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Of what must be done directly to promote the work.
WHAT has been mentioned hitherto, has relation to the behavior we are obliged to, as we would prevent the hindrances of the work; but besides these, there are things that must be done, more directly to advance it. And here it concerns every one, in the first place, to look into his own heart, and see to it that he be a partaker of the benefits of the work himself, and that it be promoted in his own soul. Now is a most glorious opportunity for the good of souls. It is manifestly with respect to a time of great revival of religion in the world, that we have that gracious, earnest, and moving invitation proclaimed in Isa. lv., "Ho, every one that thirsteth!" &c. as is evident by what precedes in the foregoing chapter, and what follows in the close of this. Here, in the sixth verse, it is said, "Seek ye the Lord, while he may be found; call upon him, while he is near." And it is with special reference to such a time, that Christ proclaims as he does, Rev. xxi. 6., "I will give unto him that is athirst, of the fountain of the water of life freely." And chap. xxii. 17. "And the Spirit and the bride say, come; and let him that heareth say, come; and let him that is athirst, come; and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." And it seems to be with reference to such a time, which is typified by the feast of tabernacles, that Jesus, at that feast, stood and cried, as we have an acccount, John vii. 37, 38., "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me, out of his belly shall flow xvers of Pung Water" And it is with special "efrence to
gates shall be open continually, they shall not be shut day or night."
And though I judge not those that have opposed this work, and would not have others judge them, yet, if any such shall happen to read this treatise, I would take the liberty to entreat them to leave off concerning themselves so much about others, and look into their own souls, and see to it that they are the subjects of a true, saving work of the Spirit of God. If they have reason to think they never have been, or it be but a very doubtful hope that they have, then how can they have any heart to be busily and fiercely engaged about the mistakes, and the supposed false hopes of others? And I would now beseech those that have hitherto been something inclining to Arminian principles, seriously to weigh the matter with respect to this work, and consider whether, if the scriptures are the word of God, the work that has been described in the first part of this treatise, must not needs be, as to the substance of it, the work of God, and the flourishing of that religion, that is taught by Christ and his apostles; and whether any good medium can be found, where a man can rest, with any stability, between owning this work, and being a deist; and also to consider whether or no, if it be indeed so, that this be the work of God, it does not entirely overthrow their scheme of religion; and therefore whether it does not infinitely concern them, as they would be partakers of eternal salvation, to relinquish their scheme. Now is a good time for Arminians to change their principles. I would now, as one of the friends of this work, humbly invite them to come and join with us, and be on our side; and if I had the authority of Moses, I would say to them as he did to Hobab, Num. x. 29., "We are journeying unto the place, of which the Lord said, I will give it you come thou with us, and we will do thee good for the Lord hath spoken good concerning Israel."
As the benefit and advantage of the good improvement of such a season, is extraordinary great; so the danger of neg
lecting and misimproving it is proportionably great. It is abundantly evident by the scripture, that as a time of great outpouring of the Spirit is a time of great favor to those that are partakers of the blessing; so it is always a time of remarkable vengeance to others. So in Isa. Ixi. 2. the same that is called "the acceptable year of the Lord," is called also, "the day of vengeance of our God." So it was amongst the Jews, in the apostles' days: the apostle in 2 Cor. vi. 2. says of that time, that it was "the accepted time, and day of salvation ;" and Christ says of the same time, Luke xxi. 22, "These are the days of vengeance." At the same time that the blessings of the kingdom of heaven were given to some, there was an "axe laid at the root of the trees, that those that did not bear fruit might be hewn down, and cast into the fire," Matt. iii. 9, 10, 11. Then was glorified, both the goodness and severity of God, in a remarkable manner. Rom. xi. 32. The harvest and the vintage go together: at the same time that the earth is reaped, and God's elect are gathered into the garner of God, "the angel that has power over fire thrusts in his sickle and gathers the cluster of the vine of the earth, and casts it into the great wine-press of the wrath of God," Rev. xiv. at the latter end. So it is foretold, that at the beginning of the glorious times of the Christian church, at the same time that "the hand of the Lord is known towards his servants, so shall his indignation, towards his enemies," Isa. lxvi. 14. So when that glorious morning shall appear, wherein "the Sun of Righteousness shall arise to the elect, with healing in his wings, the day shall burn as an oven to the wicked," Mal. iv. 1, 2, 3.
There is no time like such a time, for the increase of guilt, and treasuring up wrath, and desperate hardening of heart, if men stand it out; which is the most awful judgment, and fruit of divine wrath, that can be inflicted on any mortal. So that at a time of great grace, and pouring out of the Spirit, and the fruits of divine mercy, is evermore also a time of
great outpouring of something else, viz. divine vengeance on those that neglect and misimprove such a season.
The state of the present revival of religion, has an awful aspect upon those that are advanced in years. The work has been chiefly amongst those that are young; and comparatively but few others have been made partakers of it. And indeed, it has commonly been so, when God has begun any great work for the revival of his church; he has taken the young people, and has cast off the old and stiff-necked generation. There was a remarkable outpouring of the Spirit of God on the children of Israel in the wilderness, on the younger generation, their little ones, that they said should be a prey, the generation that entered into Canaan with Joshua; which is evident by many things in scripture. That generation seems to have been the most excellent generation that ever was in the church of Israel. There is no generation, of which there is so much good, and so little hurt spoken in scripture, as might be shown, if it would not be too long. In that generation that were under twenty years, when they went out of Egypt, was that kindness of youth, and love of espousals, spoken of, Jer. ii. 2, 3. But the old generation were passed by, and remained obstinate and stiff-necked, were always murmuring, and would not be convinced by all God's wondrous works that they beheld. God, by his awful judgments that he executed in the wilderness, and the affliction that the people suffered there, convinced and humbled the younger generation, and fitted them for great mercy, as is evident by Deut. ii. 16, but he destroyed the old generation; " he swore in his wrath that they should not enter into his rest, and their carcasses fell in the wilderness." When it was a time of great mercy, and pouring out of God's Spirit on their children, it was remarkably a day of vengeance unto them, as appears by Psalm xc. Let the old generation in this land take warning from hence, and take heed that they do not refuse to be convinced, by all God's wonders that he works before their eyes, and that they do not continue forever object
ing, murmuring, and caviling against the work of God, lest while God is bringing their children into a land flowing with milk and honey, he should swear in his wrath concerning them, that their carcasses shall fall in the wilderness.
So when God had a design of great mercy to the Jews, in bringing them out of the Babylonish captivity, and returning them to their own land, there was a blessed outpouring of the Spirit upon them in Babylon, to bring them to deep conviction and repentance, and to a spirit of prayer, to cry earnestly to God for mercy; which is often spoken of by the prophets hut it was not upon the old generation, that were carried captive. The captivity continued just long enough for that perverse generation to waste away and die in their captivity; at least those of them that were adult persons, when carried captive. The old generation, and heads of families, were exceeding obstinate, and would not hearken to the earnest repeated warnings of the prophet Jeremiah; but he had greater success among the young people; as appears by Jer. vi. 10, 11. "To whom shall I speak and give warning, that they may hear? Behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: Behold, the word of the Lord is unto them a reproach: they have no delight in it. Therefore I am full of the fury of the Lord; I am weary with holding in; I will pour it out upon the chidren abroad, and upon the assembly of the young men together; for even the husband with the wife (i. e. the heads of families, and parents of these children) shall be taken, the aged, with him that is full of days." Blessed be God! there are some of the elder people, that have been made partakers of this work; and those that are most awakened by these warnings of God's word, and the awful frowns of his providence, will be most likely to be made partakers hereafter. It infinitely concerns them to take heed to themselves, that they may be partakers of it; for how dreadful will it be to go to hell, after having spent so many years in doing nothing, but treasure up wrath!