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it is to be a vile cast-out, a dainned reprobate, a vessel of wrath, into which the Lord will be pouring out his tormenting fury while he hath a being. · Divine wrath is a fierce (Deut. xxxii. 22.) devouring (Isa. xxxiij. 14.) everlasting (Matt. xxv. 41.) uuquenchable fire, (Matt. ii. 12.) and thy soul and body must be the fuel upon which it must be feeding for ever, unless thou consider thy ways, and speedily turn to the Lord by a sound conversion...
And is this true indeed? Is this thy misery? Yea, it is as true as God is. Better open thine eyes, and see it now, while thou mayest remedy it; than blind and harden thyself, till (to thy eternal sorrow) thou shalt feel what thou wouldst not believe: and if it be true, what dost thou mean, to loiter and linger in such a case as this! .. . · Alas, for thee, poor man! how effectually hath sin undone thee, and deprived thee even of thy reason, to look after thine own everlasting good! O miserable caitiff! what stupidity hath surprised thee! O let me knock up and awake this sleeper. Who dwells within the walls of this flesb? Is there ever a soul here, a rational, understanding soul? Or art thou only a walking ghost, a senseless lump? Art thou a reasonable soul, and yet so far brutified, as to forget thyself immortal, and to think thyself to be as the beasts that perish? O unhappy soul, that wast the glory of man, the mate of angels, and the image of God! that wast, God's representative in the world, and hast, the supremacy amongst the creatures, and the dominion over thy Maker's works! art thou now become a slave to sense, a servant to so base an idol as thy belly, for no higher felicity than to heap together a little refined earth, no more suitable to thy spiritual, immortal nature, than the dirt and sticks? O why dost thou not bethink thee, where thou shalt be for ever? Death is at hand, the judge is even at the door. Yet a little while, and time shall be no longer. And wilt thou run the hazard of continuing in such a state, in which if thou be overtaken, thou art irrecoverably miserable ?
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Come then, arise, and attend thy nearest concernments: tell me whither art thou going? What! wilt thou live in such a course, wherein every act is a step to perdition, and thou dost not know but the next night thou mayest make thy bed in hell? O! if thou hast a spark of reason, consider and turn, and bearken to thy friend, who would show thee thy present misery, that thou mightest escape, and be eternally happy.
Hear what the Lord saith: Fear ye not me, saith the Lord? Will ye not tremble at my presence ? Jer. v. 22. O sinners! do you inake light of the wrath to come? I am sure there is a time coming, when you will not make light of it. Why, the very devils believe and tremble. What! are you more hardened than they? Will you run upon the edge of the rock ? Will you play at the hole of the asp? Will you put your hand upon the cockatrice-den? Will you dance upon the fire till you are burnt? Or dally with devouring wrath, as if you were at a point of indifference whether you did escape or endure it? There is nothing so distracted as the wilful sinner, that goeth on in his unconverted state, as if nothing ailed him. Is it wisdom to dally with the second death, or to venture into the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone, as if thou wert but going to wash thee, or to swim for thy recreation ? Wilt thou, as it were, jump into eternal flames, as the children through the bonfire? What shall I say? I can find out no expression, no comparison, whereby to set forth the dreadful distraction of that soul that will go on in sin.
Awake, awake, O sinner! arise and take thy flight: there is but one door that thou mayest flee by, and that is the strait door of conversion. Unless thou turn unfeignedly from all thy sins, and come unto Jesus Christ, and take him for the Lord thy righteousness, and walk in him in holiness and newness of life, -as the Lord liveth, it is not more certain that thou art now out of hell, than that thou shalt without fail be in it but a few days or nights hence. O set thy heart to think of thy case. Is not thine everlasting misery or welfare that which doth deserve a little consideration. Look again over the miseries of the unconverted. If the Lord hath not spoken by me, regard me not; but if it be the very word of God, that all this misery lies upon thee, what a case art thou in! Is it for one that hath his senses to live in such a condition, and not to make all possible expedition for preventing his utter ruin? O man! who hath bewitched thee, that in the matters of this present life thou shouldst be wise enough to forecast thy business, and foresee thy danger; but in matters of everlasting consequence should be careless, as if they little concerned thee? Why is it nothing to thee to have all the attributes of God engaged against thee? Canst thou do well without his favour? Canst thou escape his hands, or endure his vengeance? Dost thou hear the creation groaping under thee, and hell groaning for thee, and yet think thy case good enough? Art thou in the paw of the lion, under the power of corruption, in the dark noi. some prison, working out thy own damnation, and is not this worth considering? Dost thou laugh at hell and destruction, or canst thou drink the envenomed cup of the Almighty's fury, as if it were but a common potion?
Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Art thou such a Leviathan, as that the scales of thy pride should keep thee from thy Maker's coming at thee? Wilt thou esteem his arrows as straw, and the instruments of death as rotten wood? Art thou the chief of all the children of pride, even that thou shouldst count his darts as stubble, and laugh at the shaking of his spear? Art thou made without fear, and contemnest his barbed irons ? Art thou like the horse that paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength? Dost thou mock at fear, and art not affrighted, neither turnest back
from God's sword, when his quiver rattleth against i thee, the glittering spear and the shield? Well, if
the threats of the word will not awaken thee, I am sure death and judgment will. O what wilt thou do, when the Lord cometh forth against thee, and in his
fury falleth upon thee? If when Daniel's enemies were cast into the den of lions, both they and their wives and their childrenpthe lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces ere ever they came at the bottom of the den; what shall be done with thee, when thou fallest into the hands of the living God, when he shall crush thee into a thousand pieces in his wrath ?
0, do not then contend with God! Repent, and be converted, so none of this shall come upon thee. Isa. lv. 6. 7. “ Seek ye the Lord, while he may be found; call upon him, while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”
| CHAP. VI.
Containing Directions for Conversion.
BEFORE thou readest these Directions, I charge thee before God and his holy angels, thou resolve to follow them, (as far as conscience shall be convinced of their agreeableness to God's word,) and call in his assistance that they may succeed: and as I have sought the LORD, and consulted his oracles, what advice to give thee, so must thou entertain it with that awe, reverence, and purpose of obedience, which the word of the living God doth require. · Now then attend: Set thine heart unto all that I shall testify unto thee this day; for it is not a vain thing, it is your life. This is the end of all that has been spoken hitherto, to bring you to make use of God's means for your conversion. I would not trouble you, nor torment you before your time, with the thoughts of your eternal misery, but in order to your inaking your escape. Were you shut up under your present misery without remedy, it were but mercy to
let you alone, that you might take that poor comfort you are capable of in this world; but you may yet be happy, if you do not wilfully refuse the means of your recovery. Behold, I hold open the door to you; arise, take your flight: I set the way of life before you; walk in it, and you shall live and not die.' It grieves me to think you should be your own murderers, and throw yourselves headlong, when God cries out to you, spare thyself.
Would it not grieve a person of any humanity, if in the time of a raging plague he should have a receipt that would infallibly cure all the country, and recover the most hopeless patients, and yet his friends and neighbours should die by hundreds about him, because they would not use it? Men and brethren, though you carry the certain symptoms of death, yet I have a receipt that will cure you all: follow but these directions, and if you do not then win heaven, I will be contented to lose it.
Hear then, O sinner! and, as ever thou wouldst be converted, einbrace this counsel.
Direct. I. Set it down as an undoubted truth, that it is impossible for thee ever to get to heaven in this unconverted state. Can any other but Christ save thee? And he tells thee he never will do it, except thou be converted. Doth he not keep the keys of heaven? And canst thou get in without his leave? As thou must, if ever thou come thither without a thorough renovation.
Direct. II. Labour to get a lively sense and feeling of thy sins. Till men are weary and heavy laden, and sick of sin, they will not come to Christ, for ease and cure. They must set themselves down for dead men before they will come to Christ, that they may have life. Labour therefore to set all thy sins in order before thee; never be afraid to look upon them, but let thy spirit make diligent search. Inquire into thine heart, and into thy life; enter into a thorough examination of thyself, and all thy ways, that thou mayest make a full discovery; and call in the help of God's Spirit, for it his work to convince of sin. Spread all
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