תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

excellent fruits of it, and they that receive them are comforted by them; but perhaps thou mayest never receive them while thou livest, and yet be a true heir of rest. Do not say then, " I cannot believe that my sins are pardoned, or that I am in God's favour; and therefore I am no true believer." This is a most mistaken conclusion.—The question is, whether thon dost heartily accept of Christ, that thou mayest be pardoned, reconciled to God, and so saved? Dost thou consent that he shall be thy Lord, who hath bought thee, and that he shall bring thee to heaven in his own way? This i6 justifying, saving faith, and the mark by which thou must try thyBelf. Yet still observe, that all this consent must be hearty and real, not feigned or with reservations. It is not saying, as that dissembling son, "I go, sirand weal not. If any have more of fhe government of thee than Christ, thou art not his disciple. I am snre these two marks are such as every Christian hath, and none but sincere Christians. O that the Lord would now persuade thee to the close performance of this self-trial! that thou mayest not tremble with horror of soul, when the Judge of all the world shall try .thee; but he so able to prove thy titk to rest, that the prospect and approach of death and judgment may raise thy spirits, and fill thee w$

joy

§ 17. On the whole, as ever Christians wonld have comforts that will not deceive them, let them make it the great labour of their lives to grow » grace, to strengthen and advance the interest oi Christ in their souls, and to weaken and subdue tttf interest of the flesh. Deceive not yourselves with a persuasion that Christ hath done all, and left yo" nothing to do. To overcome the world, the and the devil; and in order to that, to stand alway' armed upon our watch, and valiantly and patient to fight it out; is of great importance to ourass»r' ance and salvation. Indeed it is so great a of our baptismal vow, that he who performed |1 k(^0;jt}h^,sai]$tv,i*est. ,;• 153,

not, is no more than a nominal Christian. Not to every one that presumptuously believcth, but to him that orercometh, wilt Christ give to efl t of the hidden manna, 'ind will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knowelh, saving he .that receiveth it: he shall eat of the. tree of life, which is in lite midst of the paradise of God, and shall not be hurt oftlu second death. Christ will confess his name.bqjqre his Father, and before his angels, and make him a pillar in lite temple of God, and he shall go no more out; and mlltmte upon him the name of his God, and the nmne oJ the city of his God, which is New Jerusalem, wWch cometh down out of heaven from his God, and will "'rite upon him his new name. Yea, he will grant to hint to sit with him on his throne, even as he also overMme, and is set down with his Father on his throne. Be that hath an ear, let him hear what the Snirit saith vnto the churches.(g)

(g) Rev. ii. 7, H, 17.—iii. 5, 12, 21, 22.

u

CHAP. IX.

The duty of the People of God to excite others t o stti

this Rest.

§ 1. The author laments that Christians do so little to help often to obtain the saint's rest. ^2 (I.) Shows the nature of this duty; particularly, ^ 3. (1) In having our hearts affected with the misery of our brethren's souls; § 4, 6. (2) In taking ai opportunities to instruct them in the way of salvation; % 7. (3) In promoting their profit by public ordinances. ^ 8. (II.) Ht assigns various reasons why this duty is so much neglected, % 9> and answers some objections against it: § 10, 13. Then (Dl.) Urge's to the discharge of it, by several considerations: § W Addressed to such as have knowledge, learning, and utterance; | 15. Those that are acquainted with sinners; § 16. Phyriciui that attend dying men; § 17. Persons o Wealth and power; Ministers; § 19- And those that are entrusted with the care children or servants. § 20. The chapter concludes with an etr. nest request to Christian parents to be faithful to their trust.

§ 1. Hath God set before us such a glorions prize as the saint's rest, and made us capable d such inconceivable happiness? Why then do ti all the children of this kingdom exert themselres more to help others to the enjoyment of it? Altt how little are poor souls about us beholden to moss of us! We see the glory of the kingdom, and they do not: we see the misery of those that are out of it, and they do not: we see some wandering quite out of the way, and know, if they hold on, they can never come there; and they themselres discern it not. And yet we will not seriously sho* them their danger and error, and help to bring them into the way, that they may live. Alas, how Christians are there to be found, that set themselves with all their might to save souls! No thanks to us' if heaven be not empty, and if the souls of our brethren perish not for ever. Considering how important this duty is, to the glory of God, and the happiness of men, I will show,—how it is to be per. formed,—why it is so much neglected, and then offer some considerations to persuade to it.

§ 2. (I.) The duty of exciting and helping others to obtain the saint's rest, doth not mean, that every man should turn a public preacher, or that any should go beyond the bounds of their particular callings; much less does it consist in promoting a party spirit; and least of all in speaking against men's faults behind their backs, and be silent before their feces. This duty is of another nature, and consists of the following things;—in having our hearts affected with the misery of our brethren's souls,—in taking all opportunities to instruct them in the way of salvation,—and in promoting their profit by public ordinances.

$ .3. (1) Our hearts must be affected with the misery of our brethren's souls. We must be compassionate towards them, and yearn after their recovery and salvation. If we earnestly longed after their conversion, and our hearts were solicitous to do them good, it would set us on work, and God would usually bless it.

§ 4. (2) We must take all opportunities we possibly can, to instruct them how to attain salvation. If the person be ignorant, labour to make him understand the chief happiness of man; how far he was once possessed of it; the covenant God then made with him; how he broke it; what penalty he incurred, and what misery he brought himself into; teach him his need of a Redeemer; how Christ did Mercifully interpose, and bear the penalty; what the new covenant is; how men are drawn to Christ, and what are the riches and privileges which believers "*v« Hi him. If he is not moved by these things, then show him the excellency of the glory he neglects; the extremity and eternity of the torments of the damned; the justice of enduring them, for wilfully refusing grace; the certainty, nearness, and terrors, of death and judgment; the vanity of all things below; the sinfulness of sin; the preciousuess of Christ; the necessity of regeneration, faith, and holiness.; and the tnie nature of them. If, after all, you find him entertaining false hopes, then urge him to examine his state; show him the necessity of doins; so; help him in it; nor leave him till you have convinced him of his misery and remedy. Show him how vain and destructive it is, to join Christ and his duties to compose his justifying righteousness. Yet be sure to draw him to the use of all means; such as hearing and reading the word, calling upon God, .and associating with the godly: persuade him to forsake sin, avoid all temptations to sin, especially en'l companions, and to wait patiently on God in the use of means, as the way in which God will be found.

§ 5. But because the manner of performing this work is of great moment, observe therefore these rules.—Enter upon it with right intentions. Aim at the glory of God in. the person's salvation. Doit not to get a name, or esteem to thyself, or to bring men to depend upon thee, or to get thee followers; but in obedience to Christ, in imitation of him, and tender love to men's souls. Do not as those who . labour to reform their children or servants from such things as are against their own profit or humonr, but never seek to save their souls in the way which God hath appointed. Do it speedily. As you would not have them delay their return, don't you delay to seek their return. While you are purposing to teach and help him, the man goes deeper in debt; wrath is heaping up; sin taking root; custom fastens him; temptations to sin multiply; conscience grows seared; the heart hardened; the devil rules; Christ is shnt out; the Spirit is resisted; God is daily dishonoured; his law violated; he is without a servant, and thai service from him, which he should have; time runs . on; death and judgment are at the door: and what if the man die, and drop into hell, while yott are pnrposing to prevent it? If in the case of his bodily distress you must not say to himj Go, and come again, and to-morrow I will give, when thou hast it by thee;{h)

(h) Prov. in. 28

« הקודםהמשך »