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1. Your designs are not such as God will approve of. Had they been such as we mentioned in the former part of: this diicourse, then surely they would have led you to earnest wrestling with God, for his direction, who only can point to one that is meet to answer those blessed ends.
2. You are guilty of horrible wickedness. You have commiited a great provocation, in calling a minifter upon any other design. God designed thein for the ends forinerly mentioned, and no other; and your calling them upon other aiins, is an endeavour to counteract God, prof. titute his ordinance, and serve your Juits of that which God deligned for his own glory.
3. Whatever good others may get by the gospel, you have no realon to look for any. God may answer you according to the idols of your own hearts: and when he fatisfies the soul of the hungry with good things, he may Send leanness to you. When he gives a commillion to the word to enlighten, converl, confirm, and strengthen do thers, you have reason to fear that it may liave a commisfion to make you blind, deaf, and dead.
4. Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thoughts of your heart may be forgiven you ; lie in the dust before God; endeavour to get your hearts affected with your guilt, that you may be deeply humbled and abafed before him whom you have provoked to anger.
5. Bring forth fruits meet for repentance. Let us know by your carriage that you are really penitent, and that now you have got the right designs in view; and this you may do by a close attendance upon all the ordinances, by hearing and doing whatever is enjoined you of God, and by all other ways mentioned in the doctrinal part of this discourse.
6. And, lastly. Whether you hear or forbear, yet we tell you, the kingdom of God is come near unto you ; whatever you design, the Lord has given you a gospel-day ; and if our gospel be hid from you, it is because you are lost, the god of this world having blinded your eyes, that you Mould not discern the light of the glorions gospel of Jesus Christ, who is the image of God.
As tu the second sort of perfons, those who have been importunate with God, and have had an eye to his command in this work, to you we say,
your conduct, past all peradventure, is no mean evidence of the sincerity of your good intentions ; and this is certainly matter of thankfulness, and is moreover a ground 10 hope, that the Lord inay not altogether frustrate your desires.
2. Do not think your work is over. Wrestle, plead strongly with God for the blessing on gospel-ordinances ; whoever plants or waters, it is only God that gives tlie increase; and therefore, if you mean to grow under the means, be instant in prayer for the bleting on them ; plead that God may not fend leanness to your souls, while be provides pleoty of spiritual provision for you.
3. Beware of fitting down upon gospel-privileges. You may, if you do fo, lole what you have wrought, and justly bring the fincerity of your aiins in question. There is noe thing more ordinary, than security of this fort. Perions who it may be would say, I had they a gospel-dispensa. tion ! how glad would they be, how carefully would they improve it; and yet when they get what they feek, their improvement is in no measure answerable to their refolu. tions, Take heed of, and guard against this.
4. Let there be a suitable care to evidence your sincerity in this matter, by the whole of your deportment. If you turn careless in attending ordinances, if you hear, but do not, if you neglect your own work, and be wanting to yourselves in this matter, then who will believe your fincerity ? who can believe it? your own consciences will accuse you; and “ if your hearts condemn you, God is greater than your hearts, and knows all things," 1 John iii. 20.
5. If you find that the Lord has made endeavours fuccessful, take care that you sacrifice not to your own net, and burn incense to your drag. God is a holy and jealous God, and will not be mocked; and if you begin to rob him of his glory, he will get him glory in such a way as may lay you low, and make you smart severely for your own folly.
6. If the Lord give you the gospel-light, then walk in the light while you have it. Carry like children of the light and of the day, work out the work of your falvation with fear and trembling; for none of us
can tell how
foon our gospel-day may be gone, and the night succeed wherein none can work.
We shall conclude this discourse with a few general advices to all of you. Would you have our miniflry made successful ? would you obtain the real advantage of gospel." ordinances, and have our meetings such as may be inatter of rejoicing both to you and me in the day of the Lord ? then we intreat, beseech, nay, and obtest you by the mercies of God, in the bowels of our Lord Jesus Christ, as you would have your own souls and ours to be saved
1. Pray for us. As a minister is indifpenfbly obliged to mind his people before God, and to carry them ever upon his heart, fo are they obliged to pray for their minister: “ Pray for us,” says the apostle, Heb. xiii. 18. " for we trust we have a good conscience in all things, willing to live honestly.” To give weight to this advice, I shall lay before you a few considerations. And,
(1.) Confider, ninisters are not sufficient of themselves for ihis work; the work is great, weighty and important, and the difficulties are many ; and who is suficient for it? Surely ministers are not; for if the apostle said with justice of himself, " That he was not of himself sufficient toihink any thing as he ought,” 2 Cor. iii. 5. then much more may gospel ministers now-a-days own it to be so with them, and therefore all their fufficiency is only of God, from whom suitable and needful fupplies should be fought.
(2.) Consider that in their plenty and fulness sball have plenty. They are indispensibly obliged to lay out what ihey receive for you, to spend and be spent in the work and service of your faith ; and therefore it is your interest that they abound, since it is for your fake they labour; and the more so, if you be instrumental by your prayers, in procuring advantages and supplies for them.
(3.) Consider that they are exposed to great hazards for your fake, and iherefore you are to coniritute your ite most to their allistance this way, wherein you may be most helpful to them. They being made watchen, do thereby become the butt of Satan's malice; and the more faithful they are, the more will he oppose them, and seek their ruin. The enemy': principal design is sure to be against the watchman, because he prevents the surprising of his people by Satan, at least it is his business to do so ; and
therefore no stone will be left unturned, in order to his ruin. I. Satan will endeavour to lay him asleep, and make him turn secure, that he may neglect his poft. 2. If he mils of this, he will endeavour to fill him with disturbance and fear, that so he may be diverted from his duty, and made to quit his post. Or, 3. He will ply his corruptions, that he may, by attending to them, and striving against them, take him off from, or discourage him in his opposition to those others. 4. He will endeavour to blind his eyes by false appearances, that lo he may give false alarms; and this will weaken his credit, and make people not believe his warnings. 5. He will endeavour io amuse bim with great' appearances of danger where there is none; that his eyes may turn off from those things which may really endanger his flock. And, 6. He will endeavour to beget and cherish jealousies betwixt his pesple and hion, whereby his warnings will be less regarded, and his hands be weakened, and his heart be discouraged. 7. If these fail, he will endeavour to get him removed ; if he see the gospel like to prove fuccessful, then he will take care to find out ways to oblige the watchman to remove from his post. And, 8. If he fail of this, he will endeavons to kill him, either by multiplying troubles and griefs, or else by more direct methods, employing his emiffaries and servants to take away his life; and this by God's permillion, for the punifhment of a people's fins, has proven successful. Surely these and a great many more methods, used by Satan, the wicked world, pretended friends, and their own corruptions, against the ministers of the gospel, and all upon the people's account, should make them careful in praying to God in their behalf, that they may be saved from the attempts of all their spiritual adversaries, and may be made to grow in grace and gifts. Pray for much grace to your minister, that he may perSuade, as knowing the terrors of the Lord ; that he may deal tenderly with you, as having himself had acquaintance with soul-sicknels on account of sin; that he may take you to Jesus safely, as having himself been with him ; that he may comfort you with the consolations where with he has been comforted of God. In fine, that he may speak, because he himself has not only believed, but experienced the work of grace upon his own foul, as one tbat has tasted
that fin is an evil and bitter thing, and has found that Christ is useful, is sufficient, is precious ; and that he may pray acceptably for you, as one that has found acceptance in his own behalf. Pray likewise for gifts to him, knowla edge in the mystery of God, and of Christ, and of faith ; that he may have much spiritual wisdom, zeal, boldness, and courage, to fit him for his work; and withal, that the Lord may give a door of uiterance.
(4.) Consider, that a. careful attendance to your duty, in holding up your minister's case, will be a great mean to promote love, mutual love betwixt you and lim; and this will help to break Satan's engines. Nothing contributes more to the furtherance and fuccess of one's ministry in a place, than much love, and mutual kindness betwixt a minister and people ; and no love so useful this way, as that which vents itself in prayer for one another, and is chesished by this means. But,
2. I intreat you may carefully attend ordinancés, pubjic, private, and secret ; and catechising, the Lord Mall give occasion. This will make us cheerfully go about these duties, if we fee yon studying to make advantage of them : this will be profitable to you ; it will discourage our enemies ; it will rejoice our heart, and be a credit to religion.
3. Any advantage you receive, be sure i hat ye attribute it entirely to God ; beware of placing it to the inin. ister's account, who is only the instrument ; if yoll
rob God of the glory, and give it to the instrument, you may by this provoke the Lord to blast your minister, and to withdraw from him his presence; which will soon make you see, that it is not the minifter that can do any thing. Give God his due, and so account of us as the servants of Christ, and the stewards of the mysteries of the gospel ; and when ye get any good by it, put it all to God's account; bless him for it ; and let the instrument have an interest in your affections and prayers, that he may be sur. ther useful to you and others.
4. Once more and we have done. Do not count us your enemies, if we tell you the truth ; we must by any means be free, in laying open your sins, and in carrying home the conviction of them to your consciences; nor dare we gratify any, by holding our peace in this matter; for if we please men, then we are not the servants of Christ; and