« IndietroContinua »
I woo them? wherewith shall I win them? O that I could but tell! I would write to them in tears, I would weep out every argument, I would empty my veins for ink, I would petition ti em on my knees, verily (were I abl) I would : O how thank, ful would I be if they would be prevailed with to
turn ! “ Bu, Lurd, how insufficient am I for this “ work! I have been mary a year wooing for thee, " but the damsel would not go with me : Lord, 66 what a talk haft thou set me ta do! Alas, where. " with shall I pierce, the scales of Leviathan, or " make the heart to feel that is as hard as stone, “ hard as a piece of nether milftone! Shall I
go « and lay my mouth to the grave, and look when as the dead will obey me and come forth ? Shall I ar make an oration to the rocks, or declaim to the « mountains, and think to move them with argu“ ments,? Shall I give the blind to fee? From the di beginning of the world was it not heard that a
man opened the eyes of the blind; but thou, 6 Lord ! canst pierce the scales, and prick the 6 heart of the finner : I can but shoot at rovers, « and draw the bow at a venture ; but do thou di. " rect the arrow between the joints of the harness,
kill the fin, and save the foul of a finner that " casts his eyes on these labours"
Brethren, I beseech you fuffer friendly plainness and freedom with you in your deepest concern.
I'am rot playing the orator, to make a learned speech to you, nor dressing my dish with eloquence wherewith to please you, these lines are upon a weighty errand indeed, namely, to consince and convert, and to save you. I am not
TO RETURN TO GOD baiting my hook with thetoric, nor fishing for your applause, but for your souls. My work is not to please you, but to save you ; nor is my business with your fancies, but your hearts: If I have not your hearts, I have nothing; If I were to pleate your ears I could fing another song: If I were to preach myself, I would steer another course ; I could then tell you a smoother tale; I would make you pillows, and speak you peace; for how can Ahab love his Micaiah, that “always prophe“fies evil concerning him ?" 1 Kings xxii. 8. But how much better are the wounds of a friend “than the fair speeches of an hariot, who flatter“eth with her lips, till the dart firike through the “ liver, and hunteth for the precious life?”.Prov vii, 21, 22, 23. and vi. 26. If I were to quiet a crying infant, I might fing to him a pleafant song, and rock him afleep! but when the child is fallen, into the fire, the parent takes another courie; he will not go to kill him with a song or a trifle, I know, if we speed not with you, you are lost; if we cannot get your consent to
varite and come away,” you perish for ever: No con. version, and no salvation : I must get your goodwill, or leave you misi rable.
But here the difficulty cf my work again recurs upon me, “ Lord, choose my stones out of the
s brook," 1 Sam. xvii. 40, 45. « I come in the name of the “ Lord of Hosts, the God of the armies of Israel.” I come forth like the stripling David, to wrestle, “nou with flesh and blood, buc "s with principalities and powers, and rulers of the as darkness of this world,” Eph, vi. 12.
This day let the Lord smite the Philistine, and “spoil the
strong man of his armour, and give me to fetch " off the captives out of his hand :" Lord, choose my words, choose my weapons for me; and when “ I put my hand into the bag, and take thence a " ftone and fling it, do thou carry it to the mark, şs and make it fink, not into the forehead,” 2 Sam.
“ but the heart of the unconverted finner, and smite him to the ground, with Saul in “ his so happy fall,” Axts ix 4. Thou haft sent me, as Abraham did his servant, “ to take a wife “ unto my master thy son,” Gen, xxiv. 4.; but ny discouraged foul is ready to fear “ the woman “ will not be willing to follow me: O Lord God “ of my master, I pray thee send me good speed “ this day, and shew kindness to my master, and “ fend thine angel before me, and prosper my way, “ that I may take a wife unto thy son," Gen. xxiv. 12.; " that as thy servant rested not till he had “ brought Ifaac and Rebecca together, so I may “ be successful to bring Christ and the souls of my “ people together before we part." But I turn me unto you,
do not know what I mean by Converfion, and in vain shall I perfuade you to that which you do not under. stand ; and therefore for your fakes, I fhall shew what this Conversion is. Others do cherish secret hopes of mercy, though they continue as they are ; and for them I must sew the Neceffity of Conversion, Others, are like to harden themselves with a vain conceit that they are converted already; unto them I must shew the marks of the Unconverted Others, because they feel no harm, fear none, and so sleep upon the top of the mast; to them I shall shew the miseries of the Unconverted. Others fit ftill be
cause they fee not their way out; to them I shall shew the Means of Converhon. And finally, for the quickening of all, I Mall close with the Motives to Conversion.
СНА Р. І.
not, and correcting Jome MISTAKES about it.
not what, John iv. 22.; let the Heathen Athenians superscribe their altar, “Unto the un• known God," Acts xvii. 23.; they that know man's constitution, and the nature of the human foul's operation, cannot bụt know, that the understanding having t:e empire in the foul, he that will go rationally to work, must labour to let in the light here. Now, that I may cure the mistakes of fome, who think they are converted when they are not, as well as remove the troubles and fears of others, that think they are not converted when they are ; I shall thew you the nature of conversion, both ne. gatively, or what it is not; and positively, what
We will begin with the Negative. 1. “ It is not the taking upon us the profession' « of Christianity," Doubtless Christianity is more than a name If we will hear Paul, it lies not in word, but in power, 1 Cor. iv. 23. If to cease to be Jews and Pagans, and to put on ine Christian profession, had been trưe conversion, who better Christians than they of Sardis and Laodicea ? These were all Christians by profession, and had
a name to live; but because they had but a name, are condemned by Christ, and threatened to be spewed out. Rev. ii. 1. 16. Are there not many that mention the name of the Lord Jesus, and yet depart not from iniquity ? 2 Tim. ii. 19. and
profess they know God, but in 'works they deny « him ?” Titus i. 16. And will God receive these for true converts, because turned to the Christian religion? What! converts from fin, when yet they do live in fin? It is a visible contradiction. Surely if the lamp of profession would have served the turn, the foolish virgins had never been shut out, Mat. xxv. 14. We find not only professors, but preachers of Christ, and wonderworkers, turned off because evil-workers, Mat. vii.
so It is not the being washed in the laver of " regeneration, or putting on the badge of Christ ( in Baptism.". Many take the press-money, and wear the livery of Christ, that yet never stand to their calours, nor follow their leader. Ananias and Sapphira, and Magus, were baptised as well as the rest.
Friends and brethren, " Be not deceived, God s is not mocked,” Gal. vi. 7. Whether it be your baptism, or whatever else that you pretend, I tell you from the living God, that if any of you be prayerless persons, or unclean, or malicious,
or covetous, or riotous, or a scoffer, or a lover of evil company, Prov. xiii. 20. in a word, if you are not holy, strict, and self-denying Christians, Heb. xii. 14. Matt. xiv. 24. you cannot be saved, except you be transformed by a further work upon you, and renewed again by repentance.