Mr. Williams's SERMON Occasion'd by the Execution of Philip Kennison, At Cambridge, September 15. 1738.


The serious Consideration, That GOD will visit and judge Men for Sin, would be a happy Means to keep them from it. A SERMON Preach'd at Cambridge, September 15th. 1738. On Occasion of the Execution of Philip Kennison, For the Crime of Burglary.

By William Williams, M. A. Pastor of the Church in Weston.

Ezek. 18.20.

—The wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. v.21. But if the wicked turn from all his Sins— he shall surely live.

Deut. 13.11.

And all Israel shall hear and fear, and do no more any such Wickedness—.

With the Confession of his Faith.

BOSTON: Printed and sold by Thomas Fleet, at the Heart and Crown in Cornhill; where may be had the Narra­tive of Kennison's Life, written by himself. 1738.

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Serious Tho'ts restraining from Sin.

Job XXXI.14.

What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him?

BEING assembled here on such a solemn Occasion, when we have before us a sorrowful Spectacle, one of our Fellow-Creatures under a Sentence of Death, for his Crimes committed, to be speedily exe­cuted; it is very fit it should be accompanied with the Word of God and Prayer; that when such a numerous Audience of Christians are together, not out of Curiosi­ty, we trust, but in a serious Frame, with their Hearts affected, to consider the sorrowful Effects of Sin, and what Folly is in the Hearts of the Children of Men while they live, and how soon for it, they go down to the dead; that they, as well as the Person himself, may receive some seasonable Divine Instruction.

And having bin desir'd by the Reverend Pastor of the Church in this Town, to stand in his Place on this Occa­sion; I have turned my Tho'ts on this serious Subject,— the Words which I have now read unto you; which suggest unto us some of the most affecting Motives [...] engage Persons against any manner of Irregularity, and that we should always stand in awe, and not sin against God. This is the Improvement we should make of the Instances of Judgment executed upon Men for their Ini­quities, and of the Admonitions and Warnings of the [Page 6] Word, in both which the Wrath of God is revealed from Heaven, against the Ungodliness and Unrighteousness of Men.

In this Chapter, which is the Conclusion of Job's Dis­course with his Friends, he makes a very large and so­lemn Defence of his Innocence and Integrity, and that he was clear of the Crimes that his Friends either charg'd upon him, or might suppose him to be guilty of; which was not in way of Ostentation, but just and necessary Vindication of himself. Happy the Man whose Heart was thus upright towards God! This was his Consolati­on in the day of evil.—I shall not stay to consider the Particulars in which this holy Man acquits himself.— The Words of the Text come in as the Reason why he avoided all harsh or severe Dealing towards his Servants, which were very numerous. He considered God as his Judge, as well as his and their Creator, (v. 15.) and therefore he would not do any unequal or unrighteous thing to them.— Upon this Supposal, or if I should do so—what then should I do when God riseth up?—&c. God so superiour to me and all Men, of infinite Power, and inflexible Justice!

In this and divers other Passages in the Chapter, he shews the Reason of his eschewing Evil: It was because he had a devout Regard to God, and ‘feared him, and that his Piety was at the Bottom of his Justice and Charity, and this (as one * well observes) crowns the Proof of his Sincerity.’

To give some Explication of the Words—

When God riseth up—Such Postures of sitting and rising—, are attributed to God, only figuratively, or after our manner of speaking. God is said to sit on his Throne, in Allusion to earthly Princes and Judges, who sit and hear Causes, and give Sentence. "And he may be said to rise up, when he proceeds to execute Judg­ment. To rise up, notes readiness to Speech or Action". God's rising up means the manifestation of his Purpose, [Page 7] the actuating of his Power. Thus Moses prays, Numb. 10.35. Rise up, Lord, and let thine Enemies be scattered. And thus his Church are taught to pray, Psal. 68.1. When any expose themselves to God's Displeasure by Sin, they have Reason to put this trembling Question to themselves, What shall I do, when God riseth up? The Expression imports, 1. Enquiry, as one asking Counsel and Advice, not knowing what to do. Or, 2. It signi­fies, or is the Language of Grief and Trouble, as one bemoaning his sad Condition, perplexed with the Tho'ts of what he has done, or the Fears of what he shall suffer.

And when he visiteth, what shall I answer him?

To visit is, in Scripture Sense, 1. sometimes to shew Favour and Kindness, as Luk. 1.68. God hath visited and redeemed his People—, and v. 78. This was a most gracious Visit indeed.

It is not meant in this Sense.

2. To visit is to manifest Displeasure, and to execute Judgment. Exod. 32.34. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their Sin upon them. i. e. In way of Punishment; they shall suffer the sorrowful Effects of their Sin. And Jer. 5.9. and

3. It signifies to call to an Account. This is the Office of a Superiour towards those under his Charge and In­spection. (Hos. 4.9.)

In this and the second Sense this Expression may be understood. And the Question imports, that he should not be able to answer when God should call him to an Account, for any contemptuous Treatment or Unrighte­ousness: That he could not excuse himself, nor expect to escape his righteous Judgment, nor could he deliver him­self out of his righteous Hand.

I shall not consider the Words with the reference they have to those just preceeding, but as carrying in them a powerful Restraint from all manner of Sin.

Doctrine. They are very weighty Questions, which Persons should put closely to themselves, as a good Means to prevent their sinning, —What they shall do [Page 8] when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what they shall answer him? Or,

That the serious Consideration of God's visiting and judging Persons for their Sins, would be a happy Means to prevent their sinning against him.

In the 23d. v. of this Chapter, Job, to the like Pur­pose, professes, Destruction from God was a Terrour to me! Well may it be so: It is so to Nature, and it is so to a gracious Soul.

There is a servile Fear in some, avoiding Evil, or Sin, only for fear of Evil or Punishment. But there is also a filial Fear, which should be laboured for and che­rished. This sanctified Affection is attempered with Love to God, and does not afflict and disquiet the Soul in its way, but keeps it from wandering out of the way of Understanding.

It is because Men don't consider, that they are not a­fraid of the Judgments of God. The want of Conside­ration is the great Misery of Men! They consider not that they do evil. And they consider not what will be the Consequences of their doing evil: And so they dare to omit the Duties which God requires of them, and to Transgress his sacred Laws. Divine Counsels and Per­swasions prevail not, to any good Purpose, because they do not set themselves to ponder and consider. This is God's complaint of his People, Isa. 1.3. Israel doth not know, my People doth not consider.

There are very weighty Considerations which God sets before Men to keep them in awe, that they might not dare to sin against him; sufficient to over balance their corrupt Inclinations, and the strongest Temptati­ons which they are exposed to; but this is their Un­happiness, they will not apply their Hearts thereunto. It would surely be of very powerful Tendency to pre­vent Men's sinning, if they would seriously consider, What they should do in the end thereof! as Jer. 5.31.

This may be evident, if we consider the following Heads.

[Page 9]1. That such Tho'ts will lead them into the Conside­ration that their Probation Time will come to an end. That there will certainly be an end of their Time, and Action, and manner of Life. God hath placed Men here on Earth in a state of Trial for Eternity. They have a great Business to do, and but a short Time to do it in. There is a Time and Season for every lawful Business Men have to prosecute, but none for Sin. If Men would but consider, surely they must conclude, that God in whose Hands their Breath is, and whose are all their Ways, will bring their Opportunities to a Period; and that they know not how soon: That he will not wait al­ways, and it may be not long. A few Weeks or Days, or for ought they know, an Hour may bring them to an End. If they press'd home this Tho't; God shall not always be as one still and silent; he will put a Period to their Days, and then as there shall be an End of all their worldly Enjoyments and Pursuits, of all their sen­sual Gratifications, of all their Sports and Pleasures, so also of all their Advantages of seeking the Favour of God, and making Provision for their Souls.

2. As this leads them to consider that a righteous God will call them to an Account for all that they do. This is the Purport of the Words—, When God riseth up, and when he visiteth—. And this may refer to three di­stinct Periods.

(1.) God does often in this Life reckon with Men, or manifest his Displeasure for their Sins, in the Strokes of his Hand upon them. Thus the Lord is known by the Judgments which he executes. (Psal. 9.16.) He saith concerning his People, Jer. 5.9. Shall I not visit for these things—? And Ch. 14.10. I will remember their Iniquity, and visit their Sin—. Hos. 9.9. Sometimes he visits them in Wrath, and punishes them in his sore Displeasure; sometimes in Mercy, and to reduce them from the Error of their Ways, Psal. 89.32. He hath a great variety of Methods whereby he visits and chasti­zes them for their Sins in this Life, as he threatned [Page 10] them Lev. 26.14—39. He brings Wars, Scarcity, Fa­mine, and sometimes sore & mortal Sickness, sore Sickness, and of long continuance, and all to vindicate his own Name and Honour, because Men would not consider their Ways, and turn from their Sins.

(2.) God visits all Men at the Day of Death. And this sometimes by the Hand of Humane Justice, or by his own immediate Hand—. It may be suitable on this Occasion, to mention such Crimes as the Laws of this Land have made Capital, or to be punished with Death. Possibly it may prevent some Persons sinning in Igno­rance of their Danger.— As, the murdering of any Per­son, which is to be punished with Death, by the Laws of God, and the Laws of all civilized Nations. And a Woman being delivered when alone of a spurious Child, tho' the Child may happen to be still born, or die, yet she is liable to suffer as a Murderer, not calling for Help. So the burning of a dwelling House, or other House or Parcel thereof, or any House built for publick Use, any Barn having Corn, Grain or Hay therein, any Mill, Malt-House, Store-House, Shop or Shops, when done wilfully by any Person above the Age of Sixteen Years, the same is adjudg'd a Felon, and to suffer the Pains of Death. And so the abominable Sin of Buggery, with Mankind or Beast, and the Sin of Rape or Ravishment; as also Polygamy, or having more than one Wife at the same Time—. For Treason of any kind, and particularly counterfeiting the King's Great or Privy Seal: For counter­feiting the Seal of the Province: For counterfeiting the Bills of publick Credit.—Assault and Robbery upon a second Conviction. And for Burglary, or a Person's break­ing and entring a Dwelling House in the Night, with a felonious Intent to rob or steal, or do any other Felony, being convicted thereof, shall suffer the Pains of Death. For which Crime the poor Prisoner here, has been ad­judg'd to suffer Death.

But if it be by the Hand of Justice or the Providence of God, or in what Manner soever, it is an awful Visit [Page 11] to every unrighteous Man, every impenitent Sinner; for then the Reward of his Hand shall be given him. Isa. 3.11. We are assured concerning Men in common, (Heb. 9.27.) It is appointed unto Men once to die, and after that the Judgment. Tho' we know not what man­ner of Process there shall be at Death, yet this we are sufficiently assur'd of from many Passages of Scripture, that every particular Person's Judgment is pass'd at Death, and their State irreversibly determined by the glorious Judge. The Spirits of the just are made perfect, and the Souls of the wicked are presently sent into the Place of Torments. Prov. 14.32.

(3.) The great Judge will come to visit and call all Men to an Account at the Resurrection of the Dead. This we are plainly assured of in the sacred Oracles, that God shall judge both the Righteous and the wicked. God hath appointed a Day in which he will judge the World in Righteousness. Act. 17.31. No Man shall escape this Judgment of God. We must all appear before the Judg­ment-Seat of Christ. 2 Cor. 5.10. Then the Books shall be opened, and all that have liv'd and died from Adam to the end of Time, shall be judged out of them. Rev. 20.12. This was what the World was warned of so long ago as the Days of Enoch, Jude, v. 14,15. Thus there will be a strict Account taken what Rules they have transgressed, what Bonds and Obligations they have vi­olated, what Evils they have done, and what Duties they have left undone. Then Sinners must stand forth before the vast Multitude, however reluctant, miserable and ashamed they may be! Then they shall be call'd to an Account how they have improv'd the outward En­joyments God gave them; whether they honoured the Lord with their Substance, and were just and honest in all their Dealings and Concerns with Men. Whether they were merciful, kind and charitable; — and how they govern'd their bodily Appetites and Inclinations; whether they were sober, chast and temperate; and whether they were good and faithful and obliging in the several Relati­ons [Page 12] they sustained; and how they improved their Time, and especially their Seasons of Grace, their Sabbaths, and the Instructions they receiv'd; and whether they made Religion the main Business.— Nothing will be then forgotten, nothing can be hid from the Eyes of the om­niscient Judge! In Sum, we are taught Eccl. 12.14. God shall bring into Judgment every Work, with every secret Thing, whether it be good or evil. Then the Lord who is a God of Knowledge, and by whom Actions are weighed, (1 Sam. 2.3.) and who knows all Hearts, will not only discover "who and what was good, and what "was bad, but how good and how bad, every thing was, that was done by Men.

And in this great Audit, this Visitation Day, who will be able to answer! We are assured that the ungodly shall not stand in the Judgment. The Lord acknowledgeth the way of the Righteous; only those shall be in Safety, who have a Principle of Holiness wrought in them, and the Righteousness of Christ imputed to them.

Would not such Tho'ts closely press'd upon the Mind, greatly restrain Persons from all Ways of Sin, and pro­mote their Repentance for Sin?

3. By such Tho'ts they would be led to discern the Vanity and Insufficiency of those Pleas and Excuses, whereby they endeavour to quiet themselves in their sin­ful Neglects and Transgressions. Sometimes Persons excuse themselves that they were drawn and enticed into Sin by insnaring Companions: And it is too true, that this has bin the Bane of many a one! But if they would consider, that God takes Notice of their Sins, and will rise up against them in his sore Displeasure, and not suffer their Iniquity to go unpunished; would not this be more powerful to restrain them, than any En­ticements can be to allure them? Surely they would rather hearken to Wisdom, Prov. 1.10. My Son, if Sin­ners entice thee, consent thou not.

What Temptations of airy Honour, of worldly Gains, of sensual Pleasure, can be of equal Force with these [Page 13] Considerations? Which must convince Men, that to sin against God, is to wrong their own Souls, and practically to chuse Death! And what is the Honour that is got­ten by Sin? Superficial and vanishing now, and which will end in Shame and everlasting Contempt! What is that Pleasure worth, or how dear bought, which is but short liv'd, and will end in Bitterness and everlasting Pain? And what are the Gains of Unrighteousness and Fraud, Stealth and Robbery, which bring a Blast and Curse from God, and for which the righteous Judge shall cast them into the Prison of Hell? Rom. 6.21. What Fruit had ye then of those things whereof ye are now asha­med? for the end of those things is Death. Mat. 16.26. What is a Man profited, if he shall gain the whole World, and lose his own Soul?

And as these Tho'ts would serve to arm Men against vicious and wicked Practices, so also to Silence their foolish Excuses for Sloth and negligence in Religion.

Some are tempted or disposed to put away serious Tho'ts as uncomfortable and melancholy; or if they have some concern about forsaking their Sins and turning to God, they stumble at the Difficulties of Repentance and Conversion.

But would not these Tho'ts convince Men, that it will be far more difficult and hard to bear the Displeasure and Wrath of an angry God?

Would they quiet themselves with the Excuse that they are weak and impotent to Good, and so sit still? Would not the Tho'ts of God's Anger, and that they must stand before his dread Tribunal, make them use their utmost Endeavours, and cry to him for Pity and Help?

Would Men content themselves in their Neglect with this Pretence, That it is uncertain whether they shall speed, whether they shall obtain Grace if they seek it? If they had these serious Tho'ts, that they shall certainly be rejected and condemned if they do not, would they not set themselves to improve a bare Probability, a Per­adventure that God may grant them Repentance unto Life? [Page 14] And especially be excited to take hold of the gracious Encouragements of the Gospel.

Would they flatter themselves with Purposes of Repen­tance hereafter, and live careless in their Delays? Surely these Tho'ts closely applied would rouze them. If they considered that God is angry with the wicked every Day, and his Judgments may speedily break forth upon them, and Death overtake them; they would not dare to boast of to Morrow, when they knew not what a Day may bring forth; but to Day they would hear his Voice, and not harden their Hearts.

These solemn Tho'ts would serve to bear down all vain Pleas and Excuses, whereby Men too often quiet themselves in their Negligence and Impenitency.

4. Lastly. As these Tho'ts would naturally lead them to apprehend something of the Greatness and Dreadful­ness of the Punishment which God will inflict upon Sinners. Our Lord and Judge hath told us beforehand for our Warning, what will be the terrible Sentence pronounced upon Sinners in the great Day, Mat. 25.41. and after that the Punishment which will follow, ver. 46. This Punishment will fall upon both Body and Soul, Mat. 16.28. —Fear him who can destroy both Body and Soul in Hell. Mark 9.44. —where the Worm dieth not, and the Fire is not quenched.

The Misery is set forth in Scripture, by the most awful distressing and afflicting Things in Nature, to signify the greatness of it, and that we might know that nothing can fully represent the Dreadfulness of the Wrath of God. Their Pains will far exceed all the Pains and Miseries in this World! Such as to extort the most bitter Outcries and Lamentations, Mat. 16.42. —Shall cast them into a Furnace of Fire, there shall be weeping and gnashing of Teeth!

They will not know how to bear the Torment, neither can they any way shun or escape it; and the Everlasting Duration adds to the greatness of it. There will be no Intermission of their Misery, no Period, it will abide for ever!

[Page 15]If Sinners would seriously consider these Things, would they not own, that it is a fearful Thing to fall into the Hands of the living God? Heb. 10.31. And would not such Reflections make them afraid to offend him, and convince them that it is the Extremity of Folly and Madness, for the sake of the mean and temporary Gains or Pleasures of Sin, to expose themselves to such tre­mendous Evils!

Use 1. We learn, that they are very faulty and foolish, who do not take it into their serious Consideration, That God will visit them for their Sins, or bring them into Judg­ment; yet we have Reason to think that there are many such: tho' they wear the Name of Christians, and profess to own the Truths of the Gospel, and often hear the Ministers of it, reasoning of Righteousness, Temperance and a Judgment to come, yet they neglect the great Busi­ness of Life, and go on in their Sins. Tho' some may be started as Felix was; yet they get rid of the Tho'ts, and chuse to give themselves a Liberty to walk in the Ways of their Heart.

Some are pursuing Earthly Things, and their carnal Affections carry their Tho'ts and Affections after such Objects. Some make Provision for the Flesh, to fulfil the Lusts of it, and are indulging their sensual Inclina­tions.

Some have secret Hopes that there is no Occasion for such Tho'ts, and flatter themselves that they shall have Peace, tho' they add Drunkenness to Thirst, Deut. 29.19.

Some are afraid to entertain such serious Tho'ts, and strive to divert them; and would not suffer them to lodge within them; because they bring a damp upon their Spirits, and render their Pleasures insipid, and make their Enjoyments look with a gloomy Aspect.

But certainly all such are greatly to blame, as they despise God's Authority and Government, so they ex­ceedingly injure their own Souls.

2. I might have inferred, That the Ministers of Christ had need, after his Example, to be frequently putting [Page 16] Sinners in mind of these Things, That God will visit and judge them, as a great Means to restrain them from Sin, to promote Repentance, and to prepare them to receive the Offers of the Gospel. But I shall only further apply what hath been offer'd, in a

Use of Exhortation, first to such as are yet in their Sins, or who live in a way of Sin; and then to the Per­son who is the sorrowful Occasion of this Assembly.

To all such who are yet Impenitent, who indulge themselves in any sinful Practices; Let me intreat and perswade you to put these affecting Questions to your selves, now and often; What shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him? Think closely and thoroughly, answerable to the Impor­tance thereof. Think till you form some Purposes and Resolutions agreable; or conceive God himself putting this solemn Question to you; Can thy Heart endure, or can thy Hands be strong in the Days that I shall deal with thee? as Ezek. 22.14. What can be more affecting and moving? And here your Tho'ts may easily dilate, as they may be rang'd under these Three Heads.

1. What will you do if God shall deal with you in a judicial Way; and visit you with some distressing temporal [...]dgment? This is not uncommon, that Divine Provi­dence visits Men with temporal Evils and Calamities. Thus he hath threatned many sorts of Sins, and some have a natural Tendency to bring Evil upon Men; par­ticularly, Pride, which is hateful to God; he tells us, Prov. 29.23. A Man's Pride shall bring him low; and Ch. 16.18. Pride goes before Destruction, and a haughty Spirit before a Fall. Uncleanness, as Heb. 13.4. Whore­mongers and Adulterers God will judge; and Eph. 5.6. And Intemperance, Prov. 23.21. The Drunkard and the Glutton shall come to Poverty, &c. Chap. 23.29, 30. Who hath wo? who hath sorrow? Who hath Contentions? who hath bablings? who hath Wounds without Cause? who hath redness of Eyes? They that tarry long at the Wine, they that go to seek mixt Wine. And he often [Page 17] testifies against, and threatens Unrighteousness and Op­pression. Ezek. 22.13. I have smitten my Hand at thy dishonest Gain. Isa. 30.12, 13. Zeph. 3.1. And also Theft and false-Swearing, in the Vision of the Flying Roll, full of Curses (Zech. 5.4.) which shall enter into the House of the Thief, and of him that sweareth falsly by my Name, and shall consume it with the Timber thereof, and the Stones thereof. And Prov. 21.7. The Robbery of the wicked shall destroy them. It brings temporal Evils and Calamities as well as exposes to future Destruction.— Think, what will you do when your Sins and Follies have brought such Evils upon you? What will comfort you? Will the Gain counter-ballance the Loss?

And such as avoid these more enormous Crimes, yet are liable to suffer the Judgments of God. You know for what sinful Disorder and Irreverence, the Apostle told the Corinthians, many are weak and sickly among you, and many fallen asleep. (1 Cor. 11.30.)

For the Sins of the People of this Land, God hath been visiting us with a strange Punishment in many parts of it. I mean an uncommon and mortal Sickness. The Slain of the Lord have been many; and especially the Young Men and Children have perished from the Streets, and many Families made desolate! Parents weeping for their Children, because they are not. God is yet threatning us, and should we not take the Warning, and put that solemn Question to ourselves, What will ye do in the Day of Visitation? to whom will ye flee for help? (Isa. 10.3.) If the Visitation should reach us, as it hath many others; and why should we expect Exemption? What will you do when you shall see Death suddenly seizing your tender Off-spring, your beloved Children, and threatning yourselves? To whom will you flee for Help? You may flee to your Friends and Neighbours, or to the Physitian, but all Help will fail if God will not help you, as ver. 4. Without me, they shall bow down, — and shall fall under the Slain. Will you not then bewail your Sins, whereby you have displeased the Lord? And [Page 18] why not now, renounce them, and get into a State of Reconciliation with God? that you may not have the Terrors of an accusing Conscience to grapple with, besides the afflicting Strokes of God's Hand!

2. What will you do in the Day of Death? when the Lord of Life shall send the King of Terrors to visit you? And the Time will certainly and may speedily come: It hasteneth greatly as the swift Moments flee away!

When your Opportunities are just at an end, what will you do? When you may say, I shall go to the Gates of the Grave, I am deprived of the residue of my Years, I shall behold Men no more! Will you not look back upon your past Seasons with Grief and Bitterness? to think how God hath called and you refused, and that he may now justly refuse to hear your Cry? You may wish ear­nestly for more Time, but in vain. Now you put far away the Evil Day; and think yourselves secure, and that you may live in Ease and Pleasure, but what will you do, for your neglected Soul, when that awful Hour comes on, and your Strength and Spirits are failing, and you gasping for Breath, expecting to receive your Doom? And when you know not but the Evil Spirits, your Tempters to Sin, may by the righteous Judgment of God, seize your departing Spirit, as their unhappy Prey, to suffer in the infernal Prison, when a few Minutes more expire! O, how will your Heart fail you, what Distress and Anguish will seize you!

3. Lastly. What will you do, in that great and ter­rible Day of the Lord? When he comes to Judgment, what will you answer him, if you die in your Sins?

When you shall see the Son of God coming in his Glory, and with the Glory of the Father, and all the holy Angels! (Mat, 25.31.) When he shall make his last Visit to this Earth, to determine the State of every Man according to his Works.— Will not your Heart and Flesh tremble to think, how you have slighted and despised him? —To think how ungratefully you refused his most gracious Offers, and would not obey his most reasonable [Page 19] Commands! O how terrible to have your only Saviour your Enemy? To whom can you flee for Help? We are told, Rev. 1.7. Behold he cometh with Clouds, and every Eye shall see him, and they also who pierced him, and all kindreds of the Earth shall wail because of him! And how is their Distress represented, Rev. 6.16, 17?

And what will you do, how will you bear it, when you shall see the Saints at his right Hand in Robes of Glory? (Mat. 25.33.) and some perhaps, that have been of your Relatives or Acquaintance in this World, to think that you had the same Opportunities and Ad­vantages and Offers of Life that they had, but indulg'd your Sin and Sloth, and lost alas! your precious Season, and your Souls! Luk. 13.28. There shall be weeping and gnashing of Teeth! when ye shall see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out!

And when the all-knowing Judge shall bring all your Sins to your Remembrance, and set them in order before your Eyes, what will you do? how will you answer him? when Conscience will witness against you, thus and thus you have done, and these and those Duties you have left undone! Whatever Pleas and Excuses Sinners quiet themselves with now, they will have no Cloak nor Excuse for their Sin then. The Slothful will be ad­judged a wicked Servant. And all such as have enjoy'd the Gospel, and are found without the Wedding Gar­ment of Righteousness and Holiness, will then be Speech­less, Mat. 22.12.

And what will you do when you shall hear the dread­ful Sentence pronounced, from the glorious Judge, as the last Word to the wicked.—The Voice of God on Mount Sinai made the People tremble; but how much more amazing will that be, (Mat. 25.41.) Depart ye Cursed, into everlasting Fire, prepared for the Devil and his An­gels!—Every Word carries Terror in it, and given forth with Majesty and Authority from the Lord God Omni­potent; it will be far more terrible than the loudest [Page 20] Thunder, or roaring Earthquake! O what unutterable Horror, Confusion and Anguish will fill your Souls!

And when presently the tremendus Doom is executed up­on you, then with what amazing Dispair will Sinners cry out, What shall we do? O how will you be able to bear the loss of all Good? How will you be able to en­dure the suffering of all Evil? when you'l have no Friend to support you, no Hope to relieve or comfort you for ever!

Such as will seriously consider these Things now, and call their Souls to an Account, would surely Resolve by the Strength of Christ, to forsake and strive and watch against Sin, and attend their Duty, and earnestly endeavour to get into good Terms with God, or else they must be stupid and hardened, and not afraid of the Wrath of the Almighty!

And may the Sight of this unhappy Criminal, here in Chains, and presently to suffer the Pains of Death, and to appear before the glorious Judge of all the Earth,— give an Edge to these Meditations, and fix them with lasting Impressions on all our Hearts: If so, our Attendance here will not be Time spent in vain. Thus God can get to himself Glory, that the Death of this poor Man may prove an Occasion of the Life, the Everlasting Life of some Souls.

And now I apply my self particularly to the poor Pri­soner, the sad Occasion of our being here assembled at this Time; with a Heart full of Concern and Pity, let me advise you,

1. Now labour to be rightly affected with your sorrow­ful Condition. Now God hath risen up against you, in his holy Providence, and visited your Sin upon you. Your Iniquity has found you out, and your Sins have taken hold of you as Waters! Now be willing to receive the deepest Convictions, and call your Sins to Remembrance. And mourn to think, that you should so soon fill up the Measure of them *. That for being foolish and wicked [Page 21] overmuch, you must die before your Time (Eccl. 7.17.) i. e. before the ordinary Time of Man's Age. May a merciful God give you a right Sense of your Sinfulness and Folly!

Think how you have proceeded from Step to Step in Sin, until you provoked God to leave you to your own Hearts Lusts; to indulge your covetous Desires, and re­peat your Thefts and Unrighteousness and Burglary, till now for this Crime, by a righteous Sentence, you are condemned to suffer a shameful Death. Thus you have wrought Falshood against your own Life. Whatever se­cret hopes you may have had of escaping, yet now you see the fatal Day is come! the Hour hastens when, for a Warning to others, you are to suffer an ignominious and cursed Death! and, which is more awful, your Soul must immediately appear before God! who perfectly knows all your Sins and Transgressions, and needs no Witnesses▪ and he will judge you according to Truth, according to his holy Laws, his glorious Gospel, which you have bin in­structed in; and he will pass a Sentence which can never be reversed!

2. Now let your most earnest Enquiry be, What shall I do, in this distressed Case? How shall I answer my Judge for my many and heinous Sins? And be heartily concerned to take the right Course. Here I would not burden you with many Words.

May you call to Mind the serious and pertinent Admo­nitions and Counsels which have been given you publickly and privately. Be very thankful for the kind Assistances you have had. You have professedly renounced Sin, and given your self to the Lord, (since your Confinement) and received the sacred Ordinance of Baptism; in hopes (we conceive) that your Sins may be forgiven and wash­ed away, and be no more remembred against you. But now, I earnestly intreat you, look narrowly into your Heart, and beware that you don't deceive your self. Pray unto God,— ‘What I see not, teach thou me: Let me discern if there be any Wickedness lov'd and cherish'd in my Heart, and lead me in the Way everlasting.

[Page 22]Don't depend upon any External Priviledge or Ordinance as if Grace and Salvation were necessarily annexed thereto. Examine and see, whether you find your Heart turned fr [...] Sin to God. If you have had Sorrow and Heaviness for your Sins, as no doubt you have, consider whether you have had right appre­hensions of the Greatness and glorious Excellencies of God against whom you have sinned. And do you mourn that you have de­spised the rightful Authority of your Creator and Lawgiver? and abused his Mercy and Goodness which should have led you to Repentance! And especially that you have undervalued and slighted so often the Grace of a most compassionate Redeemer, who came to bless us by turning us from all our Iniquities! Do these and such Considerations melt your Heart, and make you sensible that it is an Evil Thing and bitter, that you have forsaken the Lord, and that his Fear hath not been in your Heart?

Have you been first, brought to see your self, in a Spiritual Sense, a poor helpless, wretched, undone Creature; and that you can make no amends, no Satisfaction to Divine Justice for your Offences, by your Prayers or Tears or Promises? But yet that you are a Prisoner of Hope: You have read and heard, This is a faithful Saying, and worthy of all Acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the World to save Sinners, even the Chief. Hath this been joyful Tidings to you?

Do you indeed believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God? and that as a glorious High Priest, he appears in the Heavens for us? And is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him? Then let not the greatness of your Sins discourage your betaking your self to him, nor prevent your pleading and trusting in the infinite Merits of the all sufficient Saviour. God can pardon great Sins, and save the chief of Sin­ners, consistent with the Honour of his Justice, Holiness and Truth. When the Apostle mentions the black Catalogue of Sinners, among which are the unrighteous and Thieves, (1 Cor. 6.9.10.) he saith, Such were some of you, but ye are justified, &c.

Consider, this is the Work most pleasing to God, that you can perform▪ to believe in the Name of his Son Jesus Christ, and put your trust in his perfect Righteousness, and that you commit your Soul into his Hands, that he would save it from Sin and from the Hands of your Spiritual Enemies, and from Eternal Death. You are just going to appear before the Judge of all the Earth! Does this fill you with dread, under a Sense of your Guilt, and that you have nothing to answer? Let this Tho't be your support, That CHRIST graciously offers to be your Saviour, and assures you, that whosoever cometh unto him, he will in no wise cast him out. If you can now understandly come unto him weary and heavy laden with your Sins, desirous to be saved from all Sin, and to be made holy and fit for the Heavenly [Page 23] Inheritance, then your Estate will be safe. This miserable Death will not separate you from his Favour. Unbelief will damn you, but if you believe in Christ, your other Sins will not.

O may the wonderful Love of Christ, who was hanged on a Tree, to save us from Eternal Death, affect and draw your Heart unto him.

Now call to Mind that memorable Instance of one of the Thieves who were crucified with Christ, who, confessing that they justly suffered, as receiving the due Reward of their Deeds, saith unto Christ, Lord, remember me, when thou comest into thy Kingdom. (Luk. 23.41, 42.) So under a Sense of your own rightful Suffering, humbly look unto Jesus, with this dy [...] Wish, and fervent Prayer, Lord remember me now thou art [...]alted in thy Heavenly Kingdom.— Lord Jesus receive my Spirit.

To conclude, Give Honour to God, as far as you can, by bear­ing Testimony to his righteous Laws,—by publick Confession of your Sins, taking Shame to yourself. Justifying a righteous Providence, and your Judges, and be in Charity with all Men.

And give Warning unto others, that they may not sin against God as you have done, nor run into any evil and wicked Ways which lead to Destruction and Perdition! And particularly the Young People, that they do not hearken to the Temptations of Satan and evil Men; but fear God in their Youth, and beware of all beginnings of Departing from God.— I am glad you have been disposed to make Confession of your Sins and give Warn­ing to Sinners, may they hear and fear and turn from their Wick­edness—.

If you are enabled by Divine Grace to comply with the Counsels given you, and are heartily desirous thus to give Glory to God, you shall be among those in whom free Grace shall be for ever admired, and exalted! Which may God grant, for his Mercies Sake in Jesus Christ. To whom be Glory for ever. AMEN.


☞ The Word if, in the Third Line form the Bottom of the 8th Page, having been batter'd and spoil'd in working off, the Prin­ter desires the kind Reader to add it with his Pen.

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