« PoprzedniaDalej »
tates, Heb. x. 26-29, "For if we sin wilfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin, but a certain fearful looking for of judgment, and fiery indignation, which will devour the adversaries," &c. You will say this concerns not me, I am no such apostate, for I never entered into such a solemn covenant with God, I hope God will not charge the sin of covenant-breaking upon me, for I am not guilty of that fault. I answer,
[i.] Whether thou hast actually and formally engaged thyself under thy hand as before described, de facto, yea or no, yet de jure, of right thou art bound to him, as thou art his creature, to yield to him all the obedience before described, and if thou do not, thou art a false hearted traitor, for thou pretendest to be his subject, and being his real enemy thou must be dealt with as the rest of his enemies are, at present made his foot-stool, and hereafter a faggot in eternal flames.
[ii.] Though thou hast not engaged thyself thus formally, yet thou hast done it implicitly, in every duty, ordinance, or act of worship, wherein thou hast been employed. What religion art thou of? thou wilt say, of the Christian; how dost thou shew it? thou sayest, by waiting on God in his appointments; well then, thou art either sincere or a hypocrite; if sincere, thou art one of the saints that make a covenant with him by sacrifice; if not, thou mockest God, and he will deal with thee as a lying base hypocrite; if thou seem to be serious, he will deal with thee as a perfidious apostate, since thou contradictest thy profession.
[iii.] But be it known to thee, thou wast engaged to God by covenant in thy baptism, and if thou revokest that, thou art a real apostate; thy parents dedicated thee to God, and thou art bound to stand to it, and now at age actually to make a voluntary surrender of
thyself and all that thou art, and hast, to him: and this standing to the baptismal covenant is all that I have in view, and if thou do it not, thou art as really an apostate as a baptized Christian proves a renegado, when he turns a Turk, and God will deal with thee as such.
[iv.] If after all that thou hast heard and read of personal covenanting with God, and hast also seen of its nature and necessity, yet thou still refusest, because thou art loth to lay thyself under such strict bonds, or to be within such narrow limits as the rule of God's word prescribes; be it known unto thee thou doest avowedly take part with Satan, and the flesh, and declarest thou wilt not be on God's side, and that, because thou wouldest have elbow room for thy lusts, in this thou demonstratest that thou art a hypocrite, for thy heart and life say, "I will not have this man to rule over me;" well this king having received his kingdom, will say peremptorily, "but those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither and slay thein before me."* God will not only reckon with you for the sins you have committed, but for the duties omitted which you are commanded to practise; your sin will be as much aggravated by wilfully refusing to enter this covenant when you were called to it, as if you had engaged yourselves in it, and then openly violated it. You are God's tenants, and whether you seal articles or not, you are bound to pay him rent, and if you will neither do it, nor say, you will do it, be it known to you, your great landlord will make distress upon you, to your greater damage, and turn you out, and cast you into the prison of hell, yea, and in this God doth you no wrong, but is equal in these proceedings; this is clear from the parable of the • Luke xix. 14, 27.
talents, the man was condemned as a wicked and slothful servant, that had not improved, though he had not wasted his talent, Matt. xxv. 24-30. Woe to that soul, that is found out of covenant with God at that solemn day of accounts; and woe, double woe to him who pretended to enter into a covenant engagement, but did it not, or renounced it, for he shall be cut asunder, and shall have his portion with the hypocrites, that had neither part nor lot in this matter, "there shall be weeping" for their loss, "and gnashing of teeth,”* that is, at themselves for their folly and unaccountable madness; mind the text, this doom is passed on hypocrites, for all the world of unregenerated souls pass under the one of these regiments of hell, either unbelievers without the church, heathen and infidels, or hypocrites within the church; and of the two, hypocrites will have the hottest place in that infernal lake of fire and brimstone, for, as one saith, other sinners are but as younger brethren to the hypocrite, under whom as the great heir, they receive their portion of damnation bequeathed to them by divine justice, and justly, for covenant-breaking is oftner than once reckoned amongst unnatural sins;† perjury, treachery, and perfidiousness are condemned by the law and light of nature, but unnatural sins under gospel helps are sadly aggravated, and bring the most awful plagues in this
and the other world.
• Matt. xxiv. 51.
+ Rom. i. 31. 2 Tim. iii. 3.
COUNSEL AND INSTRUCTIONS GIVEN TO SINNERS THAT THEY MAY ENTER INTO A PERSONAL ENGAGEMENT TO BE THE LORD'S.
SECONDLY, Something must now be said by way of counsel and advice to those who have not thus engaged. In prosecuting which, it would be easy to exceed due limits by saying much, and yet all might be too little to prevail with sinners to enter into this covenant engagement.
I confess this business of persuasion is beyond the power of men and angels; man may urge, God alone must bow the will, we may use words, God must do the work, “God shall enlarge," in the margin, persuade "Japhet to dwell in the tents of Shem;" omnipotence only can do it with effect. God makes volunteers in the day of his power,* he that teacheth hearts hath his throne in heaven; yea he only that made heaven and earth can prevail with them. O thou infinite Jehovah, who garnishedst the heavens and laidest the foundations of earth, let down thy cords of a man, and draw sinners to thee, cast forth the bands of love, and fasten them to thee, take the devil's yoke off their necks, and with loving-kindness draw their gross hearts upwards.† Lord Jesus, by virtue of thy being lifted up from the earth on thy cross, and in thy resurrection and ascension, draw all men to thee, diffuse the savour of thy good ointments, that virgin souls may love and follow thee. O blessed Spirit, that like the wind, blowest where and when thou listest, gently breathe upon some
+ Hos. xi. 4. Jer. xxxi. 3.
• Gen. ix. 27. John xii. 32.
Psal. cx. 3.
immortal soul, and carry it with a swift course to the blessed haven. O produce the grace of faith which unites sinners to Christ by a mystical union, beget love which connects them with thee by a moral union, "that being joined to the Lord, they may be one spirit with him." O that poor sinners may be married to thyself. Ministers are not suitors for themselves but for thee, we invoke divine assistance in our entrance, and wait for influences of grace now, and for full success after we have done our work. "Lord, water this seed."
I shall next address my fellow sinners, methinks you should not need many arguments to draw you into this blessed bond. The infinite Jehovah presents himself to be your God in covenant; he that might in justice, and could by his power send you off to hell; it is he that invites, persuades and urges you to give your consent to take him as your God, and give up yourselves to him, he waits your leisure, he expects your answer, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors, and the King of glory shall come in." Who would not entertain such a guest, who would not marry such a husband? take a view of him, see if you can find any like him, doth he not deserve your choice? how can you for shame resist the powerful rhetoric of the Prince of peace? saying, open to "me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled, for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night." Unto you, O men, I || call, not to angels, to you, simple ones, that you may be wise, to you, sinners, that you may be pardoned ; § to you, O beggar, I call, that you may be rich, to you, bankrupts, that I may pay your debts; to you, enemies,
+ Psal. xxiv. 7.
• John iii. 8. || Song. v. 2.
+ 1 Cor. vi. 17.