« הקודםהמשך »
thou mayest be welcome if thou wilt come. And yet art thou not ready?
A pardon is already expressly granted, and offered thee in the gospel. And yet art thou not ready?
The ministers of the gospel are ready to assist thee, to instruct thee, and pronounce peace to thy soul; they are ready to pray for thee, and to seal thy pardon by the administration of the holy sacrament. And yet art thou not ready?
Yea, heaven itself is ready: the Lord will receive thee into the glory of the saints, as vile a beast as thou hast been, if thou wilt be but cleansed: thou mayest have a place before his throne, his angels will be ready to guard thy soul to the place of joy, if thou do but unfeignedly come in. And is God ready, the sacrifice of Christ ready, and pardon ready? Are ministers ready, and heaven itself ready, and angels ready, and all these waiting for thy conversion; and yet art thou not ready? What! not ready to live, when thou hast been dead so long ? Not ready to come to thy right understanding, when thou hast been beside thyself so long? Art thou not ready to lay hold on Christ, who would deliver thee, when thou art even ready to drown, and sink into damnation ? · Art thou not ready to be saved from hell, when thou art ready to be cast into it? Alas, man! dost thou not know what thou doest? If thou die unconverted, there is no doubt to be made of thy damnation; and thou art not sure to live an hour: and yet art thou not ready to turn, and to come in? O miserable wretch! hast thou not served the flesh and the devil long enough? Hast thou not yet enough of sin? Is it so good to thee, or so profitable for thee? Dost thou know what it is, that thou wouldst yet have more of it? Hast thou had so many calls, and so many mercies, and so many blows, and so many examples; hast thou seen so many laid in the grave; and yet art thou not ready to let go thy sins, and come to Christ? What! after so many convictions and gripes of conscience, after so many purposes and promises, art
thou not yet ready to turn and live? O that thy eyes, thy heart, were opened to know how fair an offer is now made to thee! and what a joyful message it is that we are sent on, to bid thee come, for all things are ready!
2. Consider also what calls thou hast to turn and live. How many, how loud, how earnest, how dreadful, and yet what encouraging joyful calls!
For the principal inviter, it is God himself. He that commands heaven and earth, commands thee to turn, and now without delay to turn: he commands the sun to run its course, and to rise upon thee every morning; and though it is so glorious a creature, yet it obeys him, and fails not one minute of its appointed time. He commands all the planets and orbs of heaven, and they obey: he commands the sea to ebb and flow, and the whole creation to keep its course, and all obey him: the angels of heaven obey his will, when he sends them to minister to such silly worms as we on earth. And yet if he commands but á sinner. to turn, he will not obey him: he only thinks himself wiser than God, and he cavils and will not obey.
If thou hadst any love in thee, thou wouldst know the voice, and say, O this is my Father's call! how can I find in my heart to disobey? If thou hadst any sense in thee, at least thou wouldst say, This call is the dreadful voice of God, and who dare disobey? God is not a man, that thou shouldst trifle and play with him : wilt thou yet go on and despise his word, and resist his Spirit, and stop thine ear against his call? Who is it that will have the worst of this? Dost thou know whom thou disobeyest and contendest with ; and what art thou doing? It were a far wiser and easier task for thee to contend with the thorns, and spurn them with thy bare feet, and beat them with thy bare hands, or put thy head into the burning fire. Be not deceived, God will not be mocked. Whoever else be mocked, God will not: you had better play with the fire in your thatch, than with the fire of his burning wrath; for our God is a consuming fire.(t) O how
(t) Heb. xii. 29.
+ thou for God therefore him. As What
unmeet a match art thou for God! It is a fearful thing to fall into his hands; (v) and therefore it is a fearful thing to contend with him, or to resist him. As you love your own souls, take heed what you do. What will you say, if he begin in wrath to plead with you? What will you do, if he take you once in hand? Will you then strive against his judgment, as now ye do against his grace? “Who would set the briars and thorns against me in battle? I would go through them, I would burn them together. Or let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me, and he shall make peace with me.” It is an unequal combat for the briars and stubble to make war with the fire.
You see who it is that calls you. Consider also by what instruments, and how often and how earnestly he does it.
1. Every leaf of the blessed book of God has as it were a voice, and calls out, Turn and live: turn, or thou wilt die. How canst thou open it, or read a leal, or hear a chapter, and not perceive God bids thee turn?
2. The voice of many a motion of the Spirit secretly urges thee to turn.
3. The voice of conscience. Art thou not some times convinced that all is not well with thee? and does not thy conscience tell thee, that thou must be a new man, and take a new course?
4. The voice of all the works of God. For they also are God's books, that teach thee this lesson, by showing thee this greatness, and wisdom, and goodness, and calling thee to observe them, and admire the Creator. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handy-work. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge.(w) Every time the sun rises upon thee, it calls thee to turn; as if it should say, What do I travel and compass the world for, but to declare to men the glory of their Maker, and to light them to do his work? And do I still find thee doing the work of sil,
idst that end shoulded if the
and sleeping out thy life in negligence? Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.
5. The voice of every mercy thou dost possess. If thou couldst but hear and understand them, they all cry unto thee, Turn. Why does the earth bear thee, but to seek and serve the Lord ? Why does it afford thee its fruit, but to serve him? Why does the air afford thee breath, but to serve him? Why do all the creatures serve thee with their labours and their lives; but that thou mightest serve the Lord of them and thee? Why does he give thee time, and health, and strength, but to serve him? Why hast thou meat, and drink, and clothes, but for his service? Hast thou any thing which thou hast not received? And if thou didst receive them, it is reason thou shouldst bethink thee, from whom, and to what end, and use, thou didst receive them. Didst thou never cry to him for help in thy distress? And didst thou not then under-, stand that it was thy part to turn and serve him, if he would deliver thee? He has done bis part, and spared thee yet longer, and tried thee another and another year; and yet dost thou not turn? How many years has God looked for the fruits of love and holiness from thee, and has found none?--and yet he has spared thee. How many a time by thy wilful ignorance, and carelessness, and disobedience, hast thou provoked justice to say, Cut him down, why cumbereth he the ground? And yet mercy has prevailed, and patience has forborn the killing, damning blow, to this day. If thou hadst the understanding of a man within thee, thou wouldst know that all this calls thee to turn.
6. Moreover, the voice of every affliction calls thee to make haste and turn. Sickness and pain cry Turn: and poverty, and loss of friends, and every chastising rod, cry Turn; and yet wilt thou not hearken to the call? . 7. Yea, thine own engagements by promise to the Lord, call upon thee to turn and serve bim. Thou hast bound thyself to him by a baptismal covenant
and renounced the world, the flesh, and the devil: this, thou hast confirmed by the profession of Christianity, and renewed it at sacraments, and in times of affliction: and wilt thou promise and vow, and never perform and turn to God?
Lay all these together now. The holy scripture calls upon thee to tury: the Spirit cries Turn, thy conscience cries Turn: the whole world, and all the creatures therein, cry Turn: the patient forbearing of God cries Turn: all the mercies thou receivest cry Turn: the rod of God's chastisements cries. Turn: and so do all thy promises to God; and yet art thou not resolved to turu?
8. Moreover, poor hard-hearted sinner, didst thou ever consider upon what terms thou: standest all this while with him who calls on thee to turn? Thou art his own, and owest him thyself, and all thou hast; and may he not command his own? Thou art his. absolute servant, and shouldst serve no other master. Thou standest at his mercy, and thy life is in his hand, and he is resolved to save thee upon no other terms: thou hast many malicious spiritual enemies, who would be glad if God, would but forsake thee, and let them alone with thee, and leave thee to their will: how quickly would they deal with thee in another manner! And thou canst not be delivered from them, but by turning unto God. Thou art fallen: under his wrath by thy sin already: and thou, knowest not how long his patience will yet waitPerhaps this is the last year; perhaps the last day: his sword is even at thy heart, while the word is in thine ear; and if thou turn not thou art a dead man. Were thy eyes but open to see where thou standest, even upon the brink of hell, and to see how many thousands are there already, thou wouldst see that it is time to look about thee.
O what glad tidings would it be to those that are now in hell, if they had but such a message from God! what a joyful word it would be to hear this, Turn and live: yea, what a welcome word would it be to thyo.