תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

merciless oppressor, nor the talignant hater of a godly life, nor the perjured betrayers of nien's souls and the gospel, or of their country's good, nor such other men of seared consciences, whose misery none questions, but such as are blind and miserable: it is not those only I am speaking of, but the common, worldly, fleshly, and ungodly ones. I . *Quest. 9. Ask them, whether the name of a Chris. tian will save any of these ungodly ones? And when ther God will like men the better for lying and calling themselves Christians, when indeed they are none? And, whether they dare preach to the people, that a Christian-drunkard, or Christian-fornicator, or oppressor, or a Christian-worldling, needeth no conversion ? . 1. Quest. 10. Ask them, whether they say not them. selves that hypocrisy is a great aggravation to all other sin? And whether God hath not made the hypocrites and unbelievers to be standards in hell ? Matt. xxiv. 51. And, whether seeking to abuse God by a mock religion doth make such false Christians better than the poor heathens and infidels, or much worse? And, whether he be not a hypocrite, that professeth to be, a Christian and a servant of God, when he is none, nor will be? And, whether he that knoweth his master's will, and doeth it not, shall not have the sorest stripes or punishment? Luke xii. 47.

Quest. 11. Ask them, whether in their baptism (which is their christening as a covenant) they did not renounce the flesh, the world, and the devil, and vow and deliver up themselves to God their Father, their Saviour, and their Sanctifier? And whether all or most men perform this vow? And whether a perjured covenant-breaker against God, is fitter for salvation than one that never was baptized ? ** Quest. 12. Ask them, whether the holy nature of God be not so contrary to sin, as that it is blasphemy to say that he will bring to heaven, and into the bosom of bis eternal delights, an unholy and unrenewed soul? 2 Pet. i. 15, 16.

Quest. 13. Ask them, why it was that Christ came into

[graphic]

the world, whether it was not to save his people frog their sins, Matt. 1, 21, and to destroy the works of the devil, 1 John iii, 8., and to purify to himself a peculias people, zealous of good works, Tit. ii. 14. and to bring home straying souls to God, Luke xv. and to be the way to the Father? John xiv, 6. And wbether Christ will save that soul that is not converted by him, and cleansed from his sins? Or whether it be the dead image only of a crucified Jesus that is all their Sa: viour, while they have no more of him? " BBM

Quest. 14. Ask them, why they believe, and were baptized in the Holy Ghost ? And, whether a man cau enter into the kingdom of heaven that is not born of the Spirit as well as of water? Johın in. 3, 6, 7. and that is not converted, and begins atoo the world as it were anew, in a teachable and tractable newness of life like a little child? Matt. xviü. Bu And whether it be not a certain truth, that if any man have not the Spirit of God, he is none of his? Rom. vii. 9.

mars 1699119491 10 V51902 Quest. 15. Ask them, why Christ gave the world sol many warniugs of the damnableness of the Pharisees'i hypocrisy, if hypocritical Christians may be saved And what were these Pharisees? They were the mas' ters of the Jewish church, the Rabbies, that must have high places, high tithes, ceremonies, and formal gare ments, and must be reverenced of all; that gave God lip-service without the heart, and made void his 'com mands, and worshipped him in vain, teaching for docs trine the commandments of men; and strictly tithed minti and cummin, while love, mercy, and justice, were passe ed by; who worshipped God with abundance of cerel monies, and built the tombs and garnished the sepulchres of the saints, while they killed and persecuted those that did imitate them, and hated the living saints, but honoured the dead: they were the bitterest enemies and murderers of Christ, on pretence that he was a blasphemer, and a seditious enemy to Cesar and the common peace, and one that spoke against the temple; they were the greatest enemies of the Apostles, and! silencers of those that preached Christ's gospel, and

trine the coin, while loved God with ached the sepul chose

[graphic]

persecuted them that called upon his name. And had these no need of Conversion, because they could say, God is our Father, (when the devil was their father, Jobní viji. 44.) and that they were Abraham's seed? And are not hypocritioal Christians, drunken Christians, fornicating Christians, carnal, worldly, infidel Christians, (the contradiction is your own persecuting Christians, false-named, hypocritical Christians, as bad, yea, worse, as they abuse a more excellent profession? Matt. xv. 7, 8, &c. : 030 OSS 90.51 SAW, SOSU 9 Quest. 16. Doth not the Holy State, or heaven, require holiness in all that shall possess it? Can an unholy soul there see, and love, and praise, and delight in God for ever, and in the holy society and employment of the saints? Is he not more like a Mahometan than a Christian, that looketh for a sensual and unholy heaven?

Quest. 17. What is the difference between the church and the world? Is not the church a holy society of regenerate souls? Yea, the church visible is only those that in baptisın vow holiness, and profess ito Look these hypocrites in the face, and see whether they do not blush when they repeat in the Creed; “ I believe in the Holy Ghost; I believe in the Holy Catholic Church, and the Communion of Saints," who shall have the forgiveness of sin, and life everlasting, Ask them, whether they mean holy adulterers, holy worldlings, holy perjured persons ? Ask them, whether they mean a cominunion of saints in a tavern, in a play-house, in a gaming-house, in a whore. house, or a jesting, canting stage-play communion? If the church be holy, be holy if you will be of the church: if it be a communion of saints, make it not a communion of swine; and make not saints and their communion seemn odious, neither their infirmities, for their crossness to your carnal interest or conceits..

Quest. 18. Ask them, whether there be a heaven and a hell or not? If not, why are they pretended Christians? If there be, will God send one man to heaven, and another to hell, to so vast, so amazing a difference of states, if there be no great difference between them here? If holiness no more differenced Christians from others, than saying a sermon, or saying over a prayer, doth difference one from an infidel, where were the justice of God in saving soupe aud damning others! And what were Christianity better than the religion of Antonine, Plato, Socrates, Seneca, Cicero, Plutarch, and others, if not much worse ? Go into London streets, and when you have talked with living prudent men, then go to the painter's shop, and see a comely picture; and to the looking-glass, and see the appear. ance of each passenger in a glass; and to the periwig. shops, and see a wooden head with a periwig upon the block; and you have something like the difference of a holy soul, and of a dead and dressed formal hypocrite. "Quest. 19. Ask them, wbether kings and all men make not a difference between man and man: the loyal and perfidious, the obedient and disobedient? and, whether they difference not themselves between a friend and a foe, one that loveth them, and one that robbeth, hateth, or would kill them? And shall not the most Holy God make more difference between the righteous and the wicked ?.. : Quest. 20. But if they are dead in every point, 'save carnal interest, ask them why they are preachers or priests? And if Conversion and Holiness be a needless thing, what use are they themselves of? And why must the country be troubled with them, and pay them. tithes, and owe them reverence? · When these twenty questions are well answered, conclude you inay be saved without conversion.lion

But if, poor soul, thou art fully convinced,' and asketh, What shall I do to be converted? The Lord make thee willing, and save thee from hypocrisy, and I will quickly tell thee in a few words. .

1. Give not over sober thinking of these things, till thy heart be changed.

2. Come to Christ, and take him for thy Savioùr,

[graphic]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

thy Teacher, thy King, and he will pardon all that is past, and save thee. -3. Believe God's love, the pardon of sin, and the everlasting joys of heaven, that thou mayest feel that all the pleasure of the world and flesh are dung in comparison of the heavenly delight of faith, and hope, and holy love, and peace of conscience, and sincere obedience.

4. Sin no more wilfully, but forbear that which thou mayest forbear, Isa. Iv. 7.

5. Away from temptations, occasions of sin, and evil company, and be a companion of the humble, "heavenly, and sincere, Psal. cxix, 63—115.

6. Wait on God's Spirit in the diligent and constant use of his own means: read, hear, meditate, pray; pray hard for that grace that must convert thee: wait thus, and thou shalt not wait in vain, Psal. xxxvii. 34, and lxix. 6. C“ Pity, O Lord, and persuade these souls; let not Christ's blood, his doctrine, his example, his Spirit, be lost upon them, and they lost for ever. Let not heaven be as no heaven to them, while they dream and doat on the shadows of this world. And, O save this land from a greater destruction, than all our late plagues, and flames, and divisions, which our sins and thy threatening make us fear. O Lord, in thee have we trusted, let us never be confounded."

Having thus contributed my endeavours in this Preface, to the furtherance of the design of this excellent book, I must tell thee, Reader, that I take it for an honour to commend so masculine a birth into the world: the midwife of Alexander or Aristotle need not to be ashamed of her office. Who the author of this treatise was, how he preached, how he lived, how he suffered, (and for what,) and how he died, his life, and letters, lately printed, fully tell you: and I earnestly commend the reading of them to all, but especially to ministers: not to tell them what men have here been forbidden to preach Christ's gospel, and for what; nor what men they are that so inany years have

« הקודםהמשך »