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and their Duty commanded. The Voice of Man 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 Exhortation. If we are always to pray, and not to faint, because God will have is importunate with himself; the fame Course, no doubt, will be moft prevailing with Men. Therefore we are commanded to exhort one another daily (c); and with all Long juffering (d). The Fire is not always brought out of the Flint at one Stroke; nor Men's Affections kindled at the firft Exhortation. And if they were, yet if they be not followed, they 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 Exhortations to an Ijue. If we speak the most convincing Words, fut all our Care is over with our Speech, we shall teldom prosper in our Labours: But God usually blesses their Labcurs, whose very Heart is set upon the Converfion of their Hearers, and who are 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 exhorting to a Duty, urge for a Promise to set upon it presently. If you would draw Men to Christ, leave not, till you have made them confess the Misery of their present unregenerate State, and the Neceflity of Chrift, and of 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 enslaved to Sin, and Strangers to Chrift!
Once more, be sure your Example exhort as well as your Words. Let
them (c) Heb. iji. 13. (d) 2 Tim.iy. .
them fee you constant in all the Duties you persuade them to. Let them fee in your Lives that Superiority to the World, which your Lips recommend. Let them fee by your constant Labours for Heaven, that you indeed believe what you would have them believe. A holy and heavenly Life, is a continual Pain to the Consciences of Sinners around you, and continually follicits them to change their Course.
$7. (3) Besides the Duty of private Admonition, you must endeavour to help Men to profit by the publick Ordinances. In order to that, - endeavour to procure for them faithful Ministers, where they are winting How shall they hear without a Preacher (e) ? Improve your Intereit and Diligence to this End, till you prevail. Extend your Purses to the utmost. How many Souls may be saved by the Miniftry you have procured! It is a higher and nobler Charity, than relieving their Bodies. What Abundance of Good might great Men do, if they would support in Academical Education, fuch Youth as they have first carefully cholen for their Ingenuity and Piety, till they should be fit for the Ministry ? - And when a 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 separate Church, but as a Part of the Church more diligent than the rest in redeeming Time, and helping the Souls of each other Heaven-ward. Labour also to keep the Ordinances and Ministry in Ejteem. No Man will be much wrought on by that which he defpileth. An Apostle fays, IVe beseech you, Brethren, to know them which labour among you, and an?
over you in the Lord, and admonijh you; and to esteem them very highly in Love for their Works Sake (f).
$8. (II) Let us now a little enquire, what may te ihe Causes of the grass Neglect of this Duty; that the Hinderances being discovered, may the more easily be overcome. One Hinderance is, Men's own Sin and Guilt. They have not themselves been ravished with heavenly Delights; how then should they draw oihers so earnestly to feek them! They have not felt their own loft Condition, nor their Need of Christ, nor the renewing Work of the Spirit; how then can they discover these to others? They are guilty of the Sins they should reprove, and this makes them afhamed 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 and Duty. O Chriftians, if you did verily believe, that your ungodly Neighbours, Wife, Husband, or Child, should certainly lie for ever in Hell, except they be thoroughly changed before Death shall snatch them away, would not this make you address them Day and Night till they were perfuaded? Were it not for this cursed Unbelief, our own and our Neighbour's Souls would gain more by us than they do. --These Attempts are also much hindered by our Want of Charity and Compafron for Men's Souls. We look an miserable Souls, and pass by, as the Priest and Levite by the wounded Man. What tho the Sinner, wounded by Sin, and captivated by Satan, do not desire thy Help himfelf; yet his Misery cries aloud. If God had not heard the
Cry (f) 1 Theslo V.. 12, 13.
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 defire 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 into 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 sure you for Cruelty and Hypocrify? It'is as true of the Soul as the Body, If any Man seeth his Brother have Need, and shutteth up his Bowels of Compassion. from him, how dwelleth 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 desirous 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 fick Man die for fear of troubling him. If our Friends are difracled, we please them in nothing that tends to their Hurt. And yet when they are belide themselves in Point of Sala vation, and in their Madness posting on to Damnation, we will not stop them, for fear of displeasing them. How can we be Christians, that love the Praise of Men more than the Praise of God? For if we seek to please Men, we shall not be the Servants of Chrift.------It is common to be hindered by finful Bah. fulness. When we should shame Men out of their Sins, we are ourselves ashamed of our Duties. May not thele Sinners condemn us, when they blush not to sweai, be drunk, or neglect the Worship of God;
and we blush to tell them of it, and persuade them from it? Bathfulness is unseemly in Cases of Necefity. It is not a Work to be ashamed of, to obey God' in persuading Men from their Sins to Chrift. 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 fo let them alone to fink or twim? O read and tremble, Whosoever fall be ashamed of me, and of my Words, in this adulterous and finful Generation, of him all shall the Son of Man be ajnamed, when he cometh in the Glory of his Father, with the holy Angels (g). An idle and impatient Spirit bindereth us. It is an ungrateful Work, and fometimes makes Men our Enemies. Besides, it seldom fucceeds at the firit, except it be followed on.
You must be long teaching the Ignorant, and persuading the Obstinate, We conlider not what Patience God uled towards us, when we were in our Sins. Woe to us, if God had been as impatient with us, as, we are viith others. -Another Hinderance is, Self-seeking. 1.1 leek their own, not the Things which are fous Christ'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 then 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 con• fider how low Chrift stooped to us! Few rich, and noble, and wife are called. It is the Poor that receive the gład Tidings of the Gospel.And with forme their Ignorance of the Duty hinderetb them from perforat
ing (8) Mark viii, 38,
th) Phil, ii. 21,