Page images

deliver up myself to thee, receive me; write thy name, O Lord, upon me, and upon all that I have, as thy proper goods: set thy mark upon me, upon every member of my body, and every faculty of my soul. I have chosen thy precepts, thy law will I lay before me; this shall be the copy which I will keep in my eye, and study to write after. Accord ing to this rule do I resolve, by thy grace, to walk; after this law shall my whole man be governed; and though I cannot perfectly keep one of thy commandments, yet I will allow myself in the breach of none. I know my flesh will hang back, but I resolve, in the power of thy grace, to cleave to thee, and thy holy ways, whatever it cost me. I am sure I cannot come off a loser by thee, therefore I will be content with reproach, and difficulties, and hardships here; and will deny myself, and take up my cross, and follow thee. Lord Jesus, thy yoke is easy, thy cross is welcome, as it is the way to thee. I lay aside all hopes of worldly happiness, I will be content to tarry till I come to thee: let me be poor and low, little and despised here, so I may be but admitted to live and reign with thee hereafter. Lord, thou hast my heart and hand to this agreement: be it as the laws of the Medes and Persians, never to be reversed; to this I will stand, in this resolution, by grace, I will live and die. I have sworn, and will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments; I have given my free consent, I have made my everlasting choice :Lord Jesus, confirm the contract, Amen.



THOUGH what is already said of the necessity of conversion, and of the miseries of the unconverted, might be sufficient to induce any considering mind to resolve upon a present turning or conversion unto God; yet knowing what a piece of desperate obstinacy and untractableness the heart of man naturally is, I have thought it necessary to add to the means of conversion, and directions for a covenant-closure with God in Christ, some motives to persuade you hereunto.

"O Lord, fail me not now, at my last attempts. If any soul hath read hitherto, and be yet untouched, now, Lord, fasten in him, and do thy work now take him by the heart, overcome him, persuade him, till he say, Thou hast prevailed, for thou wert stronger than I. Lord, didst thou not make me a fisher of men? And have I toiled all this while, and caught nothing? Alas, that I should have spent my strength for naught! and now I am casting my last: Lord Jesus, stand thou upon the shore, and direct how and where I shall spread my net; and let me so inclose with arguments the souls I seek for, that they may not be able to get out. Now, Lord, for a multitude of souls! now for a full draught! O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me this once, O God."

But I turn unto you.

Men and brethren, heaven and earth do call upon you; yea, hell itself doth preach the doctrine of repentance unto you: the angels of the churches travail with you, Gal. iv. 19, the angels of heaven wait for you, for your repenting and turning unto God. O sinner! why should the devils make merry with thee? Why shouldst thou be a morsel for that devouring Leviathan? Why should harpies and hell-hounds tear thee, and make a feast upon thee; and when they have got thee into the snare, and have fastened their talons in thee, laugh at thy destruction, and deride thy misery, and sport themselves with thy damnable folly? This must be thy case, except thou turn. And were it not better thou shouldst be a joy to angels, than a laughing stock and sport for devils? Verily, if thou wouldst but come in, the heavenly host would take up their anthems, and sing, Glory be to God in the highest; the morning stars would sing together, and all the sons of God shout for joy, and celebrate this new creation as they did the first. Thy repentance would, as it were, make holyday in heaven, and the glorious spirits would rejoice, in that there is a new brother added to their society, Rev. xxii. 9, another heir born to their Lord, and the lost son received safe and sound. The true penitent's tears are indeed the wine that cheereth both God and man.

If it be little, that men and angels would rejoice at thy conversion, know that God himself would rejoice over thee, even with sing

ing, and rest in his love, Luke xv. 9. Isa. Ixii. 5. Never did Jacob with such joy' weep over the neck of his Joseph, as thy heavenly Father would rejoice over thee, upon thy coming in to him. Look over the story of the prodigal methinks I see how the aged father lays aside his state, and forgets his years. Behold how he runneth! Luke xv. 20. Oh the haste that mercy makes! the sinner makes not half that speed. Methinks I see how his bowels turn, how his compassions yearn.(How quick sighted is love!) Mercy spies him a great way off, forgets his riotous courses, unnatural rebellion, horrid unthankfulness, debauched practices, (not a word of these) and receives him with open arms, clasps about his neck, forgets the nastiness of his rags, kisseth the lips that deserved to be loathed, the lips that had been joined to harlots, that had been commoners with the swine: calls for the fatted calf, the best robe, the ring, the shoe, the best cheer in heaven's store, the best attire in heaven's wardrobe, Luke xv. 6, 9, 23. Yea, the joy cannot be held in one breast, &c. others must be called to participate; the friends must meet, and make merry: angels must wait, but the prodigal must be set at the table, under his Father's wing he is the joy of the feast he is the sweet subject of the Father's delight:the friends sympathize; but none knows the felicity the Father takes in his new born son, whom he hath received from the dead. Methinks I hear the music and the dancing at a distance. Oh the melody of the heavenly

choristers! I cannot learn the song, Rev. xiv. 3, but methinks I overhear the burden, at which all the harmonious choir with one consent strike sweetly in; for thus goes the round at heaven's table, "For this my son was dead, and is alive again, was lost, and is found," Luke xv. 22, 24, 32. I need not further explain the parable: God is the Father, Christ is the cheer, his righteousness the robe, his graces the ornaments, ministers, saints, angels, the friends and servants; and thou that readest (if thou wilt but unfeignedly repent and turn) the welcome prodigal, the happy instance of this grace, and blessed subject of this joy and love.

O rock! O adamant! what! not moved yet? nor yet resolved to turn forthwith, and to close with mercy? I will try thee yet once again if one were sent to thee from the dead, wouldst thou be persuaded? Why, hear the voice from the dead, from the damned, crying to thee that thou shouldst repent. I pray thee, that thou wouldst send him to my father's house; for I have five brethren, that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this: place of torment. If one went unto them from the dead, they will repent, Luke xvi. 27, 28, &c. Hear, Ŏ man! thy predecessors in impenitence preach to thee from the infernal gibbets, from the flames, from the rack, that thou shouldst repent. Oh! look down into the bottomless pit: seest thou how the smoke of their torment ascendeth for ever and ever? Rev. xiv. 11. How black are the fiends! how furious are their tormentors! "Tis their

« PreviousContinue »