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A perswasive to Repen­tance. A SERMON PREACHED at PHILADELPHIA, Anno 1739. At the usual Evening-Lecture before the Synod.

By SAMUEL BLAIR, Minister of the Gospel of Christ.

Acts 20.21.

Testifying both to the Jews and also to the Greeks, Repentance toward God, and Faith to­ward our Lord JESUS CHRIST.

PHILADELPHIA: Printed by W. BRAD­FORD, at the Sign of the Bible in Second Street.

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A Premonition to the Reader.

ALTHOUGH the saving Change of a Sin­ners Hearts, is the superna [...]ural Work of God alone; yet he brings it about in a way agreeable to their natural Practices, and Endowments as reasonable Beings; and uses rational proper means with them for that End. Hence are all the Instructions, Motives, Ar­guments, and Expostulations, which are in the Scriptures; which are not only for the Spi­ritual Progress of the renew'd and sanctified; but also for the Conversion of the ungodly, and Sinners; as may be abundantly seen through­out both Testaments. God in his Word, deals with Man, even in his Apostace unre­generate Condition, as an intelligent Creature, by all the Topicks of Argument and Ratio­nal Perswasion. Accordingly those whom Christ employs as his Ambassadors, in the Gospel-Ministry, are to labour not only for the Spi­ritual Good and Comfort of the Regenerate Children of God; but also with the unre­new'd and unholy, for their saving Conversi­on, by all those rational Means where­with God has furnish'd them in his Word. And 'tis as plainly both the Duty and Inte­rest of Sinners (tho' they cannot savin [...]ly Change themselves yet) to take up themselves, and as much as possible conform themselves to [Page 4]God's declared Will; and, in that Way, to seek incessantly for renewing Grace, and a saving vital Union with Jesus Christ. This is but to act as becomes rational Creatures in their Circumstances: 'Tis the Command of God, and the only Way of reasonable Hope.

Agreeably to these Things, I have in the following Discourse address'd the Reason, and considering Faculty of the Irreligious, in be­half of Religion, and their Souls eternal In­terest: And shew'd from many Considerations, the unparellel'd Unreasonableness and Brutish­ness, of Irreligion and Impenitence; which might be sufficient to confound with Shame and deep Concern, especially such as highly Value themselves upon that truly valuable En­dowment of the Human Nature, their Under­standing and Reason, and yet live irreligious and ungodly Lives. As I hinted already I know Mankind are so far depraved and cor­rupted, that nothing but the Almighty to change and reclaim them: But yet suitable and adap­ted means are to be used for that End, both by the Preacher, and the Sinner himself. And it is by, and in the use of these that God ordinarily Works this Effect.

I think such a Sermon as this is especially seasonable at this Time, when the [...]ravians, lately come to these Parts of the World, Teach, that Ministers are not to use such Methods with the ungodly; and, that ungodly Sinners themselves, are not to use any endeavours this Way, in seeking to God for their Conversi­on and Salvation: From the specious Argu­ments, [Page 5]that Salvation is not of Works, and that Christ needs not our help to convert us: As may be clearly seen in Count Zinzendorff's printed Discourses. This is to make Man like a brute or a block, rather than a Reasonable Creature; and fairly to lay the Reins on li­cencious Sinners Necks, and allow them to run where they Please. It is very true Sal­vation is not of Works, either by a Merit of Congruity or Condignity (as the Romanists Term and Distinguish it) so that Sinners ought not to set about reforming, with a View to ap­pease God, or to excite his Love and Favour towards them, by any imagin'd excellency in their Works of Obedience, as I have carefully directed in the Close of the Sermon: And yet it is as true, that the utmost Efforts of unregenerate Sinners to observe the Divine Law, and seek the Mercy of God, and their Souls Salvation, is their indispensible Duty, their reasonable Service, and God's express Command; or else a great Part of the Bible is wrong, wherein they are enjoyned to Strive to enter in at the strait Gate, Luke 13.24. And, all Men every where is commanded to repent, be­cause God hath appointed a Day in which he will judge the World in Righteousness. Acts 17.30, 31. with numberless other Places. If God requires the ungodly to turn from their irreligious Courses, to seek and endeavour to serve him; the they ought to do so: And that under the highest Pains, of his terrible and dread Displeasure. If God does not require it of them, then it is not their Sin not to do so; and consequently they are no Sinners, but doing Right enough; for where no Law is, there is no Transgression: And then conse­quently [Page 6]again, they have no Hell nor Dam­nation to fear; for where there is no Trans­gression, there is no Punishment, in a just Go­vernment. Thus you may see where this Doc­trine leads. May the Lord preserve People from such a dangerous and fearfull Snare, which tends to del [...]de them to their Destruc­tion, and also, preserve them from resting upon means, and putting their own Righte­ousness in the place of Christ's Righteousness; which is as fatal upon the other Hand.

Me [...]iae [...]utissimus ibis.

Resting upon means is inconsistent with, and a Bar in the way of believing in Christ; but the use of means, as means, is not; but is the express Command of God, and the Sinners Duty. It is ridiculous arguing here, that Christ needs not Sinners help to convert them: For, who ever ima [...]in'd that they were to use means, with a View to help Christ to Convert them. But this is not a proper Place to pursue this Argument in its full Latitude. What I have already said may be sufficient here.

I know not of any thing in the following Discourse, that I am any way obliged to Ac­count for, except it be the high Description I have given of the Repentance which may be attained to, by unregenerate Men. I wou'd have it observed, that I expresly include the ordinary Concurrence of the Holy Spirit: And how far the Spirit of God may concur, by way of common Operation, with the En­deavour of natural Men, I think we cannot Determine. I am satisfy'd that when the Holy [Page 7]Spirit lays hold of Sinners with a Design of their saving Conversion, he frequently brings them to such a Degree of Repentance, even before the saving Change is wrought in their Hearts. I shall detain the Reader no longer from the Perusal of the Sermon: And may the Lord help you to peruse it to profit.

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JEREMIAH 8.6.

I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright: No Man repented him of his wickedness, saying, what have I done? Every one turned to his Course, as the Horse rusheth into the Battle.

THESE Words are a part of a Prophe­cy or divine Message which begins with the foregoing Chapter, where­in the Lord by his Prophet calls us Sinfull, Rebellious and Apostate Peo­ple, to Repentance and Amendment, to turn from their sinfull Courses and abominable Transgressions, to the obedience of his Laws, as may be seen in the 3d, 5th, and 6th, Ver­ses of that Chapter. This the Lord presses up­on them from two great Arguments, viz. The Benest they should enjoy upon their true Reformati­on, and the terrible Judgment they should sustain upon their obstinate refusal and impeniten [...]y Upon their thorough Reformation the Lord promises them a peaceable and prosperous Possession of their pleasant Land, v. 7. But upon their pro­ceeding on still in their wicked Ways, he threa­tens them with the most dreadful Desolation, Death, and Captivity, generally throughout the Chapter.

This Argument the Lord father Prose­cutes in the beginning of this Chapter, shew­ing the extent of that misery and contempt which he was about to bring upon them, and which in a little Time he did bring upon them by Ne­buchadnezar's Army: And then in the 4th and 5th Verses he aggravates the folly and madness [Page 2]of their obstinacy and bold Resolu [...]ions in per­sisting in their wickedness, by observing to them that it was folly unexampled, of which there are no parallel Instances to be found in any o­ther cases. Thus saith the Lord, shall they fail and not arise? shall he turn away and not return? As if he had said, can any Persons so sof [...]ish and unwise be found, as will not rise up again, after they are fallen down upon the Ground? Can any such demented Person be found, who will not return to his right Road, after he has wandred out of it and gone wrong? surely no; common Prudence will teach Men better in such Cases. Why then, says he, is this People of Jerusalem sliden back by a perpetual back-sliding; O! unexampled mad­ness! Tho' they have gone wofully out of the way, and are a wandring in their own ways, to their eternal Destruction, and have been over and over told of it from me, in the most moving and awful Terms; yet they presump­tuously go on and turn not; their back-sliding is perpetual, they hold fast deceit and refuse to return. And this their continuance in a course of Sin and Disobedience, against all the warnings he had given them, and Pains which he had bestowed upon them, the Lord more fully and pathetically expresses in the Words of our Text, I hearkned and heard but they speak not [...]g [...]t: No Man, &c. In the Words you may Notice these few particulars. 1st, It is inti­mated that the Means which God had used with that People, were such as that a Refor­mation among them, might reasonably have been expected by them. This is implied in these Words, I hearkned and heard, in these Words are presuppos'd the means which God had previously used to them especially by the [Page 3]frequent Messages of his Word, in the Mouth of his Prophets: And so they signify how reasonably a thorough Reformation among them, might have been expected thereupon. I heark­ned and heard, says the Lord i. e. as if he had said, having used such proper methods with them for their Repentance, which were suffici­ent to have influenced them thereto, then I hearkned and listned to hear if there were any discourse like Repentance among them, any talk that might give Hopes of their Amendment and Conversion, whether any were bewailing their past Impieties, and Transgression, saying, with Shame and Sorrow, alas what have I done!

The great God represents himself in a familiar condescending way, after the manner of Man, as expecting and hoping that the means which he had used with them, might possibly have had some good effect upon them, in their Re­formation; and so be hearkned to hear what they were a saying about it. He carefully look'd and observed, whether there were any signs and appearances of their Repentance, after his Pains with them for that Purpose.

Yet these and all other such like Expressions, must be understood in a Way agreeable [...]o the divine Perfections, so as not to infer those Weaknesses and Imperfections in God, which are in Creatures, and therefore not to be un­derstood in the most strict and [...]eral Sense of the Words. God's design in these Wor [...]s, is only to signify, how reasonably a Reformation, and strong Endeavours after a true repenta [...]ce, and the favour God might have bee [...]n [...]x­pected of that People, in Consequence of such means as he had afforded them for that end; [Page 4]and consequently that their persisting after all in their old Courses, was a Guilt of a most aggravated nature; and so here is one point of Doctrinal Truth which arises from the Text, viz. That a Reformation in Sinners from their wicked ways and earnest Inde [...]vours in seeking after the [...] of God, might very reasonably be expected by means of the Messages of his Word sent to them for that [...]nd by the Mouth of his Servants and [...] Ambassadors.

Again, 2dly. We are told of the unsucces­fulness of all these Means, with that obsti­na [...]e People: They had not that Influence and effect upon them, which it was very just to expect from rational Creatures, I hearkned and heard, but they sp [...]ke not [...]: No man repented him of his wickedness, saying, what have I done? But eve­ry one turned to his own C [...]se, notwithstanding the I peated Councils, movin▪ Invi [...]ations, awfull Threats and Warnings sent to them under God's own tremendious Authority which ought to have excited them to Repentance, and fill'd them with the Language of humble Penitents, confessing with Shame and Confusion their by-past Follies and Impieties, expressing sincerely their Sorrow and self Abhorence for them, saying, What have I done? Yet alas, there was no such discourse to be heard among them, they spake not aright; they spake no [...] to this purpose; I hearkned and heard, says the Lord, but they spe [...]e not aright: No Man repented [...] of his wicked­ness, saying, what have I done? here you may ob­serve what kind of Repentance it is which God requires of Sinners, under the hearing of his Word, faithfully deliver'd to them: A Repentance attended with an asham'd confessi­on of their Sins and Iniquities; that they ac­knowledge [Page 5]what they have done, and that with deep regret of Soul, with confounding Shame and Indignation against themselves; as the Interroga [...]ory form of the Expression re­quir'd of the true penitent, imports, What have I done? The penitent Sinner is represented as looking back upon his former way, freely confessing what they have been, and reflecting upon himself for them, with the sadest Grief and Sorrow; as a Person, who, thro' some Mis­management, some bold or tho'tless Action has brought Disgrace and Misery upon himself, will, in his distress, sadly recoil upon himself, saying, Who is me, what have I done? what have I done? by what I have done, I have undone myself. Now, because there was no such thing to be heard or discerned among the People of Jeru­salem, it was evident, that no Man repented him of his Wickedness. And so here is another point of Doctrine to be observ'd in the Text, viz, That the Repentance which God requires of Sinners, upon his dealing with them by the solemn Messa­ges of his Word, must be attended with Confession, deep Shame and Sorrow.

3d. The Text declares how wilfully and brutishly resolute these People were in their wicked Courses. This is set our by the Simi­litude of a Horse, fariously running without thought or fear into the Battle: Every one turned to his Curse, as t [...]e Horse rusheth into the Battle. Perhaps they might give God a bodily hearing for an Hour or two sometimes, while his Ser­vants declar'd to them his Messages, but that was all; as soon as that was over, then away every one immediately to his Course again without restraint, as the Horse to the Battle; as it is now lamentably among us.

[Page 6] This Comparison implies in it these two things, 1st. The brutish Unreasonableness, bold Presumption, and Fool-Hardiness of Sinners, who go on in their sinful Courses against all the awfull warnings of Heaven, and all the restraints of Reason and Conscience. Hence they are compar'd to a Head-strong ungovern'd Horse in his Fury, that will be under no Control, but rushes madly on in the Face of ten [...]ousand T [...]r [...]ors. 2dly, It implies the ter­rible Dangerousness of the Sinners Course. He is a going wilfully on to his own Ruin and Destruction, as the Horse rushes into the Bat­tle, into the midst of Dangers and of Deaths. And so this Branch of the Text affords us these two Propositions of Truth more, 1st, That it is brutish, irrational, and wilful for Sinners to go on still in their sinful Courses, against all the Instructions and solemn Warnings of God's Word. And 2d. That Sinners going on in these Courses, are rushing upon the most terrible Dangers and Miseries: Every one turn­ed to his Course, as the Horse rusheth into the Bat­tle.

And now I shall gather together the seve­ral Propositions of Truth, which I have ta­ken Notice of from this Text, in the Expli­cation of it, for our farther Consideration: And they are these four,

  • 1st. That a Reformation in Sinners from their wicked Ways, and earnest Endeavours in seek­ing after the Favour of God, might very rea­sonably be expected, by means of the Messages of his Word sent to them for that End, by the Mouth of his Servants and Ambassadors.
  • [Page 7] 2dly, That the Repentance which God re­quires of Sinners, upon his dealing with them by the solemn Messages of his Word, must be attended with Confession, deep Shame and Sor­row.
  • 3dly, That it is brutish, irrational, and wil­ful for Sinners to go on still in their sinful Courses, against all the Instructions and so­lemn Warnings of God's Word. And
  • 4thly, That Sinners going on in these Cour­ses, are rushing upon the most terrible Dan­gers and Miseries.

These are Truths clearly enough contain'd in this Verse. I hearkned and heard, &c.

I shall speak something to each of these pro­positions in their order. And

1st, I say a Reformation in Sinners, &c. I shall a little illustrate the Truth of this Doc­trine, shew what we are to learn from it, and the use to be made of it in Practice, ve­ry briefly, and then pass to the next Propo­sition.

The Truth of this Proposition will clearly appear by considering and comparing one or two things. 1st. That Sinners are rational Creatures, and so ought to be influenced and wrought upon in matters of Practice, if they would not forfeit all claim to that Character, by rational Means, by powerful convincing Arguments and Considerations. If there is no dealing with mankind, and perswading them in this Method of rational Argument, they act no more like rational Beings than the [Page 8]brute Beasts: To direct us in our Choice and Practice, is certainly the very greatest use and benefit of our understanding and Reason; and therefore it might be justly expected from rational Creatures, in this Case as well as all others, that they shou'd be sway'd by Reasons, which they are capable to understand, accord­ing to the We [...]ght and Importance of 'em; otherwise, if they will not be Govern'd and acted from rational Considerations, but from sensual appeti [...]e, lust and blind wilfuness, they put off the Man and put on the Beast: Yea, much worse, they rather put on the Devil, acting against the light of Reason and Con­science, which Beasts do not, and so are the nearest resemblance to the diabolical Nature; indeed a rational Creature, acting cross to the very confess'd Laws of Reason, and that in matters of infinite and eternal Moment, is the most unaccountable kind of being within the Compass of the whole universe. It could hardly be believ'd that there could possibly be such an irregular self-repugnant, obli [...]e kind of thing in the whole System of being, did not sad Experience so undeniably confirm it: such a being would seem a sort of natural im­possibility, and the very Mention of [...], a di­rect Sol [...]cism.

And then 2dly, Consider, That the Messages of God's Word to Sinners for their Reforma­tion and Repentance, are the most solemn, weighty, and powerful of any Thing that can possibly be propos'd to the Reason of Man­kind.

He would be justly look'd upon as a most demented and brutish Man, who wou'd not [Page 9]be perswaded in other Cases by ten thousand Times less weighty Reasons than those which are propos'd and urged in the word of God for Sinners Repentance. The great God lays before Sinners in his Word the Reasonable­ness, Equity, and Excellency of Holiness; the just necessary Title and Sovereign claim which he has to their Obedience, both as he is a God of inconceivable Glory and infinite Perfections, worthy to be serv'd honour'd and ador'd by all rational beings beside; and as they are his Creatures, created by him for that End, to glorify and serve him and enjoy the highest blessedness in him; and as he is their constant Preserver, the upholder of their Lives and giver of all their Benefits; upon all which Accounts they owe themselves entire­ly to him as his own Property, and the Sub­jects of his moral Government, by a most ne­cessary and inalienable Right. He [...]ells them of the unspeakable Happiness and Comfort which wou'd attend the hearty affectionate Choice and Practice of their Duty, and that eternal Glory with himself, which he will give to them who truly Repent and Love him. He tells them likewise what an immence, what an astonishing amazing Price was laid down to redeem lost Sinners from eternal R [...], without which none cou'd possibly have been sav'd consistent with the exalted Dignity and Glory of his Majesty; how low the eternal Son of God condescended; how deep he was humbled; how cruelly he suffer'd, even Death i [...] self in its most hidious Form: Yea, worse than ten Thousand Deaths; and all to purchase Salvation from the deepest Miseries to the high­est Blessedness for guilty Rebels▪ O! What a surprizing melting Argument is here to ex­cite [Page 10]Sinners to Repentance, to turn to the liv­ing God, with all their Hearts. O Sinners, will you, dare you trample under Foot the Blood of the Son of God! Disregard and under-value the dearest Love of the Father, Son and blessed Spirit! And go on in these Wicked­nessess, which cost a life that was worth ten Thousand Worlds to redeem you from them Farther, the great God sets before them in his Word, the awful and dismal Scene of those e­ternal Pains, Miseries, and Horrors, which they shall infallibly endure for ever without Regeneration and Conversion. He tells you, O ye rebellious Sinners, that if ye do not Re­form and Repent, seek his Mercy with hum­bled pained Hearts, and turn to his Ways, the Damnation of Hell, will infallibly be your Portion to all Eternity: That you are every Day in Danger of being cast into never ne­ver ending Anguish, Pain and Horrour for your continued Rebellion. Now, are not here Reasons for Sinners Repentance, turning from the Ways of Sin, and most earnest seeking the Favour and Mercy of God, of the greatest Weight Imaginable? And are not Sinners ra­tional Creatures, to understand, consider and apply these Things: How reasonably, then might their compliance with them be expected. If the Consideration of these solemn Things will not work upon them, nothing else will. Luk. 16.31. If they hear not [...] and the Pro­phets, i. e. the Holy Scriptures, the Word of God written by Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be perswaded tho' one [...]se from the [...]ead. Surely if Sinners did but act ingenuously and ratio­nally here, as they do for the most Part in other Cases, they would immediately abandon their Lusts and wicked Ways, and betake [Page 11]themselves to the Ways of Religion with the the most earnest Application, and most impor­tunately and perseveringly cry for the Mercy and Pity of the great God, against whom they have rebel'd, seeking an Interest in his saving Love thro' Christ. O Sinners, these wou'd be the Effects of God's Word with you, if you did but act any Way agreeable to your no­ble Characters of reasonable Creatures.

Agreeable to what I have offer'd upon this Head, is that Passage which we have in the be­ginning of the 5th Chapter of Isaiah, the Lord there represents the Pains which he had taken with the People of Israel, and the Means he vouchsafed them under the Notion of the Provision which a careful industrious Husband Man, makes for the Fruitfulness of his Vine­yard, and then signifies that it was but rea­sonable to expect good Fruit in Consequence of such Means, when he says, he looked that it should bring forth Gr [...]es: But (O wonder­ [...] [...] it brought f [...]th [...]thing but wild Grapes after all; no other sort of Grapes than if it had been a wild Vine in the Forest, that ne­ver had been taken any care of. And then the Lord expressing the great Pains he had be­stow'd upon this Vineyard, saying, What should have been done more to my [...]eyard, that I have not done in it, i. e. as to outward proper Means. He proposes the Question as is were with a kind of Wonder, Wherefore when [...] that [...] [...] to the Grapes, [...] it [...] wild Grapes? Where­fore brought it forth wild Grap [...], after [...] Means used with it? What a strange thing is this? Yes, strange i [...] is indeed; other Things might well be look'd for

[Page 12] Thus I think the Truth of this Doctrine is sufficiently evidenced: And now, to make some Improvement of it,

  • 1st. If it be reasonable to look for the Re­formation of Sinners, and their earnest Appli­cation to God for his pardoning Mercy, as the Effects of God's Word faithfully deliver'd to them: How in expressible H [...]inous then is the Sin, and how awfully aggravated is the Guilt of such bold and daring Sinners, who after all go on in their old Practices? who Repent not of their wickedness, but turn still to their own Course again, as the Horse [...]s [...]eth into the Battle? And yet a [...]s, is not this the Deplorable case of Multitudes who are favour'd with the Word of God! O Sirs, are not the Reasons and Ar­guments of God's Word sufficient to perswade you every one to turn from his Iniquities, and to seek after God and your own eternal Sal­vation in earnest? Sure there is Reason enough in them to do so.
  • 2dly. This Doctrine informs us of the ex­cellency of the Word of God: It contains Things of the almost Moment and Consequence imaginable: It Treats of Things which are of infinite Importance to the Souls of Men; no less than Things which concern their everlast­ing States, either of unspeakable Happiness, or inexpressible Misery; such Things as have Rea­son and Weight enough in them to reclaim re­bellious Sinners [...] their wicked Courses, and [...] the deepest concern to seek [...] If they lear not [...] and the Prop [...]ets, [...] and they [...]
  • [Page 13] 3dly. Ungodly and irreligious Persons, as well as others, should hence be excited to es­teem and reverence the Word of God. It is the Means which the great God uses with you for your Conversion and Salvation, Ps. 19.7. The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the Soul: The Testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the Simple. Your cursed Lusts, the wicked Inc [...]ina­tions and Dispositions of your unsanctified Hearts are like to be your eternal Ruin, and unless the Power of these Things is overcome, they will inevitably plunge you in a doleful Deluge of everlasting Misery and Woe; now, the Word of God faithfully preached to you contains such weighty and solemn Things, the due Consideration and Application whereof might well be effectual to break and overbal­lance the Prevalency of these Soul-destroying Evils in you, and awake you to seek after God and your Salvation in good earnest: And, O Sirs, if Things were once brought to this pass with your then there wou'd be some Hopes of your true Conversion to the Living God, and the Salvation of your Souls; And, O! how care­fully ought you to improve that which has so great a Tendency to bring about your eternal Happiness, and Deliverance from endless and deserved Torments. Believe it Sirs, the Word of God is not like an insignificant useless Sto­ry which you may either hear or let alone to little Loss or profit: Is not my Word like as a [...]i [...]e? saith the Lord, And like a Hammer which breaks the Rock in pieces? Jer. 23.29.

2dly. But I must proceed to consider the 2d. Proposition, which is, that the Repentance which God requires of Sinners, upon his deal­ing with them by the solemn Messages of his [Page 14]Word, must be attended with Confession, Shame, and Sorrow.

Here I shall a little farther open up and ex­plain the Repentance intended in this Propo­sition, and my Design is not particularly to open up the nature of the saving Grace of Repent­ance, which is only in regenerate and sanctify'd Persons, and necessarily requires the superna­tural Principles of Sanctifying Grace implanted in the Soul by the Holy Ghost, as the Foun­dation and Spring of it; but the Repentance which I design to speak to, and which I think is the Repentance intended in the Text, is that which Sinners thro' the Means and Advan­tages of God's Word faithfully deliver'd to them, may generally, by the ordinary Concur­rence of God's Spirit perform, if they act so ra­tionally and faithfully as they may and ought to do; which Repentance God requires them to perform as the Way of their seeking, and most hopeful Means for obtaining his par­doning Mercy and sanctifying Grace thro' Christ Jesus. It is, in short that Repentance which the Lord looks that Sinners should generally perform, such as are not judicially harden'd at least▪ to whom he has sent the Messages of his Word for that End, when he says, Hearkened and heard to find whether any Man repented [...] of his Wickedness, saying what have I done.

And in this Repentance two Things are to be considered: The Thing if self substantially and its Qualifications or necessary Adjuncts. And 1st. This Repentance strictly and sub­stantially consider [...]d in it self is a turning from, and opposing of Sin, and an Application to the [Page 15]Duties of Religion, universally both in Heart and Life. A Sinner never practices any Thing like Repentance till he comes to this; to for­sake entirely his sinful Courses, withstand all Snares and Temptations to them, and wrestle against the inward Corruptions of his Heart; to betake himself to the prescribed Ways of Re­ligion, and most solemnly and earnestly to seek the Mercy and Favour of an offended and pro­voked God. Penitent Ephraim says, What have I to do any move with Idols, Hes. 14.8. repenting Israel and Judah do and seek the Lord their God, going and weeping saying, Come and let us joyn our selves to the Lord in a perpetual Covenant that shall not be forgotten Jer. 50.4, 5. How dreadfully are they deceiv'd then who think that a few Checks of Conscience for their Sin after the Commission of it, and some slighty Confessions of it before God is true Repentance, when yet they still go on in the same Practices? Who think that their gallings of Conscience now and then, and their superficial Acknowledgments will secure them from all Danger, and make up for their continuing Wickednesses and ne­glect of the Ways of Godliness? How dreadful­ly I say, are such poor Creatures deceiv'd in their Imaginations? Especially seeing Persons may repent, even so far as I have described, without being in a saving State, and fitly qualify'd for eternal Glory.

2dly. As to the Qualifications of this Re­pentance, they are Confession, Shame and Sor­row. 1. Confession; to repent with Confession of their Sin is what the Lord requires of Sinners who enjoy the Light of his Holy Word. This was his Complaint against the obstinate Jews in our Text, No Man repented him of his [Page 16]Wickedness, saying, what have I done? No Man among them repented acknowledging the horri­ble Sinfulness of his past Practice. It is not enough that Persons barely acknowledge the sinful Actions and Neglects that they have been guilty of; there is no doubt of their ac­knowledging them if they remember them; for it is not possible that they can deny these Things before God whatever they may do to Men; so far as their Memory serves them they can't but be self conscious of what they have done or not done; but they must acknowledge and be sensible of their Sinfulness and Wick­edness in these Actions and Omissions. That the general Course of their Practice has been a Course of wicked Rebellion and Disobedience against God. While Sinners continue to justify their Practices, and tho' they will confess in general Terms that they are very sinful Crea­tures yet will hardly acknowledge it in any one particular Instance, or if some inward ac­knowledgments of their Sin in some or many particular Things be extorted from them by the Light of their Consciences, while they endea­vour still to lessen the Sinfulness of these Things in their own View, to make it appear as very little and trivial, or always plead Excuses and make Apologies for themselves to their Consciences, I say, so long as it is thus with Sinners they are far far from Repentance. And yet, alas, thus it is with Multitudes of perishing Souls who are rotting in the Graves, in the Stench and Pollution of Sin; they are willing­ly blinded by the Devil to look upon their Sins as very Trifles; This is but a small Evil, and that is not much amiss, the Effect of human Frailty, and the other Thing is not so bad as many are guilty of, I wish I may never do [Page 17]worse, Had no ill Design [...]n it, o [...] it was such a One's [...]aint as much, and [...]ere, than mine, and so it goes on. What base and contemptuous Notions have these Person of the Great GOD, and his awful Authority, who think so lightly of their wilful and insolen [...] Disobedience against him! O! ye haughty and unhambled Sinners, your Notes will be changed in a little Time, and unless ye repent quickly you shall feel the Weight of these Sins you foolishly thought so Light, in everlasting Miseries, Rom. 2.9. Tribulation and Anguish upon every Soul of Man that doth [...]vil, of the Jew [...]st, and also of the Gentile. To you I would apply what the great God says to Sinners of a like Stamp. Jer. 2.22, 23. Tho' thou w [...]sh thee with [...]tre, and take tree much Sope, yet thine Iniquity is marked before men, s [...] the Lord God. How canst thou say, I am not polluted? I have not come after Baalim? See thy Way in the Valley, know what thou hast done.

2dly. Shame is another Ingredient in this Repentance When a poor Sinner comes to see and solemnly consider Things as they are, the infinite Greatness and August Majesty of the eternal GOD, and the strong Bonds [...]hat are upon his Soul to live a Life of H [...] O­bedience to the Lord that made him, O! [...]ow unreasonable, heinous, loathsome, and v [...]e does he then see his Sin to be Especially con­sidering how he has proceeded in it against so clear Light, tender Mercy, and awful Warn­ing as he has had Shame and Conf [...]ion co­vers him when he thinks of his irrational, bold, and insolent Course of Disobedience and Sin against God. Until Sinners are ashamed of their Sin before God, and their [...] within them, looking [...] themselves as [...] [Page 18]and brutish Creatures for what they have done, all their Repentance is little worth, shameless whorish Foreheads shall be struck down to Hell, Jer 8 12. Were they ashamed when they had committed abominations? Nay, they were not at all [...], neither could they bl [...]sh; therefore shall they fall among them that fall, in the Time of their Visita­tion they shall be cast down saith the Lord.

3dly Another Qualification of this Repent­ance is deep Sorrow and Grief of Heart. O! Sirs, a repenting Sinner is humbled to the Dust, the Springs of his Grief are set open and many are the sorrowful Reflections of his Heart upon his past Practice, crying out, Oh! What have I done: Oh! What a miserable pass have I brought my self to by a Life of Sin? The Sorrows of his Heart gush forth when he considers what a Course of Life he has led, what a great and Sovereign God he has rebelliously disobey'd and provok'd to Wrath: when he takes a View of the sad and dismal Scene of Hell's Horrors when he sees he de­serves to be cast into, O! then Sorrow and Anguish invades his trembling Heart, fearing lost these be his everlasting Portion. Before this, in the Time of his stupid Carelesness, he thought in his Haste, without any due Conside­ration, that there was no great Danger of his missing Salvation, that [...], [...]ne, would not be so cruel as to damn such an one [...], but now, when he comes seriously to consider Things and lay them to Heart, and takes a deliberate view of the Number and very heinous provoking Na­ture of his Sins, O! then his Time is alter'd; he is afraid that the Holy and tremend [...]ous God will eternally reject him and cast him into Hell where he deserves to be: He sees it will be a [Page 19]wonder of Mercy indeed if ever such a Wretch as he be saved, if ever God pardon and glo­rify such a Rebel: Ah! it can hardly enter in­to his Heart, he is afraid he never will; and this fills his Heart with the deepest Sorrow for his Sins that have brought him into such de­ploreable Circumstances: Woe is me, what have I done? What have I done? Says the poor Pe­nitent: What a mad distracted Creature have I been? Why, O! Way whretched Creature that I am, did I not consider these Things long ago, and not have thoughtlessly and boldly gone on in a Course of Sin r [...]shing upon the dismal Precipie [...] of the Damnation of Hell as the Horse [...] into the Battle? These Consider­ations fill the Sinner with Indignation against himself, so as to loath himself in his own Sight for his Abominations: These Thoughts exci [...] him with the greatest earnestness to implore the Divine Mercy, and to dread the Commission of Sin as Hell itself. This Repentance the Great God very reasonably requires of Sinners [...]el 2.12, 13. There [...]ore also now saith the Lord &c. The Parable of the Prodigal Son, &c.

In the Beginning of the Discourse upon this Head of Doctrine, I signified that there was a Difference between this Repentance and that which is the Effect of sanctifying Grace which only is infallibly connected with Salvation; and here, before I dis [...]ss thi [...], [...], I wo [...]d just mention one or two of the Principal Dif­ferences, 1. In this Repentance the Person forsakes his Sin, and be [...] himself to the Ways of Religion only from the [...] and Awakenings of his Conscience: [...] evan­gelical Repentance, when the Person has re­ceiv'd the new Nature, he forsakes Sin and [Page 20]practices Holiness out of Choice, freely, and affectionately, from a renew'd and sanctify'd Will. 2. In evangelical and saving Re­pentance the Terror and Dread of God's Wrath for Sin is chiefly taken away from the Conscience, by the Sinner's closure with Christ by Faith, and believing on him, but yet he hates Sin and grieves for it from another and more noble Principle, a Sense of its inherent Baseness, and a true Love to the blessed God which is shed abroad in his Heart, whence he is most affectionately inclined and engaged to please and honour him, and is sorrowful that he can no better serve him. Whenever Re­pentance comes to have these two Qualificati­ons, then it's a blessed Evidence of the Per­son's being a regenerate Child of God, and in a saving State.

Now, this Repentance and Humiliation which I have been discoursing of, is necessary for Sinners to practice in order to their Rege­neration, and the true Conversion of their Souls to God; in order to the Sanctification of their Hearts by the Holy Ghost, without which it is impossible for them to be say'd; I or except a Man he born of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God John 3.5. and without Holiness no Man shall see the Lord Heb. 12.14.

And now, Sirs, to make some Application of this Head, I would propose to you this neces­sary and in [...] Question, hate you ever [...] repeated? Pray put the Question to your selves and answer to it in your own Consci­ences Have not many of you gone on for a long Time in vain and sn [...]ul Practices, with a Neglect of God and serious Religion? Well [Page 21]then, now I ask you, have you ever thus re­pented so as to be in the Way of Mercy? What say you to it Sirs? You see the absolute Necessity of it Luke 13.3. Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Nothing that defileth or is unclean shall enter into the New-Jerusalem; there is another Place for such, The [...]ake that burns with Five and Brimstone: Without Holiness, no Man shall see the Lord. Have you turn'd from your Ways of Sin and universally forsaken them and beta­ken yourselves to the constant Practice of Re­ligion, according to the Direction and Com­mand of God? Are there not some of you that have never done so yet unto this Day, but are still persisting in the same negligent rebellious Course? Let the Conscience of the guilty Person witness to his Face, and wound his har­den'd Heart.

Again, have you turned from your Sins with free Confession of them before God? Acknow­ledging in yourselves that your Practices have been irreligoius, ungodly, and vile? Have you been so sensible of your Sins as that you could put your Fingers as it were, upon your Sores, and cry, unclean, unclean? So sensible of them as to take the whole Guil [...] and shame of them upon yourselves? Ah! are there not some of you whose proud Hearts would never come to such an acknowledgment? But you have been always excusing yourselves and lessening your Sins, to still the Clamours and Accusations of your guil­ty Consciences: Tho' in general, you'll easily acknowledge you are Sinners, yet when it comes to Particulars, there is no Sin at all, or very little to be found: Some wretched brutishs Plea or another you will always have to make your ungodly Practices appear to yourselves [Page 22]as very innocent Things, tho' you can't but know that you live contrary to the Law of God.

Farther, have you turned from your Sins, being deeply ashamed of them before [...] Have you [...]en the base Br [...]sh [...]ss and Un­reasonableness [...] your S [...]up [...]y and boldness, in a Course [...], [...]in and [...]eli [...]ion, against the strongest Rights and [...]stest Claims of Heaven, and all the Light and Warning which God has given you, so as to l [...]h your selves in your own Sight for your I [...]ies and Abominati­ons? Have not some of you a Whore's forehead, that refuses to be ashamed. Not being asham'd of the n [...] Imp [...]ent manifest Transgression of the Laws of the [...] God: Nay, do not some rather Glory in their Shame i. e. their Sin of which they ought to be asham'd: Some of you, perhaps, makes a [...]st of your Wickedness, your [...], Uncleanness, Quarrelling and the [...]ike: And don't you Pride yourselves in your S [...]ou [...]ness against all Admon [...]ions and [...] to be Religions? In your making Light of the most awful Things that can be propos'd to your Consciences? This you think be [...]ea [...]s a great and he [...]oick Spirit: Let Children and the uncultivated Vulgar give way [...]o the Impressions of such Things, but for your P [...]s yo [...] have a b [...]er Mi [...]d. It must be confess'd it is pretty great indeed [...]h [...]s to swagger it ou [...] in the Face of Almightiness, and [...] Light of these Things at which the Devils Tremble. But O, you'll Tremble as fast as they by and by, [...]less ye Repent, your great Spirit will be brought down, when your shall be as [...] S [...]bble before the consuming Flame, se [...] [...]. i e. W [...]o [...] before [...] [Page 23]Indignation, &c. Eze. 22.14. Can [...]ine Hands be strong, &c.

In the last Place have you turned from your Sin with such deep Humil [...]ation, Grief and Sor­row for it as I have described? Have you turned from all your old sinful Courses with such a Sense of your miserable Circumstances thereby, your Danger of the eternal Damnation of Hell, as made your Hearts to ake and Bleed with­in you? so that nothing cou'd yeild any Peace or Satisfaction to your distressed Souls, until you had a believing View of Jesus Christ the glorious Mediator, and some Apprehensions of having your Sins pardon'd, and being accep­ted of God in him, which Faith has been at­tended with a very sensible sanctifying Change and Al [...]eration in your whole Souls? Alas, are not many of you utter Strangers to this? You have gone on several Years in the Way of Sin and rebellious Neglect of the Ways of God­liness, and yet have never so much as had your obstinate Hearts bow'd in true Humiliation before God on that Account; but are still bold­ly persisting on in the same Course. O Si [...]s, con­sider what a deplorable Condition you are in, wherever you sit or stand in this Assembly, you have a whole Life of very aggravated Sin and Wickedness to answer and suffer for, you are un­der the dreadful and damning G [...]lt of all; not one of all your numberless Sins is pardon'd or forgiven, and Death will Arrest your Souls by and by, and carry you into the invi [...]ible World of Spirits, where (unless you are before brought out of your present Condition) you will be cast into the Prison of Hell, and lash'd to the Wheel of J [...]stice to suffer for all your Sin and Obstinacy against God, and slighting of the [Page 24]glorious Redeemer: There shall be weeping, wailing, and gnashing of Teeth to all Eterni­ty. But perhaps you think you are pretty safe for all; the Improvement of two or three Days of Sickness upon a dying Bed, will secure you for Eternity without all Doubt! O! blind and damning Delusion, God may then be as Deaf to you and all your Cries, as you have been for many Years to him. What Insolence and Haughtiness is this in vile sinful Miscreants, to think that the Great and Sovereign God must be just at their Beck and Pleasure! They for their Parts, have liberty to trample upon his Authority, abuse his Mercy, and fly in his Face all their Life, but he must be entirely at their Motion, and en [...]aged to Pardon them, and take them to himself for a few whining Con­fessions of their Sin, and cries for Mercy when they can go on in Sin no longer: O! base unworthy Thought of God. It is to Day to Day, O Sinners if ye will hear his Voice harden not your Hearts.

But I pass on to speak a little and but a little, to the 3d. Observation, viz. That it is brutish, Irrational, and Wilful for Sinners to go on still in their sinful Courses, against all the In­structions and solemn Warnings of God's Word.

Indeed, to Sin against God, much more to continue to do so, in any Circumstances is a ve­ry brutish Thing, in as much as it is most Un­reasonable: Obedience to the Sovereign God being most justly due from a rational Crea­ture. The Latin Word for Sin, Pe [...]atum, some suppose to be deriv'd from the Word Pe [...]us, which in that Language signifies Cattle, because to [Page 25]Sin is to act without any regard to the just Rea­son of Things, and so to act like a Beast.

But, how much more brutish and irrational is it for Persons to go on still in a Course of Sin and Rebellion against God, who are favour'd with the clearest Light and strongest Argu­ments of his Holy Word, most solemnly and repeatedly urged upon them: Arguments justly brought from all the Topicks of rational Per­swasion, from the intrinsick Reasonableness, Beauty, and Excellence of Obedience to the great God; and consequently the unreasonableness and unspeakable Baseness of Sin, from the endearing and tender Obligations of Goodness and Mer­cy, and so from that amiable Disposition of Gratitude and thankful Sense of undeserv'd Favour, and from the Topicks of immortal Happiness and Misery in the Life to come, both which are Unspeakable in their Dura­tion and Degree. What will a br [...]te Beast do more than Disregard all these Things? and so do such impenitent Sinners. It is not to be ad­mir'd that a Brute will not be moved by the strongest Reasons, because it has [...]ot a Capacity of understanding them: But what Account can be given for such Brutishness in rational Crea­tures▪ Be astonish'd O Heavens!

The Truth of this Observation may suffici­ently appear from what has been said already up-upon the first Head of Doctrine, for if a Reformation from Sin, and earnest Endeavours in seeking after the Favour and Mercy of God, may be reasonably expected of Sinners, to whom God has sent the Messages of his Word for that End, then certainly their Impeniten­cy and Continuance in Sin after all is most [Page 26]Unreasonable, and consequently Brutish. Sin­ners persisting in a Course of Impiety and Ir­re [...]lgion after such Means, I'm well assur'd can never be the result of impartial Considera­tion, no [...] owing to the Conduct of Right Reason, but must be imputed to an irrational, brutish, impetus, viz. mere Wilfulness. They dont go on in such a Course because they can justify it upon a fair Trial to their own Consciences, much less to the Almighty God, but because they are inclin'd to it, and so WILL do it. You that Live in a Course of Sin and secure unconcernedness about your eternal States, I am well perswaded that the most plausible Defence which you can possi­bly offer for your selves will not be able to stand an impartial Trial, even yourselves be­ing Judges; whence its manifest that you act wilfully and brutishly, and turn to your Course just as the Horse Rushes into the Battle Con­sider but the Reasons which I have brief­ly mention'd under the first Proposition, which God offers you in his Word for your Repen­tance and earnest Application to him for his Mercy, and then Try if you can find any more weighty to oppose to them.

But farther, is it not irrational and brutish for Persons to be chiefly taken up about pre­sent Things, and little or nothing concern'd about the Condition in the Time to come? This is the very Case of impenitent Sinners; and I may Appeal to the World if this is not Acting like the most senseless and impro­vident Brutes in the whole Creation. O▪ How unreasonable and absur'd is this Practice and Disposition! especially, considering that in a little Time your Condition will be unaltera­bly [Page 27]fix'd for all Eternity, either in compleat Happiness or inexpressible Misery!

Again, is it not most irrational and bru­tish to go on in the Face, of the clearest Warn­ing and most awful Threatning, without Fear or Turning? This is likewise the Case of im­penitent Sinners amongst us. How dreadful are the righteous Threatnings of the true and faithful God in his holy Oracles against impi­ous Transgressors of his Law, neglectors of his Commands, and slighters of his Authority and offer'd Mercy, and yet (bold Mortals!) they will not be deter'd: Yea, tho' the ter­rible Threats and Comminations of the great God, the sovereign Law-giver and ruler of the Universe, may be often denounced in their hearing, so that they might see the awful Ar­mour of Heaven, as it were pointed at their very Breasts, yet they brutishly slight all these Things, and boldly Rush on in the same Course, as the Horse rushes into the Bottle. An elegant Description of the Horse's rushing to the Battle, you may find, Job. 39. from verse 21 to 26, parti­cularly accommodated to the Custom of those antient Times, when Battle were generally Fought by close Engagements, and so the two contended Armies violently rush'd upon each other. He paweth in the Valey, and rejoyceth in his Strength: He goeth on to meet the armed Men: He mocketh at Fear, and is not [...]is [...]ted; neither turneth he back from the Sword: Tho' the Q [...]e [...] ratt [...]eth against him, the [...] Spear and the S [...]eld The most awful Things will neither Restrain nor terrify him, but on he will go. Just thus it is with impenitent bold Sinners: You are with a brutish Madness, rushing upon the spear Point of the divine Vengeance, and [...]o thing will hold you Back. The wicked Stre [...]eth [...] [Page 28]his Hand against God, and Strent [...]neth himself a­gainst the Almighty: He [...]neth upon him, even upon his Neck, upon the thick Losses of his [...]ucklers, Job, 15.25, 20. The Horse mocke [...]h at Fear, i. e. he despises all the objects of Terrour, they shall not stop him: And ver. 25. Among the wariours Trumpets, he saith, Ha, Ha; Thus do Sinners contemn and make Light of the most awful Threatnings of the great Jehovah; Leviathan like you Laugh at the shaking of the Spear: But O Sirs, you'll not Laugh so at the Stroke of it: When God comes to make his Sword red with Blood, and that with the Blood of the Slain, rendering Vengeance to his Enemies, and a Reward to them that hate him; O, then you'll be convinc'd or your bru­tish folly to your eternal Shame and Horror.

Thus, I think the Truth of this Proposition is clearly manifest, and how little Cause then have obstinate Sinners, to Pride themselves of their great Wisdom; or rather, what Cause have you to blush and be asham'd, when you think how you debase yourselves to the Level of the brute Creation, vilely disgracing the Excellency and Dignity of the human Soul. It is no shame for the Brutes to act as they do, because they act according to the Endow­ments of their Nature, and are not capable Subjects of moral Government: But sure it is a Shame for you to act like them especially in Things of the highest Moment and everlasting [...]. I am per [...]waded that ma [...]y such Persons as I now Speak of, wou'd be sadly asham'd of [...]ting irrationaly in many other Things, of an infinitey lower Order; and how comes it [...]hen that you think it no Disgrace to [...] yourselves like the unreasonable Crea­tures [Page 29]in the Things of God and your own eternal Interest? Wherein you pay no Re­gard to the strongest Reasons imaginable. Alas, a Course of Sin and neglect of practical Re­ligion, is become so general that this takes a­way the Igo [...]imy and Shame of it in the Eyes of the brutish World.

But the chief Inference I wou'd deduce from this Doctrine is this, Is informs us that such presumptuous wilful Sinners must expect to meet with an awfully aggrava [...]ed Damnation in the next World, u [...]less ye Repent in Earnest, and God extend undeserv'd Mercy to you and renew your unsanctify'd Souls, and fit them for his heavenly. Glory, it will be more toller­ably in the Day of God for Sodom and Go­morrah, (the Cities which the Lord destroy'd in his Anger for the most unnatural Wicked­ness) than for you, Matt. 11.20, 24. Your Im­piety and Imp [...]itency is of a more heinous and aggravated Nature, than that of the Pa­gan World, who have never had the high Advantages which you are favoured with, and therefore your Torment will be greater, in Proportion to your Crime. This Circumstance or Sins being committed and continued in a­gainst the clear Light and Warning; of God's Word has a twofold Influence upon the in­creasing of Sinners Punishment in Hell, viz. Physical and Moral. First, it will have a Physical Influence upon it: The Misery of such Sinners will of necessity be greater than of others from the very Nature of Things; for one Part of the Misery of the Damned, consists in the cutting and terrible Reflections of their Consciences upon themselves for the folly and madness which they have been [Page 30]guilty of in their past life in this World, for which they now suffer; b [...] such Gospel Sin­ners will have a [...]far higher Degree of brutish wilfulness and affronted boldness, against God to charge themselves with; and therefore their Remorse of this kind will naturally of necessity, be more Deep and Peircing the Worm that never D [...]s, an accusing tormen­ting Conscience, will gnaw more sharply up­on their Hearts.

Secondly, A continuance in a Course of Sin after all the Councils and Arguments of the World of God that are used with Sinners; will [...] a moral [...] upon the heighten­ing of their Damnation; in as much as there­by they are render'd more heinous Si [...]ers; as you have seen made Evident: The higher Advantages Persons enjoy for living a Religi­ous Li [...]e, the more thoroughly and solemnly Sinners are dealt by the Messa [...]es of God's Word, the more criminal is their Imp [...]ni­tency: The Henious base qualities of their Sins, such as brutish wilfulness, contempt of God, &c. are much more aggravated, so that they deserve a greater Punishment; and justice will undoubtedly distinguish the Degrees of Pu­nishment, according to the Degrees of Me­rit. O thou wilful and incorrigible Sinner, consider what a terrible aggravated Damnati­on thou deservest and are like to meet with in a little Time, for thy brutishness, and hea­ven daring Insolence, in paying no Regard to all the Councils, Arguments, and Threatnings of the eternal God. O consider, and Tremble at the Thought; humble thy obstinate and rebellions Heart in Time before the God that made thee, before he Tear thee in Pieces when there shall be none to deliver; and be not (any [Page 31]longer) like the [...] the Mule which have no Understanding, Psal 32.9. And you who think that your Sin is so small and trivial, consi­der these Things and see your blind Mistake.

But I hasten to the 4th and last Proposi­tion, which is, that Sinners going on in their sinful Courses, are rushing upon the most ter­rible Dangers and Miseries. And if nothing that has hitherto been spoken will move such Persons, O that what may yet be offer'd upon this Head, might awaken them to Repentance, and seeking after God that they may be saved.

Upon this Head I shall speak very briefly to these two Things, and so conclude, 1st▪ I shall show you some of these sinful Courses which lead Sinners to such terrible Mise­ries. And,

2dly, What those Dangers and Miseries are, which Sinners in these Courses are Rushing upon.

As to the former of these: In the first Place, a Course of more gross and prophane Sining leads Souls to most awful and eternal Miseries: Such as swearing, lying, taking the sacred and ve­nerable Name of God lightly and in vain, Drunk­enness, Quarelling, Whoredom, profane Sab­bath-breaking, Stealling, Defrauding, Revenge­ing, mocking and sco [...]fing at Piety and Reli­gion, and all such enormous Wickedness: All Persons who go on in these, or any of these, Practices are posting directly and speedily to eternal Destruction; bound in straight Course for Hell.

[Page 32] 2dly. Another Course of destructive sining, is a Course of licentious Merriment, Jolli [...]y, and sensual Pleasure. This is directly con­trary to that Sobriety and holy Fear of God which is inseparable from true Christianity: And I would ask such as are addicted to this Course of Life, whether you can possibly think that this is being holy in all manner of Conversation, according to 1 Pet. 1.15. Whether you can imagine that this is that Holiness without which no Man shall see the Lord You can't but know in your own Consciences that it is not, if you would allow yourselves to think Impar­tially and deliberately: Is it not rather a casting off all due Fear of the Divine Majesty; and li­ving without God in the World? O▪ Sirs, the End of all Things is at Hand: Be ye therefore sober, and watch unto Prayer. The Harp and the [...]ol, the [...]bret and the Pipe, and Wine [...] their [...]easts; but they regard not the Work of the Lord, neither consider the Operation of his Hands: therefore [...]ell both enlargea her Self, and opened her Mouth without Measure, and their Glory and their Mult [...]tude, and their Pomp, and he that rejoyceth shall descend in­to it. Isa. 5.12, 14.

3dly. An habitual Neglect and Omission of the positive Duties of Religion, is another Course of Life wherein Sinners are hastening to their own Ruin. All prayerless Persons, such as bear not a religious Regard to God's Holy-Day, and do not attend upon his institu­ted Worship and Ordinances in order to serve him stand chargeable with high Disobedience and Rebellion against God, in the Neglect of his Appointments, and contempt of his Autho­rity. Is not the Sovereign Authority of God the great giver as much condemned and [Page 33]trampled upon in not performing what he en­joyns as in commiting what he forbids? It is the same adorable authority that is slighted and disobeyed in both Cases. Hear your doom, ye Neglecters and Slighters of Religion, the Lord Jesus will be reveal'd from Heaven in flaming Fire, taking Vengeance upon all them that obey not his Gos­pel 2 Thes. 1.8.

4thly. A Course of covetous Worldliness: Which is an idolatrous prefering of the Crea­ture before God, and seting it up in his Room. Hence says the Apostle, Eph. 5.5 No covetous Man who is an Idolater hath any Inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God.

5thly. In the last Place: A Course of stupid Security, groundless Peace, and unconcerned­ness about their eternal Condition is another Course whein Sinners are going on to their De­struction. By Persons living in such fatal Secu­rity and unconcernedness, I mean all such, of whatsoever Character and Conversation they may otherwise be, who have not the sanctifying Graces of God's Spirit in their Souls, who have not the Disposition of true Holiness im­planted in their Hearts by Regeneration, but have the natural Aversion of their Wills to God still abiding and prevailing in them, and yet are stupidly insensible of their sinful and dange­rous Estate, of the deplorable Condition they are in, little distress'd or concern'd about it, not earnestly seeking after God for his renew­ing sanctifying Grace and a state of Favour with him. These Persons, tho' they may be pret­ty moral for the most part in their Practices and likewise have an outward Form and Appearance of Religion; yet, their Souls utterly unho­ly [Page 34]and vile in the Sight of God: They have never laid hold on Jesus Christ and embraced him by a true and living Faith for their Salva­tion and so slight the glorious Mediator and cross the Design of the whole Gospel; they do not truly love God above all Things and most affectionately desire to please and serve him, making it the great Design of their Lives, from a Sense of their Obligations and a Principle of Love, to live to his Honour and Glory; and thus the very Temper and Dispo­sition of their Souls is directly contrary to God and Holiness: And while they are going on [...] this unsanctify'd Condition with secure Con­sciences and whole unconcerned Hearts as if all were well with them, they are heedlessly and very irrationaly going on to their eternal Ru­in: And, alas, this deep sleep, unreasonable damning Security and unconcernedness (as it may be justy term'd) very generally prevails among Mankind: They are so taken up about other Concerns (and many of them very trifling of no Moment even as to the present Life) that they don't take time throughly to consider and examine the State of their Souls in Relation to the future World: But, as if that were a Mat­ter of no importance, readily take it for granted that they must be in a safe Condition without ever duly enquiring, by the Rule of God's Word and unbyass'd Reason, whether they have the Qualifications necessary for the Heavenly State; and so enjoy a very unreasonable Peace and Quiet in their Minds against the plainest Evidence. These are briefly some of the sinful Courses wherein Persons are going on to their own Ruin and Destruction, and that against all rational Means that can possibly be used with them, even as the Horse rusheth into the Battle. But,

[Page 35] 2dly. What are the Dangers and Miseries which in these Courses they are rushing into? In a Word, they lye open and exposed at all times to all those Plagues and Evils which God at any Time inflicts upon his Enemies either in this Life or that which is to come: And if they are not punish'd with such severe Strokes of Justice in this Life, it is not owing to the Goodness or safety of their State, or any Secu­rity which they have against it, but merely to the free and gracious Forbearance of God, whereby for a Time he defers the Strokes of his Wrath; for God is angry with the Wicked every Day, Ps. 7, 11. And however they may pros­per in this Life there is a solemn Time of Ac­counts and Payments hastning on. But, more particularly, there are two or three Dangers and Miseries I would briefly mention, which such resolute Sinners are apparently rushing upon. 1. Being judicially given up of God to hardness of Heart, searedness of Conscience, and so to their own Lusts without the least Re­straint. Thus God dealt with the Heathen World for abusing the smaller Light of Rea­son, as the Apostle infomrs us Rom. 1. Therefore God gave them up to Uncleanness, thro' the Lusts of their own Hearts, v. 24. For this Cause God gave them up unto vile [...]ffections, v. 20. And even as they did not like to retain God in their Knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate Mind, to do th [...]se Things which are not convenient, being, s [...]'d with a [...]l Unrigh­teousness, Fornication, Wickedness, Covetousness &c. v. 28. and downwards. Thus he dealt with the People of Israel Ps. 81.11, 12. but my People would not hearken to my [...], and Israel would none of me, so I gave them up to their own Hearts Lusts, and they walked in their own C [...]il. This is the Condition which Gospel-Sinners are [...] to [Page 36]come into; and is it not an awfully dangerous one? All Hope of their Conversion and Salvation is then almost quite gone. Woe unto them when God departs from them Hos. 9.12. 2. An utter and dreadful despair of Mercy even in this Life is a Misery which such Sinners are in Danger of. The Lord some times in this manner gives some Foretastes of Hell upon this Earth to such as have thus gone on in Sin against all Light and Convictions, for a Warning and Terror to others. Cain, Judas, and, in later Times, Francis Spira, John Child and others have been awful Instances of this. For all so stupid, and stout against God as Sinners are now, he may pass the Sentence of their eternal Damnation in their own Bosoms yet before they die, and cause them to feel something of the Desparati­on and Horror of the Damned World. A wil­ful persisting in the Ways of Sin against all the Light and Warning of the Word of God is the ready Way to this Misery.

3dly. In the last Place, such obstinate wilful Sinners are rushing into an awfully aggra­vated Damnation in the next World. Their Pain and Torment thro' all Eternity will be more intollerable than that of others, as has been made appear upon the foregoing Propo­sition. O! Sinners, without a saving Conver­sion to God this will be your dreadful Portion in a little Time: And can you think of this without a trembling Heart, without any Con­cern or Distress; you know not how soon Death may put an End to the Day of Life, and that will be a [...] End to all possible Hope; then you are irre [...]ievably gone for ever if you are taken a­way in this impenitent State: You stand as it were upon the very Brink of the burning Fur­nace, [Page 37]and how soon you may be cast in and seal­ed up to Eternity in the dismal Vault of Hell you know not; is it not then of the last Necessity to try to escape for your Lives while there is any Hope, before your Feet stumble upon the dark Mountains, and you fall into the Gulf of irreparable Ruin. O! Is there no irreligious Christless Person in this Assembly that is ready by this Time to cry out with the trembling Jaylor, What shall I do to be saved? I am now come to the Conclusion of this Discourse, and what more shall I say to perswade obstinate perishing Sinners to awake out of their un­reasonable Security and seek after God in good earnest that they may escape the Wrath to come; I have shown you the Nature of that Repentance which you ought to set about with the utmost Application, in seek­ing to God for your Souls Salvation; I have shown you some of the strong and weighty Reasons and Arguments which the Great God urges upon you in his Word to perswade you to it; the unreasonable horrid Brutish­ness and wilful Obstinacy of your disregard­ing them and going on still in your old Courses; and the most awful terrible Dan­gers and Miseries which you are thereby rush­ing yourselves into; and, O Sirs, will none of these Things move you! What a m [...]ke are you of [...] Will nothing that can be said to you perswade you from Death and Ruin! Or, so much as to seek after your everlasting Happiness! Are you so intoxicated with a love to Sin and dis [...]beying God from whom you had your being and still have all your Be­nef [...]s, and who [...] must be your Happiness, that the everlasting Interest of your immor­tal Souls will not overballance it! Are you [Page 38]resolv'd upon your own eternal Destruction? To sell your deathless Souls to eternal Pains for a thing of nought? If any of you are brought to a Sense of your miserable perishing Condition by a Life of Sin, and hearty Reso­lution to seek for Relief out of it, let me direct and beseech you not to suffer these Im­pressions to wear off and die away without saving Effects; but endeavour to apply these Things still closely to your Hearts; take the eternal Concerns of your Souls into Solemn Consideration, and abstain from all your for­mer Courses of Sin and Negligence; cry, O cry earnestly and often to the Great God for his pardoning Mercy in Christ, and renewing Grace that you may be entituled to and pre­pared for his glorious Kingdom. And one Thing I would have you very particularly to take Notice of, viz. To consider in all your Applications to God for your Salvation that if ever you are saved and received to Mercy it must be thro' the Merits and Mediation of Jesus Christ alone and nothing else. If you lay your Dependance and Hope for Par­don and Acceptance with God upon your Re­forming, Praying, and Repentance, you will eternally miss of it: For this is acting con­trary to the very Design of the Gospel, and new Covenant-Way of Salvation. You are to observe and Practice these Things as the Means which God requires you to use to seek his Mercy and your own Salvation by: But if guilty Sinners hope by these Things, by their own filty Rags, and impure Righteous­ness to encline the Love and Favour of God towards them, they may expect he will frown them into Hell for their Impudence: He has [Page 39]established another Method for their Relief which is more agreeable to his Wisdom, bet­ter suited to the glorious Dignity and Per­fections of his Nature, and requires that they comply with it, humbly and thankfully em­brace their Salvation in that Way in which he is willing to give it. If ever God have Mercy upon you and be reconciled to you it will be for the perfect and pure Righteous­ness of his own Son alone: The Merit and Righteousness, the Obedience and Sufferings of Jesus Christ must be accepted for you; there is no other possible Way for your Salvati­on John 14.6. [...]cts 4.12. Rom. 3.24, 25. with many other Scriptures. And if ever you have a Share and Interest in his Righteous­ness and Mediation, and are brought into a State of Justification and Peace with God by it, you must close with him by Faith, reject all Trust and Confidence in any Thing else, fly to him alone for your Relief, lay the whole Weight of your Salvation upon his Merit and Medi­ation, and so take him with all your Heart for your only Saviour. And whosoever do so come to Christ shall never be confounded; his faithful Word is engaged for it: And there­fore, O beg of God that he would give you true Faith to embrace the Redeemer, & enable you to receive and close with him in a right Manner. And know that there is a blessed and glorious Change wrought in a Sinners Heart, when by Faith he closes with Christ, as to the Act­ings and Dispositions, of it towards God; which likewise produces an answerable Al­teration in the outward Practice and Deport­ment. O ye secure impenitent Sinners awake awake out of your deep and deadly Sleep, out of your delusive Dreams, before the burning [Page 40]Flames of Tophet kindle upon you and bring you to your Senses, and fly to Christ that you may be saved. May the Lord bless these Thing [...] to our everlasting Benefit.

FINIS.

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