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Full text of "An alarm to unconverted sinners, in a serious treatise"


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^■' AN 








I, What Conversion is not, 
and correcting some mis- 
takes about it 

II. What Conversion is, and 
■wherein it consisteth. 

Ill The necessity of Con- 

IV. The marks ef the un- 

V. The miseries of the un- 

VI. Directions for conver- 

VIL Motives to conversion. 

By that faithful servant of Jesus Christ, 

Minister of the Gospel at Taunton, in Somersetshire. 

Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom 
of God. joHi^ iii. 3. 







* IF it were only possible thou mayest live 
hereafter^ and be called to account in another 
world for what thou dost in this, it would be 
thy wisdom to take the safest course, and not 
to run the constant hazard of being dragged 
by death to judgment before thou art prepared 
to meet thy Judge. But another life, and a 
judgment to CGine, are more than possible : 
there is an high probability, yea, as great a 
certainty as can with reason be expected, 
that death will not put an end to thy being ; 
that thou shall live after the return of thy 
body to the earth ; and that then thou shaft 
be tried, and sentenced to such an happiness 
or misery, as will be incomparably greater 
than any thing, nay, than all thou didst ever 
feel or see, hear of or imagine. These 
weighty truths are taught and established in 
some measure by the light of nature^ but 
much more clearly and firmly by the oracles 
of God in the holy scriptures. Besides what 
they say of the different states of separated 
souls, they plainly teach, and strongly assert, 
that God hath appointed a time in which he 
icill judge the tohole world, by the Mediator 
Jesus Christ ; that that great Mediator, tcho 
is God as well^ as man, will descend from 
heaven, attended by its glorious inhabitants, 
2vith triumphant accUmidions to his royal 
throne ; that a mighty voice will cite all that 


ever dwelt on earthy to make their personal 
appearance : that that awaking and com* 
manding summons shall he presently heard 
and obeyed by the deady and they^ with the 
quick then remaining alive^ shall all stand 
before the judgment seat : that after a 
thoroughly searching and impartial trials 
which will reach men^s several talents^ trusts^, 
and oppartunities of getting and doing goody 
and their most secret actions^ words and 
thoughts J every one shall receive an un alter- 
able sentence of absolution or condemnation : 
and that then^ such as are approved and ab- 
solved^ shall inherit an heavenly kin^donty 
prepared for them from the foundation of the 
world, be like the angels^ their delightful 
companions^ converse with their most amiable 
and loving Saviour^ beholding and partaking 
of his glory^ yea, resemble, see and enjoy 
God himself in completed holiness and ever* 
lasting bliss ; and those, on the other hand, 
that are reprobated and damned, shall never 
be admitted into the regions of light, nor yet 
be favoured ivith a glimpse thereof, but suffer 
ivith devils, in the blackness of darkness for 
ever, the perpetual gnawings of. the worm 
that dieth not, and the extreme torments of 
unquenchable fire. , 

Seeing then these things cannot be denied^ 
thou must be guilty of such woful abuses of 
reason as far exceed all the extravagances 
of them that want it ; thou must be most 
grossly foolish, most unnaturally cruel to 
thine own soul, to thy whole self ; if thou 
dost not earnestly desire to be one of those 


unto whom the Lord shail say, C* / v ^ : 
Messed^ and not, Depart yp^ciirsal ; ii laoii 
dost not readily welcome, and diligently »T3e, 
any proper helps for the avoiding of the 
heaviest, endless misery, and for the attain- 
ing of the purest, vastest, everlasting hap- 
piness. And such helps are now offered 
thee in this little book, which hath a taking 
tincture of the excellent author's flaming love 
to God, and useful charity to the souls of 
men. And now it is in thine hand, let me 
tell thee, it cannot be refused the reading, or 
read without doing what it so plainly teach- 
eth, and affectionately urgeth, but at thy 
greatest peril. If thou wilt not be at a small 
expense of time and pains to read it over, 
if after the neglect of so many means of in- 
struction this also be rejected, how justly 
mayest thou he destroyed for lacJc of knoial 
edge P how soon may the things ichich belong 
unto thy peace be hid from thine eyes P A 
continued wilful w^ant of understanding, is 
large ground for fear, lest he that made thee 
should not have mercy on thee^ and he that 
formed thee should shew thee no favour. If 
thou readest, but dost not practice what 
scripture and reason so pathetically plead 
for, the increase of thy knowledge will in- 
crease thy sorrow^ because it will aggravate 
thy sin ; for to him that knows his Lord^s 
will^ how and why to do good^ and doth it 
not^ but the forbidden evil, to him ^tis hein- 
ous, inexcusable sin, for which he is liable 
to be beaten with many stripes^ and in con- 
stant dreadful danger of severer punishment. 



I hope therefore thou Avilt peruse so short a 
discourse, and art not unwilling to do it in 
such a manner^ as to grow acquainted with;, 
aud be persuaded to thy great duty, and, 
which is inseparable from it, thy greatest 
advantage. And that thou mayest not fail 
thereof, is the design of the following direc- 

1. Pray in the name of Christ, as thou art 
and shalt be enabled, for the more effectual 
assistances of the Holy Spirit. Such is the 
corruption of our nature, that it utterly dis- 
. ables us to make a saving use of outward 
iaeans, without inward aids. Unless the 
Spirit, by his powerful operations, work thee 
into a serious teachable temper, set home the 
attempts of God^s messengers, and give them 
an efficacy far beyond their own, the most 
concerning trutlis, and w eightiest arguments 
can never be so represented and enforced, as 
to overcome thy sensual, worldly inclinations, 
rescue thee from the dominion of sin and 
satan, and bring thee back to God, Thou 
must therefore pray, and that with becoming 
apprehensions of the great God, due regard 
to the gracious Mediator, deep shame and 
sorrow for the sins thou confessest, ardent 
desires of all the grace thou beggest, and 
faithful improvements of such measures as 
thou hast already received. And if thou thus 
askest, with fervent importunity, and perse- 
vering constancy^ thou wilt undoubtedly find 
that God hade thee not seek his face in vain / 
as our Lord warrants us to argue, Luke xi. 
If a man will not d«ny a friend what be is 


importunate for^ and if a father will grant his 
son what he asks and wants, much more will 
thy heavenly Father give thee the Holy 
Spirit for all needful purposes^ to produce 
all those effects in thee that are truly neces- 
sary for thine eternal salvation, 

S. Consider seriously what thou readest^ 
and work it on thy soul as far as thou art 
Goneerned therein. Medicines for the hody 
will operate, though they are not thought of ; 
but spiritual remedies for the mind require 
its co-operation with them : the clearest ex- 
plications, fullest proofs, and strongest mo- 
tives about matters of nearest and greatest 
concernment, will not do the soul any good, 
unless by thinking it apply them, and extract 
their virtue ; nor will the Spirit heal its 
lamentable diseases, if his influences be not 
answered with suitable endeavours. Work 
then as he works in and with thee ; take into 
most serious consideration whatever is apt to 
promote thy recovery ;* lay those things 
closest to heart, which are likeliest to cure 
the hardness thereof ; inculcate and urge 
them, and withal cry mightily unto him, 
Lcho is able and no less witting to help thee^ 
till thou feelest his gentle force, and comest 
to a conquering resolution, that thou must 
and wilt do as thou art advised ; till thou 
dost not only assent to the course proposed, 
as fit to be taken, but art steadily determined, 
that it is best for thee, that it is absolutely 
necessary, and must effectually be prosecut- 
ed ; that by the grace of God thou wilt 
thoroughly change thy heart and life, and so 


escape from the greatest evil, and make sure 
of the chiefest good. 

3. When thou hast seriously considered and 
resolved, proceed presently to practice, with 
all thy might, and without the least delay. 
^Tis commonly a work of some time to alter 
the temper of the soul, and change the course 
of the life ; and according to Grod^s usual 
methods, the longer thou hast been accus- 
tomed to do evil, the more time and pain& 
will be requisite to break the force of stub- 
born lusts, to weaken and subdue vicious 
habits, and to gain those of grace and good- 
ness ; to travel back the way thou hast gone 
wrong, and to get out of it, into the path of 
life. ^Tis well then if there be days enou,2;h 
before thee to do the one thing needful. To 
be sure, tliou art not certain of an hour to 
spare ; the loss of so small a part may prove 
the loss of all. Besides, if thou puttest off 
thy reformation, though but for a little while, 
"tls a sign thou dost not really intend it at 
all : for thou purposest, against conviction, 
to add sin to sin at present ; and how can 
thai consist with im Rearty design of grow- 
ing good afterward ? Delude not therefore 
thyself with such a desperate cheat, but 
imitate the royal Psalmist ; when thou hast 
thought on thy rays^ turn thy feet unto GoiVs 
festimonies : make haste ^ and delay not to 
keejj his commandments^ 

4. Remember Ihat conversion unto God is 
but the beginning of thy duty, that thou must 
afterwards obey him all the days of thy life, 
and that there is no other way to preserve an 


interest in his favour^ and a right to the great 
expressions thereof. They are the largest and 
last discoveries of divine grace, ihn.t teach thee 
to deny ungodliness^ and worldly lusts ; to 
live soberly^ righteously and godly in this pres- 
ent world ; and^ so doing, to loolc for the bless-^ 
ed object of thy hope : they plainly enough 
warn thee against drawing back unto perdi- 
tion ; they threaten a final rejection^ if thou 
deniest thy Saviour in words or works ; and 
they oft direct and command thee to seek for 
"glory^ and honour^ and immortality, by pa* 
tient continuance in icell doing ; ioh^ faith- 
ful unto death^ whatever it cost thee^ that thy 
Lord may give thee a croicn of life. These 
may seem hard sayings, bu they contain noth. 
ing like a reasonable discouragement. There 
is misery more than enough in hell^ to neces- 
sitate a prevention by any temporary labours, 
vrants and sufterings ; and an abundantly suf- 
ficient happiness in heaven^ to encourage a 
stedfast perseverance in the work of the Lord, 
though it were more harsh and grievous than 
sinners imagine. And even at present, reli- 
gion is not without a reward ; yea, thou wilt 
find it, if thou triest as thou shouldst, a reward 
to itself : when the main difficulties at first are 
over, thy duty will grow daily easier ; it will 
have many pleasures mixed with it, and be- 
come at length itself the greatest : it will not 
abridge thy appetites of any desirable gratifi- 
cations, but give them a new delicious relish 
of the fountain from which they fiow : instead 
of the girds and twinges of a bad conscience^ 
and dread of an after-reckoning; it will settle 


peace within^ and fill thee with comfortable 
reflections and joyful hopes ; and a loving, 
thankful^ praising obedience, will, by degrees, 
become thy sweetest employment. Therein 
thou mayest draiv still nearer to God^ delight 
thyself in hiin^ and receive from him the de- 
sires of thine heart : thou mayest walk always 
in the light of his countenance^ and feed on 
his lomng kindness ^ which is better than life. 
In short, before thou ascendest to heaven, 
thou mayest be in a heaven on earth, and find, 
by happy experience, that the way to have all 
thou canst Avish hereafter, is to bC; and do, 
what is best for thyself here. 


/ / 


DEARLY beloved, and longed for, I glad* 
ly acknowledge myself a debtor to you all, 
and am concerned, as I would be found a good 
steward to the household of God, to give to ev- 
ery one his portion. But the physician is most 
solicitous for those patients whose case is most 
doubtful and hazardous ; and the father's bow- 
els are especially turned towards his dying 
child. The numbers of the unconverted souls 
among you, call for my most earnest compas- 
sions, and hasty diligence to pluck them out 
of the burniug, Judc 28. And therefore to 
these, first, I shall apply myself in these lines. 

But whence shall I fetch my arguments, or 
how shall Lchoose my words ? Lord, where- 
with shall I woo Them? wherewith shall I 
win them ? Oh, that I could but tell ! I would 
write unto them in tears, I would weep out 
every argument, I would empty ray veins for 
Ink, I would petition them on my knees ; ver- 
ily (were I able) I would. Oh, how^ thank, 
ful 1 would be, if they would be prevailed 
with to repent and turn ! 

How long have I travailed in birth with 
you ? how frequently have I made suit to you ? 
how often would I liave gathered you? how 
in$tajit have I been with you ? This jis that 

IS Invitation to Sinners to turn to God. 

I have prayed for, and studied for^ for many 
years, that I might bring you to God; (Ih, 
that I might but do it! Will you yet be en- 
treated? Oh, what a happy man might you 
make me, if you would but hearken to me, 
and suffer me to carry you over to Jesus 
Christ ! 

'^ But, Lord, how insufficient am I for thi« 
work ] I have been many a year wooing for 
thee, but the damsel would not go with me. 
Lord, what a task hast thou set me to do? A- 
las ! wherewith shall I pierce the scales of 
Leviathan, or make the heart to feel that is 
hard as a stone ; hard as a piece of the neth- 
er-millstone ? Shall I go and lay my mouth 
to the grave, and look when the dead will 
obey me, and come forth ? Shall I make an 
oration to the rocks, or declaim to the moun- 
tains, and think to move them with arguments? 
Shall I give the blind to see? From the be- 
ginning of 'the world was it not heard that a 
man opened the eyes of the blind. But thou, 
O Lord, canst pierce the scales, and prick 
the heart of the sinner. I can but shoot at 
rovers, and draw the bow at a venture ; do 
thou direct the arrow between the joints of 
the harness, and kill the sin, and save the 
soul of a s%ner, that casts his eyes into these 

But I must apply myself to you, to whom I 
am sent : yet I am at a great loss. Would 
to God I knew how to go to work w ith you ! 
would I stick at the pains ? God knoweth, 
you yourselves are my w itnesses, how I have 
followed you in private; as well as in public^ 

Tnvitation to Sinners to turn to God. 13 

and have brought the gospel to your doors^ 
testifying to you the necessity of the new 
birth, and persuading you to look in time af- 
ter a s^und and thorough change. Beloved, 
I have not acted a part among you to serve 
my own advantage : oar gospel is not yea and 
nay. Have you not hea^rd the same truths 
from the pulpit, by publie labours, by private 
letters, and by personal instruction ? Breth- 
ren, I am of the same mind as ever, that holi- 
ness is the best choice, that there is no enter- 
ing into heaven but by the straight passages of 
the second birth, that without holiness you 
shall never see God, Heb. xii. 14. Ah, my be. 
loved ! refresh my bowels in the Lord, If 
there be any consolation in Christ, any com- 
fort of love, any felloivship of the Spirit, any 
boivels ctnd mercies^ fulfil" V^ '^^1/ PH* Now 
give yourselves unto the Lord, 8 Cor. viii. 5. 
Now set yourselves to seek him* Now set up 
the Lord Jesus in your hearts, and set him up 
in your houses. Now come in and kiss the son. 
Psa. ii. IS, and embrace the tenders of mer- 
cy, touch his sceptre and live ; why will you 
die ? tbeg not for myself, but fain I would 
have you happy : this is the prize I run fov, 
and the mark I aim at. My soul's desire 
and prayer for you is, that you may be saved, 
Som. X. i. 

The famous Lycurgus having instituted 
most strict and wholesome laws for his peo- 
ple, told them he was necessitated to go a 
journey from them, and got them to bind them- 
selves in an oath, that his laws should be ob- 
served till his return. This done, he went 


14 Invitation to Sinners to turn to God. 

into a voluntary banisliment^ and never re- 
turned more^ that they mighty by virtue of 
their oath, be engaged to the perpetual obser- 
vanee of his laws. Methinks I should be 
glad of the hard conditions which he endured 
(though I love you tenderly) so I might but 
hereby engage you thoroughly to the LorcJ 
Jesus Ciirist. 

Dearly beloved, would you rejoice the heart 
of your minister ? Why then, embrace the 
counsels of the Lord by me : forego your sins : 
set to prayer : up with the worship of God in 
your families : keep at a distance from the 
corruptions of the times. What greater joy 
to a minister, than to hear of souls born unto 
Christ by him, aud that his children walk in 
the truth ! 2 Jojin 4. 

Brethren, I beseech you, suffer friendly 
plainness and freedom with you in your deep- 
est concernments. I am not playing the ora- 
tor, to make a learned speech to you, nor dres- 
sing my dish with eloquence wherewith to 
please you. These lines are upon a weighty 
errand indeed, viz. To convince , and convert, 
and to save you. J am not baiting my hook 
ivith rhetoric, 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 te 
please your ears, I would sing another song. 
If I were to preach myself, I would steer an- 
other, course : T could then tell you a smooth- 
er tale : I would make you pillows, and speak 
you peace : for how can Ahab loye his Mi- 

Invitation to Sinners to turn to God. 15 

0aiah, that always prophecies evil concerning 
him ? 1 Kings xxii. 8. But how much bet- 
ter are the wounds of a friend, than the fair 
speeches of the harlot, who ilattereth with her , 
lips, till the dart strike through the liver, and 
hunteth for the precious life ? Prov. vii. 31, 
aa, 23, and vi. 26. If I were to quiet a cry. 
ing infant, I might sing him to a pleasant 
im)od5 and rock him asleep : but when the 
child i& fallen into the fire, the parent taketh 
another course ; h<i will not go to still him 
with a song or trifle. I know, if we speed 
not with you, you are lost : if we cannot get 
your consent to arise and come away,^ you per- 
ish forever. No conversion, no salvation : I 
must get your good will, or leave you miser- 

But here the difficulty of my work again 
recurs upon me. '' Lord, choose my stones 
out of the rock, 1 Sam. xvii. 4 ), 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, not with flesh and 
blood, but with principalities and powers, and 
the rulers of the darkness of this world, Eph, 
vi. 12. This day let the Lord smite the Phi- 
listine, and spoil the strong man of his ar- 
mour, 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 stone, 
and sling it, do thou carry it to the mark, and 
make it sink, not into the forehead, 1 Sam. 
xvii. 49^ but the heart of the unconverted sin- 
ner; and smite him to the ground; with Saul 

16 Invitation to Sinners to ttirn to God. 

in his so happy fall, Acts ix. 4. Thou hast 
sent me, as Abraham did Eliazer, to take a 
Avife unto my master, thy Son, Gen.^xxiv. 4. 
But my discouraged soul is ready to fear ih^ 
Avoman will not be willing to follow me. 
Lord God of my master, 1 pray thee send me 
good speed this day, and shew hindness to 
my master, and send thine angel before me, 
and prosper my way, that I may take a wife 
unto thy Son, Gen. xxiv. 1^, that as thy ser- 
vant rested not till he had brought Isaac and 
llebekah together, so I may be successful to 
bring Christ and the souls ©f my people to- 
"gether before wx part.'^ 

But I turn me unto you. Some of you do not 
know what I mean by conversion, and in vain 
shall I persuade you to that which you do not 
understand ; and therefore for your sakes, I 
shall sh^w lahat this conversion is. Others 
do cherish secret hopes of mercy, though they 
continue as they be; and for them I must 
shew the necessity pf conversion. ^Others are 
like to harden themselves with a vain conceit, 
that they are converted already ; unto them I 
must shew the marJcs of the unconverted. — 
Others because they feel no harm fear none, 
and so sleep upon the top of the mast; to them 
1 shall shew the misery of the unconverted. 
Others sit still, because they see not their way 
out ; to them I shall shew the means of con- 
version. And finally, for the quickening of 
all, I^hall close with \\\(t motives to conver- 

Mistakes about Conversion. 17 



LET the blind Samaritans worship they 
know not what, John iv. 3S, let the heathen 
Athenians superscribe their altar unto the un- 
known Grod, Acts xvii. 23, let the guileful Pa- 
pists commend the mother of destruction, Hos. 
iv. 6, for the mother of devotion : they that 
know man's constitution, and the nature of 
the reasonable soul's operation, cannot hut 
know that the understanding having the em- 
pire in the soul, he that will go rationally to 
work must labour to let in the light here. Ig- 
norantis nan est consensus. And therefore, 
that you may not mistake me, I shall shew 
you what! mean by the conversion I persfiade 
you to endeavour after. 

It is storied, that when Jupiter let dowri^the 
golden chaplets from heaven, all of them but 
one were stolen ; whereupon (lest they should 
lose a relic of so great esteem) they made 
five others so like it, that if any were sa wick- 
edly minded as to steal that also, they should 
not be able to discern which was it. And tru- 
ly, ray beloved, the devil hath made many 
counterfeits of this conversion, and cheats one 
with this, and another with that : and such a 
craft and artifice he hath in this mystery oS 
deceits, that (if it were possible) he would de- 
ceive the very elect. Now, that I may cure 

18 Mistakes about Comersion. 

the damnable mistakes of some, who think 
they are converted wlien they are not^ as well 
as remove the troubles and fears of others, 
that think they are not converted, when they 
are ; I shall shew you the nature of conver- 
sion, both negatively, or what it is not; and 
positively, what it is. 

We will begin with the negative. 

1. It is not the taking on 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 Oor. iv- §0. 
If to cease to be Jews and Pagans, and to put 
on the Christian profession, had been tru€ 
conversion, (as this is all that some would 
liave to be understood by it) who are better 
Christians tlnin they of Sardis and Laodicea? 
These were all Christians by profession, and 
had a name to live, but because they had only 
a name, are condemned by Christ, and threat- 
ened to be spewed out, llom. iii, 1. 16. Are 
there not many that name the name of tlie 
Lord Jesus, that yet depart not from iniquity? 
S Tim. ii. 19, and profess they know God^ 
but in works deny him? Tit. i. 16. And 
will God receive these for true converts, be- 
cause turned to the Christian religion? What ! 
converts from sin, when yet they do live in 
sin ? ^Tis a visible contradiction. Surely if 
the lamp of profession would have served the 
turn, the foolish virgins had never been shut 
out, Matt. XXV. 3. IS. We find not only pro- 
fessors, but preachers of Christ and wonder- 
workers, turned off, becau^ evil workers. 
Matte vii. ^?; S3c 

Misiakes about Conversien. 19 

% It is not the beins; washed in the laverof 
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 colours, nor follow 
their leader. Ananias and Saphira and Ma- 
gus were baptized, as well as the rest. How 
fondly do many mistake here, deceiving and 
being deceived ! dreaming that effectual grace 
is necessarily tied to the external administra« 
tion of baptism, (which, what is it, but to re- 
vive the Popish tenet, of the saerament^s work- 
ing grace ew opere operato f ) and so every 
infent shall be regenerated, not only sacra- 
mento teniis^ sacramentally, but really and 
properly. Hence men do fancy, that being 
regenerated already, when baptised, they 
need no farther work. 

But if this were so, then all that were bap- 
tized in their infancy must necessaiily be sav- 
ed ; because the promise of pardon and sal- 
vation is made to conversion and regenera- 

Acts iii. 19. 1 Pet. iii. 4. Matt. xix. 28, 
eur calling, sanetification (as to the begin- 
nings of it) or conversion, (which are but the 
same things, under different conceptions and 
expressions) is but the middle link in the gol- 
den chain, fastened to election at the one end, 
and glorification at the other ; Rom. viii. 30, 
S Thes. ii. 18, 1 Pet. i. 3. The silver cord 
may not be broken, nor the connection be- 
tween sanetification and salvation, between 
grace and glory, impiously violated. Matt. v. 
8. If we were indeed begotten again, it is to an 

20 Mistakes about Gonversio)u 

inheritance incorruptible^ reserved in heaven 
for us, and the divine power is engaged to 
keep us for it, 1 Pet. i. 5, And if the very 
regenerate may perish at last in their sins, we 
will no more say, that he that is born of God 
his seed remaineth in him, and that he cannot 
sin, 1 John iii. 9, i. e. unto death, nor that it 
is impossible to deceive the very elect, Matt. 
xxiv. 34. 

And indeed, were this true, then we need 
look no farther to see our names written in 
heaven, than only to search the register, and 
see whether we were baptized : then I would 
keep the certificate of my baptism, as my fair- 
est evidence for heaven, and should come by 
assurance of my gracious state with a wet fin- 
ger : then men should do well to carry but a 
certificate of their baptism, under the regis^ 
ter^s hand, when he died, (as the philosopher 
would be buried with the bishop^s bond in his 
hand, which he had given him, for receiving;^ 
his alms in another world) and upon sight of 
this there were no doubt of their admission ia* 
to heaven. 

In short, if there be no more necessary to 
conversion or regeneration, than to be turned 
to the Christian religion, or to be baptized in 
infancy, this will fly directly in the face of that 
scripture. Matt. vii. 14, as well as multitudes 
of others. For, firsts we will then no more 
say, Straight is the gate^ and narrow is the 
way ; for if all that were baptized, and of 
true religion, are saved, the door is become 
heavenly wide ; and we will henceforth say, 
Wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that 

Mistakes ahout Cmverstott^^ M 

leadeth unto life ; for if this be tnie^ whole 
parisJies^ yea^ whole; countries and whole king- 
doms, may go in abreast ; and we will no 
more teach that the righteous is scarcely sav- 
ed, or that there is need of such a stir in tak- 
ing the kingdom of heaven by violence, and 
striving to enter in. Surely if the way be so 
easy as many make it, that there is little more 
necessary than to be regenerated in our bap- 
tism, and cry God mercy, and be absolved 
by the minister at our end ; Uis more ado than 
needs to put ourselves to such running, and 
seeking, and knocking, and fighting and wres- 
tling, as the word requires as necessary to sal- 
vation. Secondly ^11 this b3 irue, we will no 
more say, Fcic there be tha find it ; yea, we 
-will rather say, Few there h hat miss it : we 
will no more say, that of the many that are 
called hut few are chosen^ Matt. xxii. i% and 
that even of the professing Israel hut a rem- 
nant shall be saved^ Rom. xi. 5. If this doc- 
trine be true, we will not say any more with 
the disciples, Who then shall be saved ? but 
rather, Who then shall not be saved ? Then, 
if a man be called a brother, (that is, a Chris- 
tian) and be baptized, though he be a fornica- 
tor or a-railer, or covetous, or a drunkard, 
yet he shall inlierit the kingdom of God, 1 
Cor. V. 11, vi.-9, 10. 

But the Arminian will reply. Such as these^ 
though they did receive regenerating grace 
in baptism^ are since fallen away^ and must 
he renewed again^ or else they cannot be sa- 

I answer, 1, That there is an infallible con- 

J8J& Mistakes ahont Gonversicm. 

]ftection between regeneration and salvation^ 
as we have already shewn, and I itch to be 
farther evidencing, but that 'tis against de- 
signed brevity. S. Then men must be born 
again, which carries a great deal of absurdity 
in its very face. And why may not men be 
twice born in nature as well as in grace ? why 
not as great an absurdity to be twice regener- 
ated as to be twice generated? But 3. and a- 
bove all, this grants, however^' the thing I 
contend for, that whatever men do, or pretend 
to receive in baptism^ if they be found after- 
wards to be grossly ignorant, or profane, or 
formal, without the power of godliness, they 
must be born again^ or else be shut out of the 
kingdom of God. So then they must have 
more to plead for themselves than their bap- 
tismal regeneration. 

Well, in this you see all are agreed, that 
be it more or less that is received in baptism, 
if (when men come to years) they are evident- 
ly unsanctiiied, they must be renewed again 
by a thorough and powerful change, or elfee 
they cannot escape the damnation of hell. — 
Friends and brethren, he not deceived ; God 
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, John xv. 14, or 
unclean, or malicious, or covetous, or riotous, 
or a scoifer, or a lover of evil company, Prov. 
xiii. SO, in a word, if you are not holy, strict, 
and self-denying Christians, Heb. xii. 14, 
Matt, xvi. S4; you cannot be saved except 

Mistakes about Conversion. SS 

you be transformed by a farther work upon 
you, and renewed again by repentance. 

Thus I have shewed, that it is not enough 
to evidence a man to be regenerate, that he 
hath been baptized, effectual grace not neces^ 
sarily accompanying baptism, as some have 
vainly asserted. But I must answer one ob- 
jection before I pass. , 

Obj. The sacraments do certainly attain 
their ends^ when men do not ponere obicem, 
0r Jay some obstructions^ nxhich infants do not. 

Sol. I answer, It is not the end of baptism 
to regenerate. 1. Because then there would 
1}e no reason why it should be confined only 
to the seed of believers ; for both the law of 
God, and the nature of charity, requires us to 
use the means of conversion for all, as far as 
we can have opportunity. Were this true, 
no such charity as to catch the children of 
Turks and Heathens, and baptize them, and 
dispatch them to heaven out of hand ; like 
the bloody wretches that made the poor Pro- 
testants (to save their lives) to swear they 
would come to mass, and that they would 
never depart from it, and then put them forth- 
with to death, saying, They would hang them 
while in a good mind. S. Because it presup- 
poseth regeneration, and therefore cannot be 
intended to confer it. In all the express in- 
stances in scripture, we find that baptism doth 
suppose their repenting, believing, receiving 
the Holy Ghost, Acts viii. 87? Acts ii. 38, and 
X. 47? Mark xvi. 16. And to imagine that 
baptism was instituted for an end of which 
Hot one of the first subjects was capable^ (for 

Sl< J\Estdke3 about Conversion. 

they were all adult persons, and supposed i^ 
liave fiiiih and repentance according as they 
professed, and their children were not baptiz. 
ed till after them, in their right) were no lit- 
tle absurdity. Were this doctrine true, bap- 
tism would make disciples : but we find it 
cloth bespeak them such before hand. Matt, 
xxviii. 19. 3. Because baptism being b?!t a 
seal of the covenant, cannot convey the bene- 
fits, but according to the tenor of the cove- 
nant, to which' it is set. 

Now the covenant is conditional, therefore 
the seal conveys conditionally. The cove- 
nant requires faith and repentance, as the con- 
dition of the grand benefits, pardon and life, 
Acts xvi. 31, and iii. 19^ And w hat the cov- 
enant doth not convey, but upon these condi- 
tions, the seal cannot. So that baptism doth 
presuppose faith and repentance in the sub- 
ject, without which it neitlier doth nor can 
convey the saving benefits ; otherwise the seal 
should convey contrary to the tenor of the 
covenant to which it is affixed. 

3. It lies not in a moral righteousness.-^ 
This exceeds not the righteousness of the 
Scribes and Pharisees, and therefore cannot 
bring us to the kingdom of God, Matt. v. 20, 
Paul, w^hile unconverted, touching the right- 
eousness which is in the law, was blameless, 
Phil. iii. 6. None could say. Black is thine 
eye. The self justiciary could say, J am no 
extortioneryadultereryunjusty &c.Luke xviii^ 
li. Thou must have something more thaa 
all this to shew, or else (however thou may est 
justify thyself) God will condemn thee. I 

Mistakes about Conversion. 25 

condemn not morality^ but warn you not to 
rest here. Piety includes morality, as Chris- 
tianity doth humanity, and grace reason ; but 
we must not divide the tables. 

4. It consists not in external conformity to 
the rules of piety. ^Tis too manifest, men 
may have a form of godliness without the 
power, 2 Tim. iii. 5. Men may pray long, 
Matt, xxiii. 14, and fast often, Luke xviii. 12, 
and hear gladly, Mark vi. SO, and be very for- 
ward in the service of God, though costly and 
expensive, Isa. i. 11, and yet be strangers to 
conversion. They must have more to plead 
for themselves, than that they keep their 
church, and give alms, and make use of 
prayer, to prove themselves sound converts. 
No outward service but an hypocrite may do 
it ; even to the giving all his goods to the poor, 
and his members to the fire, 1 Cor. xiii. 3. 

5. It lies not in the chaining up of corruption ^ 
hy education, human laics^ or the force of in- 
cumbent affliction. ^Tis too common and ea- 
sy, to mistake education for grace ; but if 
this were enough, who a better man than Jo- 
ash ? While Jehoiada his uncle lived, he was 
very forward in God's service, and calls up- 
on him to repair the house of the Lord, 3 
Kings xi. 2, 7« But here was nothing more 
than good education all this while ; for when 
his good tutor was taken out of the way, he 
appears to have been but a wolf chained up, 
and falls on to idolatry. 

6. In short, it consists not in illumination. 
or conviction : in a superficial change^ or par- 
tial reformation. An apostate may be a man 

26 Mistakes about Conversion. 

enlightened, Heb. vi. 4^ and a Felix tremble 
under convictions^ Acts xxiv. 25^ and a Her- 
od amend many things, Mark vi. 20. ^Tis 
one thing to have sin alarmed only by convic- 
tions, and another to have it captivated and 
crucified by converting grace. Many, be- 
cause they have been troubled in conscience 
for their sins, think well of their case ; mis- 
erably mistaking conviction for conversion. — 
With these Cain might have passed for a con- 
vert, w^ho ran up and down the world like a 
man distracted, under the rage of a guilty 
conscience, till with building and business he 
had wore it away, Gen. iv. 13, 14. Others 
think, that because they have given oft* their 
riotous courses, and are broken oft* from evil 
company, or some particular lust, and redu- 
ced to sobriety and civility, they are now no 
other than real converts ; forgetting that there 
is a vast difference between being sanctified 
and civilized ; and that many seek to enter 
into the kingdom of heaven, Luke xiii. 24, and 
are not farYrom it, Mark xii. 34, and arrive 
to the almost of Christianity, Acts xxvi. 28, 
and yet fall short at last. While conscience 
holds the whip over them, many will pray, 
hear, read, and forbear tlieir delightful sins ; 
but no sooner is this lion asleep, but they are 
at their vomit again. Who mor^ religious 
than the Jews, whcu God's hand was upon 
them ? Psal. Ixxviii. 34-, 8p, but no sooner 
•was the affliction over, but they forgot God, 
and shewed their religion to be a fit, ver. 36 
37. Thou mayest haye disgorged a trouble 
some sin, that will not sit in thy stomach, an"- 

Mistakes about Conversion. S>7 

have escaped those gross pollutions of the 
worlds and yet not have changed thy swinish 
nature all the while^, 2 Pet. ii. SO, 32, 

You may cast the lead out of the rude mass 
into the more comely proportion of a plant, 
and then into the shape of a beast, and thence 
into the form and features of a man ; bat all 
the while it is but lead still. So a man may 
pass through divers transmutations, from ig- 
norance to knowledge, from profanencss to ci- 
vility, thence to a form of religion ; and all 
this while he, is but carnal and unregent4rat«, 
while his nature remains unchanged. 

Application. Hear then, O sinners, hear 
as you would lii^e^ so come and hear^ Isa. Iv. 
3. Why wouhl you so wilfully deceive your- 
selves^ or build your hopes upon the sand? I 
know he shall find hard v/ovk of it, that goes 
to pluck away your hopes. It cannot but be 
ungrateful to you, and truly it is not pleasing 
to me. I set about it as a surgeon, when to 
cut oflf a putriiied member from his well-belov- 
ed friend ; which of force he must do, but 
with an aching heart, a pitiful eye, a trembling 
hand. But understand me, brethren, I am 
only taking down the ruinous house, (which 
will otherwise speedily fall of itself, and bu- 
ry; you in the rubbish) that I may build fair, 
and strong, and firm for ever. The hope of 
the wicked shall perish, if God be true of his 
word, Prov. xi, 7. And wert not thou better, 
O sinner, to let the word convince thee now in 
time,^nd let go thy self-deluding hopes, than 
to have death too late to open thine eyes, and 
find thyself in hell before thou art aware ? I 

S8 Mistakes about Conversion. 

should be a fiilse and faithless shepherd^ if I 
should not tell you, that you who have built 
your hopes upon no better grounds than these 
foremcntioned, are yet in your sins. Let your 
conscienecs speak : what is it that you have 
to plead for yourselves ? Is it that you wear 
Chrisfs livery ? that you hear his name ? that 
you are of the visible church P that you have 
Jtuoicledge in the j^oints of religion f are civ^ 
ilixed^ 2)erform religious duties^ are just m 
your dealings^ have been troubled in con- 
sciefice for your sinsf 1 tell you from the 
Lord, these pleas will never be accepted at 
God's bar. All this, though good in itself, 
Mill not prove you converted, and so will not 
suffice to your salvation. Oh look about you, 
a ad bethink yourselves of turning speedily 
nnd soundly. Set to praying, and to read- 
^ng, and studying your own hearts ; rest not, 
ill God hath made thorough work with you ; 
for you must be other men, or else you are 
lost men. 

Eut if these be short of conversion, what 
^hall 1 say of the profane sinner ? It may be 
lie will scarce cast his eyes, or lend his ears 
this discourse. But if there be any such 
eading, or within hearing, he must know 
from the Lord that made him, that he is far 
from the kingdom of God. May a man be 
civilized, and not converted ? Where then 
shall the drunkard, and glutton appear? May 
a man keep company with the wise virgins, 
and yet be shut out ? shall not a companion of 
iools*^ much more be destroyed ? Prov. xiii. 
SO. May a man be true and just in his deal- 

Mistakes about Conversion,. S9 

ing, and yet not be justified of God ? what 
then will become of thee^ O wretched man, 
whose conscience tells thee thou art false in 
thy trade, and false to thy w^ord, and makest 
thy advantage by a lying tongue ? If men 
may be enlightened., and brought to the per- 
formance of holy dutiea, and yet go down to 
perdition for nesting in them, and sitting 
down on this «ide of conversion ; what will 
become of you, O miserable families, that live 
as without God in the world? and of you, O 
wretched sinnei's, with w horn God is scarce 
in all your thoughts ; that are so ignorant, 
that you cannot, or so careless, that you will 
not pray ? O repent, and be converted !— 
break oif your sins by righteousness; away 
to Christ for pardoning and renewing grace ; 
give up yourselves to him, to walk with him 
in holiness, or else you shall never see God. 
Oh that you would take the warnings of God ! 
In his name I once more admonish you. Turn 
you at my reproofs Prov. i. S3, forsake the 
foolish and live^ Prov, ix, 6» Be sober^ right- 
eous^ godly y Tit. ii. 12, Wash your hands^ 
ye sinners ; jpurify your hearts^ ye double- 
minded^ James iv. 8. Cease to do evil, learn 
to do well, Isa. i. 16, I7. But if you will on, 
you must die, Ezek. xxxiii. 11. 

c a 

30 Ike nature of Conversion, 



I MAY not leave you with your eyes half 
o|)en,« as he that saw men as trees walkh)g, 
Mark viii. 24. The word is profitable for 
doctrine, as well as reproof, 2 Tira. iii. 16. — 
And therefore having thus far conducted you 
by the shelves and rocks of so many danger- 
ous mistakes, I would guide you at l^iigtlxin^ 
to the harbour of truth. -) 7 ; ^ - -i '■ 

Conversion then (in short) lies, in i\\t thor- 
ough change both of the heart aud life. I 
shall brieily describe it in its nature and cau. 

1 . The author^ it is the Spirit of God} and 
therefore it is called the sanctification of the 
Spirit, 3 Thess. ii. 13, and the renewing of 
I he Holy Ghost, Tit. iii. 5. Yet not exclud- 
iiig the other Persons in the Trinity : for the 
apostle teacheth us, to bless the Father of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, for that he hath begotten 
us again, 1 Pet. i. 3, and Christ is said to give 
repentance to Israel, Acts v. 31, and is called 
the everlasting leather, Jsa. ix. G, and we his 
:^eed, and the children which God hath given 
him, Ileb. iii. 13, Lsa. liii. 10. O blessed 
birth ! ^Seven cities contended for the birth of 
Homer : but the whole Trinity fathers the 
new creature. Yet is this work principally 
ascribed to the Holy Ghost, and so we are 
said to be born of the Spirit, John iii. 8. 

Bo then it is a work nboye Hiun^s powei-r 

The nature of Conversion. 31 

We are born 9 not of the will of the fleshy nor 
of the ivill of many but of God^ John i. 13—- 
Never think thou canst convert thyself : if 
ever thou w^ouldst be savingly converted^ thou 
must despair of doing it in thine own strength^ 
Jer. xiii. S3. It is a res.y,rrection from the 
dead, Rev, xx. 5, Eph. iu 1, a new creation, 
Gal. vi. ioy Eph. ii. 10, a work of absolute 
omnipotency, Eph. i. 19. Are these out of 
the reach of human power ? If thou hast no 
more than thou hadst by thy first birth, a good 
nature, a meek and chaste temper, &c. thou 
art a very stranger to true conversion. This 
is a supernatural work. 

S. The moving cause is internal^ or exter- 

The internal mover is only free grace : 
^'Yot by works of righteousness which we have 
done ; but of his oicn mercy he saved us — by 
the renewing of the Holy Ghost ^ Tit. iiL 5. 
Of his own will begat he us^ James i. 18. — 
We are chosen and called unto sanctification, 
not for it, Eph. i. 4. 

God finds nothing in a man to turn his hearty 
but to turn his stomach; enough to provoke 
his loathings nothing to provoke his love. — 
Look back upon thyself^ O Christian : take 
thy verminous rags : look upon thyself in thy 
blood, Ezek. xvi. 6. Oh ! reflect upon thy 
swinish nature, thy filthy swill, thy once be- 
loved mire, 2 Pet. ii. 23. Canst thou think, 
without loathing, of thy trough and draught ? 
Qpen tliy sepulchre. Matt, xxiii. S7. Art 
thou not struck almost dead with the hellish 
damp ? Behold thy putrid soul; thy loathsome 

33 The nature of Conversion. 

members. Oh stench insufferable, if thou 
dost but scent thy own putrefaction ! Psa. xiv. 
3. Behold thy ghastly visage, thy crawling 
lusts, thy slime and corruption. Do not thine 
own clothes abhor thee ? Job ix. 31. How 
then should holii^res^s and purity love theij? 
Be astonished,^ O lieavens, at this ; be moV-^ 
ed, O earth ! Jer. ii. 12. Who but must 
needs cry, Grace ! grace ! Zech. iv. 7. Hear 
and blush, you children of the Most High ; 
O you unthankful generation ! that free grace 
is no more in your mouths, in your thoughts : 
no more adored, admired, commended by such 
as you. One would think you should be 
nothing but praising and admiring God, what- 
ever you arc. How can you make a shift to 
forget such grace, or to pass it over with a 
slight and seldom mention? What but free 
grace should move God to love you, unless 
enmity could do it, or deformity could do it, 
unless vomit or rottenness could do it? How 
affectionately doth Peter lift up his hands ? 
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord 
'Jesus Christy tahoofhis abundant mercy hath 
begotten us again^ 1 Pet. i. 3. How feeling- 
ly doth Paul magnify the free mercy of God? 
God icho is rich in mercy ^ for his great love 
wherewith he loved uSy hath quickened us to- 
gether with Christ : by grace ye are saved^ 
Eph. ii. % 5. 

The external mover is the merit and inter^ 
' eession of the blessed Jesus. He hath ob- 
tained gifts for the rebellious, Psa. Ixviii. 18, 
and through him it is that God worketh in us 
what is well-pleasing inliissight/Heb. xUii. 81. 

The nature of Conversion. $S 

Through him are all spiritual blessings be- 
stowed upon us in heavenly things^ Eph, i. 3. 
He interceded for the elect that believe not, 
John xvii, SO. Every convert is the fruit of 
his travaiU Isa. liii. 11. Oh, never was infant 
korn into the world with that difficulty that 
Christ endured for us ! How emphatically he 
groaneth in his travail ! All the pains that he 
suffered on his cross, they were our birtli^ 
pains, Acts ii. S4, the pulls and throws that 
Christ endured for us. He is made sanctifi- 
oation to us, 1 Cor. i. 30. He sanctified him- 
self (that is, set apart himself as a sacrifl.ce) 
that we may be sanctified, John xvii. 19. We 
are sanctified through the axiering of his body 
mice for all, Heb. x. 10. 

^Tis nothing then without his own bowels,^ 
but the merit and intercession of Christ, that 
prevails with God to bestow on us converting 
grace. If thou art a new creature, thou know- 
est to whom thou owest it, to Christ's pangs 
and prayers. Hence the natural affection of 
a believer to Christ. The foal doth not more 
naturally run after the dam, nor the suckling 
to the dugs, than a believer to Jesus Christ^ 
And whitlber else shouldst thou go ? If any 
in the world can shew that for thy heart that 
Christ can, let them carry it. Doth satan put 
in, doth the world court thee ? Doth sin sue 
for thy heart ? Why, were these crucified for 
thee ? 1 Cor. i. 13*1 O Christian, love and 
serve the Lord whilst thou hast a being ; do 
not even the Publicans love those that love 
them, and shew kindness to those that are 
kind to them? Matt. v. 46, 47^ 

34 The nature of Conversion. 

3. The instrument is either personal or 

The personal is the ministry : I have be- 
gotten you to Christ through the gospel^ 1 Cor. 
iv. 15. Christ^s ministers are they, that are 
gent to open men^s eyes^ and to turn them to 
God, Acts xxvi. 18. 

O unthankful world, little do you know 
what you are doing, while you are persecuting 
the messengers of the Lord : these are tUey 
whose business is (under Christ) to save you. 
Whom liave you reproached and blasphem- 
ed ? Against whom have you exalted your 
voice^ and lifted your eyes on high ? Isaiah 
xxxvii. 23. Those are the servants of the 
most high God, that shew unto you the Avay 
of salvation^ Acts xvi. 47- And do you thus 
requite them^ O foolish and unwise ? Deut. 
xxxii. 6. O sons of ingratitude, against 
whom do you sport yourselves? Against 
whom make you a wide mouth, and draw out 
the tongue? Isa. lyii. 3*. These are the in- 
struments that God useth to convert and save 
you ; and do you spit in the face of your phy- 
sicians, and throw your pilots over-board ? — 
Father forgive them^ for they kno^ not what 
they do. 

The instrument real is the v^ord: We were 
begotte'ii by the word of truth: Tliis it is that 
enlightens the eyes, that converteth the soul, 
P«a. xix. 7? 8^ that maketh wise to salvation, 
2 Tim. iii. 15. This.is the incorruptible seed, 
by which we are boin^iagain, i l et. i. S8. If 
we are Avashed.^tis by' the word, Epb. v. 2d| 
if we are sanctified; ^tis through the tfutb^ 

The nature of Conversion. .>^' T3j& 

John xvii. 17* This generates faith, and re- 
generates us, Rom. X. 17? James i. 18. 

O ye saints, how should ye love the word? 
for by this you have been converted :' O ye 
sinners, how should you ply the word ? for 
by this you must be converted : no other or- 
dinary means but this. You that have felt its 
renewing power, make much of it while you 
live ; be forever thankful for it : tie it about 
your necks, write it upon your hands, lay it 
in your bosoms, Prov, vi. 3i, 32. When you 
2;o, let it lead you ; when you sleep, let it keep 
you ; when you wake, let it talk with you : 
Say with holy David, I loill never forget thy 
preceptSj for by them thou hast quickened me^ 
Psa. cxix. 93. You that are unconverted^ 
read the word with diligence, flock to it where 
powerfully preached, fill the porches, as the 
multitude of the impotent, blind, halt, wither- 
ed, waiting for the moving of the water, John 
V. 3. Pray for the coming of the Spirit in the 
word. Come olf thy knees to the sermon ; 
and come to thy knees from the sermon. The 
seed doth not prosper, because uQt watered 
by prayers and tears, nor covered by medita- 

4. The final cause is man^s salvation and 
God^s glory. We are chosen through sanc- 
tiftcation to salvation, 2 Thess. ii. 13, called 
that we might be glorified, Rom. viii. 30, but 
especially, that God might be glorified, Isa. 
Ix. 21, that we should shew forth his praises, 
i Pet. ii. 9, and be fruitful in good works, 
Col.'i. 10. O Christian, do not forget tha 
end of thy calling ; let thy light shine, Matt. 

-36 ^e nature of Conversion. 

¥. 16^ let thy lamp burn; let thy fruits be good^ 
and many, and in aeason^ Psa. i. 3^ let all thy 
designs fall in with God^s, that he may be 
magnified in thee, Phil. i. SO. Why should 
God repent that he hath made thee a Chris- 
tian, as in the time of the old world, that he 
made them men? Gen. vL 6. Why shouldst 
thou be an eye-sore in his orchard, Luke xiii. 
by thy unfruitfulness? or a son that causeth 
shame, as it were, a grief to thy father, and a 
bitterness to her that bare the<3 ? Prov. xvii- 
2&, and x. 5. let the w omb bless thee that 
bare thee, Prov. xvii. 21. He that begets a 
fool doth it to his sorroiv ; and the father of 
a fool hath no joy. 

5. The subject is the elect sinner^ and that 
in all his parts and powers^ members and 
mind. Whoipa^Sod predestinates them only 
he calls, Rom. viii. 30. None are drawn to 
Chrkt by their calling, nor come to him by 
l>elieving, but his sheep, those whom the Fath- 
er hath given him, John vi. 37, 4i^. Effectual 
calling runs parallel with eternal election, 2 
Pet. i. IQ. 

Thou beginne^t at the wrong end, if thou 
disputest first about thine election. Prove thy 
conversion, and then never doubt of thine 
election; or canst thou not yet prove it? set 
upon a present and thorough turning. What- 
ever God^s purposes be, (which are secret) I 
am sure his promises are plain. How despe- 
rately do rebels argue. If I am elected, I shall 
be saved, do what I will ; if not, J shall be 
damned, do what lean. Perverse sinner, wilt 
thoju begin where thou shouldst end ? Is not 

The nature of Conversion. S7 

the word before thee ? What saith it ? Repent 
and be converted^ that your sins may he blot- 
ted out. Acts iii. 19. Tfy^^(^ mortify the deeds 
of the body you shall live^ Rom. viii. 13. Be- 
lieve and be saved^ Aerts xvi. 31. What can 
be plainer ? Do not stand still disputing about 
thine election^ but set to repenting and be- 
lieving. Cry to God for converting grace. — 
Revealed things belong to thee ; in these busy 
thyself. ^Tis just (as one well said) that they 
that will not feed on the plain food of the 
word, should be choked with the bones — 
Whatever God's purposes be, I am sure his 
promises be true. Whatever the decrees of 
heaven be, I am sure, that if I repent and be- 
iieve^^ I shall be saved ; and that if I repent 
not, I shall be damned. Is not here plain 
ground for thee ? and wilt thou yet ran upon 
the rocks ? 

More particularly, this change of conver- 
sion passes throughout the v/hole subject. A 
carnal person may have some shreds of good 
morality, a little near the list ; but he is never 
good throughout the whole clotii, tiie whole 
body of holiness and Christianity : feel him a 
little further near the ridge, and you shall see 
him to be but a deceitful piece. Conversion 
is no repairing of the old building, but it takes 
all down, and erects a new structure : it i-^ 
not the putting in a patch, or sewing on a lis 
of holiness ; but, with the true converL iioli- 
ness is woven into all his powers, principles, 
and practice. The sincere Christian is quite 
a new fabrick, from the foundation to the top- 
stone, all fire-new. He is a uew man, Kph. 


38 The natiivc of Conversion. 

iv. 24, a new creature. All things are be- 
come new ., % Cor. \. 17- Conversion is a 
deep work, a heart work, Acts ii. 37^ and vi. 
i% it turns all upside down, and makes a man 
be in a new world. It goes throughout with 
men, throughout the mind, throughout the 
members, throughout the motions of the wliole 

1. Throughout the mind. It makes an 
universal change within. First^ It turns the 
balance of the jiidg?nenty so that God and his 
glory do weigh down all carnal and worldly 
interest. Acts xx» 34, Phil. i. 20, Psa. Ixxiii. 
25. It opens the eye of the mind, and makes 
the scales of its native ignorance to fall off, 
and turns men from darkness to light, Acts 
xxvi. 18« Eph. V. 8, 1 Pet. ii. ^. The man thut 
before saw no danger in his condition,now con- 
cludes himself lost, and forever undone. Acts 
ii. 87, except renewed by the power of grace. 
He (hat formerly thought there was little hurt 
in sin, now comes to see it to be the chief of 
evils ; he sees the unreasonableness, the un- 
righteousness, the deformity and filthiness 
that is in sin ; so that he is affrighted with it, 
loathes it, dreads it, flies it, and even abhors 
himself for it, Rom. vii. 15, Jobxlii. 6, Ezek. 
xxxvi. 31. He that could see little sin in 
himself, and could find no matter for confes- 
sion, (as it was said of that learned Ignora- 
:nm, Bellarmine, who, it seems, while he knew 
30 m-jch abroad, was a miserable stranger to 
iimself, that when he was to be confessed by 
the priest, be could not remember any thing 

' :^ bat was fain to run back to the sins 

The nature of Conversion. 39 

of his youth) I say; he that eould not find 
matter for confession, unless it were some few- 
gross and staring evils, now sin revivcth whli 
ium, Rom. vii. y, he sees the rottenness oi 
hi^ heart, and desperate and deep polUition 
of his whole nature : he cries, Unclean^ un- 
clean^ Lev. xiii. 45. Lord, purge me laifh 
hyssops wash me thoroughly^ create in me a 
new hearty Psa. li. 2^ 7^ 10. He sees him- 
self altogetlier ])ecome filthy, Psa. xiv. 3, cor- 
rupt, both root and tree. Matt. vii. 17, 18.- — 
He writes unclean upon all his parts, nnd 
powers, and performances, Isa. Ixiv. 6, Houi. 
vii. 18. He discovers the nasty corners that 
he was never aware of, and sees the bUisphe- 
my and theft, and murder, and adultery that 
is in bis heart, which before lie was ignorant 
of. Heretofore he saw no form nor comeli- 
ness in Christ, nor beauty, that he should de- 
sh'e him ; but now he finds the hid treasure, 
and will sell all to buy this field. Christ is 
the pearl he seeks, sin the puddle he loathes. 
Now, according to this new light, the man 
ig of another mind, another judgment, than 
before he was. Now God is all with him, he 
hath none in heaven nor in earth, like him, 
Psa. Ixxiii. S5. He prefers him truly before 
all the world: his favour is his life; the light 
of his countenance is more than corn, or wine, 
and oil, (the good that formerly he enquired 
after, and set his heart upon, Psa. iv. 6, 70 
Wow, let all the world be set on one side, and 
Grod alone on the other; let the harlot put ou 
her paint and gallantry, and present herself 
the soul, (as when Satan would have tempt- 

10 TJie iiatiire of Conversion. 

cd our Saviour with her) in all the glory oi 
brr kingdoms^ yet the soul will not fall down 
and worship her^ but will prefer a naked^ yea, 
a crucified, persecuted Christ before her, Phil, 
ill. 8/1 Cor. ii. S. Not but that a hypocrite 
may come to yield a general assent to this, 
that God is the chief good; yea, the wiser 
licalliens (some few of them) have at last 
Htumhied upon this : but there is a difference 
between the absolute, and comparative judg- 
ment of the understanding. No hypocrite 
come so far, as to look upon (rod as the mosi 
desirable and suitable good to him, and there- 
upon to acquiesce in him. This was the con- 
vert's ^'oice. The Lord is my jjortion^ saitli 
my soul : Wlwm have I in heaven hut thee ? 
and there is none upon earth that I desire be- 
sides thee. God is the strength of my hearty 
and my jjortion forever^ Psa. Ixxiii. S6, Lam. 

;if. m^. 

Secondly^ It turns the Mas of the will^ both 
as to inearis and ends, (1.) The intention of 
the Willis allered, Ezek. xxxvi. 26, Jer. xxxi. 
B3, isa. ?<xvi. 8, 9. Now the man hath new 
ends and designs : now^ he intends God above 
i il, and desires and designs nothing in all the 
world so much as that Christ may be magni- 
fied in bins, Phli. i. SO. He accounts himself 
i!-f>re hi}i)\)j in this tlian in all that the' earth 
could yield, that he may be serviceable ta 
Clnist/and Ijring him glory in his generation. 
Tiiis is ilie mark he aims at, that the name of 
.lesus may be great in the w^orld, and that all 
the slieavcs of his brethren may bow to this 

The nature of Conversion. 41 

Reader;^ dost thou view this, and never asl^ 
thyself whether it be thus with thee? Pause 
awhile^ and breathe on this great coneeriv 

(g.) The election also is changed, so that 
he chooseth another way, Psa. cxix. 13. He 
pitched upon God as his blessedness ; and 
upon Christ as the principal, and holiness as 
the subordinate means to bring him to Grod, 
John xiv. 6, Rom. ii. 7* He chooseth Jesus 
for his Lord, Col. ii. 6. He is not merely 
forced into Christ by the storm ; nor doth he 
take Christ for ba^re necessity, as the man 
begged from the gallows, when he takes tha 
wife, rather than the halter ; but he comes off 
freely in the choice. This match is not made 
in a fright, as with the terrified conscience, or 
dying sinner, that will seemingly do any 
thing for Christ, but doth only take Christ 
rather than hell; but he deliberately resolves, 
that Christ is his best choice, Phil. i. 23, and 
would rather have him to choose, than all the 
good of this Avorld, might he enjoy it whiie 
he would. Again, he takes holiness for his 
path ; he doth not, out of mere necessity, sub- 
mit to it, but he likes and loves it; I have 
chosen the way of thy precejJtSy Psa. cxix. 
i^S. He takes God^s testimonies, not as l^is 
bondage, but as his heritage, yea, his herii- 
age forever, ver. 111. He counts them not 
his burden, but his bliss ; not his cords, but 
his cordials, 1 John v. 3, Psa. cxix. 14, 16, 
17. He doth not only bear, but take up 
Christ^s yoke : he takes not holiness as the 
stoipach doth the loathed potion, (which it 
D g 

4S The nature of Conversion^ 

%viil do wo with rather than die) but as the 
hungry doth his beloved food : no tirae pass- 
eth so sweetly with him (when he is himself) 
as that he spends in the exercises of holiness ; 
these are both his aliment and element, the 
desire of his eyes, and the joy of his heart, 
Job xxiii. 13, Psa. cxix. 8S, 131, 162, 174, 
and Ixiii. 5. 

Put thy conscience to it as thou goest, 
whether thou art the man ? O happy man, if 
this be thy case i But see thou be thorough 
and impartial in the search. 

ThirdJij^ It turns the lent of the affections^ 
% ^Cor. vii. 11. These run all in a new chan- 
nel : the Jordan is now^ driven back, and the 
w ater runs upwards against its natural course* 

Christ is his liope^ 1 Tim. i, 1, this is his 
prize, PhiL iii. 8, here his eye is, here his 
iieart is. He is contented to cast all over- 
board, (as the merchant in the storm, ready 
to perish) so he may but keep this jewel. 

The first of his desires is not after gold, 
but grace, Phil. iii. 13, he hungers after it, he 
seeks it as silver, he digs for it as for hid 
treasure : he had rather be gracious than be 
great : he had rather be the holiest man on 
earth, than the most learned, the most famous, 
most prosperous. While carnal, he said. Oh, 
if I were but in great esteem, and rolled in 
wealth, ?aid sw immed in pleasure, if my debts 
were paid, and I and mine provided for ! then 
1 w ere a happy man. But now the tune is 
rhanged: Oh, saith the convert,if Ihad but my 
corruptions subdued, if I had such measures 
(f grace, such fellowship with God, though I 

The nature of Conversion. 43 

were poor and despised, I should not care ; I 
should account myself a blessed man. Read- 
er, is this the language of thy soul ? 

His joys are changed. He rejoiceth in the 
ways of Grod^s testimonies as much as in all 
riches, Psa. cxix. 14. He delights in the 
law of the Lord, wherein once he had little 
savour. He hath no such joy, as in the thoughts 
of Christ, the fruition of his company, the 
prosperity of his people. 

His cares are quite altered. He was once 
set for the world, and any scraps of by-time 
(nothing too often) was enough for his soul. — 
Now he gives over caring for the asses, and 
sets his heart on the kingdom. No\^ all the 
cry is. What shall I do to be saved P Acts 
xvi. SO. His great solicitude is, how to se- 
cure his soul. Oh, how he would bless you 
if you could but put him out of doubt of this ! 

Hi^ fears are not so much of suffering, but 
of sinning, Heb. xi. 35, S6. Once he was 
afraid of nothing so much as the loss of his 
estate, or esteem, the pleasure of friends, the 
frowns of the great : nothing sounded so ter- 
rible to him as pain, or poverty, or disgrace. 
Now these are little to him in comparison of 
God^s dishonour or displeasure. How wa- 
rily doth he walk, lest he should tread on a 
snare ! He feareth alway, he looks before and 
behind ; he hath his eye upon his heart, and 
is often casting over his shoulder, lest he 
should be overtaken with sin, Psa. xxxix. i, 
Prov. xxviii. 14, Eccl. ii. 14. It kills his 
heart to think of losing God^s favour ; this he 
dreads as his only undoing; Psa. li. 11; 13; 

ii The nature of Conversion. 

Psa. cxix. y. No thought in the world doth 
pinch him; and pain him so much^ as to thinft 
of parting with Christ. 

His love runs a new course. My love was 
crucified; (said holy Ignatius) that is; my 
Christ. This is my beloved^ saith the spouse, 
Cant. V. 16. How doth Augustine often pour 
his loves upon Christ? O eternal blessed- 
TiesSy &c. 

He can find no words sweet enough. Let 
me see tJiee^ O light of mine eyes. Come^ O 
thou jay of my spirit. Let me behold thee, 
O the gladness of my heart. Let me love 
thee, O the life of my soul. Jtj^pear unto me, 
O-my great delight, my siceet comfort, my 
God, my life, and the whole glory of my soul. 
Let me find thee, O desire of my heart/ Let 
me hold thee, O love of my soul ! Let me em- 
brace thee, O heavenly bridegroom! Let me 
possess thee. 

His sorrows have now a new vent; S Cor. 
vii. 9; 10. The view of his sinS; the sight of 
a Christ crucified; that would scarce stir him 
before; now how much do they affect his 
heart ! 

His hatred boils, his anger burns against 
eiu; Psa. cxix. 104. He hath no patience 
with himself; he calls himself fool; and beast, 
and thinks any name too good for himself, 
when his indignation is stirred up against sin, 
Psa. Ixxiii. S2, Prov. xxx. S. He could once 
swill in it with too much pleasure ; now he 
loathes the thought of returning to it, as much 
as of licking up the filthiest vomit. 

The nature of Conversion. 45 

Commune then with thine own heart, and 
attend the common and general ciirrent of thine 
aifections, whether it be towards God in Christ 
above all other concernments. Indeed, sud- 
den and strong commotions of the affections 
and sensitive part are oftentimes found in 
hypocrites/ especially where the natural con- 
stitution leads thereunto ; and contrary wise, 
the sanctified themselves are many times with- 
out sensible stirrings of the affections, where 
the temper is more slow, dry, and dull. The 
great inquiry is, whether the judgment and 
will be standingly determined for God, above 
all other good, real or apparent ; and if the 
affections do sincerely follow their choice and 
conduct, though it be not so strongly and sen- 
sibly as is to be desired, there is no doubt but 
the change is saving. 

S. Throughout the members. Those that 
were before the instruments of sin, are now 
become the holy istensils of Christ^s living 
temple, Rom. vi. 16, 1 Cor. iii. 16. He that 
before made, as it were, a bawd or a barrel of 
his body, now possesseth his vessel in sanc- 
•tification and honour, in temperance, chastity 
and sobriety, and dedicated to the Lord, 
1 Thes. iv. 4, Gal. v. SS, 23, 1 Cor, vi. i% 

The eye that was once a wandering eye, a 
wanton eye, a haughty, a covetous eye, is now 
employed, as Mary, in weeping over her sins^ 
Luke vii. 38, in beholding God in his works, 
Psa. viii. 3, in reading his word, Acts viii. 
60, in looking up and down for objects of 
mercy, and opportunities for his service. 

46 The nature of Conversion. 

The ear that was once open to satan^s call^ 
and that (like a vitiated palate) did relish 
nothing so much as filthy^ at least frothy talk, 
and the fool's lans;htei> is now bored to the 
door of Christ's house, and open to his dis- 
cipline : it saith, Speak^ Lordy for thy ser- 
vant heareth : it cries with him, Veniat ver- 
bum dominiy and waits for his word as the 
rain, and relisheth them more than the ap. 
pointed food, Job xxiii. IS, than the honey 
and the honey-comb, Psa. xix. 10. 

The heady that w as the shop of worldly de- 
signs, is now filled with other matters, and 
set on the study of God's will, Psa. i. S, and 
exix. Q7y and the man beats his head, not so 
much about his gain, but about his duty. The 
thoughts and cares that now fill his head are 
principally how he may please God and fly 

His hearty that w^as a sty of filthy lusts, is 
now become an altar of incense, where the 
fire of divine love is ever kept in, and w^hence 
the daily sacrifice of prayer and praises, and 
sweet incense of holy desires, ejaculations and 
anhelations are continually ascending. Psa. 
eviii. 1, cxix. SO, and cxxxix. 17^ 18. 

The month is become a w ell of life, his 
tongue as choice silver, and his lips feed ma- 
ny. Now the salt of grace hath seasoned his 
speech, and eaten out the corruption, Col. iv. 
6, and cleansed the mouth from his filthy 
communication, flattery, boasting, railing, ly- 
ing, swearing, backbiting, that once came 
like the flashes proceeding from the hell that 
was in the lieart, James iii, 6, 7* The throat. 

The nature of Conversion. 47 

that was once an open sepulchre, Rom. iii. 
13, now sends forth the sweet breath of prayer 
and holy discourse ; and the man speaks an- 
other tongue, in the language of Ganaan, and 
is never so well as when talking of God and 
Christ, and the matters of another worlds His 
mouth bringeth forth wisdom, his tongue is 
become the silver trumpet of his Maker's 
praise, his glory, and the best member that he 

Now, here you shall have the hypocrite 
halting. He speaks, it may be, like an an- 
gel, but he hath a covetous eye, or the gain 
of unrighteousness in his hand : or the hand 
is white, but his heart is full of rottenness. 
Matt, xxiii. S7, full of unmortified cares, a 
very oven of lust, a shop of pride, the seat of 
malice. It may be, with Nebuchadnezzar's 
image, he hath a golden head, a great deal of 
knowledge ; but he hath feet of clay, his af- 
fections are worldly, he minds earthly things, 
and his v/ay and walk are sensual and carnal ; 
you may trace him in his secret haunts, and 
his footsteps will be found in some by-paths 
of sin. The work is not throughout with 

3, Throughout the motions^ or the life and 
practice. The new man takes a new course, 
Eph. ii. S, 3. His conversation is in heaven, 
Phil, iii, SO. No sooner doth Christ call by 
effectual grace, but he straisjhtway becomes a 
follower of him. Matt. iv. SO. When God 
hath given the new heart, and writ his law in 
his mind, he forthwith walks in his statutes, 
and keeps his judgments, Ezek. xxxvi. 86, 27. 

48 The nature of Conversion, 

Though sin may dwell (God knows a wea- 
nsome and unwelcome guest) in hira^ yet it 
hath no more dominion over hira, Rom. vi. 7, 
i4f. He hath his fruit unto holiness, Rom. 
vi, 32, and though he makes many a blot, yet 
the law and life of Jesus is tliat he eyes as his 
copy, Psa. cxix. 30, Heb. xii. 3, and hath an 
unfeigned respect to all God^s commandments, 
Psa, cxix. 6. He makes conscience even of 
little sins ai\d little duties, Psa. cxix. 113. — 
His very infirmities, which he cannot help 
though he would, are his soul's burden, and 
are like the dust in a man's eye, which, though 
but little, yet is not a little troublesome. [O 
man ! dost thou read this, and never turn in 
upon thy soul by self-examination ?] The 
sincere convert is not one man at churcli, and 
another at home ; lie is not a saint on his 
knees, and a cheat in his shop ; he will not 
tythe mint and cummin, and neglect mercy 
and judgment, and the weighty matters of the 
law ; he doth not pretend piety, and neglect 
morality. Matt, xxiii. 14. But he turns from 
all his sins, and keeps all God's statutes, 
Ezek. xviii. 31, though not perfectly, (except 
in desire and endeavour) yet sincerely ; not 
allowing himself in the breach of any, Rom. 
vii. 15^ Now he delights in the word, and 
sets himself to prayer, and opens his hand, 
(if able) and draws out his soul to the hun- 
gry, Rome vii. 3S, Psa. cix. 4, Isa. Iviii. 10. 
He breaketh off his sins by righteousness, and 
his iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor, 
Dan. iv. 27^ and hath a good conscience, wil- 
ling in all things to live honestly, Hcb. xiii. 

The Ttatune of Conversion. 49 

18, and to keep without oifence towards God 
and men. 

Here again yon shall find the unsoundness 
of m^ny professors, that take themselves for 
good Christians. They are partial in the law, 
Mai. ii. 9, and take up with the cheap and 
easy duties of religion, but they go not through 
with the work. They are as a cake not turn- 
ed, half toasted and half raw. It may be you 
shall have them exact in their words, punc- 
tual in their dealings ; but then they do not 
exercise themselves unto godliness ; and for 
examining themselves, and governing their 
hearts, to this they are strangers. You may 
have them duly at the church ; but follow 
them to their families, and there you shall see 
little but the world minded ; or if they have 
a road of family-duties, follow them to their 
closets, and there you shall find their souls 
are little looked after. It may be they seem 
otherwise religious, but bridle not their 
tongues, and so all their religion is in vain, 
James i. 36. It may be they come up to clos- 
et and family prayer ; but follow them to their 
shops, and there you shall find them in a trade 
of lying, or some covert and cleanly way of 
deceit. Thus the hypocrite goes not through- 
out in the course of his obedience. 

And thus much for the subject of conver- 

6. The terms are either from which or to 

i. The terms from which we turn in this 
motion of conversion, are sin^ satan^ the taorld^ 
and our own righteousness. 


50 ^lie nature of Conversion. 

; Firsty Sin. When a man is converted, he 
is forever out with sin^ yea, with all sin, Psa. 
cxix. 128, but most of all with his own sins, 
and especially with his bosom sin, Psa. xviii. 
S3, bin is now the butt of his indignation, 
3 Cor. vii. 11. He thirsts to bathe his hands 
in tlie blood of his sins. His sins set abroach 
his sorrows: it is sin that pierceth him and 
wounds him ; he feels it like a thorn in his 
side, like a prick in his eyes ; he groans and 
struggles under it, and not formally, but feel- 
ingly cries out, O wretched man ! He is not 
impatient of any burden so much as of his sin, 
Psa. xl. IS. If God should give him his 
choice, he would choose any affliction, so he 
might be rid of sin ; he feels it like the cut- 
ting gravel in his shoes, pricking and paining 
liim as he goes. 

Before conversion, he had light thoughts of 
sin : he cherished it in his bosom, as Uriah 
his lamb : he nourished it up, and it grjw up 
together with him; it did eat, as it were, of 
his own meat, and drunk of his own cup, and 
lay in his bosom, and was to him as a daugh- 
ter : but when God opens his eyes by conver- 
sion, he throws it away with abhorrence, Isa. 
xxx. SS, as a man would a loathsome toad, 
which in the dark he had hugged fast in his 
bosom, and thought it had been some pretty 
and harmless bird. When a man is savingly 
changed, he is not only deeply convinced of 
the danger, but defilement of sin ; and Oh, 
how earnest is he with God to be purified ! — 
He loathes himself for his sins, Kzek. xxxvi. 
31, He runs to Christ, and casts himself into 

2%e nature of Conversion. di 

the fountain for sin and uneleanness^ Zech. 
xiii. 1. If he fall;, what a stir is there to get 
all clean again ! He flies to the word, and 
washes, and rubs, and rinses, labouring to 
cleanse himself from all filthiness both of 
flesh and spirit : he abhors his once beloved 
sin, Psa. xviii. 33, as a cleanly nature doth 
the trough and mire, wherein he sees the swine 

The sound convert is heartily engaged 
against sin ; he wrestles with it, he wars 
against it ; he is too often foiled, but he nev- 
er yields the cause, nor lays down the weap- 
ons, but he will up and to it again, while he 
hath breath in his body : he will never give 
quiet possession, he will make no peace, he 
will give no quarter ; he falls upon it, and 
flres upon it, and is still disquieting of it with 
continual alarms. He can forgive his other 
enemies, he can pity them, and pray for them. 
Acts vii. 60, but here he is implacable, here 
he is set upon revenge ; he hunteth, as it were, 
for the precious life ; his eye shall not pity, 
his hand shall not spare, though it be aright- 
hand or a right-eye : be it a gainful sin, most 
delightful to his nature, or a support to his 
esteem with carnal friends, yet he will rather 
throw his gain down the kennel, see his cred- 
it fall, or the flower of pleasure wither in his 
hand, than he will allow himself in any 
known way of sin, Luke xix. 8. He will 
grant no indulgence, he will give no tolera- 
tion ; but he draws upon sin wherever he 
meets it, and frowns upon it with this unwel- 

5S The nature of Conversion. 

come salute^ Have I found thee^ Omine ene- 
my ? 

Reader, hath conscience been at work 
while thou hast been looking over these lines? 
Hast thou pondered these things in thine 
heart? Hast thou searched the book within, 
to see if these things be so? If not, read it 
again, and make thy conscience speak whether 
or no it be thus with thee. 

Hast thou crucified thy flesh with its aflec- 
tions and lusts ; and not only confessed, but 
forsaken thy sins ; all sin in thy fervent de- 
sires, and the ordinary practice of every de- 
liberate and wilful sin in thy life? If not, 
thou art yet unconverted. Doth not conscience 
dy in thy face as thou readest, and tell thee 
(hat thou livest in a way of lying for thy ad- 
vantage, that thou usest deceit in thy calling, 
ihat there is some way of secret wantonness 
that thou livest in ? Why then, do not deceive 
il»Yself ; thou art in the gall of bitterness^ and 
bond of iniquity. 

Doth not thy unbridled tongue, thy brutish 
intemperance, thy wicked company, thy neg- 
lect of prayer, of hearing and reading the 
word, now witness against thee, and say. We 
are thy icorks^ and we will follow thee P Or 
if I have not hit thee right, doth not the bird 
within tell them, there is such or such a way, 
that thou knowest to be evil, that yet for sonie 
carnal respect thou dost tolerate thyself in, 
and art willing to spare ? If this be thy case, 
thou art to this day unregenerate, and must 
be changed or condemned. 

The nature of Conversion. 53 

Secondly^ Satan. Conversion binds the 
strong man, spoils his armour, casts out his 
goods, turns men from the povver of satan un- 
to God, Acts xxvi. 18, Before, the devilr 
could no sooner hold up his finger to the sin- 
ner, to call him to his wicked company, sin- 
ful games, filthy delights, but presently he 
followed, like an ox to the slaughter, and a 
fool to the correction of the stocks ; as the 
bird that hasteth to the prey, and knoweih 
not that it is for his life. No sooner could 
satan bid him lie, but presently he had it upon 
the top of his tongue. Acts v. 8. No sooner 
could satan oflfer a wanton object, but he was 
stung with lust. The devil could do more 
with him than God could : if the devil say, 
Away with these family duties, be sure they 
shall be rarely enough performed in his house : 
if the devil say, Away with this strictness, 
this preciseness, he will keep far enough from 
it : if he tells him, There^s no need of these 
closet duties, he shall go from day to day, 
and scarce perform them. But now he is 
converted, he serves another master, and 
takes quite another course, 1 Pet. iv. 4. He 
goes and comes at Christ^s beck, Col. iii. 24. 
Satan may sometimes catch his foot in a trap, 
but he will no longer be a willing captive : he 
watches against the snares and baits of satan, 
and studies to be acquainted with his devi^ 
ces : he is very suspicious of his plots, and is 
very jealous in what comes athwart him, lest 
satan should have some design upon him : he 
wrestles against principalities and powers, 
Eph. vi. he entertains the messenger of satan, 


04 The ^lafitre of Conver^an. 

as men do the messenger of death : he keeps 
his e^e upon his enemy, 1 Pet. v. 8, and 
watches in his duties, lest satan should put in 
Lis foot. 

Thirdly, The World. Before a sound faith, 
a man is overcome of the >vorld ; either he 
bows down to mammon, or idolizes his repu- 
tation, or is a lover of pleasure more than a 
lover of God, 2 Tim. iii. 1. Here is the root 
of man's misery by the fall ; he is turned aside 
(o (he creature, instead of God, and gives that 
esteem, confidence and affection to the crea- 
ure, that is due to him alone, Rom. i. 25, 
Matt. X. 3,^, Prov. xviii. 11, Jer. xvii. 5. 

O miserable man ! aa hat a deformed mon- 
ster hath sin made thee ! God made thee lit- 
tle lower than the angels ; sin little better than 
the devils, John vi. 70, and > iii. 44. A mon- 
ster that Juith his head and heart where his 
feet should be, and his feet kicking against 
heaven, and every thing out of place ; the 
world, that was formed to serve thee, is come 
lo rule thee, and the deceitful harlot hath be- 
witched thee with her enchantments, and made 
thee bow down and serve her. 

Eut converting grace sets all in order again, 
and puts God in the throne, and the vvoiTd at 
his footstool, Ps. Ixxiii. 25, Christ in the 
heart, and the world under feet, Eph. iii. i7, 
Kev. xii. 1. So Paul, I am crucified to the 
icorld, and the ttorld to me, Gal. vi. 14. Be- 
fore this change, all the cry was, Who will 
shew iisjfiny f worldly J good? Eut now he 
fiings another tune. Lord, lift thou up the 
'^giit of thy countenance uj^oji me^ and take 

The nature of Conversioiu 65 

the corn ami wine whoso will^ Psa. iv. 6^ 7. 
Before^ his hearts delight and content was in 
the world ; then the song was, Soul^ take 
thine ease ; eat^ drink, and be merry ; thou 
hast much goods laid up for many years: 
but now all tiiis is withered, and there is no 
comeliness that he should desire it j and he 
tunes up, with the sweet Psalmist of Israel, 
The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance^ 
the lines are fallen to me in a fair place^ I 
have a goodly heritage. He blesseth himself, 
and boasts himself in God, Psa, xxxiv. 3, 
Lam. iii. 24, nothing else can give him con- 
tent. He hath written vanity and vexation 
upon all his worldly enjoyments, Eccl. i. 3, 
and loss and dung upon all human excellen- 
cies, Phil. iii. 7^ 8. He hath life and immor- 
tality now in chase, Rom. ii. 7. He trades 
for grace and glory, and hath a crown incor- 
ruptible in pursuit, 1 Cor. ix. §5. His heart 
is set in him to seek the Lord, 1 Chron. xxii. 
19, and 2 Chron. xv. 15. He first seeks the 
kingdom of heaven and the righteousness 
thereof; and religion is no longer a matter 
by the by with him, but the main of his care, 
Matt. vi. 33, Psa. xxvii. 4. Kow the gaudy 
idol is become Nehushtan, 2 Kings xviii. 4, 
and he gets up and treads upon it, as Diogenes 
trampling upon Plato^s hangings, saying, CaU 
CO Platonis fastum. Before, the world had 
the swaying interest with him ; he would do 
more for gain than godliness, 1 Tim. vi. 6, 
more to please his friend or his flesh, than to 
please the God that made him, and God must 
stand by till tlie world were first served ; bat 

56 The nature of Conversion. 

now all must stand by, he hates father or 
mother, and life, and all, in comparison of 
Christ, Luke i. 26. 

Well then, pause a little, and look within : 
doth not this nearly concern thee ? Thou pre- 
tendest for Christ, but doth not the world 
sway thee ? Dost thou not take more real de- 
light and content in the world, than in him ? 
Dost thou not find thyself better at ease Avhen 
the world goes to thy mind, and thou art en- 
compassed Avith carnal delights^ than when re- 
tired to prayer and meditation in thy closet, 
or attending upon God's word and worship ? 
No surer evidence of an unconverted state, 
than to have the things of the world upper- 
most in our aims, love, and estimation, John 
ii. 15, James iv, 4, 

With the sound convert, Christ hath the 
supremacy. How dear is this name to him ? 
How precious is its savour ? Cant. i. 8, Psa. 
liv. 8. The name of Jesus is engi'aven upon 
his heart. Gal. iv. 19^ and lies as a bundle of 
myrrh between his breasts. Cant. i. 13, 14, — 
Honour is but air, and laughter is but mad ^ 
ness, and mammon is fallen like Dagon before 
the ark, with hands and head broken off on 
the threshold, when once Christ is savingly 
revealed. Here is the pearl of great price to 
the true convert, here is his treasure, here is 
his hope, Matt. xiii. 44, 45. This is his glo- 
ry, My beloved is mine^ and I am his^ Gal. 
vi. 14, Cant. ii. 16. Oh ! 'tis sweeter to him 
to be able to say, Christ is mine, than if he 
could say. The kingdom is mine, the Indies 
are mine. 

The nature of Conversion. 57 

Fourthly^ Your own Mighteousness, Before 
conversion, man seeks to cover himself with 
his own fig leaves, Phil. iii. 16, and to lick 
himself whole with his own duties, Mic. vi. 

6, 7' He is apt to trust in himself, Luke xvi. 
15, and xviii. 9, and set up his own right- 
eousness, and to reckon his counters for gold, 
and not suhmit to the righteousness of God, 
Horn. X. 3. But conversion changes hi4S 
mind ; now he casts away his filthy rags, and 
counts his own righteousness but a menstru- 
ous cloth ; he casts it oif, as a man would tlie 
verminous tatters of a nasty beggar, Isa. Ixiv. 

7. Now he is brought to poverty of spirit, 
Matt. V. 3, complains of, and condemns him- 
self, llom. vii. and all his inventory is. Poor, 
and miserable, and wretched, and blind, and 
naked. Rev. iii. 17. He sees a world of ini- 
quity in his holy things, and calls his once 
idolized righteousness but flesh, and loss, and 
dogs^ meat, and would not for a thousand 
worlds be found in himself, Phil. iii. 4, 7, 8, 
9. His finger is ever upon his sores, Psa^ li. 
3, his sins, his wants. Now he begins to set 
a high price upon Christ's righteousness ; he 
sees the need of a Christ in every duty, to 
justify his person, and justify his perform- 
ances ; he cannot live without him, he can- 
not pray without him ; Christ must go with 
him, or else he cannot come into the presence 
of God ; he leans upon the hand of Christ, 
and so he bows himself in the house of his 
God; he sets himself down for a lost, undone 
man, without him ; his life is hid in Christ, as 
the life of a man in the heart ; he is fixed in 

58 The nature of Conversion. 

Christy as the roots of tlie tree spread in the 
earthy for stability and nutriment. .Before^ 
the news of a Christ was a stale and sapless 
thing ; but now how sweet is a Christ ! Au- 
gustine could not relish liis before so much 
admired Cicero^ because he could not find the 
name of Christ ; how pathetically cries he, 
Dulcissime^ amaniis. henignis. caris. &c. 
quando ie videboP qiiando satiabo de pulchru 
tudine tuuf Medit. c. 37. O most sweety 
most loving^ most kind^ most dear^ most pre- 
cious^ most desired^ most lovely^ most fair, 
&c. all in a breath, when he speaks of, and to 
his Christ. In a word, the voice of the con- 
vert is with the martyr, JSTone but Christ, 
none but Christ. 

S. The terms to which, are either ultimate 
or subordinate, and mediate. 

The ultimate, is God the Father, Son, and 
Holy Ghost, whom the true convert takes as 
his all-sufficient and eternal blessedness. A 
man is never truly sanctified, till his very heart 
be in truth set upon God above all things, as 
his portion and chief good. These are the 
natural breathings of a believer's heart : TJiou 
art my portion, Psa. cxix. 57. My soul shall 
make her boast in the Lord, Psa. xxxiv. S. 
Jtly expectation is from him, he only is my 
rock, and my salvation, he is my defence : In 
God is my salvdtion, and my glory, the rock 
of my strength, and my refuge is in God, 
Psa. Ixii. 1, 2, 5, 6, 7y and xviii. 1, 2. 

Would you put it to an issue, whether you 
be converted or not ? Now then, let thy soul 
and all that is within thee attend. 

The nature of Conversion. 59 

Hast thou taken God for thy happiness ? — 
Where doth the content of thy heart lie? 
Whence doth thy clioicest comfort come in ? 
Gome then^ and with Abraham^ lift up thine 
eyes eastward, and westward, and northward^ 
and southv/ard, and cast about thee ; wliat is 
it that thou wouldst have in heaven or earth 
to make thee happy ? If Grod should give thee 
thy choice, as he did to Solomon; or should 
say to thee, as Ahasuerus to Esther, What is 
thy petition^ and what is thy request P and it 
shall he granted thee^ Esther v. 3, what 
wouldst thou ask? Go into the gardens of 
pleasure, and gather all the fragrant flowers 
from thence ; would these content thee ? Go 
to the trieasures of mammon ; suppose thou 
mightstj inde thyself as thou wouldst from 
hence : go to the towers, to the trophies of 
honour; what thinkest tliou of beiug a man of 
renown, and having a name like the name of 
the great men of the earth? Would any of 
this, all this suffice thee, and make thee count 
thyself a happy man ? If so, then certainly 
thou art carnal and unconverted. If not, go 
farther ; wade into the divine excellencies, 
the store of his mercies, the hiding of his pow- 
er, the deeps unfathomable of his all-sufficien- 
cy : doth tliis suit thee best, and please thee 
most ? Dost thou say, ^Tis good to be here^ 
Matt. xvii. 4, here 1 will pitch, here I will 
live and die ? Wilt thou let all the world go, 
rather than this ? Then 'tis well between God 
and thee : happy art thou, O man ! happy art 
thou, that ever thou wast born : if a God can 
make thee happy, thou must needs be happy : 

60 The nature of Conversion. 

for thou hast avouched the Lord to be thy God^ 
Deut. xxvi. 17. Dost thou say to Christ, as 
he to us, Thy Fafher^sjiall be my Father^ and 
thy God my God? John xx. 17. Here is the 
turning poitit. An unsound professor never 
takes up liis rest in God ; but converting 
grace does the work, and so cures the fatal 
misery of the fall, by turning the heart from 
its idols, to the living God, 1 Thess. i. 9. Now 
says the soul, Lord^ whither should I go ? 
thou hast the words of eternal life^ John vi. 
68. Here he centres, here he settles : O ! 
^tis as the entrance of heaven to him, to see 
his interest in God. When he discovers this, 
he saith, Return uyito thy rest^ O my soul^ 
for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee, 
Psa. cxvi. 7^ and it is even ready t<> breathe 
out Simeon's song, Lord, note lettest thou thy 
servant depart in peace, Luke ii. 29, and 
saith with Jacob, when his old heart revived 
at the welcome tidings. It is enough j Gen. 
xlv, ^8, when he sees he hath a God in cove- 
nant to go to, this is all his salvation^ and all 
his desire, 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. 

Man, is this thy case ? Hast thou experi- 
enced this ? Why then, blessed art thou of 
the Lord : God hath been at work with thee, 
he liath laid holtl on thy heart by the power 
of converting grace, or else thou couldst nev- 
er have done this. 

The mediate term of conversion is either 
jjrincipal, or less pinncipaL ' 

The principalis Christ, the only Mediator 
between God and man, 1 Tim. ii. 5, his work 
is to bring us to God, 1 Pet. iii. 18, He is 

The nature of Conversion. 61 

tlie way to the Father^ John xiv. 6, the only 
plank on which we may escape^ the only 
door by which we may enter, John x. y. — 
Conversion brings over the soul to Christ, to 
accept of him. Col. ii. 6, as the only means to 
life, as the only way, the only name given 
under heaven. Acts iv. 12. He looks not for 
salvation in any other but him, nor in any 
other with him ; but throws himself on Christ 
alone, as one that should cast himself witli 
spread arms upon the sea. 

Herey (saith the convinced sinner) here I 
will venture^ and if I perish ^ I perish ; if I 
die^ I will die here. But, Lord^ ^^ff^^ ^^ 
not to perish under the pitiful eyes of thy 
mercy. Entreat me not to leave thee^ or to 
turn aicay from following after thee^ Ruth i. 
16. Here I icili throw myself : If thou kick 
tncy if thou kill nie^ Job xiii. 15^ I ivill not 
go from thy door. 

Thus the poor soul doth venture on Christ, 
and resolvedly adheres to him. Before con- 
version, the man made light of Christ, mind- 
ed the farm^ friends, merchandize, more than 
Christ, Matt. xxii. 5. Now Christ is to him 
as his necessary food, his daily bread, the life 
of his heart, the staff of his life, Phil. iii. 9. 
His great design is, that Christ may be mag- 
nified in him, Phil. i. ao. His heart once 
said, as they to the spouse, What is thy be- 
loved more than another ? Cant. v. 9. He 
found more sweetness in his merry company, 
wicked games, earthly delights, than iu 
Christ; He took religion for a fancy, and the 
talk of great enjoyments for an idle dream. 

(53 The nature of Conversion. 

But now^ to him to live is Christ. He sets 
light by all that he accounted pi-ecious, for 
the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, 
Phil. iii. 8. 

All of Christ is accepted by the sincere 
convert : he loves not only the wages, but the 
work of Christ, Rom. vii. 13, not only the 
benefits, but the burden of Christ : he is wil- 
ling not only to tread out the corn, but io 
draw under the yoke ; he takes up the com- 
mands of Christ, yea, and cross of Christ, 
Matt. xi. 28, and xvi, 2+. 

The unsound closeth by the halves with 
Christ : he is all for the salvation of Christ, 
but he is not for sanctiflcation ; he is for the 
privileges, but appreciates not the person of 
Christ ; he divides the offices and benefits of 
Christ^ This is an error in the foundation : 
whoso loveth life, let him beware here ; his 
an undoing mistake, of which you have been 
often warned, and yet none more common. — 
Jesus is a sweet name, but men love not the 
Lord Jesus in sincerity, Eph. vi. S4. They 
will not have him as God offers. To he a 
Prince, and a Saviour^ Acts v. 31. They 
divide what God hath joined, the King and 
the Priest : yea, they will not accept the sal- 
vation of Christ, as he intends it ; they divide 
it here. Every man's vole is for salvation 
from sv afering, but they desire not to be sav- 
ed from sinning : they wo^uld have their lives 
saved, but withal, ihey would have their lusts. 
Yea, many divide here again ; they would be 
content to have some of their sins destroyed, 
but tliey cannot leave the lap of Delilah, or 
divorce the beloved Herodias. They cannot 

2%e nature of Conversion. 63 

be cruel to the right- eye, or right-hand; the 
Lord must pardon them in this thing, 2 Kings 
V. 18. O I be infinitely tender here ; your 
souls lie upon it. The sound convert takes 
a whole Christ, and takes iiim for all intent^ 
and purposes ; without exceptions, witl\out 
limitations, without reserves. He is willing 
to have Christ upon his terms, upon any terms. 
He is willing of the dominion of Christ, as 
well as deliverance by Christ; he saith with 
Paul, Lord^ tvhat wilt thou have me to do ? 
Acts ix. 6. Any thing, Lord. He sends the 
blank to Christ, to set down his own condi- 
tions. Acts ii. 87^ and xvi. 30. 

The less principal) is the laivs^ ordinances^ 
and ways of Christ. The heart that was 
once set against these, and could not endure 
the strictness of these bonds, the severity of 
these ways, now falls in love with them, and 
chuses them as its nile and guide forever, Psa. 
cxix. Ill, 113. 

Four things (I observe) God doth work in 
every sound convert, with reference to the 
laws and ways of Christ, by which you may 
come to know your estates, if you will be 
faithful to your own souls ; and therefore 
keep your eyes upon your hearts as you go 

(1.) The judgment is brought to approve 
oftheni) and subscribe to them as most right- 
eous ^ and most reasonable^ Psa. cxix. 112, 
128, 137, 138. The mind is brought to love 
the ways of God ; and the corrupt prejudices 
that were once against them, as unreasonable 
tind intolerable, are now removed. The un- 

64 The nature of Conversion.' 

derstanding assents to tliem all, as holy, just^ 
and good, Rom. vii. 12. How is David ta- 
ken up with these excellencies of God's laws ? 
How doth he expatiate in their praises, both 
from their inherent qualities, and admirable 
effects ? Psa. xix. 8, 9, 10, &c. 

There is a twofold judgment of the under- 
standing, /Mflf/cm?^ absoliitiun^ 8j^ comjparatum. 
The absolute judgment is, when a man thinks 
such a course best in the general, but not for 
him, or not under the present circumstances 
he is in; jJ^o hic^ 8^ nunc. Kow a godly 
Hiaa's judgment is for the way of God; and 
that not only the absolute, but comparative 
judgment ; he thinks them not only best in 
general, but best for liim : he looks upon the 
rules of religion, not only as tolerable, but de- 
sirable ; yea, more desirable than gold, fine 
gold ; yea, much fine gold, Psa. xix. 10. 

His judgment is settledly determined, that 
'tis best to be holy, that 'tis best to be strict, 
iliatit is in ilsclf the most eligible course ; and 
lis for hiui the wisest, and most rational and 
(iesirable choice. Hear the godly man's 
judgment; I Jaioia, O Lord^ that thy jiidg- 
■nents are right. I love thy commandments 
above gold: yea^ above fine gold. I esteem 
all thy precepts concerning all things to be 
rights and I hate every false way. Psa. cxix. 
137, 128. Mark, he did approve of all that 
God refjuired, and disallowed of all that he 
Ibrbade : JRighteous. O Lord^ and upright 
are thy judgments. Tliy testintonies that thou 
hast commanded^ are righteous and very faith- 
ful. T^y word is true from the beginnings 

The nature of Conversion. 65 

and every one of thy righteous judgments en* 
dureth forever^ Psa. cxix, 86^ 160^ 163^ 163.- 
See how readily and fully he subscribes ; he 
declares his assent and consent to it^ and all 
and every thing therein contained. 

(3.) The desire of the heart is to know the 
whole mind of Christy Psa. cxix. 124, 135, 
169, and xxv. % d. He would not have one 
sin undiscovered, nor be ignorant of one duty 
required. 'Tisthe natural and earnest breath- 
ing of a sanctified heart : Lord^if there be any 
way of icickedness in tne^ do thou discover it. 
What Ilaioio not^ teach thou me ; and if I 
have done iniquity^ I will do it no more. The 
unsound is willingly ignorant, S Pet. iii. 5, 
loves not to come to the light, John iii. 30. — 
He is willing to keep such or such a sin, and 
therefore is loth to knoAv it to be a sin, and 
will not let in the light at that window. The 
gracious heart is willing to know the whole 
latitude and compass of his Maker^s law, Ps. 
cxix. 18, 19, 37, 33, 61, 66, 68, 78, 108, 134. 
He receives with all acceptation the word tlia£ 
convinceth him of any duty that he knew not, 
or minded not before, or discovered any sin 
that lay hid before, Ps. cxix. 11. 

(3.) The free and resolved choice of the 
will is determined for the ways of Christ he- 
fore all the pleasures of sin ^ and prosperities 
of the icorld^ Ps. cxix. 103, 137, 163. His 
consent is not extorted by some extremity of 
anguish, nor is it only a sudden and hasty re- 
solve, but he is deliberately purposed, and 
comes off freely to the choice, Ps. xvii. 3, and 
cxix. 50, True, the flesh will rebel, yet the 
F 2 

66 Tlte nature of Conversion* 

prevailing part of liis will is for Christ^s lawa 
and government ; so that he takes them not 
up as his toil or burden^ but his bliss^ ^ John 
V. 8. Ps. cxix. 60, 72. When the unsaneti- 
lied goes in Christ's ways as in chains and 
fetters^ be doth them naturally, Ps. xl. 8, Jer. 
xxxi. 33, and counts Christ's laws his liber- 
ty, Ps, cxix. 32, 45, James i. 25. He is wiU 
ling in the beauties of holiness^ Ps. ex. 3^ and 
hath this inseparable mark, that he had rath- 
er (if he might have his choice) live a strict 
and holy life, than the most prosperous and 
flourishing life in the w orld. 1 Sam. x. 26. 
There went ivitli Said a band of men ichose 
hearts God had touched. When God touch- 
elh the hearts of his chosen, they presently 
follow Christy Matt. iv. 23, and (though 
drawn) do freely run after him, Cant. i. 4, and 
willingly offer themselves to the service of 
the Lord, 2 Chron. vii. 16, seeking him with 
their whole desire, 2 Chron. xv. 15. Fear 
hath its use, but this is not the main spring of 
motion with a sanctified heart. Christ keeps 
not his subjects in by force, but is king of a 
willing people. They are (through his grace) 
freely resolved for his service, and do it out 
of choice, not as slaves, but as the son or 
spouse, from a spring of love, and a loyal 
mind. In a word, the laws of Christ are the 
converi^s love^ Ps. cxix. 159, 163, 167^ de- 
sire, ver. 5, 21/, 40, delight, ver. 77, 92, 103, 
ill, 143, and continual study, ver. 99, 79^ 
Ps. i. 2. 

(4.) The bent of his course is directed to 
Ixej) God^s statutes. Ps. cxix. 4, 8, I67, J 68. 

The nature of Conversion. 67 

'Tis the daily care of his life to walk with 
Gocf. He seeks great things, he hath noble 
dcsigns;» though he fall too short : he aims at 
nothing less than perfection : he desires it, he 
reaches after it, he would not rest in any 
pitch of grace, till he were quite rid of sin, 
and had perfect holiness, Phil. iii. H, 13, 13, 

Here the hypocrite^s rottenness may be dis- 
covered* He desires holiness (as one well 
said) only as a bridge to heaven, and enquires 
earnestly, what is the least that will serve his 
turn ; and if he can get but so much as may 
just bring him to heaven, this is all he cares 
for. But the sound convert desires holiness 
for holiness' sake, Ps. cxix. 97^ Matt. v. 6, 
and not only for heaven's sake. He would 
not be satisfied with so much as might save 
him from hell, but desires the highest pitch : 
yet desires are not enough. What is thy way 
and tliy course ? Is the drift and scope of thy 
life altered ? Is holiness thy trade, and reli- 
gion thy business ? Rom. viii. 1, Matt. xxv. 
16, Phil. i. 90. If not, thou art short of sound 

•dip plication. And is this that we have de- 
scribed, the conversion that is of absolute ne- 
cessity to salvation ? Then be informed, 1. 
That straight is the gate, and narrow is the 
way that leadeth unto life. 2. That there are 
but few that find it. 3. That there is need of 
a divine power, savingly to convert a sinner 
to Jesus Christ. 

Again, then be exhorted, man that read- 
est, to turn in upon thine own self. What 

68 The nature of Conversion. 

saith conscience ? Doth it not begin to bite ? 
Doth it not twitch thee as thou goest ? Is this 
thy judgment, and this thy choice, and this 
thy way, that we have described ? If so, then 
^tis well. But doth not thy heart condemn 
thee, and tell thee, there is such a sin thou 
livest in, against thy conscience ? Doth it not 
tell thee, there is such and such a secret way 
of wickedness, that thou makest no bones of? 
such or such a duty that thou makest no con- 
science of? 

Doth not conscience carry thee to thy clos- 
et, and tell thee how seldom prayer and read- 
ing is performed there ? Doth it not carry 
thee to thy family, and shew thee the charge 
of God, and the souls of thy children and ser- 
vants that be neglected there ? Doth not con- 
science lead thee to thy shop, thy trade, and 
tell thee of some mystery of iniquity there ? 
Doth not it carry thee to the ale-shop, or to 
the sack-shop, and round thee in thine ear 
for the loose company thou keepest there, the 
precious time thou mis-spendest there, for the 
talents of God which thou throwest down this 
sink, for thy gaming and thy swilling, &c. ? 
Doth it not carry thee into thy secret cham- 
ber, and read thee a curtain lecture ? 

O conscience ! do thy duty : in the name of 
the living God, I command thee discharge 
thine office : lay hold upon this sinner, fall 
upon him, arrest him, apprehend him, unde- 
ceive him* What ! wilt thou flatter and 
soothe him, while he lives in his sins ? — 
Awake, O conscience ! what meanest thou, 
O sleeper ? What ! hast thou never a reproof 

The Necessity of Conversion. 69 

ill thy mouth ? What ! shall this soul die ia 
his careless neglect of God and eternity, and 
thou altogether hold thy peace ? What ! shall 
he go on still in his trespasses^ and yet have 
peace? Oh ! rotise up thyself, and do thy 
work. Now let the preacher in thy bosom 
speak : cry aloud, and spare not : lift up thy 
voice like a trumpet ; let not the blood of this 
soul be required at tliy hands. 



IT may be you are ready to say, Whcd 
rneaneth this stir ? And are apt to Avonder 
why I follow you with such earnestness, still 
ringing one lesson in your ears, That yon 
should rejient and he converted^ Acts iii. li>. 
But I must say unto you, as Ruth to Naomi, 
Entreat ma not to leave ijou^ nor to turn aside 
from following after tjouy Ruth i. 16. Were 
it a matter of indifference, I would never keep 
so much ado : might you be saved as you be, 
I would gladly let you alone : but would you 
not have me solicitous for you, when I see you 
ready to perish ? As the Lord liveth, before 
whom I am, 1 have not the least hopes to see 
one of your faces in heaven, except you be 
converted : I utterly despair of your salva- 
tion; except you be prevailed with to turn 

70 Tlie JS^ecessity of Conversion. 

thoronglily, and give up yourselves to God in 
holiness and newness of life. Hath God said, 
Except you be born again^ you cannot see the 
kingdom of God? John iii. 3. And yet do 
you wonder why your minislers do so plainly 
travail in birth with you ? Think it not strange 
that I am earnest with you to follow after ho* 
liness, and long to see the image of God upon 
you : never did any, nor shall any, enter into 
heaven by any other Avay but this. The con- 
version described is not an high pitch of some 
taller Christians ; but every soul that is saved 
passeth this universal change. 

It was a passage of the noble Roman, when 
he was hasting with corn to the city in the 
famine, and the mariners were loth to set sail 
in foul weather, JSTecessarium est navigare^ 
Tion est necessarinm vivere ; our voyage is of 
more necessity than our lives. What is it 
that thou dost account necessary? Is thy bread 
necessary ? Is thy breath necessary ? Then 
thy conversion is much more necessary. In- 
deed this is the unum necessarinm^ the one 
thing necessary. Thine estate is not neces- 
sary ; thou mayest sell all for tlie pearl of 
great price, and yet be a gainer by the pur- 
chase. Matt. xiii. 4?6. Thy life is not neces- 
sary ; thou mayest part with it for Christ, to 
infinite advantage. Thine esteem is not ne- 
cessary : thou mayest be reproached for the 
name of Christ, and -yet happy ; yea, much 
more happy in reproach than in repute, 1 Pet. 
iv. 4, Matt. V. 10, 11. But thy conversion is 
necessary, thy damnation lies upon it : and is 
it not needful, in so important a case, to look 

The J^ecessitij of Conversion. 7i 

about thee ? Upon this one point depends thy 
making or marring to all eternity. 

But I shall more particularly shew the ne- 
cessity of conversion in five things ; for with- 
out this, 

L Thy being is in vain. Is it not pity thou 
shoiiklst be good for nothing, an unprofitable 
bur len on the earth, a wart or wen in the body 
of the universe ? Thus thou art^ v/hilst uncon- 
verted ; for thou canst not answer the end of 
thy being. Is it not for tlie divine pleasure 
thou art and wert created? Rev. iv. 11. Did 
he not make thee for himself? Prov. xvi. 4. 
Art thou a man^ and hast thou reason ? Why 
then bethink thyself why and whence thy be- 
ing is. Behold God's workmanship in thy 
body^ and ask thyself^ To what end did God 
rear this fabric ? Consider the noble faculties 
of thy heaven-born soul : to what end did God 
bestow these excellencies ? To no other than 
that thou shouldst please thyself, and gratify 
thy senses ? Did God send men^ like the 
swallow, into the w^orld, only to gather a few 
sticks and dirt, and build their nests, and 
breed up their young, and then away ? The 
very heathens could see farther than this. — 
Art thou so fearfully and wonderfully made, 
Ps. cxxxix. 14, and dost thou not yet think 
w^ith thyself, surely it was for some noble and 
raised end ? 

O man 1 set thy reason a little in the chair. 
Is it not pity such a goodly fabric should be 
raised in vain ? Verily, thou art in vain, ex- 
cept thou art for God : better thou hadst no 
being, tliau not to be for him. Wouldst thou 

73 Tlie JWcessity of Conversion. 

serve thy end ? thou must repent and be con- 
verted ; without this^ thou art to no purpose ; 
yea, to bad purpose. 

Firsts Ilo no purpose. Man unconverted, 
is like a choice instrument that hath every 
string broke, or out of tune ; the Spirit of the 
living God must repair and turn it by the grace 
of regeneration,, and sweetly move it by the 
power of actuating grace, or else thy prayers 
will be but bowlings, and all thy services will 
make no music in the ears of the most Holy, 
Eph. ii. 10, Phil. ii. 13, Hosea vii. 14, Isa. i. 
i^. All thy powers and faculties are so cor- 
rupt in thy natural state, that except thou be 
purged from dead works, thou canst not serve 
the living God, Heb. ix. 14?, Tit. i. 15. 

An unsanctified man cannot work the work 
of God. (1.) He hath no skill in it. He is 
altogether as unskilful in the work, as in the 
word of righteousness, Heb, y. 13. There 
are great mysteries, as well in the practices, 
as principles of godliness ; now the unregen- 
erate knows not the mysteries of the king- 
dom of heaven, Matt. xiii. 11, 1 Tim. iii. 16. 
You may as well expect him that never learn- 
ed the alphabet, to read ; or look for goodly 
music of the lute, from one that never set his 
hand to an instrument, as that a natural man 
should do the J,ord any pleasing service : he 
must first be taught of God, John vi. 45, taught 
to pray, Luke xi. 1, taught to profit, Isaiah 
xlviii. 17r taught to go, Hos. xi. 3, or else he 
will be utterly at a loss. (2.) He hath no 
strength for it. How weak is his heart ? 
Ezek. xvi. 30, he is presently tired. The 

The Necessity of Conversion. 73 

sabbath^ what a weariness is it^ Mai. i. IS. 
He is without strength, Rom. v. 6, yea, stark 
dead in sin, E|)h. ii. 5. (3 ) He hath no mini 
to it. He desires not the knowledge of God's 
w ays, Job xxi. 14, He doth not know them, 
and he doth not care to know them, Ps. Ixxxii. 
5, he knows not, neither will he understand. 
(4.) He hath neither due instrurneyits nor ma- 
terials for it. A man may as Avell hew the 
marble without tools, or limn without colours 
or instrument, or build without materials, as 
perform any acceptable service without the 
graces of the Spirit, which are both the mate- 
rials and instruments in the work. Alms- 
giving is not a service of God, but of vain 
glory, unless dealt forth by the hand of divine 
love. What is the prayer of the lips, without 
grace in the heart, but the carcass without 
the life ? What are all our confessions, unless 
they be exercises of godly sorrow, and un- 
feigned repentance ? What our petitions, un- 
less animated all along with holy desires, and 
faith in divine attributes and promises ? What 
our praises and thanksgivings, unless from 
the love of God, and a holy gratitude, and 
sense of God's mercies in the heart ? So that 
a man may as well expect th© trees should 
speak, or look for logic from the brutes, or 
motion from the dead, as for any service, ho- 
ly and acceptable to God, from the u neon vert- 
ed. When the tree is evil, how can the fruit 
be good ? Matt. vii. 18. 

Secondly^ To bad purpose. The uncon- 
verted soul is a very cage of unclean birds. 
Rey. xviii. S, a sepulchre full of coiTuptioB 

74 The ^^ecessity of Conversion. 

and rottenness, Matt, xxiii. 27, a loathsome 
carcass, full of crawling worms, and sending 
forth a hellish and most noisome savour in the 
nostrils of God, Ps. xiv. 3. O dreadful case ! 
dost thou not yet see a cliange to be needful ? 
Would it not have grieved one to have seen 
the golden consecrated vessels of Grid's tem- 
ple turned into quaffing bowls of drunkenness, 
and polluted with the idols' service ? Dan. v, 
2, 3. Was it such an abomination to the 
Jews, when Antiochus set up the picture of a 
swine at the entrance of the temple ? How 
much more abominable then would it have 
been, to have had the very temple itself turn- 
ed into a stable or a sty, and to have the Ho- 
ly of Holies served like the house of Baal, to 
have the image ol God taken down, and be 
turned into a draught-house? J3 Kings x. 27. 
This is the very case of the unregenerate ; all 
thy members are turned into instruments of 
unrighteousness, Rom. vi. 19, servants of sa- 
tan ; and thy inmost powders into receptacles 
of uncleanness, Eph. ii. :c, Tit* i. ib. You 
may see the goodlv guests within, by what 
comes out : For out of the hpurt proceed 
evil thoughts^ murders^ adulteries, fornica- 
tions, thefts, false witness^ blasphemies^ &c. 
This black guard discovers what a hell there 
is within. 

O abuse insufferable ! to see a heaven-born 
soul abased to the filthiest drudgery ; to sfee 
the glory of God's creation, the chief of thfe 
ways of God, the lord of the universe, a lap- 
ping with the prodigal at the trough, or lick* 
ing up with greediness the most loathsoms 

The J\*ecessity of Conversion. 75 

vomit ! Was it such a lamentati&n to see those 
that did feed delicately, to sit desolate in the 
streets ; and the precious sons of Zion, com- 
parable to fine gold, to be esteemed as earthen 
pitchers ; and those that were clothed in scar- 
let to embrace dunghills? Lam. iv. 2 5. — 
And is it not much more fearful to see the on- 
ly thing that hath immortality in this lower 
world, and carries the stamp of God, to be- 
come as a vessel wherein there is no pleasure? 
Jer. xxii. 28, (which is but a modest expre^^- 
sion of the vessel men put to the most sordid 
use.) O indignity intolerable ! better thou 
wert dashed in a thousand pieces, than con- 
tinue to be abused to so filthy a service. 

II. Not only man, but the whole visible cre- 
ation is in vain without this. Beloved, God 
hath made all the visible creatures in heaven 
and earth for the service of man, and man on- 
ly is the spokesman for all the rest. Man is 
in the universe like the tongue in the body, 
which speaks for all the membtrs. The oth- 
er creatures cannot praise their Maker, but by 
dumb signs and hints to man, that he should 
speak for them. Man is (as it w ere) the high 
priest of God^s creation, to offer the sacrifice 
of praise for all his fellow *creatures,Ps. cxlvii. 
and cxlviii. and cl. The Lord God expect- 
eth a tribute cf praise from all Iiis works, Ps. 
ciii. §S. Now all the rest do bring in their 
tribute to man, and pay it in by his hand. — 
So then, if man be false and faithless, and- 
selfish, God is wronged of all, and shall have 
HO active glory from his w orks. 

76 The JSTecessity of Conversion. 

O dreadful thought to think of ! That God 
should build such a world as this, and lay 
out such infinite power, and wisdom, and 
goodness thereupon, and all in vain : and man 
sliould be guilty, at last, of robbing and spoil- 
Ing him of the glory of all. Oh, think of this ! 
while thou art unconverted, all the offices of 
the creaiures to thee are in vain : thy meat 
nourishes thee in vain, the sun holds forth hi» 
light to thee in vain, the stars that serve thee 
in their courses, by their most powerful, tho' 
hidden influence. Judges v. 20, Hos. ii. SI, 
S^, do it in vain ; thy clothes warm thee in 
vain ; thy beast carries thee in vain : in a 
word, the unwearied labour, and continual 
, travel of the whole creation (as to thee) is in 
vain. The service of all the creatures that 
drudge for thee, and yield forth their strength 
unto thee (that therewith thou shouldst serve 
their Maker) is all but lost labour. Hence 
the whole creati<?n groaneth under the abuse 
of this unsanctified world, Kom. viii. 23, that 
pervert them to the service of their lusts, quite 
contrary to the very end of their being. 

111. Without this, thy religion is in vain, 
James i. 26. All thy religious performances 
will be but lost ; for they can neither please 
God, Rom. viii, 8, nor save thy soul, 1 Cor. 
xiii. 2, 3, which are the very ends of religion. 
Be thy services never so specious, yet God 
liath no plea^sure in them, Isa. i. 14, MaL i. 
10. Is not that man's case dreadful, whose 
sacrifices are as murder, and whose prayers 
are a breath of abomination ? Isa. Ixvi. 8, 
Prov. xxviii. 9. Many; under conviction, 

The J^ecessity of Conversion. 77 

think they will set upon mending, and that a 
few prayers and alms will save all again ; but 
alas, sirs ! while your hearts reraain unsanc- 
tifiedj your duties will not pass. How punc- 
tual was Jehu ? and yet all was rejected, be- 
cause his heart was not upright, S Kings x. 
with Hos. i. 4. How blameless was Paul ? 
and yet being unconverted, all was but loss, 
Phil. iii. 6, 7- Men think they do much in 
attending God's service, and are ready to twit 
him with it, Isa. Iviii. 3, Matt. vii. 22, and 
set him down so much their debtor, when (as 
their persons being unsanctified) their duties 
cannot be accepted. 

O soul ! do not think, when thy sins pursuo 
thee, a little praying and reforming thy course 
will pacify God : thou must begin with thine 
heart; if that be not renewed, thou canst no 
more please God, than one that having un- 
speakably oifended thee, should bring thee his 
vomit in a dish to pacify thee ; or, having 
fallen into the mire, sheuld think, with his 
loathed embraces, to reconcile thee. 

It is a great misery to labour in the fire.— 
The poets could not invent a worse hell for 
Sisyphus, than to be getting the barrel still up 
the hill, and then that it should presently fall 
down again, and renew his labour. God 
threatens it, as the greatest of temporal judg- 
ments, that they should build, and not inhabit, 
plant, and not gather, and their labours shoeicl 
be eat up by strangers, Deut. xxviii. 30, 88, 39, 
4?0. Is it so great a misery to lose our common 
labours, to sow in vain, and build in vain? how 
much more to lose our pains in religion, (o 


78 The JVecessity oj Convetsion. 

pray and Lear, anil fast in vain ? This is an 
undoing and eternal loss. Be not deceived ; 
if Ihou goest on in thy sinful state, though 
thou shouldst spread forth thine hands, God 
vvill hide his eye ; though thou make many 
prayers^ he will not hear, Isa, i. 15. If a 
man without sjiill set about our work, and mar 
it in the doing, though he take much pains, 
we give him but small thanks. God will be 
worsliipped after the due order, 1 Chron. xv. 
13. If a servant do our work, but quite con- 
irary to our order, he shall have rather stripes 
than praise. God's work must be done ac- 
cording to God's mind, or he will not be 
pleased ; and this cannot be, except it be 

"one with a holy heart, S Chron. xxv. 2. 

IV. Without this, thy hopes are in vain^ 
Job viii. 13, 13. The Lord hath rejected thij 
confidences^ Jer. ii. 37- 

First^ Thy hopes of comfort here are in vain.. 
*Tis not only necessary to the safety, but com- 
fort of your condition, that you be converted. 
Wi hout this, you shall not know peace, Isa» 
lix. 8. Without the fear of God, you cannot 
have the comforts of the Holy Ghost, Acts ix* 
31. God speaks peace only to his people^ 
and to his saints, Ps. Ixxxv. 8. If you have 
a false peace, continuing in your sins, ^tis not 
of God^s speakings and then you may guess 
the author. Sin is a real sickness, Isa. i. 5, 
ygj^^ the worst of sickness ; 'tis a leprosy in 
the head, Lev. xiii. 44, the plague in the 
heart, 1 Kings viii. 31. 'Tis brokenness in 
the bones, Ps. li. 8, it pierceth, it woundeth, 
it racketh; it tormeatetb; 1 Tim. i. 10. A 

The J^'*ece38ity of Conversion. 79 

man may as well expect ease, when his dis- 
esses are in their strength, or his banes out of 
joint, as true comfort, while in his sins. 

O wretched man, that eanst have no ease m 
this case, but what comes from the deadlines* 
of the disease t You shall have the poor sick 
man, saying in his lightness, he is well, whent 
you see death in his face : he will needs up 
and about his business, when the very next 
step is like to be into the grave. The unsanc- 
tified often see nothing amiss ; they think 
themselves wiiole, and cry not out for the 
physician ; but this shews the danger of their 

Sin doth naturally breed distempers and 
disturbances in the soul. What a continual 
tempest and commotion is there in a discon^ 
tented loind ? What an eating evil is inordi. 
nate care ? What is passion, but a very fever 
in the mind ? What is lust, but a fire in the 
bones ? What is pride, but a deadly tympany? 
or covetousness, but an insatiable and insuf- 
ferable thirst ? or malice and envy, but ven* 
om in the very heart ? Spiritual sloth is but a 
scurvy in the mind, and carnal security a 
mortal lethargy. And how can that soul have 
true comfort, that is under so many diseases ? 
But converting grace cures, and so eases the 
mind, and prepares the soul for a settled^ 
standing, immortal peace : Great peace hav& 
they that love thy commandments^ and nothing 
shall offend them, Ps. cxix. l65. They are 
the ways of wisdom that afford pleasure and 
peace, Prov. iii. 17. David had infinitely 
more pleasure in the word; than in all the de- 

80 The Necessity of Conversion. 

light of his court, Ps. cxix. 103, 127. The 
conscience cannot be truly pacified, till sound- 
ly purified, Heb. x. SS. Cursed is that peace 
that is maintained in a way of sin, Deut. xxix. 
iMy 20. Two sorts of peace are more to be 
dreaded, than all the troubles in the world ; 
peace with sin, and peace in sin. 

Secondly, Thy hopes of salvation hereaf- 
ter are in vain ; yea, worse than in vain ; 
they are most injurious to God, most perni- 
cious to thyself : There is death, desperation, 
blasphemy in the bowels of this hope. (1.) 
There is death in it. Thy covfidence shall be 
rooted out oj thy tabernacles^ (God will up 
with it root and branch) it shall bring thee to 
the king of terrors^ Job xviii. 14. Though 
thou mayest lean upon this house, it will not 
stand. Job viii. 15, but will prove like a ruin- 
ous building, which when a man trusts to^ it 
falls down about his ears, (2.) There is des- 
operation in it. Where is the hope of the hyp- 
ocrite^ when God takes away his soul P Job 
xxvii. 8. Then there is an end forever of his 
hope. Indeed, the hope of the righteous hath 
an end ; but then ^tis not a destructive but a 
perfective end ; his hope ends in fruition, others 
in frustration, Prov. x. 28. The godly must 
say at death. It is finished, but the wicked, It 
is perished ; and in too sad earnest bemoan 
himself, (as Job in a mistake) Where now is my 
hope ? He hath destroyed me, I am gone, and 
my hope is removed like a tree, Job xix. 10. 
The righteous hath hope in his death, Prov. 
xiv 32, when nature is dying, his hopes are 
living; >Yhen his body is languishing; his 

The Necessity ef Conversion. 81 

hopes are flourishing ; his hope is a living 
hope, 1 Pet. i. 3, to alively hope, but others a 
dying, yea, a damning, soul undoing hope. — 
When a wicked man dieth^ his expectation 
shall perishy aad the hope of unjust men per- 
ishethy Prov. xi. 7* It shall be cut qff^ and 
prove like a spider^ s weh^ Job viii. i% which 
he spins out of his own bowels ; but then 
eomes death with the broom^ and takes dowu 
all, and so there is an eternal end of his con- 
fidence, wherein he trusted. For the eyes of 
the wicked shall fail^ and their hope shall he 
as the giving up of the ghost, Job xi. 20.-— 
Wicked men are settled in their carnal hope^ 
and will not be beaten out of it : they hold it 
fast, they Avill not let it go : yea, but death 
will knock oif their fingers j though we cam. 
Hot undeceive them, death and judgment will: 
when death strikes his dart tlirough thy liv- 
er^ it will let out thy soul, and thy hopes to- 
gether. The unsanetified have hope only in 
this life, 1 Cor. xv. 19, and therefore are, of 
all men, most miserable : When death comes^ 
it lets them out into the amazing gulf of end- 
less desperation. (3.) There is blasphemy in 
it. To hope we shall be saved, though con- 
tinuing unconverted, is to hope we shall prove 
God a liar. He hath told you, that so merci- 
ful and pitiful as he is^ he will never save you 
notwithstanding, if you go on in ignorance, or 
a course of unrighteousness, Isa. xxvii. 11^ 
1 Cor. vi. 9. In a word, he hath told yo% . 
that whatever you be, or do, nothing shall 
avail you to salvation, without you be new 
creatures, Gal. vit 15. Now, to say God i» 

8S The Necessity of Conversion. 

merciful^ and we hope he will save us never- 
theless, is to say, in effect, we liope God will 
not do as he saith. AVe may not set God^s 
attributes at variance : God is resolved to glo- 
rify mercy, but not with the prejudice of 
truth ; as the presumptuous sinner will find, 
to his everlasting sorrow. 

Obj. Why, but we hope in Jesus Christ, 
we put our whole hope in God, and therefore 
doubt not but we shall be saved. 

tSns, 1. This is not to hoj^e in Christy but 
against Christ. To hope to see the kingdom 
of God, without being born again ; to hope to 
find eternal life in the broad way, is to hope 
Christ will prove a false prophet, ^Tis Da- 
vid's plea, 1 hope in thy word^ Ps. cxix. 81^ 
but this hope is against the word. Shew me 
a word of Christ for thy hope, that he will 
save thee in thine ignorance, or profane neg- 
lects of his service, and I will never go to 
shake thy confidence. 

2. God doth with abhorrence reject this 
hope. Those condemned in the prophet went 
on in their sins, yet (saith the text) they will 
lean upon the Lord^ Micah iii. 11. God will 
not endure to be made a prop to men in their 
sins : the Lord rejected those presumptuous 
sinners, that went on still in their trespasses, 
and yet they would stay themselves upon the 
God of Israel, Isa. xlviii. 1, i^, as a man would 
shake off the briars (as one said well) that 
cleave to his garment. 

3. If thy hope be any thing worth, it will 
purify thee from thy sins^ 1 John iii. 3; but 

2%e JVecessity of Conversion. SS 

•uvsed is that hope which doth cherish meu 
ia their sins. 

Obj. Would you have us to despair ? 

^ns. You must despair of ever comlig to 
heaven as you are, Acts ii. 37, that is, v^^hile 
you remain unconverted. You must despair 
ever to see the face of God, without holiness ; 
but you must by no means despair of finding 
mercy, upon your thorough repentance and 
conversion ; neither must you despair of at- 
taining to repentance and conversion, in the 
Hse of God's means. 

V. Without this, all that Christ hath done 
and suffered will be fas to you J in vain^ John 
xiii 8, Tit ii. 14, that is, it will no way avail 
to your salvation. Many urge this as a suffi- 
cient ground for their hopes, that Christ died 
for sinners ; but I must tell you Christ never 
died to save impenitent and unconverted sin- 
ners (so continuing,) 3 Tim. ii. 19. A great 
divine was wont, in his private dealings with 
souls, to ask two questions ; i. What hath 
Christ done for you P 2, What hath Christ 
wrought in you ? Without the application of 
the Spirit in regeneration, we can have no 
saving interest in the bfinefits of redemption. 
I tell you from the Lord, Christ himself can- 
not save you, if you go on in this estate. 

Firsts It were against his trust. The Me- 
diator is the Servant of the Father, Isa. xlii. 
1, shews his commission from him, acts in 
his name, and pleads his command for his 
justification, John x. 18, 36, and vi. 38. 40. 
And God hath committed all things to him, 
entrusted his own glory; and the salvation of 

M The Necessity of Conversion. 

the elect with him. Matt. xi. ST', John xvii. 2. 
Accordingly, Christ gives his Father an ac- 
count of both parts of his trust, before he leaves 
the world/ John xvii. 4, 6, 12. Now Christ 
should quite cross his Father's glory, his 
greatest trust, if he should save men in their 
sins ; for this were to overturn all his coun- 
sels, and to offer violence to all his attributes. 

Isf, To overturn all his couvsels: of which 
this is the order, that men should be brought 
thr >ugh sanctification to salvation, S Thess. 
ii. 13. He hath chosen them, that they should 
be holy, Eph. i. 4. They tire elected to par- 
don and life through sanctification, 1 Pet. L 
2. If thou canst repeal the law of God'a im- 
mutable counsel, or corrupt him whom the 
Father hath sealed, to go directly against his 
commission, then, and not otherwise, may est 
thou get to heaven in this condition. To 
hope that Christ will save thee while uncon- 
Terted, is to hope that Cbrist will falsify his 
trust. He never did, nor will save one soul, 
but whom the Father hath given him in elec- 
tion, and drawn to him in effectual calling, 
John vi. S% 37- Be assured, Christ will 
save none in a way contrary to his Father's 
will, John vi. 38. 

2^/;/, Tq offer violence to all his attributes, 
(i.) To his justice: for the righteousness of 
feod's judgment lies, in rendering to all ac- 
cording to their works, Rom. ii. 5, 6. Now, 
should men sow to the flesh, and yet of the 
Spirit reap everlasting life, Gal. vi. 7, 8, 
where were the glory of divine justice, sinc« 
it should be given to the wicked according to 

The %N*ecessity of Conversion. 85 

the work of the righteous ? (2.) To his IwlU 
ness. If God should not only save sinners, 
but save them in their sins^ his most pure and 
strict holiness would be exceedingly defaced. 
The unsanctified is^ in the eyes of God's holi- 
ness, worse than a swine, or viper, Matt, 
xxiii. 33, 3 Pet. ii. 23. Now, what cleanly 
nature could endure to have the filth v swine 
bed and board with him, in his parlour, or 
bed chamber? It would offer the extremest 
violence to the infinite purity of the divine na- 
ture, to have such to dwell with him. They 
cannot stand in his judgment, they cannot 
abide in his presence, Ps. i. 5, and v. % 5, 
If holy David Avould not endure such in his 
house, no, nor in his sight, Ps. ci. 3, 7^ shall 
we think God will ? Should he take men as 
they be from the trough to th^ table ; from 
the harlot's lips, from the sty and draff, to the 
glory of heaven, the world would think God 
were at no such a distance from sin, nor had 
such dislike of it, as we are told he hath ; 
they would conclude, God were altogether 
such a one as themselves, (as they wickedly 
did,) but from the very forbearance of God, 
Ps. 1. SI. (3.) To his veracity: for God 
hath declared from heaven. That if any shall 
say J He shall have peace^ though he should go 
on in the imagination of his heart : his wrath 
shall smoke ugainst thatman^ Deut. xxix. 19, 
SO. That they f only J that confess and for- 
sake their sins^ shall find mercy y Prov. xxviii. 
13. That they that shall enter into his hill^ 
must he of clean hands^ and a pure hearty Ps. 
xxiv. 3, 4. Where were God^s truth, if not- 


86 The J\^ecessity of Conversion. 

Avithstanding all this, he should bring men to 
salvation without conversion? O desperate 
sinner, that darest to hope that Christ will 
put the lie upon his Fatlier, and nullify his 
word, to save thee ! (4.) To his wisdom : for 
this were to throw away the choicest mercies 
on them that would not value them, nor were 
any way suited to them. Firsts They w^ould 
not value them. The unsanetified sinner puts 
but little price upon God's great salvation, 
Matt. xxii. 5. He sets no more by Clirist, 
than the whole by the physician. Matt. ix. 
13. He prizeth not his balm, values, not his 
cure, tramples upon his blood, Heb. x. 29. — 
Now, would it stand wdth wisdom, to force 
pardon and life upon them that w^ould give 
him no thanks for them? Will the all-wise 
God (when he hath forbidden us to do it) 
throw his holy things to dogs, and his pearls 
to swine, that would (as it were) but turn 
again, and rend him ? Matt. vii. 6. This 
w^ould make mercy to be despised indeed. — 
Wisdom requires, that life be given in a way 
suitable to God^s honour, and that God pro- 
vide for the securing his own glory, as Avell as 
man's felicity. It would be dishonorable to 
God, to set his jewels on the snouts of swine, 
(continuing such) and to bestow his choicest 
riches on them, that have more pleasure in 
their swill, than the heavenly delights that he 
doth offer. God should lose the praise and 
glory of his grace, if he should cast it away 
on them that were not only unwortliy, but un- 
willing. SecovAlyj They are no way suited 
to them. The divine wisdom is seen in suit- 

The J^ecessity of Conversmu 87 

ing things each to other^ the means to the 
end, the object to the faculty, the quality of 
the gift to the capacity of the receiver. Now, 
if Christ should bring the unregenerate sinner 
to heaven, he could take no more felicity there 
than a beast, if you should bring him into a 
beautiful room, to the society of learned men, 
and a well furnished table ; w hen as the poor 
thing had much rather be grazing with his 
fellow brutes. Alas I what should an un- 
ganctified creature do in heaven ! he could 
take no content there, because nothing suits 
him» The place doth not suit him ; he would 
be but piscis in arido^ qirite out of his ele- 
mcnt^ as a swine in the parlour or a fish out 
of water. The company doth not suit him : 
what communion hath darkness with light ? 
corruption with perfection ? filth and rotten- 
ness with glory and immortality ? The em- 
ployment doth not suit him : the anthems of 
heaven fit not his mouth, suit not his ear. — 
Canst thou charm thy beast with music ? or 
wilt thou bring him to thy organ, and expect 
that he should make thee melody, or keep tune 
with the skilful choir ? or hath he skill, he 
would have no will ; and so could find no 
pleasure, no more than the nauseous stomach 
in the meat, on which it hath newly surfeited. 
Spread thy table with delicates before a lan- 
guishing patient, and it will be but a very of- 
fence. Alas ! if the poor man think a sermon 
long, and say of a sabbath. What a weariness 
is it P Mai. i. 13, how miserable would he 
think it to be held to it to all eternity? (5.) 
To his immutability^ or else to his omniscien- 

88 The Necessity of Conversion. 

f?y, or omnipotency. For this is enacted ii 
the conclave of heaven, and enrolled in the 
decrees of the conrt above, that none but the 
]uire in heart shall ever see God^ Matt. v. 8* 
This is laid np with him, and sealed among 
liis treasures. Now, if Christ yet bring any 
to heaven unconverted, either he must get 
tliem in without his Fathers knowledge, and 
then where is his omnisciency ? or against 
his will, and then where were his omnipoten- 
cy ? or he must change his will, and then 
where w ere his immutability ? 

Sinner, wilt thou not yet give up thy vain 
hope of being saved in this condition ? Saith 
Bildad, Shall the earth be forsaken for thee, 
or the rocks moved out of their place ? Job 
xviii. 4. May not 1, much more, reason so 
with thee ? Shall the laws of heaven be re- 
versed for thee ? Shall the everlasting found- 
ations be overturned for Ihee ? Shall Christ 
put out the eye of his Father's omnisciency, 
or shorten the arm of his eternal power for 
thee ? Shall divine justice be violated for 
thee ? Or the brightness of the glory of hii 
holiness be blemished for thee ? Oh, the hn- 
possibility, absurdity, blasphemy, that is in 
such a confidence ! To think Christ will ever 
save thee in this conditionals to make thy Sa- 
viour to become a sinner, and to do more 
wrong to the infinite Majesty than all the 
wicked on eartli, or devils in hell ever did, or 
could ;|and yet wilt thou not give up such a 
blasphemous hope? 

Secondly J Against his word. We need not 
jiay. Who ahall ascend into hmven^ to iring 

The Necessity of Conversion. 89 

down Christ from above ? or^ loho shall de- 
scend into the deep^ to bring up Christ from 
beneath ? the word is nigh us^ Rom. x. 6, 7^ 
8. Are you agreed that Christ shall end the 
controversy ? Hear then his own words, Ex- 
cept you be converted^ you shall in no wise 
enter into the kingdom of heaveri^ Matt, xviii. 
3. You must be born again^ John iii. 7- If 
I wash thee not, thou hast no part in me, 
John xiii. 8. Repent, or perish, Luke xiii. 
8. One word, one would think, were enough 
ft'om Christ ; but how often and earnestly 
doth he reiterate it ? Verily, verily, Except 
a man be born again, he shall not see the 
kingdom of God, John iii. S, 5. Yea, he doth 
not only assert, but prove the necessity of the 
new birth, viz. from the fleshliness and liUhi- 
iiess of man's first birth, John iii. 6, by rea- 
son of which, man is no more fit for heaven, 
than the beast is for the chamber of the king's 
presence. And wilt thou yet believe thine 
own presumptuous confidence, directly against 
Christ's words ? He must go quite against 
the law of his kingd^im, and rule of his judg- 
ment, to save in this estate. 

Thirdly, Against his oath. He hath lifted 
up his hand to heaven. He hath sworn, that 
those that remain in unbelief, and know not 
his ways, (that is, are ignorant of them, or 
disobedient to them) shall not enter into liis 
rest, Ps. xcv. 11, Heb. iii. 18. And wilt 
thou not yet believe, O sinner, that he is in 
earnest ? Canst thou hope he will be forsworn 
for thee? The covenant of grace is confirmed 
by an oath; and sealed by blood, Heb. vi. 17, 

90 The Js^ecessiiy of Gonversion, 

ami ix. 16, 18, 19, Matt. xxvi. S8, but all 
must be made void, and anotber way to hcaV- 
f n found out, if tbon be saved living and dy- 
ing unsanctified. God is come to bis lowest 
and last terms witli man, and hatb conde- 
scended as far as witb bonour be could, hath 
Bet up bis pillars witb a JSTe plus ultra. Men 
cannot be saved wliile unconverted, except 
they could get anotber covenant made, and 
the whole frame of the gospel (which was es- 
tablished forever with such dreadful solem- 
nities) quite altered. And would not this be 
a distracted hope? 

Foiirtlilii^ Against his honour. God will 
so shew bis love to the sinner, as withal, to 
shew bis liatred to sin. Therefore, he that 
names the name of Jesus must depart from in- 
iquity, S Tim. ii. li), and deny all ungodli* 
ness : and he that hath hope of life by Christ, 
must purify himself as be is pure, 1 John iii. 
3, Tit. ii. 12, otherwise Christ will be thought 
a favourer of sin. The Lord Jesus would 
have all the world to know, though he par- 
don sin, he will not protect it. If holy Da- 
vid shall say, Depart from me^ all ye work* 
era of iniquity^ Ps. vi. 8, and shall shut thd 
doors against them, Ps. ci. 7? shall not such 
much more expect it from Christ's holiness? 
Would it be for liis lionour to have the dogi 
to the table, or to lodge the swine with bis 
( liildrcn, or to liave Abraham's bosom to be 
a nest of vipers ? 

Ffthlyy Against his offices. God hath ex- 
alted him to be a Frince and a Saviour^ Acts 
T* 31. He ebould act against both; should 

The JSTecessity of Conv&i'sion* ti 

he save men in their sins. It is the office of 
a king^ . 

Parcere subjectisy Sj* debellare superbos. 
To be a terror to evil doers^ and a praise to 
them that do well^ Rom. xiii. 3^ 4. He is a 
minister of God^ a revenger to execute wrath 
on him that doth evil. Now, should Christ 
favour the ungodly, (so continuing) and take 
those to reign with him that would not that 
he should reign over them ? Luke xix. 87* — ' 
This were quite against his office : he there- 
fore reigns that he may put his enemies under 
his feet, 1 Cor. xv. S4^. Now, should he lay 
them in his bosom, he should cross the end 
of his regal power. It belongs to Christ, as 
a king, to subdue the hearts, and slay tho 
lusts of his chosen, Ps. xlv. ^, and ex. 8. — 
What king would take the rebels, in open 
hostility, into his court ? What were this, but 
to betray life, kingdom, government and all 
together ? If Christ be a king, he must have 
homage, honour, subjection, &c. Mai. i. 6. — 
Now, to save men while in their natural en- 
mity, were to obscure his dignity, lose his au- 
thority, bring contempt on his government, 
and sell his dear-bought rights for nought. 

Again, as Christ should not be a Prince, 
so neither a Saviour, if he should do this ; 
for his salvation is spiritual : he is called Je- 
sus, because he saves his people from their 
gins. Matt. i. 31, so that, should he save them 
in their sins, he should be neither Lord nor 
Jesus. To save men from the punishment, 
and not from the power of sin, were to do his 
work by halves^ and be an imperfect Saviour^ 

9S The Necessity of Conversion. 

His office, as the deliverer^ is to turn away 
ungodliness from Jacob^ Rom. xi. §6. He is 
sent to bless men^ in turning them from their 
iniquities^ Acts iii. 26, to make an end of sin, 
Dan. ix. §4. So that he should destroy his 
own designs, and nullify his offices, to save 
men abiding in their unconverted state. 

•djjplication. Arise, then ; what meanest 
thou, O sleeper ? Awake, O secure sinner, 
lest thou be consumed in thine iniquities. Say, 
as the lepers^ If 7ce sit here we shall die^ S 
Kings vii. 3, 4. Verily, it is not more certain 
that thou art now out of hell, than that thou 
shalt speedily be in it, except thou repent and 
be converted ; there is but this one door for 
thee to escape by : arise, then, O sluggard, 
and shake off thine excuses : how long wilt 
thou slumber, and fold thine hands to sleep ? 
Prov. vi. 10, 11. Wilt thou lie down in the 
midst of the sea, or sleep on the top of the 
mast? Prov. xxiii. 34. There is no reme*- 
dy, but thou must either turn or burn : there 
is an unchangeable necessity of the change 
of thy condition, except thou art resolved to 
abide the v/orst of it, and try it out with the 
Almighty. If thou lovest thy life, O man, 
arise and come away. Metliinks I see the 
Lord Jesus laying the merciful hands of an 
holy violence upon thee ; methinks he carries 
it like the angels to Lot, Gen. xix. 15, 16, 17. 
Then the angels hastened Lot ^ sayings Arise, 
lest thou he consumed. tRnd while he linger^ 
ed^ the men laid hold upon his hand, the Lord 
being merciful unto him, and they brought 
him without the city, and said, Jt^scajpe for 

The J^ece^siiy of Conversion. 98 

thy lifej stay not in all the pTainy escape to 
the mountain, lest thou he consumed. 

Oh, how wilful will thy destruction be, if 
thou shouldst yet harden thyself in thy sinful 
state I But none of you can say but you have 
had fair warning. Yet methinks I cannot 
tell how to leave you so : it is not enough to 
me to have delivered my own soul. What ! 
shall I go away without my errand ? Will 
none of you arise and follow me ? Have I been 
all this while speaking to the wind ? Have I 
been charming the deaf adder, or allaying the 
tumbling ocean with arguments ? Do I speak 
to the trees or rocks, or to men ? to the tombs 
and monuments of the dead, or to a living au- 
ditory ? If you be men, and not senseless 
stocks, stand still, and consider whither yon 
are going : if you have the reason and under- 
standing of men, dare not to run into the 
flames, and fall into hell with your eyes open ; 
but bethink yourselves, and set to the work of 
repentance. What ! men, and yet run into 
the pit, when the very beasts will not be forced 
in ! What ! endued with reason, and yet dal- 
ly with death and hell, and the vengeance of 
the Almighty ! Are men herein distinguished 
from the very brutes, that they have no fore- 
sight of, and care to provide for the things t^ 
come? and will you not hasten your escape 
from eternal torment ? Oh, shew yourselves 
men, and let reason prevail with you. Is it 
n reasonable thing for you to contend against 
the Lord your Maker ? Isa. xlv. 9^ or to har- 
den yourselves against his word. Job ix. % 
as though the strength of Israel would lift ?^— 

94^ Tlie JSTecessity of Conversion. 

1 Sam. XV. 29. Is it reasonable tliat an un^ 
derstanding creature should lose, yea, live 
quite against the very end of his being, and 
be as a broken pitcher, only fit for tlie dung- 
bill ? Is it tolerable, that the only thing in 
this Avorld that God hath made capable of 
knowing his will, and bringing him glory, 
should yet live in ignorance of his Maker, and 
be unserviceable to his use ; yea, should be 
engaged against him, and spit his venom in 
the face of his Creator? Hear^ heavens^ 
and give ear^ O earthy and let the creatures 
v/ithout sense be judge if this be reason. That 
man, w hen God hath nourished and brought 
him up, should rebel against him? Isa. i. 3. 
Judge in your own selves : is it a reasonable 
undertaking for briars and thorns to set them- 
selves in battle against the devouring fire? 
Isa. xxvii. 4, or for the potsherd of the earth 
to strive with his Maker ? If you will say 
this is not reason, surely the eye of reason is 
quite put out : and if this be reason, then there 
is no reason that you should continue as you 
be,j3ut 'tis all the reason in the world you 
shoukl forthwith repent and turn. 

What shall I say ? I could spend myself 
in this argument. Oh that you w ould but 
hearken to me ! that you w ould presently set 
upon a new course ! Will you not be made 
clean ? When shall it once be ? What ! will 
no body be persuaded ? Reader, shall I pre- 
vail with thee for one ? Wilt thou sit down 
and consider the forementioned arguments, 
And debate it, whether it be not best to turn ? 
Come and let us reason together : Is it good 

2%0 JSTecessity of Conversion. 95 

for thee to be here ? Wilt thou sit still till the 
tide come in upon thee ? Is ifgood for thee to 
try whether God will be so good as his word, 
and to harden thyself in a conceit that all is 
well with thee, while thou reniainest unsanc- 

But r know you will not be persuaded, but 
the greatest pari will be as they have been, 
and do as they have done. I know the drunk- 
ard will to his vomit again, and the deceiver 
will to his deceit again, and the lustful wan- 
ton to his dalliance again. Alas ! that I must 
leave you where you were ; in your ignorance 
or looseness, or in your lifeless formality and 
customary devotions ! However, I will sit 
down and bemoan my fruitless labours, and 
spend some sighs over my perishing hearers. 

O distracted sinners ! What will their end 
be ? What icill they do in the day of visita- 
tion f whither will they flee for help ? ivhere 
will they leave their glory ? Isa. x. 8. How 
powerfully hath sin bewitched them ! how 
effectually hath the god of this world blinded 
them ! how strong is their delusion ! how un- 
circumcised their ears ! how obdurated their 
hearts ! Satan hath them at his beck : but 
how long may I call, and can get no answer ? 
I may dispute with them year after year, and 
they will give me the hearing, and that is all. 
They must and will have their sins, say what 
I wilL Though I tell them there is death iu 
the cup, yet they will take it up : though I 
tell them ^tis the broad way, and endeth in 
destruction, yet they will go on in it : I warn 
them, yet cannot win them. Sometimes I 

9S The •ATecessity of Conversion. 

think the mercies of God mil melt them, and 
his winning invitations will overcome them ; 
but I find them as they were : sometimes that 
the terror of the Lord will persuade them, yet 
neither will this do it. They will approve 
the word, like the sermon, commend the 
preacher ; but they will yet live as they did : 
they will not deny me, yet they will not obey 
me. They will flock to the word of God, 
and sit before me as his people, and hear my 
words ; but they will not do them. They 
value, and will plead for ministers, and I am 
to them as the lovely song of one that hath a 
pleasant voice ; yet I cannot get them to come 
under Christ's yoke. They love me, and 
wdll be ready to say, they will do any thing 
for me ; but for my life I cannot persuade 
them to leave their sins, to forego their evil 
company, their intemperacce, their unjust 
gain, &c. I cannot prevail with them to set 
up prayer in their families and closets, yet 
they will promise me, like the forward son, 
that said, I go, sir ; hut went not, Matt. xxi. 
30. I cannot persuade them to learu the 
principles of religion, though else they will 
die without knowledge. Job xxxvi. 13. I tell 
them their misery, but they will not believ« 
but ^tis well enough : if I tell them particular- 
ly, I fear for such reasons their state is bad, 
they will judge me censorious ; or if they b« 
at present a little awakened, they are quick- 
ly lulled asleep by satan again, and have lost 
the sense of all. 

Alas for my poor hearers ! must (hey per- 
ish at last by hundreds, when ministers would 

The Marks 6f the Unconverted. §7 

^0 fain save them ? What course .^liall I use 
with them that I have not tried ? [What shall 
I do for the daughter of my people ? Jer. ix. 
7. O Lord God, help. Alas ! shall I leave ^ 
them thus ? If they will not hear me, yet do^ 
thou hear me : Oh that they might yet live in 
thy siglit ! Lord, save them, or else they per- 
ish. My heart would melt to see their houses 
on fire about their ears, when they were fas* 
asleep in their beds ; and shall not my soul 
be moved within me, to see them falling into 
endless perdition ! Lord, have compassion, 
and save them out of the burning : put forth 
thy divine power, and the w^ork will be done : 
l)ut as for me^ I cannot prevail.] 



WHILK we keep aloof in generals, ther^ 
is little fruit to be expected : it is the hand- 
fight that does execution, David is not awa- 
kened by the prophet's hovering at a distance 
in parabolical insinuations : he is forced to 
close with liim, and tell him home. Thou art 
the man. Few will, in words, deny the ne- 
cessity of the new birth ; but they have scll^ 
deluding confidence, that the work is not now 
to do : and because they know themselves 
free from that gross hypocrisy that doth tak« 

98 The Maries of the Unconverted, 

up religion merely for a colour to deceive oth- 
ers, and for the covering of wicked designs, 
they are confident of their sincerity^ and sus. 
pect not that more close hypocrisy (where^the 
greatest danger lies) by which a man deceiv* 
eth his ovt^n soul^ James L 28, ' But man's 
deceitful heart is such a matchless cheat, and 
self-delusion so reigning and so fatal a dis- 
case, that I know not whether be the greater, 
the difficnlty, or the displicency, or the ne- 
cessity of the undeceiving work that I am 
now upon. Alas ! for my unconverted hear- 
ers, they must be undeceived or undone. But 
how shall this be effected ? Hie labor^ hoe 
opus est. 

[Help, O all-searching light, and let thy 
discerning eye discover the rotten foundation 
of the self-deceiver, and lead me, Lord 
God, as thou didst the prophet, into i he cham- 
bers of imagery, and dig through the wall of 
sinners hearts, and discover the hidden abom- 
inations that are lurking out of sight in' the 
dark. Oh send thine angel before me, to 
open the sundry wards of their hearts, as thou 
didst before Peter, and make even the iron 
gates to fly open of their own accord. And 
as Jonathan no sooner tasted the honey but 
his eyes were enlightened, so grant, O Lord, 
that when the poor deceived souls with whom 
I have to do shall cast their eyes upon these 
lines, their minds may be illuminated, and 
their consciences convinced and awakened, 
that they may see with their eyes, and hear 
with their ears, and be converied; and ihott 
mayst heal them.J 

5PAe Marks of the Unconverted. 99 

This must be premised before we proceed 
to the discovery, That it is most certain men 
may have a confident persuasion that their 
hearts and states be good, and yet be unsound. 
Hear the truth himself, whrfshews in Laod- 
icea's case, that men may be wretclied, and 
miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, 
and yet not know it ; yea, they may be coau- 
dent they are ricli and increased in srace, 
Hev. iii. 17. ^Phere is a genercttion that are 
pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed 
from their filthiness^ Prov. xxx. 12. Wiio 
better persuaded of his case than Paul, while 
ye£ he remained unconverted? Horn, vii. 9. 
So that they are miserably deceived that take 
a strong confidence for a sufficient evidence. 
They that have no better proof than barely a 
strong persuasion that they are converted, are 
certainly as yet strangers to conversion. 

But to come more close : as it was said of 
the adherents of antichrist, so here ; some of 
the unconverted carry their marks in theii* 
foreheads, more openly ; and some in tlieir 
kands more covertly. The apostle reckons 
up some, upon whom he writes the sentence 
of death, as in these dreadful catalogues, 
which I Ijeseech you to attend with all dili- 
gence, Eph. V. 5, 6. For this you knoic^ that 
no whoremonger^ nor unclean person^ nor 
covetous man^ who is an idolater^ hath any in- 
heritance in the kingdom of Christ and of 
God. Let no man deceive you ivith vain 
words ; for because of these things cometh 
the wrath of God upon the children of diso- 
bedience. Rev. xxi. 8. But tke fearful and 

160 7'he Marks of the Unconverted^. 

itnhelievhig^ and the abominable^ and murder- 
ers, and whoremongers^ and sorcerers^ and 
idolaters, and all liars ^ shall have their part 
in the lake that burneth with fire and brim- 
ifone, tchich is the second death. 1 Cor. vi. 
y, 10. Iinow ye not that the unrighteous shall 
not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not de- 
ceived ; Tieither fornicators^ nor idolaters^ nor 
cdu'terers, vor effeminate^ nor abusers of 
themselves with mankind^ nor thieves^ nor 
covetous^ nor drunkards^ nor revilers, nor > 
t xtoriionevSj shall inherit the kingdom of 
God. f-ee Gal. v. 19, 20, SI. Wo to them 
that have their names written in these red 
rolls : such may knoW;, as certainly as if God 
had told it them from heaven, that they are 
iinsanctified, and under an impossibility of be^ 
ing saved in this condition. 

There are then these several sorts, that past 
dl dispute are unconverted : they carry their 
marks in their foreheads. 

1. The unclean. These are ever reckoned 
j^mong the gnats, and have their names (who- 
i\^v be left out) in all the forementioned cata- 
!oi:,aes, Eph. v. &, Rev. xxi. 8, 1 Cor. v. 9; 

:?. The covetoits. These are ever branded 
iix iihihucrs. iind the doors of the kingdom 
rue {thnt agiiiiist tliem by name, Eph. v. 5, 
(*ol. ill. 5,^1 C>or. vi. 9, 10. 

3, Drunkards. Not only such as drink 
fiway tlieir reason, but withal, yea, above all, 
such as are too strong for strong drink. The 
1 crd fills his mouth with woes against these, 
find dcclarci? th«m to have no inheritance in 

The Marks of the Unconverted, 101 

the kingdom of Grod^ Isa. v. H^ IS^ S^, Gal. v, 

4. Liars. The God that cannot lie' hath 
told them that there is no place for (hem in his 
kingdom^ no entrance into his hill ; but their 
portion is with the father of lies (whose chiU 
dren they are) in the lake of burnings^ Psa. 
XV. i. S^ReVi xxi. 8; 27. John viii. ^^^ Prov. 
yi. 17. 

5. Swearers. The end of these, without 
deep and speedy repentance^ is swift destruc- 
tion> and most certain and unavoidable con- 
demnatiouj James v. 12, Zech. v. 1, 2^ 3. 

6. Mailers and backbiters^ that love to take 
up a reproach against their neighbours^ and 
fling all tlie dirt they can in liis faee^ or els« 
wound him secretly behind his back^ Ps. xv. 
i^ 3, 1 Cor. vi. 10, and v. H. 

7- Thieves^ extortioners, oppressors, that 
grind the poor, over-reach their brethren, 
when they have them at an advantage : thes2 
must know that God is the avenger ofallsiich^ 
1 Thess. iv. 6. Hear, O ye false, and pur- 
loining, and wasteful servants ! hear, O y@ 
deceitful tradesmen ! hear your sentence : — 
God will certainly hold his door against you, 
and turn your treasures of unrighteousness in- 
to the treasures of wrath, and make your ill- 
gotten silver and gold to torment you, like 
burning metal in your bowels, 1 Cor. vi. 9, 
10, James v. 2, 3. 

8. All that do ordinarily live in the profane 
neglect of God^s laorsh^p^ that hear not liis 
word, that call not on his name, that restrain 
prayer before God, that mind not their own. 

10<2 The Marls of the Unconverted, 

por their family's souls, but live without God 
in the world, John viii. 47, and xv. % Psa. 
xiv. 4, and Ixxix. 6, Eph.ii. 13, and iv. 18. 

9. Those that are frequenters and lovers 
of evil company ; God hath declared he will 
be the destruction of all such, and tliat they 
ghall never enter into the hill of his rest^ 
Prov. xiii. £0, Ps. xv. 4, Prov. ix. 6. 

10. Scoffers at religion^ that make a scorn 
ef precise walking, and mock at the messen- 
gers and diligent servants of the Lord, and at 
their holy profession, and make themselve* 
merry with the weakness and failings of pro- 
fessors : hoar, ye despisers, hear your dread- 
fit! doonij Piov. xix. 29, S Chron. xxxvi. 16, 
Prov. iii. 24. 

feinner, consider diigcntly whether thou 
art not to be found in one of these ranks ; for 
if this be thy case, thou art in the gall of bit- 
terness, and bond of iniquity ; for all these do 
i arry tlieir marks in their foreheads, and are 
r.ndoubtedly the sons of death. 
• And if so, the Lord pity our poor congre- 
gations. Oh, how little a number would be 
lift, when these ten sorts are left out? Alas, 
on how many doors, on how many faces must 
we write. Lord, have mercy upon us ! Sirs, 
Yi hat shift d(> you make to keep up your con- 
Jldence of your good estate, when God from 
heaven declares against you, and pronounceg 
you in a s!alc of damnation ? I would reason 
with you, as God with Ihem ; How canst thon 
say^ I am not polluted P Jer. ii. §3. See thy 
way in the valley, know what thou hast done. 
Man, is not thy conscience privy to thy tricks 

The Marks of tJie Uriconmrted. 103 

of deceit, to thy chamber-pranks, to thy way 
of lying ? Yea, are not thy friends, thy fami- 
ly, thy neighbours, witnesses to thy profane 
neglects of God's worship, to thy covetous 
practices, to thy envious and malicious car- 
riage ? May not they point at thee as thou go- 
est, There goes a gaming prodigal ; there 
goes a drunken Nabal^ a companion of evil 
doers ; there goes a railer, or a scoffer, a 
loose liver ? Beloved, God hath written it, as 
with a sun-beam, in the book out of which 
you must be judged, that these are not thft 
spots of his children, and that none such (ex- 
cept renewed by converting grace) shall ever 
escape the damnation of hell. 

Oh, that such of you would now be per- 
suaded to repent and turn from all your trans- 
gressions ! or else iniquity will be your ruin, 
Ezek. xviii. 30. Alas for poor hardened sin- 
ners ! must I leave you at last where you 
were ? must I leave the tipler still at the ale- 
bench ? must I leave the wanton still at his 
dalliance ? must I leave the malicious still in 
his venom? and the drunkard still at his vom- 
it ? However, you must know that you have 
beeit warned, and that I am clear of your 
blood. And v/hether men will hear, or 
whether they will forbear, 1 v*ill leave these 
scriptures with them, either as thunder-bolts 
to awaken them, or as searing irons to harden 
them to a reprobate sense : Ps. Ixviii. ^1. Goi 
shall wound the head of his enemies^ and the 
hairy scalp of such an one as goeth on still in 
his trespasses. Prov. xxix. 1, He that being 
eften reproved^ hardeneth his neclc^ shall sud^ 

104 The Marks of the Unconverted. 

denly be destroyed^ and that tcithotit remedj)i 
,Fi*ov. i. 24, &c. Because I have called^ andy^ 
refused : I have stretched out my handj and 
no man rc^arded^ &c, I trill mock at your 

calamity^ when your destruction cometh 

as a whirlwind. 

And now I imagine, many will begin to 
bless themselves, and think all is well, be- 
cause they cannot be spotted with the grosser 
evils above-mentioned. But I must further 
tell you, that there are another sort of un- 
sanctified persons, that carry not their marka 
hi their foreheads, but more secretly and cov- 
ertly in their hands. These do frequently 
deceive themselves and others, and pass for 
good Christians, when they are all the while 
unsound at bottom. Many pass undiscover- 
ed, till death and judgment bring all to light. 
Those self- deceivers seem to come even to 
beaven^s gate with confidence of their admis- 
sion, and yet are turned off at last. Matt. vii. 
S3. Brethren, beloved, I beseech you deep- 
ly to lay to heart, and firmly to retain this 
awakening consideration. That multitude* 
miscarry by the hand of some secret sin, that 
is not only hidden from others, but (for want 
of observing their own hearts) even from them- 
selves. A man may be free from open pol- 
lutions, and yet die at last by the fatal hand 
of some unobserved iniquity. And there be 
these twelve hidden sins, by which souls go 
down by numbers into the chambers of death : 
these you must search carefully for, and take 
them as black marks, (wherever they be 
f^und) discovering a graceless and unconvert- 

The Maries of the Unconverted. 10^ 

ed estate. And as you love your lives, read 
carefully, with a holy jealousy of yourselves, 
lest you should be the persons concerned. 

1. Gross ignorance. Ah, how many poor 
souls doth this sin kill in the dark, Hos. iv. 
6, while tliey think verily they have good 
hearts, and are in the ready way to heaven ! 
This is the murderer that dispatcheth thou- 
sands in a silent manner, when (poor hearts !) 
they suspect nothing, and see not the hand! 
that misehieves them. You shall find, what- 
ever excuses you have for ignorance, that it is- 
a soul-undoing evil, Isa. xxvii. §1, S Thess. 
i. 8, 2 Cor. iv. 3. Ah ! would it not have 
iritied a man's heart to have seen that w^oful 
spectacle, when the poor Protestants werer 
shut up a multitude together, in a barn, and a 
butcher comes, with his inhuman hands warm 
in human blood, and leads them one by one, 
blindfold, to a block, where he slew them 
(poor innocents!) one after another, by the 
scores, in cold blood ? But how much more 
should our hearts bleed, to think of the hun- 
dreds in great congregations, that ignorance 
doth butcher in secret, and lead them blind- 
fold to the block ? Beware this be none of 
your case ; make no pleas for ignorance : if 
you spare that sin, know that it will not spare 
you. Will a man keep a murderer in iii« 
bosom ? 

2. Secret reserves in closing with Christ, 

To forsake all for Christ ; to hate father and 

.mother, yea, and a man's own life for him ; 

this is a hard saying, Luke xiv. 26. Som® 

will do much; but they will not be of the reli- 

106 The Maries of the Uiiconvetted. 

gion that will undo thcra ; they never com© 
to be entirely devoted to Christ, nor fully to 
resign to him ; they must have the sweet sins, 
they mean to do themselves no harm ; they 
have secret exceptions for life, liberty^ or es- 
tate. Many take Christ thus liand over head, 
and never consider his self-denying terms, 
nor cast up the cost ; and this error in tlic 
foundation mars all, and secretly ruins them 
forever, Luke xiv. S8, Matt. xiii. 21. 

3. Formality in religion. Many stick in 
the bark, and rest in the outside of religion, 
and in the external performances of holy du- 
ties, Matt, xxiii. 25, and this oft-times doth 
most effectually deceive men, and doth more 
certainly undo them than open looseness; as 
it was in the Pharisee's case. Matt, xxiii. 31. 
They hear, they fast, they pray, they give 
alms ; and therefore will not believe but their 
case is good, Lukexviii. 11. Whereas rest- 
ing in the work done, and coming short of the 
heart- work, and the inward povver and vitals 
of religion, they fall at last into the burning, 
from the flattering hopes, and confident per- 
suasions of their being in the ready way to 
heaven, Matt. vii. 22, 23. O dreadful case, 
when a man's religion shall serve only to har- 
den him, and effectually to delude and de- 
ceive his own soul ! 

4. The prevalency of false ends in holy 
duties^ Matt, xxiii. 25. This was the bane 
of the Pharisees. Oh. how many a poor s6ul 
is undone by this, and drops into hell before 
he discerns his mistake ! He performs good 
duties, and so thinks all is well, and perceiveg 

The Marks of the XJnconverted. 107 

not that he is actuated by carnal motives all 
the while. It is too true, that even with the 
truly sanctified, many carnal ends will oft- 
times creep in, hut they are the matter of his 
hatred and huiuiliation, and never come to be 
habitually prevalent with him, and to bear the 
greatest sway, Rom. xiv. 7. But now, when 
the main thing that doth ordinarily carry a 
man out to religious duties shall be some car- 
nal end, as lo satisfy his conscience, to get 
the repute of being religious, to be seen of 
men, to shew his own gifts and part«, to 
avoid the reproach of a profane and irreligious 
person, or the like ; this discovers an unsound 
heart, Hos.. x. 1, Zech. vii. 5, 8. O Chris- 
tians, if you w ould avoid self-deceit, see that 
you mind, not only your acts, but withal, yea, 
^bove all, your ends. 

5. Trusting in their own righteousness^ 
Luke xviii. 9. This is a soul undoing mis- 
chief, Rom. X, 3. When men do trust ia 
their own righteousness, they do indeed re- 
ject Christ^s. Beloved, you had need be 
watchful on evefy hand ; for not only your 
sins, but your duties, may undo you. It may- 
be you never thought of this ; but so it is, 
that a man may as certaiMy miscarry by his 
seeming righteousness^ and supposed graces, 
as by gross sins ; and that i&, when a man 
doth trust to these as liis righteousness before 
God, for the satisfying his justice, appeasing 
his wrath, procuring his favour, and obtaining 
of his own pavdon ; for this is to put Christ 
out of office, and make a saviour oi our own 
fluties ^nd gracc^^. Beware of this;, profes- 

iOS The Marks of the Unconverted. 

sors ; you are raiich in duties, but this one flj 
%\ ill spoil all the ointment. When you have 
done most, and best, be sure to go out of 
youi'selves to Christ, reckon your own right- 
eousness but rags, Ps. cxliii. 3^ Phil. iii. 8^ 
Isa. Ixiv. 6, Neh. xiii. 22. 

6. *3 secret enmity against the strictness of 
religion. Many moral persons, punctual iu 
their formal devotions, have yet a bitter enmi- 
ty against preciseness, ami hate the life and 
power of religion, Phil. iii. 6, compared with 
Acts ix. 1. They like not this forwardness, 
nor that men should keep such a stir in reli- 
gion : they condemn the strictness of religion 
as singularity, indiscretion, and intemperate 
zeal: and with them, a lively preacher, or 
lively Christian, is but a heady fellow. Those 
men love not holiness, as holiness, (for then 
they would love the height of holiness) and 
therefore are undoubtedly rotten at heart, 
whatever good opinion they have of them- 

7. The resting in a certain pitch of reli^ 
gion. When they have so much as will save 
them (as they suppose) they look no further, 
and so shew themselves short of true grace, 
which will ever put men upon aspiring to fur- 
ther perfection, Phil. iii. 13, Prov. iv. "S. 

8. Tlie predominant love of the ivorid. — 
This is the sure evidence of an unsanctified 
heart, Mark x. 37, 1 John ii* 13. 

But how close doth this sin lurk oft times 
under a fair covert of forward profession ? — 
Luke viii. 14. Yea, such a power of deceit 
is there in this siu; that many times, when ey- 

The Marks of the UnconvevUd. 109 

ery body else can see the man^s worldliness^ 
and covetousiiesSf he cannot see it himself ; ^ 
but hath so many colours, and excuses, and 
pretences for his eagerness on the world, that 
he doth blind his own eyes, and perish in his 
self-deceit. How many professors be here, 
with whom the world hath more of their hearts 
and affections than Christ? w'ho mind earthly 
tilings, and thereby are evidently after the 
flesh, and like to end in destruction? Kom. 
viii. 5, Phil. iii. 19. Yet ask these men, and 
they will tell you confidently, they prize 
Christ above all, God forbid else: and see 
not their own earthly mindedness, for want 
of a narrow observation of the working of 
their own hearts. IJid they bat carefully 
search, they would quickly find, that their 
greatest content is in the world, Luke xii. 49, 
and their greatest care, and main endeavour 
to get and secure the world; which is the 
certain discovery of an unconverted sinner. 
May the professing part of the world tak® 
earnest heed, that they perish not by the hand 
of this sin unobserved. Men may be, and of- 
ten are kept off from Christ, as effectually, by 
the inordinate love of lawful comforts, as by 
the most unlawful courses, Matt.xxii. 5, Lake 
xiv. 18, 19, £0, 21. 

9. Meigning nfiallce and envy against those 
that disrespect them^ or are injurious to thein^ 
1 John ii. 9, 11. Oh how do many that seem 
to be religious remember injuries, and carry 
grudges, and will return msn as good as they 
bring ; rendering evil for evil, loving to take 
reycnge, wishing evil to them that wrong 


110 The Marks of the Unconverted. 

them, directly against the rule of the gospel^ 
the pattern of Christ, and the nature of God, 
Rom. xii. 14?, 17, 1 Pet. ii. SI, 23, Neh. ix. 
17- Doubtless, where this evil is kept boil- 
ing in the heart, and is not hated, resisted, 
mortified, but doth habitually prevail, that 
person is in the very gall of bitterness, and in 
a state of death, Matti xviii. 34, 3&,, 1 John 
iii. 14, 15. 

Reader, doth nothing of this touch thee ? 
Art thou in none of the fore-mentioned ranks ? 
Oil, search, and search again ; take thy heart 
solemnly to task. Wo unto thee, if, after all 
thy profession, thou shouldst be found under 
tlie power of ignorance, lost in formality, 
drowned in earthly-mindedness, envenomed 
with malice, exalted in an opinion of thine 
own righteousness, leavened with hypocrisy 
and carnal ends in God^a service, embittered 
against strictness : this woald be a sad dis- 
covery that all thj religion were in vain. But 
I must proceed. 

10. TJnmortified pride. When men love 
the praise of men, more than the praise of 
God ; and set their hearts upon men^s esteem, 
applause, and approbation, it is most certain 
they are yet in their sins, and strangers to 
true conversion, John xii. 43, Gal. i. lU^ — 
When men see not, nor complain, nor groan 
under the pride of their own hearts, it is a 
sign they are stark-dead in sin. Oh, how se- 
cretly dotli this sin live and reign in many 
hearts, and they know it not, but are very 
strangers to themselves ! John ix. 40. 

The Marks of the Unconverted. Ill 

1 1 . 2^he prevailing love of pleasure^ 2 Tim. 
iii. 4. This is a black mark. When men give 
the flesh the liberty that it craves^ and pam- 
per and please it^ and do not deny and res- 
train it ; when their great delight is in grati- 
fying their bellies, and pleasing their senses : 
whatever appearance they may have of reli- 
gion, all is unsound, Rom. xvi. 18, Tit. iii. 3. 
A flesh-pleasing life cannot be pleasing to 
God ; They that are Chrisfs have crucified 
the fleshy and are careful to ci-oss it, and keep 
it under, as their enemy, Gral. v. 34, 1 Con 
ix. S5, S6, 37. 

13. Carnal security^ or a presumptuous 
and ungrounded confidence^ that their condi- 
tion is already goody Rev. iii. 17. Many cry 
peace and safety, vt^hen sudden destruction \% 
coming upon them, 1 Thess, v. 3. This was 
that which kept tlie foolish virgins sleeping, 
when they should have been working ; upon 
their beds, when they should have been at the 
markets, Matt. xxv. o, 10, Prov. x. 5. They 
perceived not their want of oil till the bride- 
groom was come ; and while they w^ent to 
buy, the door was shut. And Oh tliat these 
fioolish virgins ha<l no successors \ Where is 
the place, yea, where is the house almost, 
where these do not dwell ? Men are willing 
to cherish in themselves, upoil never so slight 
greiifids, a hope that their condition is good, 
and so look not out after a change, and by 
thi« mmns perisJi in their sins. Are you at 
peace ? Shew me upon what grounds your 
peace is maintained ? Is it a scripture peace ? 
Can you s^liew the distinguishing marks of a 

HZ The Marks of the Unconverted. 

801111(1 believer ? Can you evidence that yon 
have something more than any hypocrite in 
the world ever had? If not, fear this peace 
more than any trouble ; and know^ that a car- 
nal peace doth commonly prove the most mor- 
tal enemy of the poor soul ; and while it smiles 
and kisses, and speaks it fair, doth fatally 
smite it (as it w ere) under tlie fifth rib. 

By this time methinks I hear my reader 
crying out with the disciples, Who then shall 
he saved? Set out from among our congrega- 
tions all tiiose ten ranks of the profane on the 
one hand^ and then besides, take out all these 
twelve sorts of close and self-deceiving hyp- 
ocrites on the other hand, and tell me then, 
whether it be not a remnant that shall be sav- 
ed ? How few w ill be the sheep that shall be 
left, when all these shall be separated and set 
among the goats ? For my part, of all my nu- 
merous hearers, I have no hope to see any of 
tliem in heaven, that are to be found among 
these two and twenty sorts that are here men- 
tioned, except by sound conversion they be 
brought into another condition. 

^Hfplication. And now, conscience, do 
tijine office ; speak out, and speak home to 
him that heareth or readeth these lines. If 
thou find any of these marks upon him, thou 
must pronounce him utterly unclean. Lev. xiii. 
44. Take not up a lie into thy mouth : speak 
not peace to him, to whom God speaks no 
peace. Let not lust bribe thee, or self-love, 
or carnal prejudice blind thee. I subpcena 
thee from the court of heaven, to come and 
give in evidence : I require thee, in the name 

The Marks of the Uytconverted. 113 

of God, to go with me to the search of the sus 
pected house. As thou wilt answer it at thy 
perils give in a true report of the state and 
case of him that readeth this book. Con- 
science, wilt thou altogether hold thy peace 
at such a time as this ? I adjure thee, by the 
living God, that thou tell us the truth, Matt- 
xxvi. 63. Is the man converted, or is he 
not ? Both he allow himself in any way of 
sin, or doth he not? Doth he truly love, and 
please, and prize, and delight in God above 
all other things, or not ? Come, put it to an. 

How long shall this soul live at uncertain- 
ties ? O conscience, bring in thy verdict. I« 
this man a new man, or is he not ? How dost 
thou iind it ? Hath there passed a thorough 
and mighty change upon him, or not? When 
was th^ time ? where was the place ? or what 
was the means by which this thorough change 
of the new birth was wrought in his soul ? — 
Speak, conscience. Or if thou canst not tell 
time and place, canst thou shew scripture ev- 
idence that the work is done ? Hath the man 
been evertaken oflf from his false bottom, from 
the false hopes, and false peace, wiierein oiice 
he trusted? Hath he been deeply convinced 
of sin, and of his los^; and undone condition, 
and brought out of himself, and off from his 
sins, to give up himself entirely to Jesus 
Christ ? Or dost thou not find him to this day 
under the power of ignorance, or in the mire 
of profaneness? Hast thou not taken upon 
him the gains of unrighteousness? Dbftt not 
thou find him a stranger to prayer, a neglfeoter 


114 Tlie Marks of the Unconverted. 

of the word, a lover of this present world ? — 
Dost not thou often catcli him in a lie ? Dost 
not tisou find his heart fermented with malice, 
or binning with lust, or going after his eov- 
etousness ? Speak plainly to all the fore-men- 
tioned particulars : canst thou acquit this man, 
this woman, from being any of the two and 
twenty soris here described ? If he be found 
with any of them, set liim aside, his portion 
is not with the saints : he must be converted 
and made a new creature, or else he cannot 
enter into the kingdom of God. 

Beloved, be not your ow n betrayers, do net 
deceive your own hearts, nor set your hands 
to your own ruin, by a wilful blinding of 
yourselves. Set up a tribunal in your own 
breasts : bring the word and conscience to- 
gether ; To the law, and to the testimony j Isa. 
viii, 20. Hear what the word concludes of 
your estates. 'Oh, follow the search, till you 
have fouled how the case stands: mistake 
here, and perish. And such is the treachery 
of the heart, the subtilty of the tempter, and 
the deceiifulness of sin, Jer. xvii. 9, ^ Cor. 
xi. 3, lieb. iij, IS, all conspire to flatter and 
deceive the poor seul ; and witlial, so common 
aiul easy U is io be mistaken, that ^tis a thou- 
sand io one but vou will be deceived, unless 
you be very careful, and thorough, and im- 
partial in the enquiry into your spiritual con- 
djiions. Oh Jherefore ply your work, go to 
the bottom, starch as ^^ith candles, weigh you 
in the balance, cojne to the standard of the 
sanctuary, bring your coin to. the touchstone. 
You have the archest cheats in the worUltii 

The Miseries of the Unconverted. 115 

deal with : a world of counterfeit coin is go* 
ing ; happy is he that takes not counters for 
gold. Satan is master of deceits^ he can draw 
to the life, he is perfect in the trade, there is 
nothing but he can imitate : you cannot wish 
for any grace, but he can fit you to a hair with 
a counterfeit. Trade warily, look on every 
piece you take, be jealdus, trust not so much 
as your own hearts. Run to God, to search 
you, and try you ; to examine you and prove 
your reins, Ps. xxvi. 3, and cxxxix. S3, 2L 
If other helps suffice not to bring all to an is- 
sue, but you are still at a loss, open your 
cases faithfully to some godly and faithful 
minister, Mai. ii. 7» Rest not till you have 
put the business of your eternal welfare out of 
question, 2 Pet. i. 10. searcher of hearts^ 
put thou this soul upoUj and help him in the 



SO unspeakably dreadful is the case of ev- 
ery unconverted soul, that I have sometimes 
thought, if we could but convince men that 
they are yet unregenerate, the work were 
Mpoii tlie matter done. But I sadly experi- 
ence, that such a spirit of sloth and plumber 

116 The Miseries of the Unconverted. 

(Rom. xi. 8, Matt. xiii. IS) possessetli the 
unsanctified/ that though they be convinced 
that they are yet uiiconverted, yet they oft 
times carelessly sit still ; and what through 
the avocation of sensual pleasures, or hurry 
of worldly business, or noise and clamour of 
earthly cares, and lusts, and affections, Luke 
viii. 14r the voice of conscience is drowned, 
and men go no farther than some cold wishes^ 
and general purposes of repenting and amend- 
ing. Acts XX iv. 25. 

It is therefore of high necessity, that I da 
not only convince men that they are uncon- 
verted, but that r also endeavour to bring 
them to a sense of the fearful misery of this 

But here I find myself aground at first piut- 
ting forth. What tongue can tell the heirs of 
hell sufficiently of their misery, unless ^twere 
Dives in that flame ? Luke xvi. 24. Where 
is the ready writer, whose pen can decypher 
their misery that are without God in the 
world? Eph. ii. IS. This cannot fully be 
done, unless we knew the infinite ocean of 
that bliss and perfection which is in that 
God, which a state of sin doth exclude men 
from. Who Tcnotveth (saith lAos^s) the pow- 
er of thine anger?' Ps. xc. li. And how 
diall I tell men that whicli 1 do not know ? 
Yet so much we know, as one would think, 
would shake the heart of that man, that had 
the least degree of spiritual life and sense. 

But this is yet the more imposing difficulty, 
that I am to speak to them that are without 
sense. Alas^ this is not the lea^ part of mau^iii 

The Miseries of the Unconverted. 117 

misery upon liim^ that he is dead^ stark dead 
in tre&passes and sins^ Eph. ii. 1. 

Could I bring paradise into view^, or rep- 
resent the kingdom of heaven ta as much ad- 
vantage as the tempter did the kingdoms of 
the world, and all the glory thereof, to our 
Saviour ; or could I uncover the face of the 
deep and devouring gulph of Tophet in all its 
terrors, and open the gates of the infernal fur- 
nace ; alas ! he hath no eyes to see it, Matt* 
xiii. i% 15. Could I paint out the beauties 
of holiness, or glory of the gospel, to the life ; 
or could I bring above-board the more than 
diabolical deformity and ugliness of sin, he 
can no more judge of the loveliness and beau- 
ty of the one, nor the filthiness and hateful- 
ness of the other, than the blind man of col- 
ours. He is alienated from the life of God, 
through the ignorance tliat is in him, because 
of the blindness of his heart, Eph. iv. 18. Hb 
neither doth^ nor can know the things of God^ 
because they are spiritually discerned, 1 Cor. 
ii. 14. His eyes cannot be savingly opened, 
but by converting grace. Acts xxvi. 18. H@ 
is a child of darkness, and walks in dark- 
ness, 1 John !• 6, yea^ the light ill him is 
darkness. Matt. vi. 3, 3. 

Shall I ring his knell, or I'ead his sentence, 
or sound in his ear the terrible trump of God^s 
judgments, that one would think should make 
both his ears to tingle, and strike him into 
Belshazzar's fit ; even to appal his counte- 
nance, and loose his joints, and make his 
knees smite one against another? yet, alas ! 
he perceives me not, he hath uo «ars to keai'. 

118 The Miseries of the Unconverted. 

Or shall I call up all the (laughters of musk, 
and sing the song of Moses, and of the Lamb ? 
Yet he will not be stirred. Shall 1 allure 
him with the joyful sound, antl the lovely 
song, and glad tidings of the gospel ? with 
the most sweet and inviting calls, comforts, 
cordials of the divine promises, so exceeding^ 
great and precious ? It will not affect him sa- 
vingly, unless I could find him ears, Matt* 
xiii. 15, as well as tell him the news. 

Shall I set before him the feast of fat things, 
the wine of wisdom, the bread of God, the 
tree of life, the hidden mamia j he hath no ap- 
petite for them;^ bo mind to them, 1 Cor. ii. 
14, Matt xxii. 5. Should I press the choicest 
grapes, the heavenly clusters of gospel privi- 
leges, and drink to him in the richest wine of 
Grod^s own cellar, yea, of his own side ; or 
set before him the delicious honey- comb of 
God's testimonies, Ps. xix. 10, alas ! he hath 
no taste to discern them. Shall 1 invite the 
dead to arise, and eat the banquet of their fo- 
nerals ? no more can the dead in sin savour 
the holy food wherewith the Lord of life hath 
spread his table. 

What then shall I do ? Shall I burn the 
brimstone of hell at his nostrils ? Or shall I 
open the box of spikenard, very precious, that 
filleth the whole house of this universe with 
its perfume, Mark xiv. 3, John xii. 8, and 
hope that the savour of Christ's ointment and 
the smell of his garments will attract him ? 
Ps. xlv. 8. Alas ! dead sinners arc like the 
dumb idols : they have mouths, but they speak 
aot; eyes have they; but they see not; they 

The Miseries of the Unconverted. 11& 

iiaye ears, but they hear not ; noses have thej% 
but they smell not ; they have hands, but 
they handle not; feet have they, but they walk 
not, neither speak they through their throat, 
Ps. cxv, 5, 6, 7. They are destitute of all 
spiritual sense and motion. 

But let me try the sense that doth last leave 
us, and draw the sword of the word : yet lay 
at him while I will, yea, though I choose 
mine arrows out of God's quiver, and direct 
them to the heart nevertheless he feeleth it 
not ; for how should he, being past feeling? 
Eph. iv- 19. So that though the wrath of 
God abideth on him, and the mountainous 
weight of so many thousand sins, yet he goes 
up and down as light as if nothing ailed him, 
XLom. vii. 9. In a word, he carries a dead 
Eoul in a living body, and his flesh is but the 
walking coffin of a corrupted mind, that is 
twice dead, Jude 12, rotting in the slime and 
putrefaction of noisome lusts, Matt, xxiii. S7; 

Which way then shall I come at the mis- 
erable objects that I liave to deal with ? Who 
>>ball make the heart of stone to relent, Zech, 
xi. 1^, or the lifeless carcass to feel and move? 
That God that is able of atones to raise up 
children unto Abraham, Matt. iii. 9, that rais- 
^eth the dead, S Cor. i. 9, and melteth the 
mountains, Nah. i. ^, and strikes water out 
of the flints, Deut. viii. 15, that loves to work 
like himself, beyond the hopes and belief of 
man ; and pcopleth his church with dry bones, 
and plauteth his orchard with dry sticks ; he 
is able to do t\m. Therefore I bow my knee 

ISO The Miseries of the Unconverted. 

to the most liigh God, Eph. iii. 14, and fi« 
our Saviour prayed at the sepulchre of Laza- 
rus, John xi. 38, 41, and the Shunaramite ran 
to the man of God, for her dead child, 2 
Kings iv. 25, so doth your mourning minis- 
ter kneel about your graves, and carry you in 
the arms of prayer to that God in whom your 
help i« found, 

£0 thou all-powerful Jehovah, that w^ork- 
cst, and none can let thee ; that hast the keys 
of hell, and. of death ; pity thou the dead 
souls that lie here entombed, and roll away 
the grave-stone, and say, as to Lazarus, 
when already stinking. Come forth. Light- 
en thou this darkness, O inaccessible light, 
and let the day-spring from on high visit tlie 
darksome region of the dead, to w horn 1 speak : 
for thou canst open the eyes that death itself 
hath closed : thou that formedst the ear. canst 
restore the hearing : say thou to these ears, 
JEjjhjjhatha^ and they shall be opened. Give 
thou eyes to see thine excellencies, a taste 
that may relish thy sv/eetness, a scent that may 
savour thine ointments, a feeling that may 
gense the privilege of thy favour, the burden 
of thy wrath^ the intolerable weight of unpar- 
doned sin ; and give thy servants command to 
prophesy to the dry bones, and let the effects 
of this prophecy be, as of thy prophet, ;^en 
he prophesied the valley of dry bones itm a 
living^rmy, exceeding great, Ezek x:jg^vii. 
1, &c. The hand of the Lord teas ujwnme^ 
and carried me out in the Spirit of the Lordy 
and set me down in the mid&t of the valley 
which ivas full of bo7ie9. He said unto me^ 

The Miseries of the Unconverted. 121 

Prophesy upon these bones^and say unto theni^ 
O ye dry bones^ hear the icord of the Lord, 
Thus saith the Lord God unto these bonesy 
Behold^ I will cause breath to enter into you^ 
and ye shall live. J.nd I will lay sineics upon 
youy and will brin^ 2ip flesh upon yoUy and 
cover you with sMn, and put breath in you ; 
and ye shall live^ and ye shall know that lam 
the Lord. So I pro2)hesied as I was com- 
manded : and as I projihesied there was a 
aoise^ and behold a shakings and the bones 
came, togeth&r bone to his bone, tlnd ichen I 
heheldy lo^ the sinews and the flesh came up 
upon them^ and the skin covered them above : 
but there was no breath in them. Then said 
he unto me^ Prophesy unto the wind^ prophe- 
sy^ son of man^ and say to the wind^ Thus 
saith the Lord God, Come from the four 
%vindsy bream, and breathe upon these slain, 
that they may live. So I prophesied as he 
commanded me, and the breath came into them, 
and they lived and stood up upon their feet, 
an exceeding great army.'] 

But I must proceed^ as I am able^ to un- 
fold that misery^ which I confess^ no tongue 
can unfold^ no heart can sufficiently compre- 
hend. Know, therefore^ that while thou art 

L Tlie infinite God is en^m^ed against 

It is no small part of thy misery, that thou 
art ivithout God, Eph. ii. IS. How doth Mi- 
cah run crying after the Danites, You have 
taken away my gods, and what have I more ? 
Judges xviii. 23, 21. Oh- what a mourning; 

122 The Miseries of ike Unconverted. 

then must thou lift up, that art without God, 
that canst hiy no claim to him, without daring 
usurpation ! Thou mayst say of God, as She. 
ba of David, We^ have no 2^(trt in JDavid^ nei-- 
ihcr have we inheritance in the son of Jesse^ 
S Sam. XX. 1. How pitiful and piercing a 
moan is that of Saul, in his extremity ? The 
Philistines are upon me, and God is departed 
from me^ 1 Sam. xxviii. 15. Sinners, But 
7chat ivill ye do in the darj of your visitation ? 
whither trill you flee for help ? where tcill 
you leave your glory ? 'isa. x. 3. What will 
you do when the Philistines are upon you ; 
when the w orld shall take its eternal leave of 
you ; when you must bid your friends, houses, 
lands, farewell for evermore ? What w^ill you 
do then, I say, that have never a God to go 
to ? Will you call on him rlijjiV'ill you cry to 
him for help ? Alas ! he will not own you, 
Prov. i. S8, 29. He will not take any knowl- 
edge of you, but will send you packing with 
an I never knew yon^ Matt. vii. 23. They 
that knoAv what it is to have a God to go to, 
a God to live upon, they know a little what a 
fearful misery it is to be without God. This 
made that holy man cry out. Let me have a 
God or nothing. Let 7ne know him^ and his 
icill^ and what icill please him^ and how I may 
come to enjoy him; or Avould I had never 
had an understanding to know any things &c. 
But thou art noi only without God, but God 
is against thee, Kzek. v. 8, 9, Nah. ii. 13. — 
Oh, if God would but stand a neuter, though 
he did not own nor help the poor sinner, his 
case were not so deeply miserable. Though 

The Miseries of the Unconverted. 133 

Ood shoiiUl give up the poor creature to the 
will of all his enemies, to do the worst with 
him ; though lie should deliver him over to 
thetorraents; Matt, xviii. 31, that devils should 
tear and torture him to their utmost power and 
skill, yet this were not half so fearful. Bat 
God will set himself against the sijiner ; and 
ifelieve it, 'Tis a fearful thing to fall into the 
hands of the living God^ Heb. x. 31. 'Ciiere 
is no friend like him, no enemy like him. A.3 
much as heaven is above the earth, omiilpo- 
tency above impotency, infinity above nullity ; 
so much more horrible is it to fall into tiie 
hands of the living God^ than into the paws 
of b«ars or lions, yea^ furies or devils. God 
himself will be thy tormentor, thy destruction 
shall come from the presence of the Lord, 2 
Thess. i. 9. [Tojjhet is deep and larger, and 
the breath of tWVLord, like a stream of brim 
stone f doth kindle it^ Isa. xxx, 33. If Go^l be 
against thee, who sliall be for thee ? If one 
man sin against another, the judge shall)' lulge 
him : but if a man sin against the Lorcl^ ivho 
shall intreat for him ? 1 Ham. ii. 2Ci. Thou^ 
even thou, art to be feared ; and loho shall 
stand in thy sight, lohen once thou art an^- 
grij? Ps. Ixxvi. 7. Who is that God, that 
shall deliver you out of his hands ? Dan. iii. 
15. Can Mammon ? riches profit mf in the 
day of icraih, Prov. xi. 4. Can kings or war- 
riors ? no, they shall cry to the mountains and 
rocJcstofall on us, and hide us from the face 
of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the 
wrath of the Lamb : For the great day of his 

iSi The Miseries of the Unconverted. 

rrath is come^ and tvho shall be able to stand P 
iiev. vi. 15, 16,17.] 

Sinntr, methinks this should go like a dag- 
jzv to thine heart, to know that God is thine 
enem^;. Oh, whither wilt thou go ? Where 
v/iU ihou sheller thee? There is no hope for 
thee, unless thou lay down thy weapon, and 
sue out thy pardon, and get Christ to staurf 
thy frltnd, and make thy peace. If it were 
iiv)t for thi*:, thou mightest go into some howl- 
iug wiklerness, and there pine in sorrow, and 
ru.R mra! fhr anguish of heart, and horrible 

esipair. But in Christ there is a possibility 
of mevcy for thee, yea, a proffer of mercy to 
thee ; that thou niayst have God to be more' 
for thee, than he is now against thee. But if 
Uiou wilt not forsake thy sins, nor turn thor- 
(Highly, anil to purpose, untoXlod, by a sound 
conversion, the wrath of GocMBideth on thee, 
and he proclaims himself to be against thee, 
t^ ill the prophet, Ezek. v. 8, Therefore^ 
thus saith the Lord Gody Behold J, even 1, 
am against thee. 

1. His face is against thee, Ps, xxxiv, 16. 
The face of the Lord is against them that do 
e^viij to cut o^* the remembrance of them. — 
Wo unto them whom God shall set his face 
against^ When he did but look upon the 
hoit of tlie Egyptians, how terrible was the 
consequence ! Ezek. xiv, 8. / tcill set my 
face against that man, and will make him a 
sign, lind jjroverb, and icill cut him off from 
the midst of my peojde, and you shall Icnoir 
that I am the I^ord. 2. His heart is against 
thee : He hateth all the workers of iniquity. 

Tke Miseries of the Unconverted. 125 

Man, dotli not thine heart tremble to think of 
thy being an object of GocFs hatred ? Jer. xv. 
1. Though Moses and Samuel stood before 
me^ yet my mind could not he towards this 
people : cast them out of my sight ^ Zech. xi. 
8. My soul loatheth them^ and their souls 
alsa abhorred me. S. His hand is against 
thee, 1 Sam. xri. i% io. All his attributes 
are against thee : 

First, His justice is like a flaming sword 
unsheathed against Viw.e. If I ichet my glit- 
tering sicord, and my hand take hold on judg- 
ment^ Twill render vengeance to mine ad- 
versariesy and ivill retvard them thai hate me. 
Iicill make mine arrows drunk ivitli blooi^ 
&c. Deut. xxxii. 41, 43. So exact is justice, 
that it will by no means clear the guilty, Ex. 
xxxiv. 7- &od will not discharge thee, he 
will not hold thee guiltless, Ex. xx. 7^ l>ut 
will require the whole debt in person of thee, 
unless thou canst make a scripture-claim to 
Christ, and his satisfaction. When the en- 
lightened sinner looks on justice, and sees the 
balance in which he must be w eighed, and the 
sword by which he must be executed, he feels 
an earthquake in his breast : but satan keeps 
this out of sight, and persuades the soul, while 
he can, that the Lord is all made up of mer- 
cy, and so lulls it asleep in sin. Divine jus- 
tice is very strict ; it must have satisfaction 
to the utmost farthing ; it denounceth indig- 
nation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, to 
every soul that doth evil, Rom. ii. 8, 9. ll 
curseth every one that continueth not in every 
thing that is written in the law to do it, G'al. 

T '*> 

126 The Miseries of the Unconverted, 

iii. 10. The justice of God to the unpardoii.- 
ed ginnen that hath a sense of his misery, i& 
more terrible than the sight of the bailiff or 
creditor to the bankrupt debtor, or than the 
sight of the judge and bench to the robber, or 
of the irons and gibbet to the guilty murderer. 
When justice sits upon life and tleath, Oh, 
what dreadful work doth it make with the 
wretched sinner I Bind him hand and foot^ 
cast him into utter darkness ; there shall he 
iveejnng and gnashing of teeth. Matt, xxii. 
13. Depart from me^ ye cursed^ into ever- 
lasting Jire^ Matt. xxv. 41. This is the ter- 
rible sentence that justice pronouneeth. Why, 
feinrier, by this severe justice must thou be 
tried; and, as God liveth, this killing sentence 
sl]alt thou hear, unless thou repent, and be 

Secondly, The holiness of God is full of 

antij7athy against thee^ Ps. v. % 5. He is 

not only angry with thee, (so he may be with 

is owii children) but he hath a fixed, rooted, 

(labitual displeasure against thee ; he loathes 

ihee, Zech. xi. 8, and what is done by thee, 

iiough for substance commanded by him, Isa« 

i. 11, Mai. i. 10. As if a mam should give 

iiis servant never so good meat to dress ; ^^etf. 

ii he should mingle filth or poison with it, he 

would not touch it. God's nature is infinitely 

contrary to sin, and so he cannot but hate a 

inner out of Clirist* 

Oh, wliat a misery is this, to be out of the 
favour, yea, under the hatred of God ! Eccl. 
V. -!, Hos. )x. 15. That God who can as ea- 
sily hy aside his nature; and cense to be God^v 

3r/i« Miseries of the Unconmrted. 127 

as not be contrary to thee^ and detest thee^ 
except thou be changed and renewed by 
grace. O sinner^ how darest thou to think of 
the bright and radiant sun of purity, upon the 
beauties, the glory of holiness that is in God ! 
The stars are not pure in his sights Job xxv. 
5. He humbleth himself to behold things that 
are done in heaven, Ps. cxiii. 6. O those 
light and sparkling eyes of his ! what do they 
espy in thee ! And thou hast no interest in 
Christ neither, that he should plead for thee, 
Methinks I should hear thee crying out, as- 
tonished, with the Bethshemites, Who shall 
stand before this holy Lord God P 1 Sam. viv 

Thirdly, 2Tie power of God is mounted like 
a mighty cannon against thee. The glory of 
God*s power is to be displayed, in the won- 
derful confusion and destruction of them that 
obey not the gospel, 3 TUess. i. 8, 9. He 
will make his power known in them, liom. 
ix. S3. How mightily he can torment them ! 
For this end he raiseth them w^^that he might 
make his power known^ Kom. ix. 17. O man^, 
art thou able to make thy party good with thy 
Maker ? No more than a silly reed against 
the cedars of God, or a little cock-boat agaipst 
the tumbling ocean, or the childrens bubbles 
against the blustering winds. 

Sinner, the power of God^s anger is against 
thee, Ps. xc. 11, and power and anger to- 
gether makft fearful work. ^Twere better 
thou hadst all the world in arms against thee, 
than to have the power of God against thee. 
There is bo escaping his hai\ds, no breaking 

128 The Miseries of the Unconverted. 

his prison. ^' The thunder of his power who 
can understand ?^^ Job xxvi. 14. Unhappy 
»ian, that shall understand it by feeling it ! 
^^If he will contend with Jiim^ he cannot an- 
swer liim one of a thousand. He is wise in 
heart; and mighty in strength : who hath har- 
dened himself against him and prospered ? 
which removeth the mountains, and they know 
it not: which overturneth them in his anger* 
Wliich shaketh the earth out of her plaee^r 
and the pillars thereof tremble. Which com- 
mandeth the sun, and it riseth not : and seal- 
eth up tlie stars. Eehold, lie taketh away, 
who can hinder him? who will say unto him. 
What dost thou ? If God will not withdraw 
his anger, the proud helpers da stoop under 
him.^^ Job ix. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 12, 18. And art 
thou a fit match for such an antagonist ? '^ Oh, 
consider this, you that forget God, lest he 
tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliv- 
er you.*^ Ps. 1. S3. Submit to mercy. Let 
not dust and stubble stand it out against the 
Almighty. Set not briars and thorns against 
him in battle, lest he go through them, and 
consume them together ; but lay hold on his 
strength^ that you may make peace icith him^ 
Isa. xxvii. 4, 5. Wo to him that striveth 
itnth his Makery Isa. xlv. 9. 

Fourthly, The wisdom of God is set to ru- 
in thee. He hath ordained his arrows, and 
prepared the instruments of death, and made 
all things ready, Ps. vii. 12, 13. His coun- 
sels are against thee, to contrive thy destruc- 
tion, Jer. xviii. ll. He laughs in himself, to 
see how thou wilt be taken and ensnared in 

TJie Miseries of the Unconverted. 129 

tlie evil day^ Vs. xxxvii. 13. TJie Lord shall 
lau^h at him^ for he seeth that his day is 
coining. He sees how thou wilt come down 
mightily in a moment ; how thou wilt wring 
thine liands, and tear thine hair^ and eat thy 
flesh, and gnash thy teeth for anguish and as- 
tonishment of hearty when thou seest thou art 
fallen remediles&ly into the pit of destruction. 
Fifthly^ The truth of God is sworn against 
tliecj Ps. xcv. 11. If he he true and faithful^ 
thou must perish;, if thou goest on, Luke xiiit 
3. Unless he be false of his word, thou must 
die, except thou repent, Ezek. xxxiii. 11, If 
we believe not^ yet he abidetli faithful^ he can- 
not deny himself 2 Tim. ii. 18, that is, he i« 
faithful to his threatning3 as w ell as promises, 
and will shew his faithfulness in our confu- 
sion, if WQ believe not. God hath told thee, 
as plain as it can be spoken. That if he wash 
thee not, thou hast no part in him, John xiii. 
8. That if thou livest after the flesh thou 
shalt die, Rom. viii. 13. That except thou 
be converted, thou shalt in no wise enter into 
the kingdom of heaven, Matt, xviii. 3. And 
he abideth faithful, he cannot deny himself. 
Beloved, as the immutable faithfulness of 
God in his promise and oath, aiford believers 
strong consolation, Heb. vi. 18, so they are 
to unbelievers, for strong consternation and 
confusion. O sinner, tell me, what shift dost 
thou make to think of all the threatnings of 
God's word, that stand upon record against 
thee ? Dost thou believe their truth, or not ? 
If not, thou art a wretched infidel, and not a 
Christian, and therefore give over the name 

130 The Miseries of the Unconverted. 

and hopes of a (jliristian. But if thou dost 
believe tliem^ O heart of steel that thouhast^ 
that canst walk up and down in quiet^ when 
the truth and faithjiilfiess of God is engaged 
to destroy thee 1 Tli^t if God Almighty can 
do it^ thou shalt surely perish and be damned. 
Why, man, the whole book of God doth tes- 
tify against thee, wliile thouremainest unsanc- 
tified : it condemns thee in every leaf, and is 
to thee, like EzekiePs roll, written within and 
without, with lamentation, and mourning, and 
wo, Ezek. ii. 10. And all this shall surely 
come upon thee, and overtake thee, I)eut. 
xxviii. 15j except thou repent. Heaven and 
earth shall pass away, but one jot or tittle of 
this word shall never pass away, Matt. v. 18. 

Now put all this together, and tell me if 
the case of the unconverted be not deplorably 
miserable ? As we read of some persons, that 
had bound themselves in an oath, and in a 
curse, to kill Paul ; so thou must know, O 
sinner, to thy terror, that all the attributes of 
the infinite God are bound in an oath to des- 
troy thee, Heb. iii. 2&. O man ! what wilt 
thou do ? Whither wilt thou fly ? If God's 
omnisciency can find thee, thou shalt not es- 
cape : if the true aiiid faithful God will save 
his oath, perish thou must, except thou believe 
and ropent : if tlie Almighty hath power to 
torment thee, thou shalt be perfectly misera- 
ble in soul and body to all eternity, unless it 
be prevented by thy speedy conversion. 

II. The whole creation of God is against 
thee. The whole creation (saith Paul) groan- 
eth and travailcth in pain, llom. viii. 22. Hut 

The Miserks of the Unconve7*ted. 131 

what is it that the creation groaneth under? 
Why^ the fearful abuse that it is subject to, 
in serving the lusts of unsanctified men. And 
wliat is it that the creation groaneth for ? — 
Why^ for freedom and liberty from this abuse : 
for the creature is very unwillingly subject to 
this bondage, Rom. viii. 19, SO, 2i. If the 
unreasonable and inanimate creatures had 
speech and reason, they would cry out under 
it, as bondage insufferable, to be abused by 
the ungodly, contrary to their natures, and 
the ends that the great Creator made them 
for. It is a passage of an eminent divine, 
^^ The liquor that the drunkard drinketh, if 
it had reason as well as a man to know how 
shamefully it is abused and spoiled, it would 
groan in tTie~1&arrels against him, it would 
groan in tJie cup against liim, groan in his 
throat, in his belly, against him ; it would fly 
in his face, if it could speak. And if God 
should open the mouths of the creatures, as 
he did the mouth of Balaam's ass, the proud 
man's garments on his back would groan 
against him. There is never a creature, but 
if it had reason to know^ how it is abused, till a 
man be converted, it would groan against him ; 
the landwould groan to bear him, the air would 
groan to give him breathing, their houses 
would groan to lodge them, their beds w^ould 
groan to ease tliem, their food to nourish them, 
their clothes to cover them, and the creature 
would groan to give them any help and com- 
fort, so long as they live in sin against God.'^ 
Thus far lie. Methinks this should be a ter- 
ror to an unconverted «oul, to think that he is 

13S The Miseries of the UncoMerted. 

a burden to the creation, Luke xiii' 7. Cut it 
doicn^ wliy cumbereth it the ground ? If the 
poor inanimate creatures cou]d but speak, they 
would say to the ungodly, as Moses to Israel, 
Must we fetch you water out of the rock, ye 
rebels ? Num. xx. 10. " Thy food would 
say, Lord, must I nourish such a wretch as 
this, and yield forth my strengtli for him to 
dishonour thee withal ? No, I will choke him 
rather, if thou wilt give me commission. The 
very air would say, Lord, must I give this 
man breath, to set his tongue against heaven, 
and scorn thy people, and vent his pride, and 
wrath, and filthy communication, and belch 
out oaths and blasphemy against thee ? No, 
if thou but say the word, he shall be breath- 
less for me. His poor beast would say, Lord, 
must I carry him upon his wicked designs ? 
No, I will break his bones, I will end his days 
rather,if I may have but leave from thee."* A 
wicked man, the earth groans under him, and 
hell groans for him, till death satisfies both, and 
unburdens the earth, and stops the mouth of 
hell with him. While the Lord of liosts is 
against thee, be sure the hosts of the Lord are 
against thee, and all the creatures (as it were) 
up in arms, till upon a man\s conversion, the 
controversy being taken up between God and 
bim, lie makes a covenant of peace with the 
creatures for him, Job v. 32, 23, 24, Hos. 
ii. 18, 19, 20. 

III. The roaring How hath his full power 
upon thee, 1 Pet. v. 8. Thou art fast in the 
paw of that lion, that is greedy to devour: 
In the snare of the devil^ led captive by him 

The Miseries of the Unconverted. 133 

«* his wilL 2 Tim. iL 26, this is the spirit 
that ivorketh in the children of disobedience ^ 
Eph. ii, g. His drudges they are, and his 
lusts they Ao. He is the ruler of the darkness 
of this worlds Eph. vi, 12, that is, of ignorant 
sinners that live in darkness. You pity the 
poor Indians^ that worship the devil for their 
God, but little think that 'tis your own case. 
Why ^tis tl^e common misery of all the un- 
sanctified, that the devil is their God. 2 Cor. 
iv. % not that they do intend to do him horn- 
age and worship ; they will be ready to defy 
Iiim, and him that should say so by them ; but 
all this while they serve him, and come and 
go at his beck, and live under his government : 
His servants ije are^ to whom ye yield your- 
selves servants to obey. Rom. vi. 16. Oh^ 
how many then will be found the real servants 
of the devil, that take themselves for no other 
than the children of God ! he can no sooner 
offer a sinful delight, or opportunity for your 
unlawful advantage, but you embrace it. If 
he suggest a lie, or prompt you to revenge, 
you readily obey : if he forbid you to read or 
pray you hearken to him and therefore liis ser- 
vants you are. Indeed he lies behind the 
curtain, he acts in the dark, and sinners see 
Bot who setteth them on work ; but all the 
while he leads them in a string. Doubtless 
the liar intends not a service to Saian, but his 
' own advantage ; yet 'tis he that stands in the 
corner unobserved, and puiteih the thing into 
his heart, Acts v. 2, John viii. 44. Question. 
\fd%Hy Judas when he sold his IVfaster for money, 
and the Chaldeans --^nd Sabeans^ when they 

434 The Miseries of the Unconveii;€d. 

plundered Joh^ intended not to do the devil a 
pleasure, but to satisfy their own covetous 
thirst; yet 'twas he that actuated them in 
their wickedness, John xiii. 27. Job i. 13, 
15, 17. Men may be very slaves, and com- 
inon drudges for the devil, and never know 
it ; nay, they may please themselves in the 
thoughts of a happy liberty, 2 Peter ii. 19. 

Art thou yet in ignorance, and not turned 
from darkness to light? why, thou art under 
the power of Satan, Acts xxvi. 18. Dost 
thou live in the ordinary and wilful practice 
of any known sin ? knoW that thou art of the 
devil, 1 John rii. 8. Dost thou live in strife 
or envy, or malice ? verily he is thy father, 
John viii. 40, 41. O dreadful case ! howev- 
er Satan may provide his slaves with divers 
pleasures. Tit, iii. .3, yet it is but to roll them 
into endless perdition. The serpent comes 
with the apple in his mouth, Oh, but (with 
Eve J thou seest not the deadly sting in his 
tail. He that is now the tempter, will be one 
day thy tormenter. Oh, that I could but 
give thee to see how black a master thou 
servest, how filthy a drudgery thou dost, how 
merciless a tyrant thou gratifiest ! all whose 
pleasure is, to set thee on work to make thy 
perdition and damnation sure, and to heat th^ 
fsrnace hotter and hotter, in which thou must 
burn for millions of millions of ages. 

IV. The guilt of thy sins lies like a 
mountain upon thee. Poor soul ! thou feel- 
est it not, but this is that which seals thy mis- 
ery upon thee. While unconverted, none of 
thy sins are blotted out, Acts iii. 19^ they 

The Miseries of the Uncojiverted. 13S 

afe all upon the score against thee : regener- 
ation and remission are never separated ; the 
unsanctilied are unquestionably unjustified! 
and unpardoned, 1 Cor. vi. 11. i Peter, i, S. 
Heb. ix. 14. Beloved, ^tis a fearful thing to 
be in debt, but above all in God^s debt ; for 
there is no arrest so formidable as his, no 
prison so horrible as his. Look upon an en^ 
lightened sinner, who feels the weight of his 
own guilt : Oh, how friglitful are his looks, 
how fearful are his complaints ! his comfort;^ 
are turned into wormwood, ami his moisture 
into drought, and his sleep departed from his 
eyes. He is a terror to himself, and all that 
are about him ; and is ready to envy the very 
stones that lie in the street, because they are 
senseless, and feel not his misery ; and wish- 
ed he had been a dog, or a toad, or a serpent, 
rather than a n>an, because then death had 
put an end to his misery, whereas now it will 
be but the beginning of that which will know 
HO ending. 

How light soever you may make of it now, 
you will one day find the guilt of unpardoned 
sin to be a heavy burden. This is a mill- 
stone that whosoever falleth upon it, shall b© 
broken ; but upon whomsoever it shall fall, it 
will grind him to powder, Matth. xxi. 44?* 
What work did it make with our Saviour? 
it pressed the very blood (to a wonder) out 
of his, veins, and broke ail his bones. And 
if it did thus in the green tree, what will 
it do in the dry ? 

Oh ! think of thy case in time. Canst 
thou tbink of that threat without tremblings, 

136 The Miseries of the Unconverted. ' 

Ye shall die in your sins P John viii. 24^ 
Oh ! better were it for thee to die in a gaol, 
die in a ditch, in a dungeon, than die in thy 
sins. If death, as ii will take away all tliy 
other comforts, would take away thy sins too, 
it were some mitigation ; but thy sins will 
follow thee, when thy friends leave thee, and 
all worldly enjoyments shake hands with 
thee : thy sins will not die with thee, 2 Cor. 
w 10. Rev. XX. 13, as a prisoner's other debts 
will ; but they will to judgment with thee, 
there to be thine accusers : and they will to 
hell with thee, there to be thy tornienters. 
Better to have so many fiends and furies a- 
bout thee, than thy sins to fall upon thee, and 
fasten in thee. Oh the work that these will 
make thee ! Oh, look over thy debts in time ! 
how much art thou in the books of every one 
of God's laws ? how is every one of God'« 
eommandments ready to arrest thee, and take 
thee by the throat, for innumerable bonds it 
hath upon thee ? what wilt thou do then,^ 
when they shall altogether lay in against 
thee? Hold open the eyes of conscience to 
consider this, that thou mdyst despair of thy- 
self, and be driven to Christ, and fly for 
refuge, to lay bold upon the hope that is set 
before thee. Heb. vi. l8. 

V. Thy raging lusts do miserably en- 
slave thee. While unconverted, thou art a 
very servant to sin, it reigns over thee, and 
holds thee under its dominion, till thou art 
brought within the bonds of God's covenant, 
John viii. 34, 36. Tit. iii. 3. Rom. vi. i2, 1*. 
Rom, vi, 16, 17. Now there's ao such ty 

The Miseries of the Unconverted. 137 

rant as sin : the filthy and fearful work 
that it doth engage it^s servants in ! Would 
it not pierce a man's heart to see a company 
of poor creatures drudging and toiling, and 
all to carry together faggots and fuel for their 
own burning? why, this is the employment 
of sin's drudges : even while they bless them- 
selves in their unrighteous gains, w^hile they 
swing and swill in pleasures, they are but 
tiTasuring up wrath and vengeance for their 
eternal burnings ; they are but laying in pow^- 
der al^d bullets, and adding to the pile of 
Tophety and flinging in oil to make the flame 
rage the fiercer. Who would serv^e such a 
master, whose v/ork is drudgery, and whose 
wages is death, Rom. vi. S3. 

What a woful spectacle was that poor 
wretch possessed with the legion ? would it 
not have pitied thine heart to have seen him 
among the tombs, cutting and wounding of 
himself ? Mark v. 5; This is thy case, 
such is thy work, every stroke is a thrust at 
thine heart* 1 Tim. vi. 10. Conscience i« 
now asleep : but when death and judgment 
shall bring thee to thy senses, then wilt thou 
leel the raging smart and anguish of every 
wound. The convinced sinner is a sensible 
instance of the miserable bondage of sin : 
conscience flies upon him, and tells him what 
the end of these things will be : and yet 
such a slave is he to his lust, that on he must 
though he see it will be his endless perdi- 
tion : and when the temptation comes, lust 
gets the *tt in his mouth, breaks all the 

M S 

1S8 The Miseries of the Uficonverted'. 

eords of his vow s and promises^ and carries 
liim headlong to his own destruction. 

VI. 2'he furnace of eternal vengeance is 
heated reaclij for thee, Isaiah xxx. 33. Hell 
and destruction open their mouths upon thee, 
they gape for thee^ they groan for tht^e, Isaiah 
V. 14. waiting (as it were) with a greedy eye,^ 
as thou standest upon the brink^ wlien thou 
wilt drop in. If tlie wrath of ip.an be as the 
roaring of a lion^ Prov. xx. 3. more heavy 
than sand^ Prov. xxvii. 3. what is the w^rath 
of the infinite God ? If the burning furnace 
hcited in Tsehuchadnezzar's fiery rage, when 
he commanded it to be made yet seven times 
hotter, was so fierce as to burn up even those 
that drew^ near it to tiwow the three children 
in, Dan. iii» 19, 2^. how hot is that burnins^ 
oven of the Almighty's fury ? Mai. iv. 1. 
Surely this is seventy times seven more fierce. 
TV hat thinkest thou, O man, of being a fag- 
got in hell to all eternity ! Can thine heart 
endure^ or can thine hand be strong in the 
i^tij that I shall deal icith thee P saith the 
Lord of hostSj Ezek. xxii. 14. Canst thou 
dwell w ith everlasting burnings ? Canst thou 
abide the consuming fire ? Lsaiah xxxiii. ^, 
When thou shalt be as a glowing iron in hell, 
and thy whole body and soul shall be as per- 
fectly possessed by God's burning vengeance, 
as the fiery sparkling iron when heated, or in 
the fiercest forge ? Thou canst notbear God's 
whip, how then wilt thou endure his scorpion? 
thou art even crushed, and ready to wish thy- 
self dead under t^e w eight of his finger ; how 
then wilt thou bear the weight of his loins ? 

The Miseries of the Unconverted. 180; 

The most patient man that ever was, did curse 
the day that ever he was born, Job. iii. 1. 
and even wish death to come and end his mis- 
cry, Job. vii, 15, 16. when God did but let 
out one little drop of his wrath : how then wilt 
thou endure, when God shall pour out all 
his vials, and set himself against thee, ta^ 
torment thee ? when he shall make thy con- 
science the tunnel, by which he will be pour-, 
ing his burning wrath into thy soul far ever B 
and when he shall fill all thy powers as full 
of torment, as they be now full of sin ? when 
immortality shall be thy misery ; and to die 
the death of a brute, and be swallowed inte 
the gulph of annihilation, shall be such a fe- 
licity, as the whole eternity of wishes, and 
an ocean of tears shall never purchase ? Now 
thou canst pat ojff the evil day, and canst laugh 
and be merry^ and forget the terror of the 
Lord, 2 Cor. v. 11. but how wilt thou hold 
out, or hold up^ when God will cast thee in- 
to a bed of torments, Rev. ii. SI. and make 
thee to lie down in sorrows? Isai. 1. 11. when* 
roarings and blasphemy shall be thine only 
music ; and the wine of the wrath of God^,^ 
which is poured out without mixture, into 
the cup of his indignation, shall be thine only 
drink? Rev. xiv. 10. when thou shalt draw 
in flames for thy breath, and the horrid stench 
©f sulphur shall be thy only perfume ? in a 
word, when the smoke of thy torment shall 
ascend for ever and ever, and thou shalt have 
no rest night nor day ; no rest in thy con-^ 
science, no ease in thy bones, but thou shalt 
be an execration^ and an astonishment^ and 

140 The Miseries of the Unconverted. 

a curse, aad a reproach for ever more ! Jer. 
xlii. 18. 

O sinner ! stop here, and consider : if thou 
art a man, and not a senseless block, con- 
sider : bethink thyself where thou standest, 
why, upon the very brink of this furnace. 
As the Lordliveth, and tJiy sottl liveth, there 
is but a step between thee and this, 1 Sam. 
XX. 3. Thou knowest not when thou liesf 
down, but thou mayest be in before the morn- 
ing ; thou knowest not when thou risest, but 
thou mayest drop in before the night. Dar^ 
est thou make light of this ? wilt thou go on 
in such a dreadful condition, as if nothing 
ailed thee ? If thou puttest it off, and sayest, 
this doth not belong to thee ; look again over 
the foregoing chapter, and tell me the truth ; 
are none of these black marks found upon 
thee ? Do not blind thine eyes, do not deceiver 
thyself; see thy misery, while thou mayest 
prevent it : think what it is to be a vile cast- 
out, a damned reprobate, a vessel of wrath^ 
into which the Lord w ill be pouring out his^ 
tormenting fury while be hath a being, Kom^ 
ix. 32. 

Divine wrath is a fierce^ Dent, xxxii. 22;. 
devouring, Isa. xxxiii. 14. everlasting, Math. 
XXV. 41. unquenchable fire. Math. iii. IS. 
and thy soul and body must be the fuel upon 
which it will be feeding for ever, unless thou 
consider thy ways, -and speedily turn to the 
Lord by sound conversion. They that have 
been only singed by this fire, and had no mora 
but the smell thereof passing upon them, Oh, 
what amazing spectacles have they been ! 

The Miseries of the Unconverted 14i 

Whose heart would not have melted to have 
heard Sjjira^s outcvies? to have seen Chaloiu 
e]\ that monument of justice, worn to skin 
and bones, blasplieming the God of heaven^ 
cursing himself, and continually crying out, 

torture^ torture^ torture ! O torture^ tor^ 
ture ! as if the flames of wrath had already 
took hold on liim ? To have heard Rogers 
crying out, I have had a little j^leasiirey hut 
now Imiist to hell for evermore ; wishing but 
for this mitigation, that fxod would but let 
him lie burning for ever behind the back of 
that fire (on the earth) and bringing in this 
sad conclusion still, at the end of whatsoev- 
er was spoken to him to afford him some hope^ 

1 must to hell^ 1 must to the furnace of hell, 
for millions of millions of ages P Oh ! if 

the fears and forethought of the wratb to come 
be so terrible, so intolerable, what is the feel- 
ing of it ? 

Sinner, ^tis but in vain to flatter you, this- 
would be but to toll you into the unquencha- 
ble fire ; know ye from the living God, that here 
you must lie, with these burnings you must 
dwell, till immortality die, and immutability 
change ; till eternity run out, and Omnipo- 
teney is not longer able to torment, except 
you be in good earnest renewed throughout 
by sanctifying grace. 

VII. The law discharges all its threats 
and curses at thee^ Gal, iii. 10, Rom. vii. 
Oh how dreadfully doth it thunder ! It spit* 
fire and brimstone in thy face : its words are 
as drawn swords, and as the sharp arrows of 
the mighty : it demands satisfaetiou to the 

143 The Miseries of the Unconverted. 

utmost^ and crieS;, Justice, justice : it speaks 
blood and war^ and wounds and death against 
thee. the execration, and plagues, and 
deaths that this munlering piece is loaded 
with] (read Dent, xxviii. 15, 10. &^c.) and 
thou art the mark at which this shot is level* 
led. O man 1 away to the strong hold, Zech. 
ix, 12. Away from thy sins, haste to the 
sanctuary, to the city of refuge, Heb. xiii* 
13. even the Lord Jesus Christ : hide thee 
in him, or else thou art lost, without any 
hoi>e of recovery. 

VIIL The gospel itself hindeth the sen^ 
fence of eternal damnation upon thee^ Mark 
xvi. 16. If thou continuest in thine impeni- 
tent and unconverted state, know that the 
gospel denounceth a much sorer condemna- 
tion, than ever would have been for the trans- 
gression only of the first covenant. Is it not 
a dreadful case to have the gospel itself fill 
its mouth with threats, and thunder, and dam- 
nation ? to have the Lord to roar froui mount 
Sio7i against thee? Joel iii. 16. Hear the 
terror of the Lord, He that believeth not shall 
he damned. Except ye repent^ ye shall all 
perish^ Luke xiii. 3. This isihe condem- 
nation^ that light is come into the worldy and 
men love darkness rather than Kght^ John 
iii. 19. He that believeth not^ the tcrath of 
God abideth on him^ John iii. 36. If the 
word spoken by angels teas steadfast^ and 
every transgression and disobedience receiv- 
ed a just recompence of reward^ how shall 
we escape if we neglect so great salvation P 
Heb. ii, 3. 3. He that despised Moses^ law ^ 

The Miseries of the Unconverted 143 

died ivithout mercij : of hotv much sorer pun- 
ishment shall he be thought worthij^ that hath 
trampled tinder foot the Son of God f Heb. 

Application. And is this true indeed ? Is 
this thy misery ? Yea, ^tis as true as God is. 
Better open thine eyes, and see it now, while 
thou mayest remedy it, than blind and har- 
den thyself, till, to thine eternal sorrow, thou 
shalt feel what thou wouldst not believe : and 
if it Be true, what dost thou mean to loiter 
and linger in such a case as this ? 

Alas for thee, poor man ! how effectually 
hath sin undone thee, and deprived and des- 
poiled thee, even of thy reason, to look after 
thine own everlasting good ? O miserable cai- 
tiff ! what stupidity and senselessness hath 
surprised thee ! Oh ! let me knock up, and 
awake this sleeper. Who dwells within the 
walls of this flesh ? Is there ever a soul here^ 
a rational understanding soul ? Or art thou on- 
ly a walking ghost, a senseless lump ? Art 
thou a reasonable soul, and yet so far bruti- 
fied, as to forget thyself immortal, and to 
thick thyself to he as the beasts that perish ? 
Art thou turned into flesh, tliat thou savourest 
liothing but gratifying the sense, and making 
provision for the flesh ? Or else, having rea- 
son to understand the eternity of thy future 
estate, dost thou yet make light of being ev- 
erlastingly miserable ? Which is to be so much 
below a brute, as it is worse to act against 
reason, than to act without it. O unhappy 
soul, that wast the glory of man, the mate 
of angels, and the image of God ! that wast 

t44 The Miseries of the Unconvertei. 

God's representative in the world, and liadsfc 
the supremacy amongst the creatures, and the 
dominion over thy Maker's works ! art thou 
now become a slave to sense, a slave to so 
base an idol as thy belly ; for no higher feli- 
city than to fill the^ with the wind of man's 
applause, or heaping together a little refined 
earth, no more suitable to thy spiritual, im- 
mortal nature, than the dirt and sticks ? Oh I 
why dost thou not bethink thee where thoii 
shaltbe for ever? Death is at hand, the judge 
is even at the door, James v. Q* Yet a little 
\fhile, and time shall he no longer^ Rev. x. 
5. 6. And wilt thou run the hazard «f con- 
tinuing in such a state, in which if thou be 
overtaken, th(m art irrecoverably miserable. 

Come then, arise, and attend thy nearest 
concernments. Tell me^ whither art thou go- 
ing ? What ! wilt thou live in vsuch a course, 
w herein every act is a step to perdition ; and 
thou dost not know but the next night thou 
gayest make thy bed in hell ? Oh ! if thou 
hast a spark of reason, consider, and turn, 
and barken to thy very friend, who would 
therefore shew thee thy present misery, that 
thou mightst in time make thine escape, and 
be eternally happy. 

Hear what the Lord saith, Fewr ye not me ? 
eaith the Lord: will ye not tremble at my 
presence ? Jer. v. %%. O signers, do ye 
make light oj the wrath to come ? Matth. iii. 
7. 1 am sure there is a time coming when 
ye will not make light of it Why, the ve- 
ry ievils do believe and tremble^ James ii. 19. 
What ! you more hardened than they ? Will 

The Miseries of the Unconverted. iW 

you run upon the edge of the rock ? Avill you 
play at the hole of the asp ? will you pwt your 
hand upon the cokatrice^s den ? will you 
dance about the fire till you are burnt? or dal- 
ly with devouring wrath, as if you were at a 
point of indifferency whether you did escape 
it or endure it ? O madness of folly ? Solo- 
mon\s madman, that casteth fire-brands, and 
arrows, and death, and saith, Am not I in 
jest? Prov. xxi. 18. is nothing so distracted 
as the wilful sinner, Luke xv. 17» that goetli 
on in his unconverted estate, without sense, 
as if nothing ailed him. The man that runs 
on the cannon^s mouth, that sports with his 
blood, or lets out his life in a frolic, is sensi- 
ble, sober, and serious, to him that goeth on 
still in his trespasses, Psal. Ixviii. §1. For 
he stretcheth out his hand against God^ and 
strengtheneth himself against the Minightij, 
He runneth upon him^ even on his neck^ up- 
on the thick tosses of his bucklers^ Job. xv, 
25, 26. Is it wisdom to dally with the sec- 
ond death, or to venture into the lake that 
burneth with fire and brimstone. Rev. xxi. 
8. as if thou wert but going to wash thee, or 
swim for thy recreation ? Wilt thou, as it 
were, fetch thy vieze, and jump into eternal 
flames, as the children through the bonfire ? 
Wliat shall I say ? I can find out no expres- 
sion, no comparison, whereby to set forth the 
dreadful distractien of that soul that shall go 
on in sin. 

Awake^ awake, Eph. v. 14^. sinner ! 
arise and take thy flight : there is but one door 
that thou mayst fly by, and that is the strait door 


liG The Miseries of the Unconverted. 

of conversion and (lie new birth. Unlesa 
thou turn unfeignedly from all thy sins, and 
come into Jesus Christ, and take him for the 
Lord thy righteousness, and walk in him in 
holiness, and newne^ of life ; as the Lord 
liveth, it is not more certain that thou art now 
out of hell, than that thou shalt without fail 
be in it but a few days and nights from hence. 
Oh ! set thine heart to think of thy case. li 
not thine everlasting misery or welfare that 
which doth deserve a little consideration ? 
Look again over the miseries of the uncon- 
verted : if the Lord hath not spoken by me, 
regard me not ; but if it be the very word of 
God, that all this misery lies upon thee, what 
a case art thou in ! Is it for one that hath his 
senses to live in such a condition, and not to 
make all possible expedition for preventing 
his utter ruin ? O man ! w ho hath bewitched 
thee ? Gal. iii. 1. that in the matters of this 
present life thou shouldst be wise enough to 
forecast thy business, foresee thy danger, and 
prevent thy mischief ; but in matters of ever- 
lasting consequence shouldst be sliglit and 
careless, as if they little concerned thee ? 
Why, is it nothing to thee to have all th« at- 
tributes of God engaged against thee ? Canst 
thou do well without his favour ? Canst thou 
escape his hands, or pndure his vengeance ? 
Dost thou hear the creation groaning under 
thee, and hell groaning for thee, and yet 
think thy case good enough ? Art thou in the 
paw of the lion, under the power of corrup- 
tion, in the dark and noisome prison, fettered 
with thy lustS; working out thine own dam* 

The Mi-series of the Unconverted. 147 

aation ; aud is not this worth the considering ? 
Wilt thou make light of all the terrors of the 
law^ of all its curses and thunderbolts, as if 
they were but the report of the children's pop- 
guns, or thou wert to war with their paper 
pellets ? Dost thou laugh at hell and des- 
truclion ? Or canst thou drink the envenomed 
cup of the Almighty's fury, as if it were but 
a common potion ? 

Gird up now thy loins like a man, for I 
will demand of thee, and answer thou me, 
Job xl. 7- -Art thon such a Leviathan as that 
the scales of thy pride should keep thee from^ 
thy Maker's coming at thee ? Wilt thou esteem 
his arrows as straw, and the instruments of 
death as rotten wood ? Art thou chief of all 
the children of pride, even that thou shouldst 
count his darts as stubble, and laugh at the 
shaking of his spear ? Art thou made with- 
out fear, and contemai^st his barbed irons ? 
Job xli. Art thou like the horse that paweth 
in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength, 
who goeth out to meet the armed men ? .Dos 
thou mock at fear, and art not affrighted, nei- 
ther turnest back from God's sword, when 
his quiver rattleth against thee, the glittering 
spear and the shield ? Job xxxix. 21, 33, SS. 
Well, if the threats and calls of the word 
will not fear thee nor awaken thee, I am sure 
death and judgment will. Oh, what wilt 
thou* do when the Lord cometh forth against 
thee, and in his fury falleth upon thee, and 
thou shalt feel what thou readest ! If when 
DanieVs enemies were east into the den of 
Mens, both they, and their wives and their 

148 Tlie Miseries of the Unconverted. 

, children^ the lions had the mastery of them, 
and brake all their bones in pieces^ ere ever 
they came at the bottom of the den, Dan. vi. 
S4, what shall be done with thee^ w^hen thoti 
fallest into the hands of the living God? Wheff 
he shall grip thee in his iron arms, and grind 
and crush thee to a thousand pieces in his 
wrath ? 

Oh, do not then contend with God ? repent 
and be converted, so none of this shall com« 
upon tliee, Isa. Iv. 6, 7. Seek ye the LotS 
tvhile he may he found^ call ye upon Mtf^ 
ivhile he is near. Let the teicked forsake Ms- 
way^ and the unrighteous man his thoughts / 
and let him return unto the Lord^ and he wiW 
have mercy upon him^ and to our God^ for' 
he will abundantly pardon. 


co*:rAmmG directions fou coi^viERi^'io^. 

Mark x. I7. •indthere came one^ and kneel- 
ed to him, and asked him. Good master, 
what shall I do that I may inherit eternal 

BEFORE thou readest these direciioni^, I 
advise thee, yea, I charge thee, before God 
and his holy angels, to resolve to follow them 
(as far as conscience will be convinced of 
their agreeableness to God's word, and thy 
estate) and call in his assistance and blessing 

Direetions for Conversion. 44?9 

that they may succeed. And as I hare sought 
the Lord, and consulted his oracles, what 
advice to give thee, so must thou entertain it 
with that awe, reverence, and purpose of o- 
bedience, that the word of the living God 
doth require. 

Now then attend; set thine heart unto all 
fhat 1 shall testify unto thee in this day ; for 
it is not a vain things it is your life, Deut. 
xxxii. 46, 47- This is the end of all that 
hath been spoken hitherto, to bring you to 
set upon turning, and making use of God';? 
means for your conversion. I would not 
trouble you, nor torment you before the time, 
with the forethoughts of your eternal misery,, 
but in order to your making your escape. 
Were you shut up under your present misery, 
without remedy, it were but mercy (as one 
speaks) to let you alone, that you might take 
in that little poor comfort that you are capable 
of here in this world : but you may yet be 
happy, if you do not wilfully refuse the means 
of your recovery.^ Behold I hold open tha 
door unto you ; arise, take your flight : I set 
the w^ay of life before you ; walk in it, and 
you shall live and not die, Deut. xxx. 19. 
Jer. ix. 16. It pitieg me to think you should 
be your own murderers, and throw your* 
selves headlong, when God and men cry out 
to you, as Peter, in another case, f o his mas- 
ter, spare thyself A noble virgin that attend- 
ed the court of Spain, was wickedly rav- 
ished by the king; and hereupon exciting the 
duke her father to revenge, he called in the 
Moors to his help^ who, when they had ^^'^^ 

150 Directions for Conversion. 

ciited his design^ miserably wasted and spoil- 
ed the eouiiliy ; Avhieli Ihis virgin laying so 
exceedingly to hearty eliut herself up in a 
tower belonging to her father's honse^ and 
desired her father and mother might be call- 
ed forth ; and bewailing to them her own 
wretchedness, that she should have occasion- 
ed so much misery and desolation to her coun* 
try for the satisfying of her revenge, she told 
them she w as resolved to be avenged upon 
herself. Her ftither and mother besought her 
to pity herself and them, but nothing could 
prevail, but she took her leave of them, and 
threw herself off the battlements, and so 
perished before their faces. 

Just thus is the wilful destruction of ungod- 
ly men. The God that made them, beseech- 
elh them, and crieth out to them, as Paul to 
the distracted jailor, when about to murder 
himself, Do thyself no harm. The ministers 
of Clirist forewarn them, and follow them, 
and fain would have them back ; bnt alas ! 
no expostulations, nor obtestations will pre- 
vail, but men will hurl themselves into perdi- 
lion^ w hile pity itself looketh on. 

What shall I say ? Would it not grieve a 
jierson of any humanity, if in the time of a 
reigning plague, he should have a receipt 
(as one well said) that would infallibly cure 
all the country, and recover the most hope- 
less patients, and yet his friends and neigh* 
hours should die by the hundreds about him, 
because they would not use it? Men and 
brethren, tho' you carry tiie certain symploraa 
i>fv^eath in your laceS; yet I have a receipt 

Directions for Conversion. 151 

that will cure you all^ that will cure infalli- 
bly ; follow but these few directions, aud if 
you do not then win heaven, I will be con- 
tent to lose it. 

Hear then, sinner ! and as ever thou 
Wouldst be converted and saved, embrace thi» 
following counsel. 

Direct. I. Set it down with thyself ^ as an 
undoubted triithj that it is imj^ossiblefor thee 
ever to get to heaven in this thy unconveried 
state. Can any other but Christ save thee ? 
And he tells thee, he will never do it, except 
thou be regenerated, and converted, Matth* 
xviii. 3. John iii. 8, doth he not keep the 
keys of heaven, and canst thou get in with- 
out his leave ; as thou must, if ever thou com- 
est thither in thy natural condition, without a 
sound and thorough renovation ? 

Direct. IL Labour to get a thorough sights 
and lively sense and feeling of thy sins. Till 
men are weary and heavy laden, and pricked 
at the heart, and stark sick of sin, they will 
not come unto Christ, in his way, for ease 
and cure ; nor to pui'pose enquire. What 
shall we do ? Matth. xi. 28. Acts. ii. 37 
Matth. ix. 13. They must set themselves 
down for dead men, before they will come 
unto Christ, that they may have life, John v. 
40. Labour therefore to set all thy sins in or- 
der before thee ; never be afraid to look upoE 
them, but let thy spirit make diligent search, 
Psal. Ixxvii. 6. enquire into thine heart, and 
into thy life ; enter into a thorough examina- 
tion of thyself and of all thyHvays, Psal. 
exix. 59. that thou juayest make a full digi- 

159 Directions for Conversion. 

covery : and call in the help of GotVs Spirit, 
in the sense of tliine own inability hereunto, 
for it is proper work to convince of sin, John 
xvi. 8. spread all before the face of thy con- 
science, till thine heart and eyes be set a- 
broach. Leave not striving with God, and 
tliine own soul, till it cry out under the sense 
of thy sins, as the enlightened jailor. What 
must Ida to be saved f Acts xvi. 30, To thi» 
purpose ; 

Jileditate of the numerousness of thy stJis. 

David^s heart failed when he thought of this, 

and considered that he had more sins than 

hairs, Psal. xl. IS. This made him cry out 

upon the multitude of God's tender mercies, 

Psal. li. 1. The loathsome carcass doth not 

more hatefully swarm with crawling Avorms, 

than an unsanctified soul with filthy lusts ; 

they fill the head, the heart, the eyes and 

mouth of him. Look backward : where wa» 

ever the place, what was ever the time, in 

which thou didst not sin ? Look inward : 

what part or power canst thou find in soul or 

body, but it is poisoned with sin ? What du*. 

ty dost thou ever perform, into which poison^ 

is not shed ? Oh, how great is the sum of 

thy debt«, who hast been all thy life long 

running upon the books, and never didst, nor 

canst pay ofi* one penny ! Look over the sin 

of thy nature, and all its cursed brood, the 

sins of thy life : call to mind thy omissions^ 

commissions, the sins of thy thoughts, of thy 

words, of thine actions, the sins^of thy youth, 

the sins of thy years, &c. Be not like a 

desperate bankrupt, that is afraid to look oyer 

DiTectioiw for Conversion. 15^ 


,liis books. Head the records of conscience 
carefully. These books must be opened soon- 
er or later, Rev. xx. 12. 

Meditate npon the aggravations of thy sinsy 
as tliey are the graiM enemies against th& 
God of thy life J against the life of thy soul. , 
In a itordy they are the publie enemies of alt 
mankijid. How do JDavid^ Hzrm^ Daniel^ 
and the good LeviteSy aggravate their sinsy 
from the consideration of their injuriousnesd 
to God^ their opposition to his good and right- 
eous laws, the mercies^ the warnings that 
they were committed against, Neh. ix. Dan. 
hi. Ezra ix. O the work that sin hath mad^ 
in the world. This is the enemy that hath 
brought in death, that hath robbed and en- 
slaved man, that blacked the devil, that hatb 
digged hell, Rom. v. 12. 2 Peter ii. 4. John 
viii* 84. This is the enemy that hath turned' 
the creation upside down, and sown dissen^ 
tioii between man and the creatures, between 
man and man ; yea, between man and bimselfy 
setting the sensitive part against the rational,^ 
the will against the judgment, lust against 
conscience ; yea, worst of all^ between God 
arid man, making the lapsed dinner both hate- 
ful to God, and the hater of him, Zech. xi. 
8. Oman! how canst thou make so light of 
sin ? This is the traitor that sucked the^ 
blood of the Son of God, that sold him, that 
mocked him, that scourged him, that spit in 
his face, that digged his hands, that pier<ied- 
his side, that pressed his soul, that mangled 
hi^' body, that never left, till \n had bound 
him, condemned him, nailed him, crucifiotl 

iS4^ ' D^irections for Conversion. 

iim. and put him to open shame^ Isai. liii, 
4^ 5, 6. This is that deadly poison, so pow- 
erful of operation, as that one drop of it shed 
upon the root of mankind, liath corrupted, 
spoiled, and poisoned, and undone his w hoW 
race at once, Rom. v. 18, 19. This is the^ 
common butcher, the bloody executioner, that 
hath killed the prophets,- burnt the martyrs, 
murdered all the apostks, all the patriarchs, 
all tlie kings and potentates, that hath de- 
stroyed cities, swallowed empires, butchered 
and devoured whole nations. Whateve? was 
the Aveapon that ^twas done by^ sin was it that 
did execution, Rom. vi. 23. Dost thou yet 
think it but a small thing? If Mam and all 
his children could be digged out of their 
graves, and their bodies piled up to li«eaven, 
and an inquest were made, what matchless 
murderer were guilty of all this blood ; it 
would be all found in the skirts of sin. Study 
the nature of sin, till thy heart be brought to^ 
fear and loathe it. And meditate on the ag- 
gravations of thy particular sin, how thou* 
hast sinned against all God's warnings, a- 
gainst thine own praycrs> against mercies, a- 
gainst corrections, against clearest light, a- 
gainst freest love, against thine own resolu- 
tions, against promises, vows, covenants of 
better obedience, &c. Charge thine heart 
home with these things, till it Mush for shame*, 
and be brought out of all geod opinion of it- 
ielf. Ezra ix. 6. 

Meditate upon tlie desert of sin. It crieih 
up to heaven, it calls for vengeance , Gen. 
xviii. SI, its due wages is death and damBa- 

Directions for Conversion. 15S 

tion : it pulls the curse of God upon the soul 
and body, Gal. iii. 10. Deut. xxviii. Th« 
least sinful word or thought lays thee under 
the infinite wrath of God Almighty, Rora. ii. 
'S^ 9. Matth, xii. 36. Oh, what a load of 
wrath, wh^t a Aveight of curses, what treas- 
ure of vengeance have all the millions of thy 
sins then deserved? Rom. ii, 5. John iii. 
86. Oh, judge thyself, that the Lord may 
not judge thee, 1 Cor. xi. 31. 

Meditate upon the deformity and defile* 
ment of sin. ^Tis as black as hell, the very 
image and likeness of the devil drawn upon 
the soul, 1 John iii. 8, 10. It would more 
affright thee to see thyself in the hateful de- 
formity of thy nature, than to see the devil. 
There is no mire so unclean, no vomit so 
loathsome, no carcass ot carrion so offensive, 
no plague or leprosy so noisome as sin, in 
which thou art all enrolled, and covered with 
its odious filth, whereby thou art rendred 
more displeasing to the pure and holy nature 
of the glorious God, than the most filthy ob- 
ject, composed of whatever is hateful to all 
thy senses, can be to thee, Job xv. 15, 16. 
Couldst thou take up a toad into thy bosom ? 
Couldst thou cherish it, and take delight in it ? 
Why, thou art as contrary to the pure and 
perfect holiness of the divine nature^ and as 
loathsome as that is to thee, Mattb. iii. 33. 
till thou art purified by the blood of Jesus, 
and the power of renewing grace. 

Move all other sins^ fix the eye of consid- 

. eration on these two, (1.) The sin of thy na^ 

ture^ 'Tis to little purpose to lop the branch- 

456 Directions for Cortversion. 

es, while the root of original corriiption re- 
mains untouched. In vain do men leave oul 
the streams, when the fountain is runnings 
that fills up all again. Let the ax of tliy re- 
pentance (with David^s) go to the root of sin, 
JPgal. li. 5. Study how deep/ how clos^, how 
permanentis thy natural pollution, how univer- 
sal it is^ till thou do cry out, with Fi^uVs feel- 
ing, upon thy body of death, Rom* vii. S*. 
Look into thy parts and powers, and see what 
unclean vessels, what styes, what dunghills, 
what sinks they are beaome. Hen miser^ 
quid sum P Vas sterquilinii^ concha putre- 
dinis : plenus foetore ^horrore, August, So- 
lil. c. 2. The heart is never soundly brok- 
en, till throughly convinced of the heinous- 
ness of original sin. Here fix thy thoughts. 
This is that, which makes thee backward to 
all good, prone to all evil, Horn. vii. 15. 
that sheds blindness, pride, prejudice, unbe- 
lief, into thy mind ; enmity, unconstancy, 
obstinacy, into thy will ; inordinate heats and 
colds, into thy afleetions : insensibleness, 
benumbedness, unfaithfulness, into thy con- 
science ; slipperiness, into thy memory : 
and, ia a word, hath but every wheel of thy 
soul out of order, and made it, of an habita- 
tion of holiness, to become a very hell of in- 
iquity, James iii. 6. This is that which hath 
defiled, corrupted, perverted all thy members, 
and turned them into weapons of unrighteous- 
ness, and servants of sin, Rom. vi. 19. that 
hath filled the head with carnal and corrupt 
designs, Mich. ii. 1. the hand with sinful 
practices, Isai. i. 15. the eyes with wander- 

Directions for Conversion. 157 

iiig and wantonness^ S Pet. ii. 14?. the tongue 
with deadly poison^ James iii. 8. that hath 
opened the ears to tales, flattery, and filtliy 
communication, and shut them against the in- 
struction of life J Zech, vii. 11, 12, and hath 
rendered thy heart a very mint and forge for 
sin, and the cursed womb of all deadly con^ 
ceptions, Matth. xv. 19. so that it poureth 
forth its wickedness without ceasing, 2 Pet. 
ii. 14. even as naturally, freely, and unwea- 
riedly, as a fountain doth pour forth its wa- 
ters, Jcr. vi. 7. or the raging sea doth cast 
forth mire and dirt, Isai. Ivii. 20* And wilt 
thou yet be in love with thyself, and tell us 
any longer of thy good heart ? Oh ! never' 
leave meditating on this desperate contagion 
of original corruption, till, witli Ephraimj 
thou bemoan thyself, Jer. xxxi. 18. and 
with deepest shame and sorrow, smite on thy 
breast, as the Publican, Luke xviii. 13. and 
with Job, abhor thyself, and repent in dust 
and ashes, Job xlii. 6, S3. {2,) The par- 
ticular evil that thou art most addicted to, 
find out all its aggravations, set home upon 
thy heart all God^s threatenings against it : 
Repentance drives before it the whole herd, 
but especially sticks the arrow in the beloved 
sin, and singles this out above the rest, to 
run it down, Psal. xviii. 2S. Oh ! labour 
to make this sin odious to thy soul, and double 
thy guards, and thy resolutions against it, 
because this hath, and doth most dishonour 
God, and endanger thee. 

Direct. III. Strive to affect thine heart 
with a deep sense of thy present misery. 

15S Directions for Conversion. 

Read over the foregoing chapter again and 
again^ and get it out of the book into thine 
heart. Remember when theu liest down, 
that for ought thou knowest, thou tnayest 
awake in flames ; and when thou risest up, 
that by the uext night thou majest make thy 
bed in fieli. Is it a just matter to live in such 
a fearful case ? To stand tottering upon the 
brink of the bottomless pit, and to live at the 
mercy of every disease, that if it will but fall 
upon thee, will send thee forthwith into the 
burningsT? Suppose thou sawest a condemn- 
ed wretch hanging over JSTehuchadnezzar^ s 
burning firery furnace, by nothing but a 
twine4hread/ whicli were ready to break 
every moment, would not tliine heart tremble 
for such an one ? Why, thou art the man : 
this is thy very case, O man, woman, that 
readest this, if thou be yet unconverted. 
What if the thread of thy life should break ? 
(why thou knowest not but it may be the next 
night, yea, the next moment) wiiere wouldst 
thou be then ? Whither wouldst thou drop ? 
Verily, upon the crack but of this thread, 
thou fallcst into the lake that burneth with 
Are and brimstone ; Avhere tliou must lie scald- 
ing and sweltering in a fiery ocean, while 
God hath a being, if thou die in thy 
present case. And doth not thy sonl tremble 
as thou readest ? Doth not thy tears bedew 
tlie paper, and thy heart thi*ob in thy bosom ? 
Dost thou not yet begin to smite on thy breast, 
and bethink thyself what need thou hast of a 
change ? Oh; what is thy heart made of ? 

Directions for Conversion. 1^9 

Hast thou not only lost all regard to God, but 
art Avithout any love and pity to thyself? 

Oh; study thy misery, tilliby heart do cry 
out for Christy as earnestly as ever a drown- 
ing man did for a boat, or th^ wounded for a 
chirurgeon. Men must come to see the dan- 
gei', and feel the smart of tUeir deadly sores 
and sickness, or else Christ will be to them a 
physician of no value, Mattli. ix. 12. Then 
the man-slayer hastens to the city of refuge, 
when pursued by the avenger of blood. Men 
must be even forced and ftred out of them- 
fielves^ or else they will not come to Christ. 
^Twas dis^tress and extremity that made the 
prodigal think of returning, Luke xv. 16, 17- 
While Laodicea thinks herself rich, incretis- 
ed in goods, in need of nothing, there is little 
hope. She must be deeply convinced of her 
w^retchedness, blindness, poverty, naked &e3S, 
before she will come to Chri&t for g^ld, rai- 
ment, eye-salve, llev. iii. 17, IS. therefore 
hold the eyes of conscience open, amplify thy 
misery as much as possibk^ donotiiy the sight 
of it, for fear it should All thee with terror. 
The sense of thy misery is but (as it were) the 
suppuration of the wound, which is necessary 
to the cure. Better fear the torments that a- 
Wde thee now, than feel them hereafter. 

Direct. IV. Settle it upon thy hearty that 
thou art under everlasting inahilitij ever tare . 
eover thyself, Kever think thy praying, /cad. 
ing, hearing, confessing, amending will do 
tiie cure. These must be attended, but thou 
art undone if thou restest in them, Rom. x. 
3. Thou art a lo^t man, if thou hopest to es- 

160 Directions for Conversion. 

cape drowning upon any other plank, but Je- 
sus Christ, Acts iv. IS. Thou must unlearn 
thyself, and renounce thine own wisdom, 
thine own rigliteousness, thine ow n strength, 
and throw thyself wholly upon Christ, as a 
man that swimmeth casteth himself upon the 
water, or else thou canst not escape. AVIiile 
men trust in themselves, and establish their 
own righteousness, and have confidence in 
the flesh, they will not come savingly ta 
Christ, Luke xviii. 9. Philip, iii. 3, Thou 
must know^ thy gain to be but loss and dung, 
thy strength but weakness, thy righteousness 
rags and rottenness, before there will be an 
effectual closure between Christ and thee, 
Philip, iii. 7? H? 9. S Cor. iii. 5. Isa. Ixiv, 
6. Can the lifeless carcass shake off its 
grave-clothes, and loose the bands of death ? 
Then mayest thou recover thyself, who are 
dead in trespasses and sins, and under an 
impossibility of serving thy Maker (acceptably) 
in this conditioFi, Rom. viii. 8. Heb. xi. 6. 
Therefore, when thou goest to pray, or med- 
itate, or to do any of the duties to w hich thou 
art here directed, go out of thyself, call in 
the help of the Spirit, as despairing to do 
any thing pleasing to God in thine own 
strength: yet neglect not thy duty, but lie at 
the poolj and w ait in the way of the Spirit. 
While the Eunuch was reading, then the 
Holy Ghost sent Philip to him, Acts viii. 28, 
29. when the disciples were praying, Acts iv. 
31. when Cornelius and his friends weie hear^ 
ing. Acts X. 44. then the Holy Ghost fell 
upon them and filled them all. Strive to 

Directions for Conversion. 16 i 

give up thyself to Christ, strive tapray^ strive 
to meclitate, strive au hundred? and an hun- 
dred time9r> try to do it as well as thou canst ; 
and while thou art endeavouring in the way 
of thy duty, the Spirit of the Lord will come 
upon thee^ and help thee to do what of thy- 
self thou art utterly unable unto, Prov. i. 2 L 

Directs V. Forthwith reno^uncB all thy 
sins. If thou yie^ld thyself, to the contrary 
practice of any sin, thou art undone, Rom. 
vi. 17. lu vain dost thou hope for life by 
Christy except thou depart from iniquity, 3 
Tim. ii. 19. Forsake thy sins, or else thou 
canst not find mercy, Prov. xxviii. 13. Thou 
canst not be married to Christ except divorc- 
ed from sin. Give up the traitor, or you can 
have no peace with heaven. Cast the head 
erf Sheba over tire wall : keep not Dalilali 
in thy lap.. Thou must part with thy sins, 
or w ith thy soul : spare but one sin, and God 
will not spare thee^ Never make excuscj^, 
thy sins must die, or thou must die for them, 
Psal. Ixviii. SI. If thou allow of one sin, 
tho' but a little, a secret one,^ tho^ thou mayst 
plead necessity, and have a hundred shifts 
and excuses for it, the life of thy soul must 
go for the life of that &in, Ezek. xviii. 3i. 
And will it not be dearly bought ? 

O sinner! hear and consider. If tliou wilt 
part with thy sins, God will give thee his 
Christ. Is not this a fair exchange ? I tes^ 
tify unto thee this day, that if thou perish, it 
is not because there was never a Saviour pro- 
vided, nor life tendered, but because thoa 
preferredst (with the Jews) the murderer be- 

iG2 Directions for Conversion. 

fore tliy Saviour, sin before Christ, and lov- 
tdst darkness rather than light, John iii. 10. 
Hearch thy heart therefore with candles, as 
the Jews did their houses for leaven before 
the passover : labour to find out thy sins, en- 
ter into tliy closet and consider, what evil 
have I lived in ? What duty have I neglect- 
ed towards God ? What sin have I lived in 
against my brother ? And now strike the 
dart thro' the heart of thy sins, as Joab did 
thro' Absalom's, 2 Sam. xviii. 14. JSever 
stand looking upon thy sin, nor rolling the 
morsel under thy tongue, Job xx. 11. but 
^pit it out as poison, with fear and detesta- 
tion. Alas ! what will thy sins do for thee, 
that thou shouldst stick at parting with them ? 
They will flatter thee, but they Mill undo 
thee ; and cut thy throat, while they smile 
upon thee ; and poison thee, while they please 
thee ; and arm the justice and wrath of the 
infinite God against thee. They will open 
hell for thee, and pile up fuel to burn thee. 
Behold the gibbet that they have prepared 
for thee. Oh ! serve them like Haman, and 
do upon them the execution they would else 
have done upon thee. Away w ith them, cru- 
cify them, and let Christ only be Lord over 

Direct, VI. Make a solemn cJwice of God 
for thy portion and blessedness^ Deut. xxvi. 
With all ])ossible devotion and veneration 
avouch the Lord for thy God. Set the world, 
with all its glory, and paint, and gallantry, 
with all its pleasures and promotions, on the 
cue band ; and set God; w ith all his infiuite 

Sireelions for Conversion. 16J 

excellencies and perfections, on the other, 
and see that thou do deliberately make thy 
choice, Josh. xxiv. 15. Take up thy rest 
in God, John vi, 6S. Set thee down under 
his shadow, Cant. ii. 8. Let his promises 
and perfections turn the scale against all the 
world. Settle it upon thy heart, that the 
Lord is an all-suifieient portion, that thou 
canst not he miserable while thou hast a God 
to live upon : take him for thy shield, and 
exceeding great reward. God alone is more 
than all the world ; content thyself with him : 
let others carry the preferments and glory of 
the world, place thou thy happiness in his 
favour, and the light of his countenance^ 
Psal. iv. 6, 7. 

Poor sinner ! thou art fallen ojff from God, 
and hast engaged his power and wrath against 
thee : yet know, that of his abundant grace, 
he doth offer to be thy God again in Christ, 
2 Cor, vi, 17? 18. What sayest thou, man? 
Wilt thou have the Lord for thy God ? Why, 
take this counsel and thou shalt have him, 
come to him by his Christ, John xiv. 6. Re- 
nounce the idols of thine own pleasures, gain, 
reputation, 1 Thess. i. 9. Let these be pull- 
ed out of the throne, and set God^s interest 
uppermost in thine heart : take liini as God, 
to be chief in thine affections, estimations, 
intentions ; for he will not endure to have any 
set above him, Ilom. i. 24. Psal. Ixxxiii. 
S5. In a word thou must take him in all his 
personal relations, and in all his essential 

First ^ III all his personal relations. God 

164 Directions for Conversion. 

tibe Fatlier must betaken for thy Father, Jer: 
iii. 4> 19? 3^. Oh! come to him with the 
prodigal^ ^^ Father, I have sinn^id against 
ht^aven, and in tliy sight, and am not worthy 
to be called thy Son ; but since of thy won- 
dtirful mercy, thou art pleased to take me, 
that am of myself a dog, a swine, a devil, 
to be thy child, I solemnly take thee for my 
Father, commend myself to thy care, and 
tnist to thy providence, and cast my burden 
on thy shoulders. 1 depend on thy provision, 
and submit to thy corrections) and trust un- 
der the shadow of thy wings, and hide in* 
thy chambers, and fly to thy name. I re- 
nounce all confidence in myself, I repose my 
confidence in thee, I depose my concernments 
with thee : I will be for thee, and for no 
other.'' Again, God the Son must be taken 
for thy Suviour, for thy Redeemer, and 
righteousness, John i. 12. He must be ac*- 
acpted as the only way to the Father, and the 
only means of life> Heb. vii, 25^ 0-h then,^ 
put off the raiment of thy captivity, on with 
the wedding garment, and go and marry thy- 
self to JtBus Christ. '^ Lord I am thine, and 
all that I have, my body, my soul, my name, 
my estate. I send a bill ef divorce to my 
other lovers, I give my heart to thee, I will 
be thiae uadividedly, thine everlastingly, I 
w ill set thy name o» all 1 have, and use ii 
only as thy goods, as thy loan during, thy 
leave, resigning all to thee. 1 will have no 
king but thee, reign thou over me : other 
Lords have had dominion over me, but now 
I will make mention of thy name only ; and 

Directions for Conversion. 165 

do here take an oath of fealty to thee^ prom- 
ising and vowing, to serve^ and love, and 
fear thee, above all corapetitions. I disavow 
mine own righteousness, and despair of ever 
being pardoned and saved for mine own du- 
ties, or graces, and lean only on thine all- 
suiiicient sacrifice and intercession, for par- 
don, and life, and acceptance before God, 
I take thee for mine only guide and instructor, 
resolving to be led and directed by thee, and 
to wait for thy counsel, and that thine shall 
be the casting voice with rae,^^ Lastly^ God 
the Spirit must be taken for thy Sanctifier^ 
Ilom. viii. 9, 11. Gal. v* l6, 18. for thine 
advocate, thy counsellor, thy comforter, the 
teacher of thine ignorance, the pledge and 
earnest of thine inheritance, Rom. viii. 36, 
Psal. Ixxiii. S4. John xiv, 26. Eph. iv. 30. 
Awake thou north wind^ and come thott 
forthj and blow upon my garden^ (Jant. iv, 
16. ^^Corae, thou Spirit of the Most High^ 
here is a house for thee, here is a temple for 
thee : here do thou rest forever; dwell here, 
and rest here : lo, I give up the possession to 
thee, full possession. I send thee the keyg 
of my heart, that all may be for thy use, that 
thou mayst put thy goods, thy grace into thy 
every room. I give up the use of all to thee, 
that every faculty, and every member may 
be thine instrument to work righteousness, 
and do the will of my Father which is in 

Secondly. In all his essential perfections^. 
Consider how the Lord hath revealed him- 
self to you in his word : will you take him 

166 Directions for Conversion, 

as such a God? sinaer ! here is the bless.- 
edest news that ever came to the sons of men : 
the Lord will be thy Grod, Gen. xvii. 7. llev. 
xxi. 3, if thou w^iU but close with him in his 
excellencies. Wilt thou have the merciful, 
the gracious, the sin-pardoning God to be thy 
God? Oh, yes, (saitb the sinner) I am un- 
done else. But he further tells thee, I am 
the holy and sin^iating God : if thou wilt be 
owned as one of my i>eo^le, thou Biust be ho- 
ly, 1 Pet. i. 16. holy in heart, holy in life. 
Thou must put away all thine iniquities, be 
they never so near, never so natural, never 
so necessary to the maintaining thy fleshly 
interest. Unless thou wilt be at distance 
^Tith sin, I cannot be thy God. Cast out the 
leaven, put ^way the evil ef thy doings, 
cease to do evjl, learurto do well, or else I 
can have nothing to do with thee, Isa. i. 16, 
17? 18. Bring forth mine enemies, or there 
is no peace to be had with me. What doth 
thine heart answer? ^^Lord, I desire to 
have thee as such a God : I desire to be ho- 
ly as thou art lioly, to be made partaker of 
thy holiness. I love thee, not only for thy 
goodness and mercy, hut for thy holiness and 
purity. I take thy holiness for my happiness : 
Oh ! be to me a fountain orf holiness, set on 
lae the stamp and impress of thy holiness ; 
I will thankfully part with all my sins at thy 
eommand : my w ilful sins I do forthwith for- 
sake ; and for my infirmities that I cannot 
get rid of tho' I would, I will strive against 
them in the use of means. I detest them, and 
will pray and war against them, and uevep 

Directions for Conversion. 167 

let them have quiet rest in my soul.'^ Belov- 
ed, ^vhosoever of you will thus aecept of the 
Lord for his God, h^ shall have him. 

Again, he tells you, I am the all-sufficient 
God, Gen. xvii. i. Will you lay all at my 
feet, and give it up to my dispose, and take 
m€ for yoiir only jjortion ? Will you own and 
honour mine all-sufiiciency ? Will you take 
me as your happiness and treasure, your 
hope and bliss? 1 am a sun and a shield, all 
in one : will youliave me for your all ? Gen. 
XV. 1. Psal. Ixxxiv. 11. Now, what dost 
Ihou say to this ? Doth thy mouth water af- 
ter the onions and flesh-pots of Egypt? Art 
thou loth io exchange tlie earthly happiness, 
for a part in God ? And tho' tliou Avouldst be 
gh\d to have God and the worM too, yet canst 
thou not tliink of having him, and nothing 
but him, but hadst rather take up with the 
earth below, if God would but let thee keep 
it as long as thou wouldst ? This is a fearful 
sign, ^t now if thou art willing to sell all 
for the pearl of great price, Matth. xiii. 46. 
^f thine heart answers, ^^Lord, I desire no 
other portion but thee. Take the corn, and 
the wine, and the oil, whoso will, so I may 
have the light of thy countenance. I pitch 
'Upon thee for my happiness, 1 gladly venture 
myself on thee, and trust myself with thee. 
I set my hopes in thee, I lake up my rest 
with thee. Let me hear thee say, I am thy 
Grod, thy salvation, and I have enough, all 
I wish for. J will make no terms with thee, 
but for thyself : let me be but have thee sure, 
let me be able to make my claim, and see 

168 Bireciions for Conversion. 

my title to thyself, and for other things I 
leave them to thee ; give me more or less, 
any thing, or nothing, 1 will be satisfied iu 
my God :'^ Take him thus and heis thine 

Again, he fells yoa, I am the sovereign 
Lord. If you will have me for your God, 
you must give me the supremacy, Matth. vi, 
SJ*. I will not be an underling ; you must 
not make me a second to sin, or any worldly 
interest. If you will be my people, I must 
have the rule ov,er you ; you must not live at 
your own list. Will you come under my 
yoke? AViil youJbowto my government; will 
you submit to my discipline, to my word, to 
my rod ? Sinner, what sayest thou to this ? 
" Lord, I had rather be at thy command, 
than live at mine cw^n list : I had rather have 
thy will to be done than mine : I approve of, 
and consent to, thy laws, and account it my 
privilege to lie uuder them. And tho' the 
flesh rebel, and often break over bounds, I 
am resolved to take uo other Lord but thee. 
I willingly take the oath x)f thy supremacy, 
and acknowledge thee for my Liege Sovereign ; 
and resolve all my days to pay the tribute of 
w orship, obedience, and love and service to 
thee, and to live to thee, as the end of my 
life.^^ This is a right accepting of God, 

To be short, he tells you, I am the true 
and faithful God : if you will have me for 
your God, you must be content to trust me, S 
Tim. i. 12. Prov. iii. 5. Will you venture 
yourselves upon my w ord, and depend en my 
failhfulnesfi; and take my bond for your secu^ 

Directmis for Conversion. 169 

rity ? Will you be content to follow me, in 
poverty, and reproach, and affliction here, 
and to see much going out, and little coming 
in, and to tarry till the next world for pre- 
ferment? Matth. ix. SI. I deal much upon 
trust : will you be content to labour, and suf- 
fer, and to tarry for your returns till the res- 
urrection of the just ? Luke xiv. 14. The 
womb of the promise will not presently bring 
forth : will you have the patience to wait ? 
Heb. X. 36. Now, beloved, what say you 
to this ? Will you have this God for your 
God ? Will you be content to live by faith, 
and trust him for an unseen happiness, an 
unseen heaven, an unseen glory ? Do your 
hearts answer, ^^Lord, we will venture our- 
selves upon thee, we commit ourselves tc 
thee, we roll upon thee, we know wliom we 
have trusted, we are willing to take thy word, 
^ve will prefer thy promises before our own 
possessions, and the hopes of heaven before 
all the enjoyments of the earth, we will waiis 
thy leisure : what thou wilt here, so that we 
may have but thy faithful promisiB for heaven 
hereafter ?^^ If you can in truth, and upon 
deliberation, thus accept of God, he will be 
yours. Thus there must be, in a right con- 
version to God, a closing with him suitable 
to his excellences. But when men close with 
liis mercy, but yet love sin, haling holiness 
and purity ; or wiW take him for their bene- 
factor, but not for their sovereign ; or for 
their patron, but not for their portion ; this is 
no thorough nor sound conversion, 

170 Directions for Conversion. 

Direct VII. Accept of the Lord Jesus in 
all his offices^ ivHh all his inconveniences^ as 
thine. X^pon these terms Christ may be had. 
Sinner^ thou Jiast undone thyself^ and art 
plunged into the ditch of most deplorable mis- 
ery^, out of which thou art never able to climb 
up : but JesuB Christ is able and ready to 
help thee, and he freely tenders himself to 
thee, Heb. vii. 25. John iii. 36. Be thy sins 
never so many, never so great, of never so 
long continuance, yet thou shalt be most cer- 
tainly pardoned and saved, if thou dost not 
^vretch^dly neglect the offer that in the name 
of God is here made unto thee. The Lord 
Jesus callcth unto thee, to look unto him and 
be saved, Isa. xlv. SS, to come unto him, and 
he will in no wise cast thee out, John vi. 37. 
Yea, he is sl suiter to thee, and beseeehetli 
thee to be reconciled, 3 Cor. v. 20. He cri- 
eth in the streets, he knocketh at thy door, he 
wooeth thee to accept of him, and live with 
him, Prov. i. 20. Kev. ii. 30. If tlioft diest, 
"lis because thou wouldst not come to him for 
life, John v. 40. Now accept of an offered 
Christ, and thou art made up for ever : now 
give up thy consent to him, and the match iaf 
made, all the world cannot hinder it. Do 
not stand off because of thine unworthiness. 
Man, I tell thee, nothing in all the world can 
iHido thee, but thine own unwillingness. — 
Speak, man ; art thou willing of the match? 
Wilt thou have Christ in all his relations to 
be thine ; thy king, thy priest, thy prophet ? 
Wilt thou have him with all his inconven- 
lencas ? T^ike not Christ hand over head, but 

Directions or Conversion. I71 

sit down first and count the cost. Wilt thou 
lay all at his feet? Wilt thou be content to 
run all hazards with him ? Wilt thou take 
thy lot with him^ fall where it will? Wilt 
thou deny thyself^ take up thy cross^ and fol- 
low him ? Art thou deliberately, understand - 
ingly, freely^ fixedly determined to cleave to 
him in all times and conditions ? If so^ my 
soul for thine, tliou shalt never perish, John 
iii. 16, but art passed from death to life. Here 
lies the main point of thy salvation, that thou 
be found in thy covenant-closure with Jesus 
Christ : and therefore, if thou love thyself, 
see that thou be faithful to God and thy soul 

Direct. VIII. Besi^n iij) all thy pozvsrs 
and faculties^ ard thy K'hde ivAevsi^t to ho 
Ms. They ^ave their own selves unto the 
Lord, 2 Cor. viii. 5. Present your bodies as 
a living sacrifice, Horn. xii. 1. The Lord 
seeks not yours, but you : resign, therefore, 
thy body, with all its members, to him ; and 
thy soul, with all its povv^ers ; that he may be 
glorified in thy body, and in thy spirit, which 
are his, S Cor. vi. 20. In a right closure 
with Christ, ail the faculties give up to him. 
The judgment subscribes, ^'^Lord, thou art 
worthy of all acceptation, chief of itw thou- 
sand, happy is the man that findeth thee. — 
AH the things that are to be desired, are not 
to be compared with thee/^ Prov. iii. 18, ii, 
15. The understanding lays Aside its coilupt 
reasonings and cavils, and its prejudices 
against Christ, and his v^^ay s. It is now past 
questioning ^ud disputing, and casts it for 

. i 7S Directions for Conversion . 

Christy against all the world. It condiideS;, 
'*tis good to be here ; and sees such a treasure 
in this field, such a^^lue in this pearl, as is 
^'orth all, Matt. xiii. 4*. '' Oh, here is the 
richest bargain that ever I made, here is the 
richest prize that ever man was offered, here 
is the sovereignest remedy that ever mercy 
prepared ; he is worthy of my esteem, wor- 
thy of my choice, worthy of my love, worthy 
to be embraced, adored, admired for ever- 
more. Key. v. IS. I approve of his articles, 
Jiis terms are righteous and reasonable, full 
of equity and mercy." Again, the will re- 
signs : it stands no longer wavering, nor 
wishing and woulding, but it is peremtorily 
determined : ^^ Lord, thy love hath overcome 
me ; thou hast won mfe, and thou shalt have 
me. Come in, Lord ; to thee I freely open : 
I consent to be saved in thine own way ; 
thou shalt have any thing, thou sli,althave all, 
let me have but thee." The memory gives 
up to Christ : '^ Lord, liei'e is a store-house 
for thee : out with this trash, lay in the treas- 
ure ; let me be a granary, a repository of thy 
truth, thy promises, thy providences." The 
conscience comes in : '^ Lord, I will ever side 
with thee, I will be thy faithful register. I 
will warn when the sinner is tempted, and 
gmite when thou art offended. I will witness 
for thee, and judge for thee, and guide into 
thy ways, and will never let'sin have quiet 
in this soul.^' The affections also come in to 
Christ : '^ Oh, saith love, I am sick of thee. 
Oh, saith desire, now I have my longing : 
here is thp satisfaction I sought for ; here is 

JB^ireetions for Conversion. lya^ 

the desire of nations ; here is bread for me, 
and balm for me, all that I want.^^ Fear 
bows the knee with awe and veneration : — 
^^ Welcome, Lord ; to thee will I pay my 
homage; thy word and thy rod shall com- 
mand my motions ; thee will I reverence and 
adore, before thee will I fall down and wor- 
sliip/^ Grief likewise puts in : ^^ Lord, thy 
tlispleasure, and thy dishonor, thy people^s 
calamities and mine own iniquities, shall be 
that which shall set me abroach : I will mourn 
when thou art oiFended, I will weep when thy 
cause is wounded/^ Aager likewise comes 
in for Christ : '^ Lord^ nothing so enrages 
me, as my folly against thee ; that I should 
be so befooled and bewitched, as to hearken 
to the flatteries of sin, and temptations of Sa- 
tan against thee/^ Hatred, too, will side 
with Christ : ^^I protest mortal enmity with 
thine enemies, that I will never be friends 
wiih thy foes j I vow an immortal quarrel 
w ith every sin, I will give no quarter, I will 
make no peace/^ Thus let all thy powers 
give up to Jesus Christ. 

Again, thou must give up thy whole inter- 
est to him : if there be any thing that thou 
keepest back from Christ, it will be thine tin- 
doing, Luke xiv. 33. Unless thou wilt for- 
sake all (in preparation and resolution of thy 
heart) thou canst not be hi& disciple. Thou 
must hate father and mother, yea, and tkine 
own life also, in comparison of him, arid as 
far as it stands in competition w ith liim, Matt, 
X. 37. Luke xiv. 26, 27^ &c. In a word, 
thou must give him tbyseif, and all tkut thai* 

474 JDireetions for Conversion. 

liast, without reservation^ or else thou canst 
have no part in him. 

Direct. IX. Make choiceof the laws of Christ 
as the rule of your words^ thoughts and ac^ 
iions^ Ps. cxix. 30. This is tlie true convert^s 
choice. But here remember these three rules, 
(1.) You must chuse them alL There is no 
coming to heaven by a partial obedience : — 
read Ps. cxix. 6, 128, 160. Ezek. xviii. 2i. 
None may think it enough to take up with 
tlie cheap and easy part of religion, and let 
alone the duties that are costly and s^lf-de- 
nying, and grate upon tlie interest of the flesh : 
you must take all or none. A sincere con- 
vert, though he makes most conscience of the 
greatest sins and weightiest duties^ yet he 
makes true conscience of little sins, and of all 
duties, Ps. cxix. 6, 113, Matt, xxiii. S3.— 
(S.) For all times : for prosperity and for ad- 
versity ; whether it rain or shine. A true 
convert is resolved in his way, he Avill stand 
to his choice, and will not set his back to the 
wind, and be of the religion of the times. I 
have stuck to thy testimonies^ I have inclined 
my heart to perform thy statutes alway^ even 
to the end. Thy testimonies have I taken a9 
an heritage for ever^ Ps. cxix. 31, 111, 117^ 
44, 93. I will have respect unto thy statutes 
continually. This must not be done hand 
over head, but deliberately and understand- 
iugly. That disobedient son said, IgOj sir ; 
hut icent not^ Matt. xxiv. 30. How fairly 
did they promise! All that the Lord our God 
shall speak unto thee 7ce will do it ; and ^tis 
like they spake as they meant: but when it 

JDirections for Conversion. 173 

came to trials it ^vas found that there was liot 
such a heart in them as to do what they had 
promised^ Deut. v. S7^ S9. If you would be 
sincere in closing with the laws and waya of 
Christy Firsts Study the meanings and taiU 
tude^ and compass of them : remember that 
they are very spiritual^ they reach the very 
thoughts and inclinations of the heart ; so 
that if you will walk by this rulC; your very 
thought* and inward motions must be uuder 
government. Again^ that they are very strict 
and self-denying, quite contrary to the grain 
of your natural inclinations^ Matt. xvi. S4.-— 
You must take the straight gate^ the narrow, 
way, and be content to have the flesh curbed 
from the liberty it desires, Matt. vii. 14. In 
a word^ that they are very large : For thy 
commandment is exceeding broad^ Vs. cxix. 
96. Secondly^ Rest not in generals^ (for 
there is much deceit in that) but bring down 
thy heart to the particular commands of 
Christ. Those Jews in the prophet seemed 
as well resolved as any in the world, and 
called God to witness that they meant as they 
said : but they stuck in generals. When 
God^s command crosseth their inclination, 
they will not ©bey, Jer. xlii. 1, S^ 3, 4, 5, 6^ 
compared with chap, xliii, ver. S. Take the 
assembly's larger catechism, and see their ex- 
cellent and most compendious exposition of 
the commandments^ and put tliy heart to it.— - 
Art thou resolved, in the strength of Christ, 
to set upon the conscientious practice of every 
duty that thou findest there to be required of 
thec; and to set against every siu that thoa 

iyd JDlreetions for Conversion. 

flndest there forbidden ? This is the way to 
be found in God's statutes, that thou raayest 
never be ashamed, P^ -cxix. 80. Thirdly^ 
Observe the special ditties that thy heart is 
most against, and the special sins that His 
most inclined unto ; and see whether it be 
truly resolved to perform the one and forego 
the other. What sayest thou to thy bosom: 
sin^ thy gainful sin? Wlmt sayest thou to 
costly, and hazardous, and flesh-displeasing 
duties? If thou haltest here, and dost not re- 
solve, by the grace of God, to cross thy flesh, 
and put to it, thou art unsound, Ps, xviii. 23^ 
and cxix. 6. 

IXirect. X. Let all this he completed in a 
sdemn covenant hetwixt God and thy soul ^ 
Ps. cxix, 106, Neh. x. §9. For thy better 
help therein take these few directions. 

Firsts Set apart some time, more than once^ 
t® be spent in secret before the Lord. 

1. In seeking earnestly his special assist- 
afice, and gracious acceptance of thee. 

2. In considering distinctly all the terms op 
conditions of the covenant, expressed in the 
form hereafter proposed. 

3. In searching thine heart, whether thou 
art sincerely willing to forsake all thy sins, 
and to resign up tliyself, body and soul, unt© 
God, and his service ; to serve him in holi- 
ness and righteousness^ all the days of thy 

Secondly y Compose thy spirit into tlie most 
serious frame possible, suitable to a transaiN 
tiou of so high importance* 

Direction for Conversion. 177 

Thirdly, Lay hold on the covenant of God^ 
and rely upon his promise of giving grace and 
strength^ wliereby thou mayest be enabled to 
jierform thy promise. Trust not to thine 
own strength, to the strength of thine owu 
resolutions, but take hold on his strength. 

Fomihly, Resolve to be faithful; having 
engaged thine heart, opened thy mouth, and 
stibscribed with thy hand unto the Lord, re- 
solve in his strength never to go back. 

Lastly^ Being thus prepared, on some con- 
venient time set apart for the purpose, set 
upon the work; and in the most solemn man- 
ner possible, as if the Lord wera visibly 
present before thine eyes, fall down on thy 
knees, and spreading forth thine hands to- 
ward heaven, open thine heart to the Lord iu 
these or the like words u 

O MOST dreadful God ! for the pasmon 
of thy Son I beseech thee, accept of thy poor 
prodigal, now prostrating himself at thy door. 
I have fallen from thee by mine iniquity, and 
am by nature a son of death, and a thousand 
fold more the child of hell, by my wicked 

practice; but of thine infinite 
The terms of grace, thou hast promised 
our commun^ grace to me in Christ, if I will 
ion are either but turn to thee with all my 
from which or heart : therefore upon the call 
to which. of thy gospel, I am now come 

in, and, throwing down my 

weapons^ submit myself to thy 


lys Directions for Conversion. 

And because tliou requirest, as the contli- 
tion of my peace with thee^ that I should put 
The terms away mine idols ; and be at 
from ichich we defiance w ith all thine ene«. 
mustturn^ sm^ mies^ which I acknowledge I 
satan^theicorld have wickedly sided with^ 
and our own against thee ; I here from the 
righteousness^ hottom of my heart renounce 
which must be them all^ firmly covenanting 
thiLS renoiinC' with thee, not to allow myself 
ed^. ' in any known sin, but consci- 

entiously to use all the means 
that I know thou hast pre- 
scribed for tlie death and utter destruction of 
all my corruptions. And whereas I have 
formerly, inordinately and idolatrously, let 
out my affections upon the w^orld, I do here 
resign up my heart to thee that madest it^ 
humbly pretesting before thy glorious Majes- 
ty, that it is the firm resolution of my heart \ 
and that I do uiifeignedly desire grace from 
thee, that when thou shalt call me hereunto, I 
may practise this my resolution, through thy 
assistance to forsake all that is dear unto me 
in this world, rather than to turn from thee to 
the w^ays of sin; and that I will w^atch against 
all its temptations, w^hetber of prosperity, or 
adversity, lest they should withdraw^ my heart 
from thee ; beseeching thee also to help me 
against the temptations of satan, to whos«f 
wicked suggestions I resolve, by thy grace, 
Ke\'er to yield myself a servant. And be- 
cause my own righteousness is but menstru- 
ous rags, I renounce all confidence therein, 
and acknowledge that 1 am of myself a hope- 

JJirections for Conversion. 179 

less^ helpless, undone creature, without right- 
eousness or strengtk. 

And for as much as thou TJie terms 
hast, of thy bottomless mercy, to ichicli we 
offered most graciously to me must turn are 
wretched sinner, toffee agaia either ultim- 
my God, through Christ, If I ate or medi- 
would accept of thee ; I call ate. 
heaven and earth to record this 
day, that I do here solemnly avouch thee 
for the Lord my God ; and with all possi- 
ble veneration, bowing th® neck of my soul 
under the feet of thy most sacred mpjesty, I 
do here take thee, Lord Jeho- 
vah, Father, Son, and Holy The ultimate 
Ghost, for my portion, and is God the 
chief good ; and d^ give up Father^ Son^ 
myself, body and soul, for thy ^^HolyGhost^ 
servant, promising and vowing icho imist he 
to serve thee in holiness and thus accepted* 
righteottsncss, all the days of 
my life. 

And since thou hast ap- 
pointed the Lord Jesus Christ 
the only means of coming un- 
io thee, I do here, upon the 

bended knees of my^soul, ac- 

cept of him, as the only new 
and livhig way by which sin- 
ners may have access to thee ; 
and do hereby solemnly join 
myself in marriage covenant 
to him. 

blessed Jesus, I come to tliee hungry and 
hardly bestead; poor^ and wretched^ and mis- 

The mediate 
terms are ei- 
ther fprinci" 
paly or less 

The princi- 
pjal is Christ 
the Media- 
tory who must 
thus be em- 

iSO • Directions for Conversioyi. 

-erabk^ and blind; aiul naked : a most loath- 
gome^ polluted wretch, a guilty^ condemned 
malefeetor, unwortliy for ever to wash the 
feet of the serrants of my Lord, much .more 
to be solemnly married to the king of glory : 
but siih, such is thine unparalleled love. I 
do here with all my power accept thee, and 
do take tbee for my head and husband, for 
better for worse, for richer for poorer, for all 
times and conditions, to love, honor, and obey 
thee before all others ; and this to the death. 
I embrace thee in all thy offices : I renounce 
mine own unworthiness, and do here avow 
thee to be the Lord my righteousaess ^ I re- 
noiince mine own wisdom, and do here take 
thee for mine only guide : I renounce mine 
ovvU will, and take thy will for my law% 

And since thou hast told me that I must 
suffer if I will reign, I do liere covenant with 
thee to take my lot, as it falls, with thee, and, 
by thy grace assisting, to rnn all hazards 
ivith thee ; verily supposing that neither life 
lior death shall part between thee and me. 

And because thou hast been 
Theless prin- pleased to give me thy holy 
cipal are the laws as the rule of my life, and 
laics of Christ the way in which I should 
7chichmustbe walk to thy kingdom, I do 
thus observed, here willin2;ly put my neck 
under thy yoke, and set my 
shoulder to thy burden ; and subscribing to 
all thy laws, as holy, just and good, I sol- 
emnly take them as the rule of my words, 
thoughts and actions ; promising that though 
my flesh contradict and rebel, yet 1 will en- 

Directions for Conversion. 181 

tlfeavor to ot*(ler and govern my whole life ac- 
cording to thy direction, and will not allow 
anyself in the neglect of any thing that 1 know 
to be ray duty. 

Only* because, through the frailty of my 
flesh, I am subject to many failings, I am 
bold humbJy to protest, That unallowed mis- 
carriages, contrary to the settled bent and 
resolution of my heart, shall not make void 
this covenant ; for so thou hast said. 

^ow. Almighty God, searcher of hearts, 
thou knowcst that I make this covenant with 
thee this day, without any known guile or 
reservation ; beseeching thee, that if thou es- 
|)iest any flaw or falsehood therein, thou 
wouldst discover it to me, and help me to do 
it aright. 

And now, glory he to thee, O God the Fath- 
er, whom J ^hall be bold from this day for^ 
wanl to look upon as my God and Father^ 
that ever thou shouldst find out such a way 
for the recovery of undone sinners. Glory 
he to thee, O God the Son, who liast loved 
me, and washed me from my sins in thine 
own blood, and art now become my Saviour 
and Redeemer Glory be to thee, O God the 
Holy Ghost, who, by the finger of thine al- 
mighty power, hast turned about my heart 
from sin to God* 

O dreadful Jehovah, the Lord God Om- 
nipotent, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost ! thou 
art now become my covenant friend, and 1, 
through thine infinite grace, am become thy 
covenant servant ; Jlmen^ So be it. And the 


18S Directions for Conversion. 

covenant which I have made on earthy let it 
be ratified in heaven. 


TJm covenant I advise you to make not on- 
ly in heart, but in word ; not only in word^ 
hut in writing ; and that you would, with all 
possible reverence^ spread tfie writing before 
the Lord, as if you would present it to him as 
your act and deed: And tchen you have done 
this, set your hand to it ; keep it as a memo^ 
rial of the solemn transactionsthat have passed 
bettceen God and you, that you may have re- 
course to it on doubts and tetnptations. 

Direct. XI. Take he^d of delaying thy con. 
version, and set upon a speedy and present 
turning. I made haste and delayed not, Ps. 
cxix. 60. llemembcr and tremble at the sad 
instance of the foolish virgins, thai came not 
till the door of mercy was shut, Matt. xxv. 
and of a convinced Felix, that put off Paul, 
to another season ; and we never find that he 
had such a season more, Acts xiv. %o. Oh, 
come in while it is called to-day, lest thou 
shouldst be hardened through the deceitful- 
ness of sin ; lest the day of grace should be 
over, and the things that belong to thy peace 
should be hid from thine eyes. Now merey 
is w ooing of thee : now Christ is waiting to 
be gracious to thee, and the Spirit of God \h 
striving with thee : now ministers are calling ; 
now conscience is stirring ; now tlie market 
is open, and oil may be had, thou hast op- 
portunity for the buying : now Christ is to be 

Sirections for Conversion. 183 

had for the taking. Oh ! strike in with the 
offers of grace : Oh ! now or never. If thou 
make liglit of this offer, God may swear in 
his wrath, thou shall never taste of his sup- 
per, Luke xiv. 2-t.' 

Direct. XIl. Attend conscientlousli/ upon 
the word as the means aiipjinted for thy con- 
version^ James i. 18, 19. 1 Cor. iv. 15. At- 
tend, I say, not customarily, hut conscien- 
tiously ; with this desire, design, hope and 
expectation, that thou mayest be converted 
by it. To every sermon thou hearest, come 
with this thonght : ^^ Oh, I hope God will now 
eome in : I hope this day may he the time, 
this may he the man by w honi God will bring 
me home.^^ When thou art coming to the or- 
dinances*, lift up thir>e heart thus to God :— 
^^ Lord, let this be the sabbath, let this be the 
season w herein I may receive renewing grace. 
Oh, let it be said, that to-day such a one was 
born unto i\\%cP 

Ohj, Thmi wilt say, t have beeh long a 
hearer of the w^ord, and yet it hath not been 
effectual to my conversion. 

Ans-. Yea, but thou hast not attended upon 
it in this manner, as a means of thy conver- 
sion, nor with this design; nor praying for, 
and expecting of this happy effect of it. 

Direct. XIIL Strike in with the Sjpirity 
when he begins to teork upon thy heart. — 
When he works convictions. Oh, do not sti- 
fle them, but join in wdth him ; and beg the 
Lord to carry on convictions to conversion. 
Quench not the Spirit ; do not out-strive him, 
do not resist him. Beware of putting out 

184* Mirections for Conversion. 

convictions by evil company, or worldly bu- 
siness. When thou findest any troubles for 
sin, and feara about thy eternal state, beg of 
God, that they may never leave thee, till they 
have wrought off thy heart thoroughly from 
sin, and wrought it over to Jesus Christ. Say 
to him, '^ Strike liome, Lord, leave not the 
work in the midst. Thou seest that I am 
not yet wounded enough, that 1 am not trou- 
bled enough, wound me yet deeper, Lord ; 
Oh ! go to the bottom of ray corruption, let 
out the life-blood of my sin.^^ Thus yield up 
thyself to the workings of the Spirii, and 
hoist thy sails to his gusts. 

Direct. XIV. Set upon the constant and 
diligent use of serious and fervent prayer. 
He that neglects prayer, is a profane and un- 
sanctified sinner, Job xv. 4. He that is not 
constant in prayer, is but an hypocrite. Job 
xxvii. 10. (unless the omission be contrary ta 
liis ordinary course, under the force of some 
instant temptation.) This is one of the first 
things conversion appears in, that it sets men 
on praying, Acts ix. H. Therefore set to 
this duty : let never a day pass over thee, 
wherein thou hast not, morning and evening,. 
set apart some time for set and solemn pr^yei? 
in secret. Call thy family also together dai- 
ly and duly, to worship God with thee. Wo 
be unto thee, if thine be found amongst the 
families that call not on God's name, Jer. x*^ 
25. But cold and lifeless devotions will not 
reach half way to heaven ; be fervent, and 
importunate ; importunity will carry it ; but 
without violence the kingdom of heaven will 

Mrections for Conversion. 185 

not be taken, Matt. xi. IS. Thou must strive 
to eater, Luke xiii. 2i, and wrestle with tears 
and supplications, as Jacob, if thou meanest 
to carry the blessing, Gen. xxxii. 3i, com- 
pared with Hos. xii. 4i. Tiiou art undone 
tor ever witliout grace, and therefore thou 
must put to it and resolva to take no denial. 
That man that is fixed iri this resolution — 
^^ A\^ell, I must have grace : and I will never 
give over, till I have grace ; and I will nevep 
feave seeking, and waiting, ahd striving with 
God, and mine own heart, till he do renev*' 
me by the power of his grace ;'^ This man is 
m the likeliest way to win grace. 

Obj\ But God heareth m)t sinners, their 
prayer is an abomination. 

Jt7i3\ Distinguish Between sinners, (f.) 
There are resolved sinners : their prayers 
God abhors. (3.) Returning sinners : these 
God will come forth to, and meet with mer- 
cy, though yet afar oflf, Luke xv.^SO. Though 
the prayers of the unsanctifled eannot have 
full acceptance, yet God hath done much at 
the request of such ; as at Ahab's humiliation, 
and Mineveh's fast, 1 Kings xxi. S6. Jonah 
iii. 8, 9, 10. Surely thou mayest go as far 
as these, though thou hast no grace : and 
how dost thou know but thou mayest speed 
in thy suit, as they did in theirs ? Yea, i* he 
not far more likely to grant thee, than them, 
since thou askest in the name of Christ, and 
that not for temporal blessings, as they, but 
for things much more pleasing to him ; viz^ 
for Christy gracey pardon^ that thou mayest be 
justified^ sanctified^ renewed^ and fitted to 

186 Directions for Convsrsioiiy 

serve him ? Turn to these soul-encouraging 
scriptures, Prov. ii. 1, to 6. Luke xi. 9, 10^ 
11, 13, 13. Prov. viii. 34, 35. 

Is it not good comfort, that he calleth thee ? 
Mark x. 49. Doth he set thee on the use of 
means, and dost thou think he will mock thee? 
Doubtless, he will not fail thee, if thou be not 
wanting to thyself. Oh, pray and faint not, 
Luke xviii. 1. A person of great quality 
having offended the Duke of Buckingham, the 
King's great favorite, being admitted into his 
presence^ after long waiting, prostrates him- 
self at his feet, saying, Iain resolved never ta 
rise more^ till I have obtained your Grace^s^ 
favor : witli which carriage he did overcome 
him. With such a resolution do thou throw, 
thyself at the feet of God: ^tis for thy life, 
and therefore follow him, and give not over^ 
Resolve thou wait not be put oii' with bones, 
with common mercies. What though God 
do not presently open to thee : is not grace 
w orth the waiting for ? Knock, and wait, and 
no doubt but sooner or later, mercy will 

And tliis know, that thou hast the very 
same^ encouragement to seek and wait, that 
the saints now in glory once had, for they, 
once were in thy very case : and have they- 
sped so well, and wilt tiiou not go to the same 
door, and wait upon thy God in the same 
course ? 

Direct. XV. Forsake thy evil companyy 
Piov. ix. Gyaiid forbear the occasions of sin^ 
Prov. xxiii. 31. Thou wilt never bo turned 

l)irections for ConveTsion. 187 

from sin, till thou wilt decline and forego the 
temptations of sin, 

I never expect thy conversion fmm sin, un- 
less thou art brought to some self-denial, as 
tolly the occasions. If thou wilt be nibbling; 
at the bait, and playing on the brink, and 
tampering and meddling with the snare, thy 
soul will surely be taken. Where Ged dotte 
expose men in his providence unavoidably io 
temptations, and the occasions are such as we^ 
cannot remove, we may expect special assist- 
ance in the use of his means ; but when we. 
tempt God, by running into danger, he \\\\\ 
Bot engage to support us when we are tempt- 
ed. And of all temptations, one of the me&t 
fatal and pernicious is evil company. Oh, 
w hat hopeful beginnings have these often sti- 
fled ! Oh, the souls, the estates, the families, 
the towns that tliese have ruined ! How many 
a poor sinner hath been enlightened and con- 
vinced, and hath been jnst ready to give the^ 
devil the slip, and hath even escaped the 
snare, and yet wicked company have pulled 
him back at last, and made him seven-fold 
more the child of hell. In one word, I have 
no hopes of thee, except thou wilt shake oif 
thy evil company, Christ speaketh to thee,^ 
as to them in another case, If thou seek me^ 
then let these go their way^ John xviii. 8. — 
Thy life lies upon it : forsake these, or else 
thou canst not live, Prov. ix. 6. Wilt thou* 
be worse than the beast, to run on when thou 
seest the Lord with a drawn sword in the 
way ? Num. xxii. 33. Let this sentence be 
written in capitals upon thy conscience^ ^ 

iS8 directions for Conver^imii 

DESTROYED, Prov. xiii. SO. The Lord 
liatli spoken it, and who shall reverse it ? — 
And wilt thou run upon destruction, when* 
God himself doth forewarn thee ? If God do 
ever change thy hearty it will appear in the 
change of thy company. Oh ! fear and fly 
this gulf^ by which so many thousand souls 
have been swallowed into perdition. It will 
be hard for thee^ indeed, to make thine es- 
cape : thy companions will be mocking thee 
out of thy religion, and will study to fill thee* 
with prejudices against strictness, as ridicu- 
lous and comfortless. They will be flattering* 
thee, and alluring thee ; but remember the 
warnings of tlie Holy Ghost, My son, if siU' 
Tiers entice thee, consent thou not. If they 
say, Come with us, cast in thy lot among us } 
walk not thou in the icay with them, refrain- 
thy foot from their path ; avoid it, pass not 
by it, turn from it, and pass away : for the 
way of the wicked is as darkness, they know 
not at ichat they stumble. They lay wait for 
their own blood ; they lurk privily for their 
own lives, Prov. i. 10 to 18, and iv. 14 to 20. 
My soul is moved within me, to see how ma- 
ny of my hearers are like to perish, both they 
and their houses^ by this wretched mischief, 
even the haunting of such places, and com- 
pany, whereby they are drawn into sin. — 
©nee more I admonish you, as Moses did Is- 
jael, Num. xvi. 26, And he spake unto the 
congregation, saying. Depart, I jiray you, 
from the tents of these wicked men. Oh ! 
ftee them as you would those that had the 

IJirections for Conversion* 188 

|)lagiie- sores ruuiiing in their forelieads,--— 
Tiiese are liie devils panders^ and decoys ; 
and if thou dost not make thine escape, they 
will toll thee into perdition, and will pro^^e 
thine eternal ruin. 

Direct. XVI. Lastly^ Set apart a day fa 
humble thy soul in secret^ by fasting and 
jirayer, to work the sense of thy sins and 
miseries upon thy heart. Read over the 
•AssemUy^s exposition of the commands^ and 
M'rite down the duties omitted, and sins com- 
mitted by thee against every commandment, 
aad so make a catalogue of thy sins, and witfe 
sliame and sorrow spread them before the 
Lord. And if thy heart be truly willing to 
the teims, join thyself solemnly to the Lord 
in that covenant set down in the tenth direc- 
tioii, and the Lord grant thee mercy in his sight. 

Thus I have told thee, what thou must da 
to he saved. Wilt thou not now obey tha 
voice of the Ltord ? Wilt thou ai'ise, and 
set to thy work ? O man, what answer wilt 
thou make, what excuse wilt thou have, if 
thou shouklst perish at last through very wil- 
fulness,^ wlien thou bust known the way of 
life ? I do not fear thy miscarrying, if tlunc 
own idleness do not at last undo thee, i« neg- 
lecting the use of the n^eans that are so plain- 
ly here prescribed. Rouse up, O sluggard, 
and ply thy work : be doings and the Lord 
will be with thee. 

kI short soliloquy for an unregenerate Sinner. 

^ AH wretched man that T am I what a enn- 
dition have I brought mys^f iaio by sin I 

ISO .4 Soliloquy 

Oh ! I gee my heart hath but deceived me all 
this while^ ia flattering me, that my condition 
was good. I see, 1 see, I am but a lost aud 
mdone man, forever undoive, unless the Lord 
help me out of this condition. My sins ! my 
sine ! Lord, what an unclean, polluted wretch 
am I ! more loathsome and odious to thee^ 
than the most hateful venom, or noisome car- 
case can be to me. Oh, whart a hell of sin 
is in this heart of mine, which I have flatter- 
ed myself to be a good heiart T Lord, how 
universally am I corrupted, in all my partsj 
powers, performances ! all the imaginations 
of the thoughts of my heart are only evil con- 
tinually. I am mider an inability to, averse- 
Bess from, and enmity against any thing that 
is good ; and am prone to all that is evil. 
My heart is a very sink of all sin : And Oh 
the innumerable hosts and sv^'arms of sinful 
thoughts, words, and actions, that have flowit 
from thence ! Oh the load of guilt that is on 
my soul ! my head is full, my heart full, my 
mind, and my members, they are all full of 
siui O my sins ! how d<) th«y stare upon 
me ! how do they witness against me ! wo is 
me, my creditors are upon me, every com- 
mandment taketh hokl upon me, for mor& 
than ten thousand talents, yea, ten thousand' 
times ten thousand. Ho\V endless then \^ 
the sura of all my debts-! if this whole world 
were filled up from earth to heaven wiih paper, 
and all this paper written over, within and 
without, by arithmeticians ; yet when all* 
were cast up together, it would come incon- 
^eivably short of what I owe to the least of 

Jot an unT^generated Sinner. iM 

8od's commandments. Wo unto me, for my 
debts are infinite, and my sins ave increased ; 
tliey are wrongs to an infinite Majesty : and 
if he that committeth treason against a silkea 
mortal, is worthy to he racked, drawn and 
quartered ; what ha^e I deserved, that have 
so often lifted iip my hands against heaven, 
and have slrnck ^t tlie -crown and dignity of 
the Almighty ! 

O my sins ! my sins ! behold a troop cometW 
mnlti-udes, multitudes ! there is no number 
of their armies. Innumerable evils have com- 
passed me about : mine iniquities have taken 
hold upon me ; they have set themselves in 
array against me. Oil! it were better to liave 
all the icgiments of hell come against me, 
than to have my sins fall upon me, to the 
spoiling of my soul. Lor<l, how am I sur- 
rounded ? How many are they that rise up 
against me ? They have heset me behind 
and before : they swarm within me, and 
without me : they have possessed all my pow- 
ers, and have fortified mine unhappy soul, as 
a garrison, which this brood of hell doth man, 
and maintain against the God that made me. 

And they are as mighty, as they are many. 
The sands are many, hut they are not great ^ 
the mountains are gi^at, but they are not 
many : but wo is me ! my sins are as many 
as the sands, an<l as mighty as the moun^ 
tains ; their weight is greater than their num- 
ber. It WTre better that the rocks and the 
mountains should fall upon me, than the 
crushing and insupportable load of my own 
sins. Lord, I am heavy laden ; let mercy 

i9S nS, Sefriloquy 

iielpj or T am gowe; Unload me of this heavy 
guilt, this sirikiog load ; or I am crushedi 
without hope, and must be pressed down to* 
hell. If my ,grief were thoroughly weighed, 
jand my ^ins Uid in the balances together, 
they would be heavier than the sands of the 
sea ; therefore my words are swallowed up ; 
they would w^igh down all the rocks, and the 
hills, and turn the balance against all the 
i«le« of the earth. Lord, thou knowest 
Diy manifold transgressions, and my mighty 

Ah my soul ! alas, my glory! whither art 
thou humbled? Once the glor}' of tlie crea- 
tion, and the image of God ? Now a lump 
of filthiuess, a coflBn of rottenness, replen- 
islied with stench and loathsomeness. Oh, 
what w ovk hath sin made with thee ! Thou 
shalt be termed forsaken, and all the rooms 
of thy faculties desolate ; and the name that 
thou shalt be called by is Ichabod, or w here 
is the glory ? How art thou come down niight- 
ily ? My beauty is turned into deformity, and 
tny glory into shame. Lord, what a loathsome 
leper am 1? The ulcerous bodies of Job or 
Lazarus were not more offensive to the eyes 
and nostrik of men^ than I must needs be to 
the most holy Crod, whose eyes cannot behold 

And v/liat misery have my sins brought 
upon me ? Lord, what a case am I in ? 
Sokl under sin, cast out of God's favour, ac- 
cursed from tl>e Lord, cursed in my body, 
cursed in my soul, cursed in my name, in 
my estate, my relations, and all that I have. 

for an unregenerate Sinner. 193 

My sins are unpardoned, and my soul witli-. 
in a step of death. Alas! what shall I do 3 
Wliither shall I go ? Which way shall t 
look? God is frow^ning ou me from above ; 
hell gaping for me beneath ; conscience smit- 
ing me within; temptations and dangers sur- 
rounding me without. Oh! whither shall I 
fly ? What place can hide me from omnis- 
ciency ? What power can secure me from 
omnipotency ? 

What meanest thou, O my soul, to go oh 
ihus ? Art thou in league with hell ? Hast 
thou made a covenant w ith death ? Art thou 
in love with this misery ? Is it good for thee 
to be here ? Alas ! what shall 1 do ? Shall 
I go on in my sinful ways ? Why, then cer- 
tain damnation will be mine end : and shall 
I be so besotted and bemadded, as to go and 
sell my soul to the flames for a little ale, and 
^ little ease ; for a little pleasure, or gain, 
or content to my flesh ? Shall I linger any 
longer ia this wretched estate ? No," if I tar- 
ry here. I shall die. What then ? Is there no 
help, no hope ? None, except I turn. Why, 
but is there any remedy for such woful mise- 
ry? Any mercy after such provoking iniqui- 
ty ? Yes, as sure as God's oath is true, I 
shall have pardon and mercy yet, if present- 
ly, unfeignedly, and unreservedly I turn by 
Christ to him. 

Why then, I thank thee upon the bended 
knees of my soul, O most merciful Jehovah, 
that thy patience hath waited upon me hither- 
to ; for hadst thou took me aw^ay in this estate, 
I jb-id penshed forever. And now I adore 

194 A Soliloquy 

thy grace;, and accept the offer of thy mercy : 
I renounce all my sins^ and resolve by thy 
grace, to set myself against them, and to fol- 
low thee in holiness and righteousness^ all 
the days of my life. 

Who am I, Lord, that I should make any 
claim unto thee, or have any part or portion 
in thee, who am not worthy to lick up the 
dust of thy feet ? Yet since thou holdest forth 
the golden sceptre, I am bold to come and 
touch it. To despair, would be to disparage 
thy mercy ; and, to stand off when thou bid- 
dest me come, \vould be at once to undo my- 
self, and rebel against thee, under the pre- 
tence of humility. Therefore I bow my soul 
to thee, and with all possible thankfulness, 
accept thee as niine, and give up myself to 
thee as thine. Thou shalt be Sovereign over 
me, my King, and my God : thou shalt be in 
the throne, and all my powers shall bow to 
thee, they shall come and worship before thy 
feet : thou shalt be my portion; O Lord, and 
I will rest in thee. 

Thou callest for my heart : Oh that it wer« 
any way fit for thine acceptance ! 1 am un- 
worthy, O Lord, everlastingly unworthy to 
be thine : but since thou wilt have it so, I 
freely give up my heart to thee ; take it, it is 
thine : Oh that it were better ! But, Lord, I 
put it in thine hand, who aloue canst mewl 
it : mould it after thine own heart ; make it 
as thou wouldst have it, holy, humble, heav- 
enly, soft, tender; flexible 5 and write thy law 
upon it. 

for an imregenerafe Sinner. 195 

Come, Lord Jesus ; come quickly ; enter 
in triumphantly : take me up to thee for ever, 
I give up to thee, I come to thee, as the only 
way to the Father, as the only Mediator, the 
means ordained to bring me to God. I have 
destroyed myself, but in thee is my help : — 
Save, Lord, or else I perisli : I come to thcQ 
with the rope about my neck : I am worthy 
to die, and to be damned. Never was the 
hire more due to the servant, never was the 
penny more due to the labourer, than death 
and hell, my just wages, is due to me for my 
sins : But I fly to thy merits, I trust alone to 
the value and virtue of thy sacrifice, and prev- 
alency of thy intercession : I submit to thy 
teaching, I make choice of thy government. 
Stand open, ye everlasting doors^ that the 
King of glory may come in. 

O thou Spirit of the most High, the Com- 
forter and Sanctifier of thy chosen ; come in 
with all thy glorious train, all thy courtly at- 
tendants, thy fruits and graces : let me be 
thine habitation. ^ I can give thee but what i« 
thine own already ; but hercy with tlie poor 
widow, I cast my two mites, my soul, and my 
body, into thy treasury ; fully resigning them 
up to thee, to be sanctified by thee, to be ser- 
vants to thee : they shall be thy patients, 
cure thou their malady ; they shall be thy 
agents, govern thou their motions. Too long 
have I served the world, too long have 1 
hearkened to satan ; but nov/ 1 renounce them 
all, and will be ruled by thy dictates and di- 
rections, and guided by thy*^counsel. 

O blessed Trinity ! O glorious Unity ! I 

195 ci Soliloqutj^ ^^c. 

deliver up myself to thee, receive me ; tvrife 
thy name, O Lord, upon me, and upon all 
that I have, as thy jxroper goods : set thy 
mark upon me, upon every member of my 
body, and every faculty of my soul. 1 have 
chosen thy precepts, thy law w ill I lay before 
me ; this shall be the copy which I will keep 
in my eye, and study to write after. Accord^ 
ing to this rule do 1 resolve, by thy grace, to 
walk ; after this law shall my whole man be 
governed ; and though I cannot perfectly keep 
one of thy commandments, yet I will allow 
myself in the breach of none. I know my 
flesh will hang back, but I resolve, in th& 
power of thy grace^ to cleave to thee, and thy 
holy w ays, whatever it cost me. I am sure I 
cannot come off a loser by thee, therefore I 
will be content with reproach, and difficulties, 
and hardships here ; and will deny myself, 
and take up my cross, and follow thee. Lord 
Jesus, thy yoke is easy, thy cross is welcome, 
as it is the way to thee. I lay aside all hopes 
of worldly happiness, I will be content to 
tarry till I come to thee : let me be poor and 
low, little and despised here, so I may be but 
admitted to live and reign with thee hereaf- 
ter. Lord, thou hast my heart and hand to 
this agreement : be it as the laws of the 
Medes and Persians, never to be reversed ; 
to this I will stand, in this resolution, by 
grace, I will live and die. 1 have sworn, 
and will perform it, that I will keep thy right- 
eous judgments ; I have given my free con- 
sent, I have made my everlasting choice :— 
Lord Jesus, confirm the contract, Jlmen. 

Motives to Conversion. i97 



THOUGH what is already said of the ne- 
cessity of conversion, and of the miseries of 
the unconverted, might be sufficient to induce 
any considering mind to resolve upon a pres- 
ent turning or conversion unto Gf)d; yctknovr- 
ing vv^hat a piece of desperate obstinacy and 
untractableness the heart of man naturally is, 
I have thought it necessary to add to the 
means of conversion, and directions for a cov- 
enant-closure with God in Christy sum.e mo- 
tives to persuade you hereunto, 

^' O Lord, fail me not now^ at my la?5t at- 
tempts. If any soul hatli read hitherto, and 
be yet untouched, now, Lord, fasten in him, 
and do thy work : now take him by the lie irf^ 
overcome him, persuade him, till he siiy, Tiioii 
hast prevailed^ for thou wert stronger than 1. 
Lord, didstthou not make me a fisher of men ? 
And have I toiled all this while, and caught 
nothing ? Alas, that I should have spent my 
strength for naught ! and now I am casting 
my last : Lord Jesus, stand thou upon the 
shore, and direct how and where I shall spread 
my net ; and let me so inclose with arguments 
the souls I seek for, that they may not be able 
to get out. Now, Lord, for a multitude of 
souls ! now for a full draught ! O Lord God, 
remember me, I pray theC; and strengthen 
mp this once; O God.r'^ 

198 Motives to Conversion. 

Bat I turn unto you. 

Men and brethren, heaven and earth do 
call upon you ; yea, hell itself doth preach 
the doctrine of repentance unto you : the an- 
c;els of the cliurchcs travail with you, G-al. iv. 
19, the angels of heaven wait for you, for 
your repenting and turning unto God, sin- 
ner ! why sliould the devils mal^e merry with 
thee ? Why sh.ouUlst thou be a morsel for 
that devouring Leviathan ? Why sliould liar- 
l)ies and hell-houiuls tear thee, and make a 
feast upon thee ; and when they have got theo 
i?ito the snare, and have fastened their talons'^ 
in thee, laugh at thy destruction, and deride 
tliy mi6G%, and sport themselves with thy 
damnable, folly ? This must be thy case, ex- 
cept thou turn. And were it not better thou 
shouklst be a joy to angels, than a la-ighipig 
stock and sport for devils ? Verily, if thou 
wouldst but come in, the heavenly host would 
laike up their anthems, and sing, Glory he to 
God. in the hi^'heat ; the morning stars would 
sing together, and all the sons of God shout 
for joy, and celebrate this new creation as 
(hey did the first. Thy repentance would, as 
U v^ere, make holy day in heaven, and the 
alorious spirits would rejoice, in that there is 
aliew brother added to their society, liev. 
>:xii. 9, another heir born io their Lord, and 
the lost <Boii received safe and sGund* The 
true penitent's tears are iijdeed the wine that 
cheeretli bolii God and man. 

If it be little, that men and angeja vrouSd 
rejoice at thy conveTfeiou, know that God himw 
-elf would rejoice over thee,, eteja \Yiih sing-. 

Motives to Conversion. iW 

ing, and rest in his love, Luke xv. 9. Isa, Ixii. 
5. Never did Jacob with such joy Vveep 
over the neck of his Joseph, as thy heavenly 
Father would rejoice over thee, upon thy com- 
ing in to hijn. Look over the story of the 
prodigal : methinks 1 see how the aged fath- 
er lays aside his state, and forgets his years. 
Behold how he runneth ! Luke xv. 20. Oh 
the haste that mercy makes ! the sinner makes 
not half that speed. Methinks I see how hi^ 
boW'Cls turn, how his compassions yea^n. — 
(How quick sighted is love !) Mercy spies- 
him a great way otY, forgets his riotous cour- 
ses, unnatural rebellion, horrid unthankful- 
ness, debauched practices, (not § word of 
these) and receives him with open arms, clasps 
about his neck, forgets the nastine^s of tiie 
rags, kisseth the lips that deserved to be loath- 
ed, the lips that had been joined to harlots, 
that had been commoners with the swine r 
calls for the fatted calf, the best robe, the 
ring, the shoe, the best cheer in heaven's 
store, the best attire in heaven's wardrobe,^ 
Luke XV. 6, 9, 23. Yea, the joy cannot be 
held in one breast, &c. others must be called 
to participate ; the friends must meet, and 
make merry : angels must wait, but the prod- 
igal must be set at the table, under his Fath- 
er's wing : he is the joy of the feast: he i» 
the sweet subject of the Father's delight: — 
the friends sympathize ; but none knows the 
felicity the Father takes in his new born son^ 
whom he hath received from the dead. Me- 
thinks J hear the music and the dancing at a 
distance. Oh the melody of tho heavenly 

SOO Motives to Conversion. 

choristers ! I cannot learn the song, Her. 
xiv. 3, but raethinks I overhear the burden^ 
at wliich all the harmonious choir with one 
consent strike sweetly in ; for thus goes the 
round at heaven's table, ^^For this my son 
was dead, and is alive again, was lost, and is 
found,'^ Luke xv. 23, 2i, S2. I need not 
further explain the parable : God is the Fath- 
er, Christ is the cheer, his righteousness the 
i-obe, his graces the ornaments, ministers, 
gaints^ angels, the friends and servants ; and 
thou that readest (if thou wilt but unfeigned- 
ly repent and turn) the welcome prodigal, the 
happy instance of this grace, and blessed sub- 
ject of thil^joy and love. 

O rock ! O adamant ! what! not moved 
yet? nor yet resolved to turn forthwith, and 
to close with mercy ? I will try thee yet once 
again : if one were sent to thee from the dead, 
wouldst thou be persuaded ? Why, hear the 
voice from the dead, from the damned, crying 
to thee that thou shouldst repent. I pray 
thee^ that thou wouldst send him to my father's 
house ; for I have jive brethren^ that he may 
testify unto them^ lest they also come into this 
place of torment. If one went unto them fromi 
the deadf they will repent. Luke xvi. §7^ 28, 
&c. Hear, O man ! thy predecessors in im- 
penitence preach to thee from the infernal 
gibbets, from the flames, from the rack, that 
thou shouldst repent. Oh ! look down into 
the bottomless pit : seest thou how the smoke 
of their torment ascendeth for ever and ever? 
Rev. xiv. 11. How black are the fiends ! 
how furious are their tormeisitors I ^Tis tlieir 

Motives to Conversion. 201 

only music to hear how their miserable pa- 
tients roar, to hear their bones crack; ^tis 
their meat and drink to see If mv; their Hesh 
frieth, and their fat droppeth ; to drench them 
with burning metal, and to rip open their 
bodies, and to pour in the fierce burning brass 
into their bowels, and the recesses and ven- 
tricles of their hearts. What thinkest thou 
of those chains of darkness, of those instru- 
ments of cruelty ? Canst thou be content to 
burn ? Seest thou how the worm gnaweth^ 
hoAv the oven gloweth, how the fire rageth ? 
What sayest thou to that river of brimstone, 
that dark and horrible vault, that gulf of per-* 
dition ? Wilt thou take up thy Ifeibitatiott 
here ? Oh ! ky thine ear to the door of hell : 
hearest thou the curses and blasphemies^ the 
weepings and the wailings ; how they lament 
their folly, and curse their day ? Matt, xxii, 
13. Rev. xvi. 9. How do they roar and yell, 
and gnash their teeth? How d^ep are their 
groans? How feeling are their moans? How 
inconceivable are their miseries? If the 
{Shrieks of Korah, Dathan and Abiram^ were 
so terrible (when the earth clave asunder, and 
opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, 
and all that appertained to them) that all Is- 
rael fled at the cry of them, Kum. xix^ 38, 
34<. Oh! how fearful would the cry be, if 
God should take off the covering from the 
mouth of hell, and let the cry of the damned 
ascend in all its terror among the children of 
men ? And of all their moans and miseries, 
this is the piercing, killing emphasis and bur^ 
den, Fqv ever and ever^ 

SOS Motives to Conversion^ 

Why, as God liveth, that made thy souly 
thou art but a few hours distant from all thi», 
except thou repent and be converted. 

Oh ! I am even lost and swallowed up iit 
the abundance of those arguments that I might 
(Suggest. If there be auy point of wisdom in 
all the world, it is lo repent and come in ; if 
there be any thing righteous, any thing rea- 
sonable, this is it : if there be any thing in the 
world that may be called madness and folly, 
and any thing that may be counted sottish, 
absurd, brutish, unreasonable, it is this, to go 
on in thine unconverted estate. Let me beg 
©f thee, as thou wouldst not wilfully destroy 
thyself, % sit down and weigh, besides what 
hath been said, these following motives, and 
let conscience speak, if it be not reason that 
thou shouldst repent and turn. 

1. The God that made thee doth most grU'^ 
eiously invite thee. 

First, His most sweet and merciful natiirs 
doth invite thee. O the kindness of Gt)d, 
his working bowels, his tender mercies ! they 
are infinitely above our tlioughts : higher than 
heaven^ what can we do ? Deeper than hell 
what can we know ? Job xi. 7^ 8, 9. He is 
full of compassion^ and gracious ; long-suf- 
ferings and plenteous in mercy ^ Psal. Ixxxvi. 
15. This is a great argument to persuade 
sinners to come in. Turn ufito the Lord your 
Godf for he is gracious and merciful, slow 
to anger, of great kindness, and repenteth 
Mm of the evil. If God would not repent of 
the evil, it were some discouragement to us 
why w* should not repent. If there were no 

Motives to Conversion. SOS 

hope of mercy, it were no such wonder if 
rebels should stand out : but never had sub- 
jects such a gracious prince^ such piety, pa- 
tience, clemency, pity to deal with as you 
have. Who is a god like unto thee^ that par- 
doneth iniquity ? S^c. Micah vii. 18. O sin- 
ners, see what a God you have to deal with ! 
If you will but turn, he will turn again, and 
have compassion on you: he will subdue your 
iniquities, and cast all your sins into tha 
depths of the sea, ver. 19. lleturn unto me, 
saith the Lord of hosts, and I will return un* 
to you, Mai. iii. 17. Zech. i. 3. Sinners do 
not fail i^ that they have too high thoughts of 
God's mercies, but in that, (1.) Tfky over^ 
look his justice. (3. ) They promise themselves 
mercy out of God^s way. His mercy is be- 
yond all imagination. Is a, Iv. 9, great mer- 
cies, 1 Chrou. xxi. 13, manifold mercies. 
Neh. ix. 19, tender mercies, Psal. xxv. 6^ 
sure mercies, Isa. Iv, 3, everlasting mercies, 
Psal. ciii. 17. Isa. liv. 8, and all thine own if 
thou wilt but turn. Art thou willing to coma 
in ? Why, the Lord hath lain aside his ter- 
ror, erected a throne of grace, holds forth 
the golden sceptre : touch, and live. Would 
a merciful man slay his enemy, when pros- 
trate at his feet, acknowledging his wrong, 
begging pardon, and ottering to enter with 
him into a covenantof peace ? Much less will 
the merciful God. Study his name, Exod. 
xxxiv. 7. Read their experience, Neh. ix* 

Secondly, His soul-encouraging calls and 
j^romises do invite thee.. Ah, what an earn- 

S04j Motives to Conversion,, 

est suiter is mercy to thee ! how loving^ how 
instantly it calleih after thee ! liow passion- 
ately it wooeththee! Return^ thou backsliding 
Israel^ saith the Lord^ and I icill not cause- 
mine anger to fall upon you : for I am mer- 
ciful^ saith the Lord^ and I will not keep am- 
ger for ever^ Only acknowledge thine inU 
quity^ Turn^ backslid/ing children^ saith 
the Lordy for I am married unto you. He^ 
turn^ and I will heal your backslidings. Thou, 
hast played the harlot with many loverSj yet 
return unto vde^ saith the Lord^ Jer. iii. 11,. 
42, 13, 14^ S3, ds I live, saith the Lord 
Gody I have no pleasure in the death of the 
wicked, ^t that he turn from his icay, and 
live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways ; 
for lohy tcill ye die, O house of Israel? Ezek, 
xxxiii. 14. ^*If the Avicked will tarn from 
all his sinsihat he hath committed, and keep 
all my statutes, and do that which is lawful 
and right, he shall surely live, he shall not 
die. All liis transgressions that he hath .com- 
mitted, they shall not be mentioned unto him: 
in his righteousness that he hath done shall 
he live. " Hepentand turn yourselves from all 
your transgressions^ s© iniquity shall not be 
jour ruin. Cast away from you all your 
transgressions, and make you a clean heart, 
and a new spirit ; for why will ye die, O 
house of Israel ? For I have no pleasure in 
the death of him that dieth, saiih the Lord 
God, wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye, 
Ezek. xviii. 21, 23, 30, 31, 33.^' 

O melting, gracious words ! The voice of 
a God and not of a man ! This is not the 

Motives to Conversion. §05 ' 

TManiier of m^n, for the offended sovereign to 
sue to the offending traitorous varlet. Oh, 
how doth mercy follow thee, and plead with 
thee ! is not thy heart broken yet ? Oh that 
to day yoQ would hear his voice ! 

2. The doors of heaven are thrown open 
to thee^ the everlasting gates are set loide 
for thee^ and an abundant entrance into the 
kingdom of heaven administered to thee. 
Christ now bespeaks thee, (as she her hus- 
band) Ainse and taTce possession^ 1 Kings 
xxi. 1^. View the glory of the other world, 
as set forth in the map of the gospel. Get 
thee up into Pisgah of the promises, and lift 
up thine eyes westward, northward, south- 
w^ard and eastward, and see the good land 
that is beyond Jordan, and that goodly 
mountain. Behold the paradise of God, 
watered with the streams of glory. Arise, 
and walk through the land, in the length of 
it, and in the breadth of it : for the land 
which thou seest, the Lord will give it to thee, 
for ever, if thou wilt but return, Gen. xiii. 
14, 15, 17- Let me say to thee, as Paul to 
Agrippa, ^elievest thou the prophets ? If 
thou believest indeed, do but view v/hat glo- 
rious things are spoken of the city of God, 
Psal. Ixxxvii. 8, and know that all this is 
here tendered in the name of God to thee. As 
verily as God is true, it shall be for ever 
thine, if thou wilt but thorouglily turn. 

Behold the city of pure transparent gold, 

whose foundations are garnished with all man- 

Jier of precious stones, whose gates are pearls, 

whose light is glory, whose temple is God. 


)$06 Motives to Conversion^ 

Believest thou this ? If thou dost, art thou 
not ^rorse than distracted, that will not take 
possession, when the gates are flung open to 
thee, and thou art bid to enter? O ye sons of 
^ folly, will ye embrace the dunghills, and re- 
fuse the kingdom ? Behold the Lord God 
taketh you up into the mountain, shews you the 
kingdom of heaven, and all the glory thereof ; 
and tells you. Ml this will I give you^ if yoii 
icillfaU doitm and worship me ; \i ^on will 
submit to mercy, accept my Son, and serve 
me in righteousness and holiness. O fools, 
and slow of heart to believe J will you court 
the harl^ ? Will yoii seek and serve the 
world, and neglect the eternal glory ? What ! 
not enter into paradise, when the flaming 
sword that was once set to keep you out is 
now used to drive you in ! But you will say 
I am uncharital)le to think you infidels and 
unbelievers. Why, what shall I think you? 
Either you are desperate unbelievers, that da 
not credit it, or stark distracted, that you 
know and believe the excellency and eternity 
ot his glory, and yet do so fearfully neglect 
it. Surely you have no faith, or no reason ; 
and I had almost said, conscience should tell 
you so before I leave you. 

Do but attend what is ofTered to you : O 

blessed kingdom ! a kingdom of glory, 1 

Thess. ii. 1, a kingdom of righteousness, 2 

Pet. iii. 13, a kingdom of peace, Horn. xiv. 

17, an everlasting kingdom, 2 Pet. i. H. 

" ou shalt dwell, here thou shalt reign 

and the Lord shall set thee in a 

;ii^ of glory. Matt. xix. 28; and with hi* 

Motives to Conversion. 207 

mvh hand shall set tlie royal diadem upon 
thine head, and give tliee a crown^ not of 
thorns, (for there shall be no sinning nor suf- 
fering there, Rev. xxi. 3, 4, 5, S3, 27) not 
olT gold, (for this shall be viler than the dirt 
in that day) but a crown of life, James i. 12, 
a crown of righteousness, S Tim. iv. 8, a 
erown of glory, 1 Pet. v. 4. Yea, thoiisliait 
put on glory as a robe, 1 Cor. xv. 53, and 
shalt shine like the sun in the firmament, ia 
the glory of thy Father;^ Matt. xiii. 48. Look 
now upon thy dirty flesh, thy clay, thy worm's 
meat ; this very flesh, tliis lump, this car- 
case shall be brighter than the stars, Dan. 
xii. 3. In short, tiiou shalt be made like 
utito the angels of God, Luke xx. 80, and 
behold his face in righteousness, Psal. xvii* 
15. Look in now, and . tell me, dost thou 
yet believe ? If not, conscience must pro- 
nounce thee apL infidel ; for it is the Very word 
of God that I speak. 

But if thou sa;y thou believest, let me next 
know thy resolutions. Wilt thou embrace 
this for thy happiness ? Wilt thou forego thy 
sinful gains, thy forbidden pleasures ? Wilt 
thou trample on the workFs esteem, and spit 
in the harlot's face, and stop thine ears at 
her flatteries, and wrest thee out of licr em- 
braces ? Wilt thou be content to take up 
\Vith present reproach and poverty,, if it lis 
in thy way to heaven, and follow the Loid 
with humble self-denial, in a mortified and 
flesh-displeasing life ? If so, all is thine, and 
that for ever. And art not thou fairly otter- 
ed ? Is it not pity but he should be damned 

208 ^lotives to Conversion. 

that vtill needs go on and perish, when all 
this may be had for the taking? In a i\^ord, 
\^ ill thou now close with these proffers ? Wilt 
thou take God at his word ? Wilt thou let go 
thy holdfast of the world, and rid thy hands^ 
of thy sins, and lay hold on eternal life ? 
If not^ let conscience tell thee whether thou 
art not distracted or bewitched, that thou 
shouldst neglect so happy a choice, by whiek 
thou niij^htest be made up for ever. 

3. God will settle unspealcable iivivilpges 
at present upon thee^ 1 Cor. iii. SS. Heb. 
xii. 2S, 28, ^1. Though the full of your 
blessedness shall be deferred till hereafter, 
yet God will give you no little things in hand. 

He will redeem you from your tliraldom, 
John viii. 36. He will pluck you from the 
paw of the lion. Col, i. 13. The serpent 
fchall bruise your heel, but you shall bruise his 
head, Gen. iii. i5. He shall deliver you 
from the present evil world. Gal. i. 4. Pros- 
perity shall not destroy you, adversity shall 
not separate between him and you, Rom. viii. 
35, 37, 38. He will redeem you from the 
power of the grave, Psal. xlix. 15, and make 
the king of terrors a messenger of peace to 
you. .He will take out the curse from the 
cross, Psal. cxix. 71^ and make affliction the 
fining pot, the fan, the physic, to blow off 
the chaff, purify tlie metal, and purge the 
mind, Dan. xii. 10. Isa. xxvii. 9. He will 
save you from the arrest of the law, and turn 
the curse into a blessing to you, llom. vi. 14. 
Gal. ii. 24. He hath the keys of hell and 
death, and shuttelh that uo man openeth^ 

Motives to Conversion. 20§ 

Hev. iii. 7, and i. 18^ and he will shut itis 
mouth, as once he did the lions, Dan. vi. 
S3, that yoii shall not be hurt of the second 
death, Rev, ii; il. 

But he will not only save yon from misery, 
feut install you into unspeakable prerogatives : 
he will bestow himself upon you, he will be 
a friend unto yon, and a father to you, 2 Cor. 
Ti. 18. He will be a sun and a shield to you, 
Psal. Ixxxiv. 11. In a word, he will be a 
God to you, Gen. xvii. 7- And what can be 
said more ? Whatever you may expect that 
a God should do for you, and be to you, that 
he will be, that he will do. She that marries 
a prince expects he should do for her like a 
prince, that she may live in a suitable state, 
and have an answerable dowiy. He that hath 
a king for his father, or friend, expects he 
should do for him like a king. Alas ! the 
kings and monarchs of the earth, so SKch 
above you, are but like the painted bnttewHes 
amongst the rest of their kind, or the fair 
coloured palmer-worm amongst the rest of 
the worms, if compared with God. As he 
doth infinitely exceed the glory and power of 
his glittering dust, so he will, beyond all 
proportion,^ exceed in doing for his favorites 
whatever princes can do for theirs. He will 
give you grace and glory, and withhold no 
good thing from you, Psal. Ixxxiv. 11. He 
will take you for his sons and daughters, and 
make you heirs of his promises, Heb. vi. 17^ 
and establish his everlasting covenant with 
you, Jer. xxxii. 40. He will justify you 
from all that law, conscience and Satan caa 
s 3 

210 Motives to Conversion^ 

cliarge upon you^ Rom. viii. 33, 31. He wiM 
give you free access into his presence, and 
accept your person, and receive your pray- 
ers, Ej}h. ii. IS, and i, 6. 1 John v. 11*. H» 
\vill abide in you, and make you the men of 
his secrets, and hold a constant Jind friend! j 
communion with you, John xiv. 23, and xv, 
id. 1 John i. 3. His ear shall be opened, 
his door opened, his store open at all times 
to you* His blessing shall rest upon you, 
and he will make your enemies to serve ycu, 
and wcik about all things for good unto you, 
PsaL cxv. 13, Eom. viii. S8. 

4. The terms of mercy are hrought as low 
as jpossihJe to you. God hath stooped as low 
to sinners as with honour he can. He will 
not be thought a favourer of sin^ nor stain 

the erlorvof his lioliness : and whether could 
o t- 

he come lower than lie hath, unless he should 
his ? He hath abated the impossible 
of the first covenant, Jer. iii. 13. Mark 
Acts.xvi.3i, and iii. 19. Prov. xxxviiL 
He doth not impose any thing unreasonr 
or impossible, as a condition of life, 
upon you. Two things were necessary to 
be done, according to the tencr of the first 
covenant, by you : (i,) That you should fully 
safitfy ihe demavdls of justice for j)Cist offen- 
ces. (2.) That you should perform j)^r8on- 
ally^ porfrctly and perpetually the whole law 
for the time to come, lioth these are to us 
impossible, Horn. viii. 3. But behold God's 
gracious abatement in both ! He doth not 
stand upon satisfaction, he is content to take 
of iW^ surety, (and he of his own providing 


Motives to Conversion^ Mi 

too) wiiat he might have exacted from yon^ 
S Cor. V. 19. He declares himself to have 
received a ransom;, Jab xxxiii. 24. 1 Tim. 
ii. 6^ and that he expects nothing but that 
you should accept his Son, and he shall be 
righteousness and redemption to you, John i. 
±2. 1 Cor. i. 30. And for the future obedi- 
ence, here he is content to yield to your 
weakness, and omit the rigour. He doth not 
stand upon perfection^ (as si condition of life, 
though he still insists upon it as due) but is 
content to accept of sincerity, Gen. xvi, 1. 
Prov. xi. 20. Though you cannot pay the 
full debt, he will accept you according to 
that which you have, and take willing for 
doing, and the purpose for (he performance, 
S Cor. viii. 12. 2 Chron. vi. ±7- And if you 
come in his Christ, and set your hearts ta 
please him, and make it the chief of your 
cares, he will approve and reward you, though 
the vessel be marred in your hands. S 

Ob, consider your Maker^s condescension. 
Let me say to you, as Naaman's servant to 
him, My father^ if the prophet had hid thee do 
some great tilings ivouldst thou not have 
done it? how much rather when hesaith un- 
to thee^ Wash and be clean ? 2 Kings v. 13i 
If God had demanded some terrible, some se- 
vere and rigorous thing of you, to escape eter^ 
nal damnation, would you not have done it ? 
Suppose it had been to spend all your days 
in sorrow in some howling wilderness, or 
pine yourselves with famine, or to offer the 
fruit of your bodies for the sin of your souls^ 
would yoa not have thankfully accepted eter- 

SIS Motives to Conversion. 

nal redemption, though these had been the: 
conditions ? Yea, further, if God should have 
told you, you should have fried in the fire for 
millions of ages, or been so long tormented in 
hell, would you not have gladly accepted it? 
Alas ! all these are not so much as one sand 
in the glass of eternity. If your offended 
Creator should have held you but one year 
upon the rack, and then bid you come and 
forsake your sins, accept of Christ, and serve 
him a fcAV years in self-denial, or lie in this 
case for ever and ever ; do you think you 
should haye stack at the offer, and disputed 
the terms, and have been unresolved whether 
you were best to accept of the motion ? O sin- 
ner, return and live ; why wouldst thou die, 
when life is to be had for the taking, and 
mercy should be beholden to thee (as it were) 
to be saved ? Couldst thou say indeed, Lardy 
I knew thou tcast an hard man^ Matt, xxv, 
24, |fcu hadst some little excuse : but when 
the Grod of heaven hath stooped so low, and 
bated so far, if now thou shouldst stand off, 
who shall plead for thee ? 

Obj\ Notwithstanding all these abatements^ 
I am no more able to perform those condi- 
tions (in themselves so easy) of faith and re- 
pentance, and sincere obedience, than to sat* 
isfy and fulfil the law, 

Jins. These you may perform by God's 
grace enabling ; whereas the others are nat- 
urally impossible in this state, even to believ- 
ers themselves. But let the next considera- 
tion serve for a fuller answer. 

Motives to Cenversion. 213 

&. Wherein you are imiiotent, God doth 
offer grace to enable you. I have stretched 
out my hand and no man regarded^ Prov. i. 
S*. What though you are plunged into the 
ditch of that misery, from which you can nev- 
er get out ? Christ offereth to help you out ; 
he stretelieth his hand to you r and if you per- 
ish, it is for refusing his help. Behold I stand 
at the door and knock : if any man open to 
me^ I imllcome in, Itev. iii. 20. "What though 
you ai'e poor, and wretched, and hlind, and 
naked ? Christ oftereth a cure for your blind- 
ness, a cover for your nakedness, a remedy 
for your poverty, he tendereth you his right- 
eousness, his graces : I counsel thee to buy of 
me^ goldp that thou niayst be rich^ and ivhite 
raiment^ that thou mayst be clothed^ and 
anoint thine eyes iciih eye-salve^ that thorn 
mayst see^ Rev. iii. 17, 18. Do you say, the 
condition is impossible, for I have not where- 
with to buy ? You must know that this buy- 
ing is without money and without price, Isa. 
Iv^. 1. This buying is by begging, and seek- 
ing with diligence and constancy in the use of 
God^s means, Prov. ii. 3, 4?. God command- 
eth thee to know him, and to fear him. Dost 
thou say, yea, but my mind is blinded, and my 
heart is hartlened from this fear ? I answer, 
God doth offer to enlighten thy mind, and to 
teach thee his fear, that is presented to thy 
choice, Prov. i. ^. For that they hated 
knowledge^ and did not choose the fear of the 
Lord. Bo that now, if men live in ignorance 
and estrangement from the Lord, it is because 
they will not understand^ and desire not th0. 

814f Motives to Conversion. 

Tcnoicledge of his ways^ Job xxi. 14. Ifthoit 
criest after knowledge^ if thou seeJcest her as 
silver^ &c. then shalt thou understand the fear 
of the Lord^ and find the knowledge of God, 
Prov. ii. 8, 4> 5. Is not here a fair offer ?— 
Turn you at my reproof: behold^ I will pour 
out my spirit unto you^ Prov. i. 23. Though 
of yourselves you can do nothing, yet you 
may do all through his spirit enabling you J 
and he doth offer assistance to you. God bids 
you wash^ and make you clean, Isa. i. 16. — 
You say^ you are unable, as muck as the 
leopard, to v^ash out his spots, Jer. xiii. S3* 
Yea, but the Lord doth offer to purge you ; 
fio that if you be filthy still, it is through your 
own wilfulness, Ezek. xxiv. 13. I hava 
purged thee^ and thou wast ndt purged. Jer. 
xiii. 27. O Jerusalem^ wilt thou not he made 
clean ? when shall it once he ? God doth wait 
when you will be made clean, when you will 
yield to his motions, and accept of his offers, 
and let him do for^nd in you what you can- 
not do for yourselves. You do not know how 
much God will do upon your importunity, if 
you will but be restless and instant with him, 
liuke xi. 8, and xviii. 5. 

If God hath not bound himself by express 
promise to wicked men, to give them grace in 
the diligent use of the means, yet he hath giv- 
en them abundant encouragement to Expect 
it from him, if they seek it earnestly in his 
way. His most gracious nature is abundant 
encouragement. If a rich and most bountiful 
man should see thee in misery, and bid thee 
eome to bis door; wouldst thou not, with con* 

Conclusion of the whole. ti9 

ildenee, expect, at thy coming, to find some 
relief? Tliou art not able to believe nor re- 
pent : God appointed thee to use such and 
such means, in order to thy obtaining faith 
and repentance : doth not this argue that God 
will bestow these upon thee, if thou dost ply 
him diligently in prayer, meditation, reading, 
hearing, self-examination, and the rest of his 
jneans ? otherwise God should but mock his 
poor creatures, to put them upon these self- 
denying endeavors ; and then, when they have 
put hard to it, and continued waiting upon 
him for grace, deny them at last. Surely, if 
a sweet natured man would not deal thus, 
much less wall the most merciful and gracious 

I intended to have added many other argUf 
ments, but these have swollen under my hand} 
and I hope the judicious reader will rather 
look upon the weight than number. 


A.ND now, my brethren, let me know your 
minds : what do you intend to do? Will you 
go on and die ? Or will you set upon a thor- 
ough and speedy conversion, and lay hold on 
eternal life ? How long will you linger in 
Sodom ? How long ^vill you halt between 
two opinions ? 1 Kings xviii, SI. Are you 
not yet resolved whether Christ or Barabbas, 
whether bliss or torment, whether the land of 
Cabul, 1 Kings ix. 13, or the paradise of 
God, be the better choice ? Is it a disputable 

SI 6 Conclusion of the whole. 

case, whether the Abana and Pharpar of Da- 
mascusbe better than all the streams of Eden? 
Or whether the vile puddle of sin be prefer- 
red before the water of life, clear as crystal, 
proceeding out of the throne of God, and of 
the Lamb? Can the world, iu good earnest, 
do that for you, that Christ can ? Will it 
stand by you to eternity ? Will pleasures, ti- 
tles, lands, treasures, descend with you ? Ps. 
xlix. 17. 1 Tim. vi. 7. If not, had you not 
need look after somewhat that will ? What 
mean you to stand wavering, to be off and on ? 
Foolish children ! how long will you stick 
between the womb and the world ? Shall I 
leave you at last no farther than Agrippa, but 
almost persuaded ? Why, you are for ever 
lost if left here : a« good not at all, as not al- 
together Christians. You are half of the mind 
to give over your former negligent life, and 
to set a strict and holy course ; yon could 
wish you were as some others be, and could 
do as they can do : how long will you rest in 
idle wishes, and fruitless purposes ? When 
will you come to a fixed, full, and firm re- 
solve ? Do not you see how satan galls you, 
by tempting you to delays ? How long hath 
he tolled you on in the way of perdition ? — 
How many years have you been purposing to 
amend ? What if God should have taken you 
off this while ? 

Well, put me not off with a dilatory an- 
swer : tell me not of hereafter^ I must have 
your present consejit. If you be not now re- 
solved, while the Lord h treating with you, 
and wooing of you, much less are you like to 

Conclusion of the whole. Si7 

fee liereaftfir^ when these impressions are worn 
out^ and you are hardened through the deceit- 
fulness of sin. Will you give me your hands ? 
"Will you set open the doors^ and give the 
Lord Jesus the full and present possession ? 
Will you put your names into his covenant ? 
Will you subscribe ? What do you resolve 
upon ? If you are still upon your delays, my 
labour is lost, and all is like to come to noth- 
iug. Fain I would, that you should now put 
in your adventures. Come, cast in your lot, 
make your choiee : JS'^ow is the accepted timey 
now is the day of thy salvation : to day if you 
will hear his voice. Why should not this 
be the day from whence thou shouldst be able 
to date thine happiness ? Why shouldst thou 
venture a day longer in this dangerous and 
dreadful condition ? What if God should this 
night require thy soul ? Oh ! tliat thou mights 
est Jcnotv^ in this thy day , the things that be- 
long unto thy peaccy lefora they he hid from 
thine eyes^ Luke xix. 42. This is thy day, 
and it is but a day, John ix. 4. Others have 
had their day, and have received their doom ; 
and now art thou brought upon the stage of 
this world, here to act thy part for the whole 
eternity. Remember thou art now upon thy 
good behaviour for everlasting ; if thou make 
not a wise choice now, thou art undone for 
ever. Look what thy present choice is, such 
must thine eternal condition be, Luke x. 84, 
and xvi. g5. Prov. i. S7, S8, S9. 

And is it true indeed ? Is life and death at 
thy choice ? Yea, ^tis as true as truth is, Deut. 
XXX* 19. Why then; what hinders but tbagt 


218 Conclusion of the tvhoh. 

you should be happy ? Nothing doth or can 
hinder^ but thine own wilful negkct^ or refu- 
sal. It was the passage of the Eunuch to 
Philip, hee^ her^ is tcater : ichat doth hinder 
7ne to be haptizedP So I jmay say to thee, See, 
here is Christ ; here is mercy, pardon, life : 
w hat hinders, but that thou shouldst be par- 
doned and saved ? One of the martyrs, as he 
was praying at the stake, bad his pardon set 
by in a box, (which, indeed, he refused de- 
servedly, because upon unworthy terms :) but 
here the terms are most honorable and easy, 
O sinner ! wilt thou burn with thy pardon by 
thee ? Why, do but forthwith give up thy 
consent to Christ, to renounce thy sin«, deny 
thyself, take up the yoke, and the cross, and 
thou earnest the day. Christ is thine, par- 
don, peace, life, blessedness, are all thine j 
and is not this an offer worth the embracing? 
Why shouldst thou hesitate, or doubtfully 
dispute about the case ? Is it not past contro- 
yersy, whether God be better than sin, and 
^lory better than vanity? Why shouldst thou 
forsake thine own mercy and sin against thine 
own life ? Vf hen wilt thou shake off tliy 
sloth, and lay by thine excuses ? Boast not 
thyself ofto^morroiop thou knowest not where 
this night may lodge thee, Prov. xxvii. 1. 

Beloved, now the holy Spirit is strivina; 
with you : he will not always strive. Hast 
thou not felt thy heart warmed by the word, 
and been almost persuaded to leave off thy 
sins, and cotue unto God ? Hast thou not felt 
gome good motions in thy mind, wherein thou 
hast been warned of thy danger^ and told wbat 

Conclusion of the whole. 21^ 

fliy careless course will eiul io ? It maybe 
thou art like young Samuel^ who^ vvlien the 
Lord called once aud again, he knew not the 
voice of the Lord, 1 Sam. iii. 6;, 7- But these 
motions and items are the oiTers and^ essayj^r, 
and calls, and strivings of the Spirit : Oh, 
take the advantage of ^he tide, and know the 
day of thy visitation. 

Now, the Lord Jesus stretcheth wide his 
arms to receive you : he beseecheth you by 
us. How movingly, how meUingly, how pit- 
ifully, how passionately he calleth ! The 
church is put into a sudden ecstaey upon the 
sound of his voice, The voice of my beloved^ 
Cant. ii. 8. Oh, wilt thou turn a deaf ear tp 
his voice ? It is not the voice that breaketh 
4he cedars, and maketh the mountains to skip 
like a calf ; that shaketb tlie wilderness, and 
divideth the flames of fire : it is not Sinai^s 
thunder, but the soft and still voice. It is not 
the voice of mount Ebal, a voice of cursing 
and terror, but the voice of mount Gerizim, 
the voice of blessing, and of glad tidings, of 
good thingSo It is not the voice of tlie trum- 
pet, nor the noise of war; but a message of 
peace from the King of peace, Eph. vi. lil. 
S Cor, V. 18, 30. Methinks it should be with 
thee, as with the spouse, Mij soul failed ichen 
lie spaJce^ Cant, v. 6, I may say to thee, O 
sinner, as Martha to her sister. The Master 
is come^ and he calleth for thee, John xi. 28. 
Oh, now with Mary, arise quickly, and come 
mito liim» How sweet are his invitations !— 
He crieth in the open concourse. If any man 
i^irst, let him come unto me and drinks John 

£S0 Conclusion of the lohole. 

vii. 37, Prov. i. 21. He broacheth his owh 
body for thee : Oh^ come and lay thy mouth 
to his side. How free is he ! he excludeth 
none : Wlwsoever will^ let him come and take 
the tcater of life freely^ Rev. xxii. I7. Who 
is simple^ let him turn in hither. Come^ eat 
of mij breads drink of the tcine which I have 
mingled. Forsake the foolish^ and livcj Prov. 
ix. % 5; G. Come unto me^ &e* Take my 
yoke upon you^ and learn of me^ and ye shaU 
find rest unto your soiilsj Matt. xi. 28^ 29. — 
Him that cometh to me^ I will in no wise cast 
outy John vi. 37. How doth lie bemoan ths 
obstinate refuser ! O Jerusalem, Jerusalem^ 
how often would I have gathered thy children, 
as a hen gathereth her chickens under her 
%oings. and ye would not! Matt, xxiii. 37.-— 
Behold me^ behold me : I have stretched out 
my hands all the day to a rebellious people, 
Isa. Ixv. 1, S. Oh, be persuaded now^ at last^ 
to throw yourselves into the arms of love. 

Behold, O ye sons of men, the Lord Jesus 
hath thrown open the prisons, and now he 
cometh to you, (as the magistrates once to 
them, Acts xvi. 39) and beseecheth you to 
come out. If it were from a palace or a par- 
adise, that Christ did call you, it w^ere no 
wonder if you were unwilling ; (and yet, how 
easily was Adam tolled from thence !) but it 
is ftom your prison, sirs, from your chains, 
from the dungeon, from the darkness, that he 
calleth you, Isa. xlii. 6, 7, and yet will you 
not come? He calleth you unto liberty. Gal. 
V. 13, and yet will you not hearken? His 
yoke is easy, his laws are liberty, his service 

Conclusion of the ivfiole^ §31 

freeclora, Matt. xi. 30. James L 35. 1 Cor. 
vif. S3^ and (whatever prejudices you have 
against his ways) if a God may be believed, 
you shall find them all pleasure and peace, 
and shall taste sv/eetncss and joy unutterable, 
and take iniinite delight and felicity in them, 
Prov. iii. 17- Ps, cxix. 165. 1 Pet. 1. 8. Ps. 
cxix, lOe, 111. 

Beloved, I am loth to leave you : I cannot * 
tell how ta give over. 1 am now ready to 
shut up ; but fain I would drive this bargain 
between Christ and you before lend. What ! 
ihall 1 leave you as I found you at last ? — 
Have you read hitherto, and are not yet re- 
solved upon a present abandoning all your 
sinis, and closing with Jesus Christ? Alas! 
what shall I say ? What sliall I do ? Will 
you turn off all my importunity ? Have I run 
in vain ? Havel used so many argumentj?, 
and spent so much time to persuade yoii, ancl 
yet must sit down at last in disappointment? 
But is it a small matter that you turn me off? 
You put a slight upon the God that made yoci, 
you reject the bowels aird beseeching^ of a 
Saviour, and will be found resisters of the 
Holy Ghost, Acts vii. 51, if you will not now 
be prevailed w ith to repent and be converted. 

Well, though I have called you long, and 
ye have refused, I shall yet this once more 
lift up my voice like a trumpet, and cry frosi 
the highest places of the city, before I con- 
clude with a miserable conclamatum est, — 
Once more I shall call after regardless sin- 
ners, thri, if it be possible, I may awaken 
themr earthy earth; earthy hear the word 

T S 

SISS Conclusion of the whcU. 

of the Lord^ Jer. xxii. 29. Unless you be refe 
fcolved to die^ lend your ears to the last callsi 
of mercy. Behold, in the name of God I make 
open proclamation to you ; Hearken unto me, 
i) ye children: hear instruction^ and he wise^ 
and refuse it not^ Prov. viii. 33^ 33. 

Hoy every one that thirsteth^ come ye to the 
2caters ; and he that hath no money^ come ye, 
huy^ and eat : Yea^ come^ buy wine and millc, 
without money^ and icithout iirice. Where- 
^ore do ye spend your money for that which 
is not breads and your labor for that which 
satisjieth not P Hearken diligently unto me^ 
and eat ye tJiat which is good^ and let your 
soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your 
ear^ and come unto me ; hear^ and your soul 
shall live J and I icill make an everlasting cov- 
enant with you^ even the sure mercies of Ba^ 
vid^ Isa. Iv. 1, g, 3. 

Ho, every one that is sick of any manner 
of disease, or torment, Matt. iv. 23, 24, or is 
possessed with an evil spirit, whether of pride, 
or fury, or lust, or covetonsness, come ye to 
the physician, bring away your sick : lo, here 
is he that healeth all manner of sickness^ and 
all manner of diseases among the people. 

Ho, every one that is in debt, and every 
one that is iw distress, and every one that is 
discontented ; gather yourselves unto Christ, 
and he will become a captain over you, he 
will be your protection from the arrests of the 
law, he Will save you from the hand of jus«. 
tice. Behold he is an open sanctuary to you, 
he is a known refuge, Heb. vi. 18. Ps. xlviii. 
o. Away Vi'ith your sins, and come in unto 

Conclusion of the wlwle. SSS 

him, lest the avenger of blood seize you, lest 
devouring wrath overtake you. 

Ho, every ignorant sinner, come, and buy 
eye-salve, that thou mayest see, Rev. iii. 18. 
Away with thine excuses, thou art for ever 
lost, if thou continues t in this estate, a Cor. 
iv. 3. But accept of Christ for thy prophet, 
and he will be a light unto thee, Isa. xlii. 6. 
Eph. v. 14. Cry unto him for knowledge, 
study liis word, take pains about the princi- 
ples of religion, humble thyself before him, 
and he will teach thee his way, and make thee 
wise unto salvation. Matt. xiii. 36. Luke viii, 
9. John V. 39. Psal. xxv. 9. But if thou 
wilt not follow him in i\\Q painful use of his 
means, but sit down because thou hast but 
one talent, he will condemn thee for a wick- 
ed and slothful servant, Matth. xxv. 24. 30. 

Ho, every profane sinner, come in ami 
live : return unto the Lord, and he will have 
mercy upon thee : be entreated. Oh, return, 
eome ; thou thai hast filled thy mouth with 
oaths and execrations, all manner of sins and 
blasphemies shall be forgiven thee. Matt. iii. 
g8, if thou wilt but thoroughly turn unto 
Christ, and come in. Though thou wast as 
unclean as Magdalene^ Yet jiut away thy 
whoredoms out of thy sight^ and thine aduU 
ieriesfrom between thy breasts^ and give up 
thyself unto Christ, as a vessel of holiness 
alone for his use ; and then, though thy sins 
be as scarlet^ they shall be as loool ; and 
though they be as crimson^ they shall be white 
as snoWy Luke vii. 37. Hosea ii, S. 1 Thess. 
iv. 4. Isa. i. 18. 

J5?4 Conclusion of the loJwle. 

Hear^ ye drunkards ! How lon^ will ye 
he drunken P Put aicay your wine^ 1 Sam. 
i. i% though ye have rolled in the vomit of 
your sin^ take the vomit of repentance, and 
heartily disgorge your beloved lusts^ and the 
Lord will receive you, 2 Cor. vi. 17- Give 
np yourselves unto Christ, to live soberly, 
righteously, and godly ^ embrace his right- 
eousness, accept his government ; and though 
you have been swine, he will wash you, liev^ 
iii. 6. 

Hear, O ye loose companions ! whose de- 
light is in vain and wicked society, to sport 
away your time in carnal mirth and jollity 
with them ; coRie in at wisdom's calls, and 
choose her, and her ways, and you shall live, 
Prov. ix. 5, 6. 

Hear, O ye scorners ! hear the word of 
the Lord : Though you have made a sport at 
godliness and the professors thereof ; though 
you have made a scorn of Christ and of his 
ways ; yet, even to you doth he call, to gath- 
er you under the wings of his mercy, Proy, 
i. SS, 23, In a word, though you should be 
found among the worst of that black roll^ 
1 Cor. vi. 9, 10, yet upon your thorough 
conversion you shall be washed, you shall 
be justified, you shall be sanctified, in the 
Bame of the Lord Jesus> and by the Spirit 
of our God, verse 11. 

Ho, every formal professor, that art but a 
lukewarm and dough baked Christian, ami 
restest in the form of godliness, give over thy 
halving, and thy halting ; be a throughout 
Christian; and be zealcus; and repent ; and 

Conclusion of the whole. SS5 

ilren, though thou hast been an oifence t^ 
Christ's stomach,, thou shalt be the joy of his 
heart, He v. iii. 16, 19, 20. 

And now bear witness that mercy hath been 
offered you, I call heaven and earth to record 
against you this day^ that I have set before 
you life and death^ blessing and cursing; 
therefore choose life^ that you may live^ Deut. 
XXX. 19. I can but woo you, au€l warn you ; 
I cannot compel you to be happy ; if I could, 
I would. What answer will you send me 
with to my Master ? Let me speak unto you, 
as Abraham's servant tathem ; And now if 
you will deal kindly and truly tvith my Mas- 
ter^ tell me^ Gen. xxiv. 49. Oh, for such a 
Imppy answer as llebekah gave to them, 
Gen. xxiv. 57> ^8* And they said, we will 
call the damsely and inquire at her mouth. 
And they called Mebekah^ and said unto her^ 
tvilt thou go ivith this man P And she said^ I 
will go. Oh that I had but thus from you ! 
why should I be your accuser, Matt. x. 14, 
15, who thirst for your salvation? Why 
should the passionate pleadings and wooing 
of mercy be turned into the horrid aggrava- 
tion of your obstinacy, and additions to your 
misery? Judge in yourselves : do you not 
think their condemnation will be doubly dread- 
ful, that shall still go on in their sins, after 
all endeavours to recall them ? doubtless, it 
shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon^ 
yea, for Sodom and Gomorrah^ in the day of 
judgment, than for you^ Matt. xi. 22, 24. 

Beloved, if you have any pity for your 
perishing souls, close with the present offers 

336 Conclusion of the ivJiole. 

of mercy : if you would not continue and in- 
crease the pains of your travailing ministers, 
do not stick in tlie birth. If the God that 
nhide you have any authority with you, obey 
his command^ and come in. If you are not 
the despiscrs of grace, and would not shut 
up the doors of mercy against yourselves, re- 
pent and be converted. Let not heaven stand 
open for you in vain : let not the Lord Jesus 
open his wares, and bid you buy without 
money, and without price, in vain: let not 
his ministers, and his Spirit strive with you 
in vain, and leave you now at last unpersuad« 
ed, lest the sentence go forth against you. 
The helloios are burnt^ the lead is consumed 
of the jire^ the founder melteth in vain. Me- 
jjrobate silver shall men call them^ because 
the Lordhath rejected them ^ Jer. vi. 29, 30. 

^^ Father of Spirits, take the heart in hand 
that is too hard for my weakness : do not thou 
have ended, though I have done : half a 
word from thine elfectual power, will do the 
work, G thou that hast the key of .David, 
that openest, when no man shutteth ; open 
thou this heart, as thou didst Lydia's, and 
let the King of glory enter in> and make this 
i^oul thy captive. Let not the temptei" harden 
him in delays : let him not stir from this 
place, nor take his eyes from these lines, till 
lie be resolved to forego his^ sins, and to ac- 
cept of life upon thy self-denying terms. In 
thy name, O Lord God, did I go forth to 
these labours ; in thy name do I shut them 
up : let not all the time they have cost be but 
lost hours ; l<jt not all the thoughts of heartj^ 

Conchision of the tvhole. S27 

Mid all the pains that have been about them, 
be but lost labour, Lord^ put in thine hand 
into the heart of this reader^ and send thy 
Spirit, as once thou didst Philip, to join him- 
self to the chariot of the Eunuch, while he 
was reading the word. And though I should 
never know it while I live, yet 1 beseech thee. 
Lord God, let it be found at that day, that 
some souls are converted by these labours : 
and let some be able to stand forth, and say, 
That by these persuasions they were won. 
unto thee. Amen^ Amen^ J^et him that rea^* 
eth say; %lmen,^\ 



BELOVED^ I despair of ever bringing 
you to salvation without sanctification^ or pos- 
s^^essing you of happiness without persuading 
you to holiness. God knows, I have not the 
least hope ever to see one of your faces iu 
heaven, except you be converted, and sancti- 
fied, and exercise yourselves unto godliness : 
I beseech you, study personal godliness and 
family godliness, 

!• Personal godliness. Let it be your first 
eare to set up Christ in your hearts : see that 
you make all your worldly interest to stoop 
to him, that you be entirely and unreserved- 
ly devoted unto him If you wilfully, and 
deliberately, and ordinarily harbour any sin, 
you are undone, Psal. Ixviii. M. Szek. xviii. 
SO. See that you urfelOTedly take the law 
of Christ as the rule cl your wore 3, thcughts, 
and actions ; aud subjeci your whole man, 
members and miud faithfully [o him Psal, cxix. 
34. Rom. vi, 13, If /ou have not a true 
respeat to all God^s comm-.Tidraents, you are 
Unsound at heart, TsaL cxix» G. Oh, study 

S30 Mr. Alleine^$ Counsel 

to get the image and impress of Christ upom 
you within. Ikgin Mith your hearts, else 
you buihl without any foundation. Labour 
to get a saving change within, or else all ex- 
ternal performances will be to no purpose : 
and then study to shew forth the power of 
godliness in thy life : let piety be your first 
and great business ; it is the highest point of 
justice to give God his due. Beware that 
none of you be a praycrless person ; for that 
is a most certain discovery of a Christless 
and a graceless person, of one that is a very 
stranger to the fear of God, Psal. xiv. 4. 
John XV. 4. Suffer not your bibles to gather 
dust : see that you converse daily wdth the 
W'Ord, John v. SQ. That man can never lay 
claim to blessednei?«, whose delight is not in 
the law of the Lord, Psal. i, 1, S. Let med- 
itation and self-examination be your daily ex- 

But piety without charity is but the half of 
Christianity, or rather impious hypocrisy. 
We may not divide the tables ; see therefore 
that you do justly, and love mercy, and let 
equity and charity run like an even thread 
throughout a,ll your dealings. Be you tem- 
perate in all things and let chastity and so- 
briety be your undivided companions. Let 
truth and purity, seriousness and modesty, 
heaviness and gravity, be the constant orna^ 
ment of your speech. Let patience and hu- 
mility, simplicity and sincerity shine out in 
all the parts of your conversations. See that 
you forget and forgive wrongs, and requite 
them with kindness, as you would be found 

for Personal and Family Godliness. 231 

the children of the most high. Be merciful 
in your censures^ and put the most fiivoura^ 
ble constructions upon your breihrens car- 
riage that their actions will reasonably hear. 
Ke slow in promising, punctual in fuUiliiiig. 
Let meekness and innocence^ affableness, 
yieldingness^ and simplicity commend your 
conversations to all men. Let none of your 
relations want that love and royalty, rever- 
ence and duty, that tenderness, care, ajid 
vigilance which their several plat!es and ca- 
pacities call for. This is thorough godliness. 
I charge you before the most high God, that 
none of you be found a swearer or a liai*, or 
a lover of evil company^ or a scoiTer, or ma- 
licious, or coveteoug, or a drunkard, or a 
glutton, unrighteous in his dealing, unclean 
in his living, or a quarreller, or a thief, or a 
backbiter, or railer ; for I denounce unto you 
from the living God, that destruction and dam- 
nation is the end of all such, Prov. xiii. ^0, 
James v. 13. Rev, xxi. 8. 1 Cor. vi 9, 10. 
Gal. V. 19, 20, 21. 

2. Family godliness. He that hath set up 
Christ in his heart, will be sure to study to 
set him up in his house. Let every family 
with you be a Christian church, 1 Cor. xix 
19, every house a house of prayer ; let every 
housholder say with Joshua, I and my house 
will serve the Lord, Josh. xxiv. 15, and re- 
solve with David, I will walk in my house 
with a perfect heart, Ps. ci. 2. Let me press 
upon you a few duties in general. 

First, Let religion be in your families, 
laot as a matter by the by (to be minded ah 

232 Mr: Meine's Counsel 

leisure, when the world will give you leave) 
but the standing business of the house : let 
them have your prayers as duly is their meals. 
Is there any of your families but have time 
for their taking food ? Wretched man ! canst 
thou not find time to pray in ? 

Secondly, Settle it upon your hearts, that 
your souls are bound up in the souls of your 
family ; they are committed unto you, and if 
they be lost through your neglect, they will 
be required at your hands. Sirs, if you do 
not, you shall know, that the charge of souls 
is a heavj^ charge, and that the blood of s®uls 
is a heavy guilt. O nivan, hast thou a charge 
of souls to answer for, and dost tiiou not yet 
bestir thyself for them, that their blood be 
not found in thy skirts ? Wilt thou do no 
more for immortal souls than thou wilt do for 
the beasts that perish ? What dost thou do 
for thy children and servants? Thou provid- 
est meat and drink for them agreeable to their 
nature ; and, dost thou not the same for thy 
beasts ? Thou givest them medicines, and 
cherishest them when they be sick ; and dost 
thou not the same for thy swine ? More par- 

i. Let the solemn reading of the word> 
and singing of psalms be your family exer- 
cises, Isairxxxiv. 36. John v. 39. Ps. cxviii. 
15. See Christ singing witli his family, viz. 
liis disciples, Matt, xxvii. 30. Luke ix. 18. 

2. Let every person in your families be du- 
ly called to an accout of their profiting by the 
word heard or read, as they be about doing 
your own business : this is a duty of conse^. 

for Personal and Family Godliness. 233 

quence unspeakable^ and would be a means 
to bring tliose under your charge to remem- 
ber and profit by what they receive. See 
Christ^s example in calling his lumily to ac- 
count^ Matt. xvi. 11, 13; id. 

3. Often take an account of the souls un- 
der your care, concerning their spiritual states, 
[herein you must be followers of Christ, 
Matt. xiii. 10, 86,51. Mark iv. 10, 11.] 
make enquiry into their condition, insist much 
upon the sinfulness and misery of their natur- 
al state, and u[K)n the necessity of regenera- 
tion and conversion, in order to their salva- 
tion. Admonish them gravely of their sins, 
encourage their beginnings, follow them ear- 
nestly, and let them have no quiet for you, 
until you see them in a saving change. This 
is a duty of very great consequence, but (T 
am afraid) most fearfully neglected : doth net 
conscience say. Thou art the man ? 

4. Look to the strict sanctifying of the 
sabbath by all your houshold, lixod. xx. 19. 
Levit. xxiii. 3. Many poor flimilies have 
little time else : O improve but your sabbath 
days as diligently in labouring for knowledge, 
and doing your Maker's work, as you do the 
other days in doing your own work, and 1 
doubt not but you may come to some profi- 

5. Let the morning and evening sacrifice 
of solemn prayer be daily offered up in all 
your families, Ps. xcii. 1^ 2. Exod. xxx. 7, 
8. Luke i. 9, 10. Beware they be not found 
among the families that call not upon God's 
Hame; for; why should there be wrath irom 

u % 

£84 Mr. Mleine-s Counsel 

ilie Lord upon your families ? Jer. x. S5. O 
raiserable families w ithout GOD in the world, 
that are without family prayer! What! have 
you so maoy family sins, family wants^ fam- 
ily mercies ; what ! and yet no family pray- 
ers ? How do you pray with all prayer and 
supplication, if you do not with family pray- 
er ? Eph. vi. 18. Say not, I have no time ; 
what ! hast thou not all thy time on purpose 
to serve God and save thy soul ? And yet is 
tliis it for which thou canst find no time ? 
Find but an hearty and 1 will find time. 
Pinch out of your meals and sleep, rather 
than want for prayer. Say not, My business 
icill not give leave : this is the greatest busi- 
ness, to save thyself and the souls committed 
to thee. Business ! a whet will be no lett. 
In a v» ord, the blessing of all is to be got by 
prayer, Jer. xxix. 11, IS. 2 Sam. vii. §9, 
and wliat is thy business without God's bles- 
sing ? Say not, I am not able; use the one 
talent, and God will encrease, Matt, xxv, 24, 
&:c. Helps are to be had till thou art better 
able. But if there be no other remedy thou 
mast join with thine abler neighbour : God 
has special regard to joint prayer, James v. 
4, to 19. Acis"'xii. 5, iQj 12. g Cor. i. 11, 
;ind thtrefore jou must improve family ad- 
vantages for the performing of it. 

6. Put every one in your families upon 
|>rivate prayer. Observe whether they do 
perform it. "^ Get them the help of a form, if 
they need it, till they arc able to go without 
it. " Direct them how to pray, by reminding 
them of their sins; wants; and mercies, the 

for Personal and Family Godliness. S39 

materials of prayer. This was the practice 
of John^ and of Jesus, Luke xi. 1, 2^ &c. 

7. Set up catechising in your families, at 
the least once every week. Have you no 
dread of the Almighty^s charge, that you 
should teach these things diligenthj to your 
children^ and talk of them as you sit in your 
houses? Deut. vi. 6^ 7^ 8^ 9, and iv. 9, 10, 
and xi. 18, 19, 20, and train them up in the 
way wherein they should go^ Prov. xxii, 6. the 
margin. Hath God so commanded Abraham, 
that he yvouhl teach his children andhoushold^ 
Gen. xviii. 19, and that he had many in- 
structed servants^ Gen. xiv. i% (see the mar- 
gin) and given such a promise to him there- 
upon, and will you not put in for a share, 
neither in praise, nor the promises ? Hath 
Christ hanorcd catechising with his presence, 
Luke ii. 46, and- will you not own it with 
your practice ? Say not. They are careless, 
and will not learn : what have you your au- 
thority for, if not to use it for God, and the 
good of their souls? You will call them up 
and force them to do your work, and should 
you not at least be as zealous in putting them 
upon God^s work ? Say not. They are dull, 
and are not capable : if they be dull, God re- 
quires of you the more pains and patience ; 
but so dull as tliey are, you will make them 
learn how to work ; and can they not learn as 
well how to live ? Are they capable of the 
mysteries of your trade, and are they not ca- 
pable of the plain principles of religion ? — 
Well, as ever you would see the growth of 
religion; the cure of ignorance; the remedy of 

S36 Mr. Alleine's Counsel^ S^c. 

profaneness^ tlie downfall of error, fulfil you 
my joy, in going through with this duty. 

Will you answer the calls of divine provi- 
dence ? Would you remove the incumbent, or 
prevent the impenditig calamities ? Would 
you plant nurseries for the church of God? 
Would you that God should build your hous- 
es, and bless your substance ? Would you 
that your children should bless you ? O tlien 
set up piety in your families, as ever you 
would be blessed, or be a blessing : let your 
hearts and your houses be the temples of the 
living God, in which his worship (according 
to all the said mentioned directions) may be 
with constancy reverently performed. Prov. 
xxix. 1. He that being often reproved^ har- 
deneth his neck, shall suddenly he destroyed^ 
and that tcithout remedy: Oh^ be wise in^ 
time; that you be not miserable to eternity. 



Commune with your hearts njpon your beds. 

Ps. iv. 4* 

EVERY evening before you sleep (unless 
you find some other time of the day more for 
your advantage in this work) sequester your- 
self from tlie world ; and having set your 
hearts in the presence of the Lord, charge it 
before God to answer to these interrogatorieso 

For your Duties. 

Question 1. Did not God find me on my 
bed when he looked for me on my knees ? — 
Job i. 5. Ps. V. 3. 

Q. S. Have not I prayed to no purpose, or 
suffered wandering thoughts to eat out my du- 
ties ? Matt. XV. 8, 9. Jer. xii. 2. 

Q. 3. Have not I i^eglected, or been very 
slovenly in the reading of God^s holy word ? 
Deut. xvii. 18. Josh. i. 7? 8. 

Q. 4. Have I digested the sermon I heard 
la&t? Have I repeated it over, and prayed it 
over? Lukeii. 19, 51. Ps. i. g, and cxix. 
• 5, 11, 97. 

Q. 5, Was tiiere not more of custom and 
fashion in my family duties, than of coa- 
tcience ? Ps. ci, S. Jer. xxx. SI. 

SSS" XJspful Questions. 

Q. 6. Wherein have I denied myself this 
day for God ? Luke ix. S3. 

Q. 7. Have I redeemed my time from too 
long or needless visits^ idle imaginations, fruit- 
less discourse, unnecessary sleep, more than 
needs of the world ? Eph. v. 16. Col. iv. f5. 

Q. 8, Have I done any thing more than or- 
dinary for the church of God, in this time ex- 
traordinary ? S Cor. xi. S8. Isa. vi. g. 6. 

Q. 9* Have I took care of my company ?— 
Prov. xiii. 20. Ps. cxix. 63. 

Q. 10. Have not I neglected or done some- 
thing against the duties of my relations, aa 
a master, servant, husband, wife, parent^ 
child, &c. ? Eph. v. 23, to chap. vi. vers» 
10. Col. iii. 18, to chap. iv. verse 3. 

For your Sins. 

Q. 1. Doth not sin sit light? — Ps. xxxviii. 
*. Kom. vii. 24. 

Q. 2. Am I a mourner for the sins of the 
land ? Ezek. ix. 4. Jer. ix. 1, 2, 3. 

Q. 3. Do I live in nothing that I know op 
fear to be a sin ? Ps. cxix. 101, 101. 

For your Heart. 

Q. 1. Have I been much in holy ejacula- 
tions ? Neh. ii. 4, 5. 

Q. 2. Hath not God been out of mind ? 
heaven out of sight ? Ps. xvi. 8. Jer. ii. 32. 
Col. iH. 1,2. 

Q. 3. Have I been often looking into mine 
own heart, and made conscience even of vain 
thoughts? Prov. iii. 23. Ps. cxix, 113. 

Useful Questions. S30 

Q, 4. Have I not given way to the worTiings 
t)f pride or passion ? S Chron. xxxii. S6. — 
James iv. 5^ 6^ 7* 

JFbr y<?ur Tongue. 

Q. 1. Have I bridled my tongue^ and forc- 
ed it in ? James L 36, and iii. S; 3, 4. Psa. 
xxxix. 1. 

Q. 3. Have I spoke evil of no man ? Tit. 
iii. S. James iv. 11. 

Q. 3. Hath the law of the Lord been in my 
month as I sat in my house^^ went by the way^ 
was lying down, and rising up ? Dent. vi. 6, 

Q. 4. Is there no company I come into, 
but I have dropped something of God, and 
left some good savour behind ? Col. iv^ 6. 
Eph. iv. 29. 

For your Tabte. 

^. 1. Did not I sit down with no higher 
end than a beast, merely to please my appe- 
tite ? Did I eat and drink to the glory of 
God? 1 Cor. X. 31. 

Q. 2. Was not my appetite too hard for 
me ? Jude 13. g Pet. i. 6. 

Q. 3. Did not I arise from the table with- 
out dropping any thing of God there ? Luke 
vii. 36, and xiv. 1, &c. John vi. 

Q. 4^. Did not I mock God when I pretend- 
ed to crave a blessing and return thanks ? — 
Acts xxvii. 35, 38. Matt. xv. 36. Col; iii* 
17; S3. 

!S4jO Useful Qiiesti&ns. 

For your Calling. 

Q. 1. Havelbettn diligent in the duties of 
my calling ? Eccl. ix. 1 Cor. vii. 17^ 20, 24. 

Q, S. Have I defrauded no man ? 1 Thess. 
iy. 6. 1 Cor. vi. 8. 

Q. 3. Have I dropped never a lie in my 
shop or trade ? Prov. xxviii. 6. Eph. iv. 25. 

^. 4. Did not I rashly make, nor falsely 
break some promise ? Ps. cvi. 33* Josh. ix. 
14; &c, Ps. XV. 4« 






First case of Conscience. 

On Matt. V. 47. What do you more than oth- 
ers P 

Question I. 

WHEREIN should Christians be singu. 
lar in their obedience ? or what may they^ 
and must they do more than others? 

•Snswer. Take the answer in these sixteen 
rules^ containing the character and compass 
of a Christian. 

Rule I. Heartily to love them that slight 
yoUf and to wish and seek the good of those 
that hate you^ and seek to hurt you. This is 
the very thins urged in the text : If you sa* 
lute your bretnren only^ and love them that love 
youy do not even the publicans the same ? — 
Matt. V. 46, 47. To love them that do re- 
speet and value us, this every one can do : but 
to love them truly that think meanly of us, 
and have prejudices and hard thoughts arainst 
us, and to speak well of them that speak evil 
of us, (as the sweet spirited Calvin, \A^i Lu* 
ther call me dog or devil^ I will say of him 

2i2 Cases of Conscience 

nevertheless, lie is a precious servant of Jc- 
sus Christ,) this is to do more than others, — 
Tl.us the martyr Cranmer, of \vhom it was a 
liroverb. Do tlie Bishop of Canterbury a (lis- 
})leasure^ and you sliall ever have him your 
friend ; thus tliat holy man, in his much to be 
admired panting words, '' I had never any 
greater pleasure in all my life than to forget 
and forgive injuries, and to shew kindness to 
them that sought evil to mc.'^ Study who 
have oflended you, and disobliged you, and 
slighted you, and keep up good thoughts of 
Ihem, (if the case will bear it) and speak 
liothing but good of them, aud think what 
kindness you may shew them : pray for them, 
wish well to them, so .shall ye be the children 
cf your father ichich is in heaven^ Matt, v. 

Ilule II. To sicim against the stream of 
the multitude. Tiie dead fish will swim with) 
but the living against the stream. Many will 
turn Jews when their interest will carry it in 
the world. Wlien religion is in fashion every 
one wHl be in it. Rut to bear head against 
the current of the times, and to be for strict 
godliness in all your ways, when the stream 
runs quite against it, to bear it down, and to 
resolve, as IJavid did, to be yet more vile ; 
this is to be, and to do more than others. — 
Tlie Samaritans will need be Jews when Al- 
exander favors and helps them ; but when 
Aniioehus bloodily ra^^es against them, (as in 
the time of tlie Maccabees) then they will be 
none of the kin, but preiend themselves to be 
of another stock, (which, by the way, was the 

jiulicioiishj resolved. SiJ 

reason of the deadly hatred afterwards be- 
tween the Jews and them.) But to be singu- 
lar in your good choice and resolutions, with 
Joshua, though all should vote against you 
with one consent; and with Noah, to be per- 
fect in our generation, when never so adulter- 
ous, and to walk with God when all flesh have 
corrupted their way, and tread a contrary 
course ; this is to do more than others. Thus 
the three children, or rather the three cham- 
pions, who would not fear the flouts of the 
multitude, nor the frowns of the great ones, 
nor th« charge of singularity, when all the 
princes, governors, captains, counsellors, 
gheriifs, and all the people, nations, and lan- 
guages, fell down and worshipped, they stood 
by themselves, and would not sinfully com- 
ply, Dan. iii. 3, 7, 18. 

Rule III. To take most care of that which 
is most out of sight. A Christian's eye is 
most on the things least seen : 1. Upon his 
i^eart. Herein he doth exceed the righteous- 
ness of the Pharisees, whose gieat care was 
to keep all fair and clean that came to view, 
but looked no farther. Make great conscience 
of yonr carriage in secret, and let your main 
guard be upon your hearts, and this will be 
more than others reach to. This v/as Paul's 
care, to keep his conscience, his inside, clean 
and undefiled. Acts xxiv. 16, and Job's care, 
that though all the world did reproacli him, 
he might not put a reproach in the mouth of 
his conscience. Job xxvii. 6, and David's 
care, that his heart might be clean. 2. Up( n 
Jiis hoj^e. Others look to the things seen, 

2hh Cases of Conscience 

things ill hand ; but the true believer eyes his 
hopeS;, walks by faith^ not by sights and lives 
a quite different life from any other in the 
Avorld besides ; as living upon the hopes of 
heaven doth differ from living on the pleas- 
ures, profits and honors of the world. 

llule IV. To be merciful to other^sfailivgs, 
and very severe to our own. The noble Ro- 
man, Cato, could more easily forgive any than 
himself. To aggravate our own evils, and 
to have an excuse ready for our brother^a, 
and to censure ourselves freely, and to come 
with the mantle behind us to cover our broth- 
er, this is to do more than others. The hyp- 
ocrite is a ceusurer abroad ; he is like the 
eye, that can see any thing but itself; he can 
discern a mote in his brother^s eye, but not a 
beam in his own. But the servant of God re- 
bukes others with meekness, but falls out ea- 
sily and bitterly with himself. 

llule V. To suffer rather than to sin. This 
was Moses' choice ; but the hypocrite is quite 
contrary : he chooseth iniquity rather than 
affliction. To go far with Christ as our ways 
lie together, is to do no more than an unsound 
professor may reach to : the trial is when 
Christ's interesl and ours do cross, and we 
must either baulk our duty, or our safety and 
advantage. Tlie famous martyr under Julian 
would not give an half-penny toward the 
building of the idoFs temple, though he was 
offered his life by the emperor on those terms : 
tlie godly high-priest Eleazer, when the no- 
bles persuaded him to eat other meat under 
colour of swine's flesh, and they would per- 

judicioiishj rcsolvei. 2-13 

suade the king Aatiochus that he had eateu 
swine^s flesh, would die rather than stain hh 
profession with the appearance of evil. When 
a man shall lie in outward misery^ and have 
a door of deliverance opened^ if he would but 
sinj and yet he will not accept of it, as thoso 
worthies in PauFs martyrology, Ileb. xi. 35, 
&e. this is to do more than others. 

Rule VI. To rejoice for losses in Christ, 
and glory in the cross ; when others are dis- 
couraged at the news of hardship, as that for- 
ward and' geennngly resolved disciple ; or 
shall h% offended as soon as the sun of perse- 
cution is up : when we shall take pleasure in 
infirfaities, in tribulations, and rejoice that we 
are counted worthy to suffer shame for the 
name of Christ: this^is to do more than oth- 
ers. When the servants of God^ shall not on- 
ly patiently and triumphantly undergo the 
crosses that crack the brains, and break the 
hearts of others, and shall shake off the vij>er 
without receiving any hurt :: when Paul and 
Silas shall sing in the stocks, and the resolv- 
ed martyr shall embrace the faggots^ and kiss 
the stake : when the valiant Philpot shall say 
of his prison, ^^In the judgment of the world 
we are in hell, but I find in it the sweet con- 
solation of heaven ;'^ and the holy Bradford, 
^^ My prison is sweeter to me than any par- 
lour, than any pleasure 1 have had in all my 
life 'J^ this is indeed to exceed others. 

Rule VII. Ta he good tvhen we shall be 

evil spoken of for our labour. A Pharisee 

will do those duties that will gain applause 

with man : but to take up with despised du* 

w 3 

246 Cases of Conscience 

ties, disgraceful duties, and with David to he 
religious, M iien it sliall render him vile ; this 
is to do more than others. The philosopher 
could say, ^'It is noble indeed for a man to 
do welU vrhou he knows he shall hear ill for 
it/' 'i o take up religion when every oner 
kicks it off, to stand up alone^ with Luther, 

.for the truth, When the whole world is gone a^ 
Vi andering after (he whore ; to have his hand 
against every man^ and to be for Christ, witlr 
Athanasius, against the whole universe : this 
is indeed to do some singular thini;;. 

Rule VIll. To strike in with klocVs inter- 
est when it is falling. To join ourselves^ 
with the Lord^s people, w hen it i^ the weak, 
est, to espouse their interest, with Moscs^ 
when they are in deepest affliction, Heb. xi. 
S5, 26, to own ourselves to be some of thera* 

, undauntedly, when this way is every where> 
spoken against ; this is to tread Antipedes to 
the course of this world. 

Rule IX. To be most cruel to tJie sin that 
is natiiraUij most dear. The hypocrite hides 
liis sweet morsel under his tongue ; he spares, 
fi3 it' were, the fatteat of the cattle ; he saith, 
The.Lord pardon his servant concerning this 
iking. Bat when a man shall off with his 
light- hand, ou( with liis right-eye, serve his 
Absalom as .ioab did, when he took thfec 
darts and thrust through his heart ; this is to 
do more than others. The sincere Christian 
is most angry with the sin of his temper, 
against this he aims the arrows of all his. 
prayers. He keeps him from his iniquitij ; 
he drives the wliok' herd gf ^mm ^*efore hUn^ 

judiciousty resolved. 24? 

Kut especially shoots at it, singles this to ruix 
it down. 

Rule X. To live upon the divine promises^ 
when others live upon their profession. Oth- 
ers are all for what is in hand ; with them 
words are but wind, they cannot live upon 
them ; the promises are to them a barren 
heathy and dry breasts. But when we make 
the promises ouv heritage, the staff of our life, 
the life of our hearts, when the promises arc 
the bottle we runt to in all our fainting ; and 
while others hope in their wealth, our hope 
is in the word : this is to do more than others. 

Rule XI. To love that best^ and choose 
that soonest^ which crosses the flesh most. — 
The godly man's rulei^ to take the self denial 
aside, so he be sure it be safe. When other's 
study is to please themselves, his is to curb 
himself: the life of athers is a flesh-pleasing, 
liis a self-denying life ; other's joy is when 
they can gratify themselves, his when he can 
get victory over himself. 

Rule XII. To be most hot in that wherein 
self is least concerned, Paul is meek as a 
lamb under personal injury, 1 Cor. iv. IS, but 
how is his spirit stirred when God is dishon- 
ored ? Acts xiii. 46. A man of understand- 
ing is of a cool spirit, that is, in his own con- 
cern ; but Moses the meek waxes hot with in- 
dignation at the sight of the calf. To ')e hot 
and forward in those duties Avhere the flesh's 
interest is not concerned, is to do more thau 
Jehu, 3 Kings x. 16, 20. 

Rule XIII. To make a true conscience of 
the least sins^but most conscience of the great-^ 

JSM Cases of Conscience 

est. In one of these will the hypocrite be 
found tardy. It may be he will fly from open 
sins, and startle at gross staring sins, but of 
little sins he niake& little conscience ; this he 
allows of and connives at ; or else he will be 
very tender of little things^ scruple the pluck- 
ing the ears of corn on the sabbath-day, or the 
curing of the sick ; and strain at the gnat, 
when he will in other things swallow a cam- 
el, and devour widows^ houses. The sincere 
will indulge no sin ; grieves for, groans un- 
der, cries out feelingly against his very in- 
firmities f but most dreads Avhat God most 

Rule XIV. To allow yourselves in the 
neglect of no duty^ hut to reserve your zeal 
for the duties of most iceight. To tithe mint 
and cummin, and neglect judgment, mercy 
and faith ; to be zealous for human ceremo- 
nies, ordinances, and men's traditions, and 
omit the weightier matters of the law, is right 
the Pharisee's guise> Matt, xxiii. 23, and xv* 
S. To eye both the tables '^ to join sweetly 
together morality and piety ; to be punctual 
with men, but not careless of God ; to give to 
Cesar the things that are Cesar's, but first to 
give to God the things that are God's : this is 
to do more than others. The sincere Chris- 
tian hath respect to all God's commandments, 
walks in all his statutes ; he is throughout 
with God ; but he is most zealous in those 
things that lie next the heart of religion. 

Rule XV. To love your reprovers. Here- 
in David doth more than Ahab : see their con- 
tr4iry frames; 1 Kings xxii. 8. Ps, clxi. 5. 

judiciousli/ resolved. 24{? 

Rule XVI. To suhjeet all your worldly 
interests to yoiirMaker^sglorij^ and perform 
holy duties tvitJi holy ends ; and while others 
do their best actions icith carnal aiins^ you 
must do your common and civil actions witK 
heavenly aims. 

(luest. How may we know whether we he 
and do more than othei^s that are unsoimd ? 

I shall answer this question by propound- 
ing eight questions to you, beseeching you to^ 
retire to the most solemn and strict examina- 
tion, and make conscience to give a clear an- 
swer to these few interrogatories, and that 
will resolve the case. 

Quest. I. When others do pick and choose^ 
have you respect to all God^s commandments?^ 
The hypocrite may have great respect for the* 
comforts, but he hath little to the commands* 
of religion : he is much for the privileges and 
promises, little for the precepts and duties : 
he is partial in the law ; he will take but here 
and there where he likes, and where God's 
commands will serve his interest, or at least 
will not pinch too hard upon the flesh. The 
sound Christian sets all God's commands be- 
fore him ; he eyes all his copy, and heartily 
designs and studies a thorougli conformity ; 
he hath no starting holes, no contrived haunts; 
nor doth he halt between the Lord and Baal, 
nor serve two masters ; he doth not fear the 
Lord, and serve other gods, nor divides his 
service between God and mammon : but he 
is all uniformity, and entirely devoted to 
God's service, and fear alone ; he hath a good 
conscience, willing in all things to live lion- 

S50 Cases of Conscience 

estly ; and doth trulvj though not perfectly, 
forsake all his sins, and keep all his statutes 
that are known to him. Let me therefore ask 
you two questions : (1.) When others divide 
the tables, do yoit sweetly conjoin them in your 
practice f The hypocrite, may be, is just and 
square towards man ; but fallow him to hi» 
family, or closet, you shall find but little of 
God ; his family is neglected, his soul is neg- 
lected : or it may be he is a forward first ta- 
ble man ; but you shall find him tardy in the 
second. He will make many prayers, and 
long prayers, yet make no conscience of de- 
.vouring widows' houses. He is a great pre- 
tender to piety, but meanwhile neglects judg- 
ment and mercy. The sincere join all togeth- 
er : he is so far careful of justice with man, 
that meanwhile he will not neglect the first 
and great part of justice, viz. To give Ged:^ 
his due : he doth justly, he loves mercy, but 
withal walks humbly with God : he walketh 
soberly with respect to himself, righteously 
towards his neighbor, and godly towards his 
Maker. He is not one of those that are good 
only on their knees, but you shall find him ev^ 
ery where conscientious : you shall have tern* 
perance at his table, chastity and modesty in 
bis behaviour, grace and trutli in his works, 
eharity in his deeds, faithfulness in his trust, 
justice in his dealings. He doth not only 
seem to be religious, but bridleth his tongue ; 
he is not only a good Christian, but a good 
neighbor ; not only a good nw^n, but a good 
husband, a good master, a dutiful child, a dil- 
igent and faithful servant, a good subject,^^ 

judiciously resolvei. 231 

In a word, he »iakes a great conscience of dis- 
charging the duties of his relations among 
men. (3.) When others stick in externals, 
do yon look to the spiritual part of every com- 
mand, and principally mind the inwards, and 
vitals of religion ? Do you not only make 
conscience of performing duties, but do you 
carefully look to the manner of performing 
them, and the ends for which you do perform 
them ? Do you not only make conscience of 
open, but of secret sins? Do you abound, 
above all, in secret duties ? Do you keep a 
watch upon your heart, and make conscience, 
not only of the gross acts of sin, but even of 
sinful thoughts, inclinations, and desires, and 
are grieved even with your very infirmities, 
and corru>>t dispositions of your natures, 
which you cannot help, though you would ? 

Quest. IT. When others have their reserves 
in closing icith Christ, do you give up all to 
him entirely ? Have you taken Christ not 
hand over head, but deliberately, understand- 
ingly, sitting down first, and counting the 
cost ? Have you no secret reserves, for your 
own case, safety, estate, esteem, on some 
beloved sins ? Have you, upon solemn con- 
siderations, accepted Clirist as the Lord your 
righteousness, for better, for worse, for all 
changes of times and conditions, to run all 
hazards with him, and to take your lot with 
him, fall as it will ? 

Quest. III. When others are for a little of 
religion, hy the by, do you make religion your 
business ? Do you not put off Godi with the 
world's leavings, and servd him \vheu you 

&52 Cases of Conscience 

4ire at leisure ? Must not God stand by, 
while the world is first served ? And are not 
your souls the least of your cares, and put off 
with some by-scrapes and ends your time ? 
Is religion your trade, and your conversation 
in heaven ? Do you walk with God ? Or 
have you only now and then a turn with him ? 
When you have ended your prayers, is there 
an end of your religion till you come to them 
again ? Or do you carry on a design of re- 
ligion throughout your whole course ? Have 
you only a list of religion at the outside of 
ihe piece ? Or is the woof of religion woven 
into the whole cloth, into heart and life, into 
your discourse, and trades, and table ? Do 
you first seek the kingdom of God, and tlie 
righteousness thereof ? Is it the chief care of 
your lives, that God be served, and your 
souls be saved ? And is this the one thing 
necessary with you, that you chiefly mind, 
and are most solicitous about ? Do your very 
hearts say with David^ One thing have I de- 
sired of the Lord^ that I will seek after ? <Sfc. 
Quest. IV. When oth&rs are for the wages 
of religion^ are you for the work ? Can yoU 
say with Davids Iluive chosen thy precepts ? 
Do your hearts Come off freely in this choice ? 
Had you rather be holy than otherwise, if you 
were at your choice ? Had you rather be God^s 
servants, and live to his command, than at 
your own lusts ? Do you count the laws of 
Christ your heritage, or rather count them 
your bondage ? Do you choose not only the 
wages of righteousness, but the ways of right- 
4;ousnes3 ? Are God's commandments your 

pidieionsly resolvedf 253 

<Jcliglit ? And are the sweetest hours of yonr 
lives the houi's ye spend with him ? Do you 
never enjoy yourselves so much as when you 
most enjoy God ? Is his service the greatest 
comfort, and is it meat and drink to you to do 
his will (unless when you are not yourselves, 
intlic time of temptation and desertion ?) Do 
you make use of holy duties only as men do 
of physic, when they are ill at ease, when con- 
science lasheth, or affliction stings, as it were^ 
to conjure down the frightful furies? or to 
pacify God that he may not hurt you ? Or else 
do you use them as your daily bread, and the 
very staff of your life, and means of your com- 
forts ? 

Quest. V. When others are for the cheap 
mid easy religion^ are you for self-denial P 
When others are for the religion that will 
serve them best, are you for that which will 
^erve God best ? When others are all upon 
the sparing hand, and will spare what may 
be spared, and study how they may best save 
charges in going to heaven, are you of prince- 
ly spirits, to resolve not to serve the Lord 
with that which will cost you nothing ? Is 
jour course of religion such as doth put your 
flesh to it, and cross and curb its desires ? Or 
^lo you love to give it what it craves, and suf- 
fer it to make its own way ? Have you no ene- 
my you dread so much as self? Do you pam- 
per and please it, and make provisions for it ? 
Or do you pray and watch against it, and 
grieve for its unhappy infirmities in your ac- 
tions ? and had rather than all the world that 
this enemy were under your feet ? 


^S-i: Cases of Conscience 

Quest. VL JVJi&n others are for no more 
of religion than needs must^ are you for the 
height of religion P The hypocrite (as one 
^vell says) is very inquisitive what is the low- 
est pitch that a man raay havc^ and go to 
heaven ; and upon this design, if he could 
find hut this, lie would look no farther: but 
the sincere Christian; though satisfied that his 
state is good^ w^ill rest in no atiaininents in 
. grace^ but reaches forward^ and presses on, 
if it were possible, to attain to the resurrec- 
tion of the dead. He that doth not desire, 
4iul design, and endeavor perfection, never 
yet came up to sincerity. A true believer de- 
sires holiness for holirxcss^ sake, and therefore 
is set upon perfecling holiness : others desire 
it only for heaven's sake, and are therefore 
only for so much as will bear their charges 
thitJier: others make use of holiness only as 
a bridge to heaven, and therefore are for no 
more than will just serve their turn.-^- The 
true believer hath a holy nature, and there- 
fore holiness is his element, and natural era- 
ployment ; and he must needs desire holiness 
in its height, because every nature reaches 
after perfection in its kind. The godly man 
desires not holiness because it is the way to 
heaven ; but he loves heaven the better for 
the holy way that leads to it, and for the per- 
fect holiness which is there. 

*And they bsve a false notion of heaven itself; el.c* 
they Hiight jastiy desire it» as the end of their present 
holiness, ic b.^iocj the fiuiclon of God in j^crfccl hoH- 

jiidicioiislu resolved. Sj5 

Quest. VII. When others are all J or the 

mhation of Christy arc yon as truly by sane- 
tijication for Christ P Do ymi take Christ as 
t]^od offers him^ with all his oilices and bene- 
fits, to be both a Prince and a Saviour, to give 
youTepcntance, as well as remission of sins? 
Are you willing of the dominion of Christ, as 
Well as deliverance by Christ? Do you close 
with his burden as v/ell as his beneliLs ? Do 
you count his laws your liberty ? his govern- 
ment not your bondage, but your privilege? 
his service, your freedom? Do you go in 
Christ's ways, as in gaols and fetters ; or do 
you run with enlargement of heart, delight, 
or real willingness ?- 

Quest. Vlil. When others do male e self 
their end, do you set up God above all^ as your 
highest end ? The hypocrite doth the same 
duties which the godly do, but with different 
ends : he eats for himself, and fa&ts for him- 
self, and prays with no belter than self ends, 
and therefore is rejected. Now, is it your 
great design, in your whole course, to glorify 
Grod, and enjoy God? Do you count this your 
'V\iiole business and. blessedness? Do you 
liiake other business to stoop to this ; other 
interests to yield to this ? Do your souls 
breathe after this above all worldly good, 
that Christ may be magnified in you? Do 
you count your name and your estate as loss, 
and the delights of sense but puddle water, 
in comparison of Christ ? If conscience give 
a comfortable and clear answer to these ques- 
tions, go in peace : blessed are you of the 
Lord; God is your friend, heaven is your 

256 Cases of Conscience 

herifase^ the promises are your porlion^ Christ 
is your's, all is your's ; far he that doth these 
things shall never be rnoved^ Ps. xv. 5. 


Quest. WIIJ T mayy and must a Christian 
1)2^ and do J that he may please God P 

Ans. To your pleafiiing of God, gomething 
is necessary as to your persons or estates, and 
something as to yonr performances and acts. 

First ^ As to your persons or estates ^ it is 
necessary in general, that you be in a state of 
reconciliation with God. If you would walk 
worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, you 
must, first, be friends with him, for hoia can 
two icalk together except they be agreed P — 
Get the controversy taken up between God 
and thee, and then thou shalt^ with Levi, walk 
with God in peace. Labour to get the breach 
made up, to have the enmity slain, to have 
divine displeasure removed : till thy pai'dou 
be obtained, and thy peace made, nothing 
thou canst do will please God: he will be 
angry with thy person, and angry with thy 
prayers. What a tart message is that to im- 
penitent sinners ? Mai. i. 10. God cannot 
take pleasure in their persons. I have no 
pleasure in yoitj saith the Lord of hosts ; nor 
in any of their performances, neither will I 
accept an offering at yonr hand : he profess^ 
eth that his soul bad no delight in them, and 
tells them, that they are unto him as a vessel 
wherein there is no pleasure, Je^. xxii, 28. — 
'Tis the modest expression of that vei?sel iiUc 

judiciously resoloeiL 257 

wliicli nature empties itself. Couie in, then, 
and touch the golden sceptre, yield to mercy, 
kiss the Son, resign to Christ : accept of tha 
peace tendered yoa in the ward of reconcilia- 
tion, and then God will be friends. More 
particularly, that you may be in a state of re- 
conciliation, and so in a capacity of pleasing 
God, you must follow these directions. 

1. JPut off every sin. It is your iniquity 
that separateth between you and your God ; 
this is the make-bate. If thou wouldst have 
God pleased, * turn every sin out of doors, 
pluck it out, east it from thee : if thou regard 
iniquity in thine hearty God will not hear 
thee, nor regard thee, Ps. IxvL 18. If thou 
art of them that have pleasure in unrighteous- 
ness, the Lord hath no pleasure in thee, lie 
is not a God that hath pleasure in wicked- 
ness, evil shall not dwell v/ith him : the fool- 
ish shall not stand in his sight ; he hateth all 
the workers of iniquity. See that thou aban- 
clon every sin that thou knowest, spare not 
one Agag, not a right- eye, not an Herodias ; 
for then God will not spare thee: give tlwi 
darling of thy bosom a bill of divorce, say to 
all thy idols, Get thee hence. God will not 
look to that man, that looks pleasantly upon 
any sin : the jealous God wilt not endure to 
see thee hankering on the harlot's lips, em- 
bracing any sin with delight. He will not 
bear it, to see thee smile upon any sin. He 
holds thee for a traitor to his crown, if thou 
willingly harbour his enemy. Though thou 
be very diligent in God's service, and present 
Uiiu with multitudes of sacrifices; and mai^y 

SS8 Cases of Conscience 

prayers, he will be pleased with nothing, but 
hides his face, and stops his ears, whilsVthou 
keepest thine iniquities in thine hands, Isa. i. 
11, 15* God will not amicably treat with 
them that will not put away the evil of their 
doings. O look into thine haadg, look into 
thy heart, look into thy house, into thy shop^ 
thy trade, thy calling ! see if there be not 
some way of wiekeduess that thou art found 
in. Thou canst not have peace with God, 
nor he pleasure in thee, till this be removed ; 
jmt off^ therefore, the old man with his deeds, 

2. Flit on the Lord Jesus Christ, Rom. 
xiii. 14. 

(1.) The red rohe of his righteousness for 
justification. The Lord will never give thee 
a good look, nor a good word, but in Christ ; 
he is a revenging, a consuming fire out of 
Christ; but get on his robes, and he will be 
well pk.ased. Enoch had this testimony., 
that he pleased God: but Chrisl had muc! 
more, that God was w ell pleasec} with sin- 
ners, in and for him. Away with these rags, 
and with these fig-leaves. How can the 
righteous soul of God but abhor you, whilst 
in the menstruous clothes of yoiu' own right- 
eousness ? Dare not to come to God, but with 
Christ in your aril}^?. Approach him not but 
iu the garments of your elder brolher, lest yovi 
carry away t!ie curse. Joshua's filthy gar- 
mcnls must be put off, and Christ's raiment 
put on : or else there is no standing before 
the bri?;ht and burning eyes of infinite holi- 
ness. Futcui (be Lord Jesus in believing; 
timt is; accept of him iu ail his office.^; mtM 

judiciously resolved^^ HS^ 

ftll his inconveniences^ and deliver up thyself 
to him, and this will entitle thee to his merits 
and righteousness ; without this nothing will 
avail. If thy head were waters, and thine 
eyes a fountain of tears, if thou shouidst wear 
thy tongue to the roots with praying, if thoa 
shouidst we^p an ocean, and wash thyself in^ 
thine own brine ; ail could not get out one* 
spot ; nothing can be accepted whilst thoa 
art out of Christ ; and therefore, in the first 
place, apply thyself to him ; God will accept 
of no gift but off his altar. 

(2.) Tlie white robe of his grace for sanc^ 
tification^ Rev. vi. 11. Thou that art hi the 
flesh, that is, unrenewed, unsanctifled, caw^if 
"Rot please Gody llom. viii. 8. Never think 
to make up the matter, by a little mending 
and reformiiig particular acts : man, thy heai^ 
must be renewed, thy st^ite must be clean al- 
tered, or God cannot be pleased, Matt. vii. 
17, 18. The tree must be made good, the 
fountain must be healed, or else the stream 
will be salt, and the fruit sour. If Christ 
be once formed in thee, that is, his image in 
his grace : (likeness is the ground of love ; 
similitude and suitableness of nature, is the 
load-stone of affection.) God cannot but love 
his own likeness : Wouldstthou have his fa- 
vour ? Wouldst thou be his delight ? Then 
conform to his pleasure^ study to be like him, 
purify thyself as he is pure. The righteous 
Lord loveth righteousness ; he desireth truth 
in the inward parts, and takes infinite compla- 
cency in the graces of his people. These are 
the spikenard and saffiou; the spices; the bed« 

©60 Cases of ConscienCB 

of lilies ; the sweet ointment that Christ is so 
taken up with : these are the cinnamon^ and 
the trees of frankincense ; the calamus^ and 
camphire, the myrrh, and the aloes ; the 
chains of the neck, and the precious pearls, 
that he is so ravished withal, and doth so su- 
perlatively commend, Cant. iv. 4. This is 
the raiment of needle-work, and gold of 
Ophir, wherein the queen is presented to her 
royal husband, Ps, xlv. 9, 14. Therefore as 
the elect of God, holy and beloved. Col. iii. 
13, 13, put ye on bowels of merey, kindness ; 
put oif all these, anger, wrath, malice, filthy 
communication, and put on the new man, ver; 
9, 10. Particularly, let me commend to you 
some special graces which God doth manifest 
himself to be wonderfully pleased withal ; as 
ever you would please God, get on these. 

!• Be clothed with humility^ 1 Pet. v. S. 
This is a garment which must be put on, or 
else you cannot be accepted or saved. Matt, 
xviii. 3. Here is the dress that you must 
come to God in : he mast be served in humil- 
ity of mind, Acts xx, 19, you must humble 
yourselves to walk with him, Micah vi. 8.— 
Humility is a plain, but yet a comely gar- 
ment : this grace doth eminently honor God ; 
and therefore God doth put a peculiar honor 
upon, and manifest a most special delight in 
this : of all the men in the world, this is the 
man that God will look unto ; even he that is 
pure^ and of a contrite spirit, that trembleth 
at his word, Isa. Ixvi. S, though he be the 
high and lofty One, who inhabiteth eternity^ 
whose name is holy : from whence the trem- 

judiciously resohcA 2&i 

Ming soul is ready to conclude, that surely 
sucii a fearful Majesty cannot but despise 
him, sufiix fet sin-hating purity cannot but ab- 
lior him;''yet he will lay (isa. Ivii. 15) asld6 
his Majesty, and bear with man^s weakness, 
and condescend to most familiar and constant 
communion and cohabitation with his poor 
dust, when contrite at his feet, and prostrate 
in humility,. If thou v/ouldst be accepted of 
&od, come as Eisiihadad's servants to the king, 
of Israel, with a rope about thy neck, and 
ashes on thy head, 1 Kings xx. 2S. Think 
meanly on thyself, and Gad will honor thee, 
1 Sam. ii. SO. Pat thyself in the lowest 
rooms, and God will set thee higher : be lit- 
tle in thine own eyes, and thou shalt be brgh 
in his. A proud heart, and a proud look, is 
with God the ftrst-born of abomination. As 
ever thou wouldst have God well pleased with, 
thee, be thoroughly displeased with thyself : 
if thou dost thoroughly loathe thyself, God 
doth love thee ; if thoU' abhorrest thyself, God 
delighteth in thee.. Be angry with thyself, 
and the Almighty will turn away his anger 
from thee : condemn thyself, and God will 
acquit thee.„ In no wise extenuate thy sins^ 
nor justify thyself. Think the worse of thy- 
self, and be willing that others should think 
meanly of thee, and heartily love them that 
slight thee- This is the frame in which God 
Is well pleased : pass sentence on thyself, 
and God will absolve thee : set thyself at hh 
foot-stool, and he will lift thee up into the 
throne, Rev. ii. 
IL Labour for sinceritij. This is not a 

t6fl Cases of Conscience 

distinct grace from the rest^ yet for doctrine 
sake I speak to it distinctly. Uprightness is 
the great thing that God looks afterj^iand cov- 
enants fqr, Gen. xvii. 1. It renders all onr 
persons and performances acceptable before 
God, Prov. XV. 8. Such as are upright in the 
way are God's delight, Prov. xi. 20, to these 
are all the promises of peace, salvation, par- 
don, preservation, I)lessedness, Ps. xcvii. 10. 
In a word, there is no good thing God will 
withhold from them that walk uprightly, 
Prov. xxviii. 10. This was Noah's praise, 
that he was upright in his generation. This 
%vas that which set off Job at such a rate, that 
God doth so extol him for, and, as it were^ 
makes his boast of him ; the singular sineeri- 
ty and integrity of his heart. Study to be 
upriglit ; that the main bent of your hearts be 
to please God, and honor him; that God's 
interest be uppermost with you } that he have 
the chief share in you. And the eyes of the 
soul be principally to him ; for in this sincer- 
ity doth consist, as to your state. Let your 
great care be your heart ; here is a Chris- 
tian's great work. The Lord seeth not a?^ 
man seeth, for man looketh to the outward 
appearance, but the Lord looketh to the heart ; 
see therefore that thou look to it. Let thine 
eye be chiefly there where God's eye is ; he 
looketh not so much what thou dost, as with 
what a heart ; go then and do likewise. Yet 
be not satisfied in this, that you are upright 
as to your state, but labour to approve your- 
selves in uprightness to God in spiritual ac- 
tions, Do common, as well as spiritual ac- 

judiciously resolved* S63 

tioDS, with holy ends. Much of your livc« 
are lost for want of this. So much as is done 
for God, of his grace, he accounts himself our 
debtor. ]3nt what is done from no higher 
end than self, is lost from cur account. 

III. Put on a spirit of zeal and activity. 
How wonderfully is God pleased with Phin- 
chas' zeal; Num. xxv. li, 12, 13. What 
great approbailon doth be manifest of him? 
What attestation doth he give to him ? He is 
so greatly pleased with his zealous appear- 
ance for him, that he turns away his displeas- 
ure from the whole congregation of Israel^ 
sind overlooks their crimson provocations 
against him : on the contrary, there is noth- 
ing that God is more displeased with, than 
remissness, and lifelessness, and indifference 
in religion. The lukewarm water is not a 
greater offence to the stomach, than the luke- 
warm professor is to God ; and therefore he 
will s.pew such a one out of his mouth. Rev. 
iii. l6>. Christians, where is your zeal for 
the Lord of hosts ? Christ's redeemed must 
be zealous of good works. Tit. ii. 14. /J\'b* 
slothful in business^ T)ut fervent in spirit^ 
serving the Lord^ Acts xviii. Si7. Kom. xii. 
11. Acts xxvi. 6, 7, instantly night and day 
for the hojie of the promise. Bo not only that 
which is right in the sight of the Lord, but 
do it with all your heart : the Lord loveth k 
Avillijig^ servant. Bestir yourselves for the 
Lord. Be ye followers of Christ, who went 
up and down doing good. Every Ciiristian 
siiould.be a common blessing, a public good. 
Thi?^ !s to be tlic chiidi'^u cf vour Father 

S6i Cases of Consctence 

which is in heaven^ who is good unto all^ and 
w hose tender mercies are over all his workst, 
And be sure the father doth hest love that 
child that is most like him. A private nar- 
row spirit is a low and base spirit^ unworthy 
of a Christian. A catholic communicative 
spirit is full of great desires^ and great de- 
signs : a large heart set upon doing good^ 
whose fire, though ever hottest within, will be 
breaking Kjrth of his breast, and provoking 
ethers ; whose love will not he confined to a 
party, but gladly and thankfully owneth 
Christ wherever he sees him : this catholic 
spirit, I say, is the glory of religion, the 
cliurcVs blessing, and God's delight. 

IV.' Live by faithy Heb. x. S8. This is a 
precious grace in God's aecount, S Pet. i. 1, 
i Pet. \. 7. It giveth glory to God, and 
therefore God taketh no small pleasure in it. 
By faith Enoch obtained that testimony, that 
he pleased God, Rom. iv. 20. Heb. xi. 5. % 
Cor. iv. 1&. Tieb. xi. 39. Matt. viii. tO, 11. 
If you would go walk as to please God, you 
must walk by faith : Christians must look to 
the things unseen ; they must not live at the 
common rate ; Clirist must be their life and 
breath, their prayers and their promises, their 
daily bread. By laith did the elders obtain 
that good report : ^twas faith that Christ \yas 
so greatly taken v/ith in the Centurion, which 
made him to commend him for a none-such. 
This was that which won such a singular 
praise and approbation from our Sa\;iour to 
the Vtoman of Canaan, even her victorious 
faith; Matte xw S8. Thou hast taken away 

judiciously resolved. S63 

miy hearty my sister^ my spouse ; tJioii hast ta- 
ken away my heart tenth one of thine eyes. 
Cant. iv. 9, that is, with thy faith. Live in, 
the power of faith, and thoa wilt please him 
to the heart. Give glory to him by believing ; 
let the life that thou now livest in the flesh, 
be by the faith of the Son of God. Faith, as 
one w#ll says, is the navel of morality. 

Live by faith in prosperity. Though thou 
hast the world about thee, let it not be above 
thee, keep it at thy feet, use it as thy servant : 
be much in the views of glory^ and contem- 
plation of eternity : buy as though thou pos- 
sessest not, rejoice as though thou rejoicest 
not, love as though thou lovest not, use this 
world cs not abusing it. It is but a fashion, 
not a substance, and that which passeth away, 
1 Cor. vii. 30, 81. Use it therefore with mor- 
tified affections, and prove the sincerity »:f your 
faith by the victory over your inordinate con- 
tent, and delight in, antl desires after, and 
cares for the things of this world, 1 John v. 4.' 

Live by faith i« adversity. Weep as though 
thou wept not, enduring the cross, and des- 
pising the shame, as looking unto Jesus, Heb. 
xiL ^. Heb. xi. S6, accounting Christ's re- 
proaches your riches, his shame your glory, 
Acts V. 41. C'ompare these light afflictions 
with the weight of glory, t Cor. iv. 17. Rom. 
viii. [8. Ply your hearts with the promises ; 
count if you can get the riches that are laid 
up in them ; roll yourselves npon the Lord, 
Ps. xxxvii. 7^ and know that your heavenly 
Father hath no greater delight, than to see 
hi« children trust him with conlldence, when 


§66 Cases vf Vonscience 

all visible helps are out of sight, and he seeiii 
to be their enemy, Job xiii. id. 

V. Put on the ornament of a meek ani 
quiet spirit ; this is in the sight of God of 
gr«at price. Study to be (1 Pet, iii. 4,) like 
your Father, slow to anger, ready to forgive, 
forgetting injuries, loving enemies, requiting 
ill-will with kindness, ill-words withxourte*. 
Bies, neglects with benefits ; and if any wrong 
you> do him kindness the sooner : so shall 
you bfear his likeness, and be his delight. — 
And know> ye that are of unmortified pas- 
sions, and unbridled tongues, God hath an 
especial hatred and displeasure against a fro- 
ward heart, aiid a fioward tongue, Pro v. iii. 
3S, and i. 19, and ii* IS, and'viii. 13. Oh 
seek meekness: how can the holy dove rest 
in a wrathful heart? Christ is a Lamb of 
meekness, how can he take pleasure in an un- 
quiet and contentious spirit ? Verily, with the 

froward he will shew himself fnnvard^ Psa. 
xviii. 26. If you will not forgive others, he 
will not forgive you 4 Art thou hard to be 
pleased ; a frowartl wife, a froward master, a 
cross and wilful servant? Hurely God will 
not be pleased with thee, he will mete to yoil 
as you measure to others, Matt. vii. ^. 

VI. Get a sinrit of self-deniaL God is 
then pleased best, when self is displeased 
most. When we can be content to be empty^ 
content to be abased, that God may be hon- 
ored, and, with the holy Baptist, are willing 
to be eclipsed by Christ ; willing to decrease j 
ceunting ourselves no losers, whilst bis inter- 
est is a gainer. John iii. S9; 30, rejoicing that 

jiidiciouslif resolvei. S67' 

we are made low far Christ's atlvaiicemenl; 
this is well pleasin^; to (rod. How greatly 
was he pleased with Solomon's self-de»uying 
choice, and gives him his asking, throwing in 
riches and honor to the bargain ? 1 Kings iii. 
10, 11, 12. Strange was Abraham's self- 
denial. What ! to sacrifice, with his own 
liand, tfie whole hope of his fomily ! the heir 
oipromise ! the child of his years ! a son ! an 
only son ! when his life was bound up in the 
lad's life ! Was ever mortal thns put to it? — 
Bnt Abraham shall not be a loser ; God gives 
him a testimony from heaven, blesses liim, 
blesses liis seed, blesses all nations in him> 
Gen- xxii. 15, I6, I7? 18. Wonderful was 
Moses in self-denial, but more wonderful was 
his acceptation and reward, lleb. xi. S4 ; 
Mone like Moses, Deut. xxxir. 10, God pre- 
ferreth him in another manner than Pharaoh 
eould. He must speak with him face to face, 
as a man with his friend ; his word shall be, 
as it Avere, a law with God. Speak for w horn 
lie will, they shall bxi spared^ though they 
seem to be devoted to diislruction. But speak 
against him^ who durst, he shall be sure to 
bear his iniquity. Num. xii. 8. Forget self; 
renounce thine own wisdom, thine own wor- 
thiness, thine own will. Bite in thy passions, 
curb thine appetite, bridle thy tongue : this 
do, and thou shalt be gently accepted, and 
shalt find that God's favor will infinitely re- 
ward thee, for all murmuring oppositions, and 
discontents of thy flesh, which will be ready 
to be impatient to have the reins held so hard^ 

S68 Cases of Conscience 

Vir. Maintain a spirit of resolution and 
constancy in the icay of Gody Heb. x. 38.. — 
This was the renown of the three worthies, 
Dan. iii, they feared not the fierceness of Neb- 
uchadnezzar's rage, nor yet the fire of the 
furnace ; all the world could not make them 
bow : and how gloriously did God own them, 
and miraculously evidence his pleasure in 
them ! Stand your ground : resolve to live 
and die by substan^^ial godliness ; cleave to 
the Ivord with full purpose of heart; let no 
difficulties make you change your station : 
then shall j^ou be an honor, and a pleasure to 
the God that made you. Well theft, would 
TOH know what frame of heart is well pleas- 
ing to God? Why, this humble, sincere, zeal- 
ous, active frame, this believing, meek, self- 
denying, resolved frame, this is the frame that 
is vv«ll pleasing in the sight of God. 

Secondly, As to your ijer^brwances, more 
briuily, that those may please God,, you must 
heedfuUy look to these five things. 

1. 'i hat they be done by the rigJit nth, 
whicfj is God's word : you must not follow 
the imaginations of your own hearts, Num. 
XV. 89. You must not do that which is right 
in your own eyes : in all sacred actions, you 
must have God^s command to warrant you. — 
You may not olfer to God that, of which you 
are not able to say, thou r'^quirest these things 
at our hands, Isa. i. 13. In all civil actions, 
you must have God's allowance. Be sure he 
will never accept that which his word con- 
demns; under pain of God's displeasure, dare 
not to set yoiu' hands to m hat the word forbida* 

Judiciously resolved. , S69 

2. That they be done to right ends, which 
is God's glory. How damnably did tUe Phar- 
isees err ? How miserably did Jehu miscar- 
ry ? And both in acts for the matter com,- 
mandedj for want of aiming at this end. 

3. That they proceed from right principles. 
(t.) Faith, without which it is impossible ta 
please God ; prayer will not avail, except it 
be the prayer of faith, Heb. xi. 8. We be- 
lieve, and therefore we speak. (S.) Love. If 
\ye should give our goods to the poor, and 
bodies to the fire, and not from love, it would 
profit us nothing. Where the slavish fear of 
hell only, or the la^lies of conscience, or the 
love of man's praise^ carries men to duties j 
where any other carnal principle is predom- 
inant in the act ; it cannot please God. (3.) 
Fear. We cannot serve God acceptably, 
without reverence and godly fear, (no slavish 
fear.) The Lord taketh pleasm-e in them that 
fear him^ in tliem that hope in his mercy. — 
Observe tlte happy mixture, where these two 
are conjoined, that is a true filial fear ; saitli 
David, / will come to thy house in the multi^ 
tude of thy mercy ^ (behold his faith :) and in. 
thy fear will I worship toward thy holy tem- 
ple, (there is his Fear with faith.) Faith with- 
out fear were bold presumption ; fear witlmut 
faith is sinful despair : join them together^ 
and God is well pleased- 

4. That they may be done in a right man- 
ner : preparedly, not rashly and inconsider- 
ately, in the presence of so dreadful a Majes- 
ty : prudently, for lawful acts may be spoiled, 
and be done unlawfully, without consideration 

S/O Cases oj Conscience 

had to the oifence, that may (in some cas«s> 
attend them ; yea, holy duties, as well as 
common actions, may be turned into sins, by 
being ill timed, and for want of a due attend- 
ing the present circumstances : holily, not 
rashly, uttering any thing with our mouths 
before God ; but behaving ourselves as in his 
sight : heartily, not feignedly, m ith our lips 
going, when our minds are gadding. 

5. That they be directed through the right 
meanSj that is, Jesus Christ, the only way to 
the Father. Bring all thy sacrifices to the 
High. Priest, oifer all upon this altar, else all 
is lost. Not that it is enough to say, through 
our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen, at the end ; 
but in every duty you must come with lively 
dependence on liim for righteousness and 
strength, for assistance and acceptance. Re- 
member to do all in the name of the Lord Je- 
sus, to come leaning upon his hand ; without 
this; all your services will be rejected at last. 


Third case of Conscience^ grounded upon the 
words of our Saviour : 

John viii. 29. For I do always those things 
that please him. 

Quest, I. IS any man able, in this life^ to 
cow^ up to the example of Christ in this^ To 
do ahcays those things that please God ? 

Jvs. In regard there is none that doth good, 
and siuneth not; and God is not; nor can be 

judiciously resolved, S7l 

pleased with sin, no not in his own people^ 
but most of all hates it in them, it cannot be 
that any man in this life should fully come 
up to Christ^s example in this ; yet may we 
come on so far towards it, as that not only in 
GUP immediate addresses to God^ but in the 
general course of our lives, we may come to 
please God. Thus Enoch and Noah walked 
with God, i. e. in their general course ||^ey 
walked so as to please God, and appfove 
themselves in his sight : thus the meanest of 
actions, if done by us unto the Lord, as the 
servants of Christ, have a promise of accept- 
ance and reward, Col. iii. 2^, 23, M. 

Quest. IL How may we come^ in our meas* 
tire^ to be followers of Christy in this to da 
always those things that please God f 

Ans. In order to this, there is something 
necessary, with reference, Isf, To our per- 
sons ; %dly^ To our principles ; Zdly^ To our 

l5f, With reference to ^sv^x persons. And 
here it is necessary, 1. That there be an al- 
teration of our natures by renewing grace, for 
they that are in the flesh cannot please God^ 
Rom. viii. 8. 

These wild vines must needs bring forth 
sour grapes, Isa. v. 4. The fruit that they 
bear (how specious and fair soever to the eye) 
is evil fruit, Matt. vii. l6. Where there is 
not a good treasure of grace in the heart, a 
man cannot in his actions bring forth good 
things, Matt. xii. 33. 

Many enlightened sinners think by reading 
and praying; and forsaking some gross and 

^B Cases of Conscience 

Ibiil sins^ to pacify God^ and set all right. — 
Mistaken souls, let me undeceive you. You 
begin at the wrong end ; your first and great- 
est care must be to get your hearts and na- 
tures changed, and renewed by the power of 
eonverting grace : you labour in vain at the 
streams^ while the fountain of corruption in^ 
the heart remains in its strength : you must 
net think it is with you, as it is with a ruin, 
ous house, where the mending of here and 
there a little, >vill make up all again ; but the 
old building must be quite taken down, and- 
flie foundation-stone laid a-new in a sound re- 
pentance from dead works, and thorough con- 
rersion unto God. Till this be done, you 
must know, that God hath no pleasure in you, 
neither will accept an offering at your hand^ 
Mai, iivlO, as he doth from those that aro- 

S. That there be the acceptation of your 
persons"^ through faith in Jesus Christ. For 
in him alone it is that God is well pleased, 
Matt. iii. last. So that without faith interest- 
ing us in him, it is impossible to please God,- 
Heb. xi. 6. 

For the better understanding both these par- 
ticulars, know that there are two attributes of 
God, to which you must bear a conformity, or 
else you cannot please him. 

(1.) The holiness of God : For he is not a 
God that hath pleasure in iniquity ; he hear- 
eth no sinner : the foolish shall not stand in 
his sight : he hateth all the workers of ini- 
quity, Ps. V. 4; 5. John ix. 31. God can ue 

judiciously resolved^ S7S 

fiK)re take pleasure in the unsanctified^ thaR 
Tve in swine or serpents. 

(2,) The justice of God : For he will htf 
no means clear the guilty^ Ex. xxxiv. 7« — 
Could we have inherent holiness iii us^ in onr 
unpardoned state ; yet justice could not but 
be infinitely offended, while guilt lieth unre- 
moved, as you may see in Christ; for though 
he were perfectly holy, yet being under the 
guilt of our sins imputed to him, the severity 
of God's justice broke out against him. 
. Now, man being naturally an offence both 
to the holiness and justice of God^ there must 
of necessity pass upon him, iu order to hi« 
pleasing God, this two-fold change. 

(1.) The real change of sanctitication. I 
call this a real change ; because by this there 
is a real change ensuing, of new qualifications 
and dispositions, making him of proud, hum- 
ble ; of carnal, spiritual and heavenly, &c.. 

(2.) The retot?;ec^an^e of justification, I 
call this a relative change, because there is 
not a real change in a man's nature, but ia 
his condition, making him to stand in a new 
relation to the law, with reference to which 
he was before guilty and coademned ; but 
uow the law pronounces the same man clear 
and acquitted ; and this not for any right- 
eousness infused in him, but for the satisfac- 
tion and jpayment of another laid down for 
him ; satisfaction there must be, and right- 
eousness must be tendered, or else God can- 
not be at peace. We have nothing to pay, 
Luke vii. 4?^. Oh sinner ! away to Cluist 
ioK it ; hide thee ia the elifts of that rock, rum 

^y# Casts of Conscienee 

to tb» fountain opened for sin ami uncTea»* 
ness. Appear not before Go<l, but in the 
robe of Christ's righteousness. He sends you 
to Jesus, as he did them to Job, chap. xlii. 8/ 
Go to my servant Job^ he shall ])vay for you^ 
him will I accept. Get out of yourselves: 
flee to (Jhrist, labour to be found in him, elser 
all your endeavours in rinsing and washing- 
yourselves, will be to no effect, 

%(Hyj With reference to our principles. — 
And here it is necessary that some comipp 
principles be unlearned^ and some holy prin^ 
eiples be received and retained. 

ist. Some corrupt principles must be wn- 
learned. As, !• That it is enough if we 
serve God on the Lord^s day^ and toe may 
serve ourselves all the rest of the iceeJc. — 
Though God Imth reserved one day in sevea^ 
wholly for his iinmediate service, which \^ 
therefore in a peculiar sense called the />o?*rf's^^' 
day ; yet wft must know that every day is bis, 
and that he hath not allowed us one hour nor' 
inch of time, but only tor his service. Indeed 
he bath service of more sorts than one, but 
we must know that the biii^iness of our ordi- 
nary affairs, if riglitly done, is a serving of 
the Lord Christ, (Jol. iii. §Jr. God is as tru- 
ly served by you in the working day^s la- 
bor, as the Sabbath day^s rest, if you doit 
Ml a right manner, and to holy ends... 

There is a generation whose religion is but: 
a Sunday's religion, which they put on and 
off with their Sunday's clothes, and then they 
think God is fairly served for the week; al- 
tliongh God knows, that little they do then m 

Jiidicioushj resolved* ^7S 

l)ut poorly (lone either. Never tliiiik God ac- 
cepts it at thy hands, when thou livest six 
days to the world and thyself, for one that 
thou spendest for him. This shews thee to 
be under the uninortified power of gelf-loye> 
and not to be the Lord's, for none of us liv- 
eth to himself, Rom. xiv. 7. You must re- 
member that you are but to learn upon th6 
Sabbath how to serve God all the Week, and 
not to think whien the Lord's day is ended^ 
his work is done. 

^. That if God he served morniiig and eve-^ 
mng^ it is enough, though we serve ourselves 
the rest of the day. God must be served eve- 
17 day, and all the day, Prov. xxiii. 17. Yoti 
must be serving him not only in your fasts> 
but at your meals ; iiot only on your knees) 
but in your callings. 

Some think, that if they keep up feligiouS 
duties they may do what they list at other 
times ; tliat if they b© intemperate, lascivious, 
tinrigliteous, it is but to make even again with 
God at night, anil all will be well : like the 
whore in the Proverbs, that having made her 
offering, was presently ready for new wick- 
edness, Prov. vii. 14, as if she had paid off 
the old score, and might noW boldly run upon 
a new. 

Others think, that though they may not 
serve the dfevil at any time, yiet, giving God 
his dues morning and evening, they may serve 
themselves the rest of the time. But in vain 
do they lay claim to God, who live more to 
themselves than they do to him. This will 
be found horrible sacrilege, to put off God 

Sy6 Cases of Conscience 

but with the tenth. God is to be eyed anil 
served in all that you do : and this is that I 
drive at, that we may not divide ourselves be- 
tween God and the \vorld, between his ser- 
vice and our own ends, and so pat him off 
with a partial service ; but that we may do 
all in obedience to him^ and we may be en- 
tirely the Lord^s ; that be in all things may 
be glorified by us, and that w« may not lose 
our reward. 

2dly^ Some holy principles must be receive 
ed and retained : as, 

Principle L That the pleasing of God is 
our only business^ and our hij^hest blessed^ 
ness. First, Our only business. What is it 
that we call or count our business? 

1. That is a man's business which his live- 
lihood and subsistence depends upon. The 
lawyer counts his law^ his business, and the 
tradesman counts his trade his business, be- 
cause upon this their livelihood and subsist- 
ence depends. Brethren, our w hole depends 
upon the pleasing of God. Do this, and do 
all ; miss in this, aiid you mar all; please 
him, and you are made up forever ; if he be 
not pleased, you are undone for ever. How 
careful is the selfish courtier to please hi« 
prince ? How will he crouch and flatter ? 
and if he can but divitie what will gratify and 
please him, he thinks himself happy. And 
why ? but because all his dependence is up- 
on his prince's favor : much more do we de^ 
pend upon the favor of God. Blessed is the 
man ivhom he choosethj Ps. Ixv. 4. In his fa* 
vor is life^ Ps. xxx. 5. But wo to them that 

judiciously resolved. Hyy 

feavc God against them^ these are perfectly 
miserable, lleprobate silver shall men call 
tJiem^ because the Lord hath rejected ihem^ 
Jer. vi. 30. If the Lord do but say to a man, 
SLB he did to Moses^ Thou hast found grace 
in my sight^ andlknow thee by name^ happy 
islhatman. But if he thus say^ I have no 
pleasure in thee^ you may cover the face of 
^hat man, as they did Hamau's, and carry 
him away; miserable must his end be^ if lie 

S. That is a man^s business which he hath 
liis stock and talents Jov. If a man be en- 
trusted as a steward or a factor, his business is 
to buy in the commodities that are usefuL — 
Beloved, all our times, parts, interest, food, 
raiment, and whatever mercies, spiritual or 
temporal, are the stock wherewith God hath 
entrusted us, and all for his own use and ser- 
vice. And is it not a sad and fearful case 
that God should have so great a stock going, 
as lies in the hands of all the sons of meiij, and 
yet have (if I may so speak) so little pipfit f>|' 
it ? I mean, so little glory by it : that l^e 
should sow so much, and reap so little ; st|x)W 
80 much, and gather so little ? Is it not sad 
that men should have so much in vain ? Hast 
thou health and wealth, and dost not use it 
for God ? It is all in vain. Hast thou under- 
standing, and yet improvest it bat for con- 
triving thine own affairs and worldly designs ? 
Thy reason and understanding are become 
vain. Oh ! how wilt thou answer it, that 
thou hast had so great a stock in thine hands, 
and made so little improvement of it ? It had 

S/8 Cases of Conscient^ 

been good for some men that they had imvm 
had a foot of land, or su hour\s ease, if they 
had never had the uoderstandhig of men, be- 
cause they have not used their talents for 
Ocd, and for ths ends for which thej were 
I)ut into their hands, 

3. That is a man's business w hich his ca- 
pacifies do call for. It is a man's business, 
if in the capacity of a judge, to do justice, or 
of a servant, to do his masters will. Bretli- 
ren, all your capacities do evidence it to be 
your business to please God ; you are his 
friends, you are his servants, therefore you 
^nust please him well in all things. Tit. ii. 9^ 
his cliildren, and theicforc must set yora selves 
to honor him, Mai. i. (5, his spouse, and there- 
fere it is your business to please your hus- 
band, 1 Cor. vii. 34. 

4. That is a man's business which he hath 
his maintenartce for. If a man be maintain^ 
ed in the place of a schooKmaster, it is his 
busii^esfs^ k) ti^ach : if (Kf a soldier^ it is his bu- 
^Kness- to figijt. Beloved, do you not know 
:;• n-hose ft^eding you are ? and do you think 
Gdd keeps so many servantB to be idle, or to 
mind their own designs and pleasures? -God 
hath cut you out every one his work, every 
man his hands full : so much work is to bo 
done within doors> aiid so much without 
doors: so much towards God, towards your 
neighbour, towards your own selves, that you 
have no time to be idle in. And you shall 
dearly reckon for it, if you will cat his breads 
and will not do his work. And as pleasiflg 
God is our chiefest business, 

judidoiislij resolved,. 279 

Secoyidlij^ So it is also oiu' highest llessed-^ 
Tiess : for man's happiness lies ia GocUs fa- 
Tov, Ps. iv. 6. Our happiness is in attaining 
the end of our being, and therefore the great 
query amongst the philosophers still was, 
What was the end or happiness of mai> ? — 
Now the true end of our being is that we may 
please God ; far his fdeasure we are and 
were createi, Eev. iv. 11. And for this end 
also we iare new created, that we should yield 
ourselves unlo God, Rora. vi. 14, and being 
built up a spiritual house, should offer up to 
him spiritual sacrifice, acceptfilxlc through 
Christ, 1 Pet. iii. 5. This is the end of our 
redemption, that ^\^ should not serve our- 
j^elves, but him, iu holiness and righteousness 
all the days of cur lives, Luke i. 7^^ a.nd that 
we should not henceforth live to ourselves, 
but to him that died for us, llom^ v. 15. ^Tis 
the end likewise of our justiflcation, that, ouf 
consciences being purged, we should accept- 
ably serve the living God. In a w ord, ^tis 
the eml of our glorification, that lacing translat- 
ed into heaven,^ we should perfectly please 
God, and serve hira night aad day in his 
temple, Rev. vii. 15, and xxii. 3, so that the 
pleasing of God is the whole end, or whole 
happiness of man, Eccl. xii. 13. And tliis 
will be^ clear 5 beca^use we do then promote 
ourselves most when we please God best. — 
For by this you shall have this two-fold ad- 


(1.) You shall be the favourites of God. 
O. glorious promotion ! Haman thought him- 
self no little man, when he was on Ahasueras? 

S80 Cases of Conscience 

right hand, and yet he Avas at length bin pre- 
ferred to the gallows, Est. v. 11, and vii. 10. 
But what shall be done to the man whom God 
delights to honor ? O blessed is that man !■— 
wo be to him that touchcth him ; it had bcerv 
better for him that a millstone had been hang- 
ed about his neck, and he drowned in the 
midst of the sea, than that he should offend 
such an one, Luke xvii. S. God is infinitely 
careful of his favorites. The apple of his eya 
is touched when they are injured, Zech. iL 8. 
Whosoever toucheth them shall not be inno- 
cent, Ps. cv. 15. God hath a blessing for 
these that shew them kindness, Gen. xiL 3^ 
Ue will render vengeance upon the ungodly^ 
lor every hartl speech they utter against thera^ 
Jude 15. 

O man, doth not thy soul say, Happy istiie 
people that is in such a case ? Will not thy 
condition be most blessed, w hen God shall be 
thus infinitely tender of thee, to take all the 
kindnesses done to thee, as done to himself? 
Matt. XXV. 40, and all the injuries done to 
thee, as affronts to himself. Acts ix. 4. This 
is the happy case of his favorites. 

(3.) Every thing you do shall he found up* 
on your account tcith God. Brethren, are you 
believers, or are you not? Do you believe the 
immortality of the soul, and the life to come^ 
or do you not ? The w ays of the most do de-t 
clare them to be real infidels, though profess* 
ed Christians. If you think there be an eter- 
nal state to come, v/ill it not be your highest 
wisdom to be providing for it, and laying up 
•what possibly you can; that you may inherit 

jiidiciouslij resolved. 281 

It in the other world ? Will not every wise 
fiian, thtat knows he is shortly to be removed 
into another country, be careful to transport 
all that Im can, that he may enjoy it at his 
coining? Beloved, if you believe indeed, that 
you must be for ever in another world, will 
It not be your b(?st course to be doing that, 
the fruit vv hereof you shall enjoy for ever ? 
Were not he atiiad many that having but a 
very short term upon a living, should yet go 
fo building and planting there, when he had 
l-uul of inheritance to build upon? Infinite i^ 
the mischief that conies of self-seeking aud 
self- pleasing; 

You are eternal losers by it : God will say, 
You have your revvard, Matt^ vi. S. Some- 
thfrig you may have rn hand, but the eternal 
reward is lost. Brethren, I am ambitious foi* 
youy that what you do, you should do for ev- 
er, that all should m^ct you in the other 
world, and that there yo(i should reap the ev- 
erlasting fruit of what ydCi are doing nt)W. A 
v/ise builder will buikl for ever, and mit only 
that wfiieh will last for rf day, or for a year*. 
O that you would be wise, builders ! Do all 
for God, and you shall have eternal advan- 
tage. Learn but this lesson, to sxit yourselves 
in all things to please God, and ye will be 
'promoting and advani^ing yourselves in all 
tfMt ever you do. Always lay up a treasure 
In heaven, stiH adding to the heap; And 
'what riches will you come to^ when, by eveiy 
day, and every hour, and every action, you 
are gainers? For God will not let the. least 
thing that is done for him; not a cup of cold 

S83 Cases of Conscience 

water, go w itliout an everlasting reward^ 
Matt. X. 42, nor your labor be in vain; 1 Cor. 
XV. 58. 

Prin. 11. That when you have done all^ if 
God he 7iot jjlcasedy you have done nothing. — 
Settle it upon your hearts, that all is in vain 
that is not done for God : when you do not 
please God, you do not profit yourselves. — 
When men oiler never so richly and freelj'', 
if not in such a manner as is pleasing to God^ 
all is but a vain oblation^ Isa. i. 13. If men 
will do more than ever God required, and be 
zealous in things that God hath not command- 
ed, ^tis but in vain that they worship him^ 
Matt. XV. 9. Beloved, so much time as you 
have lived to yourselves, you have lived iii 
vain, because it was quite besides your end- 
Oh it is a heart-cutting eonsideration to a ten- 
der Christian to think of this ; that when his 
life is so sJiort, and.. time so little in all, yet 
he must be fain to qut ojff so much ! Why, 
man, so many hours must thou cut off from 
thy days, and so many years from thy life, as 
thou hast lived npV to God, but to thyself; 
they are ail lost as to the ends of life and 
lime. If on repentance thou be forgiven, thou 
art not rewarded for tliem. 

Beloved, you must count that you have liv- 
ed no longer than you have lived nnto God, 
Phil. i. M. 'Tome to live is Christ, I shojuld 
account I di^ 'jiot live^ if I did not live to 
him : ^tis the only employment of my life to 
serve him. I should not tell what to do with 
my life^ unless it were to spend it for him^ 

C]^ri^ti?i);i thus thou must recjkpn;j50 biuqIi 

judiciously resolved'^ 283 

time as I have lived to Christy so much have 
I lived ; and so miieh as I have lived to my- 
self, so much I have lost, ^fis not the man, 
but the beast that lives, while we live below; 
our reason^r which distinguishes the human 
life from that of brutes. Now, while we live 
mot to God, we live utterly below our reason 
itself, w hich is sufficiently discovered., in that 
God is the author and the end of man. Dotb 
not reason dictate that God should have the 
glory of his own work, and the vessel should 
be to the i>otter's use ? Doth any plant. > vine- 
yard to keep a flock, and not expect the fruit 
of milk ? 1 Cor. i;c. 7* God hath made ihee^ 
O man, for himself, Prov. xvi, 'K /indhai^t 
thou the face of a man, and dost not blush a^ 
this, to think that God should make ajiid main- 
tain thee in vain ? If thou hast one grain of 
ingenuity, thou wilt abhor the thought of this,^ 
that thou shouldst be in vain. Why, so much 
as thou art for thyself, thou art for nothing^. 
It may be thou livest a very busy life j but 
thou actcst not for God, thou art all this whiles 
but busily doing nothing. Thou ipayst sit 
down in the evening, and say, I have been 
all this day doing nothing. Thou wilt find a 
blank in God^s book for that day, nothing 
upon thine account ; on this sad record such 
a day spent, and notliing done. God hath 
his day-book, and takes notice of all your 
carriages, how you rise, and how you go forth 
to your labours ; how you speak, how you 
eat, and whether you eye him and his glory, 
in all, or look no higher than yourselves, 
Jiuke y. 0t Wq hm^%m toiLing all nighty 

SS4 dases oj Conscience 

and caught nothing. May not this be tlie ^ 
coiuiylaint of many a man ? I have been toil- 
ing all my life, ami yet 1 have done nothing, 
because what I did was not done unto the 
Lord. How would .you' take it of yonr ser- 
vants, if, coming hom^ in the evenings you' 
should find every one of them minding their 
own business ai:d pleasure, ami y^uf worl^ 
left undone? Is it not sad, sirs, that so manjr 
hours and days should pass over usj and we 
BO nearer our end than ever Ave were before ? 
Your -Me children are busy from morning txy 
nighty and yei all the wfiiie have been doing, 
nothing: and so are you when you arc but 
seeking your carnal selves, and not serving 
k^il pleasing God in what you nndertake. ^] ' 
Prin. TIL Tliat the favor of all the icorltf 
can nothing stead yoii^ if God he not pleased 
with^ andby yow. If there were any that 
could save you from his wrath, you need not 
be so soliiiitou^ to i^lease him; bnt'if he be 
not pleased, we are all undone. Thou'^ ei^eih 
thou art to be feared ^ and who may stdird in 
thy sight' when once thou art angmj F Psal. 
Ixxvi. 7^ Isa. xliii. 13^^. When men haveslighi 
thoughts of God's anger, and the fear and 
dread of him is not upon their hearts, no won- 
der if they be not careful to please him : you 
must be convinced, that tlie displeasure of 
God is the most formidable thing in the world) 
or else you will never learn this gf*eat lesaon^ 
Beloved, if you should please men, and all 
the world should be on your side, what wouM 
this avail, while God is your enemy ? If all 
men should bless you; and speak wellofyou> 

Judiciously^ resolved. 28S 

what would this profit^ when GotI shall rise 
up in judgment against you, and condemn 
you ? it is not at man^s bar, bufe God's that 
you must stand : It is not at men^s votes thak 
you must be cast or quitted. It will not g<) 
by most voices, but God himself ?> tkejudge^ 
Psal. Ixxv. in his breast it is, whether you 
§hall live or die. If a man were upon a trial 
for his life, what would it avail him that all 
his fellow prisoners, and the whole croud 
about him, were for him, when the whole 
bench and jury were against him? If your 
lives and estates were in question, to whom 
would you go to make your friend ? the judg© 
or the people ? Sirs, be convinced, that if 
God be against you, '^tis as bad as if God 
and all the world were against you, for all 
signifies nothing without him. Oh, whatever 
you do, study to get in, and keep in with 
him. I tell you, the time is coming when the 
breath of man will signify nothing ; whe» 
their commendation will do you no good. O 
man ! tiiough all the world should give thee 
their hands, and subscribe thy certificate, it 
should signify nothing in God's account, or 
his court. Many build their hopes for heav- 
en upon the good opinion that others have of 
them. But I tell thee, man, though thou 
couldst carry letters of commendation with 
thee when thou diest, and all the ministers 
of the gospel should give thee their bene de^ 
cessity all would be no more than a blank pa- 
per, and he Avould not save thee a jot the 
sooner, if he should find thee to have beeu 

28Q Cases of Conscienc^^ 

l)ut a secret hypocrite^ a rotten hearted pro- 
fessor all the while. 

Prin. IV. That God would not be pleased 
with you in any things except you make if 
your care to please him icell in every thing. 
You Avill be one day ashamed, except yon 
have respect to all God^s conimandmeats, 
Psal. cxix. 0i You have rrot a good con- 
science^ except it be your cai^in all things t^ 
live honestly^ Hob. xiii. 18. If Naamait 
must be excused in one tiling to bow in the 
house of Rimmon^ that he might not displease 
his master^ this is enough to spoil every thing, 
S Kings V. 18. Some will needs keep GodV 
good-will and tlie wOrkPs too^ and so will 
give both their turns ; they will serve God at 
home, and conform to the vvwld abroad ; and 
it shall be a great thing indeed that they wilt 
not swallow^ rather than lose the g^od-willof 
men^ especially great men. These men have 
two faces, and two tongues ; the one for tho 
good, and the other for the bad company that 
they come into. Some held two Rpist prmci- 
pies, the one the common fountain' of alt 
good, (which is God) and the other the cause^ 
of all evil ; and th^y worshipped both, the 
good principle for love, and tlie evil for fear. 
Just such a religion are many among us now 
of. But let them know, whoever they are, 
that while they grasp all, they lose all: for 
God will never own time-servers, nor men- 
pleasers, for the servants of Christ, Eph. vu 
6. Gal I 10. 

Sdhj. With reference to your practices* 
Ami here, as ever you desire to come to tbi& 

' judiciousty resolved. SSS' 

Messed life of doing always those things that 
})lease God^ you must carefully follow these 
six rules. 

Rule 1. Look round about you to tke wliole 
latitude and comj)Uf^>s of your duty. Great is 
the latitude of Cliristianity. The command- 
ment is exceeding broad. Psal. cxix. 96^ 
And many professors do scarce look more 
than one way ; but while they intensely mind 
one things they neglect another. It may be, 
while they are taken up with the care of re- 
ligious duties, they forget relative duties* 
or they are careful of personal duties^ but 
very remiss in the duties that they owe to the 
souls of their families ; or they complain and 
mourn over their own sins, but lay not to 
heart others' sins: it may b^ they are more 
punctual in their more immediate duties to- 
wards God, but are very negligent in their 
duties towards men ; or they will spend much 
time for their souls, but do little lay to heart 
the case of Hie church, and the misery of 
perishing souls that are round about them : 
possibly they keep the sabbath strictly, and 
pray and hear, and fear an oath ; but in 
the mean time, make little consciejice of 
breaking their promises, passing hasty and 
uncharitable censures, spending time vainly, 
being unprofitable in their discourse^ close 
handed to godly uses ; suffering sin to go 
unreproved ; letting out their passion at eve- 
ry petty cross. Many will mind their duty 
to them that are within, and, in the mean 
time, are very short in their duties to them 
that are without. This is too common a case>* 

888 Cases of Conscience 

Where is the christian almost^ that serioas- 
ly bethinks himself, What inight 1 do to win 
rsonls ? It may be, you will £;o on in the com- 
pany of the godly, where you may be edified ; 
but when do you go to jfiur poor neighbor, 
whom you see to live in a sinful state, and 
tell him of his danger, and labor to gain him 
to Christ? yea, so much is this great duty 
neglected, and out of fashion, that 1 am lafraid 
many question whether it be a duty or no. As 
if you might let sin lie upon the soul of your 
brother, and yet be innocent. Lev, xix. 17, 
If it were but his ox or ass that lay ready to 
perish, you would make no question but it 
w^ere your duty to help him out of the ditch : 
and do you think in earnest, that you owe 
more to these, than you d6 to his soul? Is it 
to ministers only, or to all believers, that 
scripture belongs ? Prov. xi. 30. The fruit 
of the righteous is a tree oflifey and he that 
winneth souls is imse. Surely the lives of 
too many Christians do speak the same lan- 
guage that Cain spake with his mouth, Am I 
my brother^s keeper P Gen, iv. 9. ^Tis true, 
God will have you keep every one within the 
bounds of your proper stations, but, so as to 
to take occasions, yea, to seek occasions, as 
you are able, to be doing good to others. ])o 
you not know how to get within your poor 
neighbors ? carry an alms with you, do him 
a kindness, oblige him by your courteous and 
winning carriage* Then I shall look to see 
the kingdom of Christ ilomish gloriously, 
when every one that professeth godlines shall 
arise and take hold of the skirt of hi« neigh- 

judiciously resolved. 259 

Lor, Ob, see your neglect in this. Do not 
think iU^noiigh to keep your own vineyard : 
let your friend and neighbors have no quiet 
ibr you, till you see them setting in good earn- 
est to sQek after lieaven. Ob, if you might 
bring in but every one his man to (Christ, 
w hal a Wessed thing were this ! I lose my- 
self in this argument, but I am content to do 
so, this duty being so miserably neglected. 

Too many live as if religion lay all in 
praying, and hearing holy conference, and 
the like, forgetting ihtxtpure religion and un- 
dejiled is this^ To visit the fatherless and the 
widows in their aflictiony James i. z7> The 
other should be so done, as that this should 
not be left undone. You make conscience of 
lieing just and true, and faithful ; but do you 
not forget to win upon others by your kind- 
ness and affableness ? as it were not written 
in your bibles, be pitiful^ be courteous^ liais- 
ing compassion one of another^ 1 Pet. iii. 8. 
Say not, it is not my nature : what doth grace 
serve for, but to correct the evils of your tem- 
per ? Is not ours a religion of self-denial ? 
do not the rules of our religion enjoin us <o be 
followers of whatsoever is lovely, and of good 
report, and may render religion amiable to 
the world, Phil. iv. 8. 

Rule. II. Use a teise fore-cast^ that every 
duty may fall in its time'and orderyand every 
work may have its room. It is not enough to 
do God^s work, but it. must be done in his'or- 
der. That which in itself is good and ne- 
cessary, may be so ill-timed, as to become a^ 
«in. It is a duty to tell your brother of his 
A a 

290 Cases of Conseiena^ 

sin ; but to rip up in your passion, or to bg 
retorting upon him, when he is Christianly 
admonishing you^ is a sin. Your worldly 
business must not shut out religion, nor relig- 
ious duties take you so up as to neglect your 
callings, but every duty must have its place* 
But for the doing all in God^s ord^r, take 
these five directions^ 

Direct. 1, Be.^in at hornt in provoking to 
good. Why sliould God plead with you, 
Thoii that teuchest another, t^achest thou not 
thyself? Rom. ii. SI. Be an example of 
thine own rule, else the hypocrite-s charge will 
come in against thee, Matth. xxiii. 4. Th^y 
bind heavy burdens^ but ttill not touch them 
with one of their fingers. Observe God's or- 
der, Deut. vi. 6, y% Them words ivhich I 
command theey shall be in thine heart ; that 
must be our first care. And then having got 
our lesson well onrselves, we must then teach 
it to others : And thou shalt teach them dili^ 
gently to thy children^ and tell of them what 
ihou^ SftJ. At least, if thou liast not already 
attained it, be sure to learn with the first ; and 
when thou pressest a duty, intend ihy self first^ 
and speak most to thine own heart. 

S. In reproving evil ; otherwise thou wilt 
be branded for an hypocrite, Matth. vii. 5. 
First cast the beam out (f thine own eye. We 
may not think, as many do mistakingly, that 
we must not reprove another, when we are 
guilty, of the &ame sin. But we must, in 
such a case, be sure to cast the first stone at 
ourselves. Be soonest angry with thyseUV 
and more severe to thine o\yn sins, than any 

Judicwushj resol ced. S9 1 

others. 'Tis strange to see the great ccnso- 
riousness of professors to others, and how 
tender they are of their own corruptions, and 
impatient of reproof. Reader^ fear and avoid 
this sin. 

Direct. S. Let God be first served. Let 
God have the first of thy thoughts, the first of 
the day, the first of thy strength. How 
heavily is God displeased with the profane 
priests, because they will serve themselves 
first with sacrifices, before iiim I 1 Sam. il. 
ij. 16. And it is the holy counsel that one 
gives, Hold the door of thy heart fast against 
the world in the morning, till thy heart hath 
been first in heaven, and seasoned and morti- 
fied from thence, against the temptations that 
thou art like to meet wich, as soon as thou 
comest down below. Indeed, all must be 
done as God's service, but so as that his im- 
mediate service must be done first. It is the 
counsel af several heathens, That all under- 
takings should be begun with piiiyer. Saith 
Aratus, Let us begin with God. And the 
very Mahometans began tlieir books always 
as men use to do their wills, In the name of 

Direct. 3. First cleanse the inside^ Matth. 
xxiii, :S6. Cleanse first that which is within 
the cup. Though they are much out that live, 
as if all their work were within doors, yet re- 
member that it lies chiefly here. ^Tis a most 
preposterous course in religion, to begin first 
w^ith the outside, Jer. iv. l-i. O Jerusalem^ 
wash thine heart / When once this is done, 
reformation will soon follow in the life, but not 

292 Cases of Conscience 

otherwise. Many are careful (Lat all tiiat 
appears (o men should be beautiful, but their 
hearts are neglected. These carry upon them 
the marks of the hypocrite, Matth. xxiii. 27, 
SS. And Avhat \\i!l it profit thee, O vaii:^ 
man, to have all kept secret from men, since 
(jod knows and rejects thee ? and hath ap- 
pointed a day wherein he will rip open thy 
pack, and anatomize thy heart l>efore the 
v/orld, 1 Cor. iv. r>. Eccl. xii. 11. Rom.ii. i6. 
Direct. 4. Eye those duties most, that are 
of most importance, Matth. xxiii. 2^i. The 
hypocrite is very punctual in lesser nmtters^ 
]>ui neglects the weightiest things of the law, 
judgment, and mercy, and faith. He is for a 
i eiigion that will cost him little : And there- 
fore words beii)2: good cheap, he will be as 
forward in talk as any mighty zealot in the 
circumstantials of religion, and marvellous 
r.ensorious. of olhers that come not up to his 
mind, as men of wide principles, and large 
consciences; but in the mean time lie is very 
negligent in secret duties, a great stranger to 
f elf- denial, and walking humbly with God, 
ilc strains wonderfully at a ceremony ; but it 
may be, he will swallow the gains of unright- 
eousness, or tlie baits of intemperance fast 
enough. It may be, he Avill decry supersti- 
tion, and never want a stone to fling at a pro- 
fane churchman ; but, in the mean time, walks 
loosely in his family, makes little conscience 
of liis* dealings, or w ill take up his cups as 
freely as another, so he be not drunk. Or, if 
he will not take a penny of his neighbor's es- 
tate, he is most unmerciful to his good aame, 

jadiciousljj resolved. §93 

atul will take up any report that is going. 
Brethren, you mast make conscience of the 
least sin, and of the least duty. But it is ac 
fearful sign, when meu are zealous against 
lesser sins, and yet connive at greater, as these 
are, Matth. xxiii. 24. 

Direct. 5. Take the first ojjportiinitij when 
God gives a fit seasc xfor any duty. Let not 
Hatan beguile you, by telling you of another 
or a better tinK% It may be thou hast a pur- 
pose to reprove thy brother for his sin, but 
hovv^ long wilt tliou be a purposing. ? Now 
God gives thee an opporUinity. It may be 
thy backward heart saitb^ Not now^, but an- 
other time : and so it is pat off, till he or thy- 
self are removed, or he is hardened, or at 
leas^t thou art guilty of the sin that he com- ^ 
mits in the mean while, because thou hast not 
done thy duty to prevent it. It is in thine 
heart to deal with thine unconverted friend or 
neighbor about his spiiitual estate ; but it 
may be while thou art delaying, death comes 
ami snatches him away in his sins, or take» 
thee off, and so farev/eli for ever to any oppor- 
tunity for doing the soul of thy brother any 
good. How often are our closet duties hin- 
dcic^i or m.iserably disturl)ed, for want of car^ 
TO lay hold on the first opportunity ? We 
t'link another hour in the day may do as well; 
hut then one thing or another unexpectedly 
frJls in, and nothing is dcme, or nothing to 
purpose : Therefore beware of thir^ cheat. A 
man scarce peeps into the world, but one bri- 
ar or thorn, or another will catch him : There- 
fore; take opportunity l)y the fore- top. Oar 
A aS 

291 Cases; of Conscience » 

Saviour would take bis season for prayer be- 
fore day, when bis otber work was pressing, 
Mark i. 8i?. 

Jiule III. So nothing of things sacred 
without God\s command ; nothing in things 
civil without Goirs allowance. Offer not with 
^ trange fire. In Rod's worsbip you must see 
yon be well able lo answer tbat question, Who 
hath required these things at your hands 9 — 
ilore tbe coumiand must be observed, w^itbout 
adding or diminisbing,. Deut. xii. 3S. Yet 
understanding this with two cautions, 

(1.) Though men may not stamp their in- 
vented ceremonies with a moral signification, 
nor impose, nor use tliem, though with good 
intentions of edifying the people by devised 
means, Matt. xv. 9, as if Christ had not suf- 
ficiently provided for edifying bis people with* 
out their devices : And though nothing may 
be used as a part of worship that God hath 
not commanded, Col. ii, S3, (for it is enough 
to make any thing rejected of the Lord of di- 
vine worship, if he shall say, I commanded 
it not, spake it not, neither came it into my 
mind, Jer. vii. 31, and xix. 5) yet neverthe- 
Icvss those things that are merely circumstan^ 
llal, and are in tiicir general kind necessary, 
and not intendec,! as any part or means of wor- 
ship, may be determined of h^ human piu^ 
dence, according to the general rules of the 
word, which must always be observed, 1 
Cor. xiv. $6. And for want of understand- 
ing, many have ignorantly condemned preach- 
ing by an bonr-glass; in a high place, ia 

judicioiishj resolved. ZQr^ 

cTiurches, by way of doctrine and use^ &cv 
running from the one extreme to anotlier. 

(2,) We may not think that Grod's ordi- 
nance remaining for substance may be forsa* 
ken, because of some faultf^ of the administra- 
tors, or in the way of their administrations. 
The administering of God^s ordinances be- 
longs not to the people, but to the minister : 
and if he fail in his duty by administering 
them in a way that is not, and is less edifying, 
it is my grief, but liis sin. llophni and Phin- 
ehas were corrupt in their lives, and brought 
in much corruption and rudeness into the ser- 
vice of God ; yet Elkanah and Hannah, with 
others of the godly, did nevertheless attend 
God's worship and sanctuary, 1 Sam. i. 3. — 
Much corruption was crept in, both into the 
doctrine and worship, and lives of the admin- 
istrators of the church of the Jews. Yet our 
Saviour (tliough he still cried down the cor- 
ruptions, and would not join in them) never 
prohibited communion with them in God's 
worship, but enjoins it, Matt. v. '^^i. Mark iv. 
Luke V. 14j and practices it, both he, and his 
parents and apostles, Luke ii. 21, 3S, S4?, 39^ 
41, 46. Acts xxi. 23,.24, 36. 

But now in things civil it is sufficient that 
you have the allowance of the word, though 
not the commands ; always provided, that the 
general rules be here observed, to do all to 
the glory of God, 1 Cor. x. 31, and not to 
abuse our lawful liberty to the offence of oth- 
ers, Rom. xiv. 20. Now your actions being 
thus justifiable, as to the matter of them (with- 
out which it is impossible; had you never so 

20(5 Cases of Conscience 

good intentions, to please God) the influence 
and virtue of holy ends into them will be ef- 
fectual to turn all into religious duties, as the 
touch of the philosopher^* s^one turns the 
baser metal into gold. 

Kule IV. In every action let God he up- 
permost, but in religious actions let God be 
all. Let none of your actions terminate in 
yourselves, but labour to be able in sincerity 
to give thi& account of any thing you set about, 
that this you do, because it is pleasing unto 
God, because tliis is his will concerning you,. 
Set a mark upon this caution. Beware in 
those actions wherein self may bear a part, 
lest it should sweep stakes, and carry all. — 
You may. in your common actions, have an 
eye to j? our outward commodity, and comfort- 
able being in the world : but this must not be 
the chief thing, much less the all that you dc-^ 
sign herein : for by looking no higher than 
self, you incur this double mischief. (1.) Yoii 
lose so much fram your own account. (^.) 
You usurp upon the great prerogatives of 
God« I fear we are not aware of the fearful 
*[^vil that is in self-seeking ; it is no less than 
justling God beside the throne, and setting 
oursrlves in his room. It is God^s great pre- 
rogative, and the proper worship that is due 
to him as God, that be should be the last end 
of all the operations of us his creatures, and* 
that all our motions should terminate in him. 
Now when we eye our own commodity, and 
not God, and look to this more than unta 
God, we arrogate the divine prerogative to 
ourselves; and set ourselves aljiove him, which 

jitdicioiisly resolved. ^97 

is no less than lieinoiis idolatry. Aiul if it be 
such an heinous sin to bow down to an image, 
>vhich is but the giving God's outward wor- 
ship to the creature ; how much more to seek 
and honor ourselves before God, wliich is to 
i^ive his inward worship, which of all is the 
principal, to the creature? Oh, how many 
that pass for good Christians, will be found 
heinous idolaters ! because they have sought 
their ow n carnal ends, more than God and 
bis glory. And many real Christians^ though 
they mainly design God, and his glory; yet 
in many particular actions contract great guilty 
by looking no higher than themselves in what 
thev do/ 1 know you cannot be always 
thinking of God, yet I would have you never 
to forget what you have been taught : In the 
entrance of every solemn action, to remem^ 
ber God, and make him your end. Lie down, 
in the name of God every evening ; go forth 
in his name every morning, resolving to un- 
dertake all for him ; when you enter upon 
your callings, sit down at your meals, make 
any journey or visit, do it as unto tbe Lord, 
w ith design to please him therein. This you 
may come to with care and watchfulness. 

Again, in religious actions let God be alL 
Here self (I mean carnal self) must be shut 
out, otherwise this dead fly will spoil the box 
of most precious ointment. ^Tis true, self 
will be crowding in, but you must knock it 
down carefully ; otherwise if this be the pre- 
dominant ingredient, all your duties will b© i 
but lost labour AVhat mine pleasing to God 
than prayer ? This is incense before him, Ps.J 

^98 Cases of Conscience 

cxli. 2, What more delightful than alms? 
This is a sacrifice acceptable and well pleas- 
ins; unto him, Phil. iv. 18. How happy a 
testimony had Cornelius ? Thy prayers and 
alms are come up as a memorial before God^ 
Acts X. 4. Yet wheu self is predominant ia 
those duties^ prayers, aln^s, &c. are all lost^ 
Matt. vi. 7^ and xxiii. 5, 

Kule V. When you have done all^ he care* 
fid to deny all^ Luke vii, 7. Or not deny 
God's mercy in cnabling^ and assisting yoUr 
This must be with all thankfulness observed j 
but attributing nothing to yourselves, and giv- 
ing God all the glory. Take the pattern of 
holy David, 1 Cfaron. xxix. I*, lint who am 
J, and what is my people^ that ice should offer 
so willingly P Of thine own have we giveiv 
thee: And of blessed Paul, 1 Cor. xv. 10. 
JVbf I^ but the grace of God which was with 
me : And of good Nehemiah, who when ha 
had done most eminent service for God, flies 
at last for pardoning mercy, Neh. xiii. SS. 
Memember we, O Godj concerning this alsoy 
and spare me according to the greatness of 
thy mercy. 

ilule VI. Do all in the name of the Lord 
Jesus, Col. iii. 17* Having carefully set out 
for God in the morning, and directed your 
common actions to him as your end through- 
out the day, doing all in his sight, and with a 
desire to please him therein, bring all to 
Christ in the evening, and present all unta 
God by him, confidently expecting God's ac- 
ceptance and reward for all that you have 
done. For this he hath promised, be your 

Jiidichusly resolved^ J69& 

iictions Mcver so mean^ because tliey were 
done as his service, Col. iii. 2S, 2S, S4. Eph. 
vi. 6, 7^ 8. If you neglect this, you lose all 
at last ; for God will accept of no sacrifice 
but from the hand of the prie§t^ and therefore 
you must la^k for no acceptatice with God, 
nor ai^ reward from him, but only through 
Christ, 1 Pet. ii. 1, 5. John xiv. 6. Yoa 
must be sure therefore not only to make a 
formal mention of Christ's name, but to build- 
all your hopiBB and success only upon him, 
and to come to God with an actual and lively 
dependence upon him* 

Thus I have resolved the case propounded^ 
I will but answer an objection, and so coii^ 

Obj. You bind heavy burdens. What ! 
must we be always in the traces ? Surely 
this severity of religion is more than needs. 

tins. 1. Bntden, man ! Why, it is thy hap- 
piness : if holiness and pleasing God be a. 
burden, health is a burden, iieaven and hap- 
piness are burdens* 

%lns. 2, This is no other burden than what 
God himself hath bound upoh your con- 
sciences, Horn. ix. 20. Who art thou^ O many 
that revliest against God ? Have I put upon 
you a devised ahd unnecessary strictness ? or 
bound that burden upon you, which I will 
not touch With one of my fingers ? 1 Cor. ix^ 
8. S&y I this as a man ? or saith not the law 
the same also P 1 pray you whose word is this ? 
Be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day 
long^ Prov. xxiii* 17. Bo all to the glory of 
Qody 1 Cor. X. 81. Exercise thyself untd 

SOO CaHs.qjf Conscience^ -i^c^ 

God, 1 Tim. iv. 7. AVhat have I pressed, 
but w hat the saints have practised ? Phil iii* 
13, a. One thing I ch, I press toward the 
mark. Ps. xxvii. 4?. One thing have I de* 
sired of the Lo^^ that will I seek after. — 
Aad Ps. cxix."^. Thy servanmkat is devoted 
to thy fear. Gen. v. 22, Enoch tcafkl^with 
God three hundred years. What is tlM^but 
what the scripture hath foretold shall be? — 
They shall walk up and down in the name of 
the Lordj Zech. x. 1;8. Then shall be ujwn 
the bells of the horses^ and on ever?/ pot in Je- 
rusalem,^ HOLL^'ESS TO THE LOUD, 
^ech. xiv. 20, ST. Dispute not against God, 
1^1^. up and be doing. It is an ill sign when 
the heart rises against the strictness of the du- 
ty : V"ou utterly mistake in thinking this life 
of strictness to be a bondage. Who have joy 
unspeakable and full of glory, who do know 
the peace that passeth all understanding, if 
not those that do thus walk with God ? 

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