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my only-begotten Son, into thy heart, I admit thee into the family of the first-born: be thou blameless and harmless, a son of God without rebuke in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom I allow thee to shine as a burning light in a benighted world. Son, all that I have is thine; be ever with me, and thou shalt inherit all things. Yes, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas; whether my first apostles, or my choice ministers; or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all ig thine, for thou art Christ's, and Christ is mine. As thou hast received him, so abide and walk with him, worthy of me unto all pleasing; being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in his knowledge, till thy faith is turned to sight, and I am all in all.”
Start not, believing Reader, at these sayings, as if they were too glorious to be credited. They are the true sayings of God. The Lord himself spoke them for thy comfort. They are the precious pearls, which I promised thee out of the unsearchable treasures of Christ: if swine trample them under their feet, wear thou them on thy breast. Instead of being offended at their transcendent excellence, magnify the God of all consolation, who having delivered up his own Son for us all, with him also freely gives us all things: consequently the richest mines of gospel grace. And giving vent to the just transports of thy grateful heart, cry out with the beloved disciple, “Behold what malner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God -Unto him who thus loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blond, and hath made us kings and priests to God and his Father: to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
I HERE is that life, and light, and love, in every true believer, but especially in every faithful minister of Christ, which engageth them to long and labour for your salvation. Life is communicative and active; it maketh us sensible that faith is not phantasm, nor true religion a stage-player, nor our hopes of eternal happiness a dream. And as we desire nothing more for ourselves than to have more of the holy life, (which we have, alas, in so small a measure,) so what is it we should more desire for others? With the eye of an infallible (though too weak) faith, we see the heaven which you neglect, and the blessed souls in glory with Christ, whose companions you might be for ever: we see the multitudes of souls in hell, who came thither by the same way that you are going in, who are shut out of the glorious presence of God, and are now among those devils that deceive them, reinembering they had their good things here, Luke xvi. 25. and how they spent the day of their visitation, and how light they once set by God, by Christ, by heaven, by mercy, whilst mercy was an earnest solicitor for their hearts; and with our bodily eyes we see at the same time abundance of poor sinners, living about us as if there were no God, no Christ, no heaven, no hell, no judgment, no, nor death to be expected; as if a man were but a master-beast to rule the rest, and feed upon and perish with them. And if it were your own case, to see what souls do in heaven and hell, and at once to see how unbelievingly, carelessly, and senselessly, most men live on earth, as there were no such difference in another world, would it not seem a
shut out of the poils that deceive Luke xvi.
not to that place would not pice gentlemen's ey brother
520 AN EPISTLE TO THE pitiful sight to you? If you had once seen the five brethren of Dives on earth, eating, drinking, laughing, and merry, clothed and faring daily with the best, and at the same time seen their brother's soul in hell, beg. ging in vain for a little ease; and wishing that one from the dead might go warn them, that they came not to that place of torment, would it not seem to you a pitiful sight? Would not pity have made you think, “Is there no way to open these gentlemen's eyes? No way to acquaint them what is become of their brother, and where Lazarus is, and whither they themselves are going?. No one driveth or forceth thern to hell, and will they go thither of themselves!' And is there no way to stop them, or keep them back?" Did you but see yourselves what we see by faith, (believing God,) and at once behold the saints in heaven, the lost despairing souls in hell, and the senseless sensual sinners on earth, that yet will lay none of this to heart, surely it would make you wonder at the stupidity o: mankind. Would you not say, O what a deceiver is the devil, that can thus lead on souls to their on damnation! O what a cheat is this transitory world, that can make men so forget the world where they must live for ever! O what an enemy is this fest, that thus draweth down men's souls 'from God! 0 what a besotting thing is sin, that turneth a reasonable soul into worse than'a beast! What a bedlam s this wicked world, when thousands are so busy labouring to undo themselves and others, and gratit. ing the devil against their God and Saviour, who would give them everlasting blessed life. . .
And as we have such a sight as this by faith to make us pity you, so we have so much taste of the goodness of God, the sweetness of his ways, and the happiness of helievers, as must needs make us wie that you had but once tried the same delights. The would turn the pleasures of sin into detestation. Goc knows we desire nothing more for ourselves than the perfection and eternity of this holiness and happia/ which we believe and taste and should we not desire the same for you?