תמונות בעמוד

excellent fruits of it, and they that receive them are comforted by them; but perhaps thou mayest never receive them while thou livest, and yet be a true heir of rest. Do not say then, “I cannot believe that my sins are pardoned, or that I am in God's favour; and therefore I am no true believer.” This is a most mistaken conclusion.—The question is, whether thou dost heartily accept of Christ, that thou mayest be pardoned, reconciled to God, and so saved? Dost thou consent that he shall be thy Lord, who hath bought thee, and that he shall bring thee to heaven in his own way? This is justifying, saving faith, and the mark by which thou must try thyself. Yet still observe, that all this consent must be hearty and real, not feigned or with reservations. It is not say ing, as that dissembling son, “I go, sir;" and went not. If any have more of the government of the than Christ, thou art not his disciple. I am sure these two marks are such as every Christian hath, and none but sincere Christians. O that the Lord would now persuade thee to the close performance of this self-trial! that thou mayest not tremble with horror of soul, when the Judge of all the world shall try thee; but be so able to prove thy title to rest, that the prospect and approach of death and judgment may raise thy spirits, and fill thee with joy.

17. On the whole, as ever Christians would have comforts that will not deceive them, let them make it the great labour of their lives to grow 11 grace, to strengthen and advance the interest of Christ in their souls, and to weaken and subdue the interest of the flesh. Deceive not yourselves with a persuasion that Christ hath done all, and left Foil nothing to do. To overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil; and in order to that, to stand always armed upon our watch, and valiantly and patiently to fight it out; is of great importance to our assurance and salvation. Indeed it is so great a part of our baptismal vow, that he who performeth i' not, is no more than a nominal Christian. Not to every one that presumptuously believeth, but to him that overcometh, will Christ give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoureth, saving he, that receiveth it: he shall eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God, and shall not be hurt of the second death. Christ will.confess his name before: his Father, and before his angels, and make him a pillar in the temple of God, and he shall goʻno more out ; and will write upon him the name of his God, and the name of the city of his God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh doun out of heaven from his God, and will write upon him his new name. Yea, he will grant to him to sit with him on his throne, even as he also overcame, and is set down with his father on his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.(g)

(g) Rev. ii. 7, 11, 17.–ïi. 5, 12, 21, 22.

CHAP. IX. The duty of the People of God to excite others to seek

this Rest.

$ 1. The author laments that Christians do so little to help others

to obtain the saint's rest. § 2 (I.) Shows the nature of this duty; particularly, § 3. (1) In having our hearts affected with the misery of our brethren's souls ; § 4, 6. (2) In taking all opportunities to instruct them in the way of salvation; § 7. (3) In promoting their profit by public ordinances. $ 8. (II.) He assigns various reasons why this duty is so much neglected, § 9. and answers some objections against it: § 10, 13. Then (III.) urges to the discharge of it, by several considerations : $ 14. Addressed to such as have knowledge, learning, and utterance; § 15. Those that are acquainted with simers ; § 16. Physicians that attend dying men; $ 17. Persons o wealth and power; $ 18. Ministers; § 19. And those that are entrusted with the care of children or servants. $ 20. The chapter concludes with an ear. nest request to Christian parents to be faithful to their trust.

1. Hath God set before us such a glorious prize as the saint's rest, and made us capable of such inconceivable happiness? Why then do not all the children of this kingdom exert themselves more to help others to the enjoyment of it? Alas, how little are poor souls about us beholden to most of us! We see the glory of the kingdom, and they do not: we see the misery of those that are out of it, and they do not: we see some wandering quite out of the way, and know, if they hold on, they can never come there; and they themselves discern it not. And yet we will not seriously show them their danger and error, and help to bring them into the way, that they may live. Alas, how few Christians are there to be found, that set themselves with all their might to save souls! No thanks to us, if heaven be not empty, and if the souls of our brethren perish not for ever. Considering how important this duty is, to the glory of God, and the happiness of men, I will show,-how it is to be per

formed,why it is so much neglected, and then offer some considerations to persuade to it.

s 2. (I.) The duty of exciting and helping others to obtain the saint's rest, doth not mean, that every man should turn a public preacher, or that any should go beyond the bounds of their particular callings; much less does it consist in promoting a party spirit; and least of all in speaking against men's faults behind their backs, and be silent before their faces. This duty is of another nature, and consists of the following things ;-in having our hearts affected with the misery of our brethren's souls-in taking all opportunities to instruct them in the way of salvation, and in promoting their profit by public ordinances,

3. (1) Our hearts nust be affected with the misery of our brethren's souls. We must be compassionate towards them, and yearn after their recovery and salvation. If we earnestly longed after their conversion, and our hearts were solicitous to do them good, it would set us on work, and God would usually bless it.

§ 4. (2) We must take all opportunities we possibly can, to instruct them how to attain salvation. If the person be ignorant, labour to make him un. derstand the chief happiness of man; how far he was once possessed of it; the covenant God then made with him; how he broke it; what penalty he ocurred, and what misery he brought himself into ; teach him his need of a Redeemer; how Christ did mercifully interpose, and bear the penalty; what the new covenant is; how men are drawn to Christ, and what are the riches and privileges which believers have in him. If he is not moved by these things, then show him the excellency of the glory he neglects; the extremity and eternity of the torments of the damned; the justice of enduring them, for wilfully refusing grace; the certainty, nearness, and terrors, of death and judgment; the vanity of all things below; the sinfulness of sin; the preciousness of Christ; the necessity of regeneration, faith, and

new covenant

riches and privileged by these thing

holiness; and the true nature of them. If, after all, you find him entertaining false hopes, then urge him to examine 'his state; show him the necessity of doing so; help him in it; nor leave him till you have convinced him of his misery and remedy. Show him how vain and destructive it is, to join Christ and his duties to compose his justifying righteousness. Yet be sure to draw him to the use of all means; such as hearing and reading the word, calling upon God, and associating with the godly: persuade him to forsake sin, avoid all temptations to sin, especially evil companions, and to wait patiently on God in the use of means, as the way in which God will be found. ::$ 5. But because the manner of performing this work is of great moment, observe therefore these rules.--Enter upon it with right intentions. Aim at the glory of God in the person's salvation. Do it not to get a name, or esteem to thyself, or to bring men to depend upon thee, or to get thee followers; but in obedience to Christ, in imitation of him, and tender love to men's souls. : Do not as those who labour to reform their children or servants from such things as are against their own profit or humour, but never seek to save their souls in the way which God hath appointed. Do it speedily. As you would not have them delay their return, don't you delay to seek their return. While you are purposing to teach and help him, the: man goes deeper in debt; wrath is heaping up; sin taking root; custom fastens him; temptations to sin multiply ; conscience grows seared; the heart hardened; the devil rules; Christ is shut out; the Spirit is resisted; God is daily dishonoured; his law violated; he is without a servant, and that service from him, which he should have; time runs on; death and judgment are at the door: and what if the man die, and drop into hell, while you are purposing to prevent it? If in the case of his bodily distress you must not say to him; Go, and come again, and to-morrow I will give, when thou hast it by thee;(1)

slaw Spirit, ned; 1 Ply;c

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
« הקודםהמשך »