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paths thou hast hitherto walked in? If this way lead to hell, as thou fearest it may, think then how many millions of men must perish as well as thyself; and is such a supposition consistent with the gracious and merciful nature of God? Besides, think what sort of people those are, unto whom thou art about to join thyself in this new way? Are there not to be found among them many things to discourage thee, and cool thy zeal? They are generally of the lower and bafer fort of men, poor and defpicable : Seest thou not, though their profession be holy, how earthly, carnal, proud, factious, and hypocritical, many of them are found to be! And doubtless, the rest are like them, though their hypocrify be not yet discovered.
O what stands and demurs? what hesitations and doubts, is the soul clogged with in its way to Christ! But yet none of these can withhold and detain the soul, when the Father draws; Greater, then, is he that is in us, than he that is in the world. And thus you see the nature, manner, and efficacy of divine drawings, and how impossible it is for any foul to come to Christ without them.
The inferences and improvements of the point follow.
Infer. 1. How deeply and thoroughly is the nature of man corrupted, and what an enemy is every man to his orun happiness, that he must be drawn to it? John v. 40.
" You will not come that
ye might have life.” Life is desireable in every man's eyes, and eteroal is the most excellent life; yet, in this, the world is rather agreed to die and perish for ever, than come to Christ for life. Had Christ told us of fields and vineyards, Theep and oxen, gold and silver, honours and sensual pleasures, who would not have come to him for thefe? But to tell of mortification, self-denial, ftrictness of life, and sufferings for his fake, and all this for an happiness to be enjoyed in the world to come, nature will never like such a propo. sition as this.
You see where it sticks, not in a simple inability to believe, but in an inability complicated with enmity; they neither can come, oor will come to Chrift: It is true, all that do come to Christ, come willingly; but thanks be to the grace of God, that hath freed and persuaded the will, else they had never been willing to come : Who ever found his own heart first stir and move towards Christ? How long may we wait and expect, before we fall feel our hearts naturally burn with desires after, and love to Jesus Christ?
This aversion of the will and affections from God, is one of
the main roots of original fin. No argument can prevail to bring the foul to Chrilt, till this be mattered and overpowered by the Father's drawing. In our motions to fin, we need te Araining, but in' all our motions to Christ, we as much need drawing. He that comes to heaven may fay, Lord, if I had had my own way and will, I had never come here ; if thou hadít not drawn me, I thould never have come to thee. O the riches of the grace of God! Oh unparalleled mercy and goodness! not only to prepare fuch a glory as this for an unworthy foal, but to put forth the exceeding greatness of thy power, afterwards! to draw an unwilling soul to the enjoyment of it,
Inter. 2. What enemies are they to God, and the souls of men, that do all they can to discourage and hinder the conversion of men to Christ? God draws forward, and these do all that in them lies to draw backward, (i. e.) to prejudice and discourage them from coming to Jesus Christ in the way of faith: this is a direct opposition to God, and a plain confederacy with the devil.
0, how nany have been thus discouraged in their way to Chrift, by their carnal relations, I cannot fay friends! Their greatest enemies have been the men of their owu house. These have pleaded (as if the devil had hired and feed them) against the everlasting welfare of their own fles. O cruel parents, brethren, and offers, that jeer, frown, and threaten, where they should encourage, asist, and rejoice! Such parents are the de vil's childrev. Satan chuses such instruments as you are, above all others, for this work : he koows what influence and autho
have upon them, and over them; and what fear, love, and dependance, they have for you, and upon you ; so that none in all the world are like to manage the delign of their damnacion fo effe Quaily, as you are like io do.
Will you neither come to Christ yourselves, por fuffer your dear relations that would ? Had you rather find them in the alehouse, than in the closet? Did you instrumentally give them their being, and will you be the inftruments of ruining for ever those beings they had from you? Did you fo earneilly desire children, fo tenderly nurse and provide for them; take such delight in them; and, after all this, do what in you lies to damn and deltroy them; If these lints shall fall into any such hands, O that God would fet home the conviction, and fepse of this horrid evil upon their hearts.
And no less guilty of ihis fin are scandalous and loose profeffors, who serve to furnish the devil with the greatest argu-ments he hath to dislijade men from coming to Chrift: it is your looseness, and hypocrisy, by which he hopes to scare other
from Christ. It is said, Cant. ii. 7. “ I charge you by the rocs " and hinds of the field, that ye itir not up, nor awake my be. “ loved till he please.”
Roes and hinds, like young converts and comers towards Christ, are shy and timerous creatures, that start at the least found, or yelp of a dog, and fly away. Take heed what you do in this case, left you go down to hell under the guilt of damning more fouls than your own.
Infer. 3. Learn hence, the true ground and reason of those Arange, amazing, and supernuturai ejfets, that you behold, and
Jo admire in the world, as often as you see finners forsaking their ; pleasant, profitable corruptions, and companions, and embracing the ways of Christ, godliness, and mortification.
It is faid, 1 Pet. iv. 4." They think it ftrange, that you
run not with them into the same excess of riot ;” The word is, sv as Zorecortas, they stand at a gaze, as the hen that hath hatchpartridge eggs doth, when she fees them take the wing and fiy away from her.
Beloved, it is the world's wonder to see their companions in fin forsake them; those that were once as prophane, and vain as themselves, it may be more, to forsake their fociety, retire into their closets, mourn for fin, spend their time in meditation and prayer, embrace the feverest duties, and content to run the greatest hazard in the world for Chrift; but they fee not that almighty power that draws them, which is too strong for all the sinful ties and engagements in the world to withhold and detain them.
A man would have wondered to see Elisha, leave the oxen, and run after Elijah, saying, “ Let me go, I pray thee, and kiis
my father and mother, and then I will follow thee;" when Elijarh had said nothing to persuade him to follow him, only, as he passed by him, he cast his mantle on him, 1 Kings X. 19, 20. Surely that foul whom God draws, must needs leave all and follow Christ, for the power of God restcth on it. All carnal ties and engagements to fin, break and give way, when the Father draws the soul to Christ in the day of his power.
Infer. 4. Is this the first spring of spiritual motion after Chrif? Learn then from hence, how it comes to pajs that so many excellent fermons, and powerful persuasions are ineffuftual, and cannot draw and win one foul to Christ. Surely it is because minifters draw atone ; and the special saving power of God gues not forth, at all times alike, with their endeavours. Paul was a chofen vessel, filled with a grater measure of gifts
and graces by the Spirit, than any that went before him, or followed after him; and, as his talents, fo his diligence in improving them, was beyond any recorded example we read of a. mongst men; “ He rather flew like a seraphim, than travelled upon
his master's errand about the world*.” Apollos was an eloquent preacher, and mighty in the scriptures, yet Paul is “ pothing, and Apollos nothng; but God that gives the in. “ crease,” i Cor. iii. 7. We are too apt to admire men, yea, and the best are but loo apt to go forth in the strength of their own parts and preparations; but God secures his own glory, and magnifies his own power, frequently, in giving success to weaker endeavours, and men of lower abilities, when he withholds it from men of more raised, refined, and excellent gifts and abilities. It is our great honour, who are the ministers of the gospel
, that we are ourzypos, workers together with God, 1 Cor. iii. 9. in his strength we can prevail; “ the weapons of our warfare are
mighty through God,” 2 Cor. x. 4. But if his presence, blessing, and affiftance, be not with us, we are nothing, we can do nothing
If we prepare diligently, pray heartily, preach zealously, and our hearers go as they came, without any spiritual effects and fruits of our labours, what shall we say, but as Martha faid to Christ, “ Lord, if thou hadft been here, my brother had not “ died :" Had the Spirit of God gone forth with his especial efficacy and blessing, with this prayer, or that fermon, these fouls had not departed dead, and senseless from under it.
Infer. 5. Doth all success and efficacy depend upon the Father's drawings Let none then despair of their unregenerate, and carnal relations, over whose obstinacy they do, and have cause to
What, if they have been as many years under the preaching of the gospel, as the poor man lay at the pool of Bethesda, and hitherto to no purpose ? A time may come at last, (as it did for him) when the Spirit of God may move upon the waters; I mean put a quickening and converting power into the means, and then the desire of your souls for them shall be fulfilled.
It may be, you have poured out many prayers, and tears to the Lord for them; you have cried for them as Abraham for
“ O that lihmael might live before thee !” O that this poor husband, wife, child, brother, or fifter, might live in the sight; and still you see them continue caroal, dead, and sense
* Ως πτηνος την οικεμενην, και ως «σωματος διαδραμε. Chryfoff,
less: Well, but yet give not up your hopes, nor cease your pious endeavours, the time may come when the Father may draw as well as you, and then you shall see them quit all, and come to Christ; and nothing shall binder them. They are now drawn away of their own lults; they are easily drawn away by their sinful companions ; but when God draws, none of these shall withdraw them from the Lord Jesus, What is their ignorance, obftinacy, and hardness of heart, before that mighty power that subdues all things to itself? Go therefore to the Lord, by prayer, for them, and say, Lord, I have laboured for my poor relations in vain, I have spent my exhortations to little purpose ; the work is too difficult for me, can I carry it no farther, but thou canst: O let thy power go forth ; they shall be willing day of thy power.
Infer 6. If none can come to Christ, except the Father draw them, then surely none can be drawn from Chrift except the Fatber leave them : That power which at first drew them to Christ, can secure and establish them in Christ to the end, John
My father which gave them me is greater than “ all, and no man is able to plock them out
Father's “ hand.”
When the power of God at first draws us out of our natural state to Chrift, it finds us not only impotent, but obftinate, not only unable, but unwilling to come; and yet this power of God prevails against all opposition : How much more is it able to preserve and secure us, when his fear is put into our inward parts, so that we dare not depart, we have no will to depart from him ? Well then, if the world say, I will ensnare thee; if the devil say, I will destroy thee; if the Helh say I will betray thee; yet thou art secure and safe, as long as God hath said, “ I will never leave “ thee nor forsake thee,” Heb. xiii. 5.
Infer. 7. Let this engage you to a constant, attendance upon the ordinances of God, in which this drawing power of God is sometimes put forth upon the hearts of men.
Beloved, there are certain seasons in which the Lord comes nigh to men in the ordinances and duties of his worship; and we know not at what time the Lord cometh forth by his Spirit upon this design: he many times comes in an hour when we think not of him ; “ I am found of them that fought me not;" Ifa. Ixv. 1. It is good therefore, to be found in the way of the Spirit : Had that poor man, that lay so long at the pool of Bethesda, reasoned thus with himself, so long have I lain here in vain expecting a cure, it is to no purpose to wait longer, and fo had been absent at that very time when the angel came down,