תמונות בעמוד

and their Duty commanded. The Voice ofMan is contemptible, but the Voice of God is awful and terrible. They may reject your Words, that dare

not reject the Words of the Almighty. Be frequent

with Men in this Duty of Exhortatitn. It we are always to pray, and not to faint, because God will have us importunate with himself; the fame Course, no doubt, will he most prevailing with Men. Therefore we arc commanded to exhort one another daily (c); End with all Long.juJserhig[&). The Fire is not always brought out of the Flint at one Stroke; nor Men's Afsections kindled at the first Exhortation. And if they were, yet if they he not followfd, th:y will soon grow cold again. Follow Sinners with your loving and earnest Intreaties, and give them no Rest in their Sin. This is true Charity, the Way to 'fave Men's Souls, and will afford you Comfort upon

Review. Strive to bring all your Exhortation! to an

Issue. If we speak the most convincing Words, rut all our Care is over with our Speech, we stwtl seldom prosper in our Labours: But God usually blesses their Labc'urs, whose very Heart is set upon the Conversion os their Heaters, and who a&e therefore enquiring afer the Success of their Work. If you reprove a Sin, cease not till the Sinner promises you to leave it, and avoid the Occasions of it. If you are exhoitir.g to a Duty, urge for a Promise to set upon it presently. If you would draw Men toChrisf, leave not, till you have made them consess the Misery of their present unregenerate State, and the Necessity ofChtist, and pf a Change, and have promised you to fall close to the Use of Means. O that all Christians would take this Course with all their Neighbours that are enflaved

to Sin, and Strangers to Christ !— Once mote, k

sure your Example exhort as well as your Words. Ltt

v,. .. them

(c) fipb. iji. 13. (t) iTim.ii. 2.

CJi. 9. excite others to feck this Reft. 173

them see yo* constant in all the Duties you persuade them to. Let them see in your Lives that Superiority to the World, which your Lips recommend. Let them see by your constant Labours sor Heaven, that you indeed believe what you would have them believe. A holy and heavenly Lise, is a continual Pain to the Consciences of Sinners around you, and Continually sollicits them to change their Course.

§ 7. (3) Besides the Duty of private Admonition, you must endeavour to help Men to profit by the

fublici Ordinances. In order to that, endeavour to

procure for them faithful Ministers, where they are wanting How shall they hear without a Preacher (e)? Improve your Interest and Diligence to this End, till you prevail. Extend your Purses to the utmost. How many Souls may be saved by the Ministry you have procured! It is a higher and nobler Charity, than relieving their Bodies. What Abundance of Good might gresX Men do, if they would support in Academical Education, such Youth as tftev have first carefully chosen sor-their Ingenuity and Piety, till

they should be fit sor the Ministry? And when n

faithful Ministry is obtained, help poor Souls to receive the Fruit of it.- Draw them constantly to attend it. Remind them often what they have heard; and, if it be possible, let them hear it repeated in their Families, or elsewhere. Promote their frequent Meeting together, besides publickly in the Congregation; not as a jeparate Church, but as a Part of the Church more diligent than the rest in redeeming Timcy

'and helping the Souls of each other Heaven-ward.—— Labour also to keep the Ordinances and Ministry in Esteem. No Man will be much wrought on by that which he despiseth. An Apostle fays, JVe beseech you, Bnthrcn, to know them which labour among ;ou, and ate

'i. 1 I 3 ever

(e) Rom. t. 14. *

[ocr errors]

ever you in the Lord, and admimsh you; and to ejleem them very highly in Love for their Works Sake (f).

§8. (II) Let Us now a little enquire, what may he the Causa of the grass Neglecl of this Duty; that the Hinderances being discovered, may the more easily

he overcome. One Hinderance is, Men's own Sin

and Guilt. They have not themselves been ravished with heavenly Delights; how then mould they draw .others so earnestly to seek them? They have not felt their own lost Condition, nor their Need of Christ, nor the renewing; Work of the Spirit i how then can they discover these to others? They are guilty of the Sins they should reprove, and this makes them

ashamed to reprove. Another is, a secret Infidelity

prevailing in Men's Hearts. Did we verily believe, that all the Unregenerate and Unholy shall be eternally tormented, how could we hold our Tongues, or avoid bursting into'Tears, when we look them in the Face? Especially when they are our near and dear Friends? Thus doth secret Unbelief consume the Vigour of each Grace arid Duty. O Chrifliam, if you did vetily believe, that your ungodly Neighbours, Wise, Husband, or Child, should certainly lie sor ever in Hell, except they be thoroughly changed besore Death shall snatch them away, would not this make you address them Day and Night till they were persuaded? Were it not sor this cursed Unbelief, our own. and our Neighbour's Souls would

gain more by us than they do. These Attempts art

also much hindered by our Want of Charity and Compassion for Men's Souls. We look an miserable Soulfct and pass by, as the Prist and Levitt by the woundd Man, What tho the Sinner, wounded by Sin, and captivated by Satan, do not desire thy Help himself; yet his Misery cries aloud. If God had not heard ifce

<f) 1 Tlitf. v. 12,, I;„

"Cry of our Miseries, before he heard the Cry of our Prayers, and been moved by his own Pity, before he was moved by our Importunity, we might long have continued the Slaves of Satan. You will pray to God for them, to open their Eyes, and turn their Hearts; and why not endeavour their Conversion, if you desire it? And if you do not desire it, why do you ask it? Why do you not pray them to consider and return, as well as pray God to convert and turn, them? If you should see your Neighbour fallen inta a Pit, and should pray to God to help him out, but neither put forth your Hand to help him, nor once direct him to help himself, would not any Man censure you for Cruelty and Hypocrisy? It is as true of the Soul as the Body, If any Man feeth his Brother have Need, and Jhutteth up his Bowels of Compassion from him, how dweUeth the Love of God in him? or

what Love hath he to his Brother's Soul? We are

also hindered by a base, Man.pleasing Disposition. We are so desyous to keep in Credit and Favour with Men, that it makes us most unconscionably neglect our known Duty. He is a foolish and unfaithful Physician, that will let a sick Man die for sear of troubling him, If our Friends are diffracted, we please them in nothing that tends to their ITurt. And yet when they are beside themselves in Point of Salvation, and in their Madness posting on to Damnation, we will not stop them, for sear of displeasing them. How can .we be Christians, that love the Prase os Men more than the Praise of God? For if

, Tfit seek to please Men, we Jhall not be the Servants of

Cbrst. // is common to be hindered by sinfulBafh~

fulness. When we should shame Men out of their Sins, v/e arc ourselves ashamed of ou*Duties. May not these Sinners condemn us, when they blush not

''^weaf, be drunk, or neglect the Worship of God;

, '. . , • 1 + «ld,

- .

and we blush to tell them of it, and persuade them from it? Bashsulness is unseemly in Cases of Necessity. It is not a Work to be ashamed of, to obey God in persuading Men from their Sins to Christ. Reader, hath not thy Conscience told thee of thy Duty many a Time, and put thee on to speak to poor Sinners; and yet thou hast been ashamed to open thy Mouth, and so let them alone to sink or swim? O read and tremble, Whosoever Jhall be a/hamed of me, and of my Words, in this adulterous and fitful Generation, of him alf Jhall the Son of Man be aJhamcd, when he cometh in the Glory of his Father, with the holy Angels (g). ~ . An idle and impatient Sprit hir.dereth us. It is an ungratesul Work, and sometimes makes Men our Enemies. Besides, it seldom succeeds at the first, except it be followed on. • You must be long teaching the Ignorant, and persuading the Obstinate. We consider not what Patience God used towards us, when we were in our Sins. Woe to us, if God had been as impatient with us, as we are vith others. Another Hinderance is, Self faking.

A.I seek their own, net the Things which are Jejus

ChriJt's (h), and their Brethren's. With many Pride

is a great Impediment. If it were to speak with a great Man, and it would not displease him, they would do it. But to go among the Poor, and take Pains with them in their Cottages; where is the Person that will do it? Many will rejoice in being instrumental to convert a Gentleman; and they have good Reason; but overlook the Multitude; as if the Souls of all .were not alike to God. Alas, these Men little consider how low Christ stooped to us! Few rich, and noble, and wife are called. It is the Poor that receive

the g!id Titlirfgs of the Gospel. And with some

their Ignorance of the Duty hindered them from ptrfntn

ir% (g) Maik viii, 3S. Qx) Phil. U. *!. . .!

« הקודםהמשך »