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your eyes when you once understood that it is the word of God.
This then is my request to you, sirs, that the work of your conversion may not miscarry, That you would carry all that you hear to the scripture, and search there, and see whether it be so or not, that so you may be put out of doubt, and may be at a certainty, and not stand wavering; and that your faith may be resolved into the authority of God; and so the work may be divine, and consequently powerful and prevailing, when the ground and motive is divive. If you be not satisfied in the doctrine which the minister delivereth to you, first search the scripture yourselves; and if that will not do, go to him, and desire him to show you his grounds for it in the word of God, and join with you in prayer for a right understanding of it. Do you question whether there be so severe a judgment, and a heaven and a hell, as ministers tell you ? Search the scripture, in Matt. xxv, and 2 Thess. 1. 8, 9, 10. John v. 29. Matt. xiii. Do you question whether a man may not be saved without conversion, regeneration, and holiness? Open your Bibles, and see what God saith, John iii. 6. Matt. xviii. 3. 2 Cor. v. 17. Rom. viii. 9. Heb. xii. 14. Do you think a inan inay be saved without knowledge? Let scripture judge, 2 Cor. iv. 3, 4. John xvii. 3. Hos. iv. 6. Do you think a man may be saved that doeth as the most do, and goeth in the common way of the world? Search the scripture and see, Matt. vii. 13. and xx. 16. and xxii. 14. Luke xii. 32. Do you think an unhumbled soul may be saved, that never was contrite and brokenhearted for sin? Try by Isaiah lvii. 15. and lxvi. 2. Psalm li. 17. Luke iv. 18. Matthew xi. 28. Do you think a man can be the servant of God, that liveth a fleshly life, and will keep his sin? Try by Rom. vil. 13. John iii. 12. Eph. v. 5, 6. 1 John jü, 9, 10. Do you doubt whether it be necessary to make su much ado to be saved, and to be so strict, and make religion your chiefest business? Try by Psalm i. 1, 2. 3. 1 Peter iv. 18. Hebrews xii. 14. Luke x. 42. and xiii. 24. Eph. v. 15, 16. Do you think a inan can be saved that is a worldling? whose heart is more on earth than heaven? Try by 1 John ii. 15. Phil. jji. 19. L
.. Col. iii. 1. Luke xiv. 26, 33. Do you doubt whether
"..."... you should serve God with your families? and instruct them, and pray with them? Try by Josh. xxiv, 15. Deut. vi. 7. Dan. vi. 10, 11. Exod. xx. 10. ,
Thus, if you will in all these weighty matters but go to the scripture, and see whether it says as your teachers say, you might soon be resolved, and that by the surest authority in the world. If you think that your ministers may be deceived, I hope you will confess that God cannot be deceived. If you think that your ministers are passionate, or self-conceited, or speak out of ill-will to you, I hope you dare not say so by the Lord: he owes you no ill-will, nor speaks a word but what is most sure. If you think us partial, sure God is impartial! What better judge can you have now, than he that is infallible, and must judge you all at the last? The law is made to judge you, and not to be judged by you. None can be the proper judges of the sense of the law, but the maker of it; though others must judge their case by the law. Your work is to discern it, and understand and obey it; and our work is to help you to understand it; but it is neither our work nor yours, to be the proper or absolute judges of it. At least where it speaks plain,
it needs no judge. Lư –2?Â2Ò2Âòētiņģēņģ2222/2/2/2tiņ2 ņ2ūŻ2/222/22?Â2â
with a teachable frame of spirit, and a willingness to know the truth, and a resolution to stand to it, and yield to what shall be revealed to you; and beg of God to show you his will, and lead you into the truth, and you will find that he will be found of them that seek him.
Direction III. If you would not have the work of your conversion miscarry, my next advice is this:
See that you be much in the serious consideration of the truths which you understand, between God and you in secret.
I have often spoken of this heretofore; but because I apprehend it to be a point of exceeding great concernment, I shall be longer on it again than on the rest.
The greatest matters in the world will not work much upon him that will not think of them. Consideration opens the ears that are stopt, and the heart that was shut up; it sets the powers of the soul to work, and awakeneth it from the sleep of incogitancy and security. The thoughts are the first actings of the soul, that set a-work the rest. Thinking on the matters that must make us wise, and do the work of God on the heart, is that which lieth on us to do in order to our conversion. By consideration a sinner makes use of the truth, which before lay by, and therefore could do nothing. By consideration he taketh in the medicine to his soul, which before stood by, and could not work. By consideration a man makes use of his reason, which before was laid asleep, and therefore could not do his work. When the master is from home, the scholars will be at play. When the coachman is asleep, the horses may miss the way, and possibly break his neck and their own. If the ploughman go his way, the oxen will stand still, or make but bad uohandsome work.-So when reason, laid asleep, is out of the way, what may not the appetite do ? and what may not the passions do? and what may not tempta tions do with the soul? A wise man, when he is asleep, hath as little use of his wisdom as a fool. A learned man, when he is asleep, can hardly dispute with an unlearned man that is awake. A strong man that is ever so skilful at his weapons, is scarce able, in his sleep, to deal with the weakest child that is awake. Why, all the powers of your soul are as it were asleep, till consideration awake them, and set them at work. And what the better are you for be ing men, and having reason, if you have not the use of your reason when you need it? As men are inconsiderate because they are wicked, so they are the more
wicked because they are inconsiderate. The keenest sword, the greatest cannon, will do no execution against an enemy while they lie by, and are not used. There is a mighty power in the word of God, and the example of Christ, to pull down strong holds, and conquer the strongest lusts and corruptions. But they will not do this while they are forgotten and neglected. Will heaven entice the man that thinks not of it? Will hell deter the man that thinks not of it? Why is it that all the reasoning in the world will do no more good to a man that is deaf, than if you said nothing? But because the passage to his thoughts and understanding is stopt up. And if you have eyes and see not, and ears and hear not, and wilfully cast it out of your thought, what good can any thing do to you that is spoken? It is not, holding your meat in your mouth that will nourish you, if you will not let it down; nor taking it into your stomach, if you will not keep it, but presently cast it up again: but it must be kept till it is digested and distributed. So it is not the most excellent truths in the world that will change your hearts; if you let them not down to your hearts, and keep them not there by meditation till they are digested and turned into spiritual life. The plaister must be laid upon the sore, if you would be cured.--The wound and sickness is at your heart: and if you will not take in the word to your heart, where the sickness is, I know not how you should expect a cure. The soul will not be charmed into holiness, by the bare hearing or saying over a few good words, as wizards used to cure diseases, or seemed to cure them. | It must be truth at the heart that must change the
heart.-And if you will not think on, and think on it again, how can you expect it should ever come to your heart?
You say you would gladly have Christ and grace, and are ready to lay the blame on God, because he doth not give it you, and say, We cannot convert ourselves: but would you have the Spirit come in, while · you hold the door against him? He knocks, and de
sires you to open and let him in, and you wish him to come in; but you bolt the door, and no entreaty will procure you to open it. It is consideration of the saving doctrine of the gospel, that openeth the heart, and giveth it entertainment. Set yourselves therefore on purpose to this work, and open the doors of your heart, which are now shut, and let the King of glory come in. Who will believe that you love the light, when you shut the windows, and draw the curtains? If you will set yourselves to consider of the truth, the windows of your soul will be set open, and then the light will certainly come in. Now you read over whole chapters, and hear sermon after sermon, and either they never stir you, or at least it is but a little for a fit; like a man that hath a little warmed him at a fire in the winter, and when he goes from it is colder than before: but if you would but set yourselves to consider of what you hear or read, one line of a chapter, or one sentence of a sermon, would lay you in tears, or make you groan, or at least do more than now is done. Satan hath garrisoned the heart of every carnal man: and consideration is the principal means to cast him out. If by considering of
the terrible threatenings of the word, you would dis· charge the cannons of God against them, what a bat
tery would it make in the corruptions of your souls! Our God is a consuming fire, and the fire of hell is threatened by his law as the wages of sin: by serious consideration you may as it were fetch fire from God and from his word, and set to the very gates of Satan's garrison, and fire him out of many of his holds.
But because this is so needful a point, I shall be so large upon it, as, 1. To tell you some of those things that you should consider of: 2. To tell you in what manner you should do it: and 3. To give you some motives to put you on.
1. The first thing that I would have you often to think ou, is, the nature of that God with whom you have to do. Consider, that if he be the most wise, it is all the reason in the world that he should rule you.