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come in. If you are not the despisers of grace, and would not shut up the doors of mercy against yourselves, repent and be converted: let not heaven stand open for you in vain: let not the Lord Jesus bid you buy without money and without price, in vain: let not his ministers, and his spirit strive with you in vain, and leave you now at last unpersuaded, lest the sentence go forth against you, "The bellows are burnt, the lead is consumed of the fire, the founder melteth in vain, reprobate silver shall men call them, because the Lord hath rejected them.""*

Father of spirits, take the heart in hand that is too hard for my weakness. Do not thou end, though I have done: half a word from thy effectual power will do the work. O thou that hast the key of David, that openest and no man shutteth, open thou this heart as thou didst Lydia's, and let the king of glory enter in, and make this soul thy captive! Let not the tempter harden him in delays; let him not stir from this place, nor take his eyes from these lines, till he be resolved to forego his sins, and accept of life on thy self-denying terms. In thy name, O Lord God, did I go forth to these labours; in thy name do I shut them up. Let not all the time they have cost

* Jer. vi. 29, 30.

be lost hours: let not all the thoughts of heart, and all the pains that have been about them, be but lost labour. Lord, put in thy hand into the heart of this reader, and send thy Spirit, as once thou didst Philip to join himself to the chariot of the Eunuch, while he was reading the word. And though I should never know it while I live, yet I beseech thee, O Lord God, let it be found at that day that some souls are converted by these labours; and let some be able to stand forth, and say, that by these persuasions they were won unto thee. Amen, Amen. Let him that readeth, say, Amen.

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Beloved, I despair of ever bringing you to salvation without sanctification, or possessing you of happiness without persuading you to holiness. God knows, I have not the least hope ever to see one of your faces in heaven, except you be converted, and sanctified, and exercise yourselves unto godliness; I beseech you study personal godliness and family godliness.

1. Personal Godliness. Let it be your first care to set up Christ in your hearts. See that you make all your worldly interests to stoop to him, that you be entirely and unreservedly devoted unto him. If you wilfully, and deliberately, and ordinarily harbour any sin, you are undone.* See that you unfeignedly take the law of Christ as the rule of your words, thoughts, and actions; and subject your whole man, members and minds, faithfully to him. If you have not a true respect to all

*Psal. lxviii. 21. Ezek. xviii. 20. 34. Rom. vi. 13

+ Psal. cxia.

God's commandments, you are unsound at heart. O study to get the image and impress of Christ upon you within. Begin with your hearts, else you build without any foundation. Labour to get a saving change within, or else all external performances will be to no purpose: and then study to show forth the power of godliness in the life. Let piety be your first and great business; it is the highest point of justice to give God his due. Beware that none of you be a prayerless person; for that is a most certain discovery that you are a Christless and graceless person; or one that is a very stranger to the fear of God.† Suffer not your bibles to gather dust; see that you converse daily with the word. That man can never lay claim to blessedness, whose delight is not in the law of the Lord. § Let meditation and self-examination be your daily exercise.

But piety without charity is but the half of christianity; or rather impious hypocrisy. We may not divide the tables; see therefore that you do justly and love mercy, and let equity and charity run like an even thread throughout all your dealings. Be you temperate in all things, and let chastity and sobriety be your undivided companions. Let truth and

*Psal. cxix. 6. › Psal. i. 1, 2.

+ Psal. v. 7.

John v. 39

purity; seriousness and modesty, heavenliness and gravity, be the constant ornaments of your speech. Let patience and humility, simplicity and sincerity, shine out in all the parts of your conversation. See that you forget and forgive wrongs, and requite them with kindness, as you would be found the children of the Most High. Be merciful in your censures, and put the most favourable construction upon your brethren's carriage, that their actions will reasonably bear. Be slow in promising, and punctual in fulfilling. Let meekness and innocence, affability, yieldingness, and simplicity commend your conversations to all men. Let none of your relations want that love and loyalty, reverence and duty, that tenderness, care and vigilance, which their several places and capacities call for. This is thorough godliness. I charge you before the most High God, that none of you be found a swearer, or a liar, or a lover of evil company, or a scoffer, or malicious, or covetous, or a drunkard, or a glutton, unrighteous in his dealings, unclean in his living, or a quarreller, or a thief, or a backbiter, or a railer; for I denounce unto you from the living God, that destruction and damnation is the end of all such.*

* Prov. xiii. 20. James v. 12. Rev. xxi. 8. 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10. Gal. v. 19, 21.

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