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one step further ; or if ye will defift, ye shall have this advantage or the other; but a solidly convinced sinner has two questions that are enough for ever 10 confound and silence such proposals. The (1.) is this, Ye tell me, That if I hold on, I shall meet with such a hazard; I must be undervalued, reproached, opposed, and, in fine, meet with all the ill treatment that the devil, the world, and sin can give me: but now, Satan, I have one question to propose to you here. Are all these, taken together, as ill as damnation ? if not, then I will hold on. But whereas, o tempter, (2.) Ye say, That I shall get this pleasure or the other, if I desist and quite the way that I have espoused, I ask you, Is that pleasure as good as eternal falvation? Or will it make damnation tolerable? These two questions make a foul, that is really concerned about falvation, hold on in the diligent use of means. A man if ever he run, will then run, when he has happiness in his eye, and misery pursuing him; and thus it is with every finner that is throughly awakened, and lays salvation to heart; therefore it is no wonder such an one refuse to be discouraged, or give over, whatever he meets with in the way: but now, are there not among you, not a few who will be startled at the least difficulty, and quite thoughts of the means of salvation, for very trifles? This is a fad evidence, that ye are not indeed solidly convinced of sin.
Now I have shortly run through these particu. lars; and, in the conclusion, 'I enquire of every. one of you,
1. Have ye applied these marks to your own consciences, as we went through them? or, have ye çarelelly heard them, as if ye had no concern· M4
ment in them? To such of you as have not applied them, I say only in so many words. (1.) If ye will not judge yourselves, ye shall surely be condemned of the Lord. When persons will, not try their case, it is a sure sign that matters are not right with them. (2.) We may safely enough determine, that ye are unconcerned about falvation and fast asleep in your sins, nay, dead in them. (3.) 'Ye will come to such a sensible determination of your estate ere it be long, as will force you to think upon these things with seriousness, but not with fatisfaction. But to such as have been applying these marks as we went along, in the
2. Place, I propose this question, Do ye find upon trial that ye have indeed been laying falvation to heart above all things, or that yet ye are not in earnest about it? I beg it of you, nay, I obteft you, to deal impartially with your own fouls; and I am sure ye may come to understand how it is with you. This question, if fairly applied, will divide you into two sorts.
1. Such as are not laying' salvation to heart, and so have not been convinced of sin.
2. Such as are really concerned about falvati. on, and are with the jaylor, saying, What must I do to be faved?
I shall conclude this doctrine in a short address to these two sorts of persons, and then proceed to the apostles answer to the jaylor's question. . I begin with the first, such of you as are not convinced of sin, and therefore do not lay falvation to heart. Are there any such miserable wretches here, after all that has been said ? No doubt there are; and I fear that the most part are fuch. To you I say, s. Whence is it that ye are not convinced of
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your fin and misery, which has been so plainly, and at so great length inculcate upon you? Sure- . ly it must be upon one of three accounts : either, first, Ye have not heeded what has been said; or, Secondly, Ye have not believed it; or, thirdly, Ye have some one false defence or other, unto which ye lean. Now because this is a matter of no small moment both, to you and us, we shall here discourse a little of these three. It is of great moment to you to be undeceived here, because a deceit here will ruin you eternally; and it is of great moment to us, because unless we get you undeceived in this matter, we lose all our pains in holding forth Christ and the way of salvation by him. Persons who are not convinced of fin, will, past all peradventure, make light of Christ, and refuse him.
(1.) Then, I shall speak a word to such as have not taken heed to, or regarded what has been said for their conviction. I make no doubt but there are some such here, whose hearts have been with the fool's eyes, in the corners of the earth, and who have scarce been thinking all the while what they were hearing. Your consciences can tell you whether this has been your practice; and if it has, then I say, (1.) It is indeed no wonder that. ye do not lay falvation to heart, that ye are not convinced of sin; since ye will not hear what will serve for conviction, and is designed that way. (2.) Do ye thus requite the Lord, o foolish and unwise? Has God condescended so far to you, that he has sent his servants to you, and will ye not be at the pains to give them a hearing? How do ye think would your master or your ruler take it, should ye deal thus by him? If when he were speaking to you, either himself or by his servants, ye were
turning away your ear from him; would he not 'resent it highly? And has God any reason to bear with an indignity at your hand, that your master would not suffer ? (3.) Ye have reason to admire that he has not turned you before now into hell. This would effectually have convinced you, and repaired the lesed honour, the injured glory of God. (4.) I say to you, ye have lost an opportunity; and none can assure you that ever ye shall have the like again. «God may give over striving with you, and never more attempt your conviction; and wo to you when he departs from you.' (5.) I say, ye have slighted God's command, which enjoins you to take, heed how ye hear, and what ye hear, Mark iv, 24. Luke viii. 18. It is not for nothing that our Lord enjoins both to observe the matter and manner of hearing: as he gave those commands, so he will take care that they be not sighted. He will avenge himself of these who despise his authority in them. And therefore I say, (6.) If ye refuse a little longer to hear, then it is like, nay, it is certain, he will speak to you himfelf, and make you take heed, if not to what ye hear, yet to what ye shall feel, to your eternal disquietment. He will speak to you in wrath and vex yoa in his hôt displeasure. A remarkable scripture to this purpose we have, Ezek. xiv. 7. For every one of
the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourn. . eth in Israel, which separateth himself from me,
and sets up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumbling-block of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to enquire of him concerning me, I the Lord will answer him by myself! A fet of people there was in this prophet's days, who were his hearers; and they came under pretence of hearing or enquiring into the mind of God;
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but they were but mocking God, as ye have done, and did not regard what was said to them by the prophet. Well, the Lord will no more deal with them by the prophet, but will take them into his own immediate hand, and deal with them by himself. The words in the first language run thus, I the Lord, it shall be answered to him in me. I will not let any answer him but myself. As if he had said, My servants are too mild to deal with such wretches as mock me; I will not answer them any more with words; I will give over speaking to them, and will answer them by deeds, and that not of mercy, but of judgment. Now think on it in time, how terrible your condition is like to bę, if God shall say to you, I have spoken to these wretches, and laid their sin before them by my servants; but their hearts have been, fo taken up with their idols, that they have not heeded them: I will therefore speak to them by terrible deeds, I will set my face against them, and will make them a sign and a proverb; and I will cut them off from the midst of my people, and ye shall know that I am the Lord, as it' follows in the 8 verse of that forecited chapter. I leave you to think upon these things, and proceed
(2.) To speak to such as therefore are not convinced, because they did not believe what they have heard upon this head. I make no doubt that there are not a few such here; nay, I may fay, that all who are not convinced and awakened to a ferious consideration of their state and condition, owe their security and unconcernedness to this woful" unbelief, that is a fin pregnant with all other fins, that alone has in it whatever is hateful to God, or destructive to the soul of man. To such as have leard but do not believe, we say, (1.) Ye