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think the mercies of God will melt them, and his winning invitations will overcome them; but I find them as they were : sometimes that the terror of the Lord will persuade them, yet neither will this do it. They will approve the word, like the sermon, commend the preacher ; but they will yet live as they did: they will not deny me, yet they will not obey me. They will flock to the word of God, and sit before me as his people, and hear my words ; but they will not do them. They value, and will plead for ministers, and I am to them as the lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice.; yet I cannot get them to come under Christ's yoke. They love me, and will be ready to say, they will do any thing for me; but for my life I cannot persuade them to leave their sins, to forego their evil company, their intemperance, their unjust gain, &c. I cannot prevail with them to set up prayer in their families and closets, yet they will promise me, like the forward son, that said, I go, sir ; but went not, Matt. xxi. 30. I cannot persuade them to learn the principles of religion, though else they will die without knowledge, Job xxxvi. 12. Itell them their misery, but they will not believe but’tis well enough : if I tell them particular. ly, I fear for such reasons their state is bad, they will judge me censorious; or if they be at present a little awakened, they are quick. ly lulled asleep by satan again, and have lost the sense of all.
Alas for my poor hearers ! must they perish at last by hundreds, when ministers would so fain save them? What course shall I use with them that I have not tried ?. What shall I do for the daughter of my people ? Jer ix. 7. O Lord God, help. Alas! shall I leave them thus ? If they will not hear me, yet do thou hear me : Oh that they might yet live in thy sight! Lord, save them, or else they perish. My heart would melt to see their houses on fire about their ears, when they were fast asleep in their beds; and shall not my soul be moved within me, to see them falling into endless perdition ! Lord, have compassion, and save them out of the burning: put forth thy divine power, and the work will be done: but as for me, I cannot prevail.]
SHEWING THE MARKS OF THE UNCONVERTED.
WHILE we keep aloof in generals, there is little fruit to be expected: it is the handfight that does execution. David is not awakened by the prophet's hovering at a distance in parabolical insinuations : he is forced to close with him, and tell him home, Thou art
Few will, in words, deny the nccessity of the new birth ; but they have selfdeluding confidence, that the work is not now to do: and because they know themselves free from that gross hypocrisy that doth take
up religion merely for a colour to deceive others, and for the covering of wicked designs, they are confident of their sincerity, and sus. pect not that more close hypocrisy (where the greatest danger lies) by which a man deceiv. eth his own soul, James i. 26.' But man's deceitful heart is such a matchless cheat, and self-delusion so reigning and so fatal a disease, that I know not whether be the greater, the difficulty, or the displicency, or the necessity of the undeceiving work that I am now upon. Alas! for my unconverted hear. ers, they must be undeceived or undone. But how shall this be effected ? Hic labor, hoc
[Help, 0 all-searching light, and let thy discerning eye discover the rotten foundation of the self-deceiver, and lead me, O Lord God, as thou didst the prophet, into the chambers of imagery, and dig through the wall of sinners hearts, and discover the hidden abominations that are lurking out of sight in the dark. Oh send thine angel before me, to open the sundry wards of their hearts, as thou didst before Peter, and make even the iron gates to fly open of their own accord. And as Jonathan no sooner tasted the honey but his eyes were enlightened, so grant, O Lord, that when the poor deceived souls with whom I have to do shall cast their eyes upon these lines, their minds may be illuminated, and their consciences convinced and awakened, that they may see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and be converted, and thou mayst heal them.]
This must be premised before we proceed to the discovery, That it is most certain men may have a confident persuasion that their hearts and states be good, and yet be unsound. Hear the truth himself, who shews in Laodicea's case, that men may be wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, and yet not know it; yea, they may be coafident they are rich and increased in grace, Rev. iii. 17. There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness, Prov. xxx. 12.
Who better persuaded of his case than Paul, while yet he remained unconverted ? Rom. vii. 9. So that they are miserably deceived that take a strong confidence for a sufficient evidence. They that have no better proof than barely a strong persuasion that they are converted, are certainly as yet strangers to conversion.
But to come more close : as it was said of the adherents of antichrist, so here; some of the unconverted carry their marks in their foreheads, more openly; and some in their hands more covertly. The apostle reckons up some, upon whom he writes the sentence of death, as in these dreadful catalogues, which I beseech you to attend with all dili. gence, Eph. v. 5, 6. For this you know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words ; for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Rev. xxi. 8. But the fearful and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murder. ers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake that burneth with fire and brim. stone, which is the second death. 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10. Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inkerit the kingdom of God? Be not de. ceired ; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with inankind, nor thieves, nor coretous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor c.rtortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of Gud. Lee Gal. 1. 19, 20, 21. Wo to them that have their names written in these red rolls: such may know, as certainly as if God had told it them from heaven, that they are insanctified, and under an impossibility of bea ing saved in this condition.
There are then these several sorts, that past all dispute are unconverted : they carry their marks in their foreheads.
1. The unclean. These are ever reckoned among the seats, and have their names (whoever be left ont) in all the forementioned cata. logues, Eph. v. 5, Rev. xxi. 8, 1 Cor. v. 9, 19.
2. Tlie coretous. These are ever branded for islolatcrs, and the doors of the kingdom are shut against them by name, Eph. v. 5, Col. iii. 5, 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10.
3. Drunkards. Not only such as drink away their reason, but withal, yea, above all, such as are too strong for strong drink. The Jord fills bis mouth with woes against these, and declared them to have no inheritance in