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.of Snlvation? So that let the World, the Flesh, or the Devil, speak against a holy laborious Lise, tbisiS
my Answer, God hath commanded it. Nay., there
never was, or will be, a Man, but will approve such a Use, and will a:e Day jus,ify the Diligence of the Saints. And who would not go that Way, which every Man shall finally applaud? True, it is now a lPray every where spoken agcinst. But let me tell you, most that speak against if, in their Judgments approve of it; and thole that are now against it, will shortly be of another Mind. If they come to Heaven, their Mind must be changed before they come there. If they go to He), their Judgment will then be altered, whether they will or no. Remember this, you that love the ('pinion and Way of the Multitude; why then will you not be of the Opinion that al! will be of? Why wi'.l vou be of a Judgment, whiih you are sure all of you shortly to change? Olvthat you were but
as wise in this, as those in Hell! Even the bs of
Chrifhani, when they com: to die, exceedingly lament their Negligence. They then wist), " Oh that I had been '' a thousand Times more holy, more heavenly, "more laborious for my Soul! The World accuses •* me for doing too much, but my own Conscience "accuses me for doing too little. It is far easier "bearing the Scofts of the World, than the Ladies i*' of Conscience. I had rather be reproached by the "Devil for seeking Salvation, than reproved of God "for neglecting it." How do their Failings thus wound ancl disquiet them, who have been the Wonders of the 'World for their heavenly Converfation!
// is for Want cf mire Diligence, that Heaven' shall yet perish; should not this rouze us out of out. Security? How far hath many a Man followei Christ, and yet forsook him, when all worldly interests and Hopes were to be renounced? G:d hath
i'nfii of.cn iJl. When they that have heard.the }y'o:d, a:id ci."ot with Joy .received it, aid have (hit than \ 'Tu, l g , and Lea) d t he M in i sic rs of Ch li st g la d'y (q \
shall fo) I/fit,. xili. i'o. Mj.-t vi, 10,
resolved, that Heaven stall net he had on casier Terms. Rest muf} always follow Labour. Without Holiness ne Man stall fee the Loid(r). Seriousness is the ver^ Thing wherein consists our Sincerity. If thou art not serious, thou art not a Christian. It is not only a high Degree in Christianity, but the very Lise and Essence of it. As Fencers upon a Stage differ from Soldiers fighting for their Lives; so Hypocrites differ from serious Christians. If Men could b'e faved without this serious Diligence, they would never regard it; all the Excellencies of God's Ways would never entice them. But when God hath reiolvedj ihar, without serious Diligence here, you shall not rest hereafter, is it not Wisdom to exert ourselves to the utmost?
§ 15. But to persuade thee, if possible, Reader, f:i fce serious in thy Endeavours for Heaven, let me add Wore Considerations. As for Instance, consider,—G'd is in earnest ivitb you; and wlystiuld no.t you le ft with him? In his Commands, his Threamings, his. Promises, He means as He speaks. In his Judgment's He is serious. Was He not so, when He downed the' World? When He consumed? Sodom and Gomorrah? And when He scattered the Javs? Is it Time then to trifle with God r "J*/"' Christ was serious in purchasing our Redemption. 'In teaching, He neglected bis Meat and Diink. In Prayer, He continued ail Night. In doin;; Good, his Friends thought him hefide himself. In Suffering, lie fasted farty Days, wot tempted, betrayed, flit upon' buffeted, e owned with Thorns, siveai Daps of Blood, was crucified, pierces,
died: ^f) Kck xii. 14. .i
died: There was no Jesting in all this. And should not we be serious in seeking our own Salvation?——* The Holy Spirit is serious in solliciting us to be bapfj. His Motions are frequent, pressing, and importunate. He striveth with us. He is grieved, when we resist him. And should not we be serious then in
obeying, and yielding to, his Motions? God is
serious in bearing our Pi ayers, and Lejlowing his Mercies. He is aff.i£led with us. He regai deth every Gnan and Sig,', and puts every Tear into his Bottle. The next Time thou art in Trouble, thou wilt beg for a serious Regard of thy Prayers. And shall we exfect real Mercies, when we are flight and superficial in the
Work of God? The Ministers of Christ are serious
in exhorting and infiructing you. They beg of God, and of you; and Jong more for the Salvation of your Souls, than for any worldly Good If they kill themselves with their Labour, or sufser Martyrdom for preaching the Gospel; they think their Lives are well bestowed, so that they prevail for the faving your Souls. And shall other Men be so painsul and careful for your Salvation, and you be so careless and
negligent of your own? How diligent and serious
ere all the Creatures in serving you? Wrjat Haste makes the Sun to compass the World? The Fountains are always flowing for thy Use; the Rivers still running; Spring and Harvst keep their Times. How hard does thy Ox labour for thee from Day to Day? How fptedily does thy Horse travel with thee? And shalt thou only be negligent? Shall all these be so serious in serving thee, and thou so careless in thy Service to
God? The Servants ef the World and the Devil
are serious and diligent. They work, as if they could never do enough. They male; Haste, as if afraid of coming to Hell too late. They bear down Mini.'lersj
Sermonfj Sermon;, and all before them. And shall they be more diligent for Damnation, than thou for Salvation? Hall thou not a better Master, sweeter Employment,
greater Encouragements, and a better Reward? ■
'lime was when thou wast serious thyself in serving Satan and the FlejJh, if it be not so yet. How eagerlv didst thou follow thy Sports, thy evil Company, and sinsul Delights? And wilt thou not now be as earnest ami violent for God ?——You are to this Day in earneft about the Things of this Life. If you are sick, or in Pain, what serious Complaints do you utter? Jf you are poor, how hard do you labour for a Livelihood? And is not the Business of your Salvation of far greater
Moment? There is no jeflivg in Heaven or Hell.
The Saints have a real Happiness, and the Damned a real Misery. There are no remiss or Reepy Praises in Heaven, nor such Lamentations in Hell. All there are in earnest. When thou, Reader, shalt come to Death and Judgment, O what deep, Heart.piercing Thoughts wilt thou have of Eternity! Msthinks I foresee thee already astonished, to think how thou couldst possibly make so light of these Things. Methinks I even hear thee crying out of thy Stupidity and Madness.
§ 16. And now. Reader, having laid down these undeniable Arguments, I do, in .he Name of God, demand thy Resolution; Wilt thou yield Obedience, or not? T am consident thy Conscience is convinced of thy Duty. Darest thou now go on in thy common careless Course, against the plain Evidence of Reason, and Commands of God, and against the Light of thy own Conscience? Darest thou live as loosely., sin as boldly, and pray as seldom, as before? I)ar;st thou profane the Sabbath, flight the Service of God, and think of thine everlasting State as carelessly
as as besore? Or dost thou not rather resolve to gird up the Loins of thy Mind, and set thyself wholly to the Work of thy Salvation, and break through the Oppositions, and flight the Scoffs and Persecutions of the World, and lay aside every IVeigh't, aitd the Sin which doth Jo easily bsset thee, and i un with Patience the Race that is set Irsre thee? 1 hope these are thy Ml Resolution-. Yet, because I know the Obstinacy of the Heart of Man, and because I am solicitous thy Soul might live, \ once more intreat thy Attention to the sollowing Questions; and I command thee from Gud, that thou stifle not thy Conscience; nor resist Conviction; but answer them saithfully,' arfd
©bey accordingly. If, by being diligent iB
Godliness, you could grow rich, get Honour or Preserment in the World, be recovered from Sickness, or live sor ever in Prosperity on Earth; what Lives would you lead, and what Pains would you take in the Service of God? And is not the Saint's Rest a more excellent Happiness than all this?—]f it were Felony to break the Sabbath, neglect secret or Family-Worship, or be loose in your Lives; 'what Manner o( Persons would you then be? And is not eternal Death more terrible than temporal?
If God usually punished with some present
-Judgment every Act of Sin, as he did the Lye of Ananias and Sapphira, what Kind of Lives would you lead? And is not eternal Wrath sar more terrible? If one of your Acquaintance should come
from the Dead, and tell you, that he suffered the Torments of Hell sor those Sii;s you are guilty of; what Manner of Persons would you asterwarJs be? How much more should the Warning? of
God asfright you? If you knew that this were
the last Day you had to live in the World, h«^