« IndietroContinua »
taken. Where God doth expose men in his providence unavoidably to temptation, and the occafions are such as we cannot remove, we may expect special affistance in the use of his means; but when we tempt God by running into danger, he will not engage to support us when we are tempted. And of all temptations, one of the most fatal and
pernicious is evil company: 0, what hopeful beginnings have thefe often filled! O, the fouls, the eftates, the families, the towns that these have ruined! How many poor finners have been enlightened and convinced, and been just ready to zive the devil the flip, and have even escaped the snare, and yet wicked company have pulled them back at laft, and made them leven fold more the children of hell ? In a word, I have no hopes of thee, except thou wilt shake off thy evil company. Christ speakech to thee as to them in another cale, “ If thou seek me, then let these go their way, John xviii. 8. Thy life lies upon it; forfake these, or else thou canst not live, Prov. ix. 6. Wilt thou be worse than the beast, to run on when thou seest the Lord with a drawn sword in the way? Num. xxii. 33. Let this sentence be writter. in capitals upon thy conscience, A COMPANION OF SHALL BE DESTROYED, Prov. xiii. 20. The Lord hath spoken it, and who shall reverse it ? And wilt thou run upon destruction when God himself doth forewarn thee? If God doth ever change thy heart, it will appear in the change of thy company.
O fear and fiee the gulph, by which so many thousand fouls have been swallowed up in perdition. It will be hard for thee indeed to make thy escape ; thy companions will be mocking thee out of thy religion, and will ftudy to all
thee with prejudices against ftri&tness, as ridiculous and comfortless. They will be flattering thee, and alluring thee, But remember the warning of the Holy Ghost; “My son, if finners en“ tice thee, consent thou not: If they say, come “ with us, cast in thy lot among us: Walk thou
not in the way with them, refrain thy foot from " their path, avoid it, pass by it, turn from it "and pass away: For the way of the wicked is “ darkness, they know not at what they stumble :
They lay wait for their own blood, they lurk “ privily for their own lives,” Prov. i. 10.--18.
14. Thus have I told thee what thou must do to be
Wilt thou not obey the voice of the Lord? Wilt thou not arise and set to thy work? O man, what answer wilt thou make, what excuse wilt thou have, if thou shouldest perish at last thro' very wilfulness, when thou hast known the way of life! I do not fear thy miscarrying, if thine own idleness do not at last undo thee, in neglecting the use of the means that are fo plainly here prescribed. Rouse ap, O sluggard: and ply thy work; be doing, and the Lord will be thine.
Containing the MOTIVES TO CONVERSION.
HOUGH what is already faid of the Necesity
converted, might be fufficient to induce any confidering mind to refolve upon a present turning or conversion unto God, yet knowing what a piece
of desperate obstinacy and untractableness the heart of man naturally is, I have thought it ne. cessary to add to the means of conversation, and directions for a covenant closure with God and Chrift, fome motives to pursuade you hereunto. « Lord, fail me not now, at my
attempt : « If any soul hath read hitherto, and is yet un“ touched, now Lord, fasten on him, and do thy ço work; now take him by the heart, overcome “ him, persuade him, till he say, Thou haft pre“ vailed, for theu wert stronger than 1. Lord “ did it thou not make me a fisher of men, and I
have toiled all this while and caught nothing : " Alas! that I should have spent my strength for “ nought.
And now I am casting my last, Lord “ Jesus stand thou upon the shore, and direct how “ and where I shall spread my net; and let me fo “ inclose with arguments the souls I seek for, that “ they may not be able to get out. Now, Lord “ for a multitude of fouls ! Now for a full draught! " O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and
Itrengthen me this once, O God.”
O! I am even loft and swallowed up in the abundance of those arguments that I might fuggeft: If there be any point of wisdom in all the world, it is to repent and come in: If there be any thing righteous, any thing reasonable, this is it: If there be any thing in the world that may be called madness and folly, and any thing that may be counted fottish, absurb, brutish, unreasonable, it is this, to go on in thine unconverted fiate. Let me beg of thee as thou wouldest not wilfully destroy thyself, to sit down and weigh, besides what has been faid, these following mo
tives, and let conscience speak, if it be not reafonable thou shouldft repent and turn.
« The God that made thee does most gra« ciously invite thee.
Firft, - His moft sweet and merciful nature doth se invite thee.” O the kindness of God, his yearning bowels, his tender mercies: They are infinitely above our thoughts, higher than heaven, what can we do? Deeper than hell, what can we know? Job, ix. 7, 8, 9,
“ He is full of com“paffion, and gracious; long fuffering, and plen
teous in mercy,” Psalm lxxxvi. 15. This is a, great argument to persuade finners to come in: “ Tarn unto the Lord your God, for he is grau cious and merciful, flow to anger, of great
kindness, and repenteth him of the evil." If God would not repent of the evil, it were some discouragement to us, why we should not repent, If there were no hopes of mercy, it were no wonder why rebels should stand out; but never had fubjects fuch a gracious prince; such pity, patieace, clemency, piety, to deal with as you have, « Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth
iniquity ?” Mic. vii. 18. O finners ! fee what a God you have to deal with; if you will but turn, “ he will turn again and have compaffion on you: « He will fubdue your iniquities, and cast all your « fins into the depths of the sea," ver. 19.
" Re. « turn unto me, saith the Lord of Hoits, and I « will return unto you,” Mal. iii. 7. Zech. i. 3. Sinners do not fail because they have too high thoughts of God's mercies, but because, 1. They overlook his justice. 2. They promise themselves mercy out of God's way; though his mercy is b¢*
yond all. imagination, Isa. Iv. 9.; great mercies, i Chron. xxi. 13:; manifold mercies, Neb. ix. 19. tender mercies, Pfal. xxvi. 6.; sure mercies, ja. lv. 3.; "everlasting mercies, Psalm ciii. 17. lfa. liv. 8.; and all are thy own, if thou wilt þut turn. Art thou willing to come in? Why the Lord hath laid aside bis terror, erected a throne of grace, holds forth the golden sceptre, touch and live. Would a merciful man slay his enemy when pro, strate at his feet, acknowledging his wrong, begging pardon, and offering to enter with him into a covenant of peace ! Much less will the merciful God. Study his name, Exod. xxxiv. 7; read their experience, Neh. ix. 17,
Secondly, “ His soul-encouraging calls and pro© mises to invite thee.” Ah! what an earnest fui. tor is mercy to thee: How lovingly, how instantly it called after thee! how pasionately it wooeth thee! Return, thou back-sliding Israel, faith “ the Lord, and I will not cause any anger to fall
upon you; for I am merciful, saith the Lord, ss and will not keep anger for ever ; only ac" knowledge thine iniquity. Turn, o backfli
ding children, faith the Lord, for I am mar“ ried unto you; return, and I will heal your « backslidings. Thou hast played the harlot with
many lovers, yet, return unto me, faith the “ Lord,” Jer. iii. 11-14. 22. “ As I live, faith “ the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death • of the wicked, but that he turn from his way « and live. Turn ye, turn ye, from your evil ways, for why will
die, O house of Israel?! Ezek. xxxiii. 11. “ If the wicked will turn from « all his fins that he hath committed, and keep all
my statutes, and do that which is lawful and