Page images
PDF
EPUB

of conversion and the new birth. Unless thou turn unfeignedly from all thy sins, and come into Jesus Christ, and take him for the Lord thy righteousness, and walk in him in holiness, and newness of life; as the Lord liveth, it is not more certain that thou art now out of hell, than that thou shalt without fail be in it but a few days and nights from hence. Oh! set thine heart to think of thy case. Is not thine everlasting misery or welfare that which doth deserve a little consideration ? Look again over the miseries of the unconverted : if the Lord hath not spoken by me, regard me not ; but if it be the very word of God, that all this misery lies upon thee, what a case art thou in! Is it for one that hath his senses to live in such a condition, and not to make all possible expedition for preventing his utter ruin? O man ! who hath bewitched theo ? Gal. iii. 1. that in the matters of this present life thou shouldst be wise enough to forecast thy business, foresee thy danger, and prevent thy mischief; but in matters of everlasting consequence shouldst be slight and careless, as if they little concerned thee? Why, is it nothing to thee to have all the attributes of God engaged against thee ? Canst thou do well without his favour? Canst thou escape his hands, or endure his vengeance ? Dost thou hear the creation groaning under thee, and hell groaning for thee, and yet think thy case good enough? Art thou in the paw of the lion, under the power of corruption, in the dark and noisome prison, fettered with thy lusts, working out thine own dam. nation; and is not this worth the considering? Wilt thou make light of all the terrors of the law, of all its curses and thunderbolts, as if they were but the report of the children's popguns, or thou wert to war with their paper pellets ?. Dost thou laugh at hell and des. truction ? Or canst thou drink the envenomed cup of the Almighty's fury, as if it were but a common potion ?

Gird up now thy loins like a man, for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me, Job xl. 7. Art thon such a Leviathan as that the scales of thy pride should keep thee from thy Maker's coming at thee? Wilt thou esteem his arrows as straw, and the instruments of death as rotten wood ? Art thou chief of all the children of pride, even that thou shouldst count his darts as stubble, and laugh at the shaking of his spear ? Art thou made without fear, and contemnest his barbed irons ? Job xli. Art thou like the horse that paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth. in bis strength, who goeth out to meet the armed men ? Dos thou mock at fear, and art not affrighted, neither turnest back from God's sword, when his quiver rattleth against thee, the glittering spear and the shield ? Job xxxix, 21, 22, 23. Well, if the threats and calls of the word will not fear thee nor awaken thee, I am sure death and judgment will... Oh, what wilt thou do when the Lord cometh forth against thee, and in his fury falleth upon thee, and thou shalt feel what thou readest! If when Daniel's enemies were cast into the den of lions, both they, and their wives and their children, the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces, ere ever they came at the bottom of the den, Dan. vi. 24. what shall be done with thee, when thou fallest into the hands of the living God? When he shall grip thee in his iron arms, and grind and crush thee to a thousand pieces in his wrath ?

Oh, do not then contend with God ? repent and be converted, so none of this shall come upon thee, Isa. lv. 6,7. Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near. Let the wicked

forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts and let him return unto the Lord, and he writ have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

CHAP. VI.

CONTAINING DIRECTIONS FOR CONVERSION. Mark x. 17. And there came one, and kneel.

ed to him, and asked him, Good master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal

life?

BEFORE thou readest these directions, I advise thee, yea, I charge thee, before God and his holy angels, to resolve to follow them (as far as conscience will be convinced of their agreeableness to God's word, and thy estate) and call in his assistance and blessing

that they may succeed. And as I have sought the Lord, and consulted his oracles, what advice to give thee, so must thou entertain it with that awe, reverence, and purpose of obedience, that the word of the living God doth require.

Now then attend; set thine heart unto all that I shall testify unto thee in this day; for it is not a vain thing, it is your life, Deut. xxxii. 46, 47. 'This is the end of all that hath been spoken hitherto, to bring you to set upon turning, and making use of God's means for your conversion. I would not trouble you, nor torment you before the time, with the forethoughts of your eternal misery, but in order to your making your escape.. Were you shut up under your present misery, without remedy, it were but mercy (as one speaks) to let you alone, that you might take in that little poor comfort that you are capable of here in this world : but you may yet be happy, if you do not wilfully refuse the means of your recovery.

Behold I hold open the door unto you; arise, take your flight: I set the way of life before you; walk in it, and you shall live and not die, Deut. xxx. 19. Jer. ix. 16. It pities me to think you should be your own murderers, and throw yourselves headlong, when God and men cry out to you, as Peter, in another case, to his magter, spare thyself. A noble virgin that attend ed the court of Spain, was wickedly rar- . ished by the king; and hereupon exciting the duke her father to revenge, he called in the Moors to his help, who, when they had not? cuted his design, miserably wasted and spoiled the country; which this virgin laying so exceedingly to heart, ehut herself up in a tower belonging to her father's house, and desired her father and mother might be called forth ; and bewailing to them her own wretchedness, that she should have occasioned so much misery and desolation to her coun. try for the satisfying of her revenge, she told them she was resolved to be avenged upon herself. Her father and mother besought her to pity herself and them, but nothing could prevail, but she took her leave of theni, and threw herself off the battlements, and so perished before their faces.

Just thus is the wilful destruction of ungod. ly men. 'The God that made them, beseecheth them, and crieth out to them, as Paul to the distracted jailor, when about to murder himself, Do thyself no harm. The ministers of Christ forewarn them, and follow them, and fain would have them back ; but alas ! no expostulations, nor obtestations will pre. vail, but men will Irurl themselves into perdition, while pity itself looketh on.

What shall I say? Would it not grieve a person of any humanity, if in the time of a reigning plagué, he should have a receipt (as one well said) that would infallibly cure all the country, and recover the most hopeless patients, and yet his friends and neighbours should die by the hundreds about him, because they would not use it? Men and brethren, tho' you carry the certain symptonie Hi death in your faces, yet I have a receipt

« PreviousContinue »