« הקודםהמשך »
to And being thus moved with necessary pity, we ask of God what he would have us to do for your salvation, And he hath told us in scripture, That the preaching
of his gospel, tu, acquaint you plainly with the truth, 9 and earnestly and frequently entreat you to turn from
(the flesh and world to God by Jesus Christ, is the Laneans with which his grace is ready to concur for your
salvation ; when abstinate resistance causeth the Holy
Spirit to forsake the sinner, and leave him to himself 17 to pursue his own counsels, lusts; and will. 57 pery agvi In this hope we undertook the sacred ministry, and I gave up ourselves to this great and most important 91 work.b In the great sense of our unworthiness, but riyet in a sense of our soul's necessity, we were not such
fools at our first setting out, as not to know it must be da life of labour, self-denial, and patience; and the e devil will do his worst to hinder us, and have all bis
instruments ready to serve him against our labours, to and against your souls. Christ our Captain was saved mi by patient conquest; and so must we save ourselves ( and you ; and so must yon save yourselves under Christ, bif ever you be saved. "Twas no 'strange thing to Pant, vothat bonds and afflictions did every-where attend him,
nor did he account his life dear, that he might finish ( his course with joy, and the ministry committed to
him by the Lord, Acts xx. 23, 24. It was no strange *thing to him to be forbidden preaching to the Gentiles, y that they might be saved; by such as were filling up
the measure of their sins, and were under Godis utos most wrath on earth, 1 Thess. ii. 16. Devils and Pha
risees, and most where they came, both high and low, of were against the apostles preaching of the gospel, and 9 yet they would not sacrilegiously and cruelly break to their covenant with Christ, and perfidiously desert the s-souls of men; even as their Lord, for the love of souls, y did call Peter Satan, who would have tempted him to 6 save his life and flesh, instead of making it a sacrifice
for our sins, Matt. xvi. 23.11 ';7 3.2** What think you should make us undertake a calling so contrary to our fleshly ease and interest? Do we 33 U
6, 101 966 963
udba 18 forud sa
not know the way of ease and honour, wealth and pleasure, as well as others? And have we not flesh as well as others? Could we not be content that the cup of reproach, scorn, slander, poverty, and labours, might pass from us, if it were not for the will of God and your salvation? Why should we love to be the lowest, and trodden down by malignant pride; and counted as the filth of the world, and the offscouring of all things; and represented to rulers, whom we honour, as schismatics, disobedient, turbulent, and unruly, by every church-usurper, whom we refuse to make a god of? Why give we not over this preaching of the gospel at the will of Satan, who is for the everlasting suffering of your souls, under pretence of its making us suffer? Is not all this, that you may be converted and saved? If we be herein beside ourselves, it is for you: could the words of the ignorant or proud have persuaded us, that either your wants or dangers are so inconsiderable (or your other supplies and helps sufficient) that our labours had been unnecessary to you; God knoweth we should have readily obeyed the silencing sorts of pastors, and have betaken us to some other land, where our service had been more necessary. Let share be the hypocrite's reward, who takes not the saving of souls and pleasing of God for sufficient reward, without ecclesiastical dignities, preferments, or worldly wealth. · I have told you our motives, I have told you our business, and the terms of our undertaking. It is God and you sinners that must next tell us what our enter. tainment and success shall be. Shall it still be neglect and unthankful contempt, and turning away your ears and hearts, and saying, We have something else to mind? Will you still be cheated by this deceitfit world, and spend all your days in pampering your guts, and providing for the flesh that must be rotting shortly in a grave? Was you made for no better use than this? May not we bring you to some sober thoughts of your condition ? Not one hour seriously to think whither you are going? What! not one awakening
look into the world where you must be for ever? Not one heart-piercing thought of everlasting glory? Not one heart-piercing thought of your Saviour's love? Not one tear for all your sinful lives? O! God for. bid: let not our labours be so despised: let not your God, your Saviour, and your souls, be so light set .by: 0 let there be no more profane persons among you like Esau, who for one morsel sold his birthright. · Poor sinners! we talk not to you as on a stage, in customary words, and as if talking was our trade: we are in as good earnest with you as if we saw you murdering yourselves, and were persuading you to save yourselves. Can any man be in jest with you, who believeth God, who by faith foreseeth whither you are going, and what you lose, and where the game of sin will end? Tis little better to jest with you now in a pulpit, or in private, than to stand jesting over your departing souls, when at death you are breathing out your last.-Alas! with shame and grief we confess, we never speak to you of these things, as their truth and weight deserve, nor with the skill and wisdom, the affection and fervency, that beseemeth men engaging in the saving of souls; but yet you may perceive that we are in earnest with you, (for God is so.) What else do we study for, labour for, suffer for, live for? Why else do we so much trouble ourselves, and trouble you, with this ado, and anger them that would have made us silent? For my own part, I will make my free confession to you to my shame, that I never grew cold, and dull, and pitiless to the souls of others, till I first grew too cold and careless of my own, (unless when weakness or speculative studies cool me, which I must confess they often do.) We never cease pitying you, till we are growing too like you, and oft have need of pity ourselves.
When, through the mercy of my Lord, the prospect of the world of souls, which I am going to, hath any powerful operation on myself, O! then I could spend and be spent for others. No words are too earnest, no labour too great, no cost too dear; the frowns and
wrath of malignantopposers of the preaching of Christ's gospel are nothing to me, but when the world of spirits disappears, or my soul is clouded, and receiveth not the vital illuminating influences of heaven, I grond
eold, first to myself, and then to others to ! 17 7 , Come then, poor sipners, and help us, who are wil
ling at any time to help you. As we first crave God's help, so we next crave yours: help us, for we cannot serve you against your wills, nor save you without your consent and help. God himself will not save you without you, and how shall we? We know that the devil is against us, and will do his utmost to hinder ys; and so will all his ministers, by what names or titles soever dignified or distinguished. But all this is nothing, if you will but take our parts; I mean, if you will take Christ's part and your own, and will not be against yourselves. Men or devils cannot either help or hinder us 'in saving you, as you may do yourselves: if God and you be for us, who shall be against us?
And will you help us ? Give over striving against God and conscience: give over fighting against Christ and his Spirit: take no more part with the world and flesh, which in your baptism you renounced: set your hearts to the inessage which we bring: allow it your manlike sober thought, search the scriptures, and see whether the things we speak be so or no. We offer you nothing but what we have resolvedly chosen ourselves, and that after the most serious deliberation we can make. We have many times looked round about us, to know what is the happiness of man; and had we found better for ourselves, we had offered better to you. If this world would have served our turns, it would have served yours also, and we would not have troubled you with that talk of another world; but it will not, I am sure it will not, serve your turns to make you happy, nor shall you long make that selfdeceiving shift with it as now ye do. .
But if you will not think of these things, if you will not use the reason of men, alas! what can we do to save your souls ? O pity them, Lord, that they may
pity themselves, baye mercy on them, that they may have some anercy on themselves; help them, that they may belp themselves and us. If you still refuse, will not your loss be more than ours? If we lose our labour, (which to ourselves we shall not,) if we lose our hopes of your salvation, what is this to your everlasting loss of salvation itself? And what are our sufferings for your sake, in comparison of your endless suffering ? , ; iii
But, 0! this is it that breaketh our hearts, that we leave you under, more guilt than we found you: and when we have laid out life and labour to save you, the impenitent souls must have their pains increased for refusing these calls; and that it will be part of your hell to think for ever, how madly you refused our coupsel, and what pains, cost, and patience, were used to have saved you, and all in vain. It will be so, it must needs be so. Christ saith, it shall be easier for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for the rejecters of his gospel-calls. The nature of the thing, and the nature of justice, certainly inform you it must be so. .
O turn not our complaints to God against you! turn uş not from beseeching you to be reconciled to God, to tell him you will not be reconciled: force us not to say, that we earnestly invited you to the heavenly feast, and you would not come: force us not to bear this witness against you, “ Lord, we could have borne all our labour and sufferings for them much easier, if they would but have yielded to thy grace. But it was they themselves that broke our hearts, that lost our labour, that made us to preach and intreat in vain; it was easier to preach without maintenance than without success. It was they that were worse to us than all the persecutors in the world. How oft would we have gathered them; but they would not, but are ungathered still?” How many holy, faithful ministers, have I known, these eleven years last past, who have lived in pining poverty and want, and hardly by charity got bread and clothing; and yet, if they could but have truly said, “ Lord, the sermons which I preach