Dr. Colman's SERMON At the Opening a Tuesday EVENING-LECTURE IN Brattle-Street, Octob. 21. 1740.


Souls flying to JESUS CHRIST pleasant and admirable to behold.

A SERMON Preach'd at the Opening an Evening-Lecture, IN Brattle-Street BOSTON, Tuesday October 21. 1740. By Dr. COLMAN. To a very crowded Audience. And printed at the Desire of many.


Who are These, that fly as a Cloud, and as the Doves to their Windows?

—Multo plus habet Vehementiae, quam si simpliciter divisset ad volare infinitam Multitudinem.


BOSTON, Printed by G. ROGERS and D. FOWLE, for J. EDWARDS and S. ELIOT, in Cornhill. 1740.


Pleasant to see SOULS Flying to CHRIST.


Who are these that fly as a Cloud, and as the Doves to their Windows?

IT is a pleasant and wondrous Thing, to see Souls flying to JESUS CHRIST, to the Means of Grace and Salvation which He has ordained and sanctified, and into his Church. If this were not the proper and natural Sense of the Prophet's Words, I would not have chose them for the Opening the present Lecture.

Our dear People, Your Ministers have with Pleasure seen you in the Weeks past, Old and Young, Parents and Children, Masters and Servants, high and low, rich [Page 6]and poor together, gathering and passing as Clouds in our Streets, and as Doves on the Wing in Flocks flying to the Doors and Windows of our Places of Worship; and hovering about the same, those that could not get in.

The Fame of a singular fervent and holy Youth, an ex­traordinary Servant and Minister of JESUS CHRIST, (who makes his Angels Spirits, and his Ministers a Flame of Fire) had prepar'd you for his Visit; and with raised Expectations we received him, even as an Angel of GOD for JESUS sake; as the Apostle St. Paul was received by the Churches in Galatia.

GOD gave him a wonderful Manner of Entrance among us, just as in other Places before us, among the Brethren of our Denomination; and we were sometimes melted together in Tears, Ministers and People, Parents and Children, under the commanding Addresses of Love to his Saviour and our Souls. We led you with a visible Pleasure in our Faces to the solemn and great Assemblies, and look'd on You there with great Satis­faction, in your uncommon Regards to the Beloved Ser­vant of CHRIST, for the Truth's sake that dwelleth in Him, and the Love of the Spirit filling him, and reigning in his Ministrations to us.

And now our beloved Brethren and Sisters, You and your Children, we are going to prove, confirm and in­crease, by the Will of GOD, the seeming good Dispo­sitions begun or revived in You, toward CHRIST and his Word, in a just and reasonable pious Care and Solli­citude for your Salvation.

Mr. Whitefield once and again in his Admonitions to You, and also in his fervent, righteous and effectual Prayers for you (by the Will of GOD) led you into this Trial and Proof of your selves;—"Whether when he was gone from us, you wou'd better attend on the Mi­nistry of your own Pastors, both on Sabbaths and Lectures? For he had heard (and it was but too true) that there had been a very great Defect in this Point among you [Page 7]before he came.—Some of your Ministers therefore now make a new Tender of themselves to you, in the Fear and Love of GOD, in this new Lecture, for the Service of your Souls, if you will encourage them by something of a like Attendance on it, as we have lately seen you give to the Word preach'd. — We preach the same CHRIST, the same Doctrines of Grace, and according to Godliness, with the same Gospel Motives and Argu­ments, Applications to Conscience, and Supplications to GOD for You.— We would look on the Fields, and be­hold them white for the Harvest, and desire to enter into it; if by the Help of GOD we may cherish the Impres­sions made on any of your Souls, and carry them on, clinching the Nails driven by the Master of Assemblies that has been sent among us.—For though we are Elder Ministers, and have been many Years before Him in the Service of Souls, and He like David going against Goliah, in the Sight of the Armies of Israel, has been seen to be but a Youth and Stripling; yet are we not unwilling or ashamed to come and serve after Him, in the Battles of our LORD, and in the Victories of his Grace. — You have seen, as it were, a young Elias, or the Baptist risen again, a burning and shining Light, and you were willing for the Season to rejoice in his Light and Heat: May we now preach and you hear for the future with more Life and Spirit, Diligence and Constancy; and by the Will of GOD with new Success.— But we mean not, Bre­thren, at this Lecture only, but on every Sabbath and every Lecture in the Town; and more particularly on the public Thursday Lecture; which has been shamefully neglected by the Town.

To come then to my Text, which I acknowledge the late Concourse to the Word among us, has led me to chuse. I wou'd now look round on the present Assembly, and look back on our past Assemblies, and say to You,—

Who are these that fly as a Cloud, and as the Doves to their Windows?

The Prophet was here meditating the Glory of the Church in the abundant Access of the Gentiles to it. [Page 8] Arise, shine, (says he Ver. 1.) for thy Light is come, and the Glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. It was a light­some Thought to the holy Prophet, the inlarged State of the Church, after its long Confinement within the nar­row Bounds of Judea; and after its Diminution and Obscuration by the Babylonish Captivity. He foretels, V. 2, this Time of Darkness covering the Church, and gross Darkness the People; out of which the Church shou'd emerge, and the Gentiles come to her Light, and Kings to the Brightness of her rising. Ver. 3.

Wherefore, Ver. 4, she is call'd upon to lift up her Eyes, and see round about, the People gathering and flow­ing to her. And though at first there might be some Fear and Distrust, as Peter felt, when he was about to go unto the Uncircumcised; yet that wou'd be soon over, and her narrow doubting Heart enlarg'd with Joy; (V. 5.) because of the Abundance of the Sea, and the Forces of the Gentiles, coming to her.— This Accession of the Gen­tiles to CHRIST is further represented, Ver. 6, 7, by the Multitudes of Camels, laden with Incense and Offerings of Gold; and the Flocks of Kedar presenting themselves for Sacrifices to the Altar of GOD. The Riches of the Gentiles, together with their Hearts, devoted to GOD in and through CHRIST, for the setting up and supporting his Instituted Worship, is the Thing here represented.

And thus (says the HOLY ONE, in the Words im­mediately preceeding my Text) will I glorify the House of my Glory.—GOD'S Church is the House of his Glory, where he is glorified by his People, and where he glorifies himself in his Grace to them. The Promise is here, to make it more glorious than ever. The Christian Church State makes it so: The Ministration of the Law was glorious, but the Gospel exceeds in Glory.

Upon the Vision of this it is, that the Prophet as in a Surprize and Extasy exclaims, in the Words of my Text, "Who are these that fly as a Cloud, and as the Doves is their Windows. He mightily admires this flocking of Converts to CHRIST. ‘The Manner wherein he [Page 9]expresses his Admiration is more elegant and moving, than if he had only said,— I see an infinite Number coming into the Church. He speaks magnificently of the thing, says Calvin, and as wanting Words to utter his Wonder and Joy.’— When the Church return'd from Babylon, she left many a Proselyte to the true GOD behind her, and some follow'd her; but those were a small First-fruit, and as the Sheaf in token of the Harvest.

The Prophecy began eminently to be fulfilled in the wonderful Conversions to CHRIST, by the preaching of his Apostles. "The Isles shall wait for me;" are the Words following my Text; the many Isles in the Medi­terranean were soon visited, and the remote Isle of Great-Britain very soon, considering its Distance, and Separa­tion from the Continent.

But the Prophecy is daily fulfilling, and at Times in a more remarkable Measure; but more especially it will be so in the latter and more happy Days of the Church, when the Calling of the Jews and the Fulness of the Gen­tiles shall come on.— The LORD hasten the promis'd Day.

It is the Power of Godliness, and the saving Conversion of Souls that is here spoken of. The bare outward Pro­fession, the Name and Form alone, without the Power of Religion, were not worthy of this Affection and Joy; Who are these that fly, &c. We have not so learned CHRIST, as to speak thus of any thing short of the saving Efficacy of the preached Gospel on the Hearts and Lives of Men, "turning them from Darkness to Light, and from the Power of Satan unto GOD. In this Sense let us con­template and admire the Event in my Text, "Who are these that fly as a Cloud, &c!

In which Words is represented, 1. The Number and Multitude of Converts to CHRIST. 2. Their Speed, Swiftness, Eagerness, Earnestness. 3. The Pleasure GOD has in this Event, and Souls shou'd have in it; both Mi­nisters and People.

[Page 10] And so the Doctrine is, That it is a pleasant and ad­mirable Thing, to see Souls flocking and hastning to CHRIST.

But I will dwell a little more on the Phraseology of the Text, "There shou'd be a flying as the Cloud before the Wind: and as the Doves on the Wing, to their Windows.

And 1. Let it be as a Cloud before the Wind, a Thing common in these lower Heavens about us, the Atmosphere wherein we breathe and move: for the Clouds come down sometimes to our very Houses, and terribly in their Lightnings and pestilential Vapours.—But when the Cloud is light and flies high, we see it cross the Heavens swiftly, on the Wings of the Wind. — The Cloud spreads wide at Times, overspreads the Face of the Sky, or a great Part of it, and then may well stand for a Multitude: A Cloud, i. e. a Croud of People; as when we read of "so great a Cloud of Witnesses, Heb. xii. 2. a few of which had been enumerated. So spake the Prophet Eze­kiel, Chap. 38. of Gog and Magog, the Enemies of GOD and his Israel; "Thou shalt be as a Cloud to cover the Land, thou and all thy Bands and many People with thee.

Again, the Cloud flies in the open Heavens, in the open Sight; and so shou'd we be open, in the View of all, confessing CHRIST and coming into his Church; with a conspicuous Zeal, that may appear to Friends and Foes. We may not be asham'd of the Name of CHRIST, nor cover our Profession, nor fear to express a Zeal for his Cause, Interest and Glory. Let the timerous Master in Israel come alone to JESUS by Night; but let his Disciples chuse rather to go in a Body and by Day. We read of the risen Witnesses of CHRIST, that they heard a Voice from Heaven, to them saying, "Come up hither! and they ascended in a Cloud, and as a Cloud, and their Enemies beheld them. In Allusion to which, all that pro­fess the glorious Name of CHRIST shou'd make one Cloud of Witnesses, and ascend up after Him, Earth and Hell looking on: Phil. iii. 3. We are the Circumcision, that [Page 11]worship GOD in the Spirit, and rejoice in CHRIST JESUS, &c.

Again, the Cloud flies irresistibly; no Art or Power of Man can stop it; so our Profession of the Name of CHRIST must be above any Obstruction, Let or Impedi­ment, from Earth or Hell. There shou'd be a Faith and Love and Zeal, that shall carry us above Temptati­ons, Difficulties and Oppositions! an open and effectual Door shou'd be open'd, which none shou'd be able to shut; a Love which many Waters shall not quench, nor the Floods drown. Once more.

As the Clouds fly high, so our Hearts and Affections shou'd be rais'd and elevated above the World and all Earthly Things that wou'd draw them down. We must be looking to JESUS at the right Hand of GOD, and set our Affections on Things above; as risen with Him and ascend­ing after him in heavenly Frames and Aspirations, to be with him where he is.

Or, 2. Let the Flight of Souls to CHRIST be as the Doves to their Windows; which is the other, and more pleasant living, lively Part in the Comparison; or what is there among the winged Fowl of Heaven, more beauti­ous, clean and innocent, more meek, loving and lovely than the Doves! As the Descent of the HOLY GHOST on the LAMB OF GOD at his Baptism is likened to that of the Dove; so how pleas'd shou'd our Souls be, to have their Ascent to CHRIST illustrated by this Similitude!

The Doves hasten on their Wings, and fly swiftly; more especially as they return to their Windows; with Pleasure and Joy they dart and light there. So let us be glad to go to the House of the LORD, and there let our Feet rest. Why are we loth at any Time to go? why make we no more haste and speed to JESUS CHRIST, to find Rest for our Souls, Food, Dwelling, and a Place of Safety; a Covering from the Wind and Tempest, and from the Powers of the Air that would devour us; the Hawk and Vultur?

[Page 12] How eagerly do the Doves fly home at any Noise, or upon the least fright? so will the convinced and awakned terrified Sinner, in the great Sense of his Danger by Distance from his Saviour, flee to Him as his only Shelter, and Place of Refuge; he flies to Him to hide him, even to the Shadow of his Wings; for thus has the LORD shewn himself as with Wings unto his Doves.

Awakned Sinners have this Sight of CHRIST, as a prepared, ready and open Place of Salvation for them; and on the Wings of earnest Desire, Faith and Love, Fear and Prayer, they speed them to their Windows, his Church and Ordinances, or to their Closets, his Chambers and theirs, where he is always present to help and succour.

The Doves fly in Flocks unto their Windows; with strong Inclination and one Consent they return thither; seeming eager which shall light first, they light together, and cover the desir'd Spot: And so should the gathering to CHRIST be, and into his Church; more general and universal. Not, as it is with us commonly, now and then a single Soul; but as it was in the Beginning of the Chri­stian Church, when they came in Thousands, and were pricked to the Heart; and the LORD [...] daily to the Churches of them that should be saved. So in David's Time, they went in Multitudes, the Tribes went up from every Village and City, meeting on the Way, from Strength to Strength, the Numbers increasing by Con­course.

The Doves fly by Instinct for Food, Company and Rest; and so the new Nature to CHRIST for spiritual Sustenance and the Fellowship of Saints, the Fellowship of the SPIRIT, Communion with CHRIST: there is no Rest for the Sole of their Foot but in HIM. Where can the Soul, created anew in CHRIST JESUS, be at home but in HIM. Cant. i. 7. Tell me, thou whom my Soul loveth, where thou feedest! The Food for them is scat­tered from time to time on their Windows, to invite and keep them there, for their spiritual Nourishment.

[Page 13] There they congregate, propagate and increase; they love their Windows for Company and Society: and tho' they are not perfect in Love, (for there are peckings and fightings among the Doves themselves; they have too much Gall in 'em) yet are they an allowed Emblem of Mildness and Sweetness of Nature, Mekness and Gentle­ness; as Christians should converse and worship together in the Meekness and Gentleness of CHRIST, and in the Love of the Spirit; harmless as Doves."Be ye so," are our LORD'S own Words to us; and "learn it of me has he said, "for I am meek and lowly in Heart, and ye shall find Rest for your Souls. To which agrees the ear­nest Address and even Supplication of the Apostle to us, Col. iii. 12. "Put on therefore, as the Elect of GOD, holy and beloved, Kindness, Humbleness of Mind, Meekness, Charity; and let the Peace of GOD rule in your Heart, to which you are called in one Body, and be ye thankful: Let the Word of GOD dwell in you richly in all Wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in Psalms, Hymns and spiritual Songs; and whatever ye do in Word or Deed, do all in the Name of the LORD JESUS. Then shall we be, as the Wings of the Doves covered with Silver, and their Fea­thers with yellow Gold. This is the Beauty and Adorning of Souls, in the House of GOD, the Pillar and Ground of Truth; in that which is not corruptible, and of great Price in his Sight.

This is the Preparation of Souls for CHRIST, and for a Place in his Church, and for Communion with him: This it is that has his Heart and delight, what he loves and seeks in his Worshipers: Cant. i. 15. Behold thou art fair, my Love, behold thou art fair, and hast Doves Eyes; "a quick, chaste, sincere and single Affection. Chap. ii. 14. O my Dove, that art in the Clefts of the Rock, let me see thy Countenance, let me hear thy Voice; for sweet is thy Voice, and thy Countenance comely. "The afflicted, mourning, persecuted and desponding Dove, is nevertheless comely and beloved in the Eyes of CHRST, invited and welcome to him in holy Duties. The Souls Answer is that, Psal. lxi. 2. From the End of the Earth will I cry to thee; lead me to the Rock that is higher [Page 14]than I! for Thou art a Shelter for me, and a strong Tower from the Enemy! I will abide in thy Tabernacle for ever; I will trust in the Covert of thy Wings.

Such is the Call, Command and Invitation of our Saviour to us; ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy-laden, and I will give you Rest!’ ‘look un­to me and be ye saved, all the Ends of the Earth! Ho every one that thirsteth come to the Waters, yea come, buy Wine and Milk without Money and with­out Price. The Spirit and the Bride say come, and let him that is athirst come, and whosoever will let him come, and take of the Waters of Life freely.’

And is not this the Spirit of Grace in the People of GOD? ‘I made haste and delayed not! With my Soul have I desired thee in the Night, and with my Spirit within me will I seek thee early. When thou saidst to me, seek ye my Face; my Soul answer'd, Thy Face LORD will I seek.’

This instant, earnest Concern and Sollicitude should every one of us be expressing for our own Souls Safety, and the Glory of GOD therein from us! those Souls which GOD has made for Immortality, and form'd for the everlasting Enjoyment of Himself; and for his everlast­ing Service and Glory! Those Souls which CHRIST has done and suffer'd so much to save! has so dearly bought with his own Blood; and is striving by his SPIRIT In the Means of Grace so earnestly to save! —

O why should not every Soul among us be on the Wing together, under these Attractions and Drawings of Divine Grace! Why so few affected, attracted and con­verted! why but here and there one overcome by the Grace of the Gospel fervently preach'd and offer'd to us, from time to time! Why you and you singly and alone! where are your Companions? why are they not come with you? your Consorts, Children, Families, Neighbours, Friends, and Acquaintance! Is this any thing like the Appearance of a Cloud, or as the Doves at their Windows?

[Page 15] We are in a Church-Relation and Fellowship; but where's the Cloud, with the Glory of GOD in it, to fill his Tabernacle and Temple? and for the LORD to reside in! Is the visible Church his Dove-house? but where are the Doves? where the flying in of many together, or of all, apace, one after another! how few are on the Wing? where is the Promise in the Text, fulfilled in us! Who is flying to the Blood of CHRIST for Cleansing? to the Righteousness of CHRIST for the Justification of Life?

My Text would suppose that it were thus with us; and then it would lead us to admire and rejoice, and even triumph in the Thing; —"Who are These, says the Prophet, that fly as a Cloud, and as the Doves? He ad­mires the Persons and the Thing! It was lovely in his Eyes! He speaks with Delight and Transport, in a Sur­prise of Pleasure: He sets his Eye and Heart upon them, as the Excellent and Amiable of the Earth.

It is like other Expressions of Esteem and Joy, Cant. iii. 6. Who is this that cometh out of the Wilderness like Pillars of Smoak, from Myrrhe and Frankincense inflam'd! &c. And, Who is this that looketh forth as the Morning, fair as the Moon, clear as the Sun, &c. —

1. How good and pleasant would it be, and should it be, to see this Cloud rising among us, this Flock of Doves on the Wing? — To you that believe CHRIST is pre­cious, and Souls are precious. — A pleasant Thing it would be to all good People, to see many more like minded with themselves, in earnest caring for their Souls, and sollicitous for their everlasting Welfare. Their Joy herein would be fulfilled; their Joy in GOD, and their holy Jealousy for him would be removed.

"I have been jealous for the LORD GOD OF HOSTS, said Elijah, for I have seen his Courts deserted, his Altar cast down, and I only am left"! Could any thing be more melancholly! — Equally joyous had it been to him to have seen the LORD's Courts crouded, and his Altar laden with Sacrifices, and his Priests ministring about it. — "The King's Honour is the Multitude of his Subjects, [Page 16]and the Numbers of the Godly are the Glory of CHRIST. "Blessed be the Kingdom of our Father David, and Hosanna in the highest", may we well cry, when we see the Multitudes strowing themselves in their SAVIOUR's Way! The Friends of the Bridegroom rejoice to hear the Report, John iii. 25. Rabbi, He of whom thou barest witness, All Men come to him!

'Tis pleasant when we are on a Journey, to find very good Company, and the more the better sometimes, on the Road. How dull and heavy should it be to travel alone heavenward, or but with a very few? Society evens and shortens the Way, keeps up the Spirits and makes us lively and chearful. Company is good in bad Way and Weather, and helps over Difficulties. It's pleasant on a Road for Fellow Travellers to help each other on, and to be helpt by one another. "Two are better than one, says Solomon in the Wisdom of GOD; Eccle. iv. 9. For if they fall one will lift up the other; but Wo to him that is alone; for he hath not another to lift him up. It's good to travel strong towards Heaven. We mutually consult our Safety and Comfort by going many together. Then we may be like to sing in the Ways of the LORD, and his Glory will be greater in and by us. Were we many more than we are, we should be much the more easy, pleasant and happy: more pleas'd in each other, and pro­fited by one another. Next to the Comfort of Commu­nion with GOD, is that with his SAINTS, and the one is promoted by the other. CHRIST yet to this Day joins the Company and makes a third, as on the Way to Em­maus where two or three are walking together in the Sorrows or Joys of Religion.

More particularly, How pleasant must it be to your pious Ministers, to be instrumental and successful in bring­ing many Souls to CHRIST, and to serve in building up his Kingdom on Earth? and how grievous must the Com­plaint be from their Hearts and Lips, which yet came from CHRIST's the great Prophet? Isai. xlix. 8. "Thou art my Servant in whom I will be glorified! then I said, I have laboured in vain, and spent my Strength for nought! [Page 17]yet surely my Work is with the LORD, and my Judgment with my GOD. The compassionate JESUS was more tender of his poor Disciples, He sent them forth with these Words in their Mouth, Luke x. The Kingdom of GOD is come nigh unto you! And they returned to Him with Joy; LORD even the Devils are subject to us thro' thy Name! And He answered, I beheld Satan as Light­ning fall from Heaven! and behold I give you Power over all the Power of the Enemy! — This Manner of En­trance the Apostles gloried of, after their LORD's Ascen­tion! "Ye your selves know it, (writes blessed St. Paul to the Thessalonians) that our Gospel came not to you in Word only, but in Power and in the HOLY GHOST.

This saving Efficacy of the Gospel is one of the great Joys of Angels, who behold the Face of their and our HEAVENLY FATHER: doubtless because they see the Pleasures in the Face of GOD on this Account. He has given the benevolent holy Spirits this Example and Com­mandment; "As I live, (have they heard the LORD say, and so have we) I have no Pleasure at all that the Sinner should die. They also know the Pleasure of the Soul of CHRIST, his Satisfaction in seeing his Seed. He looks on his Flock of Sheep, that come up from the washing, every one bearing Twins, and not one is barren among them? Ah! with what Eye and Heart must the Good Shepherd see this!— Only his own Heart knows the Joy of it; only his own Mouth most sweet can speak it. Hell only, and the Children of the Devil, are vext to see Souls gathering to CHRIST! Satan and his may scoff or gnash at it, as they did in CHRIST's Time,— The World is gone after him!

But we should joy in it, not only for the Sake of particular Souls, and of many Souls; and our own particular Relation to 'em, and Interest in 'em; but also as the high Token of GOD's special Favour and Blessing on a People a Kingdom, a Province, or a City; ‘This is my Rest for ever (has he said and sworn in Truth, and will not turn from it) here will I dwell, for I have desired it! I will abun­dantly [Page 18]bless her Provision, I will satisfy her Poor with Bread! I will clothe her Priests with Salva­tion, and her Saints shall shout aloud for Joy: there will I make the Horn of David to bud, I have ordained a Lamp for mine Anointed.’—When true Converts are numerous, than we may say without vain boasting, ‘The Temple of the LORD, the Tem­ple of the LORD, the Temple of the LORD are these, and the HIGHEST Himself shall establish her.’— But alas! When Conversions are rare under the preached Gospel, how sad is the Token, how dark the Omen! The Glory of the LORD is withdrawn to the Threshold of the House! write on the Door Icha­bod, "The Glory is departing! And Wo unto them, saith the LORD, if I depart from them.— O the black Threatning! six times over repeated by the HOLY GHOST in his inspir'd Word: ‘Hear ye indeed but understand not, 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, hear with their Ears, and understand with their Hearts, and be converted.’

Finally, The Pleasure of feeing Souls flying to CHRIST rises to its Height, in the Prospect it affords of their Meeting together at his right-Hand. This, says the Apostle, is our Hope and Joy and Crown of Rejoicing! even Ye at the Coming of CHRIST with all his Saints? for ye are our Glory and Joy.

Think, Fellow-Christians, how glad you will be to see one another then and there! to see all Tempta­tion, Sorrow and Danger past for ever! to see the LORD himself glorified and magnified in You together at the great and last Day! to see your selves infinitely blessed in Him! let the Thought and Hope hereof rejoice us now in our Fellowship together in the Gospel.

But then 2. A Word on the Wonder and Admiration that the Thing calls for; "Souls flying as a Cloud to CHRIST and as the Doves to their Windows.

[Page 19] Who are these? a strange and surprising Vision! a vast Gentile Church! the MESSIAH King of the many extended Nations! and Abundance of Conversions among People hitherto Strangers to the true GOD, and Aliens from the Covenant of Promise! without GOD and Hope in the World.

The Conversion of any one Soul is a Thing to be admired. The Rarity of the Thing makes it admirable. What a Pity 'tis to give this as a Reason! a true Conversion to GOD is a singular Thing in a World ly­ing in Wickedness: Abundance of Conversions then must be wonderful.

Again, The Difficulty of the Thing, and the Oppo­sition made against it, both from within and from with­out, increases the Wonder. The natural Enmity with­in us to GOD and Godliness; indwelling Sin, and an evil Heart of Unbelief departing from the living GOD, this makes the Wonder in the Conversion of any. But then there are the Powers of Hell, Satan and his Hosts, in League with Flesh and Blood, and a World that is Enmity to GOD.

The Evil One came and found nothing in CHRIST! he comes and finds every evil and filthy Lust in us: "but be of good Cheer, has the HOLY ONE OF GOD said, I have overcome!— Saints admire his Con­quest, and their own Salvation. — "We wrestle (says the Apostle) against Flesh and Blood, Principalities and Powers, the Rulers of the Darkness of this World, and spiritual Wickednesses in high Places.

Ah Grace and Power to be admired, and celebrated for ever? when JESUS the Conqueror sets the Feet of his victorious Israelites on the Necks of these Powers of Canaan!

But the Excellency of the Power is CHRIST's subdu­ing the Soul it self; in making a free and willing People, which is the Beauty of Holiness! For if the SON make us free we shall be free indeed. We read therefore of a [Page 20] Translation into the glorious Liberty of the Sons of GOD! What an admirable Word is that! what a spiritual Em­pire is this, the Kingdom of GOD within us! from a Renovation of the Mind and Heart, a new Creature form'd, not only without any Disposition in Nature thereto, but against all possible Indisposition Reluctance and Aversation! This is "the Greatness of his Power us-ward, who believe! which what Soul can know or comprehend; and therefore ever enough admire the Thing in all its Grandeur! The Change which Grace makes in a Soul, overcoming it to a delightful Consent to the whole good Pleasure of GOD. The Surprise of this Effect of Grace, was equal to the Apostle and the Churches round about! that by a Light and Word on the Way, He should be changed at once, from a raging Enemy, into a dutiful Disciple! "LORD, What wilt thou have me to do! that the furious Persecu­tor was at once become a zealous Preacher! and they glorified GOD in me.

Admirably free and sovereign is this Grace, when, where, how, and by what Means, and to what De­gree it will work! singling out sometimes the most unworthy, vile, and chief of Sinners! Admirable the Ease wherewith the Change is effected, by a Word, a Thought, an effectual Conviction! admirably sudden and silent when GOD will, as the Heart of Lydia was open'd in attending to Paul. Or admirable the Force and Roar of the Earthquake which shook the Jailor to pieces! Admirable all the Variety of Ways wherein GOD pleases to work on one and another!

Admirable is the whole Work of Grace for the Excellency thereof. It is all holy, just, and good; glorious in Holiness, the Work is perfect! So admira­ble the Thing was, to see a poor Demoniac at JESUS Feet in a right Mind! but how does the Wonder rise to see abundance of like foolish distracted Sinners so re­stored, and made wise unto Salvation.

But let us follow the whole Election of Grace to the Throne of the MOST HIGH for ever and ever! [Page 21]and what a wondrous Sight will they be! ‘The thou­sand times ten thousands, and thousands of thousands; the Multitudes which no Man can Number, of all Nations and Kindreds and People and Tongues, clothed with white Robes, and Palms in their Hands!’ The Inquiry then will be the same as in my Text concerning them! Revel. vii. 13. ‘Who are these? and whence came they? — These that have washed their Robes and made them white in the Blood of the LAMB!’ — which tho' it be primarily the more particular Character of the Martyrs of JESUS, yet is really and in Truth the Honour and Glory of every sincere Convert to Him, and Be­liever in Him.

Having thus finish'd on the pleasing Admiration of Souls flying to CHRIST in Clouds and Flocks; let Us now show in fact that we do truly admire it, and have Pleasure in it. — Will we then be a Part of this lovely, happy, wise, holy, admirable Number! Are we taken up into this Cloud! Are we on the Wing among the Doves of CHRIST? Would we not desire to be of this blessed Number and Character.

Your Ministers would lead you in the Way, and go before you! Come, our dear People, and fly with us! Descend, O SACRED DOVE! O blessed SPIRIT OF GRACE! and raise and lift us up, and carry us away, on high together.

There is none of us, no not one, Ministers nor People, that can of our selves, in our own Strength, rise or ascend, no nor so much as stand or go; impotent as we are and diseased at the Pool! there we must lie, till the Angel of the LORD come down and stir the Waters! Nor can we then put our­selves in! but JESUS is on the Way, and we ly now in his Way, and can look and cry to Him; and at his Word shall leap up and run and not be "weary, walk and fly and not faint.

[Page 22] My Brethren, (as I said to you in the Beginning of my Discourse) We have rejoiced to see you as Clouds in our Streets, and as Doves about the Windows of your Places of Resort for Worship in the Weeks past: We would now cherish, preserve, increase, by the Help of GOD, (depending on Him, and found in his ap­pointed Ways) the good Impressions and Dispositions you seem to be under. — You must abide and con­tinue in the Use of the Means of Grace; seeking your spiritual Food at the Windows which the Gospel has open'd to you, and where it is prepared and laid for you. These have been for Years past too much neglected by you; you have not flown to them as you should have done; to your public Weekly-Lecture in particular; where I must bear witness for GOD, and his Servants, my Brethren, and your Pastors, there have been rich Provisions for your Souls, which few came to feed on, the Multitude staying at Home, or ro­ving about in the Air, as light Clouds carried about of the Wind. — Come, let there be no more Rea­son for this Charge! be not those silly Doves without Heart! nor let us have Cause to say by and by, "It was vain Curiosity, Novelty, the Fame and Face of a Stranger; how dear soever to us and Venerable in his Youth: Walk not your own Ministers in the same Spirit, in the same Truth, in the same Wisdom and Grace of GOD! and share they not in the same Care, Desire and Zeal for your Souls? Have they not shown it by receiving Him gladly in the LORD, who lately came to you in his Name and Power? Why did we so receive him, encourage his Heart and strengthen his Hands in preaching to you, after the wondrous unfainting Manner he did? Was it not for your sake, that you might be quickned, and more and more roused up to a Care for your selves? to "come away to CHRIST, to come away to Him! as he loudly and earnestly, again and again, called on you to do! and you seem'd earnestly to hearken to him, as if you would, as if you were ready, and even on the Wing!

[Page 23] Let us send the glad News after him, "that you are so; High and low, rich and poor, Parents and Children, Ministers and People together! how good and pleasant would this Unity among us be! not for a Party, not for a Distinction, no but Heaven; all without Distinction!

My Brethren and Children, pray for your Ministers that they be more spirited and enlarged in making full Proof of their Ministry; more gladly spending them­selves for Souls; as we have seen a bright Instance and Pattern, renewing his Strength day by day, and anointed with fresh Oyl. We would give more Attendance on the LORD and you, if ye will attend more and better to our Doctrine and Exhortation: Pray for us, that we may serve the LORD and you with more Humility and Love, and that the Word of the LORD may have free Course and run and be glorified.

We likewise pray for You,—"Be ye also enlarged if you are not straitned in us, be not in your own Bowels. "Give your selves first to the LORD, and then is us by the Will of GOD, for your spiritual Edification. Come join your selves to the LORD, in an everlasting Covenant never to be forgotten; to keep his Sabbaths, to chuse the Things that please him, to walk in all the Com­mandments and Ordinances of the LORD blameless. Come into his Church, to full Communion, to the LORD's Table, to eat of his Bread and to drink of his Cup: How else are you flying into his Windows?—Cry to the LORD, O discouraged Soul and say, "The Compa­nions hearken to thy Voice! cause me to hear it.

Come You that are high and rich among us, and you that are the Men of Merchandize and Business, of La­bour and Diligence! why should you be the poor and low and Drones in Spirituals? why shou'd the Cares of this World, and the Deceitfulness of Riches choke the Word of GOD, and make it unfruitful! Why should you be found at last the truly wretched miserable and naked, and that for ever! Come, Honour the LORD with your Substance, and be rich towards GOD, and lay [Page 24]a good Foundation for eternal Life. Improve every Ta­lent, as our HOLLIS and HOLDEN have taught you! — And for your Encouragement let me say, that I observe Many of a like Spirit with Them for Devotion and Liberality, that are signally prospered and blessed by GOD in this Town.

But come my poorer Brethren, the poor of the Flock; to you is the Gospel preached; by you let it be re­ceived, and it will make you rich in Faith, and Heirs of Heaven. You see and hear your Calling Brethren! adore free and distinguishing Grace! Obey, comply, come in from the "High-Ways and Hedges, and fill the House and Table of CHRIST! why should you not seek the more of Heaven, the less you have of Earth!

Parents, won't you come to the Windows of the LORD, and bring your Children with you. Show them the Way into the Church of the living GOD; teach your young Doves to fly thither after you. — Or as soon as you are fledg'd, my Children, fly thither of your selves! Your Ministers invite you, CHRIST calls you; he stands ready to "take you up into his Arms and bless you! He has said to us, "suffer them to come: LORD, we would not only suffer, but we require them in thy Name! — Your LORD has said to you, "I love them that love me, and they that seek me early shall find me. You shall be to Him, as Abel was to Adam, as Joseph was to Jacob, as Jabez was honourable among his Brethren, and as David was to Jesse, and Samuel in the House of the LORD before Eli and all Israel; as John was in the Bosom of JESUS, and as JESUS was to Mary, when twelve Year old he went with her to the Passover; and said to her "Wist ye not, my Mother, that I must be about my Heavenly Father's Business.

And you that are Servants, and the meanest of our Household Servants, even our poor Negroes, chuse you the Service of CHRIST; He will make you his Freemen; The SON OF GOD, shall make you free, [Page 25]and you shall be free indeed. Why should you be Men's Slaves and Satan's too. CHRIST calls you, mean as you are, into the glorious Liberty of the Sons of GOD. Your Ministers welcome you to the Table of CHRIST, to eat of the Children's Bread, as many of you as are willing and meet to come. — O that Masters would take more Care of your precious Souls! The pious Ma­ster, who is CHRIST's Servant, will be glad to see his Negre above a Servant, a Brother at the LORD's Table with him. It is in my Sight, I can truly say, a Beauty to our Communions, to see a Number of the poor Blacks with us.

Shall I speak now to Elder People, that have been sadly dilatory, sadly negligent, and have not so much as crawl'd all their Life long into the Church of GOD and the Fellowship of his Saints! — Reverence to the Age of such should have requir'd me to have spoken to Them before; forgive the Indecency and accept the Love of addressing you now. — My LORD bids me say to you, now at the Eleventh Hour, ‘Why stand you here all the Day of Life loitering and Idle? Go you also into my Vineyard!’ not for any thing you can now do (to be sure) yet you shall have your Penny! your Labour (shall I call it) shall not be in vain in the LORD. If there be but a willing Mind, a humble penitent Submission and consenting Soul, it shall be accepted. — You may be born again when you are old! and tho' it be out of due time, yet so it was with the Apostle himself! ‘Last of all (says he) HE was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time, who am therefore the least of the Apostles, and not meet to be called one; for I persecuted the Church of GOD.’ And who is there in Age, that has sat under the preaching of the Gospel from his Youth, and not been brought savingly to CHRIST, of whom we may not truly say, that he has been a Per­secutor of his LORD! — Yet may the LORD meet him even in his perverse Way, and call him, and strike him down by his Light, and set him on asking humbly and [...] — "Who art thou LORD! and what wilt thou have me to do?

[Page 26] I shall only go into one more particular Point of Application; and that is to convinced and awakned Sin­ners, and to true Converts and comforted Saints.

We have seen of late many greatly affected under the preaching of the Word; now Cherish your Convictions, and beg of GOD, by the Power of his HOLY SPIRIT, to fasten 'em deep in your Souls. Fear, O fear, lest your Goodness prove as the Morning Cloud or Evening Dew, that passes away before the next Days Noon. Improve the little Heat and Life you feel, and pray for a thorow saving Conversion. Cry to the tender SAVIOUR, ‘Who will not break the bruised Reed, nor quench the smoaking Flax, but brings forth Judgment unto Victo­ry.’ May He answer you with good Words and comfortable; "Son, Daughter, thy Sins be forgiven. O may it indeed be the Day of his Power, and the Time of his Love with your Souls! And when you are ready to take the Words of Peace, take Care that you turn not again to Folly. ‘Watch and pray, that you enter not into Temptation: When the Spirit seems most willing, remember that the Flesh is weak.’ ‘Strait is the Gate, and narrow is the Way, that leadeth to Life, and few there be that find it. Strive there­fore, has the LORD said to us, for many shall seek to enter, and shall not be able.’

Go, carry thy Sins, and not thy Penitence to the LORD JESUS, and cast a poor perishing Soul on sovereign Mercy and free Grace. When he asks thee, ‘What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? Answer, LORD save me I perish! LORD that I may receive my Sight? LORD, that I may be made clean and whole of my Plague!’

We have admir'd to see how many of you have been of late affected! we shall admire more, wonder and be asham'd and griev'd, if we see your Affections cool and go off! if Sabbaths and Ordinances are neglected as heretofore, or formally attended. If you have ‘begun in the Spirit, take heed that it end not in the Flesh. Confer not with Flesh and Blood, as blessed Paul tells [Page 27]us he did not, when it pleased CHRIST to reveal Him­self in him.

And now to You, my Brethren that are in CHRIST JESUS, who have chosen the LORD to serve him, and have taken his Yoke upon you, easy and light to your Souls; ‘let the Joy of the LORD be your Strength; go on your Way rejoicing! He meeteth him that rejoiceth, and worketh Righte­ousness, them that remember him in his Ways. Lift up the Hands that hang down, strengthen the feeble Knees. Thank GOD, who has wrought all your Works in you and for you, and so far carried you on, kept and recovered you; thank GOD and take Courage. Say, I will never forget thy Precepts, for by them thou hast quickened me, I will run the Way of thy Commandments as thou enlargest my Heart. — The Grace of our LORD JESUS CHRIST be with your Spirits! the Peace of GOD which passes all Understanding, keep your Hearts and Minds thro' CHRIST JESUS, Unto Him be Glory in the Churches for ever and ever. AMEN.’


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