תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

Why doth the rich man'complain to Abraham of his torments in hell? or thy dying companions lose their courage, and change their haughty language? Why cannot these make as light of hell as thyself? Didst thou never see or speak with a man under despair? how uncomfortable was his talk! how burdensome his life!, nothing he possessed did him good: he had no sweetness in meat or drink: the sight of friends troubled him: he was weary of life, and fearful of death. If the misery of the damned can be endured, why cannot a man more easily endure these foretastes of hell? What if thou shouldest see the devil appear to thee in soine terrible shape; would not thy heart fail thee, and thy hair stand on an end? and how wilt thou endure to live for ever, where thou shalt have no other company but devils and the damned; and shalt not only see them, but be tormented with them and by them? Let me once more ask, If the wrath of God be so light, why did the Son of God himself make so great a matter of it? It made him sweat as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground. The Lord of life cried, My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death. And on the cross, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Surely if any one could have borne these sufferings easily, it would have been Jesus Christ. He had another measure of strength to bear it than thou hast. Woe to thee, sinner, for thy mad security? Dost thou think to find it tolerable to thee, which was so heavy to Christ? Nay, the Son of God is cast into a bitter agony and bloody sweat, only under the curse of the law; and yet thou, feeble, foolish creature, makest nothing to bear also the curse of the gospel, which requires a much sorer punishment.(g) The good Lord bring thee to thy right mind by repentance, lest thou buy thy wit at too dear a rate!

18. And now, Reader, I deinand thy resolution ! What use wilt thou make of all this? shall it be lost to thee? or wilt thou consider it in good earnest?

(9) Heb. x. 29.

Thou hast cast away many a warning of God; wilt thou do so by this also ? Take heed, God will not always stand warning and threatening. The hand of revenge is lifted up, the blow is coming, and woe to him on whom it lighteth! Dost thou throw away the book, and say, it speaks of nothing but hell and damnation?-thus thou usest also to complain of the preacher. But wouldst thou not have us to tell thee of these things ? should we be guilty of the blood of thy soul, by keeping silent that which God hath charged us to make known? wouldst thou perish in ease and silence, and have us to perish with thee, rather than displease thee by speaking the truth? If thou wilt be guilty of such inhuman cruelty, God forbid we should be guilty of such sottish folly. This kind of preaching or writing is the ready way to be hated; and the desire of applause is so natural, that few delight in such a displeasing way. But consider, Are these things true, or are they not? If they were not true, I would heartily join with thee against any that fright people without a cause. But if these threatenings be the word of God, what a wretch art thou that wilt not hear it, and consider it! If thou art one of the people of God, this doctrine will be a comfort to thee, and not a terror. If thou art yet unregenerate, methinks thou shouldst be as fearful to hear of heaven as of hell, except the bare name of leaven or salvation be sufficient. Preaching heaven and mercy to thee, is entreating thee to seek them, and not reject them; and preaching hell, is but to persuade thee to avoid it. If thou wert quite past hope of escaping it, then it were in vain to tell thee of hell; but as long as thou art alive, there is hope of thy recovery, and therefore all means must be used to awake thee from thy lethargy. Alas! what heart can now possibly conceive, or what tongue express, the pains of those souls that are under the wrath of God! Then, sinners, you will be crying to Jesus Christ, O mercy! O pity, pity on a poor soul! Why, I do now, in the name of the Lord Jesus, cry to thee, O have mercy, have pity, man, upon thy Oun soul! Shall God pity thee, who will not be entreated to pity thyself? If thy horse see but a pit before him, thou canst scarcely force him in; and wilt thou so obstinately cast thyself into hell, when the danger is foretold thee? Who can stand before the indignation of the Lord? and who can abide the fierceness of his anger?(h) Methinks thou shouldest need no more words, but presently cast away thy soul-damning sins, and wholly deliver up thyself to Christ. Resolve on it immediately, and let it be done, that I may see thy face in rest among the saints. May the Lord persuade thy heart to strike this covenant without any longer delay! But if thou be hardened unto death, and there be no remedy, yet say not another day but that thou wast faithfully warned, and hadst a friend, that would fain bave prevented thy damnation.

(h) Nahum i. 6.

CHAP. VII.

The Necessity of diligently seeking the Saint's Rest.

$ 1. The saiut's rest surprisingly neglected : particularly, § 2. by

the worldly-minded, § 3. the profane multitude, $ 4. formal professors, $ 548. and by the godly themselves, whether magistrates, ministers, or people. 9. The author mourns the neglect, and excites the reader to diligence, by considering, $ 10. the ends we aim at, the work we have to do, the shortness and uncertainty of our time, and the diligence of our enemies; § 11. our talents, mercies, relations to God, and our afflictions; Š 12. what assistances we have, what principles we profess, and our certainty never to do enough ; § 13. that every grace tends to diligence, and to trifle is lost labour; that much time is misspent, and that our recompence and labour will be proportionable ; $ 14. that striving is the divine appointment, all men do or will approve it, the best Christians at death lament their want of it, heaven is often lost for want of it, but never obtained without it: § 15. God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit, are in earnest; God is so in hearing and answering prayer, ministers in their instructions and exhortations, all the creatures in serving us, sinners in serving the devil, as we were once, and now are, in worldly things; and in heaven and hell all are in earnest. $ 16. The chapter concludes with proposing some awakening questions to the ungodly, and § 17. also to the godly.

§ 1. If there be so certain and glorious a rest for the saints, why is there no more industrious seeking after it? One would think, if a man did but once hear of such unspeakable glory to be obtained, and believed what he heard to be true, he should be transported with the vehemency of his desire after it, and should almost forget to eat and drink, and should care for nothing else, and speak of and inquire after nothing else, but how to get this treasure. And yet people who hear of it daily, and profess to believe it as a fundamental article of their faith, do as little mind it or labour for it, as if they had never heard of any such thing, or did not believe one word they hear. This reproof is more particularly applicable to-the worldly-minded,—the profane luultitude,—the formal professors, and even to the gudly themselves.

Ś 2. The worldly-minded are so taken up in seeking the things below, that they have neither heart nor time to seek this rest. O foolish sinners, who hath bewitched you? The world bewitches men into brute beasts, and draws them some degrees beyond madness. See what riding and running, what scrambling and catching, for a thing of nought, while eternal rest lies neglected! What contriving and caring to get a step higher in the world than their brethren, while they neglect the kingly dignity of the saints! What insatiable pursuit of fleshly pleasures, while they look on the praises of God, the joy of angels, as a tiresome burden! What unwearied diligence in raising their posterity, enlarging their possessions, (perhaps for a poor living from hand to mouth,) while judgment is drawing near; but how it shall go with them, never puts them to one hour's consideration! What rising early, and . sitting up late, and labouring from year to year, to maintain themselves and children in credit till they die; but what shall follow after they never think on! Yet these men cry, “ May we not be saved without so much ado?" How early do they rouse up their servants to their labour; but how seldom do they call them to prayer or reading the scriptures! What hath this world done for its lovers and friends, that it 18 so eagerly followed, and painfully sought after, while Christ and heaven stand by, and few regard them? Or what will the world do for them for the time to come? The common entrance into it is through anguish and sorrow. The passage through it is with continual care and labour. The passage out of it is the sharpest of all. O unreasonable be witched men! will mirth and pleasure stick close to you? Will gold and worldly glory prove fast friends to you in the time of your greatest need? Will they hear your cries in the day of vour calamity? At the hour

« הקודםהמשך »