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conversion and falvation fhall follow these acts; yet hope and probability are engagements enough. Hope fets all the world on work, without aflurance. The ploughman ploughs in hope, and the merchant ventures in hope. Do but as much for your souls, as these do for their bodies. §. IX. Temptations and discouragements in the way of conver.

fon. UT here I expect to be encountered by all the policy

and power of hell. Satan, and your own lufts, are in confederacy, to turn away your minds from fuch counsel and perfuafions as thefe. They will tell you, this is no proper seafon to mind your converfion ; it is either too soon, or too late; You have not yet had pleasure enough in fin, or fo much as hath put you beyond all hopes of mercy : That religion is a melancholy thing, and if once you look that way, you will never have a merry day, or hour more; with a thousand fucà damps and discouragements.

But pray, gentlemen, do fo much, at leaft for your souls, before you turn away your ear from the instructions of life, as to hear these matters examined : If they are not worth that, they are worth nothing.

I will suppose you in the flower and vigour of your youth, "and this dangerous feafon now nicked with a more dangerous temptation ; that it is too foon to mind fuch serious matters now : You have not yet had your fulf pleasure out of fin.

Need I to fpend a word, to refute and baffle fuch a temptation as this? I doubt not, but you yourselves can easily do it. Ask yourselves, Sirs, if fentence of death were passed upon you by men, (as it is by God, John iii. 18. “ He that believeth « not, is condemned already,") would you think a pardon could come too soon ? Be affured, every bit of bread you eat, is the bread of the condemned; you are in danger of hell every day, and hour: There wants nothing but a sword, a bullet, a fhipwreck, or disease, (of which multitudes wait on you every day) to put you beyond mercy, and all hopes of mercy. And can you get too foon (think you) out of this danger and misery? O why do you linger any longer ? The danger is too great and imminent, to admit one hour's longer delay.

And it is as strange and strong a delusion on the other side, to fancy it is now too late : The vanity and groundlessness of this, hath been evinced in the second fection, to which I refer You

for full fatisfaction. And for the loss of your pleasures, by conversion to God,

that is the thinnest and filliest pretence of all the rest: That is
the same thing, as to imagine it is to a thirsty man's, loss, to
leave the puddle waters of a broken cistern, to enjoy the crystal
streams of a flowing fountain ; for the pleasures of an ale-
house, playhouse, or whorehouse, to be sweeter than the light
of God's countenance, the comforts of his pardon, or the lively
hopes of glory with him in heaven; of which you read, i Pets
i. 8.
Poor men! ( that

you

did but once know what the life of holiness, and dedication to God is! what the feals, earnest, and first-fruits of his Spirit are! How willingly and joyfully would you trample all the fordid pleasures of lia under your feet, to enjoy them!

X. Motives and confiderations persuading to conversion. His fhort discourse shall wind up itself in motives and

considerations, to prevail with you, not only to make the first step out of profaueness to civility, but the other necessary and happy Itep too; for the Lord's sake, gentlemen, that bleffed step beyond mere civility, to ferious godliness.

O that I knew what words to chuse, and what arguments to urge, that might possibly prevail with you.! My witness is in heaven, I would do any thing within my power, to procure your temporal and eternal happinefs. I beg you, in the bowels of Chrift Jefus, as if I were upon my bended knees before your feet, turn not away your eye nor ear from these discourses: Ponder and consider, once and again, what hath been rationally debated in the first part, about your reformation, and what hath, and shall be offered, in this second part.

• my God 1 thou that hast counted me faithful, and put • me into the ministry, thou that haft inclined my heart to o make this attempt, and encouraged me with hope, that it « shall not be in vain to all them that read it, if it must be fo • to fome; I beseech thee, lay the hand of thy Spirit upon the • heart and land of thy servant; Atrengthen and guide him in • drawing the bow of the golpel, and directing the arrows, • that they may strike the mark he aims at, even the convicti

on and conversion of lewd and diffolute finners, Command « these considerations to stay and seccle in their hearts, till they 6 bring them fully over to thyself in Chrift.'

Consideration 1. And first, that you would consider how the whole of your life past bath becen cast away in vain, as to the great-end and business you came into the world for. Yoy

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have breathed many years, but not lived one day to God. Your confciences could never yet prevail with you to get out of the noise and hurry of the world, and go along with it into some private retiring-place, to debate the state of your souls, and think clofe (but for one hour) on such awful fubjects as God, foul, Christ, and eternity, heaven, hell, death, and judgment. Do you think, gentlemen, that you came into this world to do nothing else but to eat and drink, sport and play, sleep and die ? Alk yourfelves, I beseech you, whether the life you bave hichierto lived, has looked to your own eyes like an earnest fight from hell, and a serious pursuit of heaven and falvati. on? How much nearer are you got to Christ now, than you were when in your cradles ? The sweetest, and fittest part of your life, is passed away in vanity, and there is no calling one day, or hour of it, back again.

Confideration 2. Confider, gentlemen, for Chrift Jesus sake, you have yet an opportunity to be eternally happy, if you

will Night and neglect opportunities of falvation no longer ; the door of mercy is not yet finally shut up : The Lord Jesus yet waits to be gracious to you. Such is his astonishing grace and mercy, he will pardon and pass by all that you have done a. gainst him, if now, after all, you will but come unto him, that you may bave life. Turn ye, turn ye ; for why will ye die? Your {wearing, and blaspheming, your drunkenness, unchannels, and enmity at godliness, shall never be mentioned, if you

will yet repent and return. Ezek. xviii. 21, 22, “ If the 56 wicked will turn from all his fins that he hath committed, or and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and “ right; he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his tranf. so gressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mention“ ed unto him."

If you fay, these are hard and impossible terms to nature, it is true, they are fo, and God's end in urging them here upon you, is to convince you of your natural impotence, and drive you to Chrift; that by union with him, the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in you,

Confideration 3. Let it be thoroughly confidered, it is no Jess than salvation, and your own salvation too, which depends upon your conversion. How diligent was Chrift in purchasing falvation! how negligent and remifs are we in applying it!

O what compositions of doth and stupidity are unconverted finners ! how do they fit with folded arms, as if it were easy to perish? Is this your running and striving to obtain the palms and crowns of immortal glory? Work cut (faith the a: poftle, Phil. ii. 12, 13:) your own salvation with fear and trembling. It is for salvation, and nothing less, you are here preffed to strive : And what care, paint, or solicitude of ours, can be equal and proportionate to fo great a thing as falvation ? If every thought of the heart were rescued from all other concerns, and the mind stand continually fixed with utmost intention upon this subject, surely such a subject deserves it all, and much more.

But when you consider it is not another's, but your own salvation you are striving for; how powerful should the principle of self-prefervation awaken and invigorate your utmost endeavours after it! The law of charity, and bowels of mercy, would compel us to do much to save the body, and much more the soul of another : And will they move us to do nothing for our falvation ?

Say not, if I should be careless and neglective, yet God is good, and gracious ; if this season be neglected, there are more to come: Alas ! that is more than you know. It is posfible your eternal happiness may depend upon the improvement of this present opportunity; there is much of time in a short opportunity

Confideration 4. Do you think your hearts would be in such a dead, careless, and unconcerned frame, about this great and awful matter of your conversion and falvation; if those things were now before your eyes, which certainly and shortly must be before them!

How rational and neceffary is it, for you now to suppose those very things as prefent before you, which you know to be near you, and a few days or hours will make present ? Here let me make a few suppositions, fo rational, because certainly future and near, that no wise man will, or dare to flight them, as fictions or chimera's.

Suppohtion 1. Suppose yourselves now upon your death-beds, your hearts and breaths failing, your eyes and heart-strings breaking, all earthly comforts failing, and thrinking from you; these things you know, are unavoidable, and must shortly befal you, Eccl. viii. 8. fuppofe also, in these your last extremities, your consciences should awake (as probably they will, there being now no more charms of pleasure, and sinful companions, to divert or ftupify them) what a cafe will you find yourselves in ! what a cold sweat will then lie upon your pant. ing bosoms' what a pale horror will appear

in

your countenances? Will you not then wish, Othat the time I have spent in yanity had been spent in the duties of serious, piety ! O that I had been as careful of my soul, as I was of ny body! What are the pains of mortification, which I was so afraid of, to the pains of damnation, which I begin to fcent, and apprehend ! I thought it hard to pray, mourn, and deny myself; but I shall find it harder to grapple with the wrath of an incensed God to all eternity.

Suppofition 2. Suppose yourselves now to be at the judgmentseat of God, where you know you must be immediately after death; or, that you did bebold the process, and awful folemnity of the general judgment of the great day! both which appearances are indisputably fure, and certain, Heb. ix. 27. 2 Cor. v. 10. Suppose you saw all Adam's pofterity there alsembled, and convened, even multitudes, multitudes which no man can number; all these feparated into two grand divifions ; Christ, the supreme and final Judge, upon the judg: ment-seat; the Chriftless, and unregenerate world, quivering at the bar; the last sentence pronouncing on them; the executioners standing ready to take them away: Will you not then (think you) be ready to tear yourselves with indignation, for this your supine and fottish carelessness ? A voice from the throne, like the voice of a trumpet, sounds a loud alarm to all careless, negligent, and trifling finners: And this is the voice, if you will not be in the same case with the miserable, condemned world. Put to it heartily, then, in the use of all means with God and men, for converting and regenerating grace now, which is the only thing that differences your state from thofe miserable wretches then.

Supposition 3. Suppose God did but give you a foresight, or foretaste in the terrors of your consciences, of that damnation you have jefted at, and so often imprecated upon yourselves : Did

you but lie one night in that plight poor Spira, and many others beside him have done, with the terrors of the Lord upon your spirits, under horror, and remorse of conscience, which are the first niblings and bitings of that worm which Lall never die :

Tum pallida mens eft Criminibus, tacita sudant praecordia ctilpa. Paleness and horror, fear and trembling, upon the outward and inward man, whilft God is making the immediate impreffions of his wrath upon the conscience ; seeming to want some one to let out that miferable, wretched foul, that is weary to

* The mind now conscious of its guilt,
Feels hell within : the relt's a horrid light.

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