1.26, to 29. For ye see your Calling. Brethren, how that not many wise Men after the Flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called. But God hath cho­sen the foolish Things of the World, to confound the Wise, and the weak Things of the World, to confound the Things that [Page 58]are mighty, and base Things of the World, and Things which are despised, hath God chosen; that no Flesh should glory in his Presence.
  • 2. So Pure. Springing entirely from his own good Pleasure, Matth. 11.25 James 1.18. Of his own Will be­gat he us. Eph. 2.4, 5, 6. But God who is rich in Mercy, his great Love, wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in Sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, by Grace ye are saved. John 1.13. Who hath made you to differ from another, and what have you that you have not received? 1 Cor. 4.7.
  • 3. Precious. Eph. 1.3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spi­ritual Blessings in heavenly Places in Christ. Therefore

2. Bless and adore God for this inestimable Benefit, he hath so freely conferred upon you, with all your Soul and Strength, Eph. 1.3. 1 Pet. 1.3, 4.

3. Depend upon him as the sole Original and Fountain of your divine Life, who works in you both to will and to do of his own good Pleasure, Philip. 2.13. 2 Cor. 4.4, 5, 6. Without it had been God's good Pleasure to awaken and convince you, ye had surely remained in the same deep Sleep of carnal Security, which the most of the World continue in; and after ye were convinced of your lost State, could ye have come to and complied with an offer­ed Saviour, unless you had been drawn by and learned of the Father, no surely; you who are acquainted with God and your selves, know better than to think so fool­ishly. John 15.5. & 6.44.

4. Strive after Growth, in the earnest Use of appointed Means. 2 Pet. 3.18. But grow in Grace, in the Knowlege of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. 1 Pet. 2.2. As new born Babes, desire the sincere Milk of the Word that ye may grow thereby. Leaving the Principles of the Doctrine of Christ, not laying again the Foundation of Repentance from dead Works, go on to Perfection. Heb. 6.1. Forgetting the Things that are behind, press forwards towards the Mark; reaching forth unto those Things which are before, Phil. 3.13, 14. It is a Metaphor taken from such as run in a Race; who lean forwards with their Bodies from eager Desire to get the End of the Race. So you must forget what is past, in Regard of resting upon it, and being con­tented with it, without further Progress, and stir up your selves to take hold on God, Isai. 64.7. Now that ye may obtain Growth,

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1. Be thankful for past Mercies, and make Use of them as Encouragements to Faith in God, in the Way of Obe­dience. The People of Israel when they were brought through the Red sea in Safety, they praised God for the signal Deliverance he had honoured them with, though they were then upon the Borders of an howling Wilder­ness, just a going to encounter new Difficulties. David made use of God's Mercy to him in delivering him from the Mouth of the Lyon and the Paw of the Bear; thence he was encouraged to hope that that God who had been thus kind to him in Times past, would now deliver him out of the Hands of the uncircumcised Philistine.

O Christian! despise not the Day of small Things, Zech. 4.10 Job 15.11. I know that Babes in Jesus are apt to be peevish and dejected if they have not a comfort­able Sense of God's Love; but this is their great Sin and Folly, for we must live by Faith, and not by Sense. Hab. 2.4. Rom 1.17. Gal 3.11. & 2.20. Heb. 10.38. 2 Cor. 5.7.

2. Be humbled for past Sins, Psalm 32.5. and endeavour to keep humble if you want to grow; let who will strut don't you do it. Luke 14.11. James 4.6. 1 Pet. 5.5.

3. Be watchful lest you be taken by Surprize, Matth. 24.42. Go with your Loyns girt and your Lamps burning, and continue waiting for the coming of the Bridegroom.

4. Be prayerful. Be consciencious in the Performance of secret Prayer, Matt. 6.6. Don't suffer your selves to be hurried away from it by a bare Repetition of the Heads of Prayer; but endeavour to be imprortunate and fervent, James 5.16. Rom. 12.12. Remember the Incense was put upon burning Coals, Lev. 16.12.

5. Encourage Faith in God through Christ, for that is a root Grace, and all the rest do indeed languish and flourish with it, as it ebbs and flows. Therefore it is the Butt of the Devil's Malice, that which he vehemently oposeth. Hence we are bid to fight the good Fight of Faith, 1 Tim. 6.12. Remember I only speak to God's Children now, who have scriptural Evidences of a special Work of God's Spirit in them; as for others, I would not have them be­lieve what is not, but experienced Christians are command­ed to believe in the dark, Isai. 50.10.

6. Try Meditation upon God's Word and Works, both of Creation. Redemption, Providence, upon the Perfections of God's. Nature. the Greatness of his Love, your own Frailty, and the strict Account you must quickly make [Page 60]to God, Psalm, 1 Tim. 4.15. Gen 24.63. Josh. 1.8.

Avoid an over frequent Examination of your State in Hours of Darkness; I know you are prone to it, but it is very prejudicial, because you are then like to pass a wrong Judgment; for how can Objects be truly discover­ed in the dark: It is not the proper Time to judge of the Quality of Waters when they are muddied, and a wrong Judgment creates unnecessary Pain, weaknes your Faith in God, and Love to him, and hinders you in the other Duties of Religion; wherefore it is much better for you to strive to renew your Covenant with God, by making a new and solemn Surrender of your selves to him and his Service, and strive to be faithful in the Per­formance of the other Duties of Piety, Psalm 119.6.

7. If there be any Sin of Neglect or Commission that your Conscience accuses you about; regulate that Matter or expect no Peace, 1 John 3.20. 2 Cor. 1.12.

8. Use Fasting upon special Occasions, which is of great Use, Joel 2.12. & 1.14. 2 Chron. 20.3. Ezra 8.21. Jer. 36.9. Jonah 3.5. Zech. 8.19. Neh. 9.1. Matth. 6.16. & 9.15. Luke 5.35. 2 Cor. 6.5. Acts 15.2, 3.

9. Endeavour to exrcise the Grace ye have received. For to him that hath shall be given, Matth. 13.12. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit, Gal. 5.25. Rom. 8.1. Being drawn run ye, Cant. 1.4. Your stony Heart being removed, make you a new Heart and a new Spirit, Ezek. 18.31. Thus saith the Lord God, Repent and turn your selves from your Idols, and turn away your Faces from all your Abominations, Ezek. 14.6. Put off concerning the former Conversation, the old Man, which is corrupt ac­cording to deceitful lusts, and put ye on the new Man, which after God is created in Righteousness and true Holiness, Eph. 4.22, 23, 24. And remember that by Regeneration ye are God's Workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good Works, that ye should walk in them, Eph. 2.10. Don't say that you cannot stir up the Gist that is in you, or endeavour to exercise your Graces; you can endeavour, Isai. 64.7. and if you do not, it is your own Fault; to say the con­trary would be to make Men meer Blocks and Machines. Also it opens a Door to Sloth, and reflects dishonour upon God. But to him that ordereth his Conversation aright will be shewn the Salvation of God, Psalm 50.23. But

10. If ye are born of God, seek your Father's Honour, Mal. 1. A Son honoureth his Father, and a Servant his [Page 61]Master: if then I be a Father, where is mine Honour? and if I be a Master where is my Fear? Ye should labour to honour God, (1.) By speaking well of him, Cant. 5. 10, to 16. (2.) By speaking boldly for him, as a Child for a Father, Psalm 119.46 (3.) By bringing forth Fruits to him, Philip. 1.11. John 15.8. Not to your selves least you be found empty Vines at last, Hos. 10.1, (4.) By being grieved at the Reproaches that are cast upon him, Psalm 69.1.

11. Seck your Husband's Interest. O! let Zion lie near your Heart, and engross a considerable Part of your Tho'ts and Cares, Psalm 137.5, 6 Endeavour as Instruments in God's Hand, to convert Sinners from the Evil of their Ways, by mild and seasonable Reproofs, earnest Intreaties, and pious Examples, James 5.20.

12. Remember God expects more from you than others, Gen. 18.19. And well he may, for he has given more to you Remember that Holiness is the Design of your Elec­tion, Vocation, Redemption, Regeneration, and Adoption, Eph. 1.4. 2 Tim 1.9. Tit 2.14. 1 Pet. 1.3. I John 3.1, 3. Be ye therefore Followers of God as dear Children, and walk in love—Eph 5.1, 2. Finally Brethren, Whatsoever Things are true, whatsoever Things are honest, whatsoever Things are just, whatsoever Thing are pure, whatsoever Things are lovely, whatsoever Things are of good Report, if there be any Vertue, and if there be any Praise, think on these Things. Those Things which ye have both learned and received, and heard and seen in me do; and the God of Peace shall be with you. Amen, Amen

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Adoption Opened.


BEHOLD, what Manner of Love the Father bath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the Sons of GOD.

THE Penman of this sacred Epistle has been concluded by the universal Suffrage of the ancient Churches, to be the Apostle John; the amiable Signatures of his divine and calm Spirit breathes and glides through all it's golden Veins.

There is some Difference of Opinion concerning the Time wherein he wrote it; some ascribing it to an earlier, some to a later Date; but the most reasonable Conjecture is, that it was wrote a little before that awful Catastrophe was brought on the jewish Church and State, which the equal Retribution of their in$andous Obstinacy. This Conjecture is grounded on the Apostle's speaking of the last Times being at hand, which is generally understood to be the concluding Periods of the jewish State.

The general Scope and main Design of this sacred Epis­tle was to confirm the parthian Jews (to whom it was wrote) in all the main Truths of Christianity, both specu­lative and practical: Particulary, in the Belief of our [Page 63]Lord Jesus as being the promised Messias; and also, in the Necessity of internal and external Holiness, against the impregnated and inpious Efforts of apostate quondam Professors, particularly, the infamous Gnosticks, the per­nicious Brood of that grand Impostor, Simon Magus.

Hence this Apostle takes occasion in divers Parts of this Epistle to excite Christians to the Exercise of mutual Love, by a Variety of pregnant and pungent Arguments, as the necessary Bull warks to screen them from the strong and virulent Arrests of infectious Seducers. Love is the Cement which unites Strength, and is not unita Vis sortior? The Want of this is the Bane of Society, and exposes them to the ravening Depredations of common Enemies. Surely there is a most cogent Motive of Love, in our Text, both to God our mighty Maker, and to Man our Fellow-Creature. Behold, what Manner of Love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the Sons of God.

The Apostle having in the foregoing Chapter and last Verse, mentioned that great and necessary Qualification, being born of God, takes occasion in the beginning of this, to celebrate with Wonder and divine Transport, it's con­sequent Privilege, Adoption. Behold, what Manner of Love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the Sons of God.

In the Words are these four general Heads,

  • 1. A gret and honourable Gift bequeathed, that we should be called the Sons of God.
  • 2. The Donor of this specified, The Father.
  • 3. The Donee, or Persons upon whom this Gift was bestowed and discovered, upon us:
  • 4. The fontal or impulsive Cause of this, mentioned.

Let us a little explain these Particulars in the Order proposed.

As to the first general Head, Hath bestowed,—that we should be called the Sons of God. Here are two Things remarkable.

  • 1. The Privilege conferred.
  • 2. The Manner of conferring it.

1. The Privilege conferred, called the Sons of God. Ina teena the$u $lethomen. Tecna a ticlo, pario, & ginomi, nas$er. Erasmus and some others render the Word tecna, according to our Translation; but Theodor, Beza, & Pasor [Page 64]think it is a larger Extent, and signefies Offspring, Pro­les Scholes, a general Word that imports Offspring, or Sons of every Age, Sex, Degree, in which Sense I rather take the Word. Gl$thomen, a caleo, voco. This Word is not here inserted with any Antiphrasis, Contradiction to, or Opposition of the Thing spoken of, in Reality. It is not an empty Name, or vain Title, no, no; but the blessed Privilege it self is here asserted together with this honour­able Badge and Epithet, as it's necessary Consequent or Effect, by a Metonomy of the Consequent or Antecedent, Matth. 21.13. compared with Luke 19.46. Clethomen, called: This Word excellently holds forth the Nature and Dignity of Adoption. (1.) The Nature of it. That it con­sisteth in a forensick Declaration; and so is distinguish'd from natural Sonship. (2.) It's Excellency and Dignity. That this precious Privilege is not kept hid or latent, but declared and made manifest, not only in the Mind of God, but in the Conscience of Believers. It eclipses the rela­tive Goodness of Benefits when we know them not.

2. The Manner of conferring this Benefit, hath bestowed. Dedocen, a doc, dosa, dedoca. There is no Difficulty that I know of in the Word; it shews with more than oriental Splendor, the admirable Freedom of God's Bounty in our Adoption, and cuts the Sinews of Merit. It's a Gift, no Debt; we have neither Wisdom nor Dignity to procure so inestimable a Benefit. But

2. The second general Head concerns the Author or Donor of this Benefit; The Father; Ho Pater. A de­monstrative Article is prefixed, emphatically showing the glorious Dignity and matchless Greatness of the sublime Donor. Pater, a Pao, pasco, quia Pater pasco liberos, velut Pastor pascit Oves. The whole Trinity doubtless is intended by this; for all those sacred Persons act a Part in this glorious Work: But more particularly and expres­ly, the first Person, God the Father, called so, not only for the eternal Generation of his Son, Psalm 2.7. But also for the Adoption of his People, John 1.12. because from him the whole Family in Heaven and Earth is named, Eph. 3.15.

3. The third Head concerns the Donce, or Persons upon whom this Privilege is bestowed. Hemin, upon us. Not up­on all and singular, not upon any one or every one, but upon us, Believers exclusively, who have been effectually called, converted from Sin, and united to Jesus, in which is the Foundation of Adoption.

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4. The fourth general Head, The fontal or impulsive Cause, Love, called in the Original Agape, either ab agan poiein, multum facere, doing much; because it is effectual and operative. Vel ab agan cata pan Because Love moves it self every Way towards it's beloved Object. Vel ab agan pauesthai Because the Lover rests in the Object he loves Or, ab agan pao, to love much. And thus it is eminently in the Cause before us. Had not the blessed Lord loved much, would he ever have taken a sinning Creature into so near a Relation to himself, as to have the Privilege not only of being the Servants of God, which is a great Honour, but the Friends of God, as was Abraham, which his much more? But to be the Sons and Children of God, is doubtless, the Flower of Mercy, the Crown and Garland of divine Love; so that Love here, surely signifies a vehement Affection to the Beloved, not only a generous Purpose of doing Good, but the actual Completion of it.

Now the Love of God is in general twofold, Immanent and Transient,

  • 1. God's immanent Love is that perfect Property of God, whereby he is inclined to love himself. This Af­fection is terminated on no Creature, and is nothing else but God's pure and perfect Essence. This is not the Love specified in our Text.
  • 2. God's transient Love is that Property or Attribute of God, whereby he is inclined to love his Creatures, ac­cording to the good Pleasure of his Will. And this Love is threefold, viz. Of Benevolence, Beneficence and Com­placence.

1. The Love of Benevolence, is God's good Purpose before Time, of doing his People good in Time. Eph. 1.4. According as he hath chosen us in him, before the Founda­tion of the World, that we should be holy and without Blame before him in Love. Eph. 2.10 For we are his Workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good Works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them

2. God's Love of Beneficence, in his actual doing of them good in Time, according to his gracious Design from Eter­nity. Therefore they are said to be called according to his Purpose. The great Jehovah in all his Dealings to­wards his People in Time, acts according to the Pattern that was in his mind from Eternity.

3. God's Love of Complacence is that whereby he de­light in the Work$ $f his own Spirit wrounght in his Peo­ple [Page 66]Cant. 4. These three last I take to be the Love meant in our Text. We find this fourth general Head ushered in with a double Emphasis, viz. A Note of Atten­tion, and a Note of Admiration.

1. A Note of Attention. Idete, behold, ab eido, video, to see, to lift up the Eyes of the Mind to behold a Thing more accurately and intensely, as we lift up the Eyes of the Body to behold any remarkable Object that oc­curs. This Note of Attention is used in a fourfold Scope.

  • (1.) To awaken the Attention. Isai. 65.1. I said, Behold me, behold me, to a Nation that was not called by my Name. The universal Depravation of our deplorable Natures rend­ers us totally averse to good; so that such shocking Memen­to's are most necessary for us, to rouse us from our lethar­gick Drouse.
  • (2.) To excite Admiration, from the be­holding some new and admirable Thing, Isai 7.14. Be­hold, a Virgin shall conceive and bring forth a Son, &c.
  • (3.) To show the Certainty of a Thing spoken, Rev. 1.7. Behold, be cometh with Clouds, and every Eye shall see him.
  • (4.) To show the Excellency and necessity of a Thing, John 1.29. Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the Sins of the World.

2. A Note of Admiration. What Manner of Love; pota­pos, this Word is used both to denote the Quantity and Qua­lity of a Thing, Matth. 8.27. It is as if the Apostle had said, what Kind, what Sort of Love is this? Surprizing, amazing Love! There is a vehement Emphasis in this Ex­pression, of Astonishment and Transport. Hereby the Apo­stle plainly shows, that the Love of God is exceedingly apparent, & marvellously manifested in Adoption. What! For an alsufficient, self sufficient, independent Jehovah, to adopt a Stranger into his Family, a Rebel into his Bosom? Is it not stupendous, transporting Love? This is proposed by Way of Interrogation or Question, but implies a vehe­ment Assertion. It is as if the Apostle feeling himself in­capable to comprehead this immeasurable Ocean of divine Love, addressed himself to Believers in a kind of Amaze, and said, Do you your selves speak or judge if you can, what kink of Love this is? It is deep, I cannot fathom finite Love, well becoming the infinitely glorious Majesty from whom it flows. Behold, what Manner of Love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the Sons of God.

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From the Words, thus explained we observe, That the superlative Love of God is transiendently displayed in the adopting Strangers into his Family, and giving them the Privileges of Sons.

In treating upon this Observation, I would endeavour by divine Assistance, to speak to these three Particulars, viz.

  • 1. Explain the Nature and Kinds of Adoption.
  • 2. Show the Prerogatives and consequent Privileges which flow from it.
  • 3. Show how exceedingly the Love of God is displayed in it.

And lastly, Shall endeavour to improve it (if God will) to our Edification.

As to the first proposed. I conceive Adoption may be thus described, that it is a gracious Declaration of the blessed God, whereby he admits and receives those who were by Nature Strangers and Enemies in Heart and Life to his Majesty; but now, through Grace are effectually called, justified, regenerated and united to Christ, into his Family as Sons, and communicates to them the Privileges of Children.

I shall endeavour to explain the several Parts of this Description. And

1. Adoption is a Declaration. So says our Text, called the Sons of God. This Declaration is expressed four Ways.

  • 1. By eternal Election, or that everlasting Purpose in the divine Mind, Eph. 1.5. He having predestinated us unto the Adoption of Children. In this Respect, the Elect before their Conversion (by a certain Figure of Speech, Prolepsis) are called the Children of God, John 11.52.
  • 2. By Redemption in Jesus, with whom they are united, Gal. 3.26. For ye are all the Children of God, by Faith in Christ Jesus
  • 3. By the Gospel, and it's copious precious Promises, where­by Believers have ascribed to them that ample Dignity of Sonship, John 1.12. As many as received him, to them gave he Power to become the Sons of God
  • 4. In their own Spirits, or Consciences. There God testifies by his Spirit that they are his Children: Partly, by conferring certain Evidences of Adoption, and partly, by irradiating their Minds to perceive and acknowlege these Evidences, and therefrom to infer their Adoption.

2. A Declaration of God. He is the Cause of it, or the Person adopting, generally, the divine Essence, but more particularly and specially, according to the divine aeconomy, God the Father; to whom it is specially appropriated in [Page 68]our Text. It is a Father's Property to have Children; hence that memorable Saying of the Apostle to the Ephe­sians, Chap 3.15 Of whom the whole Family in Heaven and Earth is named. But it is also ascribed to the Son to have Children, Heb. 2.10. He is said to bring many Sons to Glory. And also to the Holy Spirit, who in this Re­gard, is called the Spirit of Adoption, Rom. 8.15.

3. A merciful and gracious Declaration; flowing freely from the unmerited Goodness and superlative Love of an infinite JAH, without the least Regard to the Creatures Desert. The intrinsick, impulsive Cause, is the peerless Bounty and inexpressible Love of God, as our Text plain­ly voucheth. The extrinsick meritorious Cause of this inestimable Privilege, is the spotless Merit of the only be­gotten Son of God, the Lamb slain before the Foundation of the World, Eph. 1.5, 6. Our Jesus assumed humane Nature in an hypostatical Union with the Divine, and subjected himself, as Man, to the Law he made as God, that we might obtain the Adoption of Children, Gal. 4.4, 5. But when the Fulness of Time was come, God sent forth his Son made of a Woman, made under the Law, to redeem them that were under the Law, that we might receive the Adoption of Sons.

4. The efficient Cause is the Holy Spirit. It is he who by his sacred and secret Whispers, seals the People of God to the Day of Redemption.

5. The instrumental Cause is the Word of God. The soul­enriching Promises of the blessed Gospel, through which golden Conduit is conveyed to Believers the Oyl of Glad­ness, and a sure Hope which makes them rejoyce with Joy unspeakable and full of Glory.

6. The final Cause is God's Glory, principally bewrayed in his People's Imitation of him, Eph. 5.1. Be ye Follow­ers of God as dear Children. But then

7. The Object of this divine adopting Declaration, is poor sinful Man Here let us briefly ruminate on their twofold Estate, viz. their former and present Condition.

  • 1. As to their former or natural Condition. (1.) They were such as were total Strangers to God, far from the Knowlege of him, far from an Interest in him. (2.) Im­placable and revengeful Enemies to his sacred Majesty, and that both in Heart and Life. Their Thoughts of him were ungenerous, groveling or blasphemous; wholly un­sutable to his Dignity and Glory. In their Lives they industriously prosecuted this hereditary Spleen, with basest [Page 69] Virulency and Heat, constantly desacing the broken Shreds of the divine Image in their Breasts: Thus he who in his pristine Bliss, was the Crown and Garland of this Globe, is by his Fall, become more abject and sordid than the most ignominious Reptile that crawls on Earth. This they were. But
  • 2. As to their present Condition, they are thro' Grace, effectually called out of their former Security. He hath called us with an holy Calling, says the Apostle. They are united to Christ by Faith, justified &c Rom. 8.1. These Works of the Spirit do necessarily, as Preparatives, pre­ceed Adoption. Adoption is no Part of Justification, but an illustrious Degree of Dignity annexed to it. So that,

8. The Manner of our Adoption is (1.) By Regeneration, whereby we are made Partakers of the divine Nature; not in it's Essence; but gracious Qualities, Justice, Holi­ness, Goodness &c. Col. 3.10. and receive Principles of divine Life to enable us to live to God. This saith Mr. Burkit, ‘“is an inward Principle, a universal Principle, a God ex­alting ”Principle, an abiding Principle.’ (2.) By Union with Christ. While we are mystically united to him we are rendred his Brethren, having one Father with him; so that though Jesus, in Regard of his natural and eternal Generation, be the only First-born; yet through this bles­sed Union, his People have that honourable Name, Heb. 12.23. The Church of the First born.

9. The Terms of our Adoption. We are brought from Darkness, and the Dominion of Sin and Satan, into the Fa­mily of the blessed God, and made houshold Friends and Children. Henceforward God carries towards us as a Father, yea, as a kind indulgent Father, and takes us un­der the gracious Wings of his divine Protection. He di­rects us and provides for us, so that we securely and safely rest in the Bosom of his almighty Power and Goodness.

10. There be two Kinds of Adoption, divine and humane. The first we have in some Sort treated of. The second, viz. Humane Adoption, may be described thus, to be an Act of Love or Compassion, ordinarily arising from the Want of Children, whereby a Person admits an Alien or Stranger into his Family, and communicates to him a Right to his Goods or Estate, to be enjoyed by him after his Decease. In this brief Description, we may gather the main Differences between a divine and humane Adoption.

1. They differ in their Surce and Original. A humane Adoption is generally occasioned by the Defect of a natu­ral [Page 70]Offspring; but the Divine flows from the Abundance of God's Goodness.

2. In the Persons adopted. In humane Adoption they are Strangers, or such as have no Right to Adoption; but in the Divine, though by Nature they are Strangers and Aliens, Eph. 2.12. yet through Grace they are called and justified, and consequently, have a Right to the blessed Inheritance, even before the adopting Act.

3. They differ in their Nature. The Humane being but an external Denomination and Bequeathment of tem­poral Goods; whereas the Divine consists in a real Act of Jehovah, whereby he confers on his People spiritual. Life and Holiness, the very Transcript of his own Nature.

4. The Humane confers the Inheritance to the adopted, after the Adopter's Death; but the Divine confers it while both survive. But I proceed to the

2. Proposed, which was to show the Prerogatives and consequent Privileges of Adoption.

I will not here essay to enumerate all and singular of them, only the more eminent and special. And

1. An honourable and amiable Denomination is one of the Privileges of Adoption. They shall be called the Sons of God, John 1.12. As those who are humanely adopted, in a civil Sense, bear Name of their adopting Father; so those that are spiritually or divinely adopted, bear the Name of their celestial Father, as our Text testifies. Jesus is their elder Brother, they are not only called Friends, but Children. This is not an empty Name, but the Thing named is, in some Measure, conferred, viz. The Image of God, 2 Pet 1.4.

2. The Dominion over and Possession of the Creatures; in as much as God not only created them for them, but hath given them a Right to them. In Christ all Things are ours, 1. Cor. 3.21. Many earthly Things are properly and proximately in our Power, many thought at a Distance, serve us; the Sun, Moon and Stars, yea, the angelick Spi­rits, those Nobles of the Court of Heaven above, serve Be­liever, Psalm 34.7. Even penal Evils, through the myste­rious Guidance of divine Providence, promote their Good. They have the free (but lawful) Use of all terrene En­joyments. To the Pure all Things are pure, Tit. 1.15.

3. Conformity to the Son of God by a Communion of his prophetical, sacerdotal, and regal Dignity, Rev. 1.6.

4. A fourth Privilege of Adoption, is christian Liberty. A temporal Son in a Family hath a Freedom abovea Ser­vant; [Page 71]Jesus hath purchased a spiritual Freedom for his Children, at the Cost of his dearest Blood, Gab. 5.1. which contains these things,

  • 1. A Freedom from the Guilt of Sin; obtained by Justi­fication, confirmed and applied by Adoption.
  • 2. A Freedom from the Dominion of Sin, by Sanctifice­tion, Rom. 6.14
  • 3. From the Condemanation of the maral Law, Gal. 3.13. Christ hath redeemed us from the Curse the Law, being made a Curse for us.
  • 4. From the Yoke of the ceremnial Law, which was nail­ed to Christ's Cross.
  • 5. From humane Traditions and Institutios in God's Wor­ship, Col. 2.20, 21, 22,

5. Another Privilege is. the Spirit of Adoption, to which is opposed the Spirit of Bondage, Rom 8.15. Now this Spirit of Adoption hath a twofold Operation.

  • 1. To ascertain us of our Sonship. Hence it is said that the Spirit testifies with our Spirit, or Conscience, that we are the Sons of God. And this the Spirit effectuates these three Ways,
    • (1) By proposing Signs and Marks of a gra­cious Work, in the Word.
    • (2) By working the Work in the Heare.
    • (3.) By enabling the Soul, by comparing both together, to discern it's gracious State.

    Altho' I solidly believe that ordinarily, Certitudo Ar­gument “ ”reflectioneque acquiritur, as one says, Assurance is acquired by Argumentation and Reflection. And tho' I do abhor the delusory Dreams of the enthusi­astick Crowd, who depend, a sit were, upon auricular Voices, and immediate Speeches from Heaven, without duly attending to, and comparing themselves with the written Word: Yet I conceive that it is a bold and dangerous medling to limit the Power or Ways of omniporence to Men's narrow Imaginations. In a Word, I think holy what Rutherford, affectionate Ambrose and a througing Crowd of other godly Divines, that God doth perswade some Souls, immediately, by the Light of his Spirit working upon their Hearts a Sense of their Interest in his Love: But then they ought to, and will try this, by the written Word, with it's Effects, to know it's divine Birth. We read of the sealing of the Spirit, and sure, the Seal leaves it's Signature. I know that some Divines, of no small Figure, oppose this. I shall not assume the Arrogance to tarnish the Character of those great Men, only, I would venture to say, that I believe many incline to speak & write as it suits their own Experience best. But no to insist.

  • [Page 72]2. The second Operation of the Spirit is that by which he enables the Children of God to cry with a filial Bold­ness, Abba Father, or Father, Father, for so the Word Abba signifies in the Syriack, saith Mr. Pool; this Ingemi­nation plainly shows the Vehemence of Believers Affec­tion to God, when they are perswaded of his Love to them. A certain School man observes, ‘That the Jews would “ ”not suffer their Servants to call Father,’ but God suffers his Children, in all their Pressures and Diffi ulties, yea, in all their solemn Approaches, to claim this filial Relation to himself. O never enough to be admired Love! well might the Apostle as in a Maze, cry out, Behold, what Manner of Love is this!

6. A sure Title to the heavenly Inheritance, with the first Fruits and Earnests of it here, are the blessed Privi­leges of Adoption Rom. 8.17. And if Children then Heirs, Heirs of God, and joint Heirs with Jesus Christ. They do inherit God himself, their Father is their full and final Portion. "A Man leaves his Heirs what he has, says Mr. Burkit, but God leaves his Heirs what he is" All his Attributes is for their Benefit, his Wisdom is theirs, to guide them, his Power, to protect and desend them, his Mercy and Love to support and resresh them. Heirs with Christ: He is the Heir of God, and Believers in him. ‘“They are Members of Christ, saith Mr. Burkit, and shall ”be Heirs with him.’ In Jesus they have obtained the Inheritance. By Adoption they have also the Earnests of this Inheritance. Eph. 1.13, 14. In whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise; which is the Earness of our Inheritace, until the Redempti­on of the purchased Possession.

We advance now to the Prosecution of the third Thing proposed, which was to show how exceedingly the Love of God is displayed in Adoption.

These four Particulars demonstrate this Truth.

  • 1. The Person adopting
  • 2. The Persons adopted
  • 3. The im­pulfive Cause of Adoption.
  • 4. The Price of Adoption.

1. The Person adopting. Who is this? The great an glorious God. But for Illustration, let us passingly view these four Properties of the blessed God.

  • 1. His Majesty and divine Glory. He is the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, the sovereign Ruler of Princes, that inaccessible Light which no Man can approach unto and live. The Angels those winged Seraphs of the Coure above, vail their Faces before the dazling Splendour of his [Page 73] Glory. is not his the Sun which beautifies and illuminates the empyrial Heavens, and delights all the Sons of Zion, that Zion, that Church of the First born, with perpetual and sweet Transpores? What Creature breathing can sufficiently describe this Glory? Even a Moses must be hid in the Rock, and discern only the darkest Glances of it. The Psalmist when he bedeld through the liquid Ether, the starry Heaven, and view'd the Workmanship of the mighty God therein, Psal. 8.3. He was justly seized with a Rapture of Amazement, and cries out, What is Man that thou are mindful of him? And can we not, shall we not wonder with him, that a God of such august and serene Majesty and transcendent Glo­ry should adopt such as we are. O! how marvellously does the Love of God shine in this adopting Act?
  • 2. His Independency and Sovereignty. He is the indepen­dent and self existent Cause of all creted Beings. All Things were created by him, and without him was not any Thing made that is made. He could have made another Species of Creatures than Man, declaratively, to express his Praises; but he not only made Man happy in his pri­mitive Endowments, but when he had lost himself, through Grace adopts him into his Family.—
  • 3. His All-sufficiency and Self-sufficiency. He has all Things withing the Compass of his perfect Essence, whereby he is infinitely happy and blessed. ‘He stands in no “more need of Man, saith One, than the superiour Globes of a Fly to roll them round their respective Circles, or the massey Earth of a Grashopper to support it, or the ” Moon of an Atome to enlighten it.’ His essential and primoeval Glory is stable, permanent and eternal, and can re­ceive no additional Prefections from the Creatues, nor suf­fer any Diminution by them. If Jehovah had expected any additional Glory from his Creatures, if must doubtless, have sullied and ecclipsed the Brightness of his Love: But seeing there can be no such Thing, O! how apparently, how sweetly, how transcendently does the divine Affecti­on shine?—
  • 4. His Justice and Sanctity. Angels and triumphing Saints justly cry out, HOLY, HOLY, HOLY LORD GOD OF HOSTS. He charges his Angels with Folly. The very Heavens are not clean in his Sight. Now, that such a holy Sin­hating God should adpot Rebels into his Family, how a­mazing, how astonishing is it! But we proceed to consider,

2. The Porsons adopted. Not the great and boble, 1 Cor. 1.26. Let us a little perpend these things relating to them, [Page 74]

  • 1. Their Frailty. What is Man Dust and Ashes, a Worm, a Moth, an Atome? Job 25.6
  • 2. Impotency. They can do nothing, either to merit, or sutably requite such adopting Love; his best Persormances are corrupted and of no Advantager to Jesus.
  • 3. Their Poverty. They are by Nature poor, Rev. 3.17. They have neither Food nor Raiment, and in Debt besides.
  • 4. Deformity. They are deformed by Nature, and that not only privatively, by the Want of Beauty, but also positively, by the Presence of a spreading Leprosy. The Soul, in our apostate State, as to it's Qualities, is not only void of it's pristine Beauty and primaeval Glory; but also filled with a hateful Proclivity to violate the Commands of God. Is it not astonishing, that the Love of God should terminate on such Deformity?
  • 5. Enmity. Rom. 8.7. The carnal Mind is Enmity a­gainst God &c. The Soul of Man is naturally as full of Enmity against God, as a Toad is of Poison. Sure, it's a Wonder that God should love such Enemies so much as to take them into his Bosom.

3. The impulsive Cause of Adoption, is not any Dignity or Merit in us; but the pure in omprehensible & eternal Love of God. What a Wonder of Love is this?

4. As to the Price of our Adoption. It was not purchased with Silver of Gold, but with the precious Blood of the Son of God, as of a Lamb without Spot. Not with a great Sum of Money, which the chief Captain purchased his Freedom with, Acts 22.28. Nor with Abundance of Foreskins of the Philistines, whereby David purchased his Sounship from the King, 1 Sam. 18.27. No. The Son of God must de­scend from the Bosom of his Father, and assume the Nature of Man, and have his Glory vailed in a Mantle of Flesh. Jesus must be humbled and abased to the Death, yea, must become a Curse and Sin for us, that we might obtain eter­nal Blessedness.


USE 1. This Truth we have insisted on may serve for a Use of Admiration: This seems to be the Use the Apos­tle himself makes of it. It was meer Condescension in Pharaoh's Daughter to preserve Moses an innocent Babe and a Stranger from perishing by Water: But, O how much greater Kindness was it in almighty God, to save guilty wretched Man from perishing by eternal Flames, and to take a Rebel into his Bosom! Did Abigail thus excuse her self, when but a Refugee David proposed [Page 75]Marriage to her, That she was not worthy to wash the Fees of the meanest Servant of her Lord. Good God! What may we say of God's taking sinful Man into his Family, and giving them the Privileges of his Children? May we not say with the Prodigal, Lord we are not worthy to be called to thy Children? From that, to what, has God brought Believers? From what a deep Degree of extreme Misery, to what a Height of Dignity and Glory? O! let us call to Admitation our Souls, and all that is within us at this blessed Love, this free and undeserved Love, this en­riching and everlasting Love. Did the Angels wonder when they brought the happy Tidings of this Love to the World, did they look with Admitation into these Things, and will not our Souls? Shall Sheba's Queen wonder at the Splendor and Order of Solomon's Court, and shall not we wonder at the Privileges here conserred! What! to be brought freely from Darkness to Light, from the besest Slavery to the most honourable Liverty, from being Heirs of Hell to be Heirs of Heaven, from being Children of Satan to be Children of God, to have Familiarity and Child-like Boldness with the highest. Wonder O Heavens, and be asto­nished O Earth at this!

USE. 2. Of Examination. If there be so many happy Privileges annexed to Sonship; we should examine our selve by the Marks and Signs of it. Some of which pre­ceed Adoption. Such as,

1. Effectual Calling. (1.) Have we heard and obeyed God's Calls by his Word and Spirit? (2.) Are we convert­ed from Sin to God? John 3.5, 6. (3.) Have we received Jesus as he is offered, by a lively Faith? John 1.12.

2. Some are Concomitants of Adoption, and some follow after it As (1) Child-like Love. (2.) Child like Fear and Reverence to God, as a Father, Mal. 1.6. A Son ho­noureth his Father, and a Servant his Masier. (3.) Child­like Boldness and Access to God, as a Father, Crying, Abba Father, Rom. 8.15. (4.) Fraternal Affection to all the Faithful, as being Children of the same Father: 1 John 5.1$ Every one that loveth him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of him. Yea. even Love to personal Enemies, Marth. 5.45. (5.) Child like Obedience, whereby we aspire after the Image of God, Acts 27.23. and his gracious Pre­sen$e, Psalm 16.8.

USE 3. Of Comfort to the Children of God. Look to the great Privileges God has given you by Adoption. (1) Your Name is changed. You have the new Name, and [...] [Page 76] hidden Manna. (2.) You are advanced to honour able Rela­tions. God is your Father, and Christ your elder Brother and Husband. (3.) You are through Grace, brought to a happy State, born of God, made Partakers of the divine Na­ture, made Kings and Priests to God, Rev. 1.6. Privatively, ye are freed from the Guilt and Power of Sin Pisitively, ye are made Partakers of all Things, 1 Cor. 3.21. All Things shall Work for your Good, Rom. 8.28. God hath a fatherly Care over your Souls, he blesseth you with all spiritual Blessings, he will not let Sin rule over you, yea, he bares your Offences as a Father his Child, Mab. 3.17. He will comfort you in your Straits, instruct you in your Bodies, your Bread and your Water is sure. He that hears the Ravens, and cloaths the Lillies will not be deaf to your Cries If the Lord afflicts you he doth it nor willingly from his Heart, but as a tender Father, that you may not perish with the World, who are fed for the Slaughter, and whose Tables are their Snares. He pities his Lambs in Affliction, and hears their Sighs and Groans. Psalm 103.13. Like as a Father pitieth his Children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. He gives you an Interest in a Crown that shall never fade away. May not then the Children of God rejoyce in their blessed and bountiful Lord?

USE 4. Of Terror to all such as are not the adopted Sons of God, but the Sons of Belial. But who are these?

1. You that never have been effectually called from Sin, nor throughly convinced of the Vileness of it, though it may be you have heard the Word of God often, yet it hath not to this Day been as a two-edged Sword to you.

2. You who have never had your Hearts opened to receive Jesus, and who have no Communion with the Father, thro' him; For, says the Apostle, of the Children of God, 1 John 1.3. truly our Fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

3. All you that are openly prophane, of what Sort or De­nomination soever.

4. All you Gallio's. The Time is coming when you shall be spued out of the Mouth of God. Sure, the Misery of such Men, without Repentance, will be exceeding great in the Day of God's Power; for, if they remain such, they shall be everlastingly secluded from all the fore mentioned Benefits, and be made Possessors of contrary Miseries. In­stead of Love, ye shall have Hatred; instead of Singing with Angels, ye must take up with the Soul tormenting Embraces [Page 77]of grisly Flames, and Howlings everlastingly with those that perish As ye shall not enjoy the Presence of God, so ye shall be sent away with a Curse, Depart from me ye cursed, into everlasting Fire prepared for the Devil and his Angels. O that such would awake and seek for Help while Mercy is temdered in the Gospel!

USE 5. Of Exhortation. O let us seek to obtain this blessed Privilege and Dignity, Adoption.

1. It is possible, probable, yea, it may be certainly attained, according to God's firm and stable Promise, 1 Cor. 6.17. John 1.12. and the Experience of God's Children.

2. The Mean to attain it is plainly prescribed, which is both Rational and Easy, to receive Christ by Faith, John 1.12.

3. It is an honourable Privilege.

4. It is a profitable Privilege. How great is the Happiness of those who have the Shines of the Face of God, and his perpetual Protection.

5. It is a necessary Privilege, universally and absolutely necessary; without it we must be miserable in Time and in Eternity. Does it not then highly deserve our Pains to obtain it?

I shall conclude with a few Directions. And

1. To the People of God that want the Sense of this Mercy. Some Things are to be avoided, and some Things are to be done.

As to the Things that are to be avoided, (1.) Beware of gross Sins against the Light of your Minds; for God is en­gaged to correct his wandring Children. Those Sins grieve the Spirit, and hinder his Sealing Work. Those Sins bring spiritual Desertions, and cause us to mourn with David, Psalm 51. (2.) Beware of the Neglect of secred Prayer. (3.) Beware of Sloth. (4.) Of Pride.

Now, that which is to be performed is, (1.) The Exer­cise of Faith on Jesus; thet being united to him, by the Help of Union with him, we may obtain Senship. And to this End, we must use all the Means that increase Faith; such as the Word, Prayer, the Secraments, and spiritual Conference. (2.) The Exercise of Refentance for Sins of Infirmity. (3.) Lessen not the Work of the Spirit within you; but be thankful for the smallest Discoveries of your Father's Face. But

To those have ebtained the Sense of this blessed Privilege. (1.) Exercise Child like Fear, Love and Zeal, for your Father's Honour. Let Love be the Spring of all [Page 78]your Performances. (2.) Submit to your Father's Will and Pleasure. 1. To his preceptive Will. Let a Child's Obedience run through all the Veins of your whole Con­versation. 2. To his providental Will. Learn in every State therewith to be content. Submit to your Father's Chastning, kiss with Reverence his sacred Rod: Though there be Frowns in his Face, yet there is Love in his Hear. (3.) Confide and trust in his fatherly Care, for he careth for you. (4.) Love and help the Children of God, as being Children of the same Father.

Now, upon the faithful and persevering Performance of these, and the other necessary Duties, God in his own blessed Time, will help you to the full Sense of that your Souls long for, viz your Adoption. So that working out your Salvation with Fear and Trembling, you will at last be re­ceived with a Well done good and faithful Servants, and enter those triumphant Regions where singing eternal Re­quiems will be your everlasting Work, constantly admiring, with the glorified Saints, the amazing Love that brought you there, and will have just Occasion to say with the Apostle in our Text, Behold, what Manner of Love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the Sons of GOD.


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