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Thirdly, Lay hold on the covenant of God, and rely on his promise of giving grace and strength, whereby thou mayest be enabled to perform thy promise.
Fourthly, Resolve to be faithful; having engaged thy heart, opened thy mouth, and subscribed with thy hand unto the Lord, resolve in his strength never to go back.
Lastly, Being thus prepared, on some convenient time set apart for that purpose, set upon the work; and in the most solemn manner possible (as if the Lord were visibly present before thine eyes) fall down on thy knees, and spreading forth thine hands toward heaven, open thine heart to the Lord in these or the like words:
“O most dreadful God! for the passion of thy dear Son, I beseech thee, accept of thy poor prodigal, now prostrating himself at thy door; I have fallen from thee by mine iniquity, and am by nature a son of death, and a thousand-fold more the child of hell by my wicked practice: but of thine infinite grace thou hast promised grace to me in Christ, if I will but turn to thee with all my heart: therefore upon the call of thy gospel, I am now come in; and throwing down my weapons, submit myself to thy mercy.
“And because thou requirest, as the condition of my peace with thee, that I should put away mine idols, and be at defiance with all thine enemies, which I acknowledge I have wickedly sided with against thee, I here, from the bottom of my heart, renounce them all, firmly covenanting with thee, not to allow myself in any known sin, but conscientiously to use all the means that I know thou hast prescribed for the death and utter destruction of all my corruptions. And whereas I have formerly inordinately and idolatrously let out my affections upon the world, I do here resign up my heart to thee, that madest it; humbly protesting before thy glorious Majesty, that it is the firm resolution of iny heart, and that I unfeignedly desire grace from thee, that when thou shalt call me hereunto, I may practise this my resolution through thy assistance, to forsake all that is dear to me in this world, rather than to turn from thee to the ways of sin; and that I will watch against all its temptations, whether of prosperity or adversity, lest they should withdraw my heart from thee; beseeching thee also to help me against all the temptations of Satan, to whose wicked suggestions I resolve, by thy grace, never to yield myself a servant. And I renounce all confidence in my own righteousness, and acknowledge that I am myself a hopeless, helpless, undone creature, without righteousness or strength.
“ And forasınuch as thou hast, of thy bottomless mercy, offered most graciously to me, wretched sinner, to be again accepted by God, through Christ, if I will accept of thee; I call heaven and earth to record this day, that I do here solemnly avouch thee for the Lord my God; and with all possible veneration, bowing the neck of my soul under the feet of thy most sacred Majesty, I do bere take thee the Lord Jehovah, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for my portion and chief good: and so give up myself, body and soul, to thy service, promising and vowing to serve thee in holiness and righteousness all the days of my life.
“And since thou hast appointed the Lord Jesus Christ, the only means of coming unto thee, I do here, upon the bended knees of my soul, accept of him as the only, new, and living way, by which sinners may have access to thee; and do hereby solemnly join myself in marriage-covenant to him.
“ O blessed Jesus! I come to thee hungry and poor, and wretched, and miserable, and blind, and naked; a most loathsome, polluted wretch, a guilty and condemned malefactor, unworthy for ever to wash the feet of the servants of my Lord, much more to be solemnly married to the King of glory: but since such is thine unparalleled love, I do here with all my power accept thee, and do take thee for my head and husband, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, for .all times and conditions, to love, honour, and obey thee before all others, and this to the death; I embrace thee in all thy offices, I renounce my own worthiness, and do here avow thee to be the Lord my righteousness: I renounce my own wisdom, and do here take thee for my only guide; I renounce my own will, and take thy will for my law.
“ And since thou hast told me that I must suffer, if I will reign, I do here covenant with thee to take my lot as it falls with thee; and, by thy grace assisting, to run all hazards with thee, verily supposing that neither life nor death shall part between thee and me.
“ And because thou hast been pleased to give me thy holy laws as the rule of my life, and the way in which I should walk to thy kingdom, I do here willingly put my neck in thy yoke, and set my shoulder to thy burden; and subscribing to all thy laws, as holy, just, and good, I solemnly take them as the rule of my thoughts, words, and actions; promising that though my flesh contradict and rebel, yet I will endeavour to order and govern my whole life according to thy direction, and will not allow myself in the neglect of any thing that I know to be my duty.
“ Only because (through the frailty of my flesh) I am subject to so many failings, I am bold humbly to protest, that unallowed miscarriages, contrary to the settled bent and resolution of my heart, shall not make void this covenant; for so thou hast said. "
“ Now, Almighty God, searcher of hearts, thou knowest that I make this covenant with thee this day without any known guile or reservation; beseeching thee, that if thou spiest any flaw or falsehood therein, thou wouldst discover it to me, and help me to do it aright.
“And now, glory be to thee, O God the Father, whom I shall be bold from this day forward to look upon as my God and Father, that ever thou shouldst find out such a way for the recovery of undone sinners. Glory be to thee, O God the Son, who hast loved me, and washed me from my sins in thine own blood, and art now become my Saviour and Redeemer. Glory be to thee, O God the Holy Ghost, who, by the finger of thine almighty power, hast turned about my heart from sin to God.
“ O dreadful Jehovah! the Lord God omnipotent, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost! thou art now become my covenant friend; and, I through thy infinite grace, am become thy covenant servant, Amen. So be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven."
This Covenant I advise you to make, not only in heart, but in word; not only in word, but in writing! and that you would with all possible reverence spread the writing before the Lord, as if you would present it to him as your act and deed; and when you have done this, set your hand to it, keep it as a memorial of the solemn transactions that have passed between God and you, that you may have recourse to it in doubts and temptations.
Direct. XI. Take heed of delaying thy conversion, and set upon a speedy and present turning. Remember and tremble, at the sad instance of the foolish virgins, that came not till the door of mercy was shut, Matt. XXV. and of Felix, who put off Paul to another season; and we never find that he had such another season. O come in while it is called to-day, lest thou shouldst be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin; lest thy day of grace should be over, and the things that belong to thy peace should be hid from thine eyes. Now mercy is wooing of thee; now Christ is waiting to be gracious, and the Spirit of God is striving with thee; now conscience is stirring; now Christ is to be bad for the taking. O strike in with the offers of grace: O now or never! If thou make light of this offer, God may swear in his wrath thou shalt not taste of his supper.
Direct. XII. Attend conscientiously upon the word, as the means appointed for thy conversion, 1 Cor. iv, 15. Attend not customarily, but conscientiously; with this desire, design, hope, and expectation, that thou mayest be converted by it. To every sermon thou hearest, come with this thought: “ O! I hope God will now come in: I hope this day may be the time, this may be the man by whom God may bring me home.” When thou art coming to the ordinances, lift up thy heart thus to God: “ Lord let this be the sabbath, let this be the season, whereiu I may receive renewing grace; O let it be said, that to-day such a one was born unto thee.”
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Direct. XIII. Strike in with the Spirit, when he begins to work upon thy heart. When he works convictions, O do not stifle them, but join in with him, and beg the Lord to carry on conviction to conversion. Quench not the Spirit. Do not out-strive him, do not resist him. Beware of putting out convictions with evil company or worldly business. When thou findest any trouble for sin, and fear about thy eternal state, beg of God that they may never leave thee till they have wrought off thy heart thoroughly from sin, and wrought it over to Jesus Christ. Say to him, Strike home, Lord; leave not the work in the midst. If thou seest that I am not wounded enough, that I am not troubled enough, wound me yet deeper, Lord : 0 go to the bottom of my corruption, and let out the lifeblood of my sins. Thus yield thyself up to the work. ings of the Spirit, and hoist thy sails to his gales.
Direct. XIV. Set upon the constant and diligent use of serious and fervent prayer. This is one of the first things conversion appears in: it sets men on praying. Therefore set to this duty; let never a day pass over thee, wherein thou hast not, morning and evening, set apart some time for set and solemn prayer in secret. Call thy family also together daily to worship God with thee. Woe be unto thee, if thine be found among the families that call not on God's name, Jer. x. 25. But cold and lifeless devotions will not reach half way to heaven. Be fervent and importunate; importunity will carry it, but without violence the kingdom of hea, ven will not be taken. Thou must strive to enter, and wrestle with tears and supplications, as Jacob, if thou meanest to carry the blessing. Thou art undone for ever without grace, and therefore thou must set to it, and resolve to take no denial.
Direct. XV. Forsake evil company, and forbear the occasion of sin. Thou wilt never be turned from sin, till thou avoidest the temptation to sin.
I never expect thy conversion from sin, unless thou flee the occasions. If thou wilt be playing on the brink, and tampering with the snare, thy soul will surely be taken. Where God doth expose men in his