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sin and danger, and set it home, I might have escaped all this torment, and been now in rest !” What a sad voice will this be!- Consider what a joy it will be in heaven, to meet those there, whom you have been the means to bring thither. To see their faces, and join with them for ever in the praises of God. whom you were the happy instruments of bringing to the knowledge and obedience of Jesus Christ !--Consider how many souls you may have drawn into the way of damnation, or hardened in it. We have had, in the days of our ignorance, our companions in sin, whom we incited or encouraged. And doth it not become us, to do as much to save men, as we have done to destroy them ?- Consider how diligent are all the enemies of these poor souls to draw them to hell. The devil is tempting them day and night: their inward lusts are still working for their ruin: the flesh is still pleading for its delights: their old companions are increasing their dislike of holiness. And if nobody be diligent in helping them to heaven, what is like to become of them.
s 12. Consider how deep the neglect of this duty will wound, when conscience is awakened.—When a man comes to die, conscience will ask him, “ What good hast thou done in thy life-time? The saving of souls is the greatest good work : what hast thou done towards it? How many hast thou dealt faithfully with?” I have oft observed that the consciences of dying men very much wound them for this omission. For my own part, when I have been near death, my conscience hath accused me more for this than for any sin. It would bring every ignorant profane neighbour to my remembrance, to whom I never made known their danger. It would tell me, “Thou shouldest have gone to them in private, and told them plainly of their desperate danger, though it had been when thou shouldest have eaten, or slept, if thou hadst no other time.” Conscience would remind me, how at such or such a time I was in company with the ignorant, or was riding by the way with a wilful sinner, and had a fit opportunity to have dealt with him, but did not; or at least did it to little purpose. The Lord grant I may better obey conscience while I have time, that it may have less to accuse me of at death?_Consider what a seasonable time you now have for this work. There are times in which it is not safe to speak; it may cost you your liberties or your lives. Besides, your neighbours will shortly die, and so will you. Speak to them therefore while you may.-Consider, though this is a work of the greatest charity, yet every one of you may perform it; the poorest, as well as the rich. Every one hath a tongue to speak to a sinner. - Once more, consider the happy consequences of this work where it is faithfully done. You may be instrumental in saving souls, for which Christ came down and died, and in which the angels of God rejoice. Such souls will bless you here and hereafter. God will have much glory by it. The church will be multiplied and edified by it. Your own souls will enjoy more improvement and vigour in a divine life, more peace of conscience, more rejoicing in spirit. Of all the personal mercies that I ever re ceived, next to the love of God in Christ to my own soul, I must most joyfully bless him for the plentiful success of my endeavours upon others. O what fruits then might I have seen, if I had been more faithful? I know we need to be very jealous of our deceitful hearts in this point, lest our rejoicing should come from our pride. Naturally we would have the praise of every good work ascribed to ourselves. Yet to imitate our Father in goodness and mercy, and to rejoice in the degree of them we attain to, is the duty of every child of God. I therefore tell you my own experience, to persuade you, that if you did but know what a joyful thing it is, you would fol. low it night and day through the greatest discourage ments.
§ 13. Up then, every man that hath a tongue, and is a servant of Christ, and do something of your hath left saith, The poinging souls to you
our pear you have h belongs to God hath
Master's work. Why hath he given you a tongue, but to speak in his service? And how can you serve him more eminently, than in saving souls? He that will pronounce you blessed at the last day, and invite you to the kingdom prepared for you, because you fed him, and clothed him, and visited him, in his poor members, will surely pronounce you blessed for so great a work as bringing souls to his kingdom. He that saith, The poor you have always with you, hath left the ungodly always with you, that you might still have matter to exercise your charity upon. If you have the hearts of Christians or of men, let them yearn toward your ignorant ungodly neighbours. Say, as the lepers of Samaria, We do not well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace. Hath God had so much mercy on you, and will you have no mercy on your poor neighbours? -But as this duty belongs to all Christians, so especially to some, according as God hath called them to it, or qualified them for it. To them therefore I will more particularly address the exhortation. i ý 14. God especially expects this duty at your hands, to whom he hath given more learning and knowledge, and endued with better utterance, than your neighbours. The strong are made to help the weak; and those that see must direct the blind. God looketh for this faithful improvement of your parts and gifts, which, if you neglect, it were better you had never received them; for they will but aggravate your condemnation, and be as useless to your own salvation as they were to others.
15. All those that are particularly acquainted with some ungodly men, and that have peculiar interest in them, God looks for this duty at your hands. Christ himself did eat and drink with publicans and sinners; but it was only to be their physician, and not their companion. Who knows but God gave you interest in them to this end, that you might be the means of their recovery? They that will not regard the words of a stranger, may regard a bro
ther, or sister, or husband, or wife, or near friend; besides that the bond of friendship engageth you to more kindness and compassion than ordinary.
16. Physicians, that are much about dying men, should in a special manner make conscience of this duty. It is their peculiar advantage, that they are at hand; that they are with men in sickness and dangers, when the ear is more open, and the heart less stubborn, than in time of health; and that men look upon their physician as a person in whose hands is their life; or at least who may do much to save them; and therefore they will the more regard his advice. You that are of this honourable profession, do not think this a work besides your calling, as if it belonged to none but ministers; except you think it besides your calling to be compassionate, or to be Christians. O help therefore to fit your patients for heaven! And whether you see they are for life or death, teach them both how to live and die, and give them some physic for their souls, as you do for their bodies. Blessed be God, that very many of the chief physicians of this age, have, by their eminent piety, vindicated their profession from the common imputa. tion of atheisin and profaneness.
§ 17. Men of wealth and authority, and that have many dependents, have excellent advantages for this duty. O what a world of good might lords and gentlemen do, if they had but hearts to improve their influence over others! Have you not all your honour and riches from God? Doth not Christ say, Unto whomsoever much is given, of him much shall be required? If you speak to your dependents for God and their souls, you may be regarded, when even a minister shall be despised. As you value the honour of God, your own comfort, and the salvation of souls, improve your influence over your tenants and neighbours: visit their houses; see whether they worship God in their families; and take all opportunities to press them to their duty. Despise them not. Remeinber, God is no respecter of persous.
Let men see that you excel others in piety, compassion, and diligence in God's work, as you do in the riches and honours of the world. I confess you will by this means be singular, but then you will be singular in glory; for few of the mighty and noble are called.
18. As for the ministers of the gospel, it is the very work of their calling to help others to heaven.
-Be sure to make it the main end of your studies and preaching. He is the able, skilful minister, that is the best skilled in the art of instructing, convincing, persuading, and consequently of winning souls; and that is the best sermon that is best in these. When you seek not God, but yourselves, God will make you the most contemptible of men. It is true of your reputation, what Christ says of your life, He that loveth it shall lose it.—Let the vigour of your persuasions show, that you are sensible on how weighty a business you are sent. Preach with that seriousness and fervour, as men that believe their own doctrine, and that know their hearers inust be prevailed with, or be damned.—Think not that all your work is in your studies and pulpit. You are shepherds, and must know every sheep, and what is their disease, and mark their strayings, and help to cure them and fetch them home. Learn of Paul, not only to teach your people publicly, but from house to house. Inquire how they grow in knowledge and holiness, and on what grounds they build their hopes of salvation, and whether they walk uprightly, and perform the duties of their several relations. See whether they worship God in their families'; and teach them how to do it. Be familiar with them, that you may maintain your interest in them, and improve it all for God. Know of them how they profit by public teaching. If any too little savour the things of the Spirit, let them be pitied, but not neglected. If any walk disorderly, recover them with diligence and patience. If they be ignorant, it inay be your fault, as much as theirs. Be