Page images

In. Though their condition be very fad and dangerous, yet it is not desperate, if they will yec beftir themselves. For lec' them coolider ihese four things.

1. God hath declard a greater delight in the conversion of finners, wberber young or old; than in their destruction and dampacion, Ezek: 33.11. Say unto them, as I live faith the Lord God; I. have po pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked cúrn from his way and live, turn ye, turn ye from your evil waies, for why will ye die, o House of Israel?

2. The promises of God do stand in force, and wił be made good to repenting returning finners whether young or old. True Repentance is niever 100 late, but late 'repentance is seldom trne. Al sorts of sins are pardonable cu reall penitents and true believers.

3. There is efficacy and virtueènoughin Chrifts blood to cleanse not only young, but ola finners from all their fins,

4. Christ is willing to accept old sinners, if they will repent and forsake their fins, and really turn to him, and close with him on his own terms, being willing to take bim not only for their Sáviour, but for their Lord and King, and to yield up themselves in sincere obedience to bim, and to be guided and governed by his Grace and holy Spirit

. Christ did not come confave men , by bringing them to Heaven in sheir ungodlinese, or co Glory in their

fins, but to destroy their fins that would keep chem out of Glory

IV. Though' anciest people, that have gone or in a long coarse of ignorance, careleßneß, nez

. lect of God, and the concernments of cheir souls

, should be convinced they are at present in a bas condition, in an unconverted fate , yet it does not thence follow, they must needs for continge, and sterly and finally despair ; but they should amak:n themselves, delay no longer, and specdily fer themselves to get out of this miserable condition, while there is a posibility of escaping the danger of it. 'Tis no folly to be wise for their fouls, to be wise for Eternity at laft. Therefore let them remember, now if ever. I V. They should be exceeding careful they do nor deceive themselves with ill grounded bopes of Heaven, peefuming it will go well with them in the other world, when they have no reall fous dation for fuch a confidence. A falfe ungrounds hope is but a dream of a waking man. If a condems ed Malefactor should frame a pardon for himseli in the prison, and chink to be saved by that, would it not prove a miserable cheat put upoe himself? Does it not concern every one chere fore to consider, whether the hope of pardon a forgiveness they pretend unto, be of Gods granting or iheir own framing? whether they have an Warrant, or promise from Gods Word that the phall be sav'd: Or whether they do only strong

apresume it, without any sufficient ground. Oh

what loose and sandy foundations do many build Cheir hopes of Heaven upon ? such as these,

1. Their outward profession of Christianity, and na formal performance of religious duties. But as the Apostle speaks, Rom. 2. 28, 29. He is not a few, who is one outwardly (who has onely the circumcision of the flesh) but he is a Few, who is -one inwardly, whose heart is circumcised. So he is a true Chriftian upon whose heart the saving work of conversion hath pal'd; who hath felt the power of Grace upon his foul, really turning it unto God. The fair and broad leaves of an outward profession will nothing avail, if the fruits of real holives and fančtification be wancing. Gal.6.15. For in Christ Fesus, neither circumcision availeth any thing , nor uncircumcision, but a new Crea

2. Their moral and civil deportment, their fair and honest conversation in the world, and freedom from grosse fins. Now though outward righteousneffe be not only exceeding commendable, bucalro neceffary to Salvation , yer 'tis a dangerous tbing to reft upon; and by that only, we cannot conclude any man to be in a good state and condition to God ward. For, 1. You shall find ic many times accompanied with ignorance, or very little savoury knowledge of God, and spiritnall things. 2. Such persons usually see no neceffity of regeneration, and the nem birth; but content




themselves with a meer moral charge and freedom from groß sors, and the practise of some mua. vertues; no new nature being wrought in ther. but the old nature only varnished over wich cir educacion, There


Thall not find for most part any great prizing of Christ, or labow ing to get an interest in him ; and yet if the fou be not really united to him, nojuftification.saniti. fication, or salvation can be expected. 4. Th: chief care is usually about an outward fairnelle and unblameableness of conversation ; little cati about mortification of inward lufts, & right iem. pering the affections. True Grace presseth upon Us heart-duties, as well as externall obedience & prohibits inward and heart-fins, as well as outwar: filthinesse, 2 Cor.5.18. If any man be in Christ he is a new Creature ; old things are passed away behold all things are become new. 5. The Glory i God is not the chief aim and end, as it should be in whatever we do, 1 Cor 10.31. Whether yees or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the Glory of God. 6. There is usually a greater care to perform the Duties of the second Table, then of the first. You shall have some men very just in the dealings, good neighbours, and of a commendabi: conversation as to the world, who yet ( may be, are very negligent and carelesje of Gods Worship, of Family duties, of the Lords day, &c. Nay. many times are profesed haters and enemies to the practical power of Goslinelle: So that we les


[ocr errors]

more is requir'd chan meer çivility, and an outward, moral uprighineß cc ground a hope of fals vación upon. Panl before his conversion, was concerning the rigbteonsnefse of the Law blameles, Phil.3.6. Yet when God had savingly enlightened his soul,' what'a doom doch he paß upon him. felf? and cals his self righteoufneffe dung, which he accounced Gold before.

3. Some reformation ihat is wrought in them. They have left somse for's they were formerly givenio. Buc'cis not only the forbearing of some lines, but an inward loathing, hating; abhorring, and forsaking all known fins, thac is a good evidence of a gracious state. There must be a care to mortifie inward lufts, and the corruptions of the beart, as well as to abstain from outward acts of in. To mortifie our fons, is a Sacrifice well-pleafing to God: In a Sacrifice, these two things were requir'd. 1. Thit it should be flain, not die fit felf: If thy lufts and fins rather leave thee; han thou them; or abate and die meerly through age, or the decay of natural vigour, this change s wrought in thee, not by Grace, but by age. 2. A Sacrifice was to be offered to God. If thou Jo leave chy former fins, and do it not out of obea lience to God, but for thy credit fake, or profit, or some temporal advantage, chis is not the sarifice God delights in.

4. The good opinion others have of them. Ohers think them good Christians; why should


« PreviousContinue »