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how much less may you delay the succour of his soul! that physician is no better than a murderer, who negligently delayeth till his patient be dead or past cure. Lay by excuses then, and all lesser business, and exhort one another daily, while it is called today;() lest any be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Let your exhortation proceed from compassion and love. To jeer and scoff, to rail and vilify, is not a likely way to reform men, or convert them to God. Go to poor sinners with tears in your eyes, that they may see you believe them to be miserable, and that you unfeignedly pity their case. Deal with them with earnest humble entreaties. Let them perceive it is the desire of your hearts to do them good; that you have no other end but their everlasting happiness; and that it is your sense of their danger, and your love to their souls, that forceth you to speak; even because you know the terrors of the Lord, and for fear you should see them in eternal torments. Say to them, “ Friend, you know I seek no advantage of my own: the method to please you and keep your friendship, were to sooth you in your way, or let you alone; but love will not suffer me to see you perish, and be silent. I seek nothing at your hands, but that which is necessary to your own happiness. It is yourself that will have the gain and comfort, if you come to Christ.” If we were thus to go to every ignorant and wicked neighbour, what blessed fruit should we quickly see !Do it with all possible plainness and faithfulness. Do not make their sins less than they are, nor encourege them in a false hope. If you see the case dangerous, speak plainly; “ Neighbour, I am afraid God hath not yet renewed Four soul; I doubt you are not yet recovered from he power of Satan to God; I doubt you have not • chosen Christ above all, nor unfeignedly taken him for your sovereign Lord. If you had, surely you durst not so easily disobey him, nor neglect his worship in your family, and in public; you could not
"Neighb. you seere, nor
(i) Heh, ju. 13.
en, if ever Yen's souls, as "their dangers in their
so eagerly follow the world, and talk of nothing but the things of the world. If you were in Christ, you would be a new creature; old things would be passed away, and all things would become ņey: you would have new thoughts, new talk, new company, new endeavours, and a new conversation. Certainly, without these you can never be saved: you may think otherwise, and hope otherwise aş Jong as you will, but your hopes will all deceive you, and perish with you.” Thus must you deal faithfully with men, if ever you intend to do them good. It is not in curing men's souls, as in curing their bodies, where they must not know their dạnger, lest it hinder the cure, They are here agents in their own cure; and if they know not their misery, they will never bewail it, nor know their need of a Sar viour, Do it also seriously, zealously, and effectually. Labour to make men know, that heaven and hel are not matters to be played with, or passed over with a few çareless thoughts." It is most certain that one of these days thou shalt be in everlasting joy or torment; and doth it not awaken thee? Are there so few that find the way of life? so many that go the way of death? Is it so hard to escape? so easy to miscarry? and yet yoụ do sit still, and tride! What do you mean? The world is passing away: it pleasures, honours, and profits, are fading, and learing you: eternity is a little before you: God is just and jealous : his threatenings are trye: the great day will be terrible: time runs op: your life is certaiņ: you are far behind-hand; your case is day, gerous: if yoụ die to-morrow, how upready are you! with whạt terror will your souls go out of your bodies! And do you yet loiter? Consider, God is all this while waiting your leisure: his patience beareth: his long-suffering forbeareth: his mercy entreateth you: Christ offereth you þiş blood and merits: the Spirit is persuading: conscience is accusing: Satan waits to have you. This is your time-now or never. Had you rather burn in hell than repent on earth? have devils your tormentors, than Christ
your governor will you renounce your part itt God and glory, rather than renounce your sins ? 0 friends what do you think of these things? God hath made you men: do not renounce your reason, where you should chiefly use it." Alas, it is not a few dull words, between jest and earnest, between sleep and awake, that will rouse à dead hearted sinner. If a house be on fire, you will not make a cold oration on the nature and danger of fire; but will run and cry, fire! fire! To tell a man of his sins, ás softly as Eli did his son; or to reprove him as gently as Jehoshaphat did Ahab, Let not the king say so, usually doth as much harin as good: lothness to displease men, makes us undo them.
6. Yet lest you run into extremes, I advise you to do it with prudence and discretion.—Choose the fittest season. Deal not with men when they are in a passion, or where they will take it for a disgrace. When the earth is soft the plough will enter. Take a man when he is under affliction, or newly impressed under a sermon. Christian faithfulness requires us, not only to do good when it falls in our way, but to watch for Opportunities.--Suit yourselves also to the quality and temper of the person. You must deal with the ingenious more by argument than persuasion. There is need of both to the ignorant. The affections of the convinced should be chiefly excited. The obstinate must be sharply reproved. The timor: ous must be dealt with tenderly. Love, and plainness, and seriousness, take with all; but words of terror some can scarce bear. Use also the aptest expressions.' Unseeming language makes the hearers loathe the food they should live by; especially if they be men of curious ears, and carñal hearts.-Let all your reproofs and exhortations be backed with the authority of God. Let sinners be convinced that you speak tot of your own head. Turn them to the very chapter and verse where their sin is condemned, and their dutŷ commanded. The voice of man is contemptible, but the voice of God is awful and terrible. They may reject your words, that dare not
their sinn them
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 us importunate with himself; the same course, no doubt, will be most prevailing with men. Therefore we are commanded to exhort one another daily ;(L) and with all-long-suffering.(1). The fire is not always brought out of the fint at one stroke; nor men's affections kindled at the first exhortation. And if they were, yet if they be not followed, they will soon grow cold again. Follow sinners with long, loving, and earnest entreaties, and give them no rest in their sin. This is true charity, the way to save men's souls, and will afford you comfort upon review.-Strive to bring all your exhortations to an issue. If we speak the most convincing words, and all our care is over with our speech, we shall seldom prosper in our labours: but God usually blesses their labours, whose very heart is set upon the conversion of their hearers, and who are therefore inquiring after the success of their work, If you reprove a sin, cease not till the sinner promises you to leave it, and avoid the occasion 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 neces. sity of Christ; and of a change, and have promised you to fall close to the use of means. O that all Chris. tians would take this course with all their neighbours that are enslaved to sin, and strangers to Christ! Once more, be sure your example exhort as well as your words. Let them see you 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 labour's 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 solicits them to change their course. (k) Heb. iii. 13.
(1) 2 Tim. iv. 2.
§ 7. (3) Besides the duty of private admonition, you must endeavour to help men to profit by the public ordinances. In order to that, -endeavour to procure for them faithful ministers, where they are wanting. How shall they hear without a preacher?(m) Improve your interest and diligence to this end, till you prevail. Extend your purses to the utmost. How nany souls may be saved by the ministry you have procured! It is a higher and nobler charity than elieving their bodies. What abundance of good night great men do, if they would support, in academical education, such youth as they have first carefully chosen for their integrity and piety, till they should be fit for the ministry!- And when a faithful ninistry is obtained, help poor souls to receive the ruit of it. Draw them constantly to attend it. Re vind them often what they have heard; and, if it be Yossible, let them hear it repeated in their families, or Isewhere. Promote their frequent meeting together, besides publicly in the congregation; not as a separate hurch, but as a part of the church, more diligent han the rest in redeeming time, 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 says, We beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you; and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake.(w) .
8. (II.). Let us now a little inquire, what may be he causes of the gross neglect of this duty; that the hinderances being discovered, may the more easily be vercome.-One hinderance is, men's own sin and fuilt. They have not themselves been ravished with Teavenly delights ; how then should they draw
thers so earnestly to seek them? They have not felt their own lost condition, nor their need of Christ,
of the renewing work of the Spirit; how then can Wey discover these to others? They are guilty of the
hurch, but cly in the congreequent meeting toles, or
(m) Rom. x, 14.
(n) i Thess. v. 12, 13.