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thou must set to it, and resolve to take no denial: that man who is fixed in his resolution, says, "Well, I must have grace, or I will never give over till I have grace; I will never leave seeking, waiting, and striving with God and my own heart, till he doth renew me by the power of his grace." This man is in the likeliest way to win grace.

Direct. 14. Forsake thy evil company,* and forbear the occasion of sin.t Thou wilt never be turned from sin, till thou wilt decline and forego the temptations of sin.

I never expect thy conversion from sin, unless thou art brought to such self-denial, as to flee the occasions. If thou wilt be nibbling at the bait, and playing on the brink, and tampering and meddling with the snare, thy soul will surely be taken. Where God doth expose men in his providence unavoidably to temptation, and the occasions are such as we cannot remove, we may expect special assistance in the use of means; but when we tempt God by running into danger, he will not engage to support us when we are tempted. And of all temptations, one of the most fatal and pernicious is evil company. O, what hopeful Deginnings have these often stifled! O, the souls, the estates, the families, the towns that these have ruined! How many poor sin

* Prov, ix, 6.

+ Prov. xxiii. 31.

ners who have been enlightened and convinced, and been just ready to give the devil the slip, and have even escaped the snare, and yet wicked company have pulled them back at last, and made them sevenfold more the children of hell! In a word, I have no hopes of thee, except thou wilt shake off thy evil company. Christ speaketh to thee as to them in another case, "If thou seek me, then let these go their way.' "* Thy life lies upon

it; forsake these, or else thou canst not live.t Wilt thou be worse than the beast, to run on when thou seest the Lord with a drawn sword in the way? Let this sentence be written in capitals upon thy conscience, a

COMPANION OF FOOLS SHALL BE DESTROY

ED. The Lord hath spoken it, and who shall reverse it? And wilt thou run upon destruction, when God himself doth forewarn thee? If God doth ever change thy heart, it will appear in the change of thy company. O, fear and flee the gulph, by which so many thousand souls have been swallowed up in perdition! It will be hard for thee indeed to make thy escape; thy companions will be mocking thee out of thy religion, and will study to fill thee with prejudices against strictness, as ridiculous and comfortless. They will be flattering thee, and alluring thee, but remember the warning of the Holy Ghost: "My son, if sin*John xviii. 8. † Prov. ix. 6. ‡ Num. xxii. Prov. xiii. 20.

33.

ners entice thee, consent thou not: if they say, Come with us, cast in thy lot among us; walk thou not in the way with them, refrain thy foot from their path, avoid it, pass by it, turn from it, and pass away: for the way of the wicked is darkness, they know not at what they stumble; they lay wait for their own blood, they lurk privily for their own lives."*

Thus have I told thee what thou must do to be saved. Wilt thou not obey the voice of the Lord? Wilt thou not arise and set to thy work? O man! what answer wilt thou make, what excuse wilt thou have, if thou shouldst perish at last though very wilfulness, when thou hast known the way of life? I do not fear thy miscarrying, if thine own idleness do not at last undo thee, in neglecting the use of the means that are so plainly here prescribed. Rouse up, O sluggard! and ply thy work: be doing, and the Lord will be with thee.

* Prov. i. 10, 18, and iv. 14, 19.

CHAPTER VII.

Containing the Motives to Conversion.

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 covenantclosure with God and Christ, some motives to persuade you hereunto.

"Lord, fail me not now, at my last attempt. If any soul hath read hitherto, and is yet untouched now, Lord, fasten on him, and do thy work; now take him by the heart, overcome him, persuade him, till he say, Thou has prevailed for thou wert stronger than I.-Lord, didst thou not make me a fisher of men, and I have toiled all this while and caught nothing? Alas! that I should have spent my strength for naught. And now 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!"

O! I am even lost and swallowed up in the abundance of those arguments that I might suggest: if there be any point of wisdom in all the world, it is to repent and come in: if there be any thing righteous, any thing reasonable, this is it: if there be any thing in the world that may be called madness and folly, and any thing that may be counted sottish, absurd, brutish, unreasonable, it is this, to go on in thine unconverted state. Let me beg of thee, as thou wouldst not wilfully destroy thyself, to sit down and weigh, besides what has been said, these following motives, and let conscience speak, if it be not reasonable thou shouldst repent and turn.

"The God that made thee doth most graciously invite thee.”

First, his most sweet and merciful nature doth invite thee." O the kindness of God, his yearning bowels, his tender mercies! They are infinitely above our thoughts, higher than heaven, what can we do? Deeper than hell, what can we know?* He is full of compassion, and gracious; long-suffering and plenteous in mercy." This is a great argument to persuade sinners to come in:

"Turn unto the Lord your God, for he is gracious and

*Job xi. 7, 8, 9.

Psal. lxxxvi. 15.

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